Category Archives: Tension

Goal-Oriented Storytelling: Satisfaction

Welcome to the final post in this four-part series on ANTS. As I mentioned in my first post, ANTS is a goal-oriented framework for storytelling. It’s what you’re trying to achieve by making great characters, settings, and plots for your … Continue reading

Posted in Action Scenes, Character Arc, Characters, Conflict, Endings, Motivation, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Tension, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 6 Comments

Avoiding Change: What’s Stopping Our Characters?

Stories are about change. Our characters’ world is changing around them, or they’re changing internally—or both. Yet at the same time, we know change is hard. In our own lives, we struggle to change our habits or take steps to … Continue reading

Posted in Basic Human Needs, Character Arc, Character Wound, Characters, Conflict, Emotion, Middles, Motivation, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Tension, Uncategorized, Writing Craft | 10 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

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

There Will Be Blood

This is something I say to almost every writer: Make no mistake, there WILL be blood! No, I’m not referring to the movie. Or even to literal blood. But to the fact that if what happens in your plot doesn’t … Continue reading

Posted in Character Wound, Characters, Emotion, Empathy, Resident Writing Coach, Tension, Uncategorized, Writing Craft | 17 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 | 22 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

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

3 Tips To Creating A Time Bomb Plot Device

One of the things we always want as writers is to keep readers engaged, to hold their interest all the way from Page One to The End. The Ticking Time Bomb scenario can be really effective for this, and Jonathan Vars … Continue reading

Posted in High Stakes, Tension, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 8 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 | 5 Comments