Category Archive: Notebook

Feb 28

Remind Us Who Is Who

Recently a read a scifi novel and couldn’t keep up with the characters throughout the story. Having an interesting and memorable character name is important, but that’s not enough. I just hate it when characters are names things like Bill, Bob, Bert, Bull, Barren, Berry, Bo, Blue, and Brad. It may seem cute to the …

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Sep 16

It’s All In The Casting

The importance of good or great casting can’t be overstated. This is not only true in both stage and screen productions, but it absolutely applies to the writing process. When it comes to the reality of able actors, it is often possible to switch performers on stage for a long running stage production — but …

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Nov 22

You Can’t Please Everyone

Believe it or not, not everyone is going to like what you write. Get used to it — and move on. Hey, there are people who don’t like Shakespeare. At the turn of the 20th century, wit and playwright George Bernard Shaw despised the bard. French writer Voltaire of the 1820s and ‘30s thought Shakespeare …

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Oct 31

What Happens In Case of Disaster?

Have you planned on a fire, flood, hurricane or other disaster? If you keep all your writing on the cloud? What happens if the U.S. and China or Russia go to war and all the satellites and the Internet are the first causalities? We depend so much on today’s technology that we forget how vulnerable …

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Oct 25

Write What You Love

In 1987 Marsha Sinetar wrote a book about helping people find their career called Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow. That’s the bottom line for you as a writer. I’m not one of those who believes you have to suffer for your art. I think you ought to love it. If you’re going …

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Oct 18

Even When You’re Not Writing

There’s a magazine cartoon from either “The Writer” or “The Writer’s Digest” from years ago I remember. It showed a writer standing at a double window looking out on a fall day in his tweed jacket and a pipe in his mouth, talking to his wife dressed in an apron and holding a feather duster …

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Sep 30

Character Appearance Thumbnail

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 4.51.05 PM

One common thing all fiction writers have to do is to give a thumbnail sketch of new characters. The physical appearance of characters consists of the same things — face features, body type, hair and perhaps a memorable trait.   What I’ve been doing for the last couple of years is using an Excel spreadsheet …

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Jun 11


In another post I mentioned the idea of using the alphabet to keep from having too many characters whose names that not only begin with the same letter, but are even similar in the number of letters. Imagine having a story with characters named Betsy, Betty, Bessie, and Bossy. In screenwriting where the character’s name …

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Mar 19

Character Introductions

The first time a character appears in the story, novel, or script you want to give the reader/audience; a memorable name a visual and memorable hook to make this character stand out make this character’s description part of the action of the scene. In scripts, it’s a good idea to put the character’s name in …

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Mar 13

Naming Characters

The naming of characters is more than simply assigning names to the population of your story. I’ve mentioned in a previous post that using different letters of the alphabet to name your primary or significant characters is a good practice. Parents (and the writers of children’s books) may find it cute to have all their …

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