L.A. Kennedy

Beyond the story

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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by Amanda Patterson We write about the 10 description mistakes writers should avoid at all costs. When we describe well in our stories, we are firmly entrenched in a character’s viewpoint using action, dialogue, emotion, and the senses to engage our reader’s imagination. If we don’t get this right, we risk the problem of having talking, …

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Via WritersWrite A Mary Sue character is an overly perfect character and/or a character that is clearly a glorified projection of the author herself. The are male versions of Mary Sue. They are known as Gary Stu or Marty Stu. A Mary Sue character is usually an undesirable character. Even your heroes need flaws. An …

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Frustration is often the most important emotion for fictional characters. Their reaction to failure drives the plot. Using examples and exercises, learn ways to create frustrated characters that will draw your reader into a realistic setting. Nancy Kress Using emotion to create strong, emotional characters and move a plot is critical for any writer in …

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So where is the dividing line between major and minor characters? There isn’t one. The different levels shade into each other, and as you master the techniques appropriate to each level, you’ll be able to create each character at exactly the level of importance the story requires. Here’s how to master the techniques. Orson Scott …

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Unreliable narrators have been admired by readers and writers alike since Holden Caulfield set the gold standard—and they’re more popular than ever in today’s bestsellers. Here are 8 reliable ways to make your characters just unreliable enough to keep readers guessing. Deb Caletti The unreliable narrator … Ah, don’t you love that unsettling, page-turning, blockbuster-making …

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You simply cannot write a good novel without knowing your characters inside and out. Here are the top 10 questions you need to be able to answer about each of your characters. Brenda Janowitz You simply cannot write a good novel without knowing your characters inside and out. Here are the top 10 questions you …

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by Tiffany Yates Martin Writers are often warned off of passive “be” verbs that suck the life out of their prose—but the “be” trap of passivity can also suck the life out of your characters. Regardless of how richly developed your characters are, it’s not enough for a protagonist to simply be interesting, multifaceted, layered. …

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