Tag Archives: conflict

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

5 Questions for Tackling Big Issues

“Write about something you feel strongly about.” “Write about what disturbs you.” “Don’t shy away from writing something difficult.” This common piece of advice appears phrased dozens of ways. The first time I heard it was from a middle school English teacher in his instructions for a poetry writing assignment. I heard it a lot in college writing classes, especially for persuasive essays. When I heard it from my creative writing professor, it came from a writer who was also a

Story Generators: From Traits to Action

Generators are great. Stuck for a character? All you have to do is turn a card or click a button and boom! There’s one complete with useful traits, their fate, flaws, weaknesses, and maybe even a little backstory. You might even get a premise with one of those things. With a couple more characters and a setting, you’ve got a great start! But then what? I don’t know about you, but sometimes the most difficult part of writing a story

Micro Conflicts: Moving Scenes Forward

Conflict is an essential element of narrative. Just about anyone will recognize larger conflicts, even the seven basic conflicts, as plot, but some of the best conflict occurs in small scale. Keeping interest can equate to maintaining some kind of conflict tension from scene to scene and chapter to chapter. If the story keeps all the satisfaction and resolution until the end, most readers will lose interest or start to chaff against constantly being strung along. Of course, this is

Writing Multiple Characters: Who’s Most Important?

Characters are the lifeblood of narrative. Some stories demand a large character count, but managing these many viewpoints can get not only messy for the writer but confusing for the reader. Incorporating multiple points of view in the same narrative, a frequent device used in third-person omniscient perspective, invokes some interesting questions. First off, who are the important characters? Who should the reader be listening to at any given time? Who should the reader get close to, and who’s driving

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