The quality posts keep on coming. This week we’re going on a whistle-stop tour of secondary characters, reasons for putting down books, knowing your audience, and a few good old writing tips.
Who Else: Writing Secondary and Minor Characters by Morgan S. Hazelwood for A Writer’s Path
This nifty article is based on notes from the “Writing Major Minor Characters” panel at #Balticon51. The insights are superb. We’ve all been in that situation where we agonise over some of our lesser characters. How much detail should you use to describe them? Should you include them at all if they’re not relevant to the story?
The article distinguishes between minor characters—those that remain on the periphery of the tale, like the hundreds of villainous lackeys that get killed without thought—and secondary characters—sidekicks, love interests, and minor villains.
The article wraps up with four excellent tips for developing minor characters into secondary ones. I won’t spoil the fun here. Go check it out for yourself! Though I will share my favourite tip: “Remember that their life keeps going, even when they’re not on the page.”
Tips For New Writers—Revisited by A.L. Butcher
A.L. Butcher takes a look back at a post she published in 2013 and reviews those original tips, adding thoughts and lessons learned in the intervening time.
You’ll find helpful tips that you’ve no doubt heard before, like having a thick skin (a must), writing the book you want to read—a tip that got me writing in the first place—writing the best book you can with the added caveat of hiring an editor (if you can afford one), and carrying out all-important research. I love this quote: “Fantasy gives a lot of scope, especially magic but it still needs to be consistent. Research gives the writer credibility…” Check it out!
25 Reasons Why I Stopped Reading Your Book by Chuck Wendig
I’ve had this article bookmarked since April 2017. I can’t help but keep coming back to it. Chuck Wendig is an excellent writer with an engaging and entertaining style, with a fondness for swear words. Who doesn’t enjoy the odd ‘fuck’?
This is an excellent insight into the mind of an avid reader. I’m sure you’ve started a book and after a few chapters found yourself nodding off, your grip on the page loosening, an internal battle raging within yourself to keep reading or give up. Why does that happen? Sometimes the answer is obvious, but sometimes it isn’t. And this article captures that wonderfully.
You’ll find much and more out here, like setting the right level of context from the off. “From the first page, I want context. I don’t need all the details, but I need some sense of what’s going on and why.” Or starting with too much action, characters sounding the same, too much world-building, and having disconnected scenes.
This article has given me an idea for a series of articles which I think you may find very helpful. Details to be revealed in due course!
Writing Tip: Know Your Audience by B.L. Daniels
This is a very helpful article which addresses something I think we writers can sometimes forget. I know I certainly do when I get caught up in a story.
This isn’t a ‘write to market’ guide, rather a series of questions to ask yourself about the kind of reader who’ll appreciate your stories down the line. “Knowing your intended audience can help you shape your work in subtle ways that will help it appeal to them.” If you know where your story slots within the world of writing, you can liken it to the works of other authors which can help readers decide whether the story is for them or not.
Thank you for reading, and thank you, authors, for producing fantastically helpful content. If you’ve published any articles geared at helping your fellow writer drop me an email with the link! And for more tips on writing and the fantasy genre, sign up to my mailing list. There’s freebies for you to pilfer.