Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Frequently Asked Writing Questions: Answered

Over at Terrible Minds, a fun post about fifteen of the most common questions writers get asked, with answers.

I wasn’t going to post about this, I was just going to read it myself and chuckle, but Chuck’s answers are both funny and basically true so I couldn’t resist sharing a few of them plus the link with you here.

Here’s one of my favorite bits:

4. HOW DO I WRITE A GOOD CHARACTER?

I love that this is a frequently-asked question. I do! Because character is everything. Nobody wants to read a book about a lamp. Unless the lamp is like, animated and has shit to do, it’s just a lamp. History is made of people. Stories are made of people. It’s all Soylent Green. We are people who want to read about people, even if those people are robots or wyverns or animated lamps.

Just the same, you might as well ask me:

“How do I personally get to Mars?”

Or,

“How do live my life until death?”

It’s such a wide-open, scary fucking question. Art is not an equation. Characters are not LEGO mini-figs where you just pop snap on the legs and pop press on the head and snap click on the hair. They’re this curious alchemical reaction transitioning the crass metal of your imagination into the burnished gold of a character that exists on the page that I love and that feels real.

This is true! It is! Not that people frequently ask me this particular question, but you sure see a TON of posts about this exact topic and I think those posts are sometimes interesting but completely useless. Posting about “how to write a good character” is in fact a lot like posting about “how to live a good life.”

Mind you, this is Chuck Wendig we’re talking about here, so he goes on and provides a longish bit of general advice about writing interesting characters. But still.

Chuck sometimes tries to post a short response to a question, as here:

6A. SHOULD I SELF-PUBLISH OR PUBLISH TRADITIONALLY?

*pinches bridge of nose*

*long sigh*

Yes.

But you see that this is 6A, right? 6B follows, with of course a longish bit of actual advice.

Anyway, if you have a minute, the whole post is kinda fun and who knows, possibly helpful.

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