Plot

Analysis

How Three Book Series Kept Readers Interested

A spacecraft burning toward a futuristic city.

Writing a single novel is hard enough, and writing an entire series is notoriously difficult. It’s so difficult that when I published a post on tips for writing sequels, some commenters responded with the equivalent of “don’t.” In particular, it’s a real challenge to maintain … read more »

Writing

Seven Prologues and the Problems They Cause

A Martian landscape with a domed city and an airship.

In novels, prologues are almost always a mistake, and the reason why is simple: they take place before the story starts. If the story hasn’t started, what are you even reading? That’s why prologues are usually exposition dumps, meaningless action, or, occasionally, a completely separate … read more »

Storytelling

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 »