Articles about story planning

4 Important Ways to Get Ready for NaNoWriMo

by Kathy Edens Oct 03, 2018

4 Important Ways to Get Ready for NaNoWriMo

Are you ready for NaNoWriMo?

It’s the question most asked this time of year, right before National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) that takes over the month of November every year.

If this is your first time doing NaNoWriMo, don’t stress out too much about it. It’s a huge learning process where you’ll discover what’s most important for you to be able to produce content on a continual basis to move forward towards your end goal of 50,000 words in 30 days.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned over the years is that it’s not so much about the end result. What you have at the end of 30 days will in no shape or form be a novel ready to print. Depending on your genre, novels can be 80,000 words and up. Just understand: you won’t be finished with it on November 30th.

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What I Learned About Writing From My Film School Friends

by Justin Cox Sep 05, 2018

What I Learned About Writing From My Film School Friends

The filmmaking process is long and arduous. Yet each step helps shape and refine the film into a finished product. Here are the lessons all writers can glean from the world of filmmaking.

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How to Use the Three-Act Structure to Actually Finish Writing Your Novel

by Jessica Curry Aug 30, 2018

How to Use the Three-Act Structure to Actually Finish Writing Your Novel

The secret to the plotting success of countless famous stories lies in the three-act structure, which effectively breaks a story into a beginning, middle, and an end. But the three-act structure is so much more than that: it gives your writing a framework that directs you while still giving you ample room for creativity and new ideas. In this article, we examine how to use the three-act story structure.

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How to Create and Use a Character Bible for your Novel

by Zara Altair Aug 20, 2018

How to Create and Use a Character Bible for your Novel

Your character bible is the place you collect information about all the characters in your novel so you have easy access to details as you write. In this article, we examine how to create and use a character bible.

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Clues, Evidence, and Red Herrings: Lead Your Reader Down the Mystery Path

by Zara Altair Aug 20, 2018

Clues, Evidence, and Red Herrings: Lead Your Reader Down the Mystery Path

Discover the difference between clues, evidence and red herrings. Then, scatter them throughout your mystery novel to lead the detective and your reader down the discovery path to solving the puzzle. There's nothing like a good "who-dun-it!"

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Title Your Novel for Maximum Visibility

by Zara Altair Aug 09, 2018

Title Your Novel for Maximum Visibility

Wondering what to name your book? We discuss the steps to choosing a title for a novel, how to brainstorm titles, compare them to other titles in your genre, and test for feedback from readers.

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Is Your Novel Idea Worth a Book?

by Zara Altair Jul 17, 2018

Is Your Novel Idea Worth a Book?

Try these six story exercises to test your idea for a novel. Avoid wasting time on an idea that doesn’t work before making a commitment to an entire novel.

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Time Saving Tips for New Novelists

by Zara Altair Jun 01, 2018

Time Saving Tips for New Novelists

Are you a new writer? Discover why planning speeds up your writing time, and check out these steps for planning your novel.

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Fiction Archetypes that Sell Like Wildfire

by Jennifer Xue May 09, 2018

Fiction Archetypes that Sell Like Wildfire

Fiction writers don't start from scratch. They can utilize existing character and story archetypes, personality and emotional types, and the goals and the fears of each type. Combining them in a strong storyline is almost a guarantee for creating best-selling works.

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Writing a Mystery? How to Get Readers to Love Your Sleuth

by Zara Altair Apr 30, 2018

Writing a Mystery? How to Get Readers to Love Your Sleuth

How to create a sleuth readers will love. Check this strategy to build your mystery protagonist from concept to detail.

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Avoid Story Stagnation

by Dawn Field Apr 06, 2018

Avoid Story Stagnation

Have you ever read a story where you wished the author would just hurry up and get on with it? That phenomenon is called story stagnation. Here we examine how to avoid it.

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Inventing Characters: A Character is What He Does, His Motives, and His Past

by Kathy Edens Jan 02, 2018

Inventing Characters: A Character is What He Does, His Motives, and His Past

Characters in books give us insight into the human condition. We learn how people behave and what’s in human nature from our favorite characters in books and on the big screen.

Orson Scott Card says out of the multiple ways to get to know someone, the most powerful and the ones that make the strongest impression are:

  • What your character does
  • What his or her motives are
  • What they’ve done in the past

Let’s look at these and a few other ways of getting to know your characters.

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How Non-Chronological Writing Can Create Character Empathy

by Kathy Edens Dec 12, 2017

How Non-Chronological Writing Can Create Character Empathy

Shifting back and forth in time creates suspense. Your readers can unravel the past and understand the ramifications in the present a little at a time. It creates a tension that makes your books hard to put down.

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How Stieg Larsson Kept his Readers Turning Pages

by Kathy Edens Nov 28, 2017

How Stieg Larsson Kept his Readers Turning Pages

You need to crank up your story's tension and conflict in every chapter. Let's look at a few techniques to help sustain the drama you've created and keep pages turning at each chapter ending.

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What All Writers Need to Learn From the British Cycling Team

by Maya Saric Nov 01, 2017

What All Writers Need to Learn From the British Cycling Team

New manager, Sir David Brailsford, changed Team Sky's destiny in 2010. His "aggregation of marginal gains" strategy delivered outstanding results for them, and it can work for you too!

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How to Write an Elizabeth Bennet Better Than the Original

by Kathy Edens Oct 25, 2017

How to Write an Elizabeth Bennet Better Than the Original

What do we love so much about Elizabeth Bennet? She's strong, and she's feisty. Just because she's expected to act a certain way doesn't mean she'll bend her convictions and change her behavior. She's real, right?

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Why You Should Create Your Own Genre

by Kathy Edens Oct 09, 2017

Why You Should Create Your Own Genre

Are you trying to fit into a genre or sub-genre because it's popular right now? That's like trying to fit into a political party when your philosophy is somewhere in the middle. It's hard to find the right fit in either party, right?

Maybe it's time you created your own sub-genre or genre. Look at what Bridget Jones's Diary did for chick lit. And what The Hunger Games did for YA dystopian. And I'm still not sure how to categorize Jodi Picoult's novels. If you look up the genres of her books, you'll find "Genre: Fiction + Literature; Sub-Genre: Literary or Contemporary." Huh? Nonetheless, she's created her own space on the best seller list.

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How to Create a Nemesis Like The Joker

by Kathy Edens Oct 06, 2017

How to Create a Nemesis Like The Joker

Think of some of the great nemesis pairs in fiction: Harry Potter and Voldemort, Katniss Everdeen and President Snow, Professor Xavier and Magneto, Superman and Lex Luthor… But there's none better than Batman and The Joker.

The Joker is responsible for numerous tragedies in Batman's life like paralyzing Batgirl and murdering Robin. He's such a popular character that he's ranked 8th on the list of Greatest Comic Book Characters of All Time. One reason he's the perfect nemesis is The Joker is the complete and utter opposite of Batman: he's savage, violent, unpredictable, and will do anything because he has no respect for human life. As Michael Caine said in Dark Knight, The Joker "just wants to see the world burn."

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Writing App Reviews… Beemgee

by Kathy Edens Sep 27, 2017

Writing App Reviews… Beemgee

Everyone at ProWritingAid loves tech that helps us write better, faster, easier, etc. It's one reasons we get up every morning. When we stumbled across Beemgee and their amazing writing tool, we asked Kathy Edens to check it out for us.

Let's take a closer look at the Beemgee novel outlining and storytelling tool to see how it can help you develop compelling characters and an engaging plot.

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How to Write an Allegory Like George Orwell

by Kathy Edens Sep 18, 2017

How to Write an Allegory Like George Orwell

An allegory is a story that evokes two separate meanings. The first meaning is the story's surface, like characters and plot, the stuff that goes into every story. But at a much deeper level, an allegory has a symbolic, heavy meaning.

What allegories come to mind? Maybe The Lord of the Flies; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; Moby Dick; or Pilgrim's Progress?

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