Six impossible things

Archive for the Writing Category

Killing off characters

Like most readers, I really hate it when my favorite character dies, whether it’s in mid-story or right at the end (though the longer the character has been around, the more I’m invested and the more I hate losing them). But there are some stories that I […]

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Knowing What You Want To Do

The other day, I got a note from a gentleman who disliked one of my stories. The characters shouldn’t have been like this, the plot shouldn’t have gone like that, the structure didn’t make sense, the climax was unsatisfying. I ought to have done X and Y […]

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Questions, questions

One of the ways writers make progress in their work is by answering questions: Who murdered the butler? Why did the rabbit stew explode? Where did George get those kneebles, and what is he planning to do with them? But in order to answer a question, one […]

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Refusing Problems

“You can’t solve a problem you’re not willing to have.” – Dave Evans A problem you’re not willing to have is one of those where you’re complaining about the wrong thing, usually something you can’t fix, and absolutely refusing to admit that the problem is really something […]

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Rules again

In the past two months, at least five different people have said something to me along the lines of “My teacher said/some professional writer said/my crit group says/I have observed [insert writing technique] is the rule for [insert writing problem or situation]. So is that a rule?” […]

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Primary characters

Primary characters are the big ones: the hero/protagonist, the villain/antagonist, the main viewpoint character. These are the characters the reader identifies as the ones the story is about. They’re the ones with the biggest stake in the outcome of the story, and usually they’re the ones who […]

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Major characters

Unsurprisingly, major characters are the ones who are the subjects of much writing advice on characterization. They’re the ones readers are most likely to notice and remember, because they are onstage the most and have the most impact on the protagonist and the plot. In an ensemble-cast […]

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Secondary characters

First, a small announcement: Amazon has my Lyra novels on their Kindle monthly deal for $3.99 for the whole month of February, so if you don’t have them in e-book and want them, this is a reasonably good time to pick them up. On to the post. […]

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Minor characters

Minor characters are the second rung up from walk-ons. They occupy many of the same niches as walk-ons – cab driver, waitperson, store clerk, army private, city guard, maintenance worker – but they’re not just there in the background. They interact with the central characters in more […]

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Walk-ons

Most stories involve more than one character. Even classic castaway Man-against-Nature stories, like Robinson Crusoe and Gary Paulsen’s Hatchett, include the protagonist interacting with other characters at the beginning and end of the story. Characters get grouped into several categories. First are the protagonist and viewpoint characters, […]

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Questions regarding foreign rights, film/tv subrights, and other business matters should be directed to Pat’s agent Ginger Clark, Curtis-Brown, Ltd., 10 Astor Place, 3rd Floor New York, NY 10003, gc@cbltd.com

Books

Appearances

  • Minicon 52
    Pat plans to attend Minicon 52, April 14 – 16, 2017, in Minneapolis, MN....