MICE describes the four primary motives for someone deciding to engage in espionage: Money, Ideology, Coercion, and Ego. These are still the central focus of security clearance investigations in the U.S. They also happen to be, on a higher level, the same primary motives for someone to decide to engage in murder.
I struggle with description. I'm not a visual person. In fact, sometimes I have to pull up a bunch of images or videos online to serve as a guide when trying to really evoke a person or place. So when I encounter description in a book, the question of "how much" description to use is … Continue reading Double-Duty Description
As a reader and beta reader, one of the things that stands out to me is when a secondary character does or says something halfway through a scene and my reaction is, "Huh. I forgot they were even there." We forget sometimes as writers that our readers don't have the benefit of watching a scene … Continue reading Roll for Initiative: Keeping Your Characters in Scene
One of the issues I come across often both in my beta reads and my own first drafts is violation of limited POV. Most contemporary books are written in limited POV. This means we really get into the head of the main character and experience the world through their eyes. The narrative voice is the … Continue reading POV Problems
Tabletop role-playing games (RPGs) have a lot to teach you about writing. You create characters and tell a collaborative story in real time, so of course it's good practice for your novel! Taking away the setting elements (fantasy, sci-fi, horror), you find lessons that apply to any writer in any genre. Here are the first … Continue reading 3 Writing Lessons from Dungeons and Dragons
When I read a novel, I can sometimes tell when the author really struggled to get into their antagonist's head. The antagonist is either a vague puppet moving to the convenience of the author, or a flat caricature of a human being. One of the most common questions I ask while reading these books is, … Continue reading Character Development: Asking, “Why?”
Technically a lot of things make up a really good book. But as a reader, I will forgive an author many plot and style problems. The one thing I can't get past is the characters. Good characters can make an atrociously bad premise readable. Bad characters can render the most meticulous world-building pointless. The thing … Continue reading All the World’s a Stage…And your Characters Should Act Like it!