Writing Superheroes and Villains

I wanted to ask about writing superheroes, how do you first go about balancing their powers out and finding equal villains for them to go against? -cluewhite

What a wonderful question! I’m really going to enjoy answering this one and hopefully our followers might be able to share their own opinions (hint hint). 

When creating a superhero there are a few things to consider:

  • What gives them their superpower (special spider, iron suit, the fact they are a god).
  • What their superpower is and its limitations. (All superheroes have limitations- think of Batman!).
  • What is their weakness. (Small knifes? Hahaha I made a funny.)
  • Who knows their weakness?
  • How does their personality contribute to their superhero status? Do they deserve to be a superhero?
  • Best question: Are they a superhero by choice?

These are just some questions I would consider to start developing this character. Superheroes are normal characters, they deserve the same amount of character development and they need to be rounded characters. You also need to really consider their motives. Are they driven by revenge? Or simply because they want to make a difference?

So your superhero can have any power they want, but it needs to have a limitation. If this character is unbeatable then there is no point in your story. Also, your reader will struggle to empathise with your character if they aren’t challenged and if there isn’t a struggle to succeed. 

So lets talk about villains! Now, what you need to think about to start with is why are they enemies? Is it because your superhero knows this character and wants to stop them? Is it because your superhero has suffered at this villains hands? Or does the superhero want to act for the good of the people? 

I’m going to mention some villains here so you can catch my drift a bit more.

  • Obediah Stane (Ironman) - knew Tony and was motivated by greed. Tony fought him because he felt like it was his fault, he had created this ‘monster’.
  • Lizard (The Amazing Spiderman)- Peter felt responsible for the Lizard thing as he had given him the formula. 
  • The Joker- (Batman) had no real motive, he just liked chaos. Batman fought him because it was the right thing to do, to save Gotham.
  • Loki (Thor and Avengers)- Loki was motivated for revenge. Thor fights him because he is his brother and he feels responsible for him.

You can see a trend here with comic book superheroes. The superhero is normally motivated to fight the villain because he knows him, feels partly responsible or less common he just wants to fight them. 

Of course this means nothing, you can do whatever you want with your superhero. But it is interesting to consider the relationship between these two central characters and how well they know the other. 

So, making them equal.

You don’t have to make them equal, not at all. A common trend seems to be that one party is the brawn and the other the brain. What I think is more interesting though is when both characters are equally brilliant. It then is more a battle of tactics to win.

To make an equal villain develop them like you did your superhero. Consider what makes them powerful, what gives them the power. Their own weaknesses and strengths. 

Give them both strengths and weaknesses and they should start to balance themselves out. Or they could just be equally as powerful and it is their personality that determines who wins. 

Writing about superheroes

How to write a great villain

How to make a scary villain 

I hope this has helped you! If not, hit us up again. (We don’t bite- much). Followers, as always feel free to chip in.


stormwolftori  asked:

Hi there! This is my first time doing NaNo and I feel kind of strange about the quality of my writing. I'm taking comfort in the fact that everyone says it's about the quantity and hitting the word count. That it's a first draft and the most important thing is to get it out, which I've been doing for the past two days. But I feel I'm doing a lot of telling and very little showing. Like it's all stuff I would fix in the second draft, but there seems to be very little substance now, is this okay?

It’s totally fine. It really is about the words this month.

Yes, you want to have substance. Yes, you want to have a cohesive story. Yes, you want to have fully developed characters. Many of these things reveal themselves through the process of actually writing. So while at times describing in minute detail the way a room looks, or how the weather makes a character feel, or a dream sequence with dinosaurs with lasers for eyes seems worthless, it’s all a part of the process in crafting your world, your story, your characters.

Let your ideas fly free, because now is the time when everything might be useful.

(Also, we’re three days in. You are not expected to be perfect with this type of writing practice yet. Are you an expert at anything after three days of working on it for several hours? No. You won’t even be an expert at 30 days — and that is totally fine.)

Hope this helps!

 - O

Anonymous asked: Skipping hours, days, months, WHATEVER amount of time in existence can be very difficult for me sometimes… I’m afraid it gets too sudden, for example, and I just can’t find the correct moment or words for that. Do you have some advice on the matter?


Unfortunately, there are no good links for writing time lapses (which irritates me to no end. Links are the epitome of good examples). 

Hmm… here’s an example of my own writing of a couple-hour/over night time lapse because I’m not sure how to answer this. If followers have suggestions, please let this Anon know.  -H

** This is about 2 years old or so. It’s one of the endings I thought I’d have in my book but I have since discarded it. **

Keep reading

Can I Create Emotionally Complex Characters if I Don't "Get" People?

Hey there, community.  Recently we received an anon message asking an extremely important question: could they, a person who is terrible at understanding people, still create emotional depth in characters?  The more I thought about it, the more I realized this anon couldn’t be the only person worrying the same thing: is the development of my story dependent on my interpersonal skills?  If I don’t understand people, am I bound to create shallow characters?  With that on my mind, I decided to answer by speaking to you all in article form, since this is a widely-applicable concern.  Anon, I hope this is helpful to you.

I’ll be speaking from the perspective of my own autism and the struggles I sometimes have with empathy.  Bear in mind, followers, that there are many, many reasons people might struggle with interpersonal empathy and that everyone’s experience is vastly different, so take what you will from this and run with it.  I mean to speak to as broad an audience as possible.

Character Development as a Codependent Process

So:  Is it possible to improve your own understanding of people to improve your character development, and does the development of characters depend on this?  Or is characterization a separate process entirely?  The answer to both of those questions is yes.  It is possible to improve interpersonal skills and learn how to understand people; there are a variety of ways to go about it.  Often, you can use your character development as an exercise in teaching yourself how to understand people in real life.  For me, a highly analytical person, that process has involved lots of reading, lots of thinking about why I love the characters I love, lots of character meta from other people talking about the characters they love (thanks, Tumblr), and a lot of long dinner conversations with my writing partner about how our characters respond to the environments we put them in.  You’ll notice that most of those things have highly constructive elements.  For me, the key to deepening my understanding of my characters - and therefore to creating emotional landscapes inside and between them - lies in treating them as complex, 3-D puzzles where every piece affects several other pieces and chain reactions are part of the norm. 

It may seem contradictory, but the more I treat them objectively in terms of cause and effect - in other words, the more I think of them as intricate machines - the more organic my understanding becomes of how they think and feel, and why it matters.

So on one hand: yes, you can improve those skills, and you can even use your craft to help yourself do that.  On the other hand, the mindset of using character development as a tool in that way necessitates a pre-existing mindset that character development, like our anon suggested, is its own process entirely. 

Character Development as an Independent Phenomenon

Here’s what I mean:  I spend a lot of time thinking about character development, psychology and interaction.  I spend a lot of time talking about it.  I’ve learned a lot about how to piece those things together to a) understand what makes my favorite characters tick and b) create realistic human impressions when I write about my own.  In theory, I have emotional connections to those characters and an intimate understanding of how they work.  Yet at the same time, I do not understand people in real life.  I struggle to find empathy for people around me unless they’re already very, very close to me.  My first reaction to other people is usually a negative one - I see only the very shallow, the very obvious, and the very stereotypical assumptions that are often made during flash judgements, and for me that’s usually as far as I get.  That says nothing about my desire to get to know people or to show compassion for them; it just means that in day-to-day life, I don’t really understand them.

Does that affect my ability to create sympathetic, relatable, fascinating characters?  Not really.  The reason is because there is a fundamental difference between the spontaneity of our own human interactions and the scenarios we create for ourselves as we work.  The first environment is real life: unplanned and uncontrolled, with lots of different wills bumping up against one another and no time for analysis.  The second environment is where we hold all the strings.  When we write, we enter a laboratory where every variable can be analyzed, understood, duplicated, altered and controlled by us and only us.  Nothing happens that we don’t authorize.  No character acts outside the bounds of our own understanding.  In short, it’s a safe environment to explore in, and there’s no opposing consciousness to take control from us.  That means replicating human empathy is a far easier, more foolproof, less time-sensitive endeavor.

And Here’s a Reminder:

You will gain points of emotional reference as you go about your life.  Just as you develop an understanding of what types of things affect your characters emotionally, things will come along to affect you.  To illustrate my point, here’s a personal example: six months ago, I learned what it meant to loathe someone so much it made you want to rip out fistfuls of their hair, claw their faces with your fingernails, and throw them out into the snow.  From the same incident, I learned that I am far more easily angered when my friends are hurt than when I myself am hurt, and that my aggressive streak is the most dangerous when it comes to protecting people I love.  Previously, I just thought I was an aggressive, vengeful prick who obsessed over people I didn’t like for far too long.  The more you know, huh?

Most importantly, that incident gave me firsthand knowledge about how those emotions feel.  The next time I sit down to write about an angry character, I know I’ll have new material to draw from.  I’ll have better words to use and a more realistic end goal in mind.  I’ll have an emotional experience I can manipulate to fit the needs and circumstances of whichever character is angry.  And that’s the heart of what character development is, when you get down to it: it’s taking what you know of the human condition and pulling it apart to see what works (or what doesn’t).  And just like we writers are always looking for new ideas, we should be keeping our eyes out for our emotional experiences, as well. 

To summarize:

Yes, improving your empathy towards other people is possible.  It takes practice and exercise, like any muscle, but for most people it is possible.  And yes, it is also possible to experience the emotional development of your characters in a completely independent context.  You can even have both happening at the exact same time, as I tried to illustrate above.  How these processes manifest depends entirely on your experiences as a person and the methods you’ve developed so far as a writer.

Don’t forget, you’re still living.  Experiences will come to you that will shape and deepen your understanding of people.  You still have a lot to live and learn from - we all do.

So good luck to all of you writers out there, especially those of you who, like me, struggle with empathy.  I have every confidence that with time and practice, you’ll come to your own understandings and find ways to think about these ideas that work for you.  Now go out there and get developing!


stormwolftori  asked:

Why is it that people always say to get rid of adverbs? Every time I write a sentence with one now I get paranoid that it's suddenly 'bad writing' and spend way too long trying to work out another grammatically correct sentence without an adverb...

Hello stormwolftori,

Stephen King, in his book “On Writing” writes: “The road to hell is paved by adverbs.” Which is why this is a good question, as adverbs come up a lot when describing “bad writing”. It kind of makes you wonder why they exist if they are so terrible to use. If adverbs are overused or used incorrectly, they can weaken your prose, but to say every use of an adverb is a “writer’s sin” is a bit of an oversimplification. Adverbs should be used with caution but never avoided altogether.

Since the definition for an adverb is: A verb that modifies another verb or adjective…the easiest way to catch an adverb in your own work would be to ask yourself, “Does this modify a verb or adjective?” If the answer is yes, then you have an adverb, and you may need to identify a few things to see if it can stick around and earn it’s keep on your work. As an extra tip, if you are still having trouble identifying adverbs paste your work into All adverbs will show up in light blue. This site also has a few other handy tools for identifying other “bad writing” issues.

An adverb should be removed if it commits one of these three “sins”

1. When used as a dialogue tag

This is when an adverb is used to describe how someone said something. Eg. “Why are you such a dork?” He asked, playfully.

This example breaks the “show don’t tell” rule of writing. In this example how he asked the question is told to the reader, when his “playfulness” would be better shown to the reader. Eg. He poked me in the belly and smiled, “why are you such a dork?” he asked.

2. Weak adverbs

This is when an adverb is used in place of a better verb to describe something. Once you’ve identified your adverbs ask yourself if a stronger verb can be used in it’s place. Eg. “The coffee smelled warmly” this is a weak sentence…but “The smell of coffee warmed the room.” Is stronger. By replacing the adverb with a strong verb (warmed) the sentence is strengthened.

3. Intensifiers

Intensifier adverbs are absolutely, really, very terrible. Beware of words such as: absolutely, really, etc. as they are only there to intensify a verb. They are rarely necessarily, and a lot of the time they are annoying. With Nanowrimo coming up intensifier adverbs will likely make their way into your work (they do help with word count and may be added subconsciously for that reason). It’s okay if they do, just make sure you catch them in your edits.

Keep in mind that adverbs can add depth to your writing, just make sure they are earning their place in your work before letting them stick around.

Happy writing :)


Gunshot/Stab wounds in fantasy and sci-fi

Anonymous asked you: Do you have anything on gunshot (assault, pistols, snipers) wounds, stab wounds, or stitching? I’m writing both sci-fi and fantasy stories, so the stab wounds can really be caused by anything from small pocket knife to a rapier.

Hi! Great question. I have answered this once and then tumblr decided to delete it, so here we go again!

Getting a handle on guns

A summary of how people die and don’t die in a sword fight

Useful resource for realistic killing wounds

Pathology: Knife wounds

A stitch in time: Medical sutures now and in history

Surgical suture

Stitches, wounds and lacerations

I’ve kick started your research for you with the above links. I think for the wounds and types of weapons you will have to a lot more research into the damage a weapon can do and the likely result of an injury.

I would take a look at rehabilitation time for injuries as well if you want it to be quite realistic. This will differ upon type of wound, depth of injury and placement. 

For stitches I wasn’t sure if you wanted modern/future/past so I’ve got you some past treatments and the ones used nowadays. For a futuristic approach I would look at research that is ongoing at the moment and look for ways that medicine could be improved or changes. For example maybe instead of stitches or staples they use a laser to shut a wound.

Hope this helps!


lovetrustforget  asked:

Is it still considered an information dump if I'm having a character tell another character something about their past? Sorry if it's confusing, I love your blog! Thank you!

Don’t worry, I understand what you mean. It doesn’t really matter what the context is, an information dump is when a bunch of information is given to the reader all at once (often a lot of unnecessary information, too.) -T

Beginning Your Story Without Info-Dumps

How to Avoid Writing Info-Dumps 

How to Avoid Info-Dumping

Four Tips for Fixing the Infamous “Info Dump”

anonymous asked:

Hello, I have been on a very long break from writing, for well over a year now. As I entered into my last year of high school I got too busy to even think about it. But now I've graduated, and I really want to get into writing again before uni. But I have NO IDEA how to start again. Any advice for someone trying to break a long-term writing dry spell? Thanks :)

Step 1:  Sit down at your computer (or notebook) and give it a good long stare.

Step 2:  Remind it that everything you put on the page belongs wholly to you.  You are the master.  Tell it that you cannot be intimidated by anything you create because it’s YOUR creation and you have the power.  Say it out loud - especially if you’re unsure.  Your computer (or notebook) will not be able to tell if you are lying and will begin to cooperate.

Step 3:  Start small.  Write little things that can’t intimidate you or scare you away.  Proceed to write whatever beautiful prose or randomly-generated garbledygook you wish to write.  Write it even if it feels weird.  It’ll get you in the habit, and your bigger projects will thank you for it later.

Step 4:  Do this every day.  Write a bit and, if you want, show it to a friend or two.  Having people ready and waiting to receive the table scraps of your grand work read your writing can help motivate you to continue.

Step 5:  Water the plant until it grows.  Keep growing it.  Do not stop watering it.  Remember, your writing is a beautiful small poppy seed that wants love and will wither away sadly without your devotion.

You have your friends, your family, your activities, your studies, the weather outside your window, your favorite shows.  Your writing has only you.  Love it every day.

Godspeed, Anon! 

– Senga

hatressoflore  asked:

Hi, I'm at the planning stages of something and really getting my teeth into the world and characters - but I have one huge prblem - the starting to never finish problem.With fanfiction, either I get negative reviews and fade out, or I get a feeling in my bones that the story's bad and take it down - the same thing happens with my original work. Any tips for overcoming this crippling perfectionism? I say I love to write but never actually finishing anything makes me feel I'll never be a writer.

Here’s the thing, Hatressflore. If you’re writing and do it because you enjoy it, then you’re already a writer.

We all experience those problems as some point in our lives. Where the editor comes out far too early and fills us with doubt before we can even get the finished work. I do have a few suggestions, and I encourage everyone to join in with them.

1: Work on the piece everyday: It can be two words, it can be an entire page, it can be more. It could simply be you reading through and fixing things. Its just important that the work stays as a constant reminder.

2: When you’re writing, turn off spell check: There’s fewer things more distracting than that little red line. And seeing it takes your focus off your work and onto the editing, which then adds in the doubt and makes you think you’re doing something wrong. It breaks the flow.

3: If you don’t like what you’ve written, fix it: It is absolutely never too late to fix something you’ve written. Even when its published on a website, you can go back in and replace a chapter with a revised version. Don’t think in the terms of “this sucks, I’m the worst.” Try “this doesn’t work. Let’s do it this way instead!” If you don’t like something but have no idea how to change it, you’re allowed to walk away and come back later. In some cases, that’s even your best option. Just remember to go back so you can look at it from a new perspective.

4: Use those negative reviews: There are two things negative reviews will be. opinions of that particular reader and actual critiques. If there’s nothing you can get out of the review to help you grow as a writer, then it’s someone shouting their opinion at you. You’re not going to please everyone with your writing and not everyone is going to take that gracefully. It’s just the way of the world, especially with the internet making it easy to forget that’s another person with their own thoughts and feelings.

5: Do not beat yourself up: I cannot stress this point enough. Probably one of the most dangerous things about creating something new is that nagging feeling that you’re doing it wrong. In turn, there will be moments you’ll want to listen. Don’t fall into the cracks and tell yourself you’re worthless because you haven’t written or you can’t bring yourself to finish a work. That’s only going to further your own self-hatred and cause you to work on it even less.

Always remember there is no such thing as the perfect writer. All the mistakes you make are simply you learning what doesn’t work so you can better figure out what does.

This is all the advice I have for now. I hope I was able to help! Happy Writing!


avonvanhassel  asked:

What would be your advice on making writing 'grittier'?

There seems to be some disagreement on what makes a story “gritty.” When pulling up gritty book lists on Goodreads, the majority tend to be dark, disturbing stories that may give readers an unsettling feeling because they are getting enjoyment out of something so unpleasant. I read two different takes on what makes fiction gritty, and they each offered a unique perspective.  

Gritty Stories, What Are They?

This writer suggests that a gritty story features a resilient, ambitious, and passionate protagonist, and that doom and gloom are mere “decorations.” Also written here is that gritty fiction doesn’t shy away from harsh truths.

What Makes a Novel Gritty and Dark?

While the previous viewpoint suggested gritty writing was about characterization, this writer believes gritty fiction is more about the tone you use to describe events. Any plot can be gritty if the author approaches it with that intention.

For me, when I think of fiction as being gritty, it has to do with tact. It’s fiction that is brutally honest. A hero may not win the war (at least not without major casualties), and sad, unfulfilling endings may be the unfortunate result. If that’s the case, it pegs the question - why would we read fiction that leaves us hopeless and sad? I think no matter how gritty a story seems, we try to find the good in the character’s harsh circumstances. If the protagonist loses their best friend, we try to think about what the protagonist still has left to hold onto, or we consider that the deceased no longer suffers. It challenges our pessimistic instincts to find the good in the darkest of times. 

Okay, that was a bit more philosophical than I intended, but I think the key to making writing gritty depends on your idea of gritty. Is it dark? Is it honest? Is it about passion, determination, fervor? What books have you read that make you want to write gritty fiction? I would start there and think about what those books have in common. 


franklytriggering  asked:

Lmao you have the stones to run a writing blog and say "reading shouldn't be a qualification for good writing" thanks for making my dash cleaner

Yes, reading does subconsciously help people write. Yes, it can be helpful to see how other people approach different ideas and styles and all kinds of things. 

Reading, HOWEVER, should not determine one’s worth as a writer. Not liking to read nor not having the motivation to read shouldn’t dissuade someone for doing something they love to do. It should not be so pivotal that it should stop someone from writing. I know plenty of people that are phenomenal writers, and guess what? They HATE reading. It doesn’t always go hand-in-hand.

Remember folks, do what works for YOU. Just because it works for other people, doesn’t mean it’ll apply to you.

Also, don’t let anything dissuade you from doing what YOU love to do. If you love to read and love to write, great! If you love to write but hate to read, also great! You do you, followers. You do you.

Sorry to see you go, but you’re entitled to your opinon. Thanks for the feedback, franklytriggering


anonymous asked:

Hi there! I was wondering if you'd have any tips on writing mute characters. Thanks in advance!

Writing mute characters forces you to focus on body language and actions. There’s also the option of using sign language, which is a relatively unused mechanism in mainstream fiction, which you can either describe (if you know sign language) or establish that what you put in speech marks is actually said in that way.  If you’ve decided against using sign language, the best thing to do is concentrate on showing your reader what certain things mean. Speech isn’t our only form of communication, in fact it constitutes a surprisingly small percentage of what we do to communicate with other people. Research body language extensively and look at non-verbal forms of communication (gestures, personalised signs, signalong, sign language, PECS, TaSSeLs [Tactile Signing for Sensory Learners], etc.). It’s vital that you remember to involve personal relationships as much as you do formal systems that we all recognise. The longer we spend with people, the more they understand us, whether we speak or not.  This is another situation where you’re actually just looking at communication, the rest of the character is intrinsically the same as the rest. A mute person needs precisely the same kind of time and devotion you’d give to other characters, you just need to try to understand how the experience of being unable to speak affects them. Be sensitive to the issues that they’re facing in the time period you’re writing about (this will take some research on your part).  With the technical aspect of writing, teach your reader what each non-verbal cue means as you go, then by the time you come to the important scenes, the physical responses of your character will show their feelings and responses for them.  You really need to avoid the (frankly insulting) pattern of having another character who can miraculously understand the thoughts of their mute companion. Some people do have translators, but in fiction, the problem is that you wind up effectively conveying what the mute person wants to say, but through another character. That character then takes on a dual persona rather than the mute person having defined themselves as a person in their own right. You must ensure that they have their own identity, and the only way you can do that is by letting them get on with it.  I received a question on my own blog about showing ‘quiet’ characters’ responses and I think it might be useful here. So, click here -> and hopefully it’ll be useful when it comes to technical writing.  Hope that’s useful.  -House of Fantasists

anonymous asked:

How do I write a drunken character realistically?

Hello Annon,

Writing a drunk character can be challenging to make realistic if only because writers tend to exaggerate their motions. Subtlety is key to avoiding making too much of a caricature of your drunk. I have a few things for you to consider before writing your characters that should help followed by some tips on the writing front.

Things to consider:

Your drunken characters actions will be defined by some variables such as their sex, their age, and their experience drinking. A young inexperienced drinker will be much more obvious and amateur as a drunk versus an old alcoholic which may need more sensory tells for the reader to pick up on. Another key variable is their reason for drinking. A celebrating or college drunk is a different breed that someone who is trying to drown their sorrows. This factor will be key in your writing.

Write your character:

Once you’ve decided on the variables you can write the drunken character into a scene. There are two major ways to portray your character. You don’t want to overdo either but a bit of each element makes for a well rounded drunk.

1. Slurred speech–a little goes a long way in writing slurred speech. Try to slur out what your character says out loud while recording and capture that on the page. It’s much better to be subtle so it’s not: “Hhhhhhheyy maaaannn, I jusssst loooove youssss sooo muchhss” but rather: “Hey mannn. I jusssst love yous so muchss.” Practice is key when it comes to this and you may find you we’d to play around with sounding out your slurs. Another way to portray slurred speech would be to outright tell the reader: “Hey man,I just love you so much,“Johnny slurred. This brings us to. The second way you can portray a drunk which is through description.

2. Through description–this is where you can rely on your sensory details to portray your drunk. The physical aspects will include glassy eyes; red faces, cheeks or noses; boozy breath; wobbly stance; loud speech. These are all things the narrator can drop in to portray their state. Drunk people aren’t all the same but they do often display some of the following characteristics: they can be irrational, jolly, overly kind, unpredictable, moody, throw tantrums, and act like children.

Happy Writing :)


anonymous asked:

Any advise for writers who got started late, a lot of writers I see usually started in their teens or earlier. I'm in my 20s and just getting into writing and sometimes I feel behind.

Short version: just write.

Longer version: Everyone comes into their own at different points in life – this is as true for writing as it is for any endeavor. You may feel as though you’re playing ‘catch up’ to some people, but the truth is that everyone is always playing that game with any new undertaking, everyday. We all start somewhere, and whether you’re beginning the path as a writer at 16 or 46, the only way to get started is just to do it, and not judge your progress on someone else’s.

I mean, can you imagine being 26 and deciding you want to be a composer and comparing your progress at that point to Mozart? It’s an extreme example, but it highlights how you shouldn’t judge your starting point by someone with more experience. 

Additionally, it’s a common used phrase to not judge your behind the scenes to someone else’s highlight reel – meaning you shouldn’t judge your individual progress on a journey by looking at what other people have accomplished at a completely different point in their personal timeline, especially knowing that all you’re getting is the accomplishment, not all the work it took to get there.

If you want to write, write. If you have stories in you, tell them. It doesn’t matter what age you are.

Hope this helps!

- O

madeline-writes  asked:

Hi! So I know someone just recently asked something along similar lines but I'm nearing the end of the first draft of my first fantasy novel. I'm very excited but nervous about the editing process. I'm worried that I won't be very good at "killing my darlings" especially when it comes to scenes/ideas I've started to grow attached to. Do you have any advice for the process as a whole?

As someone whose least favorite part of writing aside from cranking out the middle of a first draft is the first round of edits, here’s how I cope:

Once you finish your first draft, celebrate. Seriously, that is a major accomplishment and deserves a big pat on the back, a special libation of choice, a couple happy dances, and maybe more. Enjoy and be proud of the fact that you made it through a first draft.

Then, let it sit for a while. Walk away from it completely. Drafts need some time to revel in their completion, and so do you. A completed draft should be a precious item for a bit.

“A bit” can range from a few days to a few months – depending on deadlines, life, other projects, etc. Some projects sit longer than others; the key is to try and give yourself enough time to distance your mind from the joy of having finished something and switch to the practical mindset that a good portion of what you wrote is going to be changed.

Once it’s time to pull that draft out again, there are two reading tactics that tend to work well from an editing perspective.

1) Read your draft out loud. If things sound awkward out loud, they’re going to likely read as awkward. Read your writing as punctuated. You’ll find it easier to use punctuation properly and as you intended when you read aloud.

2) Approach reading your draft not as the creator, but as a reader. It’s a different frame of mind to get into, but try and imagine you’re a reader picking up your book for the first time, knowing nothing about the world, the characters, the story, any of it. Is it engaging? Do you understand what’s going on? Are the characters fully formed people? Are you being told too much, or not enough? Are there any gaps between chapters or time jumps that leave you with questions?
All these are things to constantly ask from a readers’ perspective and make notes on while starting to revise your draft.

For myself, I also find it easier for the first round of edits to have the draft printed out rather than editing on screen. Everyone is different, but having the ability to physically cross out sections and make notes engages me a lot more than deleting sections and making comments on a screen. You also tend to catch more mistakes when you’re looking at a draft in a different format than you wrote it. If nothing else, make a copy of the draft for editing and change the font and/or background color.

Once you’ve gone through and marked and notated your edits, it’s time to incorporate them in the draft, as well as work on revisions based on your notes. Sometimes it’s tempting to rewrite or add during editing, but on the first pass it’s usually better to approach like the first draft while writing – just get through it. Take lots of notes, even work on a section if you want to write something to get a break from the editing – but write it in a different document or by hand to insert later, because what you write will be kind of a mini-first-draft of its own.

Think of it like this – drafting is homework time, sitting down in comfy clothes and just getting the work done. Editing is looking at that work like a teacher, assessing its strong and weak points, offering ideas on how it could be more polished and better expressed. Revising is taking those notes from the teacher and incorporating them to rewrite the work as a stronger piece, with both your original ideas and intent and the teacher’s notes. They all engage different methods of thinking but are all aimed at the same goal.

Editing and revising exist to make your story and characters better. Sometimes that means cutting and changing things that you, as a creator, love but as a reader won’t make any difference (or, in some cases, any sense). It’s one part of a very involved process needed to tell the best story possible. Just like writing, it has its pitfalls and rewards, but in the end it’ll only strengthen your work. Approach it with determination, and you can do it.

Hope this helps!

- O

anonymous asked:

Hey! I was wondering if you could give me some tips on how to start writing. I never know how to start a story and I'm still a beginner, so I was wondering if you could help me :)

I’ll do my best! 

If you are struggling with getting started with your story then it might help you to start planning. We have quite a few resources on starting planning and this is normally a good place to start.

I find it hard to start writing without any planning as it makes it (IMO) quite a terrifying experience. If you already have an idea where your story is beginning and who your characters are it makes the process of starting to write a lot simpler.

Resources for planning:

Our tag

How to make a plan

Beginning a story

How do you plan a novel

Getting Started

Using notebooks

Keeping this in mind will also help you get started: Your first draft will SUCK. Other people may think it’s fine but you will probably hate parts of your writing- this is normally and perfectly fine. Your first draft is a work in progress, you are never sure where the characters are going to go or what the twists are going to be. The second time around you can plan for these kinds of things and it means your writing will make more sense.

If starting an entire novel sounds a little scary to you why not try some short stories or flash fiction. Prompts are quite good for this.

Check out the prompts tag on tumblr or these people:

Writeworld Blocks


I hope this helps you a little bit,



We sure can! 

As many of us know, suddenly is an adverb that means ”quickly and without warning; unexpectedly”.  Adverbs being adverbs, there are right and wrong ways to use any and all adverbs. 

So before we jump into our main point, let’s have a little lesson on using adverbs. 


Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. The adverbs that we are all familiar with and are taught in elementary English to identify are words that end with -ly, however, some adverbs (always, here, there) don’t end in -ly. 

The most common misuse of an adverb I see is the use of the adverb “badly”. 

Bad is always an adjective and should be used to describe a noun, while badly should always be used to modify a verb.


1. The sisters felt badly bad when they realized they had left their brother out of the planning.

2.She feels bad badly because her fingers were burned. 


 Now let’s talk about “suddenly”. 

It’s a common opinion that your writing is much stronger without the use of the adverb “suddenly”. Often it is thought to be redundant and commonplace, and usually unneeded. 

If the word is used properly, however, it can be helpful to describe scenes for your character. 


“What do you mean John slept with Mary?” Janie asked, suddenly aware of all of the people that were looking at them.

Suddenly should be used where the suddenness of the situation isn’t apparent. Characters can definitely suddenly feel things if you don’t build it up to your reader beforehand (“I suddenly felt weak”). 

It can also be used for natural disasters (just going off the question for this) and the like as long as it is believable. Earthquakes can suddenly happen, but wildfires usually have a predetermining action (such as lightening or people). 

In conclusion, “suddenly" is an adverb that as long as it’s used appropriately in the situation, it doesn’t detract from the situation at hand and slow the reader down.

If there are any other questions, please send them to the inbox and I will continue to update this post as they come!