Begin your story at the beginning – but when is that?

This decision could be the difference between readers turning the pages and shutting the cover:

Where in the timeline does the “once upon a time” fall?

Here’s a little guide to help you decide.

Beginning at the beginning

How to destroy an idea

Last week we discussed how words are tools that make complex ideas portable. And ideas are powerful. Ideas create change. Ideas founded the country I live in. Creating ideas can be dangerous. But destroying ideas can be even more so.

So how do you destroy an idea?

A Defense of Happy Endings

Let’s get down to it. What’s better: a happy ending or a sad one – and why?

First, let’s define “happy” and “sad” endings. It’s not as simple as whether or not the hero survives; Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Lewis’s The Last Battle both end with everyone dying, but one leaves you in despair and the other brings you incredible joy.

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.

Backpacks across the galaxy: how to personalize the epic

Epic-ness is all well and good, but without a personal touch, it can fall flat. We wouldn’t care whether or not Middle Earth fell to Sauron if we didn’t get to know Frodo and Sam along the way. It’s the little, everyday details that make us care; that show us the relevance of the big picture by connecting it to a close-up of the character(s).