Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Plot-driven character development is valid too.

There are many different ways to develop a character. Some writers will develop their characters as they’re writing, using the plot to help flesh out the characters in their minds. This plot-driven character development methodology is also a valid method. Never let anyone try to convince you otherwise. However, ALL actions for a character in that final draft need to make sense. If a character is behaving oddly, i.e. not as a reader would expect, there better be a good reason for it, and those reasons do need to be revealed to the reader.
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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Know all your characters intimately, not just your protagonist.

You need to know ALL of your characters as well as you know your protagonist, this includes the antagonist and any sidekicks. For minor characters, there needs to be a reason why they exist. Give all your characters some sort of backstory. You don’t need to go to the extreme of including that backstory within your writing, but there still needs to be something that draws that particular set of characters together. You may not use those details for the novel you’re writing, but there could be a spin-off story brewing in your mind.
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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Always remember what drives your characters.

When writing your stories, you should always remember what is the real motivation behind what is driving your characters to act and respond the way they do. Why are they in the job they’re in? Why do the cower in the corner? Or maybe they’re always the first one to act, but they act under impulse. If you get stuck on what should happens next in a sequence, ask your characters what they would do and why?
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Backlit keyboard

Scrivener: Software for the Writer

Many writers spend endless hours writing their precious manuscripts using MSWord or some other equivalent word-processing program. In the initial writing phase, they encounter very little problems. Then editing begins. So too does the grumbling.

The filesize increases dramatically and previous versions of certain chapters are lost. To move a chapter, the cut-and-paste hell takes over. Versions are sent out for review, resulting in hundreds of copies of the manuscript. (Exactly which one was the one I was working on?)

Here’s the situation: I have NEVER liked MSWord. Read More

Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Need an image for your character? Use a police sketch app.

Images can sometimes help a writer visualize the story and the characters, giving them an avenue to express their ideas onto paper. This is particularly common with characters that are so different to ourselves. The writer can literally stare into the eyes of their characters and see into their souls. If you can’t find the perfect image, or even one that would be close enough, you may want to draw your character. But if you’re like me and can’t draw to save your life, there are apps out there where you can create a police-sketch-type image, allowing you to adjust the nose, the eyes, the chin, etc. Just do a Google search. A large number of them exist.
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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Interview your characters and write their bios

There are many ways to develop a character. One method is to do an interview, pretending that you are intending to write their bio or their biography. Ask them the silly questions: favorite ice-cream, favorite color, that one wish, dream date, etc. The more outrageous it seems, the more you’ll get to know your characters.
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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Make notes of the mundane details.

In doing your character or setting developments, don’t be afraid to make notes of the mundane details. You never know when that particular detail could come in handy to create tension within your story. Consider a character who despises a particular dish from his home country. A lover might not know about that, but makes it for him, thinking it would be a special treat. What will your character do now? Dum dum dum… Instant tension, and from a seemingly mundane detail.
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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: If you’re not an expert, find one!

When writing a story, there are often areas that a writer doesn’t have personal experience in, or is not an expert. Frequently, the writer will fudge the situation enough to glaze over the details, adequately hiding their lack of knowledge or experience in a given field. However, there are some instances where it’s not enough. Terminology is being used, but your research has led you down a rabbit hole that you can’t dig yourself out of. If you are not expert, find one! Most professionals are more that willing to help set you on the right path, if you ask nicely. Some of them might even be willing to be a Beta reader, looking at your manuscript and highlighting all the areas where your scenario just doesn’t work in reality.
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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Ensure tactics used match the period of story.

Most writers will agree that research is a vital part of the process. However, it is just as important to ensure that the information you are researching is relevant to the time period that your story is set in. Consider a thriller that discusses the tactics of the Secret Service. If you are writing a story set in the 80s, then research from the JFK-era will be out of date, yet for a story set in more modern settings, Regan-era information will also be out of date.
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