What Is a #CharacterStory (and the 2 Laws of Character Action)

I found this photo on Flickr. Entitled “The Problem with Character-Driven Stories,” the photo had an amusing story to go along with it. As the story goes, there was a writer who was auditioning characters for her next novel. Characters lined up all the way out the writer’s waiting room and around the corner. And […]

Character Needs: The Need for Autonomy

Finishing out these posts on character needs, extracted from Character Fiction 101: How to Write Fictional Characters and Character Stories. Today, a basic need that provides motivation for many powerful stories, the need for autonomy. Each of us needs to feel in control over his own life and his own choices, a measure of independence […]

How To Write Felt Need

One thing I try to figure out before starting a new book is my main character’s felt need. What do I mean by felt need? Some people might call it the character’s motivation, but I think it goes deeper than that. For instance, a character may be motivated to do his father’s bidding because if […]

Character Needs: The Need for Community

Another post on character needs, extracted from Character Fiction 101: How to Write Fictional Characters and Character Stories. Today, a need that has been on my heart of late, the need for community. Feeling part of a wider community, beyond one’s immediate family, involves shared perceptions and identity with others and connections to them, a […]

Character Needs: The Need for Intimacy

The next post on character needs, extracted from Character Fiction 101: How to Write Fictional Characters and Character Stories. Today, the need for intimacy. We all need emotional and physical closeness to at least one other person. This is the person who sees us as we really are, naked and undignified, and whom we see […]

Character Needs: Physical Needs

The next post in my series of character needs from Character Fiction 101, the most basic of all: physical needs. Physical needs include air, water, food, and sleep, and the other things our biologies need to survive. (The other 10 categories deal with emotional needs.) A character meets her physical needs by breathing, eating and […]

Character Needs: The Need for Security

Another post on character needs, extracted from Character Fiction 101: How to Write Fictional Characters and Character Stories. Today, the need for security, which played a significant role in the life of the character “Eddie” in From the Ashes of Courage. Security includes our need for shelter, cleanliness, protection, and safety, and the like. From […]

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 […]

Writing Interesting Sex Scenes

Okay, you knew that I was eventually going to write this post, didn’t you? The first rule about writing sex scenes is that you have to know your audience, and that there are no hard-and-fast rules. At least that’s what I’ve come to conclude, because different people’s tastes vary widely. Some readers enjoy erotica–or at […]

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 […]