How much uncertainty is too much?

Sometimes writers leave open gaps, unexplained scenes, uncertainty, in order to keep people tuned in. But this tactic won’t get you far, and taken to the extreme, it will make the tension feel contrived and may even make the audience feel cheated. How much uncertainty is too much?

How to Spin a Yarn: Conflict, Resolution, and Story Arc

Conflict is what drives the story arc. It’s what keeps the audience on the edge of its seat. And it’s a fundamental aspect of story structure. If you want to see how a story arc works, just look at just about any novel or movie or story game. Let’s look at Disney’s Snow White.

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 […]

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.

How to Build Up Complexity with Layers of Story

Shallower story arcs introduce or build up elements in deeper story arcs.