Apprentice Wordsmith A Writer's Blog

My Writing Habit

In January, a new forum member posted a series of questions about others’ writing habits. It’s a great survey, but I’ve missed the opportunity to respond directly to that thread. So I thought this would be a fun addition to the blog.

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The Problem with Inner Problems

If you stick around writer’s circles long enough, you’ll hear some variant of the following axiom:

“Every hero needs both an inner and an outer problem.” – Christopher Vogler, The Writer’s Journey

These days, you’re more likely to see “protagonist” or “main character” instead of “hero”, but the concept remains the same.

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Active and Reactive Decisions

“Is it better for your main character to make decisions in order to move the story forward or allow things to happen to him/her or a mix of both? Or something different entirely? I’m just frustrated because the protagonist in my current project has had things happen instead of making choices and I’m stuck on how to move forward.”

This question was posted on the writing forum by a new member a couple of months ago. I didn’t respond then because I was immediately inspired to write a blog post on the topic. And then life happened. Late is better than never, right?

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Message vs. Theme

In a previous post, I mentioned message as one of the essential ingredients for a story. I think it’s high time that I discuss what I mean by this.

You said that message is a lot like theme.

Yes, I did, astute reader. It’s not the same thing but it’s similar.

But hold on. What’s theme?

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Using Real Life -- Antagonists

“There are some people that are like Slinkies. They serve no useful purpose in life, but it gives you a warm feeling when you push them down the stairs.” – Unknown

We all know somebody like this. They can be a real thorn in your side, too. One thorn in my side is named Micah.

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