5 Steps to Writing Good Foil Characters5 Steps to Writing Good Foil Characters
Anybody Can Write a Novel
Chapter 3 “Characters” – Section 7 “Foil Characters”
With Links to Supplementary Material
A Foil—which is a character that contrasts the protagonist or another major character—is a character that most writers and readers do not pay very close attention to, and for two reasons. First, a well crafted story interweaves the Foil so well that he/she is often difficult to identify. And second, the foil always falls into Another Character Type. Today, I'm going to talk about what makes a good foil—and how to use that role to enhance the qualities of your
5 Tips for Establishing Character Voices5 Tips for Establishing Character Voices
Anybody Can Write a Novel
Chapter 7 “From Story to Art” – Section 9 “Speech and Voice”
With Links to Supplementary Material
After you finish your first draft in all of its rough, unpolished, corny, sappy, unorganized glory, you will likely note something rather disturbing about your characters. They all sound the same. And, upon further analysis, you may even discover that they all sound like you. Fear not! This is to be expected, and but another factor to be adjusted and improved in the many drafts to come.
Tip 1: Annotate how each character's speech pattern differs from your own.
When a child is young, it is often difficult to attribute them with much of a unique personality, so long as they are parroting everything their parents say. Similarly, separating a character's speech p
A Writer's Guide: Believable CharactersI know a lot of you out there are aspiring-writers (I’m one myself!) and sometimes we get so caught up in this “must publish!” attitude that we get lost in our stories along the way. Sometimes there comes a point when we stare at our half-finished novel and say “I’m stuck. “ Usually these moments happen when we don’t know where we’re going next with our story, and usually that’s because somewhere along the line we’ve strayed off the path and we aren’t quite sure how to get back.
One of the things that you may find helpful if you’ve never done it before is to take a really in-depth look at your characters and the world they live in. Characters are really the backbone of our stories. You can carry an entire story on the shoulders of a character without much plot (memoirs anyone?), but you can’t carry a plot without some great characters. So, to help you guys out, I wanted to write an article on things you shoul
Writer's Tip: Show, don't tell.Show, don’t tell (SDT). It’s one of the few consistent pieces of advice that all writers have heard at one time or another. Even the most amateur of writers parrot it back, but knowing the phrase doesn’t necessarily mean that we understand it, or how to implement it.
So what does “Show, don’t tell.” really mean? SDT is the idea that instead of telling your readers what’s happening in a story, you show them. This seems like an abstract concept to most of us, but what it boils down to is this: using words to give your readers an idea without having to directly state it. There are many ways good writers do this. It can be as simple as adding a scene for when your character walks down the street to the corner market rather than saying “she went to the store.” but it can also be as complicated as weaving subtext into dialogue and editing entire character personalities to prove a point down the line. I want to look at two example
How to Improve Your Writing Style
While I’ve written articles about writing style in the past, they were designed mostly to define what style is and didn’t provide much help for improvement. This article contains some practical tips I’ve discovered that will actually help you improve your style and hopefully provide a foundation for why good style matters. I believe good style is important for many reasons, but mostly because I want my readers to feel like the time they spent with my story was worthwhile, pleasant, and maybe even a little enlightening.
“All readers come to fiction as willing accomplices to your lies. Such is the basic goodwill contract made the moment we pick up a work of fiction.” – Steve Almond
“Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.” – Kurt Vonnegut
1) Be clear.
“To be clear is the first duty of a writer; to charm and to please are graces to be acquired later
7 Tips for Reading Like a WriterPLEASE NOTE THAT WHILE THIS PAGE WILL REMAIN ACTIVE FOR PURPOSES OF EDUCATION AND RECORDS, IT IS OUTDATED. CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE NEWEST VERSION.
7 Tips for Reading Like a Writer
So I've repeated a few times that one of the most important steps to being a writer, is to be a reader. And so, before I continue with my step-by-step process so that anyone can write a publishable novel, I want to give you some tips to make you an active reader. And yes, I'm also stalling with my articles a couple days until I get back to my giant, wonderful computer and stable internet—so sue me haha. But seriously, some important info here.
Tip 1: Get some pencils, colored pens, and some paperbacks that you don't mind marking.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of pencils and colored pens to being an active writer. First, humans are tactile learners. We learn by touching a
Reading as a WriterHave you ever set down a book for good because you found something in it you don’t like? If you want to write, I suggest that bad habit end now.
Why, you ask? Because everything you read—and I mean everything–has positive value for you as a writer. Stephen King, and any author worth his or her salt, is a huge advocate of writers reading massive amounts.
Again you ask, why? How can everything be useful? There are a number of reasons and I’ll cover as many as I can.
Reading bad literature teaches you about yourself and shows you what to avoid—or at least how not to do something—in your own work. If you run across something that you don’t like, stop and ask yourself why you don’t like it. Is it just a personal preference? Was it out of place or poorly executed? Does it contradict something from earlier? As soon as you figure out the “why” of something’s badness, you learn a little about yourself and you
A Guide to Writing DialogueWhat is dialogue, exactly? The definition from Merriam-Webster’s dictionary was several lines long, so I shall summarize it in a short sentence for the sake of the readers; it’s the writing that illustrates conversations between two or more characters in a story. We read and hear it all around us, but creating it in your own work can be a challenge. However, if you find dialogue an obstacle in your writing, then don’t push the panic button. In this tutorial, you’ll find by analyzing what dialogue can do and how to use it, you can turn your greatest fear into your greatest ally in your story.
What dialogue is
Like I’ve asserted before, dialogue is basically what the characters are saying to each other. It can be found in multiple mediums such as books, movies, comics, video games, etc. We even engage in dialogue daily without even thinking. When you talk to your best friend, a co-worker, or even your dog, you create dialogue. It’s exchang
9 Traits that Readers Want in Your Story's Hero9 Traits that Readers Want in Your Story's Hero
Today, I will conclude the trio of character types that I started with Villains and Antiheroes, by discussing what readers want from your story's Hero. Please note that I am speaking specifically about a heroic protagonist, not just any protagonist for any sort of story. Also remember that it could be the case that a story is about the protagonist BECOMING the hero. In this case, the story should be about learning or gaining these traits as they make mistakes, try to grow, and move towards their goal.
Trait 1: Ideals that set them apart from the world. (Dumbledore)
The first thing that should set your hero apart from the world, is not any sort of power or ability, it is an ideal. Any realistic world contains many good people within it. This means that anyone who surpasses that level of good, must have a worldview that challenges the level of goodness already present.
Trait 2: A drive to push them to change the world. (Kick-ass)
9 Qualities Readers Want in Your Story's Antihero9 Qualities Readers Want in Your Story's Antihero
One of the most trending archetypes in modern literature and movies is the antihero. As such, it is also one of the most abused, used often to gain an automatic audience following, or to add sex appeal to a product. Alternatively, I see many beginning writers use the term “antihero” do describe a gritty, dark, or moody hero. All that being said—when created correctly, the antihero story is one of the best types available; which leaves only the matter of knowing the qualities which make a character into an antihero.
Quality 1: The Antihero has deep-rooted instincts to bring about both good and evil.
This is the primary difference that sets the antihero apart from heroes and villains. The antihero should never be just a moody hero that likes to dress in black clothing. Antiheroes are dynamic because they actually have the deep urge inside of them to do evil things, as well as good things. And a very good antihero should