so kindly refrain

The Dos and Don’ts of Beginning a Novel:  An Illustrated Guide

I’ve had a lot of asks lately for how to begin a book (or how not to), so here’s a post on my general rules of thumb for story openers and first chapters!  

Please note, these are incredibly broad generalizations;  if you think an opener is right for you, and your beta readers like it, there’s a good chance it’s A-OK.  When it comes to writing, one size does not fit all.  (Also note that this is for serious writers who are interested in improving their craft and/or professional publication, so kindly refrain from the obligatory handful of comments saying “umm, screw this, write however you want!!”)

So without further ado, let’s jump into it!


1.  Open with a dream. 

“Just when Mary Sue was sure she’d disappear down the gullet of the monstrous, winged pig, she woke up bathed in sweat in her own bedroom.”

What?  So that entire winged pig confrontation took place in a dream and amounts to nothing?  I feel so cheated! 

Okay, not too many people open their novels with monstrous swine, but you get the idea:  false openings of any kind tend to make the reader feel as though you’ve wasted their time, and don’t usually jump into more meaty action of the story quickly enough.  It makes your opening feel lethargic and can leave your audience yawning.

Speaking of… 

2.  Open with a character waking up.  

This feels familiar to most of us, but unless your character is waking up to a zombie attack or an alien invasion, it’s generally a pretty easy recipe to get your story to drag.

No one picks a book to hear how your character brushes their teeth in the morning or what they’d like to have for dinner.  As a general rule of thumb, we read to explore things we wouldn’t otherwise get to experience.  And cussing out the alarm clock is not one of them.  

Granted, there are exceptions if your writing is exceptionally engaging, but in most cases it just sets a slow pace that will bore you and your reader to death and probably cause you to lose interest in your book within the first ten pages.  

3.  Bombard with exposition.  

Literary characters aren’t DeviantArt OCs.  And the best way to convey a character is not, in my experience, to devote the first ten pages to describing their physical appearance, personality, and backstory.  Develop your characters, and make sure their fully fleshed out – my tips on how to do so here – but you don’t need to dump all that on the reader before they have any reason to care about them.  Let the reader get to know the character gradually, learn about them, and fall in love with them as they would a person:  a little bit at a time.   

This is iffy when world building is involved, but even then it works best when the delivery feels organic and in tune with the book’s overall tone.  Think the opening of the Hobbit or Good Omens.

4.  Take yourself too seriously.

Your opener (and your novel in general) doesn’t need to be intellectually pretentious, nor is intellectual pretense the hallmark of good literature.  Good literature is, generally speaking, engaging, well-written, and enjoyable.  That’s it.  

So don’t concern yourself with creating a poetic masterpiece of an opening line/first chapter.  Just make one that’s – you guessed it – engaging, well-written, and enjoyable. 

5.  Be unintentionally hilarious.

Utilizing humor in your opening line is awesome, but check yourself to make sure your readers aren’t laughing for all the wrong reasons (this is another reason why betas are important.)  

These examples of the worst opening lines in published literature will show you what I mean – and possibly serve as a pleasant confidence booster as well: 

“As the dark and mysterious stranger approached, Angela bit her lip anxiously, hoping with every nerve, cell, and fiber of her being that this would be the one man who would understand – who would take her away from all this – and who would not just squeeze her boob and make a loud honking noise, as all the others had.”

– Ali Kawashima

“She sipped her latte gracefully, unaware of the milk foam droplets building on her mustache, which was not the peachy-fine baby fuzz that Nordic girls might have, but a really dense, dark, hirsute lip-lining row of fur common to southern Mediterranean ladies nearing menopause, and winked at the obviously charmed Spaniard at the next table.”

– Jeanne Villa

“As I gardened, gazing towards the autumnal sky, I longed to run my finger through the trail of mucus left by a single speckled slug – innocuously thrusting past my rhododendrons – and in feeling that warm slime, be swept back to planet Alderon, back into the tentacles of the alien who loved me.”

– Mary E. Patrick

“Before they met, his heart was a frozen block of ice, scarred by the skate blades of broken relationships, then she came along and like a beautiful Zamboni flooded his heart with warmth, scraped away the ugly slushy bits, and dumped them in the empty parking lot of his soul.”

– Howie McClennon

If these can get published, so can you.


1.  You know that one really interesting scene you’re itching to write?  Start with that.

Momentum is an important thing in storytelling.  If you set a fast, infectious beat, you and your reader will be itching to dance along with it.  

Similarly, slow, drowsy openers tend to lead to slow, drowsy stories that will put you both to sleep.

I see a lot of posts joking about “that awkward moment when you sit down to write but don’t know how to get to that one scene you actually wanted to write about.”  Write that scene!  If it’s at all possible, start off with it.  If not, there are still ways you can build your story around the scenes you actually want to write.

Keep in mind:  if you’re bored, your reader will almost certainly be bored as well.  So write what you want to write.  Write what makes you excited.  Don’t hold off until later, when it “really gets good.”  Odds are, the reader will not wait around that long, and you’re way more likely to become disillusioned with your story and quit.  If a scene is dragging, cut it out.  Burn bridges, find a way around.  Live, dammit. 

2.  Engage the reader.

There are several ways to go about this.  You can use wit and levity, you can present a question, and you can immerse the reader into the world you’ve created.  Just remember to do so with subtlety, and don’t try too hard;  believe me, it shows.  

Here are some of my personal favorite examples of engaging opening lines: 

“In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move." 

– Douglas Adams, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

"It was the day my grandmother exploded.”

– Iain Banks, Crow Road.

“A white Pomeranian named Fluffy flew out of the a fifth-floor window in Panna, which was a grand-new building with the painter’s scaffolding still around it. Fluffy screamed.”

– Vikram Chandra, Sacred Games.

See what I’m saying?  They pull you in and do not let go.

3.  Introduce us to a main character (but do it right.)

“Shadow had done three years in prison. He was big enough and looked don’t-fuck-with-me enough that his biggest problem was killing time. So he kept himself in shape, and taught himself coin tricks, and thought a lot about how much he loved his wife.”

– Neil Gaiman, American Gods.

This is one of my favorite literary openings of all time, because right off the bat we know almost everything we need to know about Shadow’s character (i.e. that he’s rugged, pragmatic, and loving.)   

Also note that it doesn’t tell us everything about Shadow:  it presents questions that make us want to read more.  How did Shadow get into prison?  When will he get out?  Will he reunite with his wife?  There’s also more details about Shadow slowly sprinkled in throughout the book, about his past, personality, and physical appearance.  This makes him feel more real and rounded as a character, and doesn’t pull the reader out of the story.

Obviously, I’m not saying you should rip off American Gods.  You don’t even need to include a hooker eating a guy with her cooch if you don’t want to.  

But this, and other successful openers, will give you just enough information about the main character to get the story started;  rarely any good comes from infodumping, and allowing your reader to get to know your character gradually will make them feel more real.   

4.  Learn from the greats.

My list of my favorite opening lines (and why I love them) is right here.

5.  Keep moving.  

The toughest part of being a writer is that it’s a rare and glorious occasion when you’re actually satisfied with something you write.  And to add another layer of complication, what you like best probably won’t be what your readers will like best. 

If you refuse to keep moving until you have the perfect first chapter, you will never write anything beyond your first chapter.  

Set a plan, and stick to it:  having a daily/weekly word or page goal can be extremely helpful, especially when you’re starting out.  Plotting is a lifesaver (some of my favorite posts on how to do so here, here, and here.)

Keep writing, keep moving, and rewrite later.  If you stay in one place for too long, you’ll never keep going. 

Best of luck, and happy writing.  <3

You wanna hate on Magnus after this sneak peek? Fine go ahead. I don’t necessarily agree with you, but I won’t comment on it.

But please do not take this chance to pass blatant racism as just an opinion on a show. Cause calling Magnus “a petty asian” and saying things like “all Asians do this, they are too petty, they hold too many grudges” is not an opinion about a show, its goddamn racism and you, whatever you say are a racist asshole. Generalising the citizens of an entire continent on the basis of a fictional character , you people must be pretty damn full of yourself, yes? So in the future, kindly refrain from pointing out how “Asians can hold a grudge for the longest time” or you know, we night actually show you just how long.

Writing Prompt Requests | Closed |

Hello my lovelies! 

I will be capping this at 50 requests
I will edit this post when I have closed off requests.
I will reopen once I’ve done all 50 requests 

Who I can write for : Peter Parker / Tom Holland / Chris Evans / Steve Rogers / Bucky Barnes / Sebastian Stan / Jughead Jones / Archie Andrews / Kol Mikaleson / Klaus Mikaelson / Stefan Salvatore / Damon Salvatore  

Chose a character and a dialogue quote.
(If you could, tell me who is saying the quote you chose.)
If there are any specifics, let me know. 

1. “If you had asked me to stay, I would have.” 
2. “You will forever be my always.” 
3. “I would find you in any lifetime.”
4. “I fell in love with you because you loved me when I couldn’t even love myself.” 
5. “You can’t rush something you want to last forever.” 
6. “Do you trust me?” 
7. “After we lost you, things just weren’t the same.” 
8. “This is why we can’t have nice things.” 
9. “I am way too sober for this.” 
10. “I was trying to protect you.” 
11. “I know this may be hard to believe, but I’m on your side.” 
12. “Good thing I didn’t ask for your opinion.” 
13. “Don’t you dare pin this on me.” 
14. “I just came to say goodbye.” 
15. “Revenge isn’t my aim, but I wouldn’t turn down the opportunity either.” 
16. “You might not like me, but you definitely want me.” 
17. “It seemed like a good idea yesterday.” 
18. “And so we meet again.” 
19. “I don’t cause trouble, I am trouble.” 
20. “Truth be told, I’m not entirely sure any of them are actually dead.” 
21. “How I ended up liking you is still a mystery to me.” 
22. “All I want is for you to love me the way you used to.” 
23. “Why are you getting down on one knee?” 
24. “So, are we a thing now?” 
25. “If you could so kindly refrain from insulting me, that would be great.” 


Note: I have taken this quotes from all over. None are mine. :)

someone : wow i didn’t know that harry styles could sing *THAT* well . Hmm

Me , *thinking* - STFU bitch. He has always been a great singer, if only you could listen to his solos in one direction tracks..especially in their last two albums but no you’ve to be a fucking bitch and say “One direction ? ew” He has always written great songs for 1D and now he’s writing even better tracks for his own albums but ofcourse you wouldn’t know that cuz you’re in your own world where one direction can’t sing and are just famous for being good looking. He is a cute cupcake who is too good for your shit so kindly refrain from speaking nonsense like that..Also you’re acting as if he has never been praised for his vocals during the one direction days..GET A REALITY CHECK BABE. He has been praised by LEGENDS of the music industry. He is an amazing guy who also claims to be a feminist,defends his teenage fan base, is very soft spoken . 

Me : Haha. yeah he is great. *sips tea*

anonymous asked:

can you write a fluffy sterek where Derek proposes to Stiles and its all cute and romantic???

So there are a lot of proposal fics in this fandom, I don’t know if this is anything new, but I’ve also been wanting to write the ‘be my person’ idea for a while, so I kind of killed two birds with one stone (metaphorically speaking, of course)… Thanks for the prompt, nonnie! Hope you enjoy!

“Dereeeekkkkk,” Stiles slurs happily, falling into his arms. “Hi, dude! What’re you doing here?”

Derek looks pointedly past him to the club, where someone stumbles out the door, flashing lights and music spilling after them, giggles, and then slams into the wall.

“When you started drunk texting me about my beard I figured it was probably time for me to come get you,” Derek says, slipping an arm around Stiles’ waist where he’s sagging against the light post, “Come on, it’s time for bed.”

“Noooo,” Stiles whines, abruptly petulant, “You should come inside and dance!! I’m trying to find someone pretty to kiss me. Not as pretty as you. But kinda pretty. I want to kiss someone kinda pretty.”

“Come on,” Derek says again, tugging him towards the car he left running, “You’ll thank me tomorrow.”

“You could dance too!” Stiles says, still pulling against Derek in a fruitless attempt to steer them into the club, “Dude, you remember how I know you’re bi but I’m not supposed to tell? I’m not gonna tell. But there are really pretty guys in there. I could not get them but you totally could. Don’t you want to kiss someone pretty?”

“Yeah,” Derek sighs, as Stiles sways against his body and throws his own arm around Derek’s shoulder, “But not tonight.”

“Mm’kay,” Stiles says, resting his head on Derek’s shoulder. “Sleepy time.”

“No,” Derek says, “Let’s get you home and you can drink some water. Then you can sleep.”

“Sleep here,” Stiles sighs, warm air brushing his neck, “Night night.”

“Hey,” Derek says, shaking him awake long enough to slide him into the passenger seat, “I thought you wanted to go kiss somebody.”

“I changed my mind,” Stiles says, and then looks gloomily out the window.

Derek sighs, shutting the door. Stiles is distractible on his best days, but when drunk, he changes moods more than Lydia changes clothes.

“Hey, what’s wrong?” Derek asks, putting the car in gear.

“Nothin’” Sitles says, tipping his forehead against the cold window. “This was supposed to be a good night, you know? I was supposed to distract myself from all the happy.”

“The happy?”

“Yeah, you know, everybody’s so happy right now. Everybody’s in loveeee. Why can’t I be in love? I just want to kiss someone pretty, that’s all. And then be in love with them. I just want to be someone’s person, you know?”

“No,” Derek says honestly. At this point, he’s not sure if it’s Stiles talking, or the liquor.

“You know, people have a person. Like… Like Scott and Kira. Or Lydia and Cora. I want a person. I want to be a person.”

“You are a person,” Derek says helplessly.

“No, you don’t understand,” Stiles says, looking as though he might cry. “It’s like… who do you call first? When you have an extra ticket, who do you take? Who do you want to see before you go to bed? Who would you call to bury the body? Your person.”

“Okay,” Derek says slowly, but Stiles keeps talking.

“I used to be Scott’s person. But now he has Kira to be his person, but he’s still my person, but I want my person to be the person who wants me as their person.”

“You’re my person,” Derek tells him honestly, “All that stuff… you’re my person, I guess.”

“Noooo,” Stiles moans, “it doesn’t count! Everybody else gets to kiss their person.”

“Right,” Derek says stiffly. “And you don’t want to kiss me.”

Stiles turns his head and takes a long look at him. “Nevermind,” he says softly. “It doesn’t matter.”

Keep reading

The Hard Truth

There is no policing fandoms. It’s impossible

Let me start by saying this is directed at all fandoms from Marvel to OUAT to SPN… This isn’t an attack on ONE fandom or ONE ship so kindly refrain yourself from going into my inbox ready to say how i’m “signalling a fandom out”… If this post pisses you off, reflect on that, because that might mean you are part of the problem…

A person can write a post that is homophobic, but then turn around and shout that they don’t like another post because its racist or sexist. One person can shout that they didn’t like this post because it accused shippers of advocating rape—but then in turn make a post swimming in double standards and rape culture. 

Honestly at this time, instead of forcing people to police a fandom, or police a ship… Just police yourself. Block someone who is bugging you so your dash is clear, because it doesn’t matter what you say to that person. Its “free speech” or its “not related to you as a person, so why are you upset” or some other bullshit excuse that they use that will always let them feel what they write is 1000% okay to say on their blog (but wouldn’t have the guts to say to someone face-to-face due to it being THAT problematic)— I recently deleted all my blocked accounts looking for “Second Chances” and that just didn’t work. 


No matter how much you scream and shout… that person won’t suddenly change their stripes to spots…They are ingrained in their toxic beliefs, and you can scream at them all you want to, but in turn all they will do is block you and continue to swim in their never-ending masses of sheep who blindly follow their POV for kicks. 

So just block, and stop blaming an entire fandom when you see a toxic post, because you know sure as shit there is an equal if not worse toxic post in your fandom tags. 

What will make a difference is when someone wants to reblog a post and they see they can’t because that person has them blocked. What will make a difference is when someone makes an atrocious post and gets zero notes for it. 1, 10, or 100 people shouting at them will just give them what they want. 


So just block, because Tumblr is a place for you to enjoy yourself… Not lose your head because some moron in Arkanas or Germany or Italy or Japan made some dumb, ignorant post. 

Quite honestly, I’m someone that will start taking this advice. I’ll roll my eyes at these people then just block. 

Boom. Done. 

anonymous asked:

why do you love anthony so much? I mean he has a niceish voice and all, but he aint all that cute

1. He’s freaking adorable

2. Anthony’s voice cured me of my 7th bout of pneumonia so it’s more than niceish

3. I’ve had the shittiest few days okay, and he’s like the one thing that hasn’t made me feel like utter shit about myself so if you could kindly refrain from coming into my blog– which is clearly a fandom blog for him, I would really appreciate that.