What is Happening in Your Opening Scene?

Approaches to Storycraft

A scene is a unit of storytelling. It incorporates all major elements: action, character, setting, inner story, voice, narrative thrust.

If your opening scene is lacking or weak in any of those elements, then your story is in danger of being uninteresting, passive, slow. It just doesn’t grab the reader. Nothing is happening.

The most engaging method these days is to begin in medias res which means “into the middle of things.” The protagonist is not thinking, dreaming, wondering, waiting, eating, ruminating, relaxing, contemplating, etc.

Rather, something is happening to the protagonist (ideally, books these days introduce the protagonist on page one, although it isn’t uncommon to kick off with the antagonist), and the protagonist reacts.



Narrative Thrust – Why readers keep reading

Approaches to Storycraft

Narrative thrust is what drives the reader to keep reading. If your story is weak in this area, then readers won’t be interested enough to stay with the story.

Narrative thrust involves all the elements of storytelling: action, setting, voice, theme, description, conflict, dialogue, character, point of view. Measure out each element appropriately so that your story is balanced enough to hook your readers and compel them to keep turning the pages….

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How to return to writing after a break

Approaches to Storycraft

Creativity isn’t just about imagination. Creativity is about choices, experimentation, adventure, learning, and fun.

Everything in life requires a measure of creativity, to imagine and execute ideas. Whatever you’re doing, whether you’re exploring a sea cave, trying a new recipe, learning a language, speaking during a meeting at work, rooting for your child at a soccer game, you’re being creative.

Taking a break from writing, then, doesn’t have to be a deep scar gutting your journey. Taking a break can simply mean you’re growing from another perspective. That you’re adding to your creative well from other sources. That you’re making something possible. That you’re developing your skills, your approach.

Staying positive about your break from writing is crucial. The minute we bring negative thoughts and limiting beliefs into the mix, it’s game over.

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Strategic goals are an essential element to being productive—even for creatives. You will make progress if you have a strategy propelling your actions + decisions. Read the Marching toward goals blog series by Kate Johnston | Author and Story Coach to learn how can use create a successful goal planning system.

Marching Toward Goals Blog Series

Approaches to Storycraft

Strategic goals are an essential element to being productive—even for creatives. You will make progress if you have a strategy propelling your actions + decisions.

In my 4-part blog series on Marching Toward Goal Achievement, you will learn the “sweet spot” in a goal strategy, the definition of a Goal Tier, why some goals fail, the no-fail goal schedule, and how to grow your goals for maximum productivity.

Wrapping all of these lessons together is your natural writing forces — how your own real-world and writer selves work. Knowing under what conditions you work best will help you set goals that make sense and are “growable” for maximum productivity and wins.


The “Sweet Spot” in a Goal Strategy



Why Do Some Goals Fail?



How to Create a Goal Schedule



How to Use Plan and Action to Achieve Goals


Check out the posts and let me know how you’re managing your goal plan!

Have a writerly day!

What are Your Writing Fears?

Approaches to Storycraft

Let’s stay connected!

Don’t forget, 4amWriter.com will be shutting its doors in just a few weeks. If you’re following me here, I would love for you to follow me at my new stomping grounds: Kate Johnston | Author & Story Coach


Next blog post is up! What are your writing fears? Are they severe enough that they stop you from making any forward progress on your writing journey? Check out 6 Ways to Beat Writing Fear and let me know how you deal with yours!