character flaws

Brain Science: How Do You Imagine?

April 26, 2016 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Brain Science: How Do You Imagine?

Aphantasia is the term for when someone can’t imagine something in their mind–“mind blindness” or not having a “mind’s eye.” As writers, this perspective not only gives us all sorts of story and character ideas, but it can also raise many questions about the concept of imagination itself.

Pin It
Click here to read more

Subtext: Creating Layered Characters

April 21, 2016 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Subtext: Creating Layered Characters

I’ve written many times about how much I love subtext, the stuff that happens between the lines. Subtext lurks in many aspects of our stories and helps immerse readers and add realism and tension. In addition, subtext can help us build layered characters.

Pin It
Click here to read more

Story Conflict: Villains vs. Antagonists

March 1, 2016 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Story Conflict: Villains vs. Antagonists

Conflict is one of those words we all think we understand, but the writing-world meaning doesn’t have the same connotation as the non-writing meaning. Yet it’s only after understanding conflict that we’ll see the difference between antagonists and villains in storytelling.

Pin It
Click here to read more

Does Our Story Have Everything It Needs?

December 22, 2015 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Does Our Story Have Everything It Needs?

After completing a story, we might face the question of whether to put in the effort to revise it. If we decide our story has enough promise, what should we do next? Does our story contain all the essential elements? Does it have the bones of a good story?

Pin It
Click here to read more

5 Common Myths about Emotions — Guest: Kassandra Lamb

November 10, 2015 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for 5 Common Myths about Emotions — Guest: Kassandra Lamb

We all have emotions, so we all think we know how to write them. However, sometimes the best writing comes from exposing an emotional truth that we’re hiding from ourselves. So the better we understand emotions, the better our stories will resonate with our readers.

Pin It
Click here to read more

Character Likability and Subtext

September 17, 2015 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Character Likability and Subtext

How are villains, character likability, subtext, and point-of-view all related? In many stories, our antagonist is a non-POV character, and for non-POV characters, my previous tips about likability will be limited to subtext. So even though we might not be trying to make our villain likable, we might struggle to make them layered.

Pin It
Click here to read more

3 1/2 Tips for Fixing an Unlikable Character

September 15, 2015 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for 3 1/2 Tips for Fixing an Unlikable Character

In writing, it’s difficult to balance “not enough” and “too much.” Not enough flaws can make our characters flat, and too many flaws can make our characters unlikable. Some genres can get away with unlikable characters, but for those stories that can’t, here are 3 1/2 tips to fix the problem.

Pin It
Click here to read more

Internal Dialogue: The Secret Sauce to Fixing Problems? — Guest: Marcy Kennedy

August 27, 2015 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Internal Dialogue: The Secret Sauce to Fixing Problems? — Guest: Marcy Kennedy

Internal dialogue is rarely discussed but can be the key to a great story. The skillful use of internal dialogue reveals a story’s emotions, characterizations, motivations, and overall arc. Internal dialogue provides context for everything our characters experience, which helps our readers know what the story means to our characters.

Pin It
Click here to read more

Tangents and Subplots: When Do They Work?

August 25, 2015 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Tangents and Subplots: When Do They Work?

My Elements of a Scene Checklist helps us identify whether a scene is truly necessary and contributing to our story by making sure it fulfills a story purpose. The same judgment criteria can apply to subplots as well. Let’s take a look at how can we make sure our tangents and subplots are adding to the story and not acting as a distraction.

Pin It
Click here to read more

Character Psychology: 9 Common Errors — Guest: Kassandra Lamb

June 16, 2015 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Character Psychology: 9 Common Errors — Guest: Kassandra Lamb

If we don’t want to write characters who are too perfect, we have to layer in a few flaws. That means we might be writing characters who are “broken” in some way, and we don’t want to get the details wrong. Luckily, I know just who can help us get this right.

Pin It
Click here to read more