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Category: All Writing Tips

From character development to forging a plot, find all the writing tips and advice you need right here! The Character Comma helps you deepen your novel and create compelling story lines that keep readers hooked cover to cover. It all starts with reading up on writing tips and seeing which ones best apply to your novel.

Romance Roadmap: How to Pace an Enticing Romantic Side Plot

Romance Roadmap: How to Pace an Enticing Romantic Side Plot

Who else is a sucker for slow-burn romances? I don’t necessarily mean just in romance novels. Any fiction story with a love interest can benefit from an enticing, tension-filled romance. Just like any sub plot, cultivating a romantic side plot adds depth and emotional appeal to your story. …that is, as long as you do it correctly! Unless you’re writing some kind of soulmate story, you shouldn’t have your characters be strangers one page and madly in love the next….

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3 Easy Ways to Torture your Characters (And your Readers)

3 Easy Ways to Torture your Characters (And your Readers)

To be honest, a lot of readers want to be tortured. They want you to tear their still-beating hearts from their chests and stomp them on the ground. You need to give them some happiness too, and it boils down to the same point: they want you to evoke an emotional response in them. The best novels are emotionally manipulative. They can convince you to like a character, then laugh as that character betrays you. They want you to absolutely…

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The 6 Basic Stages of Character Change

The 6 Basic Stages of Character Change

Creating character arcs comes hard to a lot of writers. We write a character one way for a bit, and then POOF, they’ve changed. People don’t just change overnight! You know that, but it’s easier said than done. Strong character arcs are complex and take time to craft, but the core of all character arcs fall along the same few points. There’s a process that’s been proved by science. Even if the change is fast, there are steps and there’s…

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Friends, Not Love Interests: How to Avoid Unintentional Romantic Subtext

Friends, Not Love Interests: How to Avoid Unintentional Romantic Subtext

There’s some saying that no matter what, when you put two people in a room together, people will want them to fall in love. Among fandom circles, two characters don’t even need to be in the same universe! No matter what you do, if you’re writing two people as friends and not romantic interests (especially if one is male, the other is female), there will still be readers who want them together. Why even bother trying to keep a clear…

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Large Character Casts: How to Put your Characters Temporarily Elsewhere

Large Character Casts: How to Put your Characters Temporarily Elsewhere

Do you ever have scenes with 6+ people and you can’t seem to juggle them all? Sometimes I have several characters in the same fictional room, but the scene is short enough that I just can’t make them all important. They’re only there because, well, where else would they be? If my characters all follow the action, won’t they all always be in the same spot? Or do you ever want to get 2-3 characters in a scene together for…

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62 Character Flaws for Creating a Well-Balanced Character

62 Character Flaws for Creating a Well-Balanced Character

Sometimes, a character is only as strong as their weakest point, AKA, their character flaws. It sounds strange when put in those words, but think about it: do you like a story more for its plot, or its characters? Most people would answer “characters.” Plot is definitely important, but in well-written stories even the plot is just a way to push the characters farther and force them to make hard decisions and grow and improve as a person. A lot…

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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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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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19 Questions for Creating a New Plot-Relevant Character

19 Questions for Creating a New Plot-Relevant Character

To be honest, in the past I’d never given much thought to how to create a new character. They just kind of happened, based on what my story needed at that time. For the sake of this blog post, I actually made an effort to track the steps as I created character. My findings: It boiled down to asking a lot of questions. Questions about who they are, what they want, how they fit into everything that’s going on. First…

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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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