1. Write every day. Except on days when you don’t feel like writing that much and you don’t have anything interesting to say.
2. Never write when you’re too hot. Beads of sweat are ideas leaking from your brain.
3. Nobody really eats turnips. They are a ridiculous food. Characters cannot eat turnips.
4. Hypnosis is the writer’s greatest tool.
5. Skinny people are often the cause of conflict. Fat people are often the solution. NO MEDIUM SIZED PEOPLE.
6. If you must write about the travails of being a writer, at least give yourself a glass eye or a cyborg hand or something.
7. After your second draft, read backwards, from last page to first. If it doesn’t make sense both forward and backward, you’ve done something wrong.
8. Always describe the smell of your protagonist’s hands.
9. Fathers and sons do not speak to each other unless one of them has lost a limb and needs help finding that limb.
10. There is no evidence that people have gills, but there is no evidence that people cannot have gills.
11. For photosynthetic purposes, it is essential that you spend time writing in the outdoors.
12. 3rd person narration, like gladiator duels, is a barbaric invention of the ancient Greeks and should never be used under any circumstances.
13. Using multiple questions marks or a question/exclamation combo makes you look an actual crazy person.
14. Wear non-restrictive clothing that will allow the ideas to flow freely around you. Tunics are good, and cheap.
15. Chronological order is the only structure the human mind has evolved to understand.
16. If at all possible, get your characters to a place without gravity.
17. Cicadas are the most symbolic and underutilized creatures in literature.
18. A sex scene only works if it’s written in precise, clinical detail.
19. More fucking profanity.
20. Always know what size shoes your characters wear. The soul is in the shoes.
21. Most people don’t understand math anyway.
22. At least one character must have a funny accent.
23. Everyone moves clockwise. Counterclockwise is for anarchists
24. No lefthanded characters. Too weird.
25. For every adverb you use, do five pushups.
26. Y is an indecisive letter; using it implies indecision.
27. Children are interesting from ages 0-2 and the not again until they’re 14.
28. Just assume everyone has a weird fetish they’d like to keep secret.
29. A nursery rhyme: short chapters make everyone happier.
30. Start with the acknowledgments page, so that you always know who you’re disappointing on your bad writing days.
31. Include at least one scene in which someone meets an estranged sibling.
32. Characters use microwaves, not ovens. Ovens take too long
33. Highlight all the verbs and replace them with other better verbs
34. Writer’s block is best cured by swallowing a penny.
35. The hard C sound conveys authority. Do not soften yourself.
36. In dialogue, include all the ‘um’s but cut the ‘uh’s
37. Conjunctions, conjunction, conjunctions!
38. Remember, every surface your characters touch is just covered with deadly microbes.
39. Mercury poisoning is great for providing plot twists.
40. Do not have more than two redheaded characters, or people will think you’re up to something.
41. Make sure the plot isn’t lifted from a Nancy Drew book.
42. If an editor gives you advice, do the opposite.
43. Buy a lot of index cards.
44. Every day, pick an unusual adjective from the dictionary and be sure to use it.
45. Your literary heroes were probably terrible people. Be more like them.
46. No boats. Boats are over.
47. No airplanes either. Nothing interesting happens on airplanes anymore.
48. The only reliable way to begin a scene is with an alarm clock going off.
49. If you’re stuck, introduce a blimp. Blimps expedite plot.
50. No lightning. It’s cliche.
51. There is always a ghost in the attic.
52. Twins are interesting.
53. At the zoo, it’s easy for people to fall over fences.
54. Present tense is for junkies and teenagers.
55. It’s easy to distinguish characters if each has a unique hat.
56. Italics makes words sound fancy.
57. Shoot for a minimum of two metaphors per page.
58. If you haven’t introduced the gun by page 50, introduce it on page 51.
59. Diners and bars are the setting for about 80% of all human conversations
60. What does a gerund do? It does nothing.
61. In dialogue, everyone should always be lying.
62. Elevators are the crucible of our social lives.
63. Readers want to know where your character bought his car, what his monthly payment is, what kind of rate he got.
64. Your character may not be a caterer. There are more caterers in movies and novels than there have been throughout the history of the world.
65. See what you can do with SONAR.
66. Time your writing schedule to coincide with the different phases of the moon.
67. Spend two decades traveling before you write a single word.
68. If, in the history of language, anyone has written a sentence like the one you’ve just written, delete that sentence and start over.
69. Most metaphors don’t have to make sense; they just need to be memorable.
70. Rain is always meaningful.
71. Linoleum floors are much less interesting than quicksand.
72. The stars can be beautiful without forcing themselves upon you. The same should apply to your writing.
73. Shakespeare did it first. You can do it second.
74. You haven’t truly made it until you’ve received a threatening email from a stranger.
75. Write as if you’ve been possessed by a demon, but, like, a nice demon.
76. Record a video of yourself sleeping at night, so you know what it looks like when you’re at your most vulnerable.
77. Most people want you to fail. Never forget this.
78. At least 25% of any book should be flashbacks.
79. Never kill a dog in your book. The dogs will know.
80. The best food to eat to stimulate your writing process is a charcuterie tray. D.H. Lawrence ate nothing but cured meats.
81. Writing is 30% perspiration, 40% inspiration, 40% good luck, 50% magic, and 1% mathematics.
82.Every sex act must result in a pregnancy.
83. Repetition is the sign of an unfit mind. If possible, never employ repetition of words or phrases, lest you seem to have an unfit mind.
84. The internet is not going away; your characters should frequently interact via email and hacking. Lots of hacking.
85. Only employ vampires if they are a metaphor for municipal government.
86. Dialect should be heavy and consistent. It is important to know whether someone is from the South, or Eurasia.
87. Leave a few blank pages at the end of your final chapter and encourage the reader to conclude it the way he or she would like.
88. One of the most important choices you will face is deciding which font to use.
89. Spill every secret you know; you can’t save them for the afterlife.
90. Write a minimum of twelve drafts. Then put the manuscript in a safe deposit box for one full year before reading it again.
91. Think about all the cool things you can do with UFOs.
92. Set the scene. A minimum of seven sentences of setting description before even mentioning a character.
93. Readers like mystery. Try to reveal as little as possible during the first two chapters.
94. Characters in neckties are boring. Characters who poach rhinos for a living are not.
95. Every line of dialogue should be performing a minimum of five functions.
96. In your final draft, cut the last line of every paragraph, no matter what.
97. When something is REALLY IMPORTANT, put it in CAPS. It’s the only way for some readers to know.
98. A well-placed illustration can save you the trouble of writing a thousand words.
99. Writing a book is fundamentally a political act. This means at least one character must be given the opportunity to make a political speech of no fewer than 6 pages.
100. Magical realism is a term invented by occultists.
101. Write to displease whatever god you believe in.
102.Believe in monsters.
103. Contractions are a crutch for writers too lazy to type the whole word, but also crutches can be really useful, like if you have a broken leg, for example.
104. Write about the thing you love the most, and destroy it.
105. DO NOT READ other novels while writing. You don’t want to taint your vision.
106. Cut all human ties until you have finished your book. Friends are leeches, family are anchors.
107. The human body has 206 bones and 642 muscles. These are naturally perfect numbers: 206 words per page, 642 syllables per page. Every page.
- Creating a Race (2)
- Creating Animals (2)
- Disease (2)
- Ecosystems (2)
- Evolution (and Space)
- Flora and Fauna
- Inventing Species
- List of Legendary Creatures
- Night Vision/Color Vision
Constructed Language (Conlang)
- Basics/Phonology (2) (3)
- Conlang Guide
- Conlang vs. English
- Creating a Language (Revised)
- Culture + Language
- Curse Words
- How to Create Your Own Language
- How to Create a Language
- IPA Pronunciation
- Making Up Words
- 7 Deadly Sins
- Alien Cultures (2)
- Alternative Medieval
- Avoiding Cultural Appropriation
- Avoiding Medieval Fantasy (2)
- Avoiding One-Note Worlds
- Avoiding Utopia
- Change (2)
- Class/Caste System (2)
- Designing Intellectual Movements
- Everything (2) (3)
- Gender-Equal Societies
- Historical Background for Ideas (2)
- Matriarchy (2)
- Static World
- Wandering Peoples
- Basic Economics
- Currency (2) (3)
- Current Global Economies
- Economic Systems
- Economics (1500-1800 AD)
- Economics and Government
- Economics for Dummies
- International Trade (2)
- Marxist Communism
- Medieval Economics
- Schools of Economic Thought
- Socialism (2)
- Types of Economic Systems
- World Economy (2)
- Clothing Terminology (2) (3) (4)
- Clothing Reference
- Education (2)
- Fame and Infamy
- Food (2)
- Food Timeline
- Collective/Traditionalist Societies
- Creating a Government
- Empire (2)
- Fancy Latin Names for Government
- History and Politics
- International Relations (2)
- Justice System
- Non-monarchical (2) (3)
- Oppressive Government
- Political Ideologies
- Rise and Fall of Civilizations
- Secret Societies
- Shapeshifter Society
- Totalitarianism, Atmosphere Necessary For
- Tribal Society
- Types of Government
- Writing Politics
After a quick search of the blog, I see we don’t actually have that much on this topic, so I went ahead and looked for some thorough articles that might help.
- How to Write Scene Transitions in Novels
- Ask The Writing Teacher: Transitions
- Transitions: Getting Your Story Through Time and Space
- All Write Fiction Advice: Transitions
The only other thing I can think of - if you’re open to having your works read by someone else - is find yourself a beta writer or at least someone who can give you honest feedback. Sometimes it helps to have a mini audience take a second look at things for you and tell you what is and isn’t working.
I skipped the whole “finding a publisher” step and went straight to self-publishing, so it was fairly easy.
When you want to work in a creative field such as visual arts or writing, you have to figure out many things such as
1- Do I want to work for a company / for someone else?
2- Do I want to work alone or with others?
3- Do I want an agent? a publisher? a publicist?
Those are personal decisions that you’re going to have to make based on what’s best for you. Take how much time you need to make those decisions, and keep in mind that you’re welcome to change your mind later if you want.
For me, it was simple.
I work much better alone than with others. I’m at my most productive when I’m following my own schedule (and it’s a very intense and busy work schedule). I like my work to be done in a very specific way. I hate the non-disclosure rule that often comes with doing work for others. I’m not of a fan of the whole “brand yourself as one thing” attitude that often comes when you have a publicist trying to sell you to the world. As a result, for me, it’s better to just work for myself, and self-publish projects. I might change my mind later, but for now, this is what I want, so it’s what I’m doing.
I understand that it might come across as though I’m saying getting an agent+publisher is a bad thing, but it’s not. It’s a really good thing that has worked well for many people in the past, and will continue to work well for many in the future. It’s just not a good fit for me based on the flaws and skills that I have.
If you’re looking to publish, I think you should start by figuring out what’s best for you, then figuring out how to do it. If you decide to go the self-publishing way, lulu and createspace are two very good websites to do it. You also have the option of doing a kickstarter or indiegogo campaign to raise funds to do the printing yourself.
If you’re interested in writing, try sharing your work on writing blogs such as wattpad and figment to build an audience. You can also share work/art on sites such as tumblr and reddit to build an audience. There are also plenty of literary magazines and art journals that you can submit to if you want to get your work known. My favorite one is Winter Tangerine Review (on tumblr).
If you’re looking to go down the more traditional route of getting a publisher, I can’t help you much as I have no experience with that, but I wish you the very best of luck with it, and I hope that you’ll let me know if you end up publishing a book as I would love to read it.
Anonymous asked you:
Hi!! Do you have any tips about writing death scenes without making it seem rushed? I want it to be heart-breaking, but I don’t think adding lots of details and descriptions will help.
I think I can help you out. For me, in order for a character death to put me through the stages of grieving, I need all of these elements to come into play:
- The emotional connection.
- The character relationships.
- The buildup.
- The release.
- The aftermath.
Character deaths in fiction emphasize the feeling of mortality, that no one’s really safe, which can absolutely elevate a story (which I talked a bit about here). So, with that in mind, let’s tackle this list.
- The Emotional Connection
This is the way we relate to characters, also “the bond” that we share with characters. Relating to a character doesn’t simply mean on a surface level (“This character goes to high school, just like me.”), but also on a more emotional level (“This character struggles with identifying themselves within the whole of society, just like me.”), hence “the emotional connection”.
Relating to a character means seeing ourselves in this character, and it also helps to elevate the character off the page, making them more “real”. The “real” part is what gets readers. A character we connect to, or can empathize or sympathize with in some way, is a character we’ll afford greater emotional output for – as in, we’ve invested ourselves in this character. We feel we gain something when the character grows, and we have something to lose when the character loses, and when this sort of character dies, it has the potential to travel right up our emotional ties and rattle our little black hearts.
Think of a story where lots of characters die, both in the main cast and the secondary cast and the background. How many of these deaths really hit home with you? Which ones left a lasting impression? How were you connected with these characters?
41 Flavors of Body Language for Writers (very nice guide/reference)
Reveal Character Through Body Language (a good quick reference with emotions and behaviors associated with them)
Non-Writing Specific Guides
Dimensions of Body Language (very extensive with pictures)
Body Language Index (lots of tables, resources, and terms. I highly recommend checking out this link)
Different family systems as a societal norm
There are some very good reasons for the current common family system that exists especially in the West (one mother and one father living together with whatever set of biological they have). That doesn’t mean that, especially in science fiction and fantasy, these are the only types of societal-normal family structures that can exist.
Multiple generation families. This exists today, especially in places like China and India, where there is a strong amount of respect and due paid to elders. This makes sense really in two different types of populations. The first is where elders are viewed as being venerable and wise. If there is a view of elders being matriarchs/patriarchs, they will probably continue to live with their children. This also make sense in communities where there are no good governmental or societal structures set up to take care of retired people or people who cannot take care of themselves. In countries such as the United States now, this is often not as necessary, mainly given programs such as Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security which help take care of the older generations. There are also nursing homes and Alzheimer’s homes for people who cannot live by themselves.
Two-women families. This refers not to societies where there is a small percentage of families that consist of two women (i.e. the proportion of homosexual or bisexual women in the current population), but instead to societies where the societal norm is for children to be raised by sets of two women. This might happen in a population that not only has significantly low populations of men but also have gotten to the point technologically when they can produce children without men (which can be done using bone marrow). This could be because of things like societal reasons for shunning men or because of some sort of fatal or impotent-creating disease that that is x-chromosome-based. This could also be because of some sort of tradition that assumes that men are not suited for child-rearing.
Two-men families. This refers to the same thing as is described above, except for men instead of women. This might happen primarily either if women are viewed as being not good enough for child rearing (dirty, somehow, or maybe not intelligent enough) or if women are viewed as being above child rearing. If women have most of the power and control in the society, they may force the men to raise the children so they can rule the country.
Communal female-only families. This could have similar reasoning behind the two-women families, thought there are other reasons. One possible reason is that heritage is not regarded as being important, with women being viewed as the main people who should raise children. This may happen, as mentioned above (though conversely) because the men have most of the power and believe that women should raise the children. If the society is especially poor and people cannot raise children without pooling resources, communal families may also show up (which applies to all three types of communal families).
Communal male-only families. Along with the reasons mentioned above, this may happen in war-based societies when men are training to fight from a young age. If that is the case, in all likelihood, only the boys are raised by men, and the girls may be being raised, either communally or otherwise, by their mothers.
Communal bi-gendered families. This would pretty much only happen if heritage isn’t cared about. This isn’t referring to any tight-knit communities, but instead only to communities where parents aren’t distinguished and everyone raises everyone equally. There might be monogamous relationships or their might not be. This doesn’t have to the same as one big orgy. One possible issue with this is that, if the entire society is based on this, there might be incest issues.
Polygamy with one man and multiple women. This could only happen if the religion of the culture doesn’t care about monogamy. This makes sense mainly is men hold the majority of the power. If men are the only people who can make money, this is more likely to happen. In this case, men with more money and power would likely have more wives. The man could have more or less of a role in raising the children.
Polygamy with one woman and multiple men. This would pretty much only make sense in a society where both there is exceedingly low infant mortality and where women have a lot of power. This is mostly because, biologically, this isn’t a great model. This would probably lead to or be related to matrilineal lineage being regarded higher than patrilineal lineage.
Polygamy with multiple men and women. This can also only happen in a society where paternal heritage doesn’t matter. This is different from communal families because in this care there are sexual and/or romantic relationships between all people in the group.
Non-biological-parental children-raising systems. This would be a case where children aren’t raised by their parents. This can be where everyone is a test-tube baby or where people have sex and then give up their children to some sort of matching system. The people who raise the children could be either monogamous partners or non-monogamous partners. It could also be robots who raise the children if technology is at that level.
Sexual partnerships. This (though it could appear in different forms) would involve people having sexual relationships with others without the purpose of having children or settling down. These could be romantic as well as sexual, but would include sex. This would only exist in a society where there is no special thought put on whether someone is sexually promiscuous. Slurs like “slut” would probably not exist because it is common for people to have sex without worrying about monogamy or about doing it for children.
Romantic partnerships and sexual partnerships. This would be a way of having a sort of dual monogamy (though it could go in other directions). A person could have a romantic partner and a sexual partner, each of whom they are monogamous with (or not, depending on the society). Depending on the society, there might be people who are specific sexual partners with others (a different form of prostitution that would probably not be looked down upon).
Harem-based families. These would be families where there are a large number of women who all have sex with one man and then probably raise the children communally. This would be similar to communal all-female families, but where the children all have the same biological father.
There are other types of structures and other causes or results of these structures. The important thing to remember is that your story shouldn’t just be a story about how bad this is and how good our current structure is. Also be careful about just writing a cautionary tale about homosexuality (or heterosexuality). Do it justice, make it interesting, and make it make sense in the story. It won’t do any good to just stick it in a culture like ours and pretend it works.
Pretty-blue-jay-swagger just asked about how to go about getting short stories published. Here are some awesome resources for interested parties!
- How to Publish Short Stories (super basic overview)
- How and Where to Publish Your Short Stories
- How to Get a Short Story Published Like a Pro
- Publishing Tips: 6 Ways To Make Your Short Story Collection Stand Out
If you have any resources to add to this list or any questions about writing, reading, or publishing, please message us!
Thank you and enjoy!
Show me the $$$ —Literary Magazines that Pay. It might have some overlap with the first list, but I know a number of writers who get frustrated scrolling through lists of magazines, many of which *don’t* pay. There are tons of high-quality nonpaying magazines as well, but writers run off food and coffee and heat and WiFi like the rest of us, and sometimes need to pay for those things.
holy hell, thank you!
Very helpful, thank you!
Women shouldn’t be valued because we are strong, or kick-ass, but because we are people. So don’t focus on writing characters who are strong. Write characters who are people.
Disney Princess edition
this is perfect
favorite post always
Casually putting this back up here
Reblogging this because it’s awesome AND relevant!
For the sake of role play, certain canons will probably be established by the admin since various facets of the lore differ depending on the source. Whether or not it’s transferable, who can transfer it, and whether more wolves can be bred are a few of the things that should be specified. There is a lot of creative license here considering werewolves don’t actually exist. The widespread practice, though, is that werewolf behavior is largely based on canine behavior. Makes sense if you think about it.
were·wolfnoun \ˈwir-ˌwu̇lf, ˈwer-, ˈwər-\plural were·wolves: a person transformed into a wolf or capable of assuming a wolf’s form
In European folklore, a man who changes into a wolf at night and devours animals, people, or corpses, returning to human form by day. Some werewolves are thought to change shape at will; others, who inherited the condition or acquired it by being bitten by a werewolf, are transformed involuntarily under the influence of a full moon. Belief in werewolves is found throughout the world and was especially common in 16th-century France. Humans who believe they are wolves suffer from a mental disorder called lycanthropy. (- Merriam Webster Online)
- Hierarchy: It is generally taken that werewolf hierarchy would mirror that of a wolf pack. The only difference being that werewolves spend time as a human. Leaders are Alphas. The part that can be contested based on canon is the Beta and the Omega. In Laurell K Hamilton lore the Beta is the Alpha’s mate who has the same power over the pack and reports only to the alpha. While, in wolf behavior the Beta is second in command and the one who takes over the pack should something happen to the Alpha. Omegas in Patricia Briggs lore is a special yet rare breed of werewolf who does not sit in the dominance/submissive struggle. They are neutral. This is more a reflection on the Omega placement in actual wolf packs. Omegas can also be seen as lone wolves. They have no pack whether it be by choice or by exile.
- Power: In canine behavior everything is about your place within the structure. This is tested by dominance and strength. In Laurell K Hamilton portrayal of hierarchy dominant wolves are at the top of the ladder while the submissive are at the bottom. Females share their mate’s spot on the ladder whether or not their dominance can handle it. Keep in mind that it is also portrayed that dominants and the submissive balance each other out. Dominants are often overbearing and protective over those submissive to them while submissive are often calm and quiet. Changes in power, most notably Alpha, usually come by challenge or death. A challenge doesn’t necessarily have to lead to death. it’s simply a demonstration of power.
- Family: It is said that wolves take mates for life, though that is not always the case. Due to the human element in werewolves this can be extremely open ended and up to the player and or admin. The result of werwolf mates can also be up to the player and or admin. In some instances werewolves are incapable of bearing children due to the violent nature of shifting. In this case, more wolves are brought to the pack with bites. Sometimes only the Alpha can turn another and other times it’s an ability any wolf can perform. In other instances, perhaps only a human woman is capable of bearing a werewolf through the father. Or, it’s not an issue for a female werewolf at all.
- Shifting: The timing of shifts varies depending on lore. Some wolves can only turn during the full moon. In other cases, shifting is a matter of control. Older, stronger wolves can shift whenever they choose. This would mean a time of struggle with the shift. Younger or newer wolves would probably endure a longer and more painful shift. In other lore, shifting isn’t even an issue. it can be done wherever and whenever. This should be taken into consideration when writing lore for your story as it can limit what your character may be able to do.
- Senses & Lifespan: Werewolves are usually seen as physically superior to humans with enhanced senses and strength. Often it is written that werewolves also have an accelerated ability to heal. The extent of these should be taken into consideration when writing lore for your characters or story. With the healing ability it is also widely seen that werewolves have an extended lifespan in comparison to humans. In a more supernatural setting your werewolf could even be immortal. Although, take into consideration that most lore will cite silver as an effective way of wounding or even killing a werewolf.
http://alam25.tripod.com/ (Usually, I am wary of posting free sites but there is a listed reference page)