Crafting a Homemade Religion

It’s nighttime. The bats are fluttering, the animals are awake, and all the humans are in bed. At least, MOSTLY all. There’s a small sect of people, meeting in the barn to concoct a ritual sacrifice of, say, somebody’s runaway dog. This ritual is being made to please the ancient god Hio’Kranz, who is responsibleContinue reading “Crafting a Homemade Religion”

Beginnings and Endings

As you probably know, both the beginning AND end of a story can make or break the whole work. Whoever famously said “First impressions are everything” should have added: “But last impressions are everything else.” Just as frustratingly, the two can be much easier to get wrong than to get right. However, we learn fromContinue reading “Beginnings and Endings”

Today’s Readers are Tomorrow’s Writers

In Corey Latta’s C.S. Lewis and the Art of Writing, he quotes Lewis on how his life as a reader influenced his life as a writer: “I am a product of long corridors, empty sunlit rooms, upstairs indoor silences, attics explored in solitude, distant noises of gurgling cisterns and pipes, and the noise of windContinue reading “Today’s Readers are Tomorrow’s Writers”

Deus Ex Machina: The Writer’s Bane

Ah, we’ve all been there. There just wasn’t a good reason why this character did this, or that character did what he did. So you just tie off that story with a cheap twist or unexplained event. You’re not happy with it, and neither are your readers. Maybe you can’t find a way to resolveContinue reading “Deus Ex Machina: The Writer’s Bane”

To Cliché or not to Cliché?

That’s the question. The word “cliché” has many meanings. It can mean “an old idiom” or “a phrase that shows a lack of original thought”, and a cliché in literary terms is not behind any of that. The phrase “curiosity killed the cat” is a cliché, but clichés as we know them (usually) carry aContinue reading “To Cliché or not to Cliché?”

The 5 Archetypes of an Award-Winning Story

You ever wonder what makes a great story a popular story? To movies and books such as Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Dune, Harry Potter, Narnia, and even celebrated video games like StarCraft, there are five simple themes that underlie the plot. These classic themes are found in many others, and they add tonsContinue reading “The 5 Archetypes of an Award-Winning Story”