As a freelance writer who charges by the word, I often see clients trying to “trick” me into charging them less, by claiming the documented word count isn’t the “real” word count.

This client requested a 400-word document, which I delivered.

The client sent the note below, and then followed up by saying “I’m a trained writer, so I hope you take my comments into consideration!” but did not precede it with any statement about not liking what I wrote or it not being useful or relevant.

Client: I think you kind of shorted us here. If you take away the first and last paragraphs, which are 120 words together, there are only 280 words there.


                             And now at last it comes. You will give me the Ring freely!
                                     In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen.
             And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night!
                         Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain!
                                           Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning!
                                         Stronger than the foundations of the earth.
                                                  All shall love me and despair!

requested by anon

Character Types that should be Used More Often

As a post request, someone asked me what character types should be used more often.  While I think diversity is severely lacking in YA fiction, I decided to focus more on character types that can fit all different characters—regardless of their gender, sex, ethnicity, sexuality, etc. It always helps to think about your character in a variety of different ways before you make any final decisions. I like to ask myself “what if this character did this” or “what if I changed this about my character”. Thinking about your character in different number of ways will help you pin down what makes them interesting and will compel you switch it up a bit.

Here are a few character types I’d like to see more often:

Silent, but assertive

A strong female protagonist, or any protagonist really, is often associated only with physical strength. Many writers believe that making a female character more masculine is all you have to do to build a good protagonist. This is something I’d like to see changed. In Pacific Rim, Mako Mori proves that your silence can make you stronger. Not every hero needs to be an extrovert; introverts can be just as powerful.

While Mako is also physically strong, she is obedient and puts others before her own happiness. Her silence actually strengthens her because when she does act it makes her that much more powerful. She understands that she can learn from those who came before her and doesn’t feel the need to be the loudest and most powerful in the room.

Enthusiastic dreamer

We often associate strong protagonists will their ability to understand how dark the world can be, but there’s something so refreshing about the Leslie Knopes in fiction. There’s no reason a strong female character can’t be an enthusiastic dreamer and still be able to stand on her own two feet.

Sure, there are times when characters like Leslie Knope get sad about things and realize there’s a time and a place to give up on certain dreams and ideas, but her enthusiasm inspires those around her. Her friends rally with her and give her the support she needs. I’d like to see more of these characters and let readers know that it’s okay to feel strongly about something and to be a bit of a nerd about it.

Mary Sues with depth

I know a lot of people don’t like the term Mary Sue anymore because there’s so much more to it than just creating a perfect character. I think it’s bad when anyone creates any sort of flawless character because it makes them boring and we don’t get to see them struggle in any way. I think it’s a problem when the protagonist is overshadowed by the supporting characters that do all the work.

I have no problem with Mary Sues with depth. If a character is a perfectionist, there’s nothing wrong with that. If they’re good at what they do, there’s nothing wrong with that either. I do think, however, it’s important to add more to that character. They need to have flaws, they need to fail sometimes, AND they need to solve problems on their own.

Antagonists that can succeed

I often find myself bored by antagonists that aren’t strong enough. I think it’s important for writers to realize that antagonists are only threatening when the audience really believes they can succeed. We need to see them win from time to time. We need to see them startle our heroes and actually make them think about what would happen if the antagonist won.

When an antagonist is weak and underdeveloped, you’ll immediately have a weak story. Think about what they want and remember that most antagonists think they’re the hero. Not many people are evil for the sake of being evil. Develop them just as much as you’d develop your antagonist. Think of them as different sides of a coin.

This is just my list of what I’d want to see, not something you need to agree with. Feel free to add your own and I can build a bigger post!

-Kris Noel


New Video! Got so many requests to make something easy mode! Made Candy Bar Video Game Controllers today on Nerdy Nummies! :) ♥