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How to create a believable character

No matter what genre you are writing in, you will have to create characters that populate your story. Creating characters might sound easy, give them a name and carry on with the story, right? Ever read a story where the character seems like a cardboard cut-out? Or seems erratic in his/her behaviour? The main reason this happens is because the character wasn’t created ahead of the story.

Show Don't Tell

We have new writers joining us at The Story Mint and it is wonderful to see the variety of talent and approaches these writers take to their writing. Our role at The Story Mint is to encourage and guide with helpful feedback that comments on what they did well and how they can add value to what they have written.

Choosing tense and point of view

Before we finally decide a piece of writing is completed, it is important to look at how well the tense and point of view support the story. This applies equally to fiction and non-fiction. Sometimes it helps to experiment and see how each affects the way the story comes across.

Less Words more Feeling

Have you ever thought how writing serial chapters is preparing you for that step toward the moment you decide you are going to write a novel? There are several Story Mint writers who have and are going through that experience now. Roseyn is the latest author to do so. Her book has just been launched, following on the heels of Suraya’s novel and mine. Past and present members Enos Russel, Mat Clarke, and Annette Connor are also published. There are two more members in the process of writing novels or non-fiction books. So how does writing serial chapters prepare us for the big step?

Genres and what they mean

Since there has been a discussion regarding the genres of The Story Mint serials, I thought a brief overview might just be a good idea. This post will only focus on fiction. One thing that has to be remembered is that there is a fair overlap in genres. 

Writing is a deliberate act

A writer has a lot to think about when writing a novel. The first thing to consider is how the reader will react to what we write. And the first thing to decide is whether or not what we write will find a reader. A writer without readers is like a horse without limbs…great body but no legs. If a writer has just one reader, all that changes and gives that writer’s work a purpose.

Writing with style

It is always a worthwhile exercise to study the work produced by other writers not just to be entertained but rather to examine how they use words. In fact, reading is now an exercise of studying why someone has used words a certain way and what they are trying to achieve with the way the words sit on the page.

In some ways, the appearances of the words artistically tell the story in the same way a portrait captures someone’s features.

Conflict: the heart of every good story

In her excellent book Story Structure and Architecture, Victoria Lynn Schmidt PhD points out that conflict keeps a story going and a reader engaged. Loosen off the tension arising from conflict and you loosen the thread that ties the reader to the story. So keep it coming, tightening the winch with every turn. Start slow and gradually wind it up until the reader is almost shouting at the character to do something to relieve the tension.

Agents Crying – They can’t (cannot) find a word wrong.

©The publishing world is so full of grumpy literary agents it is hard to find one that will stop drinking coffee because they get involved in the plot you have created – that’s if they get past the first page. Writing is such a complex art because we are creating our story and characters in the first instance to please ourselves. However, when the story is finished it has to appeal to other readers as well. And while we are dealing with that we are also remembering all the rules of writing – and bending a few of them as we develop our personal skills. So how do we catch the agent’s eye?

Writing Scenes in a story

With every newsletter we put out we include a list of writing tips. These usually include web sites and information I have picked up from various sources. They are always relevant and interesting but I was beginning to wonder if there was ever an end to the pithy advice people have for writers. Often the hints come from writers themselves who have done the hard yards and know that being a writer is far from glamourous. Alternatively, they come from observers who have studied the techniques of writing. Both points of view are valid.

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