Category: Writing Advice

13 Villain Cliches to Avoid
June 27, 2017 Writing Advice J.K. Allen

Villains can be a powerful force in our stories. After all, there is no story without conflict and villains provide that conflict. But too often, villains turn into clichés. Let’s look at 13 villain clichés to avoid. He wears all black, with maybe flashes of blood red. He has black eyes that bore into you.
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Weaving Different Types of Antagonists
June 26, 2017 Writing Advice Nancy E Miller

By the time I got to this last column, I was running short on ideas. Our fearless leader suggested I go with how I deal with antagonists in my novels. In films, actors and actresses will often say that playing the bad guy is way more fun than the other roles. There is just so
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Dressing up Descriptions: Harness the Power of “Smile”
June 23, 2017 Writing Advice Phoebe Darqueling

I want you to picture the face of a character who is familiar to you. It can be one of your own making or have sprung from the imagination of another. Now, make that character smile. Sounds pretty simple, right? After all, everybody smiles (at least, I hope you do!) so it can’t be that
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Mercury in Retrograde and Misbehaving Characters
June 22, 2017 Writing Advice A.L. Mabry

Maybe you believe in astrology. Maybe you don’t. Mercury doesn’t really care, it is coming for you. The planet Mercury goes into retrograde about four times a year. It affects communication, decision-making skills, technology and a wealth of other things. If you are going to screw your life up, odds are you’ll do it during
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A Male Perspective on Writing Strong, Heroic Female Characters
June 21, 2017 Writing Advice David Wiley

“So, why do you write these strong female characters? Because you’re still asking me that question.” [Equality Now speech, May 15, 2006]” ― Joss Whedon That quote from Joss Whedon has stood out in my mind for years, ever since I first heard it. The fact that it was a question being asked, not just
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Writing a Strong Antagonist
June 20, 2017 Writing Advice J.K. Allen

This month we are talking about character development. There is one character that is often underdeveloped or cliché in our stories. The antagonist. Too often he is an all black wearing, mustache twirling, cackling villain who monologues too much for his own good. He’s a cardboard cutout and greatly weakens your story. So how do
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Working Your Characters With An Ancient System
June 19, 2017 Writing,Writing Advice Nancy E Miller

 Sometimes it isn’t the newest tool in the box that does the best job. It might take a tool your grandfather passed down to you to make sense of the situation. Such is the Enneagram. The graphic is representative of an ancient symbol and system of thought. David Wisehart explains in his book, “How to
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Top 10 Character Tropes and How to Twist Them
June 15, 2017 Writing Advice Heidi Angell

Hello Lovely Writers! There are literally thousands of character tropes in the literary world. Some are good, so good that they border on cliche. Others are offensive to certain groups because they rely heavily on stereotypes. But why do we use tropes in the first place? For the same reason that stereotypes hold a place,
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Two Steps to Developing Characters through Research
June 13, 2017 Writing Advice J.K. Allen

This month we are talking all about characterization. Characterization is important because characters bring our stories to life and create an emotional connection with our readers. Even with the most exciting plot, we need strong, well-developed characters to populate our world. And how do we develop our characters? With the right amount of research. There
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Follow Your Character Around
June 12, 2017 Writing Advice Nancy E Miller

After our house burned down came the horrendous job making a list of everything we lost. While I am sure most people just put the big stuff, I visualized the rooms down to pulling out drawers and opening cabinets. The frustrated agent said it took two women six weeks to type it all in and
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