HOW TO WRITE FLAWED HEROES

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesdays, where I post (you guessed it) tips on writing every Wednesday at 5:00 PM ET. This week’s topic:

HOW TO WRITE FLAWED HEROES

Evening, everyone! This week we are talking about something really awesome and potentially contradictory: flawed heroes!

We all know that your main character/protagonist/hero should have at least one or two character flaws. Maybe your character drinks a lot, or maybe they’re as greedy as Mr. Krabs despite having a heart of gold. (See what I did there?)

Mr. Krabs from Spongebob diving into pile of money

But why is it so important that your main character be flawed? Shouldn’t we leave all of the hyperbolic flaws to the villain?

Well, maybe not. I’d argue that it’s often times more important that your hero is flawed, which is why this week we’re going to look at something I don’t usually talk about or encourage: Continue reading

HOW TO BE BOTH A DREAMER AND A DOER

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesdays, where I post (you guessed it) tips on writing every Wednesday at 5:00 PM ET. This week’s topic:

HOW TO BE BOTH A DREAMER AND A DOER

Happy Wednesday! Today is a special Wednesday for me becaaaaause….today is my birthday! Yay! And I’m happy to be celebrating it with you!

Picture of Loki that has text over it that reads: Happy Birthday! Don't let the world wait too long for your reign of terror.

I started a new job last week, and it really helped bring some things to my attention. Despite having a new job and the new stresses that come with it, I have still been using my time to write my novel—and I think that’s pretty wonderful.

In addition, I spoke with someone recently who told me about the fan-fiction they have been working on for 15 years, and how they wanted to get it published, but were worried about sending it in and having their work stolen.

I offered my knowledge on publication, but was dismissed because of his own disinterest—and that’s when I realized:

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HOW TO WRITE LIKE AN A.I.

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesdays, where I post (you guessed it) tips on writing every Wednesday at 5:00 PM ET. This week’s topic:

HOW TO WRITE LIKE AN A.I.

Maybe you haven’t heard, but there are people out there writing books now. And by people, I mean robots. And by robots, I mean A.I.

The future is here, folks. Artificial intelligence programs are writing short novels which are being entered into contests, like the Hoshi Shinichi Literary Award, which relatively recently opened up its metaphorical doors to non-human contestants. (Read more from this article: A Japanese AI program just wrote a short novel, and it almost won a literary prize by Chloe Olewitz.)

With things such as artificial intelligence programs competing, and competing successfully, with humans in the artistic field of writing, how can one ever hope to keep up? Aren’t computers just better than us?

Binary code in green over black background from The Matrix

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WRITING BELIEVABLE VILLAINS: THE CODE OF JUSTICE

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesdays, where I post (you guessed it) tips on writing every Wednesday at 5:00 PM ET. This week’s topic:

WRITING BELIEVABLE VILLAINS: THE CODE OF JUSTICE

Happy New Year, everyone! We’re starting out the new year with Part Two of our series on Writing Believable Villains (Part 1: THE 7 WAYS TO WRITE A BELIEVABLE VILLAIN.)

Your villain is oftentimes not only as important as your protagonist, but also moreso. How can this be? Aren’t they just the opposite of each other?

The answer is, “They are the opposite of each other.” But how and why are necessary to understand before blazing in there and creating another stereotypical villain, because let’s face it: we all want to create a killer villain! (No pun intended.)

Captain Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation with his hand shamefully on his forehead

In musicals, isn’t it often the villain songs that are, for one reason or another, some of the best? Well, we want your written villain to feel the same—and this week we are going to use a song to demonstrate how creating those moments works.

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THE 7 WAYS TO WRITE A BELIEVABLE VILLAIN

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesdays, where I post (you guessed it) tips on writing every Wednesday at 5:00 PM ET. This week’s topic:

THE 7 WAYS TO WRITE A BELIEVABLE VILLAIN

Well, I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas, and that you have a lovely New Year! This week, I thought what better way to bookend a year than by talking about villains who, as a general rule, hate new beginnings?

We’ve all seen villain stereotypes. The guy stroking his cat, Darth Vader who is so bad, but ends up so pitiful. Same with Loki—you want to see him change, and even worse (better?) you see the potential for him to be good, and make for himself a better life. But he never does. And most of our villains never take that chance.

BUT WHY?

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HOW TO BE ORIGINAL IN A CULTURE OF THE SAME

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesdays, where I post (you guessed it) tips on writing every Wednesday at 5:00 PM ET. This week’s topic:

HOW TO BE ORIGINAL IN A CULTURE OF THE SAME

If you’ve been keeping up with the blog, then you likely already know that waiting for one’s muse does not make one a writer; it makes one a waiter. We’ve dispelled the notion that creativity comes in flitting bursts and cannot hope to exist without that spark of Inspiration—a fickle mistress to all of us creatives.

Today we’re going to be talking about another well-heard piece of advice people often give to writers and other writers: “Be original.”

Is this possible in this day and age? How does one “be original?” What is original enough? These are some of the question we are going to explore in this week’s post.

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FEEDING YOUR FICTION: HOW TO READ AS A WRITER

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesdays, where I post (you guessed it) tips on writing every Wednesday at 5:00 PM ET. This week’s topic:

FEEDING YOUR FICTION: HOW TO READ AS A WRITER

Happy December, everyone! It’s hard to believe it’s here already. And instead of stressing about finishing work by the end of the year, we’re going to be discussing something a little more relaxing today. =)

It is commonly heard and said that good writers read. It is also said that writers not only read…they read A LOT.

Well, I don’t know about you, but hearing that is encouraging, inspiring, and also terrifying and intimidating. I was an English major in undergrad, and also in grad school. In grad school, the common pace for one class, not to mention the others taken at the same time, was one novel a week.

Now, you may be the fastest reader in the world, but this was a real struggle for me to keep up with. Many weeks I would read about ¾ of the book, and have to skip to the end simply because I could not keep up.

And I’m here to tell you that that’s okay. When people say good writers read, or good writers read a lot, they don’t define what they read or how much. A lot for a fast reader might be a few books in a week. For me, it’s reading a book every few weeks, or even one a month, or even less often that that, depending on what else is going on in my life.

But the important thing is that I am at least reading every week. I try to read a little every day, even if it’s just a few pages between things. My days are pretty full, but yesterday I found time to read at an appointment, and again before bed.

Thus this week’s post is going to cover

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO READ – FOR YOUR WRITING AND YOURSELF

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THE ONE THING BETTER THAN GOOD PLOT

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesdays, where I post (you guessed it) tips on writing every Wednesday at 5:00 PM ET. This week’s topic:

THE ONE THING BETTER THAN GOOD PLOT

Everyone knows a good story is what sells a book. It presents itself as a premise, and if it delivers on the promises it sets up, boom! It’s a good book, and suddenly everyone is talking about it.

But what if the premise is awesome, the middle pulls you along, the climax ties up all the loose ends, but you still feel like something is missing? What went wrong?

Shrugging gif

Well, it could be any number of things, but this week, we’re focusing on a few things that add up to one big thing.

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HOW TO WRITE A PAGE-TURNER

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesdays, where I post (you guessed it) tips on writing every Wednesday at 5:00 PM ET. This week’s topic:

How to Write a Page-Turner

Ah, yes. The allure of perfection. The ability to “do the thing” in such a way that it captivates not just a niche audience, but the whole world. Fame will be yours if you can just “do it right,” “do it the best way.”

Lies.

The fact of the matter is that not everyone likes The Lord of the Rings. Not everyone likes The Name of the Wind. Not everyone likes Harry Potter. And let’s think about that last one—J. K. Rowling was a billionaire, and only recently dropped off the Forbes billionaires list because she donated so much to charity.

But she was a billionaire, and STILL not everyone likes her books.

Moral of the story: If you’re writing to please the audience of the world, you will always be disappointed, because you will always fall short.

Positive spin: If you are writing your book to impart YOUR GOAL HERE upon the world, then you can succeed!

If your goal is simply to provide happiness to the world? Fantastic. If it’s more specific? Wonderful! But we’ve gotta make sure people keep turning the pages of your work so that they make it all the way to the end and have the fullest picture of your book.

Here are some ways we can make sure they do!
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HOW TO MAKE WRITER DEPRESSION WORK FOR YOU

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesdays, where I post (you guessed it) tips on writing every Wednesday at 5:00 PM ET. This week’s topic:

How to Make Writer Depression Work for You

We’re writers. Flair, drama, brooding, unique fashion sense, and lying over the backs of furniture likely pervade our lives (or at least the lives of some of the writers you know). And why? Well, we’ll leave that to someone else to explore fully.

I’m here to admit that that happens. It’s a good thing! Something to celebrate, even. Drama is great to use in your writing, brooding can make for good characterization, and lying over the backs of furniture gives as an Oscar Wilde-style workout—fashionable, while being artistic!

Photo of Oscar Wilde sitting and leaning against a couch, on a fur blanket

But what about the other side of all that? The darker side, if you will? What about the depression, and the myriad of other things historical writers have succumbed to? Alcoholism, drugs, etc.? What happens to turn a flair for the dramatic into ugly realism?

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