Character traits can be vital when it comes to writing a great story. As readers read, they are constantly making judgments, and one thing they are critical of is characters. Does he or she work as a protagonist? Is a love interest likable? Does the guide character guide well? In a story I was once reading, a protagonist […]
The most productive writers, I’ve noticed, aren’t necessarily the ones with the most talent or the greatest skills. They may not be the most physically fit or even the most motivated. The most productive writers are the ones who get excited by their work.
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.
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.
View previous lesson In the last lesson, I pointed out that most magic systems tend to be rather stale, that they don’t create a sense of wonder. We typically only encounter a strong sense of wonder when we come upon something new. In fact, wonder comes when we find ourselves in a strange situation and […]
The most popular books and movies of all time all have one thing in common: They transport audiences better than other books and movies in their genre. Usually, as in films like Avatar or books like Lord of the Rings or Dune, the tale transports you into another time and place. But the tale also transports its audience emotionally. In short, whatever emotion […]