Skip to content

plot construction

No, Your Characters DON’T Have To Change In Your Novel Or Screenplay. Here’s Why

Do Characters ‘Have’ To Change? In any conversation online about characterisation, it’s never long before somebody pops up proclaiming characters HAVE to change. They may even insist that a character who doesn’t change has ‘no arc’. Calling the department of WRONG! No, characters do NOT have to change. I can’t stress this enough. In fact, sometimes it’s desirable they DON’T change. Have I blown your mind? If I have, I’m not surprised. Writing gurus – especially in screenwriting circles – have been SO didactic about this topic in the last thirty or forty years. As a result, generations of writers… Read More »No, Your Characters DON’T Have To Change In Your Novel Or Screenplay. Here’s Why

Share this:

Why Your Draft Doesn’t Make Sense (Plus What To Do About It)

So, Your Draft Doesn’t Make Sense It’s the note every writer – new to professional – dreads: your draft doesn’t make sense. Eeek! When your draft doesn’t make sense, it can be very overwhelming. When we get the note our stories are hard to follow, it’s easy to sink into hopelessness and despair. Some of us may even take it as proof we’re ‘terrible writers’ too and spiral even more. Perhaps you’re confused, too? Maybe you don’t understand why your script editor, beta reader or peer reviewer finds your story so hard to follow. You may feel as if the… Read More »Why Your Draft Doesn’t Make Sense (Plus What To Do About It)

Share this:

#1 Concept Mistake So Many Writers Make (Plus What To Do About It)

No Research = Concept Problems So often a writer will pitch me their concept and I say, ‘Oh, so like XYZ?’ They’ll look at me, totally blank. These won’t be obscure titles either. They will be big-time movies, TV shows, novels … it doesn’t matter. The writer has not done his, her – or their! – research and road-tested their idea. It always shocks me how so many writers don’t read books, or watch TV or film … then think they can write something with zero problems?? Total madness! If we don’t know what the concept is at grassroots level… Read More »#1 Concept Mistake So Many Writers Make (Plus What To Do About It)

Share this:

Sweets To The Sweet: Candyman, A Startlingly Relevant Halloween Horror

Candyman: The Short Story Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman … Clive Barker’s 1985 short story The Forbidden is a haunting exploration of poverty and disenfranchisement. It was first published in 1985 as part of his ground-breaking horror anthology, Books of Blood. Set in the desperate sinkhole estate of Spector Street, Liverpool, England, the story takes place in October with several references to Bonfire Night being the following week. This means we can be fairly sure the events of the story take place around Halloween. The Forbidden follows Helen, a graduate student. Originally researching graffiti as part of her thesis, she… Read More »Sweets To The Sweet: Candyman, A Startlingly Relevant Halloween Horror

Share this:

Brandon Sanderson’s 3 Laws For Creating Magic Systems In Your Fantasy Story

Actual Laws for Writing?! Not to worry, you won’t get fined for breaking Sanderson’s laws! He named them ‘laws’ as a bit of a joke (I’m guessing there’s a science joke in there, somewhere). However, Brandon Sanderson is probably one of the best people to learn from for developing magic systems that feel unique. So, it definitely can’t hurt your writing to follow his guidelines on the matter. All About Brandon Sanderson Brandon Sanderson is an American fantasy & sci-fi author who is most known for his Mistborn series and The Stormlight Archive. He’s done a great deal to teach… Read More »Brandon Sanderson’s 3 Laws For Creating Magic Systems In Your Fantasy Story

Share this:

How Does Character Motivation Work? (Your Secret To Writing Great Characters)

All About Character Motivation NEWSFLASH: great characterisation should lie at the heart of every narrative, whether that’s a novel or screenplay. These characters should drive the plot forward and engage audiences emotionally. What’s more, modern audiences and readers demand nuanced, layered characterisation as standard in the 2020s. One essential element that brings characters to life is their motivation – the driving force behind their actions and behaviours. I like to call this the ‘WHY’ of characterisation. Put simply, character motivation can be summed up as “A character wants or needs something for some reason, but will have to strive to… Read More »How Does Character Motivation Work? (Your Secret To Writing Great Characters)

Share this:

No, Your Spec Screenplay Is NOT A ‘Drama/Thriller’. Here’s Why

NEWSFLASH: Drama/Thriller Is NOT A Thing! So, I keep seeing screenwriters on social media saying they’re writing a drama/thriller. OI WRITERS NO … YOU ARE NOT!! Dramas and thrillers are VERY different beasts. It’s why I wrote a whole-ass book on each of them!!! Before I start this epic rant, a reminder: B2W stands with the WGA and the current US writers’ strike. This post is NOT designed to encourage anyone to break the picket line and scab. It’s an article primarily designed to help you with your writing CRAFT. Secondly, it’s to help you realise how the industry works.… Read More »No, Your Spec Screenplay Is NOT A ‘Drama/Thriller’. Here’s Why

Share this:

Just For Boys? Why The Hero’s Journey Is NOT Just For Male Characters

The Hero’s Journey I’ve been researching The Hero’s Journey for about a decade now on this blog. When I wrote my Thriller Screenplays book back in 2013, it was a plot template that was ALL the rage. In fact, just ten short years ago, screenwriters were told it was pretty much the ‘only’ plotting archetype worth writing … and that if their characters did not change, their writing was ‘bad’!  Fast-forward to 2023 and these expectations have changed considerably. Audiences have started to tire of The Hero’s Journey and its ubiquity. Novels, indie film and even major blockbusters have started… Read More »Just For Boys? Why The Hero’s Journey Is NOT Just For Male Characters

Share this:

How To Write A Great Story Arc For Your Character (With Examples)

A Great Story Arc Needs Conflict Every great story has a beginning, middle, and end, also known as a story arc. In order to keep your audience engaged, your story should have a clear story arc with a conflict that is resolved by the end. Le duh! But what is a story arc? As you may guess, it’s the narrative structure of a story. How that story arc works will depend on the story being told. Characters may deal with problems – aka conflict – in order to make changes in their lives or important realisations. The most common of these… Read More »How To Write A Great Story Arc For Your Character (With Examples)

Share this:

10 Superb Writing Reminders From Sally Wainwright

About Sally Wainwright So, the long-awaited third series of Happy Valley by Sally Wainwright on BBC1/iPlayer concluded last night. Wow! I thought it would be a great idea to check out what Sally has to say about writing … and I found some GOLD for you Bangers! But first up, all about Sally Wainwright! She is an English television writer, producer, and director from Yorkshire. Starting out first as a playwright, she also worked on the classic serial radio drama The Archers. She created her first original drama series At Home With The Braithwaites, which ran 2000-2003. Other TV series Sally… Read More »10 Superb Writing Reminders From Sally Wainwright

Share this:

6 Things I Learned Writing A Fantasy Novel

Writing Your Own Fantasy Novel The rules of good writing apply to every fictional genre and a fantasy novel is no different … You need to: Put your protagonist through the wringer, facing ever greater dangers and tougher dilemmas Build the story, tie in the subplots, and construct a satisfying resolution Do all this in clear and comprehensible prose! I’m Glyn Carter. When I was writing my own fantasy novel Gog-Magog, I realised the fantasy genre offers writers specific opportunities and challenges. Here are six ways in which fantasy has its own demands. 1) Characters need a ‘reason to live’… Read More »6 Things I Learned Writing A Fantasy Novel

Share this:

5 Top Tips From The Black Phone Writers Can Learn

Watch & Read The Black Phone Now The Black Phone is a movie adaptation of the 2004 short story of the same title by Joe Hill. Directed by Scott Derrickson, the screenplay is written by Derrickson and his long-time collaborator C. Robert Cargill. I’m a HUGE fan of both Hill and this duo’s previous output including Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, so I was keen to watch the movie regardless. The logline for The Black Phone on imdb reads, “After being abducted by a child killer and locked in a soundproof basement, a 13-year-old boy starts receiving calls… Read More »5 Top Tips From The Black Phone Writers Can Learn

Share this: