Case Studies For Writers

a craft toolbox

May 31, 2019

How Death and The Dervish, by Mesa Selimovic, helped me fix my plot holes

By Dalia Lepa.

            “That was how he took revenge on the world, by not showing his bitterness.”

Oh, you lover of books. You live in an era where the modern day attention span is about five minutes.
Do you remember Mesa Selimovic? Probably not—well he wrote a critically acclaimed novel circa 1966 called, Death and the Dervish. Sure, it was written in the “stone-age”, in a different time, for a different audience. Along comes me, present day impatient Dalia, who can literally summarize the whole plot in about 3 sentences. Don’t believe me? Let me try.

May 29, 2019

Tips and Tricks to Create Suspense Inspired by ‘Where the Forest Meets the Stars’ by Glendy Vanderah

By Lidija Hilje.

Novels are basically all about Q and A; the author poses questions and, with some delay, answers them. In that period of delay lies suspense—a feeling of anticipation, apprehension and anxiety the reader experiences while waiting for the questions to be answered.

The success of a book depends on this feeling; it’s what makes the reader turn the pages. So its always good to explore new ways of drawing more suspense out of your writing.


May 15, 2019

Sharpen Your Main Character by Using Books on Writing


By Max Vonne. 


Making sure that readers connect with your main character is a critical point of focus for your writing.  This is an especially tough challenge for new writers.  Thankfully, there are some great tools available to us.  

In my last article, I spoke about CritiqueMatch.com, which I’m just going to briefly mention here.  Getting your work in front of others and getting their feedback is key to understanding if your main character is resonating.  Other writers will not only tell you if they like the character but will also make suggestions on how to improve him/her.  I can’t imagine developing my characters without this process.

May 13, 2019

Developing Minor Characters 101: A Neville Longbottom Exposition


By Madison Bringhurst.

Though you could write an entire soliloquy about the amazing character arch Neville Longbottom has, his unfailing ability to try, or how he overcame a tragic beginning, the real genius of Neville Longbottom’s character is in JK Rowling’s ability to use him.
In the fourth book of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Neville is shown clumsily falling into the trap of a trick stair after dinner one evening. The scene paints a vibrant image of the quirky nature of JK Rowling’s magical world and pairs it with a light-hearted laugh. Though this great moment in itself would make the scene worth having in the final draft, its implications for later in the book are what make Neville more than just a comic relief character. Later in the book, Harry finds himself trapped by the same stair. Rather than having Harry explain this during a heated moment, thus taking away from the urgency of the scene, Rowling shows the necessary details earlier using one of her favorite expositional devices: Neville Longbottom.

May 8, 2019

Character Stereotypes – How to break them

By Ela Mishne.

The Chosen One, Dumb Blonde, The Wise Old Man, Queen Bee. We’ve all seen these characters. The scientist is always crazy and looks like Albert Einstein. The bully loves being bad because—well, for no particular reason. The problem with these characters is that they make the story predictable and boring. So writers are encouraged to create fresh and unique characters.
But here’s the problem. Readers love familiar characters because they don’t have to get to know these new people. They feel safe. But safe is boring, and readers should never be bored.