- Have empathy for your characters, not sympathy
- If you’re having trouble writing from a perspective other than your own, give your characters problems you don’t have
- Create tension. Example: Betty lives to get married and can’t wait for it. Veronica hates marriage. Instant tension.
- Non-fiction today is “This is my problem” followed by 400 pages and then “This is how I solved it”
- Writing that someone’s eyes are darting around says something. It’s better than just saying someone was nervous.
- Pick an appropriate name, it can say a lot about your characters. For example, two lawyers: one named Franklin, the other named Jim-Bob.
- Know your character: what they had for breakfast, if they chew their nails, but don’t include it all.
- Let the reader form their own opinions. For example, “Sally was biting her way through her fourth nail of the morning” is better than “Sally was nervous”. It engages the reader, gives them something to do.
- Know the character’s goals – long term and short.
- To make your story relatable, include a situation that everyone’s been through. For example, have your character just miss their bus and have to wait a long time for the next one. People will be like “I’ve done that!”
- While reading other books, try to figure out what lured you in to books you like. Make notes about that and use it in your own work.
- When writing about yourself, make sure you come from an authentic place. Present yourself warts and all.
Sarah looks up, noticing me for the first time. She looks lost, confused.
Sarah was there once. But this is different. She’s older now, happier. Part of a couple. We’re in a real doctor’s office now.