Many new writers struggle with characterization. If you’re trained in the literary mainstream, you’re taught that stories are about characters. In other words, the character is the “focus” of the story. That’s simply not true. Some stories do focus on characters, but many of the best tales don’t.
When you’re writing a long novel, sometimes as a writer you feel that you are getting stuck in a rut, that your prose has become repetitious, so it is important to find little ways to vary your work.
Many writers never have a problem with writer’s block, and so we sometimes say, “There’s no such thing.” But that’s not quite right. The truth is, there are various reasons why people feel “blocked,” which makes it hard sometimes to figure out why a writer is having problems.
Sometimes when describing a thing, it is almost easier to describe what it is not.
When describing anything—a setting, a character, or even a conflict—consider ways that you might bring that thing to life by describing both its past and its future.
As your protagonist struggles to overcome a problem, in the past I’ve talked about how the protagonist goes through at least two try/fail cycles. Early in the story, in an inciting incident, the protagonist learns that he has a major problem on his hands. He then struggles to resolve the problem at least three times, […]
n publishing, we have two different distribution systems. The traditional publishing industry has its editors, and they have contracts with the bookstores and with the book distribution companies that are designed to keep you from selling your books at bookstores—and these contracts are very effective.
As we write, I suspect that we try to express the world as we see it. In other words, those who are emotionally dead inside will portray protagonists who are very much like themselves, while those who are emotionally charged will try to portray people with rich and powerful interior lives, and both can be a problem.
Writing is fun, so fun, that some people think that it’s addictive. Like exercise or alcohol, you can come to crave it. Years ago, a writer named Charlie Brown wrote dozens of novels. One day he realized that he wasn’t making a lot of money at it, and yet he loved writing, so he started […]
Very often I have new writers come to me who have been approached by agents, editors, publishers, or producers who want to take control of their work. Sometimes, that’s a bad idea. Think of it this way. Suppose that you’ve spent a long hard year tending and watering your garden. At the end of the […]