The Essential 3 M’s of Character Setup

This post originally ran on Jane Friedman’s blog. Understanding these “3 M’s” is crucial if you want to craft believable characters!

Fiction writers are told to get their readers to bond quickly with their characters—in particular the protagonist. In few pages, they must make the hero of their story empathetic, relatable, and understandable.

Wow, that’s a herculean task. How long does it take us to truly “get” a person we meet? Five minutes? An hour?

While some of us are intuitive and savvy and feel we can “size up” a stranger in record time, truth is people are complex, they show a persona that may mask who they are underneath, and they may not reveal all that much at first (or ever).

Yet … I recall a restauranteur friend of mine who declared confidently that, after serving dinners to thousands of patrons over the years, she could tell everything about a couple in the first five minutes of their ordering a meal. What kind of tension was simmering between them, how they felt about each other, status dynamics—those kinds of things.

After running a bed and breakfast for thirteen years and hosting more than twenty thousand guests (essentially living with us in our home), I can attest that my husband and I are pretty good at figuring people out within minutes. Continue Reading…

5 Tips to Help You Write Imperfectly

Today’s guest post is by Adrian Johansen.

As a writer, when you envision something you want to compose, it’s always perfect. Floating around in your mind, that undefined piece of artwork is incredible. You can’t wait to write it down, to express it in words, to share it with others. Then the moment comes. You sit down, open up your computer—or nab that pen and paper—and you start … writing?

The problem is, what you write will never be what you imagined. It will be haphazard, uncomfortable, and possibly confusing. It may not even look like what you had in mind at all.

What happened? You had the inspiration, the drive, and the skills. And, yet, the piece came out … imperfect.

Overcoming the Fear of Imperfection

If you struggle with imperfect writing, take a deep breath. You’re not alone. You’re in very good company. Artists the world round are familiar with the imperfect and incomplete, with failure. In fact, it was the great Danny DeVito who said, “Failure is part of the creative process. If you’re afraid of it, you can’t really create.” Continue Reading…

Tips on Making Your Adventure Story Convincing

Today’s guest post is by Zarrah Felton.

Do you love stories that can both spark your imagination and leave you on the edge of your seat? If yes, then adventures stories are the perfect kind of stories for you!

In essence, adventure is a genre of literary fiction that features nerve-racking and adrenaline-pumping storylines, such as tough quests, escape journeys, voyages of discovery, and so on.

Adventure stories have always been popular all throughout history. In fact, one of the oldest and most famous works of literary fiction in English is an adventure story written during the medieval period: Beowulf. Since time immemorial, numerous different kinds of adventure stories—from Herman Melville’s epic novel, Moby Dick to Jack London’s short story, To Build a Fire—have been gaining ground in the literary world.

Writing an adventure story can be just as fun as reading it. However, it is not as easy as it seems. Continue Reading…

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