Anonymous asked: So I’m having this problem with my writing where I just don’t add details at all. I don’t know how I should go about it because it just seems so barren. I tried added details in after I’ve finished writing but it doesn’t look too well. Any advice?
Sometimes going back and adding in description doesn’t work. You hadn’t thought of what should go in, so adding it later, just doesn’t seem right. It can feel like making up stuff just to fill up a page. It isn’t always the way to go. For you writers who relate, I recommend writing in scenes. Think of your story not in conversations but in scenes. What are the characters physically doing while in the scene? What are they holding? What is in the scene that they’ll take notice of? Just coming into a scene with a purpose outside of dialogue will help you picture it more visually and also help you write it with more important detail. You’ll show the relationships between characters instead of just having characters talk about it and the world will become more realized around the characters.
Give your eyes a rest. Whether you’re working on paper or digitally, take a break. If you’re spending long periods in front of a screen or straining your eyes, rest them underneath a cool compress for several minutes to soothe any puffiness.
Keep a notebook; organize your hurricane of thoughts on paper. Don’t let your ideas sweep away unnoticed. Write it down. Too commonly does a thought blink in and out of existence. Your mind is a vast world, it’s easy for ideas to get lost inside.
Writing without music kind of gets me stuck. I don’t know what happens, I feel incomplete. The wrong type of music, however, throws me off. If, just like me, music is an important part of your writing process, this is the post for you.
So, I have a really busy next couple of weeks. I’m moving and then leaving on a trip. It’s going to be kind of crazy. Since I’m not going to be able to record videos like I usually do, instead I’m going to record a bunch of Writing Advice Q&A’s to make it up to you! I’m planning to pick up through most of the questions that have been sent— so this is your chance to get your question in before the big recording session!
As always, if you have a writing question you’d like me to answer, drop it in my ask-box or tweet it at me!
My Catholic family had Brigid’s cross over the doorway. My Catholic neighbors did not know who Brigid was.
My family called it a clicker. Mostly everyone else in my town called it a remote.
My friend assumed from a young age that she would attend an Ivy League university because her father had “connections”. I didn’t know what the hell an Ivy League school was until I was a teenager.
Everyone drinks orange juice cold. My cousins warm theirs up in the microwave. God knows why.
Cheese curds are found in abundance in Wisconsin and in parts of Minnesota and Illinois. Everyone else in America is deprived of cheese curds.
My friend knows a lot more about Confirmation within Catholicism than I do. We both went through it, together, but all I can tell you is that a Bishop is there and it’s like Baptism Part II.
My family’s idea of a vacation was a cabin in the woods. My friend’s idea of vacation was going to the beach for the day. My neighbor’s idea of vacation was spending a week at a resort in Mexico.
You should have variation like this when you create fictional cultures. Your characters will not be aware of everything within their culture. They will have different ideas of what something is/should be. Religion will vary by place and even by family (even if those families are from the same place). Not everyone in the same town will practice a holiday the same way. Not everyone will attach the same significance to elements of their culture, their religion, or their home/country/ancestral land.
If all of your characters (including the background characters) walk around with the same knowledge about the same topics, your culture is going to lack depth.
One character might have been told X about a certain magical creature where another character might have been told Y. One character might have many family traditions whereas another character’s family might not have any.
Characters should have varying levels of knowledge of their own culture, heritage, history, nation, etc.
Variances in language, religion, tradition, etc. should exist among characters who belong to the same language/dialect, culture, religion, etc.
When creating these differences, consider how certain factors such as place of origin, age, socioeconomic class (past, present, class of parents/grandparents), religion, education, family, and language create these variances.
Think of the family unit (defined by your fictional culture) as a subculture within a larger culture. Family A, Family B, and Family C all speak the same language, practice the same religion, and celebrate the same national holidays, but they do these things in different ways.