4 Bland Character Problems and How to Fix Them

4 Bland Character Problems and How to Fix Them

I’m working through a revision, and one of my main problems is the protagonist. My editor and a beta reader both suggested amping up her emotional appeal, leaving comments such as, “I’m not invested in this character yet” and “I want to care about her, but I don’t in this scene.” Ouch. I’ve created a bland character.

So amping up emotional appeal. Is there a lipstick for that? How do I amp up emotional appeal?

How to Write a Scene: 3 Questions You Should Ask Before You Write

How to Write a Scene: 3 Questions You Should Ask Before You Write

Sometimes I get stuck wondering how to write a scene during a first draft. Or maybe I can’t figure out how to revise a story to make it better. Sometimes I wonder if I am ever going to make any progress in my fiction and life. (Please tell me I’m not alone!)

I’ve been revising this summer, and it’s taking longer than I’d like. I keep returning to the basics of good storytelling to evaluate my scenes, and yesterday, it occurred to me that there are three questions I can ask to clarify almost any scene. Coincidentally, they are the same three questions I usually ask myself to tackle almost any life problem.

The Best Writing Practice: Why You Need to Practice Differently

The Best Writing Practice: Why You Need to Practice Differently

Daily writing produces a kind of experience and writing practice that is irreplaceable. But what if I’m writing every day, but my writing is still falling short of where I want it to be? (I’m asking for a friend.)

Do I push away from my writing desk to get better? Do I need a university course? Should I pay an editor? Sacrifice my first born child or a kidney?

Write more! I tell myself. But writing more is not enough. (Insert exasperated sigh.) Isn’t it hard enough just to write? What else do I have to do?

Practice differently. This is the secret to becoming the writer you want to be as quickly as possible.

How to Harness the Power of Subtext

How to Harness the Power of Subtext

Subtext is the underlying message in a scene. In The Godfather, when Don Corleone says, “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse,” we know someone (and a horse) is in serious danger. When I tell my kids, “I’m gonna make you an offer you can’t refuse,” I probably mean “Do your chores or I’ll shut down the wifi.”

Same statement, different subtext.