A Checklist for Writing Your Story

Use this checklist for writing your story, and you will write even stronger stories. David Farland was a best-selling author and contest judge for the world’s largest short story competition. When I used to write for competitions, I would make lists of ways that judges might look at my work in order to grade it. […]

Why Conflict Drives Story

Life without conflict equals bliss. My wife and I have been married more than half a century. We’re not only lovers, but we’re also friends. We like each other and look forward to reconnecting every day. Naturally we don’t agree on everything, but if a disagreement becomes testy, we actually compete to see who can […]

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 […]

7 Considerations for Characters

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Characters are important in every story, and we don’t want to create “stick figures” for key characters. Here are seven things to consider when creating yours. Of all the topics on how to write, I suspect more books have been written on how to create solid characters than on anything else. So there are a […]

How to Write and Raise the Stakes More Effectively

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Writers are repeatedly advised to “raise the stakes.” Stakes are often defined as what the character has to lose. But when you understand—more accurately—the relationship between plot and stakes, you can create them more easily. And when you understand—more accurately—how they actually work, you can raise them by using the methods in this article. How […]

3 Tips that Strengthen Middles

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While writing the middle of a story usually isn’t as tricky as the beginning, for many authors, the middle can start to sag if they aren’t careful. Previously we went over three problems that come up with middles. Today we are back to add three tips to keep your middle interesting. 1. Vary Your Story […]

Types of Transport

When the movie Avatar came out, I went to see it and wrote a little review on it. I said then that it transported its viewer to another world better than any previous science fiction film—and that because of that, it would be considered by many youngsters to be the “best science fiction film of […]

The Heart of Your Story

I was asked to read a screenplay over the weekend. It opened with two minutes during which it explained what a common household device was, showing how it was made in a factory. Then for three more minutes it had characters eating breakfast talking about their cultural heritage. I began to wonder when the story […]