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Asking “Why?” to Create Rich Characters for Your Novel

woman asking questions

For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we’re looking at an excerpt from a previous post titled Why, Why, Why?

I do a lot of manuscript critiques. Hundreds a year. I find the best way to get writers thinking about their plot and characters is to ask a lot of questions. And since I’m a novelist who loves deep, rich characters, I like to challenge my editing clients to push past the ordinary and into the realm of the complex.

For, people are complex. Humans are complicated. They really are. Maybe someone will disagree with me and claim the opposite. That people are simple, easy to figure out.

Well, I’m guessing those who really believe that will probably portray boring, flat characters in their fiction.

I’m hoping, though, that you want to create characters that are complex and sometimes unpredictable who have countless facets to their personalities and seeming contradictions. Why? Because real people are like that, and we writers are supposed to be encapsulating real life in our novels. (Unless you’re deliberately trying not to for some reason). Continue Reading…

Are You Making These 3 Common Revision Mistakes?

frustrated writer

Today’s guest post is by Janice Hardy.

I’ve always enjoyed revising a novel, both with my own books and helping other writers with theirs. It’s exciting when an idea blossoms and I can see all the random pieces come together to form a compelling story. It’s also satisfying to help a writer pinpoint the exact problem she is having with a manuscript and work with her to fix it. Some might call me crazy, but it’s a lot of fun.

Every novel has its own quirks and trouble spots to work out, but there are some revision mistakes that new writers run into more than others (and even some pros do too).

  1. Polishing the Text before the Story Is Solid

No doubt you want your novel to read beautifully, but an early draft is not the place to polish the text. You’re still working out the story, tweaking the plot, fleshing out the characters and the setting. Until the story, plot, and characters are the best you can make them (and working as intended), the specific words in the text don’t matter. Continue Reading…

Shed Old Publishing Paradigms for Success

taking off coat

For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we’re looking at an excerpt from a previous post titled Grab a Hoe and Let’s Go.

We live in a world that focuses on destinations, not journeys. You go to school to get a degree, then to get a good job, then to rise to a better salary, only to work with the goal of retiring so that someday, when you’re old, you can finally go off and do the things you’ve wanted to do your whole life. Everything around us in society is goal-oriented.

But you may not be alive next month or next year. Do you really want to wait years before you have true joy and feel a deep sense of success in your writing life?

Is it impossible to believe you can have that success this year, the kind of success that is completely fulfilling? I believe we all can, if we shift our view to align with the reality of not just the publishing trends but life in the twenty-first century. Continue Reading…

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