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MJ Bush
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MJ Bush

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Quick Overview of The 5 Absolute Dimensions of Character Personality
Everything that defines your character from the inside out, all those aspects and personality tidbits, helps to fill out these dimensions, giving a fuller picture of the personality.

It's easy to rely on the outward things to let you know who a character is. After all, that's how we get to know people in real life. But.

If you're struggling to breathe life into a character, they're probably lacking in one of the dimensions, and you need to go deeper.

It doesn't matter if you're looking at your character's stuff, or their situation, or their backstory. That's outward, not part of who they really are. There's more to them. We have our own temperaments by the time we're three months old (or earlier)... 

We have mental, emotional, and social predispositions, not dependent on anything outside of us. The dimensions can help you look deeper to find them.

Plus there's a sweet mini-course coming soon to guide you deeper.

Don't for get to comment with your questions. It's a HUGE favor for me.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

P.S. Insiders, don't forget to check your email to get the exclusive Insider Tip. And if you aren't an Insider, sign up to get the Tip from now on!
Are you ever writing and your character just doesn't feel whole enough to make the scene work?
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MJ Bush

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Fiction writers: Do you have an author's blog? Share it in a comment and I'll check it out. :D

And I would definitely encourage you to check out each others' sites. =)
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Some of you don't have comments enabled. Is there a reason for that?
I hope to create conversation, a dialogue, and connections on mine (which I've done successfully on two other non-writing related blogs in the past) so I'm curious where those who don't want comments are coming from.
Also, completely unasked for advice, but paying $10-20 a year for your own domain name goes a long way. You can still use Blogger or Wordpress, but not using their names in your .com seems a lot more professional.
Going away now! Hope to return and check out more later.
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MJ Bush

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Here's a FIRST CLASS resource for historical and fantasy writers. And I'm not talking about the article, good as it is.
I'm talking about the author.

+Dr. Barbara Ellermeier is my newest find and I can already tell she's a treasure.

She's a historian that specializes in hand-picking research for novels. 

And you can hire her. 

Ah - MAZ - ing.

The article below is full of realistic details and ideas for scenes that would take place on an 18th century ship. Even if your character isn't in the medical profession, I bet you'll find a detail to include if your character is spending any time on a ship.

There's no doubt I'm going to be sharing more from her. =)
»Accidents and distempers, amputations and worms« In 1702, John Moyle has served as a sea surgeon in the navy for almost 40 years. Now old, he decides to write a how-to manual on practising surgery on a ship. His book »Chirurgus marinus« covers the most common diseases or wounds that sailors around the year 1700 A.D. might have …
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MJ Bush

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Just a reminder...
The Perfection Intervention 24-Hour version is only going to be available until I get the full version done, and then the price is going up (and you won't get to see my writing-process in progress).

The updates are going to start soon, and once they're all in, say ciao to the discount.

The 24-Hour version gets all the goodies planned for the full version (just a bit slower), plus that peek at my process.

Yes yes? ;)
"Why Can't I Just WRITE?"You know what you want to write. It grips you, drawing you in...But every time you sit down to do it, you end up going over what you've already written.Or you nit-pick every sentence as you write it.And it feels completely out of your control.There's this voice that interjects itself into the process...It slows you down and stops you up.You know that your first draft is the key to later drafts. You WANT to just get it dow...
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MJ Bush

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This is for adults, right?
And it needs to rock from side to side, not front to back. Speeder bikes are pretty steady except in turns. I am geek! Must have accuracy! ;)

via +Hilary Hatch 
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This pleases me.
Shamelessly stolen from Facebook
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In her circles
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Have her in circles
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MJ Bush

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I can't help but imagine using this as the basis for a setting in a book. What kind of complex would be so remote, with no religious artifacts, and only used in summer?

I will be thinking on this.
It is one of the most mysterious archaeological sites in Russia – an ancient complex engulfing a small island in the center of a remote lake in the mountains of southern Siberia. At first glance, it appears to be an ancient fortress, its perimeter of high walls constructed to keep out enemies. However, others have proposed the 1,300-year-old structure may have been a summer palace, monastery, memorial complex, ritual center, or astronomical observatory. More than a century after its rediscovery, experts are no closer to understanding the secrets of these enigmatic ruins.
#siberia #fortress #russia
It is one of the most mysterious archaeological sites in Russia – an ancient complex engulfing a small island in the center of a remote lake in the mountains of southern Siberia. At first glance
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MJ Bush
+Will Hahn Also: "There was also no evidence of any kind of heating system, which would have made it impossible to stay there, at 2,300 meters above sea level, in winter conditions." This was a time when they used heated bed floors, and the sophisticated design of the site implies that if it had been for year-round use it would've had such amenities.

And it's a remote area of the mountains, on the outskirts of civilization. Control of surrounding land is easy when there's no competition. lol
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Libraries make me sad that I don't have time to read an armful of books every three days like I used to in the summer. I know it's fall now, but I haven't really had summer yet. Haven't in years.

To me, summer is reading almost every waking moment for three months.

I want summer back. 
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Man, I miss those days. Or lately, any day I can spend some time reading. 
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MJ Bush

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I love this question:
1) Are you really slow or are you yourself putting the brakes on?

I've noticed a pattern, and it includes myself and K.M. Weiland: writers who swore up and down that editing while writing helped them in the long run because it created a clean draft, then later realized that it held them back and squashed the creativity of the first draft.

Just because you believe going slow or editing while writing helps you doesn't mean it's true.
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The new school
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MJ Bush

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Are You Giving Yourself Writer's Block?

There are several types of writer's block, and the most insidious form (in my opinion) is the incursion of the inner red pen.

Because it claims to be there to help.

So let's look at 5 negative effects of pandering to your inner editor.

Negative Effect #1:
Moves you out of a state of emotional connection with the story and into a state of rational judging of the story. Or the words. Or the characters.

Editing is a different process than creating. It requires different parts of the brain, and it blocks your ability to feel the story. Which, in essence, kills your muse.

Negative Effect #2:
Builds the habit of editing instead of adding words.

We are trainable beings. We like our habits. And unfortunately for the first draft, editing is an easier habit than writing. Our minds prefer puzzles and tweaks to filling blank pages from scratch.

So editing isn't the habit to be building whenever you sit down to write.

Negative Effect #3:
Wastes time on scenes that need to be rewritten or deleted entirely.

When you're writing the first draft, you don't have the big picture yet, even if you're a plotter. You don't have the perspective to know which scenes are working in terms of the larger story.

Negative Effect #4:
Fools you into valuing a scene more than it's worth.

When you've spent extra time on a scene, you start to have an attachment to it—to that line of prose, to that description—that makes it harder to let go if it needs to be cut or rewritten.

Negative Effect #5:
Keeps you from feeling a sense of accomplishment sooner, if you get to feel it at all.

If you aren't getting to the end, then you're missing out on one of the best productivity boosters there is. Accomplishment.

Knowing that you've done something big like finish a draft gives you momentum and excitement to keep writing. (And editing. ;))

And if you don't get that accomplishment fix, it becomes more and more tempting to move on to a new project. Sound familiar?

...Want some help overcoming the desire to edit when you should be writing?

The Perfection Intervention is your breakthrough waiting to happen. (And has a money-back guarantee to back it up.)

Check it out.
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MJ Bush
+Nasreen Malik It depends where you are in the process. Editing is absolutely necessary, but it needs to be delayed.
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A Critique is Overdue
+K M Idamari wins "Most Delightful."

Here's the flash fiction:


The sun was already up, chasing away the morning mist. The light crept into my hollow with the agenda of waking me up. But I wasn't going to be bossed around by a tiny ray. I turned over and buried my head beneath the soft bark.

It took a while but I managed to slip back into my dreams again, when the stupid song bird upstairs decided to sing with a sore throat. The noise reverberated through the wood and grated in my ears. And no amount of stuffing in my ears was enough to block him out. 

No! You can't make me get up. Try again in a couple months. My resolve was strong and I relaxed enough to let the noise drift to the background as I sunk back into sleep. 

Who cared if spring was Here? Who cared if my nook of the forest was the only one with snow still shrouding the ground? I might be a spring fairy but I still needed my beauty sleep.


Let’s start off with why I like it. It’s sweet, and it has an unexpected twist. Translation: it makes me smile. 

Agents might call it voicey. There’s a definite character personality shining through. Straightforward and stubborn, with a simple modern lexicon.

The personification of the ray of sunlight is delightful.

And I love the assumption that the songbird has a sore throat. This could be a wonderful unreliable narrator. If the narrator isn't supposed to be unreliable, then the sore throat needs some evidence, or it should be implied that it seemed to have a sore throat.

There's a good use of scene antagonists and low-stakes conflict to get the ball rolling.

If you were to lengthen it into a short story, who specifically suffers if spring doesn’t come? How could the consequences affect this wonderfully opinionated little fairy?

The pacing is a bit hinky with "It took a while" and not showing the stuffing of the ears. 

The word choice is strong, especially in the first lines. “Already” and “chasing” imply action and immediacy, and the alliteration of “morning mist” ties it together in a way that makes me want to read more. This is no limp descriptive opening.

...I’m a sucker for evocative words. Also on my thumbs-up list: crept, agenda, bossed, tiny, buried, reverberated, shrouding.

“Sunk” should be “sank” and “song bird” should be “songbird.” Once corrected, both are also evocative.

I’m left wondering who or what will try next to wake her up. (I assume it’s a female, but a male would be a nice twist, too.) It would have to be an escalation, with some stakes involved. 

Overall, I hope this becomes a short story. I would love to see the dynamics between the different seasons of fairies and within the ranks of the spring fairies, along with more of this fairy's personality.
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Thanks, Madhu :)
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If you're in the final stages of editing, or you're practicing to improve your prose, this is for you.
Techniques for Surprising Sentences
Let's look a bit deeper at #2, "Discover the Possibilities of the Unexplored in Your Prose".

How does it create subtext? 

First of all, subtext is the art of implying rather than saying. So when you imply that there's another way to look at things, that there is more out there, you're automatically opening up the possibility for subtext.

And I love this line:
Sometimes changing a single word is all it takes to invigorate your prose from something common and forgettable to something that sparks your readers’ imaginations–and even changes their way of looking at the world.

In a more concrete vein, how can you invigorate your prose?

A. Mix up your sentence structure.
B. Play with words. Key words.
C. Find a new perspective.
D. Highlight an unexpected emotion.
E. Use a foil, be it setting description or tone or character.
F. Flip idioms or cliches, changing them.
G. Be sarcastic and glib.
H. Describe someone or something by how they make the narrator feel, rather than by how they look.
I. Tighten your prose so surprises aren't lost in the morass.

Feel more prepared to write prose now? Which idea got you thinking?
Consider four ways you can invigorate your prose into something special by injecting the element of surprise into every single sentence.
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That's absolutely fine MJ :-) Hope it goes well.
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MJ's Collections
Fantasy Editor, analytical creative, far-flung dreamer.
I run Next-Level Storycraft for Geeky Novelists.

  • Goals are more powerful than rules. Know your goal and you can discard the rule.
  • The more you understand about your story, your characters, your world, the more inspiration and options are open to you.
  • Deep, complex characters are the strongest, most fascinating characters you can have.
  • Never stop learning. Never assume someone knows everything about the craft. Never assume you know "enough." Never assume it will be easy.
  • Your process will likely be unique. Follow the path that works for you, for your story.
  • Try new things. It's part of learning, and it's part of finding your process.
  • Plot and character are equally important. Each fuels the other.
  • Understand the rules to break them effectively. This ties back to knowing your goals.
Editing applications will open again soon.

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MJ Bush's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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