Today’s Reading List – Now With Listening!

I’m a big fan of the Nerdist podcast, and they had an especially good episode this week with Simon Pegg and Joel McHale. If you love Nerd culture, give it a listen. Show me the (meta) data from Seth’s Blog by Seth Godin The Most Important Stories … Aren’t the Ones I’m Writing from I’d Rather Be Writing by Tom Johnson 7 Steps to Instant Motivation from FreelanceFolder by Tim Brownson Finding the Rhythm of Blogging from ProBlogger Blog Tips by Stephanie Krishnan 4 Ways to Shift From “Hard Work” to “Effortless Creation” from Dumb Little Man – Tips for … Continue reading Today’s Reading List – Now With Listening!

Plotting by Elimination

Master the Possibilities When you start a novel, the options are virtually limitless. A character can go in almost any direction. As the story progresses though, all of those options should fall away until the only option left is the conclusion. Think of your story as a tree. In the beginning, a tree is just a seed, and it can grow in many directions, both up and down. As you move along a tree though, you eliminate options. If you move up, you have left the roots behind. If you move past a branch, that branch is now behind you … Continue reading Plotting by Elimination

How Good is Your Bad Guy?

The Hero is Defined by the Villain The NBC show Heroes has a lot of problems. It never quite lives up to its potential for a number of reasons. There is one thing I love about the show though. I love Sylar. Sylar is the bad guy. Occasionally you get the feeling that he would like to be a good guy, but deep down he is bad. His essential flaw is that he craves power. Specifically, he craves the superpowers of the other characters and he has a longing to take them, by force, generally leaving the other characters dead … Continue reading How Good is Your Bad Guy?

Building Better Novels Through Conflict

Are your conflicts important and interesting? It is no secret that conflict drives stories. The conflict may be clear and specific (a meteor is going to destroy the planet!) or understated and perhaps not even overtly discussed (Ed feels like a failure). Whatever the case, conflict is at the core of any story. Something should be or absolutely needs to be resolved, and dealing with that conflict is what the story is about. Because of the central conflict, a number of smaller conflicts emerge. Here are some central points to consider when approaching conflict in a story: Why does it … Continue reading Building Better Novels Through Conflict

Are Your Characters Well Spoken, or is it Just You?

How Articulate Are Your Characters? Most writers are articulate. Because they work with the written word on a daily or near daily basis, and because they have a love of language, most writers express themselves well. Just because a writer is articulate, however, doesn’t mean that a character should be articulate. Adjusting your language to suit a character, especially in dialog, is vital to creating a realistic depiction of that character and vital for differentiating that character from others in the story. Words Reflect Background When most people think about writing realistic dialog, they think about things such as regional … Continue reading Are Your Characters Well Spoken, or is it Just You?

Mapping out your Novel’s Characters

See Also: Creating a Character Bio Sheet In much the same way that you need to outline the action points in your plot, you should map out the relationships of your characters. Creating the backgrounds for your individual characters is important, and I covered that with this series of articles about building characters. Here, I am talking about mapping out the relationships between your characters. The goal of this process is to give structure to the relationships in your story. Knowing the individual traits or attitudes of your characters is important, but knowing the history and events in the relationships … Continue reading Mapping out your Novel’s Characters

Writing an Action Outline

Outlines Make it Easier to Track Complex Events An action outline is a point by point outline of the events that you intend to have happen in your story. The action outline serves as a roadmap for your plot. It demonstrates to you how your plot will be driven forward. It helps you to think about how an action taken in chapter two might result in an event in chapter ten, due to the sequence of events it causes. The beauty of an action outline is that it allows you to look at the complexities of the different things happening … Continue reading Writing an Action Outline

What are Your Novel’s Goals?

Prepare for Success One of the preparations that makes writing a novel easier, especially a novel that you have to complete in a month for Nanowrimo, is determining the goals for your novel. What do you want to have happen by the end of your story? As you assemble your characters and look at your plot, it helps to think about where you want it all to end up. What is the final moment of your story going to be? What are your characters going to learn or fail to learn? Will the novel end on a success or a … Continue reading What are Your Novel’s Goals?