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There have always been a lot of writers on deviantART begging for more recognition. It's understandable that literature is given a lower priority: as I'm writing this, there are 3,280 "Writers" online, which compared to the 10,671 "Artists" is a relatively small community. So all of us writers whine about how we never get "the attention that we deserve." There are plenty of stamps declaring, "Writers are artists too!" and all that sort of thing. But we never really get anywhere.

Well let's get serious, people.

deviantART easily has the most impressive coding I've ever seen. And the latest updates of the message centre, notes and v7 were stunning. So much is possible; it's time to give writers the edge.

When deviantART's Portfolio feature was released, it stated:
"Some people ask if Portfolio supports Literature, Film or Flash Animations. Unfortunately these formats are not yet supported, but we are working hard to make sure to support these media in the future with presentation formats designed specifically to them."

deviantART, it is time for you to fulfill that promise.



The biggest problem with our cry for recognition is that we don't really know what we're asking for. In my opinion, the literature community is scattered and uncertain. Sure, we can say, "Create something special for us!" but if we don't know what we want, it certainly isn't going to happen.

So why don't we turn our focus to a concentrated effort in order to have our message heard?


Hovering Comments

by nycterent (DD given 2010-05-20)
Suggestion:Hovering Comments by nycterent

Anybody that's attempted to critique a piece of writing on deviantART knows the frustration of continually scrolling up and back down. A piece of writing isn't a picture, and can't be critiqued like one. This sophisticated style of commenting would encourage deviants to give detailed, professional critiques.


Chapters and Annotations

by JesseLax (DD given 2008-11-02)
Lit: Chapters + Annotation by JesseLax

One of the most stunning overhauls of the literature system: allow chapters to be linked together and annotations to be made on the text itself. Even if this idea as a whole is impossible, it has several concepts that would revolutionize the way deviants interact with literature deviations.


Literature Portfolios

by TheMaidenInBlack (DD given 2010-07-05)
Literature Portfolio v.1 by TheMaidenInBlack
As was previously mentioned, deviantART promised "presentation formats" specialized for literature. Many writers assumed that meant a portfolio designed specifically for them, yet it's been almost a year since portfolios were released and nothing has been created. While portfolios might not serve a writer in the same way as for artists and photographers, many deviants desire a clean and professional place to showcase their written work, as you can see in this poll.



As deviants, we've seen the deviantART community flourish and better itself day after day. With the Portfolio, the Prints system and v7, visual arts were supported and promoted in totally new and fantastic ways.
As writers, we've been waiting for a similar revolution for a while. Written art inevitably suffers without such professional-looking and well thought-out features.

As you saw from the poll, writers would be excited to see a more user-defined experience on deviantART. Many of them would advocate the development of new ways to showcase and highlight their work much like features assisting deviantART's visual artists.

So here we are, to give them a voice. A voice that is not "official" but is here nonetheless. This is a call for deviantART's writers to stand up and take a part in change, instead of blindly demanding new features without taking any actual action. We are here to show that we care; we are here to illustrate to you our very own ideas about how to develop the writing community.  

We are here to work together, as a community should, to see a much-needed feature be developed.

Will you be a part of it?
I created a little list of 31 writing prompts (because thirty is even, and I don't fancy even numbers, though they were necessary to create the list below... /shudder/). feel free to try it out! challenge yourself. it's a good way to spark creativity. I'll be doing it as well (:

01. letter
02. sticks and stones
03. birthday
04. immortal
05. circus
06. abandoned
07. nosebleed
08. mother [or father, or both]
09. sunrise
10. distraction
11. habit
12. fuck
13. love
14. waste
15. skinny
16. eyes
17. white noise
18. impulse
19. addiction
20. desecrate
21. death
22. low
23. heartbeat
24. first kiss
25. tomorrow
26. sweet
27. fog [or mist]
28. can't
29. village
30. time
31. forget

:heart:

i was inspired by the one-hundred themes challenge: 100themeschallenge.deviantart.…

Jeff The Killer: Sweet dreams are made of screams by Anyerina

okay so this is my first fanfic so don't be too harsh on me. but either way, I hope you like it.

(f/c) favorite color, (y/n) your name, (h/l) hair length ,(h/c) hair color


Your P.O.V

It was a normal day for you but you couldn't shake this feeling that you were getting watched but you shake it off because you knew your overprotective dad would freak out about it. So right after you did you took a shower, you put on a white tank top,(f/c) sleeveless hoodie, headphones, light blue ripped-up jeans, and black and(f/c) converse. You had your (h/l), (h/c) down and straight but messy so your dad won't freak out ;to think you don't do it for a boy. Right after you ate breakfast, you skateboard to school before you got tackled by your best friend, Isaiah. He was like a brother to you and had mostly everything in common with him, but you dad thinks he's the 'bad influence'. Isaiah screamed right in your ear

"(Y/N)!!!!!! DID YOU SEE THE NEWS?!"

you shake your head"No......why? what did you do this time?!"

 "The Daniels just died last night from-"

"Jeff the Killer I know" you interrupted getting annoyed.

 You didn't hate the killer but he was a giant problem for your dad, the sheriff of your town. He's the reason you have cops watching you every second in your life.So right after you finished talking about the news, Isaiah walked but you skateboard right next him to school. You looked all sad and when Isaiah saw it, he stopped you and grabbed your shoulders

"What's with you? You don't look happy at all but scared....Is it because of JEF-"

 "No, it just something bothering me. that's all" you said

"OH, well.... what's wrong?!"he said all worried.

 "I just...I fell like I'm getting watched" you sighed.

 Isaiah rolled his eyes and said" (y/n) you always watched by cops, your dad, and by cameras everywhere. So...don't be sad, show that smile of yours " he said trying to put a smile on your face.

"Yeah you're right, thanks " you said, smiling going to school.

 Jeff's P.O.V

I saw (y/n) walking with that boy again. Isaiah, what a stupid name to have but I can't kill him with him always with (y/n) there. I want her to see me but not like this and what bothers me the most about her is her dad.

 'God I hate her dad' 

When I saw her beautiful smile she has, it made me smile even more than ever. When she left around corner, I decided to check out her house. So, I went to her window and a good thing her dad wasn't home. I unlocked her window and got in and never saw any sign of anyone there.

 'Perfect' I looked around her room and saw no sign of being girly.

 'what I girl' I thought.

 So after messing with her stuff, I sat on her bed but heard no squeaking. usually I hear squeaking all the time when killing but thank god this one doesn't. I looked up at the ceiling and thought about (y/n) and what she's doing. I was calm until I heard the front door open and found out it was her dad

'oh shit!' I thought and jumped out the window and hid for 5 minutes to see he came back to get something in his hands, the house keys. I was laughing so loud and I didn't noticed him coming my way

.......to be continued..........



Hook, Line, and Sinker: How to Start Your Story

 
 
You have the story idea, a brief outline (or not), and enough motivation and/or preparation to place your fingers on the keyboard and think, Let's begin. But how does one, in fact, begin a story? How do you select the perfect scene to situate your reader without putting him to sleep? It's easy to become overwhelmed by the sea of possible beginnings before having typed a single word. This article provides a list of different ways to begin a story, long or short, pointing out their respective advantages and disadvantages. The right beginning can give you just the push you need to send you flying into the world of your characters.

Prologues

A prologue is a scene or chapter that pertains to the story without featuring your protagonist at the present time. It might show your hero as a child; it might show your antagonist plotting to take over the world; it might show a setting, a historical event, a natural catastrophe that occurs before the story starts. You know how at the beginning of a movie, the camera is zoomed in on a tiny detail before pulling out and revealing the larger picture? We're doing the opposite here.

The use of prologues has always been a subject of debate among writers for one major reason: when not used correctly, they can easily bore the reader. If you think of your prologue as a place to dump your backstory, you're likely to lose your audience. However, if you use it to set the mood of your novel before jumping into a slower, everyday events kind of opening, then (in my opinion) it is a perfectly appropriate beginning.

Action Beginning

I'd like to split the action beginning into two categories.

First, we have the hero action beginning, which is similar to a prologue in that it all happens before the inciting incident. It's the fighting-a-bad-guy-atop-a-moving-train scene (think James Bond here), although it doesn't necessarily need to be gripping. It can also be the waking-up-daily-routine scene. Most importantly, it shows the hero doing what he knows best before being thrust into the story head first.

Second, we have the inciting incident beginning. Who said a set-up was necessary? By beginning with the inciting incident, you're cutting straight to the chase, throwing your hero headfirst into the story alongside your reader. Later on, you can always share glimpses of your protagonist's past. Beginning with action certainly has its perks: there is little risk of boring your reader when you start with a bang. However, you run the risk of confusing him, especially if it turns out that the initial action sequence was all a dream (!). But I'll talk about that a bit later.

In Medias Res

Imagine this: everyone is dead, or kidnapped, or heartbroken, or crying, or rushing into battle. Suddenly, snap! you flashback to the very beginning, and things start to make sense. It isn't starting at the end of the story, but in the middle, in its heart. It's leaving the reader breathless before they even understand what's going on. But then, before they can get too confused, you flashback to the beginning and tell the story chronologically. An example of this would be in Homer's Odyssey, which begins with most of the Odysseus' journey being already over. The story leading up to that point is told through flashbacks.

One of the advantages of this tactic is that the reader has something to look forward to. Once they reach the point in the story with which you began, he experiences a huge rush, a brand new wave of avidity to continue reading the story. Now, for the disadvantages, the major one being that suspense tends to be lacking throughout most of the story, since you already know where the characters will end up in a few chapters. Furthermore, the reader might end up feeling kind of cheated, similarly so when reading a story beginning with a dream.

Although in media res might seem similar to the action beginning, they are not quite the same thing. If you're unsure, ask yourself this question: Does the opening scene take place before or after the inciting incident? If it takes place before or during the inciting incident, it is the action beginning. However, in media res directly translates to "in the middle of things", and so it takes place after the inciting incident.

Dream Scene

I've already complained a few times about the dream beginning; let me explain why. If the start of your story is full of action and suspense, the reader will want you to keep up the pace. Obviously, that's not always possible, but at least in the hero action beginning, all the jumping off buildings and car chases have actually happened. Finding out that it was all a dream comes with a feeling of having been ripped-off, which is of course something you want to avoid. In the end, it's always the writer's decision. If you believe that your story would benefit from beginning with a dream scene, then by all means, go ahead; but know the risks that come with such an opening. Some readers might close a book or delete the story from their inbox the minute the character wakes up.

Flashback

Starting out with a flashback is a great way to introduce your character. An interesting anecdote that shows off a certain aspect of your character's personality gives us a peek into their past and their minds. We feel sympathy for them before they are even thrust into the story. Most importantly, we already start feeling a connection to them, a connection that builds up throughout the story until your reader is as much in love with your protagonist as you are. A strong foundation is a must if you want your reader to be fully invested in your story and characters, and a short flashback that shows the character in action is a good way to build it.

A prologue can be a flashback, although it isn't always one. The flashback gives a more personal feeling than the prologue does; the prologue creates space, whereas the flashback does the opposite. The character is looking back on a past experience, not living it.

Frame Device

A frame device is a story outside your main story, usually introducing a narrator who tells your main narrative to a listener or directly to your reader. It "frames" your story because it most often appears at the beginning and end, and sometimes in the middle. This technique could be interesting if you think it might be difficult for a reader to connect to the setting or characters, for example if you are writing historical fiction or fantasy. Since it does not take place in his reality, he might feel distanced from the story. Adding a separate story closer to his world will help him further relate to the characters or events in the main narrative.

One drawback of the frame device is that most readers will be more interested in the story where the action takes place than the "frame", going as far as perhaps skipping it altogether. Still, a frame device works well if there are major time jumps in your story as well as a remote setting, so it is a good tactic to consider.

An example of this would be in William Goldman's The Princess Bride, in which the main story, featuring pirates and princesses and Rodents of Unusual Size, is interspersed with scenes of the grandfather reading the story to his sick grandson.

Opening Lines

An entirely separate article could be written on the subject of good opening lines and how to write them, but I thought they should be briefly mentioned while we're on the topic of beginning a story. The first and most important rule when crafting the first line of your story is to choose something unique, surprising, and interesting. In short, something that will hook your reader. Pointing out that the sky is cloudy is all right, but it's so much more startling to point out the small object plummeting through the clouds at top speed on a thoroughly uneventful Sunday afternoon. Be specific, be surprising. Once you believe to have found the right line, read it again with a reader's eye, a reader who has thirty other stories waiting to be read today and only has time to pick a few. If you believe he would choose yours, then you have found your opening line.

Hooking your reader is never an easy thing to do. By choosing the right beginning for your story, however, you can easily draw the reader in until they are fully submerged and unable to stop reading. Hopefully this article will help you decide how to start your story the next time you are ready to begin writing, or at the very least, give you an idea of the different possibilities. The perfect beginning can be the motivation the readeror the writer!needs to finish it. Now all you need is the perfect story.

  • Do you often struggle with opening scenes?
  • What is your favourite way to begin a story?
  • What are your thoughts on prologues? On dream scenes? Are there any other "controversial" story beginnings?
  • What kind of opening line will prompt you to read a story?




One of the things that the literary agency I work for does some weekends out of the year is teach seminars on query writing and the first 5 pages of manuscripts (which, basically just means the first page of the manuscript). The seminars last only a day or two, but aim to help writers improve their queries and start of their books so that they have a better chance of standing out in the ever-growing slush pile. Since I know many members of the literature community here aim to one day be published writers, I thought I would share our sheet of the top reasons for manuscript rejections. Please note: These are in no particular order.

  • Wrong genre
 :pointr: Agents have guidelines for specific genres that they like to represent. Just like you and me, they have certain genres they love and certain genres they don't. Sometimes, it's not because of personal preference, but because they don't know the market for some books as well as other agents who are very passionate about them. Therefore, do your research beforehand and save yourself the time sending a wrong genre MS out, and save the time of the agent who already has a big enough pile to go through!

  • Not enough to go on in a query
:pointr: Agents want something that stands out and works as a story. Many times, there are queries for stories that sound good, but there's not much to work or use to pitch the book to publishers. Make your story the best it can be and have there be something compelling about it that will make others want to read it.

  • Writing or idea is good, but doesn't stand out
:pointr: Just like with the last point, you need to make sure your story is compelling. Make it be something that the agent is excited about and wants be just as passionate as you are. With how many manuscripts are in the slush pile (and in e-queries), you need to make sure you've got a story that really will catch their attention and make it all they can think about.

  • Not clear which of the 4 Ss carries it (story, setting, someone, style)
:pointr: Something needs to drive your story. If you're bouncing around and making it hard for the agent to determine what makes the story strong (if anything), chances are it needs some retweaking.

  • Subjective tastes
:pointr: Like I mentioned in the "wrong genre" section, just like you and me, agents have particular preferences for what they like. If something isn't in their personal taste, they probably won't represent it unless it really blows them away. Because of this, again, make sure what you're submitting to an agent is something they state they are looking for.

  • Query Spammer
:pointr: Yes, we get these often. What does this mean? E-queries that have been forwarded to multiple agents or queries that are clearly "forms" and printed and sent off to a bunch of agents (basically, the "Dear Agent" queries). You want to be professional about your approach to sending your work out and show that you care about the agent-- especially if you want them to care about you.

  • Lack of punctuation, grammar, capitalization, etc.
:pointr: If you want to be taken seriously as a writer, you need to show you are a serious writer. Don't send in anything that you haven't proofed again and again and again (and had someone else proof).

  • Ego flags
:pointr: These are the worst, and trust me, we get a lot of them. If you're sending queries preaching about how great you are, how you'd be doing the agency a favor by representing you, or that you're the best writer to ever walk the earth (we literally got an e-query with the subject line "BETTER THAN JK ROWLING!!!!"), you're not getting represented-- no matter how good of a writer you are. No one wants to work with a diva.

  • Delusion
:pointr: Know about publishing before you start querying! Sometimes, writers have an idea about publishing in their head that isn't true and it makes communication difficult with them. Educate yourself! When you query, it's like applying for a job. You should know the basics before submitting that "resume"!

  • Unreadable
:pointr: Small font, fancy text, etc. Don't do it. You want your work to be read (that's the purpose of writing!), so if you make it so it's unreadable, no one will be able to read it, and therefore consider it.

  • Sent to wrong name or no name
:pointr: Like I said in an earlier point about query spamming, make sure it's not just a "Dear Agent" letter. Also, be sure you're putting the right agent's name on the query-- and including the right suffix. You'd be surprised how many times we get "Mr." delivered to our agency when the agent is a "Ms."

  • No return response information
:pointr: Let the agent know how you want to be contacted. E-mail? In a letter in the mail (you need to include a SASE in this case)? Make sure to make it clear and give all your contact information (phone number, e-mail, address) so that you can be contacted.

  • Too long / too short
:pointr: 120,000 words is the maximum that most agents will accept to read for a first time author. Why? Anything more than that is just too long. You can tell a story in less words than you think-- don't make it all fluff, get to the point! Of course, there are cases were books are too short and rushed, too, but usually the main problem is books exceeding the 120,000 mark.

  • Seen it a thousand times already
:pointr: While there's no such thing as originality, you need to be able to put your own twist on things and really own it and make it unique. If you submit a story that has basically the same plot as 100 other already published stories and stories that keep coming in the slush pile each week, you probably aren't getting represented-- unless you really bring something new to the table in it.

  • Poor writing in query that doesn't inspire confidence in the manuscript
:pointr: Professionalism. Use it all the time. If you want someone to take your manuscript seriously, make sure your query is top notch. Proof it, make sure there are no typos or grammar errors. Remember, one error in a query is multiplied by 400 pages in an agent's eyes (as we always say). Let your strong writing shine in your query and your work will be more anticipated.

  • No platform (nonfiction)
:pointr: As a nonfiction writer, it's important to have some background in what you're writing about to know that you're marketable. A lot of times, books like these are written by professors, columnists in magazines or newspapers who focus on particular areas, etc. Make yourself known and someone who gives buyers a reason to purchase your book! (For fiction writers, credentials and online presence like blogs, Twitter, etc. are important. Build your name up and make yourself known.)

  • Not clear who audience is
:pointr: Every writer should know who their intended audience is when writing. Make sure that it's clear in your work so that agents are aware, as well.

  • Sent as an e-mail attachment
:pointr: Usually, agents want the MS copied and pasted into the body of the e-mail. Why? Some writing programs don't operate on agents' computers (usually things other than Word) and files sometimes don't open properly. Having it in the body of the e-mail saves for file opening problems, build up of files on the computer, and a waste of time clicking through files.

  • Too me-moir or not universal enough (Memoir)
:pointr: Don't make it all "me", "me", "me". Your story should be something universal that other people can connect to. Memoirs should have the reader learn something at the end. You're not telling the story of what happened, you're telling the story of what happened.

  • Self-published
:pointr: Most agents, like publishers, want to represent works that they will have the first-time publishing rights to. Self-published books have already been out there for the world to see, so those rights are gone. (This also goes for work posted online-- deviantART included). Then comes the question that a lot of young writers ask on the matter: "But 'x' book was self-published and got a book deal from a big publisher..." In order for this to happen, there needs to be a lot of buzz about that book. Its sales need to be competing with traditionally published works. We get self-published titles often that come through the agency, but if sales aren't high enough, we can't represent it. 100 books aren't enough; 500 aren't; 1,000 aren't; heck, sometimes even 5,000 books aren't. Most agents quote that sales should be in the 10,000s to be represented or signed on to a bigger publisher after being self-published. (This, of course, isn't always the case, but it's the one that typically is gone by).

  • Saturated market
:pointr: This pretty much explains itself. If the market is saturated in something, agents and publishers sometimes get tired of seeing it.

  • Didn't send what was asked for
:pointr: It happens. If an agent asks for the first 10 pages of a book and a query letter, that better be what you send them. Not 13 pages, not 20 pages, not 11 pages-- 10. Make sure you do exactly what the agent asks when submitting. Follow their guidelines!

  • Author is a tough sell (prison, lives overseas, agoraphobic, etc.)
:pointr: Sadly, this can factor in what makes a book deal or not, too. If circumstances are tough for getting the author out there, it's going to hurt book sales overall. Overseas is probably the big one here (though, there are a lot of international authors that are repped here in the US, so don't let that frighten you!) and agoraphobia (fear of being in open/public places). If you're a writer, you're going to read in front of people, be interviewed, etc. It's important to build communication skills!

  • Too close to a project already represented or sold
:pointr: This happens a lot. Authors sometimes see projects that recently sell that were represented by an agent and query to them. While that's okay to do, it's something to watch out for if the project is too similar. Some agents don't want to represent two projects that are so alike that their one doesn't feel so unique any more. Pay close attention to what agents are selling and representing currently before querying.

  • List full for that genre
:pointr: Sometimes it does happen and agents only take on a certain number of books for a particular genre at a time. Why? Most of the editors at publishing companies they pitch to for a genre are the same, and sending too may projects to them can be an "annoyance". Therefore, a lot of agents try to stick to a set amount of books per genre per reading period/year (unless they represent just one genre). However, it's hard to tell just when they are full-- sometimes they'll put on their sites they aren't seeking "x" genre currently to keep authors updated, though. Always check agents' sites!

  • Uninformed author
:pointr: This was mentioned above in "delusion", but it's being repeated here. Don't be an uninformed author. Do your homework. Learn about how publishing works.  Some of the things we point out that are the biggest turn offs are:
  1. Expects the world
  2. Wants the agent to be the publicist
  3. Makes demands on their advance
  4. Has no clue of the realities of publishing
  • Just finished novel
:pointr: Novels have drafts. Many, many drafts. If you've just completed your first draft and submit it to an agent, they're going to know. Write, rewrite, and rewrite again. Make sure your novel is as clean and perfect as it can be before submitting. Agents know when you've worked to polish your manuscript and when it's hot off the printer for the first time.

  • The agent can't think of 5 editors right away to whom they would send the manuscript to
:pointr: Agents know editors, which means they know editors' tastes. If they think right away of an editor who would love to read your story, that's great! If they can't think of one, then it's probably not something they want to invest time in, since it will be a struggle researching editors they don't know (trust me! That takes lots of time on the computer digging around Publisher's Marketplace to see recent book deals).

  • Already passed on it
:pointr: If an agent rejects you once, don't re-send your manuscript to them. Chances are, they'll remember. There are many agents out there, so if you get rejected by one, don't be discouraged. Just send to another-- but never the same agent (unless they ask for it once things are changed. It does happen, but very rarely).

  • Query that doesn't focus much on the story
:pointr: We see these often, and no, they don't get represented. When you query your novel, we want to hear about your novel, not your life, not your accomplishments and awards, your book. There's always room to mention these things in your brief author bio at the end, but the majority of your query should be talking about your book.

  • Constant pestering
:pointr: Agents are very busy people. While they try to follow their 6-12 week response time as often as possible (some even have it up to a year for response time if they know they're so busy), things happen. I'm being honest when I say that literally around 300 e-queries come in a day, and a huge stack of snail mail queries (you know those US postal service tubs? One of those full). During the summer, things are faster, but come autumn, there's so much going on in publishing that agents can fall behind. E-mailing them constantly and asking about your query, sending letters, and yes, calling them every day to ask, is not going to get your MS to the top of the pile. Chances are, it's just going to be tossed in rejection.

  • Reader reward not clear
:pointr: Agents want to know what the reader is going to get for their time and money reading the book. They want to see it first hand. Prove you have something to share with the world-- something that readers are going to love and connect with and not feel like they wasted their time and money. Make is something they'd be happy to waste time and money on again and again.

Partial & Full Rejection Reasons:



  • Not hooked by the first page (Partial)
:pointr: The first page is what's going to make or break your book. If you can't get a reader completely invested in your story by the time the first page is done, it may not be worth representing. Why? The first page is what someone in the store reads first to get an idea of a book before they buy it. It's the opening to a book that someone is going to invest their time in for, say, another 400 pages. Start out with a bang!

  • The writing doesn't come "alive". Too much telling (Partial)
:pointr: Drop the reader into the plot. Keep them there. Don't tell them things that they can easily find out through action. Readers want to see the characters and story alive on the page, not told to them. A lot of times, this is the reason partials are rejected. They fall apart fast because things just aren't as alive as they were in the beginning. Remember: show, don't tell!

  • Too cliched (Partial)
:pointr: As a writer, I'm sure you hear this all the time anyway: avoid cliches! Well, it's true. Avoid them-- especially plot-based cliches. They stand out like sore thumbs in writing and are a major turn-off, especially when once surrounded by beautiful, unique writing.

  • At page 120, we're just turning pages (Full)
:pointr: Oh, the dreaded middle sag! If you've got one of those tedious middle sections, be sure to make it more lively. No one wants to read an exciting beginning and boring middle section that makes up most of the book just to get to an interesting end. Your whole book needs to keep the reader wanting more, unable to put it down. When it's to the point the agent's turning the pages just to get through the partial and hope something's better (when he/she would have just closed the book and stopped reading if it wasn't something to consider), it needs work.


And those are basically the most common reasons that MSs get rejected by agents! Do you see anything here that you notice in your own writing/query or have questioned? If so, it may be useful to rethink some areas and tighten them up to get them one step closer to the "yes" pile for a partial or full request. To all writers currently querying or thinking about it, best of luck! It's a long process, but stay educated and keep trying, and you'll find out that the more you know and the more professional you are, the much more pleasant the experience.

 

Hetalia Nordics by kuni-chan978

Okay I never saw any of these things with the Nordics so I thought I make one.

 You were just about to be done with the dishes until your phone rang,reading the caller's name.You finish quickly to answer and was surprised the caller was Prussia aka Gilbert.'Didn't his phone break last week' you thought. "He-YO ____ whatcha doing?" a loud prussian ask, "Was about to go to bed before you killed my ears.." you reply sarcastically "äiti..." you turn towards the small voice to see the rest of the 'Nordic five' staring at you were big round eyes (minus Sweden and Norway).

 "äiti, we can't sleep,can you sing us your special song?" you smile at the name 'special' seeing how the song was what your mother use too sing.You chuckled before putting the phone down and shooing the boys up the stairs.
"Vem var det mamma?" Berwald asks as he eyes the phone, you laugh at how protective he was of you. "Don't worry sve it was just a friend." you reply "Was that your kæreste?!" Mathais ask before Lukas begins to chock him "Stop that Lukas.." he stops and obeys his mor.

"Now aren't we gonna hear mamma sing,or not?!" the youngest of the five ask wanting to hear your beautiful voice. "Calm down litli engillinn minn.." you soothing voice made his anger cool down and want to be pick up. "La oss gå.." Lukas says walking up the stairs being the 'leader'.

~*~Time skip to chibi Nordic's bedroom XD~*~

"Ok,everyone ready?" you ask sitting on your rocker (chair),you heard 'yes' in their own little cute accents "Alright,who's turn to sit on mama's lap?" you look towards a hand to see it was the young sweden blushing. He walks towards you as you pick him up gently placing him on your lap. "Ready..."

'dansende bjørne                
malede vinger
Ting jeg næsten huske'

'Ja laulu joku laulaa
Once Upon A December'

'Einhver heldur mig öruggur og hlýja
Hestar dansa með silfur stormur'

'Siffror dansar graciöst
Tvärs mitt minne'

You look over to the boys, smiling at their drowsiness and yawns with Emil and Tino clutching onto the bottom of your skirt.

'langt borte
lenge siden'

'Hehkuva hämärä kuin Ember
Asiat sydämeni käytetään tietää'

'En gång December
Någon håller mig trygg och varm'

'Heste spankulere gennem en sølv storm
Tal danse yndefuldt'

'Yfir minni mínu
Langt í burtu fyrir löngu
Glóandi lítil sem ember'

'Ting mitt hjerte brukes til å vite
Ting det lengter etter å huske
Og en sang noen synger
Once upon en desember'

You smile hoping that this moment well never end, you lean back letting sleep take over but before placing a kiss on Berwald."Night..my little angels.."

~*~Let the colors of the wind take you to few years later~*~

It was just like any other day at the meetings, but surprise that Denmark and England (O.O) were fighting. "What the *&$@ did you say?!""Am just saying that your manners need work-""Ohhh noo you did not just say 'my manners need work'! Am happy the way I am a-Thats the point you were raised with Sweden,Finland,Iceland, and Norway and they have a much better attitude then your reckless p-" England was interrupted by Denmark socking him in the face.

 "I don't care what you think of me!!" he yells and he goes to punch him again.But the other Nordics struggle to keep him calm, you were about to walk over until.."What kind of insane person decide to take care of you?!?!" that comeback made the Nordics let go of Denmark and let him have the pleasure of destroying him. Everyone look at you (minus Denmark & England) and to their horror, your eyes went..dull..with sadness. You walk out into the garden before anyone stopped you "Guys your turn.." Denmark says breaking the sad tense feeling making the Nordics into p*ssed Nordics and punch England with much force.

~*~Minutes for mommy search~*~

"äiti!? Mamma?! Mor?!" you turn towards the voices only for Tino to hug you with he's face snuggling into your stomach."Mamma don't listen to that bastard." Lukas also hug you in the same position.The other three boys came and hug you, not listening to your cries of 'sorry for worrying you'

'Hehkuva hämärä kuin Ember
Asiat sydämeni käytetään tietää'

'En gång December
Någon håller mig trygg och varm'

'Heste spankulere gennem en sølv storm
Tal danse yndefuldt'

'Yfir minni mínu
Langt í burtu fyrir löngu
Glóandi lítil sem ember'

'Ting mitt hjerte brukes til å vite
Ting det lengter etter å huske
Og en sang noen synger'

You smile remebering that song wiping your tears finishing the last line.

'Once upon a December'

"Thank you..my little angels

The End

How to Plot Like a Grim

Journal Entry: Wed Jun 12, 2013, 9:00 PM
In ten simple steps, you too can plot like a Grim.  ;P

1. Get an idea


This can be a brief snippet of dialogue. Or an ending that just seems perfect.  Sometimes it's just the concept of what I'd like to see a character go through.  I write that down.  Usually it doesn't see the cold light of day for at least a couple months, but when I've thought about it long enough and can't seem to get the idea out of my head, that's when I sit down and start plotting things out a bit.

2. Work out the basic plot


Now that I've got the idea, I need to work out the basic details.  But how do I do that?  Well, I write it down.  Then I think about the different angles to get to that idea.  I write those down.  If it's dialogue, who's talking? What do they feel? Who are they talking to?  If it's a snippet of a scene, who's in the scene? Why are they there? What are they doing? What's going on outside of that scene?

From there, I construct the basics of a story.  The beginning, the conflict, major arc of events, the climax and finally the conclusion.  Just brief details, nothing massively plotted.  At least, not just yet.

And that's the bare bones of the story.  Honestly, one could technically start writing from this, but I don't.  Not even close.

Basic Plotting by GrimFace242


3. Create the characters


With the story basics written down, I now need to populate the story with characters.  I start with the main character/hero, antagonist/villain/obstacle to overcome, and then move to the secondary characters (sidekicks, evil minions).  

The main character gets the most attention, and is given at the very least a back story/history.  I need to know how they got to the start of the story.  Same goes for the antagonist.  Once I know every dirty little detail about them, I move onto the secondary characters.

They don't get the same amount of attention, but I figure out the basics (how they look and where they're from).  There's no need to go into grand detail unless it's something that's important to the plot.


4. Plot Sheets!


First things first.  Before getting into too much detail, I write down what I already know and have plotted.  Each scene getting it's own sheet.  Then they're arranged chronologically.  Knowing how I want the story to progress, I start filling in the blanks.

Many times, I'll plot out scenes that I later cut, but at this point, I'm trying to get the story down on paper.  My sheets include the characters that are in the scene, the mood of the scene, significance of the scene, obviously what happens, as well as any vital information received.  

The mood allows me to put the characters into a proper frame of mind when I sit down the write the scene later.  The significance is necessary, because if I can't come up with one, the scene is obviously not needed.  It also helps later on when I need to cut scenes out.  Finally the vital information can be anything.  It can be the main character's realization on why they want to fight the antagonist or the key to a puzzle he couldn't figure out.  Sometimes there only one bit of information I put here but other times there's a short list.  It all depends on the scene.

Plot Sheets by GrimFace242Character Motivation Sheet by GrimFace242



5. Can't forget the character sheets


This is actually something I do while I'm filling out plot sheets.  It's easy enough to fill in the information I already know about my characters, but as I work through the plot, I often change things about my characters to make it better suit the story.  I could go into a long winded explanation on how I fill in characters sheets, but it's a whole lot easier to just point you in the direction of my Guide on using them.

Character Sheets by GrimFace242 A Guide to Character SheetsAlmost as soon as they were invented, people have been feuding over the effectiveness of character sheets.  Some say they are godsends and they couldn't possibly create characters without them.  Others say they only create flat characters and there's absolutely no reason why any writer should need to know the smallest and most minute details that character sheets call for.  And then there are the writers that don't know which side of the debate they should listen to.
The easiest answer to that question is it's a personal decision that every writer needs to make for themselves.  But before you make that decision, maybe you should know how they work and the benefits you can gain from them.
You see, when used correctly, sheets can really assist an author in keeping the facts about their world and characters straight.  Otherwise, on page ten little Anne has green eyes, but on page thirty-two they change to blue, and miraculously enough on page fifty-five they're brown or back to green.  
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6. Figure out what drives the characters

In other words, what motivates your characters to do the things that they do?  Because without motivation, there really isn't a story.  Unlike Character Sheets, the motivational sheets need to be filled out with as much detail as possible.

Obviously, I don't fill one of these out for every character.  The main character, antagonist and some secondary characters each get a sheet.  At this point, if I can't come up with a strong enough reason for my main character to go through the trials of the story, then I need to go back and rethink my plot.

Character Motivation Sheet by GrimFace242



7. Research – No way around it


It has to be done.  There is always some aspect of a story that I don't have personal knowledge to back up my writing.  That's when I hit the library and nag a couple librarians for a few hours.  If I'm writing in a period piece, I need to learn social norms for that time, dress, linguistics, etcetera.  And I absolutely refuse to rely on Wikipedia.  It just doesn't have all the answers.  I take my laptop and phone to the library.  If I'm not checking the books out to take home and scan, I'll grab a picture of a couple pages, or jot down notes in a word document.

If I'm unable to find the information I need at the library (which has happened, not everything can be found in a book), then I start looking at professionals.  I'll contact college professors, or call up a local group/club/business that's an expert in the field.  If I need to find out the ins and outs of horses and how a stable runs, I'm not going to get the correct knowledge from a book, but a local farm is the perfect place to start.  Just remember to be courteous.  They're doing you a favor.

8. Grab References for EVERYTHING


Now that I've got the plot and characters hammered out, and I have all my research done.  I need to start building the world and it's people.  Hunting down visual references is fun, but tedious.  Using dA, stock image sites, and even Google, I start collecting character references.  I want to have a set of pictures I can rely on to bring me back to that character.  What they look like.  What clothes they wear.  Even references for how they'd interact with other characters or how they'd hold their cigarette.  Maybe they have a special piece of jewelery that is crucial to the plot and I'll need to recall it quite often.  Hair styles are a big one too.  Especially for female characters that might change their style throughout the story.

Along with characters I also want references for the places in my story.  Images that at a quick glance I can set myself inside that room and start writing about it.  Maps also come in handy here.  A map of the town, the layout of an often used building or an entire world map may be required if you're writing an epic fantasy.  

Maps by GrimFace242 Places References II by GrimFace242 Place References by GrimFace242 Character References by GrimFace242


9. Build the Binders


I have three binders for every lengthy story I write.  One each for characters, plot and places.  It keeps me organized and is an easy reference when I need to check on something.  I use binders mainly because they can be rearranged a lot easier than computer files.  Once again, I have guide already written on how to build your binders.

5 Steps to Organize Your NovelWhat You'll Need:
:bulletblack: A basic story idea
:bulletblack: Printer (preferably laser) with plenty of paper
:bulletblack: Pens
:bulletblack: Three Ring Binders (2) with separating tabs
Build Your World and Characters
For most writers, this comes naturally.  If you're having some issues, there are plenty of tutorials, guides, aids and groups available for assistance.  For the purpose of this guide, you should have your world built and at the very least your main characters devised.  Having secondary characters planned will get you bonus points!
Print Character and Plot Sheets
Each character should have their own sheet (keep the backs blank, they're a grand place to keep extra notes and page references).  It's not necessary that you fill out every single line of the character sheet.  Fill out only what is necessary for the character/plot.  Feel free to add to the sheet as your write, too.  The



10. Start Writing



No One Cares About Your Story

Journal Entry: Sat Jan 12, 2013, 4:21 PM

GOOD NEWS: This is perfectly normal!


I can't remember the source, but a few years ago I read this famous author's account of how it felt to have his first book come out, and he mentioned buying a copy himself because he was afraid no one would take an interest. Now this is a guy who managed to get not only an agency but a publisher (which is a whole pile of people who were like yesplz), and he's still afraid readers won't care. I was like, 'whoa mind blown.'

But anyway, the fact is that we are all strangers on the Internet and, by default, there is no reason for you to read my stuff or vice-versa. If you went and stood in Times Square with copies of your latest story, how many people would give you more than a passing glance? And how many of those people would get to the end of your work, and how many of those would offer critical feedback?

And, if you were one of the passersby, whom would you stop for?



Okay, I'm done scaring the shit out of you. That's not the point of this journal, the point is to look at ways to make people care. Success not guaranteed.



How to Make People Care About Your Story


I had this long-ass spiel planned (and drafted, even), but honestly it all just boils down to respect.



1. Respect your readers.

Don't try to lord your cleverness over them, or expect them to automatically be as invested in your work as you are (did they spend twenty hours every week agonising over writing it? No they did not). Keep in mind that these are people with lives, and it's quite possible they have just as much of their own material to freak out over.

So how do you get them past that? By a) being a good writer and b) taking an interest in their lives.

Don't expect everything to fall into your lap. Communication goes both ways. I mean, how many times have you left a great critique that someone really appreciated and then did nothing with? It's happened to me more than once, and each successive time has soured me on bothering with more of that person's work. I still leave Goodreads reviews without expecting a pat on the head, so a well-done piece of work does outrank a 'wah wah this person was a jerk,' but unless you are 100% sure that you are that talented genius, don't be a dick.

FYI, it's never a 100% thing.



2. Respect the craft.

Everyone learns how to write in school.

Everyone learns how to write for school in school.

You may be one of those lucky bastards with a creative writing elective or even majoring in the field, but that's the exception, not the rule.

Creative writing is its own discipline, and getting an A in English class has little to do with it. I don't get how so many people equate being okay at writing essays or reading analysis with writing stories, but yeah. Stop doing that.

Yes, you can translate skills from one side to the other, and being able to analyse what you're reading is always important, but respect the fact that creative writing is as much an art form as drawing, and that if holding a pencil doesn't make you a master of drawing, being able to type words isn't going to toss creative writing into your lap, either.

Aside from this, you need to want to improve. I mentioned 'being a good writer' above, so it's even tied into respecting your audience, but if you really care about this being a thing that defines you, you have to be willing to do your own research. No excuses. Learn to use Google. Listen to good advice even if it feels like a slap on the bum.



3. Respect yourself.

Your words don't define you as a person, okay? Me telling you that your story is flawed shouldn't make you feel bad, it should make you want to do better. There's nothing wrong with caring about your work, but there is something wrong with treating every word of criticism like a stab wound. And with thinking that you're hopeless, the fact that you weren't a child genius is going to screw you over, you can never be awesome, blah blah blah.

(I want my writing to be perfect so it reflects well on me. Why? Because my ego is the size of a fucking mountain.)

You're not ink on paper. You're a person. Words are your medium of choice to showcase yourself, your ideas, and/or your views. There's no way it's going to be perfect from the beginning, and when someone tells you where you've gone wrong, pay close attention. Not because they're somehow better than you, but because wanting to be the best you can be means hunting down all your weaknesses.

Get your chin up and make your writing as awesome as your self.




GOOD LUCK, NERDS.





My intention was to post about the 100pt giveaway results in this blog today. However, I have changed my mind to post this blog instead after seeing a documentary video from BBC just now.

I have so much to say. I can write endlessly here but this video says most of it.



It is very shocking to see how females are being deprived in India. I am truly ashamed. But the most shocking thing that I have come across to know very recently from a friend of mine is that in a porn site, the 16th Dec Delhi rape case girl's pic was being used as an Ad with a message saying..

"Want to know how college girls are making XXXXX amount of money every month?"

The image that was used for the Ad was this one (the right one):



Yes, it is true! I have seen it myself. I am not naming the site here because I am not here to promote porn but to tell you that this is true.

This was so very shocking to see how humanity has crossed every lines they could possibly make. HOW CAN YOU USE IMAGES OF THOSE VICTIMS FOR AN AD in a porn site man???

After seeing this the first thing that came to my mind was how many of those pics must those porn sites have used from different sources for an Ad! For god sake they are using pics of those who are no more in this world or had been struggling throughout their lives.

If you believe you can help me spread this news then please consider faving :+fav: this journal to get it up to the journal portal.

Sid
:iconprojecteducate:
:iconprojecteducate:


Literature Basics Week

Okay, so maybe not everything. But there's a lot of stuff that I remember learning in middle and high school that turned out to not actually work for me -- or for pretty much anybody -- as a writer.  I'm hoping that if I can lay these lies out for you, we cans turn it around and unlearn some of these bad habits. Because, man, nothing says "noob" like practicing some of these frequently-taught faux pas.

Lie #1: Be super duper descriptive!


PLLSpencerSubtlety2

Wait, wait, I know what you're thinking. Descriptive language is good, right? You want your reader to know what you're talking about, and to be able to see, smell it, hear it, touch it, taste it the way you do in your head. The problem is that, when it comes to description, a little bit goes a long way.  Sometimes, it's about finding a better word to use, instead of a string of adverbs and adjectives to go with your verb or noun.  You know, you could say "She skulked through the forest" instead of "She walked sneakily through the heavily-wooded area."  See what I mean?  Now, that's kind of an obvious one, but when you go to write, here's a good trick to keep in mind: modifiers are evil. They are sneaky and they will slip into your poetry and prose without you even noticing. Your job, as a writer, is to keep an eye on those things.

Modifiers -- like adverbs and adjectives -- are words that describe other words. They should be used sparingly. Otherwise, you're going to have a mess on your hands. When you're writing, always ask yourself, do I need this word? Or is there something simpler and equally descriptive that I could use here?

SO HERE'S THE TRUTH: Use descriptive language and sensory details, choosing words carefully. Every word you put on the page should be a word that NEEDS to be there.

Lie # 2: Show off your vocabulary!


PLLHannaBigWords

Some writers I've run into have a penchant for tossing around five dollar words. It's almost as if they want the reader to know that they totally nailed the vocab section on their SATs. The thing is, creative writing isn't about what you know, it's about telling a story in the smoothest way possible. So why use "loquacious" if you could say "chatty?" Think about how your narrator or point-of-view character would think and speak. Think of how the people around you speak. If you can't imagine someone using that word in a conversation, it's probably a no-go. When it comes to five-dollar words, they should be sprinkled, not poured, into your writing.

SO HERE'S THE TRUTH: If you want your writing to feel authentic, use authentic language. Use those five dollar words sparingly!

Lie #3: Spice up your speech tags!


PLLWorsetoWorser

Here's the thing about speech tags: They should be invisible. The reader should pretty much not notice them at all. I mean, there's a reason that you sometimes don't even need them -- like in an extended conversation between two characters.  There are pretty much only two speech tags you will ever need: "said" and "asked." (You can, and should, of course, alter the tense as needed.) You may be able to slip in a "screamed" or a "replied" here and there, but sticking to the basics is always the better option. You don't want your reader getting hung up on speech tags when she should be paying attention to the conversation and the story.

Another word on speech tags: Using simple tags like "said" and "asked" doesn't give you carte blanche to start throwing adverbs around. "She said, angrily" or "he asked, jokingly" is just as much of an offense as not using a simple speech tag. If someone is speaking angrily or jokingly, that should show in the words they're using, and in the body language in the scene.  This is a great case of "show, don't tell," which, thankfully, is a lesson from school that you can hold onto.

SO HERE'S THE TRUTH: You will hardly ever need to use words other than "said" or "asked."

Lie #4: Poetry is about your feelings!


PLLAriaForkInNeck

No. Poetry is about expressing yourself, sure -- just like any other writing. But it's not about emotions. It's about saying something. It's a narrative between the poet and the reader, and it should be full of images and ideas, not simply the thoughts you would write in your journal with some line breaks thrown in. Yes, poetry -- just like any other writing -- can be emotional. But your job as the writer isn't to emote onto the page. It's to get your reader to emote. Again, this is a place where that whole "show, don't tell" thing comes in handy.

SO HERE'S THE TRUTH: Poetry isn't about any one thing. And all writing should evoke emotions. Use your excellent writing skills to make the reader feel!

Lie #5: Capitalize the beginning of every line in your poem!


PLLAriaWeAllGetItWrong

This is actually an antiquated form. If you're reading poetry -- and if you're writing poetry, I hope you are! -- you'll notice that contemporary poets only capitalize where they would in a regular sentence. So lines can start with lowercase letters. You capitalize when you start a new sentence, or for proper nouns -- all the usual suspects. But when you start a new line, and the previous line didn't end with a period, no, you don't need to capitalize. In fact, I'd recommend sticking to the new way of doing things. We both know you're not Shakespeare, after all.

SO HERE'S THE TRUTH: Sure, you can capitalize every line, but it's going to make you look old-fashioned. And not in a trendy way.

Lie #6: Practice writing by writing!


PLLHannaEw

This is actually half true. Yes, you do get better at writing by writing. But you know what's even better? Reading. A well-read writer is going to be a way better writer than a writer who writes every day but never reads.  I promise you, this is a fact.

SO HERE'S THE TRUTH: If you're not reading as well as writing, you're doing it wrong.

Lie #7: A haiku is 5-7-5!


PLLWhat

Yikes! They really stepped in it with this one. Sure, some haiku these days are 5-7-5, but usually these are referred to as senryu, since they are Westernized and have less to do with nature and brevity and more to do with cramming something into that syllabic format, often with a humorous twist. There's a lot of information out there about haiku, but I'll leave you with this: Writing haiku is more about brevity and observing nature than it is about an exact syllable count.

SO HERE'S THE TRUTH: Haiku isn't about the syllables. Do some research and figure out what style of haiku works for you!

Lie #8: The classics are the right way to learn writing!


PLLAriaYouDidNotJustSayThat

Sure, the classics are great. But if you want to write for contemporary readers (like, you know, alive people), it's a good idea to read contemporary work! Enjoy some Emily Dickinson, but make sure you're also checking out Louise Gluck. Feel free to curl up with J.D. Salinger, but don't forget about Jennifer Egan. And, you know, there's lots to be discovered in your local library or bookstore -- not just the bestsellers. Read widely across genre and author background. Read books you like and books you don't like. Just make sure you're reading, and reading more than the tried and true golden oldies.

SO HERE'S THE TRUTH: If you want to improve your craft, read lots of genres and DEFINITELY check out your contemporaries!

Lie #9: Only write what you know!


PLLMonaBoring

If this were true, we wouldn't have, I don't know, any fantasy. Or space operas. Or historical fiction. Sure, it takes a lot of imagination and even more research, but writing outside of your comfort zone can be a good thing. Writing what you know can keep you grounded, and using your life experience to keep your writing honest is an excellent idea. But talking to people with different experiences from you, and reading about other lives and other ideas, and imagining schools for young wizards...well, these are all great tactics for writing richer stories.

SO HERE'S THE TRUTH: Start with what you know, use your imagination and your ability to do research to take your writing to the next level.

Lie #10: You're a genius!


PLLAliDontScream

Don't pretend someone in your life hasn't told you this. Someone along the line -- a mother, a teacher, a friend -- has probably read your writing and told you that you're going to be a New York Times best-selling author. And it felt good, I bet. But, you know what? If it's someone like a parent, a teacher, or a friend, they might be looking at your writing through rose-colored glasses. And you need someone who's going to be tough on you if you want to improve and have any chance at being a capital A Author. Are you a genius? Maybe. But don't take this "lesson" at face value.

SO HERE'S THE TRUTH: If you don't work hard and seek critical feedback, and learn to take critical (and negative) feedback, you probably won't succeed no mater what kind of talent you have.


PLLEmilySoMuchGoingOn

Got questions?  Leave 'em below!  There are exceptions to every rule, and there are plenty of rules that might not make sense, which is why talking to other writers is always helpful. (Another lie: Writers can only be successful when they are holed up in a cabin in the woods somewhere.)  And feel free to share some of the lies you've heard before! In the mean time, enjoy the rest of PE: Literature Basics Week!

http://www.ekristinanderson.com