advice-for-writers

anonymous asked:

Hey, sorry to bother you , but I need your advice. I used to write a lot , had a lot of ideas and even got published an stuff.But two years ago something horrible happend and it traumatized me hard. Since then I have not been able to write again.I tried it many times , I also tried just taking a break.. But it has never been the same.I feel like my creativity died.How do you find your inspiration? Have you ever had writing block? Love your writing by the way. Still waiting on your first novel :)

giving advice on this is hard and i’m not good at advice

but yes every writer hits a rough spot now and then. what works for me is to just keep writing even if it doesn’t feel right

i also say daydream a lot, dream a lot, surround yourself in things that help you immerse yourself in the world you’re trying to write, think constantly about what you’re trying to write whenever you have time to

creativity needs to be nurtured and fed and needs work. watch things, look at images and listen to music, surround yourself in what inspires you and keep trying

The 10 Elements of a MAIN CHARACTER

To all the writers who have ever been told “Your characters have to be three dimensional!” or “They should be well-rounded!” and just felt like saying: “What does that even MEAN?! What goes into a 3-dimensional character? Specifically? And how do you go about creating one?!”

Good news. There’s a way. 

Great main characters – heroes, protagonists, deuteragonist, whatever you want to call them – have ten things in common. Ten things that are easily developed, once you know what to create within your character. So no one will ever be able to tell you “needs to be more three dimensional!” ever again. Ha. 

1) Weaknesses: Main characters should be flawed, but I’m not saying this because it will make them more realistic (though it will) – I’m saying they need to be flawed because if they’re not, they shouldn’t be a main character. Story is another word for change, or more accurately, character growth. Not character as in “fictional person”, character meaning “heart and soul”. Story is someone’s character changing, for better or worse. Main characters at the beginning of the story are lacking something vital, some knowledge of themselves, some knowledge of how to live a better life, and this void is ruining their lives. They must overcome these weaknesses, if they’re going to become complete, and reach a happy ending. There are two types of weaknesses: Psychological and Moral. Psychological ones only hurt the main character. Moral ones cause the main character to hurt other people. Easy.  

2) Goal: Characters exist because they want something. Desiring something, and the fight against opposition for that desire, is the lifeblood of story; and because character is story, it’s also desire that can breathe life into words on a page, and begin the process of creating a real person in a reader’s mind. It’s this ‘desire for something’ that sparks that first connection between reader and character. It makes us think “Well, now I have to find out if this person gets what they want.” This is a powerful link. (How many mediocre movies do we suffer through, when we could easily stop watching, because we’re still trapped by that question of “what happens?”) So if this is powerful enough to keep people watching an annoying movie, imagine how powerful it can be in an excellent story. 

Like in Up, the goal is to get the house to Paradise Falls.

3) Want: If the main character wants something, they want it for a darn good reason. Usually, they think that attaining the goal will fill the void they can sense in their lives, the deficiency they can feel, but don’t know how to fix. And they’re almost always wrong. Getting the goal doesn’t help anything; which is why, while pursuing that goal, they discover a deeper need that will heal them. Which brings us to …

4) Need/Elixir: Main characters are missing something, a weakness in their innermost selves is causing them to live a less-than-wonderful life. Through story, these main characters can be healed. Once they discover what’s missing, and accept it, and change the way they live to include this truth they’ve uncovered … they’re healed. Learning this truth, whatever it is, forms the purpose of the story for the main character. The reader, and the character, think the story is about achieving that big tangible goal the premise talks about; really, underneath it all, the story is about someone achieving a big intangible truth, that will ultimately save their life and future. Often, this need is exactly what the character fears or professes to hate. 

Like Finding Nemo, where Dory states exactly what Marlin needs to learn. 

5) Ghosts: 

Not this kind of ghosts.

Ghosts are events in your character’s past which mark the source of their weaknesses and strengths. Because these happened, the character became who they are. All we need to know about backstory are these moments, because who the character became is all we care about. There’s really only one ghost you absolutely need: the source of their moral and psychological weakness. Something happened that knocked the character’s world off kilter, and everything from that moment onward has been tainted by what happened. This moment haunts them (hence the name), and holds them back from uncovering that need that will heal their weaknesses. Pixar are masters of this: the source of Carl being stuck in the past, curmudgeonly, unable of loving anyone new? Ellie dying; his ghost. In Finding Nemo, the source of Marlin being suffocating, protective to the point of being harmful, possessive, and fearful? His wife and 99% of his children being eaten in front of him; his ghost. 

6) True Character: These are the strengths, values, convictions, fears, faults, beliefs, worldview, and outlook on life that make the main character who they truly are. 

7) Characterization: This is everything on the surface of a main character. The way they look, talk, act, etc. All of this originates from those deeper elements of their being, the strengths, values, ghosts, weaknesses, needs, that make them who they truly are. So often, you can think of this as a facade they’re projecting, a way to shield the the truth about themselves, how they wish to be perceived. The story, and the other characters, are slowly going to see deeper than this characterization, revealing more and more of the reasons it is the way it is. 

8) Arc: If the character is going to change from “Incomplete Person” to “Complete Person” there’s going to be a journey they go on to make that possible. The external story, the pursuit of that big tangible goal the premise is about, is causing an inner journey to take place. What they have to do in pursuit of that external goal will apply pressure to those weaknesses, and pressure causes change. This process has seven steps, but if I write it all here this post is going to be obscenely long. So I might wait and give this its own post.

9) Changed Person: Who is the character going to be at the end of this story? They better be different, or else the story didn’t work. How do they show how different they’ve become? What is the moral choice they make, that spins their trajectory from “the future doesn’t look so great” to “happily ever after”? This should be known right away, maybe even before anything else is settled about the character. This gives a distinct end goal, a way to work backwards, a destination in mind that you can navigate towards.  

10) Fascination and Illumination: The surface characterization, and the brief glimpses of the true character underneath create curiosity in the reader/audience. What the character says, and the implied subtext beneath the dialogue, creates a puzzle the audience wants to solve. Actions they take work the same way; if the writer indicates there’s deeper motivation behind why a character behaves in the way they do, we buy into solving that mystery right away. We can’t help it. “Who are you really? Why are you the way you are? And how is that going to effect the story?” These are all the unspoken, almost not consciously acknowledged, questions that fascinating characters provoke. Searching out meaning, connecting the dots to find the truth – we can’t resist this. We’re not fascinated by tons of backstory and exposition about a character; we’re fascinated by story, by mystery, by the technique of withholding information and having to interpret and hunt out the truth on our own.  So gradually, the story and the characters will force that character to reveal a little more, and a little more, until we have a complete picture of who this person is. Crucial that this information isn’t told up front. Gradually illuminate it. It’s just like getting to know a real person. 

So how does this work in a real character? Let’s take a look at Flynn Rider/Eugene Fitzherbert, because almost everybody has seen that movie. 

Moral Weaknesses: He’s selfish. He’s a little greedy. He’s a little rude. He uses his charisma and bravado to keep people at a distance from the real him. 

Psychological Weaknesses: Insecurity, fear of vulnerability, feels like the real him (Eugene) would be unwanted, unlovable, and have nothing – just like when he was an orphaned kid. Also, he doesn’t know who he wants to be, what he wants to live for. 

Goal: Flynn wants to get that crown. So he has to get Blondie to see the floating lights, so she’ll give it back to him, and then they can part ways as unlikely friends.  

Want: Why does he want the crown? What does it mean for him? He actually states it (reluctantly) in song: “I have dreams like you, no really. Just much less touchy feely. They mainly happen somewhere warm and sunny. On an island that I own, tanned and rested and alone. Surrounded by enormous piles of money.” He senses there’s something off in his life, something is missing. But he mistakenly believes this missing piece is money, which will allow him to buy a lonely island, where he can live out his days as Flynn and no one will ever know Eugene. 

Need: “All those days chasing down a daydream. All those years living in a blur. All that time never truly seeing, things the way they were. Now she’s here, shining in the starlight. Now she’s here, suddenly I know. If she’s here, it’s crystal clear, I’m where I’m meant to go.” He wants a crown … he needs to fall in love with Rapunzel. He needs to love something more than himself, and find out that love isn’t something to fear and push away. He needs to abandon the 'Tales of Flynnagin Rider’ ambition, and get a more worthwhile, new dream. 

Ghost: The source of all of his weaknesses can be linked to his “little bit of a downer” childhood as an orphan. Interestingly, he isn’t aware of another facet of that ghost, and Rapunzel points it out to him. “Was he a thief too?” she asks. He looks taken aback, before answering “Uh, no.” Something’s gone wrong. The choices he’s making are not living up to that original role model.  

Characterization: Flynn’s charming, funny, smart, charismatic, and arrogant (in a somehow charming sort of way). He’s also rude, contemptuous, and sarcastic. All traits that help him keep up that 'swashbuckling rogue’ facade, and push people away from the real him. 

True Character: Underneath all that, he’s a Disney prince. That pretty much sums it up.  

Changed Person: “Started going by Eugene again, stopped thieving, and basically turned it all around.” He started the story as the guarded and evasive Flynn, he ends as the selfless and thoroughly-in-love Eugene. 

Fascination and Illumination: Imagine if everything about Flynn had been told, right up front. We know he’s an orphan, we know he’s upheld a fake reputation, we know he’s a kind and loving guy underneath it all, we even know about his “tales of Flynnagin” childhood dream. You know what happens? We like him … but we’re not interested in him. There’s nothing we need to find out. There’s no curiosity. And if there’s no curiosity, and nothing being illuminated, your story’s not going anywhere. So instead, we find out – alongside Rapunzel – more about Flynn as the story progresses. And that is how it should be. 

So!

Developing characters in this way, I’ve found, really reduces worries about how “well-rounded” and three dimensional I’ve made them. They feel real to me. And besides helping me create characters, this ten element technique has also let me analyze characters I like, which is strangely fun. It’s a great way to figure out why a character works, what causes them to be so effective, and how you can go about creating them yourself. 

Yeah, I’m a bit of a nerd. 

But if you want, try it out. Develop a character. Analyze a character. You might find it as useful/fun as I do.

Writing Science Fiction: Tips for Beginners

We’ve seen a lot of science fiction stories over the past year or so. It’s not like they sci-fi ever went out of style, but it seems to be gaining popularity recently.

For some, writing science fiction might seem like a daunting genre to break into. Do you need to know complex mathematical equations? Do you need to know exactly how space travel works? Did you need to major in astrophysics?

Sure, those things don’t hurt, but they’re absolutely not necessary. You can write a great sci-fi novel without years of research. And you can tell a really interesting story, even if you’re not a science pro.

Here are a few tips to get started:

Consider ‘What-if’ Scenarios

This isn’t just a great rule for sci-fi novels, but I think the best ones use this approach. Start off with a simple what-if scenario. For example: what if we lived on a world made of ice? What if in this particular world only consisted of women? Obviously, you’ll need to expand on those scenarios and spend time really developing what those caveats would mean, but you get the idea.

Start with a small what-if scenario and brainstorm!

Figure Out Your Rules

I don’t think writing great sci-fi depends on being 100% scientifically accurate ALL THE TIME, but I do think you need to stick to your own rules. Whatever is a hard rule for your own universe, it’s important to keep it that way. Does your world have ships that can travel quickly from planet to planet? Sure, that’s great! Figure out your own rules for space travel and develop your world. How do the inhabitants on one planet act/grow/eat/interact compared to the inhabitants of another? Spend time developing these ideas!

No Info Dumps!

Sometimes when people write science fiction, they tend to explain their universe all in one big info-dump. Don’t. This is boring and it does nothing to serve your story. Slowly reveal information. Every plot point in your story should serve a purpose. Develop your characters through the action and show off your worlds through them. Get creative.

Keep it Vague

If you’re unsure about the science of something, write to your strengths. Don’t understand how space travel works? Maybe your MC is put to sleep during a long trip. This is just one example, but try to figure out a way to make it work for you. Maybe avoid space travel altogether if it doesn’t serve your story.

Listen, this isn’t a substitute for research, but I also don’t want you to avoid writing science fiction if you just don’t get a lot of the concepts involved. If you’ve got a great idea for a story, work it out to fit your style. Science fiction is a great platform for unique and compelling character studies, so don’t get scared off! You don’t have to write hard science fiction in order to write a good novel.

-Kris Noel

Reading Like a Writer

One of the most common pieces of writing advice is to read. Important, but vague. An easy way to analyze novels to become a better writer is to sort what you read into what you don’t like and what you do like. Spend some time thinking–whether alone, in writing, or through conversation–about what makes you like or dislike the writing, and brainstorm ways that the writing could have been improved or changed.

Here are some possible dislikes and likes that you might notice when reading:

What You Don’t Like: 

  • Boring spots that you skim through
  • Unnecessary scenes that don’t advance the plot
  • Confusing sub-plots
  • Chunky dialogue 
  • Characters acting outside their character
  • Poorly done tropes 
  • Too much telling, not enough showing
  • Too much showing, not enough telling
  • Overly flowery prose
  • Big words for the sake of big words
  • One-dimensional villains
  • Lack of distinctive voices

What You Do Like: 

  • Twists on tropes 
  • Scenes where you felt like you were a part of that world
  • Characters you think about after the book ends
  • Clever plot twists
  • Good information reveal
  • Villains and antagonists that keep you on your toes
  • Characters that know what they want
  • Characters forced to make sacrifices 
  • Side-characters that have personalities of their own
  • Scenes so intense that you find yourself peeking at the next page
  • Protagonists with flaws that hold them back
  • Scenes where you felt the emotions conveyed
The 8 Steps of a CHARACTER ARC

You know that moment as a writer, when you’ve been charging through the story, high on how fantastic it is, and then suddenly…it all STOPS.  The next scene doesn’t form in your head. You’ve got nothing. 

Behind your characters, a string of bright and captivating scenes mark the trail of that rocket of inspiration; ahead of your characters, a foggy expanse, stretching to who-knows-where, a few shapeless blobs that should be scenes floating in the nothingness. The rocket is dead, and not refueling any time soon.

Well, to everybody who’s suffered this, or is currently suffering it, there’s a way to navigate through that fog. A map. Directions and a destination.

Or, more specifically, events that form the underlying structure of the story. 

This post is going to focus on one facet of story structure: character arc. Structure is something people subconsciously recognize and expect, and if the story doesn’t match those expectations, they feel cheated (though usually can’t explain why). Every good story follows a structure. So if you know structure, you’ll always know where to go next, and won’t get lost in the fog. 

So here are the 8 steps of a character arc:

1) Hero: Strength, Weakness, and Need

This happens in the setup of the story, when the main character’s ordinary world is being introduced. First, the main character’s strengths must be displayed; we must be given a reason to like them, or if not exactly “like” them, empathize with them, and be fascinated by them. The reader needs to bond with the character, feel concerned about how it all turns out for them. Or in other words, feel that the main character is worth experiencing the story. There are easy traits that do this: courage, love, humor, being in danger, being unfairly treated, being highly skilled at something, having a powerful noble goal. (Courage is the one they all need. If the character doesn’t have the gumption to actively pursue what they want, they are automatically a background character.) 

After this, still in the beginning of your story, let the character exhibit what needs to change. Show their weaknesses of character and self awareness.
And lastly, hint at what they NEED to learn. Sometimes this is even stated to the character, and they don’t understand it, refuse to believe it, or condemn it. Like “A Christmas Carol”, when Scrooge’s nephew says his speech about Christmas and how wonderful it is, and Scrooge replies “Bah Humbug!" 

2) Desire: This is the moment when the character knows what they need to pursue, in order to obtain what they inwardly want. It is not the inciting incident or catalyst, the event in a story that disrupts the ordinary world and calls the hero on an adventure. This is a separate step entirely, occurring after that catalyst has shattered life as the main character knows it. They believe obtaining this goal will calm whatever inner turmoil or conflict they’re battling. And always, they’re not quite right.
Think of Mr Fredricksen: His goal is to get the house – a  symbolic representation of Ellie and the life he shared with her – to Paradise Falls, which he believes will heal his grief and guilt. It won’t. Once he obtains it, the achievement feels hollow. But I’m getting ahead of myself. So on we go! 

3) Plan: Once in Act Two, the character is going to scramble for a plan of action. The inner want has solidified into a tangible goal, but they need a strategy to achieve it. This also spells out for the reader what to expect in that second act.  

4) Conflict: What’s going to try stopping them? A hero with a goal is one thing, but to make it a story we need something that stands in the way. An obstacle. A force of opposition. If we didn’t have obstacles, books would be as interesting as "Harry Potter and the Trip to the Grocery Store.” (Although honestly, I’d probably read that.) After the catalyst has changed everything, after the character crosses the threshold into Act Two, everything from here on out will be laden with conflict. This is usually when enemies, or more accurately forces of opposition, begin to appear. Everything is accumulating to complicate the main character’s pathway to achieving what they want. The forces of opposition come from not only the villains, but from the actions that have to be taken to achieve the desire. Whatever this action is, it’s exactly what the main character is not suited to do, an action that pressures their flaws, exposes them to exactly what they need to become but can’t right now. 

Like Stitch being forced to be the family dog. He’s not suited to this task.

5) Battle: The forces of opposition are amping up, growing stronger, fighting with greater intensity. The main character is taking the punches and working around them, relentlessly plowing forward. Hero and allies are usually punching back too.

6) Midpoint: This is the event where they first encounter what they need to learn, what they need to become. Something happens that forces them to behave in this new, life-saving way. But once they’ve seen it, they don’t know what to do with this knowledge. 

7) Dark Night, Revelation, Choice:
This is always the darkest point in the story, where all seems lost, and death – of a literal or spiritual nature – is in the air. And in this moment, something usually happens that makes the main character wake up to what is wrong, and what they need. More often than not, this revelation will arrive from the “love story” or relationship of the plot, and will be the thing that helps them pull themselves out of despair and see the light. And once this is uncovered, once the revelation of the truth about themselves is recognized, they are faced with a choice. Of course, they’ve been faced with choices in every beat of every scene, but this is the big choice that is going to determine if their story has a happy ending or a tragic one. The choice is this: “You are being faced the truth that you need to heal. Are you going to choose what you need, let your old self die, and become someone better?” And always, always, always this is a hard choice. The revelation must be significant to them. And it’s never easy. It can’t be. We don’t write stories about heroes who make easy choices. Villains have it easy. Are you going to adopt this new way of living, adopt this truth, and let your old self die? Or are you going to stay the way you are (which feels safer and is much less challenging) but end up stuck in a sort of living death? Most of the time, of course, they choose the right thing. 

This moment is usually always the saddest scene in the thing. Like this scene with Stitch.

8) New Life: This is their changed life. After experiencing the trials of the story, after realizing what they need and choosing to be reborn, they are going to be different people – and are going to live a different life. This is what follows the statement “And every day after …” What has changed? Show the audience how things are different, how things are better, because they want to see that. This is the resolution, the wrapping up of everything we’ve been through with the main character, and having this in the story is often what gives that feeling of satisfaction after seeing a really well-told story. 

So! To show off how this works, I’ve chosen the character arc of Carl from Up. 

1) Hero: Strengths, Weakness, Need

Strengths: Reasons to like Carl are packed into that heartbreaking opening sequence. By the end of it, we love him, love Ellie, and are crying our eyes out.

Weaknesses: Now Carl is curmudgeonly, grumpy, cold, and won’t pay attention to a living soul. He’s also plagued by grief, regret, guilt, and loneliness. (Which we are all 100% okay with, because we already like him.)

Need: He needs Russel. The statement of what he needs to learn isn’t outright said (as it will be later) but Russel represents it. 

Step Two: The catalyst was when a truck knocked down Ellie’s mailbox, Carl hit a construction worker in the head with his cane, and for this a judge declares him a public menace and orders him to go to Shady Oaks Retirement Village. The DESIRE is this moment. 

Carl escapes in a flying house, thousands of balloons lifting him skyward. He even says the desire of the whole story out loud, “So long boys! I’ll send you a postcard from Paradise Falls!” The tangible goal is “live out the rest of his days in his and Ellie’s house, on the edge of Paradise Falls, South America.” (“It’s like America … but South.”)

Step Three: The plan and the conflict overlap, as they are wont to do. We have a scene where Carl is unfurling sails, setting a compass, and settling back in his chair for a smooth journey. But later on, after some conflict has arrived, we have Russel figuring out how to actually make it there. And after even more conflict has arrived, we have him telling Russel “We’re going to walk to the falls quickly and quietly, with no rap music or flash-dancing.”

Step Four: The moment he settles back into his armchair, high above the city, and here’s a knock on the front door, nothing is going to be easy for Carl. First, we have opposition in the form of Russel. Then we have a storm. Then the house lands miles away from the Falls, so they’ll have to walk it. Then we have Kevin, the giant bird. Then we have Dug. Which means they’re also being chased by a legion of talking dogs. Which brings us to Muntz, the main villain, and Carl’s shadow – the representation of Carl’s flaws, and the consequences of refusing to let go of the past. 

Step Five: This is the trek to the Falls. It’s also the battle with every complication that arises. And it’s also exactly what Carl is not suited to do. He’s a curmudgeonly old guy, bent on living out the rest of his life alone. Well, the story says “Nope, Carl, that’s not how it’s going to be” and promptly gives him a surrogate grandson to take care of, a dog who adores him, and even a giant mythical bird. And he has to lead them all, if he’s going to get to the Falls. 

Step Six: The moment when Russel invades Carl’s heart. Which is what he needs, but he doesn’t understand. (I have the scene beated out in the previous post.)

Step Seven: Finally, he gives in to the worst of himself and chooses his goal of living in his broken house on the edge of Paradise Falls. But somehow this doesn’t feel like victory. He’s still alone, next to Ellie’s empty chair, and she is still beyond his reach. 

He picks up her adventure book, and leafs through the photographs, missing her; he pauses on the page scrawled with the words “Stuff I’m Going To Do”, lets his hand rest on it, grief and regret overwhelming him. He begins to close the book, and the page shifts … revealing the edge of another picture. Surprised, he turns the page. It’s their wedding picture.

Ellie added picture after picture of their happy marriage, the whole wonderful life they shared, all the things she did. And on the bottom of the last page is her last message to him: “Thanks for the adventure! Now go have a new one! Love, Ellie.” Exactly what Carl needs. He doesn’t need to be guilty, he doesn’t need to regret the past. The past was beautiful, and she will never truly leave him. 

Choice: So, Carl can make the choice to throw everything out of the house to go save Russel. 

New Life: Sitting on a curb, eating ice cream with Russel.

In the credits, we see a whole new life – or new adventure – with Carl, Russel, Dug, and even a bunch of new puppies.

So, it’s actually pretty simple. And once again, it’s fun to develop your own stories like this, but it’s surprisingly fun to analyze movies and books with it too. It improves your storytelling ability, I’ve found. Practice makes perfect.

I hope this post helps somebody out. It’ll make the ten times I cried while writing it, while watching scenes from Up, worth it.

asks for fanfic writers

drop a number and a fandom in my askbox and I’ll answer:

  1. things that inspire you
  2. things that motivate you
  3. name three favorite writers
  4. name three authors that were influential to your work and tell why
  5. since how long do you write?
  6. how did writing change you?
  7. early influences on your writing
  8. what time are you most productive?
  9. do you set yourself deadlines?
  10. how do you do your researches?
  11. do you listen to music when writing?
  12. favorite place to write
  13. hardest character to write
  14. easiest character to write
  15. hardest verse to write
  16. easiest verse to write
  17. favorite AU to write
  18. favorite pairing to write
  19. favorite fandom to write
  20. favorite character to write
  21. least favorite character to write
  22. favorite story you’ve ever written
  23. least favorite story you’ve ever written
  24. favorite scene you’ve ever written
  25. favorite line you’ve ever written
  26. story you’re most proud of
  27. best review you ever got
  28. worst review you ever got
  29. favorite story/poem of another author
  30. hardest part of writing
  31. easiest part of writing
  32. alternate title for (insert story title)
  33. alternate ending for (insert story title)
  34. alternate pairing for (insert story title)
  35. single story or multi-part story?
  36. one-shot or multi-chaptered story?
  37. canon or AU?
  38. do you reread your own stories?
  39. do you want to be published some day?
  40. which one of your stories would you most like to see as a movie/series
  41. one song that captures (insert story title)
  42. do you plan or do you write whatever comes to your mind?
  43. would you ever write a sequel for (insert fic title here)
  44. do you write linear or do you write future scenes if you feel like it?
  45. share the synopsis of a story you work on that you haven’t published yet
  46. share a scene of a story that you haven’t published yet
  47. how many unfinished ideas/stories are you working on at the same time?
  48. three spoilers for (insert story title)
  49. writing advice
  50. open question to the writer

1. The friends you have at the beginning of the year can completely change by the end of it. People change, and if they aren’t improving your life in some way, it’s okay to drop them.

2. Take many pictures. Don’t let it take over your life, though. You don’t want to look back and see that you only captured your memories with your camera lens and not within your mind and heart.

3. Find your safe place. Whether it be in the arms of a certain person or on the balcony of Barnes and Nobles with a cup of soup, find it and don’t let it go. You can have more than one safe place.

4. Be nice to everyone. You honestly don’t know what skeletons people are hiding in their closets. Everyone has their skeleton. Every person on this earth has something in their life or past worth collapsing on the ground in uncontrollable sobs over.

5. Reading is so important. Highlight the things that you read that you find intriguing. Read a lot, it can only do good things for you.

6. Writing always helps.

7. The girl with anxiety has the deepest thoughts. The autistic boy has the kindest heart, and the schizophrenic has the ability to put a smile on your face in seconds. Do not judge character based on a mental illness.

8. Music has an indescribable ability to connect and heal. Let it do its thing.

9. Her prettiness doesn’t make your prettiness any less pretty.

10. Getting close and letting someone in is scary as hell. You know what else it is? Worth it.

11. The minute you feel your happiness being dictated by someone else, take a break from them.

12. Adventuring is a must. Sunsets always help the soul, showing that endings can be as beautiful as beginnings.

13. Spend more time with your parents doing things they enjoy. Later in life, you’ll be wishing you’d spent more time with them than on your Netflix account.

14. Home is not always a place, but whatever you love with your whole heart. I have many homes, and it’s okay if one home doesn’t feel like home anymore.

15. Making someone smile and feel genuinely happy has the ability to warm your heart from the inside out. No matter how much pain someone is going through, you made them forget about it for a few seconds. Isn’t that something?

16. Feel everything and let it hurt, but don’t go back to what broke you.

17. Don’t let fear hold you back from what you want. The view from the other side is spectacular.

18. Tell people how you feel. Even if you’re scared it’ll burn your life to the ground. You say it loud.

19. You find the most extraordinary things in the most ordinary places.

20. Swollen lips and sweaty “I want you’s” can make you feel again, but I don’t want to feel anything if it means having to sit there feeling like the wind is constantly being knocked out of me when he stops calling back.

21. Sometimes the way you think of someone isn’t the way they actually are.

22. Never underestimate the amount of joy the holiday season can bring you. Try and find ways to feel that way all year long.

23. Timing is never going to be perfect; if you care about something enough, you’ll make the time. It’s all about priorities.

24. If women used their words to build each other up instead of tearing each other down, our world would change drastically.

25. Recovery can take 2 weeks or 5 years. You aren’t any less of a person if it takes you longer to find a way to let go of what’s hurting your heart.

26. You only need yourself, but having people by your side trying to understand means a lot more than you might think.

27. You find your truest friends in your darkest hours.

28. You can feel the whole world in a month and nothing after 2 years. Time does not define love.

29. Always say yes to dessert.

30. Concerts make life worth living. So does yelling your favorite song along with your best friend in the car with your best friend with hands intertwined. These are things that show you that you don’t need to be on drugs to feel invincible.

31. So does kissing.

—  emmuuhhhhh, 31 Things I’ve Learned Coming Into 2016
The 9 Elements of a VILLAIN

If we’re being honest, one character is always the most fun to develop when you’re writing a new story. It must be the main character, right? The person you’re going to follow throughout the story, the one that means the most to you?

Nope. It’s the villain.

Villains are just FUN. You get to creep into the darkest corners of your writer brain and conjure up the most unashamedly detestable human being you possibly can. 

This is how we look when we begin creating a villain. 

But sometimes, it can be difficult to to make sure they’re fully believable humans. So here are the nine elements that have helped me out when developing these terrible people … 

1) Hero’s Shadow:

The relationship between the main character and the villain is the most important one in the story, because it is the source of all conflict. Without the villain causing trouble, the main character wouldn’t have the chance to be a hero. Without that trouble, the main character’s weaknesses wouldn’t be pressured, which means they couldn’t change. The villain is a condensed and magnified embodiment of the inner weakness that the hero is battling. They’re the SHADOW of hero, the example of what will happen if the main character goes down the wrong path. Both are facing the same problem in different ways. For example Darth Vader and Luke.  

2) Conflict Strategy:  

In the pursuit of stopping the hero from achieving their goal, the villain is going to attack them on 1) a personal relationship level 2) a societal level and 3) an inner level. They’re going to attack the people around them, they’re going to cause consequences for the community surrounding them, they’re going to get into their head and plague them. Because the hallmark of a villain is that they’re the person who’s perfectly suited to attack the hero’s greatest weakness. Villains should have a distinct set of tactics to destroy the main character, on at least two levels. 

3) Flaws: 

This one’s expected. Of course a villain has flaws, it’s in the job description. But flaws do not equate to ‘He kicks turtles every morning before breakfast’ or 'His favorite hobby is butterfly stomping’ or, more within the realm of possibility, “He wants to kill the hero”. These are evil actions, NOT flaws. A lot of villains, particularly in movies, will be given horrible things to do without any explanation for WHY they do them. And it’s pretty easy to give them reasons: just give them human weaknesses! That’s it. Whether the actions they take are as small as theft or as big as blowing up a planet, these actions stem from recognizable HUMAN FLAWS. So like a main character, a villain needs mental and moral flaws.  

Yup, even Maleficent has human flaws. And she’s a dragon part of the time. 

4) Counter Goal: 

All characters exist because they want something. And what do villains want? To get whatever the main character wants (for very different reasons), to stop them from reaching their goal, or another goal that directly conflicts with the hero’s goal. As long as that big tangible thing they want locks hero and villain in battle, you’re good. Think 101 Dalmatians: Cruella and the good guys are fighting over the puppies.  

5) Surface Motivations:  

Why is it that villains always have a team of followers? Because villains never outright state their true motivations. They always have a cover story, and that cover will paint them as righteous. Villains want to look like the good guy. So their real Hidden Motivations are defended by twisting perceptions of Good & Evil, by portraying evil acts in a positive light, by indulging their followers selfish emotions and desire to feel like “one of the good guys. " 

Take Gothel for example: she’s a loving mother who wants to protect her daughter from all the world’s darkness. (Sure you do, Flynn stabber.)  

Surface Motivations never stand up to logical scrutiny and a functioning moral compass, but giving your bad guy a compelling argument against your good side always makes things more interesting, which brings us to …

6) Counter Statement:

The main character needs to learn some kind of truth that will enable them to fix their lives, overcome their weaknesses, banish their ghosts. It’s whatever statement about "how to live a better life” you want to prove with your story. Your villain has other ideas. They don’t agree with that statement, have other beliefs about living life well, and represent an argument against it. For example, Voldemort: “there is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it." 

Although your argument isn’t very convincing, Voldy. I mean, you’re living in the back of some guy’s head.

7) Characterization: 

This is everything on the surface of the villain. The way they speak, the way they look, the way they act, their role in life, their status and power. This is the facade they project for the world to see, a calculated effort to control how they are perceived. This is closely connected to that surface want, because that surface is what they wish people to believe about them. Over time, the reader and the other characters are going to be able to see through this mask and see what it conceals. My favorite Disney example of this is Mother Gothel: on the surface she’s this bubbly mom who loves Rapunzel and wants to protect her from the harshness of the world. 

You can think of this as the text … 

8) Hidden Motivation: 

And this is the subtext. That surface motivation they want the world to believe is a mask concealing their true motivation, which is always rooted in their flaws,  selfishness, and skewed beliefs. 

9) Ghosts, Justification, Self-Obsession: 

These three are closely related, so they get counted together.
Like main characters, villains have GHOSTS: events from their backstories that knocked their worldviews out of alignment, that marked the beginning of their weaknesses, that haunt them still. Because these happened, the originally benign person allowed themselves to turn into someone who could occupy the job of "villain” in a story. Usually, these events are genuine misfortunes and are worthy of sympathy, just like the ghosts of a main character. Think of Voldemort growing up in an orphanage talking to snakes.

BUT! When it comes to ghosts, the major difference between a hero and a villain is HOW THEY DEAL with these unpleasant past events. Both have suffered, but react to suffering in very different ways. A villain will be consumed by these events, obsessed with the real (or imagined) persecution or disadvantage they’ve endured, convinced that all personal responsibility is nullified by their status of injured party. Past tragedies become a talisman that grants immunity from decency. 

This scene from A Series of Unfortunate Events sums it up.  An adult makes an excuse for a terrible person by saying he had a terrible childhood. And Klaus replies: 

Yes, maybe they’ve both lived through tragedy. But THE KIDS aren’t hurting others because of it. 

Because villains, who are constantly victimizing heroes, are completely convinced that THEY are the true victims here. No matter what they do, no matter what they are, they blame everything on that ghost, whether it was another person, society, or circumstances. And later they blame the hero, who they see as the REAL villain. For example, Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame:  

“It’s not my fault, I’m not to blame”

So! WHY are villains like this?

SELF-OBSESSION! Yup, villains spend an unhealthy amount of time thinking about themselves and their plights and their plots. Think of any villain and it’s not hard to see the inherent narcissism behind everything they do. Like willingness to take action is the nonnegotiable trait of a main character, self-obsession is the trait that all villains seem to share. 

So! Developing villains in this way has worked out for me so far. If it looks like it might be helpful for you, give it a try.

And in the spirit of creating someone to torment our main characters and ruin their lives, here’s one more maniacal laugh for the road:

masterofenthropy  asked:

Hi HeyWriters! I was wondering: do you have a tip to create a weak point on main characters? I´m making a story, but I´m having trouble since my main character is TOO overpowered. Could you help me with this?

(All of this is written under the assumption your character has superpowers or “special” abilities, so forgive me if you meant a different kind of power.)

I created a character concept when I was twelve. She had all the superpowers of my favorite heroes and then some. As time wore on she gained more and more until eventually my adolescent brain invented logic and realized she was actually ridiculous. Here’s how I depowered this character, who’s name is Ace, without completely ruining her coolness.

Step One:

Don’t be greedy. Any ability that does not contribute to the story needs to go. It’s taking up space that could be filled with credibility. I decided early on that Ace didn’t need most of her abilities, and by the end of the story she only relies on a few to get the job done. Also, if a character can do more than one thing that are all basically the same thing some of those should probably go (invisibility and camouflage, superspeed and teleportation, etc.). 

Step Two:

Apply real-world science. If you try to make your depiction realistic, you’ll want to have an idea of how these abilities might work and how they might not. Of course, you should suspend disbelief for some things if they’re truly essential to your character, but others can be adapted. For Ace there are some powers that only work under the right circumstances, and others that her body rejects or that give her physical pain when she uses them. Most importantly, special strengths come with special weaknesses. Sensitive hearing means loud noises are more jarring or harmful, regeneration means metabolism speeds up and the person needs to eat as much as a body builder. Any superpower you pick out will have a drawback, I guarantee it; if not a physical one then a social one (I’ll get to that).

This scene from The Incredibles is an excellent demonstration of superpower drawbacks.

Step Three: 

Consider how the character feels about all this power and why they obtained it in the first place. Ace was not born with abilities, but over time she chose certain powers for the purpose of defending herself or others. Some of her powers fade away when she stops using them, like any skill you fail to practice, and some abilities she just plain old refuses to use for personal reasons. Some are too difficult or time-consuming for her to master, and some even trigger memories of her traumatic past thus she discards them. This way she has a choice in the matter and her choice is not to bite off more than she can chew or what she doesn’t want in the first place. 

Step Four:

How do other characters feel about all this power? Perhaps some or all of your character’s powers intimidate, frighten, or anger others in the story. One of Ace’s friends dislikes how unstoppable she is, and others are taken aback by some of the things she can do or how she looks when she does them. On the whole, she hides what she can do or picks small things to do instead of big things, downplaying her own power when necessary. How your supporting characters react to the force of nature that is your MC is the most important aspect of her power.

Here’s an example from the X-Men of how other characters might react. 

For additional opinions and advice, read this https://mythcreants.com/blog/five-characters-that-are-too-powerful/ and take to heart its ending line: “There’s only one fix that avoids all the pitfalls of overpowered heroes: refrain from making them really powerful in the first place.”

Yes, Ace is a flawed concept and all the advice I just gave is only a patch kit for that flaw. However, overpowered characters continue to excite readers and viewers alike, so I would never suggest we dispense with them altogether. Just, when you’re getting a headache from how overwhelming your character is, it’s good to consider dialling it all back and focusing on the power of their personality instead.

—————————————————-

Super apologize for taking so long to respond, and thanks for asking in the first place.

SJM Baltimore Book Event

Some notes from the questions portion of tonight’s event!

She is a proud hufflepuff bc of the common room, husband is Gryffindor

She would be in the Night Court bc she hates the sun

Cassian is Gryffindor
Azriel is ravenclaw
Elain hufflepuff
Nesta syltherin
Amren slyth/claw
Mor is Gryffindor
Rhys is slytherin
Feyre is hufflepuff (she literally said slytherpuff)

Unsung hero of acotar is Suriel!!!

Favorite power is Helion’s libraries

Mates can be same gender, as we saw in ACOWAR

Inspiration for Rhys is not her husband!!! They are both tall and handsome with dark hair, but rhys and Feyre’s bond *is* inspired by their relationship. Rhys also walked into her head like aelin and became Sarah’s second husband.

Lorcan vs Cassian, we win and they draw. They would fight to a stalemate then go get a beer and bond over lady problems. Then likely go to the Spring Court and start trouble.

Rhys vs Fenrhys are equally attractive, depends on preference.

Jamie (from Outlander) and Rhys would be friends but would be constantly in silent competition with each other.

(Always imagines rain clouds and white tee shirt contests with her guy characters, and abs)

She is more like feyre on her quiet days, more like aelin on most days, but identifies most with Fleetfoot.

Her deadlines are plotted out for years, so she has no option but to sit and write. Writing is a muscle that needs to be used and built. Her advice to aspiring writers is to not listen to the people who tell you to write something “serious or a real book.” If someone says “you can’t” tell them “watch me,” at least in your head. Keep your goal as your focus. Find the time and write. Do it!!!! Treat it seriously.
She would sit down everyday and write, even if it’s only 10 minutes a day. It’s the only way to get it done.

Quoted A League of Their Own, said that if it wasn’t hard everyone would do it. You have to hustle.

Each spinoff will be a stand alone novel and follow a different pairing in each. They will all eventually be connected in the end.
One might be a snow queen retelling. One might be a Russian/swan lake retelling but at this point she won’t give more details than that yet.

TOD runs parallel to EOS, it’s a “meanwhile on the southern continent.” Wrote 20,000 words in the first day and was chater 4. 193,000 words later and it’s the same length as EOS.
The timeline lines up perfectly. Nesryn, Chaol, and Irene plotlines and pov.
TOD never feels like work and is as close to her heart as HOF was. Is excited every time she reads it and edits. She was excited to expand on the TOG world. The southern continent is highly influenced by the Mongolian empire.
She is a huge G. Khan fangirl.

READ TOD BEFORE FINAL TOG. Major game changers and reveals, it all weaves together.

Editor who read TOD for review hated Chaol going into TOD, but she came out loving Chaol after.
SJM loves the journey and she cried a lot working on the book.

She reccomends Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Post ACOWAR read the Fever series (blonde southern girl tries to solve her sister’s murder). Star Touched Queen.

Her patronus (she wanted hers to be a velociraptor), she got an akami (sp?), the feathery-serpant creature from fantastic beasts.

anonymous asked:

(so I sent this before, but I don't think it send correctly.) I'm writing an IronPanther one shot, and I'm trying to describe T'Challa in a way that isn't fetishizing. Do you have any tips for ways I can describe him that is very appreciative of the way he looks without being hella creepy? What are some dos and don'ts?

Hi!  Thanks for your question :)  It’s very responsible of you to be mindful of this issue.  I’ll try to cover the bases, but I’m not a person of color, so this is only based on reading and research…


Writing Characters of Color: Dos and Don’ts

First things first: I would suggest to anyone writing characters of color that you should follow @writingwithcolor.  It’s my absolute favorite blog on the topic of diverse writing, and includes plenty of resources for most races and cultures.  I’ll probably link you to a couple of their posts in this guide, so keep an eye out!  So here we go…

Do: Make their race clear.

In fact, clearly designate the race of all characters!  Even if a majority of your characters are white, you should state this in their description – otherwise, you’re painting the image that white is Baseline and Normal, while black/brown/beige are Divergent and Strange.  Understand that many readers will assume White Until Proven Otherwise.  This means that if you shy away from stating a character’s color in the fear of offending PoC readers, you’re actually just erasing the character’s race altogether.  (Personal note: obviously your readers will know what color T’Challa is, so this is a point for the future.)

Don’t: Use descriptors that make me hungry.

“Chocolate,” “caramel,” “coffee,” “brown sugar,” “cinnamon,” “honey” – you get the idea.  Anything that could also be used to describe my dessert is probably a terrible idea.  Not only is this not at all how white characters are described, which is unfair, but the reduction of adult, three-dimensional people to grocery items has racially-aggressive roots.  This is where I’m gonna link you to Writing With Color’s guide on how (and how not) to describe characters of color.

Do: Familiarize yourself with the harmful stereotypes.

This means a little research, no matter what race you’re writing.  A lot of the racist mistakes made in literature/fanfiction come from a place of ignorance, sometimes willfully.  People avoid learning the dirty past of racial representation in media, because they’re afraid they’ll subconsciously absorb them.  It’s a weird complex and I advise you, and all writers, to take the time to glance over the most offensive stereotypes for people of color, women, LGBT, trans/nonbinary, autistic, mentally ill, and disabled people.  This will not only keep you from hurting anyone, but it also makes your writing more unpredictable and interesting!  Plus, it makes you not-one-of-those-douchebags-who-write-two-dimensional-exotic-chocolate-brown-mistresses and all that 👍

Don’t: Desexualize your characters.

This is a common mistake that can come from good intentions.  You’re try so hard not to fetishize a character of color and then it reduces them to a non-sexual, non-attractive broom in the corner.  Characters of color – all characters really – god, especially women – should be three-dimensional and fully developed people, who are not sold to readers on their looks and sexual appeal.  BUT this doesn’t mean you should exclude all sexuality in writing.  T’Challa, for example, is a damn handsome man – you can’t possibly write him and ignore how nice he looks!  So don’t be afraid to describe him physically.  You can describe his eyes and his lips and his muscles and we will read happily.  Go ahead and talk about how smooth and warm and rich his skin is.  As long as sexuality is described through a lens of admiration, rather than objectification – and as long as their sexuality exists in accompaniment to their full, developed personality, and not instead of it – then there’s nothing wrong with making a character bangin’ hot.  So do it.  And lastly…

Do: Consider collaborating with a beta-reader.

You said in your previous ask that this was one of your first attempts at writing characters of color, so I’d suggest that if you feel nervous about it, partner up with a beta-reader who has enough experience to keep you in check.  It’s our responsibility as writers (especially for white, privileged writers such as myself) to learn to look at ourselves and assess whether or not we’ve crossed the line.  Having someone beta-read for you will show you the critical thinking process to go through, so eventually, you’ll be able to do it without thinking about it!  Maybe a few people here would be interested in a betaship.


Those are my top Dos and Don’ts, but as always, this is limited to my experience.  Be sure to check out @writingwithcolor and do your research – and remember that no matter how much research you do, you’re bound to make a mistake or two.  If it happens and a reader points it out to you, don’t beat yourself up about it or get defensive.  Just apologize, correct the mistake, and move on.

Thanks again, and good luck :)  Happy writing!


If you need advice on general writing or NaNoWriMo, you should maybe ask me!

The 7 Elements of a SCENE

There are few things as soul-crushing in the writing process (at least to me) than getting a bunch of characters in a room with the intention of something happening, then the characters proceed to stand around and stare at each other.  

Or worse, look at you like this. 

My characters didn’t know why they were there. I didn’t know why they were there either. I had no clue what they were supposed to be doing, so I’d start throwing random instructions at them: “Fight, characters! You guys should fight now! Maybe fighting will make this event have a purpose!” Which inevitably resulted in characters going through the motions of battle for no apparent reason, like they had all lost their minds.

What was the problem? I didn’t know how to write a scene. I didn’t know what a scene was. I had a vague definition that it was something about changing scenery, or just “something happening”.

It’s not. And once I learned what a scene was, my characters got to stop pummeling each other, while wishing they could pummel me. 

So what is a scene? 

The definition of a scene is kind of like the definition of a story. Story is change, a massive change in the life of your main character. A scene is change too, but much smaller, and part of that huge story change. You couldn’t have the BIG change without these tiny changes. Thus, a scene is not switching scenery. It’s not flipping to a new Character’s POV. It’s one segment of change, which triggers the next change, which triggers the next, which gradually build into sequences, which build into Acts, which build into story. 

So what goes into a scene? How does it work?

1. Alternating Charges

If a scene opens positive, it will turn negative by the end. If it opens negative, it will end positive. Simple. 

2. Character Goals

Everybody in a scene wants something. If they don’t want anything, they shouldn’t be in the scene. And these characters, with their often opposing goals, are going to employ different tactics on each other to get what they want. Which creates …

3. Escalating Conflict

Conflict is created when one character wants one thing and another wants something else, right? So the characters in the scene are each pushing for something different, each new tactic increasing in determination. And what are these actions called?  

4. Beats

The beats of a scene are exchanges of action and reaction. One character does something, another character reacts. All exchanges (beats) are pushing the scene onward, building tension and conflict, until finally …

5. Turns & Revelations

The scene turns. The positive has changed to negative. Something has been discovered. The story has spun in a new direction.

6. Connection to Story Objective

Every scene must be connected to the BIG goal of the story, the main character is taking small actions to reach that big goal. If it isn’t obviously connected to this big plot, it won’t make sense. Your reader won’t know why the heck they’re reading the scene. Which brings us to … 

7. Logic & Necessity  

Every scene must be necessary. It must be able to be linked with the previous scene. “Because that happened in the previous scene, THIS must happen in this scene.”

So! To see how that all works, let’s break down a scene from Tangled. (Because I used it in the last post to map out how a premise works, and my little writer heart can’t resist symmetry.)

Which scene? The one right after this happens: 

Opening Charge: Positive. She’s realized everything. 

Rapunzel’s Goal: Rise up against her mother – finally. 

Gothel’s Goal: Regain control.

Escalating Conflict: They’re fighting over who controls Rapunzel, and this battle causes them to go from “mother and daughter” to “enemies”. The conflict builds nicely in this scene, causing the story turn.

Connection to Story Objective: Throughout the movie, the big thing Rapunzel wants is freedom, she wants her life to begin, she wants to have a new dream. This is the moment she figures out how to do that; it’s not escaping the tower, it’s escaping Gothel’s control over her.

So! Here’s the scene.

Beat 1

“Rapunzel? Rapunzel, what’s going on up there?”

Ignores her. Still processing the tremendous implications of this revelation. 

Beat 2

“Are you alright?" 

"I’m the lost princess.” (Dumbfounded. Almost whispering it to herself.)


Beat 3

“Oh, please speak up Rapunzel! You know how I hate the mumbling.” (Bullying.)

“I am the lost princess! Aren’t I?” (Fighting back. She will not be bullied anymore.)

Beat 4

Gothel stares, stunned. She’s rendered temporarily speechless, because her secret’s been revealed finally, and her victim is actually fighting against her.


“Did I mumble, Mother? Or should I even call you that?” (Accusing. Drawing herself up taller. Looking down on Gothel and glaring. She’s seeing her clearly for the first time in her life.)

Beat 5

After a pause, thinking up a tactic. “Oh, Rapunzel, do you even hear yourself? How could you ask such a ridiculous question?” (Laughs. Ridicules. Attempts to make her feel childish, dumb, worthy of being mocked. Tactics which have always worked. She even begins to hug her.)


Rapunzel pushes her. “It was you! It was all you!” (Still accusing and angry, but pain is beginning to show. It’s almost like she’s giving her a chance to explain herself.)


Beat 6

“Everything I did was to protect you.” (And Gothel doesn’t say anything redeeming. She’s holier than thou, regal, bestowing kindness on an ungrateful, stupid child. Trying to control through guilt.)

Rapunzel rams her out of the way. 

Beat 7

“Rapunzel!” (Shouting. Now trying anger.)

“I’ve spent my entire life hiding from people who would use me for my power …” (Leaves her.)

Beat 8

"Rapunzel!” (Still trying the anger angle.)

“But I should have been hiding from you.” (Throwing the truth at her.)

Beat 9

“Where will you go? He won’t be there for you.” (She’s tried everything else. It’s time to attack her heart.)

“What did you do to him?” (Fear)

Beat 10

“That criminal is to be hanged for his crimes.” (She’s keeping up the disapproving mother act, but striking her right where it will hurt her most.)

“No.” (She’s stopped. Shrinking in on herself. Staring, horrified. And Gothel thinks she’s won.)

Beat 11

“Now, now.  It’s alright. Listen to me. All of this is as it should be.” She goes to pat Rapunzel’s head, a gesture symbolic of her superiority, her physical, mental, and emotional control over her victim.


Rapunzel grabs Gothel’s wrist. “No! You were wrong about the world. And you were wrong about me! And I will never let you use my hair again!" 

Beat 12

Gothel wrenches free, stumbling backwards in shock and anger, breaking the mirror in the process. 

Rapunzel walks away. She’s escaped Gothel emotionally now.

Beat 13

"You want me to be the bad guy? Fine. Now I’m the bad guy.” (Well, now emotional control is over. It’s time to start stabbing Rapunzel’s boyfriend.)

This action has no reaction, interestingly. It leaves us hanging, a cliffhanger created with only beats. 

Closing Charge: Negative. She’s now a full-fledged villain, the motherly persona shed, and she’s determined to get what she wants whatever the cost. 

Turn: It changed from positive to negative,  and now we’ve got a Flynn-stabbing witch to deal with.  

Revelation: She’s always been evil. She has always been the bad guy. The motherly act was just that, an act. 

Logic & Necessity: This scene fits with the previous scene, and the one that follows.     

Though I’ve seen these concepts in many books, the place I first learned about it (and the best resource for scene design in my opinion) is the book Story by Robert McKee. It’s helped me countless times, is one of my favorite books on storytelling, and I highly recommend it if you write anything.

I realize that these definitions were a little vague, so I’ll be explaining things more thoroughly in subsequent posts. 

Writing things that are self-indulgent is *GOOD* for you. Write self-indulgent stories. Writing stories that are huge and complex and world-shattering is amazing and very fun, but sometimes you just gotta sit there and bang out a trope-riddled mess where you get to kiss a character you find hot.