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  • Jordan Keller

What I Learned At Writing Group: "Yes, but..."


A friend taught me this and it totally changed the way I think about storytelling. This little trick is the easiest way to add tension, raise the stakes, and make your story exciting. It's also gotten me out of numerous blocks when I wasn't sure how to move my plot along.


I know in improv the saying is “yes and?” to keep the story going, but in writing try “yes but.”


Yes, your character reaches their goal, but what is the consequence?


Or


Yes, your character is faced with two options (a good and a not-so-good one), but they both carry the same weight.


Moments like these can help shed light on your character's motivations too. Quoting one of my favorite TV shows here, "Who we are and who become to survive are not the same people" and it can be cool to showcase the different sides of your characters and how far they're willing to go to achieve their goals.


In my book Wildfire, the main character Abigail captures her villainous rival but caused too much property damage in the process and was consequently fired from her sidekick position. To achieve one of her goals (catching the bad g


uy) she lost another (climbing the cooperate superhero ladder).


The stories we love would be so short if the characters didn’t face consequences for their decisions.


The next time you’re stuck in your work, stop yourself and ask, “Yes, but?"


And thank you Josh for the advice!





Wildfire The Rise of a Hero is available now!





Burnout The Rise of a Villain, the second book of the Ashes Over Avalon series, is coming soon.



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