The Letter A to show a writing tip for fiction writing about characters
The Letter A to show a writing tip for fiction writing about characters
Photo by taner ardalı on Unsplash

The Four A’s of Character: How to show, not tell, an authentic character

Flat. Only when describing stomachs and pancakes is that a good word. A flat soda is tasteless; a flat line is lifeless and a flat tire goes nowhere fast. For fiction writers a flat character empty of flavor, verve or movement can derail the best plot or drain the color from the most vivid descriptions. Fiction is a world set for characters who have their whole being in the words you write about them. They are the meaning makers. But how do you give depth to a…

A lens bubble reflecting a city to show an introvert point of view
A lens bubble reflecting a city to show an introvert point of view
Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash

We are told a number of lies in our childhood. These are the big three that were told to me:

1. It will all make sense when you’re older.

2. Once you’re an adult you can do anything you want.

3. When you’re out of high school making friends becomes a whole lot easier.

The particular falseness of that last lie cannot be overstated. Once you break from the social groupings and cliques of high school you wander out into a world where meeting new people and making new friends relies solely on your relatability. …

Photo by Ed 259 on Unsplash

Reading and driving are similar actions for the brain. You follow sentences just like you follow a road. Punctuation serves as road signs so you know what to do. A period is a stop sign, a comma is yield, and an exclamation point means SLAM ON THE BRAKES (don’t use those often). You can read on auto-pilot just like you can drive on auto-pilot, with the same result. You get to the end but have no idea what you just did and don’t remember the trip.

Most importantly, the sentence pattern can change your mood, just like a traffic pattern…

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

I grew up in the “Be Yourself” era of education. I remember an elementary classroom with a huge bee on the wall advising me to “bee myself” and encouraging my individuality. Every time our teacher approached me with her helpful smile, and “bless your heart” tone of voice (Southern women, you know exactly what I mean) she would say, “You need to print larger. Your printing is too small.” I would look at that rebellious self-affirming bee and print even smaller. So, if you’ve suffered permanent eye strain reading my tiny little letters– blame the bee.

The wise soon learn…

Credit: HBO 2021

What do you do when really horrible people make really good art? It’s a question we have been asking throughout the history of people, and art.

*Caravaggio happened to be a violent brawler who had a tendency to murder people. (The Observer).

*Pablo Picasso was an open misogynist who purposely destroyed the women in his life because he felt it gave him creative energy. (the Paris Review)

*Bob Kane, co-creator of Batman, stole sole credit and all the royalties for the Dark Knight from his partner, Bill Finger, until 2015–41 years after his death. (Comics Alliance)

*John Lennon wrote songs…

Photo by Brandon Morgan on Unsplash

You started your book with so much passion. You knew exactly who the main character was and what trials and resolutions they would face. You had the title, the best friend, the villain all sketched out. You told all your friends about your amazing story (that was a mistake, but we’ll talk about that another time). You even had a mock-up of what you want the cover to look like.

Weeks or months later, the writing has gone from bubbling lava to cold turkey on a paper plate. Nothing sounds right. No-one cares. When your friends ask you, “How’s that…

When you create a new place, whether a fictional world set in an earth-like environment like Middle Earth or Hogwarts or an entirely new planet for science-fiction, that place needs a consistent structure and set of natural laws to be accepted as a real place. The practice of creating an alternate reality is called “world building.” World building is a staple of science-fiction, fantasy, and comic book writing. New worlds can be great places to tell stories, but they require a lot of pre-work.

Most authors can see and understand their new world in their head. The goal of good…

Schools of writing tend to teach two ways to write a novel. One is to just sit in front of the page and write the story as it flows out of you, keeping it loose. The other is to construct a plot outline that tells you exactly what is going to happen at each step, guiding the writer chapter by chapter. Writers who use outlines find free-writing to be like a straw house, not enough structure or strength to make a clear story. …

Belle in motion

I live in the American South where the desire to stop and talk to a stranger is genetically encoded. It’s generational, just like the amount of sugar you need in your tea. You’ve been in Virginia for five generations? Well, that’s 5 tablespoons of sugar per glass. Stranger conversations are normally quick exchanges inquiring about the weather, commenting on a hat, or asking about the local football team. …

Photo by Piret Ilver on Unsplash

This week the Biden Administration celebrates its first 100 days since the world held its breath January 21st waiting to see if the chaotic reign of America’s toddler king was really, most sincerely, going to end. Americans have been either shocked sober by the gentle, easy-going tone of the new presidency, comforted by the return of what passes for “normal” in Washington, or are sitting in a corner staring at their phone jonesing for an inflammatory non-sense tweet. Buffeted or bored, here’s the three best and worst things about the first 100 days.

Best: Plans

The first hundred has shown…

Kellie Schorr

Comissioned novelist, Buddhist Yogi, geek and tea enthusiast. I write at the intersection of pop culture, politics, Buddhist wisdom, true fiction and odd facts.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store