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Do You Have a Muse?

Time lapse photography of star trails and fireflies

All writers get their ideas from somewhere.  The question is—where, or what, is that somewhere? I don’t believe muses are entities like those venerated in Ancient Greece.  However, when my subconscious comes up with things I never saw coming and never could have consciously created in a million years, it’s […]

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April 28, 2011

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6 Techniques for Using Music to Help Our Muse

Girl with Headphones

Lately I’ve been struck by how similar music is to writing.  Both arts use a non-visual medium to create an emotion.  And often, just like writing, music is meant to create movies in our mind for a do-it-yourself music video. If you’ve ever watched a movie with the sound turned […]

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February 15, 2011

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When Is a Story Worth Writing? – Part One

Tree growing from book

Every story begins with an idea.  Sometimes this idea comes to authors out of the blue.  Sometimes a dream provides the spark.  Sometimes “people watching” or an overheard conversation will trigger the thought.  But no matter where it comes from, the idea kicks off everything else, like a seed from which […]

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January 18, 2011

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What Does “Happily Ever After” Mean?

Special Effect - Light Swirled like a Tree

How were your holidays?  Was Santa good to you?  I got a Kindle and quality time with my family, so short of getting an agent and book contract, my Christmas couldn’t have been any better. As I mentioned last time, whether or not we’re disappointed often depends on what we’re […]

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December 28, 2010

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Strong Character Wrap-up & Veteran’s Day

Puzzle with One Red Piece

Okay, what have we learned from the big series on creating strong characters?  To feel realistic, characters need to have goals, a delusional self-image, multiple personalities, flaws, and a reason for their actions.  Hmm…  All that makes them sound a touch crazy, doesn’t it?  (Not as crazy as I am, […]

November 11, 2010

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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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