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I need to flesh this out, but you can watch the video or scan quickly. Some of these are pretty similar to issues I raised in Book Craft.


  1. Frame entrance, show reaction
  2. Nice view, slow down, pretty music
  3. Force characters onto right path
  4. Anti-open world (corral readers)
  5. Treasure in every cave/behind every waterfall
  6. Clues, easy to see, bright orange (levels) – first, make them easy to see, then fade them out, make them less obvious.


  1. Every victory is delayed
  2. When hanging by fingertips… fall
  3. Increase challenges when they level up
  4. Information quest leads to favor quest
  5. Avoid fight if possible (at first)
  6. No cheat codes (can’t skip key scenes)
  7. Need more training, advantage or abilities


Can’t skip side missions (subplots) which do two things: deepens character art/personality so we feel deeper connection to characters; lighter and easier challenges that frame difficult moral decisions; which move the character’s progressions/moral compassion.

Is the side plot necessary?

  • Does she change?
  • Does she get a new weapon/ability/totem that will become necessary later?
  • Will it add future drama later, or heighten tension by revealing conflict?


14. Story recap between action. Discuss what happened, make new plans, remind stakes and obstacles (two different things – stakes are bad things that may happen; obstacles are the things that will stop you from preventing those bad things.
15. The sidekick/buddy for humor
16. Preface/flashback – establish skills of the character, heighten the death scenes
17. Addiction is dissatisfaction. Doing the thing even while not receiving the immediate benefits (delay answers, never satisfy, open loops).

18. Establish rules early with real example of harsh discipline, someone rebelling and getting punished. Maybe also show someone villainous that’s way too strong or powerful; or someone ridiculously cool and heroic – things the character will be amazed at or terrified of; but will become, and face.

I hope these writing tips are useful!

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