(Good) Reasons for Combining Characters

And, no, combining characters so you can finish up sooner with the Secondary Characters exercise in Donald Maass’ Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook, does not count as a good reason. Still…that’s when I ended up doing it. I’ve been working for a while now on the Secondary Characters exercise in the workbook. Maass only requires […]

Plot-Driven vs. Character-Driven

Warning: This post may be a bit rambly and confusing. It’s one of those where I’m going to be thinking as I type, trying to figure out a few things. I can’t tell you yet whether the post will end with a conclusion or a questions. Or a dozen questions. Oh, well. Feel free to […]

Characters: When Do You Listen & When Do You Give a Little Push?

I’ve got this protagonist. Well, actually, I don’t yet. She’s a good kid, she’s trying to be active, and, overall, I think she’s a likeable hero. The thing is, she isn’t coming onto the page–YET!–as I want her to. She’s a little young. And a little naive. Which might be okay, if I were writing […]

Writing Lessons from Tiffany Aching

Okay, Tiffany Aching isn’t Steven Tyler. But if we’re learning anything from Jo Knowles’ “unintentional blog series” about Tyler, it’s that writing advice comes where you find it. And, probably, most people would agree that Terry Pratchett would be right up there with authors we could all learn from. BTW, if you didn’t know who […]

Houston, We Have a Problem.

I’m baaack! I had a wonderful time at the 2011 Pennwriters Conference, and I’m going to do a more complete post about it later this week. This morning, I’m going to talk about one of the revelations I had at one particular workshop, and what I’m going to do about it. First, a quick reminder […]

Cause: The All-Important WHY

Those of you who’ve been reading this blog for a while know I’m a plotter. I had to “pants” for a while on the first draft of this WIP, and it was not a happy place for me. Effective, yes, but not happy. So, of course, I’m in love with being back to plotting as […]

Today, Character Definitely Comes Before Plot

When I finished the first draft of my WIP and after I did the happy dance, I decided I was going to do some major plotting before I started on Draft 2. I had spent enough time with that exploratory first draft and now I wanted structure. Big time. So I opened Scrivener and I […]

Looking for an Unlikeable Hero You Love? Read CRACKED UP TO BE

I hear about this all the time–either in question or statement: Can you create a non-nice hero that your readers like? You can create a non-nice hero that your readers like. And I always find myself searching through my memory for an example. No more. I just finished Courtney Summers’ Cracked Up to Be, and […]

Dear Character: With a Bow to Janni Simner*

*Janni Simner talks to her characters a lot. I’m pretty sure they talk back. Anyway, if you haven’t eavesdropped on the conversations yet, check out her blog Desert Dispatches. And if you want to read my total theft of her posts and technique, read on. Dear Character Who Told Me You Had this REALLY BIG […]

Vagueness or: You Know, that…that…that…THING!

When I critique, I make a lot of notes asking for an author to be more specific, more concrete, to come up with a tangible image or object or action to take place of a vague word or phrase. And when I revise my own work, frankly, I love theĀ  magic that happens when I […]