I got a great anonymous ask last week from someone who wanted to know how to identify weak spots in their writing. One
of the things that comes with time and experience is finding the
language to identify, discuss, and address the feeling that something
isn’t quite right or that a story is “missing something.” Not
knowing them or their writing, of course I couldn’t help them figure out what
specifically the problem was. But I did share with them a list of things I’ve done
over the years to be able to identify weak spots and improve my writing.
1. Analyze your favorite writers.
out why you like the writing that you like. Ask yourself: What are they
doing here? What are they doing that I’m not doing? Why do I love their
writing so much? Take notes on their stories. Plot them. Write in the
margins. Read them slowly. Read their reviews—both good and bad. Did
that writer you love once write something you hated? Great, even better.
Figure out why that particular book was different from the others.
2. Analyze your own writing.
Do you have an older story you wrote that you love? Figure out why.
What did you do differently in that story that you’re not doing in the
current story you’re writing? Make notes. Draw maps. Reverse engineer
3. Develop a language to talk and think about writing.
craft books, blogs, anything you can get your hands on. Learn about
point of view, conflict, character development, dialogue, story
structure, syntax, metaphors. Get your advice from good sources, and
don’t believe everything you read. If something doesn’t sit right with
you, throw it out. But be open to everything.
4. Journal and write about your writing.
Over time, you will identify consistent weaknesses that you have. Then,
in the future, when you feel like “something is missing” from your
writing, you can reference your notes and remember, for example, that
you often have difficulty with your protagonist’s motivation, with
theme, with dialogue, etc., and you’ll have a better idea about where to
5. Share your writing with someone you trust, ideally a more experienced writer than you or an editor or mentor.
Be very careful about who you share your writing with. Friends and
family are not always the best choice. You don’t want someone who’s just
going to throw around their uneducated opinion about your work, who has
a big ego, or who won’t be honest with you. Remember: “I liked it” or
“I didn’t like it” are useless pieces of feedback. You want someone who
can read your work and say, “Your protagonist’s passion for music made
them really likeable to me. I was dying to know whether they would get
into the conservatory or not!” or “My attention wandered on page two,
when you described the couch upholstery for three paragraphs.”
6. Analyze the areas of your writing which are commonly problematic for new writers (and writers in general).
my experience as an editor, the most likely culprits are unclear
character motivation and lack of conflict. There are a lot of good
resources (books and blogs) about this. Try a Google search for “most
common mistakes beginning writers make.”
7. Trust your intuition.
Do you keep coming back to the same page or scene in your story, feeling like it isn’t right? You’re probably onto something.
8. Take time away from your writing.
be amazed how much more clear everything will be after a break. Give
yourself at least a week for a short story, 3-4 weeks for a novel. It
could also be the case that your ambitions for this particular story
don’t yet match your skills, and that you’ll have to wait even longer to
successfully finish it. I’ve known writers who have given up on a story
only to come back to it months or years later once they’d gained the
skills and insight to complete it. And then suddenly writing that story
seemed really easy!
Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.
I’ve gotten a question about whether the process of plotting a single book is the same as the process of writing a series. The answer is: yes, but no. They’re similar in many areas, but there are some differences.
1. In the first book you’ll want to introduce the main conflict first, and then a smaller, less important conflict a little later in. The smaller conflict will be resolved by the end of the book; the larger conflict, which is the main conflict of the series, will not. As an example, take the Harry Potter series (I use it because it’s well-known and won’t take too much explaining). In The Philosopher’s Stone, the first couple of chapters are about Harry and who he is, how he ended up with the Dursleys, what happened to his parents – these chapters accomplish backstory by introducing Harry and his family situation, and introduce the main conflict by telling of the death of Harry’s parents, and by Dumbledore expressing uncertainty about how defeated Voldemort really is. Then, a few chapters in, after being admitted into Hogwarts, Harry finds out that someone is trying to steal the Philosopher’s Stone – the book’s short term conflict.
2. Each short-term conflict should move the long-term conflict closer to a resolution. For example, at the end of Philosopher’s Stone, the stone is safe (the short-term conflict resolved), but it’s been discovered that Voldemort is still alive and is still trying to gain power – the stakes of the long-term conflict are raised. At the end of Chamber of Secrets, the diary is destroyed, but we have some of Voldemort’s backstory, and it seems that Voldemort is gaining power. At the end of Prisoner of Azkaban, Wormtail is introduced – this seems to have nothing to do with the main conflict, but it’s important, because it brings some of Harry’s parentage back to him (although it’s secondhand, only stories of his parents), and because Wormtail turns out to be Voldemort’s right-hand man. At the end of Goblet of Fire, Voldemort regains his body, and at this point you could argue that the long-term conflict is about halfway through its rising action; at the end of Order of the Phoenix, Harry finds out that he must kill Voldemort or be killed by him, and that only he can defeat Voldemort; at the end of Half-Blood Prince, Dumbledore (the one person Voldemort was said to truly fear) is killed, Snape’s loyalty is in major question, and Hogwarts has been overtaken – Harry decides to continue Dumbledore’s work in looking for the Horcruxes. Finally, at the end of Deathly Hallows, Voldemort is defeated and a lot of the smaller loose ends (smaller-scale antagonists like Bellatrix LeStrange and Lucius Malfoy) are taken care of. Over the course of seven books, the long-term conflict – Voldemort trying to return to power and create a society that pampers purebloods and tramples poor wizards – has been resolved.
Basically, draw a circle on a piece of paper and put your main conflict in that circle. Then draw smaller circles stemming from that bigger circle and write your short-term conflicts in those. From there continue – subplots can be drawn stemming from your short-term conflicts. (If you don’t know how to create subplots, this post may help – in it I describe the same process of mapping out possible sub-conflicts to your main conflict, but probably describe a little better.) If you don’t know what your short-term conflicts are yet, then think of your long-term conflict as a straight line of rope – then ask yourself how you can knot up that rope. What processes do your protagonists have to go through to get to a solution, and how can your antagonists gum up the works? For example, in the Harry Potter series, the long-term conflict is that Harry has to defeat Voldemort. What gets in the way of that? I can name a few things, from various places in the books: Minister Fudge refusing to believe him when Voldemort comes back after the events of Goblet of Fire, having so much difficulty finding and destroying all the Horcruxes in Deathly Hallows, Dolores Umbridge preaching that Voldemort is not alive when in fact he is, and is growing stronger. (There are a million possibilities for your story’s short-term conflicts, because depending on your characters’ dispositions, they could cause a few themselves – for example, one of your characters could feel they have something to prove and end up getting themselves in trouble, and the plot of an entire book could be finding and saving that character before time runs out.)
Stephen King is an All-Time Great, arguably one of the most popular novelists the world has ever seen. And there’s a good chance that he’s inspired more people to start writing than any other living writer. So, as the Guardian and King’s UK publisher Hodder launch a short story competition – to be judged by the master himself – here are the ten most important lessons to learn from his work.
1. Write whatever the hell you like
King might be best known – or, rather, best regarded – as a writer of horror novels, but really, his back catalogue is crammed with every genre you can think of. There are thrillers (Misery, Gerald’s Game), literary novels (Bag Of Bones, Different Seasons), crime procedurals (Mr Mercedes), apocalypse narratives (The Stand), fantasy (Eyes Of The Dragon, The Dark Tower series) … He’s even written what I think of as being one of the greatest Young Adult novels of all time: The Long Walk. Perhaps the only genre or audience he hasn’t really touched so far is comedy, but most of his work features moments that show his deft touch with humour. It’s clear that King does what he wants, when he wants, and his constant readers – the term he calls his, well, constant readers – will follow him wherever he goes.
2. The scariest thing isn’t necessarily what’s underneath the bed
Horror is a curious thing. What scares one person won’t necessarily scare another. And while there might be moments in his horror novels that tread towards the more conventional ideas of what some find terrifying, for the most part, the truly scary aspects are those that deal with humanity itself. Ghosts drive people to madness, telekinetic girls destroy whole towns with their powers, clowns … well, clowns are just bloody terrifying full stop. But the true crux of King’s ability to scare is finding the thing that his readers are actually worried about, and bringing that to the fore. If you’re writing horror, don’t just think about what goes bump in the night; think about what that bump might drive people to do afterwards.
3. Don’t be scared of transparency
One of my favourite things about King’s short story collections are the little notes about each tale that he puts into the text. The history of them, the context for the idea, how the writing process actually worked. They’re not only invaluable material for aspiring writers – because exactly how many drafts does it take to reach a decent story? King knows! – but they’re also brilliant nuggets of insight into King himself. Some people might think that it’s better off knowing nothing about authors when they read their work, but for King, his heart is on his sleeve. In his latest collection, The Bazaar of Broken Dreams, King gets more in-depth than ever, talking about what inspired the stories in such an honest way that it couldn’t have come from another writer’s pen. Which brings us to …
4. Write what you know. Sort of. Sometimes
Write what you know is the most common writing tip you’ll find anywhere. It’s nonsense, really, because if we all did that we’d end up with terribly boring novels about writers staring out of windows waiting for inspiration to hit. (If you like those, incidentally, head straight for the literary fiction section of your nearest bookshop.) But King understands that experience is something which can be channelled into your work, and should be at every opportunity. Aspects of his life – addiction, teaching, his near-fatal car accident, rock and roll, ageing – have cropped up in his work over and over, in ways that aren’t always obvious, but often help to drive the story. That’s something every writer can use, because it’s through these truths that real emotions can be writ large on the page.
5. Aim big. Or small
King’s written some mammoth books, and they’re often about mammoth things. The Stand takes readers into an apocalypse, with every stage of it laid out on the page until the final fantastical showdown. It deals with a horror that hits a group of characters twice in their lives, showing us how years and years of experience can change people. And The Dark Tower is a seven (or eight, or more, if you count the short stories set in its world) part series that takes in so many different genres of writing it’s dizzying. When he needs to, King aims really big, and sometimes that’s what you have to do to tell a story. At the other end of the spectrum, some of King’s most enduring stories – Rita Hayworth & Shawshank Redemption, The Mist – have come from his shorter works. He traps small groups of characters in single locations and lets the story play out how it will. The length of the story you’re telling should dictate the size of the book. Doesn’t matter if it’s forty thousand words or two hundred, King doesn’t waste a word.
6. Write all the time. And write a lot
King’s published – wait for it – 55 novels, 11 collections of stories, 5 non-fiction works, 7 novellas and 9 assorted other pieces (including illustrated works and comic books). That’s over a period of 41 years. That’s an average of two books a year. Which is, I must admit, a pretty giddying amount. That’s years of reading (or rereading, if you’re as foolishly in awe of him as I am). But he’s barely stopped for breath. This year has seen three books published by him, which makes me feel a little ashamed. Still, at my current rate of writing, I might catch up with him sometime next century. And while not every book has found the same critical and commercial success, they’ve all got their fans.
7. Voice is just as important as content
King’s a writer who understands that a story needs to begin before it’s actually told. It begins in the voice of the novel: is it first person, or third? Is it past or present tense? Is it told through multiple narrators, or just the one? He’s a master at understanding exactly why each story is told the way it’s told. Sure, he might dress it up as something simple – the story finding the voice it needs, or vice versa – but through his books you can see that he’s tried pretty much everything, and can see why each voice worked with the story he was telling.
8. And Form is just as important as voice
King isn’t really thought of as an experimental novelist, which is grossly unfair. Some of King’s more daring novels have taken on really interesting forms. Be it The Green Mile’s fragmented, serialised narrative; or the dual publication of The Regulators and Desperation – novels which featured the same characters in very different situations, with unsettling parallels between the stories that unfolded for them; or even Carrie’s mixed-media narrative, with sections of the story told as interview or newspaper extract. All of these novels have played with the way they’re presented on the page to find the perfect medium for telling those stories. Really, the lesson here from King is to not be afraid to play.
9. You don’t have to be yourself
Some of King’s greatest works in the early years of his career weren’t published by King himself. They were in the name of Richard Bachman, his slightly grislier pseudonym. The Long Walk, Thinner, The Running Man – these are books that dealt with a nastier side of things than King did in his properly attributed work. Because, maybe it’s good to have a voice that allows us to let the real darkness out, with no judgments. (And then maybe, as King eventually did in The Dark Half, it’s good to kill that voice on the page … )
10. Read On Writing. Now
This is the most important tip in the list. In 2000, King published On Writing, a book that sits in the halfway space between autobiography and writing manual. It’s full of details about his process, about how he wrote his books, channelled his demons and overcame his challenges. It’s one of the few books about writing that are actually worth their salt, mainly because it understands that it’s about a personal experience, and readers might find that useful. There’s no universal truths when it comes to writing. One person’s process would be a nightmare for somebody else. Some people spend years labouring on nearly perfect first drafts; some people get a first draft written in six weeks, and then spend the next year destroying it and rebuilding it. On Writing tells you how King does it, to help you to find your own. Even if you’re not a fan of his books, it’s invaluable to the in-development writer. Heck, it’s invaluable to all writers.
The I’m-Planning-to-Write-But-Haven’t-Started-Yet-Cause-I’m-Procrastinating Checklist
Alternatively, you haven’t started writing because you’re still planning, you haven’t come up with something yet, you’re waiting for November 1st, it’s a bad brain day and you can’t string two sentences together, or your favorite area in the library has been colonized by poly-sci majors who have no respect for quiet zones (no I’m not bitter).
No matter why, you’re still not writing. Here’s a short checklist that will let you keep procrastinating while still being productive! Yay!
Write an outline
Pick a title, or a few titles to get you started
Write a synopsis
Create a world bible
Create a Pinterest board
Tidy up your writing space (if you can)
Create a writing playlist, or a playlist for this particular project
List out the characters, settings, etc.
Pick some goals – plot points, word count, time elapsed, etc.
Pick a reward for when you reach your goals
This way, you’re still being somewhat productive in creating your novel, screenplay, short story, etc., but you don’t have to actually start writing yet. It’s a win-win!
How do you write Connor so well? Could you share some writing tips?
That’s really sweet of you to say. Honestly, it’s just me trying to pick up on every little thing we actually know about Connor and filling in my own interpretations of what they mean. We really don’t know that much about Connor. He’s only in the beginning of the play then throughout you get little snippets of his life from other characters…but it’s not that much to go off of. Even then, it’s how they saw him which can we a warped version of what he actually was. When I’m writing him, I try not to focus on Evan’s Connor because he’s only a projection of Evan’s own self. It’s important to remember that he’s not Connor. He’s Evan. That’s Evan’s mind talking to him using Connor’s face but it’s not Connor himself. He’s not a ghost coming back to talk to this random kid he’s interacted with once or twice. He’s 100% Evan’s mind projecting.
So then you have to focus on what you actually know about him. I’m gonna dissect it because I literally love analyzing characters it’s my favorite thing in the entire world. You didn’t ask for this but I’m doing it anyway yolo (im sorry).
The first time we meet Connor is at the breakfast scene. What do we know about that scene?:
Connor doesn’t want to go to school.
It is the very first day of his senior year. Not many people skip the very first day of school. It’s supposed to be a fairly easy, chill, exciting day to most people. Getting to know your teachers, seeing friends, catching up with people, not much work etc. I’m going off of my own school experience to analyze this bit: Skipping/Not wanting to go/Having anxiety over going doesn’t mean you’re lazy and don’t like work. It generally means that you feel uncomfortable, anxious, lonely, scared about having to navigate the world of school and your peers. Connor doesn’t have friends. Going to school, sitting in class, doing group projects, eating lunch, doing anything in school alone and without friends is fucking hard. It’s awful. It’s not a surprise he doesn’t want to go.
Connor is high.
Judging from typical school days, it’s probably somewhere between 6 - 7 in the morning. That’s early. That’s someone who wakes up and immediate gets high. AND it’s the first day of school. That’s someone who needs something to help them cope just to get through the day. He needs something to help him take the edge off of life because doing it without anything is a daunting thought.
Cynthia also says “I don’t want you going to school high Connor. We’ve talked about this.” Which implies that this a fairly regular thing for him.
Connor reacts negatively when Zoe speaks but ignores Larry.
Okay so I love this bit because my psychology loving self adores this kind of shit. It’s amazing and beautifully done and asdlhfal;ksd
After Cynthia tries to get Larry involved with making sure Connor goes to school. Larry says, “What do you want me to do? He doesn’t listen. Look at him. He’s probably high.” Connor stays quiet. Then Zoe confirms Larry’s statement and says, “He’s definitely high.” And Connor responds with a “Fuck you!”
Every time Larry speaks Connor stays quiet. His body language in the scene involves Connor resting his arm on the side of his head and, by doing so, is putting some sort of physical barrier between his facial expressions and his dad sitting next to him.
If I recall correctly, I don’t think Connor ever once actually speaks to his dad??? Larry talks at him but Connor never responds. No words are ever spoken from him to Larry. (I think, I could be wrong)
SO the point here is that Connor doesn’t say shit when Larry is nagging at him but the second Zoe opens her mouth to do the same he immediately responds with a big “fuck you” and puts his head down on the table.
The way I analyze that scene is that the fuck you was really meant for Larry, that he was pissed off at his father, but he took it out on Zoe. He redirected his anger onto his sister because it’s a lot easier to take advantage of a younger sibling then the head of your household.
Judging from how Zoe speaks about him later in the play, he probably redirected a lot of his anger onto her and it really messed her up.
Him not speaking up to Larry could also mean that Connor is potentially afraid of him?
The second time we see Connor is at school with Jared and Evan:
Connor cares what people think about him and he’s bullied.
Jared says, “Hey Connor. Loving the new hair length. Very school shooter chic.” Connor responds by staring at him with this perplexed look of wtf dude seriously. He was just nagged at home, forced to go to school when he’s clearly uncomfortable about doing that, and then he gets there only to be antagonized by Jared who pretty much refers to him as someone who slaughters innocent people.
His ‘wtf dude’ look is totally justified in my opinion.
Jared then says that he was just kidding and that it was a joke. To which Connor replies with “Yeah no it was funny. I’m laughing can’t you tell.” His tone starts out light and sarcastic. When Jared doesn’t respond, he steps closer to him and voice raises. “Am I not laughing hard enough for you?” He’s clearly offended by what Jared said.
Jared calls him a freak and walks away.
He gets bullied by Jared so he turns around and becomes the bully to Evan.
Like he did with Zoe, Connor redirects his pain onto people he know won’t fight back or who he views as weaker than him.
Evan nervous laughs when he’s left alone with Connor. Connor can probably see that Evan is scared of him and uses that to his advantage. He says the whole, “What the fuck are you laughing at? Stop fucking laughing at me?”” Stop laughing at me. Not laughing at what Jared said. But specifically laughing at Connor himself. Connor doesn’t want people laughing at him because he cares what they think about him. “You think I’m the freak? I’m not the freak. You’re the fucking freak.” He yells at Evan and pushes him to the ground.
People have all obviously analyzed all these scenes before. I’m not close to the first one to say it, but obviously, these are words he wishes he could say to Jared and Evan is the surrogate for his rage.
And finally we have the very last scene that Connor is in which is the computer lab scene:
Connor is apologetic after he loses his temper.
He sees Evan, who has clearly been crying. I think it’s unknown how long Connor was actually in the room with him/if he overheard the phone call with Evan’s mom. I’m assuming that Evan wasn’t actually speaking out loud when he was writing his letter, that it was more for the audience to know what he was writing. So if Connor had been in the room and listening, he could have heard Evan’s side of the phone call and seen him quietly crying on his laptop while writing something then print it out. Since he was near the printer, he took the paper to give to him. He didn’t have to do that. He wanted to.
I think he wanted an excuse to talk to Evan again after he pushed him. He probably felt bad. I feel like he views Evan as someone who’s harmless and unintimidating, which is why it was easy for him to channel his anger onto, but then he started to regret that choice, so he tried to reach out.
He never actually apologizes with words and instead tries to do it through actions. I bet you that Larry does the exact same thing too but Connor probably never realized or picked up on it. (I could do a full character study on Larry too omg he’s a great specimen to take apart and a fantastically flawed character like everyone else in the show its beautiful fuck)
He’s got a dark sense of humor.
When finding out Evan broke his arm from falling out of a tree, he replies with a “That’s the saddest fucking thing I ever heard.” But he doesn’t say it in a mean way. He smiles and laughs under his breath.
HE WAS TELLING A JOKE. He was trying his best to be nice to Evan and lightly joke around with him but I doubt they have similar styles of humor. I think it’s the only time Connor actually genuinely smiles too??
And Evan doesn’t really laugh. It’s more of a nervous “plz don’t hurt me again ur a lil scary” kinda laugh. So Connor backs off and changes the subject.
He notices that no one signed Evan’s cast.
He noticed that Evan has no friends hence the “now we can both pretend we have friends” line.
He noticed Evan’s sad and alone so he’s making an effort to be nice to him.
He noticed that he printed a piece of paper and that it would be a good ice breaker.
He’s quiet and he notices things. It’s subtle but it’s there. I bet you Connor secretly knows everything about everyone.
The boy just wants a damn friend.
He’s lonely. Evan’s clearly lonely. Why not try to befriend him?
He’s signs his cast super big so it takes up the whole arm. For one, it gets a laugh out of the audience. But two, he kinda knows that no one else will sign it so he makes his name extra big so everyone will see and know that both of them aren’t alone/friendless.
This is also interesting to me because I wonder if Connor knew he was going to kill himself then. Often times suicide is something people plan out ahead of time. I wonder if he knew what he was going to do and I wonder if writing that on Evan’s arm was a secret way for him to leave something semi permanent behind. A way to be sure that someone would remember him when he’s gone. If that’s the case then that was some powerful shit to slip in and it hurts my soul.
He’s angry and paranoid and suicidal.
So obviously Connor reads Evan note to himself, thinks it’s about him, freaks out and leaves. That’s the last time we see Connor.
I’ve looked at this scene in a few different ways. The first way I see it is that Connor could of had symptoms of paranoia. He sees his sister’s name and his first thought is that Evan did this in a malicious manor. He views people as out to get him. It doesn’t take much to set him off. He’s got a lot of anger inside of him that he doesn’t know how to release in a healthy way so it ends up with him blowing up over the slightest little bumps in the road.
The second way I view it is a little different. If I’m thinking about my point before (about him already having plans to kill himself) then I wonder if he was just using the paper as an excuse to get angry and leave. He had already made his mark using Evan’s cast. His name was there. He technically didn’t need Evan anymore. Thus he “freaks out” over this paper and it helps fuel his desires to end his own life. As someone who has been suicidal in the past, I understand wanting to find every excuse you can to help end things, to justify what you’re doing, and to push people away. It’s a super fucked up way of thinking but, when you put yourself into that mindset, I don’t think it’s that crazy of an idea.
“Is this about my sister? You wrote this because you knew I’d find it.” (Hinting at the paranoia point) “Yeah you, uh, saw that I was the only other person in the computer lab.” (Mentally trying to convince himself to believe that Evan did this on purpose, even though it goes against everything he already knows about Evan) “So I could read some creepy shit you wrote about my sister and freak out, right?” (here comes the anger) “Then you could tell everybody that I’m crazy! Right?! Fuck you!” (cue the storm off)
And then we hear from Evan that Connor hasn’t been in school for three days.
And eventually we find out why.
From everything that Connor, himself, has told us he’s deeply hurting. He’s quiet. Observant. He’s got many unchecked mental health issues. He doesn’t feel heard. He’s lonely. He uses coping methods to get by. He has little to no self worth. He carries around a lot of guilt. He acts out on people he know won’t fight him back. Probably because he needs to feel superior because everywhere else in his life he feels stepped on. He is both a bully and bullied. He had little regard for strong authority aka Larry. He craves personal connections but doesn’t know how to obtain them or keep them. He’s broken. So that’s how I try my best to write him.
THEN we have what everyone else tells us about Connor. This should all be taken with a grain of salt because everyone views people differently but their words shouldn’t be totally disregarded either. (Yes I’m going to go on longer even though you never asked for this I’M SORRY I CAN’T STOP NOW) So let’s see what little Connor character traits we can find out from other people that could be potentially used for writing him in the future.
The scene during For Forever tells a lot of about Connor through his family:
Zoe: Connor wasn’t very nice so that makes sense.
Cynthia: Connor was…a complicated person.
Zoe:No. Connor was a bad person. There’s a difference.
In response to finding out Connor pushed Evan. Zoe is shown to have no sympathy for her brother’s actions while Cynthia continues to make excuses for him. I see that as Connor having no mercy on his sister but probably playing his mom to his advantage with what he knew he could get away with.
Cynthia: Did Connor tell you about the Harris’? We used to go skiing together, our families.
Zoe:Connor hated skiing.
Not a sports, activity kinda guy. Doesn’t like things involving social gatherings. Not friendly.
Larry: Somebody had to be the bad guy.
In response to reading Connor’s emails. This one is a little iffy in regards to Connor’s character. It’s more a Larry thing. Because I don’t know if Connor was actually aware that his emails were read or not but either way it shows that he was completely not trusted by his family. Also that pointing out again that Cynthia was probably a push over when it came to Connor and he knew that.
Cynthia:We used to go to the orchard all the time. We;d do picnics there. Remember that Zoe?
Zoe: Yeah I do.
Cynthia:You and Connor had that little toy plane that you would fly. [to Larry, with sad laughter] Until you flew it into the creek.
Larry: No that was an emergency landing.
This is big. Things weren’t always hell in the Murphy house. There were good memories. Sadly though good memories are often overshadowed by the bad ones. Connor seemed to cast a huge shadow over this family. But it is important to note that Connor and Zoe used to play together as children. Things. Aren’t. Always. Awful. Connor wasn’t a reckless beast. He can be written to be playful and funny and sarcastic and sweet. Just balance it out with the angst. People are complicated and have tons of depth so try to write them that way if you can.
Other things said at random points throughout the play…
“Connor Murphy is batshit out of his mind. Remember when he threw a printer at Mrs. G in second grade because he didn’t get to be the line leader that day?
Connor has had anger issues since he was a child too.
“Still can’t believe the terrible news about @ connormurphy. I wouldn’t say that we were friends exactly. More like acquaintances. We were in chemistry together. I’m pretty sure. Also he was in my English class in 10th grade. Almost positive. Yeah he was definitely in my English class. Three days ago Connor Murphy was here and now hes gone. If Connor meant something to you please retweet or private message me if you just wanna talk. At time like thees we could all use a friend.”
Honestly, this says way more about Alana’s character but it still mentions Connor so I’m adding it.
But what I do get from this was the Connor has/had a twitter (or some form of social media, but I’m assuming twitter since the “retweet” bit) and Alana followed him on it?
“He was one of my closest acquaintances. He was my lab partner in Chemistry and we presented on Huck Fin together in 10th grade. He was so funny. Instead of calling it, well, Huck Fin…[fades off]. Nobody else in our class thought of that.”
Again, speaks more to Alana’s character than Connors. But I also wonder if this is actually true or if she made this up in a similar fashion to Evan in order to put herself in the story…since she didn’t even recall if he was in those classes or not earlier.
BUT assuming that this was true, Connor doesn’t seem to care much for school. Or he could have been trying to make jokes in order to gain friends. If he worked with Alana on projects, her personality would have steam rolled over his. I think she would be the type of person he would sit back and let take control and tell him what to do then just go along with it.
“Just because Connor isn’t here, trying to punch through my door, screaming that he’s going to kill me for no reason, that doesn’t mean that all of a sudden we’re the fucking Brady Bunch.”
“After all you put me through. Don’t say it wasn’t true. That you were not the monster that I knew”
This shit just breaks my damn heart. You are not the monster that I knew is one of my favorite lines in the entire play. In Zoe’s story, Connor is the villain. He hurt her. He abused her. And no one did anything about it to protect her or stop him. I haven’t really had a chance to write too much of Zoe into my writings yet but I know that if/when I do, Connor is not going to be a kind character to her.
“We didn’t think Connor had any friends.”
All they found with Connor was Evan’s letter. I wonder how many times he reread it, if at all, before he died. Do you think he calmed down and looked at it again through a different light? This time maybe seeing how depressed and unhappy Evan was too? I wonder if he found comfort in that at all and that’s why it was still in his pocket. Of course that’s purely speculation on my part. He could have just shoved it in there and forgot it was there. That’s the beautiful thing about this play, there’s a lot that the viewer can piece together and take away on their own. Things are never fed to you. They present them simply and let you take what you need from it.
Anyway, yeah, Connor had no friends. That point was already kinda clear though.
“I gave you the world. You threw it away.”
Connor grew up in a well off family. They were rich. He literally could of had anything he wanted but he didn’t. I take that as Connor not giving a shit about material items. He probably has little regard for things. You could write that as him throwing and breaking near by items if he’s mad or simply tossing things around and not caring abobut them. Whereas someone who grew up poor, would be more likely to take care of their things because they know they can’t just get more.
“I didn’t realize Connor meant this much to people.”
In his father’s eyes, Connor didn’t mean very much. He was probably able to pick up on that and it would affect his attitude and behavior to other people. If he felt he didn’t mean much to his own father, then why would he ever be special to anyone else?
“He left it in the bag with the tags still on.”
Larry’s weak attempt at reaching out to his son with a baseball glove. It was probably obvious to everyone that Connor was not a sports person. He probably hated baseball. But Larry likes it so he tried to force his hobbies onto Connor. It was received by Connor not even opening the gift. From Connor’s perspective, he could have taken that as a ‘wow my father knows literally nothing about me wtf’ where as Larry would have viewed that differently but this is not about Larry asd;kfja
“Your dad must feel pretty lucky to have a son like you.”
Another great line in this play! It hurts my soul. Connor is a disappointment to his father. Larry wished Connor could have been something more than he was. Once again, this shit would weigh on Connor’s mind and fuck him up.
“I don’t remember the last time I heard him laugh.”
That shit is dark yo. Connor doesn’t laugh around his family. He’s unhappy there.
“Connor didn’t get invited to any bar mitzvahs” [paraphrasing that quote]
Cynthia always had hope for Connor. I like to imagine Connor not being as nasty to his mother than everyone in the family. She really loved him and I hope he could feel that deep down.
And, of course, Evan:
“Over the summer I found this yearbook thing that our class made in 8th grade. Most people did collages of their friends. But Connor’s was a list of his ten favorite books.”
One of my favorite bits I like to write into stories is that Connor liked to read. For a middle school kid to have ten favorite books, and care enough about them to put them into a yearbook, is kinda of special. Books are methods of escapism to many people and I like to think Connor is included in that group.
OKAY IM GOING TO STOP THIS IS SO LONG I AM SO SORRY THIS WAS NOT THE RESPONSE YOU WERE LOOKING FOR I WROTE YOU A DUMB CHARACTER STUDY INSTEAD. THIS IS ALL HOW I SEE CONNOR SO IT’S HOW I TRY TO WRITE HIM YOU COULD SEE HIM SUPER DIFFERENTLY AND WRITE HIM DIFFERENTLY THATS WHAT IS SO GREAT ABOUT WRITING
Although the title says speeches, you can really use these tips for writing and presenting any sort of oral presentation. Hope they help :))
Research the topic: Duh. This is really basic but very important. If at all possible, try to have a deeper understanding of the topic than needed, you don’t want to be caught out by a difficult question.
Have an introduction: Include your name, the topic you’ll be discussing and why you chose it. Even if you were given the topic, try and say what you found interesting about it (make it seem like it’s not just for a good grade). Personally, I wouldn’t outline any key points in your talk here, you don’t want people to zone out due to an information overload.
The main body of your talk: Try and link the points together with phrases such as: to reinforce the previous idea, similarly, to clarify, in contrast to that, conversely etc. Just try to make it sound cohesive and not like you’re saying whatever pops into your head. I’d say to include a minimum of 3 points, but that can vary depending on what’s required.
Devices: List things as triads (in 3s), this gives a nice rhythm and flow. Use rhetorical questions(!)- this is especially important in speeches and persuasuve writing. You want your audience to really think and examine the information you have given them, not just half-listen to whatever you’re on about.
A brief conclusion: Summary of main points, pretty standard stuff. But you should thank the audience for their time, it just leaves a really good impression and clearly says you’ve finished speaking.
Have confidence: If you don’t think you’re worth listening to, no one else will either! You know this topic like the back of your hand, you’ll do great.
Speak clearly: Kinda to do with confidence. Nice and loud so you can be heard, enunciate (but don’t be too overdramatic lmao-people can go a bit crazy with this one).
Know your notes: Not necessarily off by heart (sometimes I think this just gives you more problems bc if you blank, you’re screwed), but don’t stare at them the whole time. Look down every know and then but don’t have your nose glued to the page!
Practice: Similar to knowing your notes, I wouldn’t recommend learn it off by heart. If something throws you and you lose your train of thought, you’re screwed. Most importantly, you needto practiceout loud, and in front of a mirror- if you have one. Again, you’re building confidence and creating a routine so it’s not as daunting when you do the real thing.
Visual aids: Use colours, graphs, images or whatever else to get your point across. Power points are great, but even just a poster works. I put this one last because it’s not necessary but if it’s possible, 100% you should do it because:
Takes the focus off you (great if you’re self-conscious/worried about going up in front of a group to present- this is the main reason I use visuals)
A reminder in case you blank
Stops you rambling/getting distracted and going off topic
Grabs the audience’s attention (why do you think studyblrs often use cute images at the top of posts?- it draws people in!)
Well, I hope that helps out and that you have a few new tricks up your sleeve! Good luck with your presentations/speeches and feel free to message me if there are any bits of this post that don’t make sense or if you have any thoughts/ideas :)))
Hi guys. I’m going to piss off a lot of YA writers (and possibly
readers) today, so hang onto your hats.
Mainly, if you’re in love with the idea of a high schooler
with no strategic or combat experience heading up a revolution or war because
they’re “so dedicated and determined,” don’t read this. Please, don’t. You’re
not going to see anything you like. Go ahead and keep enjoying your guilty
pleasure – that’s fine. I’m not going to own up to some of the guilty pleasures
I love in fiction but don’t buy for a second in real life. That’s chill. Go for
But there are just things that I – and readers like me – are
tired of seeing. If you’re sick of that trope, then keep reading. If you’re
open to the idea of ditching that trope in your writing, then I really
This assessment/collection of tips on why teens shouldn’t run
revolutions - and if you’re going to make them, how they CAN do it well - will
include comparisons to history, other fiction (Unplugged), and Black Butler.
Plus swearing and a range of incorrect capitalizations, because it’s fun.
In celebration of me living on my own for almost exactly a year now, here’s a list.
If you’re a mentally 12 yo person who suddenly finds themselves in a flat of their own and has no idea how to adult, hi! Me too. Here’s a list of things I’ve realised are essential p much from the start:
some sort of paper towel. Toilet paper, napkins, anything. You can do a lot of cleaning with just paper towels.
Toast. Toast is my best friend. You don’t need any of the other foods, as long as you have some toast.
(A toaster. Not as important as the toast itself, but makes all the difference in enjoying it. Also makes you feel like you’re an adult for some reason?? I mean, you’ve got a toaster. V adult.)
At least one pot/pan.
RUBBISH BAGS. OTHER PLASTIC BAGS. KEEP H&M BAGS FROM YOUR LATEST SHOPPING IF YOU CAN’T FIND ANYTHING ELSE BUT YOU’RE GONNA NEED PLASTIC BAGS.
(unless you’re vegan) Milk. You wouldn’t believe how many things you need milk for, and how fast it’s all gone. (Maybe this one’s just me though. I love milk)
(again, if you’re non-vegan) EGGS! YOU CAN MAKE SO MUCH OUT OF EGGS. YOU CAN MAKE SCRAMBLED EGG, HARDBOILED EGG, PANCAKES, COOKIES, CAKE, YOUR OWN BREAD okay, maybe that’s for later. But have eggs. They also almost never go bad if you keep them cold enough
Coffee. Even if you don’t like coffee (wtf) you’re gonna want coffee. You’re an adult now. You’re gonna have people visit you, and, presuming you’re not the most social person in the world, you’ll want to be able to do something other than talk. Making coffee is a great excuse to move around, and won’t even seem rude! Also you’ll need coffee because seriously, how else do people survive
I have realised that this has almost solely been about food up to this point. And food is important, but you know what’s even more important? Sleep.
BUY A BED. A REAL BED. NO, NOT JUST A MATTRESS. Honestly, you’re gonna want a bed. You’re not gonna want to buy one, but do it. It’s worth it. And when you’ve purchased one, ASSEMBLE IT. OR MAKE YOUR FRIENDS ASSEMBLE IT. DON’T SIT ON THE CARTONS FOR THREE WEEKS.
Something to organise your clothes in. Doesn’t have to be a huge wardrobe, maybe just a clothes rag and some boxes/a shelf. NOT the boxes from your move. That’s gonna turn into the biggest mess real soon, believe me this one took me way too long
More than one mug.
Plates. Also more than one. Because IF you ever decide to show off your phenomenal cooking abilities, it’s a real bummer to find out you’ve got nothing to present your perfectly reheated chicken nuggets on.
At least one big mixing bowl. You don’t even know how many things you’re gonna want to mix. But you’re a free person now, so, as long as you’ve got a bowl, you can do about anything! But don’t eat an entire bowl of raw cookie dough. Just don’t. Seriously.
Sponges. You’re gonna need so many sponges. Also soap. Also more sponges.
Scented candles. Because scented candles are great.
I’m by no means an expert, but I have survived on my own for almost a year now, so basically I just wanna pet myself on the shoulder for that thanks me @ me u survived
Hi there! I'm not sure if you've answered something similar to this, but I'm wanting to write an autistic character. She's very severe, and has trouble communicating (slurred speech), her personality is also very spacey and oblivious. Any tips, or things to learn about writing an autistic character when I myself am not autistic? Thank you! Take your time!
Thanks for your question, love! I apologize for the wait, but I’m happy to finally get to answer this :)
So first, I’ve got a a note on what you’ve described about your character. For one thing, it’s preferred among most autistic people that there be no “sliding scale” of severity – because there are so many different symptoms and combinations of symptoms, and “severity” seems to only relate to symptoms that bother allistic people most. Here’s a masterpost on how to handle this topic.
So now that this is out of the way, here are my official tips for writing autistic characters!
How to Write Autistic Characters
So it took me some time to prepare for this question, primarily because I saw so little information out there for writing about autism! And that’s understandable, since it’s such a complex topic – after all, no two autistic people have exactly the same symptoms and coping mechanisms. Plus, since autism is basically a top-to-bottom different living experience, it’s difficult for allistics to identify with.
But I’m going to discuss this in a few different parts: symptoms, coping mechanisms, positive qualities, and stereotypes to avoid. I’ll try to keep it as brief as possible without sparing any information :)
Symptoms of Autism
There are many different symptoms of autism, although the mental/emotional aspects of the disorder is most often overlooked by the general public. It’s important to recognize that every autistic person’s experience and symptoms are different. Some people have few social problems but they can’t handle the sensory experience of a restaurant; some have few physical problems, but they struggle with OCD and can’t maintain a conversation. The only difference between symptoms is that some are talked about and some are not, which makes them seem “uncommon.”
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) – SPD is defined as the struggle to process different sensory input – visual, auditory, tactile, taste, olfactory, proprioception, vestibular and interoception. SPD causes hyper- or hyposentitivities to certain sensory stimuli (e.g. certain clothing textures, food textures, scents, and lighting – especially fluorescent lighting. Ugh.)
Dyspraxia– A result of SPD, dyspraxia makes it difficult to control one’s physical movement. It creates problems with planning and executing actions, as well as speaking or judging spacial proximity.
Sleep Disorder – Many autistic people struggle with sleeping for various reasons – hypersensitivity seems to be the greatest cause. Offensive sheet fabric, noises, or lighting can cause sleep problems, as well as racing thoughts or anxiety.
Lack of Energy (or Spoons) – Often caused by sleep problems or SPD, a lack of energy intensifies normal symptoms. Understand that when an autistic person engages in a stressful or energy-consuming experience (prolonged socialization, insomnia, bad sensory environments, anxiety, etc.)
Nonverbal Communication – This type of communication is used by nearly one-third of autistic people, either because they aren’t able to use language in a meaningful way, because it requires an excessive amount of mental/social energy, or because they suffer from a learning disability. Some people go temporarily nonverbal in times of stress to conserve energy. Most nonverbal autistic people learn other means of communication, like writing, sign language, or scripting/echolalia.
Executive Dysfunction – This dysfunction makes it difficult for some autistic people to start, finish, and quit tasks; to make decisions and switch activities; and/or create, organize, and follow through with plans. This should not be confused with procrastination, as it is not a decision – it’s a result of low energy.
Alexithymia– Alexithymia can cause autistic people to struggle to identify their own emotions, or separate physical feelings from emotional feelings. It’s closely tied with lowered interoception, which is defined as the struggle (or inability) to define and assess physical sensations like hunger, thirst, tension, etc.
Meltdowns – Meltdowns are an emotional response to overstimulation and stress, causing some autistic people to “lose control” of visceral emotional responses (e.g. shaking, kicking, crying, shouting, etc.). There is another type of meltdown called a shutdown, which causes an opposite reaction: dissociation and lack of external response. It’s a flight reaction rather than a fight reaction.
Increased Likelihood for Other Mental Disorders – Since the world isn’t exactly built for autistic people, there are plenty of everyday challenges and stressors (as well as difficulty maintaining supportive relationships) that can cause other comorbid disorders, such as OCD, anxiety, and depression.
Hyperempathy or Low Empathy – On two ends of the spectrum, autistic people often struggle with the “right balance” of empathy – being either unable to identify, express, and empathize with emotions, or unable to shut off or control their own emotions as well as to separate themselves from other people’s emotions.
Impulsive Behavior – Because of a (sometimes) weak understanding of social rules and/or imbalanced empathy, an autistic person may struggle to stop and think before they say or do something impulsively. This can cause interpersonal issues, as impulsive speech may offend or hurt others, while impulsive actions may feel too “out-of-control” or “hard to manage” for loved ones.
Difficulty Interpreting or Expressing Social Cues – Autistic people often struggle to understand facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, sarcasm, flirting, or figures of speech – and because of this, they can often come off as “oblivious” or “simple” (although this is inaccurate and contributes to a lot of misrepresentation). It can also be difficult to express social cues, which is why some autistic people can appear to be awkward, clingy, aloof, or uninterested in friendship/romance.
Social Anxiety – Social situations can be especially stressful for autistic people, due to the amount of thinking it requires – to interpret cues, to “pass” as allistic, to express themselves clearly, to curb impulses, to handle sensory challenges – and this leads to social anxiety.
Social Isolation – As a result of social anxiety, some autistic people experience isolation, as they may feel more comfortable in their own environment, alone. This is an unfortunate result of ableist culture, and may be worsened by executive dysfunction which can make it difficult to reach out to others.
Struggle with Change – Whether in routine, environment, appearance, or the natural changes of life (such as graduation, moving, marriage, death in the family, new job, etc.), change can cause great stress for some autistic people. This is why many autistic people enjoy comfort objects, old music, childhood memories/interests, or specific, consistent colors, styles, or textures for their belongings.
Coping Mechanisms for Autistic People
There are many methods of coping with the negative aspects of autism, but there are a few that are most popular:
Behavioral & Occupational Therapy– Therapy (often combined with medication) is a continuous process of reducing symptoms, coping with stressors, and learning how to function in an allistic world. (The most common method of behavioral therapy, ABA, has reports of being abusive, so be mindful of this if you’re researching/writing about therapy!)
Stimming – “Stimming” or self-stimulating is a physical coping mechanism for sensory overload and similar stress. Stimming can be healthy or unhealthy depending on the action involved (some unhealthy stims include skin-peeling or hitting one’s head), and it can be conscious or subconscious. It’s often seen as “weird” or “bad” by allistics (especially parents), so some autistic people train themselves out of the habit from a young age.
Special Interests – Special interests are half a coping mechanism and half a natural part of autistic people’s lifestyles. It’s defined as a devoted interest to one or two subjects or activities – special interests can reduce stress, help focus, and provide motivation against executive dysfunction.
Positive Qualities of Autism
Now that we’ve gotten all the bad stuff out of the way, I’m gonna list a few common positive qualities of autistic people. Remember that these do not apply to all autistic people, but may be a natural consequence of autistic traits:
Divergence (from trends and social expectations)
Attention to detail
Understanding of what it’s like to be judged or left out
Skilled with children
Autistic people, of course, have many other great qualities, and may struggle with many of the above. Creating a character with all these qualities will yield you a stereotype, so be mindful!
Stereotypes of Autistic People
Finally, there are a few popular stereotypes of autistic characters, which should be avoided at all costs:
Autistic People are Psychic – We get this courtesy of shows like Touch, where the (usually nonverbal) autistic child suddenly starts speaking because they see ghosts or are somehow connected to “another world”. Autistic people joke about themselves being “aliens”… but allistic people really shouldn’t.
Autistic People Need Caretakers – While some autistic people do struggle to manage their lives alone, it’s a pretty harmful stereotype in media considering the lack of positive representation autistic people get. Plenty of autistic people (whether you consider them high- or low-functioning) lead successful lives on their own, and they deserve representation.
Autistic People are Burdens – The most stereotypical portrayal of autistic people is that they are the weight pulling on their parents’ ankles – that they destroy parents’ sex lives and make teachers crazy and their friends need a “night off” from their autistic friends.
Autistic People are Childlike – While many autistic people enjoy activities geared toward children, and while meltdowns can resemble an allistic child’s temper tantrum, autistic people are not childish or unintelligent. Autistic adults are adults, no matter their struggles.
Autistic People Look Different – Autistic people don’t all look a certain way from birth – this is a myth that has been debunked time and time again, the same way that the Vaccines Cause Autism myth has been debunked, time and time again. Don’t perpetuate these myths in your writing.
Autistic People are Like Robots – Autistic people may not express their feelings well, but they have feelings. Being nonverbal, being dissociative, being aloof or awkward – none of these things make an autistic person unfeeling or non-human. Be mindful to show the emotional side of your autistic character, even if they struggle to express it to others.
Resources for Researching Autism
A lot of these are courtesy of @anonymusauthorin, whom I thank very much for her information and deep connection to the autistic community!
@autism-asks is an active blog that takes questions about autism.
@undiagnosedautismfeels is an active blog that receives submitted anecdotes about autistic struggles, some specific to being undiagnosed/self-diagnosed.
@autisticheadcanons is an active blog that receives submissions of characters that actual autistic people headcanon as autistic. You can find some common submissions (e.g. Lilo Pelekai, Newt Scamander, Sherlock Holmes) and check them out for examples!
Final Note: You may notice that none of these links are affiliated with Autism Speaks, which is for a purpose. Autism Speaks has a long history of promoting eugenics, abusing autistic children and adolescents, silencing the voice of actual autistics, and promoting a “find a cure” narrative that’s harmful to the minds of both autistic people and potential parents of autistic children. When doing research, I’d advise you to refrain from using their resources.
Anyway, this was hugely long but I wanted to really go into it, since I didn’t see many other extensive guides on writing about autism. Note that while I, myself, am autistic, this is only the perspective of one autistic person. Either way, I hope this helps you with your character! If you have any further questions, my inbox is open and waiting :)
I saw your post about tips for writing love stories and it was really helpful! While the romance between my two characters is not the main plot it is certainly a big deal. I realized that I might have fallen victim to insta love and I was wondering how to avoid writing insta love?
Insta love is basically when the characters fall in love with each other without the backing of actually knowing each other and sharing experiences. So here’s a list on how to avoid it:
1. Instant attraction is different from insta love. Just like in real life, what people see first is on the outside, which might then spark them to learn about what’s inside. So you may have a character be attracted to another character the second they lay eyes on them, and that’s okay. It’s actually a pretty good start to a romantic relationship.
2. Let them get to know each other. Share struggles or moments of vulnerability. Let them flirt, ramp up the attraction, and get them to a point where they feel close to one another. This requires a bit of time. Of course, depending on who your characters are, this could take merely a few hours, but there needs to be some time between “Hey look at that cutie” and “I would die for them.”
3. Know your characters. What makes them open up to a possible romantic partner? Why are they attracted to this person? Why do they trust them and want to be with them? If you have legitimate answers, then that can explain a quick bond between two people which can lead to a quicker romantic fling that doesn’t count as an insta love.
4. Think about if your characters romantic progressions make sense and are healthy. It’s best to do this from the perspective of a best friend. If you find yourself going “oooh gurl, why u doin that” then maybe that’s not a romance your audience can root for. If outsiders think a relationship is moving too fast with too little footing, it might be lust, not love.
1) Make it legal. Please please please. I’d also recommend not skirting your way about because “the age of consent is this in this place.” Consenting adults, please and thank you.
2) Don’t fetishize it. Again, please. A proper, healthy relationship should be on an emotional, physical, and intellectual level. Do your best to focus on these things.
3) Be realistic about maturity differences. Whether or not the younger character is very mature for their age, there’s going to be differences. Life experience, the environments they were raised in, the pop culture ingrained in and important to them are going to differ. I’d recommend studying up some psychology of each age group you characters are a part of.
I really love words. I love small words and big words. I love words that sound funny and ones I can barely pronounce. As a reader and a writer, I think it is so vastly important that we try to broaden our vocabulary and actively learn new words. There are so many words out there that you never hear in conversation and ones you rarely even see in a book. So, I made a list of words that I have come across recently that I don’t see or hear very often. I’m not saying to go overboard and substitute every single word with something different. I’m only suggesting that these words need a little love too.
ameliorate (v.): to make or become better, more bearable, or more satisfactory
anthophilous (adj.): attracted by or living among flowers
antipathy (n.): a natural, basic, or habitual repugnance (2) an instinctive contrariety or opposition in feeling; strong dislike
atemporal (adj.): free from limitations of time
attenuate (v.): to weaken or reduce in force (2) to make thin
beguile (v.): to influence by trickery, flattery, etc. (2) to charm or divert
bonce (n.): head; skull
clandestine (adj.): characterized by, done in, or executed with secrecy or concealment
claque (n.): a group of persons hired to applaud an act or performer
credulous (adj.): willing to believe or trust too readily, especially without proper or adequate evidence; gullible
doleful (adj.): sorrowful; mournful; melancholy
egress (n.): the act or an instance of going (2) a means or place of going out; an exit
embullient (adj.): overflowing with fervor, enthusiasm, or excitement
enjambment (n.): the running on of the thought from one line, couplet, or stanza without a syntactical break
ethereal (adj.): light, airy, or tenuous (2) extremely delicate or refined (3) heavenly
eurhythmic (adj.): characterized by a pleasing rhythm; harmoniously ordered
extraneous (adj.): introduced or coming from without; not belonging or proper to a thing; external; foreign (2) not pertinent; irrelevant
fortitudinous (adj.): marked by bravery or courage; having or showing fortitude
gobsmacked (adj.): utterly astounded; astonished
idyllic (adj.): suitable for or suggestive of an idyll; charmingly simple or rustic
ineffable (adj.): incapable of being expressed or described in words
kerfuffle (n.): a fuss; commotion
macaronic (adj.): composed of a mixture of languages
mellifluous (adj.): sweetly or smoothly flowing; sweet-sounding
mollycoddle (v.): to coddle; pamper
musette (n.): a small leather or canvas bag with a shoulder strap, used for carrying personal belongings (2) a woodwind instrument similar to but smaller than a shawm
obfuscate (v.): to confuse, bewilder, or stupefy
pneumatic (adj.): of or relating to air, gases, or wind
preta (n.): a wandering or disturbed ghost
psychomancy (n.): occult communication between souls or with spirits
scintillate (v.): to emit sparks (2) to sparkle; flash
tendentious (adj.): having or showing a definite tendency
ululate (v.): to howl, as a dog or a wolf; hoot, as an owl (2) to lament loudly and shrilly
vulpine (adj.): of or resembling a fox
wastrel (n.): a wasteful person
*A lot of these words came from various ‘Word of the Day’ calendars. All the Definitions came from Dictionary.com.
Real writing tip that is actually really really important: SAVE BACKUPS of your work!!! Email yourself the file every few weeks or so!!!!! I had five book drafts and a completed manuscript and a query letter and now my computer is completely dead! Thankfully though, I had emailed myself the files just a week before it happened! Backups are IMPORTANT!!!!
“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.