Storytelling

How Do I Involve the Main Character in the Plot?

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In my current concept, I have a “steampunk” world that is centered around class-based slave labor, in which “modern” ideologies about freedom either never happened (history splits about 1600-1700 AD) or are severely suppressed by the established powers. As an “extreme” amateur, I do not … read more »

A Field Guide to Six Infectious YA Clichés

Dear YA novelists of all shapes and sizes: there is an infestation spreading through the ranks of our beloved genre. Distorted by centuries* of grotesque overexposure and abhorrent inescapability, these clichés have wormed their way into even the best-intentioned novels. Watch out! They may be … read more »

Five Essentials for an Opening Scene

Liz 10 defending a young child from The Beast Below.

The opening scene is one of the most crucial in your novel. It has to engage readers while introducing the most important aspects of the story. I know that’s a lot, so let’s go over the five big things you need for a good opening … read more »

How Do You Bring an Inexperienced Hero to a Fight?

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Your article on how to bring swords to a gunfight was very interesting, and I’m dealing with a (somewhat) similar idea except that it involves characters. The plot’s picking up speed. Things are getting serious. Your protagonist is in over their head. They don’t know … read more »

Five Concepts for Becoming a Better Storyteller

Stacked coins on a wooden surface

Improving your work is a process fraught with conflicting feedback and emotional resistance. However, understanding some important principles can help you put the problems you encounter into perspective. Here’s five concepts that are useful for accepting feedback and making your stories better. Read more »

The Dual Plot Structure That Makes Stories a Success

We’ve previously discussed how every story requires a throughline – the plot arc that binds the story together. Most manuscripts desperately need to prioritize a single plot arc and cut whatever doesn’t fit within that. But like most things, throughlines are more complex in practice … read more »

How Do You Handle Protagonists Who Kill?

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I don’t think it’s controversial to say that killing is abhorrent. But in my novelette series, particularly the latest story, there is a great deal of cultists to be killed. I don’t particularly want to dive into the protagonist’s slow mental breakdown at the horror … read more »