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EDIT4: Please see the following...

In regards to the raffle...I've spoken with a pal, and they convinced me it would be best to just call the whole thing off for now.
I'm upset about it, but there was no way that I could have known that I would have gotten fired. And $500 is quite a bit of money when you're unemployed. I considered just drawing names anyway and figuring it out among the winners, but it would still make me look like a huge tool to ask someone to wait a month or two just so I can deliver on something I promised in the first place.
I may pick it back up after I get another job, depending on if it pays the same or close to it! I'll leave everything up, I won't delete anything just in case.
I'm sincerely sorry, I had no idea it would have gotten this big, and I had no idea I would be in the position I am in that I am now in. I know there were a few skeptics, and I didn't want to give them the satisfaction of throwing in the towel, but I am now financially unable to do such a grand gesture as I would have liked. I'm honestly a bit shee

EDIT3: THIS RAFFLE IS OFFICIALLY CLOSED TODAY. NO ENTRIES WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER TONIGHT NOVEMBER 31ST AT 11:59 CDT From today up through September 6, all of the remaining numbers will be assigned. The winner will be drawn via livestream through Twitch. I will update this with the livestream link September 5th. Due to personal reasons the actual payout date may be pushed back, but the winners will still be drawn on the 6th. Thank you!

Okay guys, it has been brought to my attention that DeviantART journals are rumored to cap off at 9,999 comments.. and we are rapidly approaching that mark. In order to prevent a little bit of a panic, I'm implementing something new before the journal caps: a backup journal. This also meant that the original idea of me replying to every single comment with a number will not work, as we're well into nearly 5,000 entries and 7,000 comments thus far. So, the solution is going to be a google docs spreadsheet with all of the entrants and their assigned numbers listed, and a backup place for people to post their entries when this journal has been exhausted of all possible space..assuming we actually hit 9,999! I will do my absolute best to get this up and ready as soon as possible, thank you as always for your patience! As of writing this, we are a mere 8 days before the final day to enter--August 31st! Thank you for participating!


>>>Backup by presaged<<<

Additionally: Please, for the love of all things wonderful in this world: READ. Read the FAQ! Read the journal that I spent a very long time typing out!

Yes! I am aware--MANY of you do not have numbers yet! I have only assigned.. maybe 2,500 so far, and I am in the process of moving all of them to a google document.


I have ENTIRELY too much work cut out for me as it is--you are making things HARDER for me. Please be courteous. Thank you.

EDIT: New end date is the 31st of this month--August! This is entirely too much for me to handle singlehandedly, so I'm cutting it a bit short in terms of deadline. xD; I hope no one minds. After August 31st, no new entrants will be counted. I will assign numbers through the first week in September, and on September 5th at noon Texas time I will post the stream so you guys can see the random number generator do it's thing.

Original: I've been wanting to give back to the community for a long time, because I have been here a long time. 5 years, to be exact--and what better way to do so than to do a raffle?

:star: I'm holding a raffle for $500 USD--or it's equivalent in points :points: :star:

One hundred for every year I have been here on deviantART. (In points, I don't really know what the equivalent is. Everyone keeps coming up with a new number, and I'm not really familiar with the points conversion system. ^^;… &…) That's alotta dough, no strings attached! But wait, here's the catch...

...There ISN'T one! All you have to do to participate is easy: Make a journal advertising this one and post a link in the comments section.


Things to make note of:

:bulletblack: When you comment, I will reply with a number. This is your "ticket," or your hat to be thrown into the ring, so to speak. I will put the number of participants into a random number generator on Livestream on November 30th, (I've decided to move the date up to August 31st) and out will pop winners one two and three!

:bulletblack: As of now, you can only get *one* ticket, or number. I may add other ways in to get extra votes later, but for now--you just get one! No side accounts, please be fair. :(

:bulletblack: There will be three winners. First prize is for $250, second is for $150, third is for $100.

:bulletblack: You have to have a PayPal account if you want the cash, otherwise you will receive the prize in points.

:bulletblack: If you delete your journal or hide your comment, you are forfeiting your entry. No exceptions.

I may add onto this later, who knows! But for now, let me take the chance to say: THANK YOU! Thank you for 5 great years on the site. Thank you for all of your support, thank you for your feedback, and thank you for giving me the drive and the encouragement to keep moving forward. :)

Good luck, and thank you!!

Rick and Morty Contest

Mon Aug 10, 2015, 10:51 AM
880x440-v2 by madizzlee

InterdimensionallyDysfunctional Contest

Eligibility: 18+, U.S.

New Season • Sundays • adult swim

Enter Now

Alter the laws of the universe with the Rick and Morty Interdimensionally Dysfunctional Contest!

Create an illustration of Rick, Morty, and/or the rest of the Smith family in a crazy interdimensional situation. Make it original and weird. Blow our minds. Rick and Morty co-creator, Justin Roiland, will pick the best submissions. These winners will each receive a custom Adult Swim gift bag, DeviantArt Points, and cash prizes!

Rick and Morty isn't for the weak of heart. The hilarious adventures of genius scientist (Rick Sanchez) and his fretful grandson (Morty Smith) typically veer out-of-control, as they unravel the very fabric of time and space. To celebrate Season 2 of the hit television show, Adult Swim and DeviantArt challenge you to pervert the laws of the space time continuum and take Rick and Morty on a bizarre adventure!

How to enter Rick and Morty Interdimensionally Dysfunctional Contest

Step 1

Watch the Rick and Morty Season 2 trailer and review “The About the Show” section for inspiration for your entry and to better understand the themes and personalities used on the show.

Step 2

Choose at least one member of the Sanchez/Smith family to portray on an adventure in an original different dimension! You may also feature other characters from the show, but you must feature at least one member of the family in your twisted new dimension.

Step 3

Submit your entry to the contest category using the Submit Entry button below.

Read Official RulesEnter Now

Meet The Members of The Smith and Sanchez Family

Rick Sanchez

Scientist, inventor, alcoholic. Also Morty’s grandfather and inter-dimensional traveler.

Morty Smith

Rick’s reluctant but willing grandson/inter-dimensional travel partner and budding sex-bot enthusiast.

Beth Smith

Rick’s daughter, mother of Summer and Morty. Doctor. OK, horse doctor. But still a doctor. Jerry’s wife. Is that wine?

Jerry Smith

Father of Morty and Summer. Object of Rick’s disdain. Titanic enthusiast. Bad golfer.

Summer Smith

Morty’s older sister. Occasional third wheel and voice of reason. Do you know where she left her smart phone?

Prizing for Winning Entries

First Place
  • $3,500 USD
  • 8,000 DeviantArt Points
  • Adult Swim Gift Bag
Second Place
  • $2,500 USD
  • 4,000 DeviantArt Points
  • Adult Swim Gift Bag
Third Place
  • $1,000 USD
  • 4,000 DeviantArt Points
  • Adult Swim Gift Bag
5 Semi-Finalists
  • 2,000 DeviantArt Points
  • Adult Swim Gift Bag
Justin Roiland, co-creator of Rick and Morty, will select the winners.


  • Entrant must be at least 18 years old as of August 10, 2015;
  • Entrant must must be a resident of the United States, its territories, or its possessions. Individuals located on United States military bases wherever located may also enter;
  • Entries must be received by 11:59:59 PM (PST) on August 30, 2015 and must be submitted through the contest gallery on DeviantArt;
  • Membership to is required to enter the Contest. Membership to is free;
  • The work may originate in any visual medium excluding cosplay, photographs, or moving images. Photographs of an entry made in another medium are acceptable. Licensed brushes and textures are permitted as are visual elements from the animated series, Rick and Morty. Read the Official Rules for more details;
  • Your entry must be in the form of a single JPG or PNG file at least 2000 pixels in its shortest length;
  • Your entry must include at least one family member from the animated series “Rick and Morty” as the family member arrives in a different, original, dysfunctional dimension;
  • Do not include the “Rick and Morty” name in entry;
  • Other requirements and restrictions apply, so please read the Official Rules carefully.

The five semi-finalists and the three winners will be selected by Justin Roiland, co-creator of Rick and Morty. Justin Roiland will pick from a pool of 30 entries chosen by full time staff at DeviantArt. The judges will use the following criteria in whatever degree the judges believe appropriate:

  • Incorporation of the Rick and Morty theme and characters
  • Overall Impact of the Work
  • Originality of the dimension
  • Artistic Skill

Please read the Official Rules for more details about judging.

Read Official RulesEnter Now

How to Improve Your Writing

Fri Aug 14, 2015, 7:58 AM

Hey you!

Oh hey there! Looks like you're in TheWritePlace at the right time! We're a brand new group committed to providing a useful, efficient resource for the literature community here on dA. We're also invested in trying to strengthen community ties for everyone, because deviantART is our home.

If you think there's something more we could be doing to help you - let us know! We are always open to new ideas and feedback. After all, this group is for you!

Important Guidelines

As we strive to make this group the best it can be we have to ask for our members' cooperation in keeping the group useful, beautiful and safe.

When submitting to this group please

:bulletblue: Check you're submitting to the right gallery.
:bulletblue: If the gallery you want to submit to is full, let us know ASAP!
:bulletblue: Do not submit materials that are against DeviantARTs TOS.
:bulletblue: We only accept Literature (including visual poetry / prose).
:bulletblue: If your story has, or will have, more than one chapter please submit it to one of our 'Chapters' folders. The short stories folders are for singular works, Chapters are for extended works that are told through multiple submissions.
:bulletblue: Feel free to feedback. If something doesn't work for you, let us know! We will take it into account and see what works best for other members using the same feature.
:bulletblue: You cannot submit to our Featured folder. We use this to highlight the artists we have featured in our Today's Featured Writer articles.
:bulletblue: If critiquing a piece of work make sure you remain encouraging.


We're striving to recreate the magic of the 2010 chatroom #LitLove. We will be launching our room #TheWritePlace soon with a launch event so stay tuned for details. In the meantime:

The Write Place for Writers

How to improve your writing

In 2013 I wrote an article called How to get more views on your Literature. I wanted to give actual practical advice from people who know, writers established in the DA lit community.The article was (and still is) very popular and seems to have helped a lot of folks so I decided to tackle a different (but way more important question)... how can we make our writing the best it can be?

Because it's great to show work to your friends but self improvement, or working towards a goal (for a lot of us that's a writing career, a novel, publication, competitions etc) is a whole different thing. So I asked some of DA's finest to spill the beans and answer those commonly asked questions 'How did you get so good?' 'Will I ever be able to write like this?' and 'Hi, is this Dominos?' (wrong number).

In How to get more views... I promised a pony if you read the whole article. With this article you win something even better! (Don't say self improvement Kate that's really cheesy)... SELF IMPROVEMENT! Oh damnit.


If you're not looking for ways to constantly better your writing ability and skills--you're probably doing it wrong. The trick is you don't need to read every single "help me write better" books out there all at once until your brain liquifies! All you need to do is get small amount of input on the different aspects of writing. As my favorite robot says, "Input, input!"

Be mindful and look at everything as a mini-lesson and we're not talking about full-on sit-in-a-clasroom and learn something for 40+ minutes. For example if you stumble across a good story that has a very relatable character ask yourself 'what makes them so relatable?' You don't need to do hard-core research and decipher much, think of generalities or vague points to help steer you in a good direction is what you should aim for.

Of course, in-depth doesn't hurt either. It's about finding a balance between the two and what works best for you as a student.

Alright, moving on.

Identify your weakest points. For me, it's dialogue, what do you skip over or avoid writing? Here are some common things you could be struggling with.

:pointr: Dialogue; keeping it authentic, flowing naturally and relevant to the plot.
:pointr: Word count; writing longer pieces and sustaining the same level of quality throughout.
:pointr: 'Telling' instead of 'Showing'; taking shortcuts instead of creating sensory imagery to lead a reader to what you want them to think.
:pointr: Cliches; language and phrases that transmit a lot of information but at the cost of being stale.
:pointr: Keeping up with the Joneses; or remembering who all your different characters are, what their purposes are, what their narrative arcs are - oh god
:pointr: Rhyme, Rhythm, Meters, Syllables; All the confusing math like calculations to maximise the effect of your words. What does it all mean!?
:pointr: Remembering to drop words like 'was' and 'is' and replace them with more efficient and active alternatives.
:pointr: Spelling, grammar, punctuation and presentation.
:pointr: Finding or staying true to your artistic voice and style.

...Okay I'm going to stop listing now because it's getting depressing, but hopefully we will cover more things that you might need help with below.


There will never be a permanent best. Only a permanent "better," and temporary bests. "Best" isn't, and should never be, a destination, in my opinion. "Better" should be the destination. You should always do the best you can, but since you're always improving, just work to be better than you already are.

Having the right mindset is... huge. (I might be rambling here, but I can't stress it enough!) With the right attitude, you will get anywhere you want to be -- not just as a writer. Remember, it is okay to get frustrated. It is okay to quit for a little while and come back to your work; sometimes, it is the right thing to do, to let off a little steam and any negative feelings before another attempt.

True progress doesn't happen overnight. Sometimes, it is so gradual that it is hard to see immediately.

It is okay to stay within your comfort zone, but you should not be afraid to step out of it. Let's give you guys a real example: me. I am most comfortable writing free verse poetry. But there are still many different forms of poetry that I have yet to explore and familiarize myself with, and some of these alien art forms can be intimidating, I get that. But I promise you: the more time you give yourself to work with new material, the more you'll improve, and the more you will enjoy it!

Be open-minded. No one is perfect; we all know that. You have got to be ready to accept -- to embrace -- your flaws. The first step towards improvement is acknowledging that you have something to improve.

Identifying what you need to improve is, of course, a great first step to improving. If you don't know what's wrong with your work but you feel like it could be better you have a couple of potential courses of action available to you.

:pointr: Read stuff. On and off(!!) of DeviantART, read stuff! Read other writer's work, think about how they do what they do, work out how you can do it too. If a writer is really good at making you feel afraid before something scary happens, for example, look through the words and work out how they are doing it. Writing is a craft like any other and you can learn a lot just by paying more attention to how other people do their work.
:pointr: Ask people. There are many critique opportunities on DeviantART. If you are a core member you can turn on Critiques when you post. Any member can submit their work to critique-specific groups (if you know any good ones, why not name them below and help your fellow writers hook up with them!). Hell, even this group has a Seeking Critiques folder so you can indicate to the other members that you want help. Other writers, particularly young writers in communities like ours, love to help each other out. So ask the community for help.
:pointr: Tutorials, self-help books, books about writing etc. These books keep getting printed so someone must be reading them!
:pointr: Experiment. Try new things. Don't be afraid to write pure crap. No one else needs to know. Start writing. Stop writing. Start something else. There's no reason not to be writing erotic horror fan fiction whilst you try and find new techniques for your sci fi novel. They might seem like totally different things but writing is writing and all of it can teach you something.

What NOT to do:

:pointr: Compare your work unfavourably to someone else's. That might seem like a really quick way to work out where you are 'lacking' but we're always impressed by things we can't do, so you'll just notice all the things you like and not notice what they might be weak at. Give yourself a break. Your writing will evolve and grow every day you do it for the rest of your life. You are a unique person completely different to every other person ever alive, so so is your writing. Use other people's work as something to learn from but not as a weapon to punish yourself with.


You're only a good writer if you're a good editor, and if you aren't a good enough editor to properly critique your own writing, send your work out to people whose opinions you trust.

Listen to the people who think your work is flawless, but most importantly, listen to the people who think it's flawed. Learn to incorporate others' ideas with your own. When you are lucky enough to receive it, listen carefully to feedback given by professionals. Some of the best writing tips I've ever received were from very kind rejection letters by agents and lit magazines. They can explain exactly what you did wrong and exactly how you can fix it better than your mother ever could (unless she's a professional agent or editor, but most of us aren't that lucky). Learn from every crappy piece you have ever written or will ever write.

Once you've worked out what you perceive to be your weaknesses, experiment. If you are lucky enough to have a group of friends or watchers who know your body of work quite well then pay attention to their comments. There have been times when I've thought 'oh, my work is a bit stagnant lately I need to stop writing about that one thing' and then I've tried something else and I've had responses that show they perceived the change as forced and not for the better. Just because you think you're bad at something doesn't make it true remember. So if your readers miss something you used to do, go back to it! Positive feedback is just as important as negative feedback because it tells us what to keep. It's so so important to notice what you're good at and what helps make your work authentic and truthfully yours.


What I get comments on the most is the "raw" feeling present in my poetry- the fluidity, the ineloquence, the lack of any sort of masking or sugarcoating- I always try to get to the point and get there quickly because I write in tiny bursts (typically less than five minutes) riding on strong emotions and then submit what I write without a second thought. Sometimes I comb back through for spelling errors, but I do as little editing as possible. I didn't even realize that was anything different from what everybody else was doing until I saw in a description that it took somebody 2 hours to write a poem- I couldn't imagine that.

I think putting too much thought into my writing is a fine way of diminishing the meaning behind it.This reigns true for characters and ideas alike- you cannot control them, but you should let them control you and your writing. You shouldn't try and mimic anybody or force yourself to write anything that doesn't feel natural- you should pour your heart into it and not be afraid of what you have to say.

In my last article I did a brief section about whether or not your work is 'good'. It's by NO means a comprehensive list because all art is subjective. What you might think is great, might be completely over my head - but it's worth considering the readers perspective. If you didn't know you or any of your other work, what would you get from this single piece of writing.


I don't think of it as 'writing.' I think of it as 'producing a finished work.' Writing is the bottom rung of the ladder—all first drafts suck, no matter how good they feel to write—and the rest of it is editing, and then editing again. Of course, the latter doesn't work if you don't keep an open mind. You have to be willing to believe that you might, in fact, have produced absolute shit in order to make it better.

So, consider;

:pointr:  Is your idea unique? It might be a broad subject (like love) with a unique set of imagery. It might be something abstract and new. What makes your work worth reading?
:pointr: Is your work well crafted? Did you use techniques to strengthen the communication of your idea?
:pointr:  Did you proof read it? Whilst spelling mistakes, grammar and punctuation issues don't make your piece 'bad' it can be an obstruction between you and your audience, and you want to make it as easy as possible for them to enjoy your work so that the most people possible can, right? So take a minute to check for obvious mistakes. I am really poor at this and have to focus really hard on it and still make tonnes of mistakes, but that one minute proof read catches more than you think and can clean up your first impression on your reader.
:pointr:  WHY? If you have an unusual layout with indentations or no capital letters; why? Its fine to do both of those things (I do!) but only if you do it on purpose. If you choose to do it because it's the right thing to do to reflect the meaning of your work. Don't drop capital letters out of laziness or because it's currently trendy. You don't need to be trendy, you need to be yourself.
:pointr:  Lastly, would you read it, enjoy it, recommend it to a friend? You always have your Scrapbook gallery if not. You can edit it in the future or just keep it there as a record of something you've written without everyone having to see it. You know that expression "You're only as good as your last game"? If someone came into your gallery and clicked this piece at random and read it and decided whether or not to invest any more time exploring your gallery based on this piece, would they? If this piece doesn't exemplify your capabilities as a writer, then put it away for now.


These are a few of the general guidelines that I try to aspire to when writing poetry. Nothing official- just things I’ve gathered in school (so many years ago), from friends here on dA and from the many words I’ve drowned and re-drowned under the bridge.

Find the right balance of dream and reality. Abstract images/dream objects can prove useful for tugging at the reader's subconscious thoughts/memories or those just below the surface. They can influence a poem's mood and tone at least as effectively as any linear statement. Not to mention that they add an essential ethereal texture of both truth and mystery at the same time.

In that same vein, rather than just stating the mood of a poem, let the imagery steer readers toward it. The reaction you evoke is much stronger when you let the reader's mind work it over and come to certain conclusions (somewhat) on their own. They may come to different conclusions than you had intended, but that's the price of freedom, folks. :)

Try to avoid using unsupported and sweeping descriptive terms like- happy, sad, depressing. When used alone, they bypass critical interactions between the poem and the reader. Your work misses its chance to gain the emotional investment needed to deepen the reader's reaction.

Lean heavily on metaphor. Using "like" and "as if" too much can quickly undermine the credibility of your poetic voice. Similes leave room for doubt and questions. You need to sound like you, as the author, have already made the same transcendental leap into truth that your poetry asks its readers to make.

When you think you’re done, read your work aloud, several times, as it’s laid out on the page. This is harder than it sounds, because you’re reading something that you’ve written and your mind already knows where it’s going. I find that my mind often manipulates the movement and cadence in order to break the lines in such a way that it all fits neatly into more eye-appealing strophs/stanzas. The structure may look prettier, but it can easily break the natural flow of the words. This is something that I’ve just recently started focusing on- letting lines that need to be longer, just be longer.

Common advice to improve your writing is just to write! There is some truth to that. My lecturer told me in my first lecture "If you write 300 words a day, its 2100 words in a week. That's 109200 words in a year. If you write that volume of words, the odds of liking some of them are pretty high" and he was right. Compared to writing nothing, its 109200 times more likely that some of those words could be something special.. but it took it being broken down like that in front of me to make me think - oh.


Write. As often as you can. And definitely experiment along the way. For me, as I've reached-- what I believe to be a decent staple of style for my own personal works-- has come through a lot of simple repetition. They say once you put in 10,000 hours of something, no matter what it is, you're bound to be good at it, no matter what that thing is. And while I've only been writing about 2, 2 and a half years now and I've yet to reach my peak, I do believe that I've put in quite enough time (and surely enough overtime) to have a decent handle on writing.

When I first started, I started with rhyming poetry-- structured poems. Then as I "matured" as a writer, I fell into free verse and every once in a blue moon, I'll toy with a structured piece now. But when I first got started, my main focus was rhyming things and keeping things in a very dogged place. It was good for awhile but then my tings started to become a little more stagnant. So I started playing with "gllitchy" features and tried to incorporate that into my writing. Then eventual free verse came.

So, I think with that being said, I believe the best way to improve as a writer is to write as often as you can and always, always, always try different things. You can have a focus and a thing you're really good with (i.e. imagery, metaphor, line breaks, word choice, rhyming, alliteration, wordplay, etc.), but I do believe the high point of a writer is a writer that writes and that writes with a purpose. Be it to improve, tell a story, or become more versatile.

I've always heard to write a lot... but it's never really suited me. I write whenever it comes to me, but having my lecturer break it down into numbers made me realise that some of it is just simple maths. The more I write, the more writing I have, and therefore the more writing that might be any good. Not to mention the self-perpetuating growth that comes from just practicing your craft.


A thing I see with writers a lot is this pressure to always be writing. It's a tip I see a lot from people, and it's always bothered me; write every day. A noble sentiment perhaps, but my own experiences in attempting to write every day merely left me frustrated.

I'm a collector - I wait for things to come to me. I never, ever force myself to write anything. A reader can tell when something has been forced, when it didn't come from somewhere authentic. A poem or a story is ready in its own time and I can only speed up the process so much.

That's not to say I don't work on my writing - that's a given. But there's a difference between that and throttling your own sense of creativity. Some writers can make themselves write constantly with no difficultly, but I simply don't work that way. Don't beat yourself up if it's not your method either.

These guys both make great points but I think when other writers tell you to just bloody well write something it comes from a good place. Lots of people paralyse themselves with fear. They don't write anything because they aren't sure it'll be perfect; spoiler alert - It doesn't have to be! Put pen to paper because no one needs to see what comes out and it could lead to something incredible. I have a huge stack of snippets of poems and sometimes I go through them months after I wrote them down and then it'll spark a full poem. You never know what can evolve from just trying to write stuff down.


For me, there is always a process of pre-writing. I'm a prose writer and I generally do longer work, so what I do once I get an idea is I outline it and see how the story is going to be structured. I don't need to make this intial outline incredibly detailed, as some things will come to me as I write the story. But the outline will help me once I have an admittedly sucky first draft to look back and decide if what I wrote fits the story I wanted to tell. It also helps me see if there are scenes, paragraphs, or lines that are dead weight - if I can ask, does this part move the plot? does it move a character along their personal plot? and the answer is no, it can be cut. Plus, when you're stuck an outline will tell you where you need to go next, so it's always good in my opinion to do a little planning.

Another common reason to tell people to get writing is when people say they don't have time.... If you're reading this article and you've ever said those words I challenge you to question yourself on it (I have to challenge myself on this daily so no judgement).

If you want writing to be your job (as a lot of us do), then it has to be your job. You have to work at it. You have to practice, research, try. You have to sacrifice half an hour of Netflix or sleep or time on the phone with your bestie - because its your job.

It's perfectly okay to write because you love it! I highly recommend that, but if your intention is to take your writing seriously, then take it seriously. It's a job like any other and it requires commitment and time put in, you don't get to spend half an hour doing something you love and then cash a cheque. Writing is real, its a real job. It's a hard job. If you want to write for a living because you are passionate about it, then do it. If you wanna write for a living because you're already writing so you might as well get paid for it plus its kind of fun and it would be cool not to be tied down to a job - stop! It's just not that simple.

If you want to do it, do it. Find the time, make the time. That said, if you (like SilverInkblot and myself) tend to wait for inspiration to come to you, that's okay too, but try actively engaging in inspiration. Art galleries, museums, people-watching on the street, books, poetry, politics, philosophy - there is a lot going on in the world you can absorb that will make you want to write and you can choose to seek it out if you wish to. (If you don't, that's okay too. I'm writing this article instead of editing a short story that is due in 48 hours and I'm in my pyjamas... so....)


Instead of giving you tips or advice on how to improve your writing or make it better, I want to tell you, drop the fear and just write.

I have met so many writers, who really have such skill and ability to write, but often while they thank me for featuring their work or faving it , they say that they were not even going to share this on DA, or they were hesitating to write it in the first place.

To improve yourself as a writer, just start by writing any idea that comes to your mind, develop it, work on it, give it your best and then share it with everybody else.

Okay... brace yourselves guys... it's that thing we all fear. The word we all shiver at... or maybe thats just me...

It's time to talk about Editing. I am very bad at editing in the traditional sense (of revisions and many drafts) but having gone into a Creative Writing degree specifically to learn about editing I found that I utilise a lot of editing techniques as I write. So whilst I do completely agree that editing is important for a lot of people, and that learning more about editing can help your writing (if you know what mistakes you're gonna edit out like Showing not Telling, you become more aware of them as you write them!) I will also say that every writer is different on this topic. Some published bestsellers are on the record saying they hate editing, and some love it, and some do it compulsively and some not at all. Learn about it, and make the decision for yourself, but do learn about it!


In my experience, there have been two things that have worked hand-in-hand to help me see improvement in my writing. The first of these is learning how to accept criticism. It took me a long time, but I finally found someone who would sit down and cut my stories to bits with a red pen—going through and telling me the harsh realities of my mistakes. I'm not talking about finding the sentences, paragraphs, and adverbs I needed to modify—but the entire chapters, plot points, and characters, that needed to be cut because they added nothing to the story. At first, this was very difficult to accept due to the biases I held and how close the story was to me. But by taking a break, gaining some distance, and learning not to react emotionally to criticism, I was able to come back to the story and actually see my flaws enough to improve.

The second thing that has helped me improve my writing is learning to be strategic and purposeful with everything I do. I used to think that storytelling was flying by the seat of your pants, and just writing whatever idea seemed clever at the time (and would get huffy and puffy whenever someone dared mention “rules” or “methods” to me). This resulted in a jumbled and confused mess that could only be fixed by my having to cut countless chapters, characters, and events. Everything a writer puts in their story should have a purpose, and one of the greatest milestones for a writer is deliberately enacting this level of strategy and planning. I now study the elements of story, I plan my steps, schedule and pace myself, and find that I improve every day for it.

Taking critique (or as I call it as I weep in my tower 'criticism') can be hard. Let's be honest. My poetry lecturer once said when she sends her poem to her friends for a critique, even after 30 years of being a published poet, part of her heart hopes they'll reply "this is perfect in every way, change nothing!" but that never happens.


I feel the best way to improve one’s writing is to simply write: “write it out” when it feels natural to do so, and find a generous pre-plan. Especially for prose writers: outlining and pre-plotting are ideal. Overall, one must have an idea of where they should like to go with the depths of their writing, and not be afraid to follow their instincts. Experiment with those words, and trust those intuitions. Take the time to practice your literary passions – and always listen to your inner voice. Our heartfelt words do have the ability to completely mold and change us – use that power.

The thing I like to remind people of is that writing (usually I'm talking about poetry specifically here) is a form of communication. You're trying to communicate an experience to someone else (whether real or imagined, a thought, an event, a sensation, some kind of conscious experience you have had). No other person is ever going to have lived your life in your body exactly the way you have, so no one can possibly read your poem and understand every letter in the precise way you intended it to be read, because they have a different set of mental references, a different framework to their world, different feelings and thoughts to you.

What your writing is doing is trying to get what the reader reads as close to what you want them to as possible.

For me that means meaning is always king, and for a long time I completely ignored techniques. I would say what I wanted to say and that was good enough. But I came to realise that the point of techniques isn't to restrict what you want to say, its to strengthen it.

Things like rhythm in a poem can be used to replicate a heartbeat for example, in a poem about love. This technique by itself means nothing but in the context of the meaning of your poem you can use it to add another layer of complexity that will subconsciously give more clues to your readers.

John Betjeman used a bunch of sibilance in his poems about Cornwall to add the shhh sound of the ocean. Raymond Carver left his main characters without names and often no dialogue to represent nameless anxieties in them. Sylvia Plath used Nazi imagery to talk about her father because at the time she was writing after the Nuremberg trials a Nazi doctor was the darkest imagery in the American psyche and it was therefore the way to show an association with all the worst traits in humanity for her readers. These are all utilisations of techniques in order to strengthen what you are meaning to say.

It's alright to focus on the meaning, but if you learn about techniques you will have the power to use them if you choose to, and they can be pretty damn powerful in helping your reader get a pinpoint precise version of what you wanted them to see.


I believe to ameliorate your writing, and thus become the best writer you can be, you must first and foremost do one thing: write. The only way to improve and get more feedback is to write, and to do so fervently. Don't hesitate to jot down an idea, no matter if it’s as simple as a pairing of two words that you enjoy together, or an obscure word you heard on the radio. These ideas do not need to be neatly written, but rather can be chicken-scratch calligraphy on scraps of paper, school notes, or dirty napkins. Write anywhere and everywhere, and do not care who watches you.

Not caring- another key piece to become a better writer. In order to uniquely express yourself, to establish your own voice, you must not be afraid of judgment. There will always be those who don’t believe in what you’re saying or doing- and it is unimportant. I’m not saying to not take constructive criticism, but at the end of the day, just stick to what you believe in. Love what you do, and you will improve. You will become a better writer, you will grow as a writer, if you are relentlessly yourself in doing so. Be fearless.

Always be humble. There will be those ahead of where you want to be, and those below where you want to be- both can help you on your journey of becoming the best you can. With being humble, always be kind. People are more willing to help someone who treats them how they want to be treated, as trite as it sounds. If you want someone to help you grow, you must first help them- which can be most simply done by treating them nicely. In this case, if the nice people are finishing last, as the old mantra goes, I believe the mean people will never finish.

To sum up simply- write, be fearless, be humble, and be kind. Master these, and nothing can stop you from being the best writer you can be. Stay wonderful, and keep writing!

    At the end of the day, this article mainly reflects my own personal thoughts and it isn't going to work for everyone but I wanted to give more depth to the advice we all hear about improving our work. Hearing it from people who actively engage in improving their work that you may have seen grow by watching them, might encourage you guys to listen and consider.. but at the end of the day you are the only person who knows what works for you. So if something works for you that is completely unique, do that, just be aware that there are other ways to improve if you need them.


When I would be forced to act like common people do, I would have a constant writer's block because I only function "good" with my technique how I create my works. I am a "spiritual" writer - that is not only restricted to the contents of my works but applies also to the "how". The less hints or pictures or whatever to inspire, the better. Too many has a distracting effect and confuses me. Just a simple word as a topic is enough. Just have an example: Summer. And it depends how much time I have to write the work. If it should be the same day, I can only meditate upon this topic. If I should have a night inbetween, I dream about it in the most lucid dreams. I start with an empty head and receive so many pictures passing by before my inner/third eye. The only thing I do is note them down. That is my work. The greatest compliment from a reader would be when he sees while reading the same pictures I had when I was dreaming/meditating about - so I have reached my ultimate message. This technique prevents me from writer's block (never had one) and allows me to jump into contest just on the deadline day.
Readers usually say that I am writing in pictures.

    I would like to thank HugQueen, GuinevereToGwen, seraphiclungs, fiercestrawberry, neurotype, chromeantennae, SilverInkblot, Mrs-Freestar-Bul, LadyLincoln, BlackBowfin, Malintra-Shadowmoon, JosephBlakeParker, doughboycafe, Tangled-Tales and TheMaidenInBlack for taking the time to share their insight about their work with us. Thank you guys!

    I hope this article has given you a lot to think about. I think in the main there are some big questions for each reader to consider, either privately or in the comments. At the bottom of this article I've listed some questions for you to think about.


Truth be told, I'm not the best writer I could be. I'm not putting in enough effort, not shedding enough blood and sweat - I do my best WHEN I CAN, and take all the chances for improvement that I can afford to take, but nonetheless I could do more.

Being the best writer you can be, to me, is always trying your best, always pushing for more, always knowing that you're not your best until you're doing everything you can to be so. You read lots, edit your work, rely on other people's advice and critique, push your limits outside your comfort zone, give critique, research properly when needed, study what little there is to study before diving head on into something totally new.

And yes, it takes time to see improvement, years even, but the truth is that when you're doing your best it doesn't matter if you ARE the best. You're giving it your all, so you already are. Results will follow.

Questions for the readers:

:pointr: Why do you write and why do you want to improve your writing?
:pointr: What makes you think you're writing needs to be improved (this might help you identify what your weaknesses are!)
:pointr: Can you identify where your craft is weakest and where it is strongest (both are equally important to think about!)
:pointr: Of the things you'd like to improve, pick one you are interested in exploring and try and find resources to help you. For example groups on deviantART like Writing-Tutorials, theWrittenRevolution or CRLiterature or WritersWorkshop. Websites, blogs, books or other writers on DA. Look around you, what can you use to help improve in this field?
:pointr: Are you committed to this? If you are, remind yourself of why this is important to you and decide if you want to actively engage in improving in this area. If not, that's okay too! But think about why not.
:pointr: Do you believe that doing something different could help you as a writer? If so, what's in the way of you doing it?
:pointr: Do you edit (not just spelling, grammar and punctuation), if so why? If not, why? Do you have evidence that editing / not editing is the best thing for your work?
:pointr: Who around you can you rely on for honest feedback if you need it? Look for groups, deviants, teachers, professionals, friends or family, anyone you think would be willing to help you out!
:pointr: How about you write 50 words right now? It could take mere minutes. Even if you just write 'Oh god kate do shut up, see I wrote something, you happy now?' give it a go? You never know what might be lurking under your conscious annoyance at me begging to be written about :giggle:
:pointr: Did you find this article helpful?
:pointr: Who critiques your work? Why not take a minute now to thank them for their time, or let other deviants know about great groups that are critique positive!
:pointr: Do you have any other ways you work to make your writing the best it can be? Share in the comments wouldya!? :eager:



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Celebrating Deviousness - August 2015

Sat Aug 1, 2015, 12:00 AM
Img-00 by techgnotic

In Recognition of Exemplary Membership and an Outstanding Spirit of helpfulness and mentoring within the DeviantArt community.

Introducing DamaiMikaz


“My name is Damaris, but most people know me as DamaiMikaz. I’m a self-taught artist from the Netherlands and I’ve been making art ever since I can remember. When I first came to DeviantArt I was pretty much dragged here by my friends, that all worked on original projects. Up until that time, I was primarily a writer and traditional artist. It was DeviantArt that sparked my interest for digital art, and it didn’t just spark my interest, but the community’s willingness to help out people really gave me a good start.

It’s remarkable how easy it is to connect to people on this website over things as simple as original projects and learning how to do art. Following other artists was what helped me to spark ideas and keep drawing.

The tutorials, groups, and helpful reactions on the forums guided me towards becoming a better artist. What I’ve always liked most about art, is how it brings people together. Doing art on your own can be quite lonely and challenging, improving together is a lot easier because it’s more fun.

Over time DeviantArt has become a second home to me. I’ve met amazing artists, got more support than I could’ve ever imagined, and made some of my best friends here. People cheered with me when I was happy and supported me during the darker times in life. Thanks for your support. It has been an amazing journey so far, and I hope we’ll even reach greater heights.”

August 2015

Deviousness Award Winner

DamaiMikaz is one of the most inspiring artists you’ll find on DeviantArt. A long-time dedicated member of the community, her journals regularly provide insight into creating art, inspiration for art and life, and thought-provoking ideas that spark magnetic conversations. Her approach to digital art has kept her creating, growing, and improving throughout the years, and one glance into her gallery is enough to see the progress that she has made and continues to make.

It is with great pride that we name DamaiMikaz the recipient of the Deviousness Award for August 2015.

Showing Some Love

Community Quotes

:iconjenfruzz: :icontiganusi: :iconiingo: :iconyokoky: :iconphydeau: :iconastarsia: :iconsaniika: :iconrhynwilliams: :iconkovowolf: :iconsuzanne-helmigh: :iconstelari: :iconqueen-soulia:

I have known of DamaiMikaz for a long time … I don’t think there are many deviants who haven’t come across her insanely talented gallery at least once or twice. However, only recently was I able to get to know her better. She is one of the newest mentors at seniormentors but she has already become a valuable, enthusiastic asset to our team. She is open, friendly, and approachable. Her love of DeviantArt and the community within is impossible to miss and it has been inspiring to chat with her and get to know her better! I’m thrilled that she has now received Deviousness, for she truly represents the meaning of this accolade. Congratulations, Damai!”

I find DamaiMikaz to be a wonderful and inspirational voice towards this community! She has such great advice and willing spirit to motivate people here on dA! Her art is also super fabulous! Thank you, Damai for your support and inspiration!”

DamaiMikaz is a super-talented artist who loves the community and is extremely friendly and approachable. I congratulate you dear friend and wish you the best of the best - stay extraordinary.”

I’ve not met many people on DeviantArt who could just downright shock me with their ability to self-market and create a brand around their username within the community - DamaiMikaz is foremost in my mind when I think of people who have, though. She’s so naturally good at making herself known that it’s almost scary. She’s one of those people who are everywhere, sure, but also have wonderful and very recognizable artwork with a personality to match. And whatever she’s doing is working; her name is in everyone’s mind and she has a watcher base that’s literally as big as Samoa. Recently I’ve got to chat with her a bit more since she’s joined the team at seniormentors (she’s giving back to newer artists in the community because she’s just that awesome) and was delighted to find out she’s very nice and personable too. Congrats, Damaris! If anyone embodies the whole “authentically devious” aspect of this award it’s you, hands-down.”

She has said that she would rather be happy than rich or famous. And it seems she’s succeeding. There’s a very positive vibe that she gives off in everything she does. I originally started watching her when she became a senior member, without knowing much about her. It quickly became obvious how she got there. I love when people give back to the community. She does so much, from helpful articles to features to simply being positive. Her support of other artists is inspirational. This award is well deserved.”

DamaiMikaz is such a supportive deviant. She is so open to sharing her knowledge of the big stuff and the little stuff. I enjoy looking at her gallery, but I’m the kind of person who admires the resourcefulness of a person as well, and she’s got that in spades. Want to know how to get more page views? She’s written an article! Got an art-block hovering over you? She’s got you sorted. It’s as if she feels that all that super awesome knowledge in her head simply must be shared. That’s a special gem, make no mistake. Nothing good is good unless it’s shared so other people can learn and shine brightly as well.”

What can I say about DamaiMikaz ? Well she knows how to translate energy onto a digital canvas, whatever she creates, you cannot help but be in awe at the power of her mark making; not only that, but the symbolism she uses to drive a story forward in which we are forced to wonder … somehow like peering up at the stars, where we are left to imagine what else is out there.

Damaris is a humble and charismatic person and there is no doubt she deserves this Deviousness award, Congratulations!!”

I started watching DamaiMikaz over a year ago and I could witness an incredible progress in her artworks (which were great already!). Her gallery is the proof that dedication and hard work can lead you anywhere; on top of that, she’s a really humble person. She gets along with anybody and takes time to leave helpful and nice comments on other people’s deviations: she’s the glue that holds a big part of the community all together.”

Hey, this makes me quite happy! Damai is a huge influence on the site, for me personally she is a motivational symbol. Very straight to the point, logical and practical person. I see her mostly as a speaker, a voice which talks to many! She is that kind of deviant you want to stick around and read what she writes, see what she draws. I enjoy particularly thinking about the messages she presents in her work - thought technically not as developed, it always draws you near. For longer time I hoped she will be presented to wider public - more people should get to know her :) (Smile) So yes! It makes me happy! Thanks for giving me a chance to say something cool about her!”

DamaiMikaz is one of those deviants that brings to the table a unique, inspiring style to the art community. With an equally enthusiastic and positive personality to go with it, DamaiMikaz is truly one of a kind! Shine on DamaiMikaz!”

DamaiMikaz is super active in helping the deviant community with her journals, comments and welcoming every new member out there! She is a example for us all as she’s always kind and honest. It’s incredible how much time she has devoted to Deviantart. If anyone deserves this honorable award it’s her!”

DamaiMikaz is indeed a inspiration for the community, whom without skipping a beat cares about the opinions of others.”

Among few well known and famous people of this community she responds to comments and interact with fans.”

Congratulations to DamaiMikaz!

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Community Week

Hi guys! My name's Forever-Eve, and I would like to talk to you about basic plotting tricks for those of you new to planning novels and short stories.

To some people, planning may seem like more work than it is worth, especially for shorts. Sometimes we have ideas that we're just so in love with, we just want to pour it onto the paper, even if we don't always know where it is going. And that's where we tend to get stuck. We look back and are either at a loss for where we need to go, or have dug ourselves into a hole. Or, in less severe situations, we finish and end up with plot holes, which as authors we may or may not catch before publishing.

So if you've never plotted before, how do you begin? There's so many suggestions out there, it can be overwhelming. Today, I'm going to list some of my favorites, and in what situations they can be useful.

Short, But Descriptive, Overviews

You might have an idea that you feel you just have to get onto paper. Maybe you have all the vivid details floating around in your head, and you don't want to lose them by just jotting down some notes. That's okay! This actually happens to me a lot, especially when I have dreams that intrigue me.

One way to plot is to write your idea down from beginning to end.Often, I can write an overview in about a quarter of the length the final products ends up being. This isn't necessarily a rough or first draft. Things like dialogue can be left out of it. You can be descriptive on things, but the goal is to not be too worried about detail. The idea of this method is to get down the important things, and worry about the rest later.

After you finish, you're able to go through it and figure out what's missing and what contradicts in your plot, with a lot less hassle than having to go through a draft.


Listing is actually a pretty basic method when it comes to plotting, although it can range anywhere from your four basic bullets (beginning, middle, climax, and end) to many more, depending on what you want to do.

For example (from my piece The Dazzling Fair of the Slums):
:bulletblack: Beginning: Marissa's mother is insistent that she doesn't go to the fair.
:bulletblack: Middle: Why Marissa's mother hates the fair in the slums and her hatred for androids.
:bulletblack: Climax: Marissa goes to the fair anyway.
:bulletblack: End: Marissa plans to convince her mother that the fair isn't that bad, and neither are the androids.

This is very simple, but it explains the main points to the piece, and while it can be expanded upon, it gives you a minor guideline so you know where your story is going. If I wanted to expand and include all the major points, before climax and end, I would add:
:bulletblack: Event: Marissa is impressed by the sights that she sees, and watches the parade with awe.
:bulletblack: Event: After the parade, an android takes to Marissa, and she's able to talk about all the amazing sights, as well as realize androids aren't as bad as her mother claims.

Whether you stick to the four basic bullets or add in all events that affect your plot, this plotting trick can be something quick and easy that shows exactly where your plot should go. As you may notice, this method is very different from the overview method. Instead of freely writing and going over and sorting out the plot later, you're organizing the plot first, and writing later.


This method is fairly close to simply listing it out, but is much more detailed, and I would suggest it for novels, where the above would be better with shorts. Stepsheets are actually a method one of my favorite authors, James N Frey, pushes, and while I'm going over the basics of it, I'll link his books below if you'd like to see his whole planning (plotting, characters, etc) method.

Instead of listing a short sentence to a paragraph under a bullet point for beginning, middle, climax, and end, you thoroughly explain, in order, what's going on in each of these phases. I'm going to use a random idea for this example, as the piece above isn't really long enough for a stepsheet.

1. Alfred catches wind that there's a jumper at a skyscraper downtown. We're in his perspective. He jumps in his van(old and rickety), hoping to get something good and finally get his journalism noticed. He finally gets to the scene, but its stuck with all the other reporters - so far away that he can't see anything worthwhile. He decides to try and sneak into the building next door to attempt to get a better look.
2. Switch to Julia's perspective. She looks down on the world, 100 stories below her, the view making her woozy. She just wanted to die. Everything had been going wrong, and she just couldn't handle it anymore. If only it wasn't for her fear of heights, it would all be over.

This would continue, explaining all the events of the beginning, and then we'd move onto the middle, then the climax, and then the end. Of course, I made these two steps rather detailed, but you can be as short as you want about it. Instead, I could have said:

1. Alfred finds out about a jumper and heads downtown with other reporters. He can't get past the cops, so plots a way to get closer.
2. Julia's on the edge of the building looking down, ready to end it. Her fear of heights is the only thing stopping her.

You're free to make it as detailed as you want. The point is to explain what's going on in the scene, and keep track of your plot points throughout the story.


Always remember that these are just a few ways to plot, and they might not be for you. Nothing's better than trying different methods out until you find what works best for you. Thee three methods can also be combined if you desire - plotting methods are flexible to what you need and want. For example, I could use the listing method to get a good idea of my story, but then list both the plot points I find in my overview, and use the list to fill in points that would make the story connect or flow better. Or I could list out my desired plot points, and then expand on them more with a stepsheet.

There's tons of resources out there on how to plot and plan your stories, and as I've mentioned before, you can explore these to find the best for you. No author is exactly alike, and one day, you'll be able to develop a method perfect for you.

Celebrate DeviantArt's 15th Birthday!

Fri Aug 7, 2015, 12:01 AM
Untitled-1 by marioluevanosAs DeviantArt enters its 15th year on the Internet, we want to take a moment before blowing out our candles to thank the community for allowing us the honor of hosting the site that you call your home for art. After all, it's the community's 15th birthday, too, and in the past few months, we've been making it our top priority to share with you our plans for the future, celebrate the successes of our past, and look to you for guidance on how best we can serve each of you while entering this new phase of DeviantArt's existence.

As DeviantArt enters its 15th year on the Internet, we want to take a moment before blowing out our candles to thank the community for allowing us the honor of hosting the site that you call your home for art. After all, it's the community's 15th birthday, too, and in the past few months, we've been making it our top priority to share with you our plans for the future, celebrate the successes of our past, and look to you for guidance on how best we can serve each of you while entering this new phase of DeviantArt's existence.

With the launch of the DeviantArt Timeline, greater transparency into features to come, and a handful of fixes and updates the community has been hoping for, we couldn't be more excited for our new direction. And it wouldn't have been possible without your passionate interactions, comments, and feedback. We can't wait to make your vision for the future a reality! So help yourself to an extra slice of cake this year. You deserve it!

Before many staple websites you visit today, there was DeviantArt — the home of artistic camaraderie and a haven for inspiration. Though our community was comparatively small way back when, we had heart to fuel our passions, and that heart continues to pump blood through the veins of every artist in our now-huge colony of artistic individuals. It’s been a wild ride during our 15-year growth, and we wanted to share some hard numbers with the community to show just how far we've come.

We’ve created a DeviantArtist Questionnaire. Answer the questions below in a journal and submit it to the Deviant Events category. When done, search for the title and get to know your fellow deviants better by reading their answers. You may be surprised by how much you learn!

  1. How long have you been on DeviantArt?

  2. What does your username mean?

  3. Describe yourself in three words.

  4. Are you left or right handed?

  5. What was your first deviation?

  6. What is your favourite type of art to create?

  7. If you could instantly master a different art style, what would it be?

  8. What was your first favourite?

  9. What type of art do you tend to favourite the most?

  10. Who is your all-time favourite deviant artist?

  11. If you could meet anyone on DeviantArt in person, who would it be?

  12. How has a fellow deviant impacted your life?

  13. What are your preferred tools to create art?

  14. What is the most inspirational place for you to create art?

  15. What is your favourite DeviantArt memory?

  1. Visit the "Write a Journal Entry" page, found in the Submit button.

  2. Copy and paste the above questions into the text area of the journal.

  3. If you’d like to include a deviation in any of your answers, use the "Add Media" button and select "DeviantArt" to search for deviations to include.

  4. You can add deviations by clicking on them!

  5. Title your Journal “DeviantArtist Questionnaire” and post it to the Deviant Events category.  Tag it with #DeviantArtistQuestionnaire.

Comment on this journal with a link to your DeviantArtist Questionnaire to earn the 15th Birthday Badge!

Main Links

My Characters
Art Status

Skin Credits

This is just practice. I want to be sure I have control.
Install skin here:
Grey Cube

(Three Parts to this:
Basic Intro
Dark Doesn't have to mean Sue
Are the canon cats Sues? (Haha, nope.)
I, too, once made a Sue.
What this whole Sue paranoia is doing (And Anti-Sues))

Dear god, do you guys actually know what they are? I see litmus tests, I see the term hurled around wantonly, etc. And I want to bang my head against my desk everytime I see the term misused.

Basic Intro

A special cat doesn't make them a Mary Sue, or the Spear counterpart, a Gary Stu.

  So, NO. Dovewing is NOT a Sue. And neither is Firestar.
A character you don't like isn't a Mary Sue/Gary Stu

  So, NO. Millie isn't a Mary Sue.
A powerful character doesn't make a cat a Mary/Gary Sue

  So, NO. Lionblaze isn't a Gary Stu.
And villains/rude characters can be Sues/Stus.

  So that "cool and tormented" emo OC you got? She could very likely be the Mary Sue you hate so much.

Confused? You're going to have to read on. I'm sorry in advanced that this is a long read, I'll try to keep it interesting. This is actually a pretty complex subject. ^^

Okay? We have that covered? Excellent.

Love these stamps
Sue Stamp by Ame-YukuA Mary Sue is.... by ZeroGravityCroquetMary-Sue Disorders Stamp by SpikytasticPowerful, Not Mary Sue by Novadestin

Let me define an actual Mary Sue. They're bland, unrealistic characters, sure.
(This article does a good job explaining it. Fair warning, once you're in, you'll never escape TV Tropes:…

It's when the story becomes unrealistic thanks to her that she's an actual Mary Sue. There's something called a willing suspension of disbelief.
A Mary Sue breaks that suspension of disbelief. Why? Because the author oftentimes wants a way to project themselves onto a character. In essence, whether they know it or not, they are that character and/or want to be that character.

Usually, everything goes perfectly for the character. They're special, they're what the author idolizes, they bend the rules of their reality, ect.

...That's the bare-bones version of it, anyways.
Did you notice how I never mentioned character flaws one time in that explanation?
Funny story, flaws are so very, very subjective.
More on that in a bit.

A depressed, emo character who's outcasted for being different can be just as much of a Mary Sue as that one, cheerful, golden girl.
Keep that in mind.
Maybe, deep down, you think that one outcasted cat is just so cool. Sure, they may be sarcastic and sharp-tongued, but maybe those are traits you like? Maybe their depression is underplayed, because you secretly don't want it hampering your character's personality and relationships. Maybe, the looks that outcasted them just look really damn cool to you. And heck, why are they like this in the first place?

And that's why the real nasty Sues are so hard to root out.
The real trick is paying close attention to context and the surrounding world of your character.

Here's what you really need to be asking yourself, and I can't stress this enough:

Is the character a blatant self-insertion? Do their motivations and history add up to who they are? Do people react realistically towards them, considering the context? Do they act realistically, considering who they are? Are they dangerously overskilled, or do they have actual flaws that the narrative makes clear are flaws? And if they are skilled, is it unbelievable that they are?
Do they break my willing suspension of disbelief?

Dark and Different Doesn't have to mean Sue.

We already know about Mary Sue Classic. But, I just said that that one emo OC can be a sue! How can this be?!

  Let me give you an example. Backstory: In a Warrior Cats RP, we have nice cats and bad cats.
....And we have nicely-written characters and poorly written characters.
  Here's what I mean.
  I have this one agnsty and violent cat character named Hailstorm. He's vicous, violent, and evil, so what makes him any different than Poison, a cat who just joined the RP and a recognizable Mary Sue by all other players?

  Poison is a simple black cat with an average appearance. Green-yellow eyes, a strong build (but considering she was a warrior, that's to be expected.)
At the same time, her backstory was ever so tragic, needlessly so. She apparently was obsessed with Death Berry juices, and would poison cats as she went on her merry way. She was a lesbian, and loyal to her best friend. When her best friend was betrayed by her mate, she killed the tom and became a surrogate father for the kits. Then, she accidentally poisoned her entire litter, save for one kit, and her mate. So, she suddenly decides to jump into Clan territory, kill a Clan cat and a passing rogue, and tried to off another cat.
In short? It was hard to play with this cat, and while the player was nice enough, it was nothing but a blessing for many players when she left the RP. I was sad to see her go in the way she did (she found out some players were talking behind her back about Poison), but even I felt a bit of relief as she went on to play less advanced roleplays. She'll go on to practice, and learn to create better stories and characters soon. :)

  Now let's go on with Hailstorm.
  Sure, he has mommy issues, sure, he's lost said mommy, and sure his life was pretty tragic. He's so dedicated to vengeance and all that jazz he went to the Dark Forest. And, he has a cat (Honeypaw), padding after him to the point where it's borderline stalking.
And then his physical appearance. He's a lean and muscular white tom. But what's this? Oh my, oh no! He's heterochromatic, burn it with fire!11!!!
Even worse, he's deaf in one ear, and just as he lost his mother, he lost his eye. UNEEDED ANGST!
AND HE HAS A MENTAL DISORDER?!!!11!! He KILLED a mean bully cat?!
u betch

  He's a Turkish Angora (well, mixed), a white breed that very often has heterochomatic cats. And one of his eyes are blue, and due to a melanin deprivation, white cats with blue eyes are generally deaf. So, that element is accounted for.
    Oh, and his stalking suitor? She's got a whole range of issues all on her own, but rest assured, not every she-cat is padding after this oh so cool killer. Honeypaw probably just has abandonment issues or something.
    Watershine, the name of the cat he killed, was a nasty one too, and you'd almost root for her murderer as he did the deed.
    But I didn't play it as a means of justice, more of a "two wrongs" sort of thing. Hailstorm never killed her because she was a bully and outcasted one of her kits. He did it because she knew too much and it was pragmatic to get rid of her ASAP.
    He was caught later, though, and that spelled the start of his downfall, and he had to flee the Clan. Despite his intricate plannings, his devilishly badass moments, things don't turn out the way he wants them to.
Simply put? Other cats where just smarter than him. He wasn't perfect, and he was sloppy.
    And that Angst?
    Well, that's part of what makes him, him.
    That hate, that feeling of self-worthlessness, that pathological feeling of hate, all twisted him inside. Losing his mother, and watching her being trapped and burned, showed him a feeling of loss and helplessness he would be driven to never experience again. He got to the point where he developed a personality disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder. In other words? He's a sociopath, and yet a developed sociopath. His anger, fears, insecurities, and hate all contributed to his character, making him both dramatic and interesting. He's dynamic, and shapes the roleplay in a way that feels natural. He's the antagonist, of course, so by definition he has to have a strong drive on the story. But he doesn't bend the rules, or make the story unbelievable.
He might have been brilliant, but his father had more experience and was sharper, and their medicine cat could tell when a cat had been murdered instead of just accidentally died. It doesn't hurt that his partner sold him out so that she could clear her conscience and live a normal life afterwards. Well, it hurt him, but that's not the point. xD

  See the difference? On one hand, you have a cat who has no motivation, and just a sob story. Her tendencies to kill cats are portayed as "cool" and "4 the evilz" rather than having significant impact on her life.
On the other, you have a cat who seems cliche on the surface. But when you break him down, learn his reasons and motivation and his life story, you realize that he's a more creative cat than Poison ever was, even though her ways of killing cats is pretty dang cool. He doesn't bend the story over to make it his bitch.
  He just bitched about it. xD

Here's the deal. Is the character a blatant self-insertion? Do their motivations and history add up to who they are? Do people react realistically towards them, considering the context? Do they act realistically, considering who they are? Are they dangerously overskilled, or do they have actual flaws that the narrative makes clear are flaws? And if they are skilled, is it unbelievable that they are?
Do they break my willing suspension of disbelief?

Those are the real questions you need to have if you ever want to seek out a Sue, like I said earlier.

Are the Canon cats actual Sues?

I get it, not everyone likes Dovewing. I'm actually one of them. xD
Sure, she's annoying. Sure, she has powers. Sure, you like Hollyleaf better. And sure, her romance with Tigerheart was a pain in the neck for many of us who really found that the allure of forbidden romances had long ago faded.
But she's no Sue.
She has flaws that impact the story. She's naive, and that keeps her from accepting Tigerheart's in the Dark Forest until he had to admit it himself. She's immature and headstrong, and that's what convinces her to sneak into WindClan camp to see old friends, even if they don't want to see her. And she's not too bright, which brings about a few face-palm worthy moments.
"No wonder Hollyleaf wasn't one of the Three. She killed a cat!" (Dear God, I want to slap her. xD)
And for her two toms looking out for her? Well, that's not an unreasonably high number, y'know. She forged a bond with Tigerheart, and in ThunderClan she's a respected huntress. I don't blame Bumblestripe for taking a liking to her.
Edit: Looks like we have a more in-depth argument for Dovewing!
Defending Dovewing [RANT]I don't get all the Dovewing hate. I personally don't see her as mary-sue, nor do I see her as a "Hollyleaf replacement" or a "bad sister". She gets too much hate because of this, and I think she needs more love.
While I find Dovewing's personality rather bland, I feel like people judge her too harshly.
She is a mary-sue!
Uhh... no she isn't. Not even close. In fact, she's probably one of the most flawed characters in the books. Just because she has two guys padding after her and she has powers doesn't mean she's a cat's princess.
:bulletpink: Dovewing crosses territories
Dovewing still cared about Sedgewhisker, despite not being together on the journey anymore. She let her feelings get the best of herself and she felt she had to go into WindClan at night and see her friend if she was okay after the attack with the dog:
Dovepaw felt her ears flatten. Wasn't she pleased they had come? "I-I was worried," she stammered. "I heard a dog chasing you." She didn't dare say mor

And Firestar? Well, I'll have to use someone else's writing, because they explain his flaws better than I can.
How is Firestar perfect?Firestar isn't perfect everyone seems to make him look like he is....he has many flaws, and still makes them even when he's a leader. He made plenty of mistakes as a warrior as well, but he still makes them even when he's a leader!
In Midnight, when Cinderpelt got the omen wrong, Firestar tried to separate Squirrelflight and Bramblestar because he thought they were going to cause trouble. He made them feel depressed and Bramblestar wondered why his own leader was against him.
   He knew he hadn't done anything wrong. Whatever was making Firestar behave like this, it wasn't his fault. It wasn't Squirrelpaw's, either. - Midnight, page 134
In Dawn, when Graystripe was captured, at first, Firestar seemed angry that he wanted to blame Bramblestar because his friend was captured, although he did stop himself before he let his grief get the best of him.
   Firestar stared at the dark brown tom in front of him. A fire seemed to burn in his eyes, and, for a moment,

In short? Sure, he's loyal and thoughtful, but sometimes those are valid flaws. He's too loyal to Graystripe to appoint a new deputy, even though all reason dictates that what he was doing was putting ThunderClan in danger. And as for his thoughtful nature? Keep in mind that in the first books especially, it was more a constant worry than amazing wisdom.
Oh, and I didn't like the Last Hope's twist any more than you probably did, but that doesn't, in it of itself, make him a Stu. It made the story predictable, but that's really it. And let's face it, the Last Hope could have been done better. xD

What about Lionblaze?
Keep in mind he was so close to becoming a cat like Tigerstar and Hawkfrost, and only just made it out okay. I mean, he did dream of killing Heathertail, didn't he? Although he came to regret that later, he did savor the feeling of killing a cat.
 And he has character development, from his once arrogant and aggressive personality to a more humble cat that he is now, who actually learns to respect the weight of his abilities. Before, even Hollyleaf was afraid of him. After he went through Cinderheart and Tigerstar and Eclipse, he recognized that he was vulnerable and something needed to be fixed.
And he's not stupid either. In the Forgotten Warrior, who exactly was able to see through Sol's planning, and figure out Dovewing's powers had returned? This guy.
So, I don't get all the hate against this guy.

How about Spottedleaf?

Er, not even close. She and Firestar never really got together in life. And keep in mind who's describing her throught the first books. The cat who's in love with her is the one describing her as beautiful and having a sweet scent.
Besides, being beautiful isn't enough to be a Mary Sue. There's plenty of pretty people out there, y'know.
And yes, she was horribly underdeveloped in the first series. The writing in the first series, let's be honest here, was far from perfect.
And you know what? She's actually a pretty sweet and nice cat. She has her moments where we see she's not perfect (see her more frantic moments in Leafpool's Wish and in the first book of the Power of Three series), and even she can acknowledge that her love for Firestar wasn't right. But she still cared deeply for him, enough to let herself die to protect his beloved Sandstorm.


What? Huh? Just becase she's a silver tabby who also loves Graystripe?
Er...Did you not see that she had to actually earn her place in ThunderClan? Or the fact that under pressure from her kits, she can be flawed? Who even thinks like this, anyways? She's not even close to what a Mary Sue is. You might not like her, and I can respect that, but c'mon guys.


He's an ass, but he's not a Gary Stu. NEXT!


Ahem. People? She paid for her little escapade. Very dearly.
Reread Leafpool's Wish. For that matter, read the actual books.
Sure, she gets away with it for a little while, but her being a mother comes back to bite her in the ass. Hard. To the point where she was suicidal (read Sunset, and see the scene where Hollyleaf confronts Leafpool.) And she loses everything thanks to Crowfeather.
But she does rebound after moons of guilt and suffering, and she does end up becoming a strong and respectable character once again.

The dude's challenged by the narrative, so he's definitely not a Stu. He's pragmatic and snarky, and has powers, but why would that make him a Gary Stu? He lost his temper and broke the stick, being blind is a challenge everyday to him even though he's supposedly used to it. And besides, he's entertaining, and far from being a flat or dull character. :/


I'm stealing the words from one commenter, but they describe it perfectly:
"Yup, Bramblestar is a Gary-stu. HAHAhaha... This is officially the stupidest list I have ever seen. Squirrelflight was never even described as pretty! He doesn't even have that many friends! Feathertail and Stormfur are gone. Crowfeather's returned to his prickly old self. Ashfur pretty much backstabbed him by working with Hawkfrost, claiming he was not trustworthy, and insisting Leafpool made up a StarClan sign. He wasn't even temporary deputy! Graystripe was officially pronounced dead, they even had a funeral. Brambleclaw was officially deputy. It's like a deputy deciding to retire. If for some reason the deputy wants to be a warrior again, he's not going to be reinstated as deputy.

Bramblestar was tempted to kill his own leader. Gary-stu? NOPE. He was the son of Tigerstar, and had to struggle to prove his loyalty to his own Clan just because of his looks. Gary-stu? NOPE. He and Squirrelflight argued a lot. Gary-stu? For the third time, nope. Even though he knew Tigerstar was evil, he still listened to him. Gary-stu? Absolutely not. He couldn't forgive Squirrelflight for a long time. Gary-stu? NO. He continues to be surprised when kittypets turn out to be good fighters even though his mentor and former leader was one. Gary-stu? No!"

I mean, come at me bro. I can sit and defend fictional characters from behind my dusty computer screen all day if I had to.

I, too made a Sue.

Her name was Demona. And no, even before I watched "Gargoyles" that was her name. I had her since I was seven. Granted, I changed her name when I was thirteen, but even so, she was one of the worst Mary Sues I have ever seen.
She started out as a demon-lion thing, before turning into a human being.
And that human being was painfully dull.
She was meant to be the protagonist to a story I thought was brilliant when I was twelve. And I couldn't say much about her besides, I kid you not, "She looks like me, only a bit prettier."
I wasn't an ugly kid, bear in mind. So I envisioned a supermodel like chick, who shared the looks of me.

It gets worse, too.
I gave her a twin sister, Luna. Who had all these powers and was oh so cool and didn't give a crap about anyone and oh my God I will shut up because I despise her now. xD

I might rework the story someday, but keep in mind that I am not perfect. Even though I can create believable stories with interesting and complex characters, know that there was once a time I couldn't.
Like there was once a time I didn't know how to draw.
I just grew up, and I improved.

If you have a Sue, you can too. :)

Thankfully, I was a much better story-teller by the time I started doing cats. xD
Still, I have thousands of bad OCs all locked up. And maybe one day I'll come back, and I'll fix them. :)

What this whole  Sue paranoia thing is doing.

Did you know there's something called an Anti-Sue? It's interesting, really, because it's just as bad as a regular Mary Sue.

Think of it this way.
The opposite of a heavily Autistic child is a psychopath. Both aren't exactly ideal conditions, but they're opposites in a sense.
The opposite of a heavily acidic substance is a very basic substance. Both can be very toxic.
Sometimes, the opposite end of the spectrum isn't the any better than the first.

Remember my earlier questions?

Is the character a blatant self-insertion? Do their motivations and history add up to who they are? Do people react realistically towards them, considering the context? Do they act realistically, considering who they are? Are they dangerously overskilled, or do they have actual flaws that the narrative makes clear are flaws? And if they are skilled, is it unbelievable that they are?
Do they break my willing suspension of disbelief?

Now, an Anti-Sue is basically everything and everyone in the world hates her, and nothing goes her way. The entire point of this character type, normally, is to evict pity for the character. It's just as painful to read, if not more painful, than a regular Mary Sue. The worst ones make me question my faith in the literary future of humanity, just like the regular Sues do.
Keep in mind that their bad luck can be explained without breaking suspension of disbelief, then it doesn't have to always count. Or, playing it for laughs can work in some comedic situations, if handled tastefully.


Many of you still need to rework what a Mary Sue really is.
Don't bash people for characters you don't like.
Don't go all out and make anti-Sues because you're so paranoid about making a Mary Sue.
And if it turns out you have a Sue? Don't fret! They're easy to fix.


More reading, if you got this far:………
Help! I have a Mary Sue!
What Is a Mary Sue?

The Necessity of Flaws in Characterization
Types of Mary-Sue's
What Is a Mary Sue?

Morgana by ShadowedHeartsofwar Heatherflight by ShadowedHeartsofwar Mapleshade by splashamantha Leviathan Journal Doll {GIFT} by oOSomething-WickedOo Blurp by splashamantha

another edit, about the money stuff.

here's spyed talking about issues with revenue and money stuff, and hinting at core.
and more discussion about lack of communication.

there was some discussion in the comments about how DA could possibly be broke, with getting $10million in 2013 to keep it the top art website. but after a discussion with a website dev, it's entirely possible for a website to cost millions of collars to host. Similar websites like tumblr and imgur have received 4x and even 100x money in funding. 
(but there's also this if you want to read it too.
any other insight on this topic would be helpful. 

now onto the copyright/art theft laws.

it was explained to me that deviantart's art theft policy are the way they are due to deviantart being a corporation in america, and deviantart's new policy on art theft is actually a law in america. art theft is the word to use to explain the physical act of stealing art, and copyright infringement is used to explain the act of taking someone's intellectual works and trying to claim it as your own
however, a website can have rules that aren't enforced by law. and it still doesn't make up for deviantart's lack of communication.
a lot of the userbase is around my age, or younger, or a few years older. i'm entering my final year of graphic design and we have only briefly been over copyright laws. a lot of DA users like myself are more ignorant on this subject and many of us assumed the policy change in art theft was from deviantart saying that they no longer considered what we thought was art theft to be art theft. 

but that doesn't make up for this bullshit. 

"While most blatant reposts of your work will be taken down without worry,alterations, edits, traces, and references are becoming regarded as acceptable by DA."
like wtf DA?? 

so hopefully now there's some more clearance? 

big edit!!: please read this comment made by dxd, a former staff member.

"DeviantArt needs to generate revenue, whether they're right to do it by a price increase here or not is yet to be seen. They are however in need of funds as they are struggling, as evidenced by the cutting of 50% of the paid staff. They're not being greedy, they're broke."
"What is bad is the failure to communicate the change to people and the reasoning why, because it generates drama like this."

i have moved the previous journal to a file. if you would like to read it, it is here. however i feel it no longer applies with the current information (but i'm glad i taught some people how to properly boycott >:P)

there is still an issue with deviantart's new policy on art theft, and their failure to communicate with their userbase. 

but hopefully with the threat of boycott, they'll take the opportunity to talk to us now. thousands of users, including myself, have jumped the gun wrongly accused deviantart of being greedy with this new update due to lack of communication. if i had known they were struggling, i would have never made this journal in the first place.

deviantart, please talk to your userbase. please communicate with us. please listen to what we have to say. hopefully to prevent drama like this from happening again. (and change your policy on art theft, seriously. that's a big issue.)

i'd like to thank dxd for properly explaining to me what's going on. 
Recently Miss-Union-Jack was insulted on one of her stories, and the commenter (in my opinion) seemed to believe that they were giving criticism. I know that situations like Miss-Union-Jack's has also happened to many other writers on DeviantART, including myself. So I believed it was time to sit down and write this out for readers on this website.

First, what is the definition of criticism? I used Dictionary Reference to look up the exact meaning for the word. There were six definitions total but the one that seemed the be most fitting in this type of setting was number three. 

    Animated Color Bullets Criticism; the act or art of analyzing and evaluating or judging the quality of a literary or artistic work, musical performance, art exhibit, dramatic production, etc. 

Now I want to quickly mention that judging has never once incorporated the words rude or cruel into it's meaning. Yet, unfortunately, when some deviants decide to offer their criticism, they only deliver writers rude and cruel words.

Sometimes what readers fail to remember is that writers do not have to write for you. They choose to, they spend their free time working hard on a subject that they are passionate about. It's not as easy as it looks, and any writer will tell you that. When you have readers waiting for your latest piece, there's that pressure that you need to rush to finish, so of course there will be some mistakes. No one is perfect, it's not always gonna be New York Times Bestselling material. 

Before you attempt to offer even the smallest amount of criticism, make sure that the author wants criticism. Skim through the description, if you spot the words, "Please excuse spelling/grammar." or "Sorry about any mistakes!" etc. The author is probably not looking for a critique at the moment. 

If you see the words Critique Requested on a piece then it's totally okay to leave one, the author encourages it!

Now let's move on to what's a good example of criticism and what's not. 

    Bullet; Blue  A Good Example: "Thanks for taking the time to write this! There are a few things you might want to look over, such as (list things here) other than that, (nice comment)."

  Bullet; Red  A Bad Example: "To be honest, this story sucked. Not to be rude but I hated it. (List everything wrong with it) I just don't know why you even wrote it."

It's pretty easy to tell why the first one is better than the second. It's really not hard to word things in a way that will put a smile on the author's face and also help them grow as a writer. 

The second example is something that could make some writers cry. That isn't fair to them, nor is it kind. 

If you're still having trouble wording your criticism in a nice way, pretend that one of your younger siblings or cousins wrote the piece, that should help a lot. 

So there it is, a simple guide on how to give criticism on DeviantART! 


August Hero Challenge

Sat Aug 1, 2015, 8:00 AM

This Month's Challenge


Download A Free Version Of SketchBook


The word "love" usually evokes pleasant imagery, but this intense emotion takes on many shapes and forms. We give selflessly out of love, hurt each other out of love, and go through our highest and lowest because of love.

For this challenge, I would like to see what love means to you. Whether it be between lovers, family, or pets. Tell us a story of love with your piece!

Please be sure to keep all entries appropriate, with no mature content. Graphic entries will not be accepted.


The Hero Challenge is a monthly creation prompt where one hand-selected industry professional provides a general theme to draw!

August’s Hero is shilin!

I am a freelance artist and I make a living by creating and publishing my own manga series, Carciphona. I've enjoyed drawing since I was a child, and even now, as a self-taught career artist, art to me is way more than a job; it is deeply personal to me and close to my heart.


How to Participate

Step 1

Join autodesk-sketchbook to take part in the Hero Challenge!

Step 2

Download the canvas and create! Then, upload and submit your creation to the August Hero Challenge gallery folder.

Step 3

At month's end, the host will select a few pieces of artwork and describe why those entries stood out. Those works will be featured on autodesk-sketchbook!