Fighting Attraction in Romance (Body Language Help)
Writers Helping Writers | Descriptive Writing Blog
by ANGELA ACKERMAN
2d ago
Emotion is the heart of any story, and there is no genre where this holds more true than romance. Readers look forward to a romantically tense roller coaster ride (how’s that for alliteration) that feels authentic and satisfying as characters are drawn together. Often though, characters fight this attraction. They might have goals or responsibilities they believe require all their focus or have something to prove and so are determined to remain independent. And of course, many try to avoid entanglements because their past has shown them that love leads to emotional pain. This last one (emotio ..read more
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How Does Internal Conflict Fit into the Character’s Arc?
Writers Helping Writers | Descriptive Writing Blog
by BECCA PUGLISI
4d ago
If you’re writing a story in which your character will need to evolve internally to achieve his goal, a cohesive and well-planned character arc will be vital to its success. This type of arc (a change arc) requires internal conflict, which will provide opportunities for your character to adapt and grow.  But first, let’s quickly summarize what the change arc is and what it looks like. At their heart, most stories boil down to a simple formula: It’s a story about A (the character) who wants B (goal/outer motivation) because Y (inner motivation). That Y explains why the character so desper ..read more
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Originalizing Your Story Idea
Writers Helping Writers | Descriptive Writing Blog
by BECCA PUGLISI
1w ago
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about differentiation—how we can make our stories stand out from all the others. Customers are being more careful with their money, which means they’re very likely buying fewer books. With the estimated 1,000,000+ books being published each year, ours need something to set them apart, something that will jump off the shelf and grab a potential buyer’s attention.  But how do we elevate our ideas? I took a good look at some books that grabbed me straight off and continue to stand out in my mind as incredibly memorable. Here are some methods those authors u ..read more
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Build Suspense With Secrets
Writers Helping Writers | Descriptive Writing Blog
by CHRISTINA DELAY - Resident Writing Coach
1w ago
Have you wondered what makes a book unputdownable? What techniques or tricks an author employs to make sure you read that next word, sentence, paragraph, page? One of the most effective ways to do this is by building suspense. All genres have suspense…or at least should. Suspense is reader glue. Conflict, questions, secrets, surprises, and action are the lifeblood of suspense. Suspense happens when dramatic questions or secrets trap the reader’s attention and makes them want to know what happens next. Our job is to sprinkle secrets out like wayfinding points to get readers to ask questions…wi ..read more
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Fear Thesaurus Entry: Having No Purpose
Writers Helping Writers | Descriptive Writing Blog
by BECCA PUGLISI
2w ago
Debilitating fears are a problem for everyone, an unfortunate part of the human experience. Whether they’re a result of learned behavior as a child, are related to a mental health condition, or stem from a past wounding event, these fears influence a character’s behaviors, habits, beliefs, and personality traits. The compulsion to avoid what they fear will drive characters away from certain people, events, and situations and hold them back in life.  In your story, this primary fear (or group of fears) will constantly challenge the goal the character is pursuing, tempting them to retreat ..read more
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Phenomenal First Pages Contest – Guest Editor Edition
Writers Helping Writers | Descriptive Writing Blog
by MINDY ALYSE WEISS
2w ago
Hey, wonderful writerly people! It’s time for our monthly critique contest! This month, we have a HUGE prize! 3 winners will receive feedback on 20 pages from a professional editor. So exciting! If you’re working on a story and would like some objective feedback, please leave a comment. Any comment :). As long as the email address associated with your WordPress account/comment profile is up-to-date, I’ll be able to contact you if you’re a lucky winner. Please know that if I’m unable to get in touch with you through that address, you’ll have to forfeit your ..read more
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5 Ways to Approach Your Novel Like a Trial Lawyer
Writers Helping Writers | Descriptive Writing Blog
by MARISSA GRAFF - Resident Writing Coach
2w ago
So much about good storytelling mirrors the way a lawyer might lay out the case for their client.  Our job as writers is to select events and characters that reveal the protagonist we hope the reader will see. In effect, we are manipulating scenes so that they present our protagonist’s inner development at any given point in the plot. Let’s take a look at five ways you can approach your novel like a winning trial lawyer, delivering your reader to the verdict you want. 1. Give Your Opening Argument Within the “ordinary world” section of your story, make the case that your protagonis ..read more
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Fear Thesaurus Entry: Criticism
Writers Helping Writers | Descriptive Writing Blog
by BECCA PUGLISI
3w ago
Debilitating fears are a problem for everyone, an unfortunate part of the human experience. Whether they’re a result of learned behavior as a child, are related to a mental health condition, or stem from a past wounding event, these fears influence a character’s behaviors, habits, beliefs, and personality traits. The compulsion to avoid what they fear will drive characters away from certain people, events, and situations and hold them back in life.  In your story, this primary fear (or group of fears) will constantly challenge the goal the character is pursuing, tempting them to retreat ..read more
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Writing Insecure Characters
Writers Helping Writers | Descriptive Writing Blog
by BECCA PUGLISI
3w ago
Angela Ackerman and I got our start telling anyone who was interested (and some who weren’t) what we’d learned about the importance of showing a character’s feelings. So I’ll start with a quote from The Emotion Thesaurus about why it’s so important for every author to get this right: All successful novels, no matter what genre, have one thing in common: emotion. It lies at the core of every character’s decision, action, and word, all of which drive the story. Without emotion, a character’s personal journey is pointless. Stakes cease to exist. The plot line becomes a dry riverbed of meaningles ..read more
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An Unbreakable Promise to Readers
Writers Helping Writers | Descriptive Writing Blog
by SUE COLETTA - Resident Writing Coach
3w ago
A novel’s opening chapter makes a promise, a secret vow that says, “This is what you can expect from me.” The chapters that follow better fulfill that promise, or the author will suffer the consequences with low-ratings, bad reviews, or their name on the Don’t Not Read list. Yes, the promise is that important. It’s how we build and maintain an audience. It’s how we climb the proverbial ladder of success. It’s how we keep readers hungering for more.  This solemn vow can NEVER be broken. None of my recent reads landed within my preferred genres of psychological thrillers, dark & gritt ..read more
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