bored but in a good way

swordsdance  asked:

12, 13, 32, 61!

12. Ideas of a perfect date:

preferably indoors, with a person who gets my sense of humour. i’m a good listener, so i would like to sip some wine and have my date talking about things they’re passionate about, while playing some multiplayer (board)games. i’m kinda boring about that.

13. Life goal:

i don’t expect much from life. i just want a small house, a wife and a bunch of dogs and cats around. 

32. Have you ever painted your room?

yes!! i used to have white walls in my room. i wanted to paint them brown, but i ended up ordering a wrong paint and now my room is kinda orange-ish.

61. Have you ever been to a club?


plenty of times, actually, but it’s not my favourite way to have fun, unless i’m with some good friends

types of study breaks for every situation

if you realize you’ve been studying for hours: grab a snack to refuel your body and watch a sitcom to refuel your brain. then back to the books.

if you’re feeling stressed out: take some deep breaths, text your friends, maybe stare at a wall for a few minutes. gather yourself.

if you can’t seem to focus: get moving and get outside. take out the garbage, check your mail box, maybe walk your dog. just get moving and get fresh air. it’ll help bring you back.

if there’s something else going on in your life and you can’t get it off your mind: write down what’s going through your head, sort of like a diary entry. it’ll help you work things out.

if you’re just mentally and physically exhausted: set a timer for 25-30 minutes and take a nap. any longer and you’ll hit REM and you’ll wake up feeling just as tired. once you wake up, get some caffeine in you.

if the material is boring as hell: find another way to study. see if there’s a crash course video online about it or draw out what you’re trying to learn in diagrams and pictures to make it fun.

if people around you won’t shut up: listen to some music. soundtrack and classical music is always good because they won’t absorb you as much as music with lyrics. white noise (like ocean waves, rain sounds, etc.) also works.

if you only half understand a concept: call/message a friend who’s not in the class and try to teach the material to them. this will help you mentally work through the material and will help you remember it as well.

here are some of hanzo’s entertaining hots lines seeing as both wikis seem to lack transcriptions

  • [if you keep clicking on him] WHAT? SPEAK.
  • [if you keep clicking on him] have you nothing better to do? no, of course you don’t, as i expected.
  • revenge is never a straight line. it’s a forest. and like a forest, it can be most enjoyable.
  • every year, i sneak into shimada castle to honour my fallen brother. you’d think at this point, the clan would just close the gate.
  • garrosh is PROUD of his tattoos, but can they summon a pair of SPIRIT DRAGONS? HA! DIDN’T THINK SO.
  • it’s not my fault if people want to pick me all the time. they simply recognize greatness when they see it.
  • IT IS NOT ENOUGH THAT I SHOULD SUCCEED. OTHERS SHOULD FAIL.
  • they say that ‘perfect’ is the enemy of ‘good’. so i guess i’m a villain after all. [laughing]
  • heal yourself before you become a burden.
  • if you do not heal yourself, you will die.
  • a talking fish? is this a JOKE?
  • overwatch? ha! so you are the ones for whom my brother betrayed his clan.
  • your archery is keen, but your heart is SOFT. compassion has no place in battle.
  • crossbows? ha, toys for CHILDREN
  • ha! save your concern for yourself.
  • you DARE to disrespect me?
  • you could train for a hundred years and STILL not reach my level.
  • this conversation bores me. it ends now.
  • you can either be silent, or start making sense.
  • [probably talking to the monster heroes] whatever you are, just stay out of my way.
  • [probably talking to the monster heroes] whatever you are, i suggest you prove yourself useful.
  • your words are a waste of breath.
  • so you’ve heard of my skills before? good. your ideals are childish. open your eyes to the real world.
  • that armour… you look ridiculous.
  • yes, you will soon witness what a TRUE archer can do.
  • you are no TRUE dragon.
  • is that the BEST overwatch can offer?

1. he continues to make fun of other sniper weapons (rifle and crossbow)
2. there are references to both his murdering genji and interactions with genji who is another hots hero, so just try figuring that mess out

2

a soft and beautiful man and the sharp asshole that lives in his house

The Dos and Don’ts of Beginning a Novel:  An Illustrated Guide

I’ve had a lot of asks lately for how to begin a book (or how not to), so here’s a post on my general rules of thumb for story openers and first chapters!  

Please note, these are incredibly broad generalizations;  if you think an opener is right for you, and your beta readers like it, there’s a good chance it’s A-OK.  When it comes to writing, one size does not fit all.  (Also note that this is for serious writers who are interested in improving their craft and/or professional publication, so kindly refrain from the obligatory handful of comments saying “umm, screw this, write however you want!!”)

So without further ado, let’s jump into it!

Don’t: 

1.  Open with a dream. 

“Just when Mary Sue was sure she’d disappear down the gullet of the monstrous, winged pig, she woke up bathed in sweat in her own bedroom.”

What?  So that entire winged pig confrontation took place in a dream and amounts to nothing?  I feel so cheated! 

Okay, not too many people open their novels with monstrous swine, but you get the idea:  false openings of any kind tend to make the reader feel as though you’ve wasted their time, and don’t usually jump into more meaty action of the story quickly enough.  It makes your opening feel lethargic and can leave your audience yawning.

Speaking of… 

2.  Open with a character waking up.  

This feels familiar to most of us, but unless your character is waking up to a zombie attack or an alien invasion, it’s generally a pretty easy recipe to get your story to drag.

No one picks a book to hear how your character brushes their teeth in the morning or what they’d like to have for dinner.  As a general rule of thumb, we read to explore things we wouldn’t otherwise get to experience.  And cussing out the alarm clock is not one of them.  

Granted, there are exceptions if your writing is exceptionally engaging, but in most cases it just sets a slow pace that will bore you and your reader to death and probably cause you to lose interest in your book within the first ten pages.  

3.  Bombard with exposition.  

Literary characters aren’t DeviantArt OCs.  And the best way to convey a character is not, in my experience, to devote the first ten pages to describing their physical appearance, personality, and backstory.  Develop your characters, and make sure their fully fleshed out – my tips on how to do so here – but you don’t need to dump all that on the reader before they have any reason to care about them.  Let the reader get to know the character gradually, learn about them, and fall in love with them as they would a person:  a little bit at a time.   

This is iffy when world building is involved, but even then it works best when the delivery feels organic and in tune with the book’s overall tone.  Think the opening of the Hobbit or Good Omens.

4.  Take yourself too seriously.

Your opener (and your novel in general) doesn’t need to be intellectually pretentious, nor is intellectual pretense the hallmark of good literature.  Good literature is, generally speaking, engaging, well-written, and enjoyable.  That’s it.  

So don’t concern yourself with creating a poetic masterpiece of an opening line/first chapter.  Just make one that’s – you guessed it – engaging, well-written, and enjoyable. 

5.  Be unintentionally hilarious.

Utilizing humor in your opening line is awesome, but check yourself to make sure your readers aren’t laughing for all the wrong reasons (this is another reason why betas are important.)  

These examples of the worst opening lines in published literature will show you what I mean – and possibly serve as a pleasant confidence booster as well: 

“As the dark and mysterious stranger approached, Angela bit her lip anxiously, hoping with every nerve, cell, and fiber of her being that this would be the one man who would understand – who would take her away from all this – and who would not just squeeze her boob and make a loud honking noise, as all the others had.”

– Ali Kawashima

“She sipped her latte gracefully, unaware of the milk foam droplets building on her mustache, which was not the peachy-fine baby fuzz that Nordic girls might have, but a really dense, dark, hirsute lip-lining row of fur common to southern Mediterranean ladies nearing menopause, and winked at the obviously charmed Spaniard at the next table.”

– Jeanne Villa

“As I gardened, gazing towards the autumnal sky, I longed to run my finger through the trail of mucus left by a single speckled slug – innocuously thrusting past my rhododendrons – and in feeling that warm slime, be swept back to planet Alderon, back into the tentacles of the alien who loved me.”

– Mary E. Patrick

“Before they met, his heart was a frozen block of ice, scarred by the skate blades of broken relationships, then she came along and like a beautiful Zamboni flooded his heart with warmth, scraped away the ugly slushy bits, and dumped them in the empty parking lot of his soul.”

– Howie McClennon

If these can get published, so can you.

Do:

1.  You know that one really interesting scene you’re itching to write?  Start with that.

Momentum is an important thing in storytelling.  If you set a fast, infectious beat, you and your reader will be itching to dance along with it.  

Similarly, slow, drowsy openers tend to lead to slow, drowsy stories that will put you both to sleep.

I see a lot of posts joking about “that awkward moment when you sit down to write but don’t know how to get to that one scene you actually wanted to write about.”  Write that scene!  If it’s at all possible, start off with it.  If not, there are still ways you can build your story around the scenes you actually want to write.

Keep in mind:  if you’re bored, your reader will almost certainly be bored as well.  So write what you want to write.  Write what makes you excited.  Don’t hold off until later, when it “really gets good.”  Odds are, the reader will not wait around that long, and you’re way more likely to become disillusioned with your story and quit.  If a scene is dragging, cut it out.  Burn bridges, find a way around.  Live, dammit. 

2.  Engage the reader.

There are several ways to go about this.  You can use wit and levity, you can present a question, and you can immerse the reader into the world you’ve created.  Just remember to do so with subtlety, and don’t try too hard;  believe me, it shows.  

Here are some of my personal favorite examples of engaging opening lines: 

“In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move." 

– Douglas Adams, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

"It was the day my grandmother exploded.”

– Iain Banks, Crow Road.

“A white Pomeranian named Fluffy flew out of the a fifth-floor window in Panna, which was a grand-new building with the painter’s scaffolding still around it. Fluffy screamed.”

– Vikram Chandra, Sacred Games.

See what I’m saying?  They pull you in and do not let go.

3.  Introduce us to a main character (but do it right.)

“Shadow had done three years in prison. He was big enough and looked don’t-fuck-with-me enough that his biggest problem was killing time. So he kept himself in shape, and taught himself coin tricks, and thought a lot about how much he loved his wife.”

– Neil Gaiman, American Gods.

This is one of my favorite literary openings of all time, because right off the bat we know almost everything we need to know about Shadow’s character (i.e. that he’s rugged, pragmatic, and loving.)   

Also note that it doesn’t tell us everything about Shadow:  it presents questions that make us want to read more.  How did Shadow get into prison?  When will he get out?  Will he reunite with his wife?  There’s also more details about Shadow slowly sprinkled in throughout the book, about his past, personality, and physical appearance.  This makes him feel more real and rounded as a character, and doesn’t pull the reader out of the story.

Obviously, I’m not saying you should rip off American Gods.  You don’t even need to include a hooker eating a guy with her cooch if you don’t want to.  

But this, and other successful openers, will give you just enough information about the main character to get the story started;  rarely any good comes from infodumping, and allowing your reader to get to know your character gradually will make them feel more real.   

4.  Learn from the greats.

My list of my favorite opening lines (and why I love them) is right here.

5.  Keep moving.  

The toughest part of being a writer is that it’s a rare and glorious occasion when you’re actually satisfied with something you write.  And to add another layer of complication, what you like best probably won’t be what your readers will like best. 

If you refuse to keep moving until you have the perfect first chapter, you will never write anything beyond your first chapter.  

Set a plan, and stick to it:  having a daily/weekly word or page goal can be extremely helpful, especially when you’re starting out.  Plotting is a lifesaver (some of my favorite posts on how to do so here, here, and here.)

Keep writing, keep moving, and rewrite later.  If you stay in one place for too long, you’ll never keep going. 

Best of luck, and happy writing.  <3

4

Of course I want to get married. You do? Yes! I want us to have kids and a house and a dog and grow old and die within a week of each other. But I want to say “yes” because we’re in a good place, not because you’re afraid that I’m going to jail or someone’s going to kill us, but because things are normal and good and we’re happy just being boring old us. For once, I want to do something the right way.

The Signs as ‘Spooky’ Characters


Aries: Chucky because he’s feisty and crazy and the scariest in my opinion. Plus his hair is that 'fiery aries red’.

Taurus: Casper. Because in my eyes their friendly af and seem like they give amazing hugs.

Gemini: The creepy 'snacking twins’ in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

Cancer: The Corpse Bride (Emily). She’s determined to marry and wants to be in love but then let’s other people’s happiness come before her…

Leo: Pennywise because he stands out and gets in your face but he also attempts to entertain people. (Scare them)

Virgo: Freddy Kruger because Virgos are clever and using dreams as a way to get to people and eventually murdering them is kinda clever. It’s really hard to escape him if you get too tired.

Libra: Jennifer from Jennifer’s Body because she’s pretty af but low key psycho.

Scorpio: Lydia Deetz from Beetlejuice because she’s cute but also so interested in the dead and other creepy things.

Sagittarius: Jack Skellington because he got bored and wanted to try something different that seemed really crazy.

Capricorn: Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas because she was determined and prioritised the greater good before her romance with Jack.

Aquarius: Wednesday Addams because she’s sweet looking but really weird and she’s into unpopular things and has unpopular opinions.

Pisces: Carrie because she’s so 'innocent’ like and naive at the start but then you find out why you shouldn’t mess with her.

Think Like A Taurus

Taurus gets so much flack for being “lazy,” as in slow-moving, apathetic, or unmotivated. 

Because really, what’s the rush? Why is every little thing such a big deal? Why go to a concert when u can hear music even better with a pair of decent headphones? Why stress urself out worrying about what people think when everyone’s more or less an idiot? Why leave the house and go to a party with obnoxious strangers when u can order a pizza, watch a movie, drink wine, and pass out on the couch?

Why bother to speak when no one ever listens? Why listen when other people rarely say anything interesting or intelligent? Why spend time with people, making little compromises to accommodate them, when u can spend some quality time alone doing whatever the fuck u want.?

For Taurus, life is like a shitty old sitcom. It’s all been done. They know what’s going to happen next, because this sign (similar to its sister sign, scorpio) is good at spotting patterns and looking beneath the surface. Taurus are disinterested because everything (esp people) are predictable. 

They might be perceived as boring because they don’t really seem to… Do much… (To the untrained observer. Like Scorpio, Taurus is somewhat secretive about what they do in their free time.)

[This is false; many thinkers, and scientists have prominent taurus influence. Taurus placements are actually an indicator of intelligence; wit and humor are inherent qualities of intelligent people, and the antithesis of being boring. 

Examples: Leonardo DaVinci- Taurus sun, Nikolas Tesla- Taurus rising, Freud- Taurus sun, Carl Jung- Taurus moon, Descartes- Taurus moon, etc. Note how, despite the ‘lazy’ stereotype of taurus, these people got A LOT done!] 

But at least they’re not trying to bore anyone else. It’s a small price paid to see the world for what it is and having your priorities straight.  Life actually takes a long, long while. It’s not as short as people like to believe. So enjoy every moment. Take it slow. Savor the silence.

Think like a Taurus.

Things I didn’t know Desmond could do 1/? - Mah boi pulling some John Wick style right here

ok this is a list of the solo work of 1d members ranked worst to best & i hve absolutely no backing in music theory or history or have even heard enough of most of these guys’s stuff to be fair but gw? this is my blog so lets go

5. liam - listen i’m sure he’s a good kid or whatever but every time i hear “strip that down” i lose my sex drive for a month

4. louis - i’ve only heard 2 solo songs & they sounded like someone heard the word ‘eurotrash’ & tried to build a song around that despite never hearing eurotrash in their life

3. zayn - he has some bops but it’s honestly all pretty boring and fake deep and we all wanted him to be the beyonce, man. the timberlake. he wasn’t the beyonce he was the….zayn.

2. naill - like ok. ok. objectively zayn is more talented but i expected MORE outta zayn and manicure over here came out with Slow Hands which was just as boring but in an indie vibe. he’s ripping off ed sheeran and that’s what they all should be doing good job naill

1. harry - she worked her way through a cheap pack of cigarettes hard liquor mixed with a bit of intellect and all the boys they were saying they were into it such a pretty face on a pretty neck she’s driving me CRAAAAAY ZAY, but i’m into it but i’m into it i’m kind of into it’s getting CRAAAAAAAY ZAY i think i’m losing it i think i’m losing it i think i’m losing it OH I THINK SHE SAID

I’M HAVING YOUR BAYBAAAAAY IT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESSSSS I’M HAVING YOUR BAYBAYYYY IT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS (IT’S NONE OF YOUR IT’S NONE OF) I’M HAVING YOUR BABY (HEEEEY) IT’S NONE OF YOUR

20 Mistakes To Avoid When Writing Young Adult Fiction/Romance

Originally posted by kallieburgers

YA Fiction is an incredibly popular genre of literature, and most people have picked one up and devoured it in less than a day, but there is a trend in the genre where in certain instances, people forfeit quality for a cheesy dramatic plot. A lot of these stories are just regurgitated cliches with vaguely interesting characters and just enough drama, fluff, and mildly (or extremely) sexual content to keep the reader paying attention. (No shade to the authors, because obviously, any author who writes and publishes a book works hard, no matter the end product.) 

There are a lot of aspects of YA Fiction that repeatedly rear their ugly heads and annoy readers or flat out scream dangerous messages to the young people that indulge in them. I thought I’d put the spotlight on a few in the hopes that it will help clean up the genre’s reputation as new and more awakened authors contribute content to it. 

Below you will read about some common mistakes that YA Fiction/Romance writers make that either ruin the story, promote dangerous messages, or unrealistically portray teenagers.


Making A Good Story

These are some things you should avoid doing when writing YA fiction/romance in order to make a generally enjoyable and enticing story.

Forgetting The Supporting Characters

The supporting characters are an important part of any story, even if the main plot revolves around two people. Supporting characters provide subplots, information to the reader, and more opportunities for your audience to connect and relate to your story. It’s always good to give your supporting characters love and attention when creating and writing them. Sometimes they end up carrying the story.

A mistake that a lot of authors make is that they give the reader a couple defining characteristics, a name, a relationship to the main character, and then just make that character pop into the reader’s view whenever the main plot needs them to. No backstory. No life of their own. Just support to the plot, and that’s a huge waste of potential. You don’t want your readers to put down your book and either forget the supporting characters existed at all, or believe that they were extra pieces of a puzzle.

Using Slang Badly

Writers should not feel the need to include current slang in order to make their story more relatable or popular amongst their targeted demographic. Slang is constantly changing, evolving, and most importantly, dying. Not to say that you should only write in traditional terms or put “thy” and “thee” everywhere, but using standard English and avoiding the trendy but temporary slang words is key. 

If you must use slang, try to use the bare minimum and only in fitting circumstances. If your character is the type to say “OMG her dat boi memes are on fleek” then, by all means, go right ahead, but you probably cringed when you read that. That would have been totally normal 2 years ago, but every bit of that sentence has died over time, and no matter how much you think a slang word will stick, don’t risk it.

Sympathy and Envy Mongering

Two emotions that YA Fiction and Romance always try to invoke in their readers are sympathy and envy. The author either wants the reader to feel bad for one or many of the characters, or they want them to be jealous of the awesome (and usually unrealistic) lives the characters have. Don’t be one of these. It’s tired and boring and not original in the slightest.

Are sympathy and empathy both totally okay emotions?

Yes. 

Are they all you need to write a good story?

Nope. Not at all.

The reader needs and wants to feel more than jealous of and sad for the characters in the story. The best stories are the ones that trigger a complex whirlwind of emotion. Sympathy and envy are the easy way out, and you get out of those emotions what you put into them. 

Unrealistically Portraying Teenagers & Teenage Life

Teenagers look up to and compare themselves and their lives to the characters and lives of the characters in your story. Keeping in mind that your audience is young and impressionable is essential for authors of the genre.

Love At First Sight

Love-at-first-sight does not happen. Infatuation, maybe, but love is more complicated than that. Writing a plot based on “love at first sight” can leave a bad taste in your readers’ mouths from the start, and that is something you should avoid at all costs. On top of that, love-at-first-sight is a very easy-way-out move and if you’re dedicated to your characters and your story, there’s a good to fair chance that you can come up with a more satisfying build up.

Unrealistic Romantic Situations

If you’ve ever opened a YA Romance, chances are you’ve read a scene in which the protagonist and the love interest end up in a stunningly beautiful place and the love interest sweeps the protagonist off their feet prior to riding into the sunset. This, unfortunately, does not happen very often, especially in teenage relationships. The most romance you’re going to get (usually) is the love interest offering to pay for the protagonist’s bag of skittles with the leftover money from their paycheck they earned at McDonald’s.

Just because teenagers don’t really go to great lengths to rent an entire ice-skating rink in the middle of the night so they and their crush can skate to Ellie Goulding music doesn’t mean there can’t be cute and memorable moments. Great doesn’t always equal grand and that’s important to remember. A lot of the time, teenagers appreciate fantasizing about things that are actually possible.

Happy Endings

Not all stories have to end happily, and you’ve definitely been told this before, but nobody ever takes into account how stories about teenagers have so much potential when it comes to endings. Teenagers read books about teenagers and unfortunately, this means that a lot of them will take what you’re writing about and try to change their own lives to match. Be honest in your depiction about what actually happens when you leave high school. 

The majority of the time, high school sweethearts won’t stay together. Long distance won’t work, they’ll find someone else, the spark will die out, their personalities will undergo drastic changes, and their goals and plans for the future will turn out differently than they expected. “And they lived happily ever after” is criticized harshly for a reason, especially in YA and YA Romance. Most stories don’t end happily, but there is more than one story in a person’s life and giving a person their happy ending as they graduate high school is a great injustice, to your character and your readers.

Avoiding The Dark Parts Of Teenage Life

Teenagers, despite what a lot of the media claims, go through some really serious and stressful and damaging things. Teenagers suffer from mental illness and deal with the intense pressure of the education system and hold their heads high in the face of stigma over every little detail about them. They suffer from eating disorders and body dysmorphia and self-harm tendencies, and that doesn’t even bring into account the bullying and family issues and the stress of constantly learning and feeling things for the very first time with little to no guidance or assurance or resources to ask for help. It is hard being a teenager. Do not forget that, and don’t leave the actual teenagers reading your story feeling underrepresented and/or abnormal because they aren’t as stress-free as the characters they look up to.

Exaggerating How Teenagers Interact With Each Other

A lot of teenage interactions are short, awkward, and uneventful. Teenagers aren’t super eloquent and socially apt, but YA Fiction seems to believe they are. It’s quite rare that a teenager will just walk up to someone they like, say “wanna go to dinner on Saturday?” and all will be fine and dandy. It’s quite rare that a teenager will saunter up to someone who talked about them behind their back, say something super clever and damaging to their enemy’s ego, and saunter off like the king/queen of the world. Those interactions look great in our heads, but they usually contain a few stuttered words and “um”s and blushing. Confidence is usually a trait that people develop later in life, so try not to push it if you’re trying to be realistic.

Maturity of Teenagers

Teenagers are underdeveloped human beings with minimal experience in most areas of life. They do not have it all figured out. A lot of YA books revolve around characters that are extremely intelligent, disciplined and ambitious at a level of maturity a 25-year-old be on. This is not accurate. Making characters “awkward” or “childish” does not have anything to do with how mature they seem to readers. There is a distinct difference between an awkward girl with childlike innocence and a girl who makes mistakes, does not have her life figured out, and is not yet comfortable with casual social interaction. The latter things I mentioned are pretty universal when it comes to teenagers. 

Unfitting Aspirations

There are more than two paths in life. It seems that in YA you’re either going to graduate, get married, pop out a couple kids and live the rest of your life in the suburbs, or you’re going to leave home, go to college, travel for 20 years and settle in some random country in Europe writing poetry until the end of your days. There is no in between, which sucks. There are a lot of interesting things you can do in life, not to say that either of the two life paths I mentioned are uninteresting. You could take a gap year and travel the world, go to college, move back home for a couple years then maybe get a job that has you traveling and exploring new things for the rest of your life. You could meet the love of your life in college and have some kids but put them in online school so you could travel with them. You could live your whole life in an awesome cabin in the forest casting spells and adopting wild squirrels. There are so many ways life can be and restricting it to opposite extremes takes the imagination out of the future. 

Not All Teenagers Think Their Relationships Will Last Forever

This one is pretty self explanatory, so long story short, not every relationship a teenager enters into is with the end goal of staying together forever, or even more than a few months. Most teenage relationships are pretty short and not very meaningful, and portraying every single couple in your stories as “we’ve been going strong for 2 years and plan on getting married right after graduation” is inaccurate and will probably cause your readers some disappointment in the future.

Relationships Aren’t A Teenager’s Only Concern

Most teenagers are more concerned about the F they got on a History test than they are about who they’re going to stare at next period. Everyone has more than just their crush to worry about. Some teenagers have to worry about where they’re going to get their next meal or how they’re going to get a ride home from school or even how they can apologize to a friend they’ve hurt. It’s not all about relationships for teenagers, in fact, relationships are a pretty small part of teenage life. If all your character has to think about is the hottie they sit next to in Biology, perhaps you should work a little more on character development.

Unnatural Appearances

Most teenagers are not model-level attractive. All teenagers have break-outs and leave the house late with greasy hair or with their shirt on inside out. No teenager shows up at school every day looking absolutely flawless, as if they’re about to walk down the runway. Please keep that in mind, because portraying teenagers accurately, especially when it comes to physical aspects such as weight, acne, etc. is super important. In YA and YA Romance, you must keep in mind that the teenagers you are trying to appeal to should not feel like a piece of trash because they aren’t as perfect as your characters. Yes, YA Fiction is Fiction, but just because you know that it’s unrealistic doesn’t mean your readers do. Readers of YA Fiction compare themselves to the characters in your books whether you like it or not. It is not hard to realistically portray physical appearances of teenagers. 

Avoiding Dangerous Messages

A common problem found in YA Fiction is the lacing of dangerous messages found in the smaller details. You may miss them the first couple times you read a story, but if you go looking for them, you will find them, and perhaps you will find the source of a lot of mistakes you’ve made. YA has a bad habit of endorsing mindsets that lead to bad decisions. Some of them, however, can be avoided in your own writing.

The Need To Change The “Flawed” One

Nobody in this world is perfect. Expecting the person you supposedly love to be flawless all the time is not realistic. People make mistakes. People are not always happy and bubbly and confident about themselves. People do not always act the same one day as they did the day before. Human beings are flawed and should be portrayed as such, especially in the stage of their life which is the most confusing and scary. Teenagers are underdeveloped human beings, and for some reason, teenager girls in YA Romance expect teenage boys to be charming and loving and never ever make a mistake, which is ridiculous. Creating love interests that appear flawless and can make no mistakes is detrimental to your audience. It raises your readers’ expectations to an unattainable level which causes them disappointment and might cause their future partners unrepairable damage to their self-esteem because they’ll think that in order to find a partner, they cannot be flawed and cannot make mistakes. 

Glorification Of Illegal Activity

It’s not “cool” or “edgy” to pump yourself full of deadly and mind-altering substances you know absolutely nothing about. It doesn’t make you “badass” and it isn’t a personality trait unless that trait is stupid. Whatever your position is on drugs or alcohol or whatever, there is no excuse for putting the idea in the heads of young readers that doing things that are illegal and addictive and that might even get you killed is ok. Not only because most of your readers are younger than 21, but because it will always be dangerous to take drugs, commit crimes, and drink. Your choices are your choices. Don’t impose your habits and excuses on kids who don’t know any better.

Slut Shaming

News flash: it’s 2017, people. Nobody cares who you’re kissing or dating or having sex with. People are finally getting used to the idea that maybe, just maybe, it’s not the end of the world if you do whatever you want, as long as you’re not hurting yourself or anyone else. This recurring theme of “I hate this person because they do what they want with their body” is getting old and annoying. Believe what you will regarding religion and morals and what is right or wrong or whatever you want to believe in, but the second you start turning your story into a commentary on the decisions and beliefs of other people, you’re in the wrong. There are other, more creative reasons to make your characters hate each other than their sexual activity. 

Forgetting The First Times

One of the most exciting parts of being a teenager is that everything you’re experiencing, you’re experiencing for the first time. Everything is confusing and exciting and 10x more painful or memorable or enjoyable, and that’s neglected all the time in YA. I don’t mean the common trope of the first kiss or the losing of virginity. I mean love and infatuation and loss and heartbreak; it’s all happening to them for the first time in their lives, and these events make up their memories that they will carry with them forever. Teenage years are incredibly heavy times for people. It is, after all, the years in which they learn the most and the fastest and where the majority of their brain development takes place. These moments that you’re writing, the first kiss, the first time having sex, the first time your character loses someone they love, they’re all going to determine how your character will develop in the future. Treat them that way. Teach young readers that it’s normal and perfectly okay to be scared and inexperienced and lost. That’s the bitter-sweet part of youth and it’s beautiful.

Bad Boys And Boring Girls

Bad Boys are, in reality, bad news. The real “bad boys” in this world are slimy, manipulative jerks who trick girls (usually more than one at a time) into thinking they have feelings for them, using them for things like sex or money, and then either end up controlling their entire lives, introducing drugs and problems, or breaking their hearts. It’s sad, but it’s reality. Yes, there’s always a cause for this behavior, and sometimes these bad boys grow out of it, but that’s not always the case. Portraying these bad boys as “changeable” is not only dangerous for the female readers but also the men in their future. If you make girls think that they can change whomever they’re with to be the perfect prince charming, they will never be satisfied with someone who is flawed (spoiler alert: everyone is flawed) and they may destroy the self-esteem of whoever they’re with by making them think they need to change to be lovable.

Boring Girls are, sort of, connected to bad boys in this sense. They show up in every story, which makes sense financially because authors who make more relatable main characters sell more books. It’s just demographics. But at the same time, this stretch for a wider audience can end up influencing girls’ expectations of themselves and their love lives. If you make every protagonist completely boring, compliant, and devoid of strong, defining traits, girls will take that as advice. They will learn that all a girl has to do to make people fall in love with them is sit quietly and be pretty, which is horrible, in case you hadn’t noticed. Teach girls to look up to strong characters with rich personalities. Nowadays, that counts as an original idea.

Generalization

Portraying every aspect of teenage life and teenagers themselves as if you opened a book full of cliches, closed your eyes and pointed at something is not ok. High schools and families and personalities are different wherever you go, and making blind generalizations about aspects of teenage life can not only change how your reader interprets their own lives, but how adult readers assume teenage life is when they’re not around. It is important to not reinforce the assumption that there is always a popular clique and mean jocks and awkward nerds and dead-beat stoners because these stereotypes are a way for people to justify their snap-judgements, and not only does that say a lot about you as an author, but that will breed a whole new generation of judgmental, close-minded people.

Glorification Of Unhealthy Relationship Behaviors

I’m gonna say this once: It is not “hot” to have the love interest constantly putting restrictions on their supposed loved one. It’s not okay to borderline stalk someone and use “I love you” as an excuse, even if the person reciprocates your feelings. It is unhealthy to ignore someone when they say “no, no, not now” or “no, stop, not here” when you’re in the middle of initiating sex or even just kissing. It is disgusting when romance, especially YA Romance, which has mostly young, impressionable readers taking in your messages, promotes these behaviors like they’re something to strive for. Like it or not, your writing is going to alter the way they imagine a “perfect” relationship. If you aren’t willing to take that responsibility seriously, you should not be writing YA, and especially not YA Romance.


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NaNo Prep: How Understanding Conflict Will Make Your Plot Explode

November is almost upon us, and in the build up to NaNo, we’ve asked for guest contributors to share their advice on how to craft great stories that will engage writer and reader alike. Today, author Cari Noga tells us why “GMC” should be in everyone’s vocabulary, and how it’ll help drive your plot. 

Fiction is conflict.

You’ve probably heard something like that before, and filed it away with other writing advice. Take it out, shake it off, and prop it up it next to your coffee mug. Besides caffeine, you won’t find a better buddy on your NaNo odyssey.

First—a definition. Conflict is the obstacle(s) between a character and his or her desire. It varies with novel genre: the enemy agent out to kill the hero; Mom’s new job that forces the middle-school kid to move and change schools; the character’s yearning to spurn expectations and do what she really wants. Conflict is fundamental to advancing plot, setting it back, twisting and turning it, as the characters wrestle with their particular nemeses. It’s also crucial to reader engagement. 

In the best stories, we become invested in a character overcoming their conflict. We root for them to get what they want, worry when they seem to succumb, and, above all, keep turning pages to see which way it goes. Steven James, one of my favorite writing coaches and a bestselling thriller author himself, puts it this way: You don’t have a story until something goes wrong.

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the way some ppl act where it’s like.. this aloof detached constantly bored/unimpressed w/ every fucking thing that’s going on Nothing Will Ever Be Good Enough, For Me, type of deal is so fucking irritating lmfao you aren’t holy for trying to find every possible way to stay bitter and listless and looking down on others for like.. genuinely having fun, lmao. enjoying things isn’t bad. take a nap

why is summer so.. empty? 80% of my summer so far has just been feeling bad about not going out enough and just feeling gross and sad,, see this is why christmas is better

1st part of my bnha au, details in the read more

Hero name: Kanda

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Things I realized working on my Nano today:

1. Write the scene you don’t want to write.

I know you don’t want to write the boring bridging scene and you think 1300 words is a pretty good word count for the first day and you don’t even have any ideas for that scene because you had ideas for the scene before and you have ideas for the scene after.
Screw that, write it anyway. Yes, it might be bad, yes you’re really not inspired and it feels very bland right now. Write it. WRITE IT. Get to 1700 words with a boring filler scene that is needed for context.
Because honestly, if you’re not into writing that boring scene now, you’re not gonna be happy to have to write it on day 25 with 8K words to catch up.
Nano isn’t about writing your best novel, you cannot always write your best, Nano is about writing the whole damn thing. Then you’ll edit and rewrite until you make it good, make it best.

2. Pay attention when you read.

I’m not saying read everyday, nobody got the energy for that, but when you do read, pay attention to the words. If the way someone blended dialogue and descriptions together flows well, write it down for later. There is only so many times you can use “As for”, “But her eyes”, “When she”. At some point you get really tired of the way you write things, it doesn’t feel like a style anymore but just the same bits of sentences, simply reorganized with different words.
So pay attention to others’ words. Being able to use a phrasing you liked in your own writing will suddenly make you feel a whole lot more talented than you felt ten seconds before. Ride the highs when you can.

3. If you’re inspired to write more, write more.

Don’t settle for the 1667 words, if you’ve got a snippet of scene teasing at you, write it, a writer’s brain is a fickle thing and we don’t want you to forget why it had to happen this way, or this amazing dialogue you made up. If you write 2K today, that’s 200words you won’t have to force out on a bad day. Do it for future you.