Developing Your Character

This article was originally published in The Writer’s Everything, Issue #011.

Does he put effort into his schoolwork?

Some students limit themselves to the barest minimum amount of effort that will allow them to pass their classes. Others try less, not caring even if they fail every assignment. Still others put an incredible amount of effort in their schoolwork, spending many sleepless nights finishing homework, and always giving 100% in class. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Hermione Granger enjoys school so much that she requests a time-travel device so that she can take twice as many classes as normal. Ron Weasley, on the other hand, just barely manages to get by in the classes he has.

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Writing Definitions

This article was originally published in The Writer’s Everything, Issue #011.

Like any career or hobby, there’s a whole world built around writing that you may just be beginning to scratch the surface of. And let’s face it, we’re not born knowing how to respond if someone on Twitter asks if the MC in your WIP finds the McGuffin, or if it was just a red herring all along. 

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Outlining vs. Planning

This article was originally published in The Writer’s Everything, Issue #011.

While authors are, for the most part, fairly reasonable and level-headed (you have to be if you’re going to get in the headspace of each of your characters), there is one question that divides even the best of us. It’s an elemental debate that stems from the very core of how we function. 

That conflict is between planners, those who outline their novels ahead of time, creating a step-by-step guide to carry them through the writing process, and pantsers, those who fly by the seat of their pants, allowing nothing, not even their own notes, to stifle their creative process. 

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From The Editor

This article was originally published in The Writer’s Everything, Issue #011.

So much has happened since my last issue of The Writer’s Everything!

I completely revamped my Twitter presence. I separated my fiction and non-fiction into two different accounts. I added header images that I’m pretty dang proud of. I created a posting schedule, downloaded Buffer, and lined up two weeks’ worth of Tweets.

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The Positives of Subverting Expectations

This article was originally published in The Writer’s Everything, Issue #010.

A more and more common creative choice for story-tellers in our modern age is the practice of subverting expectations. What that means is that the audience goes into your story expecting one thing, and what you give them is something different.

The problem with this habit is that it is quickly overshadowing the quality choices that would make for better storytelling and more fulfilling arcs. In Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens, for example, we are introduced to Rey, and one pivotal question is raised. Who are her parents? In the sequel, Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson has went on record as saying that he wanted to provide the most shocking answer possible, one that no one would have seen coming. Her parents were nobody.

The problem isn’t that her parents have to be major players in this galactic saga. The problem is that the first movie basically straight-up told us that the identity of her parents matters, and that we should postulate on who they might be.

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Developing Your Character

This article was originally published in The Writer’s Everything, Issue #010.

Is he actively trying to move?

Although many characters may have lofty dreams of living somewhere other than where they currently do, not all characters have the motivation or the circumstances to see their dreams through to fulfillment. In The Lord of the Rings, Bilbo takes clear, deliberate actions to achieve his goal of leaving the Shire behind and going on another adventure. In The Office, Jim Halpert refuses to move, even when the circumstances are perfect for him to do so, because he doesn’t want to leave Pam. However, when she rejects him, he immediately accepts the new job opportunity he’s been offered and moves to Stamford.

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Writing Definitions

This article was originally published in The Writer’s Everything, Issue #010.

Like any career or hobby, there’s a whole world built around writing that you may just be beginning to scratch the surface of. And let’s face it, we’re not born knowing how to respond if someone on Twitter asks if the MC in your WIP finds the McGuffin, or if it was just a red herring all along. 

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Editing—Things To Look Out For, Part Two

This article was originally published in The Writer’s Everything, Issue #010.

Finishing the first draft of your novel is an absolutely enormous accomplishment. If you’ve ever written the final paragraphs of your 100,000 word manuscript, bookending it all with “The End,” then you have the right to be proud. Maybe even let yourself feel a little cocky. After all, you’re going to need all the encouragement and energy you can muster to push yourself through the next step.

If you know what this step is already, then you’re more than likely dreading the following word: editing. As awesome as it is to finish a first draft, it’s only half the battle. Oh, who am I kidding? It’s a lot less than half.

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From The Editor

This article was originally published in The Writer’s Everything, Issue #010.

I’ve never felt so good about my writing as I do right now. Nearly a half dozen of my novel ideas are coming together in ways I never expected. One, which I adore, will also unapologetically break my heart, as it’s the story of an abused puppy told from his naive, unreliable perspective.

Queue the tears.

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