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? asked in Arts & HumanitiesBooks & Authors · 1 month ago

What are your best writing tips to write a story?

I'm in the process of creating a novel, and I'm looking for some more inspiration to keep going. I have a plot, but how do I make the characters more believable. What are some tips and tricks that you've learned, and have stuck with you?

7 Answers

  • 1 month ago
    Favorite Answer

    I no longer need to make character bios, but when I did, knowing more about the important characters than would ever make it to the page helped me. I used a home-made bio sheet I've shared here before:

    PHYSICAL TRAITS includes the character's age, sex, approximate height and weight, physique, fitness level, posture, appearance in general, overall attractiveness to others, general health, specific health that affects them day to day (i.e., bad hip, drug addiction). Note that there's little detail about appearance.

    SOCIOLOGY includes the society or world in which they live, who's in their family or household, social standing or class, race/ethnicity/nationality, what they do for money including but not limited to their job, their financial status, their education, the basics of their home life, who their friends are, faith or religion if any, sociopolitical view in general, specific causes they care about, what they do for fun including exercise and hobbies, and whether they drink alcohol or use drugs recreationally.

    PSYCHOLOGY includes introversion or extroversion, basic mood, sense of humor, ambitions and realistic hopes, past failures and disappointments, sex life and interests, moral code, intelligence, abilities and knacks (numbers, music), manners and civility.

    If I can fill out all of that for a character with a bit of detail, it's pretty cool how I can throw in a ridiculous situation ("Suddenly there's a bull loose in the hotel lobby!") and make a pretty solid guess what each character is likely to do in reaction.

  • ?
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    Write In One Sitting. Write the first draft of your story in as short a time as possible. ...

    Develop Your Protagonist. ...

    Create Suspense and Drama. ...

    Show, Don't Tell. ...

    Write Good Dialogue. ...

    Write About Death. ...

    Edit Like a Pro. ...

    Know the Rules, Then Break Them.

  • Marli
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    As the answerer who pushes the use of the library, here is the url of a particular "how to write a novel" book. If you type that title,or each of the Library of Congress subject headings into your library catalogue's search box, you should get a few hits on how authors write novels.  I am not saying that every page of every book is golden, but you will likely find advice you can use. If your library has what in these restricted times is called "curbside service", request the books, etc that appeal to you to be placed 'on hold"  When ready, the library will contact you. Bring your library card to pick them up.

    My two-cent contribution: Since you have a plot, think of the characters you know: family, friends, people you like and dislike, historical and fictional characters. Who do you think could tackle the main problem, go through the incidents in the plot and emerge as "the winner"? What qualities does that person have? What if he lost in the end? What did he have or do that got him close to success? Perhaps your uncle or the fictional or historical character has faced such a problem. Perhaps he won or lost after a struggle. (The struggle is a must, and it should change your own characters, so think how or what the people who inspired you changed) Try to find at least two people or characters on the list you made of 'inspiring heroes and villains" who could with effort solve or succeed your plot's main problem or at least two who could come close but fail. List why: their attributes, their strengths and weaknesses. (I said more than two because you don't want your main character to be a clone of your uncle or Harry Potter or George Washington. You want to analyze what they had that worked (or didn't work.) when they confronted the situation.

  • ?
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    Be true to yourself and write what you know about.

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  • 1 month ago

    When in doubt, keep writing.  You're going to want to throw a lot of it out later, but while in the creative stage you've got to just keep going no matter how good or bad you think it is.  Try to imagine being the characters and think "what would they do or say in that situation?"  Let them take on a "life" of their own and see where the story takes you instead of trying to control everything from one point of view (i.e. yours).

  • Tina
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    I can only repeat the advice of Ursual le Guin.

    Find somewhere private. Get a large supply of paper and a pen/pencil or keyboard.

    Sit down and write.

  • ?
    Lv 4
    1 month ago

    Define believable. That might be your problem. You're overthinking the creation of the characters. They will be believable if they are created as just normal people. Their specifics are only important if relevant to the plot. Such as Dr. Alan Grant being a paleontologist in Jurassic Park and that being why he was selected to visit the park. 

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