10 Essential Skills for Every Writer

Great article with some sound advice.

Nicholas C. Rossis

This is a guest post by Lucy Benton. Lucy is a writing coach and editor who finds her passion in expressing own thoughts as a blogger, and currently works at Assignment Helper. She is constantly looking for the ways to improve her skills and expertise. If you’re interested in working with Lucy, you can find her on FaceBookand Twitter.

10 Essential Skills for Every Writer

The way you write says a lot about your development as an author. Any person who says that anyone can write a good story does not understand the process of writing as well as its essentials. Of course, many people have great ideas for writing but they cannot produce high-quality work because they lack essential writing skills.

Okay, you may think I’m throwing you for a loop here. However, listen to this: writing is so much more than creating. Experienced authors use a…

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Useful Tips for Self-Editing a Manuscript

Good self-editing tips.

A Writer's Path

 

by Emily Nemchick

Whilst there is no substitute for hiring a professional editor, self-editing is an important skill for any writer to hone. For one thing, the more passes a manuscript gets, the fewer errors will remain in the final product. If you are using an editor, be sure to self-edit thoroughly first so they can focus on the things you have missed. If you are not using an editor, then self-editing is doubly essential. Here are a few tips to make sure you catch as many errors as possible.

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Character Archetypes – How to Create Dynamic Characters

With the current chaos going on in my life right now (new job in a new grade level in a new school, getting a new AC unit installed in my house, going solar powered, working on new WIP, etc…), I haven’t written a new post in a while.  My brain has been going 100 miles an hour lately, and I haven’t been able to put anything comprehensive down on paper in weeks. Let’s see if we can fix that today.

Although I’m not a traditional romance writer, about a year ago, I became a member of my local chapter of RWA. This fabulous group of people consists of all walks of life, and not all members are romance writers, myself included. Men and women, both published and non-published, make up this group: Indie authors, traditionally published authors, screenwriters, teachers, students, former attorneys and active military members, technology gurus, mothers, fathers, real-estate agents, and even a woman who writes for Harlequin and had one of her books turned into a movie. Needless to say, the writing expertise within this group is pretty well-rounded.

I originally joined this group for the insights they offer about the craft of writing. Regardless of genre, the information obtained from the many seminars I’ve attended through this group have helped me become a better writer.

The last seminar I attended focused on archetypes. For those of you who don’t know what that is, an archetype is a pattern of behavior that is universally present in characters in classic storytelling. It can be better summarized as the universal personality traits of a character. These personality traits are pretty standard, regardless of whether it is a character in a movie, book, or play or a person in real life.  As I review each one, you’ll probably get images in your head of people you know or literary/ movie characters you’ve seen or read about who portray these characteristics.  Let’s get started, shall we?

There are female archetypes and male archetypes, some of which are interchangeable. Every archetype has positive and negative personality traits, but the best characters do not fall under one specific archetype. They are made up of a combination of these traits.

I’ll go over the female archetypes first.  There are 8 main ones.

  1. The Boss. This girl is a real go-getter. She climbs the ladder of success. Queen Elizabeth is a good example.
  2. The Seductress. She’s an enchantress. She charms those around her to get her way. Scarlett O’Hara is a classic seductress.
  3. The Spunky Kid. This is a woman who is gutsy and true. She’s a loyal friend to the end. Pretty much every character Meg Ryan has ever played can be classified as a spunky kid.
  4. The Free Spirit. This is a person who is an eternal optimist. She dances to her own tune. Phoebe from the TV show Friends nails this archetype.
  5. The Waif. She is the damsel in distress. Sleeping Beauty, Bella from Twilight, and Audrey Hepburn to name a few.
  6. The Librarian. She is controlled and clever. She doesn’t have to be a bookwork or a scholar though. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter and Belle from Beauty and the Beast are librarians.
  7. The Crusader. She is a dedicated fighter. She has a cause and fights for the greater good. Katniss from the Hunger Games and Wonder Woman are crusaders. Go girls!
  8. The Nurturer. She is serene and capable. These are people who nurture the spirit of others (can be animals and plants too).  One person comes to mind with this one: Julie Andrews. She played a nurturer in Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music.

Let’s move on to the male archetypes now.  Again, there are 8 main ones, and you’ll find that some are similar to their female counterparts.

  1. The Chief. He is a dynamic leader and wants to be in charge. He is goal oriented and has time for nothing but work.  Michael Douglas in Wall Street or Captain Picard from Star Trek exemplify this archetype.
  2. The Bad Boy. He’s dangerous to know simply because he walks on the wild side. Danny in Grease or Prince Harry would be considered bad boys.
  3. The Best Friend. He’s sweet and safe and never lets anyone down. Patrick Dempsey in Enchanted and any Tom Hanks character.
  4. The Lost Soul. This man is a tormented being.  He’s a recluse and lives in solitude. The Beast in Beauty and the Beast, Shrek, and Wolverine are lost souls.
  5. The Charmer. He’s a smooth talker. The fairy tale Prince Charming. George Clooney plays these characters. Jack from Titanic was also a charmer.
  6. The Professor. This guy knows all the answers. The Professor from Gilligan’s Island, Frasier, and Sherlock Holmes are considered professors.
  7. The Swashbuckler. This is Mister Excitement. He’s an adventurer and often breaks the rules. Indiana Jones and Han Solo are swashbucklers. (Hmmm, Harrison Ford seems to play these characters a lot). Maverick from Top Gun is also a swashbuckler. I would say Will Turner from Pirates of the Caribbean is too.
  8. The Warrior. He is a noble fighter who acts with valor. Superman and To Kill a Mockingbird‘s Atticus Finch are warriors.

You’ll notice that some of the female/ male archetypes are similar. And there are some male characters who fit into the female archetypes and vice versa, like nurturer. Newt Scamander from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Mrs. Doubtfire, played by Robin Williams, are both nurturers although they are male characters.  The best characters are dynamic and complex. They don’t fit into one generic mold. They are a combination of one or more of these archetypes, just like each one of us is.

This is a guideline only. Not every character you write will fit perfectly into a specific archetype, but neither do we. As writers, we are observers of life. Use the people around you as inspiration.

Making Your Novel Great

Featured Image -- 6779I attended a seminar recently with author Sophie Jordan.  The session was entitled, How to Take a Good Book and Make it Great. She offered a lot of worthwhile information to consider when writing a novel, and I’m going to share some of those ideas with you. Hopefully you will find them helpful.

  1. The craft. Build your craft by reading and writing.  Write distinctly, read books on writing, and designate time for writing.
  2. The voice. Your voice evolves as you write. Own it and be conscientious of it.
  3. The market. Read everything you like and everything the world is talking about. Stay up to date on what’s hot in the market. Watch the latest movies, mini-series, and TV shows. Stay informed.
  4. The id. Write like no one’s reading. Write what’s deep within you. Fantasize, break away from the guidelines. Find that pleasure principle and entertain yourself.  Your audience will be there.
  5. The identifier. Make the reader identify with the hero/ heroine. Make the characters bad, but not too bad. Give them redeeming qualities to make them likeable. Bad choices make good stories, but the characters must have a reason for making those bad choices.
  6. The concept. Take a familiar concept and turn it on its head.  Think: If your book was a movie trailer, what three or four sentences would you get out of it?
  7. The beginning. Pull the reader in within the first ten pages. The beginning should be memorable and have high impact. Make the shit hit the fan right from the start.
  8.  The black moment. Make bad things happen.  Make the character’s goal seem impossible to achieve. Create that moment when all is lost, that moment when their is no chance they will ever meet their goal.
  9. The love scene. If your book has a love scene, make it uniquely personal between the characters.
  10. The dialogue. Dialogue must reflect the characters and build their relationships. It should expose them.
  11. The ending. Let the reader know what happened to these people. Give them that breath of fresh air.
  12. The packaging. What do people see when they look at your book? They will judge your book by the way it is packaged.

Ten Tips For Creating the Perfect Pace in Your Novel

marathon_mouse_spot-2Sometimes as writers, it’s hard to create the perfect pace in our stories.  I attended a writing workshop recently and learned a few things about pacing. Here’s what I walked away with.

  1. Impose a deadline. Your characters must have an urgency and a time constraint to accomplish their task. Give them a timeframe.
  2. Up the ante. Make the task harder, danger greater, or stakes higher. Challenge your character, create tension and throw things at them that get in the way.
  3. Create a mystery. Leave open questions. Create doubt and uncertainty. Why was he here? What was he doing with that person?
  4. Swap point of view. Change the voice. Alter from heavy to humorous.
  5. Leave white space. Keep paragraphs short. Vary sentence length. Create chunks.
  6. Create an unsettled feeling. End chapters by leaving readers on edge.  Make them want to know what’s going to happen next.
  7. Interlock episodes. Every scene connects to the other. Dive into important stuff and make each scene action or emotion related. Description and action must flow. Don’t write a scene readers will skip. If it’s not important, don’t include it.
  8. Introspection. Put your reader into the thick of your character’s emotions. Climb inside the character’s head and pull the reader in with you.
  9. Punctuation power. Make punctuation pull the flow of the story.  Dashes quicken the pace, semicolons slow the reader down.
  10. Ignore the noise. Make the writing yours and be your own voice. Don’t compare yourself to others. Be true to your own stories.

Curated Content For Writers

Links to useful information for writers.

Story Empire

Content Curation color wheelHappy Friday, Story Empire readers! We’re wrapping up another busy week (and month) here at Story Empire. We would like to thank everyone who visited us on the RRBC Springtime Book and Blog Party yesterday!

But now it’s time to share some of our favorite links we’ve found around the Internet pertaining to writing, marketing, and promotion. P. H. shared a great video compilation and post this week of the struggles of book revisions, and Craig delved into incorporating memories in fiction. Check those posts out if you missed them, and peruse the other links we found for you. So without further ado…


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23 Tips from Famous Writers for New and Emerging Authors

Great tips from great writers.

Millionaire's Digest

Written by Millionaire’s Digest Staff Member: Amber M.

Founder & Owner of:A Not So Jaded Life

Millionaire’s Digest Staff Team, Author, Successful Living and Writing Writer


1. “I have advice for people who want to write. I don’t care whether they’re 5 or 500. There are three things that are important: First, if you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you. Where you just put down what you think about life, what you think about things, what you think is fair and what you think is unfair. And second, you need to read. You can’t be a writer if you’re not a reader. It’s the great writers who teach us how to write. The third thing is to write. Just write a little bit every day. Even if it’s for only half an hour — write, write, write.” ― Madeleine L’Engle

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Best Writing Websites of 2017

Stumbled upon this and thought some of you might find it helpful.  I’ve included a few more on the bottom of this page. Happy writing.

Best Writing Websites of 2017

For blogging Tips, check out The Art of Blog’s How to Write an Awesome Headline. It includes tips and links to other sites that give advice on pulling readers in with your article headline.

Rayne Hall’s Tips For Writers– Here you’ll find professional techniques to help you refine your writing project.

Bryn Donovan has a ton of helpful writing tips ranging from writing playlists to master lists of facial expressions and physical descriptions. She also has an entire segment on creating characters for a specific Zodiac sign. Her resources are invaluable.

If you need more help with character development, Ink and Quills has an entire page of information and resources. Other writing information is on there too. Just browse around and you’ll be sure to find something helpful.

Developing a writer’s platform is essential for any writer.  Your Writer Platform gives tips on how to effectively do that.

If you know of other great writing resources, please comment below. I’ll check them out and add them to the list.