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Featuring everything new and experienced authors need to develop creative and technical skills. Check out writing development articles, our Word of the Day, writing prompts, anthology opportunities and more!

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Non-Villainous Villains

There is a light that I truly believe shines within each and every single one of us as human beings. Whether we believe in it or share it with others...it's there. We know it. We feel it. However...the brightest of lights can cast the darkest of shadows, and sliding from one side of the spectrum to the other can be a very short trip, depending on the current circumstances. And when it comes to creating villains in your writing, being able to blur the line between 'good' and 'evil' can truly crea

Morally Questionable Heroes

What is a hero? I mean, when you think about it, it doesn't have to mean a streak of red and blue racing overhead as Superman gets to his next big disaster in the world. Sure, that's a part of all that, but a hero can a police officer, or a particularly smart detective...or it can just be a loving parent. Perhaps just a good friend. The hero is the one who's willing to make sacrifices for someone else in their time of need. A hero might be someone who breaks up a fight, or a preacher that gives

Writing Teen Characters

Considering the fact that almost all of my stories involve teenage characters, a great deal of my readers (perhaps more than half) are teenagers themselves. So...if any of you guys are reading this right now...hehehe, don't take any offense over anything that I say here in this article! It's not like it's anything that I wouldn't have said to you in an email or the chatroom at this point anyway. I'm just placing it here as a disclaimer so you don't get all pouty on me. Besides, I've got yo

What's With the Theatrics?

As many of you guys already know (Those who have been around for a number of years, or possibly from the very beginning) I was both an actor and a boy model back when I was in my tweens and teens. It was what I wanted to do. I had a passion for it. But the fantasy of it and the business side of that whole industry are two completely different things! So buyer, beware! if that's what you want to get into, I wish you the best...but it's not what many of you might think it is. So you really have to

Who's In Charge

When trying to put the idea together of this particular article in my head, I had to be careful to steer clear of the whole idea and philosophy of 'determinism' and 'free will', hehehe...which is an entire novel's worth of intellectual discussion that would probably ehaust all of us before I even BEGIN to scratch the surface of the point that I want to make here in terms of our skills as writers, and crafting a story of our very own. Simultaneously using one side of the argument while giving the

Unloveable

I truly think that Mark Twain said it best... "A clear conscience is the sure sign of a bad memory." If that's the case...I wish my memory was a lot worse than it is now, because 'a clear conscience', I'll never have. And yet, I don't see that as a bad thing. Never have, never will. The truth is...I had to grow up at some point. And, yes...I made PLENTY of mistakes! I have plenty of regrets. Lost friends, created enemies, and made a lot of bad choices for selfish reason. But...you know

Character Motivation

I always go through a certain three-part process when it comes to putting a story together in my head. The first part is creating the idea and the theme. What kind of tone will it have? Some stories can be playful and happy, others can be sad and deal with heavy subjects, others can be full of anger and/or regret. But whatever the story is about, I try to flesh that out first. It usually doesn't take very long as it's usually just a vague outline of what the story is about and a few of the event

Angst

Hahaha! Raise your hands if you saw the title of this writing article and immediately groaned and rolled your eyes at the idea of hearing me talk about it! Yes, yes...I know. If you thought it was a secret, it's not. I am well aware of my use of teen angst in my stories, and have gotten countless angry emails about it over the years. Trust me...I know. BUT...if any of my readers feel angry, impatient, worried, or sexually FRUSTRATED beyond belief, when reading my stories...then congra

Character Diversity

When I was growing up, I can distinctly remember LOVING the old school martial arts flicks that they used to show on Channel 66 in Chicago on Sundays! "Incredible Kung Fu Mission", "Five Deadly Venoms", "Drunken Master"! A good Shaw Brothers original? They never failed to excite me and have me locked in to the point where, by the time it was over, I'd be fighting my own pillows and trying to kick couch cushions across the room with my non-existent skills as a five or six year old Kung Fu warrior

MaryGary Sue

I have to be 100% honest here... I had NEVER once, in my entire life, heard the term 'Mary Sue' used in any writer's discussion, ever...until "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" was released in theaters a few years ago. Never. Not once. Since then it has become this weird 'buzzword' that a lot of people have weaponized to use as a criticism in a variety of stories, movies, and comic books, and while I don't really use it myself I think it is an attempt to point out a certain flaw that authors ma

Killing Off Characters

When writing your stories and creating a tapestry of drama and conflict, occasionally putting your readers through a roller coaster ride of ups and downs from beginning to end...you may make the choice to lose a character or two in the process. It happens. It's a part of more stories than most people realize. In fact, with very few exceptions, all of your favorite Disney cartoons from when you were young...have an orphaned protagonist. From Peter Pan, to Bambi, to Dumbo, to Aladdin, to Cinderell

Ensemble Casts

Ensemble In one of my stories, "Savage Moon", I write about a teenage boy who gets drawn in with a bad crowd of misfits...who later turn out to be a pack of werewolves. (Don't worry, that's not a spoiler. It's, literally, the plot of the story. And it's practically given away in the title. So I didn't ruin any surprises with that one! Hehehe!) However, the 'alpha' tells their potential recruit about what it takes to build a strong pack. A family unit. And the key is in the personality traits of

Engaging Dialogue

The thing about having a dialogue with someone in real life, versus having a dialogue in written prose...is that, more times than not, prose demands a sense of purpose from its characters' interaction. There's very little room for fluff and small talk. The words being spoken have to actually 'say' something about the current situation and add to the story. It doesn't have to be forced, but I think it helps to know what your intentions are as a writer when adding dialogue to the scenes you have i

Conflict

Conflict... ″I love you!″ ″I love you more!″ ″Unh unh! I love YOU more!″ ″No way! I love you more than ANYTHING in this world! I love you to infinity!″ ″M′kay! You win! Kiss me!″ Mwah mwah mwah mwah...blechhh! Hehehe! Honestly, how long can a story like this go on before folks get the point and grow weary of the content? There are only so many ways to say ′I love you′. Only so many ways to hang out and have a good time. Only so many holes to fill in a sexual en

Sex Appeal

What is sex appeal? Take a moment and really think about that. What is it that we find ′sexy′ about the people we dream about? Now, not everybody writes romance or sexually themed stories online, but that doesn′t mean that your characters don′t have some sort of appeal to them that acts as a direct interest to your main character. What is it that draws your protagonist in? What is the bait? Why this particular boy over all others? Today...we′re talking about sex appeal. What it is, what it

One Life to Live

When writing a story of your very own, I think there is an added effect that comes from using your own personal experiences as a blueprint for the writing itself. Your memories, your feelings, your beliefs, your personality...drawing from these sources gives the whole feel of a story a certain ′touch′ that can′t be achieved by just putting words on the screen. You may often hear the term, ″write what you know″ being thrown around a lot, and I couldn′t agree more. No matter what the content of yo

Character Descriptions

Who is this person? And that person? Who are the characters populating this fictional world that I'm reading about? What do they look like, what are their personalities, and why should I care? These are all questions that need to be asked and answered with every new story that you put out, as you are trying to paint a vivid picture with the words you type on the screen. No matter how clear the vision of your main characters and love interests may be in your head, you have to keep in mind th

Love Rivals

What would an involving and engaging story be without some sort of conflict written into it? And what could possibly be a bigger conflict in a romantic/erotic story than a direct rival for the love and affections of the boy of your protagonist's dreams, right? Here he is, making all the right moves, saying all the right things...and here comes some drop dead gorgeous stranger to throw a monkey wrench in the whole works and screw it up for everybody involved! Arrrgh!!! How upsetting is that?

Character Flaws

Are any of us perfect? I mean, I'm sure that a lot of us realize that we're not actually perfect...and the few that do believe they're perfect are often blind narcissists...hehehe, and therefore NOT perfect! Honestly, that's not even something that I would ever want to shoot for. If perfection is determined by some sort of direct formula or standard, if it's a bunch of little boxes that all have to be checkmarked to be considered a part of that group...then that would mean it's our imperfections

August Author Opportunities & Character Articles

This week we have something a little different for today's blog post though we're keeping it all about improving and encouraging authors. Remember we have various opportunities for authors to be featured such as:    Story Critique: Open to all GA authors. Sign up here. Ask An Author: Send your questions for your favorite authors to Carlos Hazday (no questions = no Ask An Author) Story Recommendations:  Open to all GA authors & readers. PM your r

Cia

Cia in Writing Tips - Character

Writing Tip: Character Interviews

We're always looking for stuff for our Wacky Wednesday and this time, Cia came through with this piece on Character Interviews. Enjoy!! Character Interviews by Cia   I recently answered a tip request with some information regarding character interviews and I thought I’d take it site wide, so to speak. When you write a story, especially anything approaching novel length, you need to make it as vivid as possible for readers to keep them interested. One way to hook readers is throug

Writing Tip: Believable Characters

K.C. has helped by stepping up and writing a great self-interview on creating believable characters. I found it a fantastic read - hope you do too. THANK you KC!   How do you develop believable characters?   What makes a great character is goes beyond skin deep. We know that every sexy main character is six feet tall, has a full head of lush gorgeous hair and a flawless smile…right? Wrong! Fiction is where anything can happen, so why not throw out the cookie cutter molds and start thinkin

Writing Tip: Character Building

Interesting characters are usually one of the most important elements of good writing. That's why this great tip by CassieQ is a welcome addition to our GA News Blog. If you have a great tip that you'd like to share with the community, let me or Renee Stevens know.   Character Building by CassieQ   To be 100% honest, writing about characters was hard. Characterization is something that always seemed to flow naturally, so trying to take it apart and explain the mechanics o

Writing Tip: Creating A Credible Villain

You know we all love a bad boy. We all love them better in our stories. But can we write them? Today's tip talks about... Creating a Credible Villain by Renee Stevens When creating a villain for your story, there are many things that need to be considered. Villains are not ALL bad. While they will have mostly flaws, they most likely will also have something about them that is good. This could be anything. A serial killer could also be a devoted family man. Your villain

Lugh

Lugh in Writing Tips - Character

Writing Tip: Physical Description

While poking around in the forums the other day I found myself in the Editor's forum looking at a thread concerning physical descriptions and how authors handle writing them. It seemed the biggest concern was how to get the info across without the story sounding like something plucked from the Nifty's "First Time" collection. I'm not going to repeat all the discussion from there to here, if you are an author, you should read it. If you are a new author... please read it. What I am going to

Lugh

Lugh in Writing Tips - Character

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