listening to characters

How Should We Deal with Character Stereotypes?

May 25, 2017 Writing Stuff
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Clichés, tropes, and stereotypes all seem like signs of lazy writing. And they are—or at least, they can be. But it can be impossible to avoid all instances of stereotypical elements. So what should we do instead?

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Diversity Issues: The Importance of “Own Voices”

May 18, 2017 Writing Stuff
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While all diverse stories are important, the stories that should be most encouraged are those from authors who can provide an authentic perspective. Today, Wendy Sparrow shares her insights on what “own voices” means and how others can improve their non-own-voices stories.

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What Advice Do You Ignore?

May 9, 2017 Writing Stuff
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There’s no shortage of writing advice out there for us to learn. Some of that advice is questionable, a few tidbits are outright harmful, but most of it is decent-to-good. Yet even if advice is good, we still might want to ignore it. Yes, really.

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Re-Envisioning: How to Fix Big Problems with Small Changes

April 20, 2017 Writing Stuff
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When faced with a scene with issues, many writers have the tendency to get rid of the scene and start over, but more often than not, the new scene has issues too. Re-writing won’t fix every problem, so let’s see if we can find a different approach: re-envisioning.

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Protagonist Boot Camp: Characters Who Drive a Story

April 13, 2017 Writing Stuff
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We might sometimes wonder if our main character is worthy of the label protagonist or if our story would be better told through another character’s eyes. So let’s talk about how can ensure our main character deserves the role of protagonist.

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

April 4, 2017 Writing Stuff
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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.

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

March 21, 2017 Writing Stuff
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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.

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Brain Science: Right Brain vs. Left Brain vs. Creativity

March 7, 2017 Writing Stuff
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Ever heard of the left-brain versus right-brain dichotomy—our logical, language-focused left brain versus our creative and artistic right brain? What does that mean for authors, with our need for creativity and language? Let’s dig deeper into this brain science…

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Are There Story Elements You Avoid Writing?

February 23, 2017 Writing Stuff
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The stories we write are affected by our worldview, but that’s not the only thing that might make us avoid writing about certain elements. By looking at the other reasons we might have, we can decide whether our avoidance makes sense or points out an opportunity to improve.

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The Most Important Question in Storytelling: “Why?”

January 26, 2017 Writing Stuff
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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.

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