Write Characters Your Readers Will Love To Hate

I like most real people. I don’t often have day dreams of killing anyone. But if you asked me about Thomas from Downton Abbey or Professor Umbridge from Harry Potter or The Governor from the Walking Dead, my blood boils.

Photo Credit: KayVee.INC via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: KayVee.INC via Compfight cc

I keep waiting for them to get hit by a car or a spell or turned into a zombie! I mean come on already!

I know I’m a horrible person. But aren’t the writers of these books and shows genius?

There you are, hoping for something good to (finally!) happen to the character you love and cherish, and suddenly so and so knows your character’s dark secret or shady past and they can use it to their advantage. Your audience groans (maybe even throws your book! That would be grand, eh?).

This is the power of good fiction. This is the unfortunately life of the characters your readers will love. Inevitably, maybe even for reasons beyond their favorite character’s control, a bad dude gets to have power over them or even have their day.

This is the fun part. This is why your readers will keep reading. What will happen next? Will this greasy or terrible person use this nugget of power now or will they hold onto it and use it when the moment is best for them and worst for the character your audience roots for?

This is why I keep reading and watching.

This is why your audience will too.

Grab Your Seat At The Jot Conference Today!

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Jot is less than one month away! We cannot believe it. I hope you are as excited as we are.

Because of the location change we need you to do us a favor and go and sign up individually.

You can do that HERE.

Again, it’s free per usual! It is on Saturday, September 12th from 6-10pm

Click here for information about the bookstore.

Click here on why we moved for this Jot. 

Click here for the Jot presentation schedule

What can you learn from this years’ Jot? Glad you asked.

You’ll learn how to write like a viking, blog with passion and persistence, edit out those horrible lines that keep breaking your readers’ focus, and about poetry from a poetry editor of Structo Magazine.

Most of all you’ll have a chance to meet with other writers and gain some excitement and momentum to do your own work.

Don’t forget to share on your social media channels!

SIGN UP BY CLICKING ON THIS LINK TODAY! 

What Is Your Favorite Writing Tool?

I am the king of Post-it notes. They are on my wallet, my cell phone, and there is one on my computer now. Somehow, I always find myself with a billion ideas and no way to collect them all.

Sure, I could put them in a note book and squint at them later or store them in a word file or Google document that I’ll never open, but I wanted to SEE them. I wanted to be able to lay them down side by side and also track my writing progress.

Thus enter my favorite writing tool – my white board.white-board-1206708-m

My wife was at the office supply store and discovered they were wicked cheap and on sale. I’d love a nice frosted glass, trendy one, but I’d also like to not change my one year olds’ diapers. I have to understand what is necessary and what is me just wanting a cool new toy.

The reality is that having that writing software/tool is not going to make me better. Working hard consistently is. And now I have a place to keep track of my progress and flesh out ideas thanks to my wonderful bride.

I’ve hung the white board next to my bed so I can review tasks every day before I go to sleep and remind myself of upcoming goals and deadlines. I can also gaze at it as I doze off and make a mental note to get up early and get to work.

What is your favorite writing tool? How do you stay organized and on top of your tasks?

Do You Struggle To Find Time To Write?

For various reasons, our books are not done.

The task of writing a 60,000-100,000 book is akin to climbing Everest tomorrow, without any training.

But, let’s break this mountain down.

Writing is about rhythm. Get up every day or write at lunch or before you go to bed.

Photo Credit: pichenettes via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: pichenettes via Compfight cc

If you wrote 400 words a day. (this blog post is 146 words)

You’ll need about 30 minutes. (one less episode of__)

If you do this every single day. (this is your dream remember? show a little tenacity!)

You’ll be done in 250ish days. (100,000 words in less than a year!)

This draft will certainly need some TLC (You have 115 days to plot/edit!)

But it will be done. (And you’ll feel like you can do anything)

Food for thought.

No more excuses.

This is your dream.

Writing is hard work, not dancing in a field of lilies.

Don’t give up.

Write 500 words today.

Getting Your Writing Groove Back

When a writer says, “I just can’t find the groove,” anyone who has every written a novel, short story, or article of any sort knows exactly what they are talking about.

It has been called many things: muse, rhythm, pulse, tempo – whatever it is that keeps the writer moving, their fingers to the keyboard, or pen to the page in a way that is both satisfying and liberating. It flows, like waters breaking through a dam, surging, cascading, dancing all over the countryside in your mind. It is the culmination of your idea, your story, your characters, your plot, your unequivocal love for language, unleashed.

Unfortunately for me, and perhaps for you, it is a hard thing to find. Writing time has the tendency to evaporate, and there are only so many mornings you can force yourself out of the bed in the wee hours before the thrill of your tale becomes dull.

Your work is no longer easy. It is no longer joyful. If there was a surge of ideas somewhere in your being you lost the key to that place a long, long time ago. I think it is okay to admit this. It is alright to say that you are in a rut. It is not writers block that I am talking about, I am talking about a loss of energy or gumption and, it might be shameful to admit, desire.

Photo Credit: [ changó ] via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: [ changó ] via Compfight cc

You may find, as I have, that releasing these thoughts to a journal or blog can very well be a way through all of this. Just to have gained traction in any sort of writing, helps, and it helps a lot. It is like stretching your muscles before a game, or going over note cards before a test. It puts you in a mode. It prepares you for the mental battle.

It is important to understand how we work, and more importantly how we can overcome these stoppages in our work. For me, its just to find some way to continue the writing process. For you it might not be writing but reading something different than what you normally read or going through The Writer, Writer’s Digest, Poet’s & Writers, or some other writing magazine or book to be inspired.

Or maybe you need to fill your creative well by doing what the Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron instructs, by taking yourself on a writer’s date.

Whatever it is, find it. Meet head on. Battle through it, keep going, keep moving, keep your story pressing on and don’t give up. It may be, just as you thought you were at the end of your story, you burst through the clouds and find yourself in the glorious light of another finished page.

 

A Novel Writing Tip From Hemingway

Hemingway used to be one my least favorite writers. Now, he’s one of my favorites. I thank him and his advice in his book – A Moveable Feast, for my current progress.

His advice is simple and genius.

Write the scene in your mind and then stop when you think of the next one. Sounds silly, right? Why stop?

The simplicity of this advice is that you never come to the page empty. You always bring something with you, and are ready when a spare moment presents itself.

Photo Credit: gothick_matt via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: gothick_matt via Compfight cc

This is how I’ve written lately and it has allowed me to have a consistent flow of words and I’ve not had to sit and think where I am going next.

I am never empty.

Never lost.

This is genius because then the well of creativity never runs dry. You always leave a little in there. A little sip to keep you going.

If your well is dry. Try to do things that fill it. Then don’t drain the tankard in one gulp.

Blog Not Growing? Maybe It’s Because Of This Reason

There are many helpful tips about how to grow a blog. Post at a predetermined time so your audience begins to count on you. Write about consistent topics. Make your blog look more professional, etc. But what if all of these reasons for getting more attention rested on one rule?

Magnifying Glass via http://bit.ly/1eP2b4I Creative Commons

Magnifying Glass via http://bit.ly/1eP2b4I Creative Commons

I followed a blog once that received enormous amounts of hits when the individual wrote about their love – science fiction and fantasy.

Then, as the blog started to mount to a beautiful crescendo and the audience was begging for more, a post would be flung out there about local political happenings.They were obviously inauthentic and a traffic grab.

I think this is true for any blog. If you write about something you are passionate about you’ll naturally dig deeper. You’ll share from a place that is your voice, the location that many professionals say to speak from.

So writer, lay down on paper the things that matter to you and stay in that place. This is the key to creating a foundation of a successful blog and you’ll find the people who care about the very same things.

Then add in the other stuff mentioned in the first paragraph.