Tag Archives: things to avoid

Characters People Loathe, Part Two: Passive and Reactive

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Let’s continue our look at characters people tend to hate, shall we? Last time, I wrote about Mary Sues, which is a type that is pretty easy to spot. This next one is a bit more nebulous, and can be harder to pin down, because they can be likable people! In the hands of another author, they would likely be compelling and genuinely interesting. Unfortunately, there’s something about them that just seems… off.

Maybe it’s because they don’t actually do anything on their own. 

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Author Overreach: How to Lose a Reader in Ten Pages or Less

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It isn’t enough for some authors to tell us about their characters or the setting when they’re working on a story. They can’t limit themselves to just a bit of background information. No. In order for them to tell you about this world that they have created, they need to tell you about each of its Kings and Queens. From the beginning of the monarchy. In order. And in excruciating detail. Also, how the monarchy was formed. And the attempted revolution three hundred years before the current story takes place. But don’t worry about that revolution, because it didn’t work. You know what else didn’t work? When notable citizen Mark Lingtree thought it would be a good idea to try to bring metal carriage wheels to market fifty years before the story began. It wasn’t that they were designed poorly, you understand– they worked quite well, but they were hard to manufacture, and delivery times were too long. Speaking of things that were too long, did you…

I think you get it. This is an author who needs an intervention, because it is entirely possible to give too much detail when you’re writing a story.

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Characters People Loathe, Part One: The Mary Sue

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Everyone reads a book now and then that makes you want to punch one of its characters in the throat. Sometimes that’s because one of them is a total jerk, and you’re supposed to hate him. Sometimes it’s an unintentional side effect of a peculiar quirk that just rubs you the wrong way.

The worst of them is the Mary Sue. Continue reading

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Common Paper Writing Mistakes, Part Zero: Basic Errors

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I’ve mentioned some of these in passing in previous posts and in videos on my YouTube Channel, and I’ve actually gotten some messages asking about some of the basic errors people make on papers. Rather than respond to them individually, I figured I’d just make a master post compiling the most common ones that are easy to avoid.  Continue reading

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