Monday, August 30, 2010


I was once told by a writing advice book that to make readers remember your characters well, give them some kind of odd or different aspect. For instance, give your main character a calcium deposit in an odd place. Or make them have a habit of always picking wax out of their ears and wiping it on other people.

This is one way of doing it, but since then, I've written over 250,000 words on several different stories, and I think there's a better way to make characters seem alive.

The character needs to be both the same and different on the inside, not just in their physical mannerisms or appearance.

Making a character the same as the reader in their beliefs, values, ideas, thought process, etc. will draw the attention of the reader. They will relate to the character.
But making the character different in some ways from the reader will make the reader even more interested.

Remember, these are the opinions of an unpublished writer. I hope my characters are memorable, relatable, and interesting.

On another note, I'm currently reading a book about characterization written by a psychology expert. The book suggests that the writer needs to get in touch with his/herself before they can write deep characters.

Is this true? What do you think?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Back from the Honeymoon

Hey all.
Sorry there was no post last week. I was on my honeymoon.

Since I didn't have time to come up with a post, I have another question for you. But don't worry. I'm going to be putting together a post about characterization soon.

Are you planning on participating in NaNoWriMo this year? If so, what will you be working on?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Question for you

Hey all.

No post this week, just a question.

What do you think about sequels? Should they be written? What about trilogies, or a series?
Do you think the general public is getting tired of multiple books of the same story, or do they love to read on and on about the same characters/setting/storyline?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Villains, anyone? (And contest alert.)

As a Christian, is it ok to purposefully try to scare people by writing an evil villain?

Is it ok to use nasty things like murder and blood to make my villain more realistic?

I have a villain who starts out as an ok guy, but changes to a really bad guy. And he thinks he's justified in doing so. If he were a real character, he would be doing things far more dark and evil than I currently 'show'.

I could just tell the reader what he does instead of showing it. But then how do I make him an accurate villain without getting a slap on the wrist for "showing and not telling"? That's supposed to be a cardinal rule, right?

And also, isn't authenticity a must? Shouldn't my characters stay true to how I've written them? That's the best way to make writing good, and I'm striving to make my writing good to give glory to God.

Sometimes I wonder, when I hear other Christians talk about books and say "Oh, that was my favorite villain!" if they would feel comfortable putting their name as author on a book with such a villain. Do we all just enjoy the evil people in fiction that others create and refuse to make them ourselves because WE have morals? (If so, that's quite hypocritical.)

Hannibal, Iago, Jadis, Saruman, Cruella de Ville........
Which level of evil is appropriate to show?

(I listed Saruman and not Sauron because it feels like in the books we never actually get to interact with Sauron as much as Saruman.)

Even if it was totally ok for me to write my villain as evil as evil can be, do I want to? Even if I kept my character true to himself, would people really want to read about all that? Would I? I'm not even sure if I want to write it, let alone if I should.

And yet, am I denying my writing something that is essential to the story? At the risk of putting ammunition into the hands of everyone I once had an apologetic* argument with, every book needs a villain. It's a necessary evil.

*Apologetics: The art or act of defending what one believes, in this case, the intellectual defense of the Christian faith.

Contest Alert!!!

Possible prizes:

  • A copy of Hannah Moskowitz's book: Break
  • An ARC copy of Lisa Desrocher's book: Personal Demons
  • A query or first five pages critique from Fine Print Lit's intern, Gemma Cooper
  • A query or first five pages critique from Janet Reid's assistant, Meredith Barnes
  • A query or first five pages critique from agent Suzie Townsend
  • A query or first five pages critique from editor Brendan Deneen
First winner gets first pick. Plus they're having a new interview/awesome post every day this week. Contest closes Sunday. Go to it!