I think I’m finally understanding what it means to develop that white hot center in a scene. But this “white hot center” only happens when you know what the real, real, real, real, real problem or issue is.

It is hard to find that real problem, that heart of darkness. It hides from you, lies to you and says that your story is about this when it really is about that.

It’s like playing hide and seek, like Bilbo Baggins searching for the white Arkenstone in a sea of golden words and glittering sentences. You’ll know it when you see it, but you just have to find it. And when you do … the light of your Arkenstone will shed its white light on your story trove. It will bring forth the seething dragon with all fire and teeth out from beneath the gold to stand with all his terrible glory above you. Why must we find our white hot center, our Arkenstone in every scene? Because finding it not only reveals the treasured beauty of your story, but also draws out the dramatic tension that makes the pages sing and tinkle like gold spilling down from the feet of a great fire breathing problem.

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The writer must let his reader into the heart of the main character, which invariably is his very own heart. This bearing of the soul is required, because it is through the main character’s eyes — his hopes, fears, yearnings, and sins — that the setting and drama of the story comes alive.

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