Setting The location of a story is chosen deliberately by the author to affect mood as well as plot. Consider this: a conversation between a father and son at a coffee shop will feel very different from a talk that covers the same subjects in a hospital waiting room. Or at a prison on visiting day. A family story and the dynamics between characters will be affected by the farm where they live that has been in the family for generations. Who works the farm? Who leaves to find life in the city? Who will inherit the land? The inner city family is affected by the crowded living conditions, … [Read more...]

Character Building


Note: When writing here about characters, when the gender isn’t specific, I won’t use the awkward phrase “him or her” or constantly repeat “the character.”  I’ll use the female gender, but please know that I’m referring to either male or female. Character Building My favorite job as a writer is creating characters. I need to know and understand them and what goes on inside their heads, so I can make them authentic and memorable. Many elements go into creating a rounded character. I generally start writing the first draft, not knowing a lot about my protagonist. I put her in a situation and … [Read more...]

Character Response

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A reader learns about a character in several ways: what the character says, what others say about her, and how she behaves in various situations. No two characters will react the same way to any given situation. First, write a description of two characters. What are their backstories? (See previous prompt.) What do they want? What is most important to them? Put each character in a similar situation. How does each respond? Here’s the situation: Your character is eating lunch with a friend. The server brings their food, but she makes a mistake. Your character’s friend becomes angry and loudly … [Read more...]