Tag: Characters

  • Science Fiction and Fantasy Worldbuilding: Timeline Adds Crucial Details

    One of the first tasks in revising my current WIP has been to nail down a firm time line for my story. When does all this stuff happen? I had it vaguely placed in the 21st century, but I didn’t want to nail it down specifically. It’s the EveryMan problem. Some writers try to create […]

  • Beta Readers: Facts, Grammar, Plot, Character and More

    Beta Readers: Facts, Grammar, Plot, Character and More

    Thanks to the computer industry, we no longer have first readers, we have beta readers. Early versions of software that engineers expect to be riddled with problems were called beta versions. Beta is the second letter in the Greek alphabet, so presumably, the alpha versions were kept all in-house. Betas were the first public versions […]

  • Christmas Eavesdropping

    Notes from the Field During the holidays, it’s hard to concentrate on a story. But it’s not hard to BE a writer. As you go to gatherings of friends and families, one thing you can do is EAVESDROP! In your story, you want dialogue to sound natural. One way to study dialogue is to just […]

  • Excitement: Starting a New Novel

    There’s an excitement in the air! I’ve started a new novel project. Here’s what I don’t want to happen: I don’t want the excitement for this project to get bogged down and dribble away. It happens too easily, as life issues take over, as problems arise with the project, or just as the work drags […]

  • Imperfect Dialogue: Making Characters Sound Real

    I’ve been reading manuscripts lately and one thing keeps jumping out at me: dialogue that is too perfect. It’s grammatically correct, perfectly punctuated. And totally unreal. Characters don’t talk that way. Kid-characters, especially, in the midst of an exciting bowling tournament or soccer or other sports games do NOT talk in complete sentences. Use Sentence […]

  • It’s an Info Dump, But It Works

    When writing a novel, one common admonishment is to keep in mind the goal of entertaining the reader. Fiction’s purpose is to entertain; non-fiction’s purpose is to inform. But the lines between the two can often blur, as when non-fiction uses narrative techniques. This week, I’ve been reading Cory Doctorow’s book, For the Win and […]