Why Your Character’s Motive Matters

How to Find Powerful Motives for Your Characters

You will often be judged by what you do. To a large extent, you are what you do. However, because others’ perceptions of your actions don’t penetrate to the reasons behind your actions,  you will often be judged incorrectly, or even unjustly. It’s no different for your characters. In a book, as much as in life, a person’s […]

Change Is Key to Powerful Character Arcs

Create Powerful Character Arcs in 6 Steps

The secret to a memorable character isn’t so much creating a strong personality as it is creating a strong character arc. You can come up with the most entertaining, marvelous characters imaginable, but unless you also give them powerful character arcs, their stories will lack depth and power. Character arcs are fundamentally about change. You can […]

If You Know Your Character's Goal, You Can Rivet Your Readers' Attention

If You Know Your Character’s Goal, You Can Rivet Your Readers’ Attention

Today, I’m posting over on AuthorCulture, with the post “Do You Know What Your Character’s Goal Is?” Here’s an excerpt: Without question, the driving force of fiction is conflict, and the only way to create conflict is to create a character who wants something he can’t immediately have. This takes many different forms, everything from a bereaved […]

3 Ways to Manage a Huge Cast of Characters

Ever read a book in which a huge cast of characters was dumped in your lap in a short amount of time? Confusing, isn’t it? Sometimes it’s even confusing to the point you put the book down and look for something more straightforward. As a writer, you want your book to be the straightforward one readers […]


What if You Love Your Characters TOO Much?

Just like good parents, writers are often certain their stories and characters are the cutest little thing that ever breathed. You may not carry pictures around in your wallet or brag when your baby takes his first steps before the neighbor’s kid does. But you still want everyone to understand how brilliant/brave/beautiful (you fill in […]

3 Ways to Make Character Stereotypes Work in Your Story

Character stereotypes are bad, right? They’re clichéd stock characters that rob your story of originality and immediacy. Readers realize they’ve read about these characters in dozens of other stories, lose interest, and cast the book aside. Right? True enough, so far. However, what authors often fail to realize is that character stereotypes can be successfully applied in […]

Antagonists Don’t Have to Be Evil

A Quick Secret to Secondary Antagonists

Much of the conflict in a story will comes in the form of people causing problems for your main character. The most obvious form of trouble is that presented by the antagonist, that supremely evil being whose sole purpose in life is to wreak havoc in the universe and cause problems for your MC. But don’t […]

Does Your Story Have the Extraordinary Factor?

Does Your Story Have the Extraordinary Factor?

Readers want fiction to be extraordinary enough to thrill them with its strangeness and excitement. But they also want it be ordinary enough for them to find aspects they can relate to. How’s a writer supposed to pull off this apparent paradox? How do you make your stories both ordinary and extraordinary? Is Your Hero Ordinary […]

Written a Great Character? Prove It By Properly Using Show and Tell

Bring Your Character to Life by Correctly Using Show and Tell

As an author, you must walk a narrow line between presenting skillful, competent, admirable characters—and realistically fallible human beings. It’s easy to unintentionally overemphasize one aspect or the other through a poor use of “show and tell.” The result? Readers sometimes end up getting completely the wrong idea about your character. Allow me to demonstrate. How […]

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 […]