Point of View: Inside a Character’s Head


How does an author take a reader deeply into a character’s POV? By using direct interior monologue and a stream of consciousness techniques. This is part 3 of a 3-part series on Point of View: Techniques for Getting Inside a Character’s Head. Read the whole series. Outside Outside/Inside Inside Going Inside a Character’s Head, Heart […]

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Point of View: Outside/Inside a Character’s Head

Partially Inside a Character’s Head: OUTSIDE AND INSIDE POV How deeply does a story take the reader into the head of a character. Many discussions of point of view skim over the idea that POV can related to how close a reader is to a reader. But David Jauss says there are two points of […]

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Explore Your Characters: Be Surprised


You know you should try writing your story in first v. third point of view, but for some reason, you put it off. Why? Because you’ve gotten a first draft of a scene or chapter and you just want to keep going. It’s exactly the feeling that elementary school children have: “Why do I have […]

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2 Dialogue Tips from Studying SitComs: Just Spit it Out


I learned that Sit-Coms just spit it out. On one episode of Everybody Loves Raymond, Raymond’s brother Robert comes over to take the kids to the zoo. Raymond realizes that the kids might even like Uncle Robert more than him. Robert actually spits it out: You’re not a good father. Of course, in a sit-com, […]

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4 Things a Character List Reveals about Your Novel


I am working on a series proposal and have been asked for a list of characters. Wow, what a lot you can learn from a list. Name them all. First, I created a list that just names the characters. It’s interesting to see the variety (or lack thereof) in just the names. For children’s books, […]

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10 Body Language Tricks for Deeper Characterization


Tweet I’ve written before about the importance of using strong body language for your characters. The September, 2011 Cosmopolitan magazine, featured an article by Mina Azodi on “Cool Mind Tricks that can Give you an Edge.” Really, she’s talking recent research on body language. Here are some extra body language tips to consider. Give your […]

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My Character is Like a (Fill in the Blank)


Stuck on character? Use a simile. My character is like a shark: sleek, aggressive, willing to go after what s/he wants, dangerous. My character is like a Siamese cat: aloof, gorgeous, lovely to touch but untouchable, owner not owned. My character is like a goose: big, silly, aggressive; but in a group, s/he cooperates by […]

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Critique Groups: Why, How and Where

Back Row (l to r): Cassandra Reigel Whetstone, Sara Lewis Holmes, Anne Marie Pace, Alma Fullerton, DeAnn O'Toole, Loree Burns, Katy Duffield, Kristy Dempsey, Linda Urban.  Front row: Kathy Erskine, Tanya Seale

Why X Heads are Better than I guest post by Katy Duffield We all know that writing is rewriting. As much as we’d like for it to be otherwise, early drafts just aren’t ready for prime time. It is imperative that we reread and cut, revise and rearrange, polish and restructure, and cut even more […]

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Unlovable Characters

Which One is Unlovable? The Eye of the Beholder

Here’s another creative writing prompt for your 750 words, a challenge to write 750 words each day to better Think Like a Writer. Read more here. Unlikeable Main Characters Here’s the thing: readers need to LIKE your character. Why else would they spend hours walking in their shoes? But what if your character is in […]

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Give Your Character Something to Hold


Here’s another creative writing prompt for your 750 words, a challenge to write 750 words each day to better Think Like a Writer. Read more here. I am trying to keep up with my friend, Charlie, who has ridden his bike over 25 miles a day for over 3000 consecutive days. I want to write […]

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Subtext: What is this Story Really About?


Here’s another creative writing prompt for your 750 words, a challenge to write 750 words each day to better Think Like a Writer. Read more here. I’m on a 4 day streak, after messing up a 36 day streak of writing daily on 750words.com. Sigh. Why did I mess up? Too many family issues going […]

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How to Create A Book Trailer

Book Trailer: Archived Video and Purchased Music Today, I’m officially unveiling a new book trailer for Prairie Storms, my nonfiction picture book. I’ve done tons of research for the past two years ago and wrote The BookTrailer Manual, which will be totally revised in time for the 13th annual SCBWI Winter conference on January 27, […]

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How to Create a Mood


In today’s installation of Think Like a Writer, we’ll look at creating a certain mood for your story, novel, or picture book. Writers know that readers want a certain experience and part of that is creating emotion or feeling. In other words, we need to create a setting that has a certain mood. How to […]

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Make Your Characters Move: Think Like a Writer

Here’s another creative writing prompt for your 750 words, a challenge to write 750 words each day to better Think Like a Writer. Read more here. The Think Like a Writer series continues here with an exhortation to continue thinking in sensory details, the basic exercise of any writer. Today, think about how a person […]

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Characters: Bigger Than Life


Character Emotions MUST Spill Out into Big Actions Characters, even supporting characters, should be bigger than life. No flat characters. Fiction demands round, “fleshed-out” characters. I’m working on a revision and I know this. Yet, when a friend read my revision, her response was that I needed big actions for my characters. In the revision, […]

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3 Types of Character Arcs: Choose the Best for Your Novel


How Does Your Character Change? You know your character must change somehow over the course of your novel. But how? And more than that, how do you sync the changes with the external plot? The middle of a novel can suffer from the dreaded “sagging middle” and it’s mainly because you don’t have a firm […]

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