valentinedarling  asked:

What are your thoughts on the "cut what you love" idea?

Hello there! (I love your hair ♥︎)

I assume you mean ‘cut what you love’ during the revision process, right? I prefer to call it ‘kill your darlings.’ In the past I have talked about editing (or chopping) out parts of the story that may not be effective— even if you like them, or enjoyed writing them. You can read more about my feelings, here c;

Instead, I want to spend this time to tackle the misconception of ‘cut what you love.’

It doesn’t mean what some people think it means.

Those of you who have seen my Top 5 Tips For Revision know that the overall message of that post was that (during the revision process) you must be able to look at your work objectively.

That is the exact same sentiment from which the advice ‘kill your darlings’ (or the misinterpreted ‘cut what you love’) comes from. The reality is that, from time to time, we end up writing things that may not be necessary, or effective, to the story.

I can already tell that someone is rolling their eyes at me, and that’s okay~ we can all have different opinions on this. What counts as ‘important’ and ‘not important’ is entirely subjective. I get that— but during the revision process you HAVE to be able to look at your writing and ask:

“Does this really need to be here? And if the answer is yes, am I choosing to keep this passage/paragraph/element because I believe the story is better because of it… or is it because I am attached to the time and effort I spent writing it?”

That’s it.

That is seriously the key to creating the best story possible: don’t waste the reader’s time with things that are not important to the story. This is also the secret for improving pacing. Again, I can feel that some of you may be taking my words wrongly, so let me clarify as to what I am NOT saying:

  • I am NOT saying that you have to dumb-down your story.
  • I am NOT saying that you have to sacrifice your artistic vision
  • I am NOT saying that you have to cut everything that you love

What is your job as a writer? To tell a compelling story.

Let’s say that again.

What is your job as a writer? To tell a compelling story.

Let me tell you about my first book. When I wrote the first draft of Ravensgem the opening was A LOT more different than it is now. It was a long, and epic retelling of the birth of Gadeen (the fantasy world where the story takes place). It was big, and expansive, and full of magical realism. I liked it. I loved writing it. But when I started editing the book that opening stood out like a sore thumb.

I didn’t want to chop out the entire opening of the book, I mean I nearly killed myself trying to get that first line right— you know? I didn’t want to just throw all of that work down the drain…

But that was exactly what I had to do.

I gave the book time. I let it sit. I came back and I looked at it objectively. I looked at it as though it had been written by someone else. I looked at the book as a whole, and I realized that opening had to go. Yeah, it was epic. Yeah it was fun to write— but Ravensgem was not about an epic fantasy world and the history that brought it to life. It was a story about people, about a young man choosing strife over safety and about a young woman choosing love over wealth.

I rewrote the opening into what it is today. I had fun. I enjoyed it. And I created something better than what was there before.

This is the entire point of revision.

Is it hard to chop out days (if not weeks) of ‘work’? Of course— but you need to remind yourself why you are doing all of this for:

To tell a compelling story.

I don’t know about you, but I want my stories to be awesome. I want my stories to be the best they could possibly be. And that sometimes means that you have to take out the entire opening of a book and start from scratch. Why? Why do all of this? Why go through all of this trouble? Because, at the end of the day, you are doing this… to tell a compelling story.

I hope this helps! If you, or any other writerly friend, has any more questions make sure to send them my way!

Keep Writing~ ♥︎

patrickarch  asked:

Hiya Max! I have two questions: the fist is I want to write a fantasy/supernatural novel, and I have some notes about what is and what isn't in the universe (an encyclopedia of sorts), do I keep writing it or get on with the story? Also, do I need to have a full plan of the whole story? Or can I just say "I want the story to be about X character" and start there? Thanks!

Hello there~ ♥︎

So, I have actually tackled your latter question before, so let’s look at this from the bottom-up this time c;

Do I need to have a full-plan for the story?

Those who have played with my (Strange) Guide For Planning Your Novel know that I do the most minimal amount of outlining. Of course, there are writers who do that differently. I made a video about that, you should check it out c;

Ultimately, do as much outlining as you feel comfortable with. Just keep in mind that your characters (being the wonderful little shits they are) will probably screw with your plans~ ♥︎

I’ve done some world-building, should I keep working on it or get on with the story?

So, I think most of you can guess my stance on world-building. But I have never actually gone out and say it.

In my experience, world building is good as long as it does not get in the way of the story. When I write I do enough world-building to answer any questions I might have— but that information is not a bible or an encyclopedia. Most of the ‘facts’ I write down change as I write the story. I didn’t start Ravensgem knowing that the people of Gadeen had black blood— I realized that as I wrote the story.

You want my opinion? Start writing.

I want to clarify that I don’t have anything against extensive amounts of world-building. I have found (in my experience) that the more time I’ve spent working on history— the hardest it is to work on story. Because I’ve created an image of the world, and people, before actually meeting them. It’s like going out on a date with someone you have been fantasizing for months. You’re coming in with expectations, and biases. If you stumble upon something that contradicts the world-building, you are most likely to get defensive because of all the time you spent working on it— and ultimately you end up getting in the way of your story.

Just my two cents c;

I hope this helps! If anyone has any more questions about writing, please send them over my way :D

Keep writing, writerly friends~ ♥︎

anonymous asked:

Quite often when I write I'll create these huge character profiles, including short back stories etc., to add depth to the story and start it off with a good understanding off who exactly I'm writing about. Would you consider this useful or time wasting? Should I carry on, stop completely or reduce the cast amounts of time I spend on them?

Hello, dear anon~ ♥︎

To be completely honest with you… this is not something I do anymore. I actually used to make character sheets, and extensive backgrounds, but over time I ended up realizing that all I was doing was… well, getting in the way of the story.

I was creating expectations of what my characters would be like– before even meeting them. And this became a problem when I would start writing, and they would not behave like I had expected them to.

I know I have used the parent/storyteller + child/story analogy before– but I seriously mean it every time. To me (and to MY writing process) extensive character sheets are the same as a parent who has pages upon pages with information on what they want their child should look like, dress, the friends they will make, the college they will go to, etc.

I don’t really consider this to be effective anymore.

Now, that’s just MY opinion. I don’t think it’s ALL a waste, but ultimately these should be tools to help you write– and if you’re doing them instead of writing… well, then you have a problem :c

The good thing is, though, that the best cure to this problem is a healthy amount of writing! So get to it :D

This was answered as part of M. Kirin’s Writing Advice Blitz! For writerly advice, prompts, and more, follow maxkirin.tumblr.com!


The thing that gets me the most about Tomodachi Life is just how… eerily close everything is to my actual character’s behavior. Of course, like any other writer I recreated some of my characters (and Kitty made some of hers just for fun), and this game’s little personality engine has done nothing but surprise me.

Of course, I know that I’m looking for patterns– but I can’t help but freak out when I see Lucian (the protagonist from Ravensgem, and the chap on the first picture) is chatting with Liam (one of Kitty’s OCs, and the chap on the second picture) and out of the blue Lucian says:

“Truer words have never been said.”

Which made me lose my shit because literally on the first chapter of Ravensgem Lucian replies to his best friend with:

“Truer words never spoken.”

Again, I know that I’m looking for patterns within the simulation– but I have never seen anyone else use that same line of dialogue. Actually, none of my characters have overlapping dialogue– and there’s 3 people with the Independent/Artist personality type hanging about :0

This game, it’s just so weird.

I love it.