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3 Questions to Maintain Story Momentum When You’re Out of Ideas

3 Questions to Maintain Story Momentum When You’re Out of Ideas

The first time I set out to write a novel, I ground to a stop on the twenty-ninth page. A year later, I decided to toy with a different premise. That time, I reached sixty-two pages before I hit a blank I couldn’t push past. In both of these attempts, I wrestled with the same problem: I had a vision for the beginning and the ending, but I couldn’t figure out how to connect them. In fact, my plot refused to stretch beyond a few chapters.

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How to Spot and Remove 5 Flaws That Can Throw Readers Out of Your Story

How to Spot and Remove 5 Flaws That Can Throw Readers Out of Your Story

A few summers ago, I visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. Every little detail—the buildings, layout, animatronics, costumes, food, and music—whispered authenticity. As I explored, I got swept up in the magic and thrill of discovery. If I hadn’t known better, I would have believed that Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade actually existed, even if only on another plane that my muggle eyes couldn’t see. I wanted my surroundings to be real, so I embraced the playacting, which made the whole experience even more enjoyable.

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Can’t Finish Your Novel? The Problem May Be Your Midpoint

Can’t Finish Your Novel? The Problem May Be Your Midpoint

My son is a skilled storyteller. He has notebooks and online files bursting with magic and mystery. When he visits, I often sit like a child at his feet and beg him to read his latest chapter. He always indulges me, settling into his deep narrator voice. When he stops, I pry him for sneak peeks at what’s ahead because, like a soap opera, I long for the next part of the adventure.

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How to Fine-Tune Your Pacing to Craft Heart-Pounding Action Scenes

How to Fine-Tune Your Pacing to Craft Heart-Pounding Action Scenes

Action scenes strap readers in for a thrilling ride—or at least that’s what they’re supposed to do. Every millisecond must be engaging and accurately portray what’s happening. If the action crawls, it loses its impact or, worse, readers’ interest. And if the action hits light speed, readers crave more details, similar to the dissatisfaction of eating a fun-size piece of chocolate instead of a whole candy bar.

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3 Ways You Can Use Mirroring to Craft a Resolution That Truly Resonates

3 Ways You Can Use Mirroring to Craft a Resolution That Truly Resonates

Meaningful stories leave you with memorable solutions to complex issues. A story shouldn’t stand behind a podium and spell out the lessons you’re supposed to learn from it. But it should tackle complicated questions and conclude after the characters have embraced (or, in some cases, rejected) the answers. That’s why resolution, the literary term for a story’s ending, contains the word solution.

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How Should Christian Authors Portray Bittersweet Endings?

How Should Christian Authors Portray Bittersweet Endings?

All of us are experts at sad stories. We’ve read novels that schooled us in death scenes, betrayals, fractured relationships, and harrowing pasts. These examples taught us that tormenting the protagonist is easy: just thwart his deepest longings. Then we can type “the end” and congratulate ourselves for accurately reflecting our fallen world. But the real sad story is how untrained we are in the art of weaving meaning into tragedy.

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How to Showcase Light in a Story’s Darkest Moment

How to Showcase Light in a Story’s Darkest Moment

A non-writer friend once told me that I seem to enjoy making my characters suffer. I disagree. Sure, portraying pain can be an exciting challenge, but I don’t relish putting my characters through trials. If their hearts are breaking, so is mine. Despite this, I realize that characters, like people, grow through adversity, and oftentimes they experience the greatest change when their circumstances can’t get any worse. In storytelling terminology, this hopeless moment is known as the low point, and it happens shortly before the climax.

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5 Reasons You May Want to Write Your Novel as a Short Story First

5 Reasons You May Want to Write Your Novel as a Short Story First

“The first draft of a novel is supposed to be terrible.” We’ve all heard that charming advice, and it’s usually true. But why do many first drafts fail? Because writers lose steam halfway through. I can’t tell you how many manuscripts I’ve abandoned after hitting a rough patch somewhere between the midpoint and the final act. Only a handful of my novels have ever reached “the end,” and the most structurally sound one came from a short story.

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A Simple Strategy for Fixing Any Clichéd Trope

A Simple Strategy for Fixing Any Clichéd Trope

Despite a writer’s best efforts to be original, familiar plot and scene devices often sneak in. But you’re not a bad writer just because your manuscript contains clichés. Writers with less experience or narrower reading lists are more prone to gravitate to common tropes—not because they lack talent, but because the situations, characters, and settings are new to them. If you’re struggling with this issue, don’t be discouraged. Your storytelling senses are not broken.

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