How Do You Find a Character’s Voice?

Nat Russo Characterization, How-To, Voice, Writing 39 Comments

Finding a character’s voice and personality comes easily to some, and with difficulty to others. In fact, even for those of us who don’t struggle with this issue, some characters are just more enigmatic than others. So what can you do? In a couple of #writetip auto-tweets that I send out periodically (we’ll debate the merits of auto-tweeting later) I mention a process of interviewing your characters to get at the heart of that person’s character traits. I’ve received an enormous response to those tweets asking me to go into some detail, so I decided to write today’s blog entry on that subject. In the past, I’ve taken a number of approaches to this problem that usually wind up being …

The Basics: So You Want To Write A Novel

Nat Russo Basics, Characterization, How-To, Plot and Structure, Reference Books, World Creation, Writing 10 Comments

Where Do I Begin? If you’ve landed here, you’ve got a good head start. I’m going to make a couple of assumptions about you, if that’s ok: You’re an avid reader. You want to write a book-length work of fiction (i.e. you want to write a novel). You’ve never done this before, or you’ve had a lot of starts/stops in your past. You’re willing to dedicate the next several months…perhaps years…of your life to telling a single story. You have no idea where to begin.   You may think I’m a mind reader now. But the simple truth is that I’ve just described most of us. And by “us” I’m referring to pretty much anyone who has ever taken the first …

Revising Your First Draft: The First Read-Through

Nat Russo Basics, Editing, How-To, Revision, Writing 37 Comments

[Revised 02/10/2015] What have I gotten myself into? If you’re in the middle of your first draft, you’ve probably asked yourself that question several times by now. Writing that first draft can feel like running a sprint at times. Your head is full of ideas for setting, characterization, dialog, plot, and interesting scenes. Thoughts are flowing so fast that your fingers can’t keep up. Putting the words on paper is like a mental dump of information. Did you capture it all? Did you get that last thought translated from brain signals to keyboard strokes? You’re not certain, but if you stop to look back you just might miss that next thought that’s bubbling to the surface.