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How to Maximize the Power of Cause and Effect in Your Stories

How to Maximize the Power of Cause and Effect in Your Stories

Ever had days when life feels like a broken-down Rube Goldberg machine? Cobbled together from bits of cast-off junk, limping along, and missing the connections that bring a satisfying result? If you have, you share something with the bulk of humanity. Most of us feel that way at some point.

A person’s life consists of an enormous jumbled mass of cause and effect events, on a scale so huge that connections are rarely obvious or traceable. By contrast, a character’s story is a relevant subset of such events in which the causal relationships are evident. Sometimes overt, and sometimes subtle, but always present if you want to create a story that resonates with readers.

How to Write a Screenplay: The 5 Step Process

How to Write a Screenplay: The 5 Step Process

Have you ever fantasized about writing a Hollywood movie? Or maybe, with a bit of luck, create the next Lost.

In a visual age, with the decline of traditional publishing, some look to writing screenplays as a way to create the “literature of the future.”

But what is the process to write a screenplay? How do you even begin? And how is it different or similar to writing a novel? In this post we’re going to look at the five step process professional screenwriters use.

Story Arcs: Definitions and Examples of the 6 Shapes of Stories

Story Arcs: Definitions and Examples of the 6 Shapes of Stories

In stories, we get to see the cause-and-effect connections between otherwise random events. We get to experience the deeper meaning in life. We get to see through the chaos of real life and see the underlying pattern.

The literary term for this pattern is story arc, and humans love story arcs.

In this article, we’re going to talk about the definition of story arcs, look at the six most commonly found story arcs in literature, talk about how to use them in your writing, and, finally, study which story arcs are the most successful.

5 Reasons You Should Aim for 100 Literary Rejection Letters in 2021

5 Reasons You Should Aim for 100 Literary Rejection Letters in 2021

It’s goal-setting season again! Have you set your writing goals for 2021 yet?

Love them or hate them, the idea of setting goals permeates the entire month of January. And most of those goals are “positive.” From physical appearance to self-care to organizing your pantry, it’s all about improving one’s life.

And most of those goals end up in the dumpster before the month’s end.

I have a new approach for you: Set a goal for getting (and overcoming) one hundred literary rejection letters in 2021.

Read on for my very sound reasoning on the subject.

New Year Writing Prompts: Write a Series of New Year’s Resolution Disasters

New Year Writing Prompts: Write a Series of New Year’s Resolution Disasters

Have you ever seen the New Years Resolution episode from Friends? You know the one where Ross wears leather pants, Joey tries to learn how to play guitar, and Rachel tries to gossip less?

If you’re a Friends fan, I’d be shocked if you didn’t know the episode I’m talking about. Rolling Stone even suggested this episode really should be called “‘The One With Ross’ Leather Pants’ because no one else’s 1999 New Year’s resolution produces results as memorable — or disastrous.”

But even though Ross’s leather pants fiasco is what makes the episode, it’s not the only resolution that wins some laughs. Today, let’s focus on brainstorming some New Year writing prompts to kickstart your writing year with some humor.

Writing Goals: How to Set Meaningful Goals for 2021 That You Can Manage and Achieve

Writing Goals: How to Set Meaningful Goals for 2021 That You Can Manage and Achieve

If you’re reading this, you have goals. Maybe you have fitness goals or goals for your family. Maybe you even have writing goals.

But how do you write goals that actually work, that actually help you accomplish the things that you set out to do?

In this post, I’ll share my comprehensive goal writing process, the same process that has helped me finish twelve books, publish over 2,000 blog posts, and reach over twenty million people with my writing over the last eight years.

How to Start a Story: 10 Ways to Get Your Story Off to a Great Start

How to Start a Story: 10 Ways to Get Your Story Off to a Great Start

Perhaps you’ve heard the old publishing proverb: The first page sells the book; the last page sells the next book. I’m convinced there’s a mammoth grain of truth in that. The beginning and the end of any story are critical elements that you really want to nail.

Today, we’re going to focus on how to start a story—in other words, how you can craft a spectacular beginning that will hold readers spellbound and get them to turn that first all-important page.

6 Thoughtful Ways to Gift Your Writing

6 Thoughtful Ways to Gift Your Writing

I love the Christmas season. I love decorating the tree and baking cookies with my daughter. I love wrapping presents and hiding them from prying eyes.

But with every passing holiday season, I find myself loving something less and less each year: Rampant consumerism, and the impossible expectations that come with it.

What if this year, you give something different? What if you gift writing instead of things?

The Secret for Creating Characters That Readers Want to Root For

The Secret for Creating Characters That Readers Want to Root For

“Strong” is a word we often hear when describing good characters. But how do you create a strong character for your story? What makes the difference between a character your readers root for and one they forget?

Strong can mean many things. It might mean they’re intelligent like Hermione, resilient like Katniss, have exceptional physical strength like Hercules, or are cunning like Sherlock Holmes. And while all of these characters have different strengths, they all successfully encourage readers to get behind them and their pursuit of their endeavors. 

Creating characters that readers view as strong is not an easy task. Here is one quick writing tip to help you write them. 

Point of View in 2021: Third Person Omniscient vs. Third Person Limited vs. First Person

Point of View in 2021: Third Person Omniscient vs. Third Person Limited vs. First Person

As an editor, point of view problems are among the top mistakes I see inexperienced writers make, and they instantly erode credibility and reader trust.

However, point of view is simple to master if you use common sense.

This post will define point of view, go over each of the major POVs, explain a few of the POV rules, and then point out the major pitfalls writers make when dealing with that point of view.

How to Write Books With Multiple Perspectives

How to Write Books With Multiple Perspectives

Writing from one person’s perspective is hard enough. Writing from multiple perspectives can seem downright impossible. But it can be done.

I wrote my last novel from three different perspectives. It was difficult. Sometimes it was stagnating creatively. But sometimes it was fun and kept me engaged in my own book when I wanted to give up.

So if you’re ready for the challenge, here’s how to write a book from multiple perspectives.

How to Find the Conflict in a Story

How to Find the Conflict in a Story

One of the greatest challenges of writing better stories is knowing exactly which scenes to write. The best scenes focus on the core elements of conflict — which means before you can write amazing scenes, you have to find the conflict in a story.

Strong scenes come from strong plans. And visualizing the conflict between your characters is a great way to do just that.

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