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How Vulnerable is Your Writing?

Woman with hand out, blocking face, like saying "Don't look at me."

A few weeks ago, we talked about about branding and blogging and how to create connections with others.  People who feel connected to us are more likely to be willing to give our book a try or to help us promote.  Connected readers might become our front lines in our […]

June 30, 2011

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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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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: Give Them Flaws

Cracked Statue

We’re almost through with the list of how to create strong characters.  So far, we’ve ensured they had goals and contrasted their self-image and persona.  Next up… Do They Have Flaws? To feel lifelike, our characters must have flaws like real people.  Without flaws, our characters risk making our whole […]

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November 4, 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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How to Create a Strong Character: Contrast Their Self-Image

Impossible 3D Cube

We’re going to continue talking about how to implement the list to make sure we’re creating strong characters.  Last time, we made sure that our characters had goals.  Next up… Are They Three-Dimensional? There are plenty of ideas out there about how to make your characters seem real, but I’m […]

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October 28, 2010

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How to Create a Strong Character: Give Them Goals

Atlas Holding the Globe

Last time, we looked at a simple list for What Makes a Female Character Strong based on The Female Character Flowchart.  But if that list is so simple, why does it seem so difficult to create a strong character?  Why do so many fail and fall into stereotypes? Maybe because […]

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October 26, 2010

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What Makes a Female Character Strong?

Hulk

There’s a graphic making the Twitter rounds called The Female Character Flowchart.  It walks through the different female stereotypes—from The Trophy and Damsel In Distress to The Shrew and Ugly Duckling—and it’s interesting reading.  The chart’s goal is to avoid those stereotypes to create a “Strong Female Character”. Some writers […]

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October 21, 2010

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