writeworld responds

anonymous asked:

Tips to build vocabulary ?? Thanks ! :)

(All advice is from the assumption that you know basic English grammar and vocabulary already and simply wish to expand your English vocabulary.)

1. Get some vocab on your dash! 

Alternatively, you could get yourself one of those Word of the Day calendars, of which there are many, for your desk. There are also Word of the Day apps for your phone. 

2. Quiz yourself!

There are two websites that we think will help you build your English vocabulary.

  • Vocabulary.com. “Regardless of your education level or age, Vocabulary.com will help you to master the words that are essential to academic and business success.” This website will give you vocabulary quizzes and lists, as well as a dictionary of terms. We think it’s pretty great.
  • Word Dynamo. This website from Dictionary.com is a useful teaching tool for all grade levels. It teaches vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structure. 

There are also lots of books you can buy for this sort of thing. Many of them are SAT prep books like this one, which can be useful (and come with flashcards!), but you can also start out at a more basic level. It’s just a matter of poking around on Amazon or in your local bookshop until you find a good fit. 

I also recommend reading Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis, which is a “simple, step-by-step method that will increase your knowledge and mastery of the English language.” If that sounds good to you, consider having a look. 

3. Read!

Read everything. Read all genres, fiction and nonfiction. Read and look up words and get frustrated and read some more. Read read read.

Seeing words in their natural environment (books, articles, etc.) might be the most important step in expanding your vocabulary. Context is often very helpful in understanding what a word means, especially if that word has multiple or nuanced definitions, and when and how it’s used. 

Here are a few lists of novels to read to improve your vocabulary:

I also have some recommendations for books which have helped me improve my vocabulary:

4. Poke through WriteWorld!

We’ve got lots of good stuff on growing your vocabulary and the English language in general. You can check out the Language section of our Toolbox for more resources from WriteWorld on language. There’s also this post, originally from thatfrenchhelper, on English Grammar and Vocabulary, so definitely click that link for more useful resources.

I’m sure other writers will weigh in with their own recommendations and advice, so be sure to check the notes of this post for more awesome tips from the Tumblr writing community!

Thanks for your message, and I hoped this helped!

-C

Creating Distinct Personalities within a Large Cast of Characters

Anonymous said: hey! i’m writing a story and it’s centered on eight friend and telling their stories, problems and relationships between each other. they’re eight and i’m afraid that people might get lost or don’t remember them, most groups of friend on the media are of six people or five max seven, though i’m struggling to make each one special so they’re easy to remember but still. Eight friends are to many people? should i make the group smaller? thanks you’re a helpful page!

The cast of characters should be as large as it needs to be to tell the story. Full stop.

As far as making each character unique is concerned, your characters don’t have to be special snowflakes, as exclusive of one another’s personalities and interests as the Bratz dolls. You don’t need to separate your characters into neat tropes like The One Who Likes Sports and The One Who’s Super Into Science, etc, though that is a perfectly valid way to do things. Your characters’ differences can be more subtle. 

For example, let’s look at eight Harry Potter characters: Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Neville Longbottom, Luna Lovegood, Ginny Weasley, Draco Malfoy, and Cho Chang. These are all pretty distinct characters in the Harry Potter series, but they each have things in common (or not) with the others which drives plot.

  • Draco is the foil of Harry, but both struggle under weight of society’s expectations.
  • Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Ginny were all sorted into Gryffindor, an indication that they are all brave and strong-willed (though it takes Neville a hot minute to work up to the strong-willed bit).
  • Cho Chang and Luna Lovegood are both Ravenclaws, so they both value wisdom. However, Luna is a loner, while Cho is popular.  
  • While we’re on the subject of popularity, Draco and Ginny are both popular as well.
  • Both Ginny and Cho are described as beautiful. Both love to play Quidditch. Both date Harry at some point. 
  • Harry and Neville were both born at the end of July. A prophecy made by Trelawney could have applied to either of them. They were both raised by someone other than their parents. 
  • Harry and Ron both hate doing homework, while Hermione loves it. All three end up working for the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
  • Luna and Draco are both blond. Ron and Ginny, siblings, are both redheads.

The list can go on and on. I guess my point (other than the fact that I love Harry Potter) is that each character can have a lot stuff, personality or otherwise, in common with the others while remaining unique. You would never mistake Luna for Cho, Hermione for Ginny, or Harry for Draco. They’re so different, and not because they fit neatly into boxes which cut away any connection they might have to each other, but because what they have in common affects each of their characters differently. 

The other thing that each of these characters has in common is that they are important to the plot. If you take any one of them away, the plot is diminished. If you can take any of your characters away and still have a complete plot, do it. Simplify. If not, keep it as is. 

I don’t know if this answers your question, but I hope it helps! 

-C

anonymous asked:

Do you have any resources on how to write a "good" fight scene??? Like serious hand-to-hand combat martial arts. Thanks!

Definitely head over to howtofightwrite and have a look at their tips and resources, specifically in the “fight scene” tag. They’re the experts! 

Also, you could check out our “fight scene” tag where we have a ton of resources for you on how to execute an excellent fight scene! Here are a few posts in particular that I think might be helpful:

Thank you for your question, and I hope this helps!

-C

Writing Borderline Personality Disorder

Anonymous asked: Hello! I’m roleplaying a character who has Borderline Personality Disorder because of mental (and somewhat physical) abuse from his father in his childhood. I’ve done a bunch of research about BPD, but it doesn’t seem to be clicking on how to write it correctly. Any tips? Thanks!

WriteWorld is not a psychology blog. Fortunately for us, we have Quel, a friend and goldmine of information on mental disorders and psychology. Quel has graciously agreed to share some information on this topic with us, so everyone gather ‘round!

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Keep reading

Rephrasing to Remove Unwanted Words
guard-of-stormwind

 asked: what are some ways I can replace the word ‘got’ in my story. Not for receiving things, but for phrases like ‘he got back up’ or ‘it got darker’.

This is a question of word choice, which falls under the jurisdiction of style. While I am hesitant to influence your writing style, I will show you a few examples of how I might reword the phrases you provided.

‘he got back up’

  • He stood.
  • He struggled to his feet.
  • He heaved himself off the floor. 
  • “Time to go,” he said, standing up again.
  • He extended a hand, and Tom helped him up.
  • Yani was slow to rise, and he groaned as he felt his joints pop under the strain of his tired muscles.

'it got darker’

  • Night fell.
  • The lights blinked out.
  • Twilight faded into inky night.
  • His eyes adjusted to the new darkness.
  • Darkness crept in, and soon Alex could barely see his hand in front of his face. 
  • Night spread thickly across the fields until all that remained of light was a faint sprinkling of stars.

Sometimes all it takes is a slight shift of focus. I observe that it got darker, for example, but that wasn’t all that happened. A character’s eyes need to adjust, maybe, so I could slant my description to include that. I could talk about night spreading or falling or blooming or twilight fading or ebbing or melting. 

I just figure out what I want to say very generally then rework that phrasing until it suits my style, the mood of my scene, my character’s voice, etc. Easy peasy. All it takes is practice and lots of it. 

And these sorts of things are relatively easy to change during the editing process. While I’m writing along, if I notice that I’m not particularly happy with my wording (like “it got darker”), I make a note to change it later and keep going. First drafts don’t have to be perfect. That’s sort of the point!

Thanks for your question, and I hope this helps!

-C

EDIT: Obviously, you don’t need to embroider every phrase. Not everything needs editing. This post was intended to help rework phrases you may be unhappy with, not to encourage you to make a mountain out of every molehill, so to speak.

O also weighed in on this:

  1. Rearrange your sentence. Let’s use “it got darker” as our example here. Let’s put it in some sort of context:

    Clarissa, having given up hope and assuming that the dog needed feeding, walked away. It got darker. Manny was still on his hands and knees, uprooting begonias, searching for his missing contact lens. 

    You could join it with another sentence, such as:

    Clarissa, having given up hope and assuming that the dog needed feeding, walked away. The sky darkened as Manny dug up his begonias, looking for his missing contact lens.

    You could have just changed “it got darker” to “it darkened” or “the sky darkened” right away, of course. Personally, though, I prefer the cadence of the sentence when coupled with the begonias and the search for the contact lens. 
    Similarly, you could replace something like “we got sick after eating at that Tex-Mex place,” try “that Tex-Mex place made us sick.” (Of course, you’ve now shifted more of the blame onto the Tex-Mex place. It hasn’t been proved that the Tex-Mex was the sickening agent, but it’s possible. Changing “got” in this way can often rearrange responsibility in your sentence; be careful of this.) 
  2. Change your verb. How about “he stood back up”? Sometimes, that doesn’t work, and you want the near-heroic quality that getting back up involves. But instead of “he got tired by the end of the day,” maybe you want “he was worn out by the end of the day,” or think about substituting “I got angry after Willy, my pet zebra, knocked over my vase” with “I screamed at Willy, my pet zebra, when he knocked my vase.” The screaming shows us that the speaker was angry, so we don’t need to explicitly state it. Look for strong verbs that make your point clearly. 

So basically, read what you wrote, and see if you can do it in a different way. Sometimes you won’t be able to. But thinking about the verb you’re using coupled with some sentence rearranging will help you escape from most of these holes. (Please note that we could have said “will “get” you out of these holes.)

One more thing, related to the word “got.” (This is a pet peeve of O’s and is only peripherally related to the conversation.) Saying “I’ve got two jars of sauce” is not correct. What you are saying there is “I have got two jars of sauce.” Just say “I have two jars of sauce.” 

We hope this post GOT you out of a hole.

- O

Musings on Exposition and Detail

Anonymous asked: /post/70515465859 can you please explain this more ? for those who is confused about this post ( which is me and someone else )

(More hard-boiled opinion-giving from C to follow.)

Okay, anon is talking about this picture of a quote we reblogged a while ago. Since Robert McKee, the author of this book, called Story, used close, character-oriented examples to illustrate his points rather than broad, plot-oriented examples, I will try (and fail) to do the same. 

  • “Never include anything the audience can reasonably and easily assume has happened.”

For example, we can assume that (most) characters are born. In a conversation, this fact can be omitted. We know.

We can also omit other, more applicable extraneous details. Consider this little segment:

I drove to CeeCee’s Italian Cuisine. I parked, got out of my car, and locked it. I put my keys into my right-hand jacket pocket and walked into the restaurant.

Under most circumstances, this is way too much detail for the readers. We can assume things like the character got out of the car. We can assume that the character stowed her keys somewhere on her person. We don’t need to be told that, either in exposition or through dialogue, unless it is somehow meaningful. Maybe she lost her keys and is retracing her steps. That would make the reader’s knowledge that the last place she had her keys was in her right-hand jacket pocket meaningful, maybe. 

Regardless, we don’t need to know every step of the process unless it’s important—and I mean critical—to know. This decision of what is critical and what is not is primarily a matter of style. It can be honed through practice and experience. Eventually, knowing what to include and what to prune becomes second-nature for a writer. 

Keep reading

Describing Chinese Girls

Anonymous asked: How would you describe a Chinese girl’s physical appearance, specifically eyes and skin tone? I have heard describing her eyes as almond is offensive and leads to the belief that is prevalent in some Asian countries that their eyes are not good enough or beautiful, but I also don’t want to exotic-ise them. I also have poor colour perception but know my readers probably won’t, otherwise would have looked at colour swatches. Thank you

I’d start looking for Chinese people from the region of your story’s setting who would be willing to help you out with your research. Once you’ve found a few takers, politely ask them how they would describe themselves. 

If you’re writing from an outsider’s perspective—that is, you’re writing not as the Chinese girl character but from the viewpoint of a non-Chinese or perhaps non-East Asian character—you might do research on how people of your viewpoint character’s culture and time period describe(d) Chinese people who look like your Chinese girl character. 

And another thing: “almond-shaped” can be offensive to some, but keep in mind that not everyone takes offense to the same things. My issue with “almond-shaped” as a descriptor for what has also been termed “Asian eyes” (also a super vague and inadequate descriptor, in my opinion) is that an almond shape to the eye is one of the most common eye shapes across all races in the whole world. In my opinion, my eyes are almond-shaped, and I’m not Chinese or even East Asian. 

And this descriptor has only become even more ineffectual as it has grown into a cliche. It’s just not all that helpful a term. If you feel you must describe the shape of your Chinese character’s eyes, I suggest you find another way. As with everywhere else in the world, there is a wide spectrum of diversity in eye shape among Chinese people. Luckily, there are lots of resources online with listed terms for describing eye shape and plenty of people with these eye shapes whose opinions you could ask. Google and enjoy!

The comments section of this NPR article offers up an interesting discussion on the topic of East Asian eye shape. Have a look.

As far as skin color goes—again, this characteristic can vary widely. You would need to research time period, region, and social class at the very least to help pinpoint the most likely skin colors of your Chinese girl character.

The viewpoint character is also important here. If the viewpoint character is a white guy, for example, he might describe your Chinese girl character’s skin as darker or browner (or perhaps not, depending) or smoother or less freckled than his own. If the Chinese girl herself is the viewpoint character, then others would be darker or lighter or tanner or browner or pinker or milkier or fairer or whiter or more wrinkled or less blemished or whatever-er compared to her. Do you see what I mean? 

Skin color is not as simple as brown or not brown and then a variance of darker to lighter. Skin has tones. It has many colors, blemishes, and scars. It can be hairy or smooth or cracked and dry or shiny or beaded with sweat or lined or tired-looking or freckled or colored with a blush or drained of color or sallow or firm or supple.

Countries and cultures are not made up of clones. People are distinct, and that distinction is worth noting. There is nuance in all things, and it’s your job as a writer to capture it. 

Thanks for your question! If any of our followers have suggestions for the anon, feel free to comment on this post or send us a message!

-C

  • metaphoricaluniverse asked: To the person describing a Chinese character, I’d steer away from “almond shape eyes” because it is so controversial. I’m not sure what kind of Chinese you want, but generally the eyes are single lidded, and wide-set. As for skin color, if you’re going light, I’d avoid porcelain. I don’t find “food” descriptions (e.g. creamy) offensive but some people do. If you’re going darker, I’ve personally heard my skin described as golden, honey, tawny, all of which I don’t mind. Hope that helps(:

Thank you! I want to reiterate that the use of “almond-shaped” to describe people with certain eye shapes is a matter of preference. Some people take offense to it, others don’t care. I find it to be as cliched as it is ineffectual in its ambiguity. Ah well. 

I don’t like to use words like “generally” when speaking of populations as large as China’s (over 1.3 billion in 2013), but I appreciate the benefit of your opinion. “Single-lidded” eyes are certainly common in China and throughout East Asia, as are “double-lidded” eyes and eyes that fall somewhere in between (yes, there is a spectrum to be found here as well).

“Food” descriptions, or the use of words like “chocolate” or “honey” to describe skin tone, can be offensive to some, similarly to the use of “almond"—also a food—to describe eye shape. Whatever words you use, anon, be sure that you are describing your character as you wish her to be represented after careful research and consideration on your part of both your style and your audience. That’s the most anyone can hope for from a writer: thoughtfulness. 

Anyway, thank you to metaphoricaluniverse for their reply!

-C

  • Anonymous asked: I came across the ask of how do you describe the appearance of a Chinese girl and I thought I could help a little, being Chinese myself. There are Chinese with big eyes and small ones, so it just depends on how you want your character to look like. Chinese people are generally fair or slight tanned because quite a lot use whitening cream and cover their skin from the sun and there are the tanned ones like me because they are more sporty and outdoors, so that can contribute to the personality.

Again, I’m uncomfortable with using that word "generally” to describe over 1.3 billion people, but thank you so much for taking the time to provide your point of view! I am sure the anon will find your perspective helpful!

-C

  • xxbscxx said: To the Anon asking about how to describe Chinese girls. I’m Chinese so I guess I’ll say what I know. There are actually different ways to describe a the eyes. I’ve seen some Chinese girls with big doe eyes and some with “almond eyes”, it all depends. The hair, well, we commonly have two/three textures: silky, oily, or dry. Pretty much your average type of hair. Skin colour would vary from brown (if they tan easily. I’m serious), “yellow”, or near pale in some cases (this is more common).

Thank you for your input! I think your message further illustrates the amount of diversity under the umbrella term Chinese. Wonderful, wonderful!

-C  

anonymous asked:

I was wondering if you had any type of information on age progression with children as how would a four year old act what type of characteristics would he or she have

We are not a child psychology blog (or else we’re a stupendously bad child psychology blog). It is with heavy hearts, therefore, that we must admit that we do not have many (any) in-house resources for the developmental stages of tiny humans. We do, however, have links! 

I highly recommend the book The Writer’s Guide to Character Traits: Includes Profiles of Human Behaviors and Personality Types by Linda N. Edelstein for basic profiles of children in various social and psychological situations from the need-to-know perspective of a writer. 

Other than that, here are some resources for writing four(ish) year olds:

And here are some general resources on writing children:

Also, I bet there are some parents out there on Tumblr who may be willing resources for you, anon. If you’d like to be a resource for this anon on four year olds, please reply to this post. Please do not send us a message with your interest. (It’s much easier for us and for the anon and for everyone, really, if you just reply directly to the post.)

If anyone else has any resources they think would go nicely with this list, please send them along!

Thank you for… wondering…! 

-C

anonymous asked:

This is going to sound silly, but do you have any tips on building hand endurance? I do best when writing by hand (I've taken to writing in cursive and pen, both of which allow me to write a little longer) but I want to be able to write longer. Thank you much

This is not silly! Whether typing or writing longhand, hand and wrist strength is important for writers. Muscle pulls and pinched nerves in the hand, carpal tunnel, and arthritis are dangers every writer faces, and doing just a few exercises every day can really reduce these risks as well as build strength and endurance.  

I have two videos for you:

You could also get yourself some theraputty, which is a Play Doh-like substance used to promote hand strength. You can keep it at your desk and just play with it while you think or do research. It’s an easy way to trick yourself into exercising, and kneading the putty might even help you think! Check out these exercise sheets for more on how to use theraputty to strengthen the muscles in your hands, wrists, and forearms. 

There are also squeeze balls you can buy to build hand strength and reduce stress. Amazon.com sells a ton of them, and they’re super easy to use. You just squeeze ‘em. Pretty great.

When my hands hurt, I lay them flat on my desk and then splay them out, stretching my fingers as far as they’ll go for around 30 seconds, then release, then repeat a few times. I also grab a blanket and gather up as much material as I can into the palm of my hand then squeeze it for around 30 seconds, then release, then repeat a few times.

Also, drink W A T E R. Drink water drink water drink water. I know coffee and tea are the trendy writerly things to drink — or even something alcoholic if you’re feeling Hemingwayesque — but your body needs water. You think better if you’re well-hydrated, your muscles will cramp less often, you’ll be less stressed, and you’ll have more energy to write longer. Drink water. 

I hope these tips and exercises help! I’m sure other writers will have advice to give on this topic, so be sure to check the notes for their input!

Thank you for your question!

-C

capt-confusion  asked:

Just thought some people might want to know: Windows 8 has an app which is basically a very comfortable, very distraction-free and minimal writing app called "WritePlus". It's free, and really good. It has just the basic formatting settings. I think it's much better than Writemonkey, and it's free, so it easily wins against ZenWriter. So, I think you should check it out. Have a nice day!

I had not heard of this app before, but it looks great. Thank you for suggesting it, netawrites, and I hope everyone will take a second to check it out!

Get the app! (It’s free!)

Reviews: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

-C

Avoiding Cliche When Writing a Lesbian Couple
maclipgloss-chanelno5

 asked: I want to write a story about a lesbian couple. What are some cliches /stereotypes that I should avoid?

There was this awesome post a while ago that I think might help you out. You can start there, maybe.

Really, though, this is a matter of doing your research and being thoughtful with regard to your characters and their relationship.

By thoughtfulness here I mean that you have done your research—maybe interviewed lesbian couples, for a start, and reflected on the expectations and restrictions placed on lesbian couples by the culture and time period in which they live—and that you endeavor to represent these characters as people first and lesbians also. 

As long as you are thoughtful in your representation of these characters and their story, you ought to be fine. This is not to say that you’re going to get it right on the first try. Fictional relationships fall short of the complexity of real relationships, and so our expectations as readers are sometimes not met. Sometimes the many facets of deep, romantic relationships are not written as we’d like them to be, or as complexly as we think they should be. That’s a matter of writing to your audience in while maintaining your own style, and it takes time and effort to achieve.

Your first try in your first draft won’t be perfect. Don’t give up. Keep honing your skills as a writer by developing your characters and their relationships as clearly and thoughtfully as you can. It’s worth it.

That said, TVTropes is a great place to browse cliches, stereotypes, and tropes on pretty much any topic. You might have a look at these indexes from their site:

If you’ve got more/better resources for us, feel free to submit them!

Thank you for your question!

-C

Anonymous said: Do you know of any reputable lists of Alaskan Native names? Preferrably Inupiat or Yupik, but other nations would be helpful too.

If anyone would like to be a resource for this anon on Inupiat or Yupik names, please respond to this post.

Thank you!

-C

A FRIENDLY REMINDER: Please do not send us messages responding to this post. We cannot privately pass them along to the anon for obvious reasons. It is better to cut out the middle man and just reply to this post. 

Representing Right/Wrong Through the Protagonist/Antagonist, and Worrying Over Whether or Not Your Story Will Appeal to Your Audience

Anonymous asked: Does a story have to contain a definitive protagonist and antagonist? I would like the entire point of my story for the reader to ask what is wrong and what is right by presenting it from two different sides in which the other is made to appear in the wrong…but I worry that this will make it unappealing.

A story does not have to have a defined protagonist or antagonist, and the protagonist and antagonist do not necessarily represent Goodness/Badness or Wrongness/Rightness in a story. (Notice the prominent capital letters; these words stand sentinel over big ideas. Beware.)

It seems like what you’re describing is a situation where there is Wrong and Right, but again, there is no rule that you must represent these concepts through your protagonist and antagonist.

An antagonist opposes the protagonist, the leading character of a story. That is all that is required of that role, and it can be filled by one character or many characters or natural disasters or institutions or some dark creature manifesting itself in the protagonist’s soul. Your call.

But representing Right and Wrong in your story? That is one of the timeless aims of storytelling. (Not for every story, mind you, but it’s definitely a prevalent theme.)

To address whether what you write will be unappealing, this is a matter of subjectivity. Many people might read your story, and many of them might love it or hate it or feel altogether meh about it. What you can do is research your intended audience, and really put your back into writing the story as well as you can, and editing it as well as you can, and finding people who love it and will represent it to the world as well as they can. That might be the best case scenario. Whether or not your style or the story itself is appealing in the end is up to individual readers to decide.

Learn more about protagonists and antagonists, and also about morality stories!

Thank you for your question!

-C

  • Anonymous asked: To the anon wondering about not having a definite Pro/Antagonist, George R.R. Martin, I believe does that very well. He gives us one perspective, then goes on to use the view point of another story’s protagonist. I think he also uses that to explain the “rights and wrongs” of his universe. He explains why characters do what they do and how it can become miscued. And ASOIAF is wildly popular, si=o I don’t think there’s a need to stick to the old ways! :)

anonymous asked:

I've got a quick question - in my novel, I have two characters who end up together in a romantic sense at the end of the story. They're a great couple - they work well together and balance out some of their negative characteristics. The only problem is that one is 18 and the other is 27. I'll clarify that the 18 year old has been through hell in her life and is in some ways more mature than the 27 year old, but I know some might find their relationship squicky. Is that too big of an age gap?

I get it. Young people are young, stereotypically naive and immature. Their brains may not even be fully developed yet. How could they ever be attracted to someone older than them? And old people are old, stereotypically world-wise and nostalgic. How could they ever be attracted to someone younger than them? 

There are cultural differences between the two generations to consider. There are experiences the elder has had that the younger has yet to even know exist in their future. There is an intensity of feeling, as if the fire burns brightest for them, the younger has that the elder may have nearly forgotten. How could the elder ever look at the younger and not see a child? How could the younger ever look at the elder and not see an authority figure? How could this ever work?

I get it.

My partner and I have a ten-year difference between us. Trust me, I understand the issue. Even as I near the age of my partner when we first met, I look back at people the age I was and cringe. I must have been especially awesome, because people that age are derps all.  

But the more ages I’ve been in my life, the more I’ve realized that people of every age are derps. We’re all just trying to get through it, and many of us are glad to have company along the way. If you can find companionship, kinship, friendship, love, whatever with another person, it’s hard to let that go because of an age difference. 

Is it ideal? Maybe not, but it’s what you’ve got. It’s working out okay for my partner and I. Maybe it’ll work out okay for your characters.

I’m sure other writers will weigh in on this hot-button topic! Be sure to check the notes for their comments as well!

Thanks for your question!

-C

(This response refers to relationships between consenting adults only. Pedophilia is “considered a paraphilia, an ‘abnormal or unnatural attraction.’ Pedophilia is defined as the fantasy or act of sexual activity with prepubescent children.” [x] It is a psychiatric disorder and does not fall into the scope of this post. )

Using Detail Effectively: Guns Edition

whoever-writes-monsters asked: Hey, I’ve been searching your gun tag and it’s been very helpful, but there’s still one thing that confuses me a little about guns in writing: when actually writing them, how much detail is necessary? Do you just generalise them as handguns, shotguns etc, add more details about the brand and the specs or include any physical description. And do you have any good examples of guns described in fiction writing? Thanks so much for the help

(General thoughts ahead. Perhaps not as organized as they could be. You have been warned.)

Our “gun“ tag is pretty cool, but it’s got Image Blocks in it. Our ”guns“ tag is for posts on guns minus the Image Blocks. I think that would be more serviceable to you.

On to your question!

Well, the amount of detail you need will depend on the scene you’re writing. Sometimes it’s enough to just say something like:

  • The man at the door held a gun. Lan couldn’t stop staring at it. A gun. Why did he have a gun? Who rings people’s doorbells in the early afternoon whilst casually holding a gun? This guy, apparently. Lan marvelled at the surrealness of the scene.

Other times, you might want more detail:

  • His service pistol, a Beretta M9, was in perfect working order. Just the night before, he’d dismantled it and cleaned every component until the black gunmetal caught the light like the gleam in the devil’s eye. So when he took aim at the silhouette on the other side of the tent’s nylon fabric, Clay knew there was nothing but a breath between him and neutralizing the threat.

In the first scene from the examples above, Lan is more concerned with the strangeness of the situation than she is preoccupied with the make and model of the gun the man at her door was holding. Even though the gun is the cause of her distress, it is as an object, taken as a whole. If he’d been holding a knife, Lan might have been just as flummoxed.

In the second scene, Clay clearly values his gun, so taking time to describe it as he brandishes it at the unknown threat makes perfect sense. 

Is the gun important to the scene or the overall story in some way? If not, you probably don’t need an in-depth description. Is the gun important to the character? If not, a detailed description may also be unnecessary. Sometimes a gun is the sum of its sensory experience or its psychological ramifications or its physical moving parts. Sometimes it’s its brand or age or reputation. Sometimes it’s the wood inlay or the personalized engraving or the scuff marks along its barrel. And sometimes a gun is just a gun. It depends on what your story requires.

Bear in mind as well that the kinds of details a character might notice about a gun will change based on how often they’re around guns. A person with less experience might notice basic things like the weight of the gun or the smell of gunpowder and gun oil and metal. A person with a lot of experience might notice more nuanced details about a gun along with the more generalized details.

You will also see variations in description based on the circumstances of the scene (a gun in a war zone and a gun at a suburban kid’s birthday party give off completely different vibes, if you know what I mean) or the point of view character’s feelings about guns, weapons, violence, etc. 

If you’re trying to move along the pacing, however, less description (or selective description, I should say) will help keep your story rolling along while more description will slow it down. That’s a decision you’ve got to make for yourself on a case by case basis.

As for published descriptions of guns, you can find that in lots of Thriller genre novels and military- or law enforcement-related books. Black Hawk Down, a Non-Fiction book about the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993, has got some good gun descriptions, and I know Thriller authors like James Patterson, Lee Child, Ian Fleming, Tom Clancy, and Brad Thor describe guns—often in loving detail—in their books. You might also find descriptions of guns, both real and fantastical, in Science Fiction, Steampunk, True Crime, and Horror. I leave finding those descriptions to you (or our lovely followers, if they’d like to assist). 

More on guns:

More on detail:

Thank you for your question, and I hope this helps!

-C

anonymous asked:

i'm currently writing a novel about a group of kids who come from another World to this one. any good tips on how they would react and what they would especially notice about our World?

I think that’s a great. broad question to start yourself off. Once you know the big questions you need to answer within your plot, you can bore down to the nitty-gritty details, the specific logistics of your setting, plot, and character development that you much research or otherwise embellish to move forward. You’ve got the big question. Now you must dig deeper.

Here are some questions to get you started:

  • Where did the kids grow up? On a space ship travelling from their world to ours? On Earth, but in a parallel universe to ours? On another planet in a far-away solar system? (I’m gonna assume it’s a planet for now.)
  • How does their planet compare to Earth? How far is it from their sun(s)? Is it larger or smaller than Earth? What is gravity like on their planet as compared to Earth’s gravity? Do they have a moon? What is their atmosphere like? Does the air composition differ, and if so, how does that affect them?
  • What does nature look like on their planet as compared to ours? Do they have different plants and animals? Different weather? Do they have redwood forests? Do they have saltwater oceans? Do they have sharks? (You get the idea.)
  • What do these kids think of the idea of Earthlings having pets or houseplants? How do they feel about zoos? What do they think about megafarms growing only one crop as far as the eye can see? How do these kids feel about the way Earthlings manipulate nature to amuse us or suit our needs?
  • How does our appearance differ from the kids’ appearances? Are they humanoid? How is their basic physiology different from an Earthling’s basic physiology? Do the kids need to sleep as often as humans? Can they see better on average? Do they appear to have super strength or magical powers as compared to an Earthling? Do Earthlings appear to have super strength or magical powers as compared to them?
  • What do these kids eat? Does it differ from the normal dietary needs of an Earthling? Are there foods we Earthlings eat that the kids would find strange? For example. eating meat or eating massive quantities of sugar to appease the pleasure centers of our brains. 
  • What about their cultural experience is different to an Earthling’s? What was their culture like on their world? Were there many cultures on their world, or just one? Earth has many cultures, subcultures, and microcultures. Do the kids find this strange? Why or why not? Do the kids identify with any one Earth culture over the others? What about that culture reminds them of their homeworld culture? What are a few differences between the Earth culture they identify with and the similar one from their homeworld? Are these differences unsettling to the kids? 
  • How open-minded and adaptable are these kids? Is there a kid who is more accepting and open-minded than the others? Is there a kid that is least accepting and open-minded? How do these kids talk amongst themselves about what they are experiencing on Earth? Overall, are they cautious? Excited? Disgusted? Relieved? How often do these kids travel to other worlds? Is this routine for them or a one-time thing?
  • How do these kids have fun? What do they do to relax? How do these activities differ from what Earthlings do to relax and have fun?
  • How did their world’s politics differ from Earth’s? Do they have war? Are there even countries on their world? 
  • How is information disseminated on their homeworld? Do they have something similar to books? The internet? Phones?

There are plenty of other questions you could ask yourself to find differences for the kids to notice between the kids’ world and Earth. The example questions I’ve listed above aren’t nearly as detailed as you could get with this if you wanted, and I think it’s a great idea to explore these types of questions as completely as you can. 

As the writer, you get to decide what matters. I cannot answer these questions for you because I don’t know your characters, your setting, or your plot. With that in mind, I hope these questions get your creative juices flowing, and the very best of luck to you with your writing!

Thank you for your question!

-C

All-Caps for Emphasis

misaki-is-the-yata said: Is using all caps during dialogue a bad idea? Just a quick short sentence to emphasize the moment. In my story, MC gets kissed by his friend. Dad sees and starts laughing because the boy is flustered. MC yells out, “It isn’t funny!” Can that be caps?

If it works for you, do it!

You see all-caps used a lot nowadays in Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction where youthful characters tend to exhibit extremes of emotion. This method makes especially good sense for younger age groups because many of you whippersnappers use all-caps colloquially (e.g. in the comments section of YouTube, in text messages, on the Twitter, etc.), so you’re already used to having all-caps around as a stylistic device.

Still, it’s pretty common to see all-caps used for emphasis in dialogue across all genres of writing, though sparingly. After all, all-caps is quick and easily-understood. Italics is another common alternative. (As in, “Hey, kid! Hey! I’m talking to you!”)

Some people dislike these methods of emphasis. Some people are okay with these methods sometimes, but feel they lose their punch if used too often. Some people don’t even like exclamation points. Know going in that you won’t please everyone. You have to use what makes sense for your style in your story.

Whatever you end up doing to add emphasis, be careful that you’re not unintentionally cutting corners. The use of something like all-caps to indicate a raised voice is technically telling not showing, though that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Moving through emphasized dialogue without much narration can ramp up the intensity and get readers from point A to point B of the scene faster than narrative explanation. On the other hand, because using all-caps emphasis often pushes a scene forward more quickly, you’re missing out on some opportunities to write the details of action occurring within the scene or to expound on a character’s emotional state.

If you’re looking for a way around using all-caps or italics, try breaking up dialogue with action which contributes to the movement of the scene. I humbly present this mediocre example for your consideration:

After school, Josh and his friends were waiting for Rashish near the gym parking lot.

“Hey, kid!”

Rashish walked right by the group of jeering boys. He didn’t even glance their direction. Heading straight for his car, Rashish focused on the pavement beneath his quick, measured steps. Halfway there.

“Hey! I’m talking to you!” By the sound of it, Josh had really lost his cool now. They were behind him, but Rashish could hear their footsteps approaching, gaining on him. He sped up.

Separating what Josh said to Rashish into two parts gave the second half of his dialogue extra emphasis because I was (sort of) able to build intensity through the action of the scene. We were in a different place in the scene by the time we got to that second “hey.” The stakes had changed a bit, so (hopefully) my readers did the mental work of upping the ante all by themselves, no all-caps or italics for emphasis required. See what I mean?

Not every editor/beta is going to let all-caps fly, but it’s not hurting anything to add this extra emphasis in your drafts. Even if you don’t end up using all-caps in the final draft, it’s worth it to call attention to the intensity of that dialogue by highlighting it with all-caps for future edits.

Final take-away? If you want to use all-caps to add emphasis in your dialogue, go for it! Your style, your story, your dialogue, your rules.

Thank you for your question, and I hope this helps! (And be sure to check the notes of this post for comments from other writers. I bet there will be a lot of great opinions and advice on this topic!)

-C

anonymous asked:

Hey, I'm trying to write a fantasy novel, and I want the royal in it to be nonbinary. So I have really no idea what to call them (because I dont think prince/princess or king/queen would really be appropriate). I hope you are able to help and thanks.

I think this post on gender-neutral honorifics covers this question pretty well.

Thanks for your message!

-C

  • Anonymous said: “princex” is a nice gender-neutral term for prince/princess! sadly dont know any for queen/king

knightoftherealm  asked:

Do you know why some people hate adverbs so much?

I think it’s because some people find them lazy or redundant. 

Example!

  • “I just thought—”
    “Shut up!” she snapped rudely.

The rudely part is implied, not only in snapped but possibly also in the exclamation point and from the context of the dialogue—the second speaker just interrupted the first. In this example, rudely seems redundant.

Another example!

  • “I’m afraid,” he said quietly. 

This is unquestionably a style choice, but Said Lovers tend to dislike adverbs after their saids because they think of said as an invisible word, like a point of punctuation. People tend to read over the word said as they would read over the word the or and unless they are emphasized. Since adverbs modify or qualify verbs (as well as adjectives, other adverbs, or word groups), they would tend to add unwanted emphasis.

The other issue with said quietly that you’ll hear is that you could easily find a word that means said quietly. Whispered and murmured both work. The argument there is that said quietly could be said more simply and that when you can simplify, you should. This is a matter of opinion, of course.

For the most part, people tend to limit their hatred of adverbs to -ly adverbs, so that’s some consolation, I guess. They certainly catch the most flack, though you’ve probably noticed I don’t have a problem using them.

We actually have a whole tag devoted to adverbs! I think reading through the posts you find there could really help you out, especially these three:

Thanks for your question!

-C

glorydan  asked:

Hi, I was wondering if anyone had any info on writing a character in rehab for a drug/alcohol addiction. Thing such as how long he might be in, what happens on a daily basis, treatment methods, rules, and other things such as that. Thank you so much!

Location and time period are huge factors here. Make sure you take them into consideration as you do your research. A lower class woman living in New York City in 1811 will have had a completely different rehabilitation experience from a teen pop icon living in Los Angeles in 2011. Even details of modern-day rehabilitation will vary country to country, state to state, facility to facility, doctor to doctor, treatment to treatment. Do your research.

Sadly, we don’t have much on this topic, but here’s what we have so far:

A few IAMAs for Rehab (though there are certainly more):

If you want to learn more, I would suggest talking to people who have been to rehab during the time period in which you are writing, or else reading about the rehab experiences of others in published works. I would try to get a broad view of rehab at first, taking in any and all experiences you can find, then I’d look for people who have had experiences similar to the one you’d like to write and ask them respectfully to help you out. 

It is possible that there are a few fellow writers out there willing to share their rehab experiences with you. If anyone would like to be a resource for j-ok-a about writing a character in rehab for drug/alcohol addiction, please respond to this post.

Thank you!

-C

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