The 9 Types Of Unreliable Narrator, by Amanda Patterson

From: I was stunned by the success of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It was obvious to me that the author was employing the unreliable narrator technique in the story. This came as a shock to many readers and viewers, which is odd when everyone tells you that there are at least two sides to every story. There is a long history of unreliable narrators in fiction. There is an even longer list in… Read More

The Essential Ingredient of Hard Choices, by Chuck Wendig

N.B. This is a sanitized version of the essay by Chuck Wendig; please see the original for the more colorful Wendig. From: I knew a guy named Gil who faced an incredibly difficult decision: his wife and his teenage daughter were both in the hospital at the same time with failing kidneys, the wife from cancer, the daughter from the trauma of a car accident. Grim coincidence, indeed. Both required a kidney… Read More

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

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

Insights Into Advanced Fiction Structure, by Donald Maass

From PNWA Master Class, Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass, via DeeAnna Galbraith All about building layers and surprising the reader with something they didn’t expect Character Work/Openings Is your protagonist: An everyman? What quality in the life of the author can be shown in this type of character almost immediately? Are they in control, too busy, boring job? Already a hero or heroine? What is this character’s everyday human quality? Put this… Read More

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 3: The First Act, by K. M. Weiland

From: Once you’ve hooked the reader, your next task is to put your early chapters to work introducing your characters, settings, and stakes. The first 20-25% of the book comprises your setup. At first glance, this can seem like a tremendous chunk of story to devote to introductions, but if you expect readers to stick with you throughout the story, you first have to give them a reason to care. And this… Read More

The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 2: The Hook, by K. M. Weiland

From: Readers are like fish. Smart fish. Fish who know authors are out to get them, reel them in, and capture them for the rest of their seagoing lives. But, like any self-respecting fish, readers aren’t caught easily. They aren’t about to surrender themselves to the lure of your story unless you’ve presented them with an irresistible hook. Our discussion of story structure very naturally begins at the beginning—and the beginning… Read More

How Parallel Narrative Multiplies Your Story Choices, by Linda Aronson

From: Very often things like flashbacks, flash forwards, non-linear narratives, multiple plots and ensemble casts are regarded as optional gimmicks stuck into the conventional three act structure. They’re not. Each of the six types I’ve isolated and their subcategories provides a different take on the same story material.  Suddenly, one idea for a film can give you a multitude of story choices. What do I mean? More than six ways to… Read More