3 Steps to Character Development

3 Steps to Character Development

You have always dreamed of being a writer, of sharing a story with the world. You have a brilliant story taking shape in your mind and now seems to be the right time to start getting it out and onto paper. With so so many people self publishing their first books, now is an excellent time to take the plunge and start writing. Assuming that you have grasped the fundamentals of writing your first book, then your next stage will be to focus in on your characters. Which is where we come in, as here are our 3 steps to character development, so sharpen that pencil and get scribbling down your ideas.

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Know them inside and out

Your characters needs to be living and breathing to you. If they aren’t alive to you, how do you expect them to come off the page for your readers? Consider them from every possible angle and imagine what they would do in a variety of situations. This need not be situations that they find themselves in in your tale, you simply need to understand how they would react at any given time. How would they feel, what would they say, what body language would they be displaying? In order to ensure that every character in your book is three dimensional, you need to go through this process with all of them.

Do your research

They say that you should write what you know, don’t they? However, even if you do base your novel on real life events or experiences, the chances are that you are still going to need to carry out some research. Your characters need to be completely believable, so for every job that they have and for every situation that they find themselves in, you need to understand it and be able to convey that to your reader. Only then will they be able to empathise and believe in your story.

Would your character get into trouble with the law and need the help of a bail bondsman? Would your character be aspiring to be a zookeeper and be undergoing their training? Would your character work at the Empire State Building? The sky’s the limit, you know this, but whichever way you decide to go with your characters, you need to ensure that you have properly researched and looked into the reality of each of these experiences before writing them.

Make them relatable

If you want people to keep on reading, you have to take the above two steps and then ensure that your character is relatable. You can make them likeable, flawed, heroic, strongly opinionated, adventurous, it is all entirely up to you, but the reader needs to relate to them on some level. No-one wants to read a book where they couldn’t care less about any of the characters and their fates. Readers need to be invested in your storyline, so make them relatable, bring them to life and inject a healthy dose of reality through your research.

When the time comes and your book is published, do be sure to come back and tell us all about it!

Why Lifelong Learning Should Be Applauded

Why Lifelong Learning Should Be Applauded

It doesn’t matter whether you are fresh out of college, whether you have recently been made redundant, or whether you have had a high flying career for the past two decades, you should never stop learning. The quest for knowledge and renewing your skills is vital if you are to remain at the forefront of your chosen industry sector. You may choose to specialize, work towards an MBA or seek out a new talent wholly unrelated to your current work skill set. Consider your interests, professional acumen and goals in life to set a course for lifelong learning.

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Professional Qualifications

If you are wallowing on the middle management rungs of the career ladder, the chances are that your resume is looking a little stale. Without upskilling and partaking in some professional development, you may find that the most recent training you took part in was over five years ago. Employers seeking new members of staff want people who are fresh, full of innovative ideas and have a firm grasp of the latest methodologies appropriate for their jobs.

Think about enrolling in an evening class to brush up on your cybersecurity credentials, take some time out to study at uni part time, or think about reaching for an MBA. With a proven commitment to study, you are showing any potential employers that you are eager for a promotion. Apply your newfound skills in the workplace, and you could become an invaluable asset.

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Learning For Pleasure

It’s not always our jobs that dictate how and what we should learn. By looking at the career of a person like Philip McTigue, you can see just how varied life experiences can be. At all points throughout his career, learning was very much at the forefront of his motivations. He undertook a masters degree later on in his career, and is still hungry for a doctorate. You could choose to follow a formal learning path, or you could choose to learn experientially.

Traveling to new countries, meeting new people, observing new cultures and conversing in a different language is learning. You will understand more about the world, have a deeper appreciation for the people and things in it, and you will have changed as a human being. You could choose to take a sabbatical from your job if you feel like you are becoming stuck in a rut, to scratch that wanderlust itch.

Some people don’t want to travel but do have a yearning for more simple pleasures. If you’ve ever fancied trying out a new team sport, go for it. If you want to learn the piano, book yourself a taster lesson. And if you want to become an origami master, enrol on a course. Whatever you want to learn, there will be a way of achieving this. Learning fosters respect, is enjoyable and can make even the drabbest of days feel more worthwhile.

If, after reading this, you are inspired to take a look at your resume, get yourself out of a rut, or phone up your local adult training college, then you are taking your first step along the path of lifelong learning.

Old School Hobbies That Are Dying Off

Old School Hobbies That Are Dying Off

We are already living in a world where people don’t have the time, money or the energy to continue with hobbies in their personal lives, but did you know that there are a plethora of traditional hobbies that are dying out? When someone asks you what you do in your spare time, it’s highly likely that you’ll give a sarcastic answer about sleeping to catch up after the long days at work that you take part in. But have you ever really thought about what you do beyond social media and watching Netflix?

Hobbies are the passions of those who love to be creative, active, busy and have fun. They take up the time that we are willing to give. They are a way for us to learn something new, take up a skill or simply relax and do something away from the working day. Everyone should have at least one hobby as their way to relax and unwind, but most hobbies in the world today are centered around social media and technology. Gaming, blogging, vlogging – all of these things require people to stay connected. Even the old school board games have found their way into apps and tablets!

Thankfully, there are ways around this. It is never too late to take up something new, learn a new skill or even revive an old hobby that you used to enjoy as a child. You are the master of your own time, and you can choose to take up a new hobby any time that suits you. It would help to know, though, that a lot of the hobbies that we used to consider popular are now dying out – and it’s because of the technology that we have access to. If you want to take time away from the screens and go for a hobby that is a little different, check out the list of the old-school hobbies that you could revive.

Silhouette of Person Sitting on Chair Holding Fishing Rod Near Body of Water during Golden Hour

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Okay, so while we can acknowledge that there is still a market for fishing as a hobby today, it’s nowhere near as popular as it was before technology and smartphones boomed. You could take a look at Johnny’s Sport Fishing Legendary Sturgeon Fishing Guide and decide to turn your hand at learning how to fly fish, or you could learn how to cast and catch and release for fun. Fishing is a peaceful hobby, giving you the time to get into nature and take on a slower pace, away from the working day that you’re hemmed into right now.


A casualty of the technology industry, scrapbooking has changed a lot in the last twenty years. While there are still a handful of people out there, who will go and buy new scrapbooks, washi tape and glitter stickers to journal and scrapbook their lives, most of it as now moved into scrapbooking apps. Some people cite that it’s because of the impact on the planet, and others just don’t have the time to get out all of their crafts. We’re living in a world where we don’t take the time to make something beautiful anymore; unless, of course, it’s on a screen. You can bring it back, though! As I mentioned; plenty of stores out there still carry all the necessary tools to aid you in your scrapbooking desires!


This is one of the old school hobbies that is actually making a comeback. For 900 years, the embroidery was used to pass the time – particularly for women – and it was essential for women to learn how to darn and sew. People spent less time buying new things and more time fixing the things that needed fixing. Embroidery is making quite the comeback these days, with people returning to their sewing machines in the attempt to do better in regards to exposing exploitation. They also do it for fun! Buying in fabrics and creating their own clothes? It’s exciting, and you could be a part of that.

Person Embroidering a Beige Textile

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How many of you out there know how to fix your own car when things go wrong? Not many, and it’s not because there’s no time. There’s a whole industry of mechanics and garages that people now use, which means that they no longer HAVE to learn to fix their own engines. Some people have grown up learning how to repair their own car, while others never learn and never have the pleasure of fixing their own vehicle. It’s a hobby that needs to come back for those who love to learn about the inside of cars, and if you want it to be a future job one day, then it can help you to learn early how to fix yours. Plus – it’s fun! You can relax into the quiet tinkering of your own vehicle in a way you can’t with anything else.


Popular with older generations, woodworking is a dying hobby. Again, it comes down to technology and how much our interactive screens take away from the pleasure of using our hands to create something beautiful. Taking the time and the patience to craft something from a lump of wood isn’t for everyone, but it’s something that can prove a deep creativity and vision that others just don’t have. Some people choose to paint their visions, and others choose to write about them. Then you get the group of people who work to carve their visions from a piece of wood in front of them.

Most of the hobbies today that are dying out are those that don’t have the younger audience to keep them alive. Younger generations lose interest in making and creating in favor of their smartphones. Of course, not everyone is glued to their technology, but you can choose to put your phone down and take up a new hobby right now. It just takes research to know that you are doing the right thing and find something you’re passionate about.          

The 5 Fundamentals of Writing Your First Book

The 5 Fundamentals of Writing Your First Book

Writing a book is something many people think about doing in their lifetime, but they never quite have the ambition or drive. If you’re a book lover why not write one of your own? Whether you’re a fan of fiction or you want to write a scientific report on some research you have done, there will always be an audience that has an interest in what you have to say. Consider the following five fundamentals of writing your first book and you will be able to get started right away.

1. Seek Advice and Do Your Research

First of all, you need to start carrying out some research on your chosen topic or story theme. If you have experience in writing before, why not seek out the advice from LCMPA. Their feedback could be incredibly valuable to you if you’re embarking on a new project. They will be able to provide you with guidance on your next piece of work so that you can be sure you’re heading in the right direction.

2. Decide Where Your Workspace Is

Being a writer can be frustrating if you don’t have a comfortable place to be creative. Whether you’re working from a cosy corner in your home or you prefer to people watch in a public coffee shop, there will always be a place that makes you feel productive. Everybody is completely different when it comes to their writing workspaces, so discover yours before you get started with your project.


3. Discover Your Final Idea

Honing in on your final idea can be quite a challenge, especially when you have so many ideas all at once. Ask others for opinions on your various subject matters and narrow it down to one fantastic concept. It might take several crumpled up pieces of paper for you to get there, but you will discover the hidden gem within there somewhere.

4. Get Words onto a Page

As soon as you know where your book idea is going, you need to start getting some words onto the page. You can always go back and edit later, but you need to get the main framework down onto the paper. Consider the arc of your story, if you’re writing a fiction book. Do you want to leave the reader on a cliffhanger? Do you want to release facts slowly throughout the book so they have to piece them together like a puzzle? Understand your main goal as the writer and use your words to shape this idea.

5. Proofread and Proofread Some More

When you think you have the final product, it is very important to proofread your work. Once you have mastered the art, you will be able to carry this out a couple of times to make sure there are no glaring errors in your hard work!

Writing a book is a marathon, not a sprint so take your time and enjoy the process. You will be much more pleased by the end product if you have spent time researching, proofreading and discovering the true meaning behind your first book.

Back to Basics: Top 5 Writing Tips to Become a Better Essay Writer

Back to Basics: Top 5 Writing Tips to Become a Better Essay Writer

By Taimoor Liaquat

From a business report or feasibility study, to more casual love letters and social media exposés, the uses of excellent essay writing skills are endless. Because of this, students are trained to develop their writing skills from primary school up to college, and beyond.

Unfortunately, not everyone can develop a passion for writing the best essays even with years of extensive practice in the academe. If you’re among those who need a little nudge in writing essays, then read on to learn about the top five writing tips to help you become a better essay writer.

  1. Read Other People’s Essays

Like learning any other skill, you would need to see samples of other people’s works when writing essays. Reading other people’s write-ups will help you develop your own writing style, especially if you choose to go through a variety of different essays.

Try to choose those that are expertly written and those that are penned by some of your peers. This will help you compare the quality and style of those close to your “level” of writing with those who have already developed an expertise in the discipline. Excellent sample essays are also abundant online in case you cannot get your hands on essays written by academics.

You can also sample the works of famous essayists such as Michel de Montaigne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Joan Didion, Langston Hughes, Virginia Woolf, and so many other great writers.

  1. Expand Your Vocabulary

Since you will be using words to make stellar essays, you would need to have a vast bank of words to accurately express what you want to say.

This means you should expand your vocabulary and learn how to use certain variations of the different terms well. This will prevent you from beating around the bush when trying to make a point, and deliver the message to your readers as clearly as possible.

Some of the best ways to achieve this is by:

  • using a thesaurus to learn about synonyms and antonyms;
  • researching about words you’re not familiar with, with the help of a dictionary;
  • learning about root words, suffixes, and prefixes as well as their appropriate uses; and
  • starting a vocabulary journal.
  1. Use the Elevator Pitch Technique to Summarize Your Essay

The “elevator pitch” technique is a strategy used by people working in sales to summarize the reasons why customers should buy their product in a short span of time. In writing essays, using this summary style means you would have to pique the interest of your readers, so much so that they would want to read more of the essay.

While this can be a challenging exercise, it can help you become extremely concise when coming up with ideas for your essay and when choosing words to use. It can also aid you in improving the clarity and flow of your sentences and in penning your introduction faster.

  1. Consider Your Essay as Just Another Story

If you’re one of those people who would rather scroll over Facebook or write a lengthy post about how awesome your day was at the mall, then you probably feel that essay writing is a daunting task. Fortunately, this can be remedied by a simple mindset readjustment by thinking of essays as just another Facebook post or story.

Like any other story, essays describe a conflict and change—with the conflict referring to the ideas presented in the essay, and the change pertaining to your perception of those ideas as the writer of the essay.

  1. Tell the Reader What Your Sources Told You

Another neat tip you can try when writing essays is to put other people’s words into your output. This means you have to research reputable sources well and quote them in the body of your essay. You can also paraphrase the information using your own words, but make sure to offer proper attribution to the original creator of the idea.

You should also include contrasting views to showcase all sides of the argument and to cater to other readers’ preferences that may be different from yours. This will make your essay “source heavy,” which is a good thing when you’re looking to impress your teachers.

Of course, you should use this technique sparingly as not all academics like this style. Some prefer to read about students’ original thoughts and ideas in the essay assignments.

Practice Makes Perfect

Nobody is born an expert essay writer, so don’t worry if you don’t immediately improve on your first try.

Remember that even great writers had to hone their skills in writing before they reached the peak of their careers. That said, try to apply some—if not all—of these tips to help you get started.


Taimoor Liaquat is the CEO at MyPerfectWords.com, renowned as the global source for professional writing services at all academic levels. The company’s team of world-class native English-speaking essay writers with advanced degrees at elite US universities ensures high-quality custom content for all clients.

Taking Your Graphic Design Ideas To The Next Level

Taking Your Graphic Design Ideas To The Next Level

The arts are a big part of life, and they always have been. In the modern day and age, they’ve gone from being canvas based and oil paints squeezed out on your tray to being digital based with many mediums instantly at your disposal. And knowing how to use a program like that offers these pursuits is a skill in itself.

If you’re someone who loves graphic design, then it’s time to make sure your love for the art takes you a little further this year. After all, you’ve been working at this discipline for a long time now, and you want to start building something for your career out of it, so let’s make sure you’ve got some tips and tricks on your side. You’ve got some good ideas stored in the drawing pad, and you’ve got a backlog of designs and friendly commissions to prove your worth – let’s put them to good use.


Could You Start Selling Small?

If you’re someone with an eye for business, and you’re willing to understand how the taxes work, make sure you set up shop this year. Even if you don’t have a bona fide business yet, you can still run a market for your work out of previously established platforms – Ebay, Etsy etc.

Once you open a shop with one of these sites, you’ll find it much easier to open up a site of your own. And to make sure the products you have to sell bring in good reviews, make sure they’re produced via quality methods. Get some of your projects pasted on the back of phone cases. Put printing services to good use by offering posters and vinyl prints. Try something more experimental, by opening up a fabrics range: cushion covers and tote bags are always popular options for people to purchase.

Maybe You Just Want a Portfolio

If you’re out to make your name as a graphic designer, a portfolio is a necessity. It’s going to make sure you have an online platform crafted perfectly and personally to you and your art, and it’s going to be the one stop shop to witness the skill on offer for anyone who’s looking for a talented individual to commission. What could be more useful than that?

So make sure you’re putting a portfolio together, as it’s a professional move that can work to make you passive network contacts and income. Even if you don’t own the domain name of your choice right now, you can still come up with a relevant URL that tops Google’s search algorithm. Get to grips with the code of the website, which should be well contained in the CMS you’re using, and then pick and choose what projects you want to show off. And make sure you advertise your contact details as well: name, email address, phone number etc. Let your work speak for itself, and then offer up your availability on a platter.

This is the year to make money off of your passion.

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