Character Needs: The Need for Attention

I’m posting a series on character needs, extracted from Character Fiction 101: How to Write Fictional Characters and Character Stories. I’m starting with the need for attention, which inspired my story, “The Friendship Dress,” posted at Danielle La Paglia’s blog. We all need both to give and to receive attention. We all want to feel […]

Character Fiction 101: Table of Contents

I’m working on an ebook, entitled Character Fiction 101: How to Write Fictional Characters and Character Stories. I plan to give the ebook away for free, for a number of reasons that I lay out in the book’s introduction— Mostly because I long to see more online authors turn out high-quality character stories. Many of […]

What Is Character?

(I extracted this post from an upcoming free ebook Character Fiction 101: How to Write Fictional Characters and Character Stories.) When I first started writing stories, I read numerous online articles and guides about developing characters. You’ve probably seen them yourself. Even many established authors have posted similar character profile worksheets. Most of them focus […]

9 More Sources for Character Ideas

Ideas are a dime a dozen, which is no consolation when you just can’t seem to come up with that perfect idea that will pull you past your writer’s block and bring the story you’re trying to write into focus. And the more you wrack your brain, the harder it is to come up with […]

How to Turn Character Ideas into Characters

They say ideas are a dime a dozen, even character ideas. Many experienced authors don’t even think about it anymore; they don’t remember when they were just starting out, facing a blank page, without any idea how to make their characters full and interesting. Because when it comes right down to it, if you want […]

How to Make a Character Sound Angry

The other day, my Little One and her friend were going over a story they were writing, when my ear caught a dialogue tag: “she shouted angrily.” Naturally, I butted right in. And unfortunately, my advice was not taken to heart by my Little One’s friend, who, I gather, had originally written the line and […]

7 Flash-Fiction Turn-Ons (and 17 Turn-Offs)

PJ Kaiser suggested—probably because I’ve been doing weekly “#FridayFlash Favorites” posts—that I write about what catches my attention in a flash story, and what turns me off. I thought that was a pretty kewl idea, and I further decided to link to last week’s #FridayFlash stories (because they’re still fresh in my mind) in order […]

“Aha!” Moments and Character “Change”

I love character stories. In fact, I rarely enjoy a story unless it has a character-driven component. So I was naturally surprised that I so enjoyed Al Bruno’s latest #FridayFlash story. It’s not really a character story, per se. Or is it? I actually have a different take on that now, different than last week. […]

How to Write a Character-Driven Flash Story Really Fast

A couple Fridays ago— This is just after my computer gave out, and I was behind schedule on everything. Come Friday morning, I had not started writing a story for #FridayFlash. I didn’t even have an idea. So I used the following 5-step process to whip one together, in less than 3 hours from start […]

10 Basic Character Needs

They say that effective story characters have problems, because problems mean conflict, and conflict makes for an interesting story. True enough. (See Wednesday’s post for a better explanation.) But what they don’t usually tell you is that all problems come from character needs. Or more precisely, from characters not getting their needs met. Like us, […]