Save the Cat Story Cards!

Outliners and Discovery Writers, do I have some information for you!! You are going to love this! First, if you are not sure what a discovery writer or an outliner is, check out this post. https://quillandbooks.com/2019/01/04/discovery-writer-or-outliner/ Before I begin with this review, let me tell you how this might work for you. Outliners you can use this tool as a planning tool along-side your outline or as your outline. For discovery writers, you can still use this tool, but not before you write your first draft. Most discovery writers tell me that it totally kills the story if they do any planning prior to the first draft. I get it but that doesn’t make this tool useless, it just changes when you use this tool. You can use this a tool for learn what is broken and what needs a little tweaking. Or you can use it if you get stuck. Many people who get stuck or get writers block in the middle of the story, actually have something in their subconscious telling them that something is broken with the story which is why they can’t move forward. This tool can help you find that thing your subconscious is fighting with, and fix it! Read more....

Conflict and Character

Conflict is determined by your main character or your main character is determined by your conflict. Sometimes you get the character first and sometimes the conflict comes to you first. Either way, one will determine the other. In order to create an arc for your character you can find a conflict that plays off one of their weaknesses or flaws. For example, you have a character whose weakness is extreme shyness you can put them in a position to overcome that shyness OR you can put them in a situation where they learn to turn this into an advantage and use their strengths to overcome the obstacle. Read more...

Archetypes Part 2.5 of 2: The Archetypes

I didn’t anticipate I’d have so much to say about each archetype, so now I give you… Part 2.5 of 2 The Archetypes Continued Warrior/ Hero As you might imagine the warrior is a person who is good at battle and fighting. Prime examples of this in LOTR are Gimli, Legolas, Boramir, and more. They are expert fighters, (and if you watch the movies…beyond reason when fighting the Warg). Eowyn, “I am no man!” But if you think outside the normal boring box, you might also consider characters like Eowyn. She fought in the end and defeated the Witch-King of Angmar, speaking the best line ever written!

Part 2 of 2: The Archetypes

There is a blurry line between archetype and stock characters which is why some say there are 14 archetypes and others say 99 or 133. I would say the difference is how common this type of character is in stories. For example the Jester can be the Protagonist or the Antagonist or even a side character so you can find some form of a jester in almost every story. On the other hand, not all stories have a gentle giant character. Let’s begin: The Leader This is often the protagonist, but they might not start that way. If you are familiar with the Hero’s Journey, then you know that often the protagonist starts in the status quo. They are living a life that’s probably kind of dull. They frequently long for something better. Or maybe they are happy with their life and something comes along and takes that away. Read more...

Using Archetypes Effectively in Your Writing

First, the definition of Archetype: a very typical example of a certain person or thing. (Oxford Dictionary) It derives from the Greek prefix, arcke, which means primitive and the root, topos, which means a model. So ‘a primitive model.’ So it is like the rough sketch of a character. Archetype sounds a lot like stereotype and I think the two words often get confused, so many think an archetype is a bad thing. The stereotype definition is: a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing. (Oxford Dictionary) The definitions are very similar, but the difference is the oversimplification and generalization. Plus, stereotypes are often offensive or demeaning in nature. For example, all boys love sports and girls love dolls. Today people love to stereotype millennials as spoiled, whiny, entitled brats. The good news is that it seems many writers love to turn stereotypes on their heads and push people out of those preconceived notions. As writers, we have immense power to influence how people think and what to highlight about our society. “With great power comes great responsibility” (Uncle Ben, Spiderman) So choose wisely what and how you write. Done right, an archetype is a good starting place. The problem comes when a writer doesn’t add layers. Those layers of personality add depth and prevent the oversimplification of the character. Read more...

Setting–Planning Your Story and Editing Your Scenes

What is a setting? Your elementary school English teacher probably said it’s the where and when of a story. True. But as a writer, we know that the setting is more than just the where and when. The weather and social climate can also be part of the setting. It can be to mood and emotions that the characters can’t express. It can be pure beauty, when a great writer and reader are paired up. The setting can speak to our souls as much as any character. It can make the reader long to live in that little cottage in the woods surrounded by fairies or in the bustling 1920’s city of Chicago. The setting can be so alive that it feels like a character in and of itself.