Saturday, August 31, 2013

Generating ideas

Generating ideas

I found an interesting thing on generating story ideas. It was a video posted at by Natalie Whipple, author of Transparent. It fits in with Deren Hansen’s post earlier this week.

Many, including Rick Walton, have touted the advantages of brainstorming to help jump-start a story. The whole idea of brainstorming is to throw out many, many ideas. That way, once the ordinary ideas have been exhausted, creative, unique ones come to surface.

Natalie takes it a step further. She says the key to generating story ideas is to let go of your preconceptions. Authors need to overcome their negative thinking that the idea is ridiculous or not new. Natalie admits that there are a lot of silly ideas are stupid and she notes many are not new. Yet ideas are just the beginnings of stories, not the end results. What you put into it, as a writer, is what takes the idea from silly and ordinary to refreshing and unique. The original idea is the first draft.

Ideas can come from inspiration, Natalie says. Seek ideas in other stories or through researching some aspect of your setting story or the setting. Finally, Natalie suggests living the life worth writing about. The more things you do, the more you have to write about. You experience things, come into contact with new people, new activities, all of which can inspire ideas.

Hmm. I’m okay with dull, but perhaps I should consider skydiving.

(This article also posted at )

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Evils of Winnie-the-Pooh

September 22-28, 2013 is Banned Book Week. In honor of that week, I will be blogging about banned or challenged books this month.

Imagine a world without Pooh. I mean that "tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff." That's exactly what some people have tried to leave us with. Our dear little silly old bear is ranked #22 on the American Library Association's list of the 100 most frequently challenged classics.

Attacks on A.A. Milne's characters have come from many places. A state-controlled television station in Turkey banned the Winnie-the-Pooh films because of scenes that included that most innocuous of characters, Piglet, because they feared that some Muslim viewers would object to the depiction of a pig. The books were banned in a UK school for similar reasons, until the Muslim Council of Britain petitioned the school to return the books to the shelves and end their misguided policy.

In Russia, Winnie-the-Pooh came under attack for being a pro-Nazi character, after a search of the belongings of a political extremist turned up a picture of Winnie-the-Pooh wearing a swastika.

Surely, nobody in the United States would go so far as to try and ban these lovable characters that teach so many positive lessons to children.

Well, except the parent group in Kansas that challenged Winnie-the-Pooh and Charlotte's Web because talking animals are an insult to God. Other places in the US are reported to have gone after Pooh for the same reason. Or Redwood Middle School in Napa, California, which placed a girl into their "Students With Attitude Problems" in-school suspension program because she violated the school's dress code when she wore socks that had a depiction of Tigger when Winnie-the-Pooh characters were considered inappropriate. It has also been mentioned that Winnie-the-Pooh wears no pants.

Green Eggs and Ham has been banned for containing scenes of homosexual seduction. Where the Wild Things Are has been challenged for being frightening, for containing scenes of sadistic punishment, and like Harry Potter and JRR Tolkien's works and countless other books, for promoting witchcraft and the supernatural. An edition of Little Red Riding Hood was attacked in 1990 because the basket Red carried to Grandmother contained a bottle of wine, thus promoting alcohol abuse. The Diary of Anne Frank has been challenged for sexuality, and specifically homosexuality, as well as for being "too depressing." That book still comes under attack, including in May of this year, when a mother in Michigan tried to get pulled from schools because of the book's "pornographic tendencies."

Where's Waldo was pulled from school shelves after it was discovered that one beach scene contained a tiny picture of a topless sunbather lying on her stomach, with her head and shoulders slightly raised. In 1988, Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree was banned from a public library in Colorado for being sexist. It was also attacked because of questions about the tree's motives and for criminalizing the foresting industry. Dr. Seuss's classic The Lorax was attacked in Northern California, also because it was feared that the book would give children a negative attitude toward loggers. James and the Giant Peach was banned by a school in Texas because it contained the word "ass."

One of my favorite books, Harriet the Spy, has been banned for presenting a bad example for children, and for "teaching children to lie, spy, talk back, and curse." The offenses of Bridge to Terabithia are almost too numerous to list, including a fantasy world that might confuse kids, teaching disrespect to parents, and using the word "Lord" and the phrase "Oh, Lord." Alice in Wonderland supposedly depicts sexual fantasies and masturbation, alongside drug use. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory shows a "poor philosophy of life." In 1928, all public libraries in Chicago removed The Wizard of Oz because it presented an ungodly view of the world by depicting women in strong leadership roles. In 1957, it was pulled from the Detroit Public Library because it was deemed to have “no value for children of today.”

It's easy to look at these cases and call them silly. But this kind of stuff happens all the time. Actually, you might even have looked through my list above and thought at least once, "I understand that one."

In our own state, one half of a writing team being openly gay caused a local publisher to back out of a publishing deal within the last couple weeks, even though the book had nothing to do with homosexuality. We frequently see news stories of books that are challenged by parents who deem the book unacceptable for schools or libraries.

Sure, it's important for parents to be involved in their children's education, and for schools to be sensitive to certain community standards. But even in Utah, our community includes many types of people with a variety of beliefs and standards and attitudes. So should we just let the majority decide what's appropriate? Anti-censorship laws exist partly to protect minority opinions and beliefs from being trampled by either the majority or by the government. Besides, community standards should not be set by one noisy parent or group of parents, and it's usually a very small number of people who make a loud enough fuss to get a book removed from a class or a library, nothing even close to a majority.

It's one thing to go to a teacher to privately raise your child's sensitivity to a book depicting child abuse because of something that happened to that child. A good teacher should be understanding and suggest an alternative. It's another to demand that no child have access to that book, including the kid who, unknown to you, is going through that hell right now and needs to see that he is not alone and to see how the book's character deals with it. If you have a serious beef with assigned reading material, raise it with the teacher. Maybe there's an alternative for your child. But don't rob the whole class of the opportunity to read something that could turn out to be meaningful or even life-changing. And if there's not an alternate book to read, it's a great opportunity to discuss the book with your child, and to teach that not everybody has the same standards or ideas, a lesson that will prove valuable many times in life.

Removing books from schools irks me, but it's the attack on library shelves that bothers me the most. A library has no value if it is not allowed to contain a broad spectrum of ideas, even those that are found offensive by some. Art, including literature, often contains big ideas and big ideas are sure to offend somebody. In fact, if an idea doesn't upset somebody somewhere, it's probably not worth much.

"The truth is, outside of arithmetic, it’s hard to teach anything worth learning that someone won’t find offensive or upsetting or frightening or off-putting. If it’s interesting, if it’s something people care about, then people are going to have opinions about it. That means somebody, somewhere, isn’t going to like it. The drive to keep our children perfectly safe from dangerous knowledge just ends up reducing their education to a bland, boring, irrelevant slog." --Noah Berlatsky (Quoted at

And my friends who are deeply into numbers remind me that even deep math principles can cause arguments and upset people.

Last year, one of my reading goals was to read a certain number of banned books throughout the year. Some of the most valuable and enjoyable and meaningful books I read came from the lists of frequently challenged books. This year, I have different goals, although I have read several books from the lists. If you read much, it's hard not to. So many great books have been challenged or banned. This year, in support of Banned Book Week, I will read only banned books in September. Try it with me. Discover for yourself what other people want to keep from you under the banner of "community standards."

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ideas: What do you do with a Great Idea?

by Deren Hansen

What do you do with a great idea?

First, a reminder: one idea isn't enough to carry a novel. Long-form stories are best understood as a complex molecule made up of great idea atoms.

So, what do you do when you have a number of ideas in intriguing relationships?

Like any good evil genius, you turn to science!

Kuhn, 1962 (from Wikipedia)
More to the point, you turn to the history of science. Thomas Khun, a physicist who also studied the history of science, wrote The Structure of Scientific Revolutions in 1962. In that book, Kuhn challenged the notion that science was steadily progressive and argued that it is in fact episodic.

The two key ideas I want to introduce here are the alternating phases of revolutionary and normal science that make up an episode in Kuhn's model.

Revolutionary science is the time when a breakthrough throws the field wide open. Like settlers pouring into newly open territory, scientist rush from one discovery to the next as they map out the new landscape of possibilities.

Once the early leaders in the revolution have discovered the extent of the breakthrough, the discipline settles back into normal science mode. Normal science is far less glamorous than revolutionary science because it's about the careful work of confirming the initial findings and filling in the details.

"That nice for historians and scientists," you might say, "but what does it have to do with writing or creativity in general?"

A great idea is like the breakthrough that triggers a period of revolutionary science. But that's only the beginning of the job. In order to develop a novel-length story, you must do the literary equivalent of the work of normal science.

What do I mean by that?

Let's say you've just had an epiphany: the world will end when pigs actually start to fly--it's the Flying Pig Apocalypse! Tingling with excitement, you sit down to write ... and immediately run into questions: how do they fly? Levitation? Wings that grow because a mad scientist wanted bacon-flavored buffalo wings? Lighter-than air gas bladders? Do they flock or are they loners? Do they cause the apocalypse by flying, or is the fact that they take flight a sign of the impending apocalypse?

My point is that a "great" idea isn't ready to become a story until you've done the detailed, far less thrilling work of thinking through the implications of the great idea.

Like science, which we tend to think of only in terms of revolutionary breakthroughs, creativity is more about the normal work of thinking carefully about the "great" idea than the revolutionary work of having the idea in the first place.

Deren Hansen is the author of the Dunlith Hill Writers Guides. This article is from Sustainable Creativity: How to Enjoy a Committed, Long-term Relationship with your Muse. Learn more at

Monday, August 26, 2013

What Were Your Favorite Summer Reads?

By Julie Daines

The kids are back in school and summer has come to an end. Time for homework, writing, and all that responsible grown-up stuff. I'll miss having all the extra reading time.

Some of my summer reads this year:

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier (Not a children's or YA book, but I loved it.)

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (Also not YA but a lovely retelling of the snow child fairy tale.)

Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier (Not YA. This is my third time through on this book. If you like Irish-based fantasy, Juliet Marillier is amazing.)

I didn't read much in the children's, MG, and YA category this summer. I usually try to read a lot of YA because that's what I write, but I felt a need for some mature reading.

What did you read this summer that you loved?

Saturday, August 24, 2013


The basic formula for a story goes something like this: a main character wants something; MC sets out to achieve that thing; MC meets with obstacles; MC overcomes obstacles. Simple, right? Everyone can write a novel. No big deal

Quiet often the conflict the MC faces is generated by an antagonist. Antagonists can be the demons floating around in the protagonist's head or they can be the classic arch-villain, the schoolyard bully, Darth Vader, or Lord Voldemort. We will stick to the human, physical antagonist for our purposes here. The writer needs to understand their antagonist.

Antagonists are not just bad guys wearing black hats. They are complex people with their own histories and goals. It is not that they oppose the protagonist. They have their own agenda that they are trying to accomplish. In a reversal of roles, your MC is the obstacle the antagonist encounters in reaching their goal. The school bully wants money to buy cigarettes. Vader tries to bring Luke to the dark side. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named wants power and immortality. And they all have histories that rationalize their behaviors

John Truby in his Anatomy of Story says that “the trick to defining your hero and figuring out your story is to figure out your opponent.” He says writers should love their antagonist because he will aid the writer in so many ways. The opponent is important structurally. Antagonists attack the MC’s weakness, forcing the hero to deal with them and grow. Thus, the MC learns through the antagonist.

The repeated theme at WIFYR this summer was to torture your characters. A session by agent, Ammi-Joan Paquette, touched on the subject. Your role as a writer, she said, is to be the evil overlord, not the hero’s mother. Make your antagonists bigger, stronger, and smarter than the MC. Let them throw up the roadblocks and thwart your hero at every turn.

Antagonists, you’ve got to love them.
(This article also posted at )

Friday, August 23, 2013

Reducing Clutter On Your Windows Desktop

There are many ways to reduce clutter on your desktop to help cut down on distractions when you are writing. You can delete unnecessary icons by installing a launcher, for example. One of my favorites is to use a virtual desktop app like Dexpot, which lets me set up a Windows desktop screen with nothing but my writing programs and a suitable background.

Today, I've been testing another way, and I've decided I like it.

The Windows interface is familiar and comfortable. At least it is if you like Windows. But it is not particularly clean. Most of us have everything we ever use, right at our fingertips. This is convenient, unless we want to focus on something, like getting that manuscript finished.

But did you know you can replace the standard Windows shell (the stuff you see on your screen)? Your computer still runs Windows underneath, and you can easily switch back to the regular Windows interface.

There are several free shells available. I tested three today, and decided I like one called SharpEnviro. SharpEnviro is easy to install and configure, and it gives me a sleek and clean Windows screen:

This does not look like the Windows you are used to, but I assure you, all it is is Windows 7 with a new skin. I created my own theme with my own favorite background picture, but there are premade themes that make setup even easier.

I can still get to all my programs from the Scott menu at the top left. Frankly, the program menu in that main menu is not designed very well, but in this case, that's a good thing. If it's inconvenient to get to my favorite software distractions, I'm less likely to go there.

Because this shell is completely customizable, I placed links to my favorite writing programs in an application toolbar just left of top center. I even created a Writing menu with links to programs, project files, and my writing folder:

Everything I need is easily accessible.

I could easily take this a step further. Right now, I've set up my screen to provide everything I normally use. However, I could set it up so stuff that has nothing to with writing is harder to get to, or even hide everything that has no place in my authoring environment. Because switching to this shell requires a restart (once there, I can switch back to my regular Windows with a click, but I could hide that if I wanted), it would be inconvenient to leave my environment to check Facebook or email, provided, of course, that I don't make an easy link to my browser.

For me, and probably for you, the browser can be part of my writing environment because I use it for research. My browser is my primary dictionary and thesaurus. So I wouldn't hide it. But what I might do is set up a different browser with bookmarks only to my writing tools. For example, right now my main browser is Firefox, so maybe I would set up Chrome or Opera or Safari as a writing browser. Or maybe I would set this writing environment solely for the writing part of the job and do my research on a different space, or keep it off the main screen by using one of the built-in virtual desktops. The virtual desktops lack the customizable icons and backgrounds that Dexpot provides, but they give you additional screens so you can keep different tasks separate, like you can on the screens on your iPad or Android tablet. So you could keep your browser tucked away on Screen 2 while you work on screen one, so it requires some effort to get there. Even if it is only a click, at least it's out of your sight while you write.

You might find the idea of using an alternative shell a little frightening. You don't need to, as long as you are moderately comfortable with menu-based configuration screens. There's no scripting or hacking required. Plus, all of your usual Windows stuff, including the look and feel you are used to, is a click away. Even if you don't use the one-click way to get back because it's a little too easy, you can set things up to go back to regular Windows when you restart.

I added the option to go back to Windows with a click to my launcher, a separate program called RocketDock, which I keep hidden out of the way at the top of my screen. I have to move the cursor to the top center of my screen to get to it. That link is also in my Scott menu, but at least it's not on the desktop, which is the default configuration. Desktop icons are distracting and too easy to hit when I should be writing.

 So, if you are looking for a way to create a unique writing environment on your all-too-familiar computer, you might want to give SharpEnviro a try, or at least read up on it to see if it's what you're looking for.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ideas: Stories are Molecular, not Atomic

by Deren Hansen

In The 5,000 Finders of Dr. T, a strange and delightful musical fantasy created by Ted Geisel, there is a climactic scene that includes the following lines:

"Is it atomic?"

"Yes, sir, very atomic!"

The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (Wikipedia)
You will, of course, have to see the mover for yourself if you don't understand the reference. I mention it here simply to lead into a discussion about the fact that novel-length ideas aren't atomic, they're molecular.

I first heard this concept from Brandon Sanderson. The essence of the notion is that if ideas are atoms, a single one isn't enough to carry a novel. You need a number of ideas.

But it's not simply a case of arranging a butterfly collection of ideas. The ideas must be related. Brandon described his process of developing a novel as, "bouncing ideas off each other to see which ones stick." ("Stick," here, means, "form interesting relationships.") As ideas stick together, they form a story molecule.

So, how do you build a story molecule?

Begin with the basic creative process: ask questions and then generate lots of answers so that you can find the most interesting associations. Often, the best associations will be between something common and something, which in the context of the first idea, is surprising. In The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, we have something common, a boy who wishes he didn't have to practice the piano, and something surprising, his piano teacher's plans for world domination!

When people ask where the ideas in a novel came from, they generally assume that the book was produced through an alchemical process that harnesses mystic forces to transmute the base metals of common ideas into the gold of a finished story. The truth, like the transmutation of alchemy into the cold, hard science of chemistry is more prosaic. Like chemistry, which produces complex and beautiful molecular structures through a series of processes, the final form of the story molecule in a novel is the result not of mystic transmutations but processes that anyone who is patient and persistent can master.

Deren Hansen is the author of the Dunlith Hill Writers Guides. This article is from Sustainable Creativity: How to Enjoy a Committed, Long-term Relationship with your Muse. Learn more at

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Writing and lying

Nathan Bransford does a writing blog I like to check in with. A while ago he wrote a post about how writing and lying have a lot in common. For both, you are using words to try to get someone to believe something that is not true.

Both a good story and a good lie need details and believability to succeed. A liar needs to spin the tail with minute details. They have to do so in such a way to make perfect sense, to make it believable. Branford says a good liar can “make you feel the sun on their face and the cool splash of water on their arms as they're catching the big one that got away.” A good writer can do the same.

With a well-written story, you tear up at the death of a green 900 year-old Jedi warrior, or reel when Dementors fly overhead. Readers suspend belief when first entering a story. To stay there is difficult with a poorly crafted piece.

An author must establish the reality of illusion. The illusion is maintained through the many facets that make a story: the prose the writer uses, the authenticity of characters and their emotions and motivation, the dialogue, etc. If not written well, the reader is pulled out of the story, the lie is exposed.

If you want to be a better writer, you should learn to be a more believable lair.

(This article also posted at )

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Those of you who have followed this blog for a while know that from time to time I open my mailbag and answer questions from readers who want to share my knowledge. Or I would, if there were any. But just because I don't get any questions in the mail doesn't mean I can't share some good answers I've collected. So, once again, here are my answers to some questions that these readers who almost exist would surely ask if such a thing could occur to them.

Hi ho, Mr Rho! I heard somebody tell me once that reading poetry could improve my writing. But that makes no sense to me because I want to write thrillers and stuff, not artsy-fartsy literary fiction that I can't understand anyway. So please tell me this guy was just stupid so I can show him your answer.

-- Chuck "Wally" Blunderbuss, Tropic UT

Sorry, Charlie, but I happen to agree with that advice. Good poetry will show you how to use compact language built around concrete images to convey information. Poets carefully choose exactly the right word to say more than the word alone conveys. Taut language without wasted words will help set a tight pace and tense mood in your thrillers, and will improve anything you happen to write. I recommend a visit to, where you can read their large collection of poetry, and even sign up to have a poem delivered to your email every day.

Mr. Rose,

I like music an awful lot, and I hear that there's a band books week coming up sometime. I want to read about bands, so this seems like a good excuse. Can you tell me more?

Rock on!

--Harry Smithers, of the Orderville Smitherses

 Dear Orderville Harry,

I too like music, but I suspect you might be thinking of Banned Books Week, an annual event sponsored by the American Library Association. This year's event takes place from September 22-28. If you want to help promote the even and celebrate the free exchange of ideas through literature, visit the website. You can find banners for your blog or site, and even get printed materials to show your support. By the way, talking about this worthy cause is one thing, but why not go a step further and read a banned book or two in September? You can find information about frequently challenged or banned books on the ALA website. You'll be surprised at many of the books on this notorious list. You'll also be rewarded for the effort. Many of the best books I've read over the last couple years have come from this list.

Scott-Dawg, King of All Knowledge and Whizz-dumb,

I have a problem when I read. I love books, but often a writer will use a metaphor or a cliche or whatever that I can't help but take literally. When I read about a detective keeping his eyes peeled, I get queasy. But nothing compares to a character throwing up his hands in despair, although I'd feel some despair too if I upchucked my own hands. So what should I do?

Literal Lucy, Levan

Lucy, dearest, let me assure you that you are not alone. I too suffer from this malady. Just ask the other writers in my crit group. May I suggest you watch the following short film, as therapy:

MGM Cartoon "Symphony in Slang" (1951) by 100X
So, there you have it. Don't you feel like you are richer now because of all this knowledge I shared?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Ideas: Creativity

by Deren Hansen

A question commonly asked of writers is, "How do you get your ideas?"

There are many answers (including facetious ones, like, "I buy them wholesale from the idea distributors,"). This post is the first in a series exploring techniques for collecting and assembling ideas.

The people who want to know where writers get their ideas assume writers enjoy a generous endowment of creativity. Creativity is defined as, "the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas."

Many people treat that ability as something innate and quasi-mystical. The problem with believing that ideas spring forth from a fount of creativity is that if you don't have a great idea handy then you must assume the well has run dry and you're stuck until something happens to get your creativity flowing again.

John Brown fell into this trap for a number of years before he discovered the secret to the creative process and went on to write Servant of a Dark God.

Here's John's mystic secret to the creative process:
Creativity is asking questions and coming up with answers.
A bit anti-climactic?

Perhaps I should clarify: a creative person doesn't settle for one answer to each question. If you stop after the first answer, you've done nothing more than identify the "traditional idea." Before you choose an answer, you want to come up with as many varied solutions as you can, particularly unexpected solutions. Given a large enough pool of candidate ideas, it's much easier to find "meaningful new ideas."

So how do you prime the creative pump?

Pay attention.

Notice things, particularly the things that strike you as interesting or intriguing. John says you should collect things that give you a little, "zing," when you hear or read about them.

If you'd like another perspective, spend ten minutes to hear what John Cleese (of Monty Python fame) has to say about Creativity.

Deren Hansen is the author of the Dunlith Hill Writers Guides. This article is from Sustainable Creativity: How to Enjoy a Committed, Long-term Relationship with your Muse. Learn more at

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Come Listen to Children's Authors on The Stories for Children Show

Author LeeAnna Kail on Blog Talk Radio’s  Featured World of Ink Network show:
Stories for Children - August 12, 2013 

Host Virginia S Grenier will be chatting with Debut Author LeeAnna Kail about her recently released children's picture book, The Owl WHO Couldn't WHOO published by Halo Publishing, Int.

About the Book: Ollie is known for one thing in his village: he is the only owl who cannot “WHOO.” The other owls tease him for saying “WHEERE!” or “WHEEN!” or “WHYY!” and sometimes “WHAAT!” All Ollie wants is to fit in, but when his little sister gets lost in the woods, Ollie discovers he can help.

Join Ollie on his adventure in searching for his sister and learning the significance of being different.

About the Author: Ever since LeeAnna Kail was little, she had an interest in writing. In fact, when she was in the fourth grade, she completed a career project and dressed as an author with dreams of writing her own book one day.
LeeAnna attended Duquesne University with a double major in political science and English with intentions of attending law school after graduation. While studying abroad in Rome, Italy, LeeAnna had a change of heart and decided to continue her education at Duquesne studying elementary education instead. She knew she found her niche the first day of class. Inspired by an assignment from a children’s literature course, LeeAnna's dream of writing a book has come true.
LeeAnna currently teaches in Pittsburgh and hopes to be an inspiration to her students to follow their dreams.

Find out more about our Guest Author and The World of Ink Network at

Listen to the Podcast at

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Story structure

Again, Writer’s Digest keeps pumping out excellent blog posts. One such recent article was titled “How to Structure a Killer Novel Ending.” The ending is one of four parts of story structure and can only be as good as the story itself. Larry Brooks, author of Story Physics: Harnessing the Underlying Forces of Storytelling, wrote the article.

Brooks says the other story parts are two major plot points and a mid-point. These things go by different names: hero’s need, plot twists, hero’s quest, or other obstacles that block the hero’s path. Before you utter The End, you must have a solid story. Brooks says writers can’t invent a new story structure. They can vary the details, but are bound by our current accepted format.

A writer can’t dismiss acceptable structure as formulaic and therefore reject it. Fiction is not a process of random exploration in which characters wander here or there without direction. The writer guides, planning out where the characters are going. Solid story architecture gives them direction.

There is no blueprint for a story ending. The only rule is that if something happens in the final act, it must have been foreshadowed, or referenced, or already in play. Brooks offers guidelines. One is that the hero can’t be passive or merely narrate the ending. They must step up and take the lead, the catalyst for the ending. Also, the hero must conquer his inner demons by book’s end. He grows internally. The hero must use courage, creativity, and brilliance set the cogs in motion that lead to resolution of the story.

Again, if you’ve done the rest of the story right, the ending will fall in place. If you plotted well, created a compelling and empathetic hero’s quest and evolving story arc, you’ll know where the story needs to end. Brooks says if you strategize and plot your main story points ahead of time, even if you’re not sure of the ending, then the final act will crystalize on its own, as part of the process.

Sound story structure – you’ve got to have it.

(This article also posted at )