advice: research

How to research your racially/ethnically diverse characters

chiminey-cricket asked:

Do any of you have any tips for doing independent research for PoC characters?

This question is super broad, but I’m going to see if I can give it a crack!

First of all, consume media by the group in question. If you want to write a story with a Chinese-American protagonist, read some blogs by Chinese-Americans, read books by Chinese-Americans – both fiction and nonfiction – lurk on places like thisisnotchina so you can get a feel for what pisses Chinese and Chinese diaspora people off about their portrayal in the media, google for stereotypes about Chinese people and try to make sure you’re not doing those (even positive ones), go more general (East-Asian all-of-the-above in general since in many cases the harmful tropes overlap), go more specific (if your protagonist is female, look specifically for blog posts featuring the opiniosn of Chinese-American and other Asian/Asian diapora women; same if your protagonist is attracted to the same sex, is transgender, or deals with any other form of oppression besides anti-Chinese racism.) All of the above applies to Latinxs, Native Americans/Canadian First Nations, African/African diaspora people, Jews, Muslims, etc. Find out what we’re saying about ourselves.

Lots of things are available just from Google. “I have a Black character and I want to know what kind of hairstyles are available for her!” We have a Black hair tag, but apart from that, googling “Black hairstyles” will probably bring up some articles that can at least give you a good starting point to learn some vocabulary to add to your next Google search, like “natural” and “twists” and “dreadlocks.”

Next, you can talk to people in the group, but before you do this, be sure to have some specific questions in mind. “How do I write a Jewish character?” is not a specific question. “Do I have to make my Jewish character follow kosher laws if I’ve made her religious in other ways, or can she go to shul but not keep kosher?” or “What’s a term of endearment a parent might use for a child in Yiddish?” is much more specific. Remember, if you’re talking to someone they’re answering you back with their free time, so expecting them to do most of the work of figuring out what’s most important for you to know is a little entitled.

Besides, a more specific question will give you a more helpful answer. If someone asks me “how do I write a Jewish character” one of the first things out of my mouth will be a list of personality stereotypes to avoid, which isn’t going to be very helpful if what you really need for your fic was whether or not you have to write your character as following strict kosher laws.

If you’re sending a question in to a writing blog or one of those race blogs like thisisnot[whoever], please read through their tags and FAQ to see if they’ve already answered it. Longtime followers of a blog would get very bored if all the blog’s content was nothing but “We answered that here last week at this helpful link!” Those who participate in answering these blogs are usually unpaid volunteers who provide a resource that’s already there to help people; help repay them for what they do by looking through the material on your own first.

How to tell if a source from outside the group is biased and bigoted: obviously, you’re not going to want to listen to Stormfront about Jews, or the KKK about, well, anything. If you’re not on a source created by the group in question, look for dry and academic language as opposed to emotional, informal, or inflammatory words – although dispassionate and technical language is no guarantee it won’t be racist, colonialist, or inaccurate. If you read enough books and blogs from the inside, though, you’ll probably see some of the myths from those other sources debunked before you even encounter them.

Lastly, don’t assume that all people who are Asian, African-American Christians, religious Jews, or Muslims are from cultures more oppressive, more conservative, more patriarchal, more homophobic, more sexist, or more controlling than the one in which you were raised. If your plot calls for homophobic parents or a repressive culture, that shouldn’t be the reason you make your character one of the groups listed. There is plenty of oppressive, anti-woman, and anti-queer thought in white American Christian/Christian-cultured society and personally, I believe such criticisms of the marginalized diaspora peoples I listed above belong in the voices of the cultures themselves.

–mod Shira

I’d not leave looking for dry and clinical information as the ONLY means to distinguish that a work is biased.

While yes it is pragmatic to say “look for academically toned wording,” … in addition to that, these folks really need to look into who the author is. Definitely look into the author. And the year the thing was published (because man if it’s from like the 60s or earlier, 9 times out of 10, throw that shit out).

Because people can disguise hatred and racism in careful diction so that it looks reasonable and polite. A shining example is physiognomy studies from Nazis and anti-Semite eugenecists. And the sad thing is, you really can’t trust people to read it and make the judgement call that this hate-in-disguise they’re reading is hate.  

Somehow, when someone says, “The people of the Levant express features such as […] which, at the risk of sounding untoward, suggest a very rodent-like persuasion,” people are like, “Oh, well, that was worded fancily and there was no angry or profane language, I suppose they’re right,” not stopping to think even for a moment that they just accepted that this book just said to them that Jews look like rats. I saw it happen in my Nazi Germany class when we were given reading material. It was fucking nuts.

So definitely, definitely look every outsider author in the mouth and cross-check any and everything that person says. 

–mod Elaney

Shira again: Elaney is right that you will want to be critical of outside sources, especially older ones. Also, be suspicious of blanket statements about a group such as “X group are” instead of discussing forces in X culture. For example. Because there’s going to be diversity within any group and it’s likely what’s being said isn’t inherently biologically linked to being in X group.

–mod Shira

anonymous asked:

hi i was wondering if you new anything about how to write from the point of view of a sniper? like in what would be going through their head as they take the shot? thanks :)

This probably isn’t going to be a particularly satisfying answer for you; but you need to learn about your character’s profession. This is a mandatory step when you’re creating, nearly, any character. The old advice is to, “write what you know.” The restrictive way to interpret it would be thinking you can’t write someone fundamentally different from yourself, which isn’t true, you simply need to do some research, and learn about who your character would be.

In this case, that means looking into the mindset of snipers. There’s a fair amount of non-fiction material on the subject out there. Offhand, Chris Kyle’s autobiography, and a couple books from Nicholas Irving come to mind. These are blind recommendations, I haven’t read any, but, they should help you with understanding the mindset of a modern sniper. Obviously, if your character lacks a military background, then these books might not be exactly what you’re looking for, but it should point you in the right direction. There’s also a much wider range of literature on the subject, if modern day US Special Forces really isn’t on point.

Depending on what you dig up, the answer may be as simple as simply running the math, adjusting, and then putting a round out there, without any real reflection on what that bullet is doing.

The best source of information would be people who have actually been snipers (or done whatever job you’re researching). You may need to parse out and analyze who they are as a person from what they’ve written, but they would be the ones who knew what they were thinking.

-Starke

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My Writing Masterlist

  Okay, since a lot of people are asking for tips to write good plots and shit, I’ve decided that was time for me to post my writing masterlist. Honestly, I barely use it anymore because I recorded all of the tips on my mind from using it so much.
  It’s succinct, basic and all you need to fix the problems that most of writers have, had or will have while writing. Most of it I took from here and added my own tips and shit that I know from experience. Hope you find it useful!


SCENARIOS:

- Do not repeat the same scenarios very much, and if necessary, talk / look at the room in different ways.

- DESCRIBE, DESCRIBE, DESCRIBE. The details are important to transport the reader to the scene. PLUS: please, details. (Exemple: you are in a forest. What kinds of trees are around you? Are they tall? Thick? Does the character recognize them?)

- Make use of all human senses - touch, taste, hearing, sight, smell. USE THEM.

- Do my scenarios have duality- sometimes, an ambiguous nature? (For example, my character may love the church where she was married, have fond memories of it, and still feel the sense of betrayal because her marriage has become ugly.

- Tell what your character feels about the room around him. This is important.


CHARACTERS:

- Are all the characters present? (Would it be better if my character had a mentor, best friend, romantic partner, etc …?)

- Do not overdo the amount. Use the characters you have. The excess will only create confusion in the reader’s head.

- If your character changes attitude during the story, SHOW THAT TRANSITION. Do not make them homophobic one day, and the next, the supporter of LGBT + causes, for example. If that happens, the impression you will leave is that your text is inconsistent and there is only one name for it: sloppy writing.

- CREATE FAULTS, PROBLEMS, MORAL CONFLICTS TO YOUR CHARACTER. This is life and if conflicts do not exist in your book, the characters will not give the idea of being true and deeply complex, as human beings really are.

- Create manias, addictions, be they verbal and / or attitudes. Does your character have the habit of saying “type” or “right” all the time? Does he wake up and always brush his teeth before and after breakfast? SPECIFY. This will help in creating a reality around the character.

Careful, this is very important (and basic).

- KNOW YOUR DAMN CHARACTER!!!! If he has addictions, you have to know beforehand. If he is agitated, calm, angry, patient, talkative, antisocial … you have to know.

- Make your characters different. Yes, that sounds like an obvious thing, but it’s not. Make them easily identified by their ways.

- DESCRIBE, DESCRIBE, DESCRIBE # 2. Physical type, hair, eyes, nose, thickness of the mouth, neck, fingers and hips are key points in describing a character. (Plus: I always describe hands because I like hands and I think they are a window to the soul. You can say a lot by people’s hands.)


MORAL CONFLICTS:

- Is it universal enough for readers to find interesting? Note that a conflict becomes much more interesting to a reader if it is something that he must deal with in his own life.

- Is the resolution of the conflict satisfactory? Do not make the conflict settle with the old “Then I Woke Up” chat. This is poor and sloppy writing. The climax of the story is gone and the reader loses interest. Be complex.

- Do you have minor conflicts? Most stories require more than one conflict. For example, a protagonist will often have an internal conflict as well as an external conflict. He may also have a love interest. He may have conflicts with nature, with God, and with his companions. So, as an author, you must create a series of conflicts and decide how each grows and is resolved.

- Show the personal growth your characters go through to solve the problem.

- How motivated are my characters to solve their conflicts? Characters that will go to extremes are needed. We have radicals in life, so we’ll have radicals in the story.

-My protagonist has an identity conflict? At the heart of every great story is a character who sees himself as something - charming, heroic, wise - while others around him perceive him as something else - socially desirous, inept, foolish.


YOUR WRITING WAY:

- Is your tone appropriate for the tale? For example, let’s say you want to invest a little humor into your story. You start with a joke. Do you keep the tone throughout the rest of the tale, perhaps plunging the mood inside, scene after scene?

- Do each of your characters speak with their own voices? You will need to do a dialog check for each character before you finish.

- Do you have an omniscient narrator? Keep the writing style the same throughout the whole story then.

- Do you dig deep into your protagonist’s POV so the reader can follow your thoughts and emotions? If not, is there a good reason why you neglected to do it?

- IMPORTANT: Is there any music in your writing? Do you want it to be? Ernest Hemingway once said that “all great novels are really just poetry.” With that in mind, listen to the sounds of your words. Consider modifying them as needed to adjust the meter and emphasis you need. Change until you like to read your text aloud.

- Do you use powerful metaphors or similes to add beauty and resonance to your work? (If not, you’re in trouble. Your competition will.)


RANDOM OTHERS (BASIC)

- Is the basic idea of your story unique and powerful? (For example, if you enter a story about a young man fighting space pirates, it probably will not do well - unless you come up with some New technology or angle that puts you above all other space-pirate tales.)

- Do you establish your characters quickly? We should probably know who the story is in one or two scenes, and we should probably be introduced in a way that tells us something important about the characters.

-  Talk about where your character is in all the scenes. Do not skip it just because you already mentioned the place.

- My story intensifies through the following scenes, with conflicts that widen and deepen?

- Does my story go well? Do I have a climax that really is exciting? Is the result different from what the audience expects?

- Your story has an open or closed end. Decide, then you must work so that all events lead to that final moment if it is opened. If it is closed, you have more freedom to finish well after the book’s climax.

anonymous asked:

Hi! I'm thinking about becoming a beta reader. Thing is, I'm not known in any of my fandoms. I was wondering, is there anywhere you can sign up to be available as a beta? Thanks!

Thanks for your question, dear!  Beta reading is a great activity to take up in your free time :)  And there are a lot of different kinds of beta reading to try, too!  So first you should consider your options.

There’s one obvious first distinction: reading for original work vs. reading for fanfiction.  Your problem of having no name in your fandoms can be resolved – making an online presence in your fandom (on twitter, tumblr, facebook, etc.) is easy if you’re offering a service like this.  Still, if you find that entry difficult, there are always other outlets…


Fanfiction Beta Sites

  • Fanfiction.net – One of the two most popular fanfiction databases on the internet.  To become a beta reader, you must meet the following criteria:

1. Be a registered member for at least 1 month or more.
2. Must have published at least 5 stories on the site OR have published entries totaling at least 6,000 words.
3. Must accurately complete both the Profile and Preferences part of your beta profile.

You’ll share a bit about your personality, and what fandoms/genres/ratings you’re comfortable with reading.  Those tags will help readers to filter through the beta reading database and find you.  So make sure to decide what you’re interested in covering first!

  • Archive of Our Own (AO3) – The other most popular fanfiction website; I’m not a member there so I don’t know the exact process of becoming a beta, but I know I’ve never seen a clear-cut beta search forum there.  The link I’ve provided opens up to a search page, though – type in the Tag section, “Beta Wanted,” and sort by recently updated (+ whatever fandoms/ratings you’re interested in).  This should get you started on making connections with other writers.

Original-Work Beta Sites

(Sorted by those I’ve used to those I haven’t – not by quality!)

  • FictionPress – I recommend this first because it’s a sister site to fanfiction.net, so the layout is nearly identical.  The difference is that it’s based on original works, not fanfic, so there’s less of a fandom-barrier to cross.
  • NaNoWriMo forums – National Novel Writing Month (more information here) takes place every November, along with similar NaNo events in April and July.  At the end of these events (and usually months afterward, too), people come away with first drafts in need of critiquing.  This is likely to yield more deep beta reading, if that’s what you’re after – but it can also be as simple as grammar and line edits.
  • Scribophile – I’ve never used this, but I’ve heard great things.  Scribophile is very community-based critiquing network, where you can read for others and also take advantage of their blog and other resources for improving your writing, getting published, and so forth.
  • Critters – I’ve also heard good things about Critters, another critiquing workshop.  This one is specific to science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres, though.  The website is a little cluttered-looking, though, so it’s not my first choice personally.

Hopefully one of these will work for you!  If you have any more questions, be sure to hit me up and I’ll get back to you within the week :)  Good luck!


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

I like what transhorsegrumpstalefriend added to this post when so I’ve included it below:

This post in SI (metric):
Body heat: 42 degrees Celsius.
Cold water: 4.5 degrees Celsius.
Hot air: 150 degrees Celsius.
High altitude: 4.6km (4600m)
Starvation: 45 days (3.888x10^6 s)
Diving deep: 86m
Lack of oxygen: 11min (660 s)
Blood loss: 40%.
Dehydration: 7 days. (605000 s)

Just for those who might not live in the US and hence don’t know US customary units.

Thank you @transhorsegrumpstalefriend!!

anonymous asked:

How realistic is rolling out of the way in fight scenes like you see in video games such as dark soul or witcher?

It’s not, for the same reason you don’t use it against human foes in The Witcher 3; the recovery time is too long, leaving the person doing the dodge vulnerable to follow up strikes. Something that is very easy for an attacker who is pressing their opponent.

It will also prove quickly exhausting. Ironically, one thing Dark Souls does very well is hammer home how tiring combat is. A character who goes in with a frenzied assault will tire themselves out quickly. Similarly, bouncing around like an acrobat will leave them exhausted and vulnerable.

I was going to say something about how stamina regenerates at an unreasonable rate in Dark Souls until I realized I was thinking of Dark Souls II′s stamina regeneration, which scaled with the character’s equip burden (a stat that tracked how heavy their gear was). (Incidentally, Bloodborne uses this same system even though equip burden is a hidden stat. I don’t think Dark Souls uses that, and I can’t remember if it was the case in Dark Souls III.) This isn’t a bad abstraction for the effect heavy gear can have on a fighter. In real combat, a heavily armored fighter will tire out, and potentially overheat, much faster than one in lighter gear.

It’s also worth remembering that with The Witcher 3, there’s actually two different dodges. The dodge roll which sends Geralt leaping out of the way, and a short range dodge with a fast recovery. It won’t get out of the way of a monster’s charge, but can be useful against human foes. These kinds of quick step evasions do have application in the real world. Being able to bounce out of reach of an opponent’s strike, and then come back in is a useful tactic, and usually worth the energy. Unfortunately, it also has some of the same issues as the dodge roll, an opponent who is pressing can continue to do so, forcing the defending combatant to continue falling back, but it can still prove useful in the right circumstances.

It’s probably worth mentioning, with The Witcher 3, CD Projekt Red was basing Geralt’s sword combat on a specific HEMA variant, and recording actual practitioners for the motion capture. It’s not one I’m familiar with, so I don’t know how authentic what you see in game is to the actual style. If, what you’ve seen there appeals to what you want for a character, I would strongly recommend taking a closer look at what the developers were pulling from, and looking around for any making of documentaries they produced.

-Starke

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The absolute best way to learn how to write characters who are different from you

Write them. Do your research first, but write them in a test story, perhaps, or a short one, or something that isn’t a big project. Whether it be someone who’s nonbinary, who’s autistic, who’s been abused, any of the things outside of your experience can typically be portrayed well.

BUT.

Big but. 

Long before publishing or finalizing or what have you, have people of this group read it. Find people who are likely more in touch with the idea, such as people who are/have the thing, or who work with it in some capacity or so on

And LISTEN to what they have to say.

You don’t have to like their criticism. They can be flat out wrong about some of it. But, if they tell you that, in their experience, dyslexia isn’t like that (or any other example) or that it felt really hurtful to them personally, then take it into account and change if it’s necessary.

If you’re willing to listen, then it’s not that hard. If you’re willing to make mistakes and blunders and be corrected for them, then it’s not that hard. 

Seriously. Seek them out on the internet. You’ll find people. Hell, even post it as a fanfic to feel out your understanding of the thing. 

Keep trying and keep developing as a writer, and you’ll get there, and be thankful you opened yourself up to criticism.

anonymous asked:

This is going to sound awfully snobbish and arrogant. But I am struggling so much with the concept of narrowing my thesis. I'm writing a PhD and want to write about something meaningful (cue eye rolls...I know) but I keep on being told to narrow, narrow, narrow. I know this is very good advice, but it often feels like my topic is becoming uselessly niche and generally not very interesting or important. Have you experienced this feeling before? How do you get past this!?

So, I’m really mad because I wrote like a six-paragraph response to this and then acidentally hit the ‘back’ button. Fuck Tumblr for not saving drafts automatically. Fuck me for not doing it manually. Anyway I’m going to try to remember everything I just wrote: 

This doesn’t sound arrogant to me, but it does sound a little naïve. Now, bear with me while I talk about bees for a minute. (Yes, you read that right. Bees.) Bees are small. Some people are scared of them and some shitty people kill them, but most just don’t think about them very often. But without bees pollination wouldn’t happen, plants would die, animals that eat plants would die, and animals that eat animals that eat plants would die. Basically, without bees we’d be pretty much fucked. The same is true of academia. If you want to say anything meaningful, you have to know the minutiae first. You want to have big majestic bears, you can’t kill off the bees. Everybody who starts working on a thesis or dissertation wants to say something grand and meaningful, but those romantic notions will wear off pretty much as soon as you sit down to actually do the work and realize how many little things you need to know just to be qualified to attempt that. Academia is not the place for romance. It’s a place to be realistic. What kind of argument can you make convincingly in about 20,000 words? 

Here’s the other thing: Believe it or not, the ‘niche’ research is often what ends up being the most valuable. I mean, thank God Marcus Nordlund wrote 95 pages on the economy of candles in the early modern indoor playhouse so I didn’t have to in order to talk about darkness in The Duchess of Malfi. Thank God Charles S. Forker understands the Renaissance legal system in Naples so I didn’t have to learn Latin to edit one scene of The Devil’s Law-Case. You get the idea. All scholars have different specialties, and what might not seem particularly interesting to one may up being vitally important to another. ‘Niche’ is not a bad thing. Writing something ‘niche’ actually enables you to to make a sharp, pointed, and thoroughly researched argument instead of trying shoehorn a huge philosophical statement into a graduate thesis. At best it’s going to come out feeling cramped, at worst woefully incomplete, and either way two weeks before your deadline you will want to die. Trust me. I’ve made that mistake too many times to tell it any other way.

Here’s what I’d suggest: Start with one of those big ideas you’re passionate about. Feminism, atheism, colonialism, whatever. Start there and start reading primary/secondary material. (Pro-tip: Start with the most recent criticism and use their bibliographies to follow the breadcrumbs back to the origins.) As you do this reading, look for themes or trends or specific details of the argument that intrigue you. For instance: My dissertation started with the huge unwieldy topic of n/Nature in King Lear. Eight months later I’m using a very specific strain of Aristotelian ethics to explore the question of culpability for three of Shakespeare’s tragic villains. Narrow? Hell yes. But because the argument is so narrow it actually enables me to say, “Shakespeare was really the only early modern playwright (besides Chapman, sort of) who eschewed the absolute moral binary in favor of weighing characters’ actions against intent, agency, and other mitigating/aggravating factors. This matters because it’s the same legal framework we still use today, which makes it much easier to understand the plays and supports their continued relevance.“ That’s a big statement. But I can back it up because my research has been both exhaustive and specific. Have I had to read a lot of really dense philosophy and theology and jurisprudence dating back several thousand years? Yes. Has all of it been fun? Absolutely fucking not. But all of that ‘niche’ work has enabled me to present what I feel is a meaningful interpretation of Shakespeare’s tragic villains, which is something I care a whole lot about. This is a really long of way of saying: Start with the big idea and find a little idea inside the big idea. That’s how you stay excited without biting off more than you can chew. 

Make it about the bees. When you have a professorship and twelve research assistants you can worry about bears.

anonymous asked:

I'm trying to write something with modern hitmen/assassins. Anything really important I might have looked over while researching?

Okay, if I’m being honest, there is no possible way I can answer this question. My psychic powers have failed me. I don’t know what research you’ve done nor how exhaustive it was. As a result, I don’t have any idea what you might have missed.

I can point you at our relevant tags for assassins and writing them. But, I can’t tell you what your research covered or failed to cover. There’s simply, no way for me to know that.

As with any kind of research, the first thing you’re going to want to do is start by identifying the core literature from the field. You can do this by simply looking at the Wikipedia references, and then following up with those. (The actual Wikipedia articles are usually worthless for research, but what the editors cited can be a valuable starting place.) Once you’ve started reading those sources, see what multiple sources reference. If someone’s worth talking about, then they’re probably worth reading. If no one’s referencing what you’re starting with, then it may be a sign that the source isn’t really that important. If it is cited, it will either be important information for the subject, or controversial. The tone of their citations should tell you which.

While you’re doing that, keep track of who the respective authors are. Those biographies slapped on the dust jacket are a good place to start. You don’t need to know everything about them, but if you’re looking at someone who spent decades in law enforcement or the intelligence community, they’re probably more reliable and useful than a random fan of 47 who mostly posts on Gamefaqs or a housewife from New Jersey publishing under a pseudonym.

Obviously, this will be easier if you’re in an academic environment, and have access to scholarly articles, though even without that, the basic framework is solid. Though, you might have to hit an actual library to find some of the material you need.

If you didn’t do any of that, then the answer will be, “a lot.”

-Starke

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anonymous asked:

Umm hi this my first time asking any questions but I'm trying to write a character that has schizophrenia but I'm not sure if I'm portraying the illness right. So far I've only introduced one of her hallucinations named Lucy which she depends on to do anything, Lucy is basically her god and will do anything for her (( even though Lucy isn't real )).

Hi there, anon!  Thanks for your question :)  I hope you’ll send in any other questions you have in the future.


Schizophrenia Resources

So I did some research, and I have some resources for you, as well as a general answer: yes, depending on the type of schizophrenia, people do experience audible-visible hallucinations with personalities – personalities that are often controlling and take on a dominant role in the person’s mind.  These personalities aren’t always 100% bad for the person with schizophrenia, as they can provide comfort and do, ultimately, come from the person’s own mind.  Some people liken their “imaginary friends” to an abusive relationship, providing mixed emotions for the person involved – especially if they aren’t aware that their hallucinations aren’t real.

So that would be the first thing, I think, for you to figure out.  Does your character know they’re schizophrenic?  Many people don’t realize that their hallucinations aren’t real, which adds the paranoia of wondering if other people can see or hear their hallucinations, too.  Even if they know they’re hallucinating, they may stay in denial out of attachment to their hallucinations.  They may at one point know they’re schizophrenic, but refuse medication until their condition deteriorates.  So that’s one thing to consider.

You should also know:

And ultimately, the best thing for you to do is to write a bit of the work and share it with someone who knows.  I don’t qualify as someone who knows, because I have no experience with schizophrenia.  So you might want to find a beta reader or join a writing workshop once a chapter or two with this Lucy character is ready to be critiqued.  That’s my best advice to you, honestly.


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

Advice from a College Senior at Berkeley

Long post! This is definitely based off of my personal experience but some might find it useful. I am not a super social person, but I managed straight As most semesters, was involved in clubs and a Cappella, had 2 part time jobs at one point, and did research for 2 years. See below the cut to find more academic, research, and Berkeley specific advice.

If anyone actually reads this, ask me if you have any questions about school, life, research, Berkeley, food, or nutrition!

Apartment Related~

Things you need for your apartment that you might not have considered:

  • can opener
  • wine corker (even if you don’t drink you might want one for cooking)
  • a second trash can for recyclables
  • good quality food storage, esp. ones that can be baked or microwaved in
  • quality mug, tea, coffeemaker, whatever will prevent you from buying overpriced coffee on or around campus
  • pepper spray
  • plunger
  • sink/bathroom declogging detergent
  • fan
  • something to kill wall/ceiling bugs, such as a vacuum with hose or a swiffer sweeper without the cloth
  • air fresheners
  • quarters
  • an extra laundry basket or bag for clean clothes, because no way will you fold everything right away and you need space as more dirties pile up
  • flashlights and candles for power outages
  • tool kit and first aid kit

Things I bought that I didn’t really use:

  • hair products– just had no time
  • Brita filter– tap ended up being just fine and I got too lazy to clean/replace filters

Food advice from a nutrition major~

  • don’t share food with your roommate, especially perishables
  • don’t buy more fresh food than you can reasonably eat in a few days/a week
  • use going out to eat as a social activity, not your primary source of meals. You will save SO MUCH money and eat SO MUCH healthier
  • Investing in quality caffeine and accessories at home saves you SO MUCH TIME AND MONEY

School, Work, and Research Related~

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5 Tips for Writing an Essay

1. Start early. Now, I know this may seem like it goes without saying, but most people still don’t do this. Give yourself at least one week to write your essay, but more is even better. Why? Writing is a process that takes time, which leads me to my second point…

2. Write, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite some more. Your ideas are constantly developing. As you write your first draft, you’re still formulating ideas. The more you write, the more in-depth your analysis will become. This is why it’s so important to give yourself time to work on your essay. If you write it the night before, you’re going to be turning in surface level work. Sure, that might work for some classes, but it won’t work for all.

3. Give and discredit  the opposing viewpoint. In an essay, you have a thesis- one statement that clearly defines your argument. A great way to defend your thesis is by conceding that there is another side to the issue you’re writing about. It may seem counterproductive, but this does two things: 1. Solidifies that what you’re writing about is actually an argument, and 2. Gives you a chance to discredit possible disagreements people might have while reading your essay.

4. Write with your own voice. Don’t just write boring sentence after sentence until the essay is complete. Use your own voice. You can intersperse colloquialisms with technical jargon. You can utilize large words and simpler ones. As long as there is a balance between the two, don’t be afraid to let your personality shine. Your teacher will thank you. (Just be careful you’re not becoming too casual.)

5. Don’t over-complicate things. The more complicated you make things seem, the less you appear to know about a subject. Have you ever had to listen to old science teachers talking in circles about a complicated theory? You probably assumed they didn’t know what they were talking about, since another teacher could easily explain it in a way everyone could understand. That’s exactly what you seem like when you throw unnecessary verbiage into your essay. Just stick with the basics. If you know what you’re talking about, the teacher will be able to tell, I promise.  

anonymous asked:

Hey, could you give me any advice on fashion during the golden age of piracy? Like did the pirates have a particular style, what did the rich wear in terms of material, were beards acceptable?

Thanks for your question, nonny!  I did some quick research, and here are some articles I found: 1, 2, & 3.  Plus I think a Pinterest search under that tag will help you out, too!  I’m terrible with fashion, so I can’t help you any more than that :(  But hopefully this helps!


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

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THE MASK

Some examples of CPAP masks of different shapes/sizes. The top two are similar with the one on the left being a child size and the right one a standard adult size. The bottom mask has an inflatable ‘cushion’ to fit on the face rather than just a soft part.