How Do Your Characters Justify Their Actions?

I’ve been pondering a word lately. I’ve pondered this word while working on my latest book, while reading, and even while listening to the evening news on the latest horrors around the world.

The word is JUSTIFICATION.

How do people justify their actions?

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MBM: Writer’s Block? Break Through the Storm in Your Brain With Mind Mapping by @ChrisRosche

Continue reading “MBM: Writer’s Block? Break Through the Storm in Your Brain With Mind Mapping by @ChrisRosche”

What’s Missing From Your Romance? (fictional or real)

Have you read a book or watched a movie where the romance seemed forced or unwarranted?

It’s happened to me many times and happened again just last night as I watched a Nicholas Sparks’ movie. The guy had all the right qualities: good-looking, funny, sweet, smart, tall, and rich. The girl was beautiful, talented, witty, and intelligent.

And I couldn’t believe he’d fallen for her.

Seriously. I stared at the screen thinking, “Dude, you can do better than her!” Which was sad because the story had all the right elements.

Except one.

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Are You (s)Mothering Your Characters?

I just finished a scene for Liberty in my Citizens of Logan Pond trilogy. The scene ended with an emotional moment. I was tired and walked away before I’d completely polished it off, figuring I’d do that this morning. But this morning, I realized what I wanted to do and where I thought it needed  polishing:

I wanted to go in and comfort my main character.

She just lost someone important to her, and she was hurting badly. I wanted to come up with something in that moment to ease her pain. Either a memory. A person. A sudden burst of hope for the future.

In short, I was mothering her. She was hurting. I wanted to swoop in and put a band-aid on it. As soon as I realized what I was about to do, I stopped. And then I realized how often I do this with my characters.

Here’s how it happens for me:

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4 Steps To Create Great Character Flaws

How flawed is flawed?

Most authors know that even the good guys, the main characters, should have some character flaws. But the question is, how much is too much, how little is too little, and how can you use flaws to your readers’ and characters’ advantage?

Why should heroes be flawed anyway?

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MBM: Creating Flawed (But Likable) Characters, by A.L. Sowards

Welcome to the tenth day of MARCH BOOK MADNESS!

Today, A.L. Sowards is here discussing characters. She’s the author of Espionage, a Whitney Award finalist this year, set in France during World War II. The sequel, Sworn Enemy, is due out this April. (Click the covers to read the synopses.) When A. L. Sowards agreed to guest post for March Book Madness, I was thrilled. Especially because she’s discussing something I struggle with — something many authors struggle with.

Cover_FRONT_Espionage updated, small version

Cover_FRONT_Sworn Enemy_lr

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Sowards

Creating Flawed (But Likable) Characters, by A. L. Sowards

The words stung a little because I knew they were true. One of my friends just emailed me her thoughts on an early draft of my second novel.

About the protagonist, she said, “I like him . . . but that’s all. I feel like I should have a crush on him, or want to be like him, or he should remind me of someone I admire, but I don’t feel any of that.” In another note, scribbled in red ink 2/3 of the way through the manuscript, she pinpointed the problem:

My protagonist was too perfect.

He didn’t start out perfect, but I’d used the same main character from my first novel, and he’d already overcome his big challenges during that novel, leaving him . . . too perfect. (Don’t worry—I fixed that. He has some internal struggles now, and I show how obnoxious he is as a hospital patient.)

Why are perfect characters bad?

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