Free E-Book: Crafting Unforgettable Characters

Claim your copy of Crafting Unforgettable Characters: A Hands-On Introduction to Bringing Your Characters to Life. Featuring some of my most popular tips on character crafting, this e-book offers a firm foundation for understanding the basics of character building, as well as solid tips for troubleshooting. You’ll discover inspiring quotes from successful authors, writing prompts, and creativity […]

11 Dichotomous Characters–and Why You Should Be Copying Them

Fiction writing doesn’t offer many shortcuts or magic formulas. But today I am going to give you a secret ingredient in that coveted recipe for memorable and realistic characters. What is this ingredient? Dichotomy. If we expect our characters to jump off the page into three-dimensional living color, we have to give them multi-faceted personalities. […]

Learn to Write Dynamic Characters Like Christopher Nolan

You know what they say, “If your character can be himself, he should always be himself. Otherwise, he should be Batman.” But, seriously, tongue-in-check aside, if you want to writing amazing, dynamic characters, there’s actually one very important lesson you need to learn from the Dark Knight. In the 2005 blockbuster hit Batman Begins, Bruce […]

Backstory: The Importance of What Isn’t Told

Backstory: The Importance of What Isn’t Told

When Ernest Hemingway spoke about the dignity of an iceberg being “due to only one-eighth of it being above water,” he was speaking about the importance of the part of the story that isn’t told. Those seven-eighths underwater are the ballast for the tiny bit that juts up to glisten in the sun. And, more […]

Your Character’s Career: Why It May Be the Most Important Decision in Your Book

Your Character’s Career: Why It May Be the Most Important Decision in Your Book

In the 1998 movie Ever After, the character Prince Henry (played by Dougray Scott) complains that “to be so defined by your position, to only be seen as what you are. You don’t know how insufferable that is!” To which Drew Barrymore’s character responds, “You might be surprised. A gypsy, for example, is rarely painted […]

Characters: Likability Is Overrated

Characters: Likability Is Overrated

Writers want readers to love their characters. We want them to connect with the men and women who inhabit our stories. We want them to empathize so strongly that they are moved to laughter and to tears right along with these imaginary people we’ve created. So, naturally, we want our characters to be as likable […]

5 Important Considerations for Naming Your Characters

My parents chose their children’s names according the meanings. They named me Kathryn in hopes its meaning, “pure,” would bear fruit in my life. (Of course, they also gave me a middle name that means “bitter,” so I’m still trying to figure out the ramifications of that… Pure bitter just doesn’t have quite the same […]

100+ Questions to Help You Interview Your Character

How well do you know your characters? Like the back of my hand, you say? Do you know the color of your hero’s eyes? Do you know where the bad guy went to college? Do you know your heroine’s most embarrassing moment? Can you rattle off a list of your main character’s idiosyncrasies? Typical expressions? […]

major role of minor characters

The Major Role of Minor Characters

Minor characters can make or break a story just as surely as can a protagonist. I’ve been thinking lately of two decidedly minor characters in two of my works-in-progress. Although both impact the plot in crucial ways, neither is irreplaceable or deserving of more than a handful of scenes. But both of them taught me […]

what dickens can teach us about complex characters

What Dickens Can Teach Us About Complex Characters

In Our Mutual Friend, Charles Dickens’s final completed novel, he presents for us one of his most comprehensive and well-rounded tales. Herein is all the darkness of Hard Times, the cynicism of Martin Chuzzlewit, but also the optimism and hopefulness of David Copperfield and Nicholas Nickleby. G.K. Chesterton wrote of Our Mutual Friend that it […]