Storytelling

Your Plot Is a Fractal

A romanesco broccoli flower with fractal spiraling cones.

In 2014, I was researching best practices for writing scenes when I noticed something: they looked an awful lot like the best practices for a whole novel. The concepts were the same; they’d just been given different names. I wrote an article declaring plots were … read more »

323 – Plot Twists

The Mythcreant Podcast

You thought this episode would have a topic other than plot twists, but, twist, the topic is plot twists! On the one hand, everyone loves a good plot twist. On the other hand, plot twists tend to be one of the most contentious story decisions … read more »

How to Pace Your Story

A surfer and swordfish fly out of a book's pages

While stories use multiple methods of engaging audiences, conflict and tension are probably the most essential for longer stories. What we call pace is the timing and intensity of that conflict and tension throughout. A pace that’s too low will put an audience to sleep, … read more »

Understanding Conflict & Tension

A man with a shot gun tenatively climbs a wrecked staircase toward a glowing room with tentacles

In 2014, I wrote a primer on the basics of conflict, with a few notes on tension thrown in. Whereas conflict is easy to spot and a central topic of most writing advice, tension is subtle and rarely defined even when it is mentioned. Given … read more »

Five Problems With Focusing on Internal Conflicts

The emotion characters from Inside Out

In most speculative fiction stories, the heroes face down some kind of external conflict. These conflicts take many forms. In some stories, an advanced battle station is blowing up planets. In others, a bigoted politician plans to pass new laws targeting people who are already … read more »