When Side Characters Become Interesting

A Writer's Path

Side character

by Teagan Berry

A little more than a year ago, I was hard at work on a novella about a main character from my in-the-process-of-editing book trilogy. This main character made new ‘friends’ (if that’s what you call cellmates in prison) who were required to help push the plot along. One of these side characters sparked an interest in me and then poof! All of a sudden there was a whole life story to explore.

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A Symphony of Discord

It seemed like the world was crashing down around me, the sky shattering to pieces. The air was becoming thick and difficult to pass into my lungs. My eyes stung, burning from hot tears of pain. The knowledge that it was over, that we couldn’t be together, made the colors seem so bleak and frail. The essence of everything was being washed away in that tremulous revelation.

Forcing a deep, prolonged breath, a sob escaped me. A sound that mixed with hers, just as our breath, our sweat, our hearts, our being had once been one. But now it had to come to an end, just as everything soon must.

Though… before it was over, I had to have one last touch. One last shared spaced. One last lovingly connected embrace…

Beware of the Deadly Info Dumps in Your Novel: 3 Signs to Watch For

Cindy Fazzi

Photo credit: Keoni Cabral via Visual Hunt / CC BY Photo credit: Keoni Cabral via Visual Hunt /CC BY

Countless writing books, articles, and workshops tell us to avoid the deadly “info dumps” and flashbacks when writing a novel. And yet, I recently read two well-publicized literary novels, which to my dismay turned out to be info-dump fests. It took me forever to finish the first book, while I simply gave up on the second. Moral lesson: Beware of info dumps, even if you’re writing literary fiction.

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Why Truly Helpful Feedback is Hard to Come By

A Writer's Path

Feedback

by Meg Dowell

When we share our work with others, we are usually looking for one thing: feedback.

Constructive criticism is an important part of the writing process. Without it, we might still be able to improve, but we’d do so at a much slower and less specific rate. Having someone hand us back our work with specific notes on things we can fix and improve on isn’t always easy, but over time we get used to it. If we can find a good feedback source. And that’s a big IF.

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Youth of the Nation

“While are world crumbles around us what are we doing? We are the Youth of the Nation and we do absolutely nothing. We sit back, plug our ears, and pretend that nothing bad at all is happening. We stay in our own little worlds, where it never rains, never too cold or hot, where everything is perfect; where there is only one population: Me.

“Why do we stand back? Why do we never observe the happenings around us? Only we can change what’s in this world; our world. We, as Americans, indulge in our Freedom, and don’t look out beyond it. The poverty is not only in Third World Countries. It’s also in our own back yard. Yet we spit in their faces; our Nation’s face. We act as if they’re not even there, as if they are just illusions, figments of our imagination, of our Nation’s imagination.

“We are the Youth of the Nation and we can change this. Let’s change the world, not just our Nation, but them all. War surrounds us, yet where would we be without it? Still under the control of Europe, not being able to have this Freedom? Let’s have our own revolution, we the Youth of the Nation, for the Better Good! We don’t have to fight with guns and fist; we need words, pens, pencils, paper; that’s all we need. Will you change the world? Will we change the world? For the Better Good?”

Marius Lovell

The Benefits of the Written Word Upon the Worried Mind

A Writer's Path

Reading

by Vincent Mars

While my medical adventures drag on, slowed down by paperwork and the (un)availability of doctors, I am trying to take things easy, to eat healthy food, to go on enjoyable walks every day, to rest, and, of course, to read and write.

You know already that writing about your life and problems can be cathartic and that reading has numerous benefits for your brain. When you combine the two, reading with writing, the result is a highly effective home-brewed potion against anxiety, worry, and even depression, a much better way to spend your time than watching TV or YouTube, stalking people on Facebook, or letting yourself be alarmed by Google’s worrisome results.

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