Mrs. Hudson; or, Make Everyone Matter

If one were to bring up Mrs. Hudson in conversation, what would you presume we were talking about?

I hope you’d think of Sherlock Holmes, since there are very view (perhaps no)  interpretations of Sherlock Holmes that fail to include Mrs. Hudson. Yet most of the time she is not vital to the plot. So what role does she play as a side character?

We’re going to look at Mrs. Hudson and other “famous” minor characters to find the reasons why side & minor characters are important to your story. Continue reading

Progress Report

Or: A Retrospective on My Writing Journey

Nearly a decade after starting my first “real” story (i.e. the first one I realized I wanted to finish, no matter what), I am still not finished with a complete draft. That might be depressing to some who aspire to finish their newest tale in under a year, but I knew when I started that I was undertaking a large task in attempting it: the story includes an enormous cast of characters, creating their world from the ground up, setting up a history of at least two hundred years, putting political systems in place (and the different monarchs use very different systems of ruling!!), learning about military campaigns…. The list never really ends, and the stories of minor characters have moved beyond my control, so that now when I mention it to friends in-the-know, I lovingly call it “The Epic.”

I didn’t set out to spend ten years trying to write the thing ( I probably would have balked at even starting if I’d known!) At the time, I wrote to keep myself awake through long midnight shifts at my job. The story grew out of an idea for fanfiction that quickly passed the bounds of those characters, and as I begin coming up with their names and feeling out their story, I realized that I had something unique, and for the first time started to consider myself a writer, and not just someone who liked to write. Continue reading

My Favorite Villain: Making the Bad Guy

“We often find the hero and villain have the same goal, but are using different methods to reach it.”

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That quote was used in a panel of writers talking about anti-heroes and villains at the annual North Texas Teen Book Festival. All the authors had one thing in common: they’d written tales with the villain – an anti-hero – as the protagonist. They explored the reasons why they had chosen to write stories from the “bad guy’s” point of view, and went over their favorite villains and anti-heroes.

I have two favorite “villains” about whom the above quote happens to be true. One is from a book series, and one is from an anime. *spoilers ahead!* Not every villain has to share a goal or vision with the hero, but oftentimes adding comedic (or tragic) irony to the conflict in your story causes it to have greater depth and complexity.

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Does Your Protagonist Have To Be Likeable? Guest Post by Aisha Tritle

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“She gets on my nerves…”

A reviewer wrote this about the protagonist of my first novel, Occidis. Nice, huh?

I’ve also received feedback from many readers who appreciate the very characteristics of the protagonist, Sophia, that seem to annoy others.

Several writers that I know have experienced this same situation. It’s hard to create a main character that everyone in your audience will fully appreciate. For every person who goes for the classic supernaturally athletic and brave protagonist with the aesthetic of an undiscovered model, there’s going to be a person wishing for someone who wasn’t quite so athletic or brave or ridiculously attractive.

But does every protagonist need to be likable? Continue reading

Adding Love to Your Writing? Check out These Tips!

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Happy Valentines Day!

In the spirit of Valentine’s I’d like to write about how to incorporate love into writing.

First make sure everyone in your book is drop dead gorgeous, then make them witty, have super strength and intellect—basically make them amazing. And then have lots of steamy scenes.

JUST KIDDING.

There won’t be any shirtless men with abs, or smoky eyed women with luscious locks of hair here. If you’re struggling to write romance try Bumble. We’re not covering JUST that sort of love here, but rather, love on a broader scale.

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How I Overcame Writer’s Block with the Nerd World

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I have to confess something to you… two weeks ago I took the plunge and played Dungeons and Dragons for the first time. Yes, the roll-the-dice, choose your warlock/dwarven/halfing adventure that Dan Harmon termed the “fantasy game [people play] to escape their awkward lives.” Promising, eh?

My high school self would be baffled (“I thought I was supposed to be cool by 24!” she would lament) and honestly, my 3 month ago self would be pretty confused too. But since then, I’ve discovered something. Let me lead you into the dark realm of the nerd where brilliant writing resources have been hiding for decades…

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“What I Learned from a Writing Fiction College Course” by Teen Staff, Noah Dingman

What I learned from a Writing Fiction College Course

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Currently, I am enrolled at Edmonds Community College as a Running Start Student, which means I’ve been doing a lot of writing. Sadly not the fun kind of writing I wish I was doing, just a bunch of boring academic essays. I know, gross. Word of advice, when signing up for your first quarter of college classes, don’t pick two five credit English classes; since nobody told me that, that is exactly what I did. I picked the basic English 101 course, and English 161, or a Writing Fiction class. Needless to say I was excited to have an excuse to write fiction for school, but the class I got was much different than I expected. Here’s some things I gleaned from my experience.  Continue reading