Category Archives: Empathy

Why You Should Side-Write Your Protagonist’s Origin Scene

Side writing: Any exploratory piece of writing that helps a writer get to know elements of their story but isn’t intended to make its way into a draft in its entirety. Examples include journaling from a character’s perspective, writing a scene … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Character Flaws, Character Wound, Characters, Empathy, Fatal Flaw, Resident Writing Coach, Writing Craft | 10 Comments

4 Ways to Fix a Boring Story

Is your story boring? Would you know or acknowledge it if it was? No one wants to admit that their story is slow, lackluster, or zzzzz. But hey, that’s what critique partners and editors are for. If recent feedback makes … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Character Flaws, Characters, Conflict, Empathy, Guest Post, Pacing, Reader Feedback, Rejection, Writing Craft | 15 Comments

Plot, Inner Change, Evocative Writing—What Really Rivets Readers?

Here’s a counterintuitive fact: Writers spend way too much time obsessing about “the writing.” They sweat over the words, the technique, the language, the flow, the use of metaphor, and hey, are there enough sensory details?  Fact: In and of … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Characters, Empathy, Resident Writing Coach, Writing Craft | 19 Comments

Look Forward, Not Backward, to Pull the Reader In

A lot of writers have the tendency to look “backward” when writing. They might use a lot of flashbacks, they might have a character think “back” on things, or they may simply refer to events that happened in the past. … Continue reading

Posted in Empathy, Experiments, Flashbacks, Pacing, Reader Interest, Reading, Resident Writing Coach, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 22 Comments

The Key Components of a Compelling Character (According to Psychology)

 We’re fascinated by our fellow humans. In fact, we have a profound desire to try and understand the thoughts and feelings bouncing around other people, the characters on TV…the hero introduced on your first page. From an evolutionary perspective, this … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Character Flaws, Character Traits, Character Wound, Characters, Description, Emotion, Empathy, Motivation, Resident Writing Coach, Show Don't Tell, Subtext, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 27 Comments

Beginnings and Backstory

You will find writers who argue that there should be no backstory at all in your first chapters. Why not? Because, by definition, backstory is what has happened before your narrative opens, and you want to establish the action first, … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Editing Tips, Empathy, Openings, Uncategorized | 17 Comments

The Mother Lode of First Page Resources

As many of you know, I run a monthly critique contest here at the blog, where I offer to read first pages and share my feedback. People are so grateful to win, but I have to ask: who’s the real … Continue reading

Posted in Editing Tips, Emotion, Empathy, Openings, Pacing, Point of View, Show Don't Tell, Voice | 7 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 | 17 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 | 14 Comments

Dive Deep with Emotion

Hi all! One of my favorite people is here today: Christina Delay of Cruising Writers. She’s got a great post on how to write deep emotion, so please read on! Don’t you just love feedback from beta-readers or your critique … Continue reading

Posted in Character Wound, Characters, Cliches, Description, Emotion, Empathy, Guest Post, Revision and Editing, Show Don't Tell, Subtext, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 9 Comments