Category Archives: Plotting

The Writer’s Spice Cabinet

Some writers object to thinking about plot and structure because it may lead to formulaic writing. They miss a critical distinction. Why does something become a formula in the first place? Because it works! Here’s a formula for an omelet: … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Dialogue, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Setting, Uncategorized, Writing Craft | 7 Comments

Use Theme to Determine Subplots, Supporting Characters, and Tension

I recently spoke at the Storymakers conference in Utah, and while I was there, I attended a class on theme. Theme is kind of an ethereal topic, difficult to grasp and even harder to apply. But I was blown away … Continue reading

Posted in Plotting, Tension, Theme, Uncategorized | 19 Comments

How to Write an Effective Scene with One Stop for Writers’ Formal Scene Map

When it comes to story structure, writers seem to fall into one of three camps: they love it, hate it, or are completely confused by the many iterations of it. With this third group, it’s understandable. Are there 3 Acts, … Continue reading

Posted in One Stop For Writers, Plotting, Software and Services, Story Structure, Tension, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 8 Comments

Outlining Your Future Book in 30 Minutes

To plot or to pants? That is the question—one with as many different answers as there are writers. As an avid plotter, the idea of pantsing gives me the heebie-jeebies, but I understand that my over-the-top planning would probably make … Continue reading

Posted in Guest Post, Plotting, Uncategorized | 13 Comments

Three Ways The Setting Can Steer Your Story’s Plot

The setting is a powerful force. Not only does it evoke mood, create tension and conflict, allow you to share critical backstory in a non-dumpy way, and draw readers deeper into the story through powerful sensory detail…it can also steer … Continue reading

Posted in Description, Mood and Atmosphere, Plotting, Setting, Setting Thesaurus Guides, Show Don't Tell, Tension, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 13 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

What’s the Dark Night Moment All About?

You’re coming to the end of the tunnel, and you see a bright light illuminating the finish line. You are almost through writing your novel! If you’ve done your homework, you’ve carefully worked out the big build to the exciting … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Fear, High Stakes, Motivation, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Tension, Writing Craft | 4 Comments

The 10 Key Scenes You Need to Frame Up Your Novel

Happy to welcome our editor and friend C.S. Lakin to the blog for a special post on story structure. Please read on! “How do I write a great novel?” This is probably THE question every aspiring novelist has asked . . . … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Guest Post, Plotting, Story Structure, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 12 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

Plotting for Pantsters

There are a lot of heated opinions about whether plotting or pantsing is the best way to write a story. As an avid plotter myself, I was curious to hear about Dario Ciriello’s process, which contains a little of both. If … Continue reading

Posted in Plotting | 31 Comments