Chaos is what sends the storyline or the characters’ lives and plans into a tale spin in your manuscript. It disrupts things. But that gives us the points we climb towards and those we fall from, doesn’t it? Just when everything seems to be going well, BOOM! The best chaotic twist is one that the reader doesn’t see coming. I think that’s what I love about Brent Weeks’ work – he constantly finds ways to impress me with a twist that dropped on me like a piece of space junk falling from the sky. It’s also why readers (and viewers) have not seen the death of a major character coming until they are pushing up daisies in George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series (aka HBO’s Game of Thrones)


What sort of story are you writing? Does it involve action, adventure, danger? Does it evolve around everyday life and the more mundane but still important elements that readers experience in their own lives? Does it require research, as a historical, a time travel, or a paranormal tale would? Does it need a complete world or society built as science fiction and fantasy require? Even a community/town/city/country that really exists in a non-fantasy or futuristic story needs some boundaries or quirks or specifics that influence or guide or thwart your characters. Very simply, jot down the basics here because it will come into play with what we’re centering on first – and that’s the characters


What kind of a story would it be if the characters weren’t moving around though? One about statues that didn’t benefit from living in a DR WHO world, that’s what! Pretty dull. So let’s get these people moving around. Let’s add another dimension to the description of your characters. CHARACTER TELLS In the event you’ve never hear of “tells” before, they seem to go part and parcel with holding a hand of cards. In poker, a careful observer will be able to match the unconscious, seemingly casual movements of a player with the sort of hand they are holding. These could be rearranging the cards in their hand, scratching their nose, etc. If tells are worked out ahead of time between two players, ei

A Few More Than 3 Acts

SCRIPTWRITERS RULES One of the plot planning tools trumpeted about in the writing community is “The Three Act Play”. You’ve probably heard of it. The idea is that the storyline is broken down into three acts. Act One is where the story opens with a “hook”. The main characters are introduced. Act Two is practically the rest of the story. It starts with the problem, the goal to be accomplished stated in some way. Find the murderer, for instance, which in and of itself contains the necessary complication, the thing that will make this not an easy goal to accomplish. All players must stay involved, be in the action. Act Two closes with everything going wrong for the hero or heroine. Act Three is

Move Your Story Along By the Numbers

By The Numbers Scientists claim Math is the universal language. Physicists use math to explain the mysteries of the universe. Chemists distill medications based on measurements. Manufacturers and retailers use math to figure proportions, amounts to order, and prices to charge. Math makes the world go around – figuratively if not literally, thanks to some formula. It shouldn’t be a surprise then that Math can help when it comes to plotting a story. If you took several fictional tales and deconstructed them with math in mind, chances are the results would show that there are percentage guideposts along the way. Rather than force you to sort out what they are, I did the work for you. Well, for

Keep Your NANO Story Moving Forward

Action/Reaction Action followed by Reaction – that’s the most basic guideline to keep your story moving forward. Fiction is telling a story about something that never happened, but you can use “real life” as a reference in some things. Your characters will have “normal” things to do that are probably disrupted by the events that create a story. Telling that story – any story – is a sequence of ACTION followed by REACTION (for reaction is an action in itself, which will require the next reAction). This continues to the end of the story where the final reaction doesn’t require any further action related to this particular story (though it could lead to another story in another manuscript yet t