How to Make Large Conflicts Exciting

A woman in armor holds a sword up as she rushes toward a lava giant with two axes It’s hard enough to make simple conflicts exciting, and not all conflicts should be simple. You might have lots of protagonists who need important roles, or you may simply want your conflict to be longer and meatier. Either way, once you add too many elements, … read more »

Where Do I Start My Story?

questions and answer talk bubbles Hi again. So I’ve done all the worldbuilding, I have the plot and know where I want my story to go, but how do I start it? I started with the first chapter but it was boring. I want to show the reader that my … read more »

Six Signs of a Weak Throughline

Kyo patting Tohru on the head. Throughlines are the conflict that ties your story together from beginning to end. The throughline is a story’s core, and if it isn’t working, chances are that very little else is. Unfortunately, a weak or missing throughline is easily the most common problem my content … read more »

Planning Character Arcs

A painting with the profile of a face and abstract imagery of a forest and a woman with birds When I first wrote this guide to character arcs in 2014, I got one important thing right: character arcs are not ethereal unicorns; they follow the same principles as other plot arcs. However, at the time I didn’t know that much about plotting. Plus, great … read more »

Five Ways to Include Dreams in Your Plot

Writing dreams allows us to discard the last vestiges of reality and embrace wild surrealism, paint colorful metaphors, or explore the inner workings of our characters. Unfortunately, standard-issue dreams come with a problem: they don’t matter. Without impacting future events, they’ll feel like a tangent … read more »

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 »