Notes from Middle Earth: Every Novel Needs A Detailed Back Story

Backstories are extremely important in creating a setting. We must write a history, an ecology, a governmental system and many other things to make a believable setting.

My Article Published in “The Short Story Writer” Magazine

A few months ago I was contacted by managing editor Andy Brinkley who publishes an iTunes magazine entitled “The Short Story Writer”.  He was putting together an issue about the work of Philip K. Dick, and wanted to know if he could publish a blog post I wrote several months ago about what we canContinue reading “My Article Published in “The Short Story Writer” Magazine”

5 Tips To Hook Readers With Characterization

One of the biggest problems I have when reading a book is that if the characterization is flat I will soon find myself wandering away from the book to doing other things.  This is not due to my tendency to write every day no matter the circumstances, but actually lies in the strength of theContinue reading “5 Tips To Hook Readers With Characterization”

Direct Characterization

There are many ways to create a character for a reader.  Many writers stumble in and out of indirect characterization, which is where the writer takes on the omniscient narrator voice and “tells” us everything about the character that we should know.  In many respects, “telling” a reader what a character is all about isContinue reading “Direct Characterization”

Character Development: A Step by Step Method

Some of the best characters have spent much time inside the brain of a writer, incubating, developing, becoming more realistic with each thought.  However, one might wonder what the process of creating great characters might entail.  I decided to record my process for creating characters (at least main characters) to help writers who have troubleContinue reading “Character Development: A Step by Step Method”

Show, Don’t Tell…But Don’t Show Too Much

I am trying a new technique with my latest novel.  I am finding it to be a refreshing way to tell a story, and fun to create puzzles that the reader has to solve.  Let me give you an example.  The following is a chapter from my novel in which Ethan relates his struggle afterContinue reading “Show, Don’t Tell…But Don’t Show Too Much”

3 Ways to Refresh and Revitalize Overused Character Archetypes

I love Netflix, but then I’m a sucker for bad movies.  We pay $8 a month for the instant streaming service, and when we surf through the possible titles, we see literally thousands of movies that probably should not have been made.  Most of the worst are those movies made by The Asylum, called “mockbusters”, whereContinue reading “3 Ways to Refresh and Revitalize Overused Character Archetypes”

5 Questions Every Novelist Should Answer

Writing consumes me.  It consumes most of my time when I’m not playing with my kids, helping my wife out with all the chores necessary to run a household and working full time.  As a teacher, summers are great.  I get to spend more time writing, working on the novel, and generally futzing about withContinue reading “5 Questions Every Novelist Should Answer”

Tolkien’s 5 Tips for Creating Complex Heroes

Tolkien’s letters are rich with information about J.R.R. Tolkien’s writing process.  I wrote a post last week about Aragorn being Tolkien’s example of an epic hero, and someone posted: “But Frodo Baggins is the hero of the LOTR trilogy, right?”  I would argue that he is not, but only one of three or four characters who togetherContinue reading “Tolkien’s 5 Tips for Creating Complex Heroes”

Juxtaposition: Creating a Foil for Your Heroes

Juxtaposition is defined as an act or instance of placing close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.  Juxtaposed characters are not seen very much in short fiction, but if you are writing a novel you will want to strategically design characters who are foils for your heroes to shine a light on the traits of those heroes. One of the best examples of the use of thisContinue reading “Juxtaposition: Creating a Foil for Your Heroes”