The Character Sympathy Hack

Today while driving I listened to the most recent episode of Writing Excuses, one of my favorite writing podcasts. The episode was titled Three Pronged Character Development, and you NEED to listen to it.

Close Up Editing & Assessment

Ashley Capes, a good friend and writing buddy, has recently launched Close Up Editing & Assessment, a service for fiction and poetry writers. Whether you’re looking for overall manuscript assessment, line-editing, or proofreading, he and his wife Brooke Linford have numerous editing, writing, teaching, and publication credits between them that they can put to use helping you get your work …

Brainstorming, Pt 2.

Jumping back in where we left off in Brainstorming, Pt 1, we’re in the middle of brainstorming a premise for our hypothetical fantasy novel. Spaghetti strand #3 is a good one, but just for fun we’re going to go back and check out the others. WOMEN IN POWER – Why would a feudal society be controlled by women? 1. Women …

Brainstorming

Some people just don’t know how to brainstorm. Jeff is one of those people–brilliant in many other ways, but with no natural gift for brainstorming. Recently, I spoke with another writerly friend who struggles the same way. At first, I was rather shocked. What do you do when you can’t brainstorm? Do you just wait for a brilliant idea to …

Music & Writing

When I was 13, my sister bought Collective Soul’s first album (Hints, Allegations, and Things Left Unsaid), and played it all summer long. As a result, every time I hear a song from that album, I am suddenly and very vividly 13 years old again. My brain has linked that music so irrevocably to my 13th year, and all the …

Prophecies, Part 2

This is part 2 of how to create a prophecy or any other sort of archaic text for your story. In my previous post, we talked about the basic elements of a prophecy (who? what? when? where? why? is there cake? is the cake a lie?). Now we can bring together those elements and start creating the actual text of …

Prophecies

Prophecies are a very common element among fantasy stories. I can hear you now.. “Cliche! It’s been done to death. Prophecies are so predictable (ha, get it?).” When paired with a protagonist that happens to be the ‘Chosen One’, yeah, I agree. This is a hard one to pull off in a fresh way. However, prophecies and predictions are present …

Villains

For me, villains are the most difficult characters to write. I find that I have to spend alot more time developing their character and carefully editing their dialogue than I do any of my other characters, hero/heroine included. It’s difficult to nail down a convincing “evil”. The world is filled with cardboard villain cutouts.. people who want to take over …

Naming Woes

One of the questions I come across the most on writing forums is ‘How do you name your characters?’ Naming¬†can be especially challenging when writing fantasy and science-fiction, because often you’re creating names for a society or culture that doesn’t actually exist. There are a lot of name generators around the web (which can occasionally spit out something suitable), but …

Developing vivid characters…

Sometimes it can be difficult to create a vivid, memorable characters who are all individuals in their own right. A cast of characters that comes from a single brain is going to feature the writer’s own personal preferences and bias–and this repetition can easily make each character seem very much like the last. We often look at characters in a …