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Category: Story Structure

Articles about how to structure your story.

What Your Character Wants Vs What Your Character Needs

Your Protagonist needs to be motivated throughout your story. They want something, they go after it, and your story follows that journey. However, what they want might not always be the thing they need. I’ll be exploring that and the impact it’ll have on your story.

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World Building

World Building is the technique of telling your readers what world your story is set in, whether the laws of nature match ours, whether there is magical lore they need to understand, and how the society functions. World Building is essential for most stories, other wise your readers won’t understand how your characters function throughout the story, but it can be done badly. I’ll write about how to World Build effectively, and mistakes to avoid.

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Writing A Conflict Lock

One of the key ingredients to a successful story is for your characters to be well motivated. Your Protagonist, your main character, wants something and is motivated enough to after it, and you write that journey. But the conflict lock is what turns it from some random events into a real story.

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How To Track Your Continuity

Your story “continuity” is making sure that from one scene to another, nothing changes about the people or the environment they’re in, that wasn’t intended to change and tracked by the writer. In film and TV errors, continuity errors can happen due to wardrobes changing suddenly, placement of props on the set, or weather, but I’ll be focusing specifically on the written word because as a writer the story continuity is your responsibility to control.

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What Is A Good Prose To Dialogue Ratio?

If your book is too dialogue heavy, it can read like a script. You don’t get to know the environment your characters are in, or connect with their interiority in a way that you can relate to their emotions. However, if your book is too prose heavy, it can make it hard to get to know the characters because so much of how we ground ourselves in our characters is in how they communicate with each other. So, it’s important to strike a good prose to dialogue ratio.

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Writing Info Dumps

Sometimes as part of your story, you’ll have information that needs to be delivered in order for the story to make sense. This could be rules of magical lore within your Universe, details of a quest your character goes on, world building about the environment they live in if you’re writing in high fantasy or sci fi, or politics of the time such as a war they’ve been engaged in or who is in charge. But, ultimately, either your audience, or both your character and your audience, need information to be delivered to them in order for you to tell your story.

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Writing A Cliffhanger To Start A Series

If you are planning a series of books or films, then you need to write the first one in a way that will encourage your audience to come back for the second installment, and excite them to read further adventures with those characters. One way of doing that is with a cliffhanger, so you leave part of your story untold and end it at a point of tension that the audience hopes to be resolved next time. However, there are negative consequences to that decision.

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