A Case Study on Revenge as a Literary Theme

Ah, revenge. It’s one of the classic literary masterplots, where the protagonist believes he’s been wronged and seeks to retaliate against the antagonist. But did you know that revenge can also be a literary theme? How it manifests through the plot and characters will depend on what kind of story the author wants to tell…. Read more »

How To Write About Commonplace Experiences In Creative Nonfiction

Last year, I successfully pitched and submitted an essay to a well-known creative nonfiction magazine. It was an essay I’m proud of, one that was inspired by a Twitter thread originally posted by the editor I wrote for. But unfortunately the editor turned down my piece, because the ending didn’t have that unexpected element she… Read more »

Signpost Scenes — The Argument Against Transformation

Welcome to week three! In my last two articles I’ve discussed two major beats in every story: the disturbance and the care package. Both of these beats focus on how events or vulnerabilities impact or develop the Lead (i.e. – the protagonist). So you shouldn’t be surprised as we venture into James Scott Bell’s third… Read more »

Why Your Writing Should Invite Readers In

I’m guilty. Of overwriting. Of indulging in hooptedoodleeandering. But not always. I just completed National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo). I wrote a poem and posted it on my blog everyday in April. I chose to do NaPoWriMo because I often overthink when I write, which leads me to overwrite. Or worse, freeze up and not… Read more »

Ask the Editor: How to Raise the Stakes

I’m an indie fantasy romance author, and am currently in the revision process of my debut novel SPANK: Odyssey. I keep reading online about readers not being invested in a story because the stakes are not high enough. I feel these people are saying your conflict isn’t interesting unless someone is at risk of dying… Read more »

#5onFri: Five Benefits of Writing Every Day

Writing every day can benefit everyone, not only writers. It improves your memory, builds vocabulary, and refines your communication skills. Not to forget that writing can be very relaxing, especially if you lead a busy and stressful life. You can either start a dream journal, write down your daily adventures, or simply put the pen… Read more »

The Science in Your Science Fiction: Future Space Travel

My first order of business this time around is to offer a disclaimer. I am not a scientist, though I am married to one. What I am is an author of science fiction and fantasy who understands the importance of research in creating verisimilitude in fiction. In my last science column, I detailed the perils… Read more »

How Themes Are Presented in Short Stories

We concentrate so much on novels here in Theme: A Story’s Soul that we’ve yet to discuss shorter forms of literature. This wasn’t a conscious decision, though. Novels contain an incredible variety of examples of literary themes in action, which makes them fantastic resources for studying a particular theme in depth. Yet short stories radiate… Read more »

#5onFri: Five Ways to Develop Strong Writing Habits

Writers can have unpredictable days. On some, writing pours out effortlessly (and it’s beautiful when this happens). Yet on others, sentences require more determination. Certainly, writing doesn’t get any easier if you don’t start. Waiting for inspiration to strike is a fool’s errand, and even when that chapter wasn’t finished as quickly as expected, just… Read more »