Articles about character development

Is Your Novel Idea Worth a Book?

by Zara Altair Jul 17, 2018

Is Your Novel Idea Worth a Book?

Try these six story exercises to test your idea for a novel. Avoid wasting time on an idea that doesn’t work before making a commitment to an entire novel.

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Types of Characters in Your Story

by Kathy Edens Jul 05, 2018

Types of Characters in Your Story

Continuing our walk through of Orson Scott Card’s Characters & Viewpoint, we turn our attention to the types of characters available to novelists today. Author Kathy Edens explores the characters and viewpoints you need in your fiction writing.

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The 10 Best Facebook Groups for Writers

by Kathy Edens Jun 06, 2018

The 10 Best Facebook Groups for Writers NOTE: After getting a ton of amazing feedback from users, we updated this page for 2018.Check it out here: Our Favorite Facebook Groups for Writers - updated for 2018

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Creating Compelling & Engaging Characters: What Makes Readers Love ’Em or Hate ’Em

by Kathy Edens Jun 01, 2018

Creating Compelling & Engaging Characters: What Makes Readers Love ’Em or Hate ’Em

How do you craft a character that everyone loves to love or loves to hate? In this article, author Kathy Edens examines the characteristics you should give your characters depending on the audience reaction you're seeking.

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Time Saving Tips for New Novelists

by Zara Altair Jun 01, 2018

Time Saving Tips for New Novelists

Are you a new writer? Discover why planning speeds up your writing time, and check out these steps for planning your novel.

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Fiction Archetypes that Sell Like Wildfire

by Jennifer Xue May 09, 2018

Fiction Archetypes that Sell Like Wildfire

Fiction writers don't start from scratch. They can utilize existing character and story archetypes, personality and emotional types, and the goals and the fears of each type. Combining them in a strong storyline is almost a guarantee for creating best-selling works.

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Characters: Raise the Stakes to Make Readers Love 'Em or Hate 'Em

by Kathy Edens May 08, 2018

Characters: Raise the Stakes to Make Readers Love 'Em or Hate 'Em

Not all characters are created equal. We teach you the techniques you need to grab your readers by the emotional coat-tails with these three character types.

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Writing a Mystery? How to Get Readers to Love Your Sleuth

by Zara Altair Apr 30, 2018

Writing a Mystery? How to Get Readers to Love Your Sleuth

How to create a sleuth readers will love. Check this strategy to build your mystery protagonist from concept to detail.

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Writing Characters & Making Decisions: "What Kind of Story Are You Telling?"

by Kathy Edens Mar 28, 2018

Writing Characters & Making Decisions: "What Kind of Story Are You Telling?"

Let’s take a look at the four types of stories that Orson Scott Card says comprises every novel. He uses the acronym "MICE", which stands for milieu, idea, character, event.

Within this framework, Card argues something deeply contoversial: not all novels require in-depth characterization.

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How to Write a Mind-Blowing Plot Twist Like Gone Girl

by Kathy Edens Mar 12, 2018

How to Write a Mind-Blowing Plot Twist Like Gone Girl

As an author, don’t you want to create the mind-blowing plot twist that leaves readers begging you to write more books? Maybe the kind that result in big movie deals…

Wait. If your writing is a means to an end, it’s doubtful your plot twist will make the big bang needed to get on the big screen. Because you can’t force a plot twist; readers will smell it a mile away.

Do it authentically and you’ll create a feverish tension that keeps readers turning the pages to see how this new twist will play out next. Or you’ll end on a final piece of information that changes everything, resonating with readers long after the last page. Here’s how it works.

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Writing Characters: Digging Beyond Life

by Kathy Edens Mar 05, 2018

Writing Characters: Digging Beyond Life

Start with a real-life person—yourself. Plumb all your deep, dark places and put yourself in the shoes of your main character. You are a well of inspiration. Make this your jumping-off point to create truly believable characters.

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Writing App Reviews: the Outlining Your Novel Workbook

by Kathy Edens Feb 18, 2018

Writing App Reviews: the Outlining Your Novel Workbook

Whether you are a planner or a pants-er, if you haven’t checked out the Outline Your Novel program, you’re missing out. I spent hours with this software and have never felt a more powerful urge to create.

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How to Write Historical Fiction (without a history degree)

by Kathy Edens Feb 08, 2018

How to Write Historical Fiction (without a history degree)

If you are an HF writer, hats off to you! I learned haters will find the smallest discrepancy in your writing and crow it from the rooftops. Perhaps HF writers have extra thick skin. Whatever their impetus, they don’t necessarily have a love of history per se—and certainly don’t need a degree. They find either a period, an event, or historical person thoroughly interesting and decide to dig deeper.

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Belief, Emotional Involvement, Clarity: What Every Character Needs

by Kathy Edens Feb 05, 2018

Belief, Emotional Involvement, Clarity: What Every Character Needs

We’re continuing our monthly installment series on creating amazing characters using Orson Scott Card’s seminal book, Elements of Fiction Writing: Characters & Viewpoint. This month, we cover the three elements every characters needs and why you must deliver.

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Inventing Characters: A Character is What He Does, His Motives, and His Past

by Kathy Edens Jan 02, 2018

Inventing Characters: A Character is What He Does, His Motives, and His Past

Characters in books give us insight into the human condition. We learn how people behave and what’s in human nature from our favorite characters in books and on the big screen.

Orson Scott Card says out of the multiple ways to get to know someone, the most powerful and the ones that make the strongest impression are:

  • What your character does
  • What his or her motives are
  • What they’ve done in the past

Let’s look at these and a few other ways of getting to know your characters.

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How to Break the Rules of Fiction

by Kathy Edens Dec 13, 2017

How to Break the Rules of Fiction

Have you noticed how many rules you must follow when writing your novel? Some of them, like having a strong beginning, engaging middle, and exciting conclusion, are good advice. Then other rules, like how to format your novel for submission and checking submission guidelines first, are pretty strict. Finally, there are rules meant to be broken.

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How Non-Chronological Writing Can Create Character Empathy

by Kathy Edens Dec 12, 2017

How Non-Chronological Writing Can Create Character Empathy

Shifting back and forth in time creates suspense. Your readers can unravel the past and understand the ramifications in the present a little at a time. It creates a tension that makes your books hard to put down.

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4 Writing Issues You are Probably Missing When You Self-Edit

by Elle W. Silver Dec 12, 2017

4 Writing Issues You are Probably Missing When You Self-Edit

Having a relationship with an editor you can trust, one who is flexible enough to work around your tight schedule is one way to do it. But even then, you need to ensure the that your editor is spending most of her time on the meat of your story like plot and character development, and less time on the technical stuff like sentence construction and word choice. Ideally, you want your text to be as tight as possible BEFORE you send it to your editor.

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The Myth of One and Done: Why you need to edit multiple times

by Kate Sullivan Dec 07, 2017

The Myth of One and Done: Why you need to edit multiple times

A finished manuscript is not a polished manuscript, and editors, agents, and readers want a polished manuscript—a finished product that lives up to the quality standards we’ve come to expect.

Whether you’re writing fiction, nonfiction, a blog post, a magazine article, or any other piece of professional writing, you need to edit your work.

And you need to edit it multiple times!

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Fixing First Draft Problems: 6 questions to ask

by Bridget McNulty Dec 07, 2017

Fixing First Draft Problems: 6 questions to ask

Learning how to write a book is a many-stepped process – finding a story idea you love, outlining, drafting, rewriting and editing. Although you will encounter challenges during your first draft, asking good questions and acting on your answers will help you keep focused and finish:

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