listening to characters

What Is an Alpha Heroine?

May 12, 2015 Writing Stuff
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I struggle constantly with keeping my heroines likable. Especially because I want my heroines to be on equal footing—power-wise—with the hero. In other words, I want alpha heroines to go with my alpha heroes. So let’s take a look at how heroines might be alpha characters.

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Revision Technique: Why Did You Do That?

April 28, 2015 Writing Stuff
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Everything we write should be intentional—the words we use, the events we emphasize, the emotions we evoke, the themes we build, etc. But when our writing doesn’t match our intentions, we might need trusted feedback that forces us to justify our choices.

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Should We Only “Write What We Know”? — Guest: S.P. Sipal

March 24, 2015 Writing Stuff
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One truism in writing that’s often repeated is “write what you know.” But that advice can be harmful—at least for fiction writing. I much prefer the advice: Write what you want to learn about. Being open to learning new things for our writing can enrich our lives—and be fun!

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How to Get Our Thoughts onto the Page

January 29, 2015 Writing Stuff
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Probably no one can claim to be an expert at making sure the cool character in our head makes it onto the page. We can only guess at how readers will interpret what we tell them. Advice can help us share our brain with our readers as much as possible, but the process will never—ever—be completely clean.

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How to Create Characters Worth Reading

January 27, 2015 Writing Stuff
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There’s no shortage of blog posts about what makes characters likable to readers. Yet readers still read and enjoy stories with unlikable characters. Why? Let’s take a look at what options we have for creating characters that compel readers to keep turning pages.

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Balancing Conflict in Romance Stories

January 22, 2015 Writing Stuff
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One of my commenters asked a great question last week that gets to the heart of the balancing game we have to play when writing romance. The characters have to be perfect enough for each other to make a believable couple, but there also has to be enough conflict between them to sustain a story.

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How to Use Needs and Goals to Appeal to Readers

January 15, 2015 Writing Stuff
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When we first start learning about writing, we’re often faced with a whole new language. Words like “beats,” “tension,” and “conflict” take on new meaning within the writing world. Such it is with the words “needs” and “goals.” Once we enter the writing world, those words become infused with extra meanings related to plots and character arcs.

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The Psychology of Emotions — Guest: Kassandra Lamb

November 18, 2014 Writing Stuff
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We usually want to keep the reader immersed in the story and keep readers’ interest by engaging their emotions. But when we understand the psychology driving emotions, we might be able to make those emotions more realistic or recognize when there’s a disconnect on a character’s emotional journey.

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Diversity in Writing: Researching Characters — Guest: Melinda Primrose

November 13, 2014 Writing Stuff
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We often write about settings or jobs or situations we haven’t experienced, and diversity among our characters should be no different. Today’s guest post is about how we can research and learn more about experiences for which we don’t have first-hand knowledge and avoid the fear of “getting it wrong.”

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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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