Okay, okay, so maybe the title is an exaggeration. After all, I am conveying these ideas to you through words. So they can’t be totally meaningless. But this is still a fun thought experiment, and one that might be able to help you in your own writing. In order to think about the phrase, “Words … Continue reading Words Are Meaningless
Character arcs are the bread and butter of storytelling. Many people argue that there is no such thing as “plot”, there is just a character undergoing change as they interact with their surroundings. I often find it helpful to think of a story as just a series of choices made by a flawed character. So … Continue reading 5 Easy Steps to Make a Character Arc
Dialogue is one of the trickiest things to get right. But, when done well, it can carry an entire book on its back. Dialogue that flows, that sounds like the characters, that means something. A reader is willing to read almost anything so long as the dialogue is good. Here are six ways to immediately … Continue reading 6 Ways To Immediately Improve Your Dialogue
Don’t use adverbs. Don’t use adverbs. I have heard this advice from a hundred sources a hundred times. It seems to be the one thing that style guides and literary critics can all agree on. Adverbs bad. But how useful is this advice? Is there a way that, actually, adverbs good? An adverb often serves … Continue reading How Bad Are Adverbs, Really?
Creating a fantasy world is a unique pleasure. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve survived a tedious lecture by drawing maps in the margins of my notes. There’s something invigorating and refreshing about conjuring an unfamiliar landscape in your mind and walking down its twisting passes. I’d wager us writers are never … Continue reading How to Create a Fantasy World
All stories have structure. Simple structures: the hero wants something, they attempt to get it, they are thwarted, and then they succeed. Complex Structures: frame narratives, flashbacks, multiple perspectives, subplots. Structure is the substance and shape of your story. It is the events that transpire, and it is the sequence and manner in which those … Continue reading How to Structure a Story
My favorite feeling is falling in love with a character. Grinning stupidly whenever they’re on screen or sobbing with them as they struggle. Watching them learn and grow, and cheering for them without restraint, and then that empty ache when the story is over. It’s a rare feeling. The greatest challenge for me when I … Continue reading Creating A Complex Character
How often have you heard the advice, “A good villain is the hero of their own story”? This line is a step in the right direction. But I find it simplistic and I find that it fails to encompass everything a villain should be. One of the most helpful things for me has been to … Continue reading Creating A Villain
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