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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
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
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
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
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
Tips for Writing Writers 2
Step One: Coming Up With a Plot line
Ever wanted to write a story but have not known where to start? Or have you had to write one for class and been completely lost of words? Well than here is a few tips that might help you.
1. Think of one thing. That thing could be a large final battle, a dragon, a clue to a murder, or even a lamp. Once you have that one thing, you have to think of reasons why that one thing is so important. Maybe that lamp is special and can transport you places when you turn it on, maybe that dragon is stealing treasure from all the nearby kingdoms, or maybe that clue is the murdered mans DNA, proving he never really died. What ever that thing is, expand on it. Even if you just look around your house you might find it. Remove that "oh that's a stupid idea" mental block, in fact, blow up that block, then let ideas flow.
2. Come up with a character. Some times thinking up the right character can have the story flow out on its own, all
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
What IS a Sue Anyway?"We all begin somewhere."
Cliche as the phrase might be, it holds in it a grain of truth. Every artist at some point in their lives needs to pick up a paintbrush or pencil; so too must every writer one day sit down at a computer or typewriter and place the ideas they want to convey down.
Nothing in its beginning is what the artist/writer intended it to be, not in every way. For artists, that line might be crooked or the proportions might be off. Backgrounds might be lacking. Is that a tree, or..Wait, let me squint and twist the paper this way...a cat? With time and practice, however, they'll start to improve.
For the writer, that scene might be lacking some zest and audience connection. That situation might be too unbelievable to have ever happened to anyone. That main character might be a Mary Sue. But what exactly is a Mary Sue, and in this era where some people see it as justifiable to call any original character in a fanwork a Mary Sue (or male variant, Gary Stu or Marty Stu), what
Writing Tips - Dialogue
If youre writing fiction, the dialogue is arguably one of the most important parts. And its the bit thats the easiest to mess up, if were strictly honest. And why not? Theres so much going on in that single sentence that any number of them can go wrong; voice, character, tone, point of view, punctuation. Well start with punctuation, because Ive already written that bit.
Go here. I was originally going to copy and paste that part of the lesson into this lesson, but then the thing wound up being ten pages long. So, read that, and then come back to this if you feel you might need help with the mechanical bits.
When to use Dialogue
Right. So, youve got a story all set up in your head (or on a piece of paper if youre inclined to pre-write), and its great. Your hero is blasting through space with a whole heap of misfits, and you
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 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
Writing Tips - Mechanics
Tips and Tricks for Writing Fluidly
No, were not fixing up your brothers car. Mechanics are the little technical bits in your writing; punctuation, spacing, spelling, capitalisation, et cetera. Well start there.
Different languages have different rules for what should be capitalised. If you speak English, youd capitalise I and leave your dog lowercase. You may find it interesting that German is a bit backwards. If youre German, youd capitalise Hund and leave ich lowercase. Why am I telling you this? Because its simple little things like this that have the potential to give your reader the wrong impression of you. If they think that English is not your first language, they may structure a critique differently than if they knew that you were born and raised in New York.
So, when do you capitalise something?
° At the beginnings of sentences.
The dog is in the park.<
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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