Tumblr is where tens of millions of creative people around the world share and follow the things they love.Sign up to find more cool stuff to follow
Genre Help: Horror
Hey, y’all! How’s that writing coming along?
FEARS (in Children)
Common Things Kids Are Afraid Of ~ Things that may not scare adults but are very real to children
Children and Fear ~ Includes stages of life and fears most common in those years (ranges from infants to teenagers)
FEARS (in Adults)
100 Things That Scare Me ~ Not all are life-or-death situations, but a good place to start thinking of ‘the worst case scenario’
Adult Fear (TVTropes) ~ With links and examples
Nighttime Fears and Adulthood ~ Interesting short article of the effects of unresolved childhood fears in adults (namely the dark)
Lingering Fears From Childhood to Adult ~ Another article
Horrific Setting/Scene ~ Almost looks like a writing prompt/English paper assignment, but a good place to look over and get an idea
STORY FORMULA / TIPS
Rule of Scary (TVTropes) ~ With examples at the bottom
Horror Tropes (TVTropes) ~ Long list of links related to different aspects of horror. Includes setting, characters, expansion on genres, etc.
Nightmare Fuel (TVTropes) ~ Gives examples (and links) of different things people may (or may not) be terrified of, such as mutilation, the paranormal, extreme violence, being hunted, etc.
I personally find this a tricky subject, but I’d recommend tapping into your own personal fears and reflect that into your writing as best you can.
Try also thinking about the way some horror authors write, like Stephen King or Edgar Allan Poe. Read into some if you haven’t.
Comments? Questions? Advice? Feel free to submit!
Fantasy World Maps
Anonymous asked: Do you have any advice for someone who is trying to build a fantasy world map?
A map, you say? Well, here’s this article on city design by Jon Roberts of Fantastic Maps. Here’s another from him on how to design a town and another on worldbuilding using maps. That last one might be the most useful to you.
Here are a few more how-tos on fantasy map-making:
- GHMaps: Making Fantasy Maps
- Fantasy-Faction: Mapmaking for Fantasy Authors
- R.L. Meyers: How to Create Your Own Fantasy World Map
- StormTheCastle: Map Making for Fantasy Writers
- eHow: How to Make & Design Fantasy Maps
- HubPages: Drawing a Fantasy Map for Your Novel or Short Story
Want more? Here are some articles on Fantasy genre development that might pique your interest!
- Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions by Patricia C. Wrede
- Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy: A Few Quick Tips
- Fantasy Cliches (and other things) I Can’t Stand
- The Writers Helpers: Fantasy Genre Help
- Book List: Journeys and Quests
- Ten Fantasy Clichés That Should Be Put to Rest
- Writing Science Fiction/Fantasy: What to Avoid
Thank you for your question! If you have further questions or a comment to add, hit us up!
More Thoughts on Creating an Alternate Medieval Fantasy Story
This is some commentary submitted to us by singlemanmedia on khaleesi’s post entitled “how to make your alternate medieval fantasy story both original and not sh***y”. We do not agree with everything singlemanmedia says here, but we respect the fact that a healthy debate is a fantastic teaching tool.
So, singlemanmedia, you have the floor:
About the “HOW TO MAKE YOUR ALTERNATE MEDIEVAL FANTASY STORY BOTH ORIGINAL AND NOT SHITTY” reblog you did awhile ago, I just want to say a few things.
Now, before I start, I want to remind everyone that this is coming from me and me alone and if anyone has questions or complains, please send them my way.
First and foremost I would like to address the facility within the post that queer characters or PoV characters suddenly make for more unorthodox stories. This is completely false, as having a character with said characteristics would in no way change the world or the main plotline of the story. It may change some details and add flavor, but it will ultimately lead to stories that provide a somewhat similar experience.
Whether you overthrow the evil king for his racial prejudice or because he killed your mother, you are still overthrowing the evil king. In the same sense, whether Bruno falls for Pablo or Paula doesn’t matter as it is still a love story (especially if there is no homophobia in the fantasy world).
(Although, that being said, there is an issue with representation, but that is another topic all together.)
What the post was right about, and completely neglected on giving advice for, was how to avoid the medieval England cliches.
Here are my few hints on the matter, which hopefully some of you may find useful.
- Architecture - Think about Asian architecture? Persian? Russian? Stone Age huts? Ancient Middle Eastern? Greek? Byzantine? Native American? There are a lot of different ways to make buildings and best of all - you don’t have to follow them exactly. Have no fear of mixing Babylonian and Korean architecture to create exotic buildings to populate your world. In general there is this love for the exotic we all have, so don’t be afraid of making fantastic things in a fantstic world.
- Power structure - Why must everything be a monarchy? Kings are nice, but why not a direct democracy(which is different than today’s Representative Democracy)? Oligarchy? City-States instead of nations? Mix several such countries/power structures together and you will find that the world suddenly has a lot more to offer.
- Social classes - Usually fantasy world divide the world in two - nobility and everyone else. But the spectrum is so big - the are rich merchants, poor merchants, rich farmers, poor farmers, etc.? Take advantage of the social classes to breath life, not create an us-vs-them scenario.
- Social norms - To be fair, you can’t really deviate too much, as the modern reader wouldn’t feel at home within a world where social norms are vastly different, but there still is a wiggle room in there that you can exploit. For example, you can make clothing made of pure cotton or in the shades of gray to be considered offensive, or have eathing with your right-hand be taken as a sign of barbarism.
- Cosine - Speaking of eating, why not spice up the kitchen? In modern media there is this clear sign that bread = Europe, rice = Asia (and for a good reason, but still). Exploit it, make it so that the main thing on the table for your people is Toi Leaves or whatever fantasy ingredients, beans, fruits you can think of. A fruit that contains a glowing liquid with sugary taste? Sign me up.
- Military - Now this has been getting a more broad exposure, but how can the military make for an interesting society? How about a society in which soldiers buy their own equipment, rather than being provided by the state (which has often been the case in history)? A society that values melee combat, compared to one that has no prejudice towards ranged weapons? A society who’s pride is it’s navy, rather than the land forces? It’s something to think about when writing a nation.
- World - You don’t have to depict the real world. Two Suns? A moon that dramatically changes it’s distance every few weeks? Green sky? Low Gravity? To begin with the story is most likely not set on Earth, so you might as well not mimic Earth. Speaking of which…
- Plants & Animals - Silver trees that shine on moonlight? Plants with magical properties being common (instead of those extra special ones hidden at the bottom of a lake)? A field of grass made of ice? An ocean filled with the souls of the dead?
A non-white/homosexual character may be interesting, but if you want to write a non-cliche fantasy world, you will have to change the world, not the characters.
Thanks, singlemanmedia. I hope we’ll hear from others on this topic as well!
Reply from anon:
I’m sorry but let’s not discount having poc and non het non cis fantasy characters either. They never get enough representation and it is a good start if you aren’t confident in world building of the magnitude the post is suggesting. Also if you plan to mix cultures tread very carefully to make sure you aren’t appropriating them or falling into racial or cultural stereotypes.
Reply from magicalzonbi:
This is not a debate. We had someone give a great post about there being enough straight cis white male characters, encouraging people to diversify for a better and more interesting story, that isn’t the same old, boring cis white male hero like 90% of published works and Hollywood roles. Then you have this person, coming behind them to say No, they’re wrong! You don’t need to change the main character at all, because clearly I’m all knowing and all experiences are alike so a white guy doing a thing is the same as everyone else doing a thing. You know what would really be great? Add a glowing flower!!!
I love this blog. But please consider in the content of things you allow for submission and what message they send. Because that post above is nothing short or casual racism and heteronormativity. I have no interest in debating this. Thank you.
Reply from aragingquiet:
This commentary is spot on. I hate to judge someone by the first few pages of their blog, but given that singlemanmedia is apparently under the impression that a few Strong Female Characters make up for how bad men are at writing women as people, I don’t think he’s qualified to chime in on this conversation.
Reply from secret-x-stars:
Seriously, this submission made my head fucking spin. It’s not about whether changing the world’s foliage or architecture is or isn’t a good idea, it’s that, first of all — exactly as you said — it had little to do with the original post in question, and second of all… those things don’t really change the plot either. What the hell?
You’re going to get a lot further changing the plot of your story by having actual race relations between characters than by changing characteristics about the universe all haphazardly, which fantasy authors do a lot, actually, to try to bandaid their blandass story while at the same time not taking into account how those ~interesting details~ would RADICALLY change the universe (One Does Not Simply have two suns).
At the same time, just adding underrepresented characters and having no discussion of their social standing and their relations with the majority can lead to the same kind of slapdash feel of ‘I was just trying to spice things up’ if you don’t know how to handle these things.
Point being, when world-building, actually think alllllll the way through how the politics, landscape, physics, etc. of your world will affect your characters, whose social status can and should definitely have an effect on your plot.
Reply from despitenothing:
regarding singlemanmedia’s post, I’m glad we have another take on it, even if readers don’t tend to agree with it. Can’t we just take what we can from both, instead of just flaring up just to say you think they’re wrong? There’s no crime. I’m glad both were posted, because I’ve gotten good information from both, and both have valid points.
Genre Help: Historical Fiction
Historical fiction can easily be one of the most difficult and time-consuming genres to write. Unlike sci-fi or fantasy, which transport the reader to created worlds, historical fiction is set in a finite space, bound by a seemingly endless number of social and technological rules. Often, this is a space the writers have never visited themselves. However, historical fiction done well can be one of the most enlightening and fascinating demonstrations of the human experience. Here are some tips to help you on your way.
- Know your time period. Google. Read. Ask questions. Track down your old history teacher and see what they know. Learn all you can about the world in which you’re setting your story.
- Use what you need. Just remember that not all of your research belongs within the pages of your work. If you were writing a story set in 2013, you wouldn’t have to include every last detail about our clothing, vehicles, light fixtures and social politics. You would just include the parts that were relevant to your characters and plot. The same goes for a story set in 1813, or even 1413.
- Take your time. You may learn that an important plot point is actually inaccurate to your chosen time period. You have two choices: move the date of your story, or move the plot point. Know that you may run into a few of these, but don’t allow them to derail you. Writing historical fiction is a process, but Rome wasn’t built in a day.
- Remember your genre. As David R. Gillham says in this article from Writer’s Digest, “Regardless of your time period, regardless of all the in-depth research you’ve done, you must remember that you’re writing fiction first, and historical fiction second. In other words, don’t forget that it’s action and conflict that moves the book forward. The historical details enrich the work, but detail for detail’s sakes will sink you.”
- Develop your characters in their time. Be careful before condemning a character whose actions are socially backward for our time, and don’t write characters so ahead of their time that they aren’t believable. That is, don’t apologize for the misogynist, but don’t expect a conversation about “legitimate rape” in 1812 to go off without a hitch in a setting that didn’t allow votes for women.
- Get some perspective. Consider whether your story would do better in the first- or third-person. If you are writing about an important figure in a historical event, the first-person perspective can make them seem pompous or self-absorbed, as if they felt so important that they decided to relay their story themselves. The third person allows for some distance, a wider lens, and with it comes humility. However, sometimes a story comes to life better and more emotionally in the form of a firsthand account. Weigh the pros and cons in your own story.
- Remember that people are people. While technology, politics and social structure have changed dramatically over the years, the core of the human experience remains the same.
- Read, and watch, historical fiction. Here are just a few examples to get you started:
- The Rose of Sebastopol by Katherine McMahon
- Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
- Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
- A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
- Copper (2012) (BBC America)
- Hell On Wheels (2012) (AMC)
- Mad Men (2007-) (AMC)
- War Horse (2011)
Genre Help: Children's Literature
Today S it taking over, and we’re covering CHILDREN’S LITERATURE!
Children’s books are vastly underrated so I’m going to start this with a list of books in my waterstones 9-12 section.
- Harry Potter
- Percy Jackson series
- Skullduggery Pleasant
- Jacqueline Wilson
What I am trying to say is there some AWESOME books out there for kids, and I don’t think people appreciate them enough!
Children’s books are often accompanied by pictures.
BELIEVABLE CHILDREN’S CHARACTERS
WHAT MAKES A GOOD CHILDREN’S BOOK
HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S BOOK
I hope that these links prove helpful, if you ever have any questions hit up our ask.
Arthur C. Clarke's Three Laws
- When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
- The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
- Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.