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MJ Bush
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MJ Bush

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Not just any decision qualifies as inner conflict. Inner conflict needs to do more than make your character stop and scratch his head. It needs to throw him back on his heels.

It has to be a choice he would never make if given half a chance.

Anoint Your Character with Inner Conflict, A Master Technique

If you'd like to be notified when I post a new Writingeekery article, let me know in a comment and I'll add you to a special circle.
(Hint: Unforgettable characters. It's coming soon. ;))
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+MJ Bush I really like these words
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MJ Bush

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I know you. You want to captivate your reader right off the bat.
5 common first chapter mistakes.
10 goals for an irresistible first line.
ONE process to get you there.

You’ll want some tension, just enough backstory to keep the reader in tune but leaning in to know more, and something happening.

Est. reading time: 8 minutes
The first chapter is the doorway to your story. Tempt your reader to cross the threshold. I'll show you how.
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Very helpful idea on how to start writing a book or a story. My heart is burning to write a story that has been haunting and disturbing me for a long time. Thanks for this beautiful blog MJ Bush. :)
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MJ Bush

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Happy New Year!
What's your writing goal for this year? Have you written anything yet today? =)
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MJ Bush

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::searches for a ball::
::throws ball at power lines::
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MJ Bush

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The "rules" are usually just techniques that fit a certain style.

When it comes to creating unforgettable characters, there's a lot of techniques touted as rules, and basics rehashed without any mention that those exact basics can be carried out and still NOT create an unforgettable character.


It hurts when I see writers mystified on how to take advice to its intended outcome. I know that frustration...

The Real Key to Unforgettable Characters
(It's not a rule or technique. Promise.)
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Yeah. That'd be great!!
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MJ Bush

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Every character, even the ones you can think of off the top of your head, started as an idea.

The Real Key to Unforgettable Characters

It hurts when I see advice that leaves writers mystified about how to take it to the level it claims to be about. My stomach gets all clenched and unhappy.

So I wanted to reassure the disheartened that "unforgettable" is not devoid of meaning, that it is possible.

There's a specific way to build on the foundation of a character and climb toward that sky-high aim.

If you're receiving a notification, it's because you asked to be in a special notification circle for +Writingeekery posts.
Your characters CAN be unforgettable. There's a bridge connecting the basics to that sky-high dream. You ready?
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MJ Bush

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How's the writing going today? =)
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So far so good
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Have her in circles
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MJ Bush

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If I had to choose a single "holy grail" aspect for strong character creation, it would be either an agenda or secrets.

This article is written to make you look at all the possibilities for secrets by listing different types. Don't worry about categorizing existing secrets. ;)
The right secret will deepen characterization, add conflict and inner conflict, intrigue the reader, and help you solidify the backstory.
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The post's kinda way benevolent to those who R sincerely seemed 2 be desperate to have their characters boosted up with secrets. Every character should have its own secret... & the post helps readers/writers to understand how to jazz it all up. 
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MJ Bush

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Resources for Designing a Cover that Will Sell Your Book
There are two factors outside of the story that make all the difference in whether your book sells or not: the description and the cover. Without these two things, no amount of marketing will work.

Check out these five articles on cover design:

Book cover clichés: why using them will actually help you sell more books
A good book cover needs to grab attention immediately, be striking, beautiful, clean and professionally made, but also let readers know instantly the basic genre.
(A note from MJ: For indies this is important. Your book won't be sitting on a shelf with a great big sign telling the reader what genre they're looking at. Your cover needs to make up the difference.)


The ‘Billboard’ That Can Make Or Break Your Book’s Success
Books will always need some type of visual cue to identify them when they are being advertised.


8 cover design secrets publishers use to manipulate readers into buying books
The worst thing an author can do is consider their cover design like a blank canvas and add whatever they want, wherever they want.


Beginner’s Guide To Book Cover Design
(Includes links to Photoshop tutorials for different styles.)


What Makes for a Brilliant Book Cover? A Master Explains
As Mendelsund describes it, his job is “finding that unique textual detail that…can support the metaphoric weight of the entire book.”
Recently I've seen some articles circulating about "Book Cover Clichés" which put a handfu...
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I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm sucker for beautiful covers. The cover art, and the title font should convey the genre and be relevant to the story. If there's a mismatch between the blurb and the cover, my desire to buy the book takes a severe hit.

I'm also easily put off by patchy cover arts. What authors need to realise is that readers (or is it just me?) like to own books with beautiful covers.
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MJ Bush

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Do you write your stories with deeper meaning?
To quote Donald Maass, "Ducking the big questions is easy. So is achieving low impact."

+Kristen Lamb shows how Charles Dickens used symbol, theme, and general hidden meanings to convey a profound message without getting preachy.

I find it interesting that Kristen starts with the power of names, because an obscure name is only going to matter to the reader once they care enough to learn about it. In other words, after they have been captivated by the story. (I don't know if Ebeneezer was obscure back then, but it certainly is now.) But I think she has the right of it. Leading with a well-chosen name can help the writer feel the deeper meaning in the story.

And one thing I've found to be unerringly true is that when you're able to feel the themes behind a story rather than thinking about them, the writing is stronger. It's naturally more stirring and less preachy.

Her article is well worth reading, especially if you want to use symbolism but don't want to overload your reader with obviously symbolic imagery. 
Why are there certain stories we just can't get enough of? Why do some stories fade away while others become staples for every generation? Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol has been made into all ...
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No I honestly think most of the themes my English teachers pulled out of no where were totally not intended by the author. Some were, but most were just over analyzed.
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MJ Bush

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A List of Townspeople for Fantasy Writers
Celebrating 20,000 followers! ...I don't have anything prepared, but this is something I haven't shared before. 
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I think you may be the literary version of Kate Bush, one of my favorite musicians.
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MJ Bush

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Writerly types to listen to...
I thought I might share the list of people who have earned a spot in my High Quality Writing Advice RSS collection.

+Ingrid Sundberg
(Check out her backlog.)

+Anne R. Allen

+Jody Hedlund

+Cheryl Reifsnyder

+K.M. Weiland

+Darcy Pattison


+Jami Gold

+Jane Friedman

+Jeff Goins

+Kristen Lamb

+Lauren Sapala

+C. S. Lakin

+Stavros Halvatzis

+Larry Brooks

+Chuck Wendig

+Beth Hill

Janice Hardy

+Joe Bunting

The Writer's Alley

+Writer Unboxed

+Angela Ackerman

+Writing Forward

+Karen Woodward

+James Scott Bell

+Rachelle Gardner

+Jenny Hansen

<shameless plug>Then there's me. I always aim to deserve a spot here. </shameless plug>
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MJ Bush
+David Langley Thanks! =) I can't say I have a favorite workshop to recommend, partially because different experts have different areas they stand out in. Overall, I guess I'd say Larry Brooks if he has anything going. 

And I have a character workshop coming up in March if I get the page up in time. lol
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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.

Profile photo taken by +Fabien Andablo

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Basic Information
MJ Bush's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
There are only four types of cities

Study finds a way to fingerprint the world's metropolises

Testing Your Story Concept

It makes sense that if you're going to write a book--something that is going to take, for most people, a few months (or years!)--it's a good

Top 10 Favorite Fantasy Tropes

Imaginative Fiction from Author, Reviewer, and Writing Coach Christine Amsden

A Quote...

Busy and productive are two different things.

Limyaael's Rant No.12: Writing Flawed Characters - Curiosity Quills Press

Inspired by some posting on flaws in both the Mary-Sue communities and others. 1. First, make sure that your character really has flaws, and

Is everyone who writes a writer?

“I’m writing a book!” I hear it all the time at parties. While people wouldn’t dream of suggesting they’d become…well, for example, a neuros

Four Reasons Marketers Need to Embrace Google+

In a recent informal MarketingProfs poll, marketers named Google+ their most hated social network. As a marketer who likes Google+, I decide

Use Triangles to Help Your Readers Get the Point

Whatever you're writing, there's always a point you're setting out to make. Oh, you might say, but I write fiction. I'm not trying to make a

Improve Concentration by Minimizing Distractibility

Effective thinking depends on suppressing distracting thoughts and feelings


The best photography in the world

Google+ Hangout Etiquette - BrowneKnows

Google+ hangouts are da bomb, but one rude participant can ruin it for everyone! Whether you're socializing to make new friends or brainstor

Join the 30 Day Video Challenge (May 2013)

If you really want to skyrocket your business and build deep lasting relationships with your tribe, then you need to be on video. I gave mys

Flow Reader (Beta)

***** PLEASE READ BEFORE DOWNLOADING: This is the beta version of Flow Reader, and as such there are missing/broken features and bugs left t


The Future Now

People Without Imagination

People without imagination will often ridicule yours. Don’t be afraid to imagine bigger. I was inspired to write this by a tweet from Justin