The secret to good fiction isn’t plot. It isn’t setting. It’s the characters. It’s characters we want; characters we love. Characters we fall in love with. Characters that break our hearts. A good, solid character can make the most trite, contrived story feel fresh and new. A good character can save a bad story. A bad story can’t save a good character. But how? That’s the question. It’s always the question. How? I’ve written much on creating compelling characters (and suspect
Not yours. That’s a different tip. No, this time it’s about your characters. So many writers, either in books, television, or movies, are guilty of not taking the time to make sure their characters have their own voices. Go listen to any random dozen conversations. See how those people each use different inflections, words, and sentence structure? THAT’S voice. It’s not just tone. It’s FLAVOR. Do this exercise to see how you fare: take a dozen pages you’ve written that contai
Believable villains. Look… it’s easy to make a moustache-twirling Snidely Whiplash villain. Look at basically any movie or tv show. Look at 99% of them. Go ahead. I’ll wait. *ahem* Here’s the skinny on villains: they’re a foil for your protagonist(s). Literally. Think of a book as a sword fight. Well, fencing match, if we’re going to follow the ‘foil’ metaphor through.
Evert time your protagonist swings, the villain parries. Clang! That clang is the actual conflict. Maybe it
People ask me all the time (no they don’t) how they can make their writing better. Because I’m a master of my craft (please) and I’m wildly successful (I have published work, I wouldn’t call it wildly successful) I’m constantly bombarded for advice (never, that’s how often. Never.) on making writing better. So here’s the secret, and maybe everyone will leave me alone (please ask me questions… I’m so lonely): Read it out loud. It’s that simple (no, really, it is. I promise). R
So… after replenishing the 30k words I sliced away from the carcass of my latest novel, I added them back… and then some. The Veiled Earth: Savior is currently at 105k, and counting. The first book was only 101k. The second was 99k. But I want to do it RIGHT, damn it. I’ve lived with these characters for over ten years. I thought I knew their depths, I thought I knew their motivations, and I certainly thought I knew how it would end. I am delighted to discover I’m wrong on ev
Character. It’s all about the characters. Are they tall? Short? What color is their hair? Do they limp? Have scars? Are they orphans? Are they secretly gay? Are they openly gay? Are they straight but keep getting hit on by their own sex? Do they have a lot of payments left on their cars? Their houses? Do they like vanilla or chocolate more? What do they do int he bathroom? Do they read? Or stare at the wall? Do the male characters sit down to pee? Do the female ones stand up?