THE EGGSHELL HERO – How to build a story upon a dramatic character arc

All good stories must have a plot -- a sequence of events that is logical, inevitable, and relentlessly propells the story (and reader) forward. Mostly, the plot is external action. But sometimes—and literary writers will nod vigurously here—the plot is internal, and barely accompanied by grand outward action. Instead, it's made of incremental revelations, decisions, and reflections, all …

How to brainstorm your story idea into a working concept

Last time I shared my novel planning process with you, and promised I would look into the idea exploration part as well. We all have different ways to brainstorm and develop our creative ideas, and we use different tools to help us track our thinking (from Moleskin notebooks and napkins, to mind-mapping software  and spreadsheets). But at the core of …

The 3 Types of Character Arc – Change, Growth and Fall

The main reason I disagree with people who claim every story fits the hero's journey, is that it's not the only character arc out there, and it really doesn't fit every story. While I wasn't sure why exactly my story doesn't fit the description when I wrote the post on The Hero’s Journey – My Pros and Cons, my late yet intense …

Confessions of a converted structuralist, or How I realized the error of my ways

I always thought I was a plotter, an outliner, a planner. Not a pantser. Not someone who discovers her story while she writes it, but someone who plans ahead and always knows which way the story goes. The premeditated kind. I thought this because I had a scene-by-scene outline of the entire novel as I wrote the …