Category Archives: Conflict

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 | Leave a comment

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 | Leave a 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

4 Ways to Fix a Boring Story

Is your story boring? Would you know or acknowledge it if it was? No one wants to admit that their story is slow, lackluster, or zzzzz. But hey, that’s what critique partners and editors are for. If recent feedback makes … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Character Flaws, Characters, Conflict, Empathy, Guest Post, Pacing, Reader Feedback, Rejection, Writing Craft | 15 Comments

No Story Conflict? Explore Your Options

As a reader of Angela and Becca’s blog, chances are you’ve seen some of their many posts about the role of conflict in our story. In fact, as a Resident Writing Coach here, I’ve previously talked about how to make … Continue reading

Posted in Balance, Characters, Conflict, Endings, Experiments, Pacing, Plotting, Reading, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized, Writing Craft | 12 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

Sneek-A-Peek at The Occupation Thesaurus: FIREFIGHTER

About this book… Characters are as complex as people and revealing their inner layers without chunky blocks of pace-stopping description is a challenge. The Occupation Thesaurus can help you unlock one of the best tools in your show-don’t-tell writing kit: … Continue reading

Posted in About Us, Backstory, Basic Human Needs, Character Arc, Character Flaws, Character Hobbies, Character Traits, Character Wound, Characters, Cliches, Conflict, Description, Diversity, Motivation, Occupation Thesaurus Guide, Point of View, Publishing and Self Publishing, Show Don't Tell, Stereotypes, Story Structure, Subtext, Theme, Uncategorized, Villains, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons, Writing Resources | 25 Comments

Character Introductions: Making the Right Impression

Many aspects of writing can be hard to get right, especially in our first draft. For just two examples: With our story beginning, we might struggle to find a good balance between a throat-clearing boring scene (before getting to the … Continue reading

Posted in Backstory, Basic Human Needs, Character Arc, Characters, Conflict, Description, Emotion, Motivation, Openings, Resident Writing Coach, Revision and Editing, worldbuilding, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 12 Comments

How to Describe a Location You’ve Never Visited

One of the big decisions writers make is whether to choose a real location for the backdrop of their overall story or create one of their own imaginings. Crafting a world from scratch can be a lot of work (requiring … Continue reading

Posted in About Us, Conflict, Mood and Atmosphere, One Stop For Writers, Setting, Setting Thesaurus Guides, Show Don't Tell, Tools and Resources, Uncategorized, worldbuilding, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 9 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