I Don’t Know How to Finish

I Can’t Believe it! I’ve written a book! I’ve created people who ran around and did things, loved each other, hated each other, saved each other from danger. I love them ALL! Yesss! But I can’t seem to stop going back into their lives and “fixing” this and “fixing” that. Just in case. Two posts ago (“Blame it on Writer’s Block”), I wrote: We need to choose one story/book/article and be faithful to it until the end. When we getRead more

Not Enough Novel for a Novel?

Writing too many words as discussed in my most recent Post can have its benefits. But what if we need a specific length and don’t have enough words to fill that requirement? Develop a story or two to weave in. Make them form a “rope” or a “braid” toward the end. Trim off the “ends” (literally!) until only the Protagonist is left then have him/her ride off into the sunset. ta-da The End How Am I Going to Do That?Read more

Recycling Characters

Story Idea but Don’t Know Where to Begin? If you happened to read my November 7/15 Post, “Using Backstory without Using It” and took it to heart and tried it, you’ll be thrilled to learn that all your hard work might have paid off. Instead of sitting there looking at a blank screen as you try to begin your next work, grab one of those minor characters from your last novel — how about the gas jockey, the one yourRead more

Don’t Stalk Your Characters

Let’s ensure that our major characters live out their own lives while we observe, read their minds, and record. However … we must not: follow their every single move; look in the mirror with them; go to the toilet with them (unless it’s to see something unfortunate like blood in the urine or crabs in the pubic hair); go shopping with them — unless it’s to purchase a gun, rat poison, the wrong flowers (or flowers on the wrong day).Read more

Describe through Action

Actions Show Character and/or Motivation From Really Stupid Writing Mistakes: How to Avoid Them: Because we know everything about our character, we know why he does what he does. The reader won’t care a whit that Bill was frightened by a dog when he was three years old because that would get in the way of the story. But we (as the  writer) know that when Roger chases Bill out of the restaurant and Bill jumps that fence, and there’sRead more

Using Backstory without Using It

The importance of backstory cannot be overemphasized. It’s a real joy when we create a character that comes alive and starts going her own way, thinking on her own, and making decisions. When it happens, we can pat ourselves on the back. What is backstory? It’s everything we (author) know about our character that never makes it into the final product. Because? It has nothing to do with the current story. Why bother with it then? The more backstory weRead more

An Opinion for EVERY Character

EVERY character has an attitude. An author MUST show this through Action and Dialogue. Or Action Alone, never dialogue alone. Why? Mere chatter is not an attitude. We need to throw some body language into it. Every character has an opinion about what’s going on. Even the bystanders. Let the reader see it. Perhaps … A smarmy look from an Extra (or equivalent) in a crowd. The stereotype is the gum-snapping, confrontational waitress with a hand on one hip (let’sRead more

The TV Brain = Talking Heads

TV shows are talk-talk-talk. Movies are walk-walk-walk. Books are neither. Books are both. Books have the ability to get the reader right into the life of the character, “transplant” the reader’s head into the mind, heart and soul of the protagonist* but sadly, fewer and fewer books are accomplishing this. In order to have our readers experience the guts of the character, we as writers must be inside the head of that character, too, when we are writing. We can’tRead more