Three Ways To Promote Yourself And Your Writing

Promote Yourself And Your WritingAfter reading the title for this article I know what you’re all thinking. Mindy, how can you give insight on promoting yourself in the writing world when:

  • You’re unpublished
  • I never heard of you before
  • And your only twenty-two?
  • What makes you think you have enough life experience to give us tips?

All valid points and all true. However, I wanted to write these articles for one main reason; I’m learning right along side you. In order to learn with you I have to practice what I preach. So here’s what I’m preaching:

In order to become well known as a writer I have learned three very important things from other authors.

  1. Have a website. A website is incredibly useful. On your author website, readers or potential readers of your work can get to know you, the author. Consider registering your own name or at least your pen name as your own domain and create a portfolio that showcases you and your writing. Your own site also helps keep your readers up to date with any new projects, news, reviews, etc.
  2. Social media. I’ve found social media to be a powerful and useful promotion tool. I have had a Facebook account and Twitter page a while but never used them to promote anything writing related, until recently. Now I’m meeting many fellow writers and readers on Twitter and Facebook, especially with Facebook Groups. I highly recommend for those who have a Twitter account to read the conversation hundreds, if not thousands, of writers have each day through the hashtag called #amwriting.
  3. Events. Going to events based on writing can be hard if you’re shy like me. I’m slowly getting out of my shyness because I get out of my comfort zone and put myself out there. Going to events like a NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) Write In, is a great way to get to know local writers and promote yourself. As are local writing groups, conventions, and conferences. Also the good old ‘word of mouth’ is still much more useful than anything else.

Important Tip: Though promoting yourself is invaluable, remember not to go overboard. I have wasted many days by checking my Twitter account every two minutes. Anything else I wanted to get done that day, like writing, was never accomplished. Also, one of the most effective ways to promote yourself is to promote others. Share and share alike. Give back to the community and you’ll become a friend to others who will promote you too.

What other ways can we promote ourselves and our writing? How do you get the word out about what you do?

Until next time, thanks for reading!

Photo Credit: 04-15-10 © muharrem öner

Networking Know-How: Say YES To Opportunities

The Power of YES when NetworkingTo accept or decline? That is the question.

Networking is vital for any business, but especially for writers. If you are a reclusive writer, chances are you are missing out on precious opportunities for new clients, gigs, interview subjects, industry connections, and much more.

  • Say “Yes”!

    • Start small. It doesn’t take much effort to get “out there” with the public. Spend an extra hour in church, mingle during the coffee/cookie hour before or after services. If you typically stay after your service, opt to go an hour early and mingle with the earlier service or vice-versa. Go early to pick up kids from school and chat with the other parents. Accept more invitations to go out or visit with friends. While I wouldn’t hand out business cards to everyone, a simple conversation about what you do for a living will leave a lasting impression on a business owner.
  • Be A Host

    • For those with local clients or colleagues, host an event such as a coffee meeting between companies can increase the work-load for you! While you might not have a new project available immediately, bringing clients together to network will keep you in mind when he isn’t able to take on a project. You can socialize with prospective clients and fellow writers by hosting a morning tea or lunch. Perhaps consider a stationery or office supply party plan event.
  • Join A Writing Group

    • The group doesn’t have to be locally based. Join a writing group for accountability or editing. Fellow writers can call on you when they aren’t able to take a gig for any reason and you’ll all benefit from the shared support and mutual feedback. This might lead to some ghost-writing positions that you can claim on your resume or the right name being dropped in the right place at the right time.

Networking online is important for many writers, but failing to network off-line can be detrimental. By not answering the knock of opportunity you are failing yourself and your business. Change just one “no” into a “yes” today and begin sowing the benefits of all your hard work.

Don’t forget the Writer Must-Have’s when you venture outside your own writing nook.

How do you make the most of opportunities to say “yes” instead of “no” when networking?

Photo Credit: 06-03-06 © Amanda Rohde

Blog Review: SU Comments

It can be a dizzying online world when it comes to social media in our Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 society. It is easy to feel lost, overwhelmed, and confused as each latest fad or gadget flashes through your inbox or feed reader full of invitations. Thankfully, there are sites out there that introduce social media to average users.

@Teeg of SU Comments wished someone would offer social media insights and created her blog to share her experiences with FaceBook, Twitter, Plurk and more. If you want the 4.1.1. on a social media website she’s the woman to go to and since she loves to socialize you can catch her on your favorite social networking sites to ask ‘in person’.

While SU Comments is a fantastic place to browse hints and tips for using Stumble Upon what drew me to @Teeg’s site originally was her 10-Minute-Guides to Plurk. Plurk is a challenging social networking site to get started with so in my early Plurk days I worshiped her short tutorial style guides.

  1. Plurk Guide Part 1: Getting Started
  2. Plurk Guide Part 2: Let’s Get Plurking
  3. Plurk Guide Part 3: Cliques
  4. Plurk Guide Part 3a: Printable Emoticon List
  5. Plurk Guide Part 4: Mobile Plurking

I have three other favorite posts on the site that you should read if you want to leave your mark on the social media world.

SU Comments Asks: What Type Of Social Network User Are You? Do you love to bookmark sites you’ve visited so that you can come back to or share sites with others? Would you rather rate sites or Digg up the treasures to share with others in the online universe’s favorite popularity games? Do you like to build your list of friends, with friends, and more friends? Or do you love to chat and hang out with online buddies from across the globe who share your interests?

In September, @Teeg wrote about Keeping the ‘Social’ in Social Media. Have you ever wondered exactly where all this networking is taking you? It may be time to put on your running shoes and get out into real life. Meet your social media friends in person, gather together and make a deeper connection. Turn your social network into friendships.

Finally, a year ago (I like to dig deep into archives.) @Teeg asked, “How Would You Describe Twitter? Twitter hasn’t changed a great deal in the past year. The Great Fail Whale might have been replaced with some friendly looking birds but Twitter is still “a service […] to stay communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?”

Do you have a favorite SU Comments post? Do you know of other Social Media Hints and Tips blogs? What do you love best about SU Comments?

Getting Hits: “Build it and they will come”?

In the ever-expanding universe of cyberspace, one of our greatest challenges is attracting visitors. When it comes to blogging our visitors are a vital element that breathes life into our corner of the cyber galaxy. Visitors will, hopefully, turn into regular readers who comment and offer an interactivity that increases our enjoyment as bloggers. Does anyone enjoy talking to an empty room?

Creating a website or blog simply isn’t enough to carve out your own nook. These days you must get out there and spread the word. There are so many ways to attract visitors and some are more successful than others. What works?

Search Engines: Do you Google?

Search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, are overloaded with sites and web pages. From millions of results it takes a great deal of effort to ensure your site registers in the first few pages. For bloggers interested in gaining the most benefit from their search engine listings I recommend keeping on top of the latest Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques. Terms such as: keyword placement, meta tags, robot.txt etc. hold meanings that could equal significant traffic if you learn to use SEO techniques effectively.

Socializing, Community and Participation

Networking Is The Key To Building Dot NetCommunity participation is another way to develop inbound links. By befriending others in your sphere you can create a social circle on blog rolls, forums, groups and blog comments. It is important to be an active member online because we all learn from each other; constantly expanding our experiences.

Social Media – Connect and Interact

Social Media is one of the newer innovations to bring people together. With websites such as Twitter, Plurk, Facebook, Myspace, Digg, LinkedIn, Del.ic.ious, MyBlogLog, StumbleUpon and many more we link together as a community sharing interests, making new friends and discovering other hemispheres on the web.

Hit and Miss? No More! – Be Valuable

There Is More To Building A Dot Com Then You Might Think!These mediums can be a hit and miss experience when trying to build your brand or grow your blog community. Members are often more interested in what they can get out of their participation. It is important to offer potential readers value but it’s equally important to give value as a community member. When you give to others you’ll find you receive in return.

Never Enough Hours – Finding Balance

With the many pressures involved in ensuring your blog continues to grow it can sometimes be challenging to find the time to factor in all of these elements. Creating content should always be your primary concern because the myth, “build it and they will come” is true to some degree. Without anything other than content you will gain readers, slowly, almost imperceptibly. With great content everything else is optional. Each moment you spend in marketing however will increase the speed of your growth exponentially.

Find a balance and make sure the demands you put on yourself don’t go beyond your boundaries. There is no point treating your blog like a full time job if you already work full time, especially if you haven’t monetized your pages. It is true that with hard work and dedication you could turn blogging into a full-time career but it is often better to start slow, enjoy the process of establishing your readership and create a true bond with your visitors and your topic.

Book Review: Here Comes Everybody [Guest Post by Andrew Boyd]

Clay Shirky‘s Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations is a social impact assessment of the power of emergent behavior – people self-organizing via the power of the new social networks – and how this changes things.

I have to admit that I’ve avoided Clay Shirky until now – the hype in the “2.0” community was fairly intense, even cultish. The back cover didn’t help his case either – “…one of the new culture’s wisest observers” sounds very “legend in his own mind” to me. But I read it because it was there, and well, I liked it.

It is not the bible of all things social for the new millennium. It is not filled with cutting insights – some of the analysis of cause and effect works for me (the “let’s get Ivanna’s Sidekick back” phenomenon being an excellent example of the power of the net.mob) and some doesn’t work (the rise of social computing seeing the birth of real self-organizing groups – d00d, people have always self-organized).

Clay does make the point – several times – that social network users are not content to be traditional passive consumers of content – they are creating their own content, thank you very much – and they don’t want to be told what to read, what to buy, or who to vote for. Big “1.0” business has had a lot of catching up to do (and those that haven’t got it are failing). In this, Clay Shirky is preaching to the converts that Seth Godin has made over the last decade (of which I am one).

Overall, if you are interested in how online community works (and want to avoid being seen as exploiting it in a bad way) then you should probably read this book. Please read it with an open mind but a critical eye.

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations by Clay Shirky

Andrew Boyd

Andrew Boyd is a co-convener of the Canberra IA Cocktail Hours, he is partial to good peaty single malt whiskey, touring, blurring social network boundaries between the virtual and the real, travel, fine dining, shiny sharp things, blogging, blogging on blogging, and Donna.

Find or Establish a Local Writer’s Group

Have you ever participated in a local writer’s group? In some areas it can be challenging to find any group of writers who gather regularly let alone the right group to suit your individual needs. Thankfully, there are online communities that can create an ideal home, but can it compare to the camraderie and rhetoric that a group of local writer’s generate?

Becca from Write On Wednesday asks her readers,
What would be your criteria for the perfect writer’s group?


In the past I’ve searched for writer’s group that meet these five musts for my own needs:-

  1. Meeting together an a convenient time
  2. One of the hardest challenges when finding a local writer’s group is having the time available when others are gathering. For me this means trying to fit into hours when both my children are at school or finding a group that welcomes children. Do you prefer to gather for a morning group? Or an evening? Accomodating a time that suits everyone interested in joining the group can be difficult and this can be a good reason to create a group at a time that suits you.

  3. A blend of experience levels
  4. You certainly don’t want to develop a group of “Blind Leading Blind” novices. There also wouldn’t be much point to a group consisting entirely of writer’s who believe they know all they need to know. Developing a blend of experience levels gives members an opportunity to follow their mentors or aid mentees. More experienced writers can learn a great deal from those who are just finding their feet, and vice versa.

  5. Similar genre or type interests
  6. Those writers seeking poetry critique will find better advice from fellow poets. Those who write non-fiction may prefer to read other non-fiction. Genre specific writers may build a stronger foundation with other writers of the same genre. This is another good reason to begin your own group rather than join an existing one. If your preferred type or genre doesn’t have an exclusive group perhaps it is time to begin one.

  7. A firm basis for acceptable critique
  8. set the rules early. In a group environment it can be confusing if some writers rip in and others offer only polite nods. It is important to have a solid foundation for the kind and style of critique acceptable. Never join a group that is abusive or derogative to anyone. Your ideal writers group needs to share supportive, constructive critique with a balance of encouraging comments.

  9. A commitment to encouraging growth and motivation
  10. Just as you want to ensure a foundation for critique the lifts writers your group focus should be on the encouragement of growth and motivation. You should leave your regular gatherings with a renewed passion and drive to return to your individual writing. Share experiences, invite lessons, and push each other forward with love and consideration.

Finding a group that adheres to these five traits might be difficult. That doesn’t mean you cannot found one of your own. Find a location that suits your needs, arrange a time that works best for you, decide the type and genre you wish to focus upon, and write a foundation for critique and encouragement.

Show up for your writer’s meeting regularly. Meet with yourself. Advertise the group to others. Be welcoming as newcomers tread the waters of your group. It may be slow to grow but in time you’ll gather a sampling of writer’s who blend with your ideals and who bring a new element to each others work.

This new kinship is a true gift that will be cherished long into the future. From the humble beginnings of a writer’s group you all progress to greater things.

Have you found your ideal writers group? Do you have experience with starting your own? What is it you look for when gathering with local writers? What other local writing experiences have you enjoyed?

Are you a Western Australian Writer?
Every Thursday afternoon from 12:30pm until 2:30pm I gather at Seville Grove Library (formerly Westfield). I’d love to welcome other science fiction / fantasy novelists. Children are welcome, as are laptops.

Do you gather with an existing writer’s group?
Share your groups details in the comments so other local writers can visit!

Dog Train Your Writing Skills: Heel and Stay

In the first part of this series we discovered that learning to Sit is perhaps one of the hardest lessons a dog must learn. When puppies begin the challenge of obedience classes they’re full of bouyant energy, curiosity, and a hunger to explore. Learning to sit requires blocking out those rambunctious thoughts. It requires patience, concentration, and a passion to please.

Walk With Me: Heel
The Second Lesson: Heel
When a dog learns to heel they’re forced to open their mind a little. They must broaden their horizon. They still need to reign in their curiosity, listen to commands, and watch their progress carefully but they must also accept the leash, move forward and mark their steps at a steady rate.

Learning to heel as a writer requires the same attention to details. After having taken the time to sit regularly you need to find a direction and follow the path with a steady, dogged, determination. If you watch the steps you take and follow the lead of other successful writers you’ll find the walk an easier one to make. Progress is smoother and you share it with others going in the same direction.

Sometimes, it is tempting for a new pup to run ahead, to strain the leash. If given free reign he runs into dangers, pitfalls, or loses energy. A steady pace gives him the freedom to roam forward under the guiding hand of a friend.

A great way to discover your leash is to explore your community, online and off. Other writers have walked the path you walk before you and can offer guidance and advice. If you take a steady pace and listen to that advice along the way you’ll keep your momentum moving forward and avoid running out of steam or overwhelming your creativity.

When Is It Time To Stay?

The Third Lesson: StayAt various points on any journey you’ll reach a place to pull aside, stay a while. For dogs, learning to stay is important because they need to know they can pause, take new notice of their surroundings, and take heed of any dangers that may have come into play around them.

As a writer, we also have dangers that come into play and pitfalls to be wary of. Sometimes it’s important to take time to pause and appreciate the warning signs around us. Listing to your instincts and do your research.

When you’re approaching a new market, discovering a new niche, are offered a new contract, or feel you’re going in the wrong direction with a client it is important to pause, Stay.

There is nothing wrong with taking a day, a week, to consider your options. It is safer to do this then to run ahead without accepting the consequences one choice might have versus another. It is also important, that after examining your options you take the next step forward in whichever direction you choose to head.

The Stay command is ALWAYS followed by Free, or Come. No dog, or writer, can remain stationary forever. A choice must be made and action taken to follow through.

Giving Back to Your Blogging Community

Life can become crazy and noisy for us writers most of the time. Instead of hearing those sweet whispers clearly, we get static fuzziness that often leaves us feeling tired, uninspired, and discouraged about our future with words. Add to those hectic times the nagging need to keep up with our own blogs and we find ourselves too drained and stressed out to even sleep!

I’ve finally made time myself to sit down and write a guest post for Rebecca. My heart went out to her when I read her recent post apologizing for the sporadic updates. I know how it feels to not have the time–or energy–to drag out even a few short words for my readers.

How we fall behind

We’ve all blogged about, or thought about, solutions to this problem.

  • Have extra posts on hand
  • Ask for guest posts
  • Make better use of our time
  • Yada… yada… yada….

Why is it we don’t follow through? I know I’ve yet to write extra posts to keep on hand and apparently Rebecca hasn’t either. But why? One word: time. There never seems to be a huge supply of it. Each second of every day is a precious commodity. Sometimes (ok, a lot of the time) life gets in the way and we simply cannot keep up with everything.

That thing we do

Part of a writers nature is procrastination. Don’t you agree? I’ll write that article tomorrow. I’ll respond to that email later. Those query letters can wait a few more days. Maybe I’ll find time to write a blog post in the morning or at lunch. The laundry can wait. The dishes can wait. I’ll meet up with friends another time. Does any of this sound familiar?

I think it’s just another way we creative writers express ourselves. Painters paint. Bakers bake. We dream, create, write…. and put other things off.

What we can do

Since we can’t seem to bring ourselves to always plan ahead, why not go ahead and offer up a guest post the next time one of your favorite blogs goes several days with nothing new. I imagine the blog owner will appreciate your offer, and if your proposal is keeping within the theme of their blog, they’ll more than likely snatch it up. I’m sure they’ll breathe a sigh of relief when they hit publish on that post they didn’t have to write (like Rebecca is probably doing right now).

Be willing to share your talent with the one who has been inspiring and teaching you. You’ve enjoyed their writing. Now it’s your turn to give something back. The blogging community is a warm and caring one. Let’s keep that alive.

Michele L. Tune: Freelance Writer & BloggerMichele L. Tune, when she isn’t busy meeting deadlines, dreaming, or keeping her eyes open for bloggers needing a guest post, can be found Writing the Cyber Highway.


Kindest Regards,
Michele L. Tune

Inspiring readers one word at a time…

Freelance writer & blogger
www.michele-tune.com

Writing the Cyber Highway: a blog
http://www.writingthecyberhighway.com

Thank You, WRA’s Fantastic Community!- January 2008

You are such a valuable member of this blog. Your feedback, participation – even when you’re lurking – creates a vibrant life and energy here that inspires creativity. Your gift of self is precious and I value your comments, links, and friendship.

I want to do my part to express my sincere gratitude. This blog would be nothing without you. This month I’m going to share your links with others, stumble some pages and sites, leave a few reviews and additional comments, and give back what I can to show you how much you mean to me and the success of The Writer’s Round-About.

Thank You For Your Comments!

Michele Tune: Michele continues to be a loyal and supportive friend while we’re Writing The Cyber Highway. I cherish your feedback and your avid participation in this blog, Michele. This community would not be the same without you.

Melissa Donovan: Melissa is a fantastically talented write who provides a valuable resource at Writing Forward. I don’t know how you find the time Melissa but I am truly grateful for your support of WRA.

LaskiGal: It has been great to see so many fantastic comments from you in January LaskiGal. I’m looking forward to getting to know you better and exploring more of your blog.

Jeanne Dininni: You always offer insightful comments, Jeanne. I keep an eye out for your comments because they are always interesting and thought provoking. I’ll look forward to reading more of your Writing Notes and your comments here on WRA in February.

Sharon Hurley Hall: Sharon, you’re an inspiration and I love the helpful tips on Get Paid to Write Online. You seem so full of energy and a burning desire to help others. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself.

Grandy: Thank you so much for your lovely, encouraging comments, Grandy, and THANK YOU for the ROAR award! I truly appreciate your support and I am so glad you’ve enjoyed reading my blog.

Barbara Swafford: I’ve loved meeting you in January, Barbara. We really do seem like kindred spirits and I hope we will develop a growing and lasting friendship. Your inspiration and creativity encourage me and sparkle like stars in the heavens.

Rebecca Taunton: I love having you visit my blog, Rebecca. Perhaps it’s ego because I like seeing my own name but mostly it’s because you offer wonderful, thought-filled comments. Thank you so much!

Lisa Gates: Lisa, I’m still charged from the teleclass we shared weeks ago and I’m saving my pennies and dimes for another session with you. I love your visits and have your blog in my RSS feed. I don’t keep up with posts as often as I’d like but I always love the time I spend reading your latest wisdom.

Plaid Earthworm: You’re such a special person, warm and giving. Thank you so much for the role you’ve played in the life of WRA in January. I’d love to share more of your writing journey with you.

Laurie Ashton: Thank you for entering the contest this month, Laurie. I love your informative entry and I wish you the best of luck as the voting continues.

Catherine Lawson: It was lovely to meet you, Catherine. I’m so glad you enjoyed your visit to The Writer’s Round-About. I was inspired by your thoughts and comments.

James Chartrand: I loved your thoughts on procrastination, James! You always have interesting ideas and a creative way to look at problems and ideas. I also love the easy going humor in your blog entries. You’re actually one of my secret idols. I love the way you write and I try to learn what I can from you as I read your fantastic blog.

Beth: I loved your continuation of the Procrastination Busters [meme]. I’m sure all writers procrastinate from time to time so all these remarkable, ground-breaking tips are full of wisdom we can all put to wonderous use.

Kåre Enga: I loved seeing you here in January, Cory! I’m sorry I don’t spend more time at WDC these days but I’ve always found your blog there a joy to read. You continue to create and inspire. You’re a guiding light for poetry, and for life. Thank you!

Nez: Thanks for your thought-filled comments, Nez! It’s interesting how we can read for pleasure but still learn something valuable from books we choose for entertainment value.

mikster: Thank you for the EntreCard welcome, mikster! EntreCard is an interesting creation and I’m enjoying the game-type element. It’s wonderful to see so many new faces from there as well.

Hope Wilbanks: I’m glad you loved the Procrastination Busters!

Nita Beshear: It was great to see you again in January, Nita!

Barrie Summy: My pleasure for the Stumble, Barrie. You’ve got some great content on your blog!

Opal Tribble: Thanks for your feedback, Opal.

Suzanne Lieurance: I’m so glad you made the discovery of WRA and I’m glad you enjoyed what you’ve read here. The contest seems to be doing very well and I’m excited and looking forward to the results. I hope you voted!

Fiona Veitch Smith: I’d love to see more of you Fiona! Your blog is fantastic and I’m a regular reader thanks to my RSS feed. Thank you for stopping by The Writer’s Round-About in January.

Naomi Dunford: I hope you’ve been having a great year, Naomi. Thanks so much for your comment.

Elrena Evans: I’ve missed you this month, Elrena but I know you’re having wonderful success over at your own blog. Your visit in January was lovely, thank you for stopping by.

Heather Strang: Thank you so much for your fantastic comment, Heather. It is amazing what a coach can bring out of a writer, especially in the early stages of a freelance career. We all begin with various strengths and weaknesses that can empower our success or bring about our downfall. I’m glad your writing coach lifted you into the heights.

Deborah Wilson: Thank you so much for your informative comment! I love the idea of continued education so your thoughts encouraged my fight for further studies. You always have such wonderful insights and I truly love your visits.

Thank You For Your Link!

Writing Forward
Jenny Greenleaf – Working Writer
eMarketing Performance
Perigrinas: Adventures in Speculative Fiction
Polenth’s Quill
Get Paid To Write Online
JCME Freelance Writing
Anything That Pays… A Freelance Writer’s Blog
Blogging Without A Blog
Spontaneous Derivation
Squiggle~ the writing world of Plaid Earthworm
Hope Writes – Tips for Writers
How To Rule The World
Auria Cortes
From The Cheap Seats
Functional Shmunctional
Writings
Tennassee Text Wrestling
Aaron Crocco: Copious Notes
The Blog of Rudy Amid
Virtual Wordsmith
The Speakeasy
A Thoughtful Life
Spittin’ (out words) Like a Llama
Lusty Lady
Curious Distractions
The Writer’s Block
Linda Gerber . Com
Terry Bain | BainBooks.com
My Tiny Kingdom
Writing Without The Reins
Jonathan Maberry’s Big Scary Blog
Penguin Group (USA)
Are You Sure This Is *MY* Life?
Side Dish
In Her Own Write
~Christa~
LitPark >> Where Writers Come To Play
The Wicked Flower Girl Things Out Loud
Mary’s Writing Nook

A Final Thank You

You have offered such inspiration and hope to The Writer’s Round-About and I cherish you dearly. I am looking forward to continuing this writing journey with you into February and beyond. Please don’t be afraid to comment. I love to hear your thoughts, your opinions, and your own experiences. Ask questions and share your own ideas. You are free to express yourself here in an environment that encourages your thoughts and creativity.

SG1 Series Part Two: Character Development

Characters are an elemental part of every story. An intriguing plot with a good story-arc is important but without approachable characters your story will never connect with an audience. Readers need characters. Characters are the socket for your stories power supply. It is through your characters that readers can plug into the plot and experience the life of your story.

The Stargate series introduces a multitude of characters in various stages and of differing quality and consideration. Some play bit parts as extras or body count but others grow into the story, we come to love them or hate them, we come to care for the part they play in the story, their injuries and deaths bring anguish and grief or heartfelt cheers.


SG1 – Jack, Daniel, Sam and Teal’c

The original SG1 is a team of four diverse characters. Their differences create an initial challenge; they struggle as a unit until they learn to use each others strengths to counter their own weaknesses. It shows the importance of bringing opposites together. These characters are unique in their own fields. It is their united purposes, each individual to their character, which brings them together. A bond is formed that gives this eclectic community a solid friendship. We see the bond develop and grow with the characters as the series progresses.

It is important to blend characters but avoid carbon copies. Each character should be unique and individual. Distinguish them with separate goals, established histories, areas of interest and technique.


The SGC and General Hammond

The Stargate Command is an entity in its own right. It is actually a collection of individuals that work in regulated ways to create a standardized base of operations. There are many faceless characters lead by the General. Most of the time we don’t connect with these individuals but General Hammond represents the unity. His personality molds the actions of the SGC.

Larger forces need a strong head character to represent their interests. Armies can seem like a long column of faceless men but a charismatic leader will show a distinguishing command of his forces. Each of his men is ultimately the voice of this man and a solid leader is one whose men will lay down their own lives to support the orders he puts forth. This is true of the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ guys.


The Goa’uld

While the Goa’uld are a nasty bunch in their own right they are an ideal antagonist. They aren’t evil. They have solid reasoning and a collection of emotional reactions that allow readers to associate with them. The Goa’uld act entirely out of an arrogant sense of self preservation and domination. As a people (um… symbiotic race) they act with rational, intelligent thought. They are challenging but not insurmountable.

Antagonists should be normal people. You can create more impact with a sympathetic antagonist then with a diabolical freak. If a reader can see themselves in a protagonist you have a good story but if readers can see themselves to some small degree in the antagonist then you have a charged situation that will keep a reader tied to the outcome.

There are many more characters involved in the Stargate series. Each new person (or group of people) is shown in snippets. Base motivations appear and personality traits are revealed but characters always have an element that remains unseen. It is impossible to know everything and it is important that characters can still do something unexpected or unpredictable.

Over time, we get to know the main characters. Their own personal stories are revealed and delved into. The primary characters are challenged with personal situations forcing them to make choices that distinguish them. Whole episodes play a vital role in adding depth to these characters and introduce situations that push their qualities forward.

  • Use time in your story to slowly reveal your characters.
  • Allow their actions and reactions to portray the depth of their beliefs and desires.
  • Each scene should use your characters strengths and weaknesses.
  • 3D characters have sides we cannot see.
  • A characters relationships reveal vital clues to their personality.
  • Characters always continue to grow and change based on the situations that occur in each moment of their lives.

Finally, just because your story has reached ‘The End’ does not mean your characters have. Characters should still be imperfect in the final scene. Their growth remains incomplete. Some of your characters may have died but most will live on beyond your closing paragraph and while they began at one point and progressed to another in this story there should always be another world to save, another enemy to fight, another day to live and another dream to follow.

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