It’s easy to default to a few ways to describe a character’s body language, but over a 300-page novel, the same interpretations of emotions becomes repetitive. Have you leaned on one of these phrases?
Understanding your characters’ backstory can deepen motivations (why they want what they want) and solve plot problems (what they do next). The heart of your protagonist’s story is buried in their past.
No doubt you’ve seen them — the charts that allow you to get to know your novel’s characters by filling in the blanks. These charts prompt you with basic questions about each character: Siblings? Age? Education? Many writers spend hours diligently completing these charts and still don’t really know their characters.
As a developmental editor, I see many of the same issues in novel and memoir manuscripts. The good news is that none of these issues are deal breakers for your WIP. Here are the four most common problems I find in manuscripts…and a few tips to fix them.