Category Archives: Characters

Writing Backstory Through Dialogue

Backstory is one of the trickier elements of writing. We have to take our readers back in time to let them know some of the past, but how do we do it without interrupting the flow of the story? Jerry … Continue reading

Posted in Backstory, Character Wound, Characters, Dialogue, Flashbacks, Writing Craft | 31 Comments

New Release: The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression (2nd Edition)!

Today’s the day: The Emotion Thesaurus (Second Edition) enters the world! Over the years, many of you have written to us about the impact our book has had on your writing. Whenever we hear that your editor is commenting on … Continue reading

Posted in Contests, Emotion, Emotion Thesaurus Guide, Past Events, Tools and Resources, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons, Writing Resources | 39 Comments

Introducing One Stop for Writers’ Character Builder

Life is crazy sometimes. Here it is, less than a week away from us launching a book people are very, very excited about, and we’re about to share something else that is, in our humble opinion, even bigger and better: … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Character Flaws, Character Hobbies, Character Traits, Character Wound, Characters, Emotion, Motivation, One Stop For Writers, Show Don't Tell, Story Structure, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Resources | 14 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 | 20 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

How to Get Emotion Onto the Page

It is a truth universally acknowledged: you have to hook the reader right out of the starting gate. From the very first sentence your story must incite that delicious sense of urgency that makes readers have to know what happens next. But … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Emotion, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized, Writing Craft | 7 Comments

Want Readers to Fall in Love With Your Hero? Create The Perfect Hero Lens

We writers worry about all sorts of things: traits, arcs, themes, motives etc. But even when we’ve got all of those things sorted, bridging the gap between the black ink and the reader’s heart can still require something more… That … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Point of View, Resident Writing Coach, Show Don't Tell, Uncategorized, Writing Craft | 15 Comments

Goal-Oriented Storytelling: Attachment

Imagine you’re playing your first game of Scrabble with a friend. You haven’t been taught the rules of the game, but you know the general idea is to make words and place them on the game board. Your friend gives … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Character Flaws, Characters, Motivation, Plotting, Uncategorized, Writing Craft | 13 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

Character Arc and Narrative Arc

Character arc: someone living their life Narrative arc: the things that happen when someone lives their life When I worked with children, I’d always teach them the simple, zen fact: every sentence has a subject and verb. Someone does something. I’d tell … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Characters, Conflict, Motivation, Uncategorized | 6 Comments