imjustafuckinggirl  asked:

So, I don't know how to write pain like! What words do I use? how do I describe it! I really need some help here!

No problem! And sorry about not answering sooner, I was on vacation. To make it up to you, I’ve made one of my trademark Long Posts about it.


TIPS ON HOW TO WRITE PAIN (FOR BOTH ORIGINAL CONTENT WRITERS AND FANFICTION WRITERS)

When I first started writing, about eight years ago, I had the same issue as @imjustafuckinggirl.

How are you supposed to write about pain you’ve never experienced before???

The characters in my book suffer through all sorts of terrible shit, and in no way am I writing from experience, which is marginally easier to do than write about something that has never happened to you.

However, with time, I managed to gather up a few strategies on how to write pain.

1. Don’t Write Paragraphs About It

I know, it’s tempting. You want to convey to the reader just how much pain the character is in, and you think that the pain will be emphasized the more you write about it.

This, however, is a lie.

As a reader, when I’m reading a book or fanfiction where, whenever the writer uses agonizingly long paragraphs to describe when a character is hurt, I skip it.

Entirely.

It’s boring and, quite frankly, unnecessary, especially during a fight or huge battle, which are supposed to be fast-paced.

When it comes to writing about pain, it really is about quality and not quantity.

In my own writing, I stick to short, quick paragraphs, some of them which are barely a line long. This gives it a faster pace and sort of parallels with the scattered, spread out thoughts of the character as they suffer.

2. Describe it Right

Many times, usually in fanfiction, writers over-exaggerate certain injuries.

This partially has to do with the fact that they’ve never experienced that injury before and are just thinking about what it might feel like.

As a girl with two brothers and who often participated in rough play-fights, I can assure you that getting punched is not as painful as you think it is.

(However, it does depend on the area, as well as how hard the punch is, on top of the fact that you have to take into account whether or not the punch broke bones)

I’m reading a high school AU where a character gets punched by a bully (Idk where they got punched it wasn’t stated) and the author is describing it like they’d been shot.

It was to the point where I was like Did the bully have brass knuckles or something????

It was very clear that this author had never been punched before.

When describing the pain of an injury or the injury itself, you have to take into account:

- What object was used to harm the character

- Where the injury is

- How long the character has had the injury

- (For blades) How deep the cut is

- (For blunt force trauma) How hard the hit was

- Whether or not the wound triggers other things (Ex: Concussion, vomiting, dizziness, infection, internal/external bleeding).

There’s also the fact that when some authors described wounds caused by blades such as knives, daggers, and swords, they never take into account the anatomy of a person and which places cause the most blood flow.

Obviously, a cut on your cheek will have less of a blood flow than a cut on your wrist, depending on what the blade hits, and I hope that everyone consults a diagram of veins, capillaries, arteries, etc. when they’re describing blood flow from a certain place.

There’s also the fact that you have to take into account where the blood is coming from. Veins? Arteries?

The blood from arteries will be a brighter red, like vermilion, than the blood from veins, which is the dark crimson everyone likes to talk about.

Not all places gush bright red blood, people!

3. DIFFERENT INJURIES HAVE DIFFERENT KINDS OF PAIN

Here, let me explain.

A punch feels different from a slap.

A broken arm feels different from getting stabbed.

A fall feels different from a dog bite.

I’ll give you a list of all the kinds of things that can be described for the three most common kinds of injuries that happen in stories:

Punch/Blunt Force Trauma

How it feels:

- Aching

- Numbness (In the later stages)

- A single spike of pain before it fades into an ache

- Throbbing

Effects:

- Vomiting (If the character is punched in the gut)

- Swelling

- Bruising

- Broken bones

- Unconsciousness (Blow to the head)

- Dizziness (Blow to the head)

- Concussion (Also a blow to the head)

- Internal bleeding

- Death (In the case of concussions and internal bleeding and broken bones- ribs can pierce lungs)

Stab Wound/Cut

How it feels:

- Stinging (only shallow wounds have just stinging)

- Burning

- With stab wounds, I feel like describing the effects of it make it more powerfully felt by the reader

Effects:

- Bleeding (Consult chart of the circulatory system beforehand for the amount of blood flow that should be described and what color the blood should be)

- Dizziness (Heavy blood loss)

- Unconsciousness

- Infection (if left unattended)

- Death

Gunshot

How it feels:

- Depends on the caliber bullet, from how far away they were shot (point-blank range is nothing like being shot from a distance), and in what place. Do careful research and then make your decision.

Effects:

- Bleeding (Consult chart of the circulatory system beforehand for the amount of blood flow that should be described and what color the blood should be. Also take into effect the above variables for blood flow as well.)

- Dizziness (Heavy blood loss)

- Infection (if left unattended)

- Death

Some things that a character may do while they’re injured:

- Heavy/Harsh/Ragged breathing

- Panting

- Making noises of pain

  • gasping
  • grunting
  • hissing
  • groaning
  • whimpering
  • yelping (when the injury is inflicted)
  • screaming
  • shrieking
  • wailing

- Crying/ Weeping/Sobbing/Etc.

- Clenching their teeth

- Unable to speak

- Pressing their hands against a stab wound/cut to try and stem the bleeding

- Eyesight going out of whack (vision blurring and tilting, the room spinning, black spots consuming sight)

- Eyes rolling up into their head

- Trembling/shaking

- Ears riniging (from gunshot)


HOPE THIS HELPED!

advice for writing a stutterer from an actual stutterer;

okay no shade at all I just want all of u to learn and grow and become better writers! so here’s a handy tip list!

  • we don’t stutter on every word. okay, sometimes it can seem it, but honestly, we don’t, so leave a few words in there to give your readers some breathing room.
  • we stutter more on specific sounds. for me, f and s sounds are big ones. everyone has their thing and most stutterers have sounds that are harder to get out.
  • we don’t just stutter at the beginning of words and sentences. okay, honestly this is a big one for me. sometimes, a word starts off really well and goes down the drain at the second syllable! and the stutter doesn’t disappear once we’ve made it past the first word - it clings in there, so don’t forget it.
  • some of us don’t always stutter. some, not all, of us have what’s known as an anxious stutter, which generally comes alongside anxiety disorders. so, while it may be usually present, when a person with an anxious stutter is particularly comfortable with a situation, it tends to get better (or even almost disappear).
  • we don’t stutter when we swear. this is why some of us can stutter and stutter and stutter on a word and then shout fuck and everything’s cool. as far as science knows, this is because swearing is from a more primitive part of the brain, and so it bypasses the bit that makes us stutter! it’s so cool honestly.
  • we don’t stutter when we sing. the biggest two reasons for this one is 1) music comes from a different part of the brain to talking (language=left; music=right), and so it once again bypasses the stutter, or 2) ‘easy voice’, which is the voice that people sing in, is softer and smoother, and the sounds are longer so there’s less opportunity to stutter. either option is way cool but we don’t stutter when we sing.
  • sometimes, we give up on words. after a certain amount of stuttering on a certain word, you may see a stutterer take a deep breath and either try again, or replace it with a synonym. sometimes that word just won’t fit right in our mouths!
  • we hate it when people try to guess what we’re trying to say or try to speed us up. this might be a more personal thing for me, but there’s nothing I hate more than that clicky sound people make or the weird hand gestures or being told to “spit it out.” because we can’t control this shit and it gets tiring. it’s better just to let the person get it out and take their time with it, so when you’re writing, keep this in mind!
  • it gets worse when we’re anxious or stressed, and when we’re excited! I get really really stuttery when I’m enthusiastic about the topic of conversation, because I know so much about that thing that I try to talk really fast and my mouth can’t keep up! it’s the same when I’m anxious or stressed - when there’s more on our minds, the more everything gets a little muddled.

I hope this was helpful! feel free to add on and spread around!

some advice I got a long time ago about making your characters more realistic:

If you can’t imagine your character in silly or embarrassing situations without feeling very personally offended; take a step back, kick your character off their pedestal and let them breathe.

Let them feel and react in the same way you and others do. Let them laugh at dumb things, let them trip and fall on their face a few times. Let them experience life.

Don’t take your characters so seriously that all the fun qualities are removed in the process.

Commonly Used Words and their Synonyms!

Instead of using… You can use the word…

Looked — observed, peered, gazed, glanced, explored, glimpsed, stared, eyed, viewed, noticed, watched, inspected, examined, and peeked. 

Said — told, stated, replied, phrased, announced, articulated, reported, expressed, voiced, mentioned, communicated, uttered, spoke, and vocalised.

Shouted — yelled, roared, exclaimed, hollered, cried, called out, squealed, wailed, screeched, squawked, bellowed, shrieked, screamed, and howled.

Laughed — chuckled, smiled, giggled, grinned, snickered, cracked up, hooted, roared, snorted, howled, erupt into laughter, and burst into laughter.

Good — great, pleasant, wonderful, positive, awesome, rad, splendid, worthy, superb, superior, marvellous, stellar, excellent, and super.

Bad — awful, atrocious, terrible, negative, unfortunate, rough, dreadful, dismal., poor, appalling, lousy, unpleasant, crummy, and miserable. 

Nice — polite, kind, respectable, friendly, well-mannered, admirable, wonderful, affable, lovely, nifty, pleasant, inviting, enjoyable, and fine.

Mean — nasty, evil, unkind, vicious, cruel, wicked, bothersome, spiteful, unpleasant, hateful, malicious, harsh, uncaring, and insensitive. 

Tried — weary, burned out, sleepy, sluggish, exhausted, drowsy, fatigued, heavy-eyed, beat, lifeless, drained, lazy, worn out, and droopy.

Scared — frightened, worried, afraid, anxious, fearful, timid, startled, suspicious, alarmed, apprehensive, petrified, shaken, terrified, and panicked.

Happy — glad, ecstatic, joyful, jovial, delighted, merry, content, elated, blissful, gleeful, cheerful, thrilled, pleasant, and overjoyed.   

Sad — unhappy, disappointed, miserable, blue, depressed, sorrowful, gloomy, melancholy, down in the dumps, dismal, heartbroken, down, and full of woe.

Mad — angry, outraged, grouchy, fuming, furious, frantic, irritated, cranky, annoyed, irate, livid, enraged, infuriated, and heated.

Excited — eager, wired, enthusiastic, simulated, thrilled, jubilant, hysterical, jumpy, charged, anxious, awakened, fired up, nervous, and on edge.

Pretty — beautiful, charming, attractive, elegant, handsome, gorgeous, dazzling, captivating, nice-looking, glamorous, lovely, stunning, appealing, and memorising.

Ugly — unpleasant, gruesome, horrid, gross, dreadful, beastly, grotesque, deformed, appalling, plain, unsightly, loathsome, hideous, and homely.

Little — small, young, tiny, mini, petite, short, minute, slim, pocket-sized, slight, pint-sized, minor, miniature, and wee.

Big — humongous, ginormous, gigantic, hefty, large, jumbo, huge, massive, enormous, oversize, vast, great, giant, and abundant.

Funny — humorous, whimsical, hilarious, eccentric, amusing, side-splitting, comical, lighthearted, witty, jolly, nutty, hysterical, jokey, and droll.

Fun — entertaining, interesting, pleasurable, a blast, exciting, captivating, enjoyable, fascinating, engaging, gratifying, action-filled, lively, amusing, and enchanting. 

Smart — keen, intelligent, clever, cunning, screwed, knowledgeable, brilliant, sharp-witted, wise, scholarly, bright, gifted, canny, and brainy. 

Like — love, care about, adore, value, fond of, treasure, cherish, appreciate, admire, enjoy, passionate about, crazy about, and devoted to.     

Hate — loathe, detest, dislike greatly, despise, execrate, feel revulsion towards, feel hostile towards, be repelled by, be revolted by, regard with disgust, be unable to stomach, find intolerable, shudder at, and recoil from. 

Hot — sweltering, fiery, overly warm, heated, burning up, stuffy, sizzling, spicy, blistering, humid, boiling, blazing, scorching, and scalding. 

Cold — chilly, very cold, icy, bitter, frigid, arctic, frosty, nippy, crisp, harsh, wintry, biting, freezing, and polar.

Fast — quick, speedy, sudden, hurried, abrupt, rushed, rapid, instantly, brisk, dashing, hasty, accelerated, swift, and prompt. 

Slow — unhurried, inactive, leisurely, slothful, sluggish, passive, gradual, snail-like, slack, time-consuming, stagnant, decelerate, delay, and losing speed. 

How to Make Your Descriptions Less Boring

We’ve all been warned about the dangers of using too much description. Readers don’t want to read three paragraphs about a sunset, we’re told. Description slows down a story; it’s boring and self-indulgent. You should keep your description as short and simple as possible. For those who take a more scientific approach to writing fiction, arbitrary rules abound: One sentence per paragraph. One paragraph per page. And, for god’s sake, “Never open a book with weather” (Elmore Leonard).

But what this conventional wedding wisdom fails to take into account is the difference between static and dynamic description. Static description is usually boring. It exists almost like a painted backdrop to a play. As the name suggests, it doesn’t move, doesn’t interact or get interacted with.

There were clouds in the sky.
Her hair was red with hints of orange.
The house had brown carpeting and yellow countertops.

In moderation, there’s nothing wrong with static description. Sometimes, facts are facts, and you need to communicate them to the reader in a straightforward manner.

But too much static description, and readers will start to skim forward. They don’t want to read about what the house looks like or the stormy weather or the hair color of each of your protagonist’s seventeen cousins.

Why? Because they can tell it’s not important. They can afford to skip all of your description because their understanding of the story will not be impacted.

That’s where dynamic description comes in. Dynamic description is a living entity. It’s interactive, it’s relevant. It takes on the voices of your narrators and characters. In short, it gives us important information about the story, and it can’t be skimmed over.

So how do you make your description more dynamic so that it engages your readers and adds color and excitement to your story? Here are a few tips.

(I have a TON more tips about setting and description. These are just a few. But I’m trying to keep this short, so if you have any questions or want more advice about this, please feel free to ask me.)

Keep reading

Specific Setting Ideas
  • Deserted gas station at 2AM
  • Church tucked away on the edge of town with only a glowing cross to light it up
  • Liquor store with a few high school kids buying stuff for a house party
  • At the drive-thru late at night trying to figure out your order/everyone in the car’s order
  • Hospital waiting room in the early hours of the morning
  • Birthday party with a bad clown and kids covered in cake and snot
  • Basketball court on a block with a bunch of ratty apartment buildings
  • Dark alleyway with only a lone street lamp light at the mouth of the alley
  • Bench/hill in the middle of the park as the sun starts to come up
  • Cluttered basement with a beat-up couch and an old TV
  • Sunny, warm enclosed porch on the back of someone’s house
  • Quiet field of flowers in the middle of a wooded area
  • Snowy mountain trail with black ice no one notices
  • Dark stretch of road without street lamps at 3 AM
  • Rooftop in the middle of the day
  • Driving through heavy fog early in the morning where you feel like you’re the only one awake
  • On top of a giant dune in the middle of the desert with a hot breeze that never cools anyone down
  • Teenagers playing Marco Polo in a store
  • Covered bridge at the edge of town
  • Abandoned building that other teenagers explore
Conveying Worldbuilding Without Exposition!

(As requested by both an anon and @my-words-are-light​)

One of the hardest parts of writing speculative fiction is presenting readers with a world that’s interesting and different from our own in a way that’s both immersive and understandable at the same time. 

Thankfully, there are a few techniques that can help you present worldbuilding information to your readers in a natural way, as well as many tricks to tweaking the presentation until it’s just right.

Four basic techniques:

1. The ignorant character. 

By introducing a character who doesn’t know about the aspects of the world building you’re trying to convey, you can let the ignorant character voice the questions the reader naturally wants to ask. This is commonly seen in cases where the protagonist is brought into a new world, society, organization, etc, but non-PoV character put under the same circumstances can be equally useful.

It works best when the inclusion of the ignorant character feels natural. They must have a purpose in the story outside of simply asking questions.  

2. Conflicting opinions.

A fantastic way to convey detailed world building concepts is to have characters with conflicting viewpoints discuss or argue about them. Unless you’re working with a brainwashed society, every character should hold their own set of religious, political, and social beliefs. 

Examples of this kind of dialogue:

Keep reading

Words to use instead of “Very”!

👎🏼 Very simple             👍🏼 Basic
👎🏼 Very shy                  👍🏼 Timid
👎🏼 Very short                👍🏼 Brief 
👎🏼 Very shiny                👍🏼 Gleaming 
👎🏼 Very sharp               👍🏼 Keen
👎🏼 Very serious             👍🏼 Grave
👎🏼 Very scary                👍🏼 Chilling 
👎🏼 Very scared              👍🏼 Petrified 
👎🏼 Very sad                   👍🏼 Sorrowful
👎🏼 Very rich                   👍🏼 Wealthy 
👎🏼 Very rainy                 👍🏼 Pouring 
👎🏼 Very quiet                 👍🏼 Hushed
👎🏼 Very quick                👍🏼 Rapid
👎🏼 Very pretty                👍🏼 Beautiful 
👎🏼 Very powerful           👍🏼 Compelling
👎🏼 Very poor                 👍🏼 Destitute 
👎🏼 Very perfect             👍🏼 Flawless
👎🏼 Very pale                  👍🏼 Ashen 
👎🏼 Very painful              👍🏼 Excruciating 
👎🏼 Very open                 👍🏼 Transparent
👎🏼 Very old-fashioned   👍🏼 Archaic 
👎🏼 Very old                    👍🏼 Ancient 
👎🏼 Very often                 👍🏼 Frequently 
👎🏼 Very noisy                👍🏼Deafening 

Relationships for writers

I’ve been doing more writing recently (cough fanfiction cough) and noticed the romantic relationships I was writing fell into categories based on their foundation. And because I’m ~that~ type of person I made up little guides for each of these categories. Thought other writers might find it helpful too…

Feel free to add on!

Built on: chemistry

Upside:

Strong start

Pitfall:

Sex is not a replacement for talking

You might hear this couple say:

“It was love at first sight”

Examples:

Ariel and Eric (the little mermaid)

Red and Kitty (that 70s show)

Tony and Maria (west side story)


Built on: Friendship

Upside:

Common interests outlast infatuation

Pitfall:

Differences in life goals or living styles

You might hear this couple say:

“I’m so lucky to be in love with my best friend”

Examples:

Monica and Chandler (F.r.i.e.n.d.s) 

Carl and Ellie (Up)

Aang and Katara (Avatar the last airbender) 


Built on: loyalty

Upside:

face everything as a team

Pitfall:

Is it love or adrenaline

You might hear this couple say:

“I trust them with my life”

Examples:

Han and Leia (star wars)

Katniss and Peeta (the hunger games) 

Mulan and Shang (Mulan)

8 Ways to Improve Your Writing

I got a great anonymous ask last week from someone who wanted to know how to identify weak spots in their writing. One of the things that comes with time and experience is finding the language to identify, discuss, and address the feeling that something isn’t quite right or that a story is “missing something.” Not knowing them or their writing, of course I couldn’t help them figure out what specifically the problem was. But I did share with them a list of things I’ve done over the years to be able to identify weak spots and improve my writing. 

1. Analyze your favorite writers.

Figure out why you like the writing that you like. Ask yourself: What are they doing here? What are they doing that I’m not doing? Why do I love their writing so much? Take notes on their stories. Plot them. Write in the margins. Read them slowly. Read their reviews—both good and bad. Did that writer you love once write something you hated? Great, even better. Figure out why that particular book was different from the others.

2. Analyze your own writing.

Do you have an older story you wrote that you love? Figure out why. What did you do differently in that story that you’re not doing in the current story you’re writing? Make notes. Draw maps. Reverse engineer everything.

3. Develop a language to talk and think about writing.

Read craft books, blogs, anything you can get your hands on. Learn about point of view, conflict, character development, dialogue, story structure, syntax, metaphors. Get your advice from good sources, and don’t believe everything you read. If something doesn’t sit right with you, throw it out. But be open to everything.

4. Journal and write about your writing.

Over time, you will identify consistent weaknesses that you have. Then, in the future, when you feel like “something is missing” from your writing, you can reference your notes and remember, for example, that you often have difficulty with your protagonist’s motivation, with theme, with dialogue, etc., and you’ll have a better idea about where to go looking.

5. Share your writing with someone you trust, ideally a more experienced writer than you or an editor or mentor.

Be very careful about who you share your writing with. Friends and family are not always the best choice. You don’t want someone who’s just going to throw around their uneducated opinion about your work, who has a big ego, or who won’t be honest with you. Remember: “I liked it” or “I didn’t like it” are useless pieces of feedback. You want someone who can read your work and say, “Your protagonist’s passion for music made them really likeable to me. I was dying to know whether they would get into the conservatory or not!” or “My attention wandered on page two, when you described the couch upholstery for three paragraphs.”

6. Analyze the areas of your writing which are commonly problematic for new writers (and writers in general).

In my experience as an editor, the most likely culprits are unclear character motivation and lack of conflict. There are a lot of good resources (books and blogs) about this. Try a Google search for “most common mistakes beginning writers make.”

7. Trust your intuition.

Do you keep coming back to the same page or scene in your story, feeling like it isn’t right? You’re probably onto something.

8. Take time away from your writing.

You’d be amazed how much more clear everything will be after a break. Give yourself at least a week for a short story, 3-4 weeks for a novel. It could also be the case that your ambitions for this particular story don’t yet match your skills, and that you’ll have to wait even longer to successfully finish it. I’ve known writers who have given up on a story only to come back to it months or years later once they’d gained the skills and insight to complete it. And then suddenly writing that story seemed really easy!

life-of-a-feminist  asked:

five steps for not writing a boring story? i can never ever write something that doesn't end up boring 😂

Hiya! Thanks for your question. Writing an engaging story is complicated, but it can be done.

First off, there are so many aspects to writing a gripping story. Honestly, it can’t be done in five steps (and certainly not in one blog post). To prevent a boring story you need strong characters, an exciting plot, good pacing… the list goes on and on.

So rather than type out a 3000+ word response, I’m going to give you a mini-masterpost of the key aspects of writing a non-boring story with links to other LGF posts. Here you go:

How Not to Write a Boring Story:

Descriptions:

How to Write Better Descriptions

Showing vs Telling

How to Create Interesting World-Building

Dialogue:

How to Create a Unique Character Voice

Writing Unique Dialogue

How to Prevent Your Story from Being Dialogue-Heavy

Characters:

What Do You Do When Your Main Character Doesn’t Jump Off the Page?

Three Types of Character Traits

Writing Character Arcs

Plot:

How to Make Your Conflict Less Plain

The Element Every Story Needs

How to Avoid Unnecessary Scenes

Pacing:

Why Your Story Feels Too Fast

How to Pace a Scene More Quickly

Pacing Through Details

Beginning:

What to Write in a First Chapter

How to Avoid Info Dumps in the Beginning

10 Ways to Start Your Story

Middle:

How to Build-Up to a Climax

Plotting the Middle

Creating and Maintaining Tension

End:

Traits of a Strong Ending

Examples of Narrative Endings

Dual Duties of Chapter Endings

Misc.:

What Aspects Make a Good Story?

The Four Horsemen of the Bore-Apocalypse

Thanks again for your question! If you need any more writing advice, feel free to send in another ask! Happy writing!

- Mod Kellie


If you need advice on general writing or fanfiction, you should maybe ask us!

As some of you may know I’ve been studying Professional and Creative Writing for three years now, and I’m heading into a fourth year of study for Honours, and one thing that has really stuck out for me over the past few years is how much pressure people put on you to write a story with some kind of important meaning.

This needs to stop.

There’s nothing wrong with writing a story with purpose and meaning, but when you limit yourself to writing a story around those morals, then you restrict what you can write.

Write what you want to write. 

Write stories for fun. 

Write stories with no moral messages and see what meaning other people read into it.

Write a story by focusing on the characters, the plot, the narrative, whatever; just write the story you want to tell, becasue if you limit yourself to writing around that moral message then you lose the possibility to open your text up and create depth to it by having multiple meanings and moral messages, contradictions and ideologies that your readers will hold onto and literature students will gush over.

Write what you want to write.

Physical features to add to any character

  • Dirty/chewed finger nails
  • Blemished skin
  • Chipped nail polish on fingers/toes
  • Chipped tooth/teeth
  • Errant curls/hairs that won’t stay down no matter what you do to them.
  • Unruly eyebrows
  • Sweats easily
  • Fidgets constantly/can never sit still
  • Blinks often
  • Grinds teeth
  • Gap in their teeth/Crooked teeth
  • Chapped lips
  • Dry skin
  • Skin is red/irritated
  • Acne on cheeks, forehead, chin
  • Dark under eye circles
  • Eyebrow scar
  • Uneven dimples
  • Hair birthmark
  • Long toes and/or short fingers
  • Patchy skin
  • Veiny hands/arms
  • Chin hairs
  • Large teeth/small teeth
  • Broken/crooked nose
  • Yellow teeth
Things to Keep Out of Your Healthy Relationships!

(Alternately: how to identify problematic YA romances.)

Written by yours truly, contributions from @jltillary, @theinkrepository, @time-to-write-and-suffer, and @sakrebleu.

Non-consensual physical intimacy, especially in situations where it’s portrayed as being done for the benefit of the victim or situations where the victim forgives the forced intimacy because they decide they like it after it’s already been forced on them. Examples:

  • Forcing a partner to accept physical comfort when they don’t want it.
  • Kissing a partner in the middle of an argument.
  • Framing consent as unnecessary simply because one person is attracted to the other.
  • Stalking the other person, even for their own safety.
  • Forcing the other person into some form of physical intimacy because they “liked it last time.”
  • Implying that it’s normal for a certain physically intimate act to hurt and/or their partner should grin and bear it.
  • Skipping over their partner’s preferred forms of intimacy in favor of what they want to do with/to their partner.

When in doubt: Consent should be explicitly given!!

Non-consensual communication. Examples:

  • Physically stopping a partner from leaving in order to continue talking with them.
  • Bringing up a topic the other person has made clear they don’t wish to discuss yet.
  • Forcing the other person into conversations with people they previously showed they did not wish to talk with.
  • Manipulating the conversation so that the other person shares a secret, especially one that doesn’t affect their partner.

Emotional manipulation. Examples:

  • Telling the other person to do something (i.e. ‘go away’) as a test, where the person is at fault if they follow through and do as their partner asked.
  • Blaming the other person for things beyond their control, especially “I wouldn’t be like this if not for you/your interests/your goals.”
  • Claiming they’ll die (or kill themselves) if the other person leaves.
  • Not wanting the other person to have friends of the same gender as their partner (i.e. a man not wanting his girlfriend to have any male friends).
  • “If you really loved me you would do x, y, and z.”
  • Demanding to be the most important part of their partner’s life, above and beyond their partner’s other responsibilities.
  • Cheating on their partner as a form of punishment.
  • Acting as though physical intimacy (or any other sort of intimacy) isn’t important, but then blaming the other person for not supplying it.
  • Acting distant or cruel until the other person does what they want, or because the other person didn’t do what they wanted.

Demeaning actions and words, especially in instances where they blame the actions and words on internalized sexism, racism, etc as a shield, in instances outside of high-stress arguments, and whenever the character isn’t sincerely sorry for what they did or makes no point to change. Examples:

  • Stating the other person’s interests or hobbies are inferior or a waste of time.
  • Telling them they were look better if they did x, y and z.
  • Demanding they stop doing something or start doing something else based on their gender, race, etc.
  • Placing the other person in a subordinate role without their partner’s explicit consent.
  • Not sharing certain pieces of information because they believe they know what’s best for their partner and don’t need the other person’s consent to act upon it.
  • Bonus: Glorification of a partner simply for not demeaning the other person, (i.e. for acting like  an average, decent human being,) especially when the partner in question boasts how amazing they are for loving their “curvy”/non-white/bisexual/not-like-other-girls/etc partner.

Please add more, if you feel so inclined! 

anonymous asked:

Do you have any tips for writing enemies to lovers?

Hi, love!  Thanks for your question and your patience <3  I’m currently writing something similar to this, so I hope my experience can help you here!

Enemies-to-lovers is a popular trope, but it’s often treated carelessly by writers – especially TV/movie writers who rush through the transition to fit a single movie or episode arc.  There’s nothing worse you can do in this situation than to rush your arc.  Falling in love is already a time-consuming plotline – but transitioning from enemies, who are already shutting each other out, to lovers?  The quicker it happens, the less believable it becomes.

I have a lot of notes on how to write enemies to lovers, so bear with me as I list them out.


Writing Enemies to Lovers: The Basic Ingredients

1. Give them some similar traits.

No matter what, two people can’t fall in love if they don’t relate on some level.  The first step to creating possible love interests is to find where they’ll connect.  Are they a hero and a villain?  Evil and good?  Night and day?  I bet they both love animals.  Maybe they’re both way into politics.  Maybe they share a common enemy.  Maybe they’re both neat freaks or a bit sassy or super gay or love the same music.  It can be a few important things or a bunch of superficial things – just make sure they have something that can tie them together.

Originally posted by sonandheirofnothinginparticular


2. Put them on the same side of something.

When two people are mortal foes, it can be hard for them to see each other in any other light.  Bringing in a common enemy (an anti-hero, a natural disaster, a person in power), or a common interest (a mutual friend, a school play, a moral cause), can land foes on a team together.  This forces them to become aware of each other’s strengths, and to consider (and worry about) each other’s weaknesses.  This is perfect fodder for an eyebrows-raised, “Hey, they don’t suck at this particular thing,” moment.

Originally posted by ilostthatfeeling


3. Get them alone.

With other people watching (especially friends/coworkers/allies), little groundwork can be made for your two hate-lovers.  If you get your characters alone together, you’re given a bounty of opportunities to bond them, including but not limited to: actual conversations, accidental (or faux-accidental) physical contact, the sneaky moment of checking each other out, etc. etc. etc.  People are different when you get them away from their friends – less extreme, less rowdy, less unreachable.  If you have to trap your characters in an elevator the old-fashioned way, damn it, you’re the only one who can do it.

Originally posted by vicchan


4. Let them fight their feelings.

If these two are truly enemies, there isn’t going to be a moment of, “Oh, I like them.  Huh.  Neato.”  Oh, no.  There will be internal backlash – they will beat their emotions back with a broom, and deny them to anyone who asks.  There will be extra hateful glares, more middle fingers, and basically anything they can do to remind themselves that they don’t like this person.  If you show this internal conflict, it both (a) makes the feelings seem real, organic, and (b) creates a more realistic transition from hate to love.

Originally posted by 1980s-90sgifs


5. Love can sound like hate.

There’s a reason people say indifference is the true opposite of love.  When your two enemies start to feel things for each other, this will probably spark a lot of ranting, arguing, and door-slamming.  It creates a fixation – you sit there and you stew and you tell your friends, “Remember when they did that stupid thing?  Yeah.  Screw them.”  Your friends roll their eyes.  When will you stop talking about this person?  Just kiss them already.

Originally posted by newgirlonfox


6. Sexual tension is a powerful tool.

If your characters experience sexual attraction, this is a great way to accelerate their relationship against their will.  It’s the age-old, “My mind says no but my body says yes,” dilemma.  Your characters can’t stand each other, or the image they have of each other, but they’re attracted like magnets and can’t shake it.  This can make for some pretty hot – or pretty hilarious – scenes.

Originally posted by swmovies


7. Give them a moment of horrified realization.

Eventually, the feelings will grow strong enough that one or both of them will have to sit there, probably on the bathroom floor a little bit drunk with one sock on, and realize: “I love that f*cker.”  It’ll be a scary moment for them.  It’s not that they haven’t known it – they just have yet to accept that it’s something to deal with, until now.  This can be prompted by a dangerous situation, a shared activity, or a failed attempt at another romance – so when they really sit and think about it, they know.  Then it becomes a question of either “how do I get rid of this?” or “how do I pursue this?”.

Originally posted by crazyexedits


8. Try their hand at flirting.

Whether one or both characters have come to accept their feelings, someone’s gotta start flirting.  A glancing touch across the arm; a small comment that could kind of be construed as amicable; a lingering glance; that first peek at their enemy’s smile.  Something cute and quick and immediately followed by an existential crisis will do in a pinch.  Without this water-testing, readers won’t have any image of what this relationship will look like – and if it can succeed.

Originally posted by spidersprout


9. Craft the perfect kiss/hug/confession.

When the time is right, create an undeniable display of attraction to transition into a new phase of their relationship: the “welp-we-both-like-each-other” phase, which comes right before the “we-decided-to-(stay-platonic/start-romancin’)” phase.  The Big Kiss/Confession is the most iconic climactic love scene, in which the two characters take a chance and become vulnerable with each other – and kiss, or say, “I love you,” or do anything that can’t be construed in any other way.  Want to extend the drama?  Interrupt them, or have it be one-sided, or let it turn into a fight until they decide, “Forget it, this was stupid.”  Readers will swoon.

Originally posted by theparksfiles


10. Finish up with an awkward adjustment period.

If and when your characters do enter a relationship, make sure it’s a little tentative at the beginning, to keep it realistic.  Your characters have made a huge shift in their dynamic – there will be some lingering arguments and love-hate, and maybe a bit of discomfort going public with their romance.  Then come the usual growing pains of a new relationship getting serious – figuring out how to navigate each other’s flaws, learning to be open with their feelings, dealing with unresolved fights from before their relationship.  It won’t be perfect right away.  That’s the beauty of it.

Originally posted by flirtyaniston


I hope this helps you, love!  I adore love-hate relationships, and I hope you enjoy crafting your own enemies-to-lovers as much as we’ll all love reading them :)  Good luck!

– Mod Joanna ♥️


If you need advice on general writing or fanfiction, you should maybe ask us!

NaNoWriMo Prep: How to Write 2000 Words a Day

Originally posted by byaseashore

Two thousand is a big number. Sitting down to write 2000 words can be extremely intimidating, so the first thing you should do is make that number friendlier.

Write 500 words in 4 writing sessions.  

Chop up that big, intimidating number. Start with a goal of 500 words. In one session, with no breaks, write them all. Take a break, then write the next 500. Repeat until you reach at least 2000. 

If you write 650 words in one session, don’t aim for 350 in the next. Let those extra words add up. A few hundred extra words each day will get you to 50k quicker than you could imagine.

I recommend timing your sessions, aiming for 20 minutes each time. The deadline will help you get the words out, With 10 minute breaks between each session, you can reach your 2000 word goal in two hours. Which brings me to the next point: 

Write fast. 

Don’t stop and think about your words. Don’t go back and improve a previous sentence. Save all of your edits for later. Focus on writing as quickly as possible, throwing everything you have at that blank page. This will actually help boost your creativity. Make your brain work so fast, be so focused, that it doesn’t have any space to doubt itself and you’ll be amazed at what you can come up with. 

But don’t worry if you can’t write 500 words in 20 minutes on day one. Writing quickly is a skill and it will take a few days of training. 

Let the words suck.

This is absolutely key if you want a high word count. When you’re writing an entire chapter in a day, you shouldn’t expect the words to be beautiful. You’re not aiming at lyrical prose. You’re mining raw material that you can work into art later.

Letting the words suck can include:

  • Writing [something happens here] in place of a scene.
  • Letting yourself use cliches as shorthand.
  • Dialog that is really exposition.
  • Long descriptions of things that don’t matter.
  • Letting your characters ramble until you discover what it is they actually need to say.

As long as there are 2000 words and they relate to your story, they’re exactly what you need. And if you hate having bad words on a page, once you have your 2000 for a day, you can go back and fix all of it. Take all the time you need. Just reach that word count first. 

Tip: if you do edit at the end of each day, make that a separate document from your official NaNo doc. This way, you can trim scenes, descriptions, and dialog without worrying about its effect on your word count. (If you make a scene/description/sentence longer, feel free to include that in your NaNo doc.) 

Don’t know what to write next?

So you’ve written 1200 words, completed a scene, and you have no idea where the story is going next. Here are some things you can do to get those 800 words in anyway:

  • Go to writeordie.com and FORCE the words out.
  • If that doesn’t work, reread the scene you’ve just written and see if you’re missing some obvious foreshadowing, some clue as to where the story’s headed. (You can also add a few lines to bulk up your wc.)
  • If that fails, take a walk and let the fresh air usher a solution to you.
  • If that fails, skip the next section. Write another scene. Go where the story is waiting for you. Come back to the other scene at a later time.

Helpful tip:

Instead of breaking your writing session into four parts, break it into five. Use your first writing session to sketch out an entire chapter, like an outline, but with bits and pieces of dialog and description. Figure out where you’re headed and a couple of key stops along the way. Knowing what you’re writing towards will make doing the actual, fleshed-out writing much easier and quicker.

You can also do an outline for the next day’s writing after you’ve gotten your 2000 words for the day in. Future you will be extremely pleased.