Tag Archives: plot

Practical Prompt 6-7-17

WriteOwls logo 150 blackYou finally have a moment to write, but what to do with your limited time? Here’s a practical prompt to kickstart the story you’re working on right now. The clock is ticking, people. Start writing.

If you’re foundering in your story’s second act, the problem could be you’re not as sure of your story’s direction as you thought you were. Try skipping the middle and write the climax first. Once you have a firm beginning and end, it’s easier to see the path you’ll need to take your characters down to prepare them for the end.

Practical Prompt 5-31-17

WriteOwls logo 150 blackYou finally have a moment to write, but what to do with your limited time? Here’s a practical prompt to kickstart the story you’re working on right now. The clock is ticking, people. Start writing.

Making things bad for your character is good, but adversity that doesn’t push the plot can exhaust—and then bore—your reader. Look over the bad breaks you’ve given your characters and make sure that each is necessary and drives them further along in the story. Cut any that don’t move the plot.

Practical Prompt 5-10-17

WriteOwls logo 150 blackYou finally have a moment to write, but what to do with your limited time? Here’s a practical prompt to kickstart the story you’re working on right now. The clock is ticking, people. Start writing.

Does your scene feel ho-hum, despite having high stakes and intense conflict in it? Perhaps you are repeating plot beats by not allowing your characters to change, learn or grow by the end of the scene. Re-read your scene from beginning to end to see if anything really changed for your character or his situation. If it doesn’t, either cut it or re-write it so it advances the story.

Practical Prompt 3-22-17

WriteOwls logo 150 blackYou finally have a moment to write, but what to do with your limited time? Here’s a practical prompt to kickstart the story you’re working on right now. The clock is ticking, people. Start writing.

In the beginning of most stories, the protagonist often plays a defensive game, reacting to circumstances driven by the opposition. But at some point, she has to take charge of the story. Write the scene where your main character goes on the offensive and takes control of the story’s direction.

Is Your Story’s Emotional Arc Tried and True?

Stacey Kite

Stacey Kite

In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams, one of my all-time favorite books, the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42. Like all of life’s best jokes, it’s funny because it rings so true. Everything in life can be described mathematically, as it turns out—even literature.

In February’s Scientific American, there was an interesting article, by Mark Fischetti, about a study on the emotional story arcs of novels. It turns out that the vast majority of stories fall into only one of six tried and true emotional arcs.

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