Category Archives: Tension

What Does It Mean To “Raise the Stakes”?

Yay! I’m happy to be back at WHW as a Resident Writing Coach. *waves* Last time I visited, we discussed how understanding the interconnectedness of our story elements can help us with revisions, and today we’re going to dig deeper … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Motivation, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Tension, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 21 Comments

How To Accurately Write About Your Character’s Pain

The best thing about this online world of ours is you never know who you are going to meet. I don’t know about you, but one of the areas I struggle with is writing a character’s pain in a way … Continue reading

Posted in Conflict, Description, Emotion, Empathy, Fear, Guest Post, Show Don't Tell, Subtext, Tension, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 15 Comments

Mastering Stylistic Tension

One of the first things writers learn is to start a story with conflict. Some writers have bombs go off. Others start with a death. Or a break-up. But over the years, looking at unpublished material, I’ve learned and relearned … Continue reading

Posted in Resident Writing Coach, Tension, Uncategorized, Writing Lessons | 8 Comments

Generic Settings Won’t Do: Choose Locations That Have Emotional Value

As writers, we try to draw readers fully into each scene. Not only do we want them to picture what’s happening, we want them to feel as if they are sharing the POV (point of view) character’s experience. Shared experiences … Continue reading

Posted in Conflict, Description, Empathy, Experiments, Fear, Mood and Atmosphere, Motivation, Pacing, Setting, Setting Thesaurus Guides, Show Don't Tell, Subtext, Tension, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 9 Comments

Struggle With Show, Don’t Tell? Try This Ultimate Description Toolkit

Today I’m sharing some amazing tools as part of Verbaleyze’s  My Writing Toolkit event, in hopes you might find some new weapons in the battle for strong, compelling description. For those not familiar with VerbalEyze, they are a 501(c)3 nonprofit … Continue reading

Posted in About Us, Basic Human Needs, Character Arc, Character Flaws, Character Traits, Character Wound, Characters, Conflict, Description, Dialogue, Emotion, Emotion Thesaurus Guide, Empathy, High Stakes, Motivation, One Stop For Writers, Positive & Negative Thesaurus Guides, Revision and Editing, Setting Thesaurus Guides, Show Don't Tell, Subtext, Tension, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons, Writing Resources | 7 Comments

Level Up Your Setting By Thinking Outside The Box

With writers, there seems to be two camps: those who love writing setting description, and those…who…don’t. There isn’t always a lot of middle ground. Becca is definitely in the former group. She’s freakishly good at world building. Each setting she … Continue reading

Posted in Basic Human Needs, Character Wound, Characters, Conflict, Description, Emotion, Empathy, Mood and Atmosphere, Pacing, Setting, Setting Thesaurus Guides, Show Don't Tell, Tension, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 20 Comments

Deepen The Protagonist to Readers By Challenging His or Her Moral Beliefs

When we sit down to brainstorm a character, we think about possible qualities, flaws, quirks, habits, likes and dislikes that they might have. Then to dig deeper, we assemble their backstory, plotting out who influenced them, what experiences shaped them … Continue reading

Posted in Basic Human Needs, Character Arc, Character Flaws, Character Traits, Character Wound, Characters, Conflict, Emotion, Fear, Motivation, Positive & Negative Thesaurus Guides, Show Don't Tell, Tension, Uncategorized, Villains, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 7 Comments

How To Turn Your Setting Into An Obstacle Course

  Becca and I are big believers in making the setting work hard in EVERY scene. A terrific way to do this is to turn a setting into a magnet for conflict. After all, the hero or heroine’s path to … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Conflict, Description, Emotion, Pacing, Setting Thesaurus Guides, Show Don't Tell, Tension, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 17 Comments

Friends as Enemies

One thing that Angela and I discovered time and again as we put the Rural and Urban Setting Thesaurus books together is just how influential the setting is on a story. Setting has its collective fingers in a lot of … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Conflict, Emotion, One Stop For Writers, Subtext, Tension, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 9 Comments

10 Reasons Why Your Hero Needs Flaws

When we see the word Hero or Heroine, we think heroic, which is ironic because our protagonists are usually anything but at the start of a story. Instead they are often jaded, lost or incomplete in some way, toting along … Continue reading

Posted in Character Flaws, Character Wound, Characters, Experiments, Show Don't Tell, Tension, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 17 Comments