The Right and Wrong Ways to Use Backstory

SPOILERS FOR THE NOVEL CITY OF MIRRORS BY JUSTIN CRONIN Recently, the final book in Justin Cronin’s post-apocalyptic horror series, The City of Mirrors, was released. I loved the first two installments, The Passage and The Twelve. For close to four years, I had eagerly anticipated the finale to a great story. I was mostly … Continue reading The Right and Wrong Ways to Use Backstory

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Game of Thrones Season 6 Premiere: Minor Characters Matter

As a reader of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books, it felt decidedly strange going into the Season 6 premiere of Game of Thrones. With the exception of some parts from A Feast of Crows, going forward the TV series is moving beyond events in the first five published books. … Continue reading Game of Thrones Season 6 Premiere: Minor Characters Matter

Why Writers Should Listen to the Hamilton Soundtrack

Hamilton, the hip-hop musical about one of our most fascinating Founding Fathers, has garnered a huge number of devoted fans. This is mainly due to the original cast album. If you can’t see the show (and most of us can’t, even many who live in the New York City area) you can listen to the … Continue reading Why Writers Should Listen to the Hamilton Soundtrack

Thoughts on Mythic Structure: Return with the Elixir

This is the 11th and final post in my series on mythic structure, or monomyth. 1. After being reborn and purified through a resurrection experience, our hero finally returns from the Extraordinary World. The journey has ended. The circle is complete. The hero has, in some sense, returned to the point where she started. 2. … Continue reading Thoughts on Mythic Structure: Return with the Elixir

Thoughts on Mythic Structure: Resurrection

This is Part 10 of my series on mythic structure, or monomyth. 1. This stage is the climax of your story. The Ordeal was the major crisis; now your hero is facing his final and most terrifying confrontation with death. 2. It is often a major set piece sequence. Roger Thornhill in the movie North … Continue reading Thoughts on Mythic Structure: Resurrection

Julie & Julia And The Lives Of Writers

Very busy getting the house ready to go on the market this weekend–no time to write a new post! Hope you enjoy this one from the archive.

MOON IN GEMINI

I recently watched (again) the charming movie Julie & Julia. It stars Meryl Streep as television chef and cookbook author Julia Child and Amy Adams as Julie Powell, who wrote a blog about making every recipe in Child’s book Mastering The Art Of French Cooking over the course of a year.

The movie alternates between telling the stories of both women. Child and her husband are living in France during the 1950s when she decides to learn French cooking. This eventually leads to a partnership with two French women to write a cookbook specifically for Americans, and, of course, her cooking show and status as America’s first celebrity chef. Julie Powell, frustrated with a job she doesn’t like and feeling directionless in life, decides to start a blog about cooking, which eventually leads to a book and movie deal.

As Julie cooks the recipes and writes about them…

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Thoughts on Mythic Structure: The Road Back

This is Part 9 of my series on mythic structure, or monomyth. 1. The Road Back is the transition from Act 2 to Act 3 of your story. The hero has completed her initiation and is now an evolved hero. It is time for her to begin her transition from the Extraordinary World back to … Continue reading Thoughts on Mythic Structure: The Road Back

6 Things You Need To Know About Story Concept

Having a busy weekend, so thought I would reblog this old post. Enjoy!

MOON IN GEMINI

1. It matters. It’s the key to selling your story to other people. It’s one of the first things, along with genre and word count, that you’re going to put in a query. It’s the reason why someone is going to buy your book after they pick it up off the shelf or read the blurb online. It’s why blurbs exist–to convey the story’s concept.

2. It has to convey to people what is both unique AND familiar about your story. Humans are funny animals. We like things that are familiar, but have contempt for things that are TOO familiar. We like something unique, but if it’s too weird, we’re often repelled by it. When creating a concept, you need that balance. Sneer all you want at E.L. James’ 50 Shades Of Grey, but if nothing else, it’s a conceptual triumph.

3. Immediately cast out any snobbery you may have…

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Thoughts on Mythic Structure: Reward/Seizing the Sword

This is Part 8 of my series on mythic structure, or monomyth. 1. After surviving the Ordeal, the hero now claims a reward. The reward may come in many different forms: treasure, an object that helps the hero return home, a declaration of love/friendship, knowledge, power. In The Wizard of Oz, this is the point … Continue reading Thoughts on Mythic Structure: Reward/Seizing the Sword

10 Things I Love About This Character: Ellie Linton, The Tomorrow Series

Last year I wrote an article about the "strong female character" which was very well received. (It was even featured by WordPress in their "Freshly Pressed" section.) Since then, I've been thinking about doing a series devoted to individual characters that I consider "strong." This series will not be limited to female characters--I will include … Continue reading 10 Things I Love About This Character: Ellie Linton, The Tomorrow Series

Thoughts on Mythic Structure: The Ordeal

This is Part 7 of my series on the hero's journey, or monomyth. 1. The ordeal is the first major confrontation with the main forces of antagonism. After undergoing many tests, forming alliances, figuring out enmities, gaining some respect in the extraordinary world of the adventure, it is time for the hero to experience her … Continue reading Thoughts on Mythic Structure: The Ordeal

Emma Thompson’s Screenplay for Sense and Sensibility: The Best Austen Adaptation?

This post is part of the 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon, hosted by Kellee of Outspoken & Freckled, Paula of Paula’s Cinema Club and Aurora of Once Upon a Screen. Click HERE for a list of the other posts for Week 3: The Crafts. I can already hear cries of "blasphemy!" just because the title of this post. (I did … Continue reading Emma Thompson’s Screenplay for Sense and Sensibility: The Best Austen Adaptation?

I’m a Project REUTSway Winner Two Years in a Row!

In November 2013 I participated in Project REUTSway, a short story contest held for the first time by REUTS Publications. Two out of my three submitted stories were chosen for the anthology, Fairly Twisted Tales for a Horribly Ever After, which was published in October 2014. The first version of contest had participants twist a … Continue reading I’m a Project REUTSway Winner Two Years in a Row!

Thoughts on Mythic Structure: Approach to the Inmost Cave

This is Part 6 of my series on the hero's journey, or monomyth. 1. This stage of the journey is when the story begins to coalesce around a major confrontation with the antagonist. The part of the journey that falls under "Tests, Allies and Enemies" can take up quite a bit of the story after … Continue reading Thoughts on Mythic Structure: Approach to the Inmost Cave

Thoughts on Mythic Structure: Tests, Allies, and Enemies

This is Part 5 of my series on monomyth or the hero's journey. 1. After your hero crosses the threshold into the world of adventure, the rules of the new world are a good place to start when it comes to testing your hero. Here are some ways he can get into trouble right away: … Continue reading Thoughts on Mythic Structure: Tests, Allies, and Enemies