Structure

Advice and thoughts on story structure.

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.

Your Writing Needs to Be Better Than Game of Thrones

The writing for the TV series has been in a steep downhill descent for a while, and the 3rd episode of Season 8, which needed to pay off a years-long plot arc, utterly failed to create a cohesive narrative.

Use “Urgent Story Questions” to Create Tension

Sometimes, the main source of tension in a story comes from a lingereing “urgent story question” that nags at the reader. You should be conscious of your story’s USQs so that you can make the most of them and create a more gripping story.

Use Beats to Move Characters within Scenes

Great insights on scene craft here! Learn to use beats within scenes to move characters.

How do you create a dynamic, consequential scene–one that actually moves the character? You use beats within the scene to create disturbances and shifts. This analysis can help your revision; it’s all about bringing character arc to the scene level.

Create a Moving Character Arc

Character arc (aka the internal plot) is essential for a satisfying story structure. You might have tension on every page and you might follow what you think is a winning structure, but if you don’t have a character arc, your story will fail to resonate with readers. Learn the key concepts for character arcs here.

The Two Roles of the Beginning

The beginning has two roles: a structural one and a functional one. Here, I present a way of thinking about the first act’s plot points that may help you reconcile the need to hook the reader with the need to portray the so-called “normal world” of the story.

4 Common Failures in Story Cause/Effect

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.

Escalating Complications

“Escalating complications” is my preferred term for what’s commonly known as “rising action.” What is rising action? And how can you use it to maintain reader engagement in the middles of your scenes and stories? We take a lesson from iguanas and snakes here.

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