Drives and Goals

(This is another lightly edited Twitter writing craft thread which I’m posting on my blog for reference and so people can find it more easily. I hope it’s helpful!) When I’m shaping a character arc for a book, I try to pay attention to both drives and goals. It’s crucial for a character to haveContinue reading “Drives and Goals”

Let’s Talk Agency

Every first draft I’ve ever written has had agency problems. Which sounds like a bunch of guys in suits with dark glasses should be pulling up in a black van and hustling my draft into the back, but it’s nowhere near that exciting. In fact, it’s kind of the opposite of exciting. Agency is, basically,Continue reading “Let’s Talk Agency”

Writing Female Characters

I’ve now had a few variants on the question, “How do you write such strong female characters?” This always makes me blink a bit, because you know, they don’t ask people “How do you write such strong male characters?” BUT! It occurred to me that maybe I should actually answer this question in a blogContinue reading “Writing Female Characters”

Don’t Drop That Line

You know what I wish I’d figured out earlier in my writing journey? The importance of through lines. Take right now. I’m working on a revision of THE DEFIANT HEIR (Book 2 of Swords & Fire). I got about two-thirds done with a first draft, then realized I needed to go back and revise beforeContinue reading “Don’t Drop That Line”

Justifiable Murder

One thing that bugs me as a reader (and I do realize this is a pet peeve that probably doesn’t bother lots of people) is when an author kills off a character and I get the feeling they did it solely to make things seem EXTRA DRAMATIC. As if they might get some kind ofContinue reading “Justifiable Murder”

Using Setting to Establish Character in the First Page

I’ve been working on a multi-POV novel lately, and I’ve had to introduce several new viewpoint characters. I’m discovering that one of my favorite ways to quickly immerse readers in each new character is through the setting. The great thing about this trick is that your words can do double duty. When you introduce aContinue reading “Using Setting to Establish Character in the First Page”

On Letting Characters Be Smart

Last night I was reading a good book, quite absorbed as it ramped up toward the climax, when certain telltale signs began to appear. “Aaaand here’s the part where we fail to share crucial information for no good reason,” I thought. And sure enough, there it was. Now, this was a great book I reallyContinue reading “On Letting Characters Be Smart”

Writing Secondary Characters from the Inside Out

My growth as a writer consists largely of “Well, DUH!” moments, where I realize in a blazing epiphany something super obvious I should have known all along. My latest is about writing secondary characters, and I’d like to share it with you. (I can’t say that without hearing a folk guitar intro in the background,Continue reading “Writing Secondary Characters from the Inside Out”

On Tearing Down Walls

I grew up wanting to see more girls with swords on book covers. When I find one, it still makes me feel all warm and happy inside (especially if she’s wearing sufficient clothing, but that’s a whole ‘nother issue). It means I have a place in stories — a place I want, and a place IContinue reading “On Tearing Down Walls”