Let bad things happen to good people. Let your characters try and fail. And try again. And fail again. Let them be betrayed in the worst possible way. Let them betray others because they have no choice. Force them into situations that make them uncomfortable. Force them to argue or fight or bargain their way out. Drive them to the brink of insanity. Push them over the edge. Take everything away from them. Let them realize what they’ve lost.
Be kind to your characters.
Let faith and perseverance win out. Let love be enough. Let the Sun dry up the rain. Give them friends who will never leave. Let someone save them before the axe falls. Acquit them of false accusations. Give them the strength to stand up again. And again. When they’ve lost hope, give them something to believe in. Remind them there’s good in the world. Remind them there’s good in them, too. Surprise them. Make them laugh until they cry. Teach them that they can’t be broken.
Most importantly: balance.
Even the darkest tragedy has its moments of light; if your reader has no hope that things will get better, if your character doesn’t learn or become stronger for their suffering, the story becomes meaningless pain. Likewise, not only is it unrealistic for a character to go through life never encountering conflict or sadness, it’s boring. Not every conflict has to be life-or-death in order to be meaningful. Give your characters and your plots high points and lows; just make it real for them.
Writing is a craft. It takes time for anyone to learn
and improve. But there are some shortcuts you can try, maybe adapt to your own needs. Here are 11 writing problems and their solutions, or hacks.
Too many ideas syndrome
Problem: You have too many equally good story ideas
and can’t pick just one to write.
Solution: Select your top 3 favorite stories and
write the first scene of all three. If you can’t decide, write
chapter. The right project will be easier to work with, you’ll have
fun writing it, you will be daydreaming about the story, you will
love the characters. So, give away three chances instead of one.
Outline spoiling the fun
Problem: Whenever you outline a story idea, it
completely spoils your will to write it. The mystery is gone.
Solution: Instead of outlining the whole story, just
make a clear goal on how your characters should end. Will they
succeed? Will they fail? Will they be happy? Will they find
redemption? Will they be wronged? Decide how your story should end
and explore the plot as you go. Remember, no one will read your
first draft, so just write.
Problem: If you are a pantser, you might get lost in
the middle of the story, especially after the first plot point.
Solution: Give your story an ending. If you know where
your characters will end up, you’ll have a better understanding of
which routes to take. Always keep in mind how the story will end. Use
it as the beacon of a lighthouse to guide you through stormy waters.
Problem: You don’t have story ideas. Or nothing you
have so far excites you enough for a novel.
Solution: Read a book or watch a movie completely out
of your genre. This works like magic, I promise. I’m not a sci-fi
person, but Akira has given me more story ideas than any movie and
book from my own genre.
Problem: You are scared of writing, scared of
starting a new story, or just scared of not doing a good job.
Solution: Write a fanfic. No one expects a fanfic to
be a masterpiece (although many are). Fanfics are done for fun and for
passion. So, write your book in fanfic format. You can even use
fandom characters and aus in the process. When the story is
completed, change back to original characters.
Editing as you write
Problem: You keep going back to previous paragraphs
and editing instead of moving forward with your writing.
Solution: Write your novel by hand. This might sound
like a lot of work, but it’s quite the opposite. The white screen
of the computer urges you to review, to make it perfect, academic
like perfect. The paper however, brings you back to the craft, to the
urge of filling lines and pages. Handwriting also gives you the
opportunity of sketching and doodling.
Solution: Go offline. Turn off your wi-fi. Use a
device without internet connection. Or, if you keep fooling yourself
and turning the internet back on, write your novel by hand. Give
yourself a daily hour of internet, but live offline. And if you take unnecessary trips to the fridge or the bathroom, try the pomodoro technique.
Lack of plots
Problem: Nothing relevant is happening, your story
looks kind of boring. Or the main plot is too weak for a whole novel.
Solution: Take a few days off. Just relax. When you are ready to go back, read what you have written so
far. Maybe you were just tired. But, if
the story really sucks, go back to basics. Ask yourself two questions.
What type of story am I writing? How will this story end? Follow the
answer like a map. Change what needs to be changed, even if you have
to delete the whole progress. If you lack plots, don’t add fillers, just go back to basics.
Weak main character
lacks personality, voice and/or visuals.
Solution: Give your main character three things. An
external battle. An internal battle. And an unique feature. The external
battle is their goal, what they want to achieve, what they dream
about. An internal battle is their fears, traumas, doubts, mental
issues, prejudices and triggers to overcome. An unique feature is what sets them
apart from other characters, maybe they have piercings, or tattoos,
or pink hair, or lilac eyes, maybe they wear neon boots, or a mask,
or mittens, maybe they are left-handed, or blind, maybe they have a scar, or a
birthmark. Every amazing main character has external battles,
internal battles and unique features.
Problem: You have no will to write. The passion is
gone. You feel empty.
Solution: If you don’t
have access to medical help, reading is a good way to reevaluate your
career and regain your passion for the words. Read lots of books.
Don’t worry about writing, just read. Lose yourself in fictional
adventures. Read sci-fi, romance, horror, fantasy, crime, family
saga, classics, foreigner fictions, fanfics, shorts, poetry. Immerse
in literature. Literature can save lives.
Problem: Dialogues seem too formal, or too much like
the narration, or characters lack individuality.
Solution: Read your dialogues out loud while acting
as your characters. You can find a quiet empty room for that. Be an
actor. Go for the emotions. Record your acting sections, after all,
you might improvise at some point.
the invader zim reboot will either be a smashing success and revitalize early 2000s scene culture on a scale never seen before, or be a disaster and become the tipping point of a catastrophe we cant comprehend yet
1. Before bed every night, use a spoolie to apply coconut oil to lenghten the hairs of your brows, and castor oil to thicken your brows.
2. Find eyebrow tools that work for you. Pomades and gels are good for a dramatic, more bold look. Pencils and powders are better for beginners (better control) and give off subtle, natural looks.
3. When filling in your brows, be sure to apply your product of choice in the direction that your hairs grow in, to ensure an easy, natural look.
4. Apply product with a heavier hand towards the tail of your brow, and less pressure and product towards the middle and head of your brow (the end closer to your nose)
5. If you’re growing out your brows, RESIST THE URGE TO PLUCK. The best thing you can do for your brows is have patience, they will grow back I promise.
6. If you have particularly oily skin or hair, try applying a thin layer of translucent setting powder to your brows before filling them in with any product. This absorbs up any natural oils around your brows and helps your brow makeup last longer.
7. If there is any makeup product to splurge on, it should be for your brows. Anastasia Beverly Hills is waterproof, pigmented, long lasting, and worth everu penny.
8. If you wake up with your eyebrow hairs bent or wildin out, wash your face with regular soap and water for a few minutes and brush your brows out with a spoolie to keep them under control. Do NOT TRIM OR PLUCK ANY FLYAWAYS. It’ll fuck with your shape.
9. Outline your brows with a decent concealer after filling them in. This enhances your brow shape for a more fleeky IG look, and keeps your product from falling.
9. STICK TO YOUR NATURAL BROW COLOR. Don’t go too dark just because thats how your favorite beauty guru does hers. The more natural, the better.
10. Loreal Paris sells a decent brow mascara to help keep the shape of your brows, control flyaways, and make your makeup last. Even on days when I don’t wear makeup, I’ll apply a quick coat of clear brow mascara to shape my brows and make them look a little fuller.
11. Trim your eyebrows once a month to keep your shape clean and your hairs tamed. Brush your hairs upwards with a spoolie, and trim any hairs that extend up past your natural arch with a small pair of hair/brow scissors.
12. When plucking your brows, outline the shape that you want with brow product or concealer, to make it easier to see which hairs you want to pluck.
13. When going to get your brows waxed/threaded/sugared, be sure to read the reviews of the salon you’re going to before committing to them. Make sure that they use proper techniques and products to ensure a quality finish.
14. If you have a hard time using gels and pomades, it may be because your brush is too big. Try a smaller, flatter eyeliner brush to apply your product.
15. When using eyeshadow or powder to fill in your brows, make sure your product has a matte finish. Nobody looks good with shimmery brows.
16. Using a matte highlight/light shadow right under your arch gives you a solid base glo before adding your regular highlight.
17. On the bottom of your brow, apply product from head to tail and blend. On the top of your brow, only apply product from the middle of your brow to your tail and blend. This technique gives you a more natural look, and ensures you don’t apply too much product towards the head of your brow.
18. To get a dramatic arch without plucking, apply product over your arch on the top of your brow, and round out the shape with concealer.
19. This should go without saying, but never sleep with brow makeup on (or any makeup for that matter). The dirt and oils can clog up hair follicles and cause acne or irritation.
20. Always set your brows with setting spray before doing the rest of your face.
21. Brush your eyebrows at least once daily with a spoolie to keep your hairs tamed and in their natural shape.
As a fiction editor, I read a lot of manuscripts by beginning fiction writers that fall flat because they haven’t settled on a clear and consistent point of view for their story. In my experience, many new writers take point of view for granted, focusing instead on plot, character, and world-building. While those elements are important, too, point of view, in my opinion, is one of the most crucial (and complicated!) elements of storytelling. Simply stated, if you don’t have a clear point of view, you don’t have a clear story.
But if you’re struggling with it, don’t worry! Point of view can be difficult and take a long time to master. To get you started, here are 6 questions to answer for yourself about the point of view in your story. (If you’re writing with multiple POV, you would want to ask these questions for every POV character in the story):
1. Who speaks?
Is it a main character? The town gossip? The dog? The author? God?
2. To whom?
Who is the narrator speaking to? A reader? Another character in the story? Their dead mother, to whom they are writing a letter (e.g. if the story is in the epistolary form). To the judge and jury?
3. With what tone or attitude?
Sarcastic? Earnest? Deceitful? The narrator’s personality as well as how they view the assumed listener/reader and how they view themselves will inform this. Think about how different the tone of Lolita would have been if Humbert Humbert were writing to Lolita herself about the events, rather than to those who accused him of a crime. If the story is told in past tense, is there a difference between how the narrator viewed the events while they were happening versus how they reflect upon them now?
4. In what form?
Is this narrative a diary? A journal? A steam-of-consciousness? A straight-forward story? A verbal account? A dispatch?
5. At what distance?
Consider intimacy as well as how much time as passed since the events of the story. Is your story told in the present tense, with the narrator revealing every single thought and emotion to the reader? Or is your narrator keeping the reader at a distance and not revealing too much about their inner landscape? If your story is in the past tense, have the events of the story happened 5 years ago? 25? 100? Yesterday?
6. With what limitations?
Whose interior thoughts and feelings does your narrator have access to? Only their own? Every character in the story? What other limitation might they have in their perception of the story? Perhaps they are 95 years old and their memory is fading. Maybe they are a child. They could be sick and unable to leave the house. Or they could be neurodivergent, like the narrator of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. What limitations does your narrator have in terms of what they can see, hear, do, perceive, and thus report to the reader?
Hope this helps! More writing advice and other literary nonsense @bucketsiler
Are weak plots really bad? Bc I can't really think about a real good one
For this, we need to answer the following questions:
What is a plot point? What makes a plot point strong?
In order for something to be a plot point to begin with, it must provide a point within the plot where the story could go in more then one direction. In most situations, it’s the character’s choices (generally those of the main character, though not necessarily) which pick the direction the plot takes from this point.
Looking at a plot point from this angle, we can deduce that the plot has a lot to do with who our character is. This makes sense. Goals are absolutely necessary for almost every story imaginable, because if your character doesn’t want something then you have no plot.
So we have a character who’s striving towards their goal. How do we turn that into a strong plot point? Characters who have goals should also have beliefs, (or in some cases, secondary goals), and these two things must conflict somewhere. Anywhere the character must choose between them, we have a foundation on which to build an interesting, strong plot point. On the other hand, if we don’t have these things, our plot point won’t ever be as strong as it might otherwise have been, no matter how many cool things we throw into it.
So to create a strong plot point we can start with a character who needs to make a choice in order to reach their goal. We make this choice more interesting by throwing road blocks at the character. It might help to ask yourself these sorts of questions:
What can we throw at this character to make them change their choice partway through?
What can we throw at this character which we know will stress them out personally?
What can we throw at this character after they’ve made their choice, which they’ll have to now overcome because of the choice they’ve made?
What sort of consequences will come out of this choice and how do we show them?
And if you’re willing to do some work in order to find a realistic way for your character to get out of the situation: What can we throw at this character which will turn this into their worst nightmare; the most awful possible version of this situation?
Knowing what makes a strong plot point, we can finally answer the question: Are weak plot points really bad?
Plot points with weak foundations are really bad, yes. Weak plot points which don’t revolve around a character making tough choices in order to reach their goals will generally fall flat to readers.
But, not every plot point needs to be a crazy, chaotic mind blowing twist either.
Sometimes the choices we find most emotional and stressful are the ones everyone else tells up should be easy. The key to engaging your reader in a plot point is to convince them that this is emotional and stressful for your character and that your character believes there will be consequences to making a bad choice, and to instill in them the need to know what choice your character will make and what outcome that choice will bring.
tl;dr Plot points don’t have to be unique or fancy or even action-packed in order to engage a reader. They simply need to show a situation where a character the reader is already engaged with has to make a decision which will change the course of the plot.
(Minor Edit: I had a dyslexic moment and read ‘plot points’ instead of simply ‘plot’ five times in a row, so that’s what the answer is specifically about. But since a plot is made of a bunch of plot points with sentimental connecty stuff in between, this is still all the same advice as I would otherwise give. Write some good plot points with solid, emotional foundation and your plot will be sturdy enough to carry a reader through, I promise ^^)
Some of you have requested that I show you my note taking technique. This is in no way a proven technique, but it really works for me and many of my professors have applauded my structure. So try it, and if you like it and it works for you, great! If not, I commend you on having a more structured system! These are my general rules when I take notes:
1. Leave space. A lot of space. While going through previous notes, whether it be right after class or a month later, I always found that I had information that I wanted to add, and cramped pages never allowed for that. Plus, it’s a bit less daunting on the eyes when there is some room between ideas. I do realize that this is not very eco-friendly, but hey!
2. Use the margins in a smart way. I have developed a “legend” of symbols to draw in the margins so that when I need a quick scan of what pages in the textbooks I referenced or vocab, I can find what I need easily. It might not seem useful on this one page, but when you have a whole 3″ binder full of notes, it’s a blessing.
3. Write on one side of the page. Again, not a eco-friendly option. However, I’m sure there are those of you (my past self included) who have wished you just had another page to write down book notes or additional thoughts without having to get a fresh paper. This solves that!
4. Make it pretty later. I know this page is visually appealing, but keep in mind that I was in my nice warm room by myself and listening to music while writing this. My notes straight out of class aren’t color coded and they definitely don’t have cute little decorations on them; just get the information down, worry about aesthetics later.
5. Put yourself in the classroom. You might think: “but I’m physically in the room what the hell are you talking about”. The concept is weird but it works. I always try everything I can to make sure I place as many visual cues in my notes as I can so that when I look back on them later I remember exactly where I was and what was happening. Are you not paying attention and thinking of food? Write it down. Did someone fart? Write it down. Placing yourself in the room is the most beneficial thing you can do for future you.
6. Keep it short. I can’t tell you how many times I freaked out when I first got to college because I was trying to write everything down. I was certain I was going to miss something. WELL HAVE I GOT NEWS FOR YOU. You aren’t going to miss anything if you keep your bullets to a minimum of one sentence. It’s proven that short phrases in your own words help memory better than full sentences that the professor gives you.
Finally, make it yours. This is a system that works for me because my brain is weird and can’t take notes the Cornell or outline way. The most important thing to learn in school is your own flow of things. Experiment, be creative! I hope I have helped those of you who aren’t traditional learners realize that there isn’t just one way to process information. If any of you have any questions or need specific examples, let me know! (I realize there is a typo on this but hey don’t worry about it) 🙈
I thought since it is back to school time I would share my back to school tips that aren’t that far fetched because a lot of the studyblr community assume most people are organised. I on the other hand am not. I need a planner but sometimes I forget to use it. Sometimes we need straight to the point tips so here I am for you!
Get a planner/bullet journal: Over the past few years in school I was very unorganised so I started a bullet journal last year. I use a cheap notebook as my bullet journal and I use a very simple layout so it doesn’t take up too much time because typically I don’t have time to do much other than my school work. I have found it to be super useful to help me and keep myself motivated through out the year.
Write out your timetable: I takes me forever to learn my timetable. In April of this I stood outside a class that I didn’t even have for about 10 minutes So I like to write out my timetable at least three times and stick one in my school planner, one beside my door in my room and then save one onto my laptop. It comes in handy during the year if I get lost.
Go through all your stationery: I normally have a lot of stationery from the year before so before I go back to school shopping I like to go through every bit of stationery I own and make a list of what I need. This way I only buy the essentials and it saves money as well! I often buy stuff I don’t use or need.
Cut out people that have a negative effect in my life: I think this is a super important thing to do. If you have a “friend” that everyone in your life thinks has a negative effect on you believe them and cut them out of your life. I have had to do this with a few friends over the past few years and I have finally found a group of friends that I am super happy with.
Look through your textbooks: I usually wouldn’t do this but I have been revising over the summer so I plan on just reading over my notes before class starts in September!
Treat yourself the night before: I find the day before I go back to school is stressful and I tend to get very anxious so I like to treat myself the night before school starts. So I might have a bath or shower, moisturise, watch a few episodes of my favourite show or listen to music.
Start a routine about a week before: I start to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier to get my sleep schedule back on track. It won’t be too drastic but I will aim for an hour earlier than what I have been which is about 3am so I will try go to bed at 2 or half one and wake up about 9 or 10am.
So these are my realistic tips because sometimes we need those simple tips to get through the start of school year. Hope they help at least one person. I would be happy for people to add their own tip if they wanted!
You cannot give a fish too much space to move or too much volume.As I’ve discussed before in talking about minimum tank size, the tiny tanks we keep them in are nothing compared to the native bodies of water they originate from. No tank you can provide them is that big, so no tank you provide them can possibly be too big.
I see this argued the most with domestic betta fish, and to be honest, it frustrates me. Many will claim that their fish is an exception, that they struggle to move and access the surface, so they *need* a smaller tank. Issues with breeding and buying fish that can’t even swim aside, this is just addressing the issue from the wrong angle.
If you have a betta fish that has such extreme finnage that it struggles to get to the surface, your first response should not be “Let’s downsize.”
A standard 2.5g is only 3in shorter than a 5.5g. A 5.5g is only 2in shorter than a 10g. 10g and 15g have the exact same height. So when you go one tank size smaller in downgrading, you are only losing a little bit of height, but a lot of volume and footprint.
Instead, if your fish is struggling to reach the surface, you would actually be better getting a tank or other suitable container (i.e. a sterilite bin) with a larger footprint and running it with a lower water level. This way your fish still has the volume and room to move and explore when they want to, but they don’t have to struggle to reach the surface.
Additionally, with fish like these, you should have your tank stuffed full of plants and decorations to rest on. They can be live or fake, it doesn’t matter. But the tank should be packed. Really, this is what all betta fish should have as it most closely matches their natural environment. They don’t get stressed by “too much space,” they get stressed by too much OPEN space. If your betta tank isn’t stuffed full, it should be. If your fish struggles to swim, this really ought to be your first response. If this isn’t enough, then you can move on to what I described above - lower water level, more volume.
The idea that a fish, especially when ONLY applied to bettas, can have “too much” space is absolutely a myth. If you think you need to downsize, you’re responding incorrectly to the problem. Your fish still needs room to move and an enriching environment to interact with. Sure, if they really can’t move that well, they might not interact with every part of it every day. But that doesn’t mean you should deprive them of the option.
Writing an immersive third person limited point of view.
What is third person? In third person pov the narrator refers to all character by third-person pronouns, such as he, she, or they. In contrast, first person pov uses the first person pronouns, I and me, for the narrator.
What is third person limited? Third person limited is the alternate to third person
omniscient. In third person limited, you have one single pov character narrating the story at any given moment (though you can have as many of these limited pov characters as you want throughout the course of the story), whereas in third person
omniscient, there is an
(all knowing) narrator.
Why choose a limited third person pov?
- The reader forms a stronger, more personal connection to your pov character(s). - You can easily build suspense because the reader never knows for certain what the non-pov characters are thinking, feeling, or planning. - You can more easily write an unreliable narrator because your narrator tells things only as they see them, and not as they truly are.
At the end of the day, there is nothing you can’t do with limited if you’re creative and willing to think outside the box.
So you want to write a good limited third person pov then?
Keep in mind that most of these tips also translate to first person pov. In many ways, third person limited is very similar to first person, because you have a single narrator at any given time, and the reader is confined to that narrator’s interpretation of the world.
Here are some key things you need to remember while writing limited third person:
You want to look snatched for hours on end? But you don’t want to spend $50 for that Dior foundation because you got bills?
This L'oreal true Match liquid foundation has not budged in 10 hours. And I didn’t use primer.
Normally foundation starts sliding off my face after 6-7 hours. But nope, most of my face is looking semi matte with a slight dewy glow where I put my highlight. It looks even better than when I first applied it. HOW?!?!!
It slightly oxidizes so get a shade up from what you think you are. My pores are invisible 😱 just don’t let anyone touch your face, that shit will transfer.
Had this foundation for a year and forgot about it. Learned my lesson. Save your coins for expensive lipstick not expensive foundation