Why Every Story Needs Its Own Pit of Snakes

More good tips from Drew Chial.

Drew Chial

1. Snakes

How to Make Your Character’s Lowest Moment Truly Nerve Wracking

Every story should have a tragedy. Even stories with happy endings need at least one.

Disney’s animated classic Cinderella has three. The first two tragedies happen during the opening narration. Cinderella’s mother dies. Her father marries the wicked step mother and dies shortly after. Cinderella is forced into a life of servitude. The third tragedy happens when Cinderella’s step-sisters tear her dress apart. That tragedy seems inconsequential compared to everything Cinderella has been through, but we’ll see why of all these events the destruction of the dress is the most important one.

The death of Cinderella’s parents make us sympathetic to her plight. Its a life altering event sure to rock anyone’s foundation. So why is it so much more tragic when the wicked stepsisters tear up her dress? After all it’s a garment, meant to be worn once, while…

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A Question About Diversity in Fiction

Do you go into great detail about the physical appearance of the characters in your books? Interesting perspective on this from Drew Chial.

Drew Chial

Many MesThe Pros and Cons of Concealing Certain Character Traits

There are good reasons to avoid identifying a character’s ethnicity, exact age, and body type in your writing, especially when these traits aren’t crucial to understanding their actions. By revealing these specifics you limit the casting options in your readers’ heads. You make it harder for some members of the audience to see themselves in the role. If you leave these elements ambiguous your lead could be anyone your readers want.

At the time of this writing there’s stubble on my face. If I’m reading a story with a male lead I’m likely to imagine him with stubble too, until the author tells me he’s clean shaving. I’m six foot four, I have dirty blond hair, and greying sideburns as is every male lead of the books I read, until the author tells me otherwise.

I’m never heartbroken when one of these…

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