15 (Mostly) Free Tools to DIY Your Self-Published Book

Hi everyone! So happy to welcome writing coach Mandy Wallace to the blog, who has rustled up some great links for anyone looking to Self-Publish. As most writers know, a good set of tools is worth its weight in gold…especially when it comes to something as stress-inducing as publishing a book. Please read on!

You don’t have to ask permission anymore.

The best self publishing links, tools and websites to help you publish your book and build an author business.

Self-publishing means the freedom to choose—when to publish, where to share your work, and how many readers you reach. No more gatekeepers means your publication goals and how to reach them are up to you.

But that also means your book’s design, writing, and technical details are up to you too.

That doesn’t mean self-publishing has to be hard.

Not when there’s a wide range of free and easy-to-use tools out there that make self-publishing easier. It’s possible, in fact, to DIY every step of your self-published book—from writing and design to file conversions and tracking sales—all without an advanced degree in design or unlimited funds for software and professional services.

Now, not only do you get to decide when and how you publish but also how your book looks and reads across every printed or digital page.

The free tools listed here make it all a breeze. Ready to check them out?

 eBook Tracker provides sales rank and pricing data for Kindle books. Use it to track changes in your sales and monitor the impact your marketing efforts have on them.

Word processors like Google Docs and Mac Pages convert simple documents into ePub files in just one step. Compose your book using the same tools you do to write a simple letter, and export it as an ebook.

Evernote and writers go together like peanut butter and jelly. Keep it (or whatever cloud-based word processor you like) on your smart phone. That way you can capture all those moments you’d usually waste waiting—in the grocery store line or on that guy finishing your oil change—to work on your book instead.

InDesign isn’t free, but its design capabilities are arguably unparalleled. And if you want a book that’s interactive or has a fixed layout—great for kids’ books, cookbooks, textbooks, manuals, and graphic novels—you can’t beat InDesign. InDesign can export documents into the ePub format that works on most non-Kindle devices. Convert them from there into Mobi, which works on Amazon’s Kindle, using the converter tool listed below.

iBooks Author may be leading the way in interactive and fixed-layout ebooks. And even though you can use it to create books with swipe-friendly photo galleries, widgets, videos, animations, and other interactive features—it also makes gorgeous text-only fiction books.

Kindle Kids’ Book Creator is another fabulous, free design tool for fixed-layout books. Since it’s made by Amazon, using this tool to create your book means you’re less likely to have issues running it on Amazon’s platform or devices. And don’t let the name fool you. It’s not just for kids’ books. You can create any fixed-layout book using this software (like those textbooks, manuals, cookbooks, and graphic novels you can create using InDesign above).

Unsplash is a great place to get gorgeous, free, and copyright-free stock photos for your book’s cover or interior pages. Don’t be afraid to use stock photos. Yes, it means your readers may have seen the same image in other places before. But it’s more important your images look professional than unique, especially when it comes to the image on your books cover.

Canva offers a number of attractive, professional-looking book cover templates to choose from. You can use them as-is, or edit them for a unique look. Canva also makes it easy to edit stock photos. Cropping can make stock photos look more unique, and using the same filter for all your photos gives your book a consistent look.

JPEGmini shrinks bloated image file sizes that can quickly inflate your book’s overall size (and cut into your Amazon royalties!). This is especially important for image-heavy books. But even one oversized image or graphic can slow your book’s load time. So shrink those images!

CreateSpace is your go-to book designer if you plan to offer printed copies of your self-published book.

Kindle Direct Publishing is where you go to upload, sell, and manage your self-published book on Amazon.

Kindle Previewer 3 converts ePub files into Amazon’s Mobi, so you can spot flaws that didn’t convert well in your design. Fair warning, this is only to check design issues. It can’t guarantee the preview file will actually function on a Kindle. So test those files on your target device!

Calibre says it’s an e-book manager, but it’s really so much more. Use it to convert the ePub files you create using InDesign, iBooks Author, Google Docs, or Mac Pages above into Mobi files for Amazon and vice versa.

Free Tools for Fiction Writers offers its own list of free tools for the writing stage of your self-publishing journey—things like free writing course listings, character development tools, historical language trends tracker, a writing consistency trainer, editing tools, and more.

With this set of tips and tools, your book will be on digital shelves sooner than you thought possible. Happy writing!

Questions about these resources? What other helpful self-publishing tools do you use? List them in the comments so we can all check them out!

Mandy Wallace is a writing coach who shares tips and free tools with new writers. Her blog has been named one of the 100 Best Websites for Writers three years in a row, and several of her posts have clocked over 50k social shares each. Pick up a free copy of her Free Tools for Fiction Writers. Because the writing life should be easy (and fun!).

Find Mandy on Twitter and Pinterest where she’s sharing more great links and advice.

Posted in Guest Post, Marketing, Promotion, Publishing and Self Publishing, Software and Services, The Business of Writing, Writing Resources | 9 Comments

Essential Marketing Tactics For Children’s Authors

When we aren’t working on thesaurus books, Becca and I write for children and young adults. This means we know that one of the biggest challenges for Kid-lit & YA authors in is marketing. In most cases, the book buyers are not our actual readers and many of the traditional ways of reaching an audience don’t always work. This is why I am thrilled to have Dave Chesson from Kindlepreneur.com with us who has some great marketing advice for Kid-lit and YA authors to try!

Have you found that a lot of book marketing advice isn’t directly relevant to children’s book authors?

While the most fundamental principles of book marketing remain the same for both adult and youth books, the specific ideas and tactics are a little different. While parents may well sign up for your mailing list or see your social media ads, your young readers will not.

So how can children’s authors market in a way which is most effective for their young audience?

Seek Out Local And Offline Opportunities

One of the main differences between marketing books for children and adults is the relative importance of offline marketing.

While there are some offline book marketing opportunities for adults, such as book groups, there are many more for kids. After all, every school places an importance on reading, not to mention public libraries and activity groups.

It’s important to seek out opportunities where you can introduce kids to your stories and characters and show your personality as an author.

So how can children’s authors make the most of offline marketing opportunities?

  • Seek out existing events. If you spend some time browsing the websites of libraries, schools, and community groups, you’ll get a feel for what is available in your area. Often, you will be able to tell how popular an event is by its longevity, reputation or the reaction it receives on social media
  • Don’t be afraid to cold contact relevant institutions. As long as you aren’t pushy or spammy, introducing yourself as an author and offering to lead a reading or writing event is a valid way to promote your book
  • Focus on the impression you make. Offline, face to face marketing is about appearing likeable and positive as a person, in order to reflect your book in the best light

Align Your Book With A Cause

There are no shortage of children’s books. Often, aligning your book with a message or social cause is a good way to stand out from the crowd.

This is also a way of adding extra value to your children’s book. As well as entertaining kids and providing them with a memorable reading experience, you are also offering insight into the issues that really matter.

If you think aligning your book with a cause could help your marketing efforts, consider the following ideas:

  • Which causes do you genuinely care about or have a connection with? Aligning your book with a cause is only a good idea if it’s done authentically.
  • What unique angle or insight can you offer? Spend some time seeing how other children’s books have addressed causes you care about. What’s missing? Is there anything you can add?
  • Are there any charitable organizations that may be interested in partnering with your book? You may be able to provide a percentage of proceeds to them in exchange for some marketing access, for example.

If you’re able to authentically match your children’s book with a social cause, you have not only a marketing advantage, but the chance to make a positive impact at the same time.

Consider A Suitable Award

Just as a social cause can help your children’s book stand out from the crowd, so can an award.

People are less and less trusting of online reviews and the hype that can be generated through social media manipulation. Almost everyone can claim to be an obscure bestseller in this day and age. If your book has won a reputable award, however, it shows a deep level of quality.

Some example awards for children’s books include:

Michael L. Printz Award – An award for teenage literature. The prize is given purely on the basis of literary merit.

Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal – An award for informational books aimed at a young audience.

Coretta Scott King Award – An award for youth books focusing on the African American experience.

If you are considering a children’s book award as part of your marketing approach, keep the following in mind:

  • You want to make sure the award is reputable. Be careful of scam or vanity awards intended to take advantage of children’s book writers.
  • Is your book a genuinely good fit for an award? Consider the criteria and past winners to get a feel for this.
  • Winning the most prestigious awards is a lofty goal for most authors. However, you might be able to find more niche or local awards you stand a better chance of winning.

A children’s book award should never be the basis of your marketing approach. However, it can be a very valuable, high-quality finishing touch which helps your book stand out from the crowd.

Are you an author for children or young adults and need marketing help? This post is for you! #kidlit

Children’s Book Marketing Takeaways

In a nutshell, some of the crucial differences in book marketing for children include –

  • A greater emphasis on offline marketing to reach young readers directly through suitable events
  • Seeing opportunities to align your books with social causes
  • Using relevant awards as a differentiator

Have you experienced success with any of the above as a children’s author? Have you found a unique take on children’s book marketing you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you in the comments. 

Dave Chesson loves sharing his advanced book marketing ideas at Kindlepreneur.com. His focus is on providing actionable, in-depth content, such as his recent guide to the best book writing software. His free time is spent nerding out with his family in Tennessee.

Posted in Guest Post, Marketing, MG & Kidlit, Promotion, Publishing and Self Publishing, Reader Interest, School Visits | 13 Comments

Occupation Thesaurus Entry: Personal Trainer

Jobs are as important for our characters as they are for real people. A character’s career might be their dream job or one they’ve chosen due to necessity. In your story, they might be trying to get that job or are already working in the field. Whatever the situation, as with any defining aspect for your character, you’ll need to do the proper research to be able to write that career knowledgeably.

Enter the Occupation Thesaurus. Here, you’ll find important background information on a variety of career options for your character. In addition to the basics, we’ll also be covering related info that relates to character arc and story planning, such as sources of conflict (internal and external) and how the job might impact basic human needs, thereby affecting the character’s goals. It’s our hope that this thesaurus will share some of your research burden while also giving you ideas about your character’s occupation that you might not have considered before.

Looking for the perfect occupation for one of your characters? Get ideas from our Occupation Thesaurus, starting with this entry on Personal Trainers.Occupation: Personal Trainer

Overview: A personal trainer works one-on-one and with small groups of clients to help them achieve their physical fitness goals. This usually involves leading them in an exercise regimen meant to help them reach their goals and advising them in regard to nutrition. Trainers may specialize in certain areas, such as yoga, aerobics, or strength training. While they typically work in public venues, many large-scale organizations now have their own fitness centers and personal trainers for their employees to utilize. Wealthier clients may pay for a trainer to come to their home.

Necessary Training: While there is no secondary education required for most personal training jobs, some employers would rather hire someone with a degree in the the fitness or health fields. It also helps to achieve certifications in the areas one would like to specialize in. And some additional training, such as in basic CPR and first aid, is required. The one universal requirement for this career is that the person be personally fit themselves.

Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: Basic first aid, high pain tolerance, parkour, strong breath control, super strength

Helpful Character Traits: Bold, confident, cooperative, courteous, disciplined, empathetic, enthusiastic, inspirational, observant, optimistic, persistent, persuasive, supportive

Sources of Friction: A client being hurt during one’s session, being unable to afford the necessary equipment or materials, wanting to strike out on one’s own but being stuck working for someone else, obtaining an injury or developing an illness that makes it difficult for one to stay physically fit, being unable to help a client achieve their goals, dishonest clients who make it difficult for them to achieve their fitness goals, becoming romantically attracted to a client, unhealthy competition with other trainers at one’s workplace, sexual harassment, being accused of maintaining one’s physique through unethical means (doping, abusing diuretics, getting surgical implants, etc.), having no time to pursue one’s true passions (becoming a professional bodybuilder or weight lifter, etc.)

People They Might Interact With: clients, gym rats, other personal trainers, gym managers and owners, administrative personnel, people they would run into during their own personal fitness training (spin class attendees, a yoga instructor, runners at the local track, etc.)

How This Occupation Might Impact One’s Basic Needs:

  • Self-Actualization: People in this field are enthusiastic about fitness and very often have their own fitness goals. Someone many have taken this job as a way to finance their own fitness goal of becoming a competitive athlete. If the job becomes too time-consuming, the character’s need to pursue their passion might cause a void in this area.
  • Esteem and Recognition: It’s natural for people in this field to notice peoples’ bodies; if in comparing themselves to others they find themselves lacking, this can lead to a self-esteem problem.
  • Love and Belonging: A person in this field might struggle making true connections with others if they feel that potential romantic partners are only interested in them for their looks, or their interest will only remain as long as they maintain a certain physique.
  • Physiological Needs: As with any healthy desire, wanting to be physically fit can be taken to an unhealthy extreme—even to the point of a character’s health or very life being threatened.

Common Work-Related Settings: Backyard, fitness center, gymnasium, mansion, rec center, spa

Twisting the Stereotype: The hard-nosed, borderline-abusive personal trainer yelling and spitting into the client’s face has been done to death. Likewise, the sex kitten bombshell female trainer. Consider a different angle.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 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 partners that goes something like this:

“I think you feel the emotion here, but the reader? Not so much.”

Or maybe, you get the dreaded, “Meh. Cliché.”

Write DEEP Emotion using these terrific writing techniques. Today, we’re going to strap on our scuba set and dive deep into our stories with emotion, giving our characters oxygen with fresh viscerals and appropriate emotional levels.

How to Write Fresh Viscerals

Everyone has their own tried-and- true process for writing. However, writing fresh viscerals—involuntary physiological responses to external factors (like bad news)—requires a whole other skill set. It’s not one I’ve seen taught very often (Margie Lawson has some great courses and an Immersion cruise with Cruising Writers this December on viscerals), but I believe this particular skill set at the heart of every tip or strategy I’ve come across on ‘how to’ write emotion.

Vulnerability.

Yup. I went there.

Brené Brown talks in great depth about this subject and if you’ve never searched her out, I’d start with her fabulous TED Talk on the subject.

As authors, to access deep emotion and be able to write it in an authentic way that connects with our readers, we must become vulnerable.

Vulnerability means accessing your own pain or joy, and at times reliving those crucial turning points in your own life. But not just the facts. You’ve got to pull on those emotions…and what your body was doing at the time.

I can recall in great clarity the moment I got the phone call that my best friend had died. I was sitting on the second step of the stairs in my childhood home. My dad was in his study, and my friend was on the phone telling me the news. And I remember going numb. I remember my dad’s words about the news and how foggy they sounded, and at the same time became so clear that they’ll stick with me for the rest of my life. But most of all, I remember how loud my heart got. It drowned out everything else, and the beats were slow, and hard, and vibrated my bones.

When my character is facing a death or a moment of tragedy, I have to go back to that moment or moments like that. I have to allow myself to sink back into that pain. Or a moment of joy, depending on the scene. And then, I have to put it on the page.

Instead of telling your reader that your character felt the pain like the edge of a knife, go deeper. Get personal by being vulnerable. What would that pain feel like to you? Does it feel like the edge of a knife, or is it more of a gut pain, or a chest pain? Where would you feel that pain? What does your body do?

Then expand that. If you feel stress in your chest, chest tightening, heart racing, is that where your character experiences stress? Maybe your character’s thighs clench whenever her mother barrels through the door like a whirlwind of anxiety. Or maybe her fingertips tingle. The Emotion Thesaurus and One Stop For Writers are great resources for drilling down to various emotional responses.

Another great tool is a cliché twist. This is my favorite tool to use to write fresh emotion. It goes something like this:

Jane’s heart thundered.

Heart. Heart beat? Beat and thundered. That’s rather cliché. We’ve read it a bunch of times. But beat and thundered—those sounds are closely related. What can you do with those?

Jane’s heart sounded like the beat of a drum, thundering through the jungle in a slow, ancient tribal rhythm. Ba-da-dum, dum, dum, ba-da-dum.

Using vulnerability to access a deeper level of emotion, then using twists on old clichés, can help you get to fresh emotion that not only connects with your reader, but adds a layer of emotional depth to your characters.

How to Stay at the Appropriate Emotional Depth

Write DEEP Emotion using these terrific writing techniques. However, you can go too deep. Depending on the level of emotion and action in the scene, the example above could be too much.

If Jane is getting news that her kid didn’t make it into the gifted program, she wouldn’t experience the same emotional depth as she would if she got a phone call saying her kid had been in an accident.

You can even set up your own scoring system. Kid not making it into the gifted program gets a score of 5 on an emotional intensity scale. Kid being in an accident gets a score of 10.

So, let’s stick with the original emotion example, in the context of Jane getting the news that her kid didn’t make it into the gifted program at school.

Jane’s heart thundered.

Yes, she could still have a heart reaction to this news, but it wouldn’t be so drawn out. An emotional intensity level of 5 would be more thoughtful and less of the base physical response of a 10.

Using the same thought process: Heart? Heart beat? What else makes a beat sound? Drum. Like a kick drum. Relates to music.

Jane’s heart kicked up in her chest, timing the beats to the worry wheel spinning in her head. How was she going to break the news? Ba-dum. Sally would be so disappointed—not even ice cream could fix this. Ba-dum. How would she keep Sally’s self-confidence up, after she’d tried so hard…and failed? Ba-dum.

Recognizing the emotional intensity of a scene and writing an appropriate level of emotional response can save you from overwriting, and also save your scenes from falling flat.

Do you love to write emotion or is it a struggle for you? What tips and tricks do you have for writing authentic, fresh emotion?

About Christina

Christina Delay is the hostess of Cruising Writers and an award-winning author represented by Deidre Knight of The Knight Agency. When she’s not cruising the Caribbean, she’s dreaming up new writing retreats to take talented authors on or writing the stories of the imaginary people that live in her heart.

Cruising Writers brings writers together with bestselling authors, an agent, an editor, and a world-renowned writing craft instructor writing retreats around the world.

Cruise with us to Grand Cayman this October with Kristen Lamb (Bestselling Author and Marketing Jedi), Rachel Caine (Bestselling Author of 50+ books), Deidre Knight (The Knight Agency), and Alex Sehulster (St. Martin’s Press).

Or get ready to Dive Deep and join us on a 7-day Immersion Cruise with Margie Lawson this December to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel!

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

How To Keep Writing When That Critical Inner Voice Won’t Shut Up

You know the feeling. You went to bed last night floating on air and wondering whether it really is too early to begin writing that acceptance speech for when you win the Pulitzer. But this morning when you reread your WIP, well, either monkeys got into your laptop while you were sleeping, or, let’s face it, you’ve been deluding yourself.

Now you’re sure that the only prize you’ll ever win is as the worst writer who ever lived. Suddenly you’re positive that your prose is stiff, your premise mundane, trite even, and who the hell wants to read yet another love story anyway?

Cue the mean voice in your head – the one that sounds suspiciously like your second grade teacher – that asks what made you think you could be a successful writer in the first place.

It’s at a moment like that when 97 out of 100 writers give up. Yep, studies show that only 3 out of 100 writers ever finish so much as their first draft.

Are those successful three the writers who never once doubted themselves or their story? Hell no! In fact, writers who never doubt themselves or their work are the very writers who should. Because writing a novel is hard. It takes time. And you have to do it all by your lonesome. Truth is, every writer worth their salt eventually faces that dark night of the soul, and for some writers, that night is every night. It can be oddly comforting to know that it’s a club the vast majority of us belong to.

The question is: Since those doubts aren’t going to disappear, how do you keep going, especially when the mean voice in your head gets really loud? What will give you the strength to soldier on day after day, and the courage to dig ever deeper in the face of that nagging doubt?

Learn to deal with the internal editor without giving up on your novel

The good news is that there are two questions you can ask yourself that will give you the ammunition to fight back. What’s more, the answers to these questions will help keep your novel on track. They’ll not only help you become one of the three out of a hundred writers who finish a first draft, they’ll also help insure that that draft really has the power to rivet readers.

The questions are:

  1. What is my story’s point?
  2. Why is telling this story, making this point, deeply important to me?

Let’s dive in and find out why.

What is my story’s point?

Turns out this is a question you need to ask regardless, because all stories make a point beginning in the very first sentence. What kind of point? A point about human nature, about what makes people tick and, most importantly, why.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to step out and tell the reader what that point is. In fact, that’s the last thing you want to do. Rather, this is the point your story will be building toward from the first page to the last. Which is why you need to know what it is before you begin writing, otherwise, how can you build a story that gets there?

When you first begin to zero in on your point, it can sound shockingly simple. Cliché even. Like: It’s what’s inside that counts. Or, diving a bit deeper: Even though it’s terrifying to show people who you really are, it’s only by being vulnerable, thus authentic, that you can be loved for your true self. Or, given our scary world: Technology is a double-edged sword, don’t trust it to have your best interest at heart. Yes, Alexa, I’m talking about you. Stop laughing.

Ask yourself: What inside intel am I giving my reader about how to best navigate this mortal coil? How do you want to change the way people see the world, and how they treat each other? Because make no mistake: as a writer you are one of the most powerful people on the planet, and your novel will have the ability to shift your reader’s worldview. Not by telling them what to do, but by allowing them to experience the plot induced scene-by-scene evolution of your protagonist’s worldview.

Once you’ve nailed your point, we can ask the second question. It’s the answer to this question that will keep you writing, even when the going gets super tough.

Why is making this point so important to me?

This is a far more revealing question than it sounds at first blush. Because the answer isn’t a simple, declarative sentence, like: My point is that no child should ever go hungry and it matters to me because, hey, I just told you, no child should ever go hungry. Very true. But not the answer. Why? Because it’s surface. Impersonal. Generic. And let’s face it, a tad self-congratulatory.

What you’re looking for is something much deeper, and closer to home. Something that costs you something. Perhaps the reason your story matters to you is because of something that happened in your past that you’re still grappling with. Almost always there’s a deeply personal reason. That’s gold.

Ask yourself: What, specifically, happened in my life that made this important to me? This will probably make you feel vulnerable. It may hurt. That’s what tells you you’re getting close. You might also find yourself angry. Perhaps it was an unfairness that you experienced. Or a deep inner fear. Or it might be something that happened to someone you love. And sometimes the reason you’re writing your novel is to keep you from doing something that might get you in trouble. Like Sue Grafton, author of the Kinsey Millhone mysteries, as reported in the Los Angeles Times in 1990:

“Sue Grafton’s homicidal urges surfaced in the middle of a bitter, six-year custody battle with an ex-husband. “I was so furious at him that I lay awake at night fantasizing how I could finish him off,” she recalls.

“Then I had the brilliant idea of using oleander as a poison . . . So I concocted the perfect murder plot. I imagined making copies of my children’s keys to their father’s house–we had joint custody at the time–so that I could sneak in and put powdered oleander in his allergy capsules. The next hay fever attack–no more ex-husband.”

But in the clear light of morning, Grafton came to her senses. “Of course, I knew I’d never get away with it,” she says with a laugh. “And since I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in a shapeless prison dress, I decided to turn my homicidal fantasy into a mystery novel.”

So, yes, sometimes the reason it matters to you is because it’s what’s going to keep you out of jail. If that isn’t a powerful motivator, I don’t know what is.

The point is, knowing why you’re writing your novel is what will give you the courage to face down that mean doubting voice when it pipes up and tells you you’re bound for failure. It’s what allows you to turn around and say to it, “Maybe so, but I’m on a mission to change things, and to make the world a better place. So if my novel fails, it won’t be because I didn’t give it everything I had and then some.”

That knowledge is what will keep you writing. Whether it’s that you want to save yourself, like Sue Grafton, or save the world, or both. It’s what gives fuel to the grit it takes to write through those dark nights of the soul. Once you know why writing your novel is deeply important to you, those dark nights aren’t quite so dark. There’s a surprising – and liberating — feeling of power that comes from the knowledge you have the moxie to keep on going. And that, too, is worth its weight in gold.

Lisa Cron is the author of Wired for Story and Story Genius. Her 6-hour video course Wired for Story: How to Become a Story Genius can be found at CreativeLive.com, and her TEDx talk, Wired for Story, opened Furman University’s 2014 TEDx conference, Stories: The Common Thread of Our Humanity.

In her work as a private story coach, Lisa helps writers of all ilk wrangle the story they’re telling onto the page. For a library of her free myth-busting writing tips, and information on how to work with her one-on-one, you can find her at: wiredforstory.com

 

Posted in Motivational, Writer's Attitude | 9 Comments

Occupation Thesaurus Entry: Outdoor Guide

Jobs are as important for our characters as they are for real people. A character’s career might be their dream job or one they’ve chosen due to necessity. In your story, they might be trying to get that job or are already working in the field. Whatever the situation, as with any defining aspect for your character, you’ll need to do the proper research to be able to write that career knowledgeably.

Enter the Occupation Thesaurus. Here, you’ll find important background information on a variety of career options for your character. In addition to the basics, we’ll also be covering related info that relates to character arc and story planning, such as sources of conflict (internal and external) and how the job might impact basic human needs, thereby affecting the character’s goals. It’s our hope that this thesaurus will share some of your research burden while also giving you ideas about your character’s occupation that you might not have considered before.

Is your character a trail guide or mountaineer and you need details on what their job is like? This post offers great writing help and description detail.

Angela & her psycho horse Mate, with Nick, her trail guide

Occupation: OUTDOOR  GUIDE

Overview: An outdoor guide is someone who leads excursions into the natural areas. These excursions may be anywhere from a few hours, to days or weeks. An outdoor guide uses their skills and vast knowledge of the area to give clients an experience that only a seasoned outdoors enthusiast might otherwise have. Guides may take groups into natural areas to view scenery and animal activity using land and water transport, usually going by foot, horseback, boat, or other means. This allows clients to safely explore harder-to-reach natural areas, or in the case of mountaineering, summit a peak.

Guiding is done year round in many areas. In places where snow is common, transport might be by skis, snowshoes, Ski-doos or even dog sled teams. Guides are responsible for the safety and welfare of their clients and oversee camp preparations (setting up, getting firewood, filtering water if needed, and meal preparations) on longer excursions. 

Necessary Training: Not a lot of formal training is required to start as a guide, just a huge passion for the outdoors. A guide must be a people person also so they can effectively entertain, manage a variety of personalities within one’s group, and encourage travelers who grow exhausted or are pushed to their physical limits during the excursion.

Guides will require previous field experience or be given on the job training in whatever type of guiding they specialize in, both for knowledge of the terrain and in different modes of transport. If for example, the guiding is primarily by horseback, guides will require additional education regarding the handling and caring for horses, including any emergency situations that could crop up away from civilization. Guides may or may not have firearms training and carry a rifle as they are responsible for those in their charge. They will also have taken courses in first aid and possibly be a certified Wilderness First Responder (WFR)or a suitable equivalent.

Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: A knack for languages, archery, a way with animals, baking, basic first aid, charm, exceptional memory, fishing, foraging, gaining the trust of others, good listening skills, high pain tolerance, hospitality, making people laugh, multitasking, predicting the weather, reading people, sharpshooting, strategic thinking, super strength, survival skills, wilderness navigation

Helpful Character Traits: Adventurous, alert, calm, cautious, centered, charming, confident, courteous, curious, decisive, diplomatic, disciplined, easygoing, efficient, enthusiastic, extroverted, friendly, funny, hospitable, independent, mature, nature-focused, observant, optimistic, organized, persuasive, professional, protective, resourceful, responsible, sensible, simple, wholesome, wise, witty

Sources of Friction: difficult or whiny clients who underestimate “roughing it,” bad weather making the trip miserable and impacting what can be seen and experienced, equipment malfunctions, injuries (both people and animals if used), dangerous wildlife wandering close to camp, clients who try to get too close to wild animals, personality conflicts between clients, unwanted advances, clients who are poor tippers, clients who are not at the fitness level the excursion requires, a horse throwing a client, encountering a bear with cubs, a client wandering away from the group and getting lost

People They Might Interact With: Outfitters, tourists and locals, ranch hands, fish and wildlife officers, photographers, outdoor enthusiasts

How This Occupation Might Impact One’s Basic Needs:

  • Self-Actualization: while a guide might choose this occupation to be closer to nature and find their fit in the world, the day to day grind of dealing with entitled, rude, or overbearing clients on the trail may sour the character’s love of the wilds, leaving them unsatisfied with the mismatch of expectation and reality.
  • Esteem and Recognition: Because guiding can seem like choosing self-isolation, other people can make assumptions about a character with this career, assuming they are loners and somehow unfit for ‘the real world,’ which may impact the character’s self-esteem.
  • Love and Belonging: Because a character is often away for days at a time and on constant rotation during tourist season, it cane be difficult to create and nurture long-term relationships.
  • Safety and Security: Out in the wilds the character may encounter dangerous animals or navigate difficult situations due to the lack of experience of their clientele. In this case, the guide is responsible for the welfare of their customers, meaning they must take all the risks if something dangerous happens during the trip.

Common Work-Related Settings: arctic tundra, badlands, barn, campsite, canyon, cave, country road, creek, fishing boat, forest, grotto, hiking trail, hot springs, hunting cabin, lake, marina, marsh, meadow, moors, mountains, ocean, pasture, pond, rainforest, ranch, river, swamp, waterfall

View other occupations in this thesaurus HERE.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

How NOT To Mess Up Your Book Series

Writing a fiction series? Find out how to do it well by keeping a book bible and knowing what to do with those villains

Writing one book is hard. Writing an entire series of books, with their interconnecting subplots, arcs, and golden threads, weaving first book to last, is even harder. It’s like doing a puzzle with no opposable thumbs and a blindfold wedged over your eyes. But there are things you can do, to help you progress through your series.

Create a Book Bible

The most useful lesson I ever picked up from writing a series is to create a book bible. This is a document containing all the most important information about your plot, characters and world without including the actual 100,000-word plot!

Why have a book bible? Unless you’re Einstein, I doubt you can remember every detail, character, timeline and subplot. Having a reference guide helps prevent you from turning a thin character into a podgy one or a science tech into a teacher. It can also be handy for other people working on your  novel, like editors and beta readers.

What should you include? The list below is long (and not exhaustive), but only use what’s relevant to you and your series. My book bible started with just a few lines of notes; it’s taken three books to record all of the below.

  • Timelines—for each book, the series as a whole, and even events that happened before the story started, if relevant
  • Brief description of EVERY character—including distinguishing features and any key plot information where they change events or create action/tension
  • Key characters’ ‘wants’ and motivations
  • The character’s relationship to the protagonist or other key characters (where it’s relevant to a plot or subplot)
  • Family trees
  • Spelling of names, locations or special words—including relevant capitalization of words and made-up words
  • A map or list of key locations–for example, the fact that your character always takes piano lessons on the 5th floor of a building
  • Glossary
  • World building laws—e.g., rules of magic, both how it can and cannot be used
  • Societal structures—government, judicial, royal, military hierarchies, etc.

Understand Entry Points

Most readers have to start a series at book one (an entry point). But that creates reader drop-offs because not everyone will read to the end of a long series. It also makes selling the final book in your series, decidedly harder than selling the first. And that gives you a giant marketing problem. But there are ways to get creative with the series and provide multiple entry points for your readers.

Bella Forrest does this beautifully with her multi-million-selling A Shade of Vampire series. It has seven “seasons,” each told from a different family’s viewpoint and containing around eight books. This gives Forrest’s whopping 50-plus book series seven entry points and lots of opportunity to read across the seasons.

When you’re planning your series, consider whether or not you could add one or more of the following:

  • A prequel
  • A novella slotted between two planned books
  • A spin-off series based on other characters

Decide on a Series-Long Character Arc

One of the first lessons we learn as writers is to ensure our protagonist has a character arc – that they change and develop past their flaws into a fully-fledged hero at the end of your book. But what happens if you’re writing a series? Ensuring your characters are engaging for the entire series requires a little more thought. Here are some popular types of arcs you can use over a series:

Groundhog Day Arcs – These characters never change, no matter how many books you run them through (such as James Bond or Sherlock Holmes.)

Same Old Arcs Characters in this model take an entire series to grow through their flaw—like Harry Potter, who works on leadership and confidence until he’s strong enough to defeat Voldemort.

New Story, New Problem These characters have to overcome a new flaw or problem in each book. Or they have a different ‘thing’ to get over in each story arc. For example, Woody from Toy Story has to get over his jealousy of Buzz (film one), move past his ego in favor of his heart (film two), and let go of the past (film three.)

Line Up the Villains

Much as it pains me to say it (because I love a good villain), most villains have a three-ish book lifespan before your audience needs closure or you lose the believability of your hero and the credibility of your villain. If your character is chasing the same villain for ten books without any resolution, the audience is going to get tired. And yes, before you mention Harry Potter, I know he chased Voldemort for seven books.

Except, did he? Each Harry Potter book had a different villain or ‘antagonist’ that needed defeating, whether it was a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher or an ethereal form of Voldemort. But technically Voldemort himself didn’t ‘come back to life’ until the end of book four. Meaning each book had a separate villain or conflict, and Voldemort was the overarching series villain.

How do you keep th villain from getting stale over the course of your series? Here are some suggestions:

  • Have two villains, one for the first half of the series and another for the second half
  • Have a minor and a major villain—for example, a physical villain and a more societal or intangible villain that’s not embodied in a person. Like President Snow and The Capitol in the Hunger Games
  • Have a different villain for each book

A Word On Cliffhangers

Cliffhangers are like Marmite: some readers love them, others hate them. But they’re mighty useful for keeping your audience ploughing through a series. If you include cliffhangers at the end of each book consider the following:

  • You need to make absolutely sure you round off every other subplot and story arc in your book.
  • Readers prefer faster releases in the series if there are cliffhanger endings.

Series are hard to write, but there are lots of things you can do to make yours the best it can be. Think about your individual book arcs as well as a series arc, consider how many villains you need to keep the story flowing, and finally, remember that more entry points equals more readers and more sales.

Sacha Black is the author of the #1 bestseller for writers, 13 Steps To Evil – How To Craft A Superbad Villain. Her blog for writers, www.sachablack.co.uk, is home to regular writing, marketing and publishing advice sprinkled with dark humour and the occasional bad word. In addition to craft books, she writes YA fantasy, and her first series, Keepers, is due out in November 2017.

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Posted in Resident Writing Coach, Series | 28 Comments

Occupation Thesaurus Entry: Teacher

Jobs are as important for our characters as they are for real people. A character’s career might be their dream job or one they’ve chosen due to necessity. In your story, they might be trying to get that job or are already working in the field. Whatever the situation, as with any defining aspect for your character, you’ll need to do the proper research to be able to write that career knowledgeably.

Enter the Occupation Thesaurus. Here, you’ll find important background information on a variety of career options for your character. In addition to the basics, we’ll also be covering related info that relates to character arc and story planning, such as sources of conflict (internal and external) and how the job might impact basic human needs, thereby affecting the character’s goals. It’s our hope that this thesaurus will share some of your research burden while also giving you ideas about your character’s occupation that you might not have considered before.

Wondering what jobs your cast of characters should have? Explore our occupation thesaurus, starting with this one on the teaching career!Occupation: Teacher

Overview: There’s a wide range of jobs available to those interested in education. Teachers work at various levels, from pre-kindergarden through the collegiate level. Public schools are fairly standard, with the teacher’s requirements being dictated at the county, state, and national levels. Private schools are more varied; they may follow the traditional public school model, espouse a certain educational method (Montessori, etc.), or be affiliated with a religious organization.

Teacher’s duties and education requirements vary depending on their area of focus. Through the elementary level, most teachers are responsible for a small group of students for the entire year, instructing them in the core education areas (math, language arts, science, and social studies). Special-area teachers focus on a specialized area of instruction, such as physical education, art, music, band, computer skills, etc. This model continues into middle and high school, where teachers are certified in a certain subject area and teach that subject throughout the day to a wide range of students. Professors do the same at the college level.

Teachers’ duties include preparing lesson plans based on established curriculum standards, teaching lessons to accommodate the needs and ability levels of many different students, assessing students, attending faculty meetings, conferencing with parents, and participating in workshops and other ongoing education opportunities. Some teachers may have additional duties as well, such monitoring students at lunchtime or recess, coaching a sports team, leading a student club or organization, and other before- and after-school responsibilities.

Necessary Training: Teaching certifications depend upon a number of criteria. In the US, many pre-k programs require no formal education for their teachers. Elementary and secondary teachers need a four-year degree, though they can go on to get their masters or doctorate degrees for better pay and the opportunity to move into an administrative capacity. Unaccredited private schools may have more lenient requirements. Professors are usually required to have a masters or doctorate.

Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: Empathy, enhanced hearing, gaining the trust of others, good listening skills, hospitality, multitasking

Helpful Character Traits: Adaptable, affectionate, alert, calm, cooperative, decisive, diplomatic, disciplined, discreet, enthusiastic, gentle, honorable, industrious, inspirational, intelligent, nurturing, objective, observant, optimistic, organized, passionate, patient,  protective, resourceful, responsible, studious, tolerant, wise

Sources of Friction: Unreasonable administrative expectations, frequently changing curriculums and teaching methods, being unable to adequately teach the basics because of the pressures to teach to a certain test, co-teaching with a teacher whose methods or philosophies are different than one’s own, limited funding that requires one to supplement supplies, conflict with parents (who don’t support the teacher when they should, whose absentee parenting makes their child’s success difficult, who want preferential treatment, etc.), seeing a student fail despite one’s best efforts to help him or her, conflict among students, being accused of inappropriateness by a student, suspecting that a student might be a victim of abuse, being unable to connect with a student and gain their trust, suspecting that a student is being bullied but being unable to catch the offender

People They Might Interact With: Administrators, students, parents, other teachers, classroom aides, mentors,

How This Occupation Might Impact One’s Basic Needs:

  • Self-Actualization: As with so many occupations, the dream doesn’t always match the reality. Teachers spend a large portion of their time doing things other than teaching. They can easily find themselves doing very little of what they love, making them dissatisfied with their chosen profession.
  • Esteem and Recognition: While teachers are slowly gaining the respect they reserve, there are still people who would rather their loved ones choose occupations that pay higher wages or garner more prestige. A teacher with a parent, spouse, or other influential person putting pressure on them to find new employment may take a hit in the esteem department. This could also occur if the educator has to find a second job in order to support themselves and their family.
  • Physiological Needs: The rise of school violence has made this scenario a sadly believable one that could threaten a teacher’s survival, along with their need for safety and security.

Common Work-Related Settings: Boarding school, custodial supply room, dorm room, elementary school classroom, high school cafeteria, high school hallway, juvenile detention center, parking lot, performing arts theater, preschool, principal’s office, prom, public restroom, school bus, school locker room, science lab, teacher’s lounge, university lecture hall, university quad

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

The Destructive Power of The Lie Your Character Believes

We are often our own biggest critics, aren’t we? Whenever something goes wrong, we feel disappointed, frustrated, upset, or hurt. The fallout might cause others around us to suffer too, causing further anguish and guilt. When this happens, unless the situation was in no way tied to us, we tend to blame ourselves:

Why didn’t I see this coming? I should have been prepared.

How could I fall into this trap? I should have known better.

I can’t believe I did that. What’s wrong with me?

In other words, we become critical of what we did or didn’t do, how we allowed something to happen…or not. We chastise ourselves for not avoiding what said happened to us.

To be fair, sometimes we are to blame: Drunk texting an ex may lead to an embarrassing Facebook upload of screenshots the next day. Falling asleep at the wheel can end in a car accident. Most times, though? We’re not to blame. Still, we never let ourselves off the hook. Why is this?

Instinct & The Brain’s Need To Define Cause & Effect

Whenever something negative occurs that we don’t expect, we are desperate to understand why it happened so we can stop it from occurring again. This is our primal instinct to protect ourselves—mark something as “the problem,” then act so it (and the pain it causes) will be prevented in the future. Cause and effect—it’s a law we live by.

If we’re lucky, we spot the problem and follow through with a logical solution: I failed the test, so to pass next time, I will study harder. Or, My car was ransacked, so I must stop forgetting to lock it up at night. We change behavior to ensure that the same thing doesn’t happen again. Logical, right?

Unfortunately, cause and effect aren’t always clear, especially when dealing with something like an emotional wound. Rendered utterly vulnerable, lives are changed in an instant. There may not be a single cause to blame, or if there is, we often hold ourselves responsible for “letting this situation happen.” After all, we (falsely) assume we are in charge of our own lives so when control is suddenly lost, the mind reels – how did I let this happen? On some level we believe it’s our fault. Had we chosen differently, trusted someone else, paid more attention, etc., a different outcome would have resulted.

Our characters should mirror real people–this is what makes them (and their emotions) feel authentic, which captivates readers.  So, when we’re exploring their backstory and brainstorming a wound, we need to ensure that in their deepest pain, their minds follow the same detrimental path of self-blame that a person’s mind will.

The Internal Blame Game & Lie It Produces

When the character’s thoughts circle disempowering beliefs (that they are incompetent, naïve, defective, or they lack value) as a reason for their failure, it eats away at their self-worth. This, combined with a need to identify the pain’s cause will lead to a specific effect: an internal lie will form. This Lie (also called a False Belief or Misbelief) is a conclusion reached through flawed logic. Caught in a vulnerable state, the character tries to understand or rationalize his painful experience, only to falsely conclude that fault somehow lies within.

Imagine a character who convinces his wife they should pick up snacks for a movie night at home to save money rather than go out as she wanted to. While they are inside a corner store, a robbery occurs and the the wife is shot and killed.

This wounding event is horrific and will forever change the character. He’s not going to simply blame the shooter and move on. No, he’s very likely going to also blame himself. In his mind, he’ll dwell on how it was his choice to stop at the store because he was cheap and wanted to avoid an expensive ugh this out. He may question his actions in the store: why didn’t I charge the gunman? Why didn’t I find us a better hiding place? Why didn’t I try to create a distraction so my wife could escape?

You and I have perspective this character lacks and know that Losing a Loved One to a Random Act of Violence like this isn’t something a person can blame themselves for. But caught in his confusion, grief, and pain, he believes he failed his wife, failed as a husband, he was a coward, and so on.

His Lie might look like one of these:

I can’t protect the people I love.

I am unworthy of love because I fail those who give it.

I am a coward who runs rather than fights.

My judgement is flawed; I can’t be trusted to make good decisions.

Once a lie forms, it’s like a fungus releasing toxic spores. This false belief seeds itself deep into the character, damaging his self-esteem, sabotaging his confidence, and creating a deep fear, maybe that if he loves again he’ll lose them or if he’s given responsibility he’ll only screw it up and get people hurt.

This lie will affect how he sees the world and himself. It will change how he interacts with others (he’ll keep his distance, afraid of letting himself get close to people he will only fail or hurt), he will avoid chasing goals which will make him be accountable for others, and he will always be on the lookout for situations that will lead to loss and pain so he can avoid these at all costs. He goes from living a full life, to a half-life.

While most lies center on a perceived personal failing due to self-doubt or guilt, not all of them do. In cases where a wound isn’t as deeply internalized, the person may become disillusioned. Using this character’s example, he might come to believe:

People will take what you love because they can

Violence is everywhere; no place is safe

The police can’t protect anyone

This type of lie becomes a critical judgment about how the world works, because, in the eyes of the character, it’s true: someone did take what he had away from him without cause, and the last thing he expected was violence yet he found it, and the police didn’t keep this criminal off the street. His wide conclusions may be skewed, but this wounding experience taught him a negative life lesson. Now, he’ll always be expecting life’s other shoe to drop.

The lie is destructive and until it can be reversed, it will continue to hamper the happiness, fulfillment, and inner growth of your character. Understanding and planning your character’s backstory wound and lie is important. If you are writing a change arc, it is only when your character can shatter this misbelief through internal growth that they will feel that they truly deserve the goal they seek. Their deeper sense of self-worth gives them the courage and inner strength they need to put all their energy into achieving it.

What Lie does your character believe? Let me know in the comments!

If you need help with Emotional Wounds and the Lies they cause, grab your copy of The Emotional Wound Thesaurus or visit One Stop for Writers’ expanded thesaurus and our helpful tutorials.

Posted in Character Arc, Character Wound, Characters, Emotion, Emotional Wound Thesaurus, Empathy, Fear, Motivation, One Stop For Writers, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 19 Comments

Deepening Character Complexity with the Help of Psychology

Psychologists will often conduct a case formulation when a client presents in our office. If we want to be part of the change the client is seeking, then we have to have a good understanding of the client and all the factors that influence them. Now, are you seeing any parallels with a writer and their character? As writers, we want to understand our characters in a nuanced level that will allow us to create an authentic connection with our readers. We want a character who others can relate, empathise, or connect with, even if they don’t need to like them.

When psychologists aim for this level of comprehensive understanding, one framework we’ll use is the Four Ps. We apply this model to gain information about how to instigate change and move forward. Interestingly, stories are also about instigating change and moving forward, so it’s not surprising that writers can gain from this framework. Using the information you create from the Four P framework allows psychologists to understand their clients and their environment in a comprehensive manner. I believe writers can do the same for their characters and the story world they’re building.

Predisposing Factors

Although psychologists call this part of our world ‘predisposing factors’, in the world of writing, this is your character’s backstory. Psychology allows us to delve into this backstory with a deeper level of nuanced understanding. This is because psychology knows there are biological, psychological and social factors that impact on our personality and behaviours.

For a writer, this means considering both the internal and external factors that have shaped your character. Although not every point will be relevant to every story, reflecting on the following areas is going to give you a deeper understanding of your character when they enter the story.

  • What traits does your character already present with? Are they extroverted, introverted, highly intelligent, impulsive, have a family history of cancer or mental illness?
  • How has your character managed stressful situations in the past? Are they avoidant, do they rationalise, do they go on the attack? Are they quick thinkers, or do they need time to process the events that unfold around them? These personality and psychological structures are going to predict how your character responds to the challenges your plot is about to throw their way.
  • How has their social world influenced them? Cultural and sociodemographic influences are what every writer needs to consider when crafting an authentic character. If your character is a Caucasian, middle-aged man who grew up in middle-class suburbia, their childhood environment is going to be quite different to a Hindu girl who grew up in the slums of India.

Precipitating Factors

Precipitating factors are actually described as inciting incidents in the psychological literature, which serendipitously aligns with story structure terminology. When we consider precipitating factors in our story, think of the inciting incident that may launch your hero into act two or three, but also all the little instances where their wound or misbeliefs are triggered which will allow you to show what really pushes their buttons.

  • What situation/s would directly challenge your character’s understanding of the world?
  • Two people may experience the same precipitating event, but react differently depending on their backgrounds, life experience, social support, coping strategies and current circumstances. Which of these influencing factors are relevant to your character and story?
  • How can you use this knowledge to challenge, trip up, or even confirm, your character’s perception of the world in small ways throughout your story?

Perpetuating Factors

Perpetuating factors are very much the nuts and bolts of your story world. These are the factors that maintain your character’s thoughts and response style, and will either reinforce them, or challenge them. Perpetuating factors are likely to be a carefully considered mix of the following:

  • We all see the world through our own perceptions and beliefs. Consider what this lens looks like for your character; are they an optimist or pessimist, do they struggle to understand social cues, are they depressed, do they believe no one can be trusted?
  • What social relationships are currently impacting on your character? Do they have a supportive teacher, avoidant parents, a broad peer network or only one trusted friend? What does this mean for your character’s choices?
  • Consider your broader story world—a dystopian society is always going to impact on its story world inhabitants (particularly depending on which side of the social ladder you got allocated to), but how does it impact on your character personally? How does this information relate to everything you’ve already learned?

Protective Factors

Deep character brainstorming with the four P's - unearth the deeper aspects of your character to plan backstory

Protective factors are one reason I love the Four Ps model—protective factors delve into your character’s strengths, resilience and support. It allows us to explore our character’s assets, but in detail from their internal traits, to the world you’ve created around them.

  • What traits does your character have that will aid them as you drag them through hell—I mean, the story? Are they street smart, are they great at problem solving? Are they empathic, optimistic, funny, determined, disciplined or dedicated? Take a little time to consider the strengths your character already had when they first walked onto the page.
  • Who are the people around them that support and help them? Some of these already existed in the details of your backstory, like the grandmother who taught your character to stand up for the underdog, through to a new mentor that teaches them the rules of the fantastical world they’ve just discovered themselves in.
  • What strengths does your character have that they aren’t aware of? The external perspective of a psychologist, or in our case, the writer, holds an objectivity and understanding a person may be too close to see. Consider how your character may discover these strengths, and what that could mean for them.

What do you think? Can you see the wonderful link between case formulation and character building? By reviewing and applying the four Ps, what have you learned about your character? Your story world?

Tamar Sloan is a freelance editor, consultant and the author of PsychWriter – a fun, informative hub of information on character development, the science of story and how to engage readers. Tamar is also an award-winning author of young adult romance, creating stories about finding life and love beyond our comfort zones. You can checkout Tamar’s books on her author website.

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Posted in Basic Human Needs, Character Arc, Character Flaws, Character Traits, Character Wound, Characters, Emotion, Motivation, Resident Writing Coach, Subtext, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 11 Comments