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

The Drama Triangle, by Betsy Dickinson

THE DRAMA TRIANGLE PRESENTED BY: BETSY DICKINSON The Drama Triangle is a social model developed by Stephen Karman, MD. It defines the roles of persecutor, victim and rescuer in drama-intense relationship transactions. It models the connection between personal responsibility and power in conflicts and the destructive and shifting roles people play. The Persecutor and Rescuer is the “one-up” position. The Victim is the “one-down” position. Victim’s seek out persecutors and rescuers. Rescuers feel guilty… 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

Perfect Counterparts, by Erik Bork

From: What makes an audience root for two people to be together? The Save the Cat books have a name for the type of story where the primary external conflict is that two people who are “perfect counterparts” have something big in the way of “living happily ever after.” It’s called “Buddy Love.” And it includes most types of love stories, including the classic “Forbidden Love” (Brokeback Mountain, Twilight, Moulin Rouge) or… Read More

Four Things House of Cards Can Teach Us About Writing, by Cris Freese

From I think the general consensus among those writers who teach the craft is that you must read—and read widely—about the craft of writing, particularly those authors who write in your genre. But I think there’s a lot you can learn about writing from other mediums, too. Specifically television. Every other Monday, I’ll be bringing you takeaways from some of the best television shows out there. These are meant to be specific… Read More

The Redemptive Arc, by David Corbett

From: December 8, 2015 It’s the holiday season, which means it’s time to talk about my three favorite elves: Shame, Guilt, and Ho-Ho-Hope. Those of you who follow this blog daily probably have gathered already that I’m going to follow up on two recent thought-provoking posts, one by Tom Bentley (“Shatter Your Characters”) on using shame and guilt to deepen characterization, the other by Donald Maass (“The Current”) on the implicit… Read More

Killing Your Character(s)

We’ve all heard the advice as authors to “kill your darlings” but in her article, “How to Successfully Kill a Character: The Checklist,” K.M. Weiland shares her thoughts on when it’s a good idea to kill them, and when not. Check it out!

The Internal Conflict Formula That Generates Plot Points and Strengthens Theme, by Lynn Johnston

From:; March 10, 2015. Internal conflict is what happens when a character wants two things that are mutually exclusive.  Sometimes the conflict will be something big:  perhaps your heroine is in love with George but also lusts after Fred, and she’s unable to choose which man she wants to be with. Or maybe she’s a homicide detective, and she wants to build a case on the evidence, but she also wants to… Read More