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Tip-heavy posts about writing skills and concepts that improve our stories. Sample topics: how to create a strong character, storytelling skills, information dumps, using point of view, subtext, using themes, building scenes, etc.

How to Create a Strong Character: Contrast Their Self-Image

Impossible 3D Cube

We’re going to continue talking about how to implement the list to make sure we’re creating strong characters.  Last time, we made sure that our characters had goals.  Next up… Are They Three-Dimensional? There are plenty of ideas out there about how to make your characters seem real, but I’m […]

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October 28, 2010

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How to Create a Strong Character: Give Them Goals

Atlas Holding the Globe

Last time, we looked at a simple list for What Makes a Female Character Strong based on The Female Character Flowchart.  But if that list is so simple, why does it seem so difficult to create a strong character?  Why do so many fail and fall into stereotypes? Maybe because […]

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October 26, 2010

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What Makes a Female Character Strong?

Hulk

There’s a graphic making the Twitter rounds called The Female Character Flowchart.  It walks through the different female stereotypes—from The Trophy and Damsel In Distress to The Shrew and Ugly Duckling—and it’s interesting reading.  The chart’s goal is to avoid those stereotypes to create a “Strong Female Character”. Some writers […]

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October 21, 2010

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Story Tension: Real vs. Fake

Worried Woman

In my last post, we had a lively discussion in the comments that prompted me to think about things authors do  to trick readers.  Some of these are good and some of them I call “cheap author tricks”.  What makes the difference?  Whether or not the trick is faked. We […]

October 7, 2010

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The “Matrix” Approach to Scene Setting – Part Two

Falling Matrix Code

In Part One, I proposed my Matrix theory for describing action and scenes in stories and talked about why it works.  In this post, I’ll explain how to successfully use the technique to add details, both with narrative and dialogue—and how not to use it. So as I mentioned last […]

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September 8, 2010

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The “Matrix” Approach to Scene Setting – Part One

Matrix Digital Tunnel

Last time, I explained how to avoid dumping information into stories and how dialogue is often used incorrectly to convey details to readers—the “As you know, Bob” technique.  It just so happened that my friend Simon C. Larter posted a related article with info dumps in dialogue that worked that […]

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September 7, 2010

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Banish the Boring Parts

Table Setting

Last time, I mentioned how stories—the good ones anyway—avoid the boring parts of the journey by jumping into the action.  Today’s post continues that “skip to the good parts” theme to talk about settings. Setting is the sense of time, place, and mood within a story.  Descriptions create a world […]

August 25, 2010

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