better stories

How to Write Better Stories

You know that feeling you get when you read a novel and become completely lost in it? You can’t put it down, so you lose track of time. When you finally finish, you wish it would just keep going. Isn’t that the kind of story you want to write? Over the past year, I’ve read…Read More

stock characters

Stock and Cloned Characters in Storytelling

I was recently reading a novel, and a few chapters in, I realized I had mixed up two of the main characters. In fact, I had been reading them as if they were a single character. I’m a pretty sharp reader, and this has never happened before, so I tried to determine why I’d made…Read More

Archetypal Characters in Storytelling

The hero, the mentor, the sidekick. We’re all familiar with archetypal characters in storytelling. We’ve seen them before. We know the roles they play. Archetypal characters shouldn’t be confused with stock characters or stereotypical characters. Although we’ve seen all these characters before and will surely see them again, stock and stereotypical characters are based on…Read More

story is conflict

Story is Conflict

If a story were a bus, conflict would be the driver. Conflict steers a story, moves it forward, reverses it, stops it in its tracks, and slows or accelerates the pacing. More importantly, conflict keeps readers glued to the page. Readers want to see how the characters will deal with conflict. Will they find solutions…Read More

writing resources

Writing Resources for Naming Your Characters

Have you ever read one of those epic fantasy novels in which the magical characters can gain total control over any living being simply by discovering their real and true name? I’ve read about ten of those novels. What do you think is more perplexing, the fact that authors continue to use this rule of…Read More

five things characters need

Five Things Your Characters Need

Many writers and readers will agree that the most important element of any story is its characters. There are certainly exceptions: some plot-driven stories are quite compelling and successful. However, readers form their deepest connections to stories through the characters by developing relationships with them and caring about what happens to them. Naturally, we want…Read More

character relationships

Creating Authentic Character Relationships

As storytellers, we often look for ways to make our characters as lifelike as possible: we give them internal struggles, external goals, difficult challenges, and hard choices to make, all while raising the stakes and doling out consequences for every action our characters take. Today let’s examine an oft-overlooked element of storytelling: character relationships.

creative writing exercises

From 101 Creative Writing Exercises: Your Gang

Today’s writing exercise comes from my book, 101 Creative Writing Exercises, which takes you on an adventure through the world of writing. You’ll explore different forms and genres while learning practical writing techniques. You’ll also get plenty of writing experience and ideas for publishable projects. Each chapter focuses on a different form or writing concept: freewriting,…Read More

originality in storytelling

Originality in Storytelling

Most storytellers strive to write fresh, original stories. They’re hoping to come up with an idea that’s never been done before. Is that even possible? Most stories are built with universal structures, or they use elements that can be found in the plethora of stories that already exists. That’s why readers can often predict the…Read More

creative writing prompts

Creative Writing Prompts for Sci-Fi & Fantasy Lovers

Today’s post includes a selection of prompts from my book, 1200 Creative Writing Prompts. Enjoy! In the world of creative writing, we’ve only begun tapping the possibilities in speculative fiction, a genre that includes science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, horror, and superhero stories, as well as anything that ventures beyond known reality. Speculative fiction is…Read More

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