for the self-conscious beginner: No one makes great things
until the world intimately knows their mediocrity. Don’t think of
your writing as terrible; think of it as preparing to
contribute something great.
for the self-conscious late bloomer: Look at old writing as how far
you’ve come. You can’t get to where you are today without covering all
that past ground. For that, be proud.
for the perfectionist: Think about how much you complain about things you love—the mistakes and retcons in all your favorite series—and how you still love them anyway. Give yourself that same space.
for the realist: There will be people who hate your story even if
it’s considered a classic. But there will be people who love your
story, even if it is strange and unpopular.
for the fanfic writer: Your work isn’t lesser for not following canon. When you write, you’ve created a new work on its own. It can
be, but does not have to be, limited by the source material. Canon is not the
for the writer’s blocked: It doesn’t need to be perfect. Sometimes you have to move on and commit a few writing sins if it means you can create better things out of it.
for the lost: You started writing for a reason; remember that
reason. It’s ok to move on. You are more than your writing. It will be here if you want to come back.
Relationships, especially in beginner writer’s works, have a tendency to feel forced. Even in some popular and famous works of fiction, the relationship doesn’t feel natural. It seems like a boring afterthought which the writer added in at the last minute. Far too often, I find myself completely indifferent to a character’s romantic life. A good romance in a story will give the reader a bit of second-hand infatuation. They’ll root for the relationship, beg for it. If the romance is well written, you can make a reader smile and blush just by reading a few sentences. When done properly, it can even compensate for a weak and cliché plot.
But first, decide whether the romance is needed. If you’re adding a character to the plot simply for the sake of being a love interest, it’s probably not a needed romance. You can still add it, of course, but it will be much harder to keep your story focused on the central plot.
Make sure the characters have chemistry.
The characters should compliment each other’s personalities. If he’s loud, stubborn, and aggressively opinionated, a more tranquil and soft-spoken love interest would suit him well. Two headstrong people wouldn’t be likely to have a lasting relationship in real life, unless they (impossibly) agreed upon every subject. But, there should be some similarities. While opposites do attract, polar opposites will not and the whole relationship will feel forced. The characters should have something in common. It could be morals, a parallel backstory, the same motivations, whatever. As long as there’s a reason for them to be drawn to each other, there’s potential.
Slow burn ships are fantastic.
Don’t make your characters fall in love right off the bat. There can be attraction, of course, but genuine feelings of true love don’t happen instantly. Your characters should become closer as people, feel at ease around each other, and truly know the other before they fall head-over-heels. The readers will crave the relationship far more, like dangling a treat right in front of a dog’s nose, but keep pulling it away. Teasing is a beautiful thing.
Find ways of showing (NOT TELLING) the characters are falling for each other. Have them stand up for one another, be protective. Have them break their own normal routine for the other. For example, a callous, guarded character could lower their walls for a moment if their love interest needs emotional support. These scenes can be awkward for the character changing their typical behavior and that discomfort can demonstrate how much they care for the other, altering their own selves for the other’s benefit.
Howeve, make sure that you combine these cute emotional moments with distance. Make the characters deny their true feelings or even distance themselves from their love interest upon discovering their feelings. The more the characters long for each other, the more the reader will long for them to be together. Build barriers between them for your characters to have to work to knock down. Keep them close, but maintain that distance until the moment is right.
“_____” translates to “I love you”
The first example of I think of when I think of this is The Princess Bride, where the male protagonist tells his soulmate “as you wish” when he really means “I love you.”
This falls under the category of show, don’t tell. Hearing a character say “I love you” has become so boring. Unless it’s done in a surprising confession or unique way, it’s boring and stale.
Come up with a phrase that you can repeat in moments throughout the story until it has a meaning of love for the characters and both know exactly what the other means when it’s spoken.
Taking a break can help create tension.
You know you loved someone if you leave them and feel awful. Apply this into the writing. Your characters can break up, then get back together in a joyous reunion.
Not every couple has a happy ending.
Sometimes, things don’t always work out for different reasons. An ending that leaves readers craving more can be a good move.
I made this today as I find it’s a helpful tool when I make characters. I call it the 1-2-3 method.
1 value: Their core belief.
2 flaws: The limitations of the character. Things that can affect their actions and abilities.
3 traits: What makes them, them. the aspects of their behaviour and attitude.
It’s important that you justify their personality through their backstory and home life, however, and it’s good to have conflicting flaws/traits within a group which will help create tension and drama.
I’m using this today to create characters for my campnanowrimo WIP and thought I’d share.
I made these as a way to compile all the geographical vocabulary that I thought was useful and interesting for writers. Some descriptors share categories, and some are simplified, but for the most part everything is in its proper place. Not all the words are as useable as others, and some might take tricky wording to pull off, but I hope these prove useful to all you writers out there!
Tumblr Resources to Get You Through the School Year!
Hi guys!! Thank you all so much for your support!!! Happy 250 (EDIT: I SPENT A DAY ON THIS AND NOW IM PAST 300) and hope you all have a great start to the month! The community is more welcoming with all of you - I haven’t faced negativity from anyone at all. None of these are my posts - but they’ve helped me out a lot. With that said - let’s get started:
This is one of my side blogs, and has tons of inspiration for weekly and monthly spreads, as well as a few aesthetic ideas and how to start one. I update this constantly.
Thank you so much for the support! I couldn’t have done it without all of you. A simple reblog or like will help others see these tips, and will be very appreciated. I hope these links work - feel free to message me with questions and other links!! A possible part 2 might come out at the end of august, and one for languages!!!
I started using this study method my 2nd month of college, when I realized that it was better for study-life balance and my emotional wellbeing. It makes me feel productive and alert all day, and gives me plenty of free time to pursue hobbies, clubs, and personal interests. It sounds kind of hardcore at first, but it’s seriously wonderful if you give it a try! Here’s the game plan:
After the first few days of the semester, I sit down with all of the syllabi from all of my classes and write down every single assignment for the rest of the semester into my planner. Include exams, readings, lab report due dates, worksheets, essays, etc. Everything.
Every weekend, I set aside however much time I need to knock out every single assignment for the upcoming week that is possible to do in advance. I do my textbook readings, textbook practice problems, my humanities readings, short essays or write-ups to accompany those humanities readings, etc.
Even though I’m doing more work, I generally spend the same amount of time in the library as my friends who only do their work for Monday over the weekend. This is because if you don’t commit to doing a large number of assignments, you tend to spend a lot more time on minor assignments than is truly necessary - do I really need to spend 3 hours on this 1-page essay for my English class if it’s only graded on a 10 point scale? Couldn’t I finish this in 1 hour and then devote more time to the rest of the readings I need to do for that class this week?
I still have enough time to sleep in, have long lunch breaks, go the gym, go to parties in the evening, etc.
You can do this, no matter your workload. I am a pre-med science major taking 20 credits (max course load) a semester, with two labs, and I can get it done. My roommate is an English major with heavy novel reading assignments and she can get it done. (Disclaimer: this mostly applies to undergraduates.)
Research papers and midterm exam studying generally get their own day separate from homework assignments. I like writing essays in 1 or 2 sittings, but if you like to spread it out just break up the essay into manageable pieces and do it over multiple weekends, or do the pieces between classes (see next bullet point).
After blasting through most of my assignments over the weekend, during the week I generally only have to do busy-work that is assigned at the end of classes and continue studying for midterms that week. I easily finish these assignments in the breaks between classes during the day.
With this strategy, I always complete all of my homework well before dinnertime, and often have days when I don’t have any assignments to do. I use this free time for club meetings, hanging out with friends, going to the gym, marathoning Netflix, pursuing hobbies, working a job, whatever.
I also use this extra time to be able to study for exams much more effectively - when you don’t have busywork assignments floating in the back of your mind, it is much easier to focus. You will study more productively and effectively, and with much less stress. Exams are worth way more of your grade than the homework assignments you blast through each weekend, so it’s best to be able to focus exclusively on them Monday - Friday.
The best part about this strategy is that your workload is heavy on Sunday and sometimes Saturday, but you get to relax Monday - Friday. You basically have a 5 day weekend every week, assuming you enjoy going to class.
If anyone also uses this method, I’d love to hear from you or hear your variants/study suggestions! If anyone tries out this method for 1 or 2 weeks and finds that it works for them, I’d love to hear about it! If you try it and hate it with a fiery burning passion and loathe me for even suggesting it, I’d love to hear about it!
I believe in you!<3 No matter what study method you choose to use, just do your best and exceed your own expectations.
1. Read. Even
things outside of you preferred genre. The best books I’ve ever read go beyond
the structure of the genre and touch well on things that are usually better
handled in other types of writing. Reading also shows you more examples of
characterization, scene structure, etc., and don’t be afraid to critique the
book as you work through it.
2. Critique. Being
helpfully critical of other writing is sometimes easier than working with your
own, because you only have to work with what’s in front of you (like a reader
of your story would). This can help you better prioritize what needs to be
fixed first to last, plus you can get better at picking out problems and
figuring out how to fix them.
3. Observe. In
public, and maybe sometimes private, take some time to notice your surroundings
and how people go about their lives. This can help with creating better
description and a more natural setting/flow to scenes.
4. Talk. This is
more useful for ideas, but find someone to bounce things off of. It doesn’t
have to be anything big and they don’t need to know the whole story, just take
one question like “How would you react if you suspected your friend was
kidnapped?” and listen to what they say. The answer may not work in your
story, but it can give you a new perspective that writers always need.
5. Take a break.
And do some of the things above. When you return to your work, you may notice a
difference in writing skill, even if it’s only on a tiny part of the piece.
Breaks allow your brain to synthesize what you learn and let you recharge your
energy, usually resulting in more confidence if handled correctly.
Good luck with your work and if there are any questions,
drop them in my ask box and I’d be happy to answer.
I’ve learned this method years ago and I’ve been using it ever since. The zigzag plot creator starts like this:
A crescent zigzag.
You can have as many up and downs as you want. I’ve drawn six to keep it simple. Alright, this zigzag is your storyline and every corner is an important event that will change everything:
Every down represents a bad thing happening to your main characters, taking them further away from their goal. Every up is a good event, taking them closer to their goal:
So, when the zigzag goes down, something bad must happen. When the zigzag goes up, something good must happen. The reason why we drew a crescent zigzag is because every down must be worse than the previous, and every up must be better than the previous. As the zigzag advances, events become more serious and relevant.
Let’s apply the zigzag method. My storyline is a detective trying to catch a serial killer in a futuristic city. Minutes later, this is what I’ve got:
Start: Detective, our protagonist, is just promoted
Down #1: Mass suicide happens in town, detective gets the case, the whole town thinks it might have been a religious suicide act, but detective suspects that someone single-handed killed all those people
Up #1: Detective finds clue about a possible killer
Down #2: A bigger mass murder happens, a true massacre, it’s a definitely a murder
Up #2: Detective finds the killer’s trail
Down #3: Thinking he is ahead of time, close to catching the killer, detective ends up dead in another mass murder
Up #3: Because of his notes and discoveries, the police is able to find the killer before they leave town
From this point on you can play with zigzag as much as you want. For example, changing the orientation of the zigzag for a bad ending:
Lots of ups and downs:
Or just a few:
It’s up to you (see what I did there?).
You can plot any type of story with the zigzag method. It’s a visual and easy process for a very complex task.
Are the words just not coming? Try getting away from the screen for a few minutes.
Do Something Productive
Take care of the dishes – load or unload your dishwasher, or wash a sinkfull by hand. If you have to leave any to soak, try writing for a few minutes while they do.
Put away that basket of laundry you’ve been ignoring.
Clean your bathroom sink.
Put away any shoes, jackets, or other outerwear you left lying around.
Do Something Fun
Write/draw/paint in your journal, if you have one. Do a page, then try writing again.
Read a chapter of your current book.
Set a timer for five or ten minutes and play a simple game that will let your mind disengage–my go-to is Spider Solitaire.
Call/Skype/text a friend and have a chat for a few minutes.
Make Your Writing Space More Pleasant
Straighten up your desk. Throw out any scraps of paper that have served their purpose, but check to make sure you’re not tossing out story notes! Dust the surface off, and put away anything that belongs somewhere else.
Light a candle.
Get a glass of water, or make yourself tea or coffee.
Take Care of Yourself
Grab a small snack if you’re hungry.
Are your hands dry? Mine get terrible in winter. Moisturize!
Lips, too –grab that lip balm.
Feeling sluggish? Take a short walk or do some jumping jacks to get your energy level up.
Feeling grungy? Take a shower. “Inspirational” showers are my favorite, I get so many ideas in there.
If one of these doesn’t break you from your funk, try one from another category to switch things up. And if you still don’t find your writing mojo, maybe you need a longer break, or to pack it in for the day. Just remember, working hard is great, but forcing yourself to write can burn you out, so keep yourself in balance!
and people who are very close to Borderlines, regardless of whether it’s romantic or not! I have BPD and wanted to list some things that my partner does that really help me and our relationship, in case they can help anyone else <3
communicate!! with!! your!! partner!!
ask them what things upset them
ask them what things you can do to ease their brain
tell them what things they do which upset you
tell them when you need space and time alone
tell them when you know you’ll be away
check in that the relationship is okay and both of you have your needs fulfilled
set boundaries for the person initially, and explain to them why these things are important to you. we’re not good at recognising other’s boundaries or understanding them innately. you can always change your boundaries, but let them know when you do
when you get frustrated and angry with them - which happens in all relationships between people, regardless of how healthy - have something you’ve agreed to say to them so they know you aren’t trying to hurt them or leave them, you just need to calm down.
try not to leave things angry or bad when you go away - try not to make the last thing you say at night sound snappy, etc. being away from our partners is always going to be tricky for us, and if you’ve left with something reassuring, it’s more likely that we’ll cope and you’ll get your sleep/rest/work/class/appointment/etc uninterrupted by us
expect us to need reassurances from you, and to need them a lot. understand that this really has nothing to do with you - whether you’re distant or not, things are good or not, etc, our disorder will always try to say things aren’t good. don’t be offended when we ask for reassurance, and if it’s tiring for you, come up with a specific set phrase or code with your partner to reassure them when they need it.
it’s likely that your partner will split on you at some point, and if you recognise that they have done and remove yourself from the situation as soon as possible, it’s likely that they’ll be able to calm down and split back soon. check in with them every couple of hours to remind them you care.
to the best of your ability - unforeseen circumstances omitting of course - don’t make promises you aren’t certain you can keep, and don’t say you’ll do something you don’t know you will be able to. saying that you’ll do something for/with us and then cancelling for something that could’ve been foreseen will make us panic.
try to watch out for the minutiae of how you interact with us. did you put a full stop on that text? did you say something which sounded unenthusiastic or uncaring when you didnt mean to sound like that? do you seem angry when you’re not? borderlines almost always recognise the emotions of others before people without BPD do, especially anger. if you can tell you sound frustrated, we definitely can. it might help to ask us if there are any habits you have which can trigger these kinds of thoughts
make sure they know how much you care about them, because they’ll constantly worry that you’ve stopped. tell them you love them, tell them you hope they drive safe, tell them you’re there for them. even though they know.
remember that a relationship isn’t a one way street. your borderline partner has a responsibility to work on their behaviour and not hurt you, or upset you, or negatively impact things. they will mess up sometimes, they will sometimes snap when splitting, or say something manipulative, or hound you for attention. and you’ll mess up sometimes as well. talk about what went wrong, what’s hurting who, and how you’re gonna work around it.
be honest. be completely honest. if it’s not working, tell them. if it’s going well, tell them. if something is hurting you, tell them. if you’re worried something is hurting them, tell them.
that’s all i can think of for now but feel free to add more
“Do you have
any advice on writing fight scenes? The type of scene I’m writing is mostly
hand to hand combat between two experts. I’m definitely not an expert so when I
try to write it, the scene ends up sounding repetitive and dull.”
Fore note: This post is coauthored by myself and one of my amazing critique partners, Barik S. Smith, who both writes fantastic fight scenes and teaches mixed martial arts, various artistic martial arts, and weapons classes.
I (Bryn) will tell you a secret: I trained MMA for
seven years, and when I write authentic hand to hand fight scenes, they sound
The problem with fight scenes in books is that
trying to describe each punch and kick and movement (especially if it’s the
only thing you’re describing) creates a fight that feels like it’s in slow
center of gravity, she held her right hand tight to her face and threw a jab
towards his chin. He shifted his weight, ducking under her punch. His hair
brushed against her fist, and he stepped forward, launching a shovel hook into
her exposed side.
But your brain can only read so fast. In real
life that series of events would take an instant, but I needed a full eight
seconds to read and comprehend it, which gave it an inherent lethargic feel.
So, we have two primary problems:
How do we describe this fight in a way the reader can understand
and keep track of?
How do we maintain a fast paced, interesting fight once we’ve
broken down the fight far enough for readers to understand it?
(We will get back to these, I promise.) But
for now, let’s look at…
Hello! How would you write a dialogue in which a character is freaking out about something? I generally have them word vomit but I don't really like that style. If its too much could you show me an example as well?
You could definitely word vomit – especially if your character is hysterical – but that’s not the only way to do it by any means. I know a few other ways.
1. Calmly. This is strange, considering your character is freaking out, but the freak-out is internal – they’re shutting themselves off due to shock. In this case, they would be quiet, sane, and even if what they’re saying is illogical, it would probably sound reasonable.
“I was right there when she shot him. He dropped like a sack of flour. I figured he was gone as soon as the bullet hit his chest. So now I’ve decided I’m gonna go after her. Right now. And I’m gonna kill her.” “What? You can’t do that!” “Sure I can. She killed him, so I kill her. It’s called justice.” “But- With just your bare hands?” “The way I feel right now, my bare hands are more than enough.”
Notice how the character who just watched their friend die in front of them isn’t yelling, isn’t stuttering, isn’t getting angry or crying – they’re perfectly calm, almost to the point of complete emotional shutdown.
2. Angrily. Some people get angry when they lose control and freak out – it scares them, and the fear manifests itself as anger. This type particularly happens when they’re upset about something and other characters aren’t taking it seriously or are shrugging off their concerns.
“No! It’s happening tonight! We don’t have time to think, or weigh things, we need to fucking leave! Now!” “We can’t. You know that, and you’d remember that, if you were thinking straight-” “I am thinking straight! It’s you who’s fucked in the head. I don’t give a damn what you think we can and can’t do, we need to clear out of here, right this second.”
As you can see, this character is freaking out – their concerns may or may not have a firm foundation, but obviously they are concerned, and that concern is manifesting itself as fury.
3. By stuttering. For some people, it’s hard to talk when they panic, because their minds race forward ahead of their mouths and they get tongue-tied. I typically see/use this with more anxious characters, or with characters who aren’t typically good at speaking anyways (in other words, who are uncomfortable talking).
There are a couple of different ways to stutter: a. Repeat the beginning of each word.
“I tr-tried to s-save him, but he wuh-wouldn’t l-let me … he knew it was g-going to happen. It’s my f-fault!”
(However, keep in mind that this kind of stuttering is more as if your character is crying and trying to talk through sobs and hiccups. Please use it sparingly – it can get old fast.)
b. Repeat words.
“No. No, I don’t know what’s going on, Ricky. Ricky, why would I have any idea? Don’t fucking look at me like that, Ricky. Don’t look at me like I’m lying.”
c. Insert filler sounds: “ah”, “uh”, “um”, and/or curse words.
“I, uh, I- fuck. I, ummm, I think maybe, ah, maybe we should leave?”
For more on stuttering – it can be hard to peg correctly – check out this post.
I hope this helps! If you need anything else, please feel free to ask. - @authors-haven