Removing the Cliché from Your Characters

Guest Posting today is Jennifer Slattery

Author Jennifer SlatteryEvery first draft I write seems to be crammed with cliché characters. The Sunday school teacher with silver hair pulled back in a bun. The buff and burly loan shark. The alcoholic husband who burps and slurps and does all sorts of other crude things unfit to share in a blog post.

With four novels in print and two manuscripts in waiting, I’ve learned how to create strong yet unique characters—in drafts two through eight. This includes allowing ugly into the first draft, swapping the expected for the unexpected, and delving deeper into the human psyche. [Read more…]

What Inspires Your Writing?

As writers we all have a purpose for writing. We want to entertain, inform, persuade, or inspire. The passions in our own lives drive what we write.

You care about the environment so you may include a character in your book that feels the same.

You are politically minded so perhaps you write political thrillers.

As a Christian, my own beliefs and desire to tell people about God compel me to write Christian-based nonfiction and fiction.

Today’s interview is with a like-minded woman. Catherine Ulrich Brakefield’s newest book, Wilted Catherine Ulrich BrakefieldDandelions released today. Though fictional, Catherine has set her story in the midst of the Second Great Awakening, a time in our history when godly revival gripped the nation.

Let’s dive in and learn more about what inspired Catherine to write this book and her experiences with the story. [Read more…]

Discover How Point of View Impacts Your Story

How much thought do you give to point of view (POV) as you begin a new story?

The best POV for your story is not always the protagonist or even the antagonist. Consider how different the book To Kill a Mockingbird would have been if told from Atticus’ POV. Or Gone with the Wind from Ashley’s POV.

To help you experiment, here’s a writing exercise. [Read more…]

How to Review Your Story Scenes for Conflict

horses jumping hurdles

Are the hurdles in your story growing harder?

As discussed in “6 Steps to Story Development,” a story needs conflict. In fact, without it you have no story. So let’s take a closer look and see how you can make sure you’re developing the conflict in your story.

James Scott Bell, in his book Conflict & Suspense, defines conflict this way: “a clash between at least two incompatible sides. One of those sides must be personal, that is, having the ability to exercise conscious will.”

At the heart of conflict are your character’s passion and goals. In review, here are 3 questions I posited in “Story Development”: [Read more…]

6 Tasks to Accomplish with Act 1 of Your Novel – Part 4

You want to write a best seller. What writer doesn’t?

First you’ve got to come up with a good story idea. Then you’ve got to get that idea from Point A to Point Z and figure out everything in between. (That’s my hardest struggle — plotting.)

You’ve got to hook your reader —  and keep them reading.

Or your chance at that best seller list gets fried like a fly on bug zapper.

The truth is debut novels usually don’t make the best seller lists, but that’s no reason not to put your best effort into every book you write.

If you’ve been following this series, you’ve learned ways to write a stronger story and thus increase your chances at getting published and selling lots of books.

Here’s what I’ve discussed so far in 6 tasks to accomplish in Act 1: [Read more…]

Snag a Publisher!

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Get Published!

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