Making Things Worse by Making Them Better

Writers talk a lot about provoking characters to transform by making things worse and worse for them until they’re exhausted, and are left with no choice but to change. That’s what stories are usually about in a nutshell: transformation in the face of adversity. It’s the old “hurt the hero” game. As Star Trek and […]

The One Thing I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Creating Characters

There’s a lot of conflicting advice out there about characters. Do you make them quirky and unusual (like Amelia Bedelia), or more ordinary  (like Charlie Brown)? Do you make them heroic (someone readers might aspire to be, like Atticus Finch), or deeply flawed (like FH in Jesus’s Son)? Do you make them raw and human […]

Writing Advice Part II (my top six other best pieces of advice)

The single best piece of writing advice I ever got was to write the book you most want to read (more on that here). After that, here are six other bits of writing advice that have made the biggest difference for me (and that I need to keep reminding myself of to keep on going). […]