Tag Archives: writing tips

What Constitutes Character Change?

Stacey Kite

Every book on writing emphasizes that your characters, especially the protagonist, need to change over the course of the story. But change how? What constitutes character change?

In the past, that’s been a sticky one for me. Whether it was because writing books seemed to emphasize the importance of personality flaws that made characters annoying or immoral, or because I didn’t catch the subtleties, I interpreted the phrase character change to mean a change in the characters’ characters.

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Practical Prompt 5-10-17

WriteOwls logo 150 blackYou finally have a moment to write, but what to do with your limited time? Here’s a practical prompt to kickstart the story you’re working on right now. The clock is ticking, people. Start writing.

Does your scene feel ho-hum, despite having high stakes and intense conflict in it? Perhaps you are repeating plot beats by not allowing your characters to change, learn or grow by the end of the scene. Re-read your scene from beginning to end to see if anything really changed for your character or his situation. If it doesn’t, either cut it or re-write it so it advances the story.

Make Your Scene Better by Making It Worse

Megan Norris Jones

Megan Norris Jones

I’m not a risk taker. I’m not drawn to danger. I always look before I leap. My prudence has brought me a pleasant and happy life. But pleasant and happy lives, however great for living, do not make  great fiction. So, when I am writing, I have to fight my own instincts to do things the careful way. My characters are not my children who need to be protected. What they really need is a spark of danger to get their story going.

I have been working on a sequence in my work in progress that I thought would be lovely and enjoyable, but instead it was stagnant and just plain dull.  I finally realized that I was being too careful with my characters. Instead of bringing them conflict, I was working to protect them. Continue reading

Practical Prompt 4-26-17

WriteOwls logo 150 blackYou finally have a moment to write, but what to do with your limited time? Here’s a practical prompt to kickstart the story you’re working on right now. The clock is ticking, people. Start writing.

If all your chapters end with tidy resolutions, it will be easier for readers to put down your book. Consider ending more of them in the middle of climactic moments to keep readers turning the pages.

Practical Prompt 4-19-17

WriteOwls logo 150 blackYou finally have a moment to write, but what to do with your limited time? Here’s a practical prompt to kickstart the story you’re working on right now. The clock is ticking, people. Start writing.

If your story is reading too slowly, one simple strategy for increasing the pace is to break longer sentences and paragraphs into shorter ones. Conversely, if the pace is too fast in a given part of a scene, slow things down by using more compound sentences and combining shorter paragraphs to make longer ones.