Story Concierge

a blog for writers with tips, tricks, & all things writing 

It's All About Character & What That Really Means

Hello Dear Writers!! 

Today, I'm talking about CHARACTER. 

The concept is simple. You write a story and it's filled with characters. Maybe you have one or two leads and then some sidekicks and potential villains but you know that you need characters. 

Sadly at the character level is where so many writers miss the mark because they simply don't go deep enough. 

When I was like 5 and going into acting and my teacher mentioned "intention" I was like "what's that mean?" I had no idea. I was five, so sue me. But even as I got older that word kept coming up. 

"What's the INTENTION of the scene?" I wanted to pull my hair out. 

Why couldn't they just explain what it meant? 

Well it MEANS THIS. 

What does the character want in the scene? What is their intention? Or if you really want it broken down, why are they there? 

They can not simply be there to support the main character. The main character can't simply be there to show us who he is. 

...
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The Truth About Why You Are Getting Rejected

Happy Wednesday, Writers! 

Rejection sucks doesn't it? And yet, we all go through it, but so many times I see writers posting on forums, in social media groups, or clients of mine, talking about how they have no idea WHY they are getting rejected, especially after putting in so much work. 

This is tricky because there are many reasons that you are getting rejected. 

Let's start with ones that are out of our control. 

The agent just isn't looking for what you are writing. 

The reader is having a bad day (yes this happens) 

Oversight-they just missed your query (yes this also happens) 

The agent already has a client with work too similar to yours

Etc. etc.... but here is the thing---you can overcome these by making your story great

Agents want to find new writers and agents want to make money so if your story is amazing, like, so amazing they can't put it down, you will get signed regardless of those things. 

Now, let's talk about the...

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Even Your Villains Need A Reason

It's Writer Wednesday and today I'm talking about writing the perfect VILLAIN! 

Snidely Whiplash, an archetypical sinister cartoon villain

I love me some villains, well the good ones, the well written, well thought out villains who are bad for a reason. Now, that reason probably doesn't make much sense to you and me because we are not villains but to them it is their WHY! 

In Lisa Cron's craft book on writing, WIRED FOR STORY, she talks about your character's misbelief and how this shapes everything they do in the story. This is NOT the same as the flaw they have. 

For example a flaw may be that they gossip, or talk too much, or are self-centered, or argue about every little thing, or they bite their nails, or they are defensive---etc--these are character flaws but they aren't WHO the character is, just what they do. 

WHO the character is goes way back to when something happened that created a misbelief for them. That misbelief is holding them back in...

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You've Finished NaNoWriMo-Now What?

Good morning dear writers! 

You have finished the new novel that you wrote in November for National Novel Writing Month--AKA: NaNoWriMo and now what? 

Many new writers go immediately to submitting query letters to agents and or tossing it up on Amazon via self-publishing. Here is why I STRONGLY suggest that you don't do that. 

The biggest reason NOT to go ahead and do either of these is that your first draft of your book is not ready to be seen. Writing a novel in a month is fun and a great way to get some great writing habits established but it's not how you write a perfect draft. It just isn't. 

Most first drafts are horrible, even the ones that take a year. So, if you didn't do NaNoWriMo this year but you have completed the first draft, this is also for you. As well, you screenwriters and TV writers out there with the first pass on your manuscript, the advice is the same. 

You NEED to revise! 

It's IMPORTANT. 

The other reason that you don't...

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Tale From An Online Entrepreneur and My PROMISE to You!

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT BEIND SOLD VIA FB MESSENGER?
 
This is really hard for me to write but I pride myself on being authentic and that means the good and the bad. 
 
This is what happened! 
 
I asked an online marketer to NOT sell to me on FB, she makes MILLIONS btw, and she was selling to me via messenger which I don't do or like, so three times in two weeks I said, "please take me off this marketing list" and you know what she did?
 
She made a 20-minute video and posted it on her page saying that I hate women, that I am the scum of the earth and will never have a successful business, (which I already do) and she lied and said I treated someone like shit when literally all I did was ask to "please take me off this marketing list", then she went on to say that I think I'm better than waiters and treat them like shit too (NEVER I was a waiter for like 8 years), and she spent a good 40 minutes yesterday bitching me out via messenger. I of...
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It's Okay to Take A Day Off & What We Learned From Ferris

Writers!! 

Some days it's just too hard to do anything, especially in 2020. 

Last week I hit a wall, and thus I skipped everything-including my blog which is a day late this week too. This is a big no-no in the business world but I'm only one person. 

I felt guilty about it all last week, all weekend, and yesterday when I literally crashed out for 8 hours in the middle of the day. 

You see, in life "shit happens" and I am one of those, like the great Cristina Yang in Grey's Anatomy who always says "I'm fine" even when I'm not. I won't bore you with the details but just apologize for being absent for these few days. I'm sorry, do you forgive me? 

NOW, let's talk about the importance for creatives to take a day off! 

It's important for creatives to take a day off. See, our brains work harder than normal people who don't create stories, art, etc., because no matter what we are doing there is that something in the back of our minds that is building. This...

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The World Lost A Legend

and it rocked my world (no pun intended)

Hello Writers, I hope your week is going well! 

My day has been filled with a bit of sadness and reflection 

Eddie Van Halen has died--

I've been sending out emails because I have a new course that is open for early-bird registration and I want you to write your novel so I've been in your inbox every day this week encouraging you to sign up and then yesterday after going to VOTE and drop off my ballot I heard the devastating news of Eddie Van Halen's passing. 

My world was suddenly in a whirlwind of sadness and grief. 

You see, I never knew Eddie personally but he affected my life in many ways. 

1. He always did what he loved-MUSIC-that was it for him, he never wanted or imagined that he would do anything else. 

2. His happiness doing what he loved always shined through in his performances.

3. He was genuine and authentic--he had a voice...

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How to Write a Novel in a Month & Win NaNoWriMo

Hello, Writers!! 

This month I'm going to focus on how to write a draft fast and complete NaNoWriMo, which is coming up in just a month. 

Today is Sept 30th! Wow, how fast this year has flown by has been crazy, but here we are. 

 NOW, onto some things you can do to get ready to write your novel fast. 

If you are signed up for NaNoWriMo or in any groups for that challenge, you will learn there is now a thing called "Preptober," which is for prepping your book. 

This is not my style at all. 

When I first starting doing NaNoWriMo, you couldn't have any more than a title on November 1st, when we started, and I'm old school, so I never know what I'm writing until that day when I sit down. 

That's just me, and it is the method I'm going to teach you in my coursebut you can do what makes you happy as long as you finish a novel. 

The five steps that I use to prep are these. 

1. Decide WHO your story is about & WHAT will happen to...

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How to Use A Beat Sheet

Even for your novel!

and finish that work in progress. 

 

In film and especially television writing the "beat sheet" is something that is needed to show your showrunner or director the beats of the script so they can approve the story before you spend hours and hours writing it. 

It helps them "see" it. It also helps you see the big picture. 

The beat sheet is an outline of your story in beats. What happens in the story beat by beat.

You open your notebook, notecards, or even Word/Scrivener (I like to use Scrivener for this) and literally write out the beats like this. 

Scene 1--this happens

Scene 2--this happens

etc.

Now, you may not know what happens in perfect order--so then just write what you want to happen out. This is why I love using post-its and or notecards and the stickies in Scrivener 

Scene-character finds out....

Scene--character makes this decision 

Scene-resolution 

If you are doing it...

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Why You Should Stop Focusing on Being A Good Writer

Forget About Being a Great Writer and Focus on Story First

Have you ever picked up a book that has been on the bestseller list for months and months and the author is all over the publishing news because all the movie deals coming in and how rich they are---and then the writing is bad, like really bad, and you think---WTF???

Yup--been there, done that. 

Have you ever gone to the movies and so many things are wrong and yet the film is bringing in millions and millions and you cringe at the story mistakes? 

Yup--been there, done that. 

 

This has been my philosophy for as long as I can remember. 

There is nothing wrong with being great with words or wordsmithing. I admit, it's not my thing, but if you allow it to get in the way of the story, that is where you will have problems. 

The reason is that people come to you for the story not the words. 

STORY IS ALWAYS FIRST. 

The words should come...

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