The Problem with Firestarter (2022)

Dreaming We’re introduced to Adam and Sydney Lemmon. They’ve just returned home from the hospital with their newborn daughter Charlene (Charlie). Sydney no sooner lays Charlie down to rest and the bassinet bursts into flames. Not to worry, though. It’s just Adam’s nightmare. Well, both a nightmare and a flashback memory. This confusing scene is just the beginning of problems […]

The Problem with the Mandalorian

Not a Star Wars Fan from the Beginning I’m not a fan of the Star Wars movies. The original 1977 Star Wars (now known as Stars Wars: Episode 4 “A New Hope”) was a disappointment for me. Don’t get me wrong – it was a milestone in moviemaking history. The complexity of the film, the special effects, the marketing, Lucas’ […]

Shadow in the Cloud

Chloe Grace Moretz portrays Maude Garrett, a young woman in World War II who has a secret courier mission: she has a package that must be delivered aboard the B-17 bomber “The Fool’s Errand.” The men on board treat her dismissively and confine her to the below-belly gun while one of them promises to take care of the package. No […]

The Queen’s Gambit – Ep 1: Openings

SPOILERS AHEAD My daughter Amber recommended The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix) to me because she knows I loved the period piece “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and am a chess nut. Good call on her part. After watching Episode One “Openings” I thought I might write a series of reviews of the show discussing its use of story devices and comparing it […]

Guest Post: Understanding Psychopathy in Villains

Our friend Tina Glasneck is a USA Today Bestselling Author and will be presenting at the Agile Writer Conference January 26th. Click on the image below to learn more about the conference. In the meantime, she’s offered this article from her website to help you.  During an interview, Ted Bundy, a notorious serial killer and necrophiliac, once said, “I don’t feel […]

The Problem with Notting Hill

I recently read a blogger’s takedown of “Notting Hill.” She had identified the Anna Scott character as being very shallow and self-absorbed. And since she was so flawed, Will Thacker should not have loved her. The author believes no one should watch the movie because it gives a bad example of relationships. https://www.mamamia.com.au/notting-hill-sends-a-bad-message/ My thoughts… If you look at this […]

Evoking Emotion in Fiction: 7 Pragmatic Ways to Make Readers Give a Damn

In Writer’s Digest, author Dustin Grimmel gives these 7 ways to engage readers. Do you agree? Evoking Emotion #1: Positive moral judgments about the protagonist Evoking Emotion #2: A protagonist who wants something really badly Evoking Emotion #3: A protagonist who pursues their desires Evoking Emotion #4: A protagonist who never gives up Evoking Emotion #5: Characters who do the […]

The Science of the Plot Twist

“A major part of the pleasure of plot twists, too, comes not from the shock of surprise, but from looking back at the early bits of the narrative in light of the twist. The most satisfying surprises get their power from giving us a fresh, better way of making sense of the material that came before. This is another opportunity […]

When Action Isn’t a Good Thing

“For example, we need to write a scene with two characters talking, but something should be happening besides dialogue, right? Enter props. We put them at a kitchen table and give them tea to pour into cups. We put them in a car where they can fiddle with the radio dial and glance in the rear-view mirror. We get them to […]

The Idiot in the Room

There are a number of ways to expose information to the reader: dialog, letters, news reports, and flashbacks are just a few. But by far the best way to expose information to the reader is to have someone close to the hero who doesn’t understand what is going on. I call this “the idiot in the room.” When you want […]