September 1st, 2017

6 Ways Your Setting Can Create Conflict

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

No matter what form it takes, conflict is at the core of every story. It’s part of what drives the plot, and it’s what makes readers eager to read on to see if the protagonist succeeds. Characters face problem after problem, and with each trouble found, they’re forced to make tough […]

July 14th, 2017

What Playwrights Can Teach Us About Dialogue

Amy Poeppel

My first real job after graduating from college was working as an actress. I spent about five years performing in plays, shooting commercials, and acting in probably the worst episode ever made of America’s Most Wanted. I learned the ins and outs of union affiliation, auditioned for all kinds of roles, and […]

July 7th, 2017

What Do You Want Readers to Wonder About?

By Janice Hardy

I’m working on a new novel, so I’ve been deep in the brainstorming and planning. In an effort to boost my productivity, I did something a little differently this time that could benefit other writers. I’ve added an extra “story clarification” line to my template. It’s a way to remind myself […]

May 19th, 2017

The Origin Scene: Where Your Story REALLY Starts

Lisa Cron

I had a lot of great questions this month, but Laura Drake’s question goes directly to the very heart – the foundation — of your novel. She asks:

“I’m stuck on The Origin Scene. Partially, I think, because it feels like if I get it wrong, the rest of my book is screwed. Any […]

April 5th, 2017

A Quick Five to Get Your Characters-And You!-Through Adversity

What do your characters do when faced with adversity or an imminent threat? How do they recover from one of life’s knock-out punches?

Conflict powers our stories and our character’s personal growth arcs, so we throw a lot at our beloved protagonists. How they “catch” what we toss at them defines not only their essential […]