Author: K. M. Weiland
Release Date: 2016-10-28
Powerful Character Arcs Create Powerful Stories Have you written a story with an exciting concept and interesting characters-but it just isn't grabbing the attention of readers or agents? It's time to look deeper into the story beats that create realistic and compelling character arcs. Internationally published, award-winning novelist K.M. Weiland shares her acclaimed method for achieving memorable and moving character arcs in every book you write. By applying the foundation of the Three-Act Story Structure and then delving even deeper into the psychology of realistic and dynamic human change, Weiland offers a beat-by-beat checklist of character arc guidelines that flexes to fit any type of story. This comprehensive book will teach you: How to determine which arc-positive, negative, or flat-is right for your character. Why you should NEVER pit plot against character. Instead, learn how to blend story structure and character development. How to recognize and avoid the worst pitfalls of writing novels without character arcs. How to hack the secret to using overarching character arcs to create amazing trilogies and series. And much more! Gaining an understanding of how to write character arcs is a game-changing moment in any author's pursuit of the craft. Bring your characters to unforgettable and realistic life-and take your stories from good to great!
Give your story its best start! The best beginnings possess a magical quality that grabs readers from the first word and never lets them go. But beginnings aren't just the door into a fictional world. They are the gateway to the realm of publishing--one that could shut as quickly as it opens. In The Writer's Guide to Beginnings, author and literary agent Paula Munier shows you how to craft flawless beginnings that impress agents, engage editors, and captivate readers. You'll learn how to develop the big idea of your story and introduce it on page one, structure opening scenes that encompass their own story arc, kickstart your writing with effective brainstorming techniques, and introduce a compelling cast of characters that drive the plot. You'll also examine the best-selling novels from different genres to learn the secrets that experienced writers use to dive straight into a story. With thorough examinations of voice, point of view, setting, dialogue and conflict, The Writer's Guide to Beginnings is a must-have tool for luring your readers in with your opening pages--and convincing them to stick around for the ride. "Writing a book? Hard. Writing the beginning of a book? Rocket science! Strap on your spacesuit, because thanks to Munier's nuanced, actionable breakdown of every possible aspect of a gripping opening, authors everywhere can now take their books to the stars." --K.M. Weiland
Author: Jennie Jarvis
Release Date: 2014-09-19
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines
Many writers believe once they have their basic plot points in place, their stories are destined to succeed. But many narratives fall flat between those plot points and lose their audience before the big finish. Engaging the audience and moving the story forward in every scene is the responsibility of the characters, not the plot. But while many books on the craft of writing state that characters need to be three dimensional and change, a beginning writer isn't always sure how to turn these rather abstract ideas into concrete craft on the page. Crafting the Character Arc offers a practical guide to character creation and development by expanding upon the concept of the character arc and creating a step-by-step guide for writers to ensure that their characters are dynamic and engaging. Using narrative examples from multiple platforms, including novels, films and games, this is the essential guide for helping writers create an active and well-defined character arc. Crafting The Character Arc is structured in three main parts. Part One covers the more traditional, basic approach to creating character, including personality traits, depth, secrets, goals versus emotional needs, active versus reactive protagonists, and dramatic functions. Part Two introduces the Major Dramatic Curve, a detailed pictorial representation of a character arc and its major elements: place of rest, inciting incident, rising action, crisis point, climax and falling action/resolution. Part Three offers practical applications of the Major Dramatic Curve. The writer is given guidance for using the curve to create a dynamic and engaging narrative work. Lastly, some variations in using the Major Dramatic Curve are explored and exceptions to the rules are addressed. Character Arcs are a critical part of every story making this guide applicable to multiple mediums: novels, short stories, films, TV, games, plays, and Web series.
Author: Jordan McCollum
Release Date: 2013-10-27
CHARACTER ARCS show the events of our story are worth reading about. In most works of fiction, the major characters don't just experience the events of the plot--the story changes them. They learn and grow, ultimately succeeding at the climax of the story because of all they've gained. Even the greatest plot in the world can ring flat if the character's internal journey isn't dramatic enough. For a character to truly resonate with readers, he should change and grow over the course of the story. CHARACTER ARCS will help you: Give your readers a powerful experience in any genre Discover your character's arc: their internal, emotional journey. Implement that character arc to make your readers root for your character. Keep your story moving by using external plot events to prompt your character's internal growth. Revise your character's arc for maximum impact. PLUS a special chapter on using character arcs in romances, family dramas & other relationship stories. Far from a write-by-numbers manual, this approach examines the basic mechanics of character change to show you how to apply these principles in your own work, with numerous examples. Add power and resonance to any story--master character arcs!
Author: Victoria Lynn Schmidt
Publisher: Writer's Digest Books
Release Date: 2005-07-12
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines
Build a Timeless, Original Story Using Hundreds of Classic Story Motifs! It's been said that there are no new ideas; but there are proven ideas that have worked again and again for all writers for hundreds of years. Story Structure Architect is your comprehensive reference to the classic recurring story structures used by every great author throughout the ages. You'll find master models for characters, plots, and complication motifs, along with guidelines for combining them to create unique short stories, novels, scripts, or plays. You'll also learn how to: Build compelling stories that don't get bogged down in the middle Select character journeys and create conflicts Devise subplots and plan dramatic situations Develop the supporting characters you need to make your story work Especially featured are the standard dramatic situations inspire by Georges Polti's well-known 19th century work, The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations. But author Victoria Schmidt puts a 21st-century spin on these timeless classics and offers fifty-five situations to inspire your creativity and allow you even more writing freedom. Story Structure Architect will give you the mold and then help you break it. This browsable and interactive book offers everything you need to craft a complete, original, and satisfying story sure to keep readers hooked!
Engage Your Readers with Emotion While writers might disagree over showing versus telling or plotting versus pantsing, none would argue this: If you want to write strong fiction, you must make your readers feel. The reader's experience must be an emotional journey of its own, one as involving as your characters' struggles, discoveries, and triumphs are for you. That's where The Emotional Craft of Fiction comes in. Veteran literary agent and expert fiction instructor Donald Maass shows you how to use story to provoke a visceral and emotional experience in readers. Topics covered include: emotional modes of writing beyond showing versus telling your story's emotional world moral stakes connecting the inner and outer journeys plot as emotional opportunities invoking higher emotions, symbols, and emotional language cascading change story as emotional mirror positive spirit and magnanimous writing the hidden current that makes stories move Readers can simply read a novel...or they can experience it. The Emotional Craft of Fiction shows you how to make that happen.
Enthrall Your Readers! Suspense is one of the most powerful tools a writer has for captivating readers--but it isn't just for thrillers. From mainstream fiction to memoir, suspense creates the emotional tension that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. Mastering Suspense, Structure, & Plot is your hands-on guide to weaving suspense into your narrative. Award-winning author Jane K. Cleland teaches you how to navigate genre conventions, write for your audience, and build gripping tension to craft an irresistible page-turner. Inside, Cleland will show you how to: Implement thirteen no-fail techniques to construct an effective plot and structure for your story Use Cleland's Plotting Road Map to add elements of suspense like twists, reversals, and moments of danger Write subplots with purpose Improve your descriptions, character development, sentence structure, and more Packed with case studies, exercises, and dozens of examples from best-selling authors, Mastering Suspense, Structure, & Plot is the key to writing suspenseful, engaging stories that leave your readers wanting more. ------ "Indispensable! For newbie authors and veterans alike, this terrific how-to is your new go-to. Don't write your book without it--it's a treasure." --Hank Phillippi Ryan, Agatha, Anthony, Macavity and Mary Higgins Clark award-winning author
Author: Victoria Lynn Schmidt
Publisher: Writer's Digest Books
Release Date: 2012-07-30
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines
Develop compelling character arcs using the power of myth! In the best novels, characters undergo dramatic changes that keep readers turning pages. A Writer's Guide to Characterization shows you how to develop such meaningful character arcs in your own work--stories of transformation that will resonate with readers long after the story ends. In this comprehensive guide, author Victoria Lynn Schmidt examines cross-cultural archetypes to illustrate how they can make your work more powerful and compelling. Plus, you'll learn how to draw from Jungian psychology to add complexity and believability to your characters. Schmidt also provides: 40 lessons on character development (with examples from well-known films and novels) that you can apply to your own work Questionnaires and exercises to help you select male and female archetypes and adapt them to your story 15 classic animal archetypes (including the coyote, snake, tiger, and butterfly) you can use to build convincing character profiles With A Writer's Guide to Characterization, you'll have the information you need to infuse the development of your characters with drama and authenticity.
Do you struggle with show, don't tell? You don't have to. Award-winning author Janice Hardy (and founder of the popular writing site, Fiction University) takes you deep into one of the most frustrating aspects of writing--showing, and not telling. She'll help you understand what show, don't tell means, teach you how to spot told prose in your writing, and reveal why common advice on how to fix it doesn't always work. With in-depth analysis and easy-to-understand examples, Understanding Show, Don't Tell (And Really Getting It) looks at what affects told prose and when telling is the right thing to do. It also explores aspects of writing that aren't technically telling, but are connected to told prose and can make prose feel told, such as infodumps, description, and backstory. This book will help you: Understand when to tell and when to show Spot common red flag words often found in told prose Learn why one single rule doesn't apply to all books Determine how much telling is acceptable in your writing Fix stale or flat prose holding your writing back Understanding Show, Don't Tell (And Really Getting It) is more than just advice on what to do and what not to do-it's a down and dirty examination and analysis of how show, don't tell works, so you can adapt the "rules" to whatever style or genre you're writing. By the end of this book, you'll have a solid understanding of show, don't tell and the ability to use it without fear or frustration.
Author: Angela Ackerman
Publisher: Jadd Publishing
Release Date: 2013
Genre: Characters and characteristics in literature
"So how can writers figure out which flaws best fit their characters? Which negative traits will create personality clashes and conflict while making success difficult? Nothing adds complexity like character flaws. Inside the Negative Trait Thesaurus you'll find a vast collection of flaws to explore when building a character's personality, advice on building layered and memorable characters from the ground up, an in-depth look at backstory, emotional wounds, and how pain twists a character's view of himself, and his world, influencing behavior and decision making, a flaw-centric exploration of character arc, relationships, motivation, and basic needs, tips on how to best show a character's flaws to readers while avoiding common pitfalls, and downloadable tools to aid writers in character creation."--
You've just boarded a plane. You've loaded your phone with your favorite podcasts, but before you can pop in your earbuds, disaster strikes: The guy in the next seat starts telling you all about something crazy that happened to him--in great detail. This is the unwelcome storyteller, trying to convince a reluctant audience to care about his story. We all hate that guy, right? But when you tell a story (any kind of story: a novel, a memoir, a screenplay, a stage play, a comic, or even a cover letter), you become the unwelcome storyteller. So how can you write a story that audiences will embrace? The answer is simple: Remember what it feels like to be that jaded audience. Tell the story that would win you over, even if you didn't want to hear it. The Secrets of Story provides comprehensive, audience-focused strategies for becoming a master storyteller. Armed with the Ultimate Story Checklist, you can improve every aspect of your fiction writing with incisive questions like these: Concept: Is the one-sentence description of your story uniquely appealing? Character: Can your audience identify with your hero? Structure and Plot: Is your story ruled by human nature? Scene Work: Does each scene advance the plot and reveal character through emotional reactions? Dialogue: Is your characters' dialogue infused with distinct personality traits and speech patterns based on their lives and backgrounds? Tone: Are you subtly setting, resetting, and upsetting expectations? Theme: Are you using multiple ironies throughout the story to create meaning? To succeed in the world of fiction and film, you have to work on every aspect of your craft and satisfy your audience. Do both--and so much more--with The Secrets of Story. "Matt Bird is a certifiable writing-craft genius." --Cheryl Klein, Senior Editor at Arthur A. Levine Books "What makes this book valuable is how practical Bird is with his advice--every chapter is full of craft tricks and little insights that help take a moment from 'good enough' to 'great!' Consider his 'one-touch rule,' which can instantly add focus and shape to even the smallest scene. This book is full of real tools for real storytellers." --Jonathan Auxier, author of The Night Gardener "The Ultimate Story Checklist is the clearest road map I've seen for helping writers get to what makes a compelling story. I've been sharing Matthew's guide with writers for years." --Andrew Harwell, author of The Spider Ring "Matt Bird has cracked the code on how satisfying stories work. His insights will sharpen your plots, freshen your characters, and liberate your imagination. I always come away from reading Matt Bird feeling inspired and invigorated." --James Kennedy, author of The Order of Odd Fish "Bird's advice raises the bar and encourages 'writing greatness.' It's rare to find such clear and insightful tips about working at the most advanced end of the craft." --Elizabeth Fama, author of Monstrous Beauty "After I followed Matt Bird's writing advice, I received an offer of representation from an agent who called my manuscript 'masterfully structured.' It's a testament to how helpful Bird's advice has been--I've learned more from him than from any other book about writing, and certainly more than from taking any writing class." --Parker Peevyhouse, author of Where Futures End "Matt Bird's blog is possibly my favorite resource on storytelling, maybe even more than Robert McKee's Story. It's really insightful on story structure--detailed without being too rigid, and with a keen appreciation for both big blockbusters and smaller stories." --Emily Horner, author of A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend
Are you finally committed to writing that novel or screenplay, but have no idea how to get started? Or are you a published author, but know you need some plotting help to move your books and career up to that next level? You CAN write better books and scripts-by learning from the movies. Screenwriting is based on a simple (and powerful) structure that you already know from watching so many movies and television shows in your lifetime. And it's a structure that your reader or audience unconsciously expects, and is crucial for you to deliver. In this textbook of the internationally acclaimed SCREENWRITING TRICKS FOR AUTHORS workshop, award-winning author/screenwriter Alexandra Sokoloff will show you how to jump-start your plot and bring your characters and scenes vibrantly alive on the page by watching your favorite movies and learning from the storytelling tricks of great filmmakers: The High Concept Premise The Three-Act, Eight-Sequence Structure The Storyboard Grid The Index Card Method of Plotting The Setpiece Scene Techniques of film pacing and suspense, character arc and drive, visual storytelling, and building image systems. Based on the internationally acclaimed Screenwriting Tricks for Authors workshops and blog, this new print edition incorporates all the basic information from the first Screenwriting Tricks for Authors workbook and doubles the material, including ten full story breakdowns. The textbook-quality edition is 8 x 10 inches and lies open flat for easy highlighting and note-taking. For information on books, workshops, and free Story Structure extras, go to www.ScreenwritingTricks.com REVIEWS: "Alex Sokoloff's STEALING HOLLYWOOD is the owner's manual that belongs in every writer's toolkit. Alex dissects the elements of story-telling with clarity, wit and wisdom. Don't thank me-buy the damn book!" -Mary Kay Andrews, New York Times bestselling author of Ladies' Night and Summer Rental "I'd already written fifteen novels by the time I met Alex and discovered her unique approach to structuring fiction. She changed my entire writing process for the better. I couldn't live without my three-act storyboard! Alex is a gifted and generous teacher and author, and STEALING HOLLYWOOD is a must-have book for new and seasoned writers alike." -International bestselling author Diane Chamberlain "Sokoloff's advice is spot-on, and her teaching style is direct and effective. A must-have book for authors and screenwriters." -JA Konrath, bestselling author of A Newbie's Guide To Publishing "Whether you're an old pro or an apprehensive beginner, Alex Sokoloff offers a sensible nuts-and-bolts approach that puts you in control of your material." -Margaret Maron, Edgar(r), Agatha, Anthony & Macavity Award-winning author of the Deborah Knott mysteries "Sokoloff is a generous mentor with the gifted ability to address a storyteller's practical concerns while encouraging artistic integrity and every author's unique voice. Only three of my half dozen novels have been written with her unwitting guidance, but I can guarantee that with this book at my fingertips, all my future work-and my reading audience-will benefit from her advice. Recommended without reservation." -Vicki Pettersson, bestselling author of the Sign of the Zodiac seri
Take a Deep Dive into Plot and Scene and Improve Your Writing Whether you're planning your first novel or have already written a first draft, you need to master the concepts of plot and scene to truly realize your story's potential. Writing Deep Scenes teaches you how to write strong, layered, and engaging scenes--the secret to memorable, page-turning plots. It's filled with practical tools for building layers and nuance into your scenes, employing the right scene types at the right junctures, and developing a profound understanding of how plot and scene intertwine. Inside you'll learn: How scenes are comprised of three key layers: action, emotion, and theme. How to recognize each layer and weave them seamlessly into a scene. How to develop an intricate relationship between the action and emotion in every scene. How thematic imagery embedded in scenes increases a story's tension and contributes to the story's meaning. Using contemporary examples from a variety of genres, Writing Deep Scenes provides an effective method for plotting at the scene level. Use these techniques and enrich your fiction and memoirs with page-turning suspense and pathos, and explore new depths in every story you write.
Author: James Scott Bell
Release Date: 2016-11-08
Now, learn the master key for writing great short stories, and the strategies for using them to advance your writing career As most writers will tell you, the hardest fiction form to master is the short story. To be successful, a short story needs to have "emotional wallop," and in under 7,000 words. Not easy to do. In this book, #1 bestselling writing teacher James Scott Bell explains the essential ingredient for a successful short story, no matter the genre. He shows how any writer-whether planner or "pantser"-can use this key to unlock infinite story possibilities. And turn readers into fans. Which is part of the strategy for short story writing today. With the coming of the digital revolution in publishing, short fiction presents possibilities beyond a one-time sale to a literary journal. Writers can use stories to increase discoverability, grow as a writer, generate some side income, and get back in touch with the sheer joy of writing. This book uses examples from the best stories by undisputed masters of the craft, including Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Carver, John O'Hara, John Cheever, Stephen King and Irwin Shaw. In addition, five complete stories are included to show you the master key in action. Once you've been through this book, even once, you'll be well on your way to crafting short stories that readers love-which will build your fan base and boost your long-term writing career.