Feeling the Romance and Keeping it Real

There’s a standard formula for romantic stories. Boy meets girl. They fall in love but pretend they don’t even notice each other. Finally, they declare their love and live happily ever after. This may sound a little corny, but most romantic stories are much deeper. Still they rely on the standard formula. There’s a reason […]

Pulling Us Into Your World

The idea for this episode actually came from a question someone posed on a writer’s board. How do you write short descriptions that still give the full picture of the setting? This question of course was directed at writing literature. But the answer, the storytelling principle, carries into other media as well. Describing where your […]

3 Stupid (or Not So Stupid) Story Mistakes

It seems like so long ago that I was just learning about stories. I’d been writing non-fiction for many years, but when I tried to go into fiction, I quickly discovered that I didn’t know what I was doing. I could write the words, but I couldn’t weave the story. I churned out some pretty […]

The Telling of Tom Sawyer

Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is one of the most endearing pieces of classic literature. Of the many literary novels extant, this is one of the ones that we actually want to read. Why is that? And what do we have to do to make our stories as endearing as Mark Twain did?

How to Create Powerful, Sympathetic Characters

Creating sympathetic characters does not need to be mysterious. This week we’ll look a couple of unlikely sympathetic characters. And I’ll give you an easy, three-step technique you can use to build sympathy into your own characters.

The Investigation by Stanislaw Lem (Review)

The Investigation is a novel about strange occurences. Dead bodies start moving, by themselves. At first, it’s hardly noticeable. A corpse moves from its back over onto its front. Or it rolls off the table. People dismiss these occurences, when they notice them, as practical jokes. Then the bodies start getting up and walking, even […]

Internal and External Conflicts

Stories use two types of conflict: internal and external. Internal conflicts are resolved by something changing inside the character, whereas external conflicts are resolved in the world around outside the character. When these two work together, the result can be dazzling. And when they don’t, the result can be devastating.

Three Things to Make Your Audience Adore You

This is a list of opinions. My top three will be different from yours. But these three are important to me, and they are all things I sometimes see writers neglecting. Some of the points I’ll make are obvious. But obvious means overlooked, so I’ll mention them anyhow.

IFComp 2005

This week, we enter the world of interactive fiction, and the possibilities it presents, by way of IFComp 2005. In this episode, we look at two of the top 4 winning entries.

The Alchera Project

This week, we’ll look at a few entries from Alchera Project #39, from November 2005.