Characters: The Emotional Touchstone Readers Crave – Written By Kristen Lamb

Characters are critical for stories that resonate. Why? Because characters are the conduit that connects the reader and vests them in the story problem. They’re the emotional touchstone that allows for catharsis, because—when written well—it doesn’t matter if the character is a space alien or a federal agent, we (readers) can relate to them in some way.

We can’t empathize with technology, spaceships, magic, or nuclear submarines. Humans can’t bond emotionally to a place (without the characters as the connection).

For instance, we CARE about Lord of the Rings’ Middle Earth because we care about Frodo, Samwise and Gandalf. And, because Frodo, Samwise and Gandalf care deeply for Middle Earth and the Shire…we do as well.

Story is like the wall socket that’s connected a tremendous power source. But, how useful would those wall sockets be if all the gadgets in everyday life didn’t have plugs? How useful would a bunch of dead gadgets be?

We cannot have story without characters and can’t, conversely, have characters (DIMENSIONAL characters) without story.

Readers read stories, but great stories read the readers.

***I know we’ve talked about all this before, but since I am pathologically honest, I feel the need to tell on myself. I cracked a back tooth and had major dental work last week. With all the drugs? I actually have a completely new post almost finished, but it’s been like pulling teeth…bada bump snare.

*cries*

So please forgive the refresher.

Moving on…

CONTINUE READING HERE

Beware of Chapter-by-Chapter Book Critiques – Written By Lisa Cooper Ellison

on Jane Friedman site:

As an editor and coach, I’m frequently asked by writers when they should level up from free and low-cost feedback (critique groups, webinars, and classes) to more expensive forms of feedback (workshops, private editors, even MFA programs). Some are newbies who don’t understand the feedback landscape. Other writers have been burned by overly critical MFA programs, bad editing experiences, or critique group dramas—and they’ve learned that while some mistakes hit your pocketbook, the costliest ones can damage your manuscript.

Often these problems have one common cause: You’ve asked the right question of the wrong person.

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Story Structure: Why Some Stories Fall Apart & Fail to Hook Readers – Written By Kristen Lamb

Kristen Lamb published an article about story structure. She writes as educational and informative as always – and with just as much wit and humor as usual. Thanks for another helpful and funny post, Kristen!


Story structure is a HUGE deal in all stories. The last couple of posts, I’ve mentioned memoirs and how they can utilize a variety of structures. This said, there are so many variegations for the memoir, that I just can’t do them all justice here.

Since I am at least sharp enough to know when to defer to people much smarter than me…AND because I am #1 at HUMBLE…

At the end of the post, I’ll give y’all some links to people who ARE memoir experts and can do a much better job explaining all the structural styles available.

This said, if you’ve read my last two posts The Quest: The Hero’s Journey Meets Memoir and Narrative Style: The Heart of Storytelling we didn’t ONLY talk about memoirs. Rather, we discussed where some fundamentals for writing great memoirs apply across the board to other types of storytelling.

Whether we’re writing a memoir, novel, short story, essay, or even screenplays…structure matters.

If we keep starting out with great ideas that ultimately end up haunting our hard drives unformed and unfinished?

Structure.

Or, maybe we finish books, but no one seems to want to read them. It could be the glut in the market. OR it could be that the core idea is GOLD, but the structure isn’t such that it fully reveals what our story has to offer.

There are many reasons our writing might be stalling, stumbling, fumbling or failing. Yet, in my 20 years editing? It’s almost always, always a problem with story structure.

CONTINUE READING HERE

Narrative Style: The Heart of Storytelling & Why It Also Matters in Memoir – Written By Kristen Lamb

My favorite blogger Kristen Lamb has published a post about narrative style, the heart of storytelling. Thank you so much for another educational blog post, Kristen.


Narrative style is the beating heart of writing. While our voice might remain consistent from a blog to a non-fiction to a fiction, narrative style is what keeps our work fresh and makes it resonate.

Developing a strong narrative style is especially critical if we decide to write a memoir because the style will need to not only reflect the personality of the author-storyteller, but also hit that sweet spot in tone that is appropriate for the story.

But what IS IT?

Last post, I opened the discussion about memoirs. Memoirs are not only becoming increasingly popular, but with the implosion of traditional publishing, there’s good news. Anyone can write and publish a memoir. There’s also bad news…anyone can write and publish a memoir.

Before we talk about the various structures and types of memoirs, it’s a good idea to first discuss the broad concepts. Last time, I mentioned that superior memoirs frequently DO reflect The Hero’s Journey.

That was our first meta-concept, so to speak. The second meta-concept is narrative style. This aids us in connecting with audiences and generating long-lasting resonance.

Narrative style can be one of those amorphous concepts that’s tough to define directly. Sort of like black holes.

Scientists don’t per se observe a black hole directly, as much as they suspect they might have a black hole because of what’s going on around a certain area in space (the behavior of light and nearby planets, etc).

This said, all creators would be prudent to keep some core principles in mind when writing anything from a blog, to a non-fiction, to a memoir. These principles lay the foundation for what we think of when it comes to ‘narrative style.’

CONTINUE READING HERE

How to Write a Novel Synopsis – Written By Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman provides us with information on how to write a novel synopsis. Thank you for this very educational post, Jane!


It’s probably the single most despised document you might be asked to prepare: the synopsis.

The synopsis is sometimes necessary because an agent or publisher wants to see, from beginning to end, what happens in your story. Thus, the synopsis must convey a book’s entire narrative arc. It shows what happens and who changes, and it has to reveal the ending. Synopses may be required when you first query your work, or you may be asked for it later.

Don’t confuse the synopsis with sales copy, or the kind of marketing description that might appear on your back cover or in an Amazon description. You’re not writing a punchy piece for readers that builds excitement. It’s not an editorial about your book. Instead, it’s an industry document that helps an agent or editor quickly assess your story’s appeal and if it’s worth them reading the entire manuscript.

Continue reading HERE

Writing A Book Blurb In 4 Easy Steps – Written By K. M. Allan

K. M. Allan helps us with four steps to write a book blurb, something we all fear one way or another. Thank you so much for all your efforts, K. M.!


Any writer who’s had to write a query or a synopsis for a submission knows how hard it can be.

Trying to boil the essence of your carefully crafted story to a few paragraphs, or a page seems like the hardest thing ever.

I’m here to tell you it’s not. And that’s because there’s a greater horror: a book blurb.
A book blurb, or the book jacket description, summarizes the best part of your book in only 150 words (yep! one hundred and fifty).

If you’re wondering how to do that and where to start, it involves penning multiple drafts, lots of cutting, losing your sanity, and planning your blurb with the help of these steps.

Writing A Book Blurb In 4 Easy Steps

Step 1:Add A Tag-Line

Open with one catchy line, a question, or a hook.

Step 2:Introduce Your Main Character

Continue Reading Here

How To Survive Deleting Characters #AmWriting #WritingCommunity – Written By Lucy Mitchell

Thanks so much for this very educational and supportive article on your blog Blonde Write More, on how to survive deleting characters. So far I haven’t had to do that yet – but I admit, I had to kill one of mine which nearly broke my heart.


Writing the death of a much-loved character can be demanding and can leave you emotionally wiped out.

Did you know that there is another literary situation which can be just as challenging and one which can cast a nasty gloom over your writing life – deleting a character from your story.

I am not talking about deleting a random minor character; a fictional person who you created one day after too much coffee and inserted into the middle of your novel, just to beef it out (technical literary term) and then deleted them the following day after realising your stupidity. *Sigh*

No. I am talking about those major changes to a draft which result in you deciding to get rid of a key character.

I guarantee this fictional person will have been with you since the start of your story and someone who you have history with. You and this character will have been through some stuff; your rocky first draft, that dreadful second draft which no one liked, your third draft where you felt all hope was lost and the fourth draft which resulted in you wondering why the hell you had ever taken up writing.

You and this character will have shared story in-jokes. They will have been there for you during the bad times. You know them inside out and they are like a good friend.

Continue Reading Here

 

Writing Tips: Eliminate Redundancies in Your Writing – by Melissa Donovan

Melissa Donovan published a very educational blog post about the elimination of redundancies in our writing. Thank you very much for your hard work, Melissa. That post is very helpful!


Writers are human, and sometimes we make mistakes. You’re probably aware of the most common mistakes in writing: comma splices, run-on sentences, mixing up homophones, and a variety of other broken grammar, spelling, and punctuation rules.

In my coaching work, I’ve noticed another common mistake: redundancy. Sometimes we use repetition effectively, but most of the time, by saying the same thing twice, we’re littering our writing with unnecessary language, or verbiage. If we remove the excess, we can improve our writing by making it more concise.

Understanding and Identifying Redundancies in Writing

Dictionary.com defines redundancy as a noun meaning “superfluous repetition or overlapping, especially of words.” Its cousin, the adjective redundant, means “characterized by verbosity or unnecessary repetition in expressing ideas” or “exceeding what is usual or natural.”

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Where Do Your Ideas Come From? – Written By Don Massenzio

Don is a very gifted author who is generously sharing his experience and wisdom with all of us. Thank you so much, Don Massenzio!


As I look at my writing notebook (you should consider carrying one), I see the dozens of story, setting and character ideas that I have collected and I’m both inspired and anxious.

There are many ideas that I want to turn into stories. It’s hard to write one at a time. At any given time I have a book and some kind of serial or short story going at the same time. This is tough with a 50 hour per seek day job and 45 weeks of travel per year, but I somehow manage to squeeze in some writing.

As I looked at these ideas, I began thinking about where the ideas that I’ve recorded come from. It though that telling you some of my sources might help you look at some idea generation possibilities you might not have thought of.

Characters

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Six Superb Ways To End A Novel – Written By Lorraine Ambers

Lorraine Ambers provides us with six different was to end a novel, a blog post I immediately fell in love with and decided to share. Thanks for this article, Lorraine.


The ending of a novel needs to leave the reader satisfied and should reflect the pace and tone of the rest of the story. The truth is, endings are hard. The writer must conclude all subplots and bring clarity and resolution to the conflicts the characters face.

I’m going to share six of the most effective methods for concluding your novel.

To be continued…

This method is often used to entice the reader into continuing on with a series. So that the ending creates anticipation instead of resolution. I think this works best when the overarching plot remains and the characters continue onwards with their journey, for example, a looming war.

Warning: Conclude the subplots and character journeys set out for this particular story or the reader will feel cheated.

Continue reading HERE