listening to characters

Ask Jami: How Do We Describe Characters?

October 28, 2014 Writing Stuff
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How we describe characters often depends on our story’s genre and what impression we want readers to have. When we’ve talked about descriptions here before, we focused on how it’s important to describe our settings enough to anchor our readers. Do we have to describe our characters to the same extent?

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Ask Jami: Whose Point of View Should We Use?

October 23, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Today’s Question: “How does one figure out which POVs to use and when? … How can I balance it out so that each character has their share of the novel without revealing too much or ruining the suspense?”

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Banned Books? Or Freedom to Write and Read?

September 23, 2014 Random Musings
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This week is Banned Books Week, an annual event sponsored by the American Library Association celebrating the freedom to read. Many have already blogged about the political aspects of this event, so I’m tackling this issue from a less serious perspective. Sort of. *smile*

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Are You an Expert? How Writing Changes Our Brain

August 19, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Recently, an interesting article discussed research on the brains of writers. One important finding seemed to match research in other areas, namely that experienced people think differently from those just learning the ropes. Being an expert isn’t just about knowing more.

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The Character Debate: Strong and Vulnerable?

August 14, 2014 Writing Stuff
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If we want our protagonists to seem heroic, they need to have strong traits. Yet at the same time, if we want our protagonists to be relatable, they need have vulnerabilities. This is never an easy balance, especially when clichés fill our heads about what a “strong character” means.

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How to Use Layers to Show Intense Emotions

July 1, 2014 Writing Stuff
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A “numb” reaction isn’t unusual for dark or deep emotions. In fact, it’s probably fairly normal. But it makes writing the scene more difficult. How do we show numb and deep emotions at the same time? How can readers connect to an emotionless character?

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Do You Discuss Your Work in Progress?

June 19, 2014 Writing Stuff
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I’ve often thought about adding word count widgets to my site but quickly resist the notion. My internal debate sparked a question about how writers approach their works in progress. Do you know which side you fall on?

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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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What Drives You to Write?

May 22, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Writing can be a difficult career. Writers can be lonely, plagued by self-doubt, faced with rejections that feel personal and judgmental, and expected to be good at everything (creative and a sales/marketing person!). Yet we do it anyway. We must have our reasons…beyond sheer insanity, I mean.

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