Add Power to Your Creativity with the Basics

Whether you are just learning about your creativity or have been a creative forever, you can add power to your creativity with the basics. Regular review of the basics of your craft will keep your skills sharp. But remember to revisit these eight basics of creativity. That will also sharpen your skills. Create Something Every Day Create even when you don’t feel like it. Be your own boss, expect results. Even if you can only spend fifteen minutes right after you get up or during your lunch break… whenever. Creating something every day is akin to exercising. You strengthen that creative muscle by exercising daily. When your habit is to create something every day, your creativity will be there on the days when you don’t feel like working. Always Have Your Basic Tools on Hand Tools can be anything. Pen, paper, ink, software, hardware, techniques, reference books, even your workspace. It’s okay if you can’t afford the optimal tools right away, but you can grow your collection of tools.  One tool I strongly recommend is an ergonomic workspace. • Practice Your Craft’s Basics All arts have basic rules or guidelines. Make it a habit to review the basics via a […]

The Importance of the Last Act in Story Structure

Seven days remaining in November means NaNoWriMo participants are nearing the end of their commitment to write 50,000 words this month. For some, that means their work-in-progress (WIP) is nearing the end of the story arc. Other writers may have many more words to scribble or ponder. Regardless of where you are, the importance of the last act in story structure, the last act of your WIP, is as big as the first act. The Beginning of the End People will disagree where the beginning of the end of a story is. But if you get the last point of Act IIB wrong, your story will end with a reader’s whimper instead of the reader’s satisfied sigh. The last plot point of Act II, often called the dark night of the soul, is when it appears all is lost. The antagonist has delivered a shocking blow, and the protagonist can’t see a way to go forward. She looks back at herself for a moment. She must face her flaw or fear—the lie she believes about herself or the world. Facing what she’s become, what she’s done, she’ll like or dislike. And in that mirror of self-reflection, she will see a […]

A Strong Midpoint Powers Your Novel

If you are doing Nanowrimo, you have reached the half-way point in the event. And perhaps the midpoint—or center of your story. Until now the antagonist has been making the moves, making the protagonist react. At the midpoint, things change and the story kicks into a higher gear. A strong midpoint powers your novel. The First Half of the Story Everything that happens in the first half of the story builds to the midpoint. You’ve shown your protagonist in her normal world. The reader gets to know her, know what she likes, what she doesn’t like, who she loves or doesn’t love. Most importantly, you’ve introduced the story problem and the antagonist. The antagonist drives the first half of the story. At about the 12.5% mark in the story, something the antagonist did or did not do pushed the protagonist to react. Her reaction led to the antagonist’s next step. And finally, the protagonist started trying to figure out what was happening, why it was happening, and how she could return to her normal life. She resists and reacts until the midpoint. Every step in the main plot of the first half of the story builds to the midpoint. Yes, I’ve […]