L.A. Kennedy

Beyond the story

In this article, author Jonelle Patrick shares her expertise on how to create settings that will bring your reader in and make your characters shine. Jonelle Patrick Creating a sense of place can be so much more than a painterly description of the sea, or the comforting smell of coffee in the kitchen. Places aren’t …

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Powerfully portrayed settings seem to have a life of their own, but how is that effect achieved? Here are five keys to teach you how to make your setting a character in your story or novel that goes beyond invoking the five senses in description. Donald Maass In great fiction, the setting lives from the …

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BY ELIZABETH SIMS How do the most successful authors of our time construct their stories? The Hero’s Adventure. So what is the Hero’s Adventure? You know it already, and you may even have elements of it in the story you’re working on. But I suspect you haven’t yet methodically and thoroughly appropriated it for yourself. …

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Amanda Patterson Use these lists of 350 character traits to help you select the positive and negative traits you need for the characters in your stories. What Is A Character Trait? A trait is a distinguishing quality or characteristic, typically one belonging to a person. It can be a genetically determined characteristic. Traits are formed …

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The entire course of a story or novel, like an avalanche, is largely defined within its first seconds. Jacob Appel offers 10 ways to launch yours in the right direction. Jacob M. Appel The sentence you are currently reading has the potential to brand itself indelibly upon our cultural consciousness and to alter the course …

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An August 1989 Writer’s Digest articles encourages writers to say no to their characters—in other words, create compelling conflicts in their stories. Writers Digest Staff Writer’s Digest, August 1989 Say no to your fiction characters—put obstacles in their paths—or else editors and readers alike will say no to your stories. Hard-working Ted had a crush …

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Linda Newbery, Michael Lawrence and Lauren Child The main characters in fiction for children and teenagers tend, not surprisingly, to be children and teenagers, though it’s not hard to find exceptions, such as Philip Pullman’s Once Upon a Time in the North. To write convincingly, whether in first- or third-person, you need to position yourself …

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One of the biggest bugaboos in manuscript submissions is when the author doesn’t properly introduce the protagonist within the first chapter. Here’s how to help readers meet your main character. Les Edgerton One of the biggest bugaboos in manuscript submissions is when the author doesn’t properly introduce the protagonist within the first chapter. Readers want …

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No matter what sort of character name you’re pursuing, heed common sense and follow these seven tips to make sure you pick the best names possible for your story. Elizabeth Sims Choosing a character name for your novel is as pressure-filled as picking a name for a baby. It has to suit the character’s personality, …

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David Corbett offers a case study of the concept of pathos, a moral argument in which an everyman employs immoral means to pursue something he considers invaluable in the face of an overwhelmingly powerful person or system. David Corbett The “bad vs. worse” set-up discussed in the article “No More Mr. Nice Guys” in the …

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