How to Straighten Your Story’s Spine

Sometimes I write a story where lots of exciting stuff happens, my protagonist is proactive and has a goal, and I’m hitting all the right beats (if you don’t know what those are, check out this post on the 15 Story Beats), yet the story still feels flat. What’s wrong? What am I missing? The …
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4 Core Components of an Awesome Sidekick Character

I’ve always loved sidekicks, Chewbacca, Samwise Gamgee, Ron and Hermione. Sidekick characters can enhance the story tension, help flesh out the protagonist, and move the plot forward in a number of significant ways. Several of the masterplots that Heather and I wrote about last year include a sidekick character as a possible component. Sidekicks are …
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15 Story Beats to Keep Your NaNoWriMo Novel on Track

Regardless of whether you’re a plotter or pantser, you might come to a place mid-month where your story feels like it’s gone off the rails. A lot of people will tell you to plow through! Just keep writing! It’ll work itself out! But I think better advice is to check in with your basic story beats. It …
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The Princess Bride Gender-Swapped!

Confession: I saw The Princess Bride for the first time last weekend. I know, I know, my childhood was lacking. There was only one movie theatre with one tiny screen in my town, and my parents said we were too poor to see movies in a theatre. So yeah. Fast forward 29 years later, and …
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The Princess Bride: A Frame Narrative Worth Studying

Grab your black mask, strap on a sword and beware of Iocane powder. Westley, Buttercup and the rest of the Brute Squad are romancing the blogosphere with THE PRINCESS BRIDE Linkup Party. This weekend blogs everywhere will be sharing their favorite bits and bobs about the movie and the book. You’re invited to take part …
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3 Tricks for Character Names

For a long time I hated naming my characters. No sooner did I settle on a name and I would realize another book (or three) used the same name. The main reason I got myself into this renaming mess was because I followed some widely accepted writing advice, I used charts of popular baby names …
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The Hero’s Emotional Midpoint

This week I’m honing the middle of my WIP, so it’s time to dust off the Archives and refresh my knowledge on a story’s midpoint… Originally posted on Aug. 4, 2014. Updated and reposted on Sept. 5, 2016. Awhile ago I wrote about Mapping the Mushy Middle of a story. This is a plot-centric approach to …
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