Problems: Don’t Forget to Blame Your Hero

We all know our heroes have to encounter problems along their path–obstacles, detours, crises. But sometimes we forget that some of those problems, sometimes the most important, have to be created by the hero herself. Sure, you can throw all sorts of stuff at your hero from outside–betrayal from a best friend, a parent who […]

Breakout Novel Workbook: Getting Back to the Hero I Started With

“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” Okay, not THAT long ago. But long-enough ago, I knew who the protagonist of my YA historical was. I had an image of her walking at high-speed down the streets of 1910 Chicago, going fast, because that was what she did, how she moved. She […]

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 […]

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda…

Okay, let’s talk characterization. Or, more specifically, hero-ization. At any given moment, what does your hero do? You’ve opened a scene file, you’re stuck her in a setting, with a few other characters around, and you’ve presented her–via story–with a choice. She’s facing a path with two or three forks in it. Which way does […]

Jordan Sonnenblick: Perfectly Imperfect Heroes

My son and I have recently discovered Jordan Sonnenblick’s books. It wouldn’t be wrong to say I’ve/we’ve been on a Sonnenblick-binge of reading. Here are the books we’ve fallen in love with so far: Zen and the Art of Faking It Notes from the Midnight Driver Drums, Girls, & Dangerous Pie The heroes of all three […]

Somebody Else Says: Nathan Bransford (and Me) on Redeemability

Okay, I know it’s starting to feel like this is a bit of a cheating week for me. First, I the WONDERFUL and BRILLIANT Shrinking Violets guest post for me. (I know how much you all loved that, though, so no guilt here!). Then I resort to a visual image, no words, about my workday, […]