Author Archives: Melanie Anne Phillips

What Drives Characters?

As writers, we all know that characters need drive or their actions will come across as unmotivated.  But what is drive, and where does it come from? At a minimum, every character needs a reason to explain the choices they … Continue reading

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What Is Story Structure?

Most writers are not story theorists, and don’t want to be. Still, an understanding of the way stories work can help support a writer’s instincts to make sure a flawed structure won’t get in the way of the creativity. So … Continue reading

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Plot Order vs. Exposition Order

The order in which events unfold in a story is not necessarily the order in which those events occurred to the characters within the story. In movies, for example, a story might open with a scene in the present, then … Continue reading

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Archetypes vs. Stereotypes

Archetypes represent human qualities we all share, such as Reason, Emotion, Faith, Skepticism, Conscience, and Temptation.  Stereotypes represent the different kinds of personalities we encounter in life. In story structure, archetypes, by definition, are characters defined by their plot function, … Continue reading

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Archetypes vs. Stereotypes

Archetypes, by definition, are characters defined by their plot function, such as the protagonist, who is trying to achieve a goal, and the antagonist who is trying to stop him. All of the archetypes have a counterpart whose approaches are … Continue reading

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The Four Throughines in To Kill A Mockingbird

There are four throughlines that must be explored in every story for it to feel to readers or audience that the underlying issues have been fully explored and the message fully supported. Throughline 1: The Objective Story The Objective Story is … Continue reading

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Your Influence Character is the Heart of Your Story

What is an Influence Character?  It is the one who has an opposite philosophy, morality, or personal code to that of the Main Character.  Over the course of a story, the Influence Character continually pressures the Main Character’s core beliefs, … Continue reading

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Characters: Cogs in the Machine?

From a structural standpoint, characters are just cogs in the machine.  They have a job to do in the story as a protagonist, antagonist or any one of the functional roles that must be filled for the story to make … Continue reading

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SECRETS if the Protagonist…

The Protagonist is one of the most misunderstood characters in a story’s structure.  It is often assumed that this character is a typical “Hero” who is a good guy, the central character in the story, and the Main Character (the … Continue reading

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Protagonist & Antagonist – Who ARE These Guys?

The protagonist and antagonist may not be who you think they are.  For one thing, a protagonist is not necessarily the hero of a story.  Structurally speaking, the protagonist is the one who shakes up the status quo – that’s … Continue reading

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