Archive | Writers Toolbox

The Hero’s Journey

All writers are storytellers. Today’s bestselling authors share this with the creators of the ancient myths of human kind. In fact, the best stories seem to incorporate the principles of myth in ways that are dramatic, entertaining, and true to the human experience. Joseph Campbell was perhaps the most prominent “mythologist” of our time. In his book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Campbell distilled the components of the myths of widely varied cultures from all over […]

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Creative Writing Classes — Beneficial or a Waste of Time?

When I was in high school, I was adamant that I would never take a creative writing class. The pointers we received in English classes always seemed pointless and inapplicable to my own writing—creative writing wasn’t something that could be easily passed on from student to teacher. The best writing teacher, I thought, would be reading as many books as possible. I still, to a large extent, think this. At the same time, I’m happily […]

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Backwards World-Building

I’m still making the slow and sometimes rather painful transition from a full-on pantser to an outliner. At heart, I  like to let stories come together on their own over time, unfolding as they will, but now that I have deadlines to meet, having an outline—even one I know I might deviate from—saves me a lot of stress. The changes aren’t just about the outline, though. I used to be on a very need-to-know basis […]

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How To Write A 1-Page Synopsis

One thing writers hate doing but will inevitably have to do (one day or another, at least) is the Dreaded Synopsis. An agent may request it in his/her submission materials, or an editor might want it once your agent has you out on subs. My film agent needed it for shopping around Something Strange & Deadly, and I would imagine other rights-agents would want a short, simple synopsis for the same reason. So in other […]

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Conditioning Forces – Or, your character doesn’t live in a vacuum!

In the 1951 play, Bedtime Story, by Sean O’Casey, the protagonist is faced with the goal of getting a prostitute out of his apartment before his roommate comes home. The character’s goals are founded on the fact that he is a devout Roman Catholic, feels terribly guilty, and doesn’t want his indiscretion to be discovered. Getting the prostitute out of the house without being detected becomes the main character’s all encompassing goal. The prospect of […]

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