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Writing Books/agents and characters


Any tips on how to make characters both believable and likeable?
Also, I am curious about the business. If an agent does sell your book, how long after this is an advance?


Concerning believable characters: If necessary, create a character profile of the character(s) with age, place of birth, parents and family, education, location, likes and dislikes, physical attributes, personality characteristics, etc. everything that is of anyone. That is your basis to draw on. Stand true to him, and let him evolve as the story unfolds. He will have faults and he will handle stress and situations particular to his character as we all do.

Concerning likable: If the character is suppose to be a hero-type person and likable, select and create good attributes; morals and principals, sticking to good character. Just as a likable person is to you. Fashion a character after someone you like and admire if that works for you.

A lot of people use astrology as a character interaction guide. Some signs go well together, other signs are a conflict of personalities. Both work well for foes and enemies.

Just let the character(s) develop and evolve with the plot and sub plots of the story, and grow. Most characters "write" themselves.

As far as agents selling your book to the publisher: the contract undergoes negotiations then the signing upon agreement, which has the stipulations of the promotions and placement of the book, etc., then the advance is issued to the author soon after.

The amount of the advance depends highly on the targeted audience intended and the marketing ability of the genre.

An average advance of a mystery/thriller, or modern mainstream might be in the thousands, but remember, it is just that; an "advance" on the book sales to be deducted from the gross amount of sales before anything else.

It is an advance loan on what they and you think will sell in the future.

I hope that answered it well for you and if you need further, feel free to ask...

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Jannie Balliett


I am a published writer, Chief Editor and own A1 Editorial Service. I teach writing, specializing in novel writing, and creative writing. I can answer most any question concerning writing a book, plot and characterization, tighten the prose, and the editing process, and help advise with publishing and the requirements of obtaining a literary agent.


I'm a published writer, freelancer, and Chief Editor and own A1 Editorial Service. I teach writing for my two Online writer workshops.

Sisters In Crime Internet Chapter, The Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Brazos Writers Group.

Writers Post Journal magazine, May 2006 issue, Augusr 2006 issue, Nov/December 2006 issue and soon in 2008, On A Whim, flash fiction anthology, offered in Barnes & Nobles and Amazon.

Some college, creative writing, fiction writing

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I have numerous clients using my service through my editorial service and numerous members in my Online writer workshops.

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