character flaws

5 Insights from Bestselling Authors

April 8, 2014 Writing Stuff
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The Desert Dreams Writing Conference always exceeds my expectations. However, not all of us are so lucky to have easy access to quality writing conferences, so I wanted to share my top takeaways from the conference.

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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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How to Make Characters Vulnerable to Readers

November 7, 2013 Writing Stuff
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Most tips for creating sympathetic characters point out that our characters need flaws. And that’s very true. But it can be a real trick to show flaws for characters who bottle up their emotions in an attempt to hide their weaknesses. While very common, that defense mechanism can leave very little for us, as authors, […]

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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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What Do Your Characters Falsely Believe?

September 26, 2013 Writing Stuff
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Last year, I wrote a series of posts about a fabulous presentation by Michael Hauge on “Using Inner Conflict to Create Powerful Love Stories.” But the teachings I picked up from the presentation went far beyond being applicable only to romance. Blogger extraordinaire Janice Hardy was in the workshop with me, and she wrote a fantastic blog […]

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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’s Your Superpower?

April 9, 2013 Random Musings
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Those of you who follow me on Twitter might have heard the news about my recent broken bone. *sigh* Again. I have a special talent, it seems, for breaking my middle toe. That’s right. Not the big toe or any other appendage that sticks out. Nope. I have to be different and break that middle toe […]

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