There are three parts to a character: a personality, a backstory, and a motivation. These three things are what create your story.
Most important of the three is the character’s desire, or motivation. A motivation has the potential to be the backbone of the entire story, create a character arc, or add a more complex dimension to your story.
To create amazing character motivations, here are four rules.
What would you do if a writer emailed you saying they were going to commit suicide?
It happened to Cynthia McCabe, a journalist at the Washington Post.
She was in bed one night, checking her email, and read an email from a complete stranger named Dennis Williams who said that he’d published one novel that no one had read, written 8 other unpublished books, and that he was committing suicide that very night.
Why? Because Williams had said all that he had to say. Because he considered his life work to be bound up in those 8 unpublished books and one published novel, and if no one was going to listen, he would commit suicide.
Throughout the pages of this delectable dish of writing advice, Cohen delves into the creative intellect of Virginia Woolf, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Vladimir Nabokov, and the like, serving techniques like character development, voice and point of view.
Based on outstanding research and a voice you can’t shake off, reading a book about writing has never before been this thrilling. Bookfox reached out to Cohen through email, asking a few burning questions.
Some writers hate outlining while others think it’s a godsend.
Which kind of writer are you? And have you tried the other side?
Those who are against outlining usually say they enjoy the discovery process they experience as the story unfolds. They learn more about their story, their characters and their own selves as a result of experiencing the world they are creating moment by moment.
One of the hardest things about writing is nailing dialogue, and many writers mess up dialogue tags.
How do you describe with mere words the complexity of a conversation? Unlike film, in which characters’ expressions and inflections can be clearly observed, in writing, the author has to paint these scenes without using a visual image.
High school English teachers and lazy writers will tell you to primp your dialogue using a slew of adverbs, excessive italics, or obscure verbs in place of “said.” But more experienced writers know that less is always more. You can write everything necessary to vividly depict a conversation using more delicate methods.
Why not get people to support you while you write your book, instead of waiting until afterwards?
This is called crowdsourcing or crowdfunding, depending on whether you are using the crowd for money or for support.
But how does one go about crowdsourcing? There are many ways and the steps are simple.
First, determine what kind of “crowd” is right for you. Consider your readers, Facebook friends, LinkedIn connections, or any other group who is ready to help you flesh out new creative content. For instance, if you are looking to grasp your reader’s attention, you might consider reaching out to authors and/or bloggers in your genre who would offer you insight.
Many writers, after having published a book with a big house, prefer to publish with independent publishers. You get more individualized attention with independent publishers, and you don’t get lost in a huge cog of a corporate machine.
In fact, there are actually many reasons as to why looking for an independent book publisher might be the better option. For example:
Potentially shorter process
More creative control
If that doesn’t convince you, here are 20 independent publishers who are very successful and won literary awards.
As writers with a whopping-size project in our lap, sometimes we need to get the green before we can make the green. Only how? Let’s face it: writing may be feel absolutely liberating, but it’s not a money-making machine; most writers fulfill their dreams because they can’t think about doing anything else. The reality of filling up our piggy banks just slips into the back of our minds.
So when you find yourself weighed down by a time-consuming writing project, your passion for the written word alone might not get you off the couch. That’s when organizations throw you a lifesaver of a writing grant, so you can pursue your passion while also saving your budget.
Below are 23 great grants for writers to help you fund your writing project.
The writing advice you most often hear is something to the effect of, “If you want to be a successful author, you need to write every day.”
I mean, I work as a freelance writer and editor, so yeah, I write something every day, but not my own creative work. Sometimes I’ll go as long as a couple of weeks, maybe even a month, without writing anything that’s my own.
2. When I Do Write, I Binge
The longest writing session I’ve ever had was 27 hours, but that was back when I was a good deal younger.
After years of grueling work, avoiding distractions, and breaking through writer’s block, you finished your novel. Now what?
Even though some jump straight to submitting it to publishers, for many writers, the next step is finding a literary agent. Literary agents help writers find publishers, as well as negotiate the deal and sales of the book.
But some agents who have been in the business for years get north of 10,000 queries a year, and only sign 1 or 2 clients. Those are terrible odds. You need to find a new agent who is the lookout for new writers, and this is exactly what this list gives you.
As of July 2016, all of these literary agents are seeking clients.
It stares you down in the form of an empty word doc and a blinking cursor. Its existence is hotly debated. It is any storyteller’s biggest fear: the dreaded Writer’s Block.
However, have no fear! I’ve racked my brain for fail-safe strategies to conquer Writer’s Block, tactics that have put me back on track and saved my writing journey from becoming a dead-end. Take a look below.
1. Take A Walk
Not only does this get your legs moving and your lungs breathing in crisp air, but also taking walks can provide inspiration—you just need to know where to look. From mysterious initials carved into a tree trunk to a trail of candy wrappers on the sidewalk, you never know what you will find on the simplest walk.
Why do so many writers thank their agents first in the acknowledgements?
Because the agent is pretty much the most important person in a writer’s life.
Countless people work behind the scenes to bring each author’s budding vision for a story to its fruition, from friends and family to the publishing house’s distribution, but none is as essential as the agent.
Since the agent literally holds the dreams of the hopeful writer in their hands, finding the right one is imperative.
Now, you could either spend hours and hours hunting down the names of your favorite author’s agents and create tables ranking them based off their sales, or you can read through the list I’ve compiled after spending many days on Google and creating multiple charts based off my results.
Mae “Pretty Prairie” Bae Catherine Weston “Tall Chief” J. Dada
Peilin Rea Catherine McCreary Haru Fujimura
Having trouble coming up for a name for your character? Look no further! This random character name generator is just the tool you need.
A good writer knows that word choice can make or break a story, and character names are no exception. The names you choose resonate with readers on both a conscious and subconscious level. They have the power to convey meaning overtly or through hidden messages.
For instance, in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Jekyll’s experiment unleashes his animalistic alter-ego, Hyde. Jekyll has the word “Kill” hidden inside it, and Jekyll is after Hyde’s “hide.” See? The entire story is given away in their names alone.Stevenson’s layers of meaning are a fine example of the density that can and should be packed into names.