Tag Archives: plotting

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

Worldbuilding for Realistic Fiction

I am proud to admit I write in many genres. I’ve been known to write light-hearted fantasy, speculative/science fiction, lite horror, a little supernatural, period realistic fiction, and contemporary fiction. People seem surprised when I say I use worldbuilding techniques on ALL of these genres. The last two are the ones that get raised eyebrows. Yes, I worldbuild for realistic fiction. No, it is not “doing research” exclusively. Every fictional world operates on core structures, and these are psychological constructs

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

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

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

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