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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.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Dealing with Identity


I've never been someone who has had an identity crisis. Or at least, I've never felt like I've had an identity crisis. While other kids and teenagers experimented with extremes and lifestyles to try to figure themselves out, I felt like I generally knew who I was and where I was going. It seemed I've always had a solid foundation in my identity. But it wasn't until several years ago that I realized that although I had a solid foundation, I had other junk in my identity cluttering up the space between me and my foundation.

I've met people who define themselves by their career. And frankly, it's hard not to in the society we live in. It starts at a young age, when people ask, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" and as a people, we know that what they really mean is, "What do you want to do for work when you grow up?" And just that simple question shows that our society equates "being" with "work." In other words, from a young age, we are being taught that our identity and value is defined by the job we have.

I've met other people who are defined by relationships. Their identity is founded on who they are dating, and who they are is rooted in their relationship status. I've met people who define themselves by titles and medals and achievements. Others who have their identity founded in talents, hobbies, and abilities. I knew a girl who defined herself by her likes and dislikes.

But my identity issue did not come from standing on shaky foundations such as these. It came from not letting go of them.

See, I envision people's identity-foundation like a tower of blocks. Each block is something that is a part of us. Some "parts of us" don't give us a very stable foundation.


The examples I gave have foundations like this.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Accepting that You'll Disappoint Readers



¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I've been having some good things happen to me on my writerly path the last six months, but as some of you may have noticed, I'm missing something: a published novel. I've published other pieces, but I'm still working on "The Book."

After sharing some good news with my brother, he asked me if I was worried about how my book would be received. After all the opportunities I've had, and the friends, connections, and followers I've gained, and the continued growth of my blog, would people have expectations that were too high and difficult to meet?

Monday, January 2, 2017

Selecting the Right Sentence Structure for the Right Emotion




Today's post builds off some other posts I've done:

Pros and Cons and Types of Third-Person
Point of View Penetration
Exactly How to Create and Control Tone
Writing Empathetically Vs. Sympathetically and Sentimentally
Let Your Reader Do the Work
Raw vs. Subdued Emotion: Getting Them Right in Your Story

But you don't have to read them to get something out of this one.

It's just that today's topic relates to deep point of view (the deepest point, point 4), creating emotion in your reader (instead of on the page), and controlling tone.

Hopefully if you've been following my blog for very long, you understand the importance of getting your reader to feel powerful emotions as opposed to just writing about the emotions.