listening to characters

What Makes a Romance Believable?

February 25, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Okay, so I’m a week-and-a-half late for Valentine’s Day and the topic of this post. I’ll “blame” the time I put into WANACon. *smile* We had a fantastic and successful WANACon though, with great sessions on many writing-related topics, so I’ll call it a worthwhile trade. I recently came across an interesting post at my […]

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How to Make Turning Points Drive Arcs and Themes

February 11, 2014 Writing Stuff
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Last week, we looked at turning points from the perspective of beat sheets—how to identify them and ensure they’re changing the direction of the story enough to deserve their name. But turning points affect the story in other ways too. Turning points aren’t just about plot twists. (In fact, plot twists come with a warning.) […]

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What Does “Happily Ever After” Mean to You?

December 26, 2013 Random Musings
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How were your holidays? Was Santa good to you? I’m still mostly offline, enjoying quality time with my family, so I’m rerunning this post from several years ago. My Christmas couldn’t have been any better, and I hope yours was everything you hoped for too. Of course, whether or not we’re disappointed often depends on what […]

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How to Strengthen Emotions in Our Writing

December 12, 2013 Writing Stuff
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Last time, we discussed ways to use The Emotion Thesaurus to avoid problems like telling instead of showing, head-hopping away from the point-of-view character, and clichéd writing. The fourth issue we touched on was avoiding flat or unemotional writing. This last one is a bigger issue than can be summed up in a couple of paragraphs. Whole […]

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Fix 4 Common Writing Problems with “The Emotion Thesaurus”

December 10, 2013 Writing Stuff
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A couple of weeks ago, Becca Puglisi, one of the co-authors of the fantastic Thesaurus books, shared her tips for using the new The Positive Trait Thesaurus and The Negative Trait Thesaurus books. Her advice can help us develop our characters at all stages of planning, drafting, and editing. But the comments of that post pointed […]

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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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Ask Jami: Writing Advice Podcast

November 21, 2013 Writing Stuff
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Yesterday, Brigid Ashwood interviewed me for her weekly Art Share podcast. On Art Share, Brigid speaks with authors and other creative artists about all aspects of the creative arts—from processes to business matters. She broadcasts live as a Google+ Hangouts On Air, which is then posted as a YouTube video so viewers can also catch up […]

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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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Does Fast Drafting Create Editing Nightmares?

October 17, 2013 Writing Stuff
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Last week, we discussed how we can plan our story and avoid writing a “hot mess.” With NaNoWriMo almost upon us, now is the time to think about basic planning for plot and character arcs so we end up with a coherent story. But what about the writing quality itself? NaNo writing—where we have the pressure […]

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