Character

Dealing with main characters, antagonists, allies, and all other varieties of characters in your stories.

Turning Points Propel Your Story

Turning points are why scenes exist. So it’s essential to understand how and why they work within your story to propel both plot and character.

The Case for Pantsing

Writing “by the seat of your pants,” aka “discovery writing” works better for some writers than outlining does. Read about the rationale for pantsing here.

Irony is Central to Storytelling

Irony is more important to storytelling than you might think. It helps create more poignant story events and ushers in more meaningful character transformation.

Earning Story Events

Earning story events means paying attention to three types of context (deep, situational, and immediate) as well as giving the character time to arrive at a response.

Theme Is Not Optional

Some people are wary of crafting or discussing theme, but theme exists in all (good) stories. Here, we examine what theme is, how a story employs it, the effect on readers, and how writers can be intentional about theme.

To Filter or Not to Filter

What is filtering, what’s the rationale for avoiding it, and in what situations might you want to stick with it?

Writing Character Emotion

Robert Olen Butler describes 5 ways the people express emotions. Writers can use these expressions to help build better character interiority. Here, his 5 expressions and an accompanying journal exercise.

The Pitfalls of Emotional Body Language in Your Writing

Physical expressions of emotion can be problematic, even though they’re justified by the “Show, don’t tell” mandate. But there are often better, more artful ways to give us insights into the interiority of your POV characters.

Narrating Deep or Shallow: The Spectrum of Psychic Distance

An expert writer of stories needs to have some mastery of psychic distance—the distance the narrator stands from a character’s emotions, thoughts, and perceptions. No matter what viewpoint or person or verb tense you’re using for your story, your narration will sometimes go very close to character perception and sometimes stay quite distant. 

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