part rules

If you try and figure out the rules about creative writing, you’re going to find that established authors and editors often disagree about nuances of the craft. There are, of course, some hard-and-fast rules about punctuation and grammar, but so many rules vary from genre to genre, generation to generation, audience to audience. Sometimes there are rules that boil down, simply, to consistency

So you might even say that you have your own set of writing rules. Each and every author’s rules are slightly unique. That unique set of “rules” is part of what makes up your author’s voice.

So when are the appropriate times to break those rules, your own rules? They happen, don’t they? In my last post, I gave a list of filler words and overused words that you can consider cutting out of your writing to help sharpen it. But everything–even mediocre vocabulary, poor grammar, and repetitive structure–has a place in writing. 

Breaking Your Mold to Write Character Voice

Jordan is an author (hypothetically). She has been writing for years, gotten an English degree, read a zillion books, and written several novel drafts of her own. Over her years of writing, she has finally come into her own voice. When she writes, she no longer feels derivative or inexperienced. It’s freeing and wonderful! 

But there’s one thing that Jordan hasn’t figured out yet…and that’s character voice. Her authorial voice, while wonderful and unique, seeps into the voice of all of her characters. The result is that all of her characters, whether speaking or narrating, sound exactly the same: they sound like her.

Part of what makes a multi-POV novel come to life is variation in character voice. Part of what makes an author’s portfolio stand out is the vast scope of voices their characters use across their works. Part of what sets apart side characters as characters instead of tools for the protagonist or plot devices for the narrative is a unique and compelling voice. 

So how does one accomplish such a thing? 

Well, there are many ways. But today I’m focusing on language and syntax, particularly in the rule-breaking department. 

The first exercise you can do is take a piece of dialogue, preferably just a back and forth between two characters, and write it one way, then switch roles. Have the characters say basically the same thing, but in their own voices. 

Author Voice Conversation

R: Oh. You’re worried about me
E: I am no such thing. Worrying about you sneaking into enemy territory is like…worrying about a fish drowning in the ocean.
R: You sure seem dead set on stopping me from going.
E: We need to come up with a plan. It would be foolish to just waltz into their territory with no idea what we’re doing.
R: You’re really quite cute when you’re worried.
E: You’d like me to be worried, wouldn’t you? Just go. I don’t know what I’m freaking out about, anyway.
R: Me either. Bye.
E: Bye, idiot. Don’t get caught.
R: *sigh* Is that really what you expect of me?

There’s nothing wrong with this conversation at all. But I’m just writing as if I, personally, was speaking. I know what the personality of these characters are, but that isn’t necessarily enough. I’m going to inject a little bit of their own tics, their own backgrounds, into their speech.

Character Voice Conversations

R: Oh. You’re worried about me, aren’t you?
E: Really? Please. I don’t worry about anyone.
R: But you don’t want me to go.
E: I just…think that we need to come up with a plan first.
R: You’re really kinda cute when you’re worried.
E: I’m NOT—Grah! Fine! Go, then. I don’t know why I’m trying to help you, anyway.
R: Neither do I. I sure as hell didn’t ask for it.
E: See ya, then. Try not to get blood on my shirt.
R: Go drown in the tears of your unborn children, Tiger.

And now, roles switched:

E: Heh. You’re…worried.
R: Fuck off. I don’t have energy to waste worrying about you.
E: You want me to stay. Safe.
R: I mean…having a plan would be a good idea, but what in hell do I know? The fuck are you doing?
E: You’ve got some worry on your face.
R: Don’t touch me. Don’t even talk to me. I’m sorry I mentioned anything about a plan.
E: So am I. I’ll bring you skin of an atosh as a trophy.
R: Bye, Tiger. If you’re not back in one day, I’ll assume you died.
E: Don’t wait that long. I’d love to come back and find peace and quiet waiting for me instead of you.

What sort of things influence the diction of your characters? In example 1, R says, “You’re really quite cute when you’re worried,” whereas in example 2, she says “kinda,” instead. In both of the latter examples, R is more prone to using “fuck” and “hell.”

In one of my novels, I have two narrators: K and B. K is well-read, well-spoken and a little snobbish. B isn’t an idiot, but he dropped out of school in (what amounts to) the fifth grade. He’s spent a large portion of his life outside of society and largely lived his life how he wanted. So when they say basically the same thing, K might say,

“I’ve got this covered. Thank you, but, honestly, it isn’t anything to worry about.” 

Where B would say,

“I’ve got this. For real. Thanks.”

In general, as I write their dialogue, B uses more contractions, shorter sentences, and doesn’t use many words beyond the 1000 most commonly used. He makes grammatical mistakes (Saying “me” when he should say “I”) He has more verbal tics, “Um…” “Er–” “Well, it’s just that…” etc. K speaks with much more flowery language and tends to elaborate beyond what is necessary. This means unneeded adverbs, “moment,” “rather/quite/somewhat,” superfluous reflexive pronouns, etc. I have one character who tends to speak in run-on sentences whenever she uses the word “because.” I have one character who compulsively addresses the people he’s speaking to, so much so that other characters make fun of him for it.

These are all things that, in general, I avoid doing. But using them purposefully helps to set character voices apart. 

Narrator Voice

To some extent, narrator voice can use these same tactics. If you’re using multi-pov, especially, these kinds of nuances will help your reader really feel like they’re reading the words of multiple characters, rather than just being told they are. If you’re writing an intimate third-person or first person, these same principles can help bring your narrative voice to life, just like the words written in quotes. 

Think about these two opening lines and how the voice of the narrator gives you two very different impressions about the same event:

The sun was rising. Though the scent of the overnight dew hung heavy over our tent, the sleeping bag hugged us close together. She smelled warm, and even the scent of our intermingled sweat was pleasant in the early morning. I wondered briefly if the residual alcohol was softening reality, but ultimately it didn’t matter. I was in love.

The sun was coming up. The air was heavy, humid in the muggy morning. Our sleeping bag was wrapped tight around us, the moisture from our breaths clinging around our heads. Sticky and warm, she still smelled like sex. It was probably an objectively terrible smell, but the memories made it nice. I blinked, wondering if that last glass of wine was still hanging over me, but I don’t guess it mattered. I fucking loved this girl. 

So think about it! There are tons of factors that could go into how your characters speaks…and thus, what “rules” you break in their dialogue.

  • How educated or well-read is your character?
  • What influence does their culture have on their diction?
  • How wordy do they tend to be?
  • If they use as few words as possible, maybe mostly grunts, what is the motivation behind that?
  • How much attention do they like to bring to themselves?
  • How self-conscious are they about their voice? Their speech patterns? The effect their words have on others?
  • How long does it take them to get to the meat of what they’re saying?
  • How much do they make others laugh?
  • How optimistic or pessimistic are they?
  • How much do they try to avoid talking about themselves or their emotions?
  • At what point do they end a conversation they don’t like?
  • How long does it take them to get angry in a disagreement? 
  • How does anger alter their speech? 
  • How does overwhelming sadness alter their speech?
  • How does immense joy alter their speech?
  • What words do they use with noticeable frequency?
  • Do they speak differently in intimate settings than in public?

Don’t be afraid to use any and every word to give your characters their own voices. As I always say, to anyone in basically any situation: I don’t mind if you break any rule at all…as long as you broke it with deliberated intent. 

Happy revising!

Jack at his panel:
  • jack: sorry i can't get off the stage, its against the rules
  • a person apart of the community: *cries*
  • a person apart of the community: *is really nervous*
  • a person apart of the community: *really wants a hug*
  • a person apart of the community: *and/or just really loves him for all he's done for us and is really overwhelmed*
  • a person apart of the community: *exists*
  • jack:
  • jack:
  • jack:
  • jack: ...
  • jack: FUCK THAT
  • jack: *jumps down to hug the person*
Truth or Truth

Requested anonymously: A one shot where the reader has never been able to orgasm through masturbation. When Dean finds out, he offers to help.

Warning: smut, masturbation

Word Count: 2300

A/N: Hope you enjoy, anon! XOXO

“Truth or truth?” Dean asks, grinning a little sideways in that way that lets you know he’s just the right amount of drunk.

Truth or truth is the game you play when you’re both feeling a little wound up, needing to blow off some steam. You’re too old for stupid dares and too nervous for dares that might actually make you touch each other, so you settle for sticking to truths. It never amounts to anything, but you both enjoy the sexy words said in the dark as you lie together on one bed, a bottle being passed between you, like you have a life and a personality outside of monsters.

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

I was just thinking about how entertaining a body swap between Jehan and Enjolras would be.

How wacky would that be though?

Enjolras blinks his way to consciousness, the light shining through the window left open, and he doesn’t remember leaving said window open. The apartment smells like citrus and lavender. Maybe Combeferre has made some tea… 

But then he realises there are arms knotted around his waist, and the embrace is tightening and what the fuck? He managed to crane his neck enough to realise the person spooning him is Montparnasse and he lets out a strangled exclamation/scream because, again, WHAT.THE.FUCK? Enjolras shuffles out of Montparnasse’s grip and distances himself as much as possible, taking all the covers with him, while his bed “buddy” is left naked and confused on the mattress.

“What’s going on?” Montparnasse mumbles, his eyes struggling against the light.

“YOU is going on! What the fuck are you doing in my bed, you creep?!”

Montparnasse is even more confused because??? But also speechless.

“What are you waiting for? Leave!”

“I-Love, did I do someth-”

“Jesus are you high?”

“Jehan, what the fuck?”

Okay, Montparnasse is definitely high. Or that’s what Enjolras thinks until he catches a glance of himself in a mirror facing him, in a bedroom that is definitely not his own. And a body that is DEFINITELY not his own!

“Oh fuck… Fuck, fuck, fuck!”

A ringtone startles both Enjolras and Montparnasse. Hesitantly, Montparnasse reaches for the phone on the nightstand next to him, keeping his eyes on Jehan. Or rather, whom he thinks is Jehan.

“Hello?”

He frowns. His jaw drops.

“Jehan?! Then who the fuck is THIS?”

Later that day, Enjolras gets to see his body hugging Montparnasse tightly and looking positively too mellow to his tastes. Combeferre is both freaked out and fascinated by the whole thing. He nudges Enjolras. Or rather Jehan. Enjolras in Jehan’s body. It’s confusing.

“Are you okay?”

“I’ll need bleach to wipe out that mental image out of my brain.”

6

star wars rule 63: prequel trilogy

This has been lying around my harddrive for way too long, but I finally got around to colouring it! (just experimenting with a bunch of different things and inspired by SW concept art books :))

…. sometimes I suspect the reason for all these AUs is partly an excuse to draw the Mustafar duel a million times in marginally different ways.

underrated part of rules and tips to date a hockey player:

“you dont just have to be a thin white blonde! ive met some brunettes”

4

Islam isn’t a violent religion any more than Christianity is.
(Twitter: MuslimIQ)

This was directed at a white supremacist, but it’s a good response for the Bill Maher Liberals in your life too, especially the atheists.  The Angry White Man brand of Liberal Atheist Absolutism is probably one of my least favorite factions among people I generally agree with, because it always comes with a condescending air of I’m Right And You’re Wrong.  Things are this or they are that, and because I am an educated white man, I am smart, and I don’t have to listen to your rebuttals to whatever I just said.  One of their hot button issues is religion, wherein all religions are stupid and terrible, but Islam is the worst because it makes people violent.

Keep reading

the white christian church is built entirely on manipulation and guilt tripping like thats it thats the whole religion

youtube

I don’t know what’s not to love about this video:

-The Pre-Hamilton Lin Manuel Miranda singing a song that’s far out of his range.
-The Pre WWII setting of the musical. (Any other situation, I would hate this)
-That orchestra though.
-The singers leading him into the song and their perfect pitch.
-The hum of the VHS camera.
- “YOUR CUP OF POISON!”
-The idea that simply putting someone in white clothing is the same as them being Jesus.
-Why did they cast him as Jesus and not Judas?

I just love this video, and nothing will convince me not to. Maybe one day I’ll release my full cover of “Agony”, from Into The Woods.

Domestic Drabbles - 7: The Hufflepuff Who Lived

Welcome back to another round of Domestic Drabbles :D Time for part 7! I needed something ridiculously cheesy and cute since part 6 left us all in an emotional mess (mostly me though).
I’m actually not 100% on Penny being a Ravenclaw. (I really can’t decide) But it worked out best for this fic.

Anyway, shoutout to the amazing @baz-n-simon for being the best beta, support, and friend EVER!

And to @eroticgropefest, whose drabble series originally inspired my series (:


Baz

Simon is obsessed with quizzes, and not the educational kind, or else he may have done better in school. No, it’s the useless quizzes he seems to love so much. The sorting kind: “What kind of bird are you?” “What would be your superpower?” “Pick a taco and we’ll tell you at what age you’ll get married.” (Incidentally, that one said he was already married, but I’m not suspicious.) It’s all totally useless knowledge. Bunce says that useless knowledge doesn’t exist, but she’s not dating Simon Snow. And she’s not the one being begged to take them all after he’s done.

I took a few of them at first, of course, just to humor Snow. It seemed trivial at the time. But after finding out that I’m a pigeon, and that my superpower is invisibility (and the countless vampire jokes that ensued shortly afterwards), and that I’m apparently never getting married because I’m not a fan of tacos, I had to put my foot down. But apparently, that means nothing because a laptop is being shoved in my face.

“No way, Snow.”

“But, Baz, we have to know!”

“We already know.”

“Not officially!”

Bunce walks in and gives us a questioning glare as I yank the laptop out of Snow’s hands and sit it down on the coffee table.

“What don’t we know officially?” She asks, sitting down on the end of the sofa. Then she glances between us. “You two aren’t flirting, are you?”

I roll my eyes. Snow makes a grab for the laptop, but I swipe it up from the table and walk away from the couch.

“We don’t know Baz’s Hogwarts house,” he says. He huffs and crosses his arm, glaring at me and then at the laptop in my hands. I almost smile at him. Because he’s pouting.

I slide the laptop onto the bookshelf and turn to him. “I’ve already told you, Snow. I’m not taking anymore of your quizzes.”

Bunce’s eyes widen. “You don’t know your Hogwart’s house, Basilton?”

I raise an eyebrow at her and give her a disappointed look. “Not you too, Bunce.”

“Penny is a Ravenclaw,” Snow says, nodding towards her. Bunce nods in return and sips her tea. “And I’m a Hufflepuff.”

“Of course you’re a Hufflepuff, Snow,” I say.

He rolls his eyes. “But we don’t know your house, Baz.”

“Of course we do,” I say. I run my hand cooly through my hair and smirk at him. “We all know I’m a Slytherin.”

Snow doesn’t react to this. “Not officially,” he says, and he points to the laptop. “You have to take the quiz.”

Bunce snorts. “I don’t buy that for a second, Baz. You may exude Slytherin on the outside, but you’re just as bad as Simon. I think” —she locks her eyes with mine— “that you’re a Hufflepuff.”  

Snow starts laughing, but I just frown. “I’m not a Hufflepuff, Bunce. That’s absurd.”

She shrugs and sips her tea again. “You’ll never know unless you take the quiz.”

Snow giggles a bit more, then smiles at me. Crowley, I think. I never win. Because the evening sun is setting, and the light is filtering through the windows. And Simon’s face is glowing. And he’s smiling so wide. And I hate him for it. Because that smile makes me weak. It makes me want to say yes. It makes me want to agree. It makes me want to do whatever it takes just to keep him smiling.

I roll my eyes and sigh. “Fine, Simon,” I say, grabbing the laptop from the shelf. I ignore Bunce’s questioning stare as I walk back over to the couch and hand the laptop to Snow. “I’ll take your stupid quiz.”

Snow takes the laptop happily and opens it as I sit down beside him. As he types away at it, I run my fingers through his hair, watching as the light reflects off of each curl. He swishes his ridiculous tail over at me and winds it around my arm. Bunce scoffs at this, then gets up and walks toward the kitchen.

“Ready,” Snow says, then hands me the laptop. He leans against me and puts his head on my shoulder.

I read through the questions carefully and probably spend too long on each one. But maybe I’m dragging this out on purpose. Because Simon smells wonderful. Like cinnamon and citrus and a scent that I can never quite seem to describe. And his tail is still wrapped around my arm, and his thumb is moving against my leg.

When I select my answer to a certain question, Snow looks up at me with a questioning eyebrow raise.

“White?” he asks.

“What’s wrong with white?”

“You’re a vampire, Baz.”

“So?”

“Your last name is Pitch.”

“What’s your point, Snow?”

He doesn’t say anything and puts his head back on my shoulder.

I read through the next few questions, then hesitate on clicking the ‘Find Out Your Results’ button.

“The moment of truth,” Snow says, sitting up and staring intently at the screen.

I roll my eyes and frown, then click on the button. We wait a few seconds (of course, Snow has the slowest laptop in existence), and then the page loads, and I immediately slam the laptop shut.

Snow is laughing. He’s doubled over and laughing. Too much and too hard.

“Shut up, Snow,” I say. I nudge him in the side, but he’s laughing too much to care.

Bunce walks back into the room, and I glare at her. She looks over at Snow, then smiles.

“Ah, yes” she says, grinning slyly. “Tyrannus Basilton Grimm-Pitch, the Hufflepuff who lived.”

I roll my eyes. “Fuck off, Bunce.”

Snow unwinds his tail from my arm, then gets up and shuffles quickly to his room.

“I told you so,” Bunce snarks.

“I don’t want to hear it,” I say, pinching the bridge of my nose. I just want to spell this laptop away from me.

Snow then comes out of his room, leans over the back of the couch, and drapes an obnoxiously large yellow and black-striped scarf around my neck.

“There, Baz,” he says, leaning over more to kiss me on my cheek. “We can be in Hufflepuff together.”

My cheek feels warm, tingly, almost like a burn, but I just scoff at him.

“I don’t want this bloody scarf, Snow,” I say as I try to push it off. But then I inhale, and the scarf smells like him. Like cinnamon and citrus and that scent that I can never quite seem to describe. But it’s the one that I know so well. And as it leaves my nose, I breathe it all in again.

And I think that maybe Hufflepuff isn’t so bad.


(1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(6)(8) - (ao3)

how the signs should relax

aries: watch a movie

taurus: drink hot tea

gemini: try aromatherapy

cancer: eat comfort food

leo: get a back massage or sleep

virgo: meditate

libra: moisturize

scorpio: have sex

sagittarius: go for a jog

capricorn: take a bath

aquarius: do yoga

pisces: get a foot massage ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (these are based off the body parts ruled by each sign)

Okay but like while I suspect if I read the Eragon books now I wouldn’t like them anymore, the whole “funding the rebellion through magically made lace” thing was genuinely one of the best plot points in any book I have ever read.

look i too am a millennial who says “no problem” to stress that the thing i’m being thanked for was not a burden to me, and yes it’s annoying when boomers who don’t get that take it as a sign of disrespect, and so but by the same token perhaps, just possibly, we could maybe refrain from writing clever little pseudopsychological essays about how boomers who say “you’re welcome” must all be self-obsessed jerks who think that whatever they’re being thanked for was super special and above-and-beyond and requires praise. like, possibly it’s just part of the politeness rules they grew up with! we do not actually need to turn every difference into a culture war, please and thank you