Category Archives: Backstory

Identifying your Character’s Fatal Flaw

Good characters are often broken characters. They’ve been wounded, and the last thing they want is to be hurt in that particular way again, so they adopt new behaviors—emotional shielding—that are meant to protect them. They believe this shielding will keep … Continue reading

Posted in Backstory, Character Arc, Character Wound, Characters, Fatal Flaw, Writing Craft | 6 Comments

Introducing the Character Trait Boxed Set

Full disclosure: Becca and I have been a bit sneaky this year. First, we decided that rather than tell everyone which thesaurus we would publish next we would surprise everyone, and in February we launched an EXPANDED version of the … Continue reading

Posted in About Us, Backstory, Character Arc, Character Flaws, Character Traits, Characters, Description, Experiments, Positive & Negative Thesaurus Guides, Show Don't Tell, Uncategorized, Writing Craft | 18 Comments

How Do You Know If Your Protagonist Is Strong Enough?

You can have an incredibly detailed world, adrenaline-spiking action and jaw-dropping plot twists, but unless the character in the driver’s seat is interesting, layered, and memorable, the story will pancake. So building a protagonist (and a story cast) that wows … Continue reading

Posted in About Us, Backstory, Basic Human Needs, Character Arc, Characters, One Stop For Writers, Software and Services, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 5 Comments

Taking a Character from Good to GREAT

FACT: Characters are the heart of a story. The stronger one is, the more powerful your novel will be. In today’s competitive fiction market, there’s no room for okay-ish characters. This is why most writing courses, books, workshops, retreats, etc. … Continue reading

Posted in About Us, Backstory, Character Arc, Character Flaws, Character Traits, Character Wound, Characters, Description, Emotion, Fear, Motivation, One Stop For Writers, Reader Interest, Revision and Editing, Show Don't Tell, Stereotypes, Uncategorized, Villains, Writing Craft, Writing Resources | 1 Comment

Using Backward Design to Plan Your Story

Weaving a powerful tale is not easy. Whether you pants or plot, ending up with a cohesive tale means understanding the key moments in a story. Today’s post by Angelica Hartgers offers up a great technique to use if plotting … Continue reading

Posted in Backstory, Character Arc, Characters, Endings, Experiments, Guest Post, One Stop For Writers, Plotting, Setting, Story Structure, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Resources | 18 Comments

4 Keys to a Powerful Denouement

Often as writers, we put a lot of our focus on the starting, climax, and middle of a story, and the denouement or falling action may be somewhat of an afterthought. If you grew up like me, you were kind … Continue reading

Posted in Backstory, Character Arc, Characters, Endings, Motivation, Plotting, Reader Interest, Reading, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 13 Comments

How to Craft Engaging Dialogue Exchanges

One of the best places to reveal your character’s emotions is during dialogue. Author Peter Gelfan joins us with some great considerations on how to make these exchanges more powerful, drawing readers in. Read on! Although we like to think … Continue reading

Posted in Backstory, Characters, Description, Dialogue, Emotion, Guest Post, Show Don't Tell, Subtext, Tension, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 7 Comments

World-building: Creating a Credible Magic System

Hi everyone! Today we have a new face at the blog: author and ghostwriter Justin Attas. He’s in love with world-building and has some great ideas on how to ensure the magic systems we create are credible and logical, enhancing … Continue reading

Posted in Backstory, Characters, Description, Guest Post, Setting, Show Don't Tell, worldbuilding, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 12 Comments

Digging Deep: The Psychology of a Layered Story

Humans like complexity; puzzles, questions, layers. It fascinates us. My guess it’s because there are so many complex systems in nature that our brain needs to navigate successfully. Ecosystems, weather systems, the tax system…But the one that has the most … Continue reading

Posted in Backstory, Characters, Description, Resident Writing Coach, Revision and Editing, Setting, Show Don't Tell, Subtext, Theme, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 13 Comments

The Easiest Way to Plan Characters in a Series: Cloning (Yes, Really!)

This spring, Becca and I released two very important tools for writers… The Emotion Thesaurus 2nd edition (expanded by 55 entries) and a Character Builder Tool at One Stop for Writers. These two releases happened within days of each other, … Continue reading

Posted in Backstory, Basic Human Needs, Character Arc, Character Flaws, Character Traits, Character Wound, Characters, Description, Emotion, Emotion Thesaurus Guide, High Stakes, One Stop For Writers, Series, Software and Services, Tools and Resources, Villains, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 2 Comments