Notes on VillainsVillains. They're the people we love to hate and hate to love. They're the thieves, lechers, cronies, backstabbers, warmongers, and doom bringers that make our protagonists' lives a living nightmare. But what happens when an antagonist's role in a story (or the antagonist itself) becomes little more than an annoyance? Read on
Your villain's name is often the audience's first impression of him/her (as is the design, but that's a different article), so you want it to be good. There's no foolproof way to determine what "good" is- it might be a simple, regular-sounding name like "James" or "Andrew", or it might be a name composed of random sounds that work well together. Of course, it should depend on what type of world you're creating (you won't find a "Steve" from feudal Japan). More often than not, however, it's easy to tell when a name is painfully unoriginal and doesn't fit the setting. Here are some don'ts:
No generic, tough/scary-sounding words for name
Guide to Better DialogueWriting dialogue -- realistic dialogue, anyway -- does not come easily to everyone. Done well, dialogue advances the story and fleshes out the characters while providing a break from straight exposition. However, just as realistic dialogue is one of the most powerful tools at a writer's disposal, nothing pulls the reader out of a story faster than bad dialogue. It takes time to develop a good ear, but noting these simple rules and obvious pitfalls can make a huge difference.Guide to Better Dialogue5 years ago in Writing More Like This
1. Listen to How People Talk.
Having a sense of natural speech patterns is essential to good dialogue. Start to pay attention to the expressions that people use and the music of everyday conversation. This exercise asks you to do this more formally, but generally speaking it's helpful to develop your ear by paying attention to the way people talk.
2. Not Exactly like Real Speech.
But dialogue should read like real speech. How do you accomplish that? Alfred Hitchcock said that a good story was "life, w
Creating CharactersOkay, so, if you're anything like me, you have a lot of problems with deciding on a character's information. Sometimes it's the looks. Sometimes it's the name. Sometimes it's all that and more! So, incorporating an idea from my HARPG "double-life" (haha) I have developed a simple way to develop characters in the most random way I know how.Creating Characters4 years ago in Writing More Like This
How can this be done? Easy - through the magic of a website known as Random.Org. The name is the address of the site (www.random.org.) For those of you who do not know, Random.Org is a website that generates random numbers based on atmospheric noise. If you want to know more about how it works, go to the website. I'm not going to spend time talking about something I don't know. Anyway, on to creating characters.
As an extra note, all of these will require you to have only one column. Go to the heading "numbers" located toward the top of the page, between "Statistics" and "Drawings."
This one is fairly simple. There are 26 letters
Writing Engaging Dialogue1pen's Tips for Writing Engaging DialogueWriting Engaging Dialogue4 years ago in Writing More Like This
When I was a freshman in high school, my best friend and I were convinced that we were the funniest people on earth. In fact, we were so confident of this that we decided we would record our conversations, type them out, and make millions. Then something funny happened. We tried out our little idea and, one, we're not millionaires, not yet at least, and two, we didn't become millionaires overnight because the idea sucked.
We really weren't that interesting and neither are you.
Actual human conversation can be so dull as to render you comatose within minutes if you're not careful. Our own brains protect us from imminent boredom-comas by giving all of us a little raven in our heads who thinks about sparkly things and stealing chips in between actually paying attention to the people we are talking to or that are talking to us.
So how is it then that we willingly read page after p
Unstick your Plot - A guideThe Random Encounter The Guide to Moving Your Story ForwardUnstick your Plot - A guide5 years ago in Writing More Like This
The classical random (there's always a classic.): This is the sort you see in just about any old RPG, or RPG comic, and probably most current ones as well that person or thing you randomly meet so you can be sent off in a random direction and never have to meet them again.
Yeah, it works well enough for games I suppose but I don't recommend it in a story get around it wherever possible. One thing I saw in the Wheel of Time books (by Robert Jordan) was having the rumors and such be heard OFFSCREEN, and delivered to the characters by someone they know. You still get your information, but without the useless extra faces.
The only real reason to put in someone random is for some bit of symbolism, as a general rule, so unless you wanna get real deep or are prepared for your readers wondering if the old farmer is actually a reference to an ancient Norse God you might wanna avoid the classics.
Setting up Plotting NotebooksIt's early September and the temperature has begun to drop. Venturing out-of-doors in a sweater is no longer the wishful thinking of hot, hot August, but the whimsy of sweater-lovers like myself. And as fall approaches us head-on, so does November, and with it, Nation Novel Writing Month.Setting up Plotting Notebooks4 years ago in Writing More Like This
This is my first year participating. I'm sixteen now (almost seventeen when November finally rolls around) and I've been writing for as long as I can remember. What makes this year different is that I've found the answer to my writing issues. It was not that my characters were bad (I've always prided myself on my characters) or that my writing was in any way "faulty" for my age. My problem was that I could not finish what I began. I lost steam quickly. I ventured into a magical world of make-believe only to find I had no map, no guiding light, to keep me on the straight and narrow.
This change was slow to come. I decided to start finishing things (long things) around last year. I still haven't. NaNoWr
Basics : Character SheetNow that you have at least a basic idea of how to roleplay with paragraph-style, you might be thinking you can just start roleplaying away as you please, right? Wrong! There are many more things you have to do before actually starting a roleplay. You need to find another person or a small group, discuss a plot and setting... but first of all, you need to make a character sheet!Basics : Character Sheet5 years ago in Writing More Like This
A character sheet defines who your character is; you might want to start roleplaying just like that, but if you don't know what character you're using, if you don't know who they are, or are unable to efficiently determine how they act, it'll most likely end in a clumsy attempt at roleplaying at best, until you've determined who your character is. Once you've been able to outline your character, the roleplay should go much more smoothly. It's always better to flesh out your character before beginning to use it.
Though certain characters are "sheetless", those who use them already know all there is to know about
How to never get writers blockHow to never get writers block4 years ago in Writing More Like This
1. Realize what you like, and write it down. Really, its as simple as that. All you have to do is, when you go "hey, I like this movie/show/book" break down as to why you like it and write it down. Even if you just like one scene in a movie, write it down; that way if you are ever stuck, just read the list over for inspiration. Here are a few examples:
Kari's little writing tutor.Kari's little writing tutor.8 years ago in Writing More Like This
Part I Character and plot development
Welcome dear readers! First of all, I want to say that this is my very first tutorial. If anything is unclear, please ask. Ill try my best to make this as helpful as possible for you ^^
So, you want to write a story fanfic or original, doesnt matter. Then I have to say: Wonderful! I dont know about you but myself, Im entering a whole new world when I read or write. Its a place where you can live dozens of lifes, where all of your dreams can come true. A place full of grief sometimes, but also full of joy, true friendship, hope and a special magic. And for that reason: Keep writing! Even if you are completely new to writing and get bad reviews or something similar: Keep writing, and as time passes, youll improve.
I dont claim to be a good writer or anything, but Ive been reading and writing since Ive been in first class (actually I started inventing stories already before
Your Arc StoryMany famous writers actually write the same basic story over and over.Your Arc Story6 years ago in Writing More Like This
Sometimes this is obvious as J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" series and somtimes something more subtle, like an author who focuses on coming-of-age stories that always involve animals. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as long as each story has a fresh enough spin to it.
What's the story you write over and over in each written work? Your "Arc Story", if you will?
1) Seek out this Arc Story, and make and outline of it. Also make a list of archetypal characters in your work, and common themes you address.
2) Now make an alternate outline that subverts everything about your Arc Story. By "subvert", I mean to undermine your own cliche. Repeat this step as many time as you wish. Do the same for your typical characters and themes.
3) If you ever get writer's block in the future, pull out one of your stock characters and think about what would happen next in your Arc Story. OR use a subverted step or character fo
Interior MonologuesInterior Monologues6 years ago in Writing More Like This
"I was just wondering what you think about interior monologues, long passages of reflection?" -- Curious Kitty
A note on:
-- Interior Monologues
Whether you are considering adding a lengthy monologue to a story, or intend the monologue to be the story itself where the focus of the entire story is on one character's thoughts and feelings with very little action -- from my observations and experimentation, the readers either love them or hate them. There's no in-between.
However, it is notable that the internal monologue stories that are sought out most frequently tend to focus on a profound emotion of some kind: grief, loneliness, heartache... Usually by either those seeking to deal with such an emotion, as a kind of therapy, or by those that have never felt such emotions. (Strong emotional stories are extremely popular among young adults.)
In both cases, not only does the reader seek to submerge the
Writers' Notes - Some BasicsWriters' Notes - Some Basics5 years ago in Writing More Like This
Here are just some basic thoughts for those who wish to be writers.
Novelists can and do break the rules in grammar, however this should not be done in a blasé manner. There is a difference between breaking rules for artistic value and being ignorant of those rules in the first place.
It's a common misconception that if you send in a badly written story that's really good plot/character wise that a publisher will accept it and have the Editor sort out the grammar / spelling. What is more likely, is it will be sent back to you, possibly not even fully read.
The reason for this is that publishers don't want to be doing all the work. You have to show you have a grasp of English and spelling/grammar is important (even if boring). We might all be a little less careful when writing our emails, letters, texts or even tutorials (I blame that on using ubuntu OS and its word processing software has predict
5 Steps to Organize Your NovelWhat You'll Need:5 Steps to Organize Your Novel4 years ago in Writing More Like This
A basic story idea
Printer (preferably laser) with plenty of paper
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
World Building Formula pt. 1-2World Building FormulaWorld Building Formula pt. 1-27 years ago in Writing More Like This
Section 1: Real Life Influences
Before we delve into creating an imaginary world, we must understand the importance of using real life influences as a base. No one can imagine anything not based on real life.
The best way to start creating or to fine-tune an imaginary world is to find influences from our world to be inspired from.
If a fantastical world has cargo full of imaginary species and magic or alternate laws of physics, the reader needs something, at least a few principles, that are the same as Earths so that they have grounding in your story. Theres a fine balance, as many wise writer types will say between patronizing and keeping your audience in the dark enough that they want to know more. The correct balance allows them to understand without confusion while being drawn on through the book by suspense.
Section 2: Nature
Reality, or at least what we perceive as reality, is probably the most key factor in what w
Organize+Write a Story Tips: 1It's always good to keep an inventory (or "cheat sheet") of your main characters. This is a good way to type it out:Organize+Write a Story Tips: 16 years ago in Writing More Like This
Full Name:Lucy Allison Maria First, Middle, and Last name. (try to avoid several different long names, such as "Ebony Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way." Especially if it's something that "describes" the character. Really, does YOUR name describe YOU? Long names are fine, but usually are shortened.)
Nicknames/Former names:Lui, Lu, Ally Plenty of people nickname themselves, or are nicknamed. Also, in fiction and non-fiction, lots of people change their names because of hiding, gender change, trauma, etc. (not everyone is nicknamed).
Gender:Female Gender is actually a lot deeper than you think. If you have a character who is a boy, but acts like a girl, it will add to his personality.
Age:16 Choose your characters age wisely. If you are, or have been that age, you'll be able to write it well (such as, there r
How Not to write a Mary SueHow Not to write a Mary Sue4 years ago in Writing More Like This
How Not To Write A Mary Sue
So, what is a Mary Sue? It is used as a form of criticism in literature and refers to an idealised and somewhat "perfect" character that appears to have no flaws or if they do they are so limited that all the "perfect" characteristics overwhelm them making the character "flat." Mary sue often refers to a young female protagonist and male "Mary Sues" are often called "Larry Stu".
From my experience most Mary Sues are written in non-published works usually by young writers especially in fan-fiction. However there are a few Mary Sue writers who are actually published (sadly). It shows a deep lacking to create perfect characters unless it's done for satirical purposes.
So why should you avoid writing Mary Sues? Simple, perfect is boring!
We don't like perfect, we don't want perfect! Ask anyone in a relationship to list the positives traits, charms and idiosyncrasies of their partner and I guarantee at least one will be something that is weird, annoying, bizarre
Tips for Generating IdeasMOST IMPORTANT: Keep the logical brain quiet and allow the creative brain to work. Start out by writing a straight paragraph of what you know about the story/idea/character/etc and only after you have exhausted the creative mind start to put it into a tidier format - Logical brain is used when formatting for scripts/profiles and interrupts the work of the creative brainTips for Generating Ideas5 years ago in Writing More Like This
1. If there are any problems, write out what the problem is in the form of a letter eg. Dear Sir, I am writing a story about ..... It is looking really good so far however there is the slight problem of .....
2. Write down thoughts in the form of a discussion/interview response or even a letter - anything that can be a mindless paragraph
3. Remember, you have to HAVE the oil before you can refine it, so take note of every idea you have, no matter how silly or illogical it may seem. Worrying about whether and how the idea is going to work will interrupt the flow
4. Practice writing out entire scenes or chapters in the fo
The LAYERS of FictionThe LAYERS of Fiction6 years ago in Writing More Like This
"If you have Action and Dialogue, do you really NEED Description too?
What is the difference?"
The Layers of Fiction
"Himawari-chan, I have your lunch!"
"Here you go Himawari-chan!"
"Thank you, Watanuki-kun!"
"You are very welcome, Himawari-chan."
"I see. Of course. Thank you, Yuuko-san. Do I need to tell you what she said?"
"No! No, you don't, and I don't want to hear it! I don't need a freaking baby-sitter!"
"Yuuko thinks you do."
"That's her! Not me!"
"Are you a fortune-teller?"
"No! Of course not!"
"I'll come get you after class. I'll get the instructor to let you wait while I practice."
"What? No! I said I don't want to wait !"
"You gonna eat that?"
"Yes I am!"
"I do not, not, NOT take orders from you!"
This is "Talking Head Syndrome." There are no dialogue tags, because I don't use them.
Character Worksheet1) Character's Name:Character Worksheet5 years ago in Writing More Like This
2) Where is this Character from?
4) Economic/Social standing:
5) Magical Standing (if any):
6) How is this character's relationship with his or her parents, or how was it before they died?
7) Does this characters have siblings? How many? Where does this character fall in birth order and how has that influenced his or her life? How does he or she get along with each sibling? How about other family members?
8) What does this character look like? Body type? Height? Hair color and texture? Skin complexion? Eye color? Any tattoos, scars, piercings, or other identifying markings?
9) What types of clothing does he/she favor?
10) What does this character carry in his/her pockets and bags?
11) How does this character move when he/she is waiting? Bored? Angry? Embarrassed? Pleased? Scared?
12) How does this character speak? Loudly, quickly, eloquently, do they use a lot of slang, etc?
13) How does he/she smell?
14) If he/she were a BPAL (Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab) pe
Essentials of a Short StoryEssentials of a Short Story6 years ago in Writing More Like This
Essentials of a Short Story
Quotes raped from a critique of Nathanial Hawthorn's Twice Told Tales by
Edgar Allen Poe - 1837
Edgar Allen Poe, celebrated as one of the finest short fiction writers of all time, was also a literary critic. These are bits of his wisdom on writing short stories, gleaned from one of his critiques.
"The true critic will but demand that that the (story's) design intended be accomplished, to the fullest extent, by the means most advantageously applicable " -- Poe
Poe's Prerequisites -- in a Nutshell:
To deliver fullest satisfaction, a short story should be structured:
1) To be read in one sitting.
2) Using a deliberate number of characters and incidents.
3) With words restrained in style and tone.
4) All done that should be done, with nothing done which should not be.
Poe's Prerequisites -- in DETAIL
A short story should be structured:
1) To be rea
Guide to Char. Archetypes Pt3The Perfect Woman. How much time do we spend striving to be that elusive creature? You know the woman, or at least imagine you do. She is brilliant in the boardroom, passionate in the bedroom, and puts Martha Stewart to shame when entertaining.Guide to Char. Archetypes Pt35 years ago in Writing More Like This
She's the star of all our favorite romances, because she's the woman we all want to be.
Hmm. Wait a sec. I don't want to be like that. And that wasn't the lady who accepted the proposal of the dashing hero in the Regency I just put down. In fact, I am not sure I have ever read a romance in which the heroine was so darned wonderful that all she had to do to find happiness everlasting was straighten out that silly hero of hers.
No. In all the romances I have seen, the heroine has a bit of emotional baggage to overcome. And she has a few real life obstacles in her path. She has to work to get the brass ring in life, and I like to watch her do it. That's the story!
So, if our romances don't star Patti Perfect, who does traipse across the pages?
Sentence Structure for FICTIONSentence Structure for FICTION6 years ago in Writing More Like This
On Basic Sentence Structure for Fiction
(Grammar Nazis BEWARE!)
Everything I ever learned about writing Fiction DIDN'T come from school; not even college. In fact, the way one writes fiction is almost the complete opposite of everything I learned in school about writing.
In order to make my stories crystal clear in my readers' imaginations, I write in precise Chronological Order, in the order events actually happen, PLUS in the order that the eye sees it.
Case in point, when describing a character, I describe them from top to bottom, in the order that the eye notices them. Face, hair, upper body, arms, hands, then lower body, legs, feet, then over all impression.
Fishing for INSPIRATION?Fishing for INSPIRATION?6 years ago in Writing More Like This
Fishing for INSPIRATION?
Your imagination is a pond that you fish your ideas from. Like any fishing pond, what you catch depends on what you've stocked your pond with and how much you put in there. If you fish for only the occasional idea, your little ideas have time to breed creatively until they overflow the pond, leaping right out into your hand -- and onto your keyboard. If you fish a lot, you will have to restock -- Frequently.
A Dry Pond = Writer's Block
What's in YOUR Imagination?
What do you KNOW?
What do you love to Do, to Study, to Think About, to Talk About...? Make a list of all the things you know well and all the things you've done -- seriously! Mythology, history, any retail jobs you might have had -- anything you might have seen, done, or studied.
WHO do you KNOW?
Have you ever met...?
A real Criminal?
A real Hero?
A real Romantic?
The Wasteland AKA the MIDDLEThe Wasteland AKA the MIDDLE6 years ago in Writing More Like This
The Trackless Wasteland known as: The MIDDLE
The middle (of a story) KILLS me. I freeze when I have to decide which way things are going to go, and how, and that happens during the middle for me.
Middle, middle, middle... It's the Slough of Despond!
The Middle is where I usually fizzle out.
The middle is DANGEROUS territory.
Why? Because the Middle of a story is where you have a million-and-one options, a million-and-one directions to choose from, and a million-and-one ways to really show off your writing skills.
The Middle is also, where you have a million-and-one opportunities to really screw up your story for good. Opportunities that will send you spiraling into ever tightening circles that eventually jam you into a corner you can't get out of. In short: get you Lost in your own story.
You KNOW yo