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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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Did you know that "to and fro" can be used as a verb?

"Toing and froing."

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I'm working hard at the moment to convince my 8-year-old son that there is no verb "to stealth." He keeps asking about things like "which can stealth better, jaguars or tigers?" So far my argument "It's not a verb — because it isn't" hasn't been very persuasive.
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MJ Bush

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Color me amused.
Quite amused.

h/t +Hilary Hatch and +Jason Riek 
Amanda Abbington and Jason Watkins are among the famous faces tweeting videos of themselves performing lyrics in the style of the Bard with the hashtag #15secondShakespeare
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My favorite is Humpty Dumpty. =D
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Let's talk about one of my Pet Peeves (#2 on the list)
City settings that seem empty.

Now, I'm not talking about deserted cities, but the ones that have a population... and don't show it. This is especially rampant in fantasies where foot traffic is the norm and cities are walled. In those cases main streets should be crowded and even residential streets should be rarely vacant during the day though they will be quiet in comparison.

Here are a few ideas for showing that there really are people living in this city of yours:

Have your character generally aware of people around them, watching what they say, feeling the atmosphere of the crowd, or hearing the sounds of construction down the street.

Have your character notice the occasional interesting detail, especially if it reveals something about the character noticing, or foreshadows something.

Have your character weave through foot traffic.

Have your character speak softly to not be overheard, or loudly to be heard at all.

And it wouldn't go amiss to have random strangers interact with your character, perhaps giving unsolicited opinions about what your character is doing. (That's one way to show public disapproval without your character seeming paranoid, or putting too much weight on internal dialogue.)

Overall, balance the general awareness of an existing population and the observation of individuals within the larger mass of humanity.

Have any more ideas? Share, pretty please!
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I'm currently writing two separate works where one character suffers from social anxiety and other of depression. The people in the world around these characters are so important. But in general, I always feel what we're talking about here is part of the atmosphere makeup. A crowded street or eerily empty one is just important as the weather and time of day.
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Your Best Book Description
This is what ultimately sells your book. Is it doing the job?

+Joanna Penn and Bryan Cohen talk about how to get it right and what mistakes to avoid.
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More Than Stock Characters, Without Sounding All the Same
"As the writer, it is our job to understand our characters and to know who they are and how they think."

When I posted about the 5 Dimensions of Character Personality, there was a lot of confusion around the Underpinning and how to show it.

The thing is, when you have a basic personality that you're allowing to guide the choices and words of a character, you don't have to try to show it. Sure, you can study up on characterization, but it's not as complicated as we fear when reading about it. 

+Kristen Lamb talks about how to create the fine strokes, the nuances that shape a voice. She mentions two STRONG elements you should use within the traits you choose for your character. Not traits themselves, they are meta-traits. And ones your characters should absolutely, positively have.

...Idiosyncracies and contradictions.

And she goes into some detail on voice-traits that create interesting characters.

...You should go read it. =)
So last time we talked about the basics in regards to dialogue and once we grasp the fundamentals---like proper punctuation---we then can focus more on elements of style. How we deliver the dialogu...
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MJ Bush that was a grate Article.
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Have her in circles
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MJ Bush

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It's been an interesting morning. The neighbor kids built a fire right behind the back neighbor's garage, and had carried in extra wood from their place to add to it. That spot has plenty of kindling and loads of dry wood (fence, woodpile) AND lots of trees connecting a bunch of properties. We could've had our own mini wildfire in town.

But they were caught.

Somebody bring me a hot chocolate?
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Now I just want to engulf my house in a blanket fort.

::starts building an addition to host visitors:: ;)
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HEADS UP: I did a Twitter #writetip series on TENSION at 12 EST.

Go check it out. =)

Follow me:@writingeekery
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مساء الفل والياسمين 
 ·  Translate
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Change and Consistency
I see a lot of authors struggling to get their characters to change. I also see a lot of authors that don't use enough consistency to hold a character together.

Here's one piece of the puzzle...
You ready for this? The number one mistake authors make with character arcs is that they try to remake their character into someone new. Find out why!
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A Whole Creative Writing Course Distilled says Anne R. Allen.

Today, I think #14 is my favorite. What about you?
These quotes are an avalanche of insight just waiting to carry you deeper into your characters.
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Keep it up +MJ Bush​
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Giving Life and Choices to All Your Characters
(Without Muddying the Story)
Whether you have a true ensemble with no clear protagonist or you have supporting characters surrounding an unmistakable main character, there is a challenge in creating a tight story and not resorting to plot puppets to lace it up tight.

Let's face it, a bunch of characters with their own agendas can make for a messy (and sometimes unreadable) plot. Dave King shows how to look at the different characters so you can figure out how to handle them best for your story.

Est. reading time: 12 minutes

When you've read it...
Which approach are you more likely to use, subplots or universally (though diversely) meaningful climax?
When Isaac Newton first came up with the theory of gravity, he presented what seemed like a simple problem.  If you have three bodies orbiting around each another, how do you come up with an equati…
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Wonderful examples, +K M Idamari. =)
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I like the look at siege and counter-siege tactics.

Among the features found by the archaeologists were mines, one dug by the Persians and another dug by the Romans as a counter.

The tunnels were too narrow for effective hand-to-hand combat, so one interpretation goes something like this...

The Sassanians employed toxic gases to kill the Roman defenders. When sulphur and bitumen were thrown onto a fire, it became a choking gas, and turned into sulphuric acid when breathed in by the Roman defenders. Within minutes, the Romans who were in the tunnel were dead. This happened when the Sassanian mine was broken in by the Romans, whose counter-mine was right above theirs.

To clarify, the city was Roman, and the Sassanian invaders dug a mine and took advantage (with rising smoke) when the Romans dug their counter-mine above.

Sounds like quite a story.
One of the distinguishing features of the First World War was the widespread use of chemical weapons. Chemical gases of various lethality, including mustard gas, phosgene and tear gas, were used to di
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Pretty clever, really. The Sassanians set an ambush for all intents and purposes.
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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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MJ Bush's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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