A Japanese company sends a poll to their employees: “Should high heels be obligatory?” 76% of men and 23% of women vote in favour. “Per the poll, the new dress code will start Monday. We will provide you with shoes.” The men are directed to the counter with high heels, the women to flat shoes.
The Villain has taken over the city and much to the heroes (and everyone else’s) surprise, he’s fixing the city. Free Healthcare for all who need it, paid for out of his own pocket (stolen money off course, but he owns the city so who cares). Everybody gets a living wage, crime has gone down 98% (he’s got to steal occasionally) and college students adore him because he’s promised to pay for the rest of their tuition.
You wake up one day, but you’ve gone back in time. You’re 8 years old again, but you have all your memories from the future. You continue life as a child genius, and you excel far beyond your peers. One day, you hear news about a famous fortune teller, predicting world events in great detail. Only they’re all things that you remember happening before you were sent back in time. You use your status and reputation to meet them. What happens next?
The roles between a witch and their familiar are reversed. Instead of an animal being the witch’s familiar, it’s the witch that’s the animal’s familiar. Write about the first time a young witch is chosen as a familiar.
You’ve heard of death of the author and death of the reader. Now get ready for. Death of the book. It’s where I stare at an open Google docs page for five minutes before closing it and playing video games.
stuff that’s like “you can skip stuff and write ahead! You don’t have to write in order! You can put [Insert argument here] and move on!” It doesn’t. Work…Like if I haven’t written all the scenes before a scene, it feels like just preliminary planning rather than writing. It doesn’t feel like I’m really at that point in the plot, but rather stuck at the place where I skipped something. This is probably because I’m a pantser; I need my characters actions and motivations to organically develop and skipping ahead is just stripping everything down to what I EXPECT to happen—how do I know that’s gonna actually happen, though? I don’t.
absolutely anything telling me to write in the morning…who does that
“just push through if your first draft sucks!” I agree with this in practice but also there’s a time and place to just Not finish something that isn’t working. I would say that if you’ve already finished a complete draft once in your life “just finish the draft” can be taken with a grain of salt sometimes because you’re no longer purely trying to get past the psychological blocks of Getting it Done and you can start making more thoughtful decisions about whether you want to devote a vast amount of time to finishing a project.
“It’s normal to hate your story.” Look. I thought this for so long. But there’s a point where you can be genuinely having fun with your draft and not be distressed and agonized over it. If I genuinely am not having fun writing, that USUALLY means something is wrong. Not necessarily with the story! Often it’s psychological. But I’m no longer convinced that it’s normal to constantly feel like you’re digging through a mountain with your nails when writing; it’s a product of unhealthy feelings related to your work, whether that be perfectionism, anxiety about what people will think, or just a subconscious realization that your story has a deep issue that can’t be fixed by just pushing forward. Or you may just be bored and not want to write this story!
“Don’t edit as you go.” What are you going to do, stop me?
“Work on multiple projects at once.” Look…I’ve tried, but brain won’t.
“You don’t need to write every day.” Okay, this one i don’t strictly disagree with, but I can’t express to you HOW MUCH having a regular habit of writing helps. It takes a while to get used to but it helps. so. much. If you’ve never tried for more than a month at a time please try it out! Especially if you have adhd…it helps you get places on your projects.
“Your characters don’t actually talk to you! You’re just making excuses for bad writing!” Well my characters say that’s dumb so I’m not going to listen to that.
“Write the last scene first.” I’m not going to know what last scene is appropriate until I write it. I’ve had brilliant plot twists show up as I was writing them. I don’t know where this is going, I’m just along for the ride.
A lot of the writing advice I’ve heard either assumes you will only work on one project at a time or tells you that you should. However, I have never found this very doable. At any given time, I have three or more writing projects going. My brain just doesn’t let me focus on one for an extended period of time.
And you know what? It does take me longer to finish a project, but I prefer that with the chance to write everyday than going spans where I don’t have the motivation to work on one single project.
So, I’d like to give some advice on how to juggle more than one WIP.
If you can, stagger when you start them. Or, if you are starting with outlining one and pantsing the other, that works, too. The goal here is that you’re in different phases for each one. If you’re drafting three or outlining four or editing two at the same time, you might drain your creative well with the monotony. Having one in the editing phases, one in drafting, and one in outlining gives you room to bounce between activities.
Diversify Your Mediums
This might not be everyone’s path, especially if you’re already settled on the mediums of your projects, but I like to mix up exactly how I’m formatting them. Full novels, short stories, scripts, poetry, flash fiction, and everything in between and otherwise can be tossed together like a WIP salad. And again, you may be married to working on three full length novels which is fine. But if not, maybe try to switch it up.
Set Your Genre, Aesthetics, Motive, and Themes
My projects all come from different motives. They all have vastly different genres, themes, and aesthetics. You don’t need to have them ALL be WILDLY separate from each other, but it helps if you set their separate identities. When I find inspiration for sci-fi, I work on my sci-fi project. When I find inspiration for my family, I work on my project focused on family. When I watch a Coen Brothers movie, I work on my script that was motivated by their work. So on and so forth. This way, you can funnel the right inspiration and energy into the proper channels of your work.
Still Allow Yourself to Relax and Take Breaks
More projects doesn’t and shouldn’t mean that you sacrifice free time. Your pace can remain the same as someone working on one project. And it probably should. You don’t want to strain yourself and lose interest in 4 projects all at once. It’s a marathon and you can take time to relax and wander.
And don’t be afraid or feel bad to pause on project for a while or indefinitely. Just like any other process, sometimes you realize a certain project isn’t meant for right now.
Whether you use Docs, paper and pen, or something else or a mix of everything, use your organizational skills! Google Docs, Word, and Pages will all allow you to save your documents to folders specific to a project. Physical folders and files do the same. This way, you can get started quickly and easily without digging through multiple projects-worth of documents or getting distracted by another project.
Have any other tips for managing multiple projects? Drop them below!
This might be my most favorite playlist as it is adapted from my apple playlist that I listen to when writing. It puts me in a space mentally that is magical and I want to share with my fellow black women writers
usually, when i look at sunsets, i notice how the sun changes the sky. the sun sets, colors become more intense, darker and darker until our eyes are able to see the outer space the way it truly is; an infinite mass of pitch black starred emptiness. but that day, i did not quite notice the changing. the sun was leaning down to kiss the earth’s edges, it got closer and closer to the top of the little mountain standing in front of us. i still could not notice any changes in the sky. but suddenly, as you spoke, i turned around to look at you and i noticed. i noticed how the sun caressed your skin with a new soft orange tone. and i forgot how to breathe for a second. the world’s finest work of art was standing right in front of my eyes and for once, i was not referring to the sunset. at this moment, while still being aware about the world surrounding us, i felt i was going to be okay. you made me feel at peace with the world.
Summary: You and Bucky had a fight and he stormed out, you can’t fall asleep until he’s home.
Authors Notes: just wanted to give a quick thank you for the lovely feedback so far! Truly did not expect people to like my stuff and I’m completely surprised and blown away thank you :)
You rolled over to face the window with a deep, sad sigh. It’s been exactly four hours and 52 minutes since Bucky stormed out of your shared apartment after a fight.
He slammed the door so hard against the frame that the entire wall shook, and you weren’t looking forward to the noise complaints from the neighbors.
You curled your arm under your pillow and tucked your legs up behind your knees as you gazed out of the window.
Stars twinkling brightly in the dark sky. Clouds shifting slowly, creating odd shapes. The light from the moon beaming through the window, casting a shadow around your empty bedroom.
It was 3AM and you knew you wouldn’t be getting any sleep tonight, not until Bucky was home in bed safe and sound.
You couldn’t even remember what the fight was about. One thing was said, then it escalated to other petty stuff like him not putting the toilet seat down or loading the dishwasher, and then he started listing your flaws one by one and eventually, it came to a head and he left. You’ve cried all the tears you could muster up. You were so tired, so exhausted but you couldn’t fall asleep.
You were so gone in your thoughts that you failed to hear the clicking of the lock from the front door and the creaking of the floorboards as heavy footsteps made their way to your bedroom.
In fact, you didn’t register anyone else was in the apartment until you felt the bed dip next to you and a metal arm wrap itself tightly around your middle.
“I’m sorry.” He whispered, burying his face in your shampoo he loves so much.
“I’m sorry too.” You whispered back in the darkness, leaning into his touch. You turned in your spot, your head using his chest as a pillow. Your arm wrapped around his torso as you clinged onto him for dear life.
“Please never leave me again.” With your words breaking Bucky’s heart. He held you tighter, intertwining your legs together.
Hi everyone! For those of you who are considering traditional publishing, you will discover that agents and publishers are attracted to character-driven novels rather than plot-driven novels, or vice versa. Therefore, it is important to know the difference as well as which one your novel currently operates as.
These novels deal with inner transformation or relationships between characters, as it focuses on inner conflict more than anything else. The center of this drive revolves around the particular choices your character makes on their own rather than choices that move the plot from point A to point B.
For example, in romance novels, the plot is typically focused on what is going on between two characters rather than what is going on around them.
These novels focus on the choices and the actions of characters in terms of their environment and the events of the novel. Basically, if the characters are replaced, the plot is overall still the same. The center of this drive happens to be plot twists, action, and external conflict. Even though you naturally see the plot unfold through the character’s eyes, they are not truly the center of these novels, as their choices are a result of what is happening around them instead of the plot catering to their choices.
The majority of fantasy novels are plot-driven, as the fictional elements (magic, mythical creatures, epic words, etc.) are typically what’s in control rather than the characters.
Truth be told, some really great books are able to blend these elements together, but it is always important to know what the center of your novel is!
We need to see the good in people but more importantly, we need someone to see the good in us. And thus propagates the vicious cycle of trust. We give and give and give- with the hopes of getting it all back. With the hope that the universe will notice and reward us with significance. With trust. With love.
You say you pray but you don’t
listen You never listen, you just build
cages For me, for you, for all of us And then you talk about
compromise When I’m the one who has to hide
to protect your lies, When I’m the one who has to
change at any chance Every feeling, every line of my
palm, Because you love your lies and
you love to hate others And all that I am is the core of
your struggles, I’ve tried! Believe me, I’ve tried,
Tried to play along, I tried to
play a role, To live without me, Are you too blind to see that
after all these stupid games I’m still here? After all the tries to kill
what’s left inside I’m still alive I cracked the mask used to
disguise your fears.
And I know, I still know that I am the
world’s biggest mistake, The one that shakes up your
faith, I know! I’m everything you hate, You want me destroyed, You want me to burn down in
flames, You want to read about me on the
news: “Found dead”.
But I’m not leaving, I’m not running, I’m right here, I’m done playing, I’m done
hiding, I’m done protecting your lies and
your games Your fears, your problems to blame.
There are many versions of this anecdote floating around – I’ll go with the version from David Bayles and Ted Orland’s Art & Fear book which features a ceramics teacher.
At the beginning of a new semester, the ceramics teacher announced that the class will be split into two groups. The students on the left side of the room would be graded on the quantity of work they produced – the more pots they made, the better they would do. The students on the right received a different assignment. The teacher asked them to produce just a single pot. They could take all the time they needed to make it the best pot they ever made because they would be graded on the quality of their work instead.
The students went away to work. The first group out churned out dozens, then hundreds of pots, frantically trying to make enough to pass. The second group began with rigorous research into what made the perfect pot. They studied the works of famous artists and came up with theories that explained why their pots were so iconic. Then they looked into how to replicate that.
When the class came back together at the end of the semester, the ceramics teacher went through all the pots his students had made. To his surprise, the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity.
I love this little story because it highlights one important point: to produce enough work so that you can improve as a writer, you have to quit caring about quality. The irony is that if you keep worrying about whether your stories are good enough, you will never write enough of them to give yourself a chance to actually improve.
Here’s an idea. What if I told you to write 200 stories by the end of 2020? There are about 200 days left in the year. Why not? Does just the idea of that make you uncomfortable? Good.
When you have to write a story every day, there’s simply not enough time to get caught up on things. It doesn’t have to be a long story or a good story. But it has to be a story.
If you want some extra accountability, start an anonymous Tumblr or Instagram account and post your story there every day. Reuse the same characters on multiple days. Write the same scene from several different points of view. Anything goes.
It doesn’t matter whether you’ll get any readers. These posts are for you so that you can go back and read the first few ones 200 days from now and see how far have you come.
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It was perhaps needed or long overdue, a conversation that didn’t have many words, yet there were smiles and laughter instead, there was illuminance even when the night was dark, a prettiness not seen on both ends but felt, amidst the seemingly hopeless world, it was a conversation that held hope.
6 types of story feedback and what to do with each.
I’ve encountered a lot of feedback over the years.
Feedback that’s good, bad, or cocktail of both — from the 15 workshops I joined in college (including my time in the MFA) to my current experiences as a copywriter.
I’ve also learned how to get the most out of all that feedback. So this week I decided to share six types of story feedback and what do with each.
The Opinion is completely subjective feedback, and its purpose is to gauge what is and isn’t working for readers on a personal level. Isolated opinions offer some insight, but in general, you’ll want to pay attention to the patterns that emerge from multiple readers’ opinions.
Focus on: doubling down on the things your readers tend to like, and consider dialing back the things they don’t like.
Ignore: suggestions for phrasings, story elements, or plot directions that are purely a matter of taste and go counter to your vision.
The Misdiagnosis is feedback where the reader has noticed something wrong in your writing, but they struggle to identify the issue — so they “misdiagnose” the problem. It’s tempting to think this is a False Alarm (#6), but this type of feedback is actually very common and well intentioned, so be on the lookout!
Focus on: reverse engineering the true problem by closely reading the feedback and the passage it applies to. After identifying the real issue, work on a solution.
Ignore: their original diagnosis and any suggestions that are now irrelevant.
The Bad Remedy gets one step further than the Misdiagnosis. Here, the reader correctly identifies the problem, but the solution they provide either doesn’t solve the issue, is overly subjective (see #1), or has a negative ripple effect that the reader didn’t expect.
Focus on: determining a new solution that works for your story and style.
Ignore: any solutions that aren’t right for your story.
The Right Cure is the best kind of feedback, because it not only properly diagnoses a problem in your story, but also provides an effective solution. This feedback is easy to identify when it hits like a lightning-strike revelation — but sometimes the accuracy of the feedback or the tone of its delivery puts us on the defensive. We might try to write it off as an Opinion or False Alarm, but it’s important to accept the Right Cure when it’s offered.
Focus on: following the feedback. You can still tweak or build upon the solution if better ideas come to you; just make sure you’re still solving the problem.
Ignore: any temptation to dismiss the feedback out of pride or a feeling of being wronged due to an uncouth delivery.
The Divination is any feedback that provides the right solution to a problem, even when the reader misdiagnoses (or doesn’t try to diagnose) the problem itself. This often arises when a reader critiques mostly by feel, and while they may struggle to articulate why something is wrong, they feel something is wrong and are able to identify an effective solution. This type of feedback can often look like an Opinion since it lacks justification, but it’s always worth considering.
Focus on: identifying whether their suggestion improves the story, and if it does, implement it.
Ignore: the feedback if you’re confident it’s just an Opinion that doesn’t align with your vision for the story.
The False Alarm is feedback that tries to solve a problem that isn’t there. This type generally comes from a reader who’s distracted, reading too quickly, or trying too hard to find things to criticize (which can occasionally happen in formal critique settings like workshops, where some feel pressure to always contribute). Note, however, that this type of feedback is rare; what you think is a False Alarm is more often than not a Misdiagnosis, a Bad Remedy, or even a poorly delivered Right Cure.
Focus on: identifying whether the feedback actually is a False Alarm or something legitimate.
Ignore: the feedback, but only if you’re absolutely confident it’s a False Alarm. (If you find yourself receiving a lot of False Alarms, reflect on whether you’re dismissing too much feedback, and if you aren’t, consider looping in some new readers.)
Some Parting Rules of Thumb
Now that you have a grasp on these different types of feedback, I want to leave you with some general rules of thumb for revision:
Assume all feedback has the potential to improve your story, even if parts of it are misguided.
Know that everyone is capable of providing helpful feedback, even if they’re less experienced than you are.
Remember your vision as a writer matters, so don’t feel obligated to follow feedback that pushes your story in a direction that contradicts what you set out to create.
Never mistake the need for feedback as a shortcoming; instead, recognize it as an opportunity. Everyone needs feedback, but not everyone is willing to seek it out.
Good luck, and good writing, everybody! I hope this helps you sift through the feedback on your next story.
— — —
Your have stories worth telling; I want to help you tell them well. For tips on how to hone your craft and nurture meaningful stories, follow my blog.
In my limited experience as a writer, I have read a lot of writing tips. Some of them have worked for me, and some of them haven’t - but one that really hasn’t worked for me is ‘force yourself to keep writing your novel’. Because when I force myself to write, my writing is trash.
Sometimes sitting down at my keyboard and hammering out 500 words a day helps me to get back into the habit of writing, and can be useful. But most of the time, it’s not, simply because when I don’t enjoy what I’m writing, it doesn’t turn out well.
Let’s say you’re stuck on this one scene of your wip and you technically know what happens next but don’t know how to write it. Don’t write it. Move onto the scene after it and try that.
Maybe you’re halfway through chapter four but you just got a really good idea for a dialogue that could go in a scene in chapter seven but you feel like you should write in chronological order but also chapter seven is now playing out in your head because that dialogue is just so good and works so well with the story. Don’t. Go and write chapter seven.
Or you haven’t touched your novel in weeks and opening it again and re-reading the same scene you read 12000 times while trying to write what happens next makes you feel hopeless and sad and you don’t want to write what happens next. Don’t. Work on a side wip or expand your character profiles or skip ahead a few scenes or write fanfiction about your own characters where for once your job isn’t to make their lives miserable, but to do quite the opposite.
You don’t have to write everything in chronological order, and don’t try and write something that you can’t figure out. Because chances are, at 3 a.m. on a random night, you will solve the problem you’ve been stuck on for weeks. Or while you’re daydreaming in math class, you’ll find the one word you’ve been looking for or find the answer to that plot hole that has been bugging you for weeks. And eventually everything will fall into place.
But if you try to force yourself to write something that you really don’t feel like writing? You’re only going to make yourself hate the process and hate what you’ve written and not enjoy writing anymore. And that’s possibly the worst thing that can happen to any writer.
When you write what you enjoy, it shows through your writing. And then the reader will enjoy reading your work so much more too.
Tl;dr write stuff that makes you happy because that’s going to turn out so much better than the trash you feel compelled to write.
“Tell me about last night, please.” “Why do you want me to go through it again?” “Because talking about the pain helps.” “Don’t let me recall, when all my mind wants, is to forget; the first time itself is enough agony.”
In a few years, you will become a better writer, you will learn more, you will write more, you will have more practice and knowledge. But it doesn’t mean that you are a bad writer right now. Even if you’re just starting, even if you feel like your writing style is plain. The true writing should come from the heart; it’s all about expressing what’s inside your soul. You can learn every writing rule, but nobody is going to teach you how to tell your story, how to be your raw, true self. It is something you have to figure out intuitively.
So stop criticizing your own writing, stop paying attention to the number of grammar mistakes you make, or typos, etc. You don’t know how to use the three act structure? Don’t worry, you can learn it later. You don’t know how to properly foreshadow something? Again, no worries.
The first draft is just you telling yourself the story, so let go of the idea of perfection. Let me tell you something, your manuscript will never be perfect, no matter how many revisions you do. Perfection is always subjective. Your first draft should be a wild, sheer expression of your imagination, nothing else. It is the most personal piece of your writing, so learn how to love its imperfections, learn how to be proud of your current writing style, and then gradually improve it.
Summary: Spending a rainy, stormy winter’s evening with the love of yourlife.
Authors Note: winter is my favorite season and I created this cozy little moodboard to go with it.
The rain hit heavily against the windows. It was only 3PM but it was already dark outside, thanks to the storm and black clouds that littered the sky.
Horns honking, sirens blaring could be heard in the distance on the streets of Manhattan as you and Bucky snuggled up cozily on the large couch with blankets and your homemade hot chocolates. Scented candles lit safely around the room and the mood lights creating a warm feel.
The Netflix logo popped up on the large television that was mounted to the wall above a long wooden unit. Thunder rumbled across the dark skies and flashes of lightning lit up the New York night.
You snuggled in closer to the warm man next to you. Loving the storms and the sounds of the pattering rain. Bucky flicked through a couple of movies - neither to your fancy. He stumbled across a show; Stranger Things.
“How about this one?” He asked reading the synopsis.
You hummed as you wiggled your toes underneath your fluffy cozy bedsocks. “Sounds perfect.”
And perfect it was as the storm grew heavier and the rain battered the windows harder. You were safe with Bucky in your apartment, warm and cozy as you pressed the side of your face to his chest. Breathing in his musky scent. The two of you just starting to watch the show when you were suddenly shrouded in darkness. The electricity has gone out. The only light is from the flickering candles.
“So uh, plan B?” Bucky chuckled and you giggled along with him.
“Yeah. I guess this is where we ‘chill’ instead of Netflix.”
“Perfect. Hope I can feel my way around.”
You giggled and groaned in delight as his fluffy beard tickled your chin and hid lips met yours in a slow and passionate way, like you’ve both got all the time in the world.
Friendly reminder that fandom creators are not machines. We have feelings and lives and problems of our own, and can’t just make things out of thin air (even if that would be awesome). Some of us are exhausted and stressed and barely hanging, or can’t find inspiration in things no matter how much we wish we could. But we love you and we’re doing our best, and putting content out there when we can. All we ask is for a little love and patience in return 💜
Hey fanfic writers who tell cute stories with adorable moments and sweet interactions, I love you for giving us charming and fulfilling reminders of how wonderful the the smallest gestures and elements of daily life can be.
Hey fanfic writers who write erotica and express sexual liberties and kinks with the characters, I love you for exposing us to new things via familiar characters we love and making me sweat. And for providing inspiration.
Hey fanfic writers who take headcanon requests and turn them into aspirationally beautiful and/or erotic snapshots, I love you for giving us a glimpse into what could be, in fun and satisfying bites.
Hey fanfic writers whose first language isn’t English, I love you for the new and cute ways you combine English words and express yourself, and admire your linguistic skill. Please keep writing!
Hey fanfic writers who write complex narrative structures and stream of consciousness and non-linear plots and emotionally dense, poetic visuals, I love you for allowing me a glimpse into your beautiful brains and hearts and giving me something to break apart and study.
Hey fanfic writers who struggle to express their thoughts, who don’t feel talented enough to be seen, who don’t receive accolades and recommendations, I love you for writing anyway, and I belong to your group! I love you for stretching your minds in new ways. No one ever grew or became good at something because they stopped trying.
And someday, you’ll burn for me Like the sun lights bright the moon Like how long I’ve burned for you Darling, won’t you burn for me too?
Like The Sun Lights Bright The Moon(Original Theme) [Album Art] From:Book 2 in The Devida & Goliath Quartet Score Composed By: Mina Violet Alzakhm (Listen Here) Vocals: Mina Violet Alzakhm Digital Playback: MuseScore 3 Recorded On: Blue Yeti Produced In: ProTools (Cinematic Production Style; No Autotune) Notes: This is my first (woefully unmixed and very rough) attempt at mapping out the vocals for the second (and final) hook that appears in this song! I’ll probably do a few more takes to get it right (and add harmonies, of course), but I think folks who’ve heard the phrasing for the first hook can likely hear the difference in theatrics between the two. The second hook takes place near the end of the song (whereas the first takes place near the beginning), and I hope that it shows!