What do we love so much about Elizabeth Bennet? She's strong, and she's feisty. Just because she's expected to act a certain way doesn't mean she'll bend her convictions and change her behavior. She's real, right?
I set out on a quest to find if this world has more planners or pants-ers. Alas, there is no definitive answer, at least on the internet. I did, however, determine that most writing instructors ask their students who is a planner and who is a pants-er. This informal poll-taking reports about 50/50. So, whether you're a planner or a pants-er, you're in good company. How do we know? Here are some famous authors who plan and those who fly by the seat of their pants.
Are you trying to fit into a genre or sub-genre because it's popular right now? That's like trying to fit into a political party when your philosophy is somewhere in the middle. It's hard to find the right fit in either party, right? Maybe it's time you created your own sub-genre or genre. Look at what *Bridget Jones's Diary* did for chick lit. And what *The Hunger Games* did for YA dystopian. And I'm still not sure how to categorize Jodi Picoult's novels. If you look up the genres of her books, you'll find "Genre: Fiction + Literature; Sub-Genre: Literary or Contemporary." Huh? Nonetheless, she's created her own space on the best seller list.
Think of some of the great nemesis pairs in fiction: Harry Potter and Voldemort, Katniss Everdeen and President Snow, Professor Xavier and Magneto, Superman and Lex Luthor… But there's none better than Batman and The Joker. The Joker is responsible for numerous tragedies in Batman's life like paralyzing Batgirl and murdering Robin. He's such a popular character that he's ranked 8th on the list of Greatest Comic Book Characters of All Time. One reason he's the perfect nemesis is The Joker is the complete and utter opposite of Batman: he's savage, violent, unpredictable, and will do anything because he has no respect for human life. As Michael Caine said in Dark Knight, The Joker "just wants to see the world burn."
Good stories move people to action. They create sympathy, which opens up wallets for donations. Or a good story can start a revolution. At the least, a good story is memorable and influences your readers enough to sell. Just like a great fiction story, when you use a story in your content, you're actually putting your reader in the driver's seat so they can envision themselves having/using your product or service.
Writing isn't magic. There's no fairy godmother called "Muse" who comes to you and waves her magic pen to fill your head with ideas and words. It's hard work, and you must sit in front of the computer or grab pen and paper and get your work done.
A CV is a tool to capture all of your thoughts about your main character and keep track of the many idiosyncrasies and character traits. Just as important, it helps you capture and record the intertwined relationships of all the characters in your novel. Especially if you use several points of view or have multiple main characters, you need to capture them each distinctly.
Homer Simpson has only one focus in this world: himself. He has some pretty unlikable characteristics, I'm sure everyone can agree. Why do we love to hate Homer and hate to love him so much? Because he's a well-done anti-hero, that's why.
What is it about a great story that keeps you turning the pages? Think of the last book you devoured in one sitting. What kept you so engrossed you had to stay up until 4am to finish it? For those of us who sit bleary-eyed in front of a computer because we couldn't put a good book down last night, we stumbled across an author who knows how to raise the stakes. And the higher the stakes, the better—am I right?
Are we hard-wired to seek symbolism in everything from our literature to our everyday life? Spirituality is rife with symbolism, advertisers use symbols to sell their products, and we interpret a smile from someone as a symbol of friendship. Symbolism in literature uses an object or a word to represent something abstract in your work. A person, an action, a place, a single word, or an object can have symbolic meaning. Symbolism, done well, allows you to hint at a certain mood or emotion instead of showing it.
Great content needs to be more than just "pretty". It needs depth and insight. It needs to avoid purple prose not like the plague, but because it is the plague.
Do you always check your work for repeated or overused words or phrases? I know I don't. Sometimes I can be so close to my writing that I don't notice when I've used a certain word too many times in the space of 3 or so paragraphs. In my mind, it sounds natural.
Bored by your own writing? You could be suffering from the toll of ignoring your best ideas. ‘But why on earth would I ignore an idea if it’s good?’, you’re wondering. The answer is that you probably don’t even know you’re doing it.
Your antagonist can make the difference between a ho-hum novel and a break-out one. A fully realized villain is someone who shows us parts of ourselves in his or her makeup. If you can connect in some human way with the antagonist, it's going to bring up all kinds of tension for readers.
When a student wrote to Roald Dahl in 1980 asking for help on his thesis, he received this rather curt letter in reply. We think it's wonderful.