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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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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Character Need: Psychological + Moral

I’ve been reading writing craft books for almost two decades, and it’s gotten to the point where most of them don’t tell me anything I don’t already know. But recently I had a creative crisis that prompted me to look hard for new information, and after a couple misses I came across THE ANATOMY OF STORY …
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Character Development: The Reaction Chart

Creating characters to populate your novel or screenplay is a lot of fun. You get to devise different backgrounds and opinions and alliances and secrets and all kinds of interesting stuff that brings the cast to life. But you can have the most detailed character sketches and richly drawn cast ever, and your story could …
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C is for Character Change

It’s appropriate that I got letter “C” since Character Change is something I frequently write about on this blog. That’s because it is so crucial! I think it might even be the most important part of a good story. So, with that in mind, let’s launch this baby! 3 Tips for Writing Character Change Don’t …
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Choosing the Right Character Arc

Two weeks ago I blogged about How to Create a Character Arc from Plot, followed my own advice, and came up with… multiple character arcs for my heroine. Yep. At least four or five, and I’m not sure which one is the right one for the story. What’s an I-have-too-many-ideas writer to do? Well, here …
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How to Create a Character Arc from Plot

There are lots of things that make a story good. In fact, I’m constantly overwhelmed trying to keep track of them all. But what elevates most stories above the rest is a satisfying character arc. What is this? Well, at the most basic level it is a story where the character changes. If your character …
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