Casting a Story

How to People Your Plot by Sylvie Kurtz Casting a Story A writer shows her story through her characters—the way they act, the way they talk, the way they interact. These characters are not cardboard cutouts ordered from Central Casting. They serve a function—or else they shouldn’t have a role and take up valuable space….

Hurts So Good

Making Your Characters Suffer to Heal Them by Sylvie Kurtz Hurts So Good According to James Bonnet, a main character’s arc is like a spiral. If it spirals upward, he ends up at a better place than at the beginning of the story, taking him closer to paradise. If it spirals downward, he ends up…

It’s My World

How Perception Affects Actions by Sylvie Kurtz It’s My World Mary Poppins and Sherlock Holmes enter a house. Mary sees the sharp corners, the ungated stairs, and the unprotected plugs that could hurt a child in her care. Sherlock notices the broken window clasp, the barely visible footprint on the freshly vacuumed carpet, the disturbed…

A Good Bad Guy

How to Take Your Villain Out of His Cardboard Box and Make Him 3-D by Sylvie Kurtz A good bad guy When we set out to create a story, we don’t want to end up with something black-and-white filled with cardboard characters that the reader will forget five minutes after putting down the book. We…

Magic Moments

by Sylvie Kurtz Magic Moments I like to put “magic moments” at the mid-point of my stories.  Something happens that binds the hero and heroine closer together on an emotional level.  It’s a preview of how things could be if they could get over their flaws or their fears, a small glimpse of the possible…

Theme as a Crucible for Change

How to Cut a Brilliant Diamond by Sylvie Kurtz Theme Merriam-Webster defines theme as “something laid down; a subject or topic of discourse or of artistic representation; a specific and distinctive quality, characteristic, or concern; a written exercise; a melodic subject of a musical composition or movement.” Blake Snyder in Save the Cat defines theme as “a…

Leap of Faith

Fall or Fly by Sylvie Kurtz Leap of Faith I believe in happy endings.  As cynical as I am, some part of me believes that everything will work out right in the end.  And if happy can’t happen in real life, then at least I can make it happen in my fiction. As writers, we…