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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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Insanity

Insanity The classic saying is that insanity is the act of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. And yes, I’m sure that’s a part of it. But I truly believe that there’s a lot more to concept than that. And I have to admit that I really do enjoy writing insanity in many different ways for my characters because it’s so fascinating to me to explore the mindset of someone who has become completely detached from reality. Detached to the point where reality an

Comicality

Comicality in Writing Tips - Character

Character Casting

Character Casting One thing that I remember most about trying my hand at the acting business was that I went into every meeting and audition thinking that I was going to nail the role. Hehehe, I was a kid, so why not? Right? I was going to go in there, whether I got the script ahead of time so I could learn my lines by heart, or if I just went in cold. How hard could it be? So I’d feel all optimistic about my chances, and I’d make sure that I was prepared to give it my absolute best sho

Cheating (Part Two)

Cheating (Part Two) Welcome back everybody! ((Hugz)) As I’m writing this, I’m hoping that I didn’t offend anyone or step on any toes as far as their writing process is concerned with Part One of this article. I’m writing these back to back, and it will be a short while before you guys get to see them, so my apologies if I sounded like I was singling out any kind of writing style or anything like that. I wasn’t, promise. These articles come mostly from stuff that I’ve found in my own writing

Cheating (Part One)

Cheating (Part One) It can be soooo tempting sometimes! Hehehe, trust me, I know. And there have been quite a few times when I’ve done it myself, and you want to know something? I go back and look at those stories sometimes, and I really regret making some of the decisions that I did to get those stories over and done with. Was I successful in that pursuit? Well, sure. I mean, it worked. But if I mentioned a bunch of those stories or their characters by name...chances are most of you wouldn’

Character Interaction

Character Interaction Not long ago, I was talking about my love for working with ensemble casts in my stories. It’s something that I really love to engage in as a writer, and it sort of fleshes out the world that I’m working with. I mean, even if you happen to be a fan of video games, you might remember way back when it was just your character on the screen trying to complete some kind of quest or whatever, and a horde of enemies trying to stop you. But video games have evolved since then. W

Elements That Do not Work

Elements That Don’t Work There are always going to be times when an artist, in any genre, is going to run into a few problem elements in writing their story. It happens. There’s no reason to panic, and certainly no reason for you to give up on your project. It’s a normal part of the process. Sometimes you have ideas that seem so exciting and engaging at the time while you’re planning things out...and then, once you start writing, you realize that those ideas aren’t as supportive of your stor

Writing Arguments

Writing Arguments When creating a compelling scene in your stories that will really work to hold the attention of your readers captive, it’s always important to remember what elements you can use, and what tools that you have at your disposal, that can elicit that particular emotional response in your readers. And one of the most powerful spells that you can cast as a wizard of words...is the amazing power of confrontation. When I say ‘confrontation’, I’m not talking about conflict. Con

Character Empathy

Character Empathy As a 'self proclaimed' writer...I've found that there is no stronger, no more engaging, tool in your arsenal than character empathy when it comes to truly crafting an immersive experience when it comes to your readers' involvement in your story. This is something that a lot of writer's believe they can 'tell' their audience, and they'll obviously fall in line and agree with the author, because how you can not feel bad for people (fictional as they may be) going through such

The Hero Protagonist

The Hero Protagonist When writing a story...there needs to be a main focus. Naturally, there can be many characters and many different events and situations surrounding that character, but I truly believe that it's important to keep things primarily concentrated on the thoughts and actions of a single protagonist in your narrative, in order to keep things tight and interesting without wandering off into La La Land. Your protagonist should be the first thing that you think about when you

Heartbreak

Heartbreak It hurts. If any of you guys have been through it, and I'm assuming that you all have at one time or another, same as me...you know just how much pain it can cause when it comes to experiencing a really painful heartbreak. I think the most damaging part behind the psychology of heartbreak itself is the fact that you have to willingly lower your defenses to truly love or be loved by anybody else. You have to break open. There's no way to truly enjoy and embrace love, while sti

Dialog Variety

Now this is something that I've always had a bit of a problem with, myself, when writing modern day characters in my stories. So if any of you guys have any ideas or hidden secrets about how to pull this off in multiple stories, or just from a variety of different characters in a single story....please feel free to add some of those tips in the replies below as I can always use more help in this area. And why not learn from my peers, some of the best there is, right? You see...and I've hea

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
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