The Key Ingredient for Dramatic Tension–Understanding the Antagonist, by Kristen Lamb

By Author Kristen Lamb, posted in Antagonist on April 23, 2012 From: Today I wanted to take some time to talk about the antagonist. Why? Well, not only is the antagonist THE most important character, but he is the most misunderstood as well. […] Whenever I blog about the antagonist, I generally get one of the following: “Well, my character is the antagonist. She is her own worst enemy.” “What if… Read More

Storytelling Strategies: Spotlighting Inner Conflict, by Paul Joseph Gulino

January 25, 2016 From: Do your characters need an arc or inner conflict to make a screenplay work? Spotlight (written by Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy and directed by McCarthy) has been nominated for a slew of awards, including Oscars in Best Picture and Best Writing categories. The obvious reason for the attention is that it is a polished, well-crafted, and engaging film. Very likely, another reason is the subject matter:… Read More

Levels of Conflict, by John Vorhaus

From: By John Vorhaus on Jul 25 2013 at Whenever I have a problem I can’t solve, I immediately try to break it down into smaller, component problems. And I keep breaking problems down until I find one small enough to solve. This is a strategy I use over and over again when trying to get to the heart of the conflict of a story or scene I’m writing. For… Read More

Working with Beta Readers

Looking for inspiration on finding and working with beta readers? Here, read this!, By Corina Koch MacLeod and Carla Douglas; March 19, 2014 

Find and Work with Beta Readers

Great advice on finding and working with beta readers here:; January 18, 2016 by Kristen Kieffer. 

How Not to Open a Short Story, by Philip Athans

From:, by Philip Athans November 27, 2012 I generally don’t like this kind of negative approach: lists of what not to do. I prefer to encourage you to do things, not discourage you from doing things, but back to the subject of short stories, I can’t help but point out some very common pitfalls that I’ve seen over and over again for years—decades, actually. So here goes, in no particular order, half a… Read More

Data Mining Reveals the Six Basic Emotional Arcs of Storytelling

Recommended by Randy LaBarge. From: by Emerging Technology from the arXiv; July 6, 2016. Scientists at the Computational Story Laboratory have analyzed novels to identify the building blocks of all stories. Back in 1995, Kurt Vonnegut gave a lecture in which he described his theory about the shapes of stories. In the process, he plotted several examples on a blackboard. “There is no reason why the simple shapes of stories can’t be fed into… Read More

Is My Novel Offensive? by Katy Waldman

From: How “sensitivity readers” are changing the publishing ecosystem—and raising new questions about what makes a great book. When Becky Albertalli published her first young adult novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, with the HarperCollins imprint Balzer and Bray in 2015, she never expected it to be controversial. She’d worked for years as a clinical psychologist specializing in gender nonconforming children and LGBTQ teens and adults.* Yet her book—about a closeted gay… Read More

The Nazi-Holocaust Survivor Romance Novel You Weren’t Waiting For, By Katherine Locke

From: August 7, 2015 A few weeks ago in New York City, Romance Writers of America held their annual conference. The agenda included the RITA awards, the equivalent of the Oscars of the romance writing world, and one of those nominees, for “Best Inspirational Romance” and “Best First Novel,” was a book called “For Such a Time” by Kate Breslin. “For Such a Time” is a retelling of the biblical book of… Read More

How to Critique

From: PNWA The purpose of a critique is to assist the author in gaining new insight into their own work as early as possible in the writing process. Rules For When You Give A Critique  ALWAYS start with a positive, no matter how simple.  If you say something negative, the author may not hear the critique that follows ALWAYS use the first person, the ‘eye’ (‘I’).  For example, compare these two comments.  “I… Read More