Many writers eschew compelling characters in favor of mannequin tropes that serve as props for preexisting social messages, or characters a reader can “relate to.” Here’s why it’s always bad writing.
Stories start from a default position of cliché: readers go into stories with expectations, and if too many are fulfilled the spell is broken. So, how do writers engage when the odds are against them?
Every story possesses the "horizontal" movement from plot point to plot point and finally to resolution, as well as the "vertical" development of character, theme, and emotional resonance. Discover Chuck's approach to building a story in layers.
How can you replace tired third-person pronouns with proper names without monotonous repetition? In this essay, Chuck challenges you to develop a whole range of names for each character and object in your fiction.
Chuck exposes one of the more subtle and influential forms of the Buried Gun... the Lie. Have your character lie or make a false promise early, then the backfire can propel a climactic resolution.
Here, Chuck presents the rough draft of Act One in his short story "Fetch," complete with notes and commentary. See his process in action as he begins to apply all the techniques and strategies of previous essays.
In Act Three, Chuck demonstrates the importance of keeping established elements present to the story as it moves forward. He also brings in the "Buried Gun" and reveals strategies for building tension and maintaining character arc.