Book Review: Gilded Cage

Book Review: Gilded Cage

Title: Gilded Cage Author: Vic James Genre: Young adult fantasy Release Date: February 14, 2017 (Preorder Now) Summary: Sometime during their lives, every citizen of England has a civic duty to take their slavedays—10 years of slavery for the government, so that the aristocrats can focus on governing. These aristocrats are known as Equals, and they are born with magical gifts that separate them from the common people. The Hadley family decides to take their slavedays the day after the…

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6 Tips for Creating a Likable Villain

6 Tips for Creating a Likable Villain

Sometimes I get questions about how to make an awful character (such as villains) likable. The idea of a likable villain is no surprise, since anti-heroes have been the trend lately. I think it’s an interesting subject too, since it blurs that line between good and evil. Lately I’ve been playing with the idea of redemption, and how far a character can go down that path of evil before they’re simply irredeemable, no matter how much they change and try…

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10 Tips and Tricks for Surviving NaNoWriMo

10 Tips and Tricks for Surviving NaNoWriMo

Yesterday marked the first day of the 2016 session of NaNoWriMo. For many writers, this is a day of terror and excitement. But by the end of the month, we’re all hoping to have the completed first draft of a novel… or, at least, a little more progress on one. If you’re asking yourself, “What is NaNoWriMo?”, then here’s a quick summary: NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Every November, writers across the world attempt to write 50,000 words…

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The 7 Key Traits of Enduring Characters

The 7 Key Traits of Enduring Characters

Have you ever read a book or seen a movie that had such great characters that even now, months or years later, you still think about them? That’s the real magic of storytelling. Being able to write a character that sticks in someone’s heart and mind all their life is incredibly exciting. Of course, what exactly sticks in a character for one person may be different for someone else. But there are a few trends. If you study memorable characters…

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4 Easy Tips for Cutting back on Word Repetition

4 Easy Tips for Cutting back on Word Repetition

When I’m line-editing my writing projects, I’m a HUGE nerd for sentence fluency. I don’t know why. Each sentence has a rhythm or cadence, and sometimes it just sounds wrong unless I phrase it just right. There’s good repetition, and there’s bad repetition.One thing that can affect your sentence fluency is word repetition. Changing up your word choice doesn’t mean you have to resort to some highly eloquent speech or anything. In fact, you should NEVER raid the thesaurus just…

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19 Questions for Creating a Plot-Relevant Character

19 Questions for Creating a Plot-Relevant Character

To be honest, in the past I’d never given much thought to how to create a character. They just kind of… happened, based on what my story needed at that time. At first, they’d come out of the oven a bit doughy and ill-formed, but over time I’d hone them into something a bit more substantial. Then I’d be able to go back to my earlier chapters and reshape that gooey mess to the distinct character they became farther in. For…

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Your Character’s Closet: How Clothing can Improve Characterization

Your Character’s Closet: How Clothing can Improve Characterization

What’s in your character’s closet? And not the skeletons in their closet (although that’s fun, too). Like, their selection of clothes. How much thought have you put into what your characters wear? Years later, I still remember reading a series of books where one character always wore loose clothing. He never wore anything tight around the neck. I hadn’t even noticed until several books in, someone else mentioned that he hated feeling tied down or restricted, and so that was…

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Staying on Track: The Pomodoro Technique

Staying on Track: The Pomodoro Technique

Like many writers, I struggle to stay focused. There are too many books to read, games to play, memes to laugh at… the internet is truly a curse for those of us who need to get work done. Luckily, some smart people took pity on procrastinating writers like us and came up with ways to get things done regardless of the distractions. One of these techniques that I’ve found, tried, and fallen in love with is the Pomodoro technique. It…

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Swoons and Wounds: Shaping your character’s internal motivations

Swoons and Wounds: Shaping your character’s internal motivations

All characters need a goal. That much is obvious, and something most writers already know all about. Without some kind of motivation, there’s not much left to drive the plot forward. But have you also given your characters dreams? Hopes and fantasies that they think about in daydreams? In a perfect world, how would this character be living? One of my writing teachers called these “swoons.” Swoons: Your character’s dreams and fantasies. When they space off, this is what they…

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6 Tips to Starting your First Chapter

6 Tips to Starting your First Chapter

That blank page sure is intimidating. And the blinking cursor only makes it worse! If starting your novel is to a point where it’s inhibiting your entire ability to write, then I say skip it. Try to start somewhere else—somewhere that excites you! That said, you’re going to have to write the first chapter at some point. And since this is the chapter that will either draw your reader into the story or scare them away forever, you need to…

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