Crisis and Climax in Casablanca

Casablanca title

CRISIS vs. CLIMAX—what’s the difference? The two are often confused—resulting in a weak story structure . They’re not the same thing.  Oh, sure, you can write a story in which the protagonist battles her way single-mindedly to the finish line.  Protagonist achieves exactly what she set out after.  (Yawn.) The CRISIS (occurring earlier) readjusts the […]

Monstrous and Free


“Monstrous and free”… The phrase arrested me as I reread Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.  Marlow, the English river boat captain, is describing the jungle that surrounds him: “…there you could look at a thing monstrous and free.  It was unearthly…” I get the chills. Landscape as literary device—Conrad uses it to characterize Kurtz, the rogue ivory […]

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