Tuesday, May 23

On Character Minutiae and Seemingly Irrelevant Details

By Bonnie Randall 

Part of the How They Do It Series (Monthly Contributor)

This meme floated over my Facebook feed the other day, and struck me for how true it was. So much of what’s incidental about people is revealed through their over-arching actions and dialogue—and vice-versa. I have written before on how knowing the minutiae of a character can lend to richer development of that person and their interactions within our stories, but I am also a firm believer that when we are stuck with where to go next in plot, we’re wise to go back to assessing the person our story is about, see what we’ve missed about their personality—because those pieces could well provide the direction we next need to go. After all, values, preferences, habits and quirks have far more influence than we think—even if they are not always visible to the naked eye.

Monday, May 22

Can You Be a Writeaholic?

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

As you might imagine, I know a lot of writers—from those just starting to write all the way up to those with dozens of published books. Even though every writer is different in their own way, there are similarities and common ground regardless of career level.

One such area, is writing too much.

If you’re aghast at that statement, wondering how in the world someone could write too much, you might just be one of those writers.

Sunday, May 21

Writing Prompt: The Story Starter: This Has to Change

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

This week’s prompt is a story starter, so take the element provided and turn it into a story of any length you choose. If you’re stuck on size, I suggest aiming for 1000-2000 words.

Write about an old woman who realizes she has to make a drastic change—and does.

What that change is or how she does it is up to you.

Write in any genre you feel like. Run with whatever this triggers, and use these details however you wish. Put them together, use them separately, make one a detail in a scene, whatever inspires you—have fun with it.

Saturday, May 20

Real Life Diagnostics: Does This Opening Scene Foreshadow Danger?

Critique By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Real Life Diagnostics is a weekly column that studies a snippet of a work in progress for specific issues. Readers are encouraged to send in work with questions, and I diagnose it on the site. It’s part critique, part example, and designed to help the submitter as well as anyone else having a similar problem.

If you're interested in submitting to Real Life Diagnostics, please check out these guidelines.

Submissions currently in the queue: Seven 

Please Note: As of today, RLD slots are booked through July 8.

This week’s question:

Often writers are told "Don's start with a character waking up." What I'm trying to do in the first few paragraphs is to have the siren sound and the the DJ's commentary signaling danger coming to this girl who so far has been lost in the crowd? Does the scene work?

Market/Genre: Young Adult Mystery

On to the diagnosis…

Friday, May 19

What “Write What You Know” Really Means

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy 

The week’s Refresher Friday takes a heavily update look at writing what you know. Enjoy!

Writers hear it all the time: Write what you know.

Good advice, but a little more information on what that means might be nice, right? Does this mean if you're a graphic designer, you should write about graphic designers? Doctors should write about doctors? Third-grade teachers should write about third-grade teachers?

Yes and no.

Thursday, May 18

Memorable Author Screw-Ups

By Jana Oliver, @crazyauthorgirl

Part of the Indie Authors Series

Mistakes. We all make them. Sometimes we don't even realize that we do, and other times they're so horrendous we still have nightmares about them. Here are some of mine over the last sixteen years because sometimes the best way to avoid a mistake is reading about someone else’s.