Law 1: Be cruel to your characters

Obstacles drive stories. The crueller these obstacles are, the better. Threaten what they

tresure the most. This makes characters likeable, relatable, and gives meaning. Makes more


Law 2: End quickly at the moment of catharsis

Ending must provide catharsis, by releasing the source of tension at the highest point.

Muddling up the release of tension and creating multiple endings will confuse the audience. The ending must also distil the essense of the story and provide the moral. Creating that requires timing. End a story quickly, the last act should be the shortest.

Law 3: Trust flaws more than strengths

It's difficult to make an exciting story about an awesome power for long. You can make

endless stories about what characters cannot do. Writing a virtuous character does not

make them more likeable. People are attracted to rough edges.

Law 4: Show, don't tell

Let audience arrive at conclusions themselves with clear evidence: actions, dialogue and


Law 5: Reflect reality in fantasy

Even the most fantastical setting must be grounded in reality. Rein in any attempts to add

too many alien concepts.

Law 6: Make your villain the hero of their story

1-dimensional villains may suit simple minds, but to add nuance and rich emotional experience to your story, write a complicated and relateable villain.

Law 7: Weave foreshadowing into the plot seamlessly

The best stories are unpredictable. Audience wants to be led along a path with subtle breadcrumbs. In this regard, assume your reader is intelligent enough to recognise your clues. On the other hand, a twist ending will not be appreciated if it lacks any forewarning. You must learn the art of controlling potential energy- like a bow drawn fully taut, your plot must prepare it's twist ending with a graduated series of clues.

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Law 8: Structure your story around change

Plan your story into a finite number of acts, marking each with an irreversible action that shows an evolution in character.

Law 9: Subvert expectations

PIck a story trope, hint at it a little, and subvert it.

Law 10: Conflict is everything

The most reliable way to improve any story is to dial up the conflict between characters.

Law 11: Characters must learn from their mistakes

Law 12: Hero and villain must share the same goal

This is to build tension.

Law 14: Make bold choices

Be bold when writing plot twists and turns.

Law 15: Tigten relentlessly

Cut anything from your story that does not serve it. Be concise with writing and plot. Create a flow from scene to scene by tightening.

Law 16: Humour is always welcome

A moment of levity is wellcome when it distracts from a serious backdrop. A single well-delivered line can serve this purpose. Humor that pokes fun at your characters or some element of your story can be a way of exposing truth. It reminds audience they're here to enjoy themselves, and show you don't take yourself too seriously.

Law 17: Write along the line of Greatest intuition

People spot when you force plot. Nothing ruins immersion like an uncharacteristic decision by your character. Actions must be character driven

Law 18: Accord with Timeless myths

They're timeless since they're fundamental to human psychology.

Law 19: Build tension with Ticking time bomb

Tension grabs the audience's attention. Allow it to grow until it becomes unbearable. Your goal is to induce discomfort. Then release the tension. Use it within a scene or across an entire story

Law 20: Concentrate dynamic impact

Only give characters or scenes space as necesssary for the story. Don't give too much away about characters, unless necessary

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Law 21: Description is telepathy

Make descriptions as brief as possible, while conveying the sense of the environment.

Law 22: Great dialogue is about what's not said

Dialoge is the best way to illustrate conflicting motivations between characters. Dialogue is not for reporting, but to manifest the character's state, and it must therefore rely on subtext. Dialogue should encourage viewer/reader to discern feelings/facts but not just explain plot/facts

Law 23: Write proactive characters

Make characters who act to create the plot, not the other way around.

Law 24: Point everything to the end and beyond

The best stories move with deliberate pace. The most lasting part of the story is the impression it leaves. You can achieve this through subtext- try leaving details unsaid if possible

Source: reddit post


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