People like writing about war, but they rarely like writing
about the aftermath. And I think that’s a shame, because sometimes writing
about the aftermath can be at least as interesting. There’s a lot you can do
with what happens after the fighting is done, when people need to rebuild, when
they need to find who they are and where they fit in a world that is different
than it was when they began.
Write about interpersonal
relationships, and how they changed.
Write about how
people view themselves and the actions they needed to take.
Write about rebuilding—physically,
socially, mentally, emotionally.
Write about the choices
people made because they thought they were never going to need to face the
Write about the emotional
toll that war takes, that constant violence takes, that never being able to
Write about the physical
toll that war takes, about the people who come back missing limbs or
Write about the people
who lost everyone they knew and still have to live with themselves.
Write about the people
who lost everything, their homes, their land, the cities, about them
finding new places to call home, or not.
Write about the people who are tasked with creating a new world, and the decisions
they have to make.
Write about the people
who only knew war, who were born after the war started and grew up with
only that, who now need to figure out who they are in a world that has no place
for them anymore.
Write about the people
who were heroes, who know how to be heroes but don’t know how to be people.
Write about the people
who weren’t heroes, who were hated, who were disgraced.
Write about the people
who didn’t fight in the war because they couldn’t, because they weren’t
physically capable or because society said they weren’t suitable.
Write about the people
who fought on the losing side, who sacrificed everything and still lost and
now need to rebuild with nothing, who are painted as monsters when they need no
worse than the side that won.
Write about the trials,
for people who committed war crimes, for people who took advantage of what was
going on to do what they wanted.
Write about the weapons
that are finding their way into the hands of children, cheap and easy to use,
because they were left behind when the soldiers packed up and left.
Write about the landmines,
the unexploded ordinances, the things that governments forgot were there or
just didn’t care.
Write about ten years
later, or twenty, or thirty, or one, or six months, or the next day, about
what people do when the adrenaline of victory or defeat subsides and they’re
left with a world that they no longer understand, that they no longer know,
because they spent so long trying to destroy the old world that they forgot
that they would have to live in the new one.
Write about the next
generation, who grew up with parents who flinched at loud noises and cousins
who could remember air raid sirens, who grew up doing drills they didn’t
understand because the people who made the drills couldn’t forget that one day
they might have been necessary.
Write about the women
who stayed behind because they had no choice, about the women who stayed
behind because they wanted to, about the women who couldn’t stay behind because
there was no behind, because everywhere was a warzone and they were soldiers
because everyone was a soldier.
Write about the children
who trained for a war that ended before they were old enough to take up
arms, where all they know is violence, not peace, how to destroy a city but not
how to build one or how to run one.
Write about career
soldiers who no longer have a career because the war is over, there’s
peace, and so they find work for the highest bidder, for the person most
willing to give them a knife or a gun and throw them wherever a little muscle
and a lot of violence is needed.
Write about the people
who did research on things nobody should ever research, who discovered
things they could never speak about, who rationalized what they did as science
while knowing it wasn’t.
Write about everyday
people coping with everything that happened, with things they saw and
things they did and things they knew that they wouldn’t wish on their worst
hiya! was just wondering if you had any general writing and/or life tips for prospective writers?
Sure, yeah! I’ll give you some of the top things I’ve learned in studying creative writing/life in general.
ONE: Never underestimate the reader. A lot of times people think that they have to describe every single detail so that the audience will know what they mean, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes simply saying “she gave him a curious look” says more than “her brows furrowed in curiosity, wondering what he meant”. You have to trust the reader to make that connection on their own while still keeping the writing smooth and limited. The reader will catch on to your hints. Don’t make it too obvious.
TWO: Master the art of flash fiction. The more flash fiction you write, the better your longer writing will become. Flash fiction is a story of 1000 words or less that really strips down to the wire and creates intrigue without giving too much away, very much like a short film. I had a whole class on flash fiction and my writing INSTANTLY improved afterward, especially because I am someone who thrives on descriptive language and often over-complicates things in my work.
THREE: Write 1,000 words or more every day. Stephen King said this in his book about what makes a good writer, and I believe it. I’ve been keeping up with this for the past year and it’s worked out wonderfully for me. I can feel my writing truly improving, and it gets you in the habit of pushing past writer’s block. You don’t have to publish what you write anywhere. Just write something.
FOUR: Read books. Like a sword needs a whetstone, a writer needs reading. Sharpen your skills in someone else’s forgery. Get inspired. Compliment other writers and appreciate when they compliment you back.
FIVE: Never ever ever ever ever ever forget the fans. They are the reason you do what you do. Don’t disrespect them. Want to break their hearts with plot? Go ahead! Want to make your story stick with them in good and bad ways? By all means! You are the writer and have full creative license, but understand that your fans are your sponsors and your network, the people holding you up. Don’t walk on them.
SIX: Learn how to take criticism, even the bad stuff. Writing will always leave you vulnerable to haters. Learn to ignore them and you’re unstoppable (but listen to those who politely present genuine complaints, however. Address them kindly, you might find they’re right!)
SEVEN: Know what needs your full attention and what doesn’t. As a future novelist I have to wonder what my focus is truly on–writing fanfiction while I’m working on my degrees, or saving all that creative juice for my novel? Of course, that’s not to say that I’m lazy over my fanfiction, but I don’t slave over it like I would over actual books. Fanfiction is free. It’s not my dream to write fanfic forever and I’m not getting paid, nor will it get me famous. Just be aware of your priorities. Don’t wear yourself out before your real journey begins!
EIGHT: Put your work out there. Poetry, fanfiction, original work, something. Get feedback. Learn how to interact with fans and take suggestions/criticism from them. Don’t be shy.
NINE: Get an ego (in a good way!). It takes serious guts to put your writing out there. It’s a part of you that you’re exposing to the world; of course you’ll get offended when someone tears it down, and love it when others raise it up. I’m convinced that every writer has to be a bit self-absorbed to make it, because confidence is truly the key to getting out of the gate.
TEN: Travel somewhere alone. You may think that going to Mexico, San Francisco and Italy for two weeks as a 20 y/o single white girl all by myself was a bad choice, but it was FUN and I made so many memories. You meet new people and learn to socialize, learn to break out of your comfort zone. You hear stories that inspire you from other people. You make new friends and have no limits on what you can do–it’s incredibly liberating. I can’t tell you how it helped me as a writer and a person to be able to stand in the Sistine Chapel around a bunch of strangers, looking up at Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam and thinking to myself, “wow. This is art, this is history, this is the impact of what we create as people over hundreds of years. And I’m contributing.” I sat in that chapel for three hours watching people go by, surrounded by all this beautiful art and raw purity of the human existence and I was on no one else’s time. I spent days just walking around Rome and learning about humanity because I wanted to. It was powerful. Let humanity inspire you.
It’s unfortunate that we live in a world where writing is often not seen as a “serious” career path. When you tell someone you’re a writer, it’s not taken seriously. They often ask questions about if you’ve been published, and if you “really get paid for that”. When you announce that you just sold your short story for $15, people are surprised to find that you are excited. So, put those people out of your head and focus on these five truths about being a writer.
1) It Doesn’t Matter How Often You Write.
A lot of people recommend that you write everyday. If you do, that’s fantastic (and I am so jealous) but it’s okay if you don’t. Writing everyday can be draining. It’s a big commitment. It’s okay if you’re not there. Try to write as often as you can, or as often as you want to. You’re still a writer. No one needs to see how many hours you spend writing in order to accept that.
2) It Doesn’t Matter If You Have Never Been Published.
The publishing industry is a tough one to break into, and it can be very discouraging to receive so many rejection letters. It happens to all of us, don’t let it get you down. If you’ve never been published (and if you want to be), keep trying. It’ll happen.
3) It Doesn’t Matter If You Get Paid, Or How Much.
The day that you finally get an acceptance, it’s going to feel amazing no matter what. Still, it can be disappointing to only receive a few dollars for your work. Whether or not you are getting paid, and no matter how much they offer you, you’re still a writer. Also, keep in mind that you don’t have to agree to low payment just to be published. You’re allowed to demand more for your work (even if they don’t agree).
4) It Doesn’t Matter If You Hate What You Write.
This is really important. You’re supposed to find problems if you work. A friend once told me, “The day you look at your writing and think to yourself ‘This is perfect’ is the day that you are no longer a writer. We always grow, and we always learn. We will never be perfect.” Our own inner critic is what makes us better. Please continue to reread a draft of your work and shake your head wondering what you were thinking. Then edit it, make it better. Writer Stewart Ferris advises that we should go through that process at least 11 times before we force another human to read our writing, and he makes a great point. Editing is so important, and it’s this hateful angry voice in your head that is actually going to help you improve.
5) It Doesn’t Matter If You Never Share Your Work
You’re allowed to write for yourself. You don’t have anything to prove to anyone else, and if you don’t want to share your writing with others, then don’t. You’re allowed to have your work just for yourself to enjoy. You are still just as much of a writer as I am, or as your peers are, or even as JK Rowling is.
I was betaing someone’s (porn) fic last night and ended up talking about general strategies for writing.
One thing that I notice is that some people think they are bad at description when they aren’t at all. They are really good at visual description and description of action.
Where there is room for improvement is in remembering to describe things that rely on senses apart from vision. Remember that in real life, sometimes the things that provoke the strongest reaction in a situation are not the sights, but the things we experience through sound, touch, taste, or smell– the ache of working muscles and the smell of sweat are more important to the experience of exercising, for example, than the color of the sports bra you are wearing. Sometimes the most important thing is not what we sense but how it makes our bodies feel– the drop in your stomach when you hear bad news, the chill on your neck when you come to a surprising realization.
What you can do to improve your reliance on physical sensations that aren’t sight when you are writing is simple.
1) Write your scene as normal. Finish it the way you usually would.
2) Read each paragraph to yourself. Identify each action in the scene. Then think about what that action might provoke in terms of each sense. For example, a character is walking down the street. What kind of street is it? What time of day is it? A street in the suburbs at night is going to be empty; there might be the sound of crickets or a radio softly playing from a nearby house. You might smell grass clippings bagged for the morning trash collection. You might taste the lingering scent of food wafting from a nearby house, but it’s likely you’ll taste nothing at all. You’ll feel whatever the weather is, the pavement or grass beneath your feet. By contrast, a street in New York City at morning rush hour is going to be full and vibrant and carry a lot more sensation. There will be the sounds of buses, cars, cyclists. And pedestrians, of course. People may be loitering outside buildings chatting. There might be loud music blasting from a car. You might smell street food or the smell of trash, the mingling perfume or cologne of the person who just passed, exhaust from said traffic, even urine or human sweat, depending on the place. You might taste any of those scents, if they’re strong enough. You’ll feel varying temperatures as you pass the entrances of buildings with air conditioning or heating on, heat lamps, steam escaping from manholes, the rumble of the subway beneath your feet. Every city is going to have different sensations associated with it– the sensations of being in San Francisco or London or Rome or Tokyo or Mumbai will be different.
Smaller actions can have quite a lot of sensory information, too. Your character is eating ice cream. What flavor is it? What is the texture like? Ice cream can vary from icy to creamy, and it can have higher or lower melting points. Some ice creams are custardy and richer. Some are soft serve and easier to lick at. Is the character licking it as it melts down the side of a cone, or spooning it from a cup? Does it have hot fudge that smells rich and chocolatey? Do they hear the scrape of their spoon against the paper cup or the crunch of the waffle cone as they bite into it? Does it evoke a sense of nostalgia for them? A sense of satisfaction at a cold treat on a hot day? A sense of apprehension because they are lactose intolerant and forgot to bring lactaid? All of those things are helpful in establishing a scene beyond simply eating ice cream.
3) Now that you’ve thought through the sensory experience, think about which of those sensations are actually important to your scene. What kind of feeling are you trying to evoke? What emotions is your character feeling right now? You don’t have to describe a sensation for every action, and you don’t have to describe every sensation for the ones where you do want to describe one. If an action isn’t important to the story, you don’t want to call too much attention to it. You want to describe the most sensory information around the actions that are most important to you in the scene. Pick the ones that heighten the things about the scene you want to communicate, and pop them in where appropriate.
4) That’s it. Now you’ve got sensations in your writing that aren’t just visual. The more you do this and make it a habit, the more you’ll start thinking like this from the beginning of your writing. Good job!
Writing any fight or combat scene can be tricky. There is a lot to think about while a battle is going on between your characters. Here are some tips about what to focus on while you write your fight scenes.
Make it Matter
Fighting just for the sake of fighting is not going to be good. A fight cannot just be thrown in to increase the word count. It has to mean something, and it has to matter. Looking at Harry Potter, the fight scenes always advance the plot. In the Deathly Hallows, fights happen frequently. The group leaves the Dursley house to be immediately attacked once they’re in the air. This tells the group that someone had been giving Voldemort information, and that’s why the Dark Lord knew Harry would be moved that night. The Death Eaters showing up in the cafe after the Trio escapes the Burrow. This forces the Trio to go to Grimmauld Place because they need somewhere safe to hide. The fight at the Ministry of Magic leads to Yaxley findng Grimmauld Place, forcing the Trio to move their hide out. All of these fights matter and advance the plot in the story.
Secondly, it has to actually matter to the reader. Any fight is far less interesting with nothing at stake to the characters. Every combat scene has to have the character risk something. What happens if they lose? Will they die? Will their family or friends die? Will the treasure they were ordered to guard be stolen? With their prisoners escape? This also ties in with having flawed characters. It’s not fun to watch Superman fight because it’s very unlikely Superman will even get hurt, and even more unlikely that he’ll actually lose.
Having a character preform the same heroic action over and over again throughout the book is going to get boring for the reader. Look to Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series. Percy fights with water and his sword. Annabeth has her knife. Sometimes they’re joined by Grover or Tyson or Clarisse. Every fight scene isn’t just Percy Jackson swinging his sword around chopping his opponents to bits. Regardless of the weapon being used, characters also get creative. Fighting Medusa had to be done through a reflection, for example. Things have to change.
If you have a character who only fights in one way, that’s okay too. It’s then very important that you learn to vary your descriptions. Keep that style of fighting interesting so your reader stays with you.
Structure and Wording
This is probably the trickiest part of writing a fight scene: actually writing it. Over writing will be a problem. Any wordiness that slows the reader down is going to also slow down the fight itself. Most fights aren’t slow, and you will want to match the pace of your scene.
Keep your sentences short to make the fight move fast.
Pick and choose your verbs carefully and make them good ones. Cut out adverbs, they’ll only hurt you. When using descriptions, make sure they are sensory descriptions. You can set up the scene before the fight starts. Use that time to set the stage and describe the cliffs they’re on or the lake behind them. Once the fight starts, limit your description to what the character feels or hears, or even tastes. Can he feel the wound in his arm? Maybe she hears the sleeve of her jacket rip? The taste of blood in their mouth after a particularly hard hit. These are things that will add to the fight.
If you’re having some trouble getting the fight going, just try to get everything down. Picture the fight in your head, and start writing it. Forget about sentence sizes, verbs, and details. Write it all. You can always edit the scene later to improve the structure and word choices. Obsessing over every line as you write will only leave you with a blank paper.
In my day job as an editor I see a lot of manuscripts, and
creating ‘authentic’ dialogue seems to be tricky for many a new author. The
trick is to find a balance that allows important information to be conveyed to
the reader while still making the speech feel ‘natural’. Have you ever felt
that the dialogue in your stories reads as self-conscious and stilted, or as an
endless monologue of exposition ‘disguised’ as one character talking to another?
I have the same problem. In fact, for me, dialogue is the hardest part to get
right. In this series, I will share everything I have learned so far about what
(not) to do when writing dialogue.
I am really glad that I recently found your channel and that you have a Tumblr, but I do wonder if you have any tips for someone to get back into writing. I know that one of the best tips is to read and never stop reading, and I finally been able to get back into reading (I have been reading The Song of Ice and Fire). I use to write short stories when I was in school, and do forum-based roleplaying on Gaiaonline. I been wanting to get back into writing, but I feel like I have writers block.
Ohhh, this is a really good question. Glad you asked!
The answer I’m about to give you may seem pretty dissatisfying, because it won’t solve your writer’s block or plot out a path back “into” the craft. But hopefully it’ll give you a good sort of psychological mantra to repeat quietly in the back of your mind when you contemplate writing.
Are you ready?
Alright. The trick to getting back into writing… is that you don’t. I mean, on rare occasion we have heard about writers getting into a groove—Stephen King talks about keeping his blade sharp and running with the momentum—but the truth of it is that literature is a hard, hard medium to create in. It’s not responsive the way visual arts are. You don’t get to make a mark on the page and immediately see how your work is shaping up.
Literature is the art of making people imagine, and as you put words on the page, you don’t get to see how those words will transfer to sensations inside the audience’s mind. As a result, writing can be extremely tedious for a lot of people. A grind from start to finish. A series of blocks that you simply have to climb over.
What you’re experiencing is normal. Writing is hard. Just do it anyway. Even if it feels bad now, just put one word in front of the other until you get to the end. There’s really no telling exactly how they’ll effect your audience, so you sort of have to throw caution to the wind and just… write.
In short: you may never feel “into” writing. That’s fine! The goal doesn’t to be to have a great time typing or scribbling; it doesn’t have to be to creat the most beautiful piece of prose the world’s ever seen. Your goal can simply be to put something from your mind into someone else’s. That’s the real magic.
So when you’re feeling like you can’t write for whatever reason, just tell yourself: “This is fine. It’s normal for this to be hard. Just put words on the page. You can fix them later.”
Hopefully does something to help you. Thanks for coming by! And keep making stuff up~
asked: Hi there! Okay so, I’m very frustrated because I have this idea for a book but I’ve never written a book, or anything along the lines of a book, in my entire life. I have all of these great ideas and so i’m getting frustrated because I can’t write them so they sound as good on paper as they do in my head. It’s strange because you would think that I could just write what I’m thinking down but for some reason I literally can’t! Anyway so, my question is: What can I do to help me with this?
Writing is like any other craft. You can’t just sit down to do it for the very first time and expect perfect quality. Good writing takes knowledge and practice, so the first thing you have to do is learn the basics like:
After you’ve learned the basics, you can start writing your story–but you still shouldn’t expect perfection. Stories, especially novels, are written in multiple drafts. The first draft is always a little rough, so you go back and edit it to make it into a better second draft. Then you edit the second draft and make it into a better third draft. Read more about the drafting process here.
The more stories you write (and finish), the better at writing you’ll become. In the meantime, you should do everything possible to perfect your writing skills. Read How to Perfect Your Writing for more information.
His full name is Republic Of Lithuania (Lietuvos Respublika in Lithuanian)
His human name is Toris Laurinaitis (A good portion of the fandom spell his last name as “Lorinaitis” but that is not a surname that exists in Lithuania so the spelling I gave before would be correct for his character)
He is physically 19
Of the three Baltic nations, he is the oldest
He is not weak! He had controlled a good portion of Europe during the Middle Ages and had even beat Prussia before
He is said to be more serious than Germany and worse at understand jokes
He is an introvert and easy to take advantage of
He can depress himself easily enough to make himself get stomachaches. Though, despite this, he is the happiest of the Baltics
He has a big heart for those he opens up to and is like a big brother figure
He has exceptional leadership and strategic skills