can they even exist outside of their

fatlikeagalaxy  asked:

For the Big Bang Theory, it was a huge ball of energy. What was on the outside of the ball? Did anything exist outside of it?

The best way to think about the big bang is that the entire observable universe was infinitely dense - it was in a singularity. However, according to our most accurate theories, the universe is infinite, meaning there’s an unobservable universe beyond the observable universe. It’s just like the observable universe, except we can’t see it. The early universe, if I understand correctly, was still infinite, and infinitely dense at every point. Since the universe was infinite even back then, nothing existed outside of it because the only thing that did exist was an infinitely large and infinitely dense universe. When expansion started, the infinitely dense universe expanded into the universe we know today over time. I’m not sure if I explained this well, so if you have any other questions or clarifications needed, let me know!!

Writing With Color – Featured Research Guides

Although WWC shares resources when we can and bring some to the table ourselves, we don’t exist to seek outside sources for one’s writing; this is ultimately the writer’s job. Even so, we’re more than happy to offer guidance on the What, Where and How of doing research for your inclusive writing. 

Take a look at some of the research help & resources complied below:


Research Sources

WWC Tags and Help

General Research

Cultural and Religious Research 

Historical Research

Fantasy Sci-Fi & Research

Name Research/Resources


Cultural and Religious Resources

WWC Naming Resources/Guides


Okay but like, racism still exist in the Overwatch universe, not in the form of robo oppression but in the form of the back stories of some of the non-white characters.

From Lucios story and what vishkar did to the favelas, to a white blonde getting a promotion instead of the afrolatino man who deserved it as much if not more. Or a Maori man from NZ living in the Australian Outback being displaced from his home by the government… Intentional or not, OW has given us better narratives of racism more relatable to real life than the mess that is the whole “robo-racism”.

Like for starters calling the anti-omnic bigotry “racism” is such a trivialization of racism and can’t be compared. Torb, Zarya and the Junkers all have reasons to hate Omnics, the bots started a war and a genocide, it personally affected every antiomnic character, yeah some of them can be too extreme with their hate, but outside of some insults can you even blame them? Whom lose their family in war?.

Listen, in real life no mestizo, nor black nor Maori person have power over white people. Is a bad and stupid comparassion, those whom hate PoC think of us as inferior and the only thing we did to be treated poorly is *exist*, Omnics were more powerful than humans and started a war, repeating myself.

Can we please, for the love of everything, stop calling this mess of “”“ omnicphobia”“” racism or comparing to it, especially if you’re white.

5 New ideas for outlining stories

Maybe you are tired of all outlining techniques out there… the snowflake, the skeletal, the summary, the visual map, you’ve tried them all. And, although they are great, nothing works anymore. Or never worked in the first place. Maybe, when you outline, you feel like the magic is gone, the story has already been told, you don’t need to write it anymore. Outlining makes your bored.

Then, you try going pantser, but you get lost to where your story should be going soon after the first plot point. Not outlining makes you lost.

Originally posted by murallamuerta

We need to jump outside the box of plotter and pantser. No one is 100% plotter, or 100% pantser. We are neither. In truth, we are explores, travelers, discoverers of beautiful stories, sometimes we have maps, sometimes we are following the unknown.

If we outline with fear and/or severity, we are doomed. Outlining is supposed to be on the creative side of the brain. It’s the whole picture of a drawing. Or the sketch of a sculpture. So, let’s try an artistic approach to outlining. 

1. TV Series:

For a moment, pretend that you are not writing a book, but a 15-episodes TV series. Write down a small paragraph to what should happen in each episode. Don’t worry about details, make it general. With 15 episodes planned out, you’ll have a clear view of the story. As you write, use the episodes as guidance.

This exercise helps you explore plot details.

2. Hours:

Think of your story as the hand of a clock, it has to run through twelves parts to close the circle. Draw a clock, but, instead of hours, write down plot points. Every hour should change the story somehow and guide the characters to a conclusion.

This exercise helps you keep track with the main plot.  

3. Branches

Picture your story as the branches of a tree. Better yet, grab a paper and draw your tree trunk. The trunk is the beginning of the story. Part the trunk into two big branches. These two branches are two different turns your story could take. From two big branches, create four smaller ones. At each split, create a new course for your story. At the end of the exercise, you’ll have many outlines to choose from.

This exercise helps you discover new possibilities.

4. Mixing

Mix the outline of two existing stories from books, movies or games to create your own. Very simple and easy. Write down one or more paragraphs on how these two stories would merge into one completely new.

This exercise helps you unravel new angles to old ideas. 

5. Tags

Make a list of 10 to 50 words of objects, colors, places, animals or even feelings. Pick three words randomly and try to incorporate them into your story.

This exercise helps you think outside the box.

You can try your favorite exercise, or all of them.

sleepingobsidian  asked:

Do you have any Shisui headcanons?

(Happy!AU again bc I want to and you can’t stop me.)

- Voted Most Likely to Die Before Puberty 12 years running.

- Only Child™

-  Eternal Child™

- Also scary as fuck

- (It’s a delicate balance.)

- Found out that his grandfather shagged the Nidaime and didn’t know whether to be jealous or horrified.

- Decided it was something to aspire to instead. 

- Kushina was his jounin instructor. It was the best/worst decision Sarutobi ever made and he Regrets.

- Once planned out an elaborate mission in order to spy on the men’s baths, more for the challenge than anything, and entirely forgot that he could just walk in through the front door.

- Tried the same on the women’s baths only to be found by Kushina.

- Will never try that again. Ever.

- Makes a game out of terrifying as many enemies as he can before he kills them. Itachi loves him, but he is Suffering. 

- Had a brief period where he was crushing ridiculously hard on Orochimaru and spent a week in the depths of the library, finding the weirdest, most obscure jutsus just to impress him. 

- Does not talk about it. 

- On an entirely unrelated note, Sasuke has so much blackmail on him he could probably take over Fire Country. 

- The human incarnation of the Uchiha tendency to be Extra Stupid around pretty, powerful people. 

- Generally known as That One Uchiha in other villages. Everyone has a story about meeting him. Most involve bloodshed and terror. A few involve flailing but are generally laughed at. 

- Sets Itachi up on dates whenever the opportunity even vaguely presents itself.

- #1 reason Itachi does not want to leave the house. He used to be twitchy about enemies everywhere, now he’s paranoid that he’ll somehow end up on a blind date the minute he sets foot outside. 

- Has been in ANBU since he was 14 and will probably stay in it until he dies.

- (Largely because he read the burnout statistics and his entire existence can be summed up as “Shisui no.” “Shisui YES”)

- Hokage candidate.

- When the other villages find out there’s a mass wave of panic. 

- Sarutobi Laughs. Finally a chance to inflict Shisui on other people. 

- It works beautifully. 

- (Well. Not for the Hokage’s guards. But Tenzo has only tried to murder him twice this week, so that’s probably progress.)

In Praise of Charlotte & Female Legacy

Strap yourselves in, crew, because I Have Thoughts.

I’ll start this off by repeating (with some changes & additions) what I wrote in another reblog about the theme of female narratives on Black Sails.

Black Sails is incredible not just for its queer representation but also its women and, even more incredibly, its commitment to female relationships, women supporting each other, and female legacy.

Idelle always stood by Max, and when Max started her steep social climb, she never forgot about the friend by her side and pulled her up along with her, as she put to use the skills she herself had learnt from another woman: Eleanor.

Madi adored and was inspired by her father, but it’s her mother that has raised her and taught her the leadership that sets her apart from every other character on the show. I’d argue that none of the men, not Flint nor Silver nor Billy nor anyone else, is as accomplished a leader as Madi, and it’s no coincidence she learnt a great deal of that from her mother.

Even though we never get to fully delve into that aspect on the show, the profound impact of losing her mother has forever shaped Eleanor, who started her life-long quest of legitimizing Nassau in response to her mother’s statement that it was “no place for a little girl”. As Hannah New said, this made her determined to be „the girl that makes sure no more women die the way [her] mother died.“

Marion Guthrie is not just a woman in power, she’s a woman who wanted to pass on her legacy and skills to her granddaughter. When she learns of Eleanor’s death she recognizes a kindred spirit in Max, who finally gets to see modeled for her the kind of person she could be, that Eleanor could have been. Even if she turns down Marion’s first offer, this relationship is massively important to Max and must have widened her horizon immeasurably by showing her just what is possible. Marion immediately chooses to bestow her inheritance on Max in lieu of Eleanor, wanting her life’s work and power to remain in a woman’s hands.

Heck, add Mrs Hudson conspiring with Mrs Mapleton, or Eleanor and Miranda’s initiative that saved Abigail, or Mrs Mapleton’s continued work for Max, or Madi drumming up support by talking to Eme, or her nigh-prophetic talk with Ruth.

And all this isn’t even going into the romantic or not-supportive relationships between women!

However, within the universe of the show, as in real life, women’s achievements are often dismissed or forgotten by the larger narrative. Even if they leave visible fingerprints in history, the hand that made them is often forced to stay invisible.

Marion Guthrie is pulling the strings behind the scenes, Max can only run Nassau by using Featherstone as the face of her rule, and Eleanor’s efforts for Nassau on Rogers’ behalf were never going to be remembered by the history books. Civilized society allows them no other venue to visibly hold power. Eleanor, Max, Madi and the Maroon Queen could carve out spaces of open sovereignty only outside of civilization, in places that were created with the express purpose of existing outside of mainstream society. In real life, they would likely go on to leave no visible trace of their contributions and relentless struggle for influence.

So let’s get to the main course. 

Charlotte, who unwittingly and against all odds has the most visible and longest-lasting legacy of all female characters, possibly all characters, period.

To start off let’s appreciate Idelle confronting Anne about Charlotte’s murder in 408. (Which is an exceptionally good episode for the female cast, and was - surprise! - written and directed by women.) 

In any other show, Charlotte would never have been mentioned again. She was a minor character, and a prostitute to boot, and we all know how media likes to treat women like that. But Black Sails, even if it took 20+ episodes, reminded us that she wasn’t just cannon fodder, that her death was impactful and cruel, and that she left a legacy in the people she surrounded herself with, be that Idelle’s friendship and loyalty or Jack’s pirate flag - which leads us to my main point here.

Can we acknowledge that the symbol that goes on to represent pirates forever was designed by a woman

Yes, Rackham gives directions and gets to popularize it, but the show went and took this important piece of pirate mythology and entrusted it to the hands of a young woman of low circumstances

The show could easily have had Jack himself draw the motif, he is after all a creative man with a background in textile design, and his most defining character trait is his wish to design his own legacy. Instead, we get more than one scene of Charlotte struggling to fullfill a difficult client’s demands. (And isn’t that relatable to everyone who has ever created art on commission!) And two episodes before the final reveal, the narrative makes sure to remind us of this seemingly unremarkable woman and what happened to her. Her involvement was significant and the show doesn’t allow us to forget. If it had only ever been about setting up the punchline (”it’s fine”) for the final reveal, there would have been no need to draw so much focus to her untimely demise in 408, at a time when all plot threads were coming to their end, when everyone was scrambling for the finish line.

Rackham, by grumbling that it’s “fine”, relinquishes ownership to some degree: it’s the first time he sees it as it will henceforth be recognized as his insignia, and further down history, the ultimate symbol of piracy itself. He didn’t design it, Charlotte did, and her inheritance is the one that, within the world of Black Sails, will live on when Rogers has returned to Nassau and every pirate has been hanged, when all bones have crumbled to dust and all our heroes have been reduced to monsters by history. Any child alive today will easily recognize the skull and crossbones, but how many can recite the deeds of Calico Jack Rackham? Or that it as Woodes Rogers that brought Nassau to heel? So even if Jack went on to make it the icon it is, the symbol far outlived his own infamy.

And finally, when Jack has already turned away to deal with ship’s business, it is Anne that spends a moment longer looking at the flag, maybe even remembering its origins - the woman whose premature death she is responsible for. And it is Anne that has the final words of the show, ordering the crew to “Get us underway!”

Flint knows that as a deviant man, he will likely be remembered as a monster along with his fellow pirates. A woman’s legacy, on the other hand, is often glossed over and forgotten by history, like Max and Marion Guthrie’s power behind the scenes, like Charlotte’s contribution to history.

Black Sails reminds us of the stories that real life history distorts by diminishing those on the fringes.

And that’s why to me, Black Sails is an incredible statement on female legacy.

i feel like lots of mlm fetishization discourse is just appropriated from the concept of fetishization of lesbians and bi women by straight men but with changed target and perpetrator. which has little to do with reality, because the analogy is not there

that’s not to say there’s no shitty yaoi, that m/m content created by straight people is never homophobic, or that m/m fiction created by straight women doesn’t often have its problems - the point is, it’s in no way comparable to lesbian porn industry or in general to how straight men fetishize lesbians. hell, it’s not even something that gay/bi men face to any significant degree outside of fandom circles. and even then it’s less prevalent than tumblr will have you believe, seeing how, if it’s convenient for the argument, anything can be fetishization here, any contact one might have with m/m content (any ship, or even shipping in general, sexual content, non-sexual content, etc etc) that’s not fitting inside very very narrow “allowed” criteria that seem to always change

so much mlm positivity I’ve been seeing focused on the issue of being fetishized by straight women as a primary issue that gay and bi men face compared to the fetishization and dehumanization of lesbians and bi women including the lesbian porn industry - hell, some of those posts, that put mlm being fetishized by straight women at the front as one of the major issues, failed to even mention fetishization of wlw by straight men when listing examples of lesbophobia faced by wlw.

i understand a lot of us spend lots of time in fandom spaces. because of my bigoted environment and people yelling slurs at me just for existing and being outside, ive been using fandom as escapism ever since i can remember. but basing your interpretations of oppression dynamics based on your very narrow fandom experience is just foolish. it’s how we get “gay content is privileged over straight content (because of ao3 statistics for my obscure fandom)” or, in this case, “being fetishized by straight women is one of the major issues that gay and bi men face”. it is not. it’s not even close.

and… guys. guys. i know that once upon a time, when “monosexual” discourse and all kinds of liberal feminism were really big on tumblr, this phrase was used as an excuse for homophobia and you’re probably sick of hearing it, but: being gay doesn’t mean you can’t be misogynistic. and a lot of mlm fetishization discourse is misogynistic as hell. look, when you start to talk about women (and let’s be real, that’s who you mean by “non-mlm”, seeing how straight men creating and enjoying m/m content is completely fine by you; and that’s not even touching upon when it’s deliberately aimed at women without any codewords) you deem immoral the exact same way as people who coined the term “fujoshi” did - and let me remind you, those were straight homophobic neckbeards disgusted by both gay content and by women enjoying something they deemed immoral - throwing the word “ugly” around, treating women as these vile, sexual creatures, making your language very emotionally and sexually charged by accusing them of “getting off” to this, “masturbating” to that - don’t you think there’s something wrong? don’t you think it’s dehumanizing and misogynistic to frame all women who do something you dislike as motivated solely by their “sexual urges” (which are apparently bad and revulsive when they’re women’s), because it is unthinkable that one could simply enjoy m/m content the way they would, say, m/f content

straight women in fandom are not the biggest threat to gay and bi men, period. straight women ought to be held accountable for their homophobia, but there is little to no unique ways that straight women oppress gay people that straight men don’t, they do not hold unique power under heteronormativity (which is, in fact, a double-edged sword for straight women, as much of it is built on misogyny), and your small corner of a fandom on a blogging website is not a micro-cosm of society. fan content is niche.

last but not least, feeling strongly about something doesn’t make it more important than it really is. i feel strongly about many things. i have comfort characters i feel very strongly about, as projecting on them and relating to them helped me deal with some of my issues. still, character hate is just character hate. having strong feelings about a ship, be it negative feelings or positive feelings, are just that (sometimes different things tie into it, such as racism, or transphobia, or erasing gay characters, or pedophilic/incestual content, but i am not talking about that). by participating in a fandom, one doesn’t automatically consent to being an activist, or to having the fan content they create and consume branded “representation” and judged as such - headcanons are not media representation. fan content is not media representation, not in the same way that the source material might be. the standard to which creators are being held should be proportional to the impact they have - and i do not see that happening, as some obscure fanartists and fanfiction writers or even just regular headcanon-havers are often under much, much, muuuch more scrutiny than creators of popular franchises (interestingly enough i’ve observed content creators that belong to some minorities, and are often indie artists, are put under a magnifying glass much more than white cishet male creators). which makes no sense. the responsibility comes from the impact. trying to get everyone to appeal to your taste and your idea of The Right Way To Interpret Things is futile. shipping is not activism.

anonymous asked:

In my setting, there are people with fire magic who can heat up metal till it's red hot and basically fry people wearing armor. Would it be believable to have metal armor not have become a thing? Or would people have just found ways to eliminate the fire mages?

It would depend on a few things. How effective is the ability? How common are the mages? What kind of precautions could negate this ability? What else can you do with this?

We’ve talked about how you build armor around the threats you’re most likely to encounter while using it. If this is an extremely common ability, and one that can affect entire groups of enemies at once, then, yes, it would seriously affect the role of metal in combat. Though, it might not mean abandoning metals entirely.

So, let’s pick apart those questions and talk about what the mean for your setting, and your question.

The biggest question is about how well the abilities work. Both the speed of the ability, and its scale will directly affect how the ability needs to be dealt with, if it does at all. If it’s on a large scale, torching an entire army at once, for example, then the casting time (or the speed that the spell heats metal) only matters if it’s long enough to find and kill the caster.

If the scale is small, one or two people, then the biggest threat would (probably) be during combat. In that context, we’re back to kill the mage. This is especially true if the mage needs to be in direct contact to make it work. Even if they can simply zap whomever they see, they’d be limited to an area denial role. That is to say, they could prevent hostile forces from rushing corridors or streets that they’re watching. This also assumes there’s little to no strain on the mage. If casting this is a strenuous action, and they’re limited to a couple of zaps, it’s entirely possible they wouldn’t affect warfare much at all.

If fire mages are exceedingly rare, either because it takes years of dedicated training, because most people simply don’t have the ability, or because mages suffer serious attrition during training, that means even large scale burns won’t affect much.

Think about it this way, if there are five people on your world who can instantly charbroil an enemy army in their own gear, that’s simply a threat to be carefully tracked, and neutralized, before you start a battle.

As you add more (and the abilities become more common) it becomes harder to keep track of enemy mages until you get to the point where it’s functionally impossible to track them individually. Depending on your setting, that number could actually get pretty high before you reach that point.

Also, with larger numbers, the smaller scale versions of the ability would have more of a chance to affect how warfare works. If you’re able to field one or two mages in your average army, and their primary role is as snipers, that’s not going to affect how people fight, for the most part. (Though, it could, seriously, alter how nobles behaved on the battlefield, or even if they’re present at all.) But, if you can field entire squads of pyromantic infantry, then those small, “reach out and torch someone,” abilities become a lot more threatening. At that point, eliminating them before the fight is basically impossible, so your setting would need ways to deal with them in the moment.

The hard part about introducing magic to a setting is establishing its rules. To an extent, you need to build an entire set of metaphyics for why magic works the way it does, before you start getting into specific abilities. In the absence of that, you have a setting where people will (or, should) work to counter the threats they face, and magic becomes the convenient answer for all of life’s problems.

With fantasy, this isn’t automatically a problem, but it is something you need to keep in mind, when you’re building your world. Look for systems to limit how your magic works, and what it can do. Or, be ready for a setting that is very difficult to work with, because the answer can always be, “magic.”

People are creative. When faced with the prospect of being cooked to death by an enemy mage, the immediate solution is to find a way to prevent that, or preemptively return the favor. This could be as simple as booby-trapping your soldiers (or their gear) with spells that will redirect pryomantic magic back at the caster, or enchanting their gear with some kind of thermal negation effect, so when the pyromancers try to flash fry them, all they manage to do is give their foes flaming weapons and armor.

This could also lead to armies making extensive use of divination, allowing them to better track enemy mages. Which in turn would lead to mages looking for ways to create decoys, moving around forces that don’t exist, in an effort to confuse anyone scrying for them.

It could also result in the creation and enhancement of other materials that are magically immune to pyromancy, or made from something the pyromancers can’t affect. Such as impossibly durable resins, or unmelting, super-hard ice plates.

It’s also worth realizing that these kinds of powers would radically change the way metallurgy developed as a technology. When you have mages that can replicate forge technology that wouldn’t “naturally” exist for centuries. There’s a lot of potential for changing the way it evolves. You could very easily see much higher quality steels than the real world ever produced in its analogous era, and potentially even alloys that simply aren’t possible in the real world. I’m not sure what 12th century battlefields would have looked like with space age alloys, but it’s not outside the range of possibility for your setting. Especially if your pyromancers can participate in the refinement process as well. This also leads to the potential that they may have materials that are centuries ahead of their technology, (because magic allows them to work with the mater directly).

When you’re creating a world, and you come up with an idea, usually, the best thing to do after that is sit there, and see if you can find all the ways people would react to it. An ability like being able to instantly heat metal to forging temperatures would be dangerous in combat, but it would also have many other potential applications.


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Dear Young Women of Tumblr,

Never feel you must identify out of being female.

Never feel you must identify as non-binary, agender, gender-neutral, genderqueer, or any other option outside your natural sex. Even if:

  • You don’t “feel like a girl.”
  • You have little or no interest in sex or relationships with boys or girls.
  • You dislike makeup, feminine clothing, and “being girly.”
  • You are uncomfortable with your body.
  • You are uncomfortable with how others view your body.
  • You enjoy doing “boy” things and feeling powerful and in control. 

All of these things are perfectly normal for a women to feel, and due to our highly gendered society can sometimes seem unbearable. I know. I have been there. But creative, intelligent, strong, kind, and fiercely unique and independent women have always existed - and you can, too, just as you are.

Harriet Tubman, Marie Curie, Frida Kahlo, Agatha Christie, Sally Ride, Rachel Maddow, Georgia O’Keefe, Abby Wambach, Amelia Earhart, Malala Yousafzai and so many others are here for you - however you want to express yourself, whoever you want to be. 

It isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it. So worth it. Hang in there. <3

lmao so even only apparently exists when he’s with isak and it’s all about evak so that all y'all thirsty fetishizers can jack off to them when y'all horny and wanna fantasize about them 2.

but even all of a sudden doesn’t exist outside of isak/evak???? so he isn’t his own character? so y'all don’t really respect him as an individual character with relationships and friendships - that includes one with sana since, ya know, they both relate to islam - do you?????

i can smell ur fetishizing ass from a mile away lmaoo 😷😷😷😷😷

i am scrolling my dash re reading all the posts about last night and….there is NOT a single thing that makes sense or it’s logic or it’s real. like it’s all fake, for show, staged, arranged, faker and faker and ridiculous. we thought byriani and her story was the highest peak of ridiculousness but THIS, all THIS takes the crown. when you have brands being papped at his front door to get the promo even if he can’t go outside, with his PA waiting in the car for no reason and a beard swapped for another who is suddenly cancelled and the other one who left years ago is back in awful clothes just so she can try to relaunch her non existent career as ‘something’ without any effort nor credit and she’s suddenly treated like mother teresa cause they want you to love her and shove her down your throat every minute of this. They are doing this to a member of a freaking BOYBAND who is turned into a monkey to entertain their team and those fans who believe this for the sake of a sick circus show with no end. if you think about this situation they want you to think it’s real life, I don’t know if I want to laugh cause it’s absurd or cry cause my heart breaks for him.

Please God, let me meet him. All I want to is to find that perfect boy I know exists. He’s big and fluffy and probably a hundred years old and likes accordians and birdseed, perhaps is even in outside the Nintendo Switch™. The boy who won’t secretly think I’m a loser, the boy I can cuddle with (even if only possible through the Nintendo Switch™) and spent nights talking to and laughing and sharing happiness. Someone who can reciprocate the love I put in, the boy who I can make feel safe and secure unconditionally and can fill this gaping, empty void in my heart. Please, just let me find this person. I’ll change everything about me if that’s what it takes Please, I just can’t take the loneliness anymore.

anonymous asked:

Hello! So I was scouring the Internet for advice today but I couldn't find any on this topic. My problem isn't that I don't have any ideas (I probably have too many) but the problem is that I don't LOVE any of my ideas. I like them. I think they're all fine ideas. But liking them isn't going to motivate me long enough to finish a novel. How can I give my ideas that extra uumph to make me love them? How can I figure out what's missing or why I don't feel this way about any of my ideas?

Hello, nonny!  What a challenging question…  This one’s been in my inbox a couple days, just because it’s such a big question.  But I’ve thought it over and I think I have some ideas for you :)

The Thrill Is Gone – How to Find It Again

So generally, there’s no one answer or cure-all to this problem.  I’ve had this issue multiple times, with different causes.  My first novel didn’t have enough meat to the plot; my second novel had been over-planned in my head to the point that it no longer excited me.  My third novel had way too much plot, so that by the time I got ¾ the way through, I’d written over 200K words and felt sick of the idea.  I started my fourth novel way too soon, and am now going back and planning it more!  So there are obviously many different reasons that a story doesn’t take off (or dries up eventually).

The first step is to figure out what’s missing, like you said.  There are a few aspects of your story to assess…

1. Plot

I’m discussing plot first because, to me, it’s the most important part of fiction.  Plot, conflict, and stakes are foremost to my stories.  You could have the most complex and sympathetic characters, but without plot, they’re static and become boring.  But for some reason, this is the part of story ideas that new authors neglect most!

So if your story has great characters and an immersive setting, but you can’t get into it, try asking a few questions about your plot:

  • What is the point of the plot?  What’s the message you’re conveying in the story?  Even if your story isn’t an allegory or a metaphor or the next Chronicles of Narnia, there should always be a conclusion to which all plots arrive – otherwise, the story can feel aimless.  The best way to find your message is to look at the conflicts involved (e.g. Man vs. Man, Man vs. Nature, etc.) and find the “winner”.  What worldview, belief, or concept “defeats” the other concepts?  It can be as simple as Good vs. Evil, or more complex, like Loving the Sincere Drug Addict vs. Settling for the Selfish Dentist (provokes the question “Is love worth danger in relationships?”).
  • Does the plot have ups and downs?  And really consider both ends of the spectrum here.  Stories become dull if they are made up of victory after victory – or if they’re made up of nothing but loss and tragedy.  No matter the genre, you have to strike some sort of balance, lest the story become predictable and emotionally non-engaging.  Find victories and failures, even in unassuming places, to keep readers invested and hopeful.
  • Do you have a satisfactory ending?  Or do you have the ending     planned yet?  I’ve found that I can’t really commit to an idea unless I see a resolution – otherwise I feel too nervous to start.  If you do have an ending planned, make sure it’s the right ending.  It can feel like there’s one possible conclusion, and once you’ve found it, you stick to it – but question it, brainstorm it.  It may not be a happy ending every time, but when you find the right one, you’ll know it.
  • Do you have the right plot at all?  Look at your story as a whole.  Does it start too early or too late, relative to the real meat,     the real action?  Is it told from the most impactful POV?  Does the plot cover too much ground for one book, or is it not enough to fill the pages?  Consider all the characters, backstories, and subplots you have, and ask yourself if any of them are more interesting than the main plot.  If so, shift your focus.  Use them instead.

2. Characters

Maybe it’s not your plot that’s going sideways.  Maybe you have it all worked out – the head, the tail, the whole damn thing – but it still doesn’t feel right.  It doesn’t feel like it’s coming to life, somehow.  It feels flat.

That can be a character problem.  It would be like sitting by the campfire and hearing the most fascinating, horrifying story, except it’s told by a man with The Most Boring Voice Who Talks So Incredibly Slowly and Takes All the Fun Out of Everything.  An example: The Hunger Games.  Those books bored the crap out of me.  Unless someone was being killed or Haymitch and Effie were interacting, I just didn’t care.  And those books had a great plot behind them!

So here’s what you need for a good cast of characters:

  • A solid protagonist.  Solid = three-dimensional, empathetic, and relatable; having a goal, an internal conflict, a self-image, and fears or shame.  They should have different facets of themselves – their head and their heart, their desires and doubts, and that little voice in their head that says, “Give up on that.  Be realistic.”  Give them strengths, weaknesses, and a couple of bad habits, for kicks.
  • A variety of supporting characters.  You don’t have to have thirty characters + six secret characters stuffed under your trench coat; but with however many characters you have, make them as different from each other as possible.  Give them some similarities, of course, so that they can relate to each other – but never make them so close together that you have to decide, “Who should say this line?  Character A or Character B?”  Make them unique enough that the words come out of their mouths, instead of you having to decide where to put the words, yourself.
  • Relationships, relationships, relationships.  And I’m not talking about romantic relationships.  I mean, sure, those too – but there are many different kinds of relationships to explore.  Friendships, enemy-ships (?), parent relationships, sibling-ships, silent alliances, “annoying friend-of-a-friend”-ships, “my-ex’s-little-sister”-ships, “you’re-the-ruler-of-the-galaxy-and-a-Sith-lord-but-also-my-dad-please-stop-being-evil”-ships…  You get the idea.  Make them unique, make them strong, and allow them to evolve over the course of the story.
  • Diverse morals, interests, and personalities.  My first short stories focused on white middle-class people who were culturally and politically identical.  They lived in one house, usually, and watched the same TV shows and made the same references.  They had the same sense of humor.  They rarely disagreed on anything that wasn’t clear-cut (e.g. “You drank the last Pepsi!”  “I was thirsty!”).  So do yourself a favor and don’t make my mistakes.  Give your characters unique ethics, cultures, backgrounds, personalities, goals, appearances, and conflicts.  You’ll be more invested by then, I’m sure.

3. Setting

Lastly, I’d like to add that while your characters and plot could be well-developed, there’s always a chance that they’re placed in the wrong setting.  This is why many story ideas can seem great, but won’t get off the ground – maybe they’re set in a pre-made universe like Middle Earth or Panem when they could be their own story.  Maybe your tragic romance is set in the middle of apocalyptic war, when instead, it should be drained down to a period piece.  Maybe your story is perfect, except you’re writing it too close to home – in the real world, in the present year.  There are a million factors to picking the right setting, including:

  • Applicable history and culture.  If you’re writing a story about someone who’s oppressed, or someone who’s a politician, or someone who’s a witch, you’re going to need to back that up with history.  Develop a history for the oppression or politics or witchcraft – where these things began, how they developed over time – and a culture for them now – how oppressed people survive and how witches in your world interact, etc.
  • Imaginative scenery, influenced by the characters.  Even if your story takes place in New York City in 2017, allow your characters’ living spaces and workplaces to have a unique touch – colors and quirks that your readers can see in their mind.  If even you can’t see what you’re writing, inspiration is going to be difficult to find.
  • A lifelike background.  Just because the plot focuses on your characters does not mean everything going on behind it should be quiet and dead.  Anyone who looks out a window in a city building can see other people living – people on the highway will see other cars taking other people other places.  Everyone who has a friend will hear a little something about their friend’s siblings, their friend’s friends, their friend’s neighbors.  Life and stories exist outside of your plot; make sure you’re not writing about a ship in a bottle.
  • An aesthetic.  That sounds gross and teen-tumblr-y, but let me tell you personally: I don’t feel truly ready to write (and love) my story until I can hear the music for the future movie adaptation – until I can see the kind of clothes the people wear, the games they play, the places they eat and shop.  I think of the colors and themes in my scenes (e.g. my first novel was set primarily at night in a grunge/city setting; my current novel is very green and outdoorsy and gives me that feeling of bonfires just after sunset).  Once you get that “feeling” from your story, you’ll know it.

Anyway, this reply took me like three days to write because I really wanted to get into it.  I hope some of this helps you to fall in love with one of your ideas, so you can get started :)  If you have any more questions, be sure to send them in!

(I have 26 questions in the inbox, though, so be patient with me…)

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

“Strong Female Characters”

Hi everyone! In honor of International Woman’s Day, I wanted to make an official post on female characters. I answered this pretty thoroughly on an ask before, but I decided to put it on its own post as well.

The problem that usually occurs with ‘strong female characters’ is that the word ‘strong’ is taken to mean something it doesn’t. Meaning, a lot of people assume that in order to be ‘strong’, a female character has to be physically or even mentally strong, when that’s not necessarily what that means. Bad@$$ characters can be strong characters, and strong characters can be bad@$$, but the two things are not synonymous.

This might get a little lengthy.

What is a “strong female” character?

A character is “strong” when they are complex. This means that they have great and admirable traits as well as things that they struggle with, flaws and mistakes and temptations. They are like a real person, which is what you want with any character you want, but most especially with your protagonist and other significant characters.

One of the reasons writers often fumble with the concept of ‘strong female characters’ is because of the distinct lack of them in the past of popular literature. Due to the way that society has viewed women, women were often used primarily as romantic interests, or mothers, or other traditional ‘womanly roles.’ Even stories that are popular today can be guilty of this- for example Arwen from Lord of the Rings is a popular character, but we don’t really know much about  her other than that she is capable and beautiful and Aragorn’s love interest. She is almost never used in the story, and when she was, it was in relation to Aragorn.

Because of this historical lack of ‘strong female characters’, writers today have become rather obsessed with tipping the scales, to the point where the tables turned far too much the other way, resulting in the “YA strong female character” we all know today. In an effort to combat the ‘soft and gentle’ tropes of the past, writers now make woman who are essentially flawless. They are beautiful, and everyone loves them, and they might fight and defend themselves, badasses who kick butt and look good doing it… but not much more.

Even their flaws tend to be tailored to being admirable. For example, being “too selfless”, “too modest”, or “clumsy”- usually they mean “clumsy in a cute way.”

Again, it’s okay for your character to be athletic. They can be desirable. They can also be a vampire and the chosen one. But if they are not well-written from every angle, flawed in some deep way, they are simply not strong.

Traits of a YA Strong Female Character:

1. Doesn’t have arc/doesn’t grow: Many “YA strong” girls start the story already perfect. They are beautiful, smart, funny, and badass and they lead everyone through their arcs throughout the story- yet they themselves never grow… because there’s no where for them to go.

2. Everyone Loves Her:  Everyone loves or respects or fears this girl. The Brooding Male Character, the Comic Relief guy, everyone. Even if they don’t at first, they come to like her later once they Realize How Awesome She Is. Even the antagonists come to fear her in her power. She’s just Too Cool.

3. Love Interest: It’s okay for your strong girl to have a love interest. That’s totally cool! But make sure that’s not all the story is. If it’s a dystopian universe, make sure her priorities are in order, for example. Readers get frustrated when the government is brutally killing people but all your protagonist can think of is her LI. Life exists outside of love.

4. Woman-ness: In a previous post I mentioned in one of my previous posts that strong characters must have a quirk. Another red flag in the Strong Female Character problem is when the quirk is simply the fact that she is a woman. Saying she’s quirky because she’s a woman but she fights/leads/takes on a  role that is traditionally masculine is not really a quirk. It may be unusual in her world, but that’s a quirk of the world, not the character.

5. Great Flaws: As mentioned above, YA Strong Females typically have flaws that can really be spun back around into strengths. Often writers are afraid that people won’t like their girls if they are flawed. Don’t be afraid. Make her cranky. Make her bad at fighting. Make her ugly. No one in life is utterly flawless, not even your favorite people in the world. It’s what makes us all complex and interesting. So make sure to test your flaws- can this be seen as desirable or admirable in any way? Is the trait described as “too {good trait}” or “{good trait} to a fault?” Then maybe you need to try a few more.

In Summary: Write her realistically. Gives her flaws. If you can’t imagine a person like this in real life, if you can’t imagine yourself like this, then she isn’t strong.

As for writing complex characters in general…

Cornerstones and Foundations are a good place to start. And there will be more out in the future.

 This is a common problem for writers to struggle with. Almost everybody ends up with a flat, “perfect” character sometimes. Just remember to write them as a realistically as possible. Don’t get too caught up in the kick-ass tropes.

~ Penemue

Some thoughts about Trees, True Love, and The Wish Your Heart Makes When You’re Fast Asleep:

In interviews, fans were promised full-season style arcs this year. The writers were hoping to regain their season 1 format and appeal. For that reason, although lately the super-plot feels a little shoved to the side, I don’t believe that the Land of Untold Stories is an over and done deal. 

My speculation began with the return of the wardrobe realm-jumping gimmick. We haven’t seen this used since season 1 (unless you count using the incinerated wardrobe ashes in season 2, but I don’t.) 

Please note the use of the True Love rainbow effect. It is used for both Pinocchio’s and Emma’s arrival. This tells us that the effect is tied to the magic of the tree, and not simply used to denote the arrival of Emma, who is the product of true love. 

Then, it hit me. 

True love is the only magic powerful enough to transcend realms. 
The tree used to make the wardrobe must be powered by True Love. 
Like…. a matured True Love sapling, perhaps? 

It’s uncanny, really. Similarly to when Snow and Charming touch the sapling, when Pinocchio touched the tree, he was blasted back by magic… that made him recall his family (his true love) and is reminded how he must look after Emma or he will never be able to reunite with his family. 

Wish-Realm Pinocchio even said that, away from the Queen’s tyranny, the magical tree was able to grow and flourish… Without the dark curse in place, is it possible that this tree was the one Snow and Charming “planted”? Frozen in time in Storybrook, it would have remained a sapling… but without the curse, it could have very easily grown into a tree. (yeah, I know, a tree that size would have taken hundreds of years to grow, but hey MAGIC.) 

The True Love rainbow effect is MISSING this time, though.

I have read how some have speculated that, despite the missing True Love rainbow burst, we actually did see the colors of true love (red and yellow).

(please note the true love bottle existing between essence of night and day…. yin and yang, anyone????)

There was Red. 

And there was Yellow.

And while I really want to see it (and I can’t argue against the obvious yellow), I am a bit skeptical about the red. It is a little on the pale side… but it wouldn’t be the first time we saw the red and gold color combo in this wish realm: 

(Please also note, that when Emma’s love stopped Henry from hurting Regina, saving them both, she used Red magic. Red is not exclusive to the “freezing” spell, as evidenced. But it has traditionally been the color of Regina’s magic when she performs it with Emma. So, I can’t help but find it curious not to mention funny, that Emma used a True Love color to save Regina and Henry…. but not Hook. She force blasted Wish!Hook back with standard white savior magic, just like she did Gideon later in the episode. I’m just saying…. lol)

What bothered me most about the tree/wardrobe/portal, though, was the unnecessary wavy magical portal effect. When Emma was placed in the wardrobe as a child, there was no fancy expensive effect. They just closed the door on her and she vanished. Poof. Simple. So, why the need for the costly special effect when they could have simply had none? 

That was when I realized…. 

I’d seen this effect already this season… 

And, the first time we saw it, in a truly odd episode regarding Cinderella that, at one point, there was featured a key…  and a wardrobe portal… To the Land of Untold Stories.  

Sound familiar?

And then there was also this picture that JMo tweeted a while back. 

I want to think that it was supposed to be used to show her waking up in the Wish!Verse, before she finds the sword under her bed. Perhaps it will show up in a deleted scene, because the first shot we got of her in the wish realm, instead, was of her her blowing out her birthday candle. This whole wish!verse theme has meshed wishes and dreams together fluidly. And all I can hear is “A dream is a wish your heart makes when you’re fast asleep…” 

I don’t really believe that Emma and Regina are truly “home” yet. That battle with Gideon was far too easily won. And the fact that Wish!Robin still can exist outside of the wish-realm boggles me. Perhaps it is possible that Emma’s wish placed her in a dream realm? One where time seems to have no meaning? (I mean, seriously, it took Pinocchio 2 hours to make that wardrobe. Tops.) Perhaps this dream realm is really one of the many islands in The Land of untold stories??

Consider how Gideon literally broke a giant timepiece at the end of the episode. He had spent his entire “life” in a realm where time acted differently. Do you see the parallel? Even if Emma (and the rest) aren’t actually in a physical “land” of untold stories, that doesn’t discredit that fact that they are certainly participating in a metaphorical untold story. And, despite wish!Robin’s inclusion, the fact that Emma and Regina went through that wardrobe together could mean that this their untold story.

Oh, speculations abound! I can’t wait for the rest of this season. 

x files fic: under the stars (minimal fate required)

or: ways mulder and scully could’ve been happy

for @leiascully‘s challenge: list sort of


The X-Files are never shut down and Scully is never abducted.

They fall into a comfortable rhythm of partnership: an incredible solve rate, an easy repertoire. (He never convinces her to believe in aliens, and she never convinces him not to.) They start spending time together outside of work - getting drinks, watching movies over long-abandoned paperwork. It’s at least two and a half years before Mulder realizes that she is his best friend. (Even over the Gunmen, he thinks about telling her, but how would that go down? They don’t say things like that to each other. She’s only ever called him Fox once, and he’s called her Dana a total of six times before she asked him to stop; what kind of friends are they?)

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

You don't need to respond I just needed to say a thing. I find it a little childish for so many people to assume that dan will/should come out. As far as I've read into it I feel like he's "come out" as much as he ever will. He's talked about attraction to all genders. I feel that he's made it clear that his sexuality is what it is and he's going to be attracts to someone no matter the gender. People think he needs to make a video about being bi/pan but really he's made clear that he's existing.

the question i receive more than any other on this blog is some variation of “when/how do you think dnp will come out/tell us about their sexualities or their relationship?” and i’ve never answered it. for a number of reasons, but primarily because so many people in this space operate under such a specific definition of what coming out means and what it should entail. i’m wary, always, of subscribing to a uniform standard for what queerness looks like and how it needs to present itself in order to be taken seriously or treated as valid, and i think the discourse and speculation and constant obsession about dnp’s potential future coming out process does exactly that. in my view the culture around coming out as it exists right now is a relic of cultural norms in which queerness was differentiated and encoded into law and language and social thought as explicitly and intrinsically Other. the socialized obligation to not only categorize and label one’s sexual/romantic preferences but then to announce them to the world at large is only cast on queer people specifically because, unless announced otherwise, society’s working assumption of a person is that they are cis/straight. queer people need to tell the world they are queer precisely because it is different, because it is a deviation from a socially enforced “norm,” and the term “coming out” itself denotes that someone was once hiding themselves and now they aren’t.

for some people (many people) labeling and coming out make a lot of sense. we’re not in a post-heteronormative world. the stark reality is that people DO operate with ingrained cis- and heteronormative frames of thought and it can be tiring to deal with people always making assumptions of your preferences that don’t fit who you are and what you like. labeling your preferences and making sure people know them is a way to avoid those mistaken assumptions. it’s also a way to find other people like you, to ally yourself with a community that is still so marginalized and oppressed in myriad ways, and join in the movement and the fight and take pride in an aspect of yourself that many people would try to deride or malign. but an alternate school of thought is that the gender you prefer having sex with or that you fall in love with is no more a part of your identity that merits announcement and discussion than, say, your preference for masturbating three times a week or your preference for only having sex in the missionary position or any other personal detail about what you do w your genitals in the privacy of your bedroom. it doesn’t have to have a bearing on identity in the most nuclear and concentrated sense of the word, it doesn’t HAVE to be labeled and addressed in a way that automatically reduces and categorizes it and neatly packages it as an object for the public to talk about and weigh in on. the notion of labeling your sexuality and then “coming out” is a construct in the most literal sense, and for some people, who perhaps don’t feel the need to correct everyone’s heteronormative assumptions of them, or who don’t feel the need to find other people with non-hetero preferences, or who think the reality of the life they live since they blatantly/openly share it w someone of their same gender is already pretty suggestive of their preferences, coming out widely and publicly isn’t a priority or a necessity (and in some cases can obviously also be a discomforting, stressful, scary, or even dangerous prospect!!!) for literally thousands of possible reasons.

we can guess that dnp align themselves more closely to this latter outlook. in both of the recent times that dan has discussed sexuality explicitly he talks about not wanting to label it for a public audience. in his diss track he directly addresses his own comments about attraction to more than one gender (j law –> evan p), and then says that it’s hard to put him in a box because he keeps “it” (his sexuality) so blurry. he’s bluntly saying that he doesn’t want to be categorized. in an interview with the sunday times in late 2015 promoting tabinof, the interviewer directly asks dan if he’s gay. dan references tom hardy’s answer to the same question and says that he and phil do not believe that their sexual preferences are something the public has any business knowing–he then delineates the purpose of their role as public figures. they are entertainers and what they seek to offer their public audience is the content they make. that’s it. looking to tom hardy’s actual quote sheds even more light: “I’m under no obligation to share anything to do with my family, my children, my sexuality — that’s nobody’s business but my own…It’s important destigmatizing sexuality and gender inequality in the workplace, but to put a man on the spot in a room full of people designed purely for a salacious reaction? To be quite frank, it’s rude. If [someone] had said that to me in the street, I’d have said the same thing back: ‘I’m sorry, who the fuck are you?’”

as far back as 2009, both dnp were talking about attraction to men and following it with the refrain that they don’t like labels. and that is VALID. it’s transgressive, even, to take a look at all the heteronormativity out there, all of the assumptions that people make about sex and gender and everything else, all of the demand that straights place on queer people to announce their otherness as loudly as possible and categorize themselves as being different, and then to say no, reject all of that pressure, and turn your back on it. refuse to comply with everyone’s expectations and just be happy in liking what you like and loving who you love. just existing, as anon put it so beautifully.

but if a queer person chooses this outlook, chooses to shirk labels and a formal/public statement of their preferences, the default assumption SHOULD NOT be straight. heterosexuality shouldn’t be an assumed sexuality for anyone, regardless of the statements they may or may not have made, but it especially should not be the assumption for two men who did publicly label at one point as bisexual, and who have repeatedly voiced attraction to men. in an attempt to move towards a society that doesn’t make assumptions at all, a world in which coming out is completely obsolete and unnecessary and people stopped giving so much of a fuck about the genders people have sex with, it’s on all of us to change the way that we think about sexuality and unlearn our own biased thought. the burden shouldn’t fall on dnp to correct our thought or go out of their way to tell us that they fuck or that they’re in love–doesn’t that cheapen everything that they are? doesn’t that demand something of them that they’ve said over and over they do not want to give? and haven’t they done enough to tell us about how they experience attraction? it’s on all of us to take those comments seriously and to validate and acknowledge their experiences as they relay them to us, and to contextualize them in the complex textures and nuances of who they are as people.

who they are and what they’ve already chosen to share with us is pretty damn radical in itself: they’re two boys who have shared and built a life together for nearly eight years and who rely on each other on so many levels. they’re two boys who speak of the love and respect they have for each other in numerous ways, perhaps without stating those words specifically, but making it clear through actions and stories of their time together instead. they’re two boys who don’t know how to be without each other, who don’t merely coexist and work together but who have consciously interwoven their lives to the point that all of their experiences are shaped with and through each other. the argument can be made that they’re “out” in the sense of not hiding who they are from us, in the sense that both of them, and dan especially, have taken conscious measures to talk about how much they like boys. the argument can equally be made that they still hide to some degree–they won’t hold hands or hug, they’ll separate beds if they’re showing us the inside of their hotel room, they’ll not say the words i love you in front of us. but to me none of that even incrementally eclipses the glowing reality and warmth of the life they share–it’s as much info as i think they will ever feel okay giving us and it’s more than enough, for me at least, to look to them as models of deepest mutual love and respect (yes between two men!!) and of the comfort that can arise when you find someone to just exist with, outside world and their asks of you be damned

I remember being seven and hoping, praying that this was just forgotten, misplaced baby fat that would dissolve from my body like it had for the other girls. being nine and overhearing boys talk about the developing body I tried to hide under folded arms. ten and going on my first diet. twelve and kneeling on cold bathroom tiles and feeling my heartbeat in my head because someone called me fat. thirteen and trimming images out of magazines, adhering photos of plasticized bodies to pages of a journal filled with numbers and measurements, poring over the words of girls who knew how to empty their bodies until only skin cloaked their bones. fourteen and listening to the weight of my feet hitting the treadmill, sweat beading and tears pooling and hands shaking. sixteen and conscientiously separating my worth from my body and never letting the two touch. nineteen and avoiding mirrors and feigning indifference. twenty-one and having a bout of anxiety with my back pressed against a fitting room wall of a store where nothing will stretch to fit the span of my hips and I can’t cry because my friends are outside. twenty-two and I can’t eat because he’s looking at me and I can’t even look at me.

and now I am twenty-three and I can still hear the deafening reverberation of every label that’s ever been slapped across my body. every name, every overheard word. even the fumbled phrases mistaken for compliments.

so pretty if you’d lose some weight,

so pretty for a fat girl,

you know, some boys are into that.

the obvious presumption being that I existed merely to be looked at, admired. and I believed that, and based my fears upon it. every time I’d glance at my body and see cellulite, folds, divots . every time I stood in front of the mirror and pulled at my clothing until my eyes glazed over and I only saw shapes. but here I am at twenty-three, and I am learning to throw off every notion of living to be something to look at. to only be something pretty. I will not settle for pretty. I will exist to be kind and soft and strong and brave and smart and tender. I will not be the art. I will be the artist.