What is filtering, what’s the rationale for avoiding it, and in what situations might you want to stick with it?
Writing epiphanies and realizations can be difficult; how can you make them feel earned and not contrived? Here, we examine the keys to successful realizations in storytelling.
Objects are crucial to a story’s being unique and affecting. Here, we look at 5 ways to use objects to tighten up your story and make it more powerful.
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.
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.
Guides for voice usually focus on diction and syntax as the main avenues to achieving voice, and it’s certainly true that messing with diction and syntax will get you some unique voice. But the true source of strong voice comes from a different source.
Do you take us to a point of conflict and then, rather than allow us to see it play out and get all worried about the outcome, you summarize it or just resolve it quickly? Stretching tension means you lengthen the scene but also make it more gripping. Don’t push the action off-stage or rush through it. Linger on the most tense moments of the story to maximize engagement.
Causality governs story events. You want your story to feel authentic, believable, and seamless. You don’t want any of the events or reactions within the story to draw attention to themselves. They must be earned. This article examines common failures to earn story developments.
Is it better to format character thoughts with quote marks or italics? I say neither. No special formatting is necessary to signify character thinking. You just need some solid narration.
A story with momentum makes me want to know what’s going to happen next, and makes me care about the characters, objectives, conflicts, and action.