design tips

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hi hi!! im taking sketch/doodle commissions!

please send me an ask if you’re interested and i’ll message you!

things i will not draw:

  • nsfw
  • animals
  • mecha
  • anything that makes me uncomfortable
  • too much details
  • backgrounds

things i will draw:

  • ocs
  • characters from shows/games/etc,
  • basically just that
  • WAIT I LIED-
  • character designs

tips are appreciated !!!

reblogs are also appreciated <3

The 3 Elements of a FLAWED Character

You know that moment when you find an old notebook, and you start reading the story you were writing years ago, and after about one page…  

And then after a few more paragraphs … 

This has happened to me several times. On every occasion I want to curl up in a small box and wait until everyone forgets I was ever a writer. And every time, no matter which old story it is, what sends me crawling into that box is the same thing: the main character. Even after I had learned to incorporate empathetic qualities into my heroes (as listed in the last post), my protagonists were still deeply annoying – if not more unbearable than before. 

Why? What made them this way? They had winningly empathetic traits! Were they terrible people still? No, and that was the problem. They were perfect. Smart. Noble. Brave. They had dazzling martial arts skills. They loved people and people loved them. They were Chosen in some way and destined for greatness. Angst-plagued though, of course. They were tragic little heroes, misunderstood and abused, driven by the desire to vanquish all who caused them suffering.  

I could’ve composed a Gaston-like song enumerating their virtues and sorrows. 

And the only thing that would’ve made them more punchable is if they did use antlers in all of their decorating.

Characters can’t be completely likable. Yes, they must possess strengths that win the reader’s empathy, but without an equal amount of flaws … they can’t function. If they’re not flawed, they shouldn’t be the main character. Story is about someone changing, for better or worse. Under the surface, all good stories are about this process of human growth or decline. So if a hero is perfect from the beginning, there’s nowhere they need to go. And consequently, there’s no reason for a reader to follow. 

The inclination to follow a story is begun with interest in the premise, of course – but it is locked in when empathy occurs, when we begin to care – the moment the reader transposes their own external and internal lives onto a character’s life. A process which starts when a reader recognizes a shared something between themselves and the hero. Sometimes, this is a goal or strength or situation. And sometimes, it’s a flaw. We meet a character that is weak in the same way we are, and a strong internal connection is born between the reader’s life and the life on the page. On a deep level we’re thinking “This person is like me. What happens to them? How do they deal with it?” And because of this connection based on what is lacking in our lives, we want to live the story, see how it ends, and find out how the main character – who is just like us – reached that ending. Because it’s our lives we’re reading about, and if we play it out in advance, maybe we can reach a positive ending too. 

So! In what way should a main character be FLAWED? 

1) Weak in a way that only hurts themselves. 

Let’s call these MIND.

2) Flawed in a way that hurts others. 

Let’s call these MORAL.

The most realistic – and most compelling – characters have both types.  

And if a character has these flaws, the story must be steering them towards what they NEED to overcome them. The main character needs to learn something, a truth, a new way to live. This is the theme of the story. Theme is a statement the story seeks to prove, to the main character and the reader, about how to live a better life. It’s the solution to whatever moral and mental conundrum they’re facing. So … 

3) The SOLUTION to their moral and mental weaknesses. 

How does that work? To illustrate, let’s look at Stitch and Alexander Hamilton. (What a combination.) 

STITCH

Moral: He’s destructive. Violent. Rude. Vindictive.  Manipulative. Enjoys the suffering of his enemies.

 And in general, pushes everyone and everything away.  

Mind: Despite his violent ways, he yearns to belong, and senses that he can’t.

He believes he’s alone, he’s unlovable, he’s monstrous, he’s never had a family and never will – he’s lost, like the Ugly Duckling. He’s missing a family he’s never had.  

Solution: He just needs to start treating people like family to be accepted into one. 

HAMILTON

Moral: He’s selfish. (“Be careful with that one love, he will do what it takes to survive.”) He’s arrogant. He’s self-centered. (Think of the entirety of Burn.) And in his obsessive journey to succeed, he pushes everyone out of his path.  

Mind: He has a fixation on death, on time running out, which drives his manic desire to achieve. (“I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory.) He’s insecure. ("Graduate in two and join the revolution. He looked at me like I was stupid. I’m not stupid.”) 

Solution: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story? Eliza tells his story. Hamilton’s goal throughout the story is a legacy; he strives to achieve this immortality in any way possible, even if it means neglecting his loved ones, or even ruining their lives. He needs to learn that his loved ones are enough. Eliza is enough. And through her, he will live on. 

What would have happened if they weren’t flawed? The stories would have been boring. What would have happened if their flaws had been treated like attributes that didn’t have to change? The stories would have ceased to be. Progress couldn’t happen, because by accepting the status quo of their mental and moral states, we’re refusing the call to adventure outright. They’d just exist in the same state they were in the setup, stagnant, somewhat lifeless. Flawed characters must motor towards that NEED, or solution, that will save their lives. 

(I realize this “need” element is rather vague, so it’ll get its own post.)  

But in conclusion, this balance of strengths and flaws – and how this fictional person deals with the adventure they’re thrown into – is what makes a main character compelling, empathetic, and real. 

So when I unearth a notebook years in the future, containing one of stories I’m writing now, maybe the main character won’t make me feel like this:

Maybe it’ll even be like this: 

And best of all, maybe one of those characters will make a reader somewhere feel understood and helped and not alone. Wow. That would be amazing.

Well, there’s my writing motivation for today. I’m going to go make my main character more of a lovable jerk.

daniella501  asked:

Hi! I've been reading your blog and loving every single post. I'm a beginner at writing, and I was wondering: how could you write a realistic character?

Hi, thank you! I’m always glad to hear that this blog is helpful.

How to write realistic characters is always a common question among beginning writers, and I’d be happy to help you answer it. (Here’s my post on general character-building tips – it may help you.)

1. Give every character some sort of flaw.

Just as people aren’t perfect, neither are characters. It doesn’t have to be any huge problem – although it can be – but give each character something, whether it be stubbornness or a bad temper or being too giving. (My post on character flaws may give you some ideas.)

2. However, don’t make characters all good or all bad.

Give your protagonists bad traits and things they’re not good at, and give your antagonists talents and good traits. Chances are even the worst people think they’re doing right – just look at Hitler.

3. Don’t put your characters in boxes or give them limitations.

Just because your character is feminine doesn’t mean they can’t be an awesome streetfighter; just because your character plays varsity football doesn’t mean they can’t be intellectual and well-spoken. People are endless blends of traits, which is why they’re unique – so are characters.

Those are some blanket statements on creating characters – below I’ll link you to posts that may also help you!

Creating Likeable Characters

Building Friendships Between Characters

Writing Dialogue (the way a character speaks can tell a lot about them, which is why I’ve linked you to this post)

5 Ways To Develop A Convincing Character

Writing Dynamic Relationships

Character Mannerisms

Character Development

Writing Romantic Relationships

Also, @thecharactercomma specializes in characterization (and grammar), so that blog will probably be a huge help.

Hope this helps! If you have any more questions, feel free to ask! - @authors-haven

The 1 Element Your Flawed Character MUST HAVE

If you’re a reader, you’ve probably experienced this before: you pick up a book, it seems pretty interesting, you nonchalantly decide to read it – “whatever, might be good” – and then … 

A paperback explodes life as you know it.  

Encountering a book like this can give life sudden clarity, it can change the way you look at the world, it can help you overcome something and grow, it can give you new purpose, it can inspire you to change your life, it can transform your future. By the time you’ve finished that book, it has become a part of your life – and will probably remain that way forever. (*Holds up my battered copy of Narnia as evidence*)

This magical experience is pretty much the ultimate goal for a reader. But if you’re a reader AND a writer, the fulfilling moment is inevitably marred by one depressing thought:  

“I’ll never write anything that good.”  

To which I say:

I beg to differ, little discouraging voice. With dedication and persistence, anyone can write a story that will be deeply meaningful to a reader. 

The trick? It needs to be deeply meaningful to the writer first. 

If a writer is going to give a reader a life-altering piece of knowledge, that means the writer already has that knowledge to give. We have all experienced things worthy of a story. We are all characters, journeying through arc after arc, becoming better or worse. From living these stories, we learn and see things more clearly, just as protagonists do. Which means we have something to say, something to write about, something to give. 

But to do so, we have to shoot for art.

The word art seems terribly vague, unattainable, and intimidating. But I don’t think it has to be. By “art” I’m going by the definitions given in two of my favorites quotes about writing (writing is art, so these apply): 

“Art is born when the temporary touches the eternal.” – G K  Chesterton

and

“…It is an art. It is the best of all possible art, a finite picture of the infinite.” – N D Wilson  

Both quotes state the same thing, in different ways. Art is about depicting and communicating something true, something universal, something everlasting about life and humanity, through something tangibly created. A definition which sounds an awful lot like the definition of metaphor: “a thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something else, especially something abstract.” Which sounds a lot like storytelling, because story IS metaphor. It’s life, condensed and magnified, all of its components there for a specific reason – to represent and convey some deeper meaning. So storytelling is naturally suited to being art. Which is good news for writers.

But it can also mean trouble. Storytelling is proven to be one of the most powerful teaching methods there is; a story actually has the power to get into someone’s head and heart and change everything, because to a reader’s mind the events on the page are actually happening. They’re living another life, a life that seeks to prove whatever the author wants to say. So writers have a responsibility to make sure the meaning of their story is true, morally and logically. 

BUT HOW DOES THIS ALL RELATE TO THE MAIN CHARACTER?!

Your main character is flawed, both in ways that only hurt themselves, and in ways that hurt others. These flaws are causing them to ruin their own lives. If they don’t awaken to this unwelcome truth about themselves, they will be lost. What happens to them over the course of the story, as they go after their singular goal, is going to apply pressure to these flaws until someone new – and most of the time, better – is made. The journey will teach them something, and that knowledge will enable them to overcome their weaknesses and forge a better life. 

And I bet you can guess what that story will teach them. That thing that is deeply meaningful for you, so meaningful you want to share it with readers? Yup, that’s what your main character is going to learn.

It’s going to be the SOLUTION to their inner problems. When it comes to characters, the meaning can be wrestled into three parts, adding up into one concise sentence. 

1) To achieve *a better state of being*

2) One must *moral and mental requirement*

3) Or else *the inner stakes*

To see how this works, let’s look at a fairy tale, the most straightforward example of this concept: 

Let’s see Cinderella (the live-action 2015 version). 

The meaning of the movie is summed up in this scene, and the story seeks to prove it throughout: 

“Have courage and be kind… It has power, more than you know. And magic.”

The story revolves around this notion, and everything seeks to represent it and prove it, in true Fairy Tale fashion.  

So in one line, that Ella’s arc proves: To achieve victory over abusers, one must hold onto their courage, kindness, and goodness no matter what – or else succumb and turn into someone like them. 

Exemplified in her last words to her stepmother, that truly defeat her forevermore:

So! Constructing these sentences can help give our flawed characters a destination to motor towards. Which makes writing their arcs much easier. And maybe we can construct a character arc and story that will become one of those magical reading experiences for a reader. And then, maybe one day, we’ll get letters from our reader, telling us exactly what our stories gave them and how it has saved their life in some small way (or maybe not so small way.) 

If finding a book like this is ultimate goal of a reader, I think getting a letter like that is the ultimate goal for a writer. 

Well, there’s my motivation. Time to go figure out what the heck I want my book to say. 

Creating Likeable Characters

Sometimes it’s difficult to make your characters likeable as they are tested and are pushed to further and further lengths. Sometimes they have to make hard decisions, and sometimes the pressure gets to them and they mess up, hurt another character or an innocent bystander. How can you keep them likeable throughout the whole plotline?

- Keep their motivations pure.
It almost always comes back to the heart – if their heart is pure, and that’s established early-on, the audience is more likely to root for them.

- Give them flaws – make them human.
Not every character has to have some huge problem, like an addiction or a traumatic past or a disability – if your entire cast does, it’s no problem, but it’s not necessary. But every character has to have some flaw(s), whether it’s cheating at card games because he can’t stand to lose or being too-closed minded or closing off when she gets too emotional. If your character doesn’t have a flaw, they start to come off as too perfect, too angelic, pretentious.

- Give them permission to mess up.
This ties in with flaws – if your character is inclined to make a bad decision at any point in the plot, don’t steer him away from it because “oh no he’s my protagonist and he must be Good and Whole and Pure and All-Knowing”. Let him walk into that ambush despite the sick feeling in his stomach and get half his army killed; let her rush into a confrontation with a bully and get into a fight with another girl who has a switchblade. Let your characters mess up – it shows that they’re human.

- But if your character messes up, let them own up to it eventually.
The general who killed half his army by ignoring the unease in the back of his mind might cry over their makeshift graves long after the rest of the platoon is asleep; the girl sitting in the infirmary might feel remorse for knocking her opponent’s block off. Or your characters might argue and might be stubborn and might not apologize for weeks. But let them apologize eventually. This goes back to the heart, and what the character knows is right.

- Relationships with other characters are vital.
That’s not to say a loner character can’t be likeable – but the audience’s perception of a loner character is determined by the thoughts/words of other characters. Characters all color each other and define parts of each other, just like people do to each other in real life. If your character is a jerk to other characters and other characters don’t like him (especially if the characters who dislike him are likeable), the audience won’t like him either. The character’s image depends not just on himself, but on his supporting cast.

Hope this helps! - @authors-haven

Character Mannerisms

Here’s some considerations for the tiny little details that can add a lot to a character. Figuring out these mannerisms can do a lot for conveying character traits through their normal actions rather than just their thoughts, dialogue, etc.

  • How’s their posture? There are more options than just sitting up straight or slouching a lot. What’s their most comfortable sitting position? Do they have a consistent posture or does it change depending on situation / present company? 
  • How’s their etiquette? Do they hold the door for people behind them? How do they handle handshakes and other kinds of typical contact? Does their language change or become more formal when speaking to strangers? To their elders? To their superiors? 
  • In a crowded space, do they get out of people’s way, or do people get out of THEIR way? 
  • How do they point something out? Pointing their finger? Nodding their head? A flippant wave of the hand?
  • What are their comfort gestures or self-touch gestures? Common comfort gestures include rubbing the back of the neck or gripping their own arms. Can they suppress these gestures or do they do them often?
  • Also consider the character’s common reactions to common emotions. Do they whoop when they’re excited? Do they tremble when angry? 
  • What parts of the body are the most expressive? Do they shuffle and stomp their feet a lot when agitated or excited? Are they a hand talker? Do they have an impressive range of motion with their eyebrows?
  • How do they sound? Do their car keys jingle as they walk? Do they drag their feet? Do their heels clack resoundingly on hard floors? Do they breathe loudly? Do they fidget in ways that make a lot of noise?
  • How do they handle eye contact?
  • Any behaviors they reserve for moments when they’re alone? (Or possibly among family/friends that don’t care?) Do they pick their nose? Do they bite their toenails? Do they sniff their armpits? Or do they not care if people see behavior like this?
  • Apart from comfort gestures, what else do they do to comfort themselves in trying times? What’s their go-to self care? What’s their comfort food? Where’s their safe space?
  • What are they doing with themselves as they’re suppressing emotion? Lip biting, fist clenching, and avoiding eye contact are common methods of coping with strong emotions.

i want more fucking ripped girl characters 

not “tall girl with big tiddies and thighs and couple of vague lines on her skinny arms to show bicep” or “tall girls with uwu ~acrobatic muscles~ who look like they weigh 90 lbs and have concave stomachs” 

Im talking 6+ foot girls with bull shoulders and big waists and hips. Im talking about “non-feminine" muscles that make big necks and “masculine” hands. Im talking about muscles in the midriff besides the front of the abs -even if that means you cant have an itty bitty waist to show off the massive ZZ tits that you were gonna draw on because you’re to scared to draw girls with chest muscles!! give me girls who take up space and intimidate everyone around them without being overly cutesy or “sexy” as if you gotta make up for it somehow!!!

Draw more muscular girls you cowards!!

2

2017年4月1日(土)

>>>> Hi friends, it’s been a while!

Happy April!

After an incredible spring break excursion to Calgary, Alberta (airbnb’s are so interesting, wow) my friends and I spent a day regrouping and looking ahead to the final 7 weeks of the semester. Then I kicked it with a stack of film theory books I borrowed for an essay I have coming up!

Typically, at the beginning of the month I look through all of my syllabi and map out major assignments and required events. Then I look at the event and guest lecturer schedules to see what other cool things I can make it to.

**if you haven’t picked up The Art of Living Other People’s Lives, I recommend it. It’s light, but also thoughtful and funny and generous. I’ve been using it as a palette cleanser in between film theory!

Character-Building Tips

- Unopinionated characters might seem likeable or diplomatic to you, but they’re boring to the audience. Your characters may choose not to take sides in certain matters (ex. their parents’ divorce, a fight between friends, etc), but they have to believe in some things. And opinionated characters make opinionated audiences, and that means interested and emotionally-invested audiences.

- Write any scenes that stumble into your mind and enchant you, even if you think (or know) those scenes probably won’t end up in the final draft. No matter what you do with them, those scenes will still tell you something about your character(s), and that will enrich the rest of your story.

- Make risky characters. If you think your character might offend your audience or a certain part of it, write your character anyways. It could be a bad character with good views about certain subjects or vice versa, but either way it will show three-dimensionality.

- If you’re having trouble with your character being realistic or 3D, get to the root of their person. Don’t ask “what drives them as a plot device?” but “what drives them as a person?” – if you know their motivations as a person, their purpose in the plot will surface.

- Stay away from stereotypes, unless you’re writing a comedy.

Hope this helps. - @authors-haven

5:31 | b r e a k

Taking a small break to plan out the week ahead. When I feel organised I’m less anxious and positive that things will turn out OK :)

Also my birthday is just around the corner! :D

Declutter Your Life

I’ve resolved that every Wednesday, I will write a masterpost about self care and living clean and happy lifestyles. Mainly because my blog is devoted to that too, besides being a studyblr, but I hardly ever post original content about it, so hereeee we go. :)

Plan first

  • Make a list of areas you want to tackle
  • Or items you want to go through
  • Set how long you’ll clean
  • And a little reward for yourself when you’ve reached that goal
  • Envision what you want your space to look like at the end
  • Set aside three baskets or areas: one for things to keep, one for things to trash, and one for things to donate/sell

House

There are just some ideas of things to get rid of or pare down. Feel free to add your own. :)

Bedroom

  • unnecessary pillows on your bed or extra blankets
  • monsters under your bed
  • chargers, wires, etc. that go to devices you don’t have anymore or that are broken
  • old devices, phones, ipods
  • books you felt kinda eh about while reading them
  • copies of books or CDs
  • old notebooks
  • sticky notes that have lost their stickiness
  • broken pencils
  • markers that have dried up
  • any art supply you don’t use
  • scrap paper that’s gotten too small
  • scrap yarn that’s gotten too small
  • old art projects
  • unfinished art projects
  • papers
  • candles w/o any smell
  • Scentsy-type stuff w/o any smell

Closet

  • clothes that don’t fit
  • all of those clothes you save for your “ugly days”
  • shoes that hurt that you don’t even like the looks of
  • underwear with holes (or blood stains - ya feel me, girls?)
  • socks without a matching pair
  • socks with holes
  • bras that are even looking tired
  • copies of clothes, like multiple white t-shirts
  • jewelry you don’t wear
  • childish jewelry
  • broken jewelry

Bathroom

  • hygiene products past their expiration date
  • faded towels
  • bottles with only a few drops of product left
  • worn out toothbrushes
  • hairbands that have lost their elasticity
  • congealed nail polish
  • makeup you regret buying

Digital Life

Social Media

  • Unfollow people, be merciless, make your social media a place of positivity
  • unfriend toxic people (see the next section)
  • go through your own posts and delete anything you regret posting
  • take social media breaks

Computer

  • upload all of your photos to Google photos or flickr or photobucket or onedrive or whatever, or even a CD, then delete them from your memory
  • also back up important documents or just things you want to keep to something else and delete them on your computer
  • go through and sort everything into files
  • delete any programs you don’t use

Phone

  • clean out your pictures, upload them to cloud or whatever
  • delete all of the apps you don’t use or need
  • go through your contacts and delete the people you don’t want to contact anymore
  • delete old text message conversations
  • give yourself a new background too, something clean and simple

Relationships

  • Get rid of those people who are toxic in your life, mute notifications from them, unfollow them on social media (you can unfollow someone one facebook without unfriending them), don’t answer them often
  • make an effort to interact with people face-to-face rather than through text or the internet
  • decide who you want to actively invest your energy in

School

  • make a study schedule
  • prioritize your schedule – study the hardest subjects the most
  • remember that grades are important
  • also remember that grades aren’t everything 
  • (pls don’t fire me from being a studyblr)
  • if you can’t get everything you need to do done in 24 hours without sacrificing 8 hours of sleep and a bit of time for yourself, then you’re doing too much

Best tip to stay decluttered: Learn to say no.

Character flaws

- Self-image: arrogant // having low self-esteem.
The subtleties: the character getting him/herself into trouble because (s)he thinks (s)he can do more than (s)he actually can // a lack of confidence, which can be annoying to other characters & can possibly be dangerous, if it surfaces at a crucial moment
The extremes: narcissism or a god complex // self-destruction (either conscious or unconscious)

- Temperament: uncontrollable // so controlled the character goes numb.
The subtleties: irritable temperament, which causes conflict between characters // indifference that can be hurtful to other characters, which also causes conflict
The extremes: verbal or physical violence (possibly homicide) // being cold, calculating and ruthless

- Opinions: strong // weak. (Although weak opinions or beliefs make for flawed characters, strong opinions on their own are not necessarily flaws – it depends on what the character believes so strongly, and if they believe so strongly they are no longer open-minded.)
The subtleties: making enemies who have different beliefs than you // being seen as kiss-ass or wishy-washy
The extremes: radicalism or zealotry // untrustworthiness

- Loyalty: loyal // disloyal. (Again, loyalty is not necessarily a flaw – as long as it’s in moderation.)
The subtleties: annoying heroics // hesitation to help the protagonist(s), which, if the character in questions holds important questions/materials, can be problematic
The extremes: zealotry or being foolishly loyal (unnecessarily leading self/others to danger or destruction due to loyalty – particularly pointless if it’s only to prove a point, rather than a practical reason) // untrustworthiness

Please, feel free to reblog with your thoughts/add-ons!