3 Tips for How to Write a Bad Guy Who Transforms Your Story

Since the whole point of a bad guy is that he’s bad, you’re first thought may be to make your antagonist as despicable as possible. But stop right there. Let me show you how to write a bad guy who’s all the more interesting for not going completely over the Dark Side How to Write a […]

How Much of Yourself Do You Write Into Your Characters? – And Other Questions Answered

Today, I’m honored to be interviewed by Lena Nelson Dooley on her blog A Christian Writer’s World. Take a peek to discover how much of myself I write into my characters how I select character names and the accomplishment I’m most proud of—among other things. Leave a comment on Lena Nelson Dooley’s blog to win […]

What Steve McQueen Can Teach You About How to Write Characters

One of the best ways to learn how to write characters that live and breathe in their own right is to study the great actors. How are they infusing life in their characters? What are they doing in their performances that transforms seemingly mundane roles into unforgettable personalities? The 1960 western The Magnificent Seven is […]

The Key to Writing Larger-Than-Life Characters

The Key to Writing Larger-Than-Life Characters

Because readers live vicariously through fictional characters, they like larger-than-life characters: people who are better and stronger and smarter than the average Joe. (Hence the current popularity of the superhero genre.) If you want readers to love your characters and the stories they populate, it only makes sense you should make your characters the best they can be at […]

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 […]