Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wise Words Wednesday - Common Mistakes

Common Mistakes in Creating Characters
by Stacy D. Holmes

Here are a few things you don’t want your characters to be:

1) Stereotypical. Too predictable or clichéd. Think of a strong, manly cowboy drawling all his words, scuffing his boots through the dirt with a bow-legged walk, and calling every woman he meets “darlin’.” Don’t fall into the trap of making your characters sound like a bad movie. It’s okay to use bits and pieces of known characteristics, but make sure your characters are unique with something different to personalize them and help them stand out.

2) Flat. No one likes a blah/boring character. Actions and dialogue make characters who they are, so make sure you’re including strong verbs, movement, quirks, and specific descriptions relating to your specific character in order to bring them to life.

3) Too stupid to live. A common phrase used to describe characters constantly falling into trouble and making inevitably wrong—and usually silly/ridiculous—choices. These characters are those with no validation for their actions such as dropping in a hole out of nowhere and needs to be saved, a long lost, never heard of before past love or enemy showing up out of the blue mid-story, or characters engaging in a constant reign of miscommunication that could have easily been avoided by one face to face conversation in the very first chapter. Wanting to have creative or wacky events in your manuscript can be fun and unique, simply make sure your characters have purpose and follow a thought process or action sequence that is rooted to some form of validation woven throughout.

4) Too perfect. It is more often the flaws that endear a character to the reader more so than the heroics. One thing people are not in this world is perfect. EVERYONE has flaws and THAT’S OKAY. It makes us all the same…human. These flaws can also help create unique aspects to the conflicts in a manuscript, and as noted, flaws are what makes your characters relatable to your readers. And this relatability is what draws a reader to your characters, to your voice, to your books over and over and over again.

Lonesome Cowboy 
by Stacy Dawn

With a title under his belt, a purse in the bank, and a ring in his pocket, Marshall Dekes returned for the woman he loved...only to find her at the altar saying "I do" to another man. 

Two years later, he's stunned to find Amy sitting at the bar of the Lonesome Steer Honky Tonk. Anger and resentment still burning, he lets her have it, refusing the forgiveness she seeks. But his world is turned upside down when he hears her cry of distress and finds himself helping with the unexpected birth of her child. 

What his head can't forgive, his heart can't forget, and Amy staying with her cousin in nearby Redemption is too close for comfort. When events of the past start coming to light, he doesn't know if his heart is strong enough to risk a second chance at the life he'd all but given up on. 

The Wild Rose Press:
Amazon. ca:

Stacy D. Holmes is a freelance editor, a senior editor with the Wild Rose Press, and an author of over twenty published works. Eighteen years in the publishing industry has given her the experience to assist both published and unpublished authors on many different projects and in any stage of the writing process. She enjoys guiding authors toward their goals, watching an idea blossom into a full fledge manuscript, a good story grow into a great story, and especially being a small part in writers achieving their dreams.
Twitter: @StacyDHolmesEd


  1. Thanks for your Wise Words Stacy. I'll take them to heart when working on my next project.

  2. HI Stacy: What great advice. I especially get annoyed at heroines who are TSTL, or are just plain brats. "Love Her Like the Devil" sounds very heartfelt and interesting, and what a great cover. and you sound like a terrific editor, thanks for sharing your expertise.

  3. Great tips, Stacy! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Thanks so much for popping by everyone!

  5. I always have to strive hard to remember #4. You're absolutely right that a flaw is what makes a character.