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Do your characters have secrets?

When developing characters–hair color, size, likes, dislikes, hobbies, background–do you think about what secrets they might have? Secrets can make your character more complex, human, and interesting.

For ideas on the types of secrets people have, listen to Frank Warren’s 11-minute talk below about an art project he started back in 2004. He handed out 3,000 postcards and asked people to anonymously mail in their secrets. He has since collected over half a million secrets and posts them weekly on his website

Warren says, “Secrets can remind us of the countless human dramas, of frailty and heroism playing out silently in the lives of people all around us.”

What secrets might your characters have?

Three ways to feed your muse: muse juice, part 1

Ever feel as if your muse is sitting back, stuffing her face with Bon Bons while watching reruns of “True Blood”? How do you inspire her to get off her ever-widening rear end and get back to work?

Check out, where you’ll find “riveting talks by remarkable people.” Or, as I affectionately call this website—muse juice.

One of my favorite inspirational talks is by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love. In trying to answer the question, “Where does creativity come from?” she tells of the time she met American poet Ruth Stone who grew up in rural Virginia.

Sometimes, when Ruth was out working in the fields, she’d feel and hear a poem coming at her from over the landscape—like a “thunderous train of air” barreling down on her. She’d run like hell to the house to get paper and pencil so when the poem barreled through her she’d be ready. Sometimes, she’d almost miss it. During these times, she’d grab a pencil and reach out with her other hand and catch the poem by its tail, pulling it back to her. When this happened, the poem would come out on the page perfectly intact but backwards—the words written from the end of the poem to the beginning.

I love this story because it feels as if it could be true. Read more

Should we write in different genres or stick to one?

The new international biennial Seek showcases the work of 100 visual artists selected by curators Calinda Salazar and Fletcher Ramsey. The artists come from all walks of life. They paint, sculpt, draw, direct short movies, and more. The unique thing about the exhibit? It’s all make-believe–even the “curators” aren’t real. Artist Shea Hembrey created the fictional artists and their artwork over a span of two years.

Above is a video of the talk Hembrey gave at where he shows a sample of his exhibition.

How does this relate to writing? For his exhibition, Hembrey created works of art in a variety of genres. As writers, we know that the more we write, the more we learn—we learn about writing, about craft, about ourselves. But should be write in different genres or stick to one? Read more