Category Archives: Plot

How to Structure Your Story’s Signposts

First let me define what signposts are in stories and then provide a few hints on how to structure them. Signposts are the markers that separate one act from another.  Think about any well structured story you’ve read or seen … Continue reading

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Structuring Your Story’s Limit

In order to create tension in your audience, you will want to establish a limit to the story. This limit will indicate to the audience what will bring the story to a moment of truth, either running out of time … Continue reading

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What Chases Your Characters?

A goal is what the characters chase, but what chases the characters?  Answer: the Consequences.  Consequences double the dramatic tension in a story by providing a negative result if the goal is not achieved. Consequences may be emotional or logistic, but … Continue reading

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Be Clear About the Requirements for your Story Goal

The achievement or failure to achieve the goal is an important but short moment at the end of the story. So how is interest maintained over the course of the story? By the progress of the quest toward the goal. … Continue reading

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Never Be Stuck for a Plot Again!

A writer asked today: Dear Melanie, Could you please tell me where can I find some material on western genre plot building. Let me make it much clearer. I have a character Marshal, A saloon girl, Rancher, Preacher, Blacksmith and … Continue reading

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The Structure of “Collective Goals”

Some novice writers become so wrapped up in interesting events and bits of action that they forget to have a central unifying goal that gives purpose to all the other events that take place. This creates a plot without a … Continue reading

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Introducing Your Characters in Act 1

Some stories introduce characters as people and then let the reader/audience discover their roles and relationships afterward. This tends to help an audience identify with the characters. Other stories put roles first, so that we know about the person by … Continue reading

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