this is the most poorly edited thing but come on the idea of it

sims!d*s/ladybug camping trip

so my sims 4 screenshots have been piling up forever, so i’m just gonna drop the camping trip even tho it’s way off from where i last posted

also because these have been sitting on my hard drive since last year:

…and i’d like to get rid of them lmao.

Things to know:

  • Vix and Kou are married, and they have 3 kids: Nolan [teen] and Shiori [child, named for kou’s sis] who came with, and Olivia [nearly young adult] who stayed home cos there wasn’t room on the lot for her lmao. 
  • Adrien and Marinette are dating. They do not know about each other’s identities.
  • Adrien and Kou are best friends, and Shiori has a little girl crush on Adrien. [it was stupidly cute, she would seek him out anytime the fams hung out together lol]
  • Vix and Nino are work buddies [via their musical careers].
  • Nino and Alya are still only close friends but there’s UST 8D

anyway, prepare for action and adventure, drama and danger, love and betrayal lol…and just. lots and lots and lots of pictures under the cut.

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

Psychiatry is not abusive and self diagnosing is dangerous. You're not a doctor and you don't know the details about all the disabilities and illnesses that are out there. Researching things on your own is fine and all, but not everything on the internet is true. Many people are often delusional and claim they have a certain disability or illness when in reality they do not, and they're merely attention seekers.

Oh gosh… here we go. First, I should probably point out that you shouldn’t assume things about other people on the Internet. You’re right, I’m not a doctor: I’m a psychologist and I most certainly have a solid understanding of the myriad diagnosable mental disorders recognized by the American Psychiatric Association. Oops.

I also have over ten years experience as a peer advocate for people who have mental health problems and/or are suffering violence at the hands of the psychiatric institution.

With that out of the way, my dear Dunning Kruger acolyte, let’s talk about all the interesting ways in which you’re painfully wrong:

First, you don’t understand what a psychiatric diagnosis even is. Diagnostic criteria for psychiatric conditions are not diseases because they do not describe an underlying disease process. They are syndromes. What that means is that your precious psychiatric diagnoses are nothing more than descriptions of various symptoms that the psychiatric profession has concluded are often seen in combination. Moreover these diagnostic criteria are:

  • Not culturally neutral. Psychiatric diagnostic criteria were developed through the observation of patients in European (incl. North American) cultures. There is extensive research by cultural anthropologists researching mental disability in non-European cultures that shows not only that psychiatric diagnoses did not seem to fit the studied population but that the importation of European psychiatry fundamentally changed the clinical presentation of the local patients.
  • Not without controversy, even within the psychiatric profession. I can think of several psychiatric diagnoses enumerated in the DSM-V that psychiatrists can’t stop bickering about regarding their validity, and that’s not including the infighting having to do with the fundamental nature of various disorders.
  • Constantly changing. Every few years a new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders comes out and diagnoses are added, dropped, and often radically changed. Two of the diagnoses that I carry, bipolar I disorder and autism spectrum disorder, changed radically in the transition from the DSM-IV-TR to the DSM-V. The latter wasn’t even a ‘real diagnosis’ until a few months ago.
  • Imprecise and subjective. Mental health professionals treating the same patient will regularly give different diagnoses from each other. Incidentally, in science we call this failing a test/retest check for reliability which is an indication that something is horseshit.
  • Helpfully bound and presented in a single volume, in plain English, for anyone with a library card or a bit of spare change to browse. Seriously. The fact that you don’t think that people who self diagnose mental disorders don’t even bother to consult a copy of the DSM-V is downright insulting. Do you really think that people who are struggling with getting help for a serious, potentially life-threatening condition restrict their research to Yahoo Answers? Grow up and give me a break. 

How is a psychiatric diagnosis made? It starts with a patient who is complaining about a symptom, or a group of symptoms that are causing them distress. You then ask them what they think is wrong with them and they give you symptoms. Having a fairly good idea of what’s wrong with your patient you now ask follow-up questions in order to differentially diagnose similar conditions. If you are very, very lucky you might even be able to directly observe a symptom or two. Then, you make your diagnosis and move on to discussing treatment options.

You wanna know what’s really useful? When a patient already has a good idea what’s wrong with them and is informed enough to know what information to volunteer. Now all you need to do is confirm the diagnosis. Having an informed patient is critical to providing quality health care of any kind.

But let’s talk about what happens when self diagnosis gets vilified by mental health professionals, as you so dearly seem to want. An anecdote from my personal life:

Before I was formally diagnosed with bipolar disorder I had serious problems with depression. My general practitioner referred me to a psychiatrist and I told her that I thought I was bipolar based on some hypomanic episodes that I felt that I had in the past. The psychiatrist brushed me off and did not ask the questions necessary to investigate my concern. She prescribed a high dose of antidepressants and sent me on my way.

If you don’t know, antidepressants cause Very Bad Things™ to happen to people who are bipolar. This is the reason why ‘bipolar II’ is a distinct diagnosis from major depression. I knew this but I also knew that if it did cause a mania it would confirm my diagnosis, so I took the drugs.

Not only did the resulting mania land me in the hospital but the drugs did permanent and severe damage. I no longer have a manageable bipolar II condition, I have a poorly controlled bipolar I condition.

So why do people self-diagnose? Because something is causing them to suffer and they either do not have access to the medical resources necessary for a formal diagnosis or they have tried to get a diagnosis but for some reason have been unable to get one.

Self-diagnosis is empowering. Self-diagnosis allows people to access the care they need from mental health professionals because they will be able to present their complaint in a way that is understandable to their healthcare provider. Self-diagnosis also allows people to research ways to cope with their symptoms without involving medical professionals.

Can a self-diagnosis be wrong? Yes. Are mental health professionals alert to errors in self-diagnosis? Yes. But here’s the thing: A mental health self-diagnosis is almost never far from the eventual, formal diagnosis.

All this being said: You’re just angry that certain people, who aren’t you, are able to advocate for themselves without going through a gauntlet of potentially abusive gatekeepers. In other words, you’re fucking scum and please get off my blog.

M’s Writing Tips

Below you’ll find a list of tips and tricks I’ve used to help improve my writing. 

Part One:

There are four types of me: 

  1. The lazy creative type
  2. The impatient type
  3. The overly confident type
  4. The rare mixture of the three above type

Do you identify with any of those? You do? Cool! I’m going to share with you what I do when I’m in those four different moods. Let’s start with number one.

#1 Lazy

Half the time whenever I get a fanfiction request I don’t plan it out, same goes for drabbles as well. I’ll just start writing, which isn’t always a bad thing. The requests and drabbles usually have enough information attached where I don’t need to plan, I’m able to create as I go. Now, how do you deal with this when you don’t want it?

  • Write. I’m not kidding, it’s like writer’s block, just write.
  • Listen to those new ideas popping into your head while you’re writing, you’ll thank yourself in the long run for changing your story rather than giving into your laziness to not rewrite a scene.
  • Force yourself to plan.
    • Give yourself rewards for breaking your habit of not planning.
  • Take a step back and truly shove yourself into the scene. Close your eyes and pretend you’re there. You can be your main character, you can be a bystander, hell you could be God if you wanted- just put yourself in the scene. Feel the tone of the atmosphere and use it. Use the immersion to think and motivate yourself to write more intensely. 

#2 Impatient 

I know damn well what it’s like to just want your words to magically show up on the paper or document in front of you. 

  • Write out an undetailed version of the story. Sounds weird, I know, just bear with me here.
    • You’ve got that brilliant idea for a story in your head and you just can’t seem to get it out fast enough, so skip the details and get it out before you forget anything major.
    • It doesn’t have to be long, mine range from a page to three pages (front only).
  • Once you’ve got the words in front of you, you can start to formulate plot twists and specific plot points for certain parts of the story.
  • You can also use it as a reference if you’re blanking on a minor detail while writing future chapters.
    • This is useful if you’re like me and write chapters months apart. 
    • I also have a terrible memory so it really helps me remember the little things.
    • Just make sure you keep it updated with any changes.

#3 Overly Confident

Similar to number two, the Impatient Type, being overly confident leads to a lack of details in each chapter. 

  • Have patience; you’ll get your story written, I promise. The last thing you want to do is rush a chapter.
  • Reread your chapters, not necessarily to edit, but to make sure you didn’t skip over a certain part or leave something out.
  • Write out bullet points for each chapter and make sure you hit each one. 
    • If you don’t, write about them in the following chapter.
  • Check your writing- you don’t want to write a plot twist poorly. 
    • Or any other scene, for that matter.

#4 The Mixture

This, this is the ideal writing type, it’s where the three types above are mixed so perfectly everything just works. And you know what helps this heaven-like state? Planning.

  • Plan out your characters and be as specific as you can, even if it’s about something you think will be unimportant to the story. It may come into play later and you’ll thank yourself for having it.
  • Talk to a friend, make sure your story doesn’t have any major plot holes.
  • Get excited, do a little dance to enjoy your productivity- it’ll help get your blood pumping and get you ready to start writing.
    • You’re allowed to be giddy about your work!
  • Don’t give up! But…you may need to take a break. 
    • If you hit a road block during your perfect mood, get up and stretch. Maybe take a nap and dream about your story.
    • Go for a run.
    • Skip around your house.
    • Eat some cake.
    • Steal the Declaration of Independence.
    • Find something to occupy your time for an extended period of time to give yourself a break.
  • Remember that you don’t have to write the entire thing in one day. 
    • I know you may want to get as much writing as you can in because you don’t know how long this mood will last, but if you push yourself too hard you’ll turn into type number three.

Writing isn’t easy. Anyone who claims they’ve never struggled with it is most likely lying, I swear your pain isn’t going unnoticed. 

Well, there you go! That’s all I’ve got for you…for now. I plan on writing more parts that include a multitude of tips so don’t expect this to be the only part in the series. Also, don’t hesitate to ever message or send me an ask if you’ve got any questions!

jael-paris  asked:

Hey, resident script writer! Could you tell us more about script doctoring since we all just learned Carrie Fisher's been doing it in the shadows for decades?

Of course! XD And thanks for asking!

First, let me give you the technical definition of a script doctor, as given to us by the Great God Wikipedia:

[[Screencap of Google Wikipedia result, which says: A script doctor, also called a script consultant, is a screenwriter or playwright hired by a film, television or theatre production to rewrite an existing script or polish specific aspects of it, including structure, characterization, dialogue, pacing, theme, and other elements.]]

This is true, as far as it goes. What this definition leaves out, though, is that a script doctor is the Hollywood screenplay version of a ghost-writer – meaning, they don’t usually get official credit for their work.  They are paid a set amount to “doctor” an existing script – which can mean anything from a quick “punch up” (i.e., a polish,) of the existing dialogue and action, to a rewrite of the plot itself – but the credit for the screenplay will most likely still be given to the original screenwriter(s).

Why is this? Well, for a number of reasons, both commercial and artistic. 

Firstly, we must remember that writers work in a primarily intellectual and intangible medium – words on paper can be easily scrubbed out, files erased, and notes lost. So it becomes difficult sometimes to prove that a story came from one writer’s brain as opposed to another. Things get even more complicated because there are those who are the Idea Guys, those who are the Collaboration Kids, those who are the Nuts and Bolts Gals, and those who are all three. So, one person might have come up with the idea for a movie or a television pilot, written the treatment (synopsis,) or outlined the story – and then another person will be the one who actually writes the script.  

Because of this, one of the most often contested issues in the Writer’s Guild becomes, “Who gets credit for this??” This is vital, because whoever gets the credit gets three VERY important things: 

  1. A reputation-boosting line on their resume
  2. A step towards eligibility to join the WGA, the writers’ union 
  3. The right to residual profits (i.e., royalties.) 

Since a screenwriter’s career depends entirely upon selling their next script, you can see how gaining a good reputation and joining the union is of utmost importance. As for royalties, while often not much, they can be enough to keep a writer from homelessness in lean times – also rather important.

And yet. And YET. Just because someone came up with the idea, or wrote a screenplay, doesn’t mean it’s good. In fact, one of the best-kept secrets in the industry is just how AWFUL first drafts can be. But the machine needs to be fed, meaning that if an agent or a producer sees potential in a poorly written mess of a script, they’ll still try to pitch it, getting as much momentum and interest for the story itself until they inevitably run into the road-block of said poor story, dialogue, characterization, etc. 

This is when they call in the script-doctor – usually someone experienced, with a knack for witty dialogue or fixing plot holes. (This happens a hell of a lot with both comedy and action scripts, for some strange reason.)

But why call in a third-party at all, you ask? Why not give a few notes/criticisms, then let the original writer take another crack at it? 

The answer is eminently practical: We believe what you show us. If a screenwriter has turned in a mess of a script, the producers who see it assume that said mess is the best that writer can do – otherwise, why wouldn’t they have submitted something better? Since every re-write takes time and money, it’s a much safer bet to give the mess to a veteran writer you KNOW can turn out good product than to give the moron who screwed it up the first time a chance to screw up again.

The problem with this approach, however, is that once a script doctor takes control, at what point does the script stop being the intellectual property of the original writer, and start being the property of the person who’s rebuilt it from the ground up?

A perfect example of this would be the over 30 uncredited screenwriters who worked on the movie The Flinstones. THIRTY WRITERS! Why? Well, every time the film changed directors, or producers, it was given to a new writer or group of writers to do a draft. The original story ended up being chopped and changed and sewn back together a bazillion times. It came out barely watchable mush, but that’s not the point; the point is, it still made money, so who gets it?

Deciding on the credit for The Flintstones became such a circus that it forced the WGA (Writer’s Guild of America) to change its bylaws.  Now, a screenwriter must contribute more than 50% of a script, or 33% of an adaptation, to retain credit. 

So, in order to keep a script doctor at the level of “ghost-writer”, or uncredited, the production company only has to make certain that they use only 49% of the script doctor’s rewrites. Or that they hire two script doctors, and split the rewrites half-and-half. Of course, sometimes the script doctor has to do what they call a “page-one” rewrite, meaning they basically recreated the script from the ground up. That guy gets a writing credit for sure. But since the WGA does not like having more than 3 writers credited on any given project, a producer’s choices might be influenced by not wanting to have to go to arbitration in order to give credits to the 10 writers that actually helped the project.

Thing is, all writers all good writers have the ability to edit and fix other people’s work. It’s really far easier to fix a poorly executed story that already exists than to come up with something original oneself. So often, well-established writers will take script doctoring jobs on the down low to help pay the bills, and just forget about the credits because 

  1. They don’t need the credits that badly, and
  2. They get more out of gaining a reputation as a good script doctor, like future jobs as word gets around about them.

This, I believe, was how it worked for our Carrie. She was well-known in the industry for her ability to fix terrible dialogue, although there were a few movies she worked on that I don’t think anyone could have salvaged. The first time she showed her dialogue-honing chops was rumored to be by fixing her own lines in the original Star Wars trilogy. Lucas was so impressed with her work there that years later he asked her to do a punch up on Attack of the Clones, and to write a script for the Young Indy series

She also punched up Hook, Sister Act, The Wedding Singer, and a bunch of others.  Here’s a short video about her script-doctoring career:

So, that’s how it works! But if you’re thinking of doing this for a living, understand that it’s harder nowadays to get into script doctoring, because they make you pitch ideas and notes before they give you a chance – and who wants to give their ideas away for free??  

If you want to read more, there’s a short article on script doctoring here that I like.

Toonami Series in a Nutshell

Dragon Ball Z Kai - The same show with less episodes

Akame ga Kill - The show where everyone dies and nobody cares because it’s so on the edge it’s liable to fall off it

Parasyte - Philosophical debates, teenage wangst and a whole lot of body horror

Samurai Champloo - Two Guys, A Girl and a Hip Hop soundtrack

Naruto Shippuden - Half filler, a quarter flashbacks and and 10 percent magical ninja trying to save his boyfriend who doesn’t want to be saved

One Piece - The pirates who don’t do anything piratey but have long winded friendship speeches because of tragic childhoods

Michiko & Hatchin - A 22 episode road trip where all we really learn is most men are douche bags

Sword Art Online II - Kirito proves he can be OP in any game and Reki Kawahara demnds you feel bad about PTSD and Aids and plays the rapey guy card again

KILL la KILL - The show with kill in the title where pretty much nobody dies but pretty much everybody gets naked

Attack on Titan - One guy aspires to kill all the giant naked people and get back to his father’s basement but accomplishes neither

Gurren Lagann - The over the top giant robot bromance that is last good thing Gainax will ever do but still has an ending that will make you rage

Deadman Wonderland - Grimdark anime Superjail that is somehow still less violent than actual Super Jail that tells you to go read the manga if you want to see how it concludes

InuYasha: The Final Act - The rushed conclusion to the fantasy adventures that liked to take their sweet time meandering about

InuYasha - The adventures of a kinda annoying school girl, her dog boyfriend, and their colorful companions who all conveniently want to kill the same guy that goes wherever the plot demands because Naraku

Bleach - The long-winded bloated shounen epic that didn’t know when to quit so it got cancelled instead

Space Dandy - One man’s quest for boobs and bootie in which Watanabe tells his friends to do whatever the hell they want with mixed results

Cowboy Bebop - The show largely regarded a masterpiece which just about everyone on the ASMB is sick of

Ghost in the Shell: SAC - Philosophical cyber-punk cop show that’s can be about as dull as any other cop show

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - The reboot based on the manga that is sure you already saw the other anime or at least read the manga

Hellsing Ultimate - Nazi vampires try to start world War 3 and are stopped by a vampire who is so OP even a macguffin designed to end him isn’t enough to do the job

Beware the Batman - WB tries to reinvigorate Batman when nobody asked them to using fugly CGI and few of the iconic characters so naturally it had to finish at 2:30 in the morning far away from the intended demographic

Black Lagoon - The show about actual pirates that nobody watched

Blue Exorcist - The most kid friendly show about people who want to kill Satan

Sword Art Online - .hack//Legend of the Twilight Bracelet with more incest, a ridiculous OP protagonist and just as much Bryce Papenbrook

ThunderCats 2011 - Dramatic re-imagining of the popular 80s franchise that started decently but quickly turned to Everybody Hates Lion-O

Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Star Wars at it’s boring-est but it at least proves a CGI cartoon can look darn good with a decent budget

Samurai Jack - Witness robots bleed oil dramatically as a samurai wanders around for as long as the creator wills it

Sym-Bionic Titan - The show about giant robots and teenage romance that proved Genndy Tartakovsky is without a shadow of a doubt, an ass man

FLCL - An allegory for puberty done with a giant robot, a giant iron and giant eyebrows

IGPX - Mech battles with half the excitment of a Formula 1 Race

Eureka seveN - The coming of age story about an insufferable character who gets punched a lot and falls in love with a plant or something

Tenchi GXP - Not the Tenchi you were looking for and the reason we wont see another Tenchi series on Toonami ever again

Soul Eater - Mr. Death’s school for gifted monster hunters that ends badly but apparently not as badly as the manga does

Naruto - A boy graduates from magical ninja school and develops a mancrush on his rival while a pedophile plots from shadows

Samurai 7 - The upteenth retelling of the Seven Samurai but this time with giant robots and much less compelling characters

Casshern Sins - Gritty reboot of a vintage anime that bored the audience to sleep

Ben 10: Alien Force - When Ben Tennyson gets older and more serious he’s just as much of a brat without having the excuse that he’s still a child

Bakugan: Battle Brawlers - The Cartoon Network distributed Yu-Gi-Oh/Beyblade hybrid that was as bad as Wulin Warriors and holds the record for shortest run on Toonami with one episode period

Blue Dragon - That time Microsoft wanted a a multi-platform cross-over hit but ended up with another generic shounen adventure series that didn’t catch on

The Prince of Tennis - Tennis Ball Z

MAR - A total loser goes to another world where he gains super powers so he can save a kingdom because why the hell not?

Yu-Gi-Oh GX - Mr. Kaiba’s school for gifted card players

Pokemon Chronicles - The side stories you probably didn’t ask to see but at least they didn’t have Ash

Bobobo-Bo Bo-Bobo - Fist of the North Star meets Johnny Bravo

Zatch Bell - Where Pokemon battles are fought with children instead of monsters kept in balls

Rave Master - Mashima’s prior attempt at a shounen epic that is at least somewhat more original than Fairy Tail but still suffers from feeling generic as all get out

Storm Hawks - Largely forgetable Canadian show intended to sell toys

Megas XLR - Giant robot show for anime loving gamers by anime loving gamers which was too busy making references to resolve it’s plot before it got cancelled

Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes - The reason why we don’t let the French animate American super heroes, leave that shiz to the Koreans

The Batman - The first time WBA tried to re-invigorate Batman when nobody asked them to, during their “anime phase”

Justice League: Unlimited - WB’s valiant attempt to make use of their vast hero library when all anyone cared about was Batman

Teen Titans - WB’s answer to the popularity of Justice League and Dragon Ball Z

Wulin Warriors - Abridged version of a popular Taiwanese puppet show that was the worst thing Toonami ever played

Duel Masters - Sometimes a spoof on Yu-Gi-Oh, sometimes not, depending on dub

D.I.C.E. - Bandai decided Gundam wasn’t for America and tried to make something more tailor made for Americans and sucked at that too

SD Gundam - Bandai decided it would be easier to sell Gundam toys for a show that was actually appropriate for children to watch, at least it wasn’t Doozy Bots

Gundam SEED - Mobile Suit Gundam: bishounen edition, and nobody watched it either

G Gundam - Gundam meets pro-wrestling where people talk with the fists of giant robots

Mobile Suit Gundam - Trailblazing anime that no kids watched in 2001 because it was so dang old by the time it got here

Gundam Wing - 5 probably gay bishounen make war look cool with giant robots

Rurouni Kenshin - The story of a wandering swordsman who just wants to leave his past behind him but constantly has it come back to bite his ass

Yu Yu Hakusho - The bait and switch show that throws in a tournament whenever the writer can’t think of anything else to do and you love it anyway

Dragon Ball Z - Muscluar strangers get into fights and stare at eachother for longer than one might consider appropriate

Dragon Ball - The whimsical adventures of Goku and friends before they turned out to be aliens and got too serious for toilets

Dragon Ball GT - When TOEI tried to recreate the fun of Dragon Ball and the intensity of DBZ and failed at both

Cyborg 009 - Reboot of a classic anime that nobody watched because it still looked like classic anime

Astroboy Boy 2003 - See Cyborg 009 only this was way more Americanized

.hack//SIGN - That time Bandai wanted a a multi-platform cross-over hit and ended up with an interesting concept for a game/anime that was poorly executed by BeeTrain at their BeeTrainiest

Star Wars: Clone Wars Mini-Series - Probably the best Star Wars anything since the original trilogy but it was glorified filler for the pre-quel trilogy

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe - The first good 80s cartoon reboot that died like all other 80s cartoons reboots would, poor toy sales

Transformers: Armada - Transformers meets Pokemon

Zoids Chaotic Century / Guardian Force - When toyetic shows succeed at having a compelling plot

Zoids ZERO - People fight with sentient zords to sell toys

Card Captors - Poor attempt at adapting a fun shoujo about a girl and her magical cards saving the world

Hamtaro - The cute show about hamsters that literally only the CN executives thought was a good idea for Toonami to show

Justice League - The show DC made to draw attention to other characters than Batman when Superman alone wouldn’t do the job

Batman Beyond - The 2nd best Spider-Man cartoon ever made

Superman: The Animated Series - The excellent Superman cartoon that was over-shadowed by the Dark Knight

Batman: The Animated Series - The show that started the golden age of American action animation that upon retrospect had a lot of dull episodes

Big O - Japanese Batman with giant robots and a really convoluted story

Outlaw Star - Two guys find an android girl in a suitcase and jack a ship and Joss Wedon swears he didn’t rip this off

Tenchi in Tokyo - The reason we didn’t see another Tenchi series for a long long time

Tenchi Universe - Alternate telling of Tenchi because why the hell not?

Tenchi Muyo - The pioneer of the harem genre that we still can’t believe aired on a children’s network

Ronin Warriors - 5 bishounen save the world using toyetic battle armors

Sailor Moon - A crybaby is given super powers to save the world but thankfully so are her much more tolerable friends

ReBoot - CGI on a TV budget in the 90s showing the adventures that go on inside of your computer, where you the user always ruin everything

The Superfriends - The popular superhero cartoon that is laughably bad but continues to be homaged to this day

The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest - Re-imaging of vintage adventure series that was cutting edge at the time but looks like crap now

The Roulete - Roughly Turner’s last attempt at making use of their old action brands until they delved into more self-parody for Adult Swim

Voltron - The world’s first abridged anime

ThunderCats - The poorly acted and poorly animated fantasy adventure from the 80s about cat people who don’t wear enough clothes

10 Reasons Every Fiction Writer Should Learn Technical Writing

I know many of you who write fiction are probably cringing at the words technical writing, but hear me out. Though fiction and technical pieces are very different and require unique skills, they also have a remarkable amount of overlap. I’ve been writing fiction most of my life, but I’ve actually spent much of my career working as a technical writer. I’ve worked on brochures, manuals, newsletters, you name it. It sounds pretty drab, but there’s something beautiful to me about meticulously crafting words into an artistic yet technical document. It’s not for everyone, but I enjoy it. So why am I insisting that all fiction writers learn it?

1. You will learn to write concisely. Yes, fiction writing is an art and a creative process. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a method to it. By learning to write concisely, one of the main skills of technical writing, you can learn to get your point across quickly and efficiently without filling your story with a bunch of fluff. Too much fluff, and your readers will be removed from the story and might be less likely to continue reading. Just look at all the books out there about the craft of writing fiction. If there was no method, there’d be no reason for those books.

2. You will get better at line editing. Technical writing focuses a lot on taking apart sentences and reconstructing them, especially since you often have a limited amount of space to fit the text. That knowledge will easily translate to line editing, where you’ll focus on the flow and wording of a sentence to make sure it doesn’t break from the style of the narrative; you’ll also learn to pick out more redundancies.

3. You will improve the structure of your plot. Good technical writers are masters at structuring the content of their work in a way that will both inform and propel a reader through it. By learning that skill, you’ll gain a critical insight as to what works in a story and what doesn’t. You’ll be able to better see if a scene is inappropriately placed or if it needs to be cut altogether.

4. You will get a taste for another genre and develop experience and skills while doing so. For those who have dabbled in tech writing or have perused manuals and instruction booklets, you know that technical writing is a whole different beast from writing fiction. (That’s also part of the reason there are so many poorly written manuals.) Well-written manuals include only the essentials. They have one job: to give the reader knowledge about a particular product. They don’t—or at least shouldn’t—be wishy washy and open to interpretation. Gaining experience in tech writing will help you to establish a clear path for your story and give it a purpose. One of the biggest indicators of amateur writing is ambiguity. Tech writing skills can help you avoid that.

5. You will gain a better understanding of which questions to ask and how to find the best editor/agent for your manuscript. One of the main tasks a technical writer has to undergo is to research and ask questions. Loads of them. Tech writers are jacks of all trades; they acquire knowledge about many different subjects, and if they’re writing a piece on a subject they’re unfamiliar with, they are expected to track down those who do, interview them, and then translate that knowledge into words the average Joe can understand. Having the skill to do that gives you a huge advantage as a fiction writer. It gives you the ability to know how to approach potential editors, agents, and publishers and CONNECT with them—a must in the publishing industry. It can also help you gain efficiency with your research.

6. You will get a chance to dip your toes in graphic design. It’s true that you can hire a professional to design your book cover (and I highly recommend doing that), but becoming familiar with the basics of graphic design can be very beneficial for you as an author. Apart from your cover, you’ll have to consider all the graphics you’ll need for marketing your book. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve published traditionally or independently; either way, you’ll be responsible for most of the marketing. If you’re a self-published author, having the skills to market your work will make or break your success. So how does tech writing play into this? As a technical writer, you learn that aesthetics of font and layout. You learn what draws readers’ attention, how to make focal points on a page, and how to create text-based designs in a limited amount of space.

7. You will learn how to analyze your manuscript and take a critical approach to it. Since technical writing is all about writing, rewriting, and assessing your own work, the experience you’ll gain from learning the techniques involved can be invaluable when it comes to editing your fiction. Getting the first draft done is an awesome first step, but being able to see the bigger picture and reevaluate your work is crucial to its growth. I’ve read plenty of books that were published “as is” because the author didn’t want to change it, and I’ve read books that have been through hundreds of revisions because the first twenty times weren’t quite right. Believe me, I’ll take a thoroughly edited book over the others any day, and I’m betting you would too.

8. You will acquire more marketing skills. In additional to the marketing benefits you get from studying graphic design, you can pick up even more through learning to write for a target audience. In a technical piece, it’s vital to first know your audience and then cater that piece to fit your audience. And while most of us fantasize about readers appreciating the artistic beauty in our books and the sometimes flowery language that we might use, the truth of the matter is superfluous wording doesn’t sell 90% of the time. The ideas behind your book might be genius, but if the writing isn’t well executed and you can’t market it well, you’re still sunk.

9. You will learn how to view your manuscript as a beta reader. Technical writing is all about trial and error. You write the document, test it to see how well it captures the use of a product, then revise it. You’ll likely have others reviewing it as well. Beta readers will do the same thing for your story. They’ll tell you what worked for them and what didn’t and what other readers might find confusing. Working in the technical writing industry can give you a better feel for that process, and it’ll teach you to view your own through the eyes of a beta reader.

10. You will get more experience with research. Tech writing is all about research. Like I mentioned before, most documents that are written in the tech industry are manuals, brochures, and articles that explain how something works. And since most of us don’t have extensive knowledge in science, math, engineering, medicine, etc., a lot of research would be required. Familiarizing yourself with the various methods of research and knowing how to apply what you find will have a tremendous effect on your ability to incorporate outside information into your novel. You’ll become well versed at weaving in facts and making them flow with the rest of the manuscript.

anonymous asked:

Hey... I have a lot of ideas for writing but I juat can't put it on paper... Whenever I try to write I really hate the way it turns out and throw it away... I don't know what to do, how can I write better and stop being ashamed of myself?

Well, the first thing that occurs to me is that you need to stop throwing away what you do write.

The negative perception you’re describing here – where what you’ve just done seems awful or looks like shit – is something that (as far as I can tell) every writer living deals with to a greater or lesser extent, and the only way many of us get anything much done is by learning to shut it up or just ignore it. Some writers suffer from it far worse than others, especially when they’re just getting started.

Here’s the source of the problem. Most of what you read in the world (unless you spend most of your time reading the comments on YouTube) is well-structured, polished, “finished”. It’s been rewritten sometimes numerous times, and then it’s been edited multiple times and gone over by either gifted amateurs or paid professionals. Even badly written stuff, by the time you’ve seen it, looks pretty good.

What comes out of your head onto the paper the first time, on the other hand, is the exact opposite of finished. It is just beginning. It’s almost certainly fragmentary. It’s likely to be all over the place both structurally and stylistically. You may have absolutely no clear sense of where you’re going with it. You may not really know who the characters are or what’s driving them. (Or possibly worst, why anyone in their right minds would like them.)

And all of us who do this work sooner or later find ourselves, in our heads, comparing these tattered just-written piles of unlikely-looking word-blots and splotches against two things: the images of what other people’s work looks like – well-structured, eloquent, rounded, very put-together – or the image of what your work was supposed to have come out looking like. This is where a lot of us run into trouble. We can see in our minds that shining image of the completed work, effective and beautiful and perfect (look up the word eidolon, it applies…). And the shabby raggedy ill-realized thing that’s all we were able to create today stacks up so unbelievably poorly against either what our work (we think) should be, or what (we think) others’ is, that the urge to chuck our own production in the fire or highlight the whole damn thing and hit DELETE is extremely strong.*

And this comparison is exactly the wrong thing to be doing. It is the job of written works in their early stages to be threadbare and patchy and faded-looking. The process of turning them into finished work is like making a film of the wearing-out of a piece of clothing, and then running that film backwards. You look at the patched holes and pull the patches off. The holes get sharper-edged. Then they heal. The garment gets less faded as you work. The seams pull tighter together. The longer you work the more clearly you can see what the “new” garment looked / will look like. And finally you’re done (or as done as you can be when you’re finished telling yourself the story for the first time). …This is of course the point at which you realize the garment’s pockets aren’t big enough, but never mind: dealing with that is what your next draft’s for.

You’ll never get there, though, if you keep trashing your work in the thing-of-rags-and-patches stage. That initial sense of shame will only get worse the more you indulge it; so you’ve got to stop indulging it by throwing your work away.

Therefore, your mission (Mr. Phelps, should you choose to accept it) is this: you’re forbidden to throw any writing away any more. Everything must be kept. Not just as part of a plan for dealing with this problem, but because (deep breath: shouts) NO WORK IS WORTHLESS. Every piece of writing you do is worth something. You may not be able to perceive just what, at the moment, but that’s not your job. Analysis comes after execution. Overindulge the analysis in the “during” stages and you’ll just turn yourself off.

So cut that the hell out.

Your job now becomes to write and then put what you’ve written away. Don’t come near any given scrap of work for at least thirty days. Put it in a drawer and lock the drawer. Or give the file to someone who won’t look at it. Don’t peek. Let it alone.

After a month you can take a given piece of work out of the drawer and look at it. And you are still not allowed to throw it away. If you hate it, you have to sit down and write at least a page of analysis, specifying what about it doesn’t work. (And none of this “Because it sucks” crap. You need specifics.)

Then you put that analysis away with the piece of writing and leave them for another month. (And no, I’m not kidding. In this world of instant gratification, one of the single most useful things a writer can learn is patience. Are you serious about this? Then take a breath. Having written, go do something else. Leave that bit of work alone and don’t even think about picking at it. Give it time to mature.)

And also: the next day, write another thing. And put it away. And then another thing, and another, and put them away. Little scraps, they can be. To start with, the garment always looks like it’s entirely made of patches. (Which is just fine, because it is.)

If you did that for a whole month – wrote, say, a thousand words a day, and put them away – by the end of the month you would have thirty thousand words. They might not be joined together in any recognizable sequence, but that doesn’t matter. You’d have 30K of words, and such are the wonders of the Law of Averages that I can tell you this with absolutely no fear of being wrong: They cannot all be bad. Some of them will have to be good if only by accident. (Lots of us are beneficiaries of these happy accidents. The more you write, the more likely you are to have them. The universe can be surprisingly kind once you’re starting to impress your will on it at regular enough intervals.)

Anyway. Do that for another month, and you’ve got 60K of words. Do it for another, and you’ve got 90K. That’s a fair sized novel’s worth of words, these days.

Now you put them all in that drawer or file folder again and let them be for another month. No peeking.

After that month, you take out those scraps and start arranging them into a shape that approximates a story. Don’t rush. Pull out and set aside the sequences of words that you don’t like in association with the others. They may be useful for another project.

Something you’ll notice at this point, though. Your embarrassment, your shame at the newly-created stuff, will have started to fade, because you will have been reeducating the parts of your brain that were harboring it into more useful behaviors. Somewhere along the line you’ll realize that you’ve sweated the shame out entirely, forgotten about it. It may pop up again every now and then when you start something new or something particularly ambitious, but the same approach outlined above will get rid of it again. You may have to exorcise this particular minor demon a few times. Don’t fret: you can do it. You’ll find it gets easier every time.

…Now get out there and get started. One scrap at a time. :)

*My personal image of Heaven is (among many other things) as the place where you get to sit down and read the perfect, Platonic-solid versions of your books – the books that have actually come out the way you saw them in your head; as if lifted up at a great distance, radiant, satisfying, perfect. Every writer knows what it is to look at a book, even a very successful one, and sigh because whatever else it is, it missed that. And you turn away and say to yourself, Ah well… because we’re in the wrong place for perfection. But it doesn’t mean we don’t yearn.

(ETA: reposted at “Eating Paper”)

Bad Boy

@bookloverrabAU- 20 with Robbie

Prompt: 20. My parents think you’re a bad influence on me, but your parents think I’m a good influence on you.

Warnings: bad boy Robbie

“Come on, let’s go. It’ll be fun,” Robbie urged, tugging on your wrist.

“No, Rob, that doesn’t seem like a good idea…” You said quietly, trying to stop him.

“We won’t get in trouble, I promise,” he looked at you. You gave him a hesitant look, not sure. 

“I don’t know… we don’t even have the keys. We could get in a lot of trouble.”

“But we won’t. And I have the keys right here.” Robbie dangled the car keys in front of you. You didn’t know how he got them, but the boy always had his ways.

You stared at the newest edition of the Ford Mustang. It was bright in color and looked so fresh. Cars never caught your interest, but this one looked so nice. And Robbie wanted to go for a joyride with you. It was right there parked on the street in front of your houses, too. How could you not?

“Please?” Robbie begged. You reluctantly nodded your head, knowing this was a bad decision.

Robbie Kay, your next door neighbor. He was always adventurous and fearless. Always up to trouble. You and him were the same age, too, so you grew up together. Though he always got you into trouble. And you always kept him grounded for the most part. His parents saw you as a good influence on him, while your parents saw him as a bad influence on you.

You got in the passenger side as Robbie got in the driver’s seat. It was late at night, meaning hardly anyone was out driving. It was the perfect time for a joyride, and to speed down the England roads.

Robbie revved the engine before shooting down the road. He sped down, zooming through everything. He wailed, cheering loudly. He took out his phone, seeing an AUX cord.

“Plug it in will you? Put on Rizzle.” You did as told, plugging in his phone. You unlocked it, going to his music where you started playing Rizzle Kicks. You couldn’t help but poorly sing along to one of their most famous songs, Down with the Trumpets.

You let loose, singing and laughing. Robbie continued to speed down until his phone started ringing. Robbie immediately pulled over, turning off the car completely. He picked up the phone. It was his mother.

“Hello, Mum,” he answered casually.

Where are you?” You heard her yell.

“Nowhere. Just with… Y/N. W went to, uh, to this get together.”

Don’t lie to me Robert Kay! Where are you?

“I’m not lying! I’m with Y/N. We’re with a few friends.”

Okay then, why are the neighbors knocking on my door this late at night, asking if you have anything to do with their stolen car?

Your’s and Robbie’s eyes went wide. You were both caught. You hit Robbie on the arm repeatedly, him trying to get you to stop. He hung up on his mother, trying to grab your wrists so you would stop hitting him.

“I told you this was a bad idea! They could call the police on us!” You shouted at him.

“Ow, stop! Stop! You were having fun!”

“Fun time is over! We’re in trouble! My parents are going to kill me! Dammit, Rob!” You continued to hit his arm, but he finally got hold of your wrists.

“Easy, Y/N. It’ll be okay–”

“No it won’t! I can’t believe I let you talk me into this. Just take me home! Lord knows your parents and mine are waiting for us with the neighbors!”

“Don’t worry, I’ll take the blame. All of it.”

You sighed, yanking your hands away from his. You sat back, folding your arms. Robbie turned the car back, driving home.

Arriving home, Robbie’s family was waiting outside. Your father was with them, and the neighbors, too. All their arms were crossed over their chests, no one looking happy. You weren’t happy, knowing you were in trouble. You still couldn’t believe you did this with Robbie. You should’ve talked him out of it.

“Y/N, here. Now.” You father strictly said. You got out of the car, saying nothing to Robbie.

“I’m terrible sorry about him, Ronald,” Robbie’s mother apologized.

Ronald, the neighbor, sneered. “You’re lucky I’m not calling the authorities on this little criminal!”

Your parents scolded you and Robbie. You were both in trouble. completely grounded for a month. Once that was over, you and Robbie went inside your homes, to your rooms. Robbie kept trying to call you and text you, but you weren’t answering. You were upset at yourself.

“What, Rob?” You hissed, finally answering the phone.

“Thank God you answered this time. I was beginning to think I’d have to sneak over there… Anyways, listen. I’m sorry. I know, I know. How stupid of me. But I promise I’ll make it up to you.”

“How? My parents don’t even want me seeing you anymore. They say you’re a bad influence on me.”

Robbie chuckled a little. “Funny, because my parents say you’re a good influence on me. As we’ve gotten older, you’ve stopped me from a lot of things.” He laughed some more. “As I was saying… how about I take you on a date? I’ll pay for everything. We’ll go wherever you want to go, I don’t care how expensive.”

Heat rose to your cheeks as a silly grin arrived on your lips. Robbie was asking you on a date? You admitted to yourself a while ago he was attractive and you liked him, but him asking you on a date? You thought that’d never happen. Even if it was a friend date…

“A date? A friend date?”

“…No. I was thinking of a date-date. A real one. Like what couples would do.” You blushed even more. You squealed ever so lightly, hoping Robbie didn’t hear.

“Okay. In a month then when we’re both no longer grounded.”

“Deal…goodnight. We’ll talk tomorrow, yeah?”

You grinned, nodding your head. You agreed to talk to him tomorrow if your parents didn’t take your phone away. Robbie ended the call, and you couldn’t help but scream into your pillow. Your mood had brightened a lot now that you knew Robbie was going to take you somewhere for a date. Despite his bad tendencies, you knew he was a good person. 

anonymous asked:

Sam, Sam, Sam I need tips on how to write fanfiction I want to write so bad but how do I write a good one?

Anon, it is a truth of fandom that you write good fanfics by writing bad ones first. Writing, like all art, is something you have to learn by doing, which can be a painful process at times. Or it can sometimes be an easy one – your version of a “bad” fic might be a story others would love to have written, even from the start. 

It took me a long time to understand that I actually did have a talent for writing. I assumed anyone could do what I do with as much practice as I had, which was shitloads. I’ve written three million words and that’s the stuff I’ve done since age 22 – everything between 14 and 19 is best left where it lies, because it’s where I did most of my learning (I did write between 19 and 22 but it was mostly original work for school and the theatre). I spent five years learning to write the way I do now, and I still do terrible things to commas. :D 

But I do have some tips for writing great stories, to wit: 

Keep reading


Yesterday I received this message on my most recent upload to YouTube, no doubt a dig at the current content being uploaded to the channel but still a fairly accurate comment none the less.

I haven’t really spoken publicly about the direction I’m taking World of the Orange for 2015, mostly because I simply don’t know. So instead I’m just going to explain where I’m at and what’s going on with me and then y’all can rest easy once and for all.

In January this year I started working essentially full time on video editing for an external company. Completely separate from any of the personal editing I’ve been doing for the past 4 years on WOTO.

Reasons for accepting the job as opposed to forging forward with a YouTube-centric career?

The channel wasn’t providing a huge income for me and YouTube’s ever more broken platform for channels with less than 6.8 gazillion existing subscribers didn’t help matters. So yes, money obviously plays a factor. I have rent and bills to pay. I live with my girlfriend and my dog and sometimes we like to eat. Sponsorship deals would poke their heads around the corner from time to time but I’m not hugely into acting or presenting or generally portraying a false version of myself in front of the camera, which seemed to be what most of the offers coming my way required, so most of the opportunities I was turning down anyway.

There have been many incarnations of WOTO but generally people only think of one (2013/#CONTENT era). The channel how it is now is just another regeneration. (I’m aware that’s a Doctor Who reference and I’m sickened by it.) To explain I will have to cover essentially the entire timeline of WOTO. So here goes.

2011/2012. The channel actually started off as a comedy VFX channel. 4 years ago both myself and Liam were slightly below par video editors with some small experience in video effects software like After Effects. So we made little sketches like Epic Mundane Task’s etc.  

Then we gave that up. The stress of producing high quality content regularly whilst juggling work and university was insane. So we actually ended the channel. During 2012 we ended the channel. It was dead. We had retired. Resigned to the fact that it simply wasn’t for us. Then at the beginning of 2013 we sat down and turned on a camera, poked fun at the system and broke every rule that YouTube had asked us to follow with their “Creators Handbook” and made a stupid, poorly shot, poorly edited, piss take of a video. Then we did it again… every week, for an entire year. That was the peak of WOTO. The chaotic 2013 era that saw multiple collabs, sofa banter, #CONTENT and nothing but laughter. The second incarnation of WOTO is what most people think of it as being, still, even after Liam left, even now.

At the beginning of 2014 we tried to branch out with our brand. We reached out to radio and television to see if we could push WOTO beyond YouTube and further the brand. We spruced up the channel. We even attempted a longer format (incarnation three) over the summer to test our skills but after 6 months of mostly fruitless attempts we stopped pushing and not long after that Liam wisely decided to throw in the towel.

That was obviously a huge blow to the channel. It left me at square one. I didn’t know how to run a solo channel. Since I can’t do makeup tutorials or direct short films, I was faced with the crossroads of either vlogging or gaming. So I tried vlogging (incarnation four) and I hated it and myself within about 2 weeks. I had spent 4 years honing the skill of bouncing comedy off of my partner in crime Liam, not sitting alone in a bedroom classic vlog style. At the end of the year a pretty decent opportunity was offered to me as an editor. The years of WOTO weren’t fruitless, in fact they honed my skills as an editor better than a performer or comedian. So I took the job expecting to be able to easily continue providing content for the YouTube channel.

There was a transitional period, I moved house and settled in at my new job and it was pretty tough to find time to upload. So I didn’t. But without the guillotine of rent dangling above my head I was able to step back and take a look at the last few months of the channel. Did I want to keep uploading vlog-style solo videos? Is YT even a thing I want to do anymore? Was I just doing it to pay rent?

No, no and yes.

Honestly, I probably could easily keep uploading at least a single video a week but I realised I didn’t want to. For one thing the whole landscape of YouTube has changed so dramatically over the last few years that it’s not even a platform I like anymore regardless of whether I am on it or not.

But aside from that, I found that, bit by bit I was carving away at my own personality. Forcing myself to be very vanilla to appeal to brands and make sure that nobody watching the video would be offended or turned off by anything I said or did. The pressure to be something your not starts to really affect your ability to have fun and enjoy the content you’re creating. WOTO was supposed to be fun first and foremost and frankly it wasn’t anymore. In reality I would never heavily censor myself like that. I had built a version of myself that was starting to feel more like an act than anything else.

Recently, I started live streaming on Twitch in my spare time. Mostly I wanted to chill out after working all day and play a game. But I still love the interaction with an audience so streaming on Twitch seemed like a good idea. The reason I made YouTube videos was to have a laugh with my friend and provide something decent for everyone to watch. The comments on our videos used to make us laugh as much as much as filming the video did. It was like YOU were all involved with us. A huge group of friends from all over the world. But by the end of last year it was just me churning out a video containing a false version of myself in the hopes somebody would pay me enough money to promote something so that I could make rent that month. I had become the same as every other channel on the platform and WOTO made its name by swimming against the current. I no longer represented my own brand. I no longer represented myself.

So for the time being WOTO is in its next incarnation. Number 5. On a whole different platform. And yes, I guess that what’s left on YT is a gaming channel in a way. If you subscribed for me and Liam, we’ll pop up from time to time playing a game. If you subscribed for collabs with other YouTubers on a sofa, that ended 2 years ago. If you subscribed for me then I haven’t really gone anywhere. But if you subscribed for a specific type of content then likely it is gone. Essentially it’s complete overhaul number 5. Me, working as a video editor, then coming home and streaming games and possibly uploading that to YouTube for those who want to see it.

So if you wanna hang out with me this year I’ll most likely be at If you wanna watch whatever bits and bobs I upload to YT then go for it! That’s great! But I think we have to say goodbye to WOTO 1,2,3 & 4 and accept that everything eventually moves on.

Honestly, I think you’ll be okay.

Disclaimer: This was ghost written.

anonymous asked:

I'm trying to figure out the magic in my fantasy story, but I can't decide on a few points... First off, should the limits of the magic be specific to an individual, or would it be the same for all? And what sort of energy should it run on- physical or mental? How would each affect the user's daily life and interactions with others? I would like to know your opinions if you have time spare.

This is more questions about what you want to do with your setting and story. Magic is a lot like the politics of your world; it needs to exist in service of what you’re trying to say.

So, the first question would be, why is there even magic in your setting?

You can write an entirely functional fantasy setting without magic. And, if it serves no purpose, adding a magical system in, “because it’s supposed to be there,” can potentially cause havoc for your story and worry open new plot holes. After all, a heroic sacrifice looses a lot of its poignancy when you can just reverse it with five thousand gold worth of diamonds, and a mid level cleric.

If the magic exists for a reason, then that will start to answer some of your questions. For example, if you’re wanting to do an ecological commentary, then applying a physical cost for your spells makes sense. Or if you want characters digging through ancient ruins that are still loaded with mystical traps from another era. But, if you want ascetic nomads to be practicing magic as part of their journey towards enlightenment, then physical components make less sense.

Also, that’s not ironclad. D&D’s Dark Sun setting had a heavy ecological theme, with mostly mental spellcraft. It also had a distinction between arcane magic, which depleted the world, and psionic abilities which didn’t.

Generally speaking, I’d discourage having separate magical rules for individual characters. Just balancing multiple magical systems against each other to keep some kind of sanity in your setting can be a nightmare. Of course; I say this right after citing D&D, which, depending on how you count, uses four or five different magical systems.

That said, if there’s a compelling reason one of your characters operates under distinct rules from the rest, that will dictate their limits. The obvious example is, if your magic is legalistic and has sharp boundaries. It’s possible your characters can step outside those, under the right circumstances. The example from Tolkein that comes to mind is that “no man” could kill the Witch King of Angmar (the leader of the Ringwraiths). But, that protection didn’t help when Eowyn shanked him. (Technically, in the novel, the term is “No living man may hinder me,” which sounds more like a boast, but the idea is still there.)

You could easily end up with prohibitions that prevent some group like “mortals”, “humans”, or any other group from accessing kinds of spells, that could still be sidestepped simply by having a character who isn’t human, mortal, or whatever. The danger is you’re creating a character who is “special” simply for the purpose of being awesome. But, if there’s a legitimate reason for one of your characters to have access to some restricted field of magic, it’s certainly an option.

And, yes, having something to say about “special” wish fulfillment characters can be a legitimate reason, just tread carefully, if that’s the case.

There’s no right answer to how magic should impact day to day life. Again, this is one of these setting building questions. There’s nothing inherently wrong with Warhammer’s approach to magic as a rare and fundamentally dangerous thing that has the potential to go horribly wrong without warning, or with Exalted’s First Age, where magic is basically a substitute for highly advanced technology.

The more widespread magic is in your setting, the more people will view it like technology. If it’s familiar and predictable, then they’ll understand it (at least as part of their world, not at a technical level.) The more restricted and rare magic is, the more they’ll fear and misunderstand it.

If you have a setting where magic is rare and misunderstood, you can easily end up with a situation where you have characters who do “break the rules” with magic. They aren’t, really, but your characters have an imperfect or limited understanding of what is actually possible.

Conversely, if you have a setting where everyone has a magical analog to a cell phone in their pocket, having a character who can do something that’s “impossible” with magic is a lot less likely.

Your choice on where you land with this will be determined by what you want to say. If you’re talking about magic as a surrogate for something else then that will inform what you need to think about. A setting where you’re using magic as a venue to talk about transhumanism it will look completely different from one where you’re focused on state surveillance, and using scrying and augury to talk about that.

The thing I’m going to stress is, magic needs to exist in service of your story and the setting you’re trying to create. Normally, I’d say your setting also needs to exist in service to your story, but there are a few exceptions to that.

For recommendations, I’d start with looking at games that focus on how magic interacts with the world, rather than just fining ones with iron clad rules.

Mage: The Ascension from White Wolf is probably one of the best basic toyboxes for unlimited mages. Characters who simply reshape the world as they see fit, with the cost that if they push too far, they’ll be slapped down by the world. You can ignore the part where the setting is technically urban fantasy, if you want. It’s also a good example of characters with multiple conflicting magical systems trying to understand one another’s powers. Though, this is more apparent if you’re familiar with the other games in the setting.

Exalted, also from White Wolf, is a high fantasy setting that leans into pseudo-anime territory. There’s some interesting world building, and delineation between different kinds of magic. If you really want to write a story about a super-special-snowflake of doom, take a look at this. There’s some good recommendations for how people would actually respond to people randomly getting superpowers.

Shadowrun probably sounds like a weird choice, but almost any iteration of this (except the Xbox 360 title) should offer some things to think about. The basic premise is that magic returned to a cyberpunk setting and upset everything. If you’re setting your story around a magical renaissance, this will give you some interesting things to pick through. (Quick Note: I’m linking Second Edition because of its price, not because it’s better than the later editions.)

Dungeons and Dragons has a few settings that do some interesting things with magic. I’m a little hesitant to flat out recommend it, because of the amount of reading required to get conversant in the systems. But, dig up a wiki entry on Dark Sun and Eberron if you want to see some settings to poke for ideas.

Similarly, reading up on Warhammer and Warhammer 40k’s mages and psykers (respectively) might not be a bad idea. Also, read up on Chaos and The Warp while you’re there, since that’s fundamental information for how magic functions in those settings.

Robert E. Howard’s Conan original short stories are one of those things you really should read. As with H.P. Lovecraft, there’s some stuff that’s going to be a bit off key to a modern reader, but Howard’s efficiency of language is something you need to see. He presents magic as an unknowable horror that corrupts anyone who tries to wield it. So, if you’re working with a setting where magic is poorly understood, his work is worth your time.

If you want to blend some urban fantasy elements into a classic historical setting, I’d strongly recommend you take a look at Fritz Lieber’s Fafhrd and The Gray Mouser novels. If you want, Dark Horse reprinted a comic adaptation of a few of the short stories with amazing art from Mike Mignola a few years ago. The comic is also, probably, the most painless entry point to the characters.

Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher novels are fairly subtle about the consequences of magic… well, sometimes. Sapkowski is an author who has a lot to say, and it shows in his world building, and his world’s magical systems.


anonymous asked:

do you have any tips for writing papers in college? i'm a freshman and i have absolutely no clue as to what is standard/expected in my first paper

YES I DO ACTUALLY but this isn’t the peak of paper writing lmao this is just what I personally do and how I like to do it. If you want a more comprehensive list of things I recommend googling and finding other posts because what works for me might not work for you or anyone else! Okay so:

1. Figure out exactly what you’re writing about. It’s good to have a really specific idea or ideas so you know where you want to go and what point you want to make. Like if you’re writing about hyper sexualization of women in modern American movies you might want to focus especially on one movie or movie genre in particular and back it up with examples from related movies. Or if you’re writing a paper about the relationships between characters in The Great Gatsby, focus on one character and how they affect those around them, how they’re affected in return, and what their specific purpose is in the book itself. You can have a super specific point backed up with more general sources.

2. Look at lots of sources. I always have like 12 tabs open and go between sources until I have ideas that drive my point. Sometimes I don’t know exactly what I want to say until I’ve looked at a few sources. While you’re doing this you might find that you want to change topic and that’s totally fine and one of the best parts about writing papers in my opinion! It’s good to choose sources that are reliable and thought provoking to you so you can write papers more easily. If you just choose a bullshit topic with lots of sources on it but you don’t care at all about what you’re saying, it makes writing a lot more difficult than it needs to be.

3. Start with your thesis statement/ introduction. I always do this and always have done this even though I’ve always been told not to do this. I think it’s the easiest way to get my brain prepared for the rest of my paper. If you write your intro and have a really clear thesis then you’ll know exactly where your paper is going and exactly what you’ll need from your sources. This is undoubtedly the hardest part of writing the paper but I think it’s also the most important. You’re setting the scene for your reader with your intro and you want your thesis statement to grab attention and precisely state what’s going on in your paper.

4. Start writing! Read your sources again and figure out how you’ll incorporate them into what you’re saying. If you get stuck in a body paragraph just start writing without thinking too hard. You’ll probably have to edit that a lot but one of the best things you can do is to just relax and let your brain take care of it. You’ll come up with ideas if you let this happen and you’ll figure out what you’re saying.

5. Edit as you write. If you’re writing and find that you’re drifting away from your thesis statement, change it (your thesis). There’s nothing wrong with writing and changing what you’re saying halfway through as long as you edit everything to make it flow. I don’t do rough drafts because it’s so much easier for me to just edit and reread and tweak things as I’m working as opposed to making something entirely and then going back to it to change it later.

6. Use strong vocabulary. If you find that you’re using words or phrases too much, find synonyms. I google synonyms and definitions constantly (even just in Real Life) so that I can make the strongest statement possible using words that fit perfectly. Instead of saying “makes clear” say “elucidates” and stuff like that. In college papers especially you’ll establish your credibility by using strong vocabulary that fits what you’re talking about. BUT, don’t use too many big words that people may not know because then your overall tone will just be pretentious and too wordy to be easily understood (you’ll look like you’re trying too hard to sound smart instead of just effortlessly sounding smart). Find the right balance between strong vocabulary and easily understood words.

7. Refrain from using I, we, us, etc. when writing formally. Sometimes you can do that depending on what kind of paper it is but in general don’t do that. Instead of saying things like “it makes us ask the question _________?” say “so the viewer/ reader/ whoever may begin to wonder _______?” You get the idea. Also it sucks but a lot of formal papers don’t want you to use the gender neutral “they” but “he or she”/ “him or herself” etc. when referring to people.

8. Have a strong conclusion where you end your paper with a bang and restate your thesis. The conclusion should be just as strong as the intro but you can use the conclusion to tie together any loose ends and really make clear what it is you’ve been arguing/ analyzing/ whatever your whole paper. Don’t start with “in conclusion” though.

9. Don’t use any transition words actually. In high school and middle school and every other time of my life before AP English (which was basically college lbr) I would start each paragraph with words like “next” and “then” or “in conclusion” but DON’T DO THAT because it makes your writing sound really simple and poorly thought out. Use a transition sentence where you relate what was happening in your previous paragraph to what’s about to happen in the following paragraph. “As numbers of ______ increase, however, this causes a multitude of issues for ________”. It’s easy once you get the hang of it and it also helps you create a really cohesive paper that supports your main point.

10. Use Easybib to cite. I don’t know how to cite things without Easybib. It’s worth it. Also just use Google Drive in general because it’s easier than Microsoft Office products and it’s also free and I can’t say enough nice things about Google Drive.

I HOPE THIS HELPS!! It gets easier the more you do it and you’ll figure out what you’re doing eventually. Best of luck! 💖

Co-Pilot Thoughts (With Footnotes).

It’s Thanksgiving. We are driving overnight from Houston to Atlanta (roughly 12 hours of driving not including stops). There is a Thanksgiving dinner waiting for us in ATL; a light at the end of the tunnel. I am co-piloting most of this drive. My required tasks as co-pilot include but are not limited to: DJing, staying awake, and making sure the driver stays awake. The last task greatly informs my DJing choices i.e. No drone, no folk, no haze, no gaze. I’m going to write down some thoughts in hopes that it occupies my mind and keeps me sharp. It’s 1:00 a.m. Let’s go:

• I don’t know if I like the taste of turkey. Perhaps resent it’s ability to make me sleepy. What am I saying? I love the turkey’s sleep moves. Turkey is alright. This is starting off really poorly.
• It’s interesting that Ben Franklin wanted the turkey to be our nation’s bird. He was an opium addict.
• The opening graphics and titling to a Fox News show with a digital turkey trying to look menacing but really just looking like a Fox News viewer. Big block letters slam into each other. A few audible gobbles. Cue camera 3 (medium close up) on Hannity; he’s totally looking hot. [1]
• Would America be able to be as Nationalist with a turkey mascot instead of a powerful bird of prey?
• A huge Ford truck with a back window decal of a turkey ripping through an American flag.
• I can’t figure out what Pokémon Jay-Z looks like. Normally this is easy.
• Jon is driving. We were supposed to take three hour shifts.
• DJing an overnight drive is more complex than one might assume. A novice would think that metal is a safe bet and while it is true that metal’s abrasive nature is good for alertness, not all metal is created equal. When it comes to an overnight drive Mastodon is good but Isis is bad. A lot of metal music swims in the riff repetition deep end, which is drones active cousin.
• I played two Funkadelic records before he asked me if Jock Jams was on Spotify. [2]
• There lyrics to the Rocky Theme Song are “Trying hard now/It’s so hard now/Trying hard now/Getting strong now/Won’t be long now/Getting strong now/Gonna fly now/Flying high now/Gonna fly, fly, fly” – I will never write anything that is enjoyed by as many people as the Rocky Theme Song. Why try anything?
• When you’ve been on the road for a month everyone looks beautiful.
• I’ve never written a joke. [3]
• I have a bag full of different cologne samplers. I have a new smell for everyday of tour.
• James Bond with boobs. [4]
• There are people who try to discredit Beyoncé because she works with songwriters and a handful of producers. These people are not my friends.
• Jock Jam criteria: if the song is on the Space Jam soundtrack it’s a Jock Jam.
• Jock Jam criteria: if your band is named Disturbed you get instant certification.
• Jock Jam criteria: a shit stomper beat, one repeating guitar riff, and unintelligible gang vocals. “Rock n Roll pt. 2” by Gary Glitter: instant certification. [5]
• Jock Jam criteria: if your song has three separate bullet points exclaiming that there is nothing is wrong with you, you get fast track certified.
• Jock Jam criteria: if I close my eyes while listening to the song and the first thing I envision is a NHL video game pause screen, then it’s a Jock Jam.
• The chorus to “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” by Steam is a grandfathered in Jock Jam. However, the verses really push the boundaries of the genre.
• We finished the first Jock Jams playlist. Found another one on Spotify entitled ESPN Jock Jam. Jon’s response upon hearing the name: “This might be a little corporate but…”
•The sun is rising. Six hours in, three hours past our shift.
• Deodorant marketing is insane.
• I feel like I could be a really successful rapper. Also, I haven’t really slept and I was tired three hours before we left.
• The venue in Houston had a VHS player and a small but cherry selection. We watched Total Recall, The Thing, Star Wars: A New Hope, and 1/3 of the original English dub of Akira. Their copy of Empire Strikes Back didn’t work. When think about that I feel like crying.
• We bought the Ultimate Werewolf Deluxe Edition but hardly anyone in The World is a Beautiful Place wants to play with us.
• It is 6:29 a.m.
• New Age Jock Jamz
• So what if Tupac is alive; leave him alone.
• Atheist shirt idea: Say It, Don’t Pray It. [6]
• My shirt idea needs more work.
• All the celebrity animals from my childhood are dead.
• Elvis Costello’s “Pump It Up” comes on the ESPN Jock Jam playlist.
Me: I dunno…
Jon: It has the word “pump in the title.”
• Earlier Eric said that George Clinton is living out of a car and begs for food outside of fast food restaurants [7]. If Eric’s claims are true and George Clinton is bumming change for burgers, why am I playing in a touring band? There is no future in being a musician.
• “Miami” by Will Smith is more of a Cool-Down Cardio song than it is a Jock Jam.
• I wonder if there is someone out there who looks nearly identical to me. I would very much like to find them.
• What the fuck is Gavin Rossdale ever talking about?
That seems like as good a place as any to stop. Six hours left on the drive. My brain, body, and soul need rest.
1. Is Sean Hannity still a Fox News host? He has to be. Man, that guy has the face and political leanings of someone who would gladly strangle the life out of every peacock in the world if given the reigns. Remember Alan Colmes? Of course Fox paired Hannity’s massive All-American jaw with such an inept, sniffly, and beat up liberal sweat ball. Fair and Balanced.
2. Is it Jock Jamz?
3. I feel like I’ve written things that have made people laugh, but joke writing seems like a completely different monster.
4. Not a female Bond–just James Bond with breasts.
5. Gary Glitter’s “Rock n Roll pt. 2” gets double certification for its structural choices and its inclusion on the Space Jam soundtrack.
6. Maybe put Bootleg Calvin peeing on the text.
7. It took me 15 seconds to spell ‘restaurants’. Why am I even lying? Once I got close enough it auto corrected.

There’s Always a Beginning

Cas and Dean meet when they both get new positions at a high-end publishing company. A meeting that convinces Cas he could probably write a book full of trashy paragraphs describing Dean’s laugh and how he smiles.

This is actually a deleted section of another fic I’ve posted called A Decade of You. It was just unnecessary in the final, but I still thought it was cute. 

Cas had known Dean for ten years.

They’d both graduated university at twenty-three, though they hadn’t attended together. However, that hadn’t meant their ideas hadn’t aligned. Both were country boys – Dean from Kansas, Cas from Iowa – and both had had big city dreams. Which may have contributed to why they both worked so hard. The positions at one of New York’s most prestigious publishing companies, FergusCrowley’s Publishers, had been introductory, secretary type jobs. But that hadn’t meant they weren’t important, or promising of future editor promotions.

The competition had been steep, and there’d been hundreds of applicants, but of all the recently graduated students, it’d been Castiel Novak and Dean Winchester who’d come out on top. Castiel – who’d spent the majority of his high school and college years writing novels, whether they’d been publishable or not. And Dean – a poet who’d spent many of his afternoons reading allowed in bars and collaborating with others of his type over beer and other questionable drugs. Both had graduated with honors, with editing experience, and over four-point GPAs. They had been, to be more precise, the cream of the crop. Top of the line. Head of the pack.

The first three years of their time at Crowley’s had been spent fetching coffee and making copies. Not that this had shocked either of them, but as the newbies, they’d often times been sent on errands together. Which was how they’d first met.

And how Cas had known thirty minutes into talking to Dean that he was done for.

“I mean, I know we’re fresh out of college or whatever, but really? Donuts? How stereotypical can they get?” was the first thing Dean ever said to Cas.

“Yeah, r-right,” Cas had stuttered out.

They’d been headed down the elevator, Dean in his prim and proper, well-fitted suit, and Cas in the one he hadn’t bothered to have tailored and that sat on his shoulders with slight bags. Though they’d been hired at the same time, that was the first Cas had ever actually spoken to Dean – two weeks after their first day. They worked under different editors, as it were, and so didn’t cross paths unless they happened to be in the copy room together, or on errands. And even then Cas had made no attempts at conversation. It wasn’t that he was shy, he just had trouble initially approaching new people, which had stopped him saying hello. Besides, Dean was all smiles and sunshine, and that was hard for anyone to introduce themselves to.

“I’m Dean,” he’d held out his hand, Cas pausing for just a moment before shaking it. “You’re Castiel, right? The guy that was hired in with me?”

“Yes.” The elevator had reached the ground floor, the two stepping out into the bright, open, window-filled lobby. They’d passed a woman working as the receptionist on their way by, Dean casting her a winning smile before he’d look back to Castiel.

“I don’t know about you, but I’ll be glad when we’ve worked off this intro-coffee-fetching-whatever it is we are. I came to New York to make a difference, you know?” He’d been pushing their way out into the street, holding the door open for Cas. “And I don’t just mean by getting any of my stuff published. Other people’s too.”

“Yeah, me too,” Cas’s response had been less boisterous, but no less sincere.

“But, I guess we all have to climb that ladder,” Dean had grinned, Cas trying not to be uncomfortable with how utterly beautiful he was. Freckles, bright green eyes, a smile to rival sunlight. And he was the type to stand just a little too close, be a little too friendly. Not in a bad way, but in a way that made it all the more clear to Cas how attracted he was to him. But he’d realized that the first time he’d spotted Dean sprinting down the hall with a stack of fluttering manuscripts in his arms.

“I suppose,” Cas had shrugged, uncertain what to say. It had been to his benefit that Dean could carry a conversation – that he was extroverted enough to continue on even without Cas’s assistance.

“But it’s just so slow, you know?” He’d huffed as they’d walked down the sidewalk, hands shoved in his pockets as he’d kicked childishly at a stone. One that went rocketing to the left and right into the path of a woman who scowled, clearly affronted. “I want the world to hear what I have to say. Maybe that’s selfish, I don’t know, but I didn’t spend four years critiquing mediocre poems to get here and be told to go get donuts.”

Cas had tried to relate. Rather, he’d known he could, he’d just had to find something to say. “Yeah. I don’t know how many stories about broken hearts and failing relationships I had to read.” Not that those things were bad, but they were one of the go-tos beginner writers tended to default on. And usually rather poorly.

“‘Oh doth my heart yet beat / with feelings of intense ardor,’” Dean had placed his hand on his chest dramatically, “'so impossible then is writing’s feat / instead the English language I’ll murder.’”

Cas had smiled slightly, his mouth speaking before he’d been able to stop it. “'And his sapphire eyes sparkled in the moonlight, reflecting his feelings in their silver haze. I was overcome, dizzy, and tripped over my perfectly, mary-sue sized feet. The ground rushed up, but then I was caught in his wastefully muscular arms. My hero. My Adonis.’”

Dean had laughed. Really laughed. And it was in that moment that Cas had realized he’d probably be able to write countless trashy paragraphs about that laugh. About those eyes and lips and the open way he walked. It wasn’t as though “it” had happened in that moment, but Cas had seen the potential, known he’d been balanced on the edge of a cliff. And that it’d only take a slight nudge to send him toppling over.

Maybe it’d been inevitable.

Because Cas had known Dean for ten years.

And he’d been in love with him for that long too.