Characters are the heart of any story. There are plenty of methods out there to help your character development. But when it’s time to give your characters shape and definition, don’t waste time on extensive questionnaires that get you weighed down in details.
Happy back-from-Labor-Day Day! I had the good fortune to spend the long weekend in Houston with my best friend from college. We ate, we drank, we had a slight Netflix binge, and we were very merry. She’s finishing up her PhD in neuroscience at UT-Houston, and she accepted a postdoc at Vanderbilt, so she’ll be moving to Nashville in a couple of months. She may be one of the smartest people I know.
I know this because she knows the difference between may be and maybe.
Let’s start with the obvious: You don’t know how to write a book. I’ve written seven books, and I don’t really know how to write a book either. I have a process that works, sure, but with writing, as with many things in life, it’s always when you think you know what you’re doing that you get into trouble.
So let’s just admit right now, you don’t know how to write a book, and definitely not in 100 days, and that’s okay. There, don’t you feel better?
Since 2011, we’ve been helping writers publish their books and accomplish their writing goals. We’ve worked with thousands of writers through our community and courses. But this year, we wanted to take a step back and ask, is what we’re doing actually making a difference? Are we actually helping writers achieve their dreams?
And so we went back to our students and asked, what did you accomplish in 2019? What books did you publish, and what role did The Write Practice play in helping you?
The responses were inspiring. Here’s what our authors have published in the last year.
They say opposites attract. That holds true, even in a Hero’s Journey story.
And while you may craft opposing characters who find themselves attracted to one another, you would be wise to study these universal relationships—also known as themes—that great stories have utilized for generations to the benefit of their readers.
Here are the five essential Hero’s Journey themes that will thrill your readers!
In stories, we get to see the cause-and-effect connections between otherwise random events. We get to experience the deeper meaning in life. We get to see through the chaos of real life and see the underlying pattern.
The literary term for this pattern is story arc, and humans love story arcs.
In this article, we’re going to talk about the definition of story arcs, look at the six most commonly found story arcs in literature, talk about how to use them in your writing, and, finally, study which story arcs are the most successful.
Writing dialogue boils down to one big rule: Make it sound realistic.
You not only communicate every day (unless you’re on a really heavy writing binge), but you hear other people communicating. Dialogue is all around us. Constantly. Sometimes too constantly. The TV blares it. Your favorite novel is full of it. Your family squawks it over dinner.
Inherently, you know how to write dialogue. Sometimes you just have to get out of your own way in order to get it on paper.
The scene is the fundamental unit of story. It’s what drives the story forward, instilling purpose, drama, and emotion. It’s critical to understand the elements that make it effective and know how to employ them. In this article, that’s what we’ll examine—plus, how to use Scrivener to make sure all those elements are present.
What do your characters believe in so strongly, they’re willing to die for it? What are you willing to die for?
For most of us, this isn’t a question we’re faced with every day. But Hamody Jasim was in his teens when he realized that fighting for what he believed probably meant dying for it—and he chose to enter the fight anyway. In this episode of Character Test, I talk with Hamody about some of the highest-stakes choices of his life and how he came to make them.
Do you want to write a book? Is 2020 the year you finally accomplish your dream?
A new year is a time for fresh starts and audacious goals. And if your goal this year is to write your book, you’re not alone. One year is the perfect length of time to write and publish a book, as long as you know the right steps.
What do you get when you string a bunch of scenes together?
Since stories are composed of individual scenes, it makes sense to study them and figure out which scenes your story will need. And if you’re going to write a Hero’s Journey (in any genre), there are some scenes, or situational archetypes, that your reader will instinctively expect your story to include.
Let’s explore five essential scenes to write in your next Hero’s Journey story!
If the semicolon was just a little less top-heavy, then it would be a comma, and rightfully used and appreciated. Sadly, many writers have a confused relationship with the semicolon, not really sure how or when to use semicolons in their lovely sentences.
Don’t worry, little semicolon. Your virtues will not be lost on this audience as long as I have a say in it.
The best way to become a better writer is to write and then to publish your writing, whether you publish it on a blog, in a book, or with a close friend. It’s only by practicing writing, and getting feedback on it, that you can improve.
That being said, it never hurts to learn from those who have gone before you, and over the years, we’ve compiled a lot of excellent advice from the best writers on how to become a better writer.
Great fiction is built around tension. The bad news is, we experience tension in our own lives every day. The good news is, it’s great fuel for our stories. The question is, how do you create that experience for your readers by building tension in your scenes?
The point of writing, for most people, is to share that writing with the world. The problem is getting your writing into the hands of readers can be such an intimidating and confusing process that a lot of writers simply give up. This month’s interviewee talks about one option for sharing your writing: working with hybrid publishers.
Most great stories, whether they are a Pixar film or a novel by your favorite author, follow a certain dramatic structure.
When you’re getting started with writing, understanding how the structure works is difficult. Even if you go back and analyze your favorite books and films, it can still be hard to structure your own stories. That’s where Freytag’s Pyramid can help.