Archive for March, 2011


Secondary Characters

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve read a story and hated everyone except the side kick. While the heroine makes predictable (and often very, very stupid) decisions that show how brave and self-sacrificing she is, her snarky side kick offers much better advice and far more entertaining dialogue as he or she usually accompanies our lackluster heroine into danger. The worst is when the author kills off this magnificent character because of all a sudden, I really don’t care about the story anymore.

Then again, I’ve run into the opposite problem as well. The main character is hilarious and interesting, finding ways to outsmart his enemies and meet his love interest in creative ways. His sidekick plods along behind him, offering necessary plot lines that move the story forward or, worse, info dumps like it’s going out of style.

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Multiple Drafts

The thing about writing is that everyone does it differently. There’s a lot of advice out there about how to write and even what to write. When I was younger, I struggled sometimes with what to write. Not because I didn’t have ideas – I had plenty of those – but I lacked the confidence to think that my ideas were good enough to become stories. I was too lazy to see where they could go, to piece together the puzzle that would have created good stories.

Now that I’ve learned to trust myself and I’ve begun to follow my stories, even if I crash into tangles along the way, I’ve discovered something recently about what happens when I refuse to leave a story alone. Part of it has to do with going through multiple drafts of a story, hence why this blog is about drafts. Editing is just as important as getting the first draft done because you can go back and fix the problems you had in the bumpy ride to writing. So here’s what I see in my own writing.

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Favorite Inspiring Quote

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The other day, I was filling out my application to a program (which I hope to get into but I don’t want to jinx it just yet talking about until I’ve gotten in – cross your fingers for me!) and part of it included sending in two letters of recommendation. I immediately thought of two perfect people to write me the letter and I thought nothing of it. My mother came by my desk and looked at my filled-out application and said, “So how many letters of recommendation are you sending?”

The question surprised me a bit. The instructions send to only send in two letters of recommendation – so that was what I was supposed to do, right?

“But what if you’re expected to send them at least two letters? What if everyone else is going to send in five and you only send in two?”

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