9 Storytelling Blunders That Make You Look like an Amateur

image of Riker facepalming

Image from Dark Uncle

 

You may be a grammatical black belt, leaping big vocabulary words in a single bound. But take care: you could still be making elementary mistakes that’ll leave your readers cringing, eye-rolling, and yes, even face-palming.

How to Fix Your Sagging Plot

Does your story sag in the middle? Do you feel like you’re plowing through boring scenes just to get to the cool ones? Is your protagonist wandering around aimlessly, looking for the climax?

It’s not enough to have all the major events written down in a neat little list – what you need is structure.

Your plot is useless without this

Image by Francisco Osorio

Image by Francisco Osorio

A hundred strangers cling to one another as their runaway train thunders toward a dead end.

Across town, the only woman you’ve ever loved is strapped to a time bomb.

Save her, keep your heart from breaking. But a thousand other hearts get broken instead.

How to kill your hero

SPOILER ALERT: The following includes spoilers for City ofAngels(Sparks), Message in a Bottle (Sparks), A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens), The Brothers Bloom (movie), and Stranger Than Fiction (movie).



I’ve blogged about sadism, I’ve blogged about happy vs. sad endings, but this recent InMon piece from LoveTheBadGuy made me want to hit on a more specific topic:

How to write plot

“I have a great book idea, but I have no plot.”

I hear this pretty frequently. Most new writers seem to think that plot lines are supposed to spring into their heads fully formed. Then they feel deficient when they come up dry. But plotlines rarely appear out of the blue – and never fully formed. More often an idea is nothing but a world, a character, a single scene, or a mere image. We must take these fragments and grow them into stories.