Treating Storytelling like Problem-Solving- (Guest Reid Templer)

Dear World

Please Kill Me,

Top of the morning class! Well, it’s Tuesday and I’m lazy… (I’m not sure why I told you that. I guess that it might be because I just watched this Abraham Lincoln documentary and it has me feeling all goose-pimply about telling truth’s, growing a beard, wearing obnoxiously tall hats, and getting shot in the…You know what? Never mind.)


Today’s guest post is by a good friend/author/leader of the rebellion/ backup singer for Lady Gaga, Reid Templer.

An accomplished sociopath, Mr. Templer would like to take a moment to share some of his thoughts on writing with you.

I’m horrible at introductions but here, I’ll give it a shot.

*turns to big red curtain*

*raises wand*



*whispers to self*

“Damn it.”



Treating Storytelling like Problem-Solving


Those who expect writing to be a gentle breeze will abandon ship once they face their first storm. This typically occurs during the Second Act, when all familiarity of the story’s beginning has receded and channeled the writer into uncharted waters. Sometimes they know where the Third Act is, how they wish to reach it, and when they should arrive—but they’ve become stagnant in a scene of their own making.

1. Identify the Issue

My advice is to review your work. Identify the issue. I take unexpected twists and turns in my writing, but these can be as fatal as they are successful. More likely than not, I will have to forego whatever “advancement” I’d made and return to my own beaten path.

The problem, however, can be deeper. Are your characters believable? Do you care what happens to your protagonist, or is he merely a tool for your plot? Are you bored with what’s happening? Need a change of scenery? A roar of humor or a scream of suspense?

2. Generate Alternative Solutions

You must find a remedy to your problem. At this step, I like to jot down a list of things I Want To Happen, events I Don’t Want to Happen, and plot points which Must Happen.

The first category typically deals with an envisioned scene I’d like to bring to fruition, or a certain way I wish to introduce a character. The second grouping typically involves items which I had originally found wrong with my story. Everything which Must Happen encompasses vital plot points, character arcs, and other vital elements which support the story structure.

3. Evaluate and Select

Once you’ve narrowed down the possibilities, it’s time to brainstorm. There must be a way to advance, to push past the obstacle in your way, and you’ve already conjured tools which will help you maneuver around it.

It’s important that you avoid any repeated mistakes—that’s why you listed what you Don’t Want to Happen—but also remember what will excite you, i.e. Want to Happen. Boredom and stagnation are your greatest foes.

4. Implement

It’s finally time to put pen to paper and follow through on the choice you’ve made. Many writers can become discouraged at a lack of progress and hesitate to continue, but the difference between those who succeed and those who fail is determination. Problems are going to arise in your writing. It’s up to you to solve them.


-Reid Templer.


For more by Reid Templer you can follow him on Twitter: @ReidTempler or (if you’re into buttons) 

The Storytellers have endured an eternity of infertility. As gods and goddesses, the only way they’ve been able to create life is by forming their own universes. Pokeetle, busy working on his newest solar system, is stunned when his lover, Madeline, visits and announces that she is pregnant. The new life pulses strongly inside of her, and they are thrilled by this unexpected miracle.


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