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Showing posts from April, 2017

Characterization

I was asked by a fellow writer how to approach characterization in a way that allows one to express their personalities without putting it into plain text. And I think that's a great question. No one likes to read about how a character acts outright. They want to see it.

A lot of this will come down to the classic "show don't tell" advice.

No one wants to read a passage where you say something like, "Jason was a constantly nervous person who liked ice cream when he could get it. He had a short temper and was prone to large outbursts. He hated this about himself and would cry himself to sleep at night."

This is the sort of narration that might fit well in a Wes Anderson movie, but to make that character interesting without a person like Gene Hackman or Bill Murray sort to inhabit it, you need to show us all of these things. If your character is constantly nervous, how can you show that in other scenes? Are they constantly biting their thumbnails? Are they s…

The Road to Freelancing

I've been freelancing for a long time now. I've written for websites ranging from my own like Big Shiny Robot! (and this space) to Huffington Post, HowStuffWorks, Fantasy Flight Games, and StarWars.com. I've written for magazines and newspapers. I still have a regular column at Salt Lake City Weekly, which is the alt-weekly here. I had a weekly column before that in IN This Week, a now defunct weekly from the same area.

How did I get to the point where I was getting paid for my writing on a regular basis?

Well, it wasn't easy, for one. For two, no two writers will have the same path to that point. What worked for me might not work for you. And the path you take might be completely wrong for me. But I can tell you what I did and how I started and you can see where that goes.

Let's start in high school, shall we? I was on the newspaper staff for three years in high school. My first year, we had to print out the text and wax it to layout pages and hand lay in gutters…