Last week I suggested some books for tackling writers’ block and for upping your writing game. This week, I’m presenting some gems from those books. I consider these quotes worth pegging above my computer; maybe you will, too. Happy writing!

From Story Trumps Structure by Steven James:

Stop trying to decide if your story is plot-driven or character-driven, and focus instead on your protagonist’s unmet desires regarding his internal questions, external problems, and interpersonal relationships. (p. 11)


Rather than straitjacketing your story by forcing it into three acts or trying to make it character-driven or plot-driven, ask if it has an orientation, a crisis or a calling that disrupts normal life, relentless escalation, and a satisfying climax. (p. 87)


When you’re working your way between drafts without any specific plan of what will come next, it doesn’t mean you’ve reached a dead end or have writers’ block. It doesn’t mean you’ve stalled out. It means your mind is working in ways you don’t even notice to solve the problems you might not even be able to articulate. (p. 109)


If you can remove a subplot without changing the outcome of the story, it’s not a subplot – it’s a distraction. (p. 209)


When you write a story, every word is auditioning for a part. (p. 109)


Keep in mind that every story worth telling will offend someone. The truth makes people uncomfortable. If you try to please everyone, you’ll end up writing trite, mealy little stories that don’t impact anyone. Instead, let the truth stretch out its wings in your stories. Let it resonate in your readers’ lives. (p. 240)


From Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card:


If your characters cry, your readers won’t have to; if your characters have good reason to cry, and don’t, your readers will do the weeping. (p. 89)


Self-chosen suffering for the sake of a greater good – sacrifice, in other words – is far more intense than pain alone. (p. 90)