11–15 of 15 entries from the month of: September 2014

Writer’s School: Story Arc

September 9th

Phew. Thanks for hanging in there with me. I apologize for the delay in this post. The last few weeks have included: a rather annoying bought of the flu, a ton of work including this week’s National Suicide Prevention Day!, the storm to beat all storms and a corresponding leak in the kitchen ceiling, having very little energy because of that darn flu.

Also: my garden died because I paid zero attention to it for a week while in bed sick. And my dog is all of a sudden fat. Seriously. Nelson is packing on the pounds thanks to warm weather and his gentile inability to walk more than a few miles with all that adorable permed hair. Subtext: COME ON FALL.


Now, where were we? The story arc. A story, regardless of size, should have at least two conflicts. These should not intersect, and ideally, they should not wrap up the same characters in both. They should both give the reader more information about your main character.

An example: remember the book and movie, “The Devil Wears Prada?” The primary conflict concerns the main character and her desire to work in the fashion industry. She doesn’t’ think she is thin, fashionable, cool or clever enough to get in with her boss, an Anna Wintour type. The secondary conflict concerns the main character’s relationship with her boyfriend and how things fall apart because she is chasing the first conflict with everything she’s got. If I remember correctly, there is also a third conflict that involves the main character’s best friend and a drug problem.

Conflict 1: main character struggles to meet the demands of the job.

Conflict 2: main character and boyfriend struggle to keep relationship together.

Conflict 3: main character’s best friend gets involved with bad stuff.

Insights to the main character include her willingness to change for the job, including time her boyfriend and best friend were used to receiving. If such a story becomes a cheesy movie, as it is in this case, there is also often a moral hammer that is dropped. Will she fight for her sweet boyfriend? Will she fight for her friend? Or will she succumb to the greed and gloss and fancy of a stylish New York life?

You get the point. Something┬áto consider as a writer when plotting out your story is that these conflicts shouldn’t all peak in the same moment. And they really should all have something to do with giving your reader more information about your main character. (In fact, all dialog should. Don’t bother your reader with information that doesn’t lead the story, or give the reader new information about the main character. If you do, the reader won’t have the time or ability to connect with the character’s dreams, fears, wishes, etc.)

Structure your writing however you’d like, but I think strong stories have at least one minor conflict arc before the major conflict can be resolved. Other smaller conflicts may be resolved after. Think about this like waves — the main point to your story should be the largest wave.

Make sense? Questions?

Friday, we talk character development. Who are some of your favorite literary characters?



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Writer School
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Pencil Pouches

September 9th

Min's circus school performane

Min's circus school performaneRemember that promise for pencil pouches? Completed and posted. I hope they have arrived and you enjoy!




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Writer School: The Story Arc

September 5th

Please hold. I promise this is going to be good. I’ve been a wee bit busy this week on the road for work, and fighting the plague.


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Writer School
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Grand Canyon Prep

September 4th

Have I mentioned I am soon hiking from the north to the south rim of the Grand Canyon? (With two blissful nights at Phantom Ranch in between.)

Breath-taking every time

I am a little nervous, Interwebs. And I could use your help. I’ll be okay physically. And I’ve got the gear. But hey! I’m all ears if you have any advice on great, calorie dense, light weight snacks for 17 mile hikes? And any other long hike tips and tricks you’d like to share.

I’ve got good socks. And I plan on cutting my nails super short. We’ve also got a water filter and ample sun coverage. What else?

An average of 12 people die each year

I remember after running my first marathon watching men wander by with bloody nipples showing through their shirts. I couldn’t believe that was even a possibility. And each race after, there was some lesson learned by noticing someone else’s discomfort. So! Spare me this embarrassment and hit me with your best hiking advice.


And thank you!


Posted in
Arizona, Happy Hippie
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Today’s Joy

September 2nd

I can’t read another story that includes the word, “beheading.” I’m recovering from a nasty bug and have far too little patience at the moment to deal with heavy worldly topics that actually matter.

{I know. I should be stronger. This week I just can’t. My heart is hurting for everyone and my nose is running and I just need a bit of mindless fluff to get through.}

Instead, may I present you with a few things currently making me very happy. Including:

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A furry baby donkey. OMGTHECUTE

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Random childhood photos my aunt found and keeps texting me. Check out those sideburns. Wow.

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Lovely typography! I have been keeping examples of typography design I love and this is at the top of the list. So well done.

Random IGs

And I am on a “best of” hunt concerning carne asada burritos in the greater Phoenix area. What’s your favorite burrito?



Posted in
Daily Sass
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