Minor #Characters Don’t Believe They’re Minor

Developing the main character of a story can be interesting and challenging.  It gives the writer a chance to research and walk in the shoes of someone else whose life may be very different.  Along the way, a minor character may be introduced for the sake of progressing the story, and possibly to give depth to the shining star.  But should it stop there?

K.M. Pohlkamp gives us something to think on when writing about minor characters.

K.M. Pohlkamp - Author Website

As Constantin Stanislavski once stated, “There are no small actors, only small parts.” 

This adage transfers to writing as well. One of my favorite pieces of writing advice is to consider that a supporting/minor character may think the novel is actually about them.

This is certainly not the case for every side character, but the imagery of the thought helps me develop minor characters in an interesting way. They have their own strengths and weaknesses, their own motivations and baggage. The supporting character may believe their dialogue is the most important and that their actions drive the plot.

My advice: Allow your supporting characters to make bold choices and statements. Let them have their moment, and then move the spotlight.

However, maturing supporting characters is more challenging than the protagonist. The author simply has less words in which to develop their persona. Therefore, each appearance of the character needs to be considered to further the…

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Walking Down #Memory Lane on the 4th of July (Well almost…)

I’ve always been a fan of colorful light effects like creative Christmas displays or fireworks on Independence Day.  With the latter, the loud boom can be distracting and somewhat scary – especially to a small child.

One 4th of July around ’81 or ’82, my parents packed me and my brother up in the family car, headed to the local high school parking lot.  Mama passed around the sandwich bags full of Continue reading “Walking Down #Memory Lane on the 4th of July (Well almost…)”

How To Pinpoint Your #Strengths As A #Writer (And Make The Most Of Them!)

As a writer, you’re constantly honing your craft—reading widely, seeking feedback, and considering the constructive criticism of others. Part of this process is learning how to recognize your own writing strengths. But it’s not always easy to judge yourself objectively, so Writer’s Relief has put together five ways to recognize the areas in which you truly shine: Continue reading “How To Pinpoint Your #Strengths As A #Writer (And Make The Most Of Them!)”

The Most Misspelled #Words By U.S. #State

The article below piggybacks on one of my recent posts about proofreading and using spell check.

I had not idea “gray” was the most misspelled word for my state (Georgia).  While the article didn’t mention how it was misspelled, I’m praying the confusion is spelling the color as “grey”. 😉

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At Writer’s Relief, we enjoyed this article by NBC News that spells out the facts: There are some surprising words commonly misspelled in each state:

“Google has released its list of America’s most misspelled words by state — and Wisconsinites have some explaining to do.” Continue reading “The Most Misspelled #Words By U.S. #State”

Connecting with Your Audience: Questions Every #Writer Must Ponder

If you’ve ever attended an amateur comedy show and heard a joke that went flat, you understand the importance of connecting with the audience.  Saying something off-color or doesn’t resonate like “Hello Chicago” but you’re in Dallas, can cause the crowd to heckle or boo the comedian off stage.

Why wouldn’t this be any different for a writer?  Sure we may not hear the boo’s and hisses, but it’s reflected in the ratings of our books and whether individuals come back to read our latest creations.  So how can we connect with our reading audience?


Photo: TED Conference TEDSummit2016_062716_2RL6368_1920 via photopin (license)

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Storytelling is an art. It’s a profession we writers feel called to engage, and yet the story that we tell has to connect with someone other than ourselves. What an irony! How do we engage an audience we’ve never met? What makes some stories flop and others become bestsellers?

These are questions every serious writer has to ponder. In order to answer these questions, we’re studying how an author can connect with his audience over the next few weeks. Come on this journey with me!

A writer must know her targetOf course, you can’t know each reader personally, but you can recognize what types of readers pick up your genre. You can know of fellow writers that have similar stories to tell, and you can identify what drives their audience to the book.

This is a standard exploration for many writers. Agents and editors will often ask…

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Don’t Always Listen to Spell Check

How many times have you typed a word like “melons” but really meant “lemons”?  To the spell checker, both are words.  So what’s wrong?

The problem is that spell check does not read as humans do. Depending on what the sentence is about, the incorrect word could make it confusing.  For example, how many people heard of turning melons into lemonade?  Anybody?  Bueller?

Having someone to proofread is generally a good idea, but even humans miss stuff.  So what’s a writer to do?

Ruminated Scrawlings

Spellcheck has the tendency to lead you astray when you are writing anything on a word processor program such as Microsoft Word. It may tell you to put a comma where a comma doesn’t belong, remind you about how bad you are at spelling because it keeps giving you the wrong word no matter how many times you rewrite the word, and it always asks you to remove a word that is obviously there for effect.

Spell checkers and by extension grammar checkers work on an algorithm which uses grammar rules, and a dictionary which contains all the common words in the English language. The problem is that when you are writing a story you sometimes need to ignore grammar rules or spelling, or you have made up words or words from other languages which the spell checker cannot detect. It’s hard writing fantasy when you see red squiggly lines all over…

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In remembrance…

Memorial Day is a time to remember the men and women in the armed forces who have served our country and lost their lives defending it.  Cemeteries are adorned with flags and flowers to not only celebrate these lives, but also honor them.

But for me, Memorial Day has additional meanings.  One, it’s a day my family and friends come together to barbecue and fellowship. Sometimes this is the only quality time we have together.  We talk about days of ole and catch up on the latest happenings in each others’ lives.  It’s a joyous occasion.

Two, I’m reminded of the diligence of my great-aunt Dollie who made it her mission to

Continue reading “In remembrance…”