On writing: Find the lie


I signed up for author K.M. Weiland’s Helping Writers Become Authors newsletter about a year ago, but only recently have I started really digging into her work.

It’s good stuff.

Her book “Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story” helped me finally understand the difference between the hook, the inciting incident, plot points, and pinch points. The breakdown, in fact, was so enlightening and easy to understand that it was key to me finally wrasslin’ all of my ideas into a workable plot structure (!!!).

The notecards method was doing me no good (so overwhelming, so much trash), and the thought of the time-suck-potential of “pantsing” made me feel super itchy (and breathy with anxiety).

That was a tough egg to crack, and girlfriend has got me cooking with gas now! How do you like your omelettes, baby?!

Weiland produces her own podcast (she’s already 450-something episodes deep) and has free e-books up for grabs on her website for newsletter subscribers. If you’re trying, like me, to wade into the vast waters of writing your first novel without drowning, her stuff is a good place to start to understand the mechanics of the whole thing.

As I move forward with my own process, I’ve been trying to work on character arcs. I encounter a sort of chicken-or-egg headache (no omelettes) when I try to think of plot and character arc as separate entities. In her podcast interview with Bulletproof Screenplay (below), Weiland once again helped me see the light!

I know that in a good novel or story, a character has to change in some way, for better or worse, but, as Weiland explains, an easy way to imagine this journey is to first consider the lie that a character believes in the beginning of the story and then consider what truth they have to face near the midpoint to do something climactic toward the end. So simple. I was really forcing matters with outlandish external events, but this pro-tip helped me understand that the writer has to understand the character’s internal events first. Because of course.

You can listen to the interview here:

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