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Monday, February 20, 2017

Choosing Relatable Descriptions to Power up Empathy



There is something that has been rattling around in my subconscious for a while, and it finally clicked into the forefront of my mind: relatable descriptions.

I have found unrelatable descriptions in my own writing.

I have found them in other people's writing.

It's not that the unrelatable is always bad or wrong. It's that, like everything, it has a place it should be and a place it shouldn't be.

And where it should not be is in empathetic writing--when you want the reader to feel, empathetically, what the character feels.

Let me give you an example to illustrate.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Drawing out the Dragons (Required Viewing for Creatives)




Hi everyone! A couple of weeks ago I attended the Superstars Writing Seminar in Colorado for the first time. And (apparently) every year author and illustrator James Artimus Owen (Here, There Be Dragons) does a talk called "Drawing out the Dragons." Now, I've heard the name of this talk tossed around a lot in the writing community--I know it gets presented at other workshops and in schools, and I've heard a lot of positive comments about it--but I admit I had no idea what it actually was. When I saw it on the schedule, I just knew it would be good.

I'm now convinced that it needs to be required viewing for any creative. I rarely use the phrase "any creative," because people are so different, and there are always exceptions. For example, there may be things you find yourself disagreeing with in the talk. That's okay. I still think every creative should watch/listen to it.

Luckily, they recorded the one at Superstars that I was at, so you can watch exactly what I did. So rather than give you my own writing tips for today, I really want to encourage all of you to listen to "Drawing out the Dragons." It does have some visual components (mainly at the beginning and the end), but if you are too busy to sit down and watch it, then listen to it when cleaning, cooking, exercising, or commuting. I promise that if you just take the time to listen to it, 99.99% of you won't regret it, and it will leave you feeling better about yourself and life than you did before. And even if you don't have time to listen to all of it, just listen to the first half hour, first 20 minutes, first whatever. It's worth it.

This was a live recording on Facebook, so I don't believe I'm able to embed it. This also means that you will need to skip to 49:50, as we had a countdown going on until that point, and that's where it really starts.

You can watch "Drawing out the Dragons" here.

Now go live life deliberately.

Next week I'll be back with my own writing tips ;)

Monday, January 30, 2017

Creating Stunning Side Characters (and Why They Matter)



Several years ago I attended a writing workshop at LDStorymakers that was focused entirely on creating side characters. One of the points made that struck me most was that when you create strong secondary characters, you make your novel feel authentic. You make it feel real.

This is because as an audience we don't feel as if all the side characters exist for the sake of the main character or the plot. They feel like real people with lives that extend beyond our protagonist. And yet sloppy side characters aren't uncommon. You've probably seen them before--the love interest that is only there to kiss the protagonist, the mentor that's only there to give the main character special skills, that poor geeky kid who's only there so that the main character can show off how kind and caring he is by sticking up for the weirdo, and of course, how can we forget the two-dimensional bully that every hero has these days?

Keep in mind that none of these character roles are bad or wrong per se. In Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling gave Harry a bully, a mentor, and a bunch of geeky kids he stands up for, but Rowling is a master at creating real, authentic secondary characters, to the point that it's not uncommon for fans to point to one as their favorite (Luna Lovegood, Fred and George Weasley, Dobby, McGonagall).

The trick is to make your side character feels real, and in this post, I'll give you some tips on how to do that.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Writing Realistic and Complex Dialogue


Anonymous asked: Hi! Congrats for your blog. I think your posts are very interesting :) How do yo write realistic and complex dialogues? Thank you!



Hi and thank you! ^_^

Great question. I used to be pretty clueless about what made good dialogue. I even bought two books on dialogue, and they were helpful, but didn’t give me the answers or depth I was looking for. They were more about the basics. I’ve tried to study dialogue over the years and I’ll share what I know. This is assuming you already know the basics. If not, or you need a refresher, here are some great articles:

Keep it Simple: Keys to Realistic Dialogue (Part 1)
Keep it Simple: Keys to Realistic Dialogue (Part 2)

To be honest, I don’t agree with everything in those articles, but I agree with 99% of it and all of those points are what you will hear taught in the writing world. But here are more tips beyond that:

Friday, January 20, 2017

Sherlock Season 4 Thoughts (Spoilers)



I'm still dying from the awesomeness of Sherlock. I've been super busy the last couple of weeks, but I just had to take time to jot down something about the latest season. </3 Even if I don't have much time to polish it. It is what it is. ;)

Here are some of my raw Sherlock thoughts for season 4:

- This is still the best bromance of our day. The show does a great job of including high highs and low lows between Sherlock and John, which is just one of the reasons that their friendship is so powerful. It's the contrast of extreme emotions that give depth to their bond and strength to their personal understandings.