Rock Your First Chapter, No Excuses

I know you. You want to captivate your reader right off the bat.

…To wipe out any chance of putting your book down before the story has taken over and become a mind-movie.

That takes some SKILL.

Luckily, skill is knowledge with practice. And rewriting. (Yeah, it’s unavoidable.)

So today I’m going to show you how to approach your first pages with minimal stress, and how to avoid common problems that haunt those first few pages.

Oh, and we’ll dissect some first lines. Yummy. Read on, my writing geek…

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
All honest ratings are appreciated.
Rating: 4.7/5 (28 votes cast)

Know Your Character Deeply in One Step: The Backdoor

So there’s this stubbornly bland character smack dab in the middle of your cast.

You need him, but you can’t get into his head.

Whether you can’t get a read on him, or he shifts personalities when you aren’t looking, he’s a major problem. Plot puppets aren’t allowed, not in your story.

So what do you do?

I’ve got a couple different methods, but the one I use most is equally effective when you have a story and when all you have is a bunch of ideas thrown into a pot. (Been there, done that.)
Keep reading to get to know your character…

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
All honest ratings are appreciated.
Rating: 4.4/5 (73 votes cast)

99 Essential Quotes on Character Creation

Character creation is an art of many hues and tones. There isn’t any one process to rule them all.

But no matter your process for creating characters…

Every one of these quotes is worth REAL consideration. And the articles behind them contain even more insight.

Plus, I’m sure the comments are going to be as insightful as the quotes.

You’re in for a treat, and your writing is in for a level-up. That’s just the way it works when you get this much insight in one spot.
Keep reading for 99 quotes, both conceptual and practical…

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
All honest ratings are appreciated.
Rating: 4.7/5 (14 votes cast)

Anoint Your Character with Inner Conflict, A Master Technique

Inner conflict is essential.

Without inner conflict your protagonist never fully engages with the plot.

In effect, he can skate through the events of your story. He might get hit by a wave or two, but he never goes beyond the surface.

…It doesn’t take on deeper meaning to him.

And that means it doesn’t take on deeper meaning for your readers.

Inner conflict and complex characters go hand-in-hand.

Complexity, the weaving together of a new soul, creates openings for inner conflict. Without complexity, inner turmoil has no purchase in that character.

Without that riptide of inner conflict, your character remains flat, no matter how many layers you add.

If you’ve read my articles on fear, desire, strength, and flaws, you know how I like to harp on layers. Inner conflict fills out those layers; swells them to create a truly ROUND character.

Heads up: This post is second-to-last in the “Character Cornerstones and Pillars” series. Don’t miss the final post!

But you probably already know you should have inner conflict.

The HITCH is that inner conflict can be challenging to identify and handle.
Keep reading to find out how to do it…

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
All honest ratings are appreciated.
Rating: 4.9/5 (48 votes cast)

The Hidden Power of Layering the RIGHT Desires in Your Story

Have you ever wept while reading?

Yes?

I would bet dollars to donuts that you empathized with a desire.

Your innate sense of justice screamed for things to be set right, aligning with the character’s desire.

An impossible situation hit too close to home.

Or maybe pity welled up at the character’s desire for a need to be met.

Even tears of shame have a root in desire, the desire to be better, to be more deserving, or to be different than we are.

Fear makes us cringe and jump. Anger makes us grit our teeth, and if there are tears involved, they most certainly aren’t wept.

A desire can trigger both tears of despair and tears of joy. Usually in that order. Tweet it

Empathy, resonance, connection… Desire creates them.

But it can be derailed if you don’t choose well and handle it with care.

Don’t worry, I’ve got you.
Let’s jump in…

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
All honest ratings are appreciated.
Rating: 5.0/5 (31 votes cast)