randomactsofdouchebaggery:

anipendragon:

jpbrammer:

George R. R. Martin everyone.

My favourite thing about this gifset is that George R. R. Martin acknowledges both of these methods without insulting or dismissing the other. He is a fantastic writer and I know that some other fantastic writers swear by their methods and discount the others, which can be really disheartening as a young writer. Hearing him describe both of these methods without dismissing the other makes me very, very happy, as I am very much an architect and I always get so sad when every writer I look up to is like “NO PLANNING. PLANNING BAD. WRITERS DONT PLAN.”

So thank you, Mr. Martin.

Mimsy is an architect. I am a gardener. I like this comparison.

maggie-stiefvater:

Novelist error messages.

spookyjoel:

HEY WRITER FRIENDS

there’s this amazing site called realtimeboardwhich is like a whiteboard where you can plan and draw webs and family trees and timelines and all that sort of stuff. you can also insert videos, documents, photos, and lots of other things. you can put notes and post-its and, best of all, you can invite other people to be on the board with you and edit together!! 

this is really really awesome and a great tool for novel planning, so if you’re doing nanowrimo…. this could be good for you!!

hermajestyhelps:

ffisdangerous:

One of the largest folly’s fanfiction authors often fall victim to is writing something they don’t actually know anything about. This isn’t to say writers should only write what they know or expand their horizons, but sometimes, if the writing isn’t believable, it can take the readers out of the story.

Read More

thewritingcafe:

Words and References:

Plot & Structure:

Subplots:

World Building:

Characters:

Dialogue:
Point of View:
Genre:
Names:
History:

Query Letters:

Editing and Revision:

Software:

Prompts:

writeworld:

Note: Some of these exercises will produce bad writing. That’s fine. These are not guidelines of things you should do to every (or any) piece you write. They are just nifty little activities to try.

Writers fall into habits. We use the same words over and over, or repeat the same techniques. These exercises are designed to push the you to strain your fiction, style, and vocabulary so that the habits die. Feel free to adjust to exercises to fit your needs, but don’t feel free to cheat. Some of these are hard, and they’re hard for a reason.

  • Describe a barn from the perspective of a man whose son has just died in a war. Do not mention the son, the war, death, or the man. (From John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction).
  • Tell the following story in ten different styles: A man walks into a coffee shop, orders a drink, spills it, and the clerk offers to get him another. You might try a tall tale, a poem, a fairytale, a noir mystery, a satire, a news article, and a bunch of other kinds of writing. You might just use ten different voices.
  • Double the length of a short story without adding any new scenes.
  • Cut a short story in half without eliminating any scenes.
  • Write a story with no adverbs in narration (characters may speak however they want). Replace every would-be adverb with a more descriptive verb. For example, turn “searched clumsily” into “rummaged.”
  • Write a story with no sentence longer than ten words. Keep syntax as varied as possible.
  • Write a story in which no two consecutive sentence describe any object, person, or place visually. Keep description vivid.
  • Write a story in which no backstory is explicitly stated by the narrator. Instead, imply all of it with details and dialogue. Backstory should be as clear as is necessary.
  • Rewrite every sentence of an existing story while maintaining the story’s feel, plot, and all that jazz.
  • Write a prequel that covers the events that took place immediately prior to the beginning of your story.
  • Find a newspaper article you find interesting and make a story out of it. Feel free to make assumptions, guesses, and fabrications.
  • Write five unconnected scenes (300 words maximum each) involving only two characters. After reading all five, the reader should have a firm understanding of the two characters and their relationship.
  • Write five versions of a disagreement between two characters. The disagreement should be largely the same in nature (maybe not in subject matter) but the setting (in terms of location and time) should be radically different for each one.
  • Write out a conversation you had yesterday as if it was a scene.
  • Eavesdrop on a conversation (try not to be too creepy). Write a conversation between the same two people but about a different topic.
  • Walk down a main street (or any street with a number of storefronts). Write down the five most interesting details about each building.
  • Revise a story such that the verb “to be” (and all of its conjugations) are eliminated from the narration.
  • Reread a story you wrote. Find the first (non-trivial) decision that a character makes. Have the character make a different decisions and write out the rest of the story from there.
  • Do a rewrite per character. On your first pass, only edit your narration (and your narrator’s dialogue, if applicable). On the next pass, only edit the second most important character’s dialogue. Continue until you run out of characters.

Let us know if you have any questions about these prompts or writing in general. If you want us to read something you wrote, tag it with writeworld, and we’ll be sure to check it out!

- O

referenceforwriters:

superblys:

jamessblond:

As someone who writes fics with action sequences and the use of guns, I thought maybe it would be helpful to pass some things on. Even though I’ve done lots of research and talked with family members (I live in WI which is a big hunting state and we have lots of guns), I still catch myself making mistakes with specific terms and their usage. Reading more James Bond fics lately, I catch others making mistakes also. So here is a little guide to help writers. 

  • A ‘clip’ is something that stores multiple rounds of ammunition. It is not what you would insert into a handgun to load it. Clips make loading into a magazine easier because they simply store the rounds. It helps with organization. 
  • A magazine is what feeds the ammunition into the barrel. Magazines vary in capacity. They, unlike clips, are spring-loaded, which helps the ammunition move in the gun. So, when you want a character to reload, they would use a pre-loaded magazine, NOT a clip. 
  • A silencer is really a suppressor. ‘Silencer’ is a word that’s used in media to refer to a suppressor that doesn’t exist in real life. Guns that are suppressed will still be loud and have a sound. This is because compressed air will still leak out of the end of the barrel, you can’t silence a bullet moving extremely fast through the air, and you can’t silence the mechanical parts on a gun. There will be a noise, but it just won’t be as loud or more importantly, alert people in a nearby area that a gun was just fired. SO suppressor is a much more accurate term technically speaking. 
  • There are different kinds of suppressors. One important kind suppresses the muzzle flash. It’s likely a sniper would use this more than they would want to use a sound suppressor, as the muzzle flash more easily enables you to be spotted when you don’t want to be. These are simply referred to as flash suppressors. 
  • After a handgun runs out of ammunition, the slide will lock back into place and you will know that it is out. There is no ‘click’ signifying an empty weapon that is so dramatized in movies and tv. A more likely scenario that would prevent a gun from firing would be a jam. Or programming the gun to recognize certain palm prints. 
  • A great place for writers, in particular fanfic writers, who want information on guns is imfdb. You can find out what guns are used in movies and shows, and what guns characters use. You can also just search for guns. 
  • If you want to get really specific, check out YouTube. There are users who will post reviews of guns on there, which can be really helpful if you want to see how a particular gun looks or how to shoot it. 

So yeah! Here are just a few basic tips if you want to write a fic where a character uses guns. 

I see you’ve got terminology down, now let’s go for a little technicality. 

  • Firstly, let me explain the “kick” of a gun. A “kick” is the feeling of the round leaving the barrel of the gun.  Every gun has one, the impact of the “kick” depends on the caliber, make and type of gun.
  • Another way to describe a kick is the feeling of the gun exploding in your hand.  Of course, the gun doesn’t literally explode, but it is a great burst of power that only lasts a second.
  • For example: A .45 mm hand gun with have a bigger “kick” than a .22 mm hand gun.  If someone is a first time shooter and does not know what to expect, they would most likely drop the gun after firing it once due to the shock of the force being released in their hands.
  • Sniper Rifles are incredibly accurate and mainly used for long distance hits.  They are also ridiculously heavy, as most rifles are, therefore, be prepared for a gigantic “kick”.
  • Sniper Rifles are special because they are so powerful (they need to be in order to have the same impact a .45mm would 10 feet away compared to the shell half a mile away), thus a stand is required to use it.
  • No matter what you will always need a firm holding to place the rifle (besides your grip) in order to prevent the gun from falling over after it is discharged and injury to your person. There are ridiculously powerful guns.
  • General rule of thumb is that you place the butt of the rifle next to your shoulder, just below your clavicle.  I’m not very good at describing this position, so I suggest looking it up.  DO NOT place it anywhere in the armpit area, dislocation is likely to occur.  Depending on how prepare you are and the type of rifle being used (excluding snipers), bruising might occur.
  • You will be standing if you use a normal rifle, so make sure you are steady and prepared for the “kick” that follows after.
  • If you are using a sniper rifle, you will be on the ground or leaning against something.  Some people have special rests for their snipers specifically to fire the gun from any spot.  Point is: do not stand alone while firing this.  You will get hurt.

Other helpful tips:

  • Earplugs or Ear Protectors are your friends.
  • Safety glasses are also your friend to avoid shells from flying into your face.
  • Keep the safety on until you are ready to fire the gun.
  • If you are NOT currently firing the gun, whether it is loaded or unloaded, and it is in your hand, ALWAYS hold it with two hands and point it at the ground at your feet. DO NOT get distracted.
  • NEVER joke around with someone by pointing the gun at them.  EVEN IF YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE THAT THE GUN IS TOTALLY UNLOADED, MAGAZINE OUT OF PLACE, DO NOT RISK IT.  It is not funny.  Even if the gun is on safety, do NOT do it.  You could accidently switch off the safety or the gun could misfire despite the safety.
  • Lastly TWO HANDS.  One on the side near the trigger and the other underneath.  This is not the movies, do not attempt to fire a gun with one hand.  Not only will your aim be incredibly off if you are inexperienced but you will also endanger yourself as well as others if you lose control of it.
  • Guns can be scary and if you ever feel nervous or uncomfortable about firing one, do not do it. 

thatfrenchhelper:

image

A man’s true char­ac­ter comes out when he’s drunk.” -Char­lie Chaplin

Writing or RPing a drunk character can be quite a difficult thing, especially if you’ve never been drunk yourself. I gathered these few links in case you’d need help with this -just like I did-. Hopefully this will help some of you, and you’ll be able to make your character drink, and keep it realistic!

Oh, and my little piece of advice on this: don’t try to slur the words! Just say ‘he was slurring his words’ or something to that effect - otherwise it becomes difficult to read and understand for the reader. Hopefully all of this helped some of you dearest writers!

chaperoned:

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“Readers tend to like characters who are struggling to achieve a goal. This simple principle can be invaluable in creating sympathetic protagonists.

  • Characters working toward a goal are active characters.
  • Characters who aren’t working toward a goal are reactive.
Reactive characters are much weaker than active characters, and we tend not to like them. Unfortunately, many writers end up unknowingly creating reactive protagonists.” - Odyssey Writing Tips


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PROACTIVE CHARACTERS »»

  • A proactive character is a character who does things. They make decisions, they initiate actions, and they are driven by a goal that often makes them pick the wrong decisions and actions.
  • This is important because what characters choose to do is going to create your plot. Why they choose to do it will create your stakes. Together, these factors make you invested in a plot.
  • Proactive characters drive plot. They don’t just have strong goals; they actively pursue them. That’s one of the reasons people tend to love villains: they have a clear goal, are often centered around the attainment of that goal, and those goals give interesting insights into their personality and choices.
  • This makes proactive characters are easier to build around and work with as the plot progresses. You can make plots around their goals and find ways for those goals to lead to new ones.
  • You can get away with having reactive characters in literature sometimes because you’re able to rely on secondary characters to drive the plot and impact your character. (If you roleplay, you don’t get this luxury in RP because everything is centered around character interaction.)

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WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT »»

Thehappylogophile has an answer:

“Almost every novel has it: down-time. That moment between the adrenalin-fuelled car chase and the point where the slasher leaps out of the tree-line and drags the protagonist’s boyfriend into the undergrowth. It’s a chance for the characters (and the reader) to take a deep breath and process everything that’s just happened. It’s often the point where characters share information, or plot their next move, or take advantage of the lull in death-dealing to “celebrate the wonder of life”. (Cue the sleazy electric guitar.)

So, how does your character behave in the lull? If she takes the opportunity to sit quietly and cry, or goes along with someone else’s suggestion, or her entire plan revolves around waiting to see what happens next, she’s probably a reactive character.

A proactive character is likely to be the one leading the conversation, making plans that include the theme (if not the words) “the best defense is a good offense”, or even taking the opportunity to return to her pre-story goals.”

What you should take away from this is: when a character isn’t driving the plot, s/he needs to have interesting goals/development outside of the main plot to work towards. This way, your character is always developing over the course of the game and still doing something during downtime instead of sitting idly by.

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IS MY CHARACTER REACTIVE »»

“A reactive character is more likely to do what’s “easiest” or “more immediate”. If choosing between two love interests, the reactive character will go with the one in front of him right now. Or the one who tries the hardest to woo him. Or the one that his friends tell him he should go with. Alternately, he won’t make a choice at all — at least, not until he’s either forced to do so by outside events (“Declare your undying love for me, or I’ll start drowning kittens! “) or one of the options is removed (“Now that Laura is dead, you have to love me!”).”


In short, reactive characters don’t make the interesting decisions that give us insights to a person’s personality or develop it.

“A proactive character will make a choice. It may not be the right choice (and often isn’t), but it’s a choice nonetheless: “I’ve considered my options and have decided that I’m really in love with the evil, but incredibly sexy, vampire, and not the sweet girl-next-door who’s always been there for me. How could anything possibly go wrong?”


In roleplay, you can generally characters aren’t reactive when their histories/personality read more like a grocery list of characteristics or events. Proactive characters’ applications are driven by and explore their goals and decisions.

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WHY DO PEOPLE MAKE REACTIVE CHARACTERS? HOW CAN I AVOID IT? »»

A big reason people make reactive characters is often because of the method they employ creating characters. Many times, writers will take a sort of Frankenstein approach — mixing and mashing character traits and then try to flesh them out. They say my character has x, y, and z trait. S/he has these traits because of a, b, and c.

Don’t do that. That approach generally does not work (unless mixed with others). It wastes your time and doesn’t get at the heart of the issues.

Sure, that can be a good approach to generate ideas. However, unless you find a conflict to base those traits around or use them to further that conflict, no one is going to be invested in your character or have a good idea of how these traits manifest and, most importantly, why.

If you need a formula to follow, try starting with:

  • In order of importance, what are the five most important things to your character and why? (make note of conflicting wants and goals)

Tie in information about your character’s deeper motivations. Try to think about where your character’s sense of worth comes from, who they’re trying to impress and why, which of their own (or others’) priorities these might clash with, what characters may believe others want, their goals/values and how they were established, re-occurring problems in your character’s life (jealousy, financial issues, etc.), what sort of person other characters believe yours is, in what ways your character is uniquely selfish, your character’s opinion of him/herself, your character’s ambitions, what your character works to gain/protect, etc. If you’re having trouble, try this resource.

  • Ex. Being liked. It is important to my character that he is liked. Peter struggled with it as a child because of his romantic involvement with his  goldfish, leading other children to think he was strange. He can be somewhat sycophant because of this and tries to secure that he is liked by making himself valuable to others even when it can be damaging to himself and those around him.

and/or

  • Character Name wants to accomplish these three goals: being more character trait, obtaining status symbol, and protecting his/her ______. S/he wants to accomplish these things because s/he values ___, ___, and ___. S/he is driven to accomplish them because s/he is good/bad trait and good/bad trait and isn’t above doing _____ and ____ to get these things, which makes him/her good/bad trait, good/bad trait, and good/bad trait (or makes other people view him/her that way).


Don’t use really broad, universal traits. If you’re using characteristics like those mentioned here (reserved, trusting, critical, etc.), it might mean you’re being too broad. Saying your character is angry or selfish, for example, fails to give insight into what that says about your character. Everyone is selfish and angry — just to varying degrees and because of various factors. For example, in this episode of Awkward Black Girl (which is an amazing webseries if you haven’t seen it), the main character Jae is sent to anger management. The characters in her anger management session go around saying why they’re there, and Jay (different character) shows how this gives insight to the things they care about. Pete gets angry when time is left on a microwave and not cleared because he cares about time management, Jae has an outburst when someone doesn’t return her stapler because she wants to feel respected.

My favorite trick to generate ideas for a character application is asking myself:

  • How is my character broad characteristic (ex. uniquely selfish)? It helps you focus in on a goal, gain insight to what they value, and develop specific ways their characteristics manifest.

The key to creating proactive characters is to have them become involved in solving their own problems/accomplishing their goals, rather than depend on others to solve them. If you want an example, you can go here, where you can read through an author’s personal attempt to make her character more proactive.

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WHAT IF I’M ALREADY DOING IT? »»

(The first step is admitting you have a problem.)

The number one reason players get bored in roleplay or feel “stuck” with what they’re writing is because of something editors deem “episodic writing”. Cheryl Wyatt describes it as happening when “one scene happens then another and another and so on but there is really no point to the scenes”.

It happens when you lose sight of your character’s goals and how you want to develop him or her. (The reason people get so invested in relationship lines in roleplay is because it’s a quick and easy way to create goals and because there are pre-established milestones you can develop your character around. This development is often generic but satisfying as players are more invested in the stakes.)

Episodic writing happens for two reasons: 1) your character is reactive or 2) you’ve lost sight of your goals for your character and you’re letting them be reactive when they have a number of things established that would make them proactive. For example, your scenes/characters might read like this. You can see another great example of a problematic storyline here.

Additionally, you might be limiting the scope of how your character can develop and need to branch out more. Or you’re not thinking through ways you can accomplish the goals you’ve established for your character going in.

How do you fix it? Give your character a goal - or better yet, several goals. Let your character need help accomplishing those goals. This helps you develop character relationships, helps you develop your character (especially when you tie in weaknesses, values, etc.), and gives your character something to do. BAM! it really is that simple.

What kind of goal? There are some amazing resources here.

Then, you can have those goals lead to more and more negative consequences. It’s a bit like that book If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, where a little problem can lead to big ones.

One of the best examples I’ve read (but can’t find the link to) is this:

  • Jane has become obsessed with growing a certain type of flower to spite her smug neighbor. Despite her best efforts, the flower won’t grow. She tries buying an expensive fertilizer online. She doesn’t realize that buying it has set her back $20 and her checking account is now on a negative. If she doesn’t pay rent, she’ll be kicked out. And on and on and on. Through this, you can help develop your character’s traits. For example, if Jane is too prideful to ask someone for money, this could result in character growth.

Jane is interesting because Jane is proactive. She actively works to grow that mfing flower. Her bad decision/goal leads to other bad decisions/goals.

Tada. You’re now well on your way to making your characters more proactive.

See also: Quick & Dirty Guide To Improving Your Writing