Tag Archive 'writing'

Creating Unforgettable Characters

Flickr Creative Commons: Grace Commons

I’m fascinated by personality tests, you know, the kind you run across all the time online or in magazines. I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs test twice (I’m an INFJ), the Keirsey Temperament Test (also an INFJ) and studied the Enneagram (I’m a 2). And while all of this is fodder for good cocktail party conversation and self-analysis, one of the biggest benefits of thinking about personality types is the way it’s helped me create characters in […]

The Lonely Writer

by Alice Popkorn

I feel lucky. I love being a writer and part of why I do is because it allows me to work alone, be alone. It’s not exactly that I don’t like being around other people (I do, kind of). But when I worked in corporate America, I couldn’t get away from people, couldn’t find time for myself. Maybe because I’m an introvert I love spending time alone. I am actually happiest alone and in my head.

But the […]

Outlining: Why I Made the Switch and Tips for Trying It

By Flickr’s Thiophene_Guy

Our guest today is Elizabeth S. Craig who writes the Southern Quilting mysteries for Penguin/NAL, the Memphis Barbeque mysteries for Penguin/Berkley, and the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink and independently. She shares writing-related links on Twitter and curates links for the free Writer’s Knowledge Base. Her most recent book is Death Pays a Visit. From ForeWord on Myrtle Clover: “The treat here is Myrtle’s eccentricity, brought to life with rich humor and executed…with breezy skill.”

If there are […]

The Gate We Should Have Kept: And Was Mystique That Bad?

 

One of the most perceptive regulars in #FutureChat, The FutureBook digital publishing community’s weekly live discussion, is Carla Douglas of BeyondPaperEditing.com in Kingston, Ontario.

And in a recent doing of the discussion, Douglas pointed out that writing, while once among the most isolated and solitary of careers has been made one of the most social by digital communication.

Douglas is always more graceful than I am in these insights of hers.

My iteration of her comment would be that the imperatives of self-promotion through social […]

Everything I Need to Know About Character, I Learned From Buffy

Which is more important, plot or character?  It’s one of life’s great dichotomies, like the question of nature vs. nurture or Coke vs. Pepsi.  And like most great dichotomies, the answer is:  all of the above.

So it didn’t surprise me when last month’s column on Joss Whedon’s gifts with plot triggered a discussion that quickly strayed over into his gifts with character.  I thought the question deserved its own column.

To recap for those of you unfamiliar with the Buffyverse, Buffy […]

Story Mapmakers (No GPS Required)

My husband can testify I am a horrible road trip wing woman. Put a contemporary map in my hand, and I’ll turn it topsy-turvy before I can decipher anything of travel assistance. The road names, byways, mile markers, and intersections all blend into a flurry of ‘huh?’ God forbid he ask me where the nearest gas station or fast-food joint might be. My traditional response: “Get off the interstate and we’ll look around.” We had a tent revival halleluiah when […]

Between a Blog and a Hard News Cycle

How Do You Know If You Can Say No to NaNo?

The Internet has mutated reasonable people into wannabe writers…We are blind to the harsh truth-light-radiating facts such as ‘half of self-published authors earn less than $500’, facts written about in newspapers by professional writers.

That’s Tom Mitchell (@tommycm on Twitter) writing an essay at Medium, War on #amwriting. I must thank my colleague in London, Sheila Bounford, for reminding me of it. It could have been lost in the Bavarian Ether: […]

Interview: Ellen Edwards, Executive Editor at Penguin Random House

I have been with Ellen Edwards at New American Library, a division of Penguin Random House, since I became a traditionally published author. In an age where writers often lament that they do not get edited, I can firmly say that not only do I get edited, but Ellen’s sharp eye, brilliance, and insights have greatly enhanced my work. She is a master at finding the diamond in the rough, and like any great coach, she encourages me to grow and learn […]

Two Pages Tell a Story

By Hana Carpenter (Flickr CC)

Today’s guest is Yona Zeldis McDonough, the award-winning author of six novels, most recently You Were Meant for Me. She is also the author of twenty-three books for children and she’s the editor of two essay collections. Of today’s post, Yona says: “I have written six novels and I want to share some of what I have learned along the way.  Writing a novel is a like being a long distance runner—you have to have endurance. […]

Pre-Writing: Discovering Your Character’s Secrets

Alice Popkorn, Flickr Creative Commons

I know a lot of you out there are gearing up for NaNoWriMo, and while you’re not allowed to begin your story until November 1, you are allowed to do pre-writing on your project, and frankly, I think pre-writing is highly undervalued, so I thought I’d talk about it this month.

The reason I’m a big believer in pre-writing is because until I have a glimmer of understanding of my character’s emotional landscape and internal settings, […]

Newton’s Third Law of Writing

Flickr Creative Commons: Geoff Ackling

Newton’s Third Law of Writing

 

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

 

Take a look at this passage from a workshop submission.  It’s set in the depths of the depression.  Mary Ruth and her family have just moved into a poor neighborhood, and she’s out walking past a home where two vicious dogs are tied outside:

 

     Mary Ruth slowed when she noticed a third rope tied around an old, leaning tree on the […]

O, Brave New (Adult) World!

“Emergence” by Alice Popkorn (Flickr)

Today’s guest is Lorin Oberweger. Lorin has been an independent editor and story development coach for almost twenty years, and her company Free Expressions also offers some of the country’s most highly regarded writing workshops. Lorin and New York Times Bestselling Author Veronica Rossi—writing together as Noelle August—are launching their new adult trilogy this month, beginning with the novel Boomerang. Says Lorin, “Noelle August is an anagram for Veronica Rossi and Lorin Oberweger. Just kidding, it’s […]