Writing Worthwhile Secondary Characters

How well do you know your secondary and tertiary characters?

A common early-draft issue is minor characters who act as mere props for the protagonist’s arc. Need a crisis for a main character? Subject a secondary character to an accident or illness. Need a contrast to your heroine? Pick a few top-of-mind traits (the nerd, the bully, the class clown), assign them to a body in the scene, and designate the body “Sidekick.”

And that’s okay. Your creative mind is giving you placeholders so you can get the heart of your story onto the page.

But when it’s time to revise, it’s your job to interrogate every one of those minor characters; to replace clichés with original ideas; to be sure that everybody in the whole story is tightly bound to your theme and plot.

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Anne Hawley
What Type of Editor Do You Need?

If you’re confused about the different types of editors (which to hire and when), rest assured that you’re not alone.

For example, writers often confuse line editing with copyediting or proofreading since all three types of editors focus detailed attention on the use of language and involve "marking-up" a manuscript. But they are different processes, requiring different professional skill sets, and should occur at very different times during the writing process. Most beginning writers haven’t even heard of a developmental editor and mistakenly think they’re ready to pitch to an acquisitions editor as soon as they finish their first draft.

Uh oh. That’s a sure fire way to close some doors on their writing career.

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Rachelle Ramirez
Tell Us About Your Writing Career

Pages & Platforms is dedicated to helping you write a great book and get it out into the world. To help you better, we'd like to understand the hurdles you're facing and what you've already tried to get over those hurdles.

Please take a couple of minutes to help us support you. Thanks in advance for your thoughtful responses.

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Sue Campbell
Men Writing Women

From a male client working on a novel:

I have a question on a sensitive topic and it’s a bit scary for me to ask. I’m thinking of using a boss of mine as a model for [Character X, an antagonist]. People get criticized for making women “shrill” or “too emotional” and I know this sounds weird, but I get scared about writing a woman doing bad things for these reasons.

[Client follows with a humorous anecdote about this woman boss’s imperious behavior towards her underlings.]

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Anne Hawley
Do You Need an Editor?

The short answer is, “Yes.”

  • If you want to meet the professional standards now expected by agents, publishing houses, and audiences.

  • If you want to make your story the best it can be.

  • If you’re going the self-publishing route where there is no possibility of a gatekeeper catching a problem with your manuscript.

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Rachelle Ramirez
Author Newsletter Dos and Don'ts

If you already know you need to be growing an email list and sending out regular content to your subscribers — Bravo! You’re ahead of most authors, even some of the big ones.

But if you’re stuck on how to actually execute an author newsletter, read on for some dos and don’ts.

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Sue Campbell
Making Sharing Easy is Caring

We all know sharing is caring and we all know how a share from lots of people — or a share from just the right person — can make a big impact online.

But, as authors what we often don’t consider is that when we ask for shares, we can show we care by making it easy for people.

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Sue Campbell
How Strong Influencer Relationships Can Grow Your Audience

Obviously, you don’t have limitless time, energy or appetite to build your author platform and grow your audience.

That means you need to think strategically about how to invest the time you do have.

One of the biggest time and energy mistakes authors make with marketing is with their approach to social media.

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Sue Campbell
What Your Author Website Really Needs

There’s a lot of overthinking and overspending that happens with author websites. Do you need to spend multiple thousands of dollars on your online home? For most writers, the answer is no. A small investment, good copy and mastery of a few basics will give you a professional looking author website that will help you attract and retain readers.

Here are the basics to concentrate on.

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Have Questions About Our Group Coaching Program?

We’re so excited about our new group coaching program for building your author platform which starts Saturday, January 12, 2019! It’s a chance for authors to get direct, sound advice about how to grow their careers and sell more books — and the chance to connect with other writers at all stages of the journey. Registration closes Friday, January 11 or when all eight slots are full, whichever comes first.

Here we’re answering some of the most common questions we’ve had about the program. Hopefully, this will help you figure out if this group coaching experience for author marketing is right for you.

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Sue Campbell
The Day's Not Over Yet

I’m a lark. I have my best days when I wake up early use the morning hours to do my writing and a bit of meditation. That way, I go through the day knowing I’ve already done two of the things that important for my well-being.

Morning is my most creative time, so I’ve learned not to waste it on listening to the news or doing busywork.

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Sue Campbell
What's the Best Way to Build Your Email List?

The single best way to build your email list is to offer something of value to your potential subscribers. They sign up, they get a special gift from you that somehow makes their day (or even their life) a little bit better.

That’s the simple answer. But as a writer, how the heck do you decide what that sign-up incentive should be? That question right there is such a frustrating one, I’m sure it explains why even writers who know they should offer a “bribe to subscribe” don’t.

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Sue Campbell
The Creative Process is Not Solitary

I’m going to be blunt here. If you’re sitting alone in a room day after day putting words on the page but never showing anyone because you don’t think the work is “ready,” you’re doing it wrong.

You’re hurting yourself creatively and you’re definitely hurting your chances of ever benefiting from your writing financially.

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Sue Campbell
Discover Your "Tendency" to Unlock Your Writing Productivity

How are you at following through on expectations? Either those you put on yourself or those other have of you? More to the point for our purposes, how are you at getting your writing and your author marketing done?

I recently discovered something that has made all the difference for me in terms of understand how different people meet or don’t meet their writing and marketing goals.

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Sue Campbell
How to Refill Your Creative Cup

Maybe when you sit down to write and absolutely nothing happens. Maybe you can’t even get yourself to sit down to write at all. You tell yourself you don’t have any ideas. You need to wait for inspiration, then you’ll be able to get to work.

Your creative cup is empty. It’s been drained like a cup of espresso after a sleepless night and you don’t know how to fill it up again.

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Sue Campbell
Two Books to Help You Deal with Fear as an Author

Whether we’re trying to get our writing done or trying to get our (finally done!) writing into the world, fear is the writer’s biggest obstacle.

But fear doesn’t have to be a creativity killer. With some self-awareness and courage, we can push through and do our work in the face of fear.

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Sue Campbell