More than Just a Backdrop: How to Create a Fully Immersive Setting

There’s a popular writerly sentiment that goes something like this: “Writing a book isn’t one skill--it’s actually a bunch of different skills working together.” It’s an idea I wholeheartedly agree with. So many elements need to work for a book to come together seamlessly, from dialogue to prose to that perfectly paced plot twist. All … Continue reading More than Just a Backdrop: How to Create a Fully Immersive Setting

So, You Wrote a Marginalized Protagonist

So, you wrote a marginalized protagonist…. But you’re not marginalized yourself. Maybe your dream agent mentioned wanting one on their manuscript wish list. Perhaps you saw a book deal announcement featuring one on the weekly rights report. Or maybe you wrote this book to give marginalized readers a character they can relate to. “Yes! I’m … Continue reading So, You Wrote a Marginalized Protagonist

Character Motivation: The Why Behind the Action

Last week, we discussed character agency--the active role your main character should take in your story. Active characters make for engaging plots and tighter pacing, but how do you make an active character? Characters with strong agency aren’t just wildly active, doing things to move the plot along willy nilly. Their actions need to make … Continue reading Character Motivation: The Why Behind the Action

Character Driven Narratives: Charting Character Agency

When reading submissions, either for mentorship contests or in the slush pile, the most common problem I find is a lack of character agency. In a rejection letter, this often translates to “I didn’t feel as swept up in the story as I’d hoped,” or even the dreaded “I just didn’t connect.” It can be … Continue reading Character Driven Narratives: Charting Character Agency