Character

Breaking the Rules of Character Development

One of the ten commandments of writing is that you must develop your characters! And yet, over the weekend, I saw the Robert Redford film All Is Lost, and it breaks this rule unabashedly. In fact, the story is stronger as a result. How is that possible?! My discussion of how the film defies character development is on…

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Perfecting Your YA Voice (Part 2)

In Part 1, Editor Krista Marino explained how YA Voice is related to diction, perspective, dialog, interior monologue, and character. In this second section she explains what makes a young adult voice unique and different from an adult writing voice. Let’s Talk about the Teen/YA Voice in Particular: YA is specific in terms of voice….

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Perfecting Your YA Voice (Part 1)

Editor Krista Marino spoke at the 2011 SCBWI LA Conference and shared the following insight on how to perfect your YA voice: There are Two Types of Voice: Authorial Voice – this is when you know a book is by a certain author. For example you know when you’re reading a John Irving or Meg…

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School, Drool, and Other Daily Disasters

School, Drool, and Other Daily Disasters was the title of author Rachel Vail’s keynote speech at the SCBWI LA 2010 Conference. In it she shared her process, writing for middle grade readers, and how to get inside your characters head. Notes from her speech are as follows: Why Do We Read? A book is more…

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How Acting Can Help You To Develop Character

Before becoming a writer, author Rachel Vail, studied acting and theater. Today she may not grace the stages of Broadway but her numerous books showcase her ability to “get into character”, or more accurately create them. During her breakout session at the 2010 SCBWI LA Conference she explained how it might be worth your wild to check…

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Your Voice is Your Voice: Keeping It Real

An amazing voice is the number one “must-have” on every agent and editors list. So what is this odd and illusive thing known as voice? How do you find it? What does it sound like? Why is it so gosh darn important? Scholastic editor Jennifer Rees (The Hunger Games, Purge) spoke on this exact subject…

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Seven Ways to Develop Compelling Characters

Gail Carson Levine, author of Ella Enchanted, spoke at the 2010 SCBWI LA Conference. In her keynote speech she shared the following tips on how to develop your characters. Seven Ways to Create Compelling Characters: 1) What role will my character play? I always start with plot when writing a book, then I think about…

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The Writing Gym: Open Mike Night

Last night I went to a local coffee shop’s open mike night on a complete whim. I expected to hear mumbling music, bad poetry, and caffeine induced performance art. Yes, such amateur excitement did deliver, but what I didn’t expect was for the evening to turn into a writing exercise. One after one, crazy characters…

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