help;writing

Writing Living, Breathing Characters

“When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.”
― Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon

Sometimes this is the easiest skill to forget! I find when talking to other writers about this, it is especially muddled when writing fan fiction - though there’s a lot more thought that has to go into previously established characters constructed by someone else in writing them and making them still feel real - mostly because it’s harder to know “everything” about them. Anyway, I am going to talk today about how lately I’ve been going about the process of writing characters.

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Something About a Touch

It took me a month, but I finally did it. If you haven’t read the first part, you can so here. I also want to thank @twerkit-hxrry for being my eyes and ears throughout this grueling ordeal, and for helping me write the ‘Niall bathroom scene’. Seriously, thank you.

This part is a little shorter than the one before, but there’s still more to come with these two. And with that being said, enjoy. x

Harry was fucked.

He knew it from the moment he opened Instagram to find you had gracefully accepted his follower request, and was met with what he could only describe as ‘the most strikingly beautiful selfie to ever grace the palms of the earth’ – and what didn’t help was it was the same picture you had taken on his sofa only the day before, an empty chow mien box laid discarded on the table by your side.

The caption read: ‘Chow mieny soy sauce you want?’

A heavy quake erupted deep in Harry’s throat, a sound he could only describe as an unmanly squawk, and he instantly goes to cover his agape expression as he retains the joke he had told you just the night before.

He doesn’t take a second to think before he quickly double taps the photo, only just before noticing Niall had gotten there first, and continues scrolling.

It’s only a quarter passed eleven that morning, and you’ve been gone for two hours, and the one thing keeping him calmly situated in the comfort of his sofa is your scent left lingering on the hoodie he has taken upon wearing the moment you stepped foot out of his house – the same hoodie you claimed as your own the night before when, after grumpily swinging your legs over the sofa with a deep exhale, you trudged over to his wing chair to steal the Muscle Machine hoodie he had hanging over the back.

“Were you born in the Arctic?”

After sharing your intricate meal of Chinese takeaway, it was left to his surprise when you brought up the idea to break out the wine, and it dawned on Harry quickly that the second you start to bat your eyelashes and pout your lip out, there’s no way he could ever say no to you.

Another thing he learned about you was you were, in fact, very dangerous.

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”We need more action. Bring in the lizard people!”

Character Names in Fantasy

Anonymous asked: “I’ve been making my names for my main characters, but should I have a balance of ‘normal’ names and unusual? It is fantasy, so would I be able to have many made-up names?”

When naming characters in fantasy, while you do want the names of your characters to fit in with the world, you still want to strike a balance between belonging and memorable. Memorable in this case means, not out there and otherworldly, but easy to pronounce and recognize within the story.

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anonymous asked:

Okay so like I love your art and stuff but I'm also new and see you write but I don't know where to find what you write?? Help? 😂

I just put links to all my stuff in my blog description!!

AFTG WRITERS’ CLUB MEMBERS

Syeda and I would like to start off by thanking everyone who applied! It was a tough decision and unfortunately we couldn’t choose everyone, so without further ado here are the members of the AFTG writers’ club!

Members! 

  1. @nwesninski
  2. @minyavd
  3. @novemberfourth
  4. @kickfoxing
  5. @andrewjsten
  6. @elfiethewicked 
  7. @sirandking
  8. @parrishminyard
  9. @allisonreynoldsofficial
  10. @scamader
  11. @theordinaryvegan
  12. @twnyards
  13. @andrewiel 
  14. @stubbornjerk 
  15. @philipshay
  • If you were selected!
  1. The group chat will either be on iMessage or Facebook Messenger. Message me or Syeda with both your iMessage and Facebook Messenger information and your preference so we can take a vote + your email so we can add you as a member! 
  2. Don’t forget to link the club somewhere on your blog. 
  3. Remember anyone can send an ask if you’re looking for help with your writing! One of the members will be more than happy to aid you! 

Congratulations and happy writing! :)

sarahlikesbugs-blog  asked:

You ever make a character and then have no clue how to write a fic with them? Cause I just made an information broker for One Piece and now I'm wondering what to do with them. Any suggestions on how to get started?

The way I got started on both Marines and Justice was to figure out where I wanted the OC to get to. In Marines that’s clearly shown in the prologue, which opens with Riskua paying off Luffy’s tab. 

Originally Justice was going to open the same way before I decided to save that little bit of writing in advance (I started Justice with the idea of an OC born in the past and figured out one of the major events I want changing was Rosinante’s death, so that’s the bit I already have wrote) so I backtracked from there, thinking about the growth of the character. This is what she will be like, so what was she like before? 

Something that I’ve found that always helps me is to write some of the bits you want right away instead of waiting around for it. Like I wanted to write Riskua meeting Sanji almost as soon as I realised they were going to be on the same crew, so I did write it. Doesn’t mean I won’t change little bits as I get closer to writing the chapter with the scene in, but the idea was down and I had an idea of how Riskua’s character was going to end up. 

If all else fails, write some AUs (even if you don’t publish them) because I find that helps too.

So yeah, hope at least one bit of that word waffle is any use to you, <3

So, I drew this ages ago in preparation for the closing of It’s Not Too Late. I drew this the day I realized how this story was going to end. So yeah, it’s not great but it does hold the feelings I had at that exact moment. 

I’m gonna give a shout out to a few people here though if I don’t mention you by name, you all still mean a lot to me!

@oh-dear-gracious gave me my very first piece of fanart EVER. You made me want to create a better story and never hesitated to help me when I felt down. Your drawings have made me laugh, cry and jump up and down. Thank you so much for being a wonderful person, an awesome artist and a fantastic friend!

@silverskye13 You absolutely blew me away the comic for A Fresh Glass of Hope!! I still go back and read that message you first sent me about my story and your thoughts on my writing. You helped me out of a really dark time in my life and I can’t express how grateful I am for that. (Also I’ve completely fallen in love with Grillby and Gaster thanks to Casting Rain A+++ story) 

@inuyasha9lover one of the first people to regularly comment on my posts and gave me art!! Thank you!

@throughtheriver23 the pieces of art you made for me still make me smile and laugh!

@curlywillow one of the first people to read my story and beta read for me! You gave fantastic feedback and really helped me to learn what I need to work on as a writer!

@sansytheskeleton-ao3 It was a joy to see you make your way through INTL. Thank you for the art as well!

@remixthemelon, @dawn-speed-the-insane, @sabrinastoughts Thank you so much for the art you’ve submitted! Each one made me smile and pushed me to continue writing!! Your styles are all absolutely wonderful! 

@aggressiveukuleles The drawings you’ve submitted are absolutely gorgeous! I love them all, but the comic about Reader needing to pee is probably my favorite :D

@fandom-royalty my DLA! I can’t tell you how much joy your daily messages brought me. I am still so touched that you would do that for me when I was struggling. The picture of Grillby you drew made me really happy too! Thank you for everyone you’ve done!

And finally! To each and every one of my readers: I love you all for taking the time to read my story. This is for you. 

Thank you!

melancholycupofcoffee  asked:

I write. Well, I'm 16. I want to be a writer. But no one believes that I can be. People say that my writing is 'too dark' or 'too deep' or 'too depressing'. But I don't want to write about rainbows and unicorns shitting glitter. I want to write about what's in my heart. Because that's what writing is, what is in your heart; not your head. What do I do? I love your work, and you inspire me. But I could really use some help. Writing is my only peace in my chaotic hell you'd call life.

That’s exactly what people would tell me. They’d tell me my writing was good but way too dark and depressing. Write whatever you want to express. No one should ever stop you from expressing yourself. Keep creating. -Vivid Vega

anonymous asked:

no, you never told us the speech story... what happened father????

Oh yo! So, I was at a wedding last week for my step-father’s sister who is twenty-eight and her husband is the raddest dude ever–we both go surfing together and all that jazz. Okay, so it was after the ceremony at about 6:00 at night when one of the bridesmaids who knew of my writing skill asked me to help her write her speech (to which I did). So at about 7:00 it was outside dinner on our family farm with about 150 people–half of which I have no idea who they are because they are the grooms side of the family. So the maid of honor gives her speech first and it was serious and I was bored, then the best man gave his speech and it provoked a few laughs but ehhh. Then the groom’s sister gave her speech and then another bridesmaid. 

During this time I kept poking my step-father to make a speech because he loves his younger sister dearly but he was too shy. My mother began to prode me and told me to go up there and make a speech. Mind you–I have an infatuation with public speaking, presentations and giving speechs because I thrive on it and I am good at it. But, this was different because I had absolutely NO TIME to prepare and everyone else had been working on their speech for weeks but I HADNT EVEN THOUGHT OF IT. 

They were about to close off the microphone when my step father shoved me out and a microphone was thrust into my hand. I was in a high and immediately began speaking the most random shit that ever came to mind and started off with:

“Wow! This is a lotta people and pardon if you see I am speaking really fast and can’t keep up–my apologies because I am nervous as HELL”

My entire speech?? Everyone was laughing (not at me don’t worry) and I just gave the more improvised piece of dialogue, fit in a few metaphors and told everyone how lucky I felt to be here and that I was lucky Zeke (my step dad) was my dad. I actually made my 6′2 step-dad cry because it was first time in my life I had called him dad instead of Zeke and I love him more dearly than anything in the entire universe. 

I actually don’t even remember ANYTHING that went on in this speech but how much everyone enjoyed it and everyone was joking “finally! the water works arrived!” and I am this 5′2.5 shy fourteen year old who LOVES making speeches but has terrible social anxiety. I dunno, it was one of the best moments of my whole life and my words lasted about five minutes I’d say? And until two AM that night I had more than a hundred random people coming up to me and telling my congrats and how awesome it was and argggg it was one of the best moments of my entire life. I honestly cannot remember anything else that I said–but I can tell you that it was fucking amazing!! The groom spoke to me about it for about ten minutes just thanking me and I am all in my speech “You can clearly see how they’ve built homes in each other’s hearts” and ARGGG

tinyjess  asked:

hii im a new writer for BTS, and i just want to say you're one of the writers in this fandom that inspired me a lot. i love all your works💜💜 thank you for sharing your talents with us and inspire me to be a better writer💜

Omg, welcome!! I hope you enjoy writing here :D I am glad I can help with your writing and motivation in any way, it truly means a lot. I hope you stay inspired for as long as possible ❤️

Tips On How to Write Characters with Wings (For both fanfic writers and original content writers)

So I’ve been reading a lot of fics lately where people are either

A) Putting wings onto canon characters

B) Making OCs with wings

So I decided that, with the influx of people who are writing winged characters (and therefore the influx of errors that come with writing winged characters), I’d make a little thing to help you slap a pair of wings onto anyone!

This is also a bit personal, too, because the MC in my upcoming novel has wings!

1. Know that there are a lot of types of wings to choose from

Part of being a writer is the desire to take something (whether it be a pre-existing work or an idea in your head) and make it into your own. So, instead of just going with the classic bird wings, why not spice it up a bit? If your character is an angel, you certainly don’t have to stick to the classic depictions of angel wings. Why not give them butterfly wings or dragonfly wings?

Here’s a small list of different types of wings to choose from:

  • Bat wings
  • Beetle wings
  • Bird wings
  • Butterfly/Moth wings
  • Dragonfly wings

Note that these wings are for animals who can fly. There are also animals who can “fly” that actually glide, such as sugar gliders and flying squirrels.

Yeah, so the options are pretty limited, but feel free to make up your own kinds of wings that aren’t necessarily based on a pre-existing creature’s wings!

2. Be familiar with the anatomy of your character’s wings and their limits

If your wings are completely unique, draw them out. A diagram or picture is key when it comes to things like description. I’m not gonna tell you what everything does and give you Animal Wing Anatomy 101, that’s for you to research. Know that there are different types of wings and that they have different uses, strengths, and weaknesses.

3. Never use the full extent of your research! 

Surprise, surprise!

“But wait, Maddy!” you cry, writing utensil in hand and poised to stab me. “I thought we were supposed to were supposed to show our research!”

Well, you are. Technically that’s not wrong. But, readers don’t want to know ALL of it. Over-described wings are sometimes worse than under-described wings; what sucks more than not knowing what a character’s wings look like is having to look up wing anatomy in the middle of the chapter!

Only use the most basic of vocabulary when it comes to describing the parts of the wing. Most of the time, you just have to say “bat wing” or “feathery wing” and the readers get the basic idea. (Like seriously, do you think the readers know what a dactylopatagium brevis is????? It’s a part of skin on a bat’s wing btw)

4. Don’t bring your character’s wings up only when they’re needed!!!!

Unless your character’s wings can fade away when they’re not needed, wings are a 100% real, 24/7 thing! It’s bothersome when writers mention the wings in one chapter and then only bring them up when there’s a daring escape that needs to be performed! Most of the time, I forget that the characters even have wings at all!

There is also the fact that wings aren’t all pros and no cons. If they’re functional, they’re probably big, and if they’re muscular, they’re probably bulky. If your character is clumsy, they’ll probably knock things over constantly, and if they’re not clumsy, they’ll still knock things over constantly.

Your wings are two (or four, or five, or six quintillion) extra appendages; they’re a part of your character! You don’t have to spend every second reminding the readers that they’re there, but don’t go long stretches of time without even mentioning them.

5. Your character’s wings can be a good way to indicate their mood or to provide for that little bit of description that you think you make be lacking

Why wouldn’t you want to describe the wings? I mean, you don’t want to describe every minute detail over and over again, but it’ll boost your word count a lot more than you think. They can also be used to convey your character’s feelings without explicitly telling the reader! It’s like a new set of facial expressions!

See? You can tell he’s wary and ready to fight from the movement of his wings! Also he’s crouching next to a dead body but that’s not relevant right now

Here’s a list of wing language (?) that you can incorporate into your story that will not only increase your word count, but will also add to the sustenance of your story!

Nervous

  • Twitch
  • Flutter
  • Ripple
  • Fold tightly
  • Fidget
  • Flap

Angry

  • Flare
  • Bristle
  • Fluff up
  • Ripple
  • Beat
  • Raise up
  • Snap open

Happy

  • Flutter
  • Curl up
  • Ripple
  • Wave
  • Flap
During Battle
  • Bludgeon
  • Smack
  • Bat
  • Clout
  • Whack
  • Kick someone’s legs out from under them
  • Snap someones neck (only for muscular wings like bat and bird wings)
Problems that may come with having wings
  • Poke out from under blankets and let all of the cold air in
  • Stepped on
  • Get pins and needles from being folded for too long
  • Squashed on chairs/ in beds/ in crowded hallways
  • Vulnerable in battle
  • Molting (for bird wings)

Hope this helped!!!

Hey, Tumblr. We’re back with another round-up for Mental Health Month. This batch o’ blogs are resources you can turn to and organizations you can rely on. The best part is that they’re so, so easy to access and utilize. Here are just a few of them.

Originally posted by crisistextline

Crisis Text Line (@crisistextline)

Crisis Text Line is free, 24/7 support. If you’re in crisis, please text 741741 from anywhere in the US. The Crisis Text Line will connect you with a trained Crisis Counselor. If you don’t need to use their services, consider signing up to be part of their services. All it takes to become trained in crisis counseling is a desire to listen and help others.

Originally posted by twloha

To Write Love on Her Arms (@twloha)

To Write Love on Her Arms started as a Myspace post. Since it took off, they’ve donated more than $1.5 million to treatment and recovery programs, granting funding to 73 different organizations and counseling practices. They have a pretty good repository for finding help, with listings easily found either by location or reason you’re seeking help.

Originally posted by gnomosexuals

The Trevor Project (@thetrevorproject)

The Trevor Project is one of the leading national organizations providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ youth. You can call their trained counselors at 1-866-488-7386, use TrevorText by texting “TREVOR” to 1-202-304-1200, or reach out via TrevorChat.

Originally posted by aestheticallyequal

National Alliance on Mental Illness (@namiorg)

When it comes to making the world a better, more understanding place for mental health, NAMI (nearly) does it all. Across the US they educate to make sure people are getting the help they need, they advocate for public policy, and they listen. You can reach the NAMIHelpLine at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or info@nami.org.

Originally posted by itgetsbetterproject

It Gets Better (@itgetsbetterproject)

It Gets Better Project wants to create and inspire change for LGBTQ+ youth. While they do suggest hotlines to call for immediate help (like The Trevor Project), their primary objective is to spread the message that, well, it gets better.

If you don’t live in the US, you may haven noticed most of these are US-based resources. Don’t worry. We have you covered too.

How To: Develop Your Characters

I think we’ve all been in the situation where we want to write about a specific character but have no idea how to approach it. For some reason, despite them being your own character, you have no idea how they would act or what they would say in a certain situation. Sometimes, if you even write about your character(s) at all, when you read it back they seem fake or 2-Dimensional. Unrealistic, if you’d prefer.

In this post, I am going to give you some exercises to get past hollow characters and help develop your writing. 

1) Empty Their Pockets

Pretty simple. Think of what your characters would have in their pockets on a day-to-day basis. It doesn’t have to be anything super extraordinary, of course. Just start writing some everyday items down and think about whether your character would have these items in their pockets. 

Let’s take a look at one I did for my characters earlier. (sorry that just sounded like something from Blue Peter)

For example:

Character A’s Pockets Contained:

pack of gum, empty pack of cigarettes, library card, NOKIA brick phone

So, here a few things you can tell about Character A simply through the items in their pockets. They visit the library often, meaning that they probably have a high interest in reading (this also could be a sign of intelligence). Judging by the fact Character A has both a pack of gum and cigarettes this could indicate a potential smoking habit, chewing gum is a known way for helping people quit smoking. The pack of cigarettes could show that they are not very good at restricting themselves and could in fact be addicted and finding it hard to cope with smoking. Finally, the NOKIA brick phone shows how they may want to feel connected to people or want to allow their friends/family members/whoever to be able to contact them but have no desire to get the latest model of phone or perhaps believe that having such a device would distract them unnecessarily. 

When doing this exercise, think about key objects which portray certain details about your character! Try not to overthink it too much, write whatever comes to mind and put it down on the page! After writing down a couple objects, go back through them and feel free to edit out items you think are unnecessary or add items which you think would suit the character. 

2) Go Through Their Daily Routine

Again, another easily explained exercise. Go through a regular day in your character’s life, try and do this exercise as if it was happening before whatever events occur in your story or novel. This way it makes it easier to understand your character before they met a secondary character in the novel or before whatever events happened in your writing which may affect their routine. You don’t need to include every single detail in your description, just brief notes or key events which occur during their day would be fine. You can make it as short or as long as you wish, maybe don’t just do it for one day in your character’s week perhaps do it for multiple days. 

Does their routine change during the week? What time do they wake up? What time do they go to sleep? Are they punctual with going to work? Do they do any other activities outside their day-job? These are the kind of things you may want to ask yourself when writing it. 

3) Give Them Fears/Phobias

Everyone fears something: whether it be a phobia of spiders or oblivion, everyone has a fear. Giving your character a phobia makes them seem more realistic, it allows your reader to easily relate to your character.

However, just having a phobia for the sake of it doesn’t help develop your character at all. If you give them a terrible phobia of snakes and they come across a snake and suddenly within moments are able to get over their fear just like that, it’s not a phobia. It’s more of a mild inconvenience than anything else. The reader needs to feel convinced by their fears, they would feel more dissatisfied with your writing if they felt the character could dismiss anything and everything than knowing them being confronted by their fears could be a possible problem. Besides, it would give them no reason to motivate or encourage the character if they knew it was impossible for them to be defeated by anything. Still, this does not mean that your character has to be destroyed by their fear. There is a very big difference between simply dismissing your character’s fear and perhaps overcoming it in the future.

An easy way to write your character possibly overcoming their fear in the future is that when they first encounter that fear, add an element of chance or fate into it. For example, if a character were to move to get away from the creature which may be coming towards them; in the process of getting up, they could slip which could cause their legs to lash out towards the creature. The sudden movement may just be enough to scare the creature away, this way it does not appear to the reader as ridiculous or uncharacteristic courage but instead accidental bravery. This sudden revelation that the character’s horrible fear may not be as all powerful as they first thought could be the first step for them to slowly overcome that fear.

Don’t believe me? Let’s think about this for a moment. Imagine your character, let’s call them the Protagonist™, is stuck in a terrible situation. It doesn’t matter what the situation is but let’s say it’s something which involves them being trapped in a room with a snake. I’m going to give you two examples, both involving the same situation.

Example #1:

Protagonist watched with wide eyes as the snake slowly slithered towards them. The snake paused for a moment, it hissed lowly as it waited for Protagonist to move, waiting for the right moment to strike.  Not hesitating for a single moment, they suddenly realised how dire the situation was and jumped to their feet. Their heart pumping wildly as their body was filled with adrenaline, they were terrified yet they had to do something. Protagonist grabbed the nearest thing to them and stepped towards the snake.

“Get away!” They threatened, “Get away!”

Example #2:

Protagonist watched with wide eyes as the snake slowly slithered towards them. The snake paused for a moment, it hissed lowly as it waited for Protagonist to move, waiting for the right moment to strike. The blood in Protagonist’s veins ran cold as the snake grew closer and closer, Protagonist couldn’t move. They begged and screamed on the inside to move away, to get away as far as possible. They had lost all control of their movement, their fear had consumed them. They were frozen to the spot and could only watch as the snake widened it’s jaw, ready to bite down on it’s prey. It widened it’s jaw once, twice - suddenly, Protagonist gained back their instincts. Fleeing seemed like the only realistic option and seconds before the snake could chomp down on their ankle, Protagonist stumbled to their feet. They stumbled backwards into a puddle of water which had pooled behind them and their ankle rolled as they slipped, their legs accidentally lashing out towards the predator. The snake recoiled backwards in shock before deciding that the risk wasn’t worth it: it quickly retreated back to it’s nest, disappearing from Protagonist’s view.

Now, hopefully you see what I mean. I think we can all agree that the second example is a lot better than the first one. 

4) Create Their Flaws/Bad Habits

No one is perfect, this includes your characters. 

If you’re finding it challenging to think of any flaws, try to think of some bad habits. It doesn’t have to be anything so terribly bad that’s it’s illegal. Think simple when it comes to this exercise. It can range from anything between chewing their nails to swearing. 

It might help to try and develop these bad habits into possible flaws or weaknesses. If your character keeps biting their nails that might be a sign of nervousness or anxiety. So, creating bad habits might be a good way to show a certain trait your character may possess. 

Flaws are important as well. Let’s be realistic, if no character had any flaws then every single book we read would be filled with a bunch of characters which are exactly the same. Besides, what’s a hero without it’s villain? 

So, to give you a few ideas, let’s go back to superheroes. Maybe a hero is so set on doing the right thing that they lose sight of what they want? Perhaps it gets to a certain point where they can’t handle that hollow feeling inside of them that they grow arrogant, selfish or even stubborn? There’s a story for you right there. 

Not only that, by giving your characters flaws it is possible that you could work that into your story somehow. This way, not only will you get to show off your amazing character development, but it could also be an exciting point in your storyline.

Write down some ideas, think of flawed personality traits and just write them down! Try to write down at least five straight off the bat, for each one you don’t like you should think about why it doesn’t suit your character. You’re bound to find one flaw you’re happy with!

5) Write Some Scenarios

Now that you’ve developed your characters, go ahead and write them in your story! If you think you still need a bit of practice, try writing something about them being in a certain scenario. It could be anything from ordering their favourite coffee to being trapped in a prison: just write it! Try not to think about it too much, just do whatever feels write (I unintentionally made that pun but i’m not deleting it). 

It doesn’t have to be long either, just a couple paragraphs would be fine. Try to focus on body movements and interior thoughts, it would be ideal if your character was on their own in the situation: that way you can get to know the character on their own a lot better. No other characters means no distractions. It’s just you, the wonderful author, and your character - there is an endless amount of possibilities for you! 


Have faith in yourself too! Nobody knows your brilliantly developed characters better than you do, so here’s your chance to show them off! If you’d like a second opinion, write something about them and give it to a friend/parent/random stranger etc. to read! If they don’t want to, make them read it anyway! 

I hope this helps you all in developing your characters! 

Happy writing!

- jess

Tips On How to Write a Shape-Shifting Character (For both fanfic writers and original content writers)

(gif courtesy of http://ilyone.tumblr.com/)

HOLY SHIT MY LAST POST ABOUT WRITING  WINGED CHARACTERS (which you can find here) GOT A SHIT TON OF NOTES! SO I DECIDED TO MAKE ANOTHER ONE ON SHAPE-SHIFTERS!

There are a lot of shape-shifting fics and stories out there. Like. A lot. Whether they be about were-creatures or about characters that just have the ability to shape-shift, a lot of the times- like with winged characters- these shape-shifters are not written very well.

They may be unoriginal, or they may be super Mary-Sues/Gary Stus when it comes to the fact that they have an infinite amount of power or whatever. So I decided to tackle the issues that come with creating a shape-shifting OC or making a canon character into a shape-shifter.

1. Decide what your character’s shape-shifting will be mainly used for

Shape-shifting can be used for a variety of reasons, and that’s why it’s critical for you to figure out what your shape-shifter will mostly be using their powers for.

Here are some reasons why shape-shifters can use their powers:

-Battle (transforming into a bigger creature to overpower enemies)

-Disguise (transforming into something that blends in with the environment around them to hide from enemies)

-Forced to shift (AKA werewolves)

-Spy work (transforming into antagonist’s lackeys to infiltrate the base or even vice versa)

2. Set Limits Right Off the Bat

Shape-shifters are incredibly powerful, and in theory, they can be practically invincible when it comes to battle and hiding from enemies.

However, that should ONLY be in theory. Your shape-shifters CANNOT be all-powerful like their abilities can call for them to be. Here’s where Mary Sue/Gary Stu elements come in, because many writers just state that their characters can shape-shift and leave it at that.

That brings up questions like:

“If he was running from the Big Bad™, then why didn’t he just shift into a wall or a chair and disguise himself?”

“If she had to fight the Big Bad™, why didn’t she just transform into a dragon and deep fry him?”

“Couldn’t they just masquerade as the Big Bad™’s minions and get inside the secret lair?”

Then, the author tries to make up for the lack of rules by giving us some half-assed explanation halfway through the third book.

As soon as the reader finds out that the main character is a shape-shifter, you have to lay down the groundwork for the limits.

Can they only transform into animals?

Can they only transform a certain amount of times at any given point?

Is there something that distinguishes them from the object/person/animal that they’ve transformed into?

Can they only transform into inanimate objects?

Can they only transform into other people?

Does transforming take a lot of energy and therefore they don’t do it often?

Is transforming painful?

Take Beast Boy from Young Justice/ Teen Titans/ various other things as an example:

He can transform into a lot of animals, yes, but they’re all obviously green and unnatural, making it difficult for him to blend in with other animals. his means that his shapeshifting would be most used for attack than for disguise.

You need to set limits, or else your character will be all-powerful and the plot won’t be all that intriguing to the readers; they know that the protagonist will win, so they won’t bother to really get invested in the story.

3. There are many forms of shape-shifters. Just because the mainstream media is all about werewolves with sixteen packs that can cut glass doesn’t mean that you have to make werewolves only

Did you know that technically, a werewolf is just a subdivision of were-creatures?

The prefix “were/wer” means “man” and is usually followed by the name of an animal, ANY animal, to imply that the man (or woman) is transforming into it.

Therefore, there could be werecats, weretigers, werelions, wereunicorns, and were[insert plural name of creature here].

You should really look up the different kinds of shifters from all different cultures and regions of the world. They’re actually quite amazing!

Here’s a list of some of my favorite shapeshifter creatures (Note that these are not all of the shapeshifters, just my personal favorites some of which I feel needed to be represented more in literature):

-Were[insert name of big cat here]

-Werewolf

-Skinwalkers

-Animaguses(Animagi?) (don’t use these they’re JK Rowling’s I just really like Animagi)

-Generic, run-of-the-mill shapeshifters

-Were creatures that are actually just the creature trying to masquerade as a human/ a creature that has a human form

-Transforming into huge gruesome monsters (it’s good shit 10/10)

4. You don’t have to describe the full transformation every single time. The first time is enough.

Readers don’t want to have to go through long, agonizing paragraphs of description every time your character changes, especially if they change during a battle. They don’t want the bloody, gory action to be disrupted by a description of a transformation that they’ve read a hundred times before.

If you truly want to describe the transformation more than once, though I highly advise against it, never describe it more than three times, and make sure to make it unique every single time. If you don’t think you can do that, just describe it once.

You should, however, describe the symptoms that come with transforming. Is it painful? Is it uncomfortable? Does it feel incredible because it makes the character feel a rush of power? Gimme the deets, but not all of them.

Things that happen during transformation that you can describe:


Painful

- Fur/scales growing (stinging and itchy)

- Bones breaking and reorganizing, as well as new ones appearing and old ones transforming

- Muscles ripping and elongating/shrinking

- Fingernails/toenails turning into claws


Invigorating

- Heightened sense of sight/smell/hearing

- Adrenaline rush

- More power/strength/speed



Hope this helped!