Reaching Resolution Revisited

To end our story we have to have some form of resolution. We’ve already discussed the different sorts of endings and how we can anything from complete closure to an ambiguous end or a cliff-hanger but we’ve still got to bring all these pesky plot threads together. If you struggle with this don’t worry, a […]

Getting From A to Oh Revisited

No plot would be complete without stumbling blocks. If stories didn’t have ‘oh’ moments they’d be a lot shorter and less satisfying. Readers like to see the characters struggle through challenges because it amplifies the achievement of winning, though it can be tempting to make things easier for them. These stumbling blocks are either built […]

Subbing Your Story Revisited

Most stories have at least one subplot that runs alongside the main plot. Some of these run the full length of the story, some are short little side routes. For example, in the Sherlock Holmes stories the main plot  is the case and the secondary plot is Holmes and Watson’s friendship and runs concurrent to […]

Where’s Your Tools? Revisited

So our main character has a problem, what are we going to do about it? Do they need some characters to help them? Do they need to get some tech or something to help them? Are they going to have to get somewhere to solve this problem? How? Each of these things that move a […]

What’s Your Problem? Revisited

At its most basic plot is the presentation of a problem that needs to be solved: the detective needs to catch the criminal, the lovers need to come together, the world needs to be saved. So when we’re beginning to plot a story we need to think, ‘What is the problem?’ then ‘How are we […]

The Damsel-in-Distress

The most obvious example of the plot puppet is the damsel-in-distress. They are usually a woman who exists for the hero to rescue and often to fall in love with him. This doesn’t mean we can’t have a woman who is rescued by and falls in love with the hero, but the damsel-in-distress is often […]

Breaking Away From Character

As well as turning the characters into plot puppets there’s a risk of turning them into puppets to make a point. One of the main risks of this is putting a point in the mouth of a character who would never make that point. This is risky because we build these characters up and readers […]

Everything Happens For a Reason

We’ve established that characters need to have a logical reason for their actions beyond the necessity of the plot but we still need to have a plot. Whatever kind of story we write it’s a combination of character and plot, sometimes the characters drive the plot and sometimes the plot drives the characters. Characters might […]

Falling Prey to the Plot Puppet

Our story has a plot, even if we keep it simple such as two people meeting and falling in love. Problems arise when out characters conspicuously do things purely for plot purposes rather than for ones that fit the characters. The most obvious one is the damsel-in-distress whose only purpose in the story is to […]

A Note On Themes Revisited

When I published Repentance and The Mason’s Arms,  which were written together, I re-read them before I posted them and noticed reoccurring themes about guilt, grief and general regret. I never planned it as such but they still appeared. As far as I’m concerned themes should come from story, not story from themes (this isn’t a universal […]