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Character Flaws - EmotionalEmotional flaws are an integral part of making your character likeable to your readers. Believe me when I say, the more perfect your character is, the more your readers are going to be turned off by him or her and the more likely they will be to drop the book and never read it or another one by you again.
The reason is: they won't be able to identify with the character. No one in this world is perfect. If you make a perfect character, your readers are going to feel inferior to that character and hate him/her. They're not going to like the fact that s/he is always right, always wins, always knows everything, always says the right thing, etc., etc.
A character should always have at least two flaws. Especially a main character. This way, your reader can watch them grow and grow with them. If you have a series, I would choose 5 flaws so once your character defeats one flaw, they can start working on the next, just like in real life. Choose one flaw to be the maj
Getting to Know Your CharacterGetting to know your character(The Good, the Bad and the Ugly)
As mentioned in the filled-out character sheet, the first best way to get to know your character is to write down everything you can about them in a character sheet.
This includes, but is not limited to, their personal history (whether it will appear in the story or not), the names of their family members, their physical looks, their personality, and so on and so forth.
The second best way is to write about them. Put them into all sorts of little-bit situations so you know how theyd react to something. For instance, my Character Milan is an in-training scientist. We know, from the character sheet, that she carries weapons and has very little association with her mothers side of the family and the only people she knows about on her mothers side of the family are her grandmother Rant and her grandfather, Maren. Shes adventurous and loves anything that has to deal with the distant past.
Coming Up With the StoryComing Up With the Story
Once again, this step is combining all of the knowledge we have gathered about our character so far. Some of you may already have a story idea, even. Perhaps you created your character based upon the story idea you came up with.
Either way, if you want to be a writer, it's obvious you need a story.
The majority of authors outline their stories so that they can remember vital details. It also helps them from straying from the main track of the story and can serve as motivation or a muse to help you in times of writer's block. Oftentimes, if you don't know what to write next, it helps to look at your outline and go: Oh yeah, I was going to have that happen, so I can lead up to this, by having this and that happen.
Every story has a beginning, middle and an end. Even series have a beginning, middle and end. To-Be-Continueds have endings. An ending to the story does not necessarily mean the entire plot has been brought to a close. It just means
Choosing Your GenreChoosing Your Genre
(It's More Than Just Fantasy)
The first most important thing about choosing what genre you want to write in is deciding which genre you like the most. As we all know, the two main categories of genres are: Fiction and Non-Fiction. Inside those two are multiple choices of sub-genres which you can write in; autobiography, biography, fantasy fiction, science fiction, historical fiction, romance, mystery, thriller, comedy, horror, adventure, etc.
After you have chosen which genre you are going to write in (which you most-likely already have), the next important step is to research it.
Yes, you need to research it.
I'll say it again; RESEARCH!
You may think you know everything there is to know about your genre, but I can guarantee you, if you are unpublished and new to writing, you know maybe 15% of all you need to know about your genre. Less, if you are not a reader.
When writing in your genre, it is important to
1. Know what other authors ou
As has been mentioned in a couple previous tutorials, researching what you're writing about is extremely important. Vital, even.
If you're going to be writing a science fiction book with time travel and/or space travel, I'd read some books on relativity, as well as take some physics classes. Study what research has gone in to time travel as well and what they've discovered. Don't just write it off the top of your head. A lot of readers with scientific backgrounds prefer realism when it comes to seeing stuff about time travel in novels. Stuff that has been proven or theorized about.
Also, the hyperdrive for space travel is a very real idea. It's not just something that Star Trek/Star Wars have done. They took these from real theories. Study the information about this.
If you're doing a novel containing multiple universes/dimensional travel, you need to do as much research on that was possible.
Same for fantasy. If you're writing about merfolk, r
Writing The StoryWriting The Story
(How Does That Go Again?)
Detail is always an important factor when writing your story. For instance, if we have Milan digging out an ancient vehicle, were not going to simply say: Milan was digging up an ancient vehicle.
Readers like to know what things look like. The more detailed the description, the better the mental image. However, you dont want to make it so long its boring. You want the detail to be short, but effective. This means you need to use as few words as possible to give an exact description of what people are looking out. Sometimes, this requires a bit of research.
Theres that word again. Yes, research. And its probably going to keep popping up. Dont forget that, if youre writing a science fiction novel on an archaeologist, people who know stuff about archaeology arent going to be dumb to the archaeological terms. Give the name of the tool your character is using to work with and your readers will know w
Character Flaws - FatalWe all know by now that character flaws are very important to maintaining an identifiable hero in any story you create.
But we don’t just have protagonists to write about in our stories. Our heroes and heroines need an arch nemesis to fight against, the antagonist of the storyline, the bad guy who reaps fiery infernos of vengeance upon the good guy.
The bad guys need flaws as well—but not just any flaw; they need flaws that will make them hateable, flaws that are absolutely unforgiveable. These bad guys must have the reader so angry at them that they identify even more with the hero or heroine. These flaws can’t be just any old flaw or your reader might be able to identify with the antagonist more than he or she does with the protagonist.
While having some identifiable characteristics for the antagonist is okay, having the reader actually feel bad for the bad guy isn’t a good idea unless the bad guy is supposed to be redeem him or herself by the end of the novel
Character Sheet Filled OutCharacter Sheet Filled Out
I know this looks daunting. However, this is one of the best ways to help you remember
specific traits about your character, how to keep them in character (by their personality) and will help you get to know your character like a friend, besides a ton of other things.
So, let's give the character a name. Best way to figure out a name is to decide if you want your character to be a male or female. We'll go with a female.
Next, to choose her name, we need to know...is she an adventurous woman, or is she a more stay at home motherly type? I'm going to make mine adventurous because my story is going to be an adventure story based in the sci-fi genre in the distant future.
Now that we know those facts about the character, we can give her a name. Since she's adventurous, she is definitely going to be outdoors a lot. So she'll need a good, strong name, preferably one that is a unisex name (a name that
Blank Character SheetBlank Character Sheet
(Just For You)
Special Eye Traits:
Missing Body Parts:
Feelings towards Religion:
Feelings towards Politics:
Feelings towards Family:
Feelings towards Friends:
Likes About Self:
Dislikes About Self:
Types of Food Likes:
Types of Food Dislikes:
Personalities and AppearancesPersonalities and Their Outer Appearances
NEW WAYS TO TALK ABOUT CHILDREN
by Kathie Spitzley
Bobby is so hyper. He is all over the place. Its no wonder I cant teach him anything!
How many times have you heard teachers or associates making negative comments about children or other adults? They seem to infer that by describing the child it should be obvious why the situation would seem unworkable. Sometimes a childs qualities are only a problem because we chose to see them that way. In fact, what seems to be Bobbys problem is often Bobbys strength. High energy level may someday carry him to completion on a complex task or be what fuels his championship swimming ability. It is fun and helpful to think of positive sides of qualities that are often assumed to be problems in children. Read the list of problems on the left
How to Introduce a CharacterThe classical Movie Introduction Sometimes, you get a hero. Not over time, but right at the start this is your hero. He's confident, he's suave, and he always packs his shaving cream. Somehow he always manages to get that beard just right, despite the fact that you've never seen him trim. Everything about him is admirable, and you just wanna follow him like a little puppy dog because that's how AWESOME he is.
it might work, but you still shouldn't do it. It's one thing for movies, where you can simply follow someone's action across the screens. In books, you want the closeness that only seeing the character fall on their face time times just to get it right once will bring.
The stumbling introduction - sometimes, your character stumbles into the wrong thing at the wrong time. Or the right thing at the right time, perhaps, but if you want a good story you should probably make sure it ends up worse for them than it would have otherwise.
Oh, sure, things
Research: How to do It
Weve already discussed where to do your research, so now were going to learn how to go about using those tools. Like everything else we do in life, theres a process to it, and once youve learned the steps, finding the information becomes a bit easier (admittedly, some of the harder queries will never get easier).
What do you Need to Know?
Knowing what it is that youre trying to research seems sort of obvious, but there are times when you wont have the first clue about what youre looking for. These are mostly situations when you already have your story plotted out, and now you need fact to work around your outline.
The situation: A group of police characters is out in the sprawling farmlands of the West Country in the middle of the night. After a brief struggle, one of them is shot. The character that has done the shooting and his accomplice flee. The remaining uninjured character dials
Ultimate Story ProfileGeneral Info:
Genre (epic, fantasy, historical, romantic, action, adventure, comedy, horror, drama, etc):
Theme (meaning or dominant idea behind the story):
Synopsis (the story summed up into one or two sentences, with or without ending):
General Story Overview:
The Three Acts:
Act 1 (orientation and first problem):
Act 2 (struggling to solve problem):
Act 3 (climax and ending):
The Hero's Journey (skip this if not familiar with hero's journey):
The Ordinary World:
The Call to Adventure:
Refusal of the Call (for the reluctant hero):
Mentor (the wise old man or woman):
Crossing the First Threshold:
Tests, Allies and Enemies:
Approach to the Inmost Cave:
The Road Back:
Writing Tips - Grammar, pt 1
Part one: Parts of Speech
Now that you know how to use a comma and structure a quote, lets really get our hands dirty! Because all those commas and quotes and hard stops dont mean a thing if you have weak grammar. Grammar is huge. Theres a lot of it, so this will only be a blitz course, covering a lot in a small space. Hopefully, you already know most of it, though.
Parts of Speech
Thats right. Were doing sentence diagramming in this lesson. Youre going to need to know the difference between an adjective and an adverb later on, so this seems the logical place to start.
A sentence needs three things to make it a sentence. It needs a subject, a verb, and it needs to be a complete thought.
The subject is usually, but not always, a noun, a proper noun, or a pronoun.
Nouns: Nouns are something physical. Look to your left. What do you see? Thats a noun.
° Please pass me that book.
Proper Nouns: Proper nouns are exactly what
Writing Tips - Language
Accents, Foreign Languages, and Regional Dialects
There are times when your story may have one or more character speaking a different language, or with a different accent than the rest. There are many different ways a writer can go about presenting this to the reader, and before we go any further, I will concede that some of it is a matter of personal taste, and on this particular matter, you wont be able to please everybody. So, consider this bit not so much a lesson, but rather a series of guidelines.
Everyone has one. Even if you think that you dont, theres someone, somewhere in the world who would disagree with you. Some people may have a very faint trace of an accent, whereas with others, you can hardly make out what theyre trying to tell you. But how should you translate these simple speech patterns to text? Well, that depends, really.
Since Ive been listening to the audio books lately, and its the best example I can come up with, let
Punchlines and Pay-Offs
Set-Up and Punchline: Using Narrative to Tell a Joke
"Three blokes go into a pub. Something happens, and the outcome's hilarious!"
-- Bill Bailey
That's the basic recipe for any joke, isn't it? Set the scene, add a verb or two, and everyone laughs. But there's a problem with jokes, and it goes something rather like this:
"Three blokes go into a pub, and the whole scene unfolds into a tedious inevitability." -- Bill Bailey (again)
The formula to telling a joke is a bit more complex than just the basic recipe. The recipe is what you need to tell the joke; milk, eggs, flour, shortening, baking powder, saffron. But if you just look at the recipe, you don't really know what's going to happen. Are we baking a cake? Biscuits? Some sort of rock-hard bread that'll keep in the pantry for two million years? We don't know!
Telling a joke is the same thing. Just having the set up, verbs, and payoff without knowing how much of each, or if you should use the verbal equivalent to
Writing is like math. If you dont follow the right formula, you end up in a state of mass confusion. Synonymously, punctuation is like following a map. If you miss the street signs, youll end up completely lost. The following is a list of common English punctuation marks and their most basic functions. Contrary to popular belief, there are no exceptions to these rules. Breaking them has never been in style.
The most common English punctuation marks include the following:
. = period
? = question mark
! = exclamation point
, = comma
= quotation marks
; = semicolon
: = colon
- = hyphen
( ) = parentheses
. . . = ellipse
Wow, thats a lot of symbols! So, how do you use them as you write? Here's a quick and dirty list.
1) Every sentence must end in a period, question mark, or exclamation point.
2) A comma signifies a pause, distinguishes betw
Everyone's heard that characters should have goals, something they want and must strive for, overcoming obstacles and antagonists in order to obtain. Because, well, a story is the record of your character's journey toward achieving a goal.
While all of this is true, I think a lot of writers lose sight of an even more important aspect of character. That is, motivation. Sure, you know what your character wants.
That's the gist of motivation. What is the psychology and reasoning behind your character's goal? If your character is driven to make money, is his motivation greed? To pay off a debt? To support his family?
Motivation is your character's emotional connection with the reader. When the reader comes to understand why your character has set out to achieve his goal, they will understand your character in human terms, relate to him, and become invested in what happens to your character throughout the story.
Without a clear motivation, your character's goals don't mean much. So wha
Show, Don't TellShow, Don't Tell
(And Other Do & Do-Nots)
(Okay, so there arent really any other Do or Do Nots because Ive covered a lot of them already and there will be more to come in the other tutorials.)
Im sure youve heard/read this before and now youre reading it again: Show, dont tell.
What this means, of course, is that when writing your story, you need to give detailed description on what is happening.
For instance, lets say Milan has graduated and been given control of her very first team of archaeologists. Theyve been researching where to find a lost civilization thats as famous as Atlantis and is as wealthy in knowledge to them as Atlantis purportedly is to us.
The site had been completely destroyed by the thoughtless actions of the Technicist, a solar system-sized group of people who believed all areas should be brought up to current levels of technology supposedly just so everyone could have better lives
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