Tag Archives: Books

5 Ways to Describe Characters (without Describing Them)

5 Ways to Describe Your Character (Without Actually Describing Them)

How do you describe your characters?

Here’s an amazing writing trick:

Go to the mirror, write what you see, and…

…never, ever do that again. 

Because describing your characters with a checklist is BORING:

  • Her eyes were brown
  • And her hair was brown
  • Even her teeth were brown
  • She really should brush more often

If you want to describe the physical appearance of your characters, go see how J. K. Rowling does it.

Otherwise, keep reading. I’ll show you how to make your characters come to life…

…without writing dull, immersion-breaking, “this is how they look” paragraphs:

Continue reading 5 Ways to Describe Your Character (Without Actually Describing Them)

How To Write Characters From Different Cultures

How Can You Write Diverse Characters (without Stereotyping)?

In this age of extreme opinions, it’s hard to write diverse characters…

…which means you should write them anyway.

We live in an age where the most dramatic opinion always gets attention:

  • Extreme social justice movements on one side
  • And horrendously disrespectful ideologies growing (should I say mutating?) on the other

Right now, writing about other cultures and backgrounds feels like a minefield.

Should you write characters from outside your own background or culture?

…and how do you do it?

In this article, I’ll give you a few guidelines to navigate through the minefield.

These guidelines will enable you to respectfully portray “other” characters – without making them plain, boring, or predictable. Continue reading How Can You Write Diverse Characters (without Stereotyping)?

How to Succeed at NaNoWriMo badge

The 5 Keys to Succeed (and Stomp All Over) NaNoWriMo

Only an an unstoppable killing writing machine will find success from NaNoWriMo.

You need to obsess.

You need laser focus.

But most of all, you need a secret weapon…

This post will replace your normal, boring human feet and replace them with a set of iron clompers.

With these, you will stomp all over NaNoWriMo like it’s made of bubblewrap and empty eggshells:

Continue reading The 5 Keys to Succeed (and Stomp All Over) NaNoWriMo

6 Books that Taught Me How to Write Better

Last week, I picked up a book that promised to teach me how to write a novel.

Yesterday, I threw it across the room.

I was only half-way through when I began skimming in earnest, and by the end I was so sick of it, I didn’t even bother reading the names of the chapters. The advice was so wrong for me – right for somebody, maybe. Maybe someone who was dying to hear some encouraging words and a writing prompt – “You can do it! Write about how you can do it!”

Where were the examples of exquisite descriptions or punchy dialogue? How could I learn about structure without ever looking at one? When was it going to stop talking about writing, and start showing me how to write better?!

So, I went to my laptop, flung open the lid, and tapped furiously until Google answered my question. The results left a bad taste in my mouth . . .

Continue reading 6 Books that Taught Me How to Write Better

10,000 Words a DAY?! (or How to Use Science to Write More, Better)

The most Novembery of all months is bearing down on us, and soon everyone around the world will be getting to work on novels they’ve been putting off for far too long. Authors will be completing first drafts of novels in November, because who wants to go outside in **the weather**?

Wait. Novel first drafts in a month? How is that possible? That’s like, 5000 words a day, without deleting anything.

If you had asked me 6 months ago, I would have said “That’s impossible.” But I’ve been working up there (I think I’m at around 2000 words on a good day), and if you asked me a few hours ago, I’d say “That’s improbable. Only full-time writers can even get close to that.”

Continue reading 10,000 Words a DAY?! (or How to Use Science to Write More, Better)