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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…

Emotional Mastery – A Must for Fiction Writers

If you don’t master showing and evoking emotion in your fiction, you fail as a writer. It’s as simple as that.

Emotional mastery is essential for fiction writers. Yet, there is hardly any instruction on the topic. A book or two. A blog post here and there. But nothing extensively dealing with two critical skills fiction writers MUST master: how to effectively show emotion in characters and how to powerfully evoke emotion in readers.

This is not easy to learn. Few writers excel in these skills. But those who do—who show and evoke emotion masterfully—write moving stories that are timeless and long remembered.

Think about some of the books you read years ago that have lingered long in your soul. Stories like To Kill a Mockingbird or Gone with the Wind. You know the stories you love and why you love them. They moved you. They changed you. They may have even rocked your world. Continue Reading…

Learn Thriller Writing from David Baldacci

MasterClass is excited to announce its newest class launch, David Baldacci Teaches Mystery and Thriller Writing. The class is officially live HERE and available for full access today.

In 18 lessons, bestselling thriller author David Baldacci teaches you how he fuses mystery and suspense to create pulse-pounding action. David Baldacci has captivated readers across the world with gripping, suspense-fueled thrillers.

Now the New York Times–bestselling author of 38 novels shares his techniques for crafting authentic characters, developing research-based plots, and navigating the world of publishing.

Learn how to write a novel with red herrings, clues, and plot twists that will keep your readers turning the pages.  Continue Reading…

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