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9 Strategies For Using Science To Tell Stories

The day I went from having to follow strict briefs to being able to choose what I wrote about was a watershed moment for me. It was a new, open-ended project in the beauty sector, with a broad, vague content strategy and the brand’s objectives to guide me. Other than that, I had free rein.

I charged full-steam ahead, firing off blog posts, product descriptions, email content. Naively, I just assumed the ideas would keep flowing. But very soon, the well had run dry. 

That’s when I decided to turn to science for guidance. But not for the data—for the story. This simple shift of perspective almost instantly raised my game as a writer. When I decided to pick apart just why it worked so well, I found it came down to nine core strategies.

At the time, I had already been incorporating science into the content I was writing for clients in the beauty sector—a statistic here, a study there—to back up whatever hair or skincare point I was making. This time, though, I wanted to put the science at the center.

But did it make sense to go this level of geek in the most aesthetic of fields? I had my doubts.

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how to write romance

The Language of Love: How to Write a Swoon-Worthy Romance

As February store shelves glow pink and jewelry ads twinkle on social media, one thing is as clear as a princess-cut diamond: Our culture loves love. Harlequin books sell four copies every second, and romance films make millions in theaters and on streaming platforms. 

In 2019, greeting card companies made close to a billion dollars from Valentine’s Day alone. That’s good news for romance writers: You’ve got a large, enthusiastic audience ready to be captivated by your love story.

Sizzling, sweet, toxic, or wholesome, a romantic storyline can be a dynamic narrative tentpole in your writing. Entangling the flaws and assets of two (or three or four) personalities with unique histories, goals, and values creates endless interactive possibilities. 

Weaving these threads into a rich, immersive love story might seem challenging, but don’t lose heart (sorry, not sorry). Whether you’re writing a script, short story, or novel, whatever your platform or genre, you can write a swoon-worthy romance into your tale by following a few guideposts.

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Margaret Atwood

Twice Upon a Time: How to Write Captivating Retellings

As the music swirled around me in the summer night, I sat entranced, a story fitting together piece by piece in my head. 

There I was, sitting in the botanical gardens, captivated by a fountain show inspired by the music of Swan Lake. As I listened to the incredible music, I read through the synopsis, following along with the tale. The characters spoke to me, eager for their stories to be expanded upon. The original ballet had captured much, but so much more could be done, I realized. 

That was the beginning of my first novel project.

To retell a story is to grasp its essence—its themes, its characters, its aesthetics, and overarching story—and bring it to your audience in a new, exciting light. Retelling is not remaking but taking a story and twisting it into something you can call new and your own.

It is important that you are retelling a story, not remaking it. A remake is the same story, with very few elements changed. For example, Disney’s Cinderella (2015) is a remake of their movie, Cinderella (1950). The 2015 film was a live-action remake, keeping the same characters and key points of the story, just telling it in a different visual way. 

A remake is permissible but does not bring anything new to the audience. What readers want to see is a retelling: a story they are familiar with told with new twists.

If you’ve ever read or watched a great story and thought, “what if…?” you might be ready to write a retelling. Let’s look at how to choose a story, what missteps to avoid, the rules for retelling, and the methods you need to know.

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life-work balance writing

Writing Beyond Passion: How To Write Better and Still Maintain Life-Work Balance

Being passionate about something often qualifies as the threshold separating those who are serious about every aspect of the subject matter and those who merely do something for fun. Having a writing passion is considered akin to being a dedicated writer who has a vastly better chance to be successful. 

But is that assumption correct?

To answer that properly, it’s important to understand that “passion”—not to mention “success”—is a vague concept; it can mean different things to different people. As a result, we first need to define both success and passion.

In this context, I define “success in writing” very simply: It refers to being mostly happy with what you’ve written, feeling you mostly managed to express what you intended. Two central reasons are essential for understanding the dynamics involved in the keyword “mostly”:

  • The process is predicated on balance: A writer must be both pleased and yet wanting to improve.
  • Self-compassion is necessary: A writer must be kind to themselves.

So, what about writing passion? Again, for the purposes of this post, I define it as an excessive focus on one’s writing, or the fixation on a tangible target such as word count or number of completed projects, even to the point of obsession. Where “excessive” becomes “obsessive” is something we’ll return to in a while.

In this post, I’ll explain why being passionate about writing can actually be damaging to one’s skills—not to mention work-life balance—and I’ll offer alternatives that can help a writer improve their craft while still maintaining this precious balance. 

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