Tag Archives: character development

50 Shades of Mistakes That Sell Books #MondayBlogs

I warn you now, this post is for the open minded.

There are some books that are bound to cause controversy. 50 Shades of Grey is one of those books, so it makes sense that I don’t know many people who actually admit to liking it. But I don’t get it. There have been at least a hundred million copies sold worldwide, which puts it in the realm of the top ten selling books of all time. And that 100m figure was the from two years ago, with film releases it’s only going to boost book sales.

So somebody has to be buying it and reading it.

Most people I talk to are vehemently against the book.  The trilogy seems to ignite more ferocious battles than all the recent political Brouhahas. Most argue their dislike is because it’s written badly, or the subtly abusive connotations around how the male love interest treats the female protagonist.

If you didn’t know, 50 shades of Grey is actually fan fiction of the Twilight saga written by Stephanie Meyer which also sold in excess of a hundred million copies despite being yet another series of books that received significant critical attention.

But here’s my point, and the driver behind this post, if these bitches can sell nearly 300 million copies despite nearly everyone I know wanting to shove their books in a woodchipper, then there has to be something they’re doing right, and I wanna know what it is.

I don’t care if you’re Shakespeare himself risen from the dead to craft word-gold to hit the NYT best seller list, you don’t sell 300 million copies without giving your audience exactly what they want. And that, my dear sweet cherry pies, is the point of being a writer. I don’t know about you folks, but I sure as shit wouldn’t mind selling 300 million copies of my book.

So here’s me, suggesting to you, we all put our disjointed noses and misplaced egos aside for a moment and deconstruct what in the shizzle they did to make themselves so successful. Continue reading

10 Things Every Writers Needs To Know About Conflict

conflictConflict – the foundation of every novel bled onto the page.

Without it, your book flatlines harder than the grim reaper. No self-respecting book doctor will even attempt to resuscitate it. And yet, you need to, because conflict is the god of novels.

If you’ve been a good little girl then conflict will dip its mighty hand into Santa’s sack and bestow heavenly book treasures on you, like: pace, tension, plot line and well-rounded characters with enough depth to drown a reindeer. But without it we’re talking dead Kipper slaps to the face.

And no body wants a stinky dead fish face mask.

But when you love your precious little bundle of baby hero joy more than life itself, torturing them with a bout of – villain/antagonist/insert other form of conflict shaped nappy rash can be rather more difficult than one expects.

Here are 10 tips for shaping your books conflict. Continue reading

Lies – 5 Tips to Master The Perfect Character Arc

character arcI confess… Instead of reading the half dozen books I already have on the go, I accidentally (ok, on purpose) opened a guilty pleasure novel. And no, that’s not a sexual reference, you filth-bag, I meant my fave genre – YA fantasy).

Because it’s my genre I took the opportunity to research. I never read a book without taking a lesson from it.

This time I learnt all about the character arc and one awesome method for achieving the perfect curve! The book I read: Frostbite by Richelle Mead (part of the Vampire Academy series), used an awesome technique in which to perfect that arc – LiesContinue reading

You Need To Try This Guaranteed Method of Creating Depth In Your Writing

More DepthOne of my favourite quotes is a juxtaposition, pitting perfection against failure.

“I think perfection is ugly. Somewhere in the things humans make, I want to see scars, failure, disorder, distortion.” Yohji Yamamoto

There are a million juxtapositions I could have used as examples, even ones as simple as: light and dark. But the point is over the last few books I have read, I have discovered what an extraordinary tool they are and, one that should be in every writers’ bag of tricks.

Here’s why, and how to use them more effectively.

Continue reading

Want The Perfect Hero? Don't Make These 2 Mistakes

Perfect heroEverybody wants to create the perfect hero. I know I do. But creating the perfect hero means more than just perfection. It means imperfection.

I like examples, I like learning from examples and I just happen to have read another book (Independent Study (The Testing Trilogy Book 2)), so I am going to use the hero from that to explain how not to create the perfect hero. Continue reading

Warning: These 5 Points Will Help You Create Awesome Female Villains

Warning: These 5 Points Will Help You Create Awesome Female Villains

What is it about women that just isn’t scary? Perhaps it’s because women represent motherhood and mothers are loving and caring. Or maybe it’s because we are (generally) smaller framed and not as physically strong as (most) men and therefore don’t epitomize the brutality of villainy.
Continue reading

The Dexter Effect – How to use your inner 'Psycho' to write better – The Crafting Characters Series #5

Psycho copy

My aim here, is to see if I can convince you to get up close and personal with your own inner psycho…

Have you ever watched Dexter? If you haven’t, you should. It’s great, Wiki says:

Dexter is an American television drama series. Set in Miami, the series centers on Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall), a blood spatter pattern analyst for Miami Metro Police Department who also leads a secret life as a serial killer, hunting down criminals who have slipped through the cracks of the justice system.’  Continue reading

To Edit or Not to Edit? That is the Question

halfway-point

HELP…

I have a wonderfully rare gift tomorrow. A day off from work, almost entirely child free that I intend to dedicate to writing. Whilst I am acutely aware I now have an overdue assignment, tomorrow is dedicated to my novel. But I have a problem.

I have 50 something thousand words written – that need a heavy edit, I have some major character development needed too, and probably before I carry on. I have also lost a bit of confidence due to the mis-timed feedback and I’m not sure how to get it back. But it has knocked me significantly off track, and now I feel like I need to go back and edit major storylines, sub-stories and character lines.

But here is my question, Should I go back and spend the time I have between life admin editing the 50K? Or do I spend a couple of hours on character development and then soldier on with the story and edit at the end?

Now – before you all charge in and tell me to plough on (because thats what everyone has said without exception)

There are a few caveats –

I need to either raise my confidence with what words I already have down on the page or I am not going to be able to continue, OR someone needs to provide me with an extremely rational logical argument as to why I should continue.

Listen to me. I already know the answer, I am inviting you to tell me to continue, but I am stuck. Stuck wanting to edit, to critique and perfect what I have before carrying on… the urge to edit is overwhelming.

Also now I haven’t looked at my novel since the 26th Nov when I completed NaNo, the usual ‘carry on to keep the flow going’ doesn’t really apply, as I am a bit out of the flow now anyway.

So what do I do???

Answers on a blogpostcard!