Dan Koboldt reports:
"I’m here to talk about creating realness in your manuscript...I prefer real[-]world scenarios, something that might actually happen. I want characters that you might bump into on the street. If you’re into the same kind of thing, then I do have advice for you. Keep it real. It really is that simple. At least it is for me...[Using a setting you know] means writing about areas that you know, that you’ve actually been to and spent time in, if it’s not where you live...If you’re writing about a fictional place, even if it’s in another time, I think it’s a good idea to include aspects of a real town/city/village/whatever...You want readers to recognize things in your work so they can relate...I’ve always thought one of my strongest assets was the ability to write dialogue. This is why I used to write screenplays...[Reflecting how people talk] makes the story more real. But don’t do it so much that no one else can understand what’s being said...I’ve found that it helps to model my characters after real people...[I]t definitely helps to have an actor in mind if your book were someday made into a movie. Yes, I know how unlikely it is to happen but it helps. And if not an actor, obviously it works even better to base characters on real people that you know. If they seem like a real person, a reader is more likely to connect with them. At least that’s my theory and the way I write. I realize a lot of readers may want to escape and read about some perfect guy/girl. That’s fine for them, but those are the books I don’t even pick up in the store or scroll right past online...Body language is a great tool in writing for showing and not telling. I’ve always been a quiet person who listens more than talks. I think this has made me a stronger writer. I’ve worked in retail and the people-watching you can do there has taught me a lot. That old saying about actions speaking louder than words is often true, even in writing...I’d say to base the person [who is your main character's best friend] on your real[-]life best friend, or at least the best friend of someone you know. It really does make a huge difference. Trust me, it will feel more authentic. Basically, I can sum all these points up with the simple 'Write what you know.' It’s one of the things my favorite writing teacher would say often. No, I don’t know a serial killer but I do know a lot about psychics. I do know Wilmington. And it’s fun to start with these little things you know, think to yourself, 'What if…?' and start creating a story you didn’t know you knew."
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