The 3 Types of Plot Goals

Plot Goal

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

5 Lessons I Learned Working with David Farland

David Farland Lessons

I’m sitting in a home office, at a desk, with my laptop open—but it’s not my home office, and it’s not my desk. There is a big bookcase full of fantasy books and keepsakes. But they are not my books or my keepsakes. The door is closed to keep out the cat—I’m allergic. I’m pounding […]

5 Keys to a Satisfying Denouement

5 Keys To A Satisfying Denouement

Often as writers, we put a lot of our focus on the starting, climax, and middle of a story, and the denouement or falling action may be somewhat of an afterthought. If your experience was like mine, you were kind of taught that the denouement should just be a quick wrap-up that can end the […]

How to Use Dialog Tags Terribly

Dialog tags help the reader know who is speaking the dialog. Recently, I shared how you could write bad dialog in your stories. The truth is, though, if you really want to write wretched dialog, you should consider working on your dialog tags. Here are a few options that you might not have considered. I […]

4 Ways to Avoid a Dead-End Writing Career

A writing career isn’t easy, but these four things will help you avoid a dead-end one. Have you ever seen a talented new writer rise to seeming stardom, only to crash and burn within a couple of years?  I recall being a new writer and studying my contemporaries with a mixture of awe and fear, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]