Author: Gabrielle

How to Write Comic Relief Characters without Annoying Your Audience

Comic relief characters are either utterly lovable or horribly obnoxious. Little wiggle room exists between the two extremes, which poses a problem. You want these characters to be deep, lovable, and worth readers’ time. Giving your comic relief characters situational awareness, rationales, and motivations can flesh them out and prevent them from being clichéd. Mr. Sarcasm and Miss Head-in-the-Clouds For the sake of illustration, I’ll focus on two well-known comic relief characters. First, we have Mr. Sarcasm. This guy has a sense of humor as dry as a leaf in the fall, and he doles it out whenever he...

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To Be Good

Sometimes I’ve wondered what it would be like to be good. I smirked. Such a strange time to be considering a paradigm shift. I stared at the selection of cake displayed in the window. Should I choose red or orange filling? One slice had been removed from each cake to reveal the moist, colorful fluff inside. All were sweet, but in a different way. The sun eased below the horizon, lighting the edge of the stone walls afire. Lengthy shadows stretched and wavered with the effort it took to cover the megacity. Somewhere out there, in one of the...

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How to Avoid Info Dumps

You’ve slaved over creating an intricate world and the time has come for you to share it with readers. You’re excited to explain the different creatures, races, countries, and government systems you’ve fashioned. With such an abundance of information, you need a method to communicate it. Unfortunately, the result is often the infamous info dump. You halt in the middle of your story to spill a bunch of details about your world, characters, or plot all at once. Info dumps slow pacing and contain so much knowledge that they overwhelm readers and are easily forgotten. Worse yet, readers may...

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How to Manipulate Your Antagonist’s Goals to Enhance Suspense

Your character wants something. But someone else in his world, perhaps a friend or a random stranger, wants the opposite. These incompatible goals define them as the protagonist and antagonist. They both can’t succeed, so when their desires clash, behold! You have the perfect recipe for conflict. Conflict ensues when a character is faced with an obstacle to overcome. Your antagonist’s ambitions often interfere with your protagonist’s and vice versa. This drives the main conflict more than any other goal. Therefore, it is no surprise that the secret to intensifying suspense is born when the knowledge of the villain’s...

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How Symbolism Benefits Character Arcs

Character arcs are bothersome. Let me clarify: creating character arcs is bothersome. Character arcs in and of themselves are terrific; they aid with theme, character development, and the execution of vital plot points. Yet, they require effort to pull off correctly. Writers risk dumping all the character’s growth on readers like a pile of bricks, rendering the change heavy handed and ineffective. This is where symbolism dashes to the writer’s rescue. Symbolism occurs when an object, person, or place embodies or alludes to an idea or belief. When it is incorporated into character arcs, the changes necessary to the...

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