Month: May 2015

May 29, 2015 / Reviews


I went to see Mad Max: Fury Road last week, and I was pleasantly surprised. I’ll try to discuss it without spoiling the movie, for once.

I wasn’t expecting very much, given the ongoing string of terrible remakes/reboots like Total Recall and The Amazing Spiderman. In those movies, the producers took surface elements from the original movies, stuffed a new generic script underneath, then shaved off all the possibly offensive edges for broadest appeal. For Fury Road, George Miller took the spark that made Mad Max 2 such a fun movie to watch, put a good script beneath it, then shaped it to one unified creative vision.

The result is a movie that is violent, possibly offensive, but great to watch if you like post-apocalyptic action road movies.

May 22, 2015 / Writing


I wrote about the seven-point story structure a few weeks ago. I already hinted at other ways to look at a structure. Joseph Campbell introduced the Monomyth in 1949 in his book the Hero of a Thousand Faces. Campbell was not actually describing a way to structure stories, but doing a comparative analyses of various myths and finding an archetypical underlying structure.  Knowing what this structure is can help you recognize strengths and weaknesses in your own stories, and is interesting to know, even for non-writers. Below, I’ll describe what the monomyth is and how you can use it.

May 15, 2015 / Smells


To become a better author, you need to know when your writing smells, and what it smells of. Have you ever heard of Chekhov’s gun? No, not the one from Star Trek, the writer. Let’s discuss it, because it can make your story reek.

May 8, 2015 / Reviews
May 1, 2015 / Writing


When I started writing a novel for the first time, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I made a list of cool events that led to what I considered a cool ending, then started writing. That was back in the days of the dial-up modem, when you couldn’t look up a thousand articles about writing on your smartphone.  I had little knowledge about how to structure a story. I learned a lot since then, and actually finished a novel-sized story.

I experimented a lot with different ways to set up a story structure. There are a lot of ways to do that. You can follow along the lines of the monomyth, use the five-act structure, or any number of other structures. Today I’ll talk about the seven-point structure, which is a more detailed version of the three-act structure.