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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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

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

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

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

Thoughts on Mythic Structure: Crossing the First Threshold

This is Part 4 of my series on monomyth, or the hero's journey. 1. Crossing the first threshold is the transition from Act 1 to Act 2 of your story. Up to this point, your hero is still connected to her ordinary world. In many models of mythic structure, the first part of the story … Continue reading Thoughts on Mythic Structure: Crossing the First Threshold

The Illogical Protagonist and Why Your Story Needs One

In the movie The Godfather, two characters in the opening scenes are presented as possible protagonists: Vito Corleone, the presumptive title character, who from the first scene is shown as the powerful head of a Mafia family. Sonny Corleone, his hot-headed son, has been groomed as his father's successor and loves the Mafia life. On … Continue reading The Illogical Protagonist and Why Your Story Needs One

Thoughts on Mythic Structure: The Meeting with the Mentor

This is Part 3 in my series on mythic structure, or the hero’s journey. 1. Even though this stage of the journey is positioned after The Call to Adventure and The Refusal of the Call, the Meeting with the Mentor can happen at any point in the story. It is common for the hero to … Continue reading Thoughts on Mythic Structure: The Meeting with the Mentor

The Strong Female Character: I Do Not Think That Means What Some People Think It Means

I recently started watching the new TV series Outlander, based on the popular books by Diana Gabaldon. I have never read the books. The series sounded like something I might enjoy, about a woman who time-travels to 18th Century Scotland.After watching two episodes, I'm already done with it.I see people raving about the show on … Continue reading The Strong Female Character: I Do Not Think That Means What Some People Think It Means

Thoughts on Mythic Structure: The Call to Adventure & Refusal of the Call

This is Part 2 in my series on mythic structure, or the hero's journey. I am combining the next two stages of the hero's adventure, The Call to Adventure and Refusal of the Call, because they are so closely connected. 1. The call to adventure is issued by the herald archetype. This may be personified … Continue reading Thoughts on Mythic Structure: The Call to Adventure & Refusal of the Call

#10Queries Hashtag on Twitter Reveals 10 Common Reasons for Rejection

As writers, we sometimes (maybe most of the time) feel as though agents and editors are our natural enemies, rejecting work unfairly. They live to keep the truly talented from succeeding, the thinking goes. That's because most of us have never had to deal with the slush piles at publishing houses and literary agencies. On … Continue reading #10Queries Hashtag on Twitter Reveals 10 Common Reasons for Rejection