Stephanie Bourbon on Establishing Your Writing Goals!

Our fave writer-illustrator-screenwriting-vlogger, Stephanie Bourbon, has a new blog, and you know it works here at TVWriter™ – when we find something as helpful as everything Stephanie does, we just have to share!

Writing Goals!
by Stephanie Bourbon

Good morning writers,

I hope you are amazing!

I also hope that you are writing down your writing goals for the week ahead. I find that when I have my plans or goals written out in a list I tend to stick to them and actually make them much more than when I say, “I’ll write whatever whenever I have time.”

That’s why for me #NaNoWriMo is so great. I always get an entire novel drafted. It pushes me to stick to daily word count goals.

Here are some quick and easy tips to make those writing goals work for you so you will accomplish more and get that draft done faster.

  1. Make daily goals-this can be word count or page count or scenes, whatever you need. Write them down somewhere that you can see them.
  2. Get an accountability partner to check in with. You don’t have to check-in everyday-there are no rules but whatever you want just check-in.
  3. Make the goals fun. Maybe you meet with your partner at a coffee shop every day for an hour, maybe you chat on the phone or via social media. Mix it up and have fun.
  4. Cross them off as you do them-this is like getting a star in school-just feels good.

Now for some don’ts.

  1. Don’t edit your writing as you go
  2. Don’t compare yourself to other writers you see on social media
  3. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make the daily goal–today is a new day.

I hope this is helpful and that you all have a very productive week!!

BONUS for reading. I have created a writer’s GOAL sheet JUST for you and it’s FREE!!!

You can get it heremake as many copies as you want, hang it up so you can see it and check off those goals as you make them! 

Happy Writing!



Stephanie’s YouTube Channel is HERE

And her Story Concierge website chock full of further instruction is HERE

Former Larry Brody student Stephanie Olivieri Bourbon has found great success as a writer, illustrator, and expert consultant. This article first appeared in her new blog at Don’t just sit there. Check it out!

Why protagonists need to be active

Nathan Bransford, one of TVWriter™’s favorite writers – and writing consultants – is here to tell us everything we need to know about creating heroes that work.

Now this is one active protagonist indeed!

by Nathan Bransford

I’ve been on a “story essentials” kick lately as I work my way through the latest round of revisions for my new novel.

One of the big weaknesses in the last draft: my protagonist wasn’t active enough through the second act of the book.

It is so crucial to keep a protagonist active throughout the entire novel. They can’t just want something, they need to be actively going after it.

Here’s why.

Readers invest in a character trying to get what they want

The whole reason we start caring about characters in the first place is because we want them to get what they want. We become invested in their quest, we become sympathetic to their journey and fascinated by how they try to overcome their obstacles.

It’s extremely difficult to care about a character who either doesn’t want anything or isn’t doing enough to shape their own destiny.

Along those lines…

If a supporting character is driving the action it will start to feel like their novel

Sometimes novels can get away from a protagonist. If someone else is making all the key decisions and pushing everything forward: it will start to feel more like that character’s novel.


Read it all at Nathan Bransford’s super helpful blog

Check out Nathan’s new book

16 Boring Verbs & Words Writers Should Use Instead

Another mighty fine infographic we found on the web, and if you use them correctly your readers might even believe you’re young enough to, you know, pay attention to.


Podcast fiction tips from one of the genre’s top creators

The writer behind three of the most popular audio dramas now available tells us how to move audiences using nothing more than dialog and sound.

by B. DeCesare

I had the chance to talk with K. A. Statz, co-founder of Fool & Scholar Productions and writer for the podcasts The White Vault, Liberty, and Vast Horizon. 

The White Vault is a horror audio drama that focuses on the disappearance of a research team at Svalbard, a frigid wasteland where secrets resting beneath the ice for millennia are more chilling than the unforgiving environment of the Arctic Circle. The “found footage” style podcast boasts a talented and diverse cast of characters and voice actors and uses dialogue and sound to create a terrifying story.


In 2016, Travis (Vengroff) and I went on a trip to Iceland during the winter. I was just out of university, so the only time we could really afford to go was in the winter off-season. So, we packed for snow and ice, and off we went. It was spectacular: black sand beaches, steaming saunas, fields of volcanic rock, and entire mountains of ice that spread on past the horizon.

It was also where I came to realize how harsh and neutral nature could be. All that ice and snow, those impossibly strong dark waves that could pull you out to sea like you were nothing, everything could harm you. It didn’t want to or need to, it just could. I loved it. This gave me the idea for a much different story, but over time as I worked on building something out of those ideas, it took on some supernatural elements and eventually became the story of The White Vault as it exists today.



It’s accessible. Anyone, anywhere, at any time can write a script and make a podcast. It’s this open-door to podcasting that has allowed so many great stories come into being. But, from the writing perspective, I enjoy the freedom I have to craft worlds and horrors. I create my script, but listeners do a lot of the work in their ‘Theatre of the Mind’. The creature someone creates in their mind’s eye will always be more terrifying to them than anything I describe.


Read it all at

What is a character arc anyway?

Nathan Bransford, one of TVWriter™’s favorite writers – and writing consultants – is here to explain one of the most overused, yet still mysterious, of writing terms.

Not a character arc, but a cool arch, yeah?

by Nathan Bransford

“Character arcs” are important. You hear about them often. But… what’s a character arc?

A character arc is the change that a character undergoes over the course of a story.

For example, a character might start off a novel naive and weak and gain strength and courage. Or they might start off confident and successful and descend into madness and despair.

Here are the elements of a story that underly a character arc:

  1. A character wants something
  2. The character goes on a journey (external or internal)
  3. The character encounters obstacles that force them to evolve
  4. There’s a climax and the character emerges changed

A character wants something

A character arc opens when you establish something that character wants. The reader naturally wonders: are they going to get that thing?

Readers are pulled through the story waiting to see if the character is going to get that big thing they want. These desires can be external (saving a kingdom, finding a talisman) or internal (redemption, ) or both.

A character’s motivation is the engine of the story.

The character goes on a journey

When the character wants that big thing they need to go after it.

This sends them on a journey, whether that’s a literal journey through a world or realm, or an internal journey such as battling mental illness or making a key decision.

Along the way…

The character encounters obstacles

It should not be easy for the character to get what they want. They should encounter obstacles along the way in ascending intensity.

The obstacles come in the form of other characters with competing desires (especially villains) and forces outside of the character’s control within the setting.

As the character encounters these obstacles, here is the crux of the character arc: they are forced to change and evolve.

Sometimes this means learning new skills, talents, and powers, and sometimes this can mean that the character is overwhelmed and begins to unravel….

Read it all at Nathan Bransford’s super helpful blog

Check out Nathan’s new book