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The 3 Types of Plot Goals

Plot Goal

Stories start with a plot goal. While many writers point to conflict, or even the antagonist, as the first element of plot, in reality, it’s a goal that kicks plot off. You can’t have meaningful conflict, if there isn’t a plot goal in place. And at its heart, an antagonist is what is opposing the […]

Reeling in Your Reader: The Power of Writing Hooks

writing hooks

Captivating your reader’s attention and submerging them deep inside the story world is one of the universal goals for writing hooks. We want our readers to experience the heart hammering, gasping for breath, sitting at their seat’s edge wondering how in the midnight sky their beloved character is going to escape an impossible conundrum. And […]

Seductions and Promises – Writing Openings

writing openings

The sweetest thing writers can hear is that our readers missed their bedtime because they couldn’t put our book down. The words on the page seduce the reader to continue flipping and it’s obvious this engagement begins at the story’s Writing Openings and continues. So the question I’m exploring today is what openings do we […]

Strong Act Structure Creates Stronger Stories

In storytelling structure, people use the term “act” rather broadly and vaguely. Most in the writing community break stories down into three acts: beginning, middle, and end. But if you asked many writers what an act actually is, they would probably give you blank stares.  Despite acts being key structural units in stories, they don’t […]

The Value of a Logline

A logline, or log line, is a simple description of a story that is only a sentence long.  It boils the story down to its essence. Unlike the tagline, which is created as a marketing hook, the logline gives the basic premise of the story. Here are three loglines for three famous movies: Luke Skywalker joins […]

The Value of a Tagline

A tagline is a single sentence that describes a film or book in a defining way. Choosing a tagline early can help you write your story with the proper tone. When writing a screenplay or a book, one of the first things that a writer may do is create a tagline. This is a single line […]

4 Tips for Writing a Positive Relationship

Writing a relationship plotline is key for almost any story. Most narratives will feature a relationship that arcs positively through the book–whether the characters are love interests, friends, family members, allies, coworkers, or what have you. While it’s possible to highlight a negative relationship, audiences typically crave a meaningful one that brings the characters closer […]

Are You Writing a Book or a Movie?

Writing a book requires a different approach than writing a movie. Each medium has different strengths, particularly with viewpoint. In his book on screenwriting, George Lucas briefly discusses the difference in approach between writing a movie or a book. Since this question lies at the heart of so many problems that I see with new […]

What Makes a Great Story?

What defines “good” writing when it comes to a story? That’s a question that I have to ask time and again as I’m judging contest entries. You see, there are different kinds of “good,” and there are different levels of “goodness.” One writer has a gift for plotting, another a gift for pithy metaphors. So […]

Opening Your Story with Conflict to Hook Readers

Open your story with conflict to hook readers and keep them reading. Every story should get to a significant conflict quickly. Conflict should be on the first (or second) page. There are many ways to hook a reader who opens your book–a great cover, a catchy title, luscious descriptions on the back cover, an endearing […]

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