“Building” Characters?

Hey Folks, Some writers (and probably all of them/us at first) believe they have to “build” or “create” characters. Some folks even go so far as to create a “character sketch” to one degree or another. The character sketch might be so detailed as to include the character’s educational background, childhood experiences, and anything else. It’s the story of the character. Most often, writers who do this begin with a stick figure and then flesh it … Read more

My Updated Fiction Length and Price List for 2017/2018

Hi Folks, First, a few explanatory notes — 1. In everything below, I’m talking about indie publishers, like you and me. All signs indicate the traditional publishing model (the agency model) is dead or dying across the board. I’m also talking here about ebooks. If you want to deal with print, see my excerpt from Dean’s post at http://hestanbrough.com/the-journal-friday-106/. And remember that DWS’ pricing guidelines are for trade paperback books, not mass-market paperback books. 2. As … Read more

Write. What. You. Mean.

Hey Folks, For many years I’ve kept a running list of awkward expressions, misplaced modifiers, and other syntactical anomalies that run the risk of distracting a reader. And by “distracting the reader” I mean jerking the reader out of the story. Most often, this is a result of inserting unintentional humor into a serious scene. If the scene is also meant to invoke feelings of sadness or despair or tension, the inadvertent insertion has an even … Read more

Using Italic Attribute in Fiction

Hi Folks, This is a bit of an embarrassment for me. I used to actively teach that the writer should use italics to indicate the characters’ unspoken thoughts. When I was actively editing for other writers, I applied that erroneous rule. One time, I even passed up doing an edit for one writer because she adamantly refused to allow me to change characters’ unspoken thoughts from normal typeface to italics. I felt like she was paying … Read more