Tag Archives: plot

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

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

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

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

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

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