Family, Writing Tips

Story Art: Teaching Young Kids How to Tell Stories

The other day I needed a home school project for my kids, and being a writer I wanted to do something story related. But my children, and probably most younger children, have difficulty grasping the concept of organizing a story. They do, however, enjoy doodling. So I stumbled upon a very simple way to teach them how to organize and tell a story, which uses kid doodling in a sort of comic book way

I call it Story Art. Here’s how.

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My writing journey, Tips and Hacks, Writing Tips

Story Building Mastery 10 – Advanced Complexities

Advanced Complexities


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, you’ve made it this far, huh? You’ve taken all the basics of story building (The Tri-Core Substructure, the Five Act Structure, Genre, Genotype, Character Development), you’ve carefully designed your story (Five Stage Plot, The Hero’s Journey, Micro Stories, Episodic Reduction), but that’s not enough for you. You want some tricks and tools to make your story unique…to make it stand out. Most importantly, you don’t really want your reader to figure out what you’re up to. You want to grab the reader by the nose, lead them through your complex, masterful, story weaving, and deliver a climax that will leave them breathless. You want your story to be unforgettable.

Welcome to the club.

Here are a few common tricks and tools you can use to twist your story exactly the way you want. You’ve probably thought of a few of these things, but for the best effect you should make sure they are implemented properly. Each item has some peculiarities you should remember, otherwise your efforts may fall flat or go unnoticed by the reader.

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My writing journey, Tips and Hacks, Writing Tips

Story Building Mastery 9 – Episodic Reduction

Episodic Reduction


harrypottersorcerer-chessIf you read the previous article on Micro Stories, then grasping the concept of Episodic Reduction should be very simple. It also helps to remember the Five Stage Plot, though not necessarily required.

What is Episodic Reduction? It is the reduction of the overall plot into self-contained episodes. Each episode becomes essentially a micro story, exhibiting the various sections of story development common to an entire story. In other words, each episode has exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and denouement, per the Five Act Structure. But, the resolution of each episode should lead directly into the next episode. Episodes should build on each other and often reflect the Five Stage Plot that I mentioned above. Yet at the same time, each episode builds upon the overarching plot.

Let’s outline this a bit to better explain, using the Five Stage Plot as a template.

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My writing journey, Tips and Hacks, Writing Tips

Story Building Mastery 4 – Story Genotype

Story Genotype


This way of classifying a story is perhaps one of the most important yet overlooked items. It’s easily confused with genre…probably because there are a few common genres which actually double as a genotype. Yet there is a distinct difference. Genre is best understood as the designation of the story’s setting, style, and audience. Essentially, it is how the story relates to the reader. (See the previous article in the series on Genre.) So root that firmly in your brain as we go forward.

Genotype is how the story relates to the characters in the book. The characters aren’t experiencing a genre of setting, style, and audience. They are experiencing life…their lives. Genotype helps us to understand what aspect of life that they are experiencing. This has a TREMENDOUS effect on how plot and characters are developed, because plot and character development are directly related to the experiences of the characters. Let’s look at a few examples.

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My writing journey, Tips and Hacks, Writing Tips

Story Building Mastery 1 – The Tri-Core Substructure



This week I want to talk about the foundational layer of story building, the Tri-Core Substructure. Shiny, huh? I made that term up myself because neither my publisher nor I could think of a proper pre-existing term.

What is the Tri-Core Substructure? It is the very basic most primitive form of a story: Character, Experience, Reaction. Or in other words, he came, he saw, he did. Each of these three primitive parts of a story can be reduced to the three core parts of which we will be talking about. Character (personal development), Meaning (experiential objective), Plot (action/reaction).

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