By Peter Derk
Does your work have a worthwhile story underneath the experiment? In other words, are you going to pay off the work a reader does to understand what’s going on?
To celebrate the publication of The Fellowship of the Ring on July 29, 1954, we’re looking at how Tolkien used an enduring story structure to create an enduring trilogy.
By Joshua Isard
Make Freytag's Pyramid work for you, not the other way around.
Writers of prose would do well to follow the methods of screenwriters to help immerse readers in their story.
How do you know if your horror project is a story, novella, or novel? Some quick tips.
The Game of Thrones pilot, "Winter is Coming," packs a sprawling, fantasy epic into a tight sixty-one minutes featuring distinct and interesting settings and characters.
Make sure you're not being difficult and vague when trying to write unique stories. Here are some tips.
Using football metaphors, I compare how being a successful QB is similar to being a good writer.
How effective is the first act of Terrence Malick's debut feature on the page?
Is there a linguistic elegance to code? Is it only ever for issuing commands, or can it be for the enjoyment of the programmer?
By Peter Derk
In: Character, documentary, Legal, Making A Murderer, Netflix, Plot, Steve Avery, Structure, Television, True Crime
'Making A Murderer' was a fascinating story, but good storytelling made it truly excellent.
In: Brokeback Mountain, Chuck Palahniuk, Cormac McCarthy, Elena Ferrante, Jy Yang, List, Sex, Sex Scenes, Structure
Unearned sex scenes are hard to swallow. Here are five writers that get to the guts of what's at stake when we get naked.
No writer stalked the inherent tensions in fiction with more guts and style than Ray Bradbury. Here are five lessons in conflict from the master of wonder.
It's no secret that agents, editors, and their assistants are looking for any reason to reject a manuscript in the first few pages. But what does it really take to get readers hooked?
Ten tips for the best ways to fool your readers.
Why Scrivener? What can it do for your writing? Go beyond the "click here" tutorials and consider how this software can improve your work habits and the quality of your content.
In: Hermeticism, List, literary movements, Martian poetry, Poetry, Romanticism, Spiralism, Structure
From to Spiralism to Martian poetry, not every idea finds a solid foothold in history or a wide audience.
By writing out of sequence, you no longer have to force yourself to write the boring bits. You are always writing the fun chapters. The scenes that remind you why you’re a writer in the first place.
Got your three acts, your hero's journey and your turning points sorted? Good. But, what's holding them all together? Take your screenplay to the next level by addressing the emotional spine.
Tips and information about how to put together an anthology of short stories.
We can learn some valuable lessons about plotting, characters, and expectations from watching (or reading) 'Game of Thrones.'
In: Character, Craft, Dialogue, Jeff VanderMeer, Plot, Stephen King, Storyville, Structure, Theme, Voice
Three essential books on writing by Stephen King, Donald Maas and Jeff VanderMeer.
In: Character, Joyce Carol Oates, Literary Devices, Plot, POV, Research, Setting, Short Stories, Storyville, Structure
One of the most talked about, published and taught stories, I dissect "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" by Joyce Carol Oates.
Here are 15 unconventional methods of telling a story. Why not stretch yourself?