character archetypes

One Step to Better Writing and More Diversity

June 5, 2014 Writing Stuff
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The push for diversity isn’t about valuing diversity over storytelling. Or about meeting a quota. Or making a statement. This is about being a better writer.

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The Danger of Political Correctness for Diverse Books

June 3, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Diverse books are important—not simply for the sake of diversity—but so that by sheer number of representations, any one type of character isn’t limited to a stereotype. The truth is that we are all diverse. No one stereotypical character will ever represent us, no matter our color, nationality, or background.

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7 Tips for Using the Trait Thesauri — Guest: Becca Puglisi

November 26, 2013 Writing Stuff
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I have a special treat for everyone today! I’ve mentioned many times that I love The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi (of The Bookshelf Muse/Writers Helping Writers fame) for expanding my “showing vocabulary” when it comes to character emotions. A few weeks ago, I shared how their new books, The Positive Trait Thesaurus and The Negative Trait […]

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Using Conflict to Understand Our Characters

November 19, 2013 Writing Stuff
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All stories need conflict. As agent Donald Maass says, we need tension on every page. But that doesn’t mean our characters should come to fisticuffs on a regular basis. Instead, conflict refers to whatever stands between our characters and what they want. Why does it take them 300 or so pages to reach their goals or […]

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Help for Writers in the WHW Amazing Race!

October 22, 2013 Writing Stuff
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Remember when I mentioned last week that The Bookshelf Muse had become Writers Helping Writers? And how the phenomenal Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi behind the site had two new books coming out this week: The Positive Trait Thesaurus and The Negative Trait Thesaurus? And how they were going to have a great kickoff for […]

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Story Tropes: Should We Avoid Them?

August 22, 2013 Writing Stuff
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Several months ago, I saw a fascinating Storify by Carina Press editor Angela James. I meant to do a post about the issue she brought up, but I often have more blog post ideas than time. With my recent articles about subtext, genre stories, formulaic writing, and my guest post at Paranormal Unbound about tropes […]

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How to Use Character Flaws to Develop a Plot

April 16, 2013 Writing Stuff
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Last time, we talked about using our characters’ strengths to develop their flaws. But I didn’t get a chance to talk about how we could figure out the matching flaw for a character strength. Many of you are probably familiar with the Myers Briggs test, a well-known test that labels people with a four-letter abbreviation for […]

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The Thin Line between Character Strengths and Flaws

April 11, 2013 Writing Stuff
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Last time I asked you to share your superpower, that trait—useful or not—that makes you unique. Everyone shared some great stories, although none of us had skills that would land us on Cracked.com’s “Real People with Mind-Blowing Mutant Superpowers” list. *eyes the superpowers that made the list* Maybe that’s a good thing. At the end […]

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What If Our Story Idea Has Already Been Done?

March 22, 2012 Writing Stuff
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In my last post about Google search terms, I mentioned that we sometimes have lots of content around a search’s keywords and yet have never answered the question directly.  In that case, Google just gave us an idea for a blog post.  *smile* One search term that led people to my blog this past month was “What do […]

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What Makes a Character Unique?

March 8, 2012 Writing Stuff
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“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.” Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare Wow, Bill, you have no idea how ahead of your time you were.  I know it must be hard to believe, but hundreds of years after you made this insightful observation through […]

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