The Zero-Fuckery Quick-Create Guide To Kick-Ass Characters (And All The Crazy Plot Stuff That Surrounds ‘Em) When writers are tasked with creating characters, we are told to try these character exercises that entreat us to answer rather mad questions about them: hair color, eye color, toe length, nipple hue, former job, phone number of former job supervisor, what she had for lunch, if she were a piece of Ikea furniture what piece would she be (“Billy bookcase! NO WAIT, A SKJARNNGFLONG LINGONBERRY-FLAVORED COCKTAIL TRAY”). And so on and so forth. Most of these are, of course, abject badger-shite. They get you as close to creating a strong, well-realized and interesting character as jumping off your roof with a blankie on your back gets you to flying. And yet, I am frequently emailed (or in the old English, ymailt) about how one creates good characters on the fly. Let’s do this. The Character Logline: Right up front, I want you to identify who the character is. Problem: Right up front, the character has a problem. Buffy Summers is a character who wants to be a normal teen, but isn’t. Solution: and
13 ways to create compelling characters 1. Make the character exceptional at something. Give your character a trait or skill that makes him or her admirable in some way. It doesn’t have to be anything over-the-top. Maybe she’s an office manager…who is an amazing cook. Maybe he’s a rebellious teenager…who is unusually perceptive. As soon as that character is really good at something, the reader perks up. 2. This is so effective that screenwriters often use a “save the cat” scene (and the better the screenwriter, the subtler the scene) near the beginning of the screenplay to make the audience like and identify with the character. As soon as you show the character genuinely caring about the world, the reader starts to care. 3. Hands-down, one of the best pieces of writing advice I’ve ever received in my life. 4. I’m not talking about dialect or verbal tics or anything gimmicky. 5. Your characters might exist for the sake of the story…but you need to create the illusion that they don’t. 6. Passionate people are interesting. 7. 8. 9.
Why I Write “Strong Female Characters” "I write characters". As an amateur writer, who specializes in female characters because that's what interests me, this nails my process exactly. On the other hand, unlike him I don't really think about gender roles or "women's perspective" or anything like that. I don't feel like my female characters give me a perspective on "women". I have a perspective on the INDIVIDUALS that I write. What is true for one female character isn't even true for other ones in my work, let alone all the billions of female human beings on this rock we all live on. I don't write "women", I write Samantha, or Phoebe, or Tabi or Kitty or Linn. You just can't think about how to write "women" or "black people" or whatever. I can't tell you any more about women than I could when I started this whole writing thing.
The Serendipity Workshop: Lost on the Border at Twilight Finding — and Using — Your Life’s Essential Strangeness You mention a friend you haven’t heard from in twenty years . .. and three days later you receive an e-mail from that friend.Your child tells you who is on the other end of the phone . .. before you pick it up — or even stranger, right before it rings. Your car keys vanish, only to reappear an hour later, right where you thought you left them all along. We experience all sorts of little oddities in our lives — from deja vu to serendipity to bits and pieces of the purely inexplicable, we brush up against the borders of an unknown realm daily. Only no one has ever written a really good book from a position of comfort. So, in our search for what is real and what is scary, let’s take a tour of your life, and all the oddities you’ve been looking past in order to pretend you always see sunshine in some of those shadowy corners. But all this stuff is superstitious nonsense, isn’t it? Maybe. And that’s where this workshop will start. 1. 2.
Welcome to Fuck Yeah Character Development How To Write Empowering Female Characters A few months ago I posted an article called Project: Representation asking for people (primarily women and minorities) to provide descriptions of what they thought would be an idealized representation of their race, sex, or other status identifier. This was in response to two major things. The first was my own uncertainty about my already-established idea of "to write female characters well, just write them like men". The second issue was one of idealization. In Project: Representation I tried to get a sense of what attributes would define a good female character, or a good minority character, besides being a "good character" in a neutral sense. This article by Vivienne Chan (click this link it is the basis of the rest of the article) answers a lot of my questions more directly, at least in terms of one person's perspective: "Everyone – and I do mean EVERYONE, male or female – is going to have a different answer to “what makes a great female lead in a video game." This is empowerment.
Ten Steps to Finding Your Writing Voice Your job as a writer is much more than just selling your books, believe it or not. Your job — if you want to make a living at this, anyway — is to sell yourself. You are selling your unique perspective on life, your unique collection of beliefs, fears, hopes and dreams, your memories of childhood tribulation and triumphs and adult achievements and failures . . . your universe. Anybody can sit down and write a story or a book — that is simply a matter of applying butt to chair and typing out three or four or ten pages a day until the thing is done. Your goal is to achieve all three of those milestones: To sell your work; To reach first-time readers with it; To win these first-time readers over as repeat readers of your work. You do that by offering them something they can’t get anywhere else — and the only thing in the universe that readers cannot get anywhere but from you is . . . you. Which means you have to put yourself on your page. But your voice is your future in writing. 1. 2. 3. 4.
Character Survey of Doom Writing Female Characters Please welcome our August guest, Jim C. Hines, author of the Goblin Quest books and the Princess series, "often described as a blend of Grimm's Fairy Tales with Charlie's Angels" (jimchines.com). He is an outspoken advocate of women's issues on his blog, where he addresses a variety of topics from rape awareness to depictions of women in cover art. His most recent novel, Libriomancer, debuted August 7th. First of all, my thanks to Kim for the invitation to do a little guest babbling! Ultimately, I think this is the key to learning how to write female characters, and I’m going to share it with you all. Here it is. Women are people. Shocking, right? I do think we’ve gotten better over the years. Now, I happen to like kick-ass heroines. But that can’t be all there is. But she was smart, she was cranky, and she was perfectly capable of manipulating the other goblins into getting killed instead of her. Janet Kagan wrote great female characters, because they were characters first and foremost.
How to Finish A Novel The problem with novels is that you can’t sit down in one day and complete one from start to finish. (At least I can’t. If you can, you have my undying envy.) So how do you get from “Once upon a time . . .” to “THE END”? These are the techniques that have worked for me. First, know how it ends. This may seem obvious — but then again, maybe not. You can simply tell yourself, “When I reach the part of this story, the heroine kills the villain with his own sword just as he’s about to kill her in front of the bound hero, and then the heroine frees the hero and they both escape from the burning building.” If it isn’t, go to the next step. Write your ending, and then write to it. You may discover, on thinking about your ending, that you can’t quite get all the little ins and outs of that climactic scene or series of scenes clear in your head. Neat, huh? But maybe you’re having trouble bridging the vast gap between your hot beginning and that elusive end. First, let me define a “candy-bar” scene.
descriptive words chart How Not To Write Female Characters There are already a lot of articles around on how to write female characters. That’s all well and good, but I think it’s a lot less restrictive to have an itemized list of things you shouldn’t do. It also might be easier to digest than lengthy essays. Also, this list is intended for people with more testosterone, but since I’ve seen young female authors screw up their own young female protagonists, estrogenites are perfectly allowed to read this too. Like all my advice, this is subjective, in no particular order, and should be taken with a small pile of grains of salt. I know very little about good writing and am not qualified in the slightest to give pointers on it, but being female I think I’m qualified to give pointers on writing characters who share my gender. I’m going to assume you’re taking your work seriously and expect your readers to do the same. Female characters should be characters first and female second. Some examples of good female characters Zukünftigen Artikel?!?!
5 situations where it's better to tell than show in your fiction Good stuff; thanks for the article, and I agree with most of it. I think I disagree, though, at least partly, with your point near the end about the emotional/psychological stuff; I think that a lot of the time that's exactly what "show, don't tell" is meant to be all about. For example, if your character is tired, you can say "She was tired." Or you can indicate indirectly, through her actions and her dialogue and other people's reactions to her, that she's tired. Of course, sometimes writers don't show well, and readers are left puzzled. Anyway. @elysdir: Yeah, I think the emotional, psychological stuff is definitely a place where telling can very easily get more heavy-handed.
This column will change your life: how to think about writing 'An awful lot of people seem to think they know the secret to writing well.' Illustration: Chris Madden for the Guardian What's the secret to writing well? As I've said previously here, an awful lot of people seem to think they know, yet their "rules for writers" are almost always (pardon the technical linguistics jargon) bullshit. For example, "Show, don't tell" is frequently bad advice. In the right context, the passive voice is fine. The key thing to realise, Pinker argues, is that writing is "cognitively unnatural". Pinker's answer builds on the work of two language scholars, Mark Turner and Francis-Noël Thomas, who label their approach "joint attention". Perhaps this seems stupidly obvious. This isn't a "rule for writers"; it's a perspective shift. email@example.com