Category Archives: The Art of Stories

Pacing Your Book So Time Will Fly

Does time really fly when you’re having fun? Well, it sure does when you’re reading a book with perfect pacing. When we feel like time is flying by (or dragging along), the seconds aren’t any longer or shorter than they ever are. Understanding why we perceive a change of pace depending on our circumstances can help writers manipulate the story to mimic these pacing tricks. Anticipation, or goal motivation, tends to have an effect like acceleration. Philip Gable and Bryan

Keep Readers by Using Variable Rewards

The big thing in entertainment today is addiction. The products we use – especially computer programs, games, and apps – are designed to hook users into habitual use, then encourage repeated purchases to fuel our investment of time. Before we get too upset at these product designers, writing to sell our work means we have the same interests as them. I’m only addressing one approach of many today, that of variable rewards. The last marketing book I read was Hooked: How

Writing Exercises: Why do we use them, and do we need them?

There are some great stories of writing exercises out there that have changed writers’ lives, styles, even dreams. Some are simply interesting, and a few make you wonder why we do these at all. In my final writing course, our professor brought out a bag of clementine oranges, dumped them in a basket, and told us each to take one and describe it so well that we would be able to pick it back out of the basket at the

Word-Hacking Emotion

Forget brain surgery, its poetry and psychology that hack our minds. Yes, we generally discuss narrative here, but the principles of poetry are what turn description and detail into mind control engines. Remember your lessons on imagery? Unless your English teacher was way cooler than mine was, he didn’t introduce the subject by saying, “Check it out, kids, here’s how to poke around in a person’s subconscious!” I probably would have paid more attention if he said it that way.

What does your story assume?

In writing, there is always an intellectual frame in place. What that frame is, and how the writer selects it, is usually both taken for granted and similar to frames that are clearly accepted by the target audience. One wouldn’t frame the work of a classic master in a $5 plastic poster frame from Walmart. In science, a theoretical framework is a structure of assumptions the scientist or researcher has accepted as true in order to conduct their work. A

« Older Entries