Writing Interesting Characters



I see lots of posts about how to make a character interesting and not just a cardboard cut out. That’s a tricky question to answer because there’s many ways to do that.

Dialogue is one thing in a writer’s arsenal to accomplish the task. How does he or she speak to others and is the clean or potty mouthed? Is there lots of sarcasm? All of them display personality.

Actions are another option. How does she behave? Does she get mad easily? Never upset? Cold as Ice?

Narration can also help you.

Best thing is a combination of all the above. Characters are sums of their parts-just like we are as people, so keep that in mind when creating your characters.


Fools and Stupidity


When I was growing up I remember a saying my parents have: “It’s one thing to be considered stupid, another to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” Sometimes I think people forget that when posting on various forums.

Today, someone made a post that fully showed amateurism, and when they were corrected and told how to sound more professional, they took it as a personal slam. *Sigh* Sometimes people are so high and mighty that they don’t have enough damn sense to realize they look stupid as shit.

I wonder how many of these people who get mad will ever make it into the world of being published. Given how they don’t want to even learn the necessary lingo, then the answer would be “never.”

Sometimes it’s best to take the advice given instead of sounding like a complete asshole by railing on the one who’s trying to teach something. Unfortunately, the people inhabiting this world seem unwilling to learn anything. No wonder we’re in the mess we’re in; people are too damn stubborn to learn.

I guess common sense and having an open mind is a lost art.

Looks Like I Picked a Bad Day to Quit Sniffing Glue


This was one of the funniest moments of the movie “Airplane!” by the Zucker brothers. It also describes how I feel sometimes after reading various forums.

Today’s post of the day is how to avoid using words like “he knew” in a sentence again and again. Well, it’s rather easy to fix that! It’s called move from telling into a showing mode. There’s various ways to get that point across without resorting to telling.

I would say that it’s easy to do this, but for people first starting out, it’s probably very difficult, so I want to avoid the arrogant type comments that hurt people’s feelings. But, to make a long story short, look at how to ‘show’ what they’re thinking and don’t ‘tell’ it. That should help.

As usual, have a good day.


Playing on my Itunes: Mozart Symphonies.

Things That Influence My Writing


As I spend each day looking at the laptop screen while writing, many thoughts start to fill my head. Ideas like: “What influences my writing?” or “What kind of character” drives me forwards. So, today I thought I’d sit down and blog about it.

When growing up, I read anything I could find, but I loved science fiction. Star Trek and Star Wars were my best friends and from them I have a fantasy about wanting to explore the galaxy. But, they weren’t all that I read. I read King, Heilein (The Cat Who Walks Through Walls and Starship Troopers), Clarke, Asimov, and a couple Ben Bova really lead me to want to write also.

So, my love of science fiction started when I was 6 years old and goes on to this day. Even when I look at anime I hunt for those that are sci fi based. I have no desire to read about zombies, vampires or demons. Aliens, starships and adventure? I’ll eat that up with a spoon.

When I was younger I had lots of ear infections and undiagnosed Bipolar, which led to me being cooped up inside a lot in my life, so I never did some of the typical “guy” things. While that was a minus, I also learned from my mother what things matter to women, and that’s something that I’ve kept in the back of my mind in my day to day life, which influences my political views, etc.

One lesson I learned from her was that there isn’t much in this world a man can do that a woman can’t do, so that’s when I made the decision to make female heroines and anti-heroines. How many books are written with the male being the protagonist when there’s a woman beside him who’s stronger and smarter?

That’s why I find characters like April in Coyote Ragtime Show to be far more interesting than Mister. Mister fits every stereotypical male pirate and it’s boring as hell. April, while evil, is far more than the typical “psychotic” woman killer. She’s smart, ruthless and also immature and arrogant enough to get pissed off when someone interferes with something she’s after. In other words: she really gets my motor running.

I also find Birdy from Birdy the Mighty Decode to be good and the idea of King Arthur actually being a woman (Fate/Zero anime) is fascinating too.

I could write forever on this, but I’d love to know who, or what, influences your writing as authors.


Bad Advice Leading to the Blind Leading the Blind


It gets more and more difficult for me to sit back and watch people get bad advice from pseudo-intellectuals with diarrhea of the fingers. They sit there, pretend they know it all, and then give people who are trying to learn how to be an author terrible advice.

One thing that the sexual intellectuals (polite way of calling someone a fucking moron-so it’s the term I’ll use from now on) do is to get the newbies hung up on the rules. Yes, rules are important and you need to know them for writing, but they’re not fixed in stone. These guys tell everyone they are and they couldn’t be more wrong.

Another false premise that gets thrown out is the three-act structure in fiction writing. That is something used in scriptwriting to not only control how long the actual script is, but the help with the filming of it by giving the director some structure. It does not have a place in writing a novel, which is a different beast.

The other big one pushed is the ‘show don’t tell’ mantra. I’m sorry but novels are not 100% showing or telling. They are a mix of the two, and it’s how the writer puts it together that matters.

Fourth, they keep trying to tell others that the artistic nature is far more important than trying to write something that will be commercially viable. While that might work if you don’t mind the manuscript never leaving your computer-or being self-published-but it won’t in the mainstream.

And last but not least, the need to show writing to others, to get multiple people’s opinions on things. This is a case of ‘too many cooks ruin the pudding.’ Writing in a solo endeavor. It’s just you and the computer/typewriter/piece of paper. The more people get involved, the more likely your idea will be stolen or you’ll get lead down a rabbit hole and end up having to back track to move forwards.

Best thing to do is to read successful novel-preferably to top 100 of the 20th century, and see how the authors put their story together. What were their word choices? How did they construct sentences and use descriptions. That will help you be a successful writer.

With this said, I wish you all good luck in your travels.

Why I Hate Do’s and Don’ts in Writing

One thing I constantly see on forums and hear a lot from beginning writers (and some creative writing teachers/professors) is the listing of “Do this…” or “Don’t do that…” After a while it starts to piss me off and here’s why.

Like any other art, or skill, a writer needs to learn all the rules at his or her disposal. The reason for this is to know which ones you can break, when you can do it, and how you can do it. Most, if not all, best-selling novels, or shows, have broken many of them.

How many of us have read a book and been told that the character is a “Mary Sue”? Frankly, I could care less if the character is one, but it seems the drive newbies out of their minds trying to figure out how to “keep from creating one.” Well, if your damn character is one, then so be it! The reader doesn’t give a rat’s ass about it as long as they enjoy the story!

The key to selling a book to an agent and publisher is the quality of the story and how you put things together. They’re looking at whether or not it’s commercially viable and sometimes the stereotypes are what sell. I know it sucks to hear someone say that, but everything is a business and money has to be made or heads start to roll.

Another one is: self-publishing is a waste of time. Now if you’re looking at printing books, then yes it is. If you’re looking to publish digitally, then it’s not quite the major disadvantage it was before. But, here’s the catch: you’re in charge of your own marketing, editing and cover picture. None of these come cheap so be prepared to put some money out to make them look well.

I’ve also noticed established authors don’t spend time worrying about the rules either. As I’ve stated before they’ve learned how to bend some, break others and how to blend it into a good story. That, my friends, is the key to good writing.

Everything boils down to how well you write.

What I learned Today After Taking A Breather From Writing

Today I decided to take most of the day off from writing and allow my head to clear. As I did this, many things came to mind and I thought them over. First off writing isn’t for the faint of heart. Even the best-selling authors get piss poor reviews on works that end up being classics. Thus, a good writer needs to have a thick skin and not let every negative review get to them.

Second, write for the audience, not another writer. Another writer will always end up being more critical of your work than the average reader and sometimes it can do more harm than good. Same thing goes for writing on the forums and letting the amateur writer try to tell you what’s wrong with it. This definitely becomes the blind leading the blind.

Third, things are made overly complicated by many beginning writers. The trap they fall into is trying to write something that’ll be considered both a literary classic and have legendary workmanship. Instead of shooting for the stars and failing miserably, it’s sometimes better to shoot for Jupiter and write a good story and not worry about whether is the best written story. There’s plenty out there that suck ass and still sell good. Don’t get me started on that shit called Twilight.

Fourth, the mark of a mature writer, whether he or she has been published yet, is the ability to write stories and characters that are totally unlikeable. Mareth is one of them for me. There’s nothing good about her; in fact, she’s rotten to the core. But she’s still enjoyable to write. Who doesn’t like writing a bad boy or bad girl character?

I could go on for hours writing down my thoughts but I’m not going to bore you. Hopefully you can glean something from and be able to move forwards as a writer.

How to know your character is finished



Is another post I’ve read that is interesting. How do you know your character is done? While characterization is important, this question is rather irrelevant. And here’s why:

A character is never complete when a story is written. Is Talia a complete person? No, because she’s always growing. In the first book she’s very condescending towards humans and their immaturity. This comes from what’s happening during the story. Throw in the subplot about something in her past, and you see a character that’s grown.

Now, in the second novel she’s darker and bitter. This comes from something that happens in the first novel, and it carries over. Throw in three years to brood about it and you get a darker, grittier person.

At the start of the third, she’s more positive and somewhat happier because things in the second novel restore her faith in the universe.

And I’m not quite sure how the fourth novel will turn out because each story takes on a life of it’s own…I don’t plan them out.

What is she like? A warrior who has lived many lifetimes and seen things that most people never will. She still deals with the issues faced by an immortal also, which are many.

Now, how does this factor into my post? Here’s how: character’s need to be known by the writer, along with back story, but not all of it needs to be shown to a reader. In fact, everyone’s got a back story and most of its boring as Stephen King would say.

So, how do you work with your character? Well, he or she needs to be able to grow as a person in whatever direction their personality and life takes them. If the writer decides he or she needs to know every single thing about the character, and their life, then the character doesn’t have room to grow because the writer will control everything. This will stunt things completely.

The thing about characters is that they are like us. They need to be able to grow and react in the way that is natural to them, and if the writer takes that away, then they’ve killed the one thing that really makes a book special: who the story is about. Know what I mean?

Don’t try to know everything about your characters. Learn enough to know who they are where they’ve come from, but not enough to stunt their growth. That is when you know your character is complete enough to write.

Happy writing.


Starting Your Book With Exposition




A lot of people are asking if they should start their novel off with exposition and the answer is no! Do not take those first 5-6 precious paragraphs you need to catch a reader’s attention and waste them on useless narration. Do not put back story into them. In fact, you don’t have to write the back story in all at one time. Dribble it out! For example: I got an entire back story built for Talia, but I only let it out in drips and dribs over all of the novels with her. Plus, I’ll run a subplot that deals with something in her past that’s relevant to the current novel to help spread out the background. Keep in mind Stephen King’s quote on the subject:

“The most important things to remember about back story are that (a) everyone has a history and (b) most of it isn’t very interesting.”

So, don’t waste that valuable time on needless things.


Series Writing

It’s always been said to new writers to not try to do series but to stick to single novels. While that is true for getting started (doesn’t mean you can’t leave the first novel open ended or have character’s that have enough back story that you can write more books) it doesn’t mean you can’t do it either. In fact, Goodreads. com listing of top Science Fiction of 2012-13 is nothing but series after series.

Kind of makes you wonder doesn’t it?