How To Make Your Characters Flawed As F And Why You Should

Write Better Now
Write Better Now
How To Make Your Characters Flawed As F And Why You Should
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The character in your story is the heart of your story.

It does not matter if that character is a person or a troll or a manatee. That character is the soul of your story. Setting, theme, plot are important, but the most important aspect is creating a character that the reader can connect with.

That connection can be emotional.

That connection can be intellectual.

But there has to be a connection.

How readers connect to the character isn’t always for the same reason. They might seem like a friend. They might seem like us. They might be who we want to be. They might be who we are afraid to be. And as authors, we have to find ways to make our readers care about the characters we put on the page.

That’s what we talk about this podcast! So listen in and like and subscribe and all those things.


Hey, thanks for listening to Write Better Now.

These podcasts and more writing tips are at Carrie’s website, carriejonesbooks.blog. There’s also a donation button there. Even a dollar inspires a happy dance in us, so thank you for your support.

The music you hear is made available through the creative commons and it’s a bit of a shortened track from the fantastic Mr.ruiz and the track is Arctic Air and the album is Winter Haze Summer Daze.

For exclusive paid content, check out Carrie’s substack, LIVING HAPPY and WRITE BETTER NOW. It’s basically like a blog, but better. There’s a free option too without the bonus content but all the regular stuff is there.

She Has A Poem

Carrie Does Poems
Carrie Does Poems
She Has A Poem
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Hi! This year (2022), I’ve decided to share a poem on my blog and podcast and read it aloud. It’s all a part of my quest to be brave and apparently the things that I’m scared about still include:

  1. My spoken voice
  2. My raw poems.

Thanks for being here with me and cheering me on, and I hope that you can become braver this year, too!

best raw poem podcast
She Has A Poem

Hey, thanks for listening to Carrie Does Poems. These podcasts and more writing tips are at Carrie’s website, carriejonesbooks.blog. There’s also a donation button there. Even a dollar inspires a happy dance in Carrie, so thank you for your support.

The music you hear is made available through the creative commons and it’s a bit of a shortened track from the fantastic Eric Van der Westen and the track is called “A Feather” and off the album The Crown Lobster Trilogy.

https://freemusicarchive.org/music/eric-van-der-westen/the-crown-lobster-trilogy-selection

The Paqui One Chip Challenge or Shaun Kills His Tastebuds Live and Other Stupid Things People Do

Loving the Strange
Loving the Strange
The Paqui One Chip Challenge or Shaun Kills His Tastebuds Live and Other Stupid Things People Do
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We thought he wouldn’t survive and he sort of didn’t? Join us for the podcast where Carrie absolutely doesn’t endorse the actions of her co-host as he kills his tastebuds, dries out his mouth, and looks like a zombie because he foolishly does the Paqui One Chip Challenge

Be warned: Shaun says the f-bomb a lot.

Oh Baby, Look at that Backstory and Goals

Without knowing the backstory, we wouldn’t know the emotional goals of the character, the why for their tangible goals. Instead we’d be reading and thinking, yeah, he wants this. So what?

Write Better Now
Write Better Now
Oh Baby, Look at that Backstory and Goals
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Last week on the podcast and over on our substack, we talked about creating amazing characters and the role of backstory.

I’m going to talk a little bit more about that today.


Again, backstory is the events that happened to your character before the actual main story starts.

So backstory, once you have it, allows you to give your character goals in the beginning of the novel and throughout the novel because it allows you the writer (and reader) to know what forces and history make that character who they are today and drive them.

The Two Goals (Thanks to Backstory) Which Gives Your Character Dimension

One goal is usually physical or tangible. They want something. Let’s say they want to drive a car. They are 15 and want to learn how to drive. That’s a tangible goal. The author wants to get her novel done. The puppy wants a bacon treat.

The other goal is usually emotional. This goal has to do with yearning. This goal is the reason for the tangible goal.

They want to learn how to drive (tangible) because they yearn to get out of their claustrophobic home (emotional).

She wants to get her novel done (tangible) because her brother always said she couldn’t get anything done because she’s lazy and she yearns to prove him wrong (emotional).

The puppy wants a bacon treat (tangible) because he yearns for bacon because that’s what he used to get in his first house before he got lost (emotional).

Without knowing the backstory, we wouldn’t know the emotional goals of the character, the why for their tangible goals. Instead we’d be reading and thinking, yeah, he wants to finish the novel. So what?

Tomorrow over on LIVING HAPPY, I’ll dive in a tiny bit more into this.


Hey, thanks for listening to Write Better Now.

These podcasts and more writing tips are at Carrie’s website, carriejonesbooks.blog. There’s also a donation button there. Even a dollar inspires a happy dance in us, so thank you for your support.

The music you hear is made available through the creative commons and it’s a bit of a shortened track from the fantastic Mr.ruiz and the track is Arctic Air and the album is Winter Haze Summer Daze.

For exclusive paid content, check out Carrie’s substack, LIVING HAPPY and WRITE BETTER NOW. It’s basically like a blog, but better. There’s a free option too without the bonus content but all the regular stuff is there.

Writing Exceptional Characters Part One Backstory

Write Better Now
Write Better Now
Writing Exceptional Characters Part One Backstory
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Hey! Join us this week as we talk about writing exceptional characters starting with backstory! It’s quick. It’ll make you a better author. It’s free. 🙂

My poor rescue dogs have pretty rough backstories.

In between starting a new business, a new true-crime podcast, and local news blog, and editing other people’s stories, I’ve actually started my own new book that I’m pretty excited about, but when I was rereading my first chapter, I realized that so far I’d been failing terribly when it came to making my main character.

I-the -writer loved her, but the me that’s an editor? Yeah. I knew we had some work to do.

Thankfully there is a lot of good ideas and advice out there about how to make a character that’s a rock star, a character that people remember and want to hang out with for 50,000 to 100,000 words.

And my character’s big issue?

She had no past. I was so focused on the adventures she was about to have that I didn’t mention that she’d ever existed beyond that first paragraph of the story.

Backstory is a tricky thing because we don’t want it to weigh down the forward motion of the present narrative, right? But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t sprinkle it in and give readers (and ourselves) an understanding of how the character is the way they are now in the book.

The best kind of backstory is one that allows readers to worry or care about them. Think about Harry Potter. He’s abused, unloved, neglected, but still pretty kind. A good majority of the horrors that have happened to him at the hands of his relative happened before the main thrust of the story.

It doesn’t need to be that drastic or dramatic. You do not have to put your characters in cupboards.

In my story’s first pages, the dad and daughter are about to head to Iceland for her senior year because he allegedly has a new job there. The character wants to be a cook. She has a boyfriend. It’s her senior year. That’s all quickly established in my revision as she’s packing their car and sees something nefarious lurking at the edge of the woods. Then her dad gives a little bit of a kicker when he says to her, “You’ve never liked change.”

It hints at the backstory. Obviously there has been a time before where something changed and it didn’t go well.

It also hints at the theme: Change happens. Nothing is forever.

And it also hints at her big lie that she believes about the world: Change is bad.

All those things happen in one tiny bit of dialogue, but also, that one tiny bit of dialogue lets us know that the characters have a shared past. Pretty cool, right?

There’ll be more on my LIVING HAPPY blog tomorrow about this, but if you don’t go check that out, please just remember that you don’t want EVERY SINGLE THING THAT EVER HAPPENED EVER to be revealed in the first ten pages. That bogs the story down. Sprinkle it in like your story is stew that needs just a touch of salt. You’ve got this.


Hey, thanks for listening to Write Better Now.

These podcasts and more writing tips are at Carrie’s website, carriejonesbooks.blog. There’s also a donation button there. Even a dollar inspires a happy dance in us, so thank you for your support.

The music you hear is made available through the creative commons and it’s a bit of a shortened track from the fantastic Mr.ruiz and the track is Arctic Air and the album is Winter Haze Summer Daze.

For exclusive paid content, check out Carrie’s substack, LIVING HAPPY and WRITE BETTER NOW. It’s basically like a blog, but better. There’s a free option too without the bonus content but all the regular stuff is there.

Is Fear Keeping Us Dumb and Dip Your Balls in Coffee

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Is Fear Keeping Us Dumb and Dip Your Balls in Coffee
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W. Edwards wrote “Drive out fear so that everyone may work effectively for the company.”

Paul Zak says, “When learners are psychologically safe, they acquire new information easily because they have the cognitive and emotional bandwidth to concentrate on course material. Anxiety takes significant metabolic energy and inhibits learning.”

Join us as we talk a little bit about coffee balls, how anxiety makes it hard to learn and dog tips for life.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE FROM SPARTACUS THE DOG

Don’t worry about anything. Just get your treats and snack and sleep whenever you can.


SOURCES

https://www.edutopia.org/blog/the-science-of-fear-ainissa-ramirez

Paul Zak, Immersion (releases today!)

https://apnews.com/article/switzerland-climate-and-environment-83cc3ee9959e48301b98d68d15693b64


Our brand-new-amazing-creepy podcast is DUDE NO! It’s true crime with an occasional foray into the paranormal and macabre and it’s awesome.

SHOUT OUT!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 

Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

WE HAVE EXTRA CONTENT ALL ABOUT LIVING HAPPY OVER HERE! It’s pretty awesome.

AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW!

We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and YouTube on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook. But she also has extra cool content focused on writing tips here.

Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!

Grammy Barnard Poem Melancholy

Carrie Does Poems
Carrie Does Poems
Grammy Barnard Poem Melancholy
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One of my grandmothers painted and wrote poems when she wasn’t busy raising her three children.

This is one of her poems.


Grammy Barnard Poem #3

Melancholy, May 19, 1927

Cold and dark desolation’s arms

            Embrace my heart and sound alarms

Of fearful, loveless days to be endured

            To which my heart of late has become inured.

Where may I flee from these haunting visions

            And from my constant indecisions?

Go I shall, and in my misery hide

            In a lonely forgotten place where I’ll reside,

I’ll think of all the vows men make

            And how quickly too they can forsake.


Hey, thanks for listening to Carrie Does Poems. These podcasts and more writing tips are at Carrie’s website, carriejonesbooks.blog. There’s also a donation button there. Even a dollar inspires a happy dance in Carrie, so thank you for your support.

The music you hear is made available through the creative commons and it’s a bit of a shortened track from the fantastic Eric Van der Westen and the track is called “A Feather” and off the album The Crown Lobster Trilogy.

https://freemusicarchive.org/music/eric-van-der-westen/the-crown-lobster-trilogy-selection

I Am Small

Carrie Does Poems
Carrie Does Poems
I Am Small
/

Hey, thanks for listening to Carrie Does Poems. These podcasts and more writing tips are at Carrie’s website, carriejonesbooks.blog. There’s also a donation button there. Even a dollar inspires a happy dance in Carrie, so thank you for your support.

The music you hear is made available through the creative commons and it’s a bit of a shortened track from the fantastic Eric Van der Westen and the track is called “A Feather” and off the album The Crown Lobster Trilogy.

https://freemusicarchive.org/music/eric-van-der-westen/the-crown-lobster-trilogy-selection

Creepy Stories Randomly On The Internet

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Creepy Stories Randomly On The Internet
/

Our creepy stories episode!

Writing Tips Putting Scene and Sequel Together

Write Better Now
Write Better Now
Writing Tips Putting Scene and Sequel Together
/

It’s the last in our three-week series on scene and structure the Dwight Swain way. Let’s go.

Like we said in the first week, Swain makes us writers think of basic elemental structure and creating our novels in four steps:

  1. Making cool characters.
  2. Grouping your sentences and paragraphs into motivation reaction units.
  3. Grouping those motivation reaction units into scenes and sequels.
  4. Grouping those scenes and sequels into story patterns.

Last week we talked about scene and sequel and how it helps keep our novels not-episodic and logical because it’s all about cause and effect.

A quick recap.

Scenes have goals, conflicts and disasters. That is the sequence.

Sequels have the character’s reaction to the disaster, a dilemma where she figures out what to do next, and then a decision where they decide what the hell to do now.

So how do you make those scenes and sequels that we talked about in last week’s podcast work together?

You have to think of scene and sequel as a single unit, says The Manuscript Shredder.

They write, “One builds to the next, establishing a chain of causes that leads the reader through the character’s story. They are two sides of the same coin. Bring them together and make them both work for you.”

Or as Raven Oak writes.

“Scenes and sequels should continue to alternate the entire length of the novel, and in doing so, they’ll create a natural flow for both plot progression & character development. Many authors plan or outline the sequence of events using scene & sequel on index cards before writing.

“Just about any novel you read will follow this rhythm. It seems simple, but structure usually is.”

Tomorrow on the blog, I’ll be talking a tiny bit more about this and the types of disasters that can happen in scenes.

RESOURCES OF AWESOME

http://themanuscriptshredder.com/scene-and-sequel-making-them-work-together/


Hey, thanks for listening to Write Better Now.

These podcasts and more writing tips are at Carrie’s website, carriejonesbooks.blog. There’s also a donation button there. Even a dollar inspires a happy dance in us, so thank you for your support.

The music you hear is made available through the creative commons and it’s a bit of a shortened track from the fantastic Mr.ruiz and the track is Arctic Air and the album is Winter Haze Summer Daze.

For exclusive paid content, check out Carrie’s substack, LIVING HAPPY and WRITE BETTER NOW. It’s basically like a blog, but better. There’s a free option too without the bonus content but all the regular stuff is there.

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