When you’re writing a character, it’s important to know why she is the way she is. Knowing her backstory is important to achieving this end, and one of the most impactful pieces of a character’s backstory is her emotional wound.
Here’s how to write books readers will love–and yet still end up hating you for. It’s easy. All you have to do is divebomb out of your brilliance and into anticlimactic endings.
Writing a book’s rough draft is a big feat, and you’ve just taken the first, most important step toward finishing your book—one that can take a lot of late nights, early mornings, blood, sweat, tears… you name it. It’s a big deal to finish that rough draft of your book, so give yourself your props. But then it’s time to get down to business again, because rough drafts are called “rough” for a reason.
I’m a huge fan of Blake Snyder’s book Save The Cat!, and in his book he identifies the 4 elements necessary for a great scene. Let’s see how Tennessee Williams masterfully uses all of them….
Sometimes, we seem to have covered the basics when we write a scene. We have a character with a scene goal, there is conflict, and there is a reversal, or a disaster, at the end. We’ve also includes dialogue, body language, and action. And yet, there is still something missing. It should work, but it doesn’t.
When writers overuse pronouns in their fiction, I think of this scene. Every writer faces the same challenge: how to communicate the story without boring readers by repeating pronouns at the beginning of sentences.
Trained by reading hundreds of submissions, editors and agents often make their read/not-read decision on the first page. In a customarily formatted book manuscript with chapters starting about 1/3 of the way down the page (double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point type), there are 16 or 17 lines on the first page.
- How to write dazzling dialogue
- Writing success: Your book from start to finish to publication
- Outlining your novel
- Writing deep point of view
- The art of memoir
- Reading like a Writer
- Rock your revisions
- The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Expression
If you are a mechanic, you wouldn’t go to Starbucks for two hours and wait for your muse to tell you what to do with a carburetor. You would just get under the hood, and fix the goddamn carburetor.
- Writing and the Creative Life: Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling (Part 3), Go Into The Story | Tweet
Empathy [Oxytocin]: Establish a point of emotional resonance with characters.
Tension [Cortisol]: Create a dilemma that arouses disunity.
Release [Dopamine]: Resolve the dilemma that brings about unity.
While not all these films contain the formula of boy meets girl, boy loses girl (complications break them apart) and boy gets girl, these narratives do contain empathetic characters — characters the audience cares about and are rooting for them to succeed in their journey.
It’s often referred to as a “perfect script”: Chinatown, written by Robert Towne (with uncredited contributions from director Roman Polanski). Looked at one way, it’s simply a murder mystery, but there’s nothing simple about this movie’s plot or the characters, as this famous scene conveys — one of the most memorable plot twists in American movie history.
What’s the easiest thing for screenwriters to do wrong, and how can they avoid doing it?
The creative process can be messy. If you are a Jackson Pollock sort of word splasher, then you will know what I mean. If you lean more to the Mondrian or Escher school of thought, you may well have backed up every file you ever started (and there will be many) entitled ‘story 1+revisions’ with the date, time and file size methodically noted. Only you will understand the complexity of your story mapping and you will adore story lining.
Every writer has produced a screenplay or TV pilot (with a bible, of course) of epic proportions. The next masterpiece! The next Taken, Braveheart, or Beasts of No Nation. Right? Attention all writers: Implant this sentence in your head: Your script is a big Glad™ garbage bag!
- Super Structure: The key to unleashing the power of story
- Screenplay: The foundations of screenwriting
- Essentials of screenwriting
- Screenwriting: The sequence approach
- 33 Ways to sell your screenplay
Publishing ebooks on Amazon and Smashwords is logical. Both offer different distribution channels, which is ideal for getting your ebook onto as many ebook retailers as possible. If you publish withAmazon KDP, there is no restriction at all on publishing elsewhere.
Fiction writers are sometimes divided into “plotters” and “pantsers” depending on how much advance thought they put into the development of their novels.
Seven years later, Twitter is one of my favorite platforms. Using Twitter, I found my first writing mastermind group, landed podcast interviews with power influencers like Problogger’s Darren Rowse, and was once retweeted by Vanilla Ice. Twitter is the quickest way to interact with both the authors you love and the readers you hope to have for your books.
In publishing today, it seems like there are a million things that an author can/should do to ensure success. There’s always the latest website, social media platform, or marketing tactic just waiting to be implemented, with the promise to success just around the corner.
The fact is that large publishers, like most large corporations, are organized hierarchically, and people who work there usually specialize in one part of the process. But when you become a self-publisher, you need to know at least something about the whole process to get everything lined up and tackled in order to have the most efficient—and profitable—publication.
During interviews or conference Q&A sessions, I’m either asked about my productivity (for those who witness and admire it), or I’m asked about time management. How does one balance creative work, marketing and promotion, and the demands of family or a day job?
So when I started up my author blog, one of my first strategic moves was to figure out how to capitalize on the potential traffic from Pinterest. To start, I will tell you that some niches are more difficult to gain traction on Pinterest.
- Self Publishing: My rules to staying alive and making money
- How I sold 80,000 books
- Write. Publish. Repeat: The no-luck-required guide to self-publishing success
- Createspace & Kindle Self Publishing Masterclass
- The Self-Publishing Road Map