Tag Archives: how to write

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

Musical Forms in Narrative Writing

Jump-start your writing with a study of creative forms in music. While music is a whole separate art medium, many forms can inspire written imitation and useful lessons for innovative works. Structure The form of a story should suit the content; it does not exist independent of the material. That said, sometimes playing with the internal patterns means opening up to more possibilities. Consider the symphony as an example. Generally speaking, a symphony has four parts (movements) of varying speeds (tempos)

The Award for Best Supporting Character Goes To…

Main characters carry the greatest weight in a story, but it’s uncommon for a great story to come out of just a main character in a vacuum. While the term may vary, secondary characters are close to the main character, very present in the story, and can’t rightly be called “minor” characters. Understanding their common uses in relation to the essential elements of story can arm you to make a deeper, more purposeful supporting cast. Character Secondary character roles are

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

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