Join us in thanking neurotype for her time with the Literature community and being part of our illustrious mentor team
The Problem With Character SheetsAlright, there are some pretty awesome character sheets out there. I don't personally use them, but I've seen others make them work. I'm not here to dispute the fact that they've got some utility, but I am here to point out one big problem with relying on a list of traits—which is generally how character sheets present these things—to define your character.
(Note: This also applies to Mary Sue tests. 'Not a Mary Sue' just means your character isn't a perfect storm of coincidence. It has nothing to do with likeability or even believability. <insert dictator here> isn't a Mary Sue, either.)
I think this approach is, if it's the only approach you take to figuring out a character, a really bad idea.
Take a moment to think about your best friend. What's their favorite food? What are they good at, and what are things they do that make you Google good places to dump a body?
Is Your Skin Too Thin?A lot of writers on this site fantasize about having a book published someday. But even if you don't, pretty much everyone still posts for an audience, even going so far as to hope for honest feedback.
Hell, who doesn't like improving?
If you are honestly truly really, after much introspection, writing only for yourself and not particularly interested in critical feedback, I would skip this. There's no point.
Here's the thing: improving depends on having some thick skin. How do you know if you're there? Read on below.
Please imagine these comments directed at you, most likely in an email (though hopefully not the same email), about your favorite and most polished work ever, the one that you'd like to see on the front page of the New Yorker or with a prologue by Neil Gaiman or something. IDK man. Poets, fill in whatever you need here.
Your work is too long and boring.This is absurd and uninteresting.This is not funny.Not for us
Prose Basics: What is Voice, Anyway?At this point, you've all had awesomesauce articles on word choice, varying sentences, dialect, and dialogue. Which is great, because it cuts my job down to five minutes of nattering on about how you bring all these elements together to create that elusive thing people always go on about: VOICE.
Voice is the personality of the book.
You know that thing about avoiding cliché except every single plotline ever has been done and has the TVTropes article to prove it and OH GODS WHY?!?!
Voice solves 97% of that. It lends originality to your story by tossing a filter over the whole thing. 'The Shining' needed that kid-voice so readers could stare in horror over his shoulder, understanding things like the dark cloud of suicide in his father's head without having his reaction ruin half a page of ominous build. 'Dir
and AshleyxBrooke for her time helping to moderate the chatrooms and forums
and vanmall for his help with the pixel community!
We appreciate you!!!