5 Things Breaking Bad Can Teach Us About Writing

TV_BB_bl“5 Things Breaking Bad Can Teach Us About Writing” by Cris Freese | 26th November 26, 2016 | Writer’s Digest.

“I think the general consensus among those writers who teach the craft is that you must read—and read widely—about the craft of writing, particularly those authors who write in your genre. But I think there’s a lot you can learn about writing from other mediums, too. Specifically television. Every other week, I’ll bring you takeaways from some of the best television shows out there. These are meant to be specific concepts, themes, techniques, etc., that a writer can learn from the show. This post will help you understand the intricacies of plot.

This week we’ll take a look at Breaking Bad. Potential spoilers follow. This post will focus specifically on some crucial elements of storytelling, and how you can use them to develop an excellent plot. Each one of these elements is used successfully in the hit show Breaking Bad. I’ll show you how each one is used in this show, and provide a potential application for your own plot.”

1. Craft Unique Character Motivations
The number one thing you need for a successful and compelling plot is character motivation. Every character in Breaking Bad has terrific motivation for their actions.”

2. Develop Multiple Conflicts
Good plots are nothing without good conflict. With multiple characters who all have unique motivations, you can create conflicts between each of these characters.”

3. How to Use Foreshadowing Effectively
Breaking Bad uses foreshadowing throughout the plot. Sometimes it’s more heavy-handed than other times.”

4. Utilize Flashbacks and Flash Forwards
I don’t recommend using these two techniques often in fiction, but using them sparingly can be effective in creating suspense in your plot.”

5. The Importance of Recurring Plot Elements
Recurring elements are important because they draw plot lines together. They connect stories and people, and they recall to earlier points in a story, or point to something in the future.”

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4 Super Easy Ways To Create Characters For Short Stories

Create-Characters-For-Short-Stories“4 Super Easy Ways To Create Characters For Short Stories” by Mia Botha | May 3rd, 2017 | Writers Write.

Characters in Novels versus Characters in Short Stories

Creating characters in short stories is the same as creating characters in novels, but once again, when dealing with a reduced word count we have to make our writing work harder. We don’t have 80 000 words to develop a character arc. How can we work with a reduced count and still have a fully developed character?

1. Write Epic Descriptions

Sometimes we only need one line to summarise a character. Find a way to describe them that creates an image for the reader of who they are.”

2. Dialogue

How does your character talk? Vocabulary, sentence structure and how they talk all help us to show character.

The age, level of education and nationality will all influence how your character speaks.”

3. Body Language

Make your characters move. This conveys a lot about them. Make sure to use strong verbs.
Don’t say: the woman walked. That doesn’t tell us a lot about the woman. Rather say: she strode, she raced, she shuffled, she tiptoed. Those all create images and different scenarios.”

4. Internal Thoughts

Internal thoughts are still one of the simplest ways of showing character. Once you are in the mind of a character you can share their motivation, thought processes and backstory.”

“By using a combination of these methods, you’ll be able to convey as much of your character as possible using the least number of words. Tip: Don’t forget to apply to principles of ‘show, don’t tell’ to really pack a punch.

Happy writing.”

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8 Archetypes For Heroes & Heroines (and their Villianous Counterparts)

“8 Archetypes For Heroes & Heroines” | 2nd August 2013 | Writers Write.8-Archetypes-For-Heroes-And-Heroines

“We found this great resource for writers on tvtropes. If you’re looking for archetypes for male and female characters, have a look at this list. Follow the link at the end to read more, and to find a list of examples.

Archetypes for Heroes

  1. Apollo: The Businessman
  2. Ares: The Protector
  3. Hades: The Recluse
  4. Hermes: The Fool
  5. Dionysus: The Woman’s Man
  6. Osiris: The Male Messiah
  7. Poseidon: The Artist
  8. Zeus: The King

Their villainous versions are as follows:

  1. Apollo: The Traitor
  2. Ares: The Gladiator
  3. Hades: The Warlock
  4. Hermes: The Derelict
  5. Dionysus: The Seducer
  6. Osiris: The Punisher
  7. Poseidon: The Abuser
  8. Zeus: The Dictator

Archetypes for Heroines

  1. Aphrodite: The Seductive Muse
  2. Artemis: The Amazon
  3. Athena: The Father’s Daughter
  4. Demeter: The Nurturer
  5. Hera: The Matriarch
  6. Hestia: The Mystic
  7. Isis: The Female Messiah
  8. Persephone: The Maiden

Their villainous versions are as follows:

  1. Aphrodite: The Femme Fatale
  2. Artemis: The Gorgon
  3. Athena: The Backstabber
  4. Demeter: The Overcontrolling Mother
  5. Hera: The Scorned Woman
  6. Hestia: The Betrayer
  7. Isis: The Destroyer
  8. Persephone: The Troubled Teen”

Read more via 8 Archetypes For Heroes & Heroines 

How to Let Your Characters Tell Their Story

dialogue“How to Let Your Characters Tell Their Story” by Anthony Ehlers | 26th September, 2013 | Writers Write.

Dialogue (dy- ã- log) noun: words spoken by characters in a novel, play or screenplay. Dialogue is what story people say. Though it must sound as natural as people talking in real life, every word must be filtered to suit a character, the plot and other elements of your story.

One of the main functions of dialogue is to show conflict between two characters.

It should also be used to show a character’s emotions.

It is also a great tool for rounding out a character, making him more vivid and believable in the reader’s mind. Through the idiosyncrasies of his speech, we learn more about his true character.

Read more via How to Let Your Characters Tell Their Story


5 Moral Dilemmas That Make Characters (& Stories) Better


“5 Moral Dilemmas That Make Characters (& Stories) Better” by Steven James | 1st September, 2016 | “The Writer’s Dig” | Writer’s Digest.

Image: Steven James

Readers can’t resist turning pages when characters are facing tough choices. Use these 5 keys to weave moral dilemmas into your stories—and watch your fiction climb to new heights.

Key #1: Give Your Character Dueling Desires.
Key #2: Put Your Character’s Convictions to the Test.
Key #3: Force Your Character Into a Corner.
Key #4: Let the Dilemmas Grow From the Genre.
Key #5: Look for the Third Way.


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5 Reasons Why Your Protagonist Needs to Have Imperfections

5801590716_67e791b1ce_z“5 Reasons Why Your Protagonist Needs to Have Imperfections” by Georgina Roy | 16th January, 2015 | e-Book India.

“It’s a fact of life that people are imperfect. In real life, we have flaws, insecurities and phobias that can sometimes take over our daily lives and become a part of us. When writing fiction, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of creating the perfect protagonist that is always confident, self-aware and makes no mistakes. However, it is important to remember that the flawless protagonist will feel unreal to the readers. There are several reasons why the protagonist needs to be imperfect.

  1. Flaws bring the protagonist to life
  2. They help the reader connect with the protagonist
  3. Flaws create internal conflict
  4. They help with character development
  5. Flaws make the protagonist interesting.”

Read more via 5 Reasons Why Your Protagonist Needs to Have Imperfections.

How to Give Your Protagonists Emotions That Readers Can Truly Relate To


Image Source: Pixabay

“How to Give Your Protagonists Emotions That Readers Can Truly Relate To” by Georgina Roy | 20th May, 2016 | e-Books India.

“There are many aspects and elements of a great novel. One of them is plot – nothing is more thrilling than a tightly woven story, filled with ups, downs, turns and red herrings finished with a magnificent payoff. But a great plot will feel empty if the characters are intangible, two dimensional and unfeeling. The one thing that makes the characters of a novel tangible for the readers is the characters’ emotions. The more the characters and the protagonist feel emotions, the more real they are for the readers. You can write a great story, but no reader will care about it unless they feel what the characters are feeling. And below, there are several ways which can help you create characters that brim with emotions.

  1. Understandable Characters
  2. Show the Emotions
  3. Use Conflict and Important Scenes
  4. Verbal and Physical Reactions
  5. Magic Words.”

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The Sympathy Vote: How to Get Your Reader to Identify with an Unsympathetic Character

“The Sympathy Vote: How To Get Your Reader To Identify With An Unsympathetic Character” by Anthony Ehlers | 6th March, 2014 | Writers Write.

“Getting the audience to sit in the cheering section for a hero is easy—all you need is a brave, idealistic, upstanding, and highly functional character as the star of your story. But getting them to identify with the antagonist, unlikeable protagonist or anti-hero takes a lot more skill. You want the audience to feel sad for this character, or empathy or even just pity.

How do we do this?

  1. Show a single moment of contrast.
  2. Shine a light into our own dark side.
  3. Swing it around with redemption.
  4. Show us why they’re the victim too.”

Read more via The Sympathy Vote

How to Write Fully-Formed Characters in Fiction

“How to Write Fully-Formed Characters in Fiction” by Malcolm Mackay | 25th May, 2016 | Literary Hub.

“More than a city or a nation, the world of a book is in its characters. Everything else is a foundation, a stage upon which people can walk, the backdrop to their lives, and how much we see is determined by how little we need. All things are optional except the actions of the people within.

You walk down a street with no name in a city barely mentioned, the buildings around you half formed with occasional detail, but it feels like home. You’ve been told there are cars parked along one side of the street, the two storey houses with no front gardens and steps to the doors, the street curving out of your view at the far end. No one will tell you what kind of cars they are, or the color of the front doors of the houses. Picturing the little things is your responsibility.

A tall man in his forties is walking down the street. Short brown hair and a narrow face, an expression of doubt. That’s all you will be told, and it’s enough. All of the other details of the man’s appearance you have the skill to picture, to make him full and real. In two or three sentences you will receive all of the detail you need to create as broad a picture as you could wish. Multiply those two sentences by thirty and you’ve seen enough of a world to fit a novel into. Multiply by a hundred and thirty and that character is walking through a series.

* * * *

Ed McBain’s 87th precinct novel Blood Relatives gives us an opening sentence that captures everything we need to know about the world we’ve stepped into and nothing more.

She came running through the rain shoeless, neon signs and traffic signals splintering in liquid reflection beneath her flying feet.

Read more via How to Write Fully-Formed Characters in Fiction | Literary Hub

9 Famous Fictional Narcissistic Mothers – And How to Write About Them

“9 Famous Fictional Narcissistic Mothers – And How to Write About Them” by Amanda Patterson | 8th May, 2016 | Writers Write.

“A while back I wrote about the 15 most memorable mothers from the books I’ve read. Some of the them were caring, some were psychotic, and others were tragic.One of the most interesting characters to write about is a mother with a narcissistic personality disorder  The fact that she exists is enough to create a character with a story to tell.

What is a narcissistic mother?

Mark Banschick wrote a superb article in Psychology Today, where he says, “She’s a winner, at least in public. She’s the woman everyone admires—she’s a judge, lawyer, doctor, or teacher. She’s on the PTA or is the power behind your church or synagogue. She smoothly balances being socially nimble, while contributing to the community in a way that leaves others in awe. In their eyes, she’s superwoman.

Most people don’t know that this superwoman has a secret. Like everyone in this world, she has a flaw. No one is the epitome of perfection, and in mom’s case, the issue is narcissism.

The outside world may embrace her, but you know mom as self-centred, brittle, easily angered and ‘always right’. She may be loved by her friends and colleagues, but they don’t know the mom you know. You get maternal love now and then, but it’s unpredictable and punctuated by control, anger and a need to walk on eggshells.”

Read more via 9 Famous Fictional Narcissistic Mothers – And How To Write About Them – Writers Write