Category Archives: Conflict

Goal-Oriented Storytelling: Tension

This is the third post in my four-part series on ANTS, my framework for understanding what a story needs to keep readers engaged. Previously, I’ve covered attachment and novelty. Now it’s time to look at the big reason why stories … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Characters, Conflict, Emotion, High Stakes, Pacing, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Tension, Uncategorized, Villains, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 5 Comments

Saggy Middle? Use Conflict to Nip and Tuck It

When I get a new story idea, I fly into the start of it with as much gusto as a kid in a candy store. I’m filled with the buzz of ‘newness’ and the anticipation of where the story might … Continue reading

Posted in Conflict, Editing Tips, Middles, Resident Writing Coach, Revision and Editing, Villains, Writing Craft | 7 Comments

Story Structure in a Flash

Story structure can sometimes be difficult to wrap our minds around; there are so many different structures, all with different terminology and slightly different meanings. But today I’m going to hopefully simplify things by covering how I view story structure—in … Continue reading

Posted in Conflict, Endings, Openings, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Story Structure, Villains, Writing Craft | 7 Comments

Character Arc and Narrative Arc

Character arc: someone living their life Narrative arc: the things that happen when someone lives their life When I worked with children, I’d always teach them the simple, zen fact: every sentence has a subject and verb. Someone does something. I’d tell … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Characters, Conflict, Motivation, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

And…Action! Applying TV Lessons to Chapter Hooks

We’ve probably all heard the advice to end our scenes and chapters on a hook. At the end of every scene or chapter, readers might put down our book and decide against picking it up again, so it’s important to … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Conflict, Experiments, Fear, Flashbacks, High Stakes, Resident Writing Coach, Series, Story Structure, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 8 Comments

Episodic vs. Epic: Go Bigger with Your Writing

One of the most common reasons given by authors for why they write is a desire to create something meaningful for their readers, something that will stick with them or make a difference. One thing that helps our stories feel … Continue reading

Posted in Conflict, Experiments, Pacing, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Revision and Editing, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 22 Comments

Writing to the Beat: Translating Story Beats to Any Genre

Readers of my blog know I’m a big fan of beat sheets, even creating a beat sheet for romance stories. Because of that, writers ask me what beats they should include in their mystery, thriller, or *insert any genre here* … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Characters, Conflict, High Stakes, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Story Structure, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 19 Comments

Why Characters Need Choices in Fiction

Help me welcome one of our favorite people, Janice Hardy (@Janice_Hardy). She has a great post on the importance of providing characters with stake-heavy choices, so please read on. 🙂  Choices drive every single conflict in a novel. The protagonist … Continue reading

Posted in Conflict, Empathy, Guest Post, High Stakes, Pacing, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 11 Comments

No Shortcuts, Please: Myths and Misconceptions of Villains & Mental Health

I love the internet–I get to meet all sorts of wonderful people. Today I’m happy to welcome Sacha Black, who knows a heck of a lot about the baddie in your story…someone more important than some writers may realize. This … Continue reading

Posted in Character Traits, Character Wound, Characters, Conflict, Guest Post, Show Don't Tell, Villains, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 23 Comments

How to Add Meaningful Subplots to Your Novel

Many people are familiar with subplots. They are those side stories that give a novel’s plot depth. A subplot may involve the main character or minor characters, but they enrich the story if done well. Subplots are everywhere. We see … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Characters, Conflict, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Subtext, Theme, Uncategorized, Villains, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 8 Comments