Tag Archives: writing tips

Symbols & Context

literature analysis, novel writing This little 35-page compilation of past posts was created for two reasons. The first is because new writers often  don’t know how easy it is to include thematic, foreshadowing, contextual, plot, and character clues beyond the superficial or obvious. This is a bit of a how-to guide.

The second is because I wanted my students to have easy access to all the information imparted during ( too many ) lectures when we  learn how to analyze texts.

Download and use the PDF to:

  • understand literature
  •  add depth and complexity to your novel
  • Or, if you’re a hater of literature, to mock the art of explicate de texte studied by literature majors everywhere.

Literary Symbols & ContextCLICK BELOW FOR PDF

Little Book of Symbols & Context

 

 

 

Weird Words for Writing Problems

Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 3.33.49 PMWords you never heard to explain your writing problems.

Warning: Nerd alert ahead!!!

Writing is easy, except when it’s not. Writer’s block is just the tip of the iceberg. Below are 16 other problems writers struggle with. So in case you weren’t already feeling unappreciated or overlooked enough here’s a few more reasons to amp up your angst.

Is your vocabulary and syntax too literary? Maybe your style is suffering from adoxography: Fine writing on a trivial or base subject.

Perhaps your vocabulary isn’t up to par or you enjoy confounding readers with ancient words. If so, you might have issues with  acryology: incorrectly used or obsolete diction.

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Zen and The Art of Manuscript Maintenance

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 5.49.44 PMWriting is more than just sitting down at the keyboard and typing. Writing is diving into the depths of your soul and embracing the good, the bad, and the ugly. Writing means peeling the onion layers of beliefs and emotions to expose its raw core—and then conveying those sentiments in a way that will evoke a reader’s emotions.

The act of writing requires emotional energy, which is easily depleted. As any new ager or old ager will testify, aligning one’s energies or chakras are important for physical and mental health.

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Purrrfect Writing Tips

Purrrfect Writing TipsWriters are quite cat-like. We can be stealthy, live far more than 9 lives thanks to our characters, pounce on delicious plots, cough up balls of plot flaws, and hiss at those critiquing our writing.

In an effort not to be catty, this kitty is offering some tips for all the other writing cats currently scratching their claws on the writing post. Continue reading

Excuses, Excuses

Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 7.07.21 PMPuleeeeze, writers.

As a high school language arts teacher I’ve heard every excuse in the book—many times over. Much to my students’ chagrin, I tear apart…um, I mean  kindly and logically explain how to overcome that excuse. ( Maybe this is why they don’t appreciate my wisdom until they’re in college. )

Warning: This blog may offend those writers thriving on excuses. I know, I know, many excuses are valid—death, dismemberment, disaster, disease, zombie apocalypse—however, most are just excuses.

Here’s the top excuses I hear from both writers and my students.

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The Real Comma Rules

Comma rulesGrammarians have been known to do battle over the vagaries of comma placement. Syntax skirmishes, semi-colon controversy, and other punctuation persnicketiness can get downright nasty! Good thing this post is about other kinds of commas!

Writing, rewriting, editing, and creating all require comma skills.

1. First and foremost, writers must learn how to accommadate their physical needs. Be it a room with a view, a quiet nook, a desk, favorite coffee shop, or a designated chair, writing is best accomplished with a routine.

2. Often you must act like a commando when it comes to revising and editing. Blast all typos, vague language, and trite sayings.

3. Learn to summon your inner commadian during trying times. Hissy fits, meltdowns, and tantrums don’t solve problems. Finding the funny doesn’t either—but at least you can write a humorous blog about it!

4. Avoid a commakazi approach when pitching, querying, responding to an agent rejection, or replying to a troller. Thoughtful, professional, polite discourse and emails are a must. As for trollers, non-engagement is the only  way to go.

5. Take time to engage in some commaraderie with folks on twitter and Facebook. Don’t neglect your friends either. Meet them for coffee and dinner…and try not to talk about your latest writing project.

6. Keep your dream to be comma millionaire novelist.playwright/screenwriter/poet/blogger to yourself.

7. Creating believable characters require the writer to be a commaeleon, portraying their emotions, intelligence, fears, joys, and ambitions with effective dialog and action.

8. Find someone to commaiserate with. We all need a venting buddy. Just make certain to end the bitchfest with uplifting thoughts for the future. If your ‘someone’ tells you to quit or give up find another.

9. Indulge in the art of comma sutra. Discover fresh ways to tell the story, find pleasure in finding the perfect word, and seek enjoyment in crafting the nuanced phrase.

10. Remember that the best word wizards practice  alcommay. Transmuting strings of  words into a riveting story demands patience and practice.

Now these are comma rules I think we can all agree on!

FYI: For a thorough look at actual comma rules, go to OWL at Purdue.

Related links: Rock Your Writing, Readin’ & Writin’

Flo Write & the Seven Inspiration Dwarfs

7 dwarfsNothing feels better than words flying from brain to fingers to page! Bliss, yes?

But it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes for optimum writing flow we need the help of all the seven inspiration dwarfs…because, you know, ” hi ho , ho ho, it’s off to writing work”  they go!

Doc: Prescribes practical advice and suggestions. He knows every writing ill has a remedy; every plotting problem has a cure. He’s confident a dose of rewrites or edits is a manuscript’s salve.

Bashful: Offers a bit of hesitant pondering. He realizes some plot twists must be mulled over and planned out before they can be properly executed.

Sleepy: Indulges our need for a good night’s sleep, a quick nap, or a few moments of reverie. This frees our mind to dream and create and imagine.

Happy: Bestows the you-can-do-it and positive attitude necessary for every writer.

Dopey: Sure, he’s not too smart, but he caters to our don’t-tell-me-the-odds of writing/querying/publishing. Sometimes it’s best not knowing what you’re getting into before starting. Ignorance can be bliss.

Sneezy: Allergic to sloppy syntax writing, ho-hum dialog,and banal plotting, he’s also immune to hypersensitive excuses.

Grumpy: Toughest inspiration dwarf of them all. Part critic, part realist, part churlish task-master, he doesn’t hold back when pointing out a manuscript’s weaknesses. And that’s why he’s so irritable! He knows you are capable of better!

Which inspiration dwarf do you need to get back into the writing flow?

Related Links: Readin’ & Writin’Rock Your Writing  

Writing Forecast

writing forecst2Everyone understands a weather forecast!  Most of us have an app on our phone and refer to it daily.

Ever feel like a writing forecast might come in handy to explain your writing plans or frame of mind?

Imagine the convenience for those living with you! Your writing agenda is posted for the day, available to all your friends and family! Now that’s an app!

( I often tweet my writing forecast for the day. )

Here’s a few familiar terms that will come in handy and convey your present State of Writing.

Barometric pressure: The stress a writer feels from self or others to complete a task,  be it revisions, edits, blogging, social media engagement, book signings, or producing another best seller.

Blustery: Writing accompanied by swearing and ranting. Dangerous. Stay away from writer.

Breezy: Words are flowing. Interruptions OK.

Calm: Author achieves Zen-like state while writing. Will emerge fresh and renewed.

Cloudy: Writer unsure how a scene will play out on the page—or once written, they don’t know if it “works.” May need to talk it out with any available person until light of understanding breaks through.

Cyclone: Writer attempting to do many things fast. Very dangerous. Approach writer with extreme caution.

Dense fog: Writer stymied with plotting problem and/or character issue.

Drizzle: Meager word count and/or little revising accomplished.

Drought: Ideas? What ideas? I got nothin’!

Fog: Writer confused with some aspect of Facebook, Twitter, and/or website “issues.” Often techno and/or coding trouble related.

Front: Pretending to feel something or be something contrary to their authentic self. For example, feigning hope instead of dread when waiting to hear back from a beta reader/reviewer/agent. Affecting an extrovert’s banter at a writers conference when you’re a hide-in-a-cave introvert.

Frost: Writer pissed off over some comment or tweet causing unwarranted contemplation.. Approaching writer with compassion will allow them to warm up again.

Gusts: Intense but brief bursts of writing. Usually accomplished between household chores.

Hard Freeze: Writer’s response to a troller, nasty/weird comment or message, or unfavorable review. Non-engagement stops icy comebacks cold.

Haze: Writer unable to see work in progress clearly due to doubt dew and anxiety particles.

Heatwave: Writer is on fire with with words and ideas.

Jet stream: Writer on a roll! Winds of words will bring new writing conditions.

La Niña: Associated with high stress and raining words.

Lightning: A bolt of energy, ideas, or inspiration usually followed by word rains.

Mist: Writing while crying. Sorrow-filled scenes are the most common reason for misty conditions.

Overcast: General feeling of malaise brought on by many disheartening factors. Many writers will write through this, others wait for fairer conditions.

Partly sunny/cloudy: The day will involve both writing and non-writing tasks.

Pollutant: Some comment, information, task, or person that spoils your breath of fresh writing air.

Rain and any variant of ( downpour, sprinkles, shower ): Any  task, thing, or idea that falls upon you. It can rain words ( good ) or problems ( typical ) or chores ( ugh ).

Saturation: Writer will no longer write one more sentence, edit one more page, revise one more thing!!! Period!! They’ve had enough for today!!

Squall: Sudden crying jag over something really stupid. Approach writer with hugs and chocolate.

Storm warning: Angst and issues begin forming, and clouds of doubt gather overhead. May or may not pass depending on winds of successful writing that day.

Sunny: Writer feels FABULOUS about self and current work in progress.

Temperature: Writers often experience mercurial highs and lows. Approach writer during moderate temperatures.

Tornado: Writer goes over and over and over a passage multiple times. Lifting lines up only to set them somewhere else. Total devastation of chapter is often the result. Best for friends/family to seek cover until tornado passes.

writing forecast1

What’s YOUR writing forecast today!

Related Links: Readin’ & Writin’

Writing Reign Deer

reindeer 4pgWell dearie,                                                                                Does inspiration rain down on you?                                          OR                                                                                      Perhaps a stern Muse reigns over you until inspiration transforms into words?                                                                  OR                                                                                    Maybe you take the reins of inspiration and forge into the inspiration storm on your own?

 

Which writing reign deer drives you?

 
Dasher
Fast first drafts. Swift second drafts. 2,000 words a day? No problem. They hoof it through edits and never sit on their writing rump. Just watch them fly toward publication!

 

Dancer
Good at jingling with reasons why they haven’t written anything. They have writer’s block-kids-day job issues—did I mention writer’s block ?? Dancers love to tell people they are writers, BUT they actually do very little writing. ( I know, it’s a technicality.)

 

Prancer
reindeer1jpgLoves posting their 1st drafts, 2nd drafts, 3rd drafts, etc for everyone to see ( they are very brave). They crave feedback—especially if it feeds their ego. Prancers have the unique ability to work on a manuscript while simultaneously posting updates about their work in progress.

 

Vixen
Identified by their libidinous desire to finish their WIP, they use every naughty trick they can to canoodle with their MS. Their naked need to finish the damn paragraph/scene/chapter/book makes them swift evaders of those hunting them down—like children, coworkers, friends, or family.  Do not  tail them when they’re in the mood, they’ll just flee into a bush to keep writing.

 

Comet
Blazing brightly, they are a sight to behold—for an instant. Then they vanish into their wiring den only emerging occasionally to flash a funny post or Tweet.  This here-and-gone style behooves them, allowing their heads to remain in the writing sky. Don’t buck with them when they’re writing or they’ll just hightail it out of there!

 

Cupid
Writers to their very core. They need it—want it— they are driven to caress the words into submission! Writing is their passion and their love. Ain’t NOTHIN’ standing between their body and the laptop. Cupids are a bit obsessive, and once they’ve shot the plotting arrow into the white underbelly of their manuscript the words must-must-must be released.

 

Donner
Known for their serious personality, they fall prey to an avalanche of adventurous ideas but  are unable to emerge from the rocky Novel Pass, helpless to complete a scene or chapter. Regrettably, this forces them to turn on themselves, cannibalizing risky plots and/or characters until there is nothing left.

 

Blitzen
Alcohol or caffeine is the writing drug of choice. Alcohol IN the caffeine drink is even better!reindeer 3)  They can’t work without the buzz. Coffee to wake up words all day followed by wine to subdue the antlers of anxiety and pelt of pessimism.

 

Rudolph
Has the shiny glow of author success. Fame & fortune & earning some doe came only after: 1) the trials of once feeling like a misfit; 2) befriending the abominable [ insert publishing snafu here ], and 3) growing an impressive rack. They excel at guiding others through the writing fog and author storms.

 

Related links: Readin’ & Writin’, Rock Your Writing

 

12 days of ( Writing ) Christmas

Christmas songs—Christmas songs—Christmas songs!
Here are a few lesser-known favorites of writers everywhere. 

( sing to The Twelve day of Christmas)

12 days of xmas

( sing to Jingle Bells )

social media

( sing to Frosty the Snowman )

scribbly the writer

 

( sing to Santa Claus is Coming to Town )

edit clause JPG

 

Merry Writing!

Related Posts: Readin’ & Writin’ and Rock Your Writing

ABC’s of Writing

blocksAim high. Ambition + Ability = Accomplishment

Block out time for writing. Make it a habit.

Characterization. Names, dialog, physical descriptions, and actions all contribute to revealing character. For an in-depth look click CHARACTERIZATION.

Despair not! No matter the path you choose ( self-publishing or traditional ) there’s lots of roadblocks, detours, potholes, and flat tires along the way.

Edit-edit-edit! Then edit again! See Manuscript Clean-up and Most Commonly Confused Words.

Foreshadowing is achieved many different ways. Weather changes, location, illness, names, description of a seemingly innocuous person/event/object, a character’s word choice, change in syntax, and a character’s subtle reactions are just a few.

Grammar rules must be understood before breaking them.

Handle criticisms, suggestions, and rejections with grace.

Ignore the haters, naysayers, cynics, and anyone not on Team You.

Just get rid of just, that, really, very, who ( Sally, who sits under the tree vs Sally, sitting under the tree), am/was/were, being, seem, suddenly, then, finally, even, was, & it. Here’s a few abstract nouns to replace that pesky IT .

Kvetching. Keep your complaining under control—at least on social media. Rant all you like in private.

Learn the craft of writing. There’s lots of seminars, classes, and books on the subject.

Make the most of your writing time. Here’s how I make time to write while working a day job.

Never give up!

Organize your files, folders, research, drafts, queries, ideas, etc. See Idea Vault.

Plot. Have one. Plots need:
  • Protagonists with a weakness & a need that triggers a crisis.
  • Opponents/Antagonists ( more powerful in some way ) preventing a protagonist from the desired goal. Antagonists thwart the protagonist in a profound moral/intellectual way.
  • Plan/Quest/strategy to beat opponent. This is the rising action and contains a reversal/failure, surprise, and/or critical choice.
  • Battle/Climax is the final conflict with opponent.
  • Self-revelation/epiphany is the fundamental change. The protag, seeing his true self, moves to either a higher or lower level or morality.
  • Resolution/New Equilibrium is the new normal for the protag.

Quit bitchin’ about writers’ block. See Rx for Writers Block.

Read works in your genre and in other genres.

Syntax can develop ideas, simplify, obscure, imply relationships, connect abstract ideas, manipulate tone or mood, suggest irony, reveal character, create suspense/surprise, break flow, provide rhythm, add variety, and organize ideas. It’s powerful. Learn from the masters.

Thesaurus misuse. Synonyms may be close, but not close enough. Words have a denotation ( the dictionary definition ) and a connotation ( the emotion the word evokes ). Select with care!

Utilize the web for research. PDF’s of old texts, virtual tours, Google satellite, YouTube clips, Harvard lectures–the web is a powerful research and/or fact-checking tool. Pay attention to the URL: .org’s, .edu’s, and .gov’s contain more scholarly information.

Verb it up! Active verbs energize a manuscript.

Word order. Every sentence should not have the same part-of-speech pattern. The last read-my-first-page link I clicked began either with a gerund (verb +ing) or noun ( I ). I stopped reading after the second paragraph.

X-rated language can turn readers on, turn readers off, become repetitive, convey mood, reveal character, or be merely a writer’s word crutch. Use judiciously.

Yakking on Facebook & Twitter is great—but don’t let it be an excuse for not working on your manuscript.

Zealous dedication is required for success. In Malcolm Gladwell’s The Outliers, he says mastering a skill takes 10,000 hours.

Talkin’ Turkey

turkeyOr How to Carve Out Time for Writing When You Have a Day Job!

Oh, and it’s not JUST writing your novel! Building a social media platform and blogging gobbles up time as well!

So in the honor of Thanksgiving, this blog is dedicated to the many thankful ways this mom-teacher-author makes time for writing.

Writing a novel is a big enough task to swallow, but blogging and tweeting and social media-ing ( yep, I made the word a verb ) means biting off more than you can chew and often having to spit out those chores that are burning yummy writing time.

Here’s my recipe.

 Prep time before work
  • Send out a tweet or 2 while eating bowl of oatmeal
  • post latest blog on Facebook groups ( Monday is a BIG day–make sure to use the #MondayBlogs hashtag)
  • look at last words I wrote of work-in-progress so next scene can marinate while commuting
  • tweet while standing in line at Starbucks
  • note any ideas/keywords/phrases after car is parked
Preheating the creative oven during work
  • tweet or check tweets while walking to bathroom or during passing period
  • any flashes of brilliance are stored in one of my idea vaults ( See Idea Vaults )
Stuffing in the social media data during lunch
  • check Facebook and Twitter
  • read blogs or articles
  • check email
  • save links or forward links to read at home
Basting those priorities while driving home and while running errands ( bank, grocery store, dry cleaners)
  • deciding the best use of my time for the next few hours

Carving those juicy hours. I have only about 3 hours before the brain shuts down and the eyes glaze over, therefore I maximize whatever the brain is capable of.

  • Sizzling hot brain: Excels at plotting, outlining, and writing first drafts. Dinner isn’t happening! Neither is laundry nor any other household task. The phone goes unanswered. I respond with hand signals. ( See Hand Signals for Writers.) This is PRIME time.
  • Room temperature brain: Handles re-writes, editing, and blogging. Making dinner, throwing in a load of laundry, talking to kiddos and hubby,  paying a bill–these don’t require creative intensity. Interruptions are OK, and the family gets dinner.
  • Refrigerator Brain: Capable of tweeting, liking, and commenting on various social media platforms. Cold brain is also good for pinning photos on Pinterest, reading blogs/articles, researching, annotating, reading, and trashing spam. This is my “down time.”

Those three hours during the weekday are deliciously precious. I don’t watch TV; however, I will watch something on Netflix while on the treadmill.

The Smorgasbord Weekend
  •  This is the time I get the most accomplished and when the most progress is made on a manuscript. I work from morning until my vision gets blurry because without the 1 &1/2 hr commute, the 200+ student questions, and 5 am wake time the ol’ sizzling brain stays hot.

Why it’s gravy: I love writing and enjoy the entire process so it’s not work—it’s a joy.

Writer’s Hierarchy of Needs

Psychologist Abraham Maslow is best known for his theory about human motivation, aka the hierarchy of needs. He believed that basic needs must be fulfilled before an individual can progress to higher levels. For example, an individual cannot realize their self-potential ( the highest level ) if the basic necessities of food and shelter are not met.

Sounds reasonable, right?

Anyone who’s ever taken a Psychology 101 class is familiar with the conceptualized pyramid denoting the levels.

Well, it struck me that writers have a hierarchy of needs of their own that must be satisfied  before they can hope to achieve creative greatness.

Writers hierarchy of needs

 

Physical needs: Writers don’t need much–our minds are full enough. However, coffee to awaken the Muse, snacks for feeding the Muse, a computer ( or notebook and pen in a crunch ) and the happy hormones found in chocolate are writing staples.

 

Safety: Internet connections help us research and connect with friends. With a flash drive or Cloud we rest easy knowing our masterpiece is safe from virtual viruses. Any writer losing their work or revisions to a computer crash remembers the agony of their genius vanishing like dust in the wind. ( cue “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas )

Love & Belonging: We might be solitary folk, happy retreating into our creative cave, yet we need the fellowship of FaceBook , Instagram, Google +, LinkedIn, and Twitter. We seek validation not only from other writers but from reviewers, readers, and  friends. There is safety in numbers, in belonging to groups where the written word reigns supreme and reading is revered!

Esteem: We are fragile sorts, our egos crushed daily by plot flaws, meager word count, and scenes refusing to flow. So thus we turn away from the story, casting our attentions to the Likes, Tweets, ReTweets, and hits on our social media. Sadly, they validate us, at least for the moment. And when our confidence is lifted by enough Likes and RT’s we venture back into our novel.

Self-Actualization: Having attained our needs we are now eager to plunge into the story. We conjure the Muses and force them to do our bidding. Words flow from our brain, pass the heart, and course through our fingertips. Reality vanishes and we are happy, our Zen restored.

 So should you experience the horrors of writer’s block, fear not!
It’s not you!
Your Pyramid of Writer’s Needs is not being met! 

 

Related Links: Readin’ & Writin’ & Rx for Writer’s Block

Dog Days of Writing

bradley at computerHas your writing gone to the dogs? Are you in need of some insPAWration?

There are days whendoggone it—writers feel like they’re workin’ like a dog with nothing to show for it.

 

 

IN THE DOG HOUSE

  • Is your manuscript on a genre leash?
  • Are you chewing on the bones of a plot devoid of meat?
  • Does the manuscript need to be groomed and the adverbs trimmed?
  • Does the diction needs a good brushing with tone?
  • Does the manuscript need a dose of Frontline weak verb repellent?
  • Are you trying to breath life into an old dog manuscript instead of romping away with a new one?
  • Dog-tired with editing?
  • Growling at a plot snafu?

bradley readingBEST IN SHOW

  • Feeling like you have a dog’s chance of getting an agent?
  • Not getting any ” hot diggity dog” replies after sending all those queries?
  • Feel like you’re barking at the moon when you send those queries?
  • Are you showing a dogged determination to have your query and ms be the pick of the slush litter?
  • Are you barking up the wrong agent tree?
  • Are you sniffing around for the best way to build your author platform?

AT THE DOG PARK

  • Do you have a bone of contention with someone in your critique group?
  • Are you still licking your wounds over a beta reader’s comments?
  • Did you join a writing group expecting belly rubs and “atta boys” only to play fetch with another pup’s manuscript?
  • Feeling a breed apart from all the authors and wanna-be’s?

THE POUND

  • Suspicious of writers making up shaggy dog stories about their successes?
  • Feeling meaner than a junk yard dog after being bitten by a troller?
  • Are you inadvertently biting the hand that feeds you with posts and tweets that insult your readers ( or potential readers) ?
  • Is your tail between your legs after a social media gaffe?
  • Are you guilty of begging for Facebook likes and Twitter retweets?

Howl if you must, but it’s time to put on the dog, play “Who Let the Dogs Out” and let loose the dogs of writing!

A bark of thanks goes to my daughter for sending photos of her very cooperative poodle!

Related Links: Readin’ & Writin’ and Rock Your Writing

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Character Morality

KohlbergWriters love creating characters. Personality. Physical Appearance. Dress. Mannerisms. Dialog: It’s what we do!  It’s how authors bring characters to life.

But did you stop to think about your characters’ morality, or more specifically, what level of morality they have achieved? Creating a character with moral issues, flaws, or strengths can add depth and understanding, often justifying and explaining why the character did what they did.

Let’s look at Kohlberg’s Levels of Moral development:

Pre-Conventional Morality

Stage 1: Obedience & Punishment Orientation:  Age: 9 & under. Standard of behavior is determined by adults and the physical consequences of following and breaking the rules. Child avoids punishment by good behavior. Child believes that if a person is punished they must have done something bad.

Stage 2. Individualism and Exchange. Child realizes authorities ( parent, teachers etc) may have more than just one right view and that different individuals will have different viewpoints.

Conventional Morality

Stage 3: Good Interpersonal RelationshipsAge: Most adolescents & adults. Moral standards are internalized by those authority figures the individual deems right/moral. These authority figures are not questioned. Any and all reasoning conforms to the group’s perspective. The individual is good because they want others in the group to view them as good. They need the approval of their group.

Stage 4. Maintaining the Social Order. The rules of society are important to the individual. Rules are obeyed to maintain law/rules and to avoid guilt.

Post-Conventional Morality: 
Individual judgment is based on self-chosen principles, and moral reasoning is based on individual rights and justice. This occurs in only 10–15% of adults and not before the mid-30s.

 

Stage 5. Social Contract and Individual Rights. ONLY 10-15% OF ADULTS REACH THIS STAGE and rarely before their mid-30s. The individual idealizes that while laws/rules serve the good of the majority, the laws/rules can also work against specialized groups/minorities. Thus, Right and Wrong are not clear cut.

Stage 6: Universal Principles: Individual understands that justice, equality, and human right issues are not law/rule governed. These individuals will break rules/laws to defend the greater moral principles even if if it means imprisonment or society’s disapproval. Very few reach this stage.

6 ethical typesNow let’s look at 6 ethical types. This is courtesy of The UK Times.

Philosophers are good at solving tough ethical dilemmas. They will break the rule/laws if a higher principle is at stake.

Angels  believe being good to others is important. They give people the benefit of the doubt and give second chances rather than stand on principle. 

Enforcers enforce the rules. They often lack empathy

Judgers believe moral principles are important. They’re good at solving tricky moral principles, yet tend to lack empathy.

Teachers do the right thing for humanity because it’s the right thing to do. They may break the rules if they think they know what’s best.

Guardians believe in doing what they are told to do because it’s the best course of action for everyone. Greater moral ideals are rarely considered.

Does your story require delving deeper into your character’s morality?
  • What is your character’s ethical type?
  • Where do they fall on Kohlberg’s moral development scale?
  • Are your characters acting inconsistently with their type or moral level?
  • What self-revelation causes them to change?
  • Is the change good or bad?
  • Do you need to flesh out a character’s morality?
  • Will you be able to convince a reader of their epiphany?

Related links: Readin’ & Writin’