• Craft,  Motivation,  Nanowrimo

    Top 16 Close-Talking, Double Dipping Tips to Succeeding At Nanowrimo!

    Nanowrimo is National Novel Writing Month. For 30 days in November every year, hundreds of thousands of writers all over the world try to get 50,000 words on paper. In a perfect world, these words would be brilliant and profound. It’s far more likely that the words are a big hot mess. If you are participating, this is the perfect time to organize your ideas and get ready! The objective is to write as much as possible, you know, yada, yada, yada, not to be beautiful doing it. Sign up here so you can participate this November! I believe that the objective of 50K words in 30 days is doable for…

  • Character Development

    The 9 Things Your Main Character Needs From You

    Character development is one of my favorite things to do when I’m cooking up a new story. With the development of character, it’s like I’m meeting a new friend who trusts me enough to send me on an adventure. I need my character badly for, without him or her, I don’t have a voice for my story. But my character needs me too. I have the necessities to make them come alive. These are the nine things my main character needs from me. A name. This is obvious, and you can spend a lot of time looking at name meanings and overthink it to the point of ridicule, or you…

  • Character Development,  Uncategorized

    12 Mistakes You Could Make When Creating Narrative Voice

      Narrative voice is the voice of the narrator in a story. Every novel, especially those written in the first person, tells the story from a specific point of view.  If you’ve chosen a point of view for your story that is specific, you may find that it is complicated and difficult to keep the story only to their viewpoint. If done well, your narrative voice draws the reader into the story. The details of the thoughts and dialogue work together to make the narrator a sympathetic or likable character. But if the narrative voice is put together thoughtlessly, your reader may bore quickly, dismiss the narrator and possibly discard your…

  • Character Development

    Five Character Types That Make Great Antagonistic Forces

    The protagonist pushes forward, but the antagonistic force pushes back. An antagonistic force is a person in your story who is opposing your protagonist, either in small, accidental ways or in big obvious ones. Because of the contrast and the potential for great conflict, you want to develop your antagonist as richly as you do your main character. These four destructive character types could make your antagonist richer and even more realistic.     Little Miss Victim: Their life is so, so hard. This person has mastered the art of getting others to do their work for them. They may not even realize that they are their own worst enemy. In…

  • Character Development

    16 Questions About Body Language & Appearance For Your Character

      You’re an author, so your job is to fully communicate what your main character are thinking, doing, or even hiding. Often you can do this in the way that you describe their body language. In your first scene, your main character, Roy, might have just gotten his car stolen from someone he trusted. He’s going to show this in the way he stands and holds his duffle bag of clothes. Later, when he’s flirting with a cute girl in the Wal-Mart parking lot, he stands a different way entirely. He may offer her a piece of chewing gum in such a way that it feels more like a proposition.…

  • Craft

    Why Mutually Exclusive Desires Make Great Conflicts

      Your story should be jammed packed with conflicts. You should have conflicts about the setting, like the tropical storm that’s been seen down south is heading north and could turn into a hurricane. Or, you could have conflicts about every day life, like maybe the cat is missing and he has a history of getting caught in small spaces. Also, you could have conflicts involving sickness, like a character with Crohn’s disease can’t stop eating animal crackers. Or maybe a conflict regarding money: the bank may foreclose on the family homestead any minute now. A great story has many kinds of conflicts all layered on each other, each eating…

  • Character Development

    7 Defense Mechanisms You Could Give To Your Character

    You’ve picked out your character’s eye color, hair color, and favorite ice cream. You have even chosen their personality type, their deep dark secret, and deepest fear. You certainly haven’t ignored their greatest desire and figured out how their objective in the story works with, or against, this desire. So have you thought about adding a few defense mechanisms? A defense mechanism is a way that we handle stress. Defense mechanisms are often involuntary and can be seen as a form of self-deception. Your main character needs one or two because he shouldn’t be perfect. They should have a reason that they react to certain situations certain ways. They also…

  • Craft,  Organization

    Ten Questions To Ask Before Writing An Interesting Scene

    In a novel, what is a scene? A scene is a small increment of the story that progresses the story forward. A novel is full of them. And while this may seem obvious, they ain’t easy to write. Have you written a scene and not known where to start? Ask yourself these ten questions! The purpose of a scene is to put the characters in a new situation in which they are either pushed toward or pulled away from their objectives. Your scenes are the necessary steps that the characters take for the advancement of the story. Your characters could be in the scene deliberately, say Betty and Veronica arrived…

  • Character Development,  Craft,  Uncategorized

    Eighteen Ways To Write An Emotionally Abusive Villain

        Let’s say you want to write a villain who doesn’t wear black, doesn’t have a weapon and doesn’t do all the things that typical baddies do.You want an emotionally abusive villain. Emotionally abusive villains are scarier than the Darth Vader types, in my humble opinion. They can play with a person’s mind, trick them into thinking that they are safe, twist their reality and torture their soul. In real life and in real literature  emotionally abusive villains have been responsible for all kinds of evil. Often emotional abusers are subtle. They don’t go for the obvious name calling. Instead they want to be see as following the letter…

  • Craft,  Revising and Editing,  Uncategorized

    Does Your Backstory Make Your Readers Stabby?

    Backstory? Oh yes, you’ve been working on that character’s backstory for months! You’ve written thousands of words of backstory! You know how his parents met, how he got that scar on his pasty white tuckus, and why he gets all shaky and whiny when he’s served enchiladas. This is all important stuff you told yourself as you dumped it out into the first chapter of your work-in-progress. It sets the stage! The readers can really know him! This will make the story richer! Your character’s backstory may have bored your reader to tears. They left after the second or third page. They want a story: they don’t want genealogical report or long-winded…

  • Craft,  Revising and Editing,  Uncategorized

    Four Reasons Why Authors Shouldn’t Be Nice In Their Stories

    Nice authors can be dull ones. I think that authors should be well-behaved and respectful. They should have great ethics and never be undignified or rude in public where their readers can see them. I fully believe that an author’s brand is far too fragile (especially in this competitive market) to risk alienation by their readers for their bad behavior. But when it comes their writing, authors need to stop being meek. Instead they should be as mean as they can possibly be within the confines of their genre. If well-mannered authors carry their sweetness into their stories too much, they risk weakening their books. Nice people can make dull…

  • Character Development,  Craft,  Inspiration,  Uncategorized

    5 Super Powers & 5 Sources of Kryptonite for Abused Characters

      Super powers always come from somewhere. Does your main character have super powers? If your main character has a history of abuse then you may have a super hero on your hands. This isn’t just the stuff of Marvel Comics. In real life, victims of abuse — at least those that have sought therapy, identified all facets of their past, and dealt with their pain — often display super powers that ordinary mortals don’t. These superpowers came from years of practice. They’re survival skills turned up to eleven. If you have a character whose past is particularly tragic, consider using some of these characteristics to portray them. Keep in…

  • Craft,  Work-In-Progress

    Top 10 Things To Give Your Characters That Will Make Them More Vivid

    by Katharine Grubb, 10 Minute Novelist Forget about hair color and broad shoulders and kissable lips. The best stories have characters  that are complex,  well drawn and have such interesting inner and outer struggles that readers can’t help but be fascinated by them. There are hundreds of ways to develop character, from figuring out their favorite ice cream flavors to starting with an archetype and building on it. This is just one little list to set you thinking.  If you only manage a couple of these, your characters will be more vivid, more interesting and strong enough to carry a reader through your story. 1. Give them a secret that…

  • Craft,  Genre

    Top 10 Signs You May Be A Literary Writer (For Those of Us Who Are Genre Confused)

    You’re writing a book and all of your hundreds of readers want to know. “What’s it about?” And you, gather them around you, adjust your cravat, look over your half moon glasses that are pretentiously hanging from a gold chain around your neck and you say, “I’m not really sure.” Why can’t you explain? It’s because your story seems to transcend certain genres, it’s a journey or it’s an introspective. Words like “romance” or “fantasy” don’t seem big enough. You, dear writer, could be writing literary fiction! But you say, “I don’t want to write literary fiction! I know the market for these kinds of stories! I have nightmares that…