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

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.

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

fiction writing plot and character

Plot vs. Character in Storytelling

Have you ever struggled with a story idea only to give up because it seems like every plot has already been done? Maybe you focus on character development to make up for a weak or formulaic plot. Or maybe you focus on plot, only to end up with characters that feel flat, stereotypical, or unsympathetic. But…Read More

how to identify the protagonist

How to Identify the Protagonist in a Story

In most stories, the protagonist is obvious: Harry Potter, Lisbeth Salander, and Katniss Everdeen are unquestionably the protagonists of their respective stories. But sometimes the protagonist isn’t so obvious. In some cases, a false protagonist is planted to intentionally mislead the audience, but the story later reveals another character to be the true protagonist. In…Read More

creative writing prompts

Futuristic Inspiration for Speculative Fiction

How would people in the Middle Ages respond to a television? What would someone from the 1700s think of a helicopter? What would a person from the early twentieth century think of a computer, or more specifically, the Internet? They would think these things were magical — either illusions or genuine supernatural occurrences. They might…Read More

story concept

What is a Story Concept?

Today’s post includes excerpts from What’s the Story? Building Blocks for Fiction Writing, chapter eleven: “Concept, Premise, and Loglines.” Enjoy! Most audiences are first introduced to stories as concepts, premises, or loglines. These are hooks used for pitching and marketing; they draw people’s attention, get them interested in a story, and compel them to buy it….Read More

narrative techniques

Narrative Techniques for Storytellers

Today’s post includes excerpts from What’s the Story? Building Blocks for Fiction Writing, chapter ten: “Literary Devices and Narrative Techniques.” Enjoy! Writers use literary devices to convey or illustrate thoughts, ideas, and images or to strengthen their prose. Narrative techniques are a subset of literary devices that are specifically used in narrative writing. Both literary devices…Read More

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