Plot Development « Official Author Website of Melissa McPhail

Archive for the ‘Plot Development’ Category

An Amuse-bouche for Fans of A Pattern of Shadow and Light

As some of you may know, I’ve been traveling in Europe this month gathering a plethora of research for book three. Much of the third installment of A Pattern of Shadow & Light is set in the Empire of Agasan – specifically in the Sacred City of Faroqhar – which in turn is based on. . . Read More


Overcoming Writer’s Block – 5 Unconventional Ideas

As writers, we innately tend to know when our story is working and when it isn’t. I like to describe this awareness as a sort of resonance, but it could just as easily be compared to an engine with all pistons firing. A skilled mechanic can tell just by listening when an engine isn’t purring. . . Read More


Reviews, Writer’s Block & the Author’s Integrity – A Problematic Trinity

I’ve been struggling recently with a situation that arose from the number of positive—yes, I just said positive—reviews I’ve received on my latest novel (which, by the way, was recently selected as a Finalist for the ForeWord Book of the Year – yay!) It took me a bit to sort through just what I was. . . Read More


Building A Fantasy World – The Magic of Genre Fiction

  Many thanks to The Cover by Brittany for originally hosting this post on her blog.    Some fantasy authors cringe at the topic of world-building, but actually, it’s one of the most thrilling aspects of writing genre fiction. When we write fantasy, we become the Maker of Worlds. We establish our world’s limitations, its physical barriers,. . . Read More


Exploring Tropes – The Ultimate Evil Dark Lord

The word trope is defined in most dictionaries as “a word or expression used in a figurative sense,” but trope has become reinterpreted in today’s vernacular to refer to an often overused plot device.   The conflict inherent in tropes as they apply to genre literature is that many of these selfsame conventions are the. . . Read More


Exploring Time

Do you ever feel caught out of time?  I had a day recently where I felt I’d skipped out of the time stream followed by the rest of the world.  Like the needle on a record player suddenly dislodged backwards, I wound up running eleven minutes behind everyone else.  I felt constantly as if I. . . Read More


The Lie

I was reading an article recently by Sherrinda Ketchersid on The Writers Alley Blog, where she introduces the concept of The Lie. Sherrinda wrote: “Character development hinges on The Lie. You see, your hero needs to overcome something in his life. There needs to be some lie he believes that taints every part of his belief system, every action, and. . . Read More