stories and advice

How To Motivate Yourself To Write

This was meant to provide motivation, but honestly, this is more of a list of ways to make sure you get it done, rather than make yourself “motivated”. Either way, this should benefit you somehow.


  • In the words of Chuck Wendig, “do not fucking multitask”. Carve out a specific time to write and use it to write. Don’t try to simultaneously write and tweet and check your email. Whether it be 15 minutes or 2 hours, write, and only write.
  • Take breaks occasionally. You can’t just sit there and fog up your creative lens. Go outside and go for a walk. Go to coffee with your friends for an hour. Do something to relax your brain for a while. It’s the same with studying. Don’t drive yourself up the wall because you feel you’re “on a roll”. Your ideas and plans will still be there when you get back. If you begin to get frustrated or your foot starts to fall asleep, take a break.
  • Use a rewards system. Say, for every 100 words, you get a piece of chocolate. After eating a regular sized Hershey’s bar, you’ve got 1200 words. Go you! (I personally fine this incredibly useful.)
  • Have people you trust hold you accountable. Have your best friend (or partner, if you’ve got one) check in when they know you should be writing to make sure you did.
  • Read books like a writer. Read a shitty book and pick it apart to find what you don’t like about it. Read a good book to find what you do like. Use these reflections and apply them to your own work. Nothing helps quite like learning from other people’s mistakes and success.
  • Don’t get stuck in the planning stages. You may get really excited while planning a story, that huge plot twist, a minor character’s backstory, etc, but keep in mind that at some point you’re going to have to sit down and hash it out. A lot of promising writers never get past the planning stages, so in the words of my very wise boyfriend: “Just write”.
  • Write in places that make your creative juices flow. Get cozy in bed with your laptop open to a word document, light a few candles, make some tea, get that incense going, and write. Music really helps to get in the mood as well, and if you would like to take a look at my writing playlist, here it is, free for public consumption.
  • Keep your mind open to new ideas and changes to your story. Your idea will develop and evolve over time, and the beauty of writing is that you can change anything you want and there are no consequences. If you decide to completely scrap a character, remove a subplot, add one in, or change the plot but keep the same characters, you’re totally free to do so. Nothing about writing is set in stone, so stay open minded to new concepts and changes and, most importantly, criticism. (I won’t elaborate on this because I might end up making a whole other post about this topic in the future.)

As always, this is just a compilation of the tips and tricks I’ve found the most useful in my own experience. They may not help, they may help a lot, it really could go either way or somewhere in between, but all the same, I hope this proves useful to you.

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The single best piece of writing advice I ever got was from a professor teaching a playwriting class, who told us that in every scene, especially scenes that were just dialogue, every character should want something. Making every character in a scene have a goal is an easy way to avoid dialogue that’s just exposition, and to make sure your dialogue drives the plot forward and/or reveals characterization. 

It doesn’t have to be complicated or super weighty–as long as the characters have a goal, there will be tension in the scene even if the goals are small. Character X wants to borrow a pen, and character Y wants to make a good impression on character X. X wants to insult Y until they go away, and Y wants to annoy X by pretending not to notice the insults. X wants Y to give them the last slice of pizza, and Y is super full but still doesn’t want X to have it. No matter what your character’s goal is, it will reveal something about who that character is to the reader, and the conflict between your characters’ goals will give the scene momentum.

The 7 Elements of a SCENE

There are few things as soul-crushing in the writing process (at least to me) than getting a bunch of characters in a room with the intention of something happening, then the characters proceed to stand around and stare at each other.  

Or worse, look at you like this. 

My characters didn’t know why they were there. I didn’t know why they were there either. I had no clue what they were supposed to be doing, so I’d start throwing random instructions at them: “Fight, characters! You guys should fight now! Maybe fighting will make this event have a purpose!” Which inevitably resulted in characters going through the motions of battle for no apparent reason, like they had all lost their minds.

What was the problem? I didn’t know how to write a scene. I didn’t know what a scene was. I had a vague definition that it was something about changing scenery, or just “something happening”.

It’s not. And once I learned what a scene was, my characters got to stop pummeling each other, while wishing they could pummel me. 

So what is a scene? 

The definition of a scene is kind of like the definition of a story. Story is change, a massive change in the life of your main character. A scene is change too, but much smaller, and part of that huge story change. You couldn’t have the BIG change without these tiny changes. Thus, a scene is not switching scenery. It’s not flipping to a new Character’s POV. It’s one segment of change, which triggers the next change, which triggers the next, which gradually build into sequences, which build into Acts, which build into story. 

So what goes into a scene? How does it work?

1. Alternating Charges

If a scene opens positive, it will turn negative by the end. If it opens negative, it will end positive. Simple. 

2. Character Goals

Everybody in a scene wants something. If they don’t want anything, they shouldn’t be in the scene. And these characters, with their often opposing goals, are going to employ different tactics on each other to get what they want. Which creates …

3. Escalating Conflict

Conflict is created when one character wants one thing and another wants something else, right? So the characters in the scene are each pushing for something different, each new tactic increasing in determination. And what are these actions called?  

4. Beats

The beats of a scene are exchanges of action and reaction. One character does something, another character reacts. All exchanges (beats) are pushing the scene onward, building tension and conflict, until finally …

5. Turns & Revelations

The scene turns. The positive has changed to negative. Something has been discovered. The story has spun in a new direction.

6. Connection to Story Objective

Every scene must be connected to the BIG goal of the story, the main character is taking small actions to reach that big goal. If it isn’t obviously connected to this big plot, it won’t make sense. Your reader won’t know why the heck they’re reading the scene. Which brings us to … 

7. Logic & Necessity  

Every scene must be necessary. It must be able to be linked with the previous scene. “Because that happened in the previous scene, THIS must happen in this scene.”

So! To see how that all works, let’s break down a scene from Tangled. (Because I used it in the last post to map out how a premise works, and my little writer heart can’t resist symmetry.)

Which scene? The one right after this happens: 

Opening Charge: Positive. She’s realized everything. 

Rapunzel’s Goal: Rise up against her mother – finally. 

Gothel’s Goal: Regain control.

Escalating Conflict: They’re fighting over who controls Rapunzel, and this battle causes them to go from “mother and daughter” to “enemies”. The conflict builds nicely in this scene, causing the story turn.

Connection to Story Objective: Throughout the movie, the big thing Rapunzel wants is freedom, she wants her life to begin, she wants to have a new dream. This is the moment she figures out how to do that; it’s not escaping the tower, it’s escaping Gothel’s control over her.

So! Here’s the scene.

Beat 1

“Rapunzel? Rapunzel, what’s going on up there?”

Ignores her. Still processing the tremendous implications of this revelation. 

Beat 2

“Are you alright?" 

"I’m the lost princess.” (Dumbfounded. Almost whispering it to herself.)


Beat 3

“Oh, please speak up Rapunzel! You know how I hate the mumbling.” (Bullying.)

“I am the lost princess! Aren’t I?” (Fighting back. She will not be bullied anymore.)

Beat 4

Gothel stares, stunned. She’s rendered temporarily speechless, because her secret’s been revealed finally, and her victim is actually fighting against her.


“Did I mumble, Mother? Or should I even call you that?” (Accusing. Drawing herself up taller. Looking down on Gothel and glaring. She’s seeing her clearly for the first time in her life.)

Beat 5

After a pause, thinking up a tactic. “Oh, Rapunzel, do you even hear yourself? How could you ask such a ridiculous question?” (Laughs. Ridicules. Attempts to make her feel childish, dumb, worthy of being mocked. Tactics which have always worked. She even begins to hug her.)


Rapunzel pushes her. “It was you! It was all you!” (Still accusing and angry, but pain is beginning to show. It’s almost like she’s giving her a chance to explain herself.)


Beat 6

“Everything I did was to protect you.” (And Gothel doesn’t say anything redeeming. She’s holier than thou, regal, bestowing kindness on an ungrateful, stupid child. Trying to control through guilt.)

Rapunzel rams her out of the way. 

Beat 7

“Rapunzel!” (Shouting. Now trying anger.)

“I’ve spent my entire life hiding from people who would use me for my power …” (Leaves her.)

Beat 8

"Rapunzel!” (Still trying the anger angle.)

“But I should have been hiding from you.” (Throwing the truth at her.)

Beat 9

“Where will you go? He won’t be there for you.” (She’s tried everything else. It’s time to attack her heart.)

“What did you do to him?” (Fear)

Beat 10

“That criminal is to be hanged for his crimes.” (She’s keeping up the disapproving mother act, but striking her right where it will hurt her most.)

“No.” (She’s stopped. Shrinking in on herself. Staring, horrified. And Gothel thinks she’s won.)

Beat 11

“Now, now.  It’s alright. Listen to me. All of this is as it should be.” She goes to pat Rapunzel’s head, a gesture symbolic of her superiority, her physical, mental, and emotional control over her victim.


Rapunzel grabs Gothel’s wrist. “No! You were wrong about the world. And you were wrong about me! And I will never let you use my hair again!" 

Beat 12

Gothel wrenches free, stumbling backwards in shock and anger, breaking the mirror in the process. 

Rapunzel walks away. She’s escaped Gothel emotionally now.

Beat 13

"You want me to be the bad guy? Fine. Now I’m the bad guy.” (Well, now emotional control is over. It’s time to start stabbing Rapunzel’s boyfriend.)

This action has no reaction, interestingly. It leaves us hanging, a cliffhanger created with only beats. 

Closing Charge: Negative. She’s now a full-fledged villain, the motherly persona shed, and she’s determined to get what she wants whatever the cost. 

Turn: It changed from positive to negative,  and now we’ve got a Flynn-stabbing witch to deal with.  

Revelation: She’s always been evil. She has always been the bad guy. The motherly act was just that, an act. 

Logic & Necessity: This scene fits with the previous scene, and the one that follows.     

Though I’ve seen these concepts in many books, the place I first learned about it (and the best resource for scene design in my opinion) is the book Story by Robert McKee. It’s helped me countless times, is one of my favorite books on storytelling, and I highly recommend it if you write anything.

I realize that these definitions were a little vague, so I’ll be explaining things more thoroughly in subsequent posts. 

Modernist manuals of writing often conflate story with conflict. This reductionism reflects a culture that inflates aggression and competition while cultivating ignorance of other behavioral options. No narrative of any complexity can be built on or reduced to a single element. Conflict is one kind of behavior. There are others, equally important in any human life, such as relating, finding, losing, bearing, discovering, parting, changing.

Change is the universal aspect of all these sources of story. Story is something moving, something happening, something or somebody changing.

—  Ursula K. Le Guin
The 2 Elements of an ORIGINAL STORY IDEA

If you’ve been doing this writing thing for more than one day, you’ve likely experienced the following worry: 

“What if my story idea ISN’T ORIGINAL?”

And if my experience is any indication, things spiraled downwards from there: “What if it’s cliche? What if there’s nothing new here?! It IS cliche. It ISN’T original. I’m a failure! ALL MY WRITING NEEDS TO BURN!”

Calm yourself. There’s a way to make sure that your story concept is unique.  

First, what IS a story concept? It’s the initial idea that made you want to write the thing. It’s the “What If” question that starts everything off. Later, it will be the promise that hooks the reader or audience, and makes them want to experience the story. 

So for example: What if Cinderella was a cyborg? What if a rat wanted to be a french chef? What if a fish had to venture across the ocean to find his son who’s captive in a dentist’s office aquarium?   

All great concepts. All of which seem to be comprised of two elements: something that we already know about, a set up that establishes expectations, and then something contrasting and surprising, which creates irony or surprise.  
So the first element of a successful story concept is FAMILIARITY. 

Establishing expectations? Something we already know about? Familiarity?! That sounds like the definition of UNorginal. 

Hear me out. 

What do readers do when foraging for a new novel at the bookstore? Certain readers gravitate to certain shelves. Some go to mysteries, some to crime, a whole lot to romance, and the rest to the other genres that are too numerous to list.

 Why is this? Because genres give them a pretty good idea about what they’re going to get. Readers already know the conventions of the genre. They’ve already put in the work of learning, accepting, and enjoying these conventions. 

Genres give both reader and writer something to go on right away. For the reader, genres are expectations for story events, setting, character, and more, which are automatically enjoyable to them. For a writer, it’s a set of expectations which can be flipped to create something remarkable and unique.  

It’s like telling a joke. Without a setup, there can’t be a punchline. 

The genres are the setup, the individual twist the author puts on that genre is the punchline. Or in other words, readers truly do want the same thing –only different.  

To illustrate this, let’s take a look at one of the most successful stories of all time.

With space ships, interplanetary travel, sentient robots, and aliens running amok, Star Wars LOOKS to be the kind of story that requires the audience to expend lots of mental energy to comprehend and believe. At first glance, it seems that imaginations are going to have to stretch a great deal, and there won’t be anything familiar to ground us – this SEEMS like an uncomfortably new, unwelcoming world. But I doubt if anyone has ever felt uncomfortable or unwelcome while watching Star Wars. And the reason for this can be summed up with one ellipsis-ended sentence:

Suddenly, all is clear. This isn’t the hard-to-imagine future, this is the PAST. We’re not being asked to imagine and believe a totally new world; we’re being taken to the realm of “far, far away”, a place we’ve known since childhood. Isn’t “a long time ago” just another way of saying “once upon a time”? Yes, it is, so we know where we are now. We are in a fairy tale, a myth.  

The familiarity of fairy tales sets us at ease and sets our expectations in place. Expectations which Star Wars meets with flying colors: A farmboy who must become a knight. A princess imploring for aide. A mystical wise-old-man mentor. Sword fights between good and evil. A magic that operates like religion. A dark lord and a dark side. Star Wars was built upon something we already know, something timeless, something we’ve always enjoyed. 

And once those well-known expectations were set, Star Wars was free to add the unexpected and create one of those most memorable story worlds ever.
Think of a story you love, and you’ll probably be able to identify the something-already-known aspect of it.  

How about Harry Potter? 

When we hear “boarding school”, mental images and probabilities are instantly conjured in our minds. We picture classrooms, dormitories, a campus with very old buildings, kids in uniforms, a giant place for meals, living through a schoolyear with a bunch of kids your age, etc. Even if we don’t know much about boarding school, we all know what regular school is like (even us homeschoolers over here *waves*) and our expectations for that are nearly identical from person to person.  

So what does this prove?

It proves that one half of your story’s concept must be grounded in something we already know, and know well. These are the expectations you are going to establish for your reader, before the second element of your concept upends everything and creates something wholly unique. 

You need FAMILIARITY. You need to ground your concept in something WELL-KNOWN. Only then will you be able to create something ORIGINAL. 

Where can familiarity be found?  

1. Genre Conventions 

2. Occupations 

3. Well-known stories  

The possibilities are not limited to these categories, of course. Familiar subjects can be found within many other areas. However, Familiar elements seem to share certain qualities … 

Provides a rough timeline

⦁ Conjures imagery

⦁ Sets expectations for events, characters, opposition, etc

⦁ Has natural potential for conflict 

⦁ Serves as a goal-oriented backdrop for the plot

To see how this works, let’s look at Harry Potter again: 

Familiarity: Going to boarding school. (An occupation)

Timeline: A school year (which Voldy always lets Harry complete before trying to kill him again, bless him.)

Story Expectations: When we hear “school”, we know what we’re going to get.

Imagery: Boarding school conjures tons of possibilities. 

Conflict Potential: It’s a thousand kids living in one castle with a handful of adults – there’s going to be conflict. 

Goal-Oriented: School is inherently goal directed. You want to graduate. And in the case of boarding school, you want to win the house cup. 

But of course, this familiar environment is only HALF of the concept for Harry Potter. The other half, of course, is WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY. Which brings us to the 2nd element of a successful story concept, which will be the subject of the next post.

nothing’s going to hurt more than the “what ifs” and “could’ve beens”. nothing’s going to hurt more than realizing all the chances we never took. nothing’s going to hurt more than missing out on something amazing. so if you love someone, tell them.
—  because who knows when you’ll find another chance like this.
Internal Conflict:  Five Conflicting Traits of a Likable Hero.

1.  Flaws and Virtues 

I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but characters without flaws are boring.  This does not, as many unfortunate souls take it to mean, imply that good, kind, or benevolent characters are boring:  it just means that without any weaknesses for you to poke at, they tend to be bland-faced wish fulfillment on the part of the author, with a tendency to just sit there without contributing much to the plot.

For any character to be successful, they need to have a proportionate amount of flaws and virtues.

Let’s take a look at Stranger Things, for example, which is practically a smorgasbord of flawed, lovable sweethearts.

We have Joyce Byers, who is strung out and unstable, yet tirelessly works to save her son, even when all conventional logic says he’s dead;  We have Officer Hopper, who is drunken and occasionally callous, yet ultimately is responsible for saving the boy’s life;  We have Jonathan, who is introspective and loving, but occasionally a bit of a creeper, and Nancy, who is outwardly shallow but proves herself to be a strong and determined character.  Even Steve, who would conventionally be the popular jerk who gets his comeuppance, isn’t beyond redemption.

And of course, we have my beloved Eleven, who’s possibly the closest thing Stranger Things has to a “quintessential” heroine.  She’s the show’s most powerful character, as well as one of the most courageous.  However, she is also the show’s largest source of conflict, as it was her powers that released the Demogorgon to begin with.  

Would Eleven be a better character if this had never happened?  Would Stranger Things be a better show?  No, because if this had never happened, Stranger Things wouldn’t even be a show.  Or if it was, it would just be about a bunch of cute kids sitting around and playing Dungeons and Dragons in a relatively peaceful town.

A character’s flaws and mistakes are intended to drive the plotline, and if they didn’t have them, there probably wouldn’t even be a plot.

So don’t be a mouth-breather:  give your good, kind characters some difficult qualities, and give your villains a few sympathetic ones.  Your work will thank you for it.

2.  Charisma and Vulnerability

Supernatural has its flaws, but likable leads are not one of them.  Fans will go to the grave defending their favorite character, consuming and producing more character-driven, fan-created content than most other TV shows’ followings put together.

So how do we inspire this kind of devotion with our own characters?  Well, for starters, let’s take a look at one of Supernatural’s most quintessentially well-liked characters:  Dean Winchester.

From the get-go, we see that Dean has charisma:  he’s confident, cocky, attractive, and skilled at what he does.  But these qualities could just as easily make him annoying and obnoxious if they weren’t counterbalanced with an equal dose of emotional vulnerability. 

As the show progresses, we see that Dean cares deeply about the people around him, particularly his younger brother, to the point of sacrificing himself so that he can live.  He goes through long periods of physical and psychological anguish for his benefit (though by all means, don’t feel obligated to send your main character to Hell for forty years), and the aftermath is depicted in painful detail.

Moreover, in spite of his outward bravado, we learn he doesn’t particularly like himself, doesn’t consider himself worthy of happiness or a fulfilling life, and of course, we have the Single Man Tear™.

So yeah, make your characters beautiful, cocky, sex gods.  Give them swagger.  Just, y’know.  Hurt them in equal measure.  Torture them.  Give them insecurities.  Make them cry.  

Just whatever you do, let them be openly bisexual.  Subtext is so last season.

3.  Goals For the Future and Regrets From the Past

Let’s take a look at Shadow Moon from American Gods.  (For now, I’ll have to be relegate myself to examples from the book, because I haven’t had the chance to watch the amazing looking TV show.) 

Right off the bat, we learn that Shadow has done three years in prison for a crime he may or may not have actually committed.  (We learn later that he actually did commit the crime, but that it was only in response to being wronged by the true perpetrators.)  

He’s still suffering the consequences of his actions when we meet him, and arguably, for the most of the book:  because he’s in prison, his wife has an affair (I still maintain that Laura could have resisted the temptation to be adulterous if she felt like it, but that’s not the issue here) and is killed while mid-coital with his best friend.

Shadow is haunted by this for the rest of the book, to the point at which it bothers him more than the supernatural happenings surrounding him.  

Even before that, the more we learn about Shadow’s past, the more we learn about the challenges he faced:  he was bullied as a child, considered to be “just a big, dumb guy” as an adult, and is still wrongfully pursued for crimes he was only circumstantially involved in.

But these difficulties make the reader empathize with Shadow, and care about what happens to him.  We root for Shadow as he tags along with the mysterious and alternatively peckish and charismatic Wednesday, and as he continuously pursues a means to permanently bring Laura back to life.

He has past traumas, present challenges, and at least one goal that propels him towards the future.  It also helps that he’s three-dimensional, well-written, and as of now, portrayed by an incredibly attractive actor.

Of course (SPOILER ALERT), Shadow never does succeed in fully resurrecting Laura, ultimately allowing her to rest instead, but that doesn’t make the resolution any less satisfying.  

Which leads to my next example…       

4.  Failure and Success 

You remember in Zootopia, when Judy Hopps decides she wants to be cop and her family and town immediately and unanimously endorse her efforts?  Or hey, do you remember Harry Potter’s idyllic childhood with his kindhearted, adoptive family?  Oh!  Or in the X-Files, when Agent Mulder presents overwhelming evidence of extraterrestrial life in the first episode and is immediately given a promotion?  No?

Yeah, me neither.  And there’s a reason for this:  ff your hero gets what they want the entire time, it will be a boring, two-dimensional fantasy that no one will want to read.  

A good story is not about the character getting what they want.  A good story is about the character’s efforts and their journey.  The destination they reach could be something far removed from what they originally thought they wanted, and could be no less (if not more so) satisfying because of it.

Let’s look at Toy Story 3, for example:  throughout the entire movie, Woody’s goal is to get his friends back to their longtime owner, Andy, so that they can accompany him to college.  He fails miserably.  None of his friends believe that Andy was trying to put them in the attic, insisting that his intent was to throw them away.  He is briefly separated from them as he is usurped by a cute little girl and his friends are left at a tyrannical daycare center, but with time and effort, they’re reunited, Woody is proven right, and things seem to be back on track.

Do his efforts pay off?  Yes – just not in the way he expected them to.  At the end of the movie, a college-bound Andy gives the toys away to a new owner who will play with them more than he will, and they say goodbye.  Is the payoff bittersweet?  Undoubtedly.  It made me cry like a little bitch in front of my young siblings.  But it’s also undoubtedly satisfying.      

So let your characters struggle.  Let them fail.  And let them not always get what they want, so long as they get what they need.  

5.  Loving and Being Loved by Others

Take a look back at this list, and all the characters on it:  a gaggle of small town kids and flawed adults, demon-busting underwear models, an ex-con and his dead wife, and a bunch of sentient toys.  What do they have in common?  Aside from the fact that they’re all well-loved heroes of their own stories, not much.

But one common element they all share is they all have people they care about, and in turn, have people who care about them.  

This allows readers and viewers to empathize with them possibly more than any of the other qualities I’ve listed thus far, as none of it means anything without the simple demonstration of human connection.

Let’s take a look at everyone’s favorite caped crusader, for example:  Batman in the cartoons and the comics is an easy to love character, whereas in the most recent movies (excluding the splendid Lego Batman Movie), not so much. 

Why is this?  In all adaptions, he’s the same mentally unstable, traumatized genius in a bat suit.  In all adaptions, he demonstrates all the qualities I listed before this:  he has flaws and virtues, charisma and vulnerability, regrets from the past and goals for the future, and usually proportionate amounts of failure and success.  

What makes the animated and comic book version so much more attractive than his big screen counterpart is the fact that he does one thing right that all live action adaptions is that he has connections and emotional dependencies on other people.  

He’s unabashed in caring for Alfred, Batgirl, and all the Robins, and yes, he extends compassion and sympathy to the villains as well, helping Harley Quinn to ultimately escape a toxic and abusive relationship, consoling Baby Doll, and staying with a child psychic with godlike powers until she died.

Cartoon Batman is not afraid to care about others.  He has a support network of people who care about him, and that’s his greatest strength.  The DC CU’s ever darker, grittier, and more isolated borderline sociopath is failing because he lacks these things.  

 And it’s also one of the reasons that the Lego Batman Movie remains so awesome.


God willing, I will be publishing fresh writing tips every week, so be sure to follow my blog and stay tuned for future advice and observations! 

Complete A Story

Literally write the story. It doesn’t have to be good. It can be terrible. It’s only the first draft, keep this in mind.

When we write with perfection in mind, the words won’t come cause we don’t always know what perfect would be. It’s alright. Perfection CAN come later.

It’s a lot easier to make something okay into something amazing than it is to create something amazing from scratch.

things that actually happened in my high school

1. in the middle of am homeroom (so like 9am in the morning) a kid just broke out a pint of ice cream and started eating it. and i guess it wouldnt have been that bad except once people noticed, everyone started whispering and pointing until half the class was surrounding the table literally BEGGING for some. the teacher actually had to stop reading the morning announcements and give a speech on how you shouldn’t give death threats over ice cream.

2. this kid i was sitting next to once went home bc he got a massive headache after staring straight into a lightbulb for 2 minutes bc he “was bored and wanted to see what would happen.” he ended up taking 3 advils after that, got paranoid and made the entire table search “how many pills of advil does it take to overdose” on a school computer.

3.  there was a HUGE ASS fly in the room and the teacher thought itd be a great idea to kill it by throwing a folder 4inches thick with papers in its general direction; it ended up going across the room and hitting a poor, innocent kid in the face so hard that the other kids at the table scrammed and started yelling “EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF”…and when i tell you that this fly was huge,,it was literally so MASSIVE that this one girl almost started crying when it flew near her, someone actually tried throwing a cup of coffee at it, and another person started screaming ZIKA VIRUSSSS and something about how they weren’t vaccinated. and mind you the majority of the students are dressed in fancy attire bc of the national honor society ceremony that was later in the afternoon. in the midst of all this chaos, this one kid stands up, doesnt say anything and literally just ninja slams his bare hand onto the table and kills the fly all in one fluid motion, all without saying a single word. the entire class just broke out in thunderous applause, including the teacher, and then class continued as normal as if the past 10 minutes didn’t even happen

4. during first period a teacher who lost a ton of weight over a 2 year period was giving serious advice about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle while this kid right in front of the teacher’s desk breaks out a FULL mcdonalds breakfast meal and distributes it among the table

5. kids that were in apush and ap spanish held a joint prayer vigil the day before ap exams began, so that ap students could literally hold hands and pray to survive exam season as well as mourn our high grades. everyone who went was required to bring in fake candles and food, while someone else conducted a prayer service. a special invitation was sent using our school emails, you had to rsvp in order to attend, and it was suggested that you wear black. our ap teachers knew about this, and they agreed it was a good idea somehow

anonymous asked:

How many types plot structures are there and how are they used?

Hiya! Thanks for your question! Plot structures are important for creating a good story.

There’s an infinite amount of plot structures depending on the story you’re telling. Some types are better than others within certain genres. Here are the most common plot structures, and how they’re used:

The Four Main Plot Structures:

Freytag’s Pyramid:

Also known as dramatic structure, this is the most simplistic of plot structures, and probably the one you were taught in elementary school. In this type of story structure, the climax falls in the middle, and the latter half of the story consists of falling action and the resolution. This was developed to analyze Greek and Shakespearian plays that use a five-act structure.

Why it’s good: It allows authors to explore the consequences of one’s actions. It’s also good for story analysis.

Why it’s bad: Long resolutions get boring fast. Modern novels don’t use this because no one wants to read a story where the villain is defeated in the middle.

When to use it: Children’s books and short stories

It’s good to use in children’s books because the goal of most children’s books is to teach kids a lesson. Using Freytag’s Pyramid gives writers the chance to teach kids the consequences of doing something wrong (lying, bullying, etc.). It works in short stories because the limited length prevents the denouement from being too long and boring the reader.

Examples: Any of Shakespeare’s plays

The Fichtean Curve:

This is what most modern novels use, no matter the genre. The Fichtean Curve features a varying number of crises (or mini-climaxes) within the rising action to build up to climax about two-thirds of the way through the story. The falling action is short and used to wrap up loose ends or establish a new way of life for the characters.

Why it’s good: Putting crises throughout the story will keep readers hooked until the end. It also helps to keep good pacing. Despite being frequently used, this structure is loose enough that anyone can use it and make it unique for their own story.

Why it’s bad: Too much action can be overwhelming. This structure also doesn’t work well with certain story types such as Voyage and Return, Rebirth, or Comedy.

When to use it: Action-packed stories, Overcoming the Monster plots, or Quest plots

Examples: Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, World War Z by Max Brooks, or Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

The Hero’s Journey:

Another common plot structure that is seen in modern novels (especially western literature), and can be combined with the Fichtean Curve. Often, modern novels are a combination of the two. What makes the Hero’s Journey unique is that the protagonist must go through a literal or figurative death that completely transforms them. The death is usually, but not always, the climax of the story. Another key difference in The Hero’s Journey is that the protagonist must atone for their past rather than overcome it or move on without going back.

Why it’s good: Allows for great character development in character-strong stories.

Why it’s bad: Nearly every western novel, film, or TV show (successful and unsuccessful) uses this plot structure. It’s a little overdone, but if you can put a good personal twist on it, it can work out just fine.

When to use it: First-person stories, stories with small casts, Voyage and Return plots, or Rebirth plots

Examples: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, or Divergent by Veronica Roth

In Media Res

Latin for “in the middle of things”, In Media Res is a unique plot structure. Rather than start with an exposition that builds up to the action, In Media Res starts right in the middle of the story. If you were to start your story at the second or third crisis point of the Fichtean Curve, you would get In Media Res.

Why It’s Good: Dropping people in the middle of the action will hook the right from the beginning.

Why It’s Bad: Starting with the action can be disorienting for readers. Make sure you fill in the backstory as the plot moves on.

When to Use It: Stories with small casts, Crime plots, or Mystery plots

Examples: Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, The Lord of the Flies by William Golding, or The Iliad by Homer

There are plenty more plot structures, but these are the main four, and all others are based off these in some way. Keep in mind that most stories use a combination of these plot structures, so you don’t have to stick to just one.

Thanks again for your question! If you need help with anything else writing related, feel free to send in another ask. Happy writing!

- Mod Kellie


If you need advice on general writing or fanfiction, you should maybe ask us!

Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules of Writing

THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE THAT SUMS UP ALL TEN: If it sounds like writing, re-write it.

1. Never open a book with weather.
If it’s only to create atmosphere, and not a character’s reaction to the weather, you don’t want to go on too long. The reader is apt to leaf ahead looking for people. 

2. Avoid prologues.
A prologue in a novel is backstory, and you can drop it in anywhere you want.

3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
Because “said” is far less intrusive than grumbled, gasped, cautioned, lied.

4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said”…
…he admonished gravely. To use an adverb this way (or almost any way) is a mortal sin. The writer is now exposing himself in earnest, using a word that distracts and can interrupt the rhythm of the exchange.

5. Keep your exclamation points under control.
You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.

6. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
This rule doesn’t require an explanation. Writers who use “suddenly” tend to exercise less control in the application of exclamation points.

7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
Once you start spelling words phonetically and loading the page with apostrophes, you won’t be able to stop.

8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
In Ernest Hemingway’s Hills Like White Elephants what do the “American and the girl with him” look like? “She had taken off her hat and put it on the table.” That’s the only reference to a physical description in the story, and yet we see the couple and know them by their tones of voice, with not one adverb in sight.

9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.
Long descriptions often bring the action and the flow of the story to a standstill.

10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.
Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them. In those moments, the writer is often writing for the sake of writing, perhaps taking another shot at the weather or going into the character’s head, and the reader either knows what the guy’s thinking or doesn’t care.

So many books and tv shows about werewolves worship this dominance culture, especially a male-centric dominance hierarchy, and sometimes it drives me nuts because it’s regarded as the default. That if humans transformed into beasts, of course most of the survivors would be men, and of course they’d be violent and territorial and murderous, and of course they’d be vaguely chauvinistic because ‘they can’t help it that’s just how werewolves are’.

It’s this idea that the metaphor for a beast as one’s inner nature is reserved for male characters and male violence, tossed in with  frequently-inaccurate anthropomorphic assumptions about animal pack culture.

Where are the stories about the werewolf packs that are mostly female?  Where are the stories about the fact that women who’ve born children have a higher pain tolerance than men and would better survive the bite? Where are the stories about the women who spend so much time controlling their passions and their emotions and their desires to navigate in a man’s world that they adapt all to well to controlling their mystical transformations too?

What does a pack of all female werewolves look like? Is there a hierarchical structure, or something else? Does it mean the same thing to be an alpha, a beta? What does it mean to be a lone wolf?

I want the stories about how men who are bitten are more likely to go mad  from trying to keep a duality in their minds instead of coming to consensus and sharing space with their wolf-spirit. I want stories about the female alpha wolf who only offers the bite to other girls, because dudes have already fucked up ruling the human world, let’s not let them have the supernatural one too.  

I want the story about the trans girl who all of a sudden has to deal with physically transforming her body three nights a month, because hell if you ever wanted a metaphor about not fitting right in your own skin, werewolves are a good option.

I want the story about how the hedge-witches took wolves as familiars and gave them human souls, turned them into human girls, and forced them to give up the wind and the snow and the grass for a life trapped in human flesh.

I want the story about the teenage werewolf girls who hunt down other monsters while they try to find the right shoes for prom and study for their written driver’s test.  And when people joke about them going to the bathroom in a pack, it’s not really a joke. Because girls know a journey is not an adventure unless she brings her friends, and when they travel in packs, they travel in packs.

I want more female werewolves.