Shannon Bolithoe : A Writing Life

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How to Choose the Right Antagonist for Your Story

What’s the secret of how to choose the right antagonist for your story? If you’re thinking it’s probably a little more complicated than simply making him a “bad” guy who’s out to get your protagonist, you’re definitely on the right track.


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Asking “Why?” to Create Rich Characters for Your Novel

For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we’re looking at an excerpt from a previous post titled Why, Why, Why? I do a lot of manuscript critiques. Hundreds a year. I find the best way to get writers thinking about their plot and characters is to ask a lot of questions.

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The Secret to Writing Dynamic Characters: It’s Always Their Fault

It’s a morbid joke among writers: we are so mean to our characters. And we love it. It’s the stuff of good stories. It’s the stuff of epic conflict.

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The #1 Key to Relatable Characters: Backstory

Ever stop to think about why you enjoy backstory? I receive lots of questions from writers about backstory, most of it along the lines of: I love my backstory soooo much. How can I cram as much as possible of it into the main story?

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How to Create a Successful Protagonist

This guest post is by Joseph Bates, whose new book Writing Your Novel From Start to Finish: A Guidebook for the Journey provides the instruction, inspiration, and guidance you need to complete your novel.

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Sympathetic Characters in Unsympathetic Worlds

         A few years ago, I read Xenophon’s The Education of Cyrus. I’d heard that Thomas Jefferson admired Cyrus as a leader and wanted to find out why.  Before long, I came across this bit of advice Cyrus’ father gave him about resupplying his troops during wartime.