Mary Akers offered this link to an article by Laura Miller: A Reader's Advice to Writers. It's a great article but the one thing that resonated most with me was: Make your main character do something.
You see, I have a hard time with this one. Probably because I'm not much of an outrageous, interesting, doer in my own life. I do things, of course, but I don't protest naked, I don't punch people, I don't spy on my ex-wife, and I don't set fires. So I notice, usually between my first and fifth draft, my character is thinking about things and usually taking the high road. SNORE.
Now I thought I'd learned this point already, but it wasn't until I read this article and I looked at the story I'm working on that I realized, Oops, I've done it again. So now I'm off to give my character a kick in the butt--or maybe not, since he packs a mean punch.
- My work can be found in REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters, The Jabberwock Review, The Emerson Review, Storyglossia, The MacGuffin, Confrontation, Passages North, SmokeLong Quarterly, elimae, wigleaf, Pank, New Delta Review, and Gargoyle #57, among others. One of my stories has been translated into Farsi by Asadollah Amraee, and many others by Jalil Jafari, two of which have been published in the Iranian journal, Golestaneh Magazine. Currently, I'm an Associate editor for Narrative Magazine. In 2011, I was awarded the Carol Houck Smith Contributor Scholarship for the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.