Tag Archives: characters

Generating Page-Turning Momentum—Characters & The Wound

“Wounds drive how we perceive our world, what we believe we want, and how we will (or won’t) interact with others. This is critical for generating story tension and character arc,” says Lamb. Wounds, I’m convinced, are also what drives us to write memoir. This post is geared for fiction writers but it’s very useful to memoir writers as well.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Screen Shot 2012-12-20 at 10.17.54 AM Hmmm, what’s the story behind THIS?

Can we answer the question, “What is your book about?” in one sentence. Is our answer clear and concise? Does it paint a vivid picture of something others would want to part with time and money to read? Plot is important, but a major component of a knockout log-line is casting the right characters.

Due to popular demand I am running my Your Story in a Sentenceclass in about two weeks and participants have their log lines shredded and rebuilt and made agent-ready. Log-lines are crucial because if we don’t know what our book is about? How are we going to finish it? Revise it? Pitch it? Sell it?

Once we have an idea of what our story is about and have set the stage for the dramatic events that will unfold, we must remember that fiction is about PROBLEMS. Plain and simple…

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Agent perspective: What’s wrong with your manuscript

Carly Watters, Literary Agent Blog

googleimages2Pitching your book to no avail?

Are agents not being forthcoming with advice?

Getting ready to submit in the new year?

The definitive guide to what’s wrong with most manuscripts:

1. All internal conflict, no external conflict. Does more happen in the character’s head than in the plot? This is going to be a problem whether it’s literary or commercial fiction. Make sure enough things happen.

2. Pace. The most important thing to get an agent’s attention is to keep us turning the pages and stop us from doing other things. The moment things lag, you’ve lost us.

3. Voice. This one’s more subjective, but the way to check if your book has voice is whether we can tell the difference between whose head we’re in or who is speaking at any given time. Everything about your writing style needs personality. What makes your book special? Your voice. It’s how…

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Character development: God is in the details

onewildword

In her blog post, “Revealing Character Through Details,” Julie Eshbaugh quotes Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969,) who famously said, “God is in the details.”

A German-born, American architect, van der Rohe did not mean the more details the better. He meant it’s the small, subtle details that can give a building (and per Eshbaugh a book) the power to transcend the common.

In other words, look for telling-details that will relay worlds of information about your character to the reader. My character may have red hair, green cat eyes, freckles and a stand-out bosom but what makes her unique and memorable isn’t her outer description it’s the fact that she used to be a kleptomaniac and her eye is still drawn to bright, shiny objects, even when she’s having a serious conversation with somebody. Her eyes are greedy.

Reader Eshbaugh’s post for some fantastic examples and help in finding your…

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What does your character want?

Writerly Debz

It seems a simple enough question but you’d be surprised how many manuscripts I read where I don’t know the answer. Since most writers are focussed determined beings who know what they want, I wonder why they sometimes forget what motivates their key characters.

I have talked about this before, but for good reason — it’s important. Characters need more than it might seem ‘real’ people need to drive their actions. In real life where we see it only from the outside, we often get only glimpses of behaviour and ponder the reason that motivates it. In fiction we can get right inside a character, we are privy to the most private thoughts and fears — and as such we should be able to work out what drives the need. Why a character never sleeps, has scars on their wrist, can’t go near even the cutest dog, avoids a certain…

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