7 Growth Milestones to Build a Character Arc

From KMW: On the one hand, deciding how to build a character arc is pretty simple: the character changes, the end. On the other hand, building a character arc can often seem monumentally overwhelming. How can we possibly take so nuanced and complex an experience as personal change and convey it realistically through the events […]

Conflict + Choices = Character Agency

Note From KMW: Character agency is a hot topic these days, but truly it was always an important topic for writers. Why? Because a character (particularly a protagonist) with no agency is a character who isn’t likely to be very interesting. More than that, a character with little to no agency won’t be able to generate […]

character hiding header

7 Things Your Character Is Hiding

Being able to write realistic, consistent, multi-dimensional characters is vital to gaining reader interest. Doing so first requires we know a lot about who our characters are—you know, the obvious stuff: positive and negative traits, behavioral habits, desires, goals, and the like. But it’s not always the obvious parts of characterization that create the most […]

Brainstorming the Wound in Your Character's Backstory

Brainstorming the Wound in Your Character’s Backstory

I’ve spent the better part of the last year digging into the topic of character wounds or “Ghosts.” If this topic sounds familiar, it might be because Angela Ackerman and I (among others) have been yammering about it to anyone who will listen. The wound is a fascinating and vital piece of your characters’ pasts, […]

How To Choose An Immersive Setting

4 Ways to Choose the Right Story Setting

Most writers don’t have too much trouble when it comes to how to choose the right story setting for their books. Middle Earth; Maycomb, Alabama; Hogwarts—it’s often fairly obvious which locations will serve the needs of the story; then it’s just as matter of picking the best one. But what about the rest of the settings? […]

How to Research Your Book Smarter, Instead of Harder

How to Research Your Book Smarter, Instead of Harder

Writing is hard. How’s that for a downer first thing in the morning? But it’s true—particularly when it comes to finding time to write. There are so many necessary tasks—marketing, networking, running a business, etc.—fighting for your time. And then, once you do get down to the planning, drafting, or revising you’ve been longing to do, you’re often […]

Moral Villain

The Moral Villain – and a Giveaway!

As readers, what inspires empathy for the hero and makes us root for him? His flaws? His admirable qualities? His hopeless circumstances? Yes, to all of the above. But none of these elements would be effective without a worthy villain to complicate matters. This is the real purpose of the antagonist: to make things unlivable […]