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Category: Writing Tips

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 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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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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How Peeling an Orange can Reveal More about your Character

How Peeling an Orange can Reveal More about your Character

I have this crazy theory that you can learn about someone based on how they peel an orange. I think I mentioned this to a friend, and he just looked at me weird. But I digress. Let me explain my madness. Everyone has a unique technique when it comes to orange-peeling. Previously mentioned friend bites into an orange to break through the rind. The thought of this makes me cringe. The taste of orange peels makes me cringe. I’ll use…

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First Impressions: The Secret to a Great Character Introduction

First Impressions: The Secret to a Great Character Introduction

It has come to my attention that not everyone understands the absolute necessity of a great first introduction for your characters?! Seriously, when you introduce a character in your story, a first impression is everything. A good intro will make a character easier to remember AND solidify whatever character arc they end up progressing through during the story. Basically, you can get a lot of work done in just this one scene, so don’t waste it! The trick? The key to a…

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