risk

The Character Debate: Strong and Vulnerable?

August 14, 2014 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for The Character Debate: Strong and Vulnerable?

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.

Pin It
Click here to read more

Lessons from RWA14: Techniques for Sales Success

August 5, 2014 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Lessons from RWA14: Techniques for Sales Success

This past weekend, author Hugh Howey shared Liliana Hart’s self-publishing method, which she calls “5 down and 1 in the hole.” It’s easy to look at her self-publishing success (over 2 million ebooks sold) and chalk it up to luck. However, I heard advice that complemented her technique throughout the RWA Annual Conference.

Pin It
Click here to read more

The Value of Failure

July 29, 2014 Over-Achieving Perfectionist
Thumbnail image for The Value of Failure

My regular readers know I’m a perfectionist, but I try not to let it hold me back. However, facing various choices and issues in my writing career have forced me to recognize that sometimes I do suffer from a related fear. And that fear does hold me back.

Pin It
Click here to read more

The Silver Lining of Bad Reviews

July 3, 2014 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for The Silver Lining of Bad Reviews

Whether we pursue traditional publishing or self-publishing, rejection is a given for writers. Our choice simply comes down to how we’ll handle it. Will we let rejection hold us back, or can we see it as a sign that we’re doing something right?

Pin It
Click here to read more

The Danger of Political Correctness for Diverse Books

June 3, 2014 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for The Danger of Political Correctness for Diverse Books

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.

Pin It
Click here to read more

Is “Do What You Love” Good Advice?

May 27, 2014 Random Musings
Thumbnail image for Is “Do What You Love” Good Advice?

Life is filled with work that needs to be done whether someone loves to do it or not. I’ll be the first to admit that I write because I love it. But the problem with thinking that we should do what we love and love what we do—as a career—is many layered.

Pin It
Click here to read more

How Can We Show a Character’s Internal Journey?

May 15, 2014 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for How Can We Show a Character’s Internal Journey?

I’m a big fan of Michael Hauge’s approach to characters. His insights helped me figure out how to match a character’s internal journey to the external plot. This is often tricky, though, so let’s go deeper into how characters change.

Pin It
Click here to read more

What’s Your Fatal Flaw?

May 13, 2014 Over-Achieving Perfectionist
Thumbnail image for What’s Your Fatal Flaw?

When we write, we try to give our characters both strengths and flaws. Giving our characters a mixture makes them seem more real, more three-dimensional. Of course, the fact that characters seem more real when they have both strengths and flaws reflects that we are also a mixture of strengths and flaws, and sometimes our flaws hold us back.

Pin It
Click here to read more

How to Raise the Stakes in Our Story

May 6, 2014 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for How to Raise the Stakes in Our Story

“Raise the stakes throughout your story.” Advice like this is often given as though we all know what the phrase means. And on some level, we do know what it means: make the situation “worse.” But there are many ways to make a situation worse. As Serena Yung asked in a comment: “Would you define a […]

Pin It
Click here to read more

Should We Learn to Write Series?

April 22, 2014 Writing Stuff
Thumbnail image for Should We Learn to Write Series?

Many books recently on the bestseller lists have been part of series. From the Divergent series to the new cliffhanger and serial books, series are a popular trend. But what if we don’t naturally write series? Will we be left behind? The “lessons learned” section in my post about Beverly Kendall’s self-publishing report reiterated the […]

Pin It
Click here to read more