Before Coffee: How to Tell a Great Story

August 24, 2016 § 2 Comments

I came across an article this morning with the terrible title “A Writer’s Guide to Hacking the Reader’s Brain in 5 Steps.” Because everything has to be about hacking these days. “Hacking Your Diet with Oreos and Bacon Fat,” or “Hacking Your Cerebral Cortex to Never Need Sleep (Without Becoming a Murdering Hobo),” et cetera ad nauseum.

A better title for the article above is “How to Tell a Great Story,” or maybe “5 Steps to Bringing a Story to Life.” Or maybe those are just as terrible.

Regardless, the article is very good. You can skip the first half of it if you’re in a rush and just start at this bit:

The one thing that generates the juice — the electricity — that brings everything in a story to life, giving it meaning, conflict and urgency, is this: a clear sense of how what’s happening in the plot is affecting the protagonist internally.

And then it goes on to give those give the promised five steps.

I’ll be going home tonight and answering these questions for my main characters. I already know some of the answers, but knowing them all should give me a much better handle on the story. Maybe even “generate the juice—the electricity” to bring it to life.

Wait, there’s the title the piece should have: “Frankensteining the Fuck Out of Your Novel in 5 Steps.”

Okay, that’s just awful and I should not be allowed near a keyboard before coffee.

I have a Prisma addiction, as anyone who has seen my Facebook page can attest. I particularly like this one. Talk about Frankenstein’s monster!

i want to believe



§ 2 Responses to Before Coffee: How to Tell a Great Story

  • Pharosian says:

    You’re right. It is a bad title for a great article! I had figured out one aspect of my MC’s internal conflict a few days ago, but this article will help me shape the events that allow her to resolve that conflict. Thanks!

    • You’re welcome! I went through the questions last night for each of my four major POV characters, and it opened up a few new scenes and improved the ending of the novel. I’m eager to get through this draft now!

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