Category Archives: Characters

And…Action! Applying TV Lessons to Chapter Hooks

We’ve probably all heard the advice to end our scenes and chapters on a hook. At the end of every scene or chapter, readers might put down our book and decide against picking it up again, so it’s important to … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Conflict, Experiments, Fear, Flashbacks, High Stakes, Resident Writing Coach, Series, Story Structure, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 7 Comments

Powerful Scenes: Using One Stop for Writers’ Informal Scene Map

A while back I profiled some of the custom brainstorming tools at our sister-site, One Stop for Writers, which help take the mystery (and misery) out of story structure. One that I left off that post was our Informal Scene … Continue reading

Posted in About Us, Character Arc, Emotion, One Stop For Writers, Story Structure, Tools and Resources, Writing Craft | 3 Comments

Crafting a “Body Language Voice”

You’ve probably heard about “voice”–that elusive quality that so many editors, agents, and readers are drawn to. Years ago, I did a couple of posts about character voice, arguing that it’s made up of what the character says and how … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Emotion, Resident Writing Coach, Show Don't Tell, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 7 Comments

Writing By Design Part 4: Contrast, or Light versus Dark

In earlier installments of this “Writing by Design” series, we’ve discussed how to use the constraints of space to lend a shape to your story, and we also looked at the importance of patterns in your writing, and when and … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Experiments, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Show Don't Tell, Subtext, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 5 Comments

The Six Stages of Your Hero’s Character Arc

It’s always special when a past Resident Writing Coach returns to the blog, so help me welcome C.S. Lakin who is opening up discussion on a powerful topic: Character Arc. I am a big fan of Michael Hauge’s 6-Stage Plot … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Characters, Guest Post, Story Structure, Tools and Resources, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 3 Comments

There Will Be Blood

This is something I say to almost every writer: Make no mistake, there WILL be blood! No, I’m not referring to the movie. Or even to literal blood. But to the fact that if what happens in your plot doesn’t … Continue reading

Posted in Character Wound, Characters, Emotion, Empathy, Resident Writing Coach, Tension, Uncategorized, Writing Craft | 14 Comments

Spy Novels: How to Nail The Character of an Espionage Hero

Great treat for you today–Piper Bayard (of Bayard & Holmes) is digging into what an espionage character should look like. And she should know, because her co-author, Jay Holmes…well, read on to find out! James Bond, Jason Bourne, Sydney Bristow, … Continue reading

Posted in Character Traits, Characters, Cliches, Guest Post, Motivation, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 12 Comments

How To “Level Up” Your Character’s Wound

Every writer who has spent time studying the craft writing knows of the character wound, and that they are the foundation of a strong, memorable character. Why? Because they make characters complex, authentic (I challenge you to find me a … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Character Wound, Characters, Emotional Wound Thesaurus, Motivation, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 9 Comments

The Writer’s Spice Cabinet

Some writers object to thinking about plot and structure because it may lead to formulaic writing. They miss a critical distinction. Why does something become a formula in the first place? Because it works! Here’s a formula for an omelet: … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Dialogue, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Setting, Uncategorized, Writing Craft | 7 Comments

Build Character Empathy in Your First Few Pages

You may not be aware, but I’m kind of obsessed with first pages and chapters. They’re not the end-all-be-all for keeping your audience engaged, but it’s definitely true that if you lose readers in the opening, you risk losing them … Continue reading

Posted in Character Traits, Character Wound, Empathy, Openings, Reader Interest | 12 Comments