Craft

Taboos and world creation

I’ve been talking about world-building in the last several issues of this e-zine. World-building is a big topic, and I’ve now discussed social networks,  people groups, and the economy of your story world. This month, I’ll talk about taboos. In a sense, taboos are the opposite of values. I define values by the following template statement: …

Whats your inciting incident?

A novel is not just some random collection of events. A novel is a story. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and they’re connected. There’s a direction to the story. The beginning is about the lead character’s pursuit of a certain ending. The middle is about all the complications that come from pursuing that …

Your series needs a map

Readers like a series, so it’s good marketing sense to write your novels in a series. But that raises a question. How do you map out a series of novels? Mapping out one novel is hard enough that many novelists choose not to do it. They write their novels without a plan, and then work extra hard on …

Everything is motivation

Practically everything in fiction eventually comes down to your characters’ motivations. The lead character in your story wants something, One Thing. It’s tempting to say that the strength of your story is directly proportional to how much your lead character wants that One Thing. But that’s false. It’s so far from being true, it’s not even wrong. Let …

How to end a scene.

The fundamental unit of fiction is the scene. Every scene is a miniature story. Every scene has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Right now we’re focusing on the end of your scene. You have one overriding goal at the end of each scene. That goal is to get the reader to turn the page and read the …