The hero’s journey structure – what it offers you

One of the main reasons the hero’s journey works so well for writers is because it contains some of the key elements that will help you to create a story full of tension and reader engagement. On the outside, through action, the journey gives you these: A concrete goal the main character is aiming for, whether it’s saving the world, the princess or their own life An inciting incident – the call to adventure has to be so strong that even after a refusal, the main character MUST act and move … [Read more...]

The hero’s journey – introduction

Most writers at some point will have at least heard of the hero’s journey. Its genesis is through a famous mythology scholar, Joseph Campbell, who wrote The Hero With a Thousand Faces, and the structure was morphed into the basic structure for all of the Star Wars movies. George Lucas (the Star Wars man himself) was a protégé of Campbell’s, and there is even a documentary where they discuss how Lucas turned the hero’s journey into his recurring story and character arcs. However, the structure … [Read more...]

How Structure Will Save Your Story

Recently I’ve been teaching story structure again, and reminding myself about all the ways structure works in a story. There is a lot of talk about plotting – how to plot, how to outline, how to talk to your plot, how to pattern it like this or that. But I think if you don’t “get” structure, you won’t achieve strong plots. What’s the difference? To me, structure is the underpinning. Like when you build a house, you start with a concrete slab or foundations, and you build a frame and roof … [Read more...]

Structure in fiction: saggy middles

I'm currently reading a novel that seems endless. There appears to be plenty of action, but ... it's all pretty much the same kind of action and despite quite pacy writing, I feel as though the story is going nowhere. It's a 400 page novel and at page 350, I should be anticipating a lot of things - deeper complications in the plot, growth and change in the main character, an increasing escalation towards the climax. I'm not. Which got me thinking - what is the problem here? I think it's a … [Read more...]

Should You Have a Writer’s Blog?

These days, 97% of writers have websites. We are told we MUST have a website! Even before we have anything published. And we should be on Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter. And we should have a blog. It's little wonder some writers are asking - when am I supposed to actually write? I know of a few writers who do a fantastic job of providing content for others, such as interviews with editors and agents, massive ebooks on how to write better, and marketing information. They write as well, and see … [Read more...]

The Most Important Tool – Language

If you’re serious about writing, sooner or later you will start asking the big question – will I get published? There might be many answers to this, but the very first answer is: how well are you using language? Why is this the first answer? Because if you don’t understand how language works, how to create a well-constructed sentence, how to use correct verb tenses, where to put commas and fullstops ... you can’t revise effectively. A writer who wants to be published must be a master of … [Read more...]

Day #31, Writing Challenge

31 days of writing prompts! You may not have written every day, but hopefully you've stored these away for future use. I know some people (who were receiving them by subscribing) had bought a special notebook and were keeping up, while others were keeping them handy for the next time they wrote. Here are today's writing exercises - of course, they are about endings!   Fiction:  Write a paragraph that might be the ending for a story. Then write the story that comes before … [Read more...]

Day #30, Writing Challenge

Language is the most vital tool for writers, and we use it for everything. Sound obvious? When was the last time you thought about mood and contrast? And how you could use them in your writing?   Fiction: Write a mood piece. Choose from the following: autumnal, oppressive, hopeful, terrified, impulsive (or one of your own). Search for all the different words you might use to create this mood, and have your character do something simple, such as go for a walk or cook dinner, and convey … [Read more...]

Day #29, Writing Challenge

Put your character under pressure - or yourself - in today's writing prompts.   Fiction:  Write a piece about a character who is in a place where the sun never goes down (it is always daylight) or conversely where it is dark 24 hours a day. How will it affect them? Make your character react badly to several weeks of living in this world. In other words, put them under pressure with something they have no control over!   Poetry: Write a poem that is all one sentence with no … [Read more...]

Day #28, Writing Challenge

Just four more days to go - keep writing! And think today about fighting.   Fiction:  Write a scene in which several people are waiting in a queue and a fight breaks out. Who is in the queue? What is it for? Why are they fighting?   Poetry:  Write a love poem in which each line begins “I hate you because ...” … [Read more...]