Capturing the Art of Storytelling: Techniques & Tips

the art of storytelling

It is hard to describe the art of storytelling, but you know good storytelling it when you read it. You read a passage of prose and it raises your arm hairs, makes your blood tingle, gets your heart racing; suddenly you’re swept up in the experience of beautiful writing. Indeed, writers seem to possess a…

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Word Play: Examples of a Play on Words

wordplay definition

It goes without saying that writers are drawn to language, but because we love words so much, the English language is filled with word play. By interrogating the complexities of language—homophones, homographs, words with multiple meanings, sentence structures, etc.—writers can explore new possibilities in their work through a play on words. It’s easiest to employ…

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How to Come Up With Story Ideas

How to Come Up With Story Ideas

How do writers develop good story ideas? Sometimes, coming up with a story idea is the hardest part about writing fiction. Figuring out what to write about can be frustrating, as the desire to create meets the uncertainty surrounding where to begin. Writers are often taught how to write their stories, but not how to…

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Inciting Incident Definition: The “Why” of Fiction

inciting incident definition

“The inciting incident is how you get [your characters] to do something…. It’s the doorway through which they can’t return, you know. The story takes care of the rest.” —Donald Miller The inciting incident in a story plays a central role in that story’s structure. It provides the “push” that gets the story rolling—it sets…

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Symbolism in Literature: What Symbolism Is, and How to Use It In Your Writing

symbolism in writing

Symbolism describes the use of concrete images to convey abstract ideas. Because this literary device is widely open to interpretation, and because many readers form different relationships to concrete objects, this is one of the more slippery elements of literature to both understand and convey to an audience. Nonetheless, understanding symbolism, and knowing what is…

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NaNoWriMo Tips: Preparing for National Novel Writing Month

NaNoWriMo tips for national novel writing month

National Novel Writing Month begins in November, and if you’re planning on organizing your own novel writing intensive, you’ve got some NaNoWriMo prep to do. Novelists of all fiction genres use NaNoWriMo to bring a novel from idea to finished book, and if you’re itching to blitz through your first draft, November is the month…

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Revising and Editing for Creative Writers

the difference between revising and editing

Want to learn more about revising and editing? Check out our self-paced class The Successful Novel, which gives you the tools to write, revise, and publish the novel waiting to be written inside you.  Although the terms revising and editing are often used interchangeably, stylish writers know the difference between revising and editing. When it’s time…

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How to Write a Novel

how to write a novel

The novel form is a large, unwieldy, towering project, and if you find yourself wondering how to write a novel, you might already be daunted by the project’s size and complexity. Good. How you’re feeling is how every great novelist has ever felt before approaching the blank page; you have already put yourself in the…

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What is Theme? A Look at 20 Common Themes in Literature

common themes in literature

When someone asks you “What is this book about?”, there are a few ways you can answer. There’s “plot,” which refers to the literal events in the book, and there’s “character,” which refers to the people in the book and the struggles they overcome. Finally, there are themes in literature that correspond with the work’s…

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Flat Character vs. Round Character: Definitions and Examples

flat vs rounded character

Every fictional person that populates books, movies, and plays falls into one of two categories: flat characters and round characters. Flat and round characters each fill important roles in works of fiction, and while this isn’t the only way to categorize fictional characters, it’s a useful distinction to help guide your own character writing. What…

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