There are plenty of stories we enjoy once and never want to read again. There are others out there that are famous and important but seem so painful to read we can’t even get past chapter two.

Entertaining stories without significance are enjoyed in the moment but quickly forgotten afterward.

Stories that aren’t entertaining but have big ideas within them are tedious to read but often are worth it after they’ve been read through.

A story, in my opinion, becomes great when it does both. When it is entertaining as well as having a deeper meaning.

This is three ways…

I was browsing a writing forum recently when I came across an interesting post. Basically, the person who wrote it was asking “Does there need to be an overarching message with all writing?”

The author of the post wrote a story that their tutor didn’t really like. They were asked, “what’s the message?”

The author had written a short story that was really purely for entertainment. To their knowledge, they didn’t know a story had to have any sort of deeper meaning, even though their tutor seemed to insist it did.

So, does fiction have to have a deeper meaning?

From what I understand, it depends.

It depends what…

At the center of every story is character. Characters serve as an anchor for readers and enable them to have a lens with which they can experience the story.

Without characters, there would be no story.

So then, it’s understandable why knowing how to write believable characters would be an important skill to have as a writer.

Believability is about making the reader, or the audience, forget that whatever is happening in front of them is pure fiction.

In this article, we’re going to look at three ways you write more believable characters. When you write characters that your readers…

Before the cover design, before the editing, before the writing, comes the idea.

Understanding how to generate brilliant storytelling ideas can mean that you spend your writing time as productively as possible.

Getting stuck with half-ass or mediocre ideas could mean that no matter how well you write, your stories never seem to get picked up.

In this article, we’re going to look at what it takes to discover a brilliant storytelling idea and a little bit on what to do once you’ve caught it.

The three understandings

There are three things that you have to understand about ideas before we go any…

There’s an embarrassing mistake I see a lot of writers making with their fiction. It’s a simple fix, but it may not be the easiest thing to do.

In this article, I am going to break down what this problem is and how to address it. Now depending on your style of writing, you may agree or disagree with me.

Doesn’t matter — this is taken directly from my personal experience.

Why I’m glad I’m a “careless” writer

Right now, I am in the process of editing my most recent draft of my fantasy novel.

There are plenty of grammatical mistakes. One of the biggest problems I…

Magic is a big part of the fantasy genre. If you are writing fantasy, then it is a worthwhile topic to get to understand.

If you are writing a novel, and you fail to create a believable magic system, then your story will be weakened.

For people to be taken away on an adventure, to lose themselves in your story, they have to believe it.

If the magic seems somehow wrong or twisted, then it is going to lessen the impact of your story.

So, if you know how to create believable magic systems, that feel vibrant and alive to…

Photo by Yuvraj Singh on Unsplash

Is there any better feeling than writing a character who seems to come to life on their own?

For me, it is one of the best things about writing fiction.

And its one of the most tedious things in writing to have a character who seems to be dragged along by the plot, with no substance and no initiative.

Characters who come alive hook an audience almost instantly. If they feel real, act in a believable way, and have empathetic traits, then the readers are practically knocked over by their power.

All fiction writers then, if they care about their…

How to write over one million words in one year

Would you like to be able to write one million words in one year?

It’s possible. I can say that because I am on track to write over one million words in 2018.

So far, I have written just over 984,4000 words this year. Unless something happens to me, I should comfortably be able to reach my goal of writing over one million words this year.

One million seems like such a big number. It’s a number with glamor. People don’t want to be rich, they want to be millionaires. …

Photo by Claudia Soraya on Unsplash

They came to the square on the brink of dust. Dirt-faced men and women, emerging from the blackened ruins of the city.

They came out of the crevasses in the ground and the gaps between buildings, from the spaces in between the rubble and the crumbling shells of old hotels and bars.

They moved quietly, not speaking to one another. For an hour or so, they all gathered together, in that square.

Every one of them, whether hidden in a pocket or clutched between a dirty hand, had a small, pink raffle ticket.

A platform had been built, out of…

Photo by Martha Dominguez de Gouveia on Unsplash

Ruth Clark sat in the waiting room. Her hands were a little sweaty. She could feel the cold stare of the guard who stood at the entranceway.

He was dressed in black and had a rifle slung over his shoulder. He was leaning against the pillar near the entrance, and this entire time he had been staring at Ruth.

Ruth pretended not to notice, but that didn’t make her feel any more comfortable. Nervously, she flattened out her jeans and then the sleeves of her old, faded jersey.

Finally, the heavy metal door in front of Ruth opened. Another guard…

Braeden Phillips

The guy behind Storykation.com, the website for serious storytellers who want level up their fiction-writing ability.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store