Conflict, Inside and Out

External conflict on its own rarely stands up as being big enough, emotional enough or important enough. Yes, external factors are important in keeping a story moving, but internal factors are the driving force behind character arc and development, and our pathways to making two-dimensional, imaginary characters human. Real. 

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Don’t Start at the Beginning

As wonderful as my character’s tragic backstory or hushed conversation might be, none of that matters an iota if I don’t get the beginning right.

What I Meant to Say Was…

Listening to the world around you – yes, perhaps more than is polite – is a surefire way to realistically represent the world around you, no matter the setting, time period or characters. 

What’s the Point (of View)?

Let’s delve a little into point of view choice between first, second and third, and see what influencers, challenges and story elements will help us make our decisions about which to use. 

Beware the Mary-Sue

Before we can avoid writing her, or accidentally scare ourselves into a corner and avoid writing women altogether, it’s important to ask: What exactly is a Mary Sue, and why don’t we want one?  

On the Write Track

But it is also important to find a healthy, sustainable balance between the business and creative sides of your work, or you can find yourself wasting a lot of precious time on to do items with low ROI.

So where do you begin?

Get Series-ous: Seven Things to Do Before Starting Your Series

Though it has its many positives, there are certain pitfalls any writer can run into when writing a series. Taking these precautionary steps in advance will help you to minimize the challenges down the line and, hopefully, to produce better books.

Storyboard Not Storybored

Still, as someone who obsessively plans, outlines, plots and interviews, one of my most beloved tools of writing has stuck by me time and again. It’s not uncommon or revolutionary, not now, but it’s gotten me out of more sticky plot issues and setting questions than I care to admit. Behold the power of the storyboard.

The Constructive Critique Question

The constructive critique is a vital tool and not just for the reasons you think. While there is much to be gained from new sets of eyes reading and analyzing your work, the value of a critique, whether in a classroom, writing group or on a peer-to-peer basis, is undeniable.