character flaws

Creating a Strong Moral Premise for Our Story — Guest: Jeff Lyons

April 4, 2017 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Creating a Strong Moral Premise for Our Story — Guest: Jeff Lyons

A character’s arc involves change, but what exactly is changing? Today, Jeff Lyons shares how to ensure we’re not saddling our protagonist with generic character flaws to overcome, but rather we’re creating well-rounded characters with personal motivations for their struggles.

Pin It
Click here to read more

How to Make Every Story Idea the Best It Can Be — Guest: Jeff Lyons

March 21, 2017 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for How to Make Every Story Idea the Best It Can Be — Guest: Jeff Lyons

Some stories tell an engaging tale that’s entertaining but doesn’t necessarily feel deep. Other stories make us feel like we’re changed by reading them. Today, Jeff Lyons shares his insights into how to make each type of story the best they can be.

Pin It
Click here to read more

Story Structure: What Should We Do for Trilogies?

February 14, 2017 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Story Structure: What Should We Do for Trilogies?

If we’ve thought of writing a trilogy, we might have struggled with questions about how we should structure our stories over three books. Or how we should break up the plot and character arcs. Today, let’s try to answer those questions!

Pin It
Click here to read more

The Most Important Question in Storytelling: “Why?”

January 26, 2017 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for The Most Important Question in Storytelling: “Why?”

A common problem—even in traditionally published books—is Missing Motivations. A character’s goal can feel irrelevant if readers don’t understand why they have that goal. Or a character might seem stupid or unlikable if readers don’t know why they’re acting a certain way.

Pin It
Click here to read more

Editing Tips: Top 3 Story Issues — Guest: Naomi Hughes

January 24, 2017 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Editing Tips: Top 3 Story Issues — Guest: Naomi Hughes

Editor Naomi Hughes is here with the first post in a series to share her writing craft and editing advice. Today, she’s highlighting the most common issues she sees at the story level of developmental editing—and giving tips on how to fix those issues!

Pin It
Click here to read more

Backstory: When Is It Necessary?

September 13, 2016 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Backstory: When Is It Necessary?

We often think about the purpose of backstory in terms of “what do readers need to know?” But with that perspective, it’s too easy to include too much backstory. Instead, we might be better off if we think about backstory from the perspective of what the story needs.

Pin It
Click here to read more

Character Arc Development: Is There a Best Approach?

August 18, 2016 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Character Arc Development: Is There a Best Approach?

There are almost an infinite number of ways we can develop our story. As long as we end up with a finished book, our process works. And just like the variety found in the overall writing processes we might use, we have many options for how to come up with our protagonist’s arc as well.

Pin It
Click here to read more

Why Is “Unlikable” Often a Deal-Breaker for Readers?

June 21, 2016 Random Musings
Thumbnail image for Why Is “Unlikable” Often a Deal-Breaker for Readers?

A recent article about unlikable heroines pointed out that likability is often more of a problem for female characters than for male characters. While I’ve learned how to minimize those issues with my characters, the problem still rankles me.

Pin It
Click here to read more

Character Development Is a Two-Edged Sword

May 26, 2016 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Character Development Is a Two-Edged Sword

As writers, we do everything we can to make readers invested in our characters in some way. An invested reader is a happy reader, right?
Well, maybe not. Let’s take a look at the other side of character development.

Pin It
Click here to read more

Plot Obstacles & Character Agency

May 17, 2016 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Plot Obstacles & Character Agency

Ashley asked a question in the comments last week that gets at the heart of strong, proactive characters. Even in literary fiction, characters are usually faced with making choices, and whatever triggers those choices is where we’ll find plot and character agency.

Pin It
Click here to read more