listening to characters

Character Development Is a Two-Edged Sword

May 26, 2016 Writing Stuff
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As writers, we do everything we can to make readers invested in our characters in some way. An invested reader is a happy reader, right?
Well, maybe not. Let’s take a look at the other side of character development.

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What’s the Difference between Plot and Story?

May 3, 2016 Writing Stuff
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When we first start off as writers, if someone asks us about our story, we might launch into an overview of our story’s plot. It’s easy to think the plot is what our story is about. But with few exceptions, story isn’t the same as plot.

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Brain Science: How Do You Imagine?

April 26, 2016 Writing Stuff
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Aphantasia is the term for when someone can’t imagine something in their mind–“mind blindness” or not having a “mind’s eye.” As writers, this perspective not only gives us all sorts of story and character ideas, but it can also raise many questions about the concept of imagination itself.

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Subtext: Creating Layered Characters

April 21, 2016 Writing Stuff
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I’ve written many times about how much I love subtext, the stuff that happens between the lines. Subtext lurks in many aspects of our stories and helps immerse readers and add realism and tension. In addition, subtext can help us build layered characters.

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Want to Evoke Emotions in Readers? — Guest: Marcy Kennedy

April 14, 2016 Writing Stuff
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To create a great emotional story, we need to know not only the vocabulary of describing emotions, but also how we can evoke emotions in our readers. Marcy Kennedy’s here to show us how deep point of view can help us evoke those emotions we want within our readers.

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Writing Building Blocks: Paragraph Breaks & Voice

April 12, 2016 Writing Stuff
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From school, we’re probably all familiar with using topic sentences to break ideas into paragraphs in non-fiction, but the rules are different for fiction. Choosing where to put paragraph breaks is one of the most voice-dependent decisions we can make as writers.

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How to Weave Story Elements and Avoid Info Dumps

March 10, 2016 Writing Stuff
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Our stories consist of many elements—from backstory to dialogue—that each contribute to our story. Yet we can overdo those elements with an information dump. How can we include the different elements while making sure we don’t cross over into Info Dump Land? Let’s talk options…

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Story Conflict: Villains vs. Antagonists

March 1, 2016 Writing Stuff
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Conflict is one of those words we all think we understand, but the writing-world meaning doesn’t have the same connotation as the non-writing meaning. Yet it’s only after understanding conflict that we’ll see the difference between antagonists and villains in storytelling.

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Story Description: Finding the Right Balance

February 23, 2016 Writing Stuff
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For every aspect of our story, we have to find the right balance. One element many writers struggle with is description: too little leaves our readers floating without an anchor, and too much drags our story’s pacing. So how do we find the right amount and know whether we need more or need to cut?

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Nourishing Our Creativity to Help Our Writing

February 2, 2016 Writing Stuff
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Writing is an art form, and yet I don’t usually think of myself as an artist. But all types of artistic endeavors have the concept of a muse or a gut feel for when something is working—or not—so we might be able to use that general “artistic muse” concept to help us with our writing, especially when we suffer from writer’s block.

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