Tag Archives: write

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

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

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

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

EVIL FEELINGS

HOW TO GIVE EMOTIONS TO THE DEAD

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Empathy deserves justice. Recently we touched on the idea of building empathy for a character. This will, by far, be your most powerful tool for writing. You have to make sure that the reader can connect with the situations that you put your characters through, and the reader must somehow be coerced to pull for your characters within those situations.

Think about it. With empathy, we can make you pull for any character, no matter how sinister he is. The Professional is about guy who wants to protect a little girl, and he just happens to be demolition expert. Well, the writers actually get you to pull for him even though he’s a child molester. Continue reading

CURSE YOU BACK-STORY

HOW TO KEEP FROM WRITING TOO MUCH BACK-STORY

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Too much back-story will kill you. The common feeling whenever we’re writing is that we have to explain our world. We have to describe what things look like, and how things came to be, and what powers our people have.

I ran into this trouble with my fantasy trilogy. When I looked at it again, I noticed that I had a prose-styled dossier. It just wasn’t working. What I realized is that my explanation of the world was getting in the way of the story.

Continue reading

I FEEL YOU

HOW TO CREATE EMOTION FOR YOUR MAIN

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Seven Pounds with Will Smith, did you go see it like I suggested? If you didn’t then shame on you! (Not really, but you’re missing out).

My wife and I went to see Seven Pounds at the movie theater, and she almost walked out within the first ten minutes. It’s intense. It’s not funny…and it’s exactly what we needed to hear. What happens? I won’t tell you. GO SEE THAT MOVIE!

That said, we have to figure out a clever and precise way to create empathy for our character right from the start. Sympathy is not as critical? Why? Well if you’re writing a story to alcoholics about the dangers of drinking, then you can easily create sympathy, but what if you want to reach a wider audience? Continue reading

OPEN PAGE, INSERT CHARACTER

HOW TO STEAL A CHARACTER

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We talked about plot stealing in the last post. Now, I’m going to increase my thievery. We can even steal characters. Wow, that’s hard to hear. For some reason there’s the writers’ hubris that we must birth everything from our literary wombs.

That’s insane. How many times in an interview has the question been asked: “So where did you get your inspiration?” I’ve heard all types of artists respond by saying, “I modeled this after that.”

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I NEVER KNEW THAT ABOUT YOU

HOW TO ADD MORE FLAVOR TO YOUR CHARACTERS

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Isn’t it great whenever you’re talking to a friend whom you’ve known for 20 years, and she says, “Yeah, I just received my certification for my 500th skydiving jump today.” You jerk your head around, squint at her, and say, “What! 500th jump?? I didn’t even know you had ever been skydiving.”

Don’t these experiences open up something new about your friends? I know they do for me.

Continue reading