Balancing plot, theme and character

As a less experienced writer I used to obsess over plot. Plot was everything. This seems to be the case for a lot of people who aren’t writers, too — a common criticism of a film or book will be that “the plot isn’t very good”, or “the plot’s a bit basic”. When I used to write as a kid, my entire focus would be on trying to formulate a twisty-turny, intricate plot.

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Why magic needs to have rules

Stories need rules as much as they need imagination; as counter-intuitive as it seems, placing restrictions on what can happen in your fictional world will help readers to understand the dramatic tensions, threats and challenges encountered by your characters. This is true regardless of the genre you’re playing in. (more…)