Practical Magic: Voice in Character Creation

You’ve done it. Developed a writing voice distinctly your own. Readers can clearly hear YOU in your articles, essays, and poems. Congrats! But what about your fiction? If you’re like me, the trick of bringing that voice to fiction, and writing believable characters—with their own voices—is not so clear. In my first article on voice,… Read more »

Signpost Scenes — Doorway of No Return #1

Here we go again! Week #5 of James Scott Bell’s 14 signpost scenes, and I promise that you’re in for a big one. Why? Because signpost #5, otherwise known as The Doorway of No Return #1 (The Point of No Return, abbreviated PONR), is one of the three massive, explosive, impossible-to-write-a-story-without plot points. If you’re… Read more »

#5onFri: Five Steps to Craft Your Creative Narrative

People love a good story, because telling stories is how we share our experiences with others. A well-formed story explains the complex simply so that it will stick with the reader or listener. For a creative, telling the narrative of how and why your creations come about, will not only focus yourself but also inspire… Read more »

The Opposite is Possible Theory of Character Development

Here’s a secret writing exercise I only recently learned: If you want characters to feel real for the reader, you have to hint they have the potential to be the opposite of what they appear. Wait, what? The opposite of what the character seems . . . wouldn’t that mean the character is acting out… Read more »

#5onFri: Five Writing Exercises that Don’t Involve Writing

We writers should take every opportunity to experience the world of our characters. The more we immerse ourselves in a particular culture or setting the deeper we can understand it, and the more realistically we can describe it in our writing. Unfortunately, cost, distance, or other practicalities (like the lack of space travel or a… Read more »

Wagon or Wain? The Perils of Linguistic Anachronisms

I almost fell into the trap recently. My protagonist, speaking of his brother, said, “That would be John going off half-cocked, Uncle, not me.” A nice evocative expression for someone who acts without thinking, right? The only problem is, the story is set at the beginning of the 14th century in western Europe. Guns didn’t… Read more »