Category Archives: Special Terms

Sure Growth and the Psychology of Practice

How to Become a Great Writer (no, seriously, this is how) This post is directly inspired by a recent Freakonomics podcast titled How to Become Great at Just About Anything. Tantalizing premise, isn’t it? Most of us have heard of the 10,000 hour rule; it takes 10,000 hours doing something to become excellent at it. (This is paraphrased.) Well, there’s more to it than just doing what you want to be good at, and the podcast spent a great deal

Plot Twists: Expanding Your World

Story structures require control of perception and the element of surprise. Plotting is all about retaining and releasing information to create dramatic and purposeful connections between the elements of the story. Plot twists (here simply defined as revelatory moments that drastically change the scope of the story) and their huge power to reshape a reader’s expectations, require calculated risk. “Playing it safe” can mean a flat scene and a completely outlandish shift could lose readers’ willingness to go along. A feel

Direct Readers’ Focus: The Golden Ratio

Minute details are a double-edged sword to the flow of a story. Outright descriptors – adjectives and adverbs, even forceful verbs – have the power to choke out ideas and action. Artful concepts, however, can accomplish incredible feats of sensory detail without heavy-handed descriptors. Smallness, minute detail in either perfection or chaos, holds worlds of fascination. The same way humans have built towers, telescopes, satellites and space stations, we’ve invested that time looking the other direction too. Magnifying glasses, magnifiers,

Writing Wide Description: The Art of Zooming In

The golden ratio (see our introductory post: Writing with the Golden Ratio) is a geometric ratio that creates a positive reaction from people, especially in art and music. While this mathematic guide can be created artificially in a computer program, and occurs naturally in plants and animals, its application in storytelling operates with more subtlety. Numbers play less of a role as the impression of the ratio. This sounds awfully vague, so we’ll work on description to demonstrate. You’ll notice we

Writing with the Golden Ratio

For those unfamiliar with geometry as it relates to aesthetics and nature, the golden ratio is a unique ratio common in nature that has been used to create more appealing art. The application of this ratio is most often shared when discussing musical harmonics and visual proportions. That said, we’ll try now to apply this particular geometric impression to the art of stories. One of the more simple demonstrations of the golden ratio is in the golden rectangle. When a line is

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