Writing Radically

Getting Literary


Literary devices–subtext, symbolism, metaphor, and so forth–are all tools that you can use to take your story to the next level. Below are some considerations for writers who are thinking about incorporating literary elements int their fiction and a few tips for getting it right. Continue reading “Getting Literary”

Hamilton and Burr’s Rivalry: Subtext, Symbolism, and Character Relationships Done Right

On Friday I made a post about Hamilton’s use of framing devices. Here, I’m going to talk about Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton’s rivalry in terms of writing, and what we can learn from it in terms of crafting complex, well-thought out character relationships.  Continue reading “Hamilton and Burr’s Rivalry: Subtext, Symbolism, and Character Relationships Done Right”

Who Tells Your Story: POV in Hamilton

Through a combination of persistence and dumb luck, I had the good fortune to be in the room where it happens. While this is normally a writing blog, after seeing Hamilton I think that the play warrants some discussion. Hamilton is a work of literature. Not only are the lyrics clever and well written, but the costumes, set, and stagecraft all come together to create a powerful piece of rhetoric. Continue reading “Who Tells Your Story: POV in Hamilton”

Unintentionally Unhealthy Character Relationships

Fiction is rife with dysfunctional couples. When handled well, these can explore interesting social dynamics, create conflict, and make a statement about real-world issues like domestic violence and dating abuse. However, when an unintentionally unhealthy relationship is portrayed as a character’s happily ever after, it often leaves readers with a bad taste in their mouth. Continue reading “Unintentionally Unhealthy Character Relationships”

Man Pain:What It Is and Why It Doesn’t Belong in Your Book

The other day I came across this great article on Man Pain. As something that I have found endlessly frustrating in fiction, I’d like to delve into this a bit and  discuss what Man Pain is, why it’s such remarkably bad writing. Continue reading “Man Pain:What It Is and Why It Doesn’t Belong in Your Book”

Common Secondary Character Problems

So you’ve got a reasonably sized cast of supporting characters, but something still isn’t quite right. Below are three of the most common issues that tend to arise when dealing with supporting characters. Continue reading “Common Secondary Character Problems”

Secondary Characters and Why You Need Them

One of the most common issues with supporting characters occurs when the writer simply forgets to include them. This means that the main character spends a lot of time wandering around alone. Setting up your MC a few friends, some family, or even just a rival who won’t bug off can give your character much needed outlet. Continue reading “Secondary Characters and Why You Need Them”

Character Development

Compelling characters tend to change over the course of the story–that is, they develop. Good character development is the art of creating a dynamic character who grows with the story and becomes more nuanced as the reader learns about them. Below is a quick crash course on what character development looks like and four distinct opportunities to include it in your story. Continue reading “Character Development”

Troubleshooting Unlikable Characters

So, you’ve written a great character. They’re smart, funny, and everyone in the story loves them. The problem is that most of your readers don’t. It can be hard to put your finger on what makes readers connect to a character, but if there’s a serious failure to launch these four things may be a good place to start troubleshooting. Continue reading “Troubleshooting Unlikable Characters”

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