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character archetypes

Pitch Prep: How to Write a Pitch

Baseball pitcher throwing a pitch

This week we’re preparing for the Pitch Your Shorts pitch session coming here January 10th.  Even if you’re not pitching this time, stick around.  Today we have The Ultimate Guide to Pitch Writing.  (Thursday’s post will cover story openings.) The Ultimate Guide to Pitch Writing Pitches fall into many categories, from loglines […]

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January 3, 2012

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What Makes a Character Unlikable?

Frowning

Believe it or not, I sometimes actually follow my own advice.  *smile*  Recently, I helped score a few contest entries, just like I recommend in my post about why all writers should volunteer to judge contests. One of the entries was—I’m afraid there’s no nice way to say this—dreadful.  The […]

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June 21, 2011

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Make Your Antagonist a Force for Good

Sinister man

Wait…what? Well, we want to make our antagonist good for our story anyway.  *smile* Kristen Lamb has been running a fantastic series on antagonists (Part One, Part Two, Villains, Balancing Evil, Inner and Outer Demons).  She shares more gems than I can capture here, so definitely check out her posts. For […]

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May 5, 2011

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What’s in a Name?

Shadowy figure in a hallway

When we first get an idea for a story, the characters who will populate that story often start out shadowy and vague.  Either before the writing process (if we’re plotters) or during the writing process (if we’re pantsers), we have to develop those characters into something solid and colorful.  We […]

May 3, 2011

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Are Romance Heroes Good Role Models?

Couple holding hands

In preparation for Valentine’s Day, a recent USA Today article (5/14 ETA: article no longer in USA Today archives) gave the relationship advice that a man should: “look into her eyes, focus on what she says and really talk to her.”  Wow, earth-shattering ideas. Or not.  The suggestion to treat a woman like […]

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February 8, 2011

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How to Create a Strong Character: Let Them Live

Checkerboard Black Hole

Congratulations!  We made it to the end of the checklist for creating strong characters.  We’ve given our characters goals, delusions, lies, and flaws.  Only one thing left could go wrong… Do They Die Before the End of the Story? The flowchart specified that a character had to survive to the […]

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November 9, 2010

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How to Create a Strong Character: Use Masks

Question Mark in Doorway

We’re working our way through the list of how to create strong characters.  So far, we’ve ensured they had goals and analyzed how their self-image differs from reality.  And related to that contrast we talked about last time… Do They Merely Represent an Idea? Characters are often most cardboard-like when […]

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November 2, 2010

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