3 Steps to Writing a Novel with Unforgettable Characters

pexels-photo-816229Character development is one of the first essential steps of writing a novel and it involves creating the people who will carry out your story. There will most likely be a variety of characters needed for your story, but none as important as your lead character – your protagonist. A well-developed protagonist has much to do with the success of writing a novel.

The protagonist should be someone that your readers feel is a “real person” that they come to love (or at least like a whole lot), can relate to in many ways and will care about and think about long after they’ve turned the final page on your novel.

How to Create “Real People” for Your Novel

When writing a novel, there are many ways to go about creating characters and much has been written about it in “how to write a novel books”, sometimes in great detail. There are as many ideas about what makes a good character as there are apples on a tree. The traits of a lead character may change somewhat by the type of novel, or genre, you’re writing and by what your protagonist needs to accomplish in the novel’s plot. Still, there are a few personality traits that every lead character must possess, no matter what kind of novel you’re writing.

Writing a Novel – The Lead Character is:

  1. admirable – has integrity, courage, beauty, kindness, strength, etc. – leave the rotten personalities and hang-ups for the antagonist,
  1. relatable – create scenes that allow your character to evoke an emotional response from readers,
  1. realistic – portrays emotions consistent with their personality traits,
  1. a problem solver – someone with an over the top problem, whom readers believe is capable of solving.

Writing a Novel – Three Attributes of Every Character

I have found that the best way to begin the process of character development is by using a “top-down” method.  It is composed of three elements:

  1. Primary Traits
  1. Traits that add “Complexity”, and
  1. Traits that Contrast Predominant Traits.

Let’s look at how Continue reading 3 Steps to Writing a Novel with Unforgettable Characters


Discover the Key to Writing 10 Popular Types of Novels

stock-photo-tired-man-suit-yawn-glasses-sleepy-work-professional-buisiness-dc040cfa-9e24-40c3-910b-f7df960f3bb1Just mention to a reader that you are writing a novel and the first thing of out their mouth is, “What types of novels do you write?” And, if you don’t readily know the answer to that question, you may stumble through a long account of your current novel’s plot, losing your audience – the one stifling a yawn – before you’re finished.

While some readers may be asking you for the whole story and nothing but the whole story, most readers just want to know the genre of your novel; genre describes your novel and identifies it by one of 10 leading types of novels in the market of popular fiction. It is the way that readers identify the types of novels they like and it helps publishers market your book.

What is the Relationship between a Writer and Genre?

I’ve described two important reasons for knowing your novel’s genre, but before you even get to that point of readership or publishing (and hopefully you will), understanding genre provides you, the writer, with a roadmap for writing your story – making the important decision about genre is the starting point of writing a novel.

Each genre has its own prescription for remaining true to type. Successful novels that don’t follow genre guidelines are rare (but not unheard of).

Writing within a genre will keep Continue reading Discover the Key to Writing 10 Popular Types of Novels

How to Start Writing a Novel from Rough Draft to Smooth Finish

pexels-photo-273222I thought I knew how to start writing a novel. I have written several novels, started and didn’t finish even more. What I didn’t know is that I was knocking myself out with what I thought was good “pre-writing” stuff. It was all important material: character development, plot outlines, subplots, character interaction worksheets, action/response worksheets, timelines, who was doing what when (seriously), anything that you could write down or chart out about the novel, I did it before actually writing a word of the story.

How to Start Writing a Novel – Gaining a New Perspective

However, the pre-work didn’t provide the same satisfaction I get from the actual writing of a story, and I was always antsy to get started on it. So I decided to try a different approach: I would chart and plot a little and write a little, chart and plot a little and write a little more. This worked somewhat better for me, but then I found that with the creative juices flowing also came more notes and comments (I use the “comment” feature in word quite a bit when writing), and questions arose like, “Does this scene reflect my lead character’s traits?” Or worse, “What the heck are my lead character’s traits?”, which sent me back to my worksheets.

This method did get the job done eventually, but I began to realize that writing a novel was taking me longer than I thought it needed to. So, I went back to the drawing board to relearn how to start writing a novel, and I’m glad I did.

How to Start Writing a Novel with Unadulterated Abandon

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenges new and experienced writers from around the world to sharpen their pencils (or keyboards) to write a 50,000-word story during the month of November. The 30 days of November. By the nature of the challenge that means Continue reading How to Start Writing a Novel from Rough Draft to Smooth Finish

Someone Needs to Manage My Time Better!

As the title indicates, I’d love to blame someone else for the issues I’m having managing my time lately. I call them “issues” because “challenges” implies that I’ve been struggling, working on my time management. They won’t be challenges until I actually begin trying to correct the problems. Right after I write this post, I plan on doing just that. Yes, I do.

It’s a Dedicated Server Problem

newton-s-cradle-balls-sphere-action-60582If I could narrow down my issues, I’d call it a dedicated server problem. Isn’t that a technology thing? A dedicated server, used to accomplish only one goal? Not a multitasking server used for many purposes? You’ll see where I’m going with this. I get so focused on a topic that, before I know it, hours have passed and I’m still on the same subject. So focused am I that if someone comes into the room where I’m working, I won’t notice them until they say something. Then all hell breaks loose. I toss my laptop or soap pan or wine with the fright such interruption gives me. Fortunately, I settle down quickly realizing I actually know the person standing in front of me, actually live with them. I address whatever they need and put my nose back into my work.

I’ve always been a good multi-tasker; I could manage Continue reading Someone Needs to Manage My Time Better!

Your Novel Writing Roadmap Found Here – 16 Elements of Story

Are you dreaming of novel writing? Many writers long to write a novel, perhaps having it at the back of their mind as they go through life earning their living with that safe job. They’ve put their dream on hold, telling themselves that they are trading in their real ambitions for security.

If you are one of these people, I want to encourage you to take that dream off the shelf, dust it off and put it into an action plan. Hang onto that secure job, we all need to earn a living, but don’t save pursuing your dream for some future time.

Why “Now” is a Good time to Write a Novel

Why not write that novel now, in your spare time. I know, I know, you are now asking, “What spare time?” But for many, the truth is that they have some spare time to do something that they enjoy and they use the old, “I don’t have time for this or that” for one reason: fear. For a writer, fear of failing is often spurred on by the feeling that they don’t know the first thing about getting words on paper.

Exercise Your Creativity

By putting your writing dreams and talents in motion (as with pen to paper or fingertips to keyboard), you are already strong and brave and are quite possibly beginning a process that will reward you for the mere pleasure of having painted pictures with words, if not a completed novel. This is not failing. This is bringing your creativity to life.

Write for the pleasure of writing. Don’t think about whether or not you will be published –and hopefully, your completed novel will be published – write to bring the dream of novel writing to life and for that reason only.

Roadmap Provided

Many writers want to see a roadmap of sorts, something they can rely on to get them started writing with some hope of Continue reading Your Novel Writing Roadmap Found Here – 16 Elements of Story

9 Sources of Blockbuster Ideas for Writing a Novel

How do novelists find story ideas? It’s a great question and it is answered in a number of ways.

While you may be one of those lucky writers who have an idea popping into your head by the minute, for many of us it’s not always that easy. We struggle with ideas that we find interesting, wondering if readers will also find it interesting. It’s just as important for readers to find your storyline interesting and exciting to read as it is for you to love writing it.

Write What You Love to Read

pexels-photo-256455Before we look at sources of inspiration, let’s look at what makes a good novel for any of us to write, and I’ll keep it simple: If you want to learn how to start writing a book, write what you love to read. This old adage is as true today as it’s ever been for three important reasons:

  • Chances are that if you love to read a certain type of book, as a novelist, you will also enjoy writing that type of book.
  • By reading many books of a certain type, a certain genre, you most likely will know what makes it a good story. Consider for a moment,

Continue reading 9 Sources of Blockbuster Ideas for Writing a Novel

Working on It!

While I’ve posted a few things, I have a long way to go. I just started this website and have many articles to add. I’m also still figuring out how to post things to WordPress in a way that is most useful for readers. Alas, it takes time, so bear with me as I get it going. Please stop back often, I’ll be adding new material every day! if you have suggestions, I’d love to hear from you. Thank you!

Did My Research – Military Care Pkges

I could’ve guessed there would be a lot of options to choose from. This weekend I researched how to send care packages to the military, and now I’m trying to decide how I want to do this. The easiest way is to send a few gift cards from Visa or MasterCard. According to SupportOurTroops.org, the gift cards are often used by soldiers to get on the satellite that connects them with home. Who wouldn’t want that?

Another option is, of course, to mail a personal care package. I could do this in a number of ways. I could send it to an organization like Support Our Troops and they will send it on to an appropriate military base. Support Our Troops advocates sending boxes with all the same type of goods in them because the items are sent and distributed to troops with the greatest need. You may be able to specify which country you want to support. If you’re interested, check their website.

But, I thought, what if I want to know who I’m helping –which branch of the military, which country, man or woman? So I dug a little deeper and found Continue reading Did My Research – Military Care Pkges

3 Steps to a New Year’s Resolution You Can Live With

fireworks-new-year-s-eve-bright-light-67573I don’t usually declare New Year’s Resolutions. I think, why bother? I won’t make it past January honoring them. You know what I’m talking about – the eat healthy, lose twenty pounds, organize all of your pictures, keep your house clean type. However, on New Year’s Day, I was watching the Parade of Roses and it occurred to me there is a resolution I could make. A resolution that, if I was going to be a stand-up person, I would keep.

Typically resolutions are all about “us”. What are we going to do to improve ourselves, our lives? We will lose weight, eat broccoli, and exercise, etc. How often have you heard someone say they were going to improve someone else’s life this year? I didn’t think so. Maybe we could change that format. At least, maybe I could change it. This where the Parade of Roses comes into play.

rose-red-flower-37643The theme of the parade was “Make a Difference”, and it made me think. What was I doing here if I wasn’t going to make a difference? Now, I don’t want to lose you here so stick with me, it’s really not that deep. The thought was simple; I should be able to do something that will make a difference in someone’s life this year. It could be a small thing. It could be a big thing, but you never know what impact you might have on someone’s life by taking one small step to improve it. Your small step could set off a chain of small steps that evolves into an explosion of small steps that positively impact the life you intended to improve, and many more. So I think we don’t worry about the size of the step and believe in this positive chain reaction.

So, what am I going to do? What resolution can I make that will survive past January 30, 2018? If you join me, what can you do? Here’s what helped me decide, and it may help you.

  1. It had to be something where I knew I could make a difference. Some previously established need to fill.
  2. It had to be something I was physically and mentally able to do or had a talent for doing.
  3. It had to be something I’ve recognized as being in my heart and mind.

Let’s take the first item on the list. I don’t have to start up anything new when there is already so much need to recognize. Think of it as selecting a dog from the humane society or pet adoption organization rather than buying one from a puppy mill. If I intended to help someone, I felt the biggest impact I could make would be by responding to an already recognizable need. Children are starving, soldiers are away from their families, and pets need homes, and so on. You get it.

The second item is fairly self-explanatory. It will defeat the resolution if we pick stock-photo-hobbies-life-confused-teen-overwhelmed-college-interests-talents-four-arms-8e628b55-f6db-45c3-a97d-92487f2484b1something that’s going to exhaust, overwhelm, or throw us into despair because we can’t do it. On the other hand, we all have some innate talent, a God-given skill perhaps, that shouldn’t be overlooked. I can write, Pam and Kathy can knit, DeAnna can sing, and Annette is a photographer and holistic healer. We might choose to do something outside of this talent because, for some, the talent is used in our work. We might use the talent because it’s something that we can easily do to make someone else’s life easier. Just think about how you want to fill the need in someone else’s life and go with it.

Of the three items, that last one is most significant to me. As I’m watching the parade –well, okay, I was only intermittently tuning in to what was going on, I don’t actually watch parades much—something popped into my mind immediately. It’s something that I’d done a little bit of in the past with a church group and often thought about doing it on my own. The time has come. I have a soft place in my heart for our soldiers overseas. They are away from their families, away from creature comforts that we might take for granted every day. I canmilitary-soldiers-sleeping-rest-37642 do something with this. There are organizations and websites that list what a soldier could use and where to send it. I’m sure of it. I haven’t researched it yet, but I’m going to. This weekend, in fact.

So here it is. I have a new year’s resolution. I’m going to send packages of useful items to soldiers in need. It’s an established need, it’s something I’m able to do, and it’s been in my heart.

Will you join me in making a resolution that focuses on someone else? What would you like to do this year to make a difference? I’d love it if you left me a comment. Tell me your thoughts on this plan!

Wine Between the Lines