Today I present a list of some of those bogus writing rules that more often than not end up thwarting the development of beginner writers. Rules will be rules Rules are unbreakable... Sure, like the one about the split infinitive. The truth is you can happily split as many infinitives as you wish, provided the meaning of what you write is clear. By the same token, if you know what you're doing and why, you can break, vanquish, pulverize as many rules as you want. Rules are useless rubbish. Well… Ever tried to drive on the wrong side of the road? Maybe at night, with your lights off … [Read more...] about Important Rules for Writing — Or Not?
Conflict, and therefore also memorable villains, is the prism you use to cast your protagonist's true colors. There's no way around this. In fact, while you could still write a "story" where there is no conflict of sort, it would be so boring readers would hate every page of it -- and would end up using your book as a door stop, hygienic paper, tinder, and so on. (As a side note, have you ever noticed how easy it is to recycle a book? I mean, a traditional book...) However, fitting your book with a brand-new villain whose heart is as black as a the depths of a coal mine and possesses no … [Read more...] about How to Create Memorable Villains — an Essential Principle
When it comes to character building, while you can follow hundred of rules to make your characters as believable and compelling as possible, you can still miss the mark. The reason is simple. In fact, if you stitch together all those rules without first understanding the reasons behind them, you're bound to end up with a sort of Frankenstein's monster -- that's to say a cluster of features that don't work together like an organic whole, but interfere with one another and engender confusion in your readers. Real life tragedy For example, think of school shootings. If you examine the … [Read more...] about Developing Characters in Fiction — The Most Important Element
Especially during the summer months, at times I come across someone wearing a tee shirt proclaiming to the world they would choose Heaven for climate but Hell for companionship. Now, while this quote has been around for quite a while, so long indeed as to find its way even on tee shirts, it’s interesting to note how easily forgotten it is when the moment comes to use it to put together a character in a novel – an interesting character. In fact, while there is abundant supply of characters with an endless list of skills and competencies, most often these characters only present minor … [Read more...] about I Would Choose Heaven for Climate but Hell for Companionship — The Evil Protagonist
If fiction is a streamlined and well-organized version of reality, why on earth should we want one of our characters to make a stupid decision? That would smell of deus ex machina from a mile away, wouldn't it? Now, while this position is understandable, it's not true. Stupid decisions are part and parcel of ordinary existence and as a result they have an important part also in fiction. The only caveat is that they should be just as streamlined and well- organized as the rest of the story is. As for the deus ex machina issue, just imagine: your heroine is hiding in a closet, and enemy … [Read more...] about Stupid Decisions in Fiction
Remember! You need a character arc to make your novel as interesting and compelling as possible... When someone tells you that-- maybe even raising their forefinger in a doctoral manner, or waving it about like the baton of a musical director-- the best thing you can do is put a safe distance between the above mentioned nagging smart aleck and yourself. You should steer clear of such people for two reasons. First of all, it's never healthy to be near any of such self-appointed experts. They rarely if ever offer guidelines. Instead, they dictate rules with fundamentalist zeal -- … [Read more...] about Character Arc – What Is It? And… Do You Really Need It?