Tag – They’re It

Some will tell you to limit the number of characters thus avoiding readers becoming lost, but how does an author manage that when creating the crew of a ship representing many nationalities? I suppose a writer could focus on only a couple. Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Trek, Harry Potter, and… Read more »


Previously, time has been spent discussing the importance of the beginning of the story, in particular the first paragraph, the first page, and the first 10% of the story. What has not been considered is THE END. During initial story development it is important for the protagonist and… Read more »

The Most Important Parts

“The number of books being published in the U.S. has exploded. Bowker reports that over one million (1,052,803) books were published in the U.S. in 2009, which is more than triple the number of books published four years earlier (2005) in the U.S. (April 14, 2010 Bowker Report). More… Read more »

Who Are These People?

A lot of time is spent in this eFile addressing the issue of creating characters. Simply put, they carry the plot to its conclusion. What you create is important and deserves to have the right actors in the storyline. How much time and how much detail should a writer… Read more »

A Boy, His Mule and Dog

Announcing the release of Sean O’Mordha’s, “A Boy, His Mule and Dog.” Post-Civil War orphan, Sam Buford leaves home in Missouri to find his last brother who left to fight for the Confederacy in Texas. With the bare scratchings of education, little more than the clothes only his… Read more »

Enter Red Herring

This eFile is about one of the fun things an author can do with their writing and mess with the reader’s mind. It’s called a “red herring,” a popular seafood dish served up with fried potatoes, but also good with crackers and a some Irish cheddar. However, that’s… Read more »

Fight Scenes: Considerations

Many people have 2-cents about writing fight scenes. Some come with an experienced background, others–Who knows? My background is varied. First, combat training, second, police training, and third as a Kodokan Judo instructor (First degree Black Belt) with three state champions (2 boys and 1 girl). I taught… Read more »


I apologize for starting this eFile with a swear word, but . . . Tom Clancy quipped during a conference, “What’s a rewrite? I write them pretty much the way you guys read them and I turn in a fairly clean product.” Clancy feels he is the exception… Read more »

Timelines and Storyboards

Keeping track of characters and events within a story (short to novel) so to be consistent is a no-brainer. With everyone promoting their personal preferences, the question is, “How?” The answer is easy. As imaginative and diverse writers are, use whatever system works for you. The important point is… Read more »

List of Lists

When beginning to assemble a character, the “Character Development Worksheet” (previous post) is a great tool that covers all the bases and serves as a reminder what the individual has been saddled with as the plot progresses. Choosing some things like flaws and quirks can be fun, but which ones? In… Read more »

Back to Work – repost

Note: Melanie Anne Phillips is the go-to source to learn/update writing skills with boots-on-the-ground experience. She is the Creator of Storyweaver, and Co-creator of Dramatica. Her website, Storymind.com  is a gold mine of information.  This reprint is one of her latest posts restating some points discussed in a recent post on this site (Character Development),… Read more »


In your mind, and hopefully in your reader’s mind, your characters need to become real. That means they are not the most glamorous, intelligent, adept, perfect-in-every-way people with the capability to walk on water. Real people are a complex mix of strengths, weaknesses, talents, and flaws, things that have a… Read more »

Character Development

Everybody who is passionate about writing seems to make lists–Ten things to do/not to do, must do/must not do. These are things writers have found important/think are important/works for them. They can be great reminders about how to build a story. And then, there are the forms–endless forms… Read more »

Clothes and the Character

“Clothes are often overlooked in life and literature and considered frivolous, but they shape character, draw out concepts and connect you to your culture and landscape. As signals for who we are, where we are and what we are, clothes are invaluably transformative and revealing.” (“The Wardrobe,” an… Read more »

Characters and Culture

Whether an experienced writer or novice, one thing often overlooked is the culture of the protagonist, those he associates with, and the setting they move within. For instance, while reviewing a list of “bad” habits, one item was “not looking at the person they are talking to.” That… Read more »