Category Archives: Action Scenes

The 8 Points of Progress

In a lecture series on Youtube, #1 New York Times best-selling author Brandon Sanderson talks about the three P’s of plot structure: Promise. Progress. Payoff.  Promises are particularly important in the beginning of the story, as they draw in the audience.  Progress keeps the … Continue reading

Posted in Action Scenes, Characters, Conflict, Endings, Middles, Motivation, Openings, Pacing, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Story Structure, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 9 Comments

How Stakes Set up Expectations

Last time I coached on Writers Helping Writers, I talked about 6 Tricks to Layer on Stakes, in it, I explained how I like to think of stakes as potential consequences–what could happen if a certain condition is (or is … Continue reading

Posted in Action Scenes, Characters, Conflict, High Stakes, Motivation, Pacing, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Tension, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 6 Comments

Stuck in No-Man’s-Land: Your Novel’s Middle

If you have hit the point in your draft where you’re looking out at the vast landscape of your novel with no idea where to go next, congratulations…you’ve probably made it to Act 2. I know, I know, there’s an … Continue reading

Posted in Action Scenes, Backstory, Basic Human Needs, Character Arc, Characters, Conflict, Fatal Flaw, Middles, Motivation, One Stop For Writers, Pacing, Plotting, Tension, Tools and Resources, Uncategorized, Writer's Block, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 1 Comment

Dropping Breadcrumbs: How to Show a Character’s Emotional Wound Through Behavior

Emotional wounds are transformative and have the power to re-shape a character in many negative ways, impacting their happiness, their self-worth, and causing mistrust and disillusionment to skew their worldview. This critical piece of backstory is key to understanding their … Continue reading

Posted in Action Scenes, Backstory, Basic Human Needs, Character Arc, Character Flaws, Character Wound, Characters, Conflict, Emotion, Emotional Wound Thesaurus, Fatal Flaw, Fear, One Stop For Writers, Tools and Resources, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Resources | 3 Comments

6 Tricks to Layer on Stakes

Stakes are what are at risk in a story. It might be that the protagonist’s life is at risk, or perhaps a romantic relationship, or maybe the opportunity to go on a long-awaited trip (Hello, Covid!). But I find this … Continue reading

Posted in Action Scenes, Character Arc, Characters, Conflict, Fear, High Stakes, Motivation, Pacing, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Tension, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 9 Comments

How Plotlines Add Dimension

When writing a novel, you need to use more than one plotline. In fact, most successful books need at least three. If they only have one or two, the story will feel flat, bloated, or repetitive, because the writer doesn’t … Continue reading

Posted in Action Scenes, Character Arc, Characters, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Story Structure, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 18 Comments

Storytelling Decisions: What’s the Right Pace for Your Story?

As we learn to write, we often hear about the need to create a strong pace in our story. Many seem to think that a strong pace requires a fast pace. However, that’s not what’s meant by strong. So what … Continue reading

Posted in Action Scenes, Backstory, Characters, Conflict, Description, Endings, Middles, Openings, Pacing, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Story Structure, Tension, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 13 Comments