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Monthly Archives: June 2010

On Story Structure: Guiding Your Readers to the End

Good storytelling, just like a good maze, has to have a path from start to end. You don’t have to make it obvious, but make sure readers can find a way through.

On Story Structure: What a Maze Can Teach You about Fixing Rough Drafts

When I was young I spent a year learning to draw mazes, and found a strong parallel to writing. It’s all about structure, decoration, and a clear path through.

On Story Structure: Ariadne’s Thread

I’ve tried my hand at drawing mazes, and it’s a tough gig. It takes skill (and a few clever tricks) to make challenging mazes without succumbing to the tedium.

What I Learned about Writing this Week…from Trusting My Brain

Don’t trust your brain – your brain’s not trustworthy. It’s got too much going on in it already. It’s trying to remember to pick your kids up from school or to balance your checkbook or to call your mother. You can’t expect it to remember brilliant flashes of creativity…

On Document Outlines: How to Use the Standard Outline Format

Write a strong blog post, essay, or book by perfecting your document structure. The easiest way to do that is with a formal outline. Here are the rules.

On Document Outlines: Visualizing Underlying Structure

Tweet Yesterday I told a terrifying story about someone who used the outline format as a vicious weapon. Even without experiencing that trauma, many of us find outlines intimidating (or, at best, tedious). When you learn how to use them, though — and if you only outline when you really need to — a good […]

On Document Outlines: My Great Debate

The value of a well-made outline is keeping you on topic. An outline isn’t just a summary, it’s a structure, a map of the relationships between ideas. That’s incredibly valuable when you’re trying to perfect a document, because it lets you see how each piece of it is connected to the document’s purpose (and by how far removed).

On Serial Fiction: How to Write a Serial Novel

Ready to try your hand at serial publication? I’ve got some tips on getting the most out of it, and some easy places to get started.

On Serial Fiction: A Brief History

Some of the great works of Western Literature were written as serial novels, and there are valuable lessons for any storyteller to gain from that style.

On Serial Fiction: Unkilling Athelstane

Writing serial fiction can teach you some important lessons about storytelling, like flexibility in your plot when unexpected events force you to make changes.