Tag Archives: characters

CALCULATED RISKS

HOW TO UNDERSTAND THE RISKS THAT YOU’RE TAKING

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In writing, why are these events considered risks? What really are we risking? I mentioned the consequences of taking a risk earlier, but I believe that I’d like to express this point more explicitly.

When decisions are made that are contrary to a character’s…character (CHARACTER CHARACTER), you risk the writer’s currency: credibility. Credibility to a writer is what we use to purchase the reader’s attention. And trust me, an avid reader will expect nothing less. Continue reading

WHEN IT RAINS IT POURS

HOW TO CHOOSE WHICH RISKS TO TAKE

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Taking risks is unto a purpose. Think of a single raindrop, splashing into the quietly calm surface of a lake. The event is isolated, and you may be inclined to imagine the ripples, but then you await for the water to be calm again.

Now think of a downpour splashing onto a lake. There are very few ripples, but the effect is just as magnificent as the sole rain drop. But in this case, you may not be waiting for the water to be stilled.

Let’s use these two examples to understand risk taking. Maybe your character does something out of the ordinary but it’s momentary.

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WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE

HOW TO KEEP YOUR CHARACTERS BELIEVABLE

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Risk taking is what defines good writing. It’s the unexpected that makes the reader’s bottom lip tremble in anticipant trepidation, waiting for your story to unfold. These risks are tough, because we want to maintain a story that’s consistent, and taking those risks teeters on the edge of being unbelievable.

Continuing from yesterday, let’s define something a little more clearly. Even though we are jumping off a bridge, make sure that there is water underneath. We aren’t plummeting to our literary deaths; we simply want to make the thrill ride is exhilarating. Continue reading

GO JUMP OFF A BRIDGE

HOW TO TAKE RISKS

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Writing is the realm to take risks, and by that I don’t mean being risqué. Risk taking is what will separate the writers from the authors, the hobbyists from the novelists.

But what does risk taking look like on paper? I mean, the bounds of writing are endless, so how do you know if you are really taking a risk?

The first step in taking a risk is understanding when there’s a risk to be taken. Continue reading

TRICKSTER

HOW TO LEGITIMATELY TRICK YOUR READER

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Tricking the reader is a bad game to play. For instance, having a character pretend not to know that someone is the killer, only to find out that she knew who did it the entire time is wrong. That’s not the kind of trickery that I’m referring to.

What I’m describing is keeping something hidden from the reader, while maintaining your legitimate narrative perspective. Here’s an example. Continue reading

FLASHER

HOW TO ADD A FLASH OF LIGHTNING TO YOUR FANTASY

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With fantasy, one thing that readers expect is to have the world unfold as the character experiences it. Think of it like a Fruit-Rollup that you eat one piece at a time, peeling it away from the wax paper until it’s all gone. Can’t you just taste how delicious that is?

That’s one of fantasy’s strong points. Being able to reveal your world in a flavorful way keeps the reader as enchanted as the characters. But how can this be done? Continue reading

FANTASTIC FIVE

HOW TO OBEY THE 5 RULES OF HIGH FANTASY

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There are essential elements that make high fantasy novels come alive, but the characters are the banners. Without having characters that people care about, stories will flop. That said, if the characters are admirable, then the story can sag, and people may still continue to read on.

Fantasy novels must have certain elements if they are to fit into the mold of the mainstream fantasy.

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FANTASTIC FANTASY

HOW TO WRITE BELIEVABLE FANTASY

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One of the dumbest ideas for a novel would have to come from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Think about it. Some kids go to a house where they’re not wanted and they find this wardrobe. After finding it, they realize that this glorious piece of bedroom furniture is enchanted. Not only that, but the wardrobe, if opened by the right people, has an entirely different world hidden within it called Narnia. That’s ridiculous!

But this is where it gets crazy. Continue reading

ASK YOURSELF

HOW TO ASK YOURSELF THE RIGHT QUESTIONS FOR YOUR SCENE

Sarai

The beeping wouldn’t stop. Every few seconds the IV reminded us that we were in a hospital. I sat on the chair with my head hanging between my legs, staring at the tiled floor, silently demanding the nurses to come. Next to me, in the bed, lay my wife. She wasn’t saying much, and neither was I. We’d been through this before. But what about this time was going to so be different from the last?

I have a confession to make. I have not written a blog in two weeks. I’ve just had a few of them in the queue, and I’ve responded to messages. But, my wife and I welcomed the arrival of our second daughter on June 26th. Her name is Sarai Rachel. Continue reading

EXPLOSIVE BEGINNING

HOW TO KEEP YOUR CHARACTERS UNDER FIRE

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I’m bubbling up with insight from another James Frey book, How to Write a Damn Good Novel II. It’s amazing the tips that he has, and if you want some deeper understanding about novel-writing, I’d suggest buying both of his books. They’re easy reads, and they’re as suspenseful as a novel, in my opinion.

He uses the term, “Light the Fuse.” The idea is that your characters have to start your novel in a dramatic situation, a tough circumstance. It’s the bomb that’s about to blow if your characters don’t escape. Continue reading