Monday, May 11, 2015

Capturing Your Character's Voice

Have you received feedback from your critique partners that says something like:

Love the story, but I'm just not connecting with you main character.


The plot is great, but the voice isn't coming through.


Exciting chapter! But... The character seemed a little flat.

If you have, then a unique voice in your manuscript might be missing!

What should you do?!?

Rewrite the entire novel?
Rewrite all the dialogue?
Rewrite the chapter?

Take a deep breath. And before you hit the delete button, try one of these.

1. After the deep breath, go here. Dig deep and discover your main character. If you have multiple POV characters, you'll need to do this for all of them. Then take another deep breath, drink some coffee (or favorite beverage of choice) and get to work giving your character a voice of their own!

2. If above doesn't help, try a character interview. Here's one. Or make up your own. What do you want to know about your character that your character isn't telling you? Take a couple of days, week, a month to sift through the possibilities. After all, you're the creator!

3. Chat with a trusted critique partner or writing mentor. Have them give your WIP a look-see. Ask for advice. 

4. Call your mom. She'll tell you you're awesome. 

5. Try, try, try again until you get right. You're the best judge of your work. If you're not satisfied, give it another go! Don't give up!

We love to hear from you! What do you do to deepen character development? Do you have a favorite character chart? Has your WIP voice fallen flat?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Words, Glorious Words

There are bunches of reasons why I decided to start writing, but I today I’m going to stick with just one: WORDS. I love ‘em. 

When I hear something funny, a beautiful description, or a phrase that skillfully encapsulates a feeling, I’m smitten by both the content and by the arrangement of words themselves.

There’s so many ways to say a thing! When you’re trying to perfectly capture a specific sight, sound, or emotion, the vast options of words, and the millions of ways you can arrange them, can be exciting. It can also be a bit paralyzing at times, though.

It’s like dumping out all the pieces of a hundred different puzzles onto a table, and then trying to fit together a single matching row.

When I’m stuck and can’t for the life of me land on the right word, one of the first things I do is look over my words list. Yup, that’s right. I collect words. J  The words come from all over—people speaking IRL, T.V. shows, books—and the words I keep can stand alone or be an entire sentence. 

Of course, I don’t use other people’s constructions in my work, but sometimes I need inspiration that only a fantastic sentence can provide.

I keep a list on my phone that’s simply titled Word List. (Super Original, I know.) Here’s a few things I’ve put aside for future consideration:



A devil’s expression

Trying out the shape of his mouth on my lips

The list goes on and on, and my friends have grown used to me saying “Ooh, that was good. It’s definitely going on the list."

So tell me, do you have any word fetishes, like maybe you sleep with a thesaurus under your pillow? Or…um, something. ;D