University advice from Dan and Phil | 17.08.17
  • Someone in chat: May I get a uni send-off?
  • Phil: Farewell!
  • Dan: Goodbye, Hannah. Good luck.
  • Phil: Take some Haribo and have your door open. I say this every time we bring up uni. But you don't want to lock yourself in the room if you're in accommodation. Have the door open. Say "hey do you want a Haribo? How's moving in going, Janet?" and then Janet is your best friend.
  • Dan: Everyone is going to be terrified, so if you just like pretend not to be terrified for a day even if you are, then a day later you might just be over it. Yeah, so good luck with that.

anonymous asked:

@howtofightwrite answered a question recently about how much fighting-related BS they can tolerate in a fictional work, and I thought that would be an interesting question to pose to you as well. What's your medical BS limit? And beyond that, when you write, how much do you bend the medical rules?

This is a really good and interesting question, and I thought I’d take a moment to address it. 

Really-real Realism™ doesn’t usually make for a good story, whether we’re talking about medical issues or not. In real life, things are boring, things take forever, there’s paperwork for days

But neither should stories just take the real world, look at it, go “lol no thx,” and make up absolutely everything. 

Generally speaking, I’m willing to forgive a lot if the chain of cause and effect isn’t violated. For example, in Maim Your Characters, I talk about the wounding of John Reese in an episode of Person of Interest, where he’s shot in the belly and patched up by someone who can’t afford their license to be a doctor in the US but was a surgeon abroad. 

He spends the next episode in a wheelchair recovering. At the end of the episode, some 3 days after he’s been shot in the belly, he winds up fighting a bad guy using his crutches and winning. 

Typically, he shouldn’t have been able to fight and should probably have been in bed, not a wheelchair. The story fails the realism test: this is Not What Would Have Happened In Real Life (hospital admission alone would be up to 10 days for an abdominal GSW). 

But cause and effect are intact. Injury begets disability, which changes not just the character’s capabilities but changes how he interacts with another character – the incident prompts a role reversal between him and Finch, the disabled man who is essentially the mastermind of the show. Finch must do the legwork that John usually does, while John does the desk work that supports it. We see each other’s role through the opposite one’s eyes. 

I did get mad that his stitches didn’t rupture because of the fight. The cause – fighting while injured – failed to have an effect – a reinjury. That’s where the show got under my skin with it: when that crucial chain was broken. 

Realism isn’t necessarily what we want. But verisimilitude – adherence and cleaving to a story’s internal truth – is exactly what we want. Verisimilitude is what makes us believe gravity plating in sci-fi, what makes us believe in the impossible when set amidst the improbable: it works because it’s so thoroughly integrated into the universe. 

So my advice is this: think hard about cause and effect in your stories. Want to heal a character magically? That’s fine – but instead of eliminating the effect, shift it to a debt being owed or a loved one taking the hurt instead. Don’t eliminate the consequences, shift them. 

I hope that made sense! 

xoxo, Aunt Scripty


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anonymous asked:

What do you do when your main character just doesn't seem to jump off the page? I feel like the rest of my characters, even the world are really well developed but my POV protagonist just doesn't seem nearly as engaging compared to some of them.

Hi, love!  Thanks for your question and your patience <3

So I’d first redirect you to this LGF post about creating strong characters – it outlines a lot of things that I won’t cover here.  But I will expand on it for this question, because this is more than creating a strong character.  Main characters need to be iconic, especially if a work is character-driven.  A protagonist should stand out; they should be memorable and unique.

Memorable, noticeable characters have:

  • Something to say – Whether they’re physically saying something (”Just keep swimming!”) or whether you’re saying something through them (in Finding Nemo, Nemo’s character delivered a message about disability and growing up), main characters must be communicating something to the reader.  Readers hear better than they see, so what your character says will stick with them better than how your characters looks, dresses, or emotes.
  • Something to do – Like all characters, your protagonists need to play a prominent role in the story.  If a character is just there to be there, readers will sense it and they’ll look somewhere else.  They must be active, occupied throughout the whole story.  Even if they’re sitting in a room, listening to two other people talk, they should be actively listening to those people talk.  Here is a post on active characters to help you.
  • Something hateable – This is a good test for memorable characters: ask yourself if there’s a reason for anyone to hate them.  Is there something about them – habits, social skills, conflicts, or even their sense of humor – that someone out there could read and absolutely despise?  Anything?  Even if they’re a “good” character, there should be something strong enough in them that it could rub someone the wrong way.  If not, your character may be bland, and thereby forgettable.
  • A unique look and sound – Your characters don’t need purple hair, an Irish accent, and feathers growing out of their tail to be unique.  But think about the image of them in your head.  Do they look and talk like a specific celebrity?  Are they inspired by one person very strongly, rather than pieces of multiple people?  If so, you may be projecting a character onto a person, instead of creating the person on the whole.  Give them something unexpected about their look – fashion, tattoos, skin imperfections/discolorations, glasses/braces, body type, etc. – and their voice – social skills, opinions, emotions, sense of humor, formality, speech impediments, etc.
  • A strong name – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: protagonists need names that count.  It doesn’t have to be super weird or made-up, but it should (a) fit their personality and universe, and (b) jump off the page.  Alliteration sometimes helps (Peter Parker, Bruce Banner), and you can go with a “normal” first name and a unique last name (Tony Stark, Clark Kent).  Go through baby name websites, or play around with traditional names to give them a twist.  Find the right name, and you’ll know it.

That’s all I have for you right now, but if this doesn’t answer your question, be sure to let us know!  I wish you much luck and happy writing :)  Thanks again!

– Mod Joanna ♥️

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

On Writing Busy Parents

Anonymous asked: “So, I’m working on a story with neglectful parents - not abusive - they love their child. It’s more like, they are always busy. Do you have any tips for me?”

The first thing that comes to mind are working parents. I’m not going to be one to generalize here so know, I’m talking about how we can think through some situations and think about writing these kinds of characters. 

Keep reading

Sometimes, it becomes all too easy for the negative things to stick around. They tend to cling to us. Follow us around where ever we go. With each step forward, more may latch onto us. When life gets too heavy, we must free ourselves from this unneeded negativity. Why? Because we don’t deserve to be held back from genuinely happy lives.
—  Nicole Addison @thepowerwithin