John G. Hartness
So I’m a little (a lot) like Simon Cowell on old episodes of American Idol. I’m snarky, sometimes biting, and I don’t suffer fools lightly. I might or might not unleash a little of that in this week’s episode of Literate Liquors, when I give some tips to beginning writers on how to write better. Or as I tend to put it – suck less. I have a lot of people that ask me to read things, and a lot of the time my response is simply – this isn’t written well. So this week I go over a few things that writers need to avoid doing in order to craft tighter stories, create better tension, and generally suck less. Because the less you suck, the more you sell!
Literate Liquors Episode 18 is available here.
By the by, the second in my Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter novella series […]
Continue reading New Release & Literate Liquors Episode 18 – Writing Tips for Beginners
Yep, it’s Thursday! I’m baaaaaack!
And yes — Dark Heir is out and doing well.
If our main characters are to blossom, then they have to have a function and the weapons to accomplish the goal you, the writer, sets for them. Function: Jane is necessary to stem the vamp war with the European Vampires, a war she knows nothing of when the series starts. Weapons: She has the desire, developing skill sets and the family she is building to fight evil. When she realizes that her friends and godchildren are potentially threatened, she also has the desire to fight.
So if look at characterization from the standpoint of strengths and weaknesses, we can easily take a character—any character—and show them developing by simply letting the plot points challenge the character’s weaknesses.
Last week we looked at Jane Yellowrock’s traits, so this week let’s look at them again, […]
Continue reading Character Development – Show Me – Jane and Beast — PART TWO
Hey Everyone! Long Time No POST!
Back in (gasp) January 2009, I wrote about character development and how I created and developed Thorn St. Croix for the Rogue Mage series. (That was about the novels BloodRing, Seraphs, and Host ) But I can’t find where I ever did a post on how I created Jane and Beast in the Jane Yellowrock series. New book, DARK HEIR, coming out April 7th, By the way.
If you’ve ever heard me on a panel or teaching a seminar on character and character development, you’ve heard me say (probably ad nauseam) Your character has one great strength and one great weakness. The weakness makes the conflict worse, the strength and developing strengths saves the character and resolves the plot’s conflict. This is called the marriage of character development and conflict.
There are specific, identifiable parts to strength and weakness Characterization…. These are called […]
Continue reading Character Development – Show Me – Jane and Beast
I’m sure that some of you saw the title of this post and groaned. I have written about point of view on this site quite a bit. I talk about point of view on panels and in writing workshops all the time. I have said again and again that, to my mind, point of view is the single most important narrative tool we have at our disposal, because it brings together character development AND plot AND setting. How does it do this? By coloring all that our readers experience with the emotions, thoughts, perceptions, and knowledge of our point of view characters. You’ve heard all of this before, and many of you are probably sick to death of it. Sorry. But it really is important . . .
I’m not going to give you the whole “Here’s why I care so much about point of view” thing today. I’m sure […]
Continue reading David B. Coe: Point of View, Voice, and the Choices We Make
Last week I re-introduced you to my upcoming novel, Spell Blind, which is the reincarnation of a book I wrote a long time ago, and the culmination of years of writing, reinvention, and revision. I have always loved the characters, but it wasn’t until I came up with a new plot and, more importantly, a new magic system that the novel and its sequels became all that I wanted them to be.
What I love most about all the books in the Case Files of Justis Fearsson are the characters and their interactions. And I intend to write a couple of posts about them (Spell Blind comes out January 6, so I’m going to be showing up here at Magical Words throughout December and January; we have plenty of time to cover a bunch of topics) and about other elements of the story as well. But today I want to […]
Continue reading David B. Coe: Openings, Hooks, and Breaking Rules
Everyone always says, “write what you know.” But how many of us are actually heroic men and women, ready to charge into danger to save others? How many of us are dashing swashbucklers, as quick with a quip as with a rapier? How many are hyper-observant detectives, able to notice the most minute details and instantly analyze everyone we meet?
In short, how are we supposed to write what we know and still write engaging, interesting characters?
Then there’s the other side the coin. If every character we write is shy, reclusive, uncomfortable around new situations or strangers, allergic to shellfish, irrationally afraid of green cars and striped umbrellas, and whatever odd little quirks we ourselves have, that’s going to get awfully repetitious—and awfully boring—after the second or third character. But if we’re supposed to write what we know, how can we convincingly write any character who isn’t exactly like […]
Continue reading Aaron Rosenberg: Writing Characters Who Aren’t Like You . . . Completely
I’m pretty sure that if I didn’t run I wouldn’t be a professional writer. Strike that. I’m 100% sure that if I didn’t run I wouldn’t be a professional writer.
See, when I was 12 years I read The Lord of the Rings for the first time and I decided then and there that I would be a writer when I grew up. My dad gave me a notebook and I wrote my first “novel” in that notebook. As you might imagine, the story was just a teeny-weeny bit like The Lord of the Rings, except that it had a 12-year-old girl as the protagonist (surprising, no?).
I continued to write for fun, for myself, all through high school, although at that time I took up poetry instead of fiction because I was going through puberty and I had FEELINGS and I needed to FEEL my FEELINGS.
I went to […]
Continue reading Christina Henry — of Running and Writing