Category Archives: Art & Craft

Building a Story: Point of View

You can use point of view to minimize the distance between character and reader so the reader identifies strongly with that character. You can also use point of view to build story. This means thinking about point of view as … Continue reading

Fiction and Story Arc

If conflict’s the basis of drama, does it create story? Not necessarily. Returning to one of the pillars of story, if whatever you’re writing is the same at the end as it was in the beginning, you don’t have a … Continue reading


So if conflict is the basis of drama, how does a writer wield his knife? Not all fictional conflict is alike. Here are three examples of conflict I witnessed and ways to employ your authorial tool: 1. On a bloated, … Continue reading


If you create trouble for a character early on in your story, you arouse a reader’s concern. But trouble alone won’t cut it to keep readers in a story to the end. A character in trouble may arouse fear in … Continue reading

Writer to Reader to Character

Further thoughts about leading a reader into a character’s head: of all the senses a writer evokes, visualization might be the most powerful. When a reader’s able to formulate mental images of a character and her world, he begins to … Continue reading

Head to Head Writer To Reader

How does an author lead a reader to experience a character as if s/he is that character?  If people read fiction to become lost in a world, without the difficulties of reality, go back to those difficulties.  Fear, loss, dread, … Continue reading

The Craft of Shrinking the Story

It sounds easy, this notion of merging character and story.  It is not.  So many obstacles intervene.  The reader may not like your character because he doesn’t like the story.  He may like war novels.  He may like domestic fiction and romance.  He may not.  It could be … Continue reading

Focus on Character

Monterey is magical and mysterious. Though when you come upon the tourists, trinkets, sea lions and otters, the man with the monkey grinder and the man with the parrots, you think how so? You must wait for the fog. In … Continue reading

Grounding the Fictional World

Through the tone you establish and the language you use, you’ve brought the reader into your story. Maybe you’re sitting in your favorite place to write, on a wind-swept beach on the coast of Brazil, say, so caught up in … Continue reading

The language of fiction and tone

La Punta de los Lobos. The sea unfurls at the Point of the Wolves. On a spit of land further south a lighthouse rises four hundred feet into fog; in the lantern room hawks and seagulls and pelicans ghost by at … Continue reading

The World of Fiction

You’re into the world! How exciting can it get? Okay, you may be surrounded by the hookers downstairs blocking the sidewalk and the addicts, most of them you’re neighbors, who’ve been stealing your stuff when you’re out. You may be … Continue reading

Fictional Voice

Point of view’s just the start in bringing the reader into the world of your story; each character needs a unique voice, and here’s what it means. I witnessed a tall, thin disheveled man, who was carrying a pile of … Continue reading

Omniscient Point of View in Fiction

Maybe by now you’ve written several hundred pages, which you think is hot stuff, and you take a break and put it away and then go back and read it and it’s awful, awful, and you can’t stand yourself and … Continue reading

Third person point of view in fiction

You can tell a story from one person’s point of view (third person limited), which means that the reader comes to know that character very well, or you can tell a story from several or multiple points of view. Each … Continue reading

Second person point of view in fiction

Second person point of view in fiction creates distance ─ for a character but not necessarily for the reader. When a narrator says “you” she means herself, a character, and not you, the reader. This is a tool to allow … Continue reading

First person point of view in fiction

So there you are, still, sitting in your little space, your study, a library, maybe a café. And why do people write in cafés, anyway? It’s not because they want to be social ─ that’s for later ─ but because … Continue reading

Point of view in fiction

Well. My little hiatus has lasted two months. But I’ve been practicing Rule No 1, applying the seat to the chair. And how did this novel start? With an image. A man arrives in Monterey, California, at three o’clock in … Continue reading

The mystery of fiction

There you are, staring at your computer in a dark little space, wondering how to create mystery in the first paragraph. This task will determine your story and to some extent the structure of your novel. To create mystery in … Continue reading

Opening the story

All good stories contain mystery. Mystery invites questions. Why is a character doing this? What’s going on here? Why is this happening? How can she escape this problem? Why does she say this? What does she want? If we ask … Continue reading

Where story begins

Where story begins Let’s say you’re sitting in your room next to an abandoned railroad depot where men seem to come and go at all hours ─ people told you how expensive Paris is but you didn’t want to hear … Continue reading

Articles relating to the art and craft of writing.