When you read your story, does it sound off, maybe you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know you’ve done something wrong? Sometimes–maybe even lots of times–there are simple fixes. I’ll point them out. They’ll come at you once a week, giving you plenty of time to go through your story and make the adjustments. Please add comments with your favorite editing fixes.
If your story sounds stilted or fake, the believability of your characters is one of the reasons. Readers continue with a plot mostly on the strength of the characters you’ve introduced them to. Readers don’t like when these new acquaintances act, well, out of character.
That means you must get to know your characters–intimately. Know their favorite colors, movies, songs. Know their morals, educational background, weaknesses and strengths.
Before beginning your novel, write their profile. Not just a few paragraphs, but pages–as many as you need to feel like you’re their best friend. Throw them into situations and see if you can predict how they would act, based on everything that makes them what they are.
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Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-sixth grade, creator of two technology training books for middle school and four ebooks on technology in education. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blog, IMS tech expert, and a bi-weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s editing a thriller for her agent that should be out to publishers this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.