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Showing posts from August, 2012

Create Living Characters

Great characters will help you create stories with depth and complexity. Stories that will last in your reader’s mind.
Every character should have a description that you keep handy. Consistency is extremely important. You can’t have a character with one trait on page seven and another that conflicts on page eighty. You may miss it, your editor may miss it, but your reader won’t.
Unless the plot dictates otherwise, when you first introduce your character, you’ll need to provide the person’s name, and a few traits that briefly describe the individual. At this point, you are trying to set an image in your reader’s mind. If it’s a minor character, that’s about all you’ll need to do. A major character, one who appears throughout your book, needs to be fleshed out, with descriptions and traits delivered over a longer period.
There are a number of templates on the web that can help you pick the characteristics you want to describe. Most include some variation on:
Name Ethnicity Age Height Weight Hair …

Your Editor is Always Right

Your editor is always right. You heard me. I’m not talking about niggling little punctuation problems, word usage, or even misspellings. All of that is considered copyediting, and you should have paid attention in school so most of it wouldn’t happen in the first place. I’m talking about the comments. Most editors use track changes in MS Word. So pretend you’ve gone through the copyediting part of your manuscript and clicked on the Accept Change button. That leaves the comments. The little ones in the right margin that can drive a writer nuts.
You’ll see something like this in a blue box:
Comment (U62) Again, why? This is not a clear motivation.
Or:
Comment (U58) This should have been much clearer earlier . . . because then her march/journey would be much more purposeful.
Do not get yourself in high dudgeon and send an email. “What do you mean? It’s perfectly clear in chapter 4, where she mentions it.” Or, “You missed the point, It’s explained on page 13!”
Maybe she did miss it. S…