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Character Creation – History and Personality
So, you have the body of your character, but it's only the body. It has no life or personality yet. This will hopefully help to give it one.

History
Creating a history is not often fun or easy, but what has happened in your character's past will affect their personality. Of course, like with everything else, there are traps that you can fall into. Some things are horribly overused, it's not illegal to use them, but just keep in mind that they are really common. Whatever you do, don't have an overly sad past, and I don't mean that they can't be orphans, or be abused by a parent or partner, because it does happen in real life (sadly). Just don't have every single thing happen to them.

Example: "Growing up, Amy was never happy. She had been orphaned at the age of 5 in a car crash. She was soon adopted by a family who seemed nice at first but then they started to abuse her. She would cry herself to sleep every night because of this. When she started school, she was always bullied and had no friends. When she was thirteen, she started cutting herself and then one day her parents crossed the line and she stabbed them to death..."

(I think writing that just killed a part of my soul.) There was too much happening to her, and none of it was happy. I don't think that it's realistic to have a past like this. Not that everyone has a life filled with sunshine and rainbows. Don't do this:

Example: "Lisa's life has always been great. She was loved by both of her parents and got everything she ever wanted. Everyone wanted to be her friend at school and she always got top marks..."

(I don't even want to finish writing that one.) Something bad is bound to happen to them at some time in their pasts, they'll have no personality otherwise. They have more of a past if something has happened to them.

Example: "Anne has had a relatively happy life. She was born in South Australia but moved to New South Wales when she was six because her father got a transfer. She had a small but good group of friends that she always played with at lunch and recess times. Sadly, her father was posted back to South Australia, so at the end of year 3, she moved to a small country town with her family. Her family had to stop in Sydney because her grandfather died of cancer and they had to go to the funeral and memorial services. Year 4 was nothing special; she had a good group of friends and joined the local girl guides group in town with her younger sister. In year 5 she started having a bit of trouble, she started getting bullied, it got worse in year 6. Because of this, she started writing stories. Ever since then, writing has become a hobby for her and she does it in any spare time..."

(That was basically my past.) See, not everything is good, but not everything is bad either. To practice, you could write up your own past. When you make up a past for your character, make sure it is realistic.

Personality
This is not the easiest thing to come up with but your character needs a personality. Some parts are natural; other parts are influenced by what has happened to them throughout their lives. Like their past, personality should not be perfect.

Example: "Lisa is an extremely kind person. She is generous and bubbly. She would never hurt another living thing especially animals, she loves them too much. She is extremely loyal and trustworthy. She never raises her voice and she feels moved when somebody cries. She is happy with her life and doesn't wish it to be any different..."

That was hard to write because absolutely no one is like that. She has no flaws at all, and everybody in the whole wide world has character flaws. Perfection doesn't exist. There should be a balance of good and bad.

Example: "Anne is a very shy person; she doesn't often speak to others unless she knows them well. She isn't a very confident person, she prefers to blend in rather than stand out. She is also sensitive, making it easier for others to pick on her. She is a bit of a perfectionist, if she has to do something, she will do it well. She is polite and never swears. She can be a bit bossy, especially when working in a group. She can be impatient at times and stubborn, she also has a fairly short temper. When she is in a bad mood, she can be extremely sarcastic. She is intelligent and a bit of a spelling and grammar Nazi..."

(That was basically my personality.) That is a fairly good example of a personality. It's neither completely good nor completely horrible. Practice writing up personalities by trying to (truthfully) write down your own, the personality of someone from your family or the personality of a good friend.

Conclusion
So, now your character has a body, a personality and a life. Now they need clothing, don't worry, I haven't forgotten about that. There is a method to my madness.
The 2nd of a series of writing tips.

Personality and history are probably my least favourite parts when it comes to creating a character. I personally just use a list for personality and create the history as I go along, but it is probably better to write them as paragraphs.

I hope this helps. :)
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  • Mood: Optimism
  • Drinking: Tea
Let me start with a small explanation:

I am probably a rather rare case of a fanfiction and reader insert lover whose native language is not English and who can understand 5 languages without a problem. And this is the reason why I probably notice things in fanfictions that most others don't. This is why I want to try and make you see what I experience and feel as a reader when I encounter foreign expressions and language in fanfictions.

I hope this entry will help you a little bit if you are unsure if you should use any foreign expressions or not and how I think they should be treated. This, of course, is solely my own opinion, so please keep it in mind. I have absolutely nothing against your own opinions on this topic.  

I really like fanfiction but I especially love Hetalia-related reader inserts because of the foreign languages and the many things I learn while reading them. I think it's pretty awesome that I now can say "I love you" in more than 10 different languages, I know that "ciao bella" is just a way of Italian men to greet a random woman in the street and if someone tells me "brutto porco!" I'll definitely turn around and give that person a hard punch in the face.

And since we are speaking about the use of foreign languages in literature I might as well add this little fact: Foreign expressions are not only common in Hetalia fanfictions, even famous authors use them from times to times. I know at some point the French was very popular among the Russian writers and we can find some French words in German literature as well!  
Of course, when an author decides to use other languages he or she needs to be extra careful, for it is difficult to put the desired sentence or expression in the right place.

Sometimes it may cause more trouble than it's worth in the end.

To make it simple, I would proceed as follows:

Step 1: Ask yourself if it's really necessary to use another language in your fanfiction.
Step 2: If so, ask yourself another question: What do you want to achieve by doing so?



I think it is actually very important to think of the purpose instead of just throwing in a sentence or two because you feel like it might look good. You might want to keep your chosen character "in character" or simply make the character seem more authentic to the reader by occasionally making him say something in his native language. But remember that your reader might not get the meaning if you overdo it or use too exotic words. I would try and use widely known words or make it easy to understand them from the context, like in the following example:
 

Example Nr.1


World Meeting. Our beloved France enters the scene with his famous rose in hand and a wide smile upon his face. Suddenly he spots England and Germany on the other end of the room. Of course, being a sophisticated person, he instantly decides to approach the two gentlemen and greets his neighbours politely.
"Bonjour mes amis," he says happily, "isn't it a wonderful day? C'est trčs beau!"
"Ja, indeed." Germany replies with a curt nod.


/Explanation:
We all know that France is very proud of his language. (Without a doubt he has every right to feel so strongly about his beautiful language! He is so proud that he prefers to use his language as much as possible, and Germany, as his neighbour, knows very well that it can be quite difficult sometimes. (Just cross the border of France and you will see that he will try to speak solely in French to you.) Of course, since it is a World Meeting and we readers probably don't know much French, France has to use English in order to be understood but due to his character he cannot help but add a few French words here and there. Even Germany slips a little and says "ja" instead of "yes".

These small expressions can be easily understood from the context, they keep our dear France very much in character and make the conversation seem very lovely in my eyes.

Of course, as an author you might want to put in whole sentences in order to achieve other effects.
You might want to confuse the reader because it's important for the plot. For example, your main character suddenly finds him- or herself in a foreign country and does not get a single word! Here I would make sure that the reader can at least read the foreign sentence. After all, there is no point in writing something in Russian when the reader cannot read it and understand how it sounds.

Personally I think it's important to be able to make the reader see and hear the things written in your text. To someone how has no idea how to read something like that: "Россия тебя любит" it's just a weird combination of unknown symbols.

To avoid unnecessary interruptions you can try and describe the said sentence indirectly, this will also save you the trouble of having to use an online translator and probably mess up the sentence if you don't speak the language you want to use.  
I'll give you this example in order to show you want I mean by interruption of the flow.



Example Nr. 2: (reader insert)


After recollecting his thoughts, Iceland is about to say something important. The poor boy looks like he wants to suppress the urge to flee, to hide himself under a mattress and never come out. Then suddenly, he bursts out: "Ég elska ţig meira en nokkuđ, ég vil ađ ţú giftast mér!"

/ This is what I see in the text. And this is what it looks like to the silly me who does not understand Icelandic: "%hAJH&)-(")§$%!"=?/(&"§%/!&p/(!"&/%/("/e(§--ha8!"

There are three options from here on:

1.

Luckily, I find a footnote or this convenient symbol:"*" which indicates that I can find the translation at the bottom of the page or in the author's description. And because I am a stubborn person, I scroll down in order to find the translation although I would probably rather prefer to read the scene until the end. But, after all, I do want to understand what was said in the sentence! Of course I will find the translation, but if I am not careful enough I might accidentally read the end of the story. That's quite a problem to me because I do not like to spoil the fun for myself. After I found the translation I have to go back; sadly, the mood of the scene is ruined by the small interruption.

2.

I find the translation right after the sentence. Sometimes I ask myself if it is necessary to use the foreign language at all since 1) I cannot read the original sentence anyway and 2) I just read the translation. This might be typical of me, though, and other people might think otherwise.

3.

Sadly, I find no translation. Well, too bad for me!


My suggestion:

This is a reader insert – the reader shall identify himself or herself with the character in the fanfiction. Again, you can try and find a way around the direct use of another language. Something like this sounds nice in my opinion: "His next words were spoken in his native language, they contained such strong emotions and it was evident that they held much importance in them." I'm sure that you can do better than me with my poor writing skills! ;) At least you can definitely be sure that you made no mistakes while translating the desired sentence via online dictionary. In my example, I could not even read the sentence and as a reader I don't have any idea how that sounds anyway.
Just try and think if you really need the sentence and if it's important for the story or not! Less is sometimes more!



Example Nr. 4: Why Google Translate is not always the best option



We all know it, but we still use it anyway.
Yes, we all know that online translators are not an ideal option but there is no way around them in most cases if you do want to use some foreign words. This is actually quite funny if you happen to understand the foreign language as well. Now, most people might not notice that the translated sentence is quite wrong unless when I show you how it is supposed to sound:

Let's say Germany is saying this to Italy: "Italy, you are supposed to work instead of having a siesta!"

What Google Translate tells me: "Italien, soll man arbeiten, anstatt eine Siesta!"

How it sounds if I translate it back to English: „Italy, should one work, instead of a siesta!"

How that sentence should sound in German: „Italien, du sollst arbeiten anstatt eine Siesta zu machen!"

I'll be honest here, Germany sounds as German as my grandma who is Russian and barely speaks any German!

And I cannot help but put another small opinion of mine: What I often see is that many, many expressions, for example in Russian, do not fit into the sentence at all. It sounds weird, combined with the English. I think that sometimes a simple "my sunflower, you are my most important treasure" sounds better than an experiment with mixing the Russian expression with the English one. It may just be me because I can read both things and in the end the sound is not that nice than it could be.


That aside, I think it's totally okay if your grammar is not perfect, my English is not that perfect, either. But maybe you should just try and find someone who looks over your sentence if you need to use it in your fanfiction. I understand that it might not be easy to find someone who understands Icelandic but I would at least try.
After all, you could see it as a part of a learning process!
Everybody can use Google Translate but not everybody has the strength to research well and try and find the best solution. There are sites where you can post questions, too. It may take a while, but at least in the end you can be especially proud of your result.

Now, the last thing I would like to mention is something which depends on you:

The correct spelling of foreign words.

This should not be a problem if you use a decent translator and copy and paste the words into your text. But, for some reason, I sometimes see the same mistakes here and there. If you do decide to use the words, then don't forget to add the correct accents! Be careful with Spanish and French words and don't forget that in German the nouns are written with capital letters. If you are careful and copy and paste from the online dictionary then it should be okay. It's really not difficult at all =)



And finally, as a German-speaking country, Prussia would like to give you some awesome advice on frequently used German words and expressions that some people tend to spell wrong:

:iconyayprussiagilbirdplz::iconsaysplz: NOW LISTEN TO THE AWESOME ME!

"I love you." – "Ich liebe dich." (take notice that you write it with "ie", as well as the word "love"-"Liebe", be awesome and don't swap the "i" and "e", otherwise your result might sound quite weird!:iconprussianoesplz:)
"my woman" – "meine Frau" (note that you write it with an "e" because the word "woman" has a female gender) Prussia would also like to add: "This expression usually refers to a married woman, it's the same as if you would say 'my wife'. So be careful because it sounds very possessive!"

:iconprussiasmirkplz::iconsaysplz: Of course, being the awesome me, I cannot help but suggest the following expression:
"Süße" - "cutie", although the awesome me thinks that your favourite expression suits me well!

:iconyayprussiaplz::iconsaysplz: You can always ask the awesome me if you are unsure about your German sentences or expressions, the awesome me will gladly help! But now I have to take care of Gilbird, so please excuse my awesomness!


Now, you may ask yourself: 'Why should I care?' especially because most people would not notice the difference anyway.
It's actually very simple:
I assume, no, actually I am sure that as a Hetalia lover you respect other countries and cultures, right? If that is the case then surely you respect their languages as well. It would make people like me very happy. I like it when someone uses German in a fanfiction including Germany and actually cares enough to spell the words in a correct way.
Also, a fanfiction is also a piece of art and, just like a precious painting, it should be treated as such. I would try to make it as perfect as possible before posting it and showing it off to the world. Mistakes and wrong grammar are totally okay, hey, we're all humans, after all, but that doesn't mean that we cannot at least try. We are all lazy and I know that sometimes an author has the urge to post his or her fanfiction as fast as possible. But never forget that your readers will appreciate it when you try and give your best!
Thank you for reading this,
Have a good day!
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Story Writing – Tips and Tricks

So, you're either writing or want to write a story. Here is a list of tips and tricks that will help you on your way to achieving your goal.

1. Write Compelling Characters
Whether your character is human or not, your audience will want to read about a hero/heroine who acts like a real person. This means giving them a well rounded personality with a fairly equal amount of strengths and flaws. Having these flaws means that they have room to grow, or they could have a tragic flaw that becomes their downfall.
Example – Tragic Flaw: John Proctor from The Crucible by Arthur Miller. He is a compelling character with a tragic flaw, he has too much pride. In the end it leads to his death.

Make sure your character fits the setting too. If you are writing a story in a historical realistic setting, let's say 15th century Japan, your character should look Japanese. Research the fashion, the politics, the names and the mannerisms of the period you write about. Don't give them a modern look, or an appearance that would never fit the time. If you are writing a fantasy story inspired by Japanese culture, it might still be an idea to research the culture, but you can put your own spin on things.
Example – Inspired Settings: I am currently writing a story inspired by Asian cultures. My characters mostly fit the Asian-type setting, but there are definitely elements of fantasy. For example, I have a character called Feng Jiang (last name first – two names = probably not a peasant), his appearance is a mixture of Chinese, Thai and Indian, but he has bright orange hair and amber eyes (fantasy twist).

It isn't wrong to give your characters a horrible past, in my opinion anyway, as long as it isn't used as an excuse for the things they do or to make everyone feel sorry for them. Also, don't do everything imaginable to them, one or two things, maybe. (Remember that a life isn't always sunshine and rainbows either, give them an even mix of highs and lows if you want an average past, or relatively good one.)
Example – Tragic Pasts: (Using another character from my story.) In this world, there are children being born with the ability to control all five elements (water, wood, fire, earth and metal), and the Emperor sees these children as impurities that need to be wiped out. Li is a victim of this genocide; his village was burnt to the ground, his family killed and his body covered in burn scars. He raised himself, becoming a thief to survive and is constantly on the run.

Remember that history affects personality. How do you imagine someone like Li sees other people? Would you expect him to trust them easily? Would you expect him to feel unwanted and lonely?

2. A Note on Villains
Give your villains a motive, and I don't mean being evil for the sake of being evil. Even if you are writing a story set in a high school, the bully has a reason for what they do. Maybe they feel neglected at home, are being bullied themselves, or feel insecure and want to take it out on somebody else.

For a more sinister villain, like the ones you find in a fantasy novel, perhaps your hero did something to them in the past and now they are out for revenge. Perhaps they are the ruler of a rival kingdom and are trying to conquer the world. Maybe they are willing to do absolutely anything to become the strongest man/woman in the world.
Example – Revenge: On a personal level, Jiang's biggest enemy, apart from himself, is his older brother. He did something horrible that set his brother against him. His brother has now vowed that he will destroy Jiang's heart like he destroyed his. On a larger scale, the Emperor and the Trackers are the bad guys (for a completely different reason – racial purity).

I suggest doing research on the motives of criminals to help you with this.

3. Write a Plot Outline
Writing a plot outline helps you to keep up the momentum and not stray off the path of the story. So, before you start writing, figure out the beginning, middle and the end so you know where you are headed. It can be as detailed or as vague as you like, and remember that you have to let it be flexible or you could become stuck. Not everyone feels the need to do this, but it is a good idea.

Keep the plot outline you come up with next to you as you write and refer to it if you are finding it hard to figure out what happens next.

4. Keep a Notebook
While you are writing, you will be sure to have ideas that you want to use later on in the story, keep a notebook and pen with you at all times to write these ideas down because you can be sure that you will forget them if you don't jot them down ASAP.

The notebook can be as expensive or as cheap as you like, but personally, I like to get pretty ones so they all look different to each other (I tend to have more than one story on the go at any one time). Pens have to be good enough to last; you don't want to have to be buying a new one every other week because they stop working.

5. Research is Your Friend
No matter what you write, you need to do research. Keep a folder of things you find on the internet, in books or from asking other people. Collect as much information as possible and don't rely on just the one website (you know which one I'm talking about) to be completely reliable.
Example – Collecting Research: I have folders dedicated to collecting information for my stories. Yes, I do use Wikipedia, but I make sure to find as many other resources on that topic as possible to see which info pops up more often and cross reference it. If it appears most often, then it's more likely to be right.

Remember, all of this is up to you, and your reader will know if you haven't done the research, especially if you mess up simple geography or history.

6. Don't be Scared of Description
As most novels don't have pictures in them, you have to rely on words to get the picture from your head onto the page and into the heads of your readers. Try to describe things as you see them in your head, it is difficult but it can be done.

Don't be scared of using similes and metaphors, but don't go overboard. Personally, I don't mind if the description of a character is a bit flowery, it helps me picture them better. Describing every minute detail is a little too much, though. Use adjectives and adverbs, get a thesaurus and find words that sound a little better than 'beautiful' (eg. gorgeous, stunning, statuesque, attractive, striking, etc) or any other commonly used words (like colours, be a little more specific with your colours: scarlet instead of red, emerald instead of green, etc).

Sometimes description can be like sweets, though, too much can make you feel sick.

7. Read, Read, Read
A writer must read. Ask any author about what an aspiring writer needs to do; they will always say that you need to read. Read analytically and make notes on the techniques an author uses, figure out what makes a best-seller a best-seller. Find authors that you admire and see what compels you to read their stories, is it the characters? The plot? Their writing techniques?

Read the books in the genre you want to write, or for the age group you are aiming your stories at. Look at what is selling well in the bookshops and read the blurbs. (I know that I am very reluctant to read the books aimed at young adults right now because they are all the same – paranormal romances – but they are popular for a reason.)

Keep a list of the books you read and keep your notes around somewhere. You will start to see a pattern.
Example – Note Writing: For a lot of my school work, I have to write notes about the books I read for essays. I do this by using sticky notes and sticking them into the book so I know where to find everything. Eventually I will stick the notes onto paper and put them into a folder somewhere.

Conclusion
I hope these tips help you. You will find a way of writing that suits you, and it takes a lot of practice to write a story. One last tip, though, accept criticism, don't let what others say get you down and never give up on your dreams.
Well, it's been a while since I uploaded any sort of writing tips, I promise you that there is another character tutorial in the works, I just haven't had the right inspiration to get it done at the moment.

This was done as the product of a school subject called The Research Project. There are probably things in this that I could expand on in the future (tell me if there is something in this that you would like to see me write more about). I had a word limit, so there are probably things missing.

Hope it helps. :)

Jiang, Li (c) me
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FallenLullaby's Tips To Writing a Reader-Insert

Journal Entry: Sun Apr 8, 2012, 5:09 PM
Okay, I know I'm not the best writer out there, but I thought maybe this would be of use to others. This can apply to any type of Reader-Insert, but I'm using Hetalia as an example.

Tip #1: S-p-e-l-l-i-n-g and grammar! Believe it or not, these are very important. Bad spelling and grammar can completely ruin a story. Unfortunately, Microsoft Word is a bit of a bitch when it comes to grammar, so I'd suggest re-reading your story over again to check for any mistakes. Also, you can always get an editor.

Tip #2: Keep the character's personality the same! Unless it's specifically crack or the character is drunk off their ass, try not to make the character too OOC. I know it can be very difficult if you're writing something like NetherlandsxReader where nobody even knows how the fuck Netherlands would even react to different situations, but give it your best shot to keep the characters in-character. I don't think I'm too great at this either,  but hey, we should all try.

Tip #3: Give the Reader a personality! Is (s)he bitchy/asshole-y? Sweet? Mysterious? I know this may not seem very important, but this makes the story very interesting and appealing to the readers. It can also give the readers something to laugh at. This also helps ensure that the Reader doesn't become a dreaded Mary-Sue. (I'm not the best at doing this myself, but let's both try~)

Tip #4: Do your best to have a beginning, middle, and end. Now this is very difficult for me, but if you make sure all three parts in your story are well balanced, it gives the story a non-rushed feel.

Tip #5: Put time and effort into your story! Believe it or not, people can  tell who double checks and triple checks their story compared to those who slam a story together in ten seconds and call it good. Personally, it takes me several hours to finish a story.

Tip #6: Keep practicing! Even if you get very harsh criticism on your writing, the best thing to do is try to improve. After all, you'll eventually get better if you continue writing~

Tip #7: Add detail! This is crucial for the reader to know pretty much every essential detail.  It's very important so that the reader can get a clear image of what is going on inside their head.  


Also, if any of you are interested, I'd be more than happy to give feedback on your writing.
Remember, I'm here to help you. Not hurt you. A good Tumblr blog to submit your Reader-Inserts to is: fucknoreaderinserts.tumblr.com. They will critique your writing, but I think they might be harsh. I've never done it myself.

Thanks for reading! I hope this will be of help to you guys! Keep on writing~

Edit: I added some more details into my tips.

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CHARACTERS:

Crazy, psychopathic, murderer ladies

Sexy, butt-kicking girls

Crazy/random/hyper self-inserts

Depressed emo/goth/always-dresses-in-black types

Angsty/moody/hot teenagers

The brown-haired girl with no personality

The mean, popular, snobby girl

Unreasonably cruel bullies out to make life harder for the main character

The best friend (if they were a good character who *happened* to be a best friend they wouldn't have to be described as this)


Fun fact: Making victim OCs is cliche
Another fun fact: how someone dresses is NOT their personality
Yet another fun fact: People who claim to be random really are not and they know it.
Super bonus fun fact: A character's breast size need NEVER be stated. The end.

Super de duper bonus fun fact: Please, spare us the paragraphs on what the character looks like. It is a story, not a fashion show. A few sentences with mentions of hair color or other select features you find necessary to point out(KEYWORD: NECESSARY) are perfect. After all, how many paragraphs did JK Rowling describe Harry in? And yet we all know what he looks like... Plus, there are always these things called *pictures* you can take advantage of! especially on this fine art site ;)

Super de duper bonus fun fact part 2: When you're describing a character (or explaining a background, etc.) you don't have to do it all at once. Pace it reasonably throughout the story or it will become too overwhelming for the reader. Think of creative ways that make describing things seem more necessary. Example: She pulled out a piece of her curly orange hair.


BACKGROUNDS:

Turned crazy from being abused

Turned depressed from being abused

Turned anything from being abused

Family was murdered

Anything to do with a fire or a car crash

Anything that was invented for the purpose of making the audience feel bad for them, just to get their family out of the way or just for the sake of being dramatic/emotional.



PLOTS:

Over-dramatic/emotional scenarios specifically designed for "fluff" (aka unbearable corny-ness that you will someday wake up and realize you feel like complete fool for writing)

Making it up as you go (aka no plot)

Romance/romance related

Fun fact: Dramatic scenes do require more skill to write than casual scenes and most of the times less is more. If you base a whole story on the most dramatic/emotional things you can think of you WILL regret it.
I repeat, less is more (I don't necessarily mean less dramatic scenes, but also less drama IN the scenes too. The less drama, the more surprised we'll be when your character pours out their heart or whatever, so save the drama for when it's really important).

Another fun fact: There is this come in handy-ish thing called suspense. Drama is the anti-suspense. Create a suspense that the drama can have fun destroying, because drama without suspense is dead. It needs something to feed on.
I know you're dying to get to the part where your character is sobbing their heart out, but let the readers get to know them first, or they won't care as much (if at all...).
In most cases the only way for us to get to fully know them is through light-hearted, casual, every-day scenes and situations (sometimes far more than just the dramatic ones). It's up to you to make THOSE interesting too, you know.


(Also consider whether the sobbing their heart out part is too corny or not. A lot of the times it really is. Be careful).

Example of over-dramatic/over-used scenario (a short and undetailed one to be precise): Your character is completely distraught and broken. They sit in a corner with their arms around their knees sobbing. Then their boyfriend comes up and comforts them.

If you have an emotional/dramatic scene like this think very carefully: Is this the kind of thing I want my grandchildren to see in years to come or is it something I'm going to want to burn in humiliation?

Yet one more fun fact: Stories don't HAVE to have romance in them *shockety shock shock*

The last fun fact: Don't look up to animes when you write. Things that pass in anime don't always in literature. They're all full of Mary Sues for one.

THINGS THAT PEOPLE THINK ARE "RANDOM"

Llama  

Pie

Ninja

Saying "I like *insert type of cute food/animal/object here*"

Barfing rainbows

Basically anything else you got from internet memes or fads


OTHER

Lyrics/links to songs (sorry, but music is personal and no one is going to think of it the way you do. Plus, adding lyrics that you didn't write in the middle of a story is unprofessional)

Rewriting a story just to add a love interest
(anyone who writes down scenes of a movie word for word frankly has no life)

Sex, drugs, alcohol, racial issues (basically anything you can report someone on clubpenguin for talking about)

Fun fact: The more swearing in your writing the more immature it sounds. It's a scientific fact.
(Granted, it could be realistic if it's the way of a certain culture etc., but I think it's safe to say: leave that to those who know what they're doing).



EDIT:

Please, read my new post: How Not to Tell a Story

makingfunofstuff.deviantart.co…
WARNING: DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU GET OFFENDED OR INSULTED EASILY. THIS LIST IS FOR THE BRAVE AND HONORABLE.

Clarification: I am not saying that all these things are necessarily BAD. I am saying they are cliche and can usually be associated with unprofessional/amateur/inexperienced beginners.
I am not saying that none of these can sometimes be UNcliche when handled with care. Many good stories do involve car crashes or fires after all.
This is simply a list of cliches I put together of things that I have honestly encountered at least eighty million times each. Make of it what you will.

My take on Mary Sue [link]

A deviation I made as an example of one of the cliche stereotypes on this list:
[link]

And here's a video I highly recommend for people who write about romance.... [link] (I highly recommend a lot of their videos actually. They're worth taking a look at, especially the ones about relationships!!).
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1. River
2. Dust
3. Necklace
4. Fence
5. Key
6. Bench
7. Daisy
8. Torn photograph
9. Coffee stain
10. Button
11. Plane ticket
12. Letter
13. Present
14. Microphone
15. Test result
16. Candle
17. Empty bottle
18. Sofa
19. Pillow
20. Loose floor tile
21. Notebook
22. Bark
23. Pen
24. Backpack
25. Party decoration
26. Knife
27. Swing
28. Straw
29. Ferris wheel
30. Table-mat
31. Frisbee
32. Measuring tape
33. Diary
34. Street stone
35. Glass of water
36. Wrapping paper
37. Dinner table
38. Mirror
39. Swimming pool
40. Charm
41. Paintbrush
42. Piano
43. Flame
44. Pajamas
45. Novel
46. Watermelon
47. Garden house
48. Pocket watch
49. Shrub
50. Chandelier
51. Name tag
52. Farm
53. Cheese slicer
54. Bedside table
55. Wilted rose
56. Office chair
57. Hot chocolate
58. Lemon
59. Registration form
60. 'Delete' key
61. Name
62. Doubt
63. Paper
64. Eye
65. Senses
66. Microwave
67. Roof window
68. Teapot
69. Box
70. Jug
71. Mailbox
72. Jetty
73. Socket
74. Flashlight
A list of 74 writing prompts.
If you use one, I'd love to see what you've come up with.

I'll be making another list soon, so tell me if you prefer short sentences or just words, like this one.

Oh, and I had no clue where to put this, so forgive me for the category.

More writing prompts:
Writing prompts 2
[link]
Writing prompts 3
[link]
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After being on DeviantArt for a few years now, I've noticed patterns in people's stories. Patterns, that I can't say I've ever seen until I started using the internet. I believe that's because these kind of patterns are thoroughly unprofessional. The pattern in short is this:

Character = victim
Plot = bad things happening to said victim

Maybe this sounds harsh. It's not if you understand that is ALL there is to these stories. They take any character, hurl them into a tragedy and that's it.

Let's get this straight: We do not know your character well enough to care about them yet. No matter how bloody and gutty their injuries are, no matter how many of their family members are deceased, no matter what their boyfriend did to them, no matter what kind of disease they have, WE. DO. NOT. CARE!!!!!
These kind of things are sad in themselves, but WHO is this person we're supposed to feel so horrible for? Establish THAT. It should be your absolute FIRST priority: no exceptions.

No more pasting faces onto the same cardboard-cut-out sob story protagonist.
If you want readers to care, you must FIRST GIVE THEM A HUMAN BEING TO CARE FOR.


If you don't, yes of course you are still going to get comments from emotional people who find your story intriguing. That is not the point.
The absolute WORST thing you can do is (I hate saying this), taking comments from people on the internet seriously (about your writing, that is).
People who have no CLUE about literature will post comments on the most unprofessional writings and say things like, "This made me cry. You are like the next J.K Rowling."
DO NOT LISTEN TO THESE PEOPLE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE MADE THINGS LIKE TWILIGHT AND 50 SHADES OF GREY POSSIBLE.

All I'm saying is that if you think things like Twilight are insults to literature, I beg you to take the advice given above. If not, what can I say but: carry on. Let the age of Mary Sue begin.

We need to remember: a rich story is made up of so much more than only one element; it can't rely only on being "dark," or "tragic" or "romantic." These things are for bringing out emotion. It's ESSENTIAL that there is something worth being emotional ABOUT.
That is how you tell a beautiful story.

And even then, if you give us something we truly care about, you'll realize "I can make something even less tragic happen and it will have a much greater effect now."
Sometimes you'll even realize that being subtle is even more disturbing and "dark" than going all out.

I said it before, I'll say it again: drama is the anti-suspense. Drama needs something to feed on or else it is dead.
It's up to you to make casual, every-day scenes interesting too.
Humor is a particularly wonderful tool for making characters appealing. The more appealing the character, the more the audience will care when they suffer.

Think of your favorite cartoon character. Now imagine if they died. Not a funny, cartoon-ish death where we know that they'll be all right again in three seconds.
Pretend they came to a permanent end that was actually portrayed very tragically and non-sarcastically.
Kind of leaves you with a disturbed feeling, doesn't it? If this is the way you want your audience to feel about your characters, then follow this example. It doesn't mean your character has to be as silly as a cartoon character, it just means we should feel like we know them in such a way that we can feel their pain.


In short: don't give us another card-board soap opera. Give us something to love.
No more "I'm going to drench this character in blood and my story will automatically be deep!" If that's as deep as you can get, you must be very shallow indeed.


EDIT: CLARIFICATION

I'm saying that introducing the character should be first *priority,* not necessarily the first thing in the story. The point being, don't write a story that you worry about the character second to the soap opera.
Of course many stories (Harry Potter included) start off with bad things happening. This is because they're crucial to setting up the entire story. The point is not to expect your audience to be scandalized yet.

Also, when you read this guide, assume I'm talking about writing seriously. I'm not picking on those of you writing for practice/fun/etc.
This is a concern because things like this are being published these days. If this isn't your goal, carry on by all means.

I posted this because it's getting to the point where there is no unique style. This is the style that most beginners (and therefore most people) tend to use. I'm not picking on beginners, just pointing out not to settle with the first, most obvious style of writing that no one encourages them to grow beyond.
Are there people who enjoy this kind of writing? Of course. But why is it all we should be content with?

The attitude should be something like this: make the character deep enough for whatever you're writing.
If it's a short deviation, naturally less so than in a novel.
Same if it's not the point of the thing you're writing (say you're just trying to bring out a moral or something).
However, if you expect to write a sob story this is highly important.
I'm sure I'll be coming back and adding to this every now and then.
Comments, especially long ones are welcome! I love discussing writing!

If you want to see more, please read:
List of Cliches in Writing: [link]
Explanation of Mary Sue: [link]
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                                  Clarifying Mary Sue


So, I realize that everyone has heard of Mary Sue characters, but the thing that bothers me is that Mary has never really been as clarified as she could be. Girls go around crying Mary Sue at every character with long pink hair, then go and create even worse Mary Sue characters in the false illusion that they're making nonMary Sue characters (or even anti-Sues) when in fact they're doing the opposite. Allow me to explain how this seems to happen.

First of all the term "Mary Sue" desperately needs to be clarified to these people, so this brings us to the very important question: What IS a Mary Sue?
At least everyone can agree on one thing. Mary Sues are characters that are so perfect it's annoying.

But. What do they mean by perfect? Everyone has different ideas of that, naturally. Unfortunately, this is how many fanfiction (and other) writers make their biggest mistakes.

When you hear the name Mary Sue what pops up in your mind? A beautiful princess who gets everything she wants, has magical powers and is loved by all the other characters around them? Is that really perfect to you?

Are you sure that in your heart you wouldn't rather be the mysterious emo that everyone else dislikes and is seriously misunderstood or the tough butt-kicking karate girl with short hair? These kind of characters can just as easily be Mary Sues as the girly girl Mary Sues that writers seem to be under the impression are the only ones.


"But my character has faults!" some might point out. Granted, this may be true, but your idea of perfect might in fact include these faults.


A common example of a Mary Sue fault that isn't really a fault is that they get into trouble because they are too caring or too nice to everyone. Well. . . This is an obviously stupid way to go about giving your character faults, BUT it's definitely not the only stupid way. You see, many people only pretend to give their characters "faults" by giving them something supposedly bad that they actually think of positively. Someone who thinks it's cool and funny to be sarcastic might make their Mary Sue character sarcastic, thus making them even closer to their personal definition of perfect.


Heck, if the author thinks shooting a gun off in an orphanage is a good thing and makes their character do it, then their character is STILL a Mary Sue, so long as it's portrayed as good (whatever "good" means. More on that soon).


Why do we hate Mary? While some of the writers might hate her because they hate girly girls in general (and labor under the impression that only girly girl characters are Mary Sues) true authors find her degrading not just because of her (usually) corny looks, background or history. Oh, no. That's the least of the problems with Mary Sue. We hate her, because she can do no wrong.


Mary Sue cannot do anything wrong. Sure, she can trip over a rock if it's funny and cute or maybe even accidentally press a button that blows up a city if it adds to the plot (naively assuming there is a plot). But she can't do anything that makes her a bad person. She cannot do anything morally wrong. At least, (and this is the most disgusting part) what's morally wrong according to the author.


"Ah, so as long as I make Mary do something unchristian she isn't a Mary Sue?"
No. Remember, this is perfect according to you. Even if you use the words "morally wrong" we all know that you're not thinking of it that way. You're not thinking, "This is the part of the story where Mary Sue makes a mistake that the audience knows is wrong and doesn't want her to do!" Give me a break. You're thinking, "This is the part of the story that makes Mary Sue more deep and mysterious and interesting!"


Also, it doesn't help that a lot of people skate over describing Mary Sue as sweaty, smelly, fat or anything like that even when it would be the realistic thing to do. Still, I'm not saying that just because you did use one of those words you're character isn't a Mary Sue either.


Mary can be your own twisted, lame or just plain pathetic idea of perfect.
Everything she does is your type of perfect. Basically reading about a Mary Sue regardless of what person's type of perfect she is feels like reading "BE LIKE ME, BE LIKE ME, BE LIKE ME," which is both tedious and insulting.


Then there are the "self-insert Mary Sues." There is nothing wrong with inserting yourself into a story. However, when people do this, they tend to make themselves seem (admit it) cooler than they really are. This could be by focusing on or emphasizing the (in some cases exaggerated) most interesting things about themself (which sometimes even leads to them getting big-headed and sometimes even believing they're really this mysterious, great person in real life). No wonder the phrases "self-insert" and "Mary Sue" usually go together.
How can you possibly try to portray yourself this way and not get a Mary Sue?


I guess, what I'm really trying to say, is that "perfect" is a very very very broad word to use as a definition for Mary Sue and if that's the definition you're going to use, don't you dare turn a blind eye to your own Mary Sues just because they don't fall in line with someone else's idea of perfect.


It doesn't matter whether they have long, flowing pink hair, special abilities, or who they fall in love with (it doesn't even matter if the author personally believes they ARE perfect). It doesn't matter if they're a tomboy full of flaws either. A Mary Sue is a character who is plainly, mercilessly and unfairly worshiped by the author (directly or indirectly, usually indirectly or even unintentionally so watch out). It's in the portrayal. What could be a Mary Sue in one author's hands could be a perfectly reasonable character in another's.

Real people could take a so-called "Mary Sue test" and score as a Sue. What then? Is the person unrealistic? Perfect? Not at all! How then do so many "self-inserts" get labeled as Sues? Because of how they are PORTRAYED.

How can stereotypical perfect characters in cartoons be bearable? Because the cartoonist is not worshiping them; they are making fun of them.

Mary Sues are not so much characters who are "so perfect that they are annoying" but characters that authors worship. "Perfect" is merely a differing opinion among everyone in the world. So Mary Sues are types of characters *portrayed* as perfect.

One could even go on to say that "perfect" isn't the only thing characters can be unfairly portrayed as. Instead of perfect, maybe evil, mysterious, deep, interesting, random, tough, or funny. It all comes down to how much the author is forcing their opinion on the audience (by doing so, they are either worshiping their character or a view of their character that we may or may not share, in an obnoxious and unfair way).

(I do have to admit at least, it seems that negative opinions are generally more tolerable than positive ones. Everyone loves to hate, but nobody likes a goody two-shoes, and calling a character out every so often can be good for a story).

One could go even FURTHER to say that not only characters can be unfairly portrayed, but THINGS in your story as well. Emotions, objects, lyrics, perhaps even the plot... The list is quite infinite.

One way to avoid doing this is to show and not tell (not even show AND tell. Worry about showing). Be fair. It's almost as simple as that: keep your opinions out of it.

While super-strong, beautiful, all-holy princesses can be corny and obnoxious that's not always the stuff Sues are made of and certainly not the only.


FALSE IDEAS OF MARY SUE:

Many people who claim they hate "Mary Sues" actually just hate girly girls. Most of these people tend to be girls themselves, who are bitter at the stereotype and mistake it for Mary Sue or vice versa.

Others mistakenly believe that Mary Sues are girls who don't fight for themselves or rely on men. Regardless of whether that's stupid or not, it's NOT what Mary Sue means. One of these characters wouldn't be a Sue if the author portrayed them as an idiot. They would be however, if you were supposed to look up to them.

Yes, that's right: stereotype Sues made to make fun of Sues are contradictions, for Sues never make fun of themselves.
Also, Sues are not "characters who are underdeveloped." That is simply a bad character. Underdevelopment and Mary Sue characters, while they tend to go hand in hand, are not the same thing, and the absence of one doesn't necessarily mean the absence of the other.

When all is said and done, perhaps what we need to realize is that Mary Sue isn't a type of character, but a type of attitude.




Oh, and you know all of that goes for Gary Stus too, even though I used Mary Sue as the example instead of the less heard of male-version, right?
I tend to go back and add to this from time to time.
I'd LOVE to hear your feedback on this. Long comments are especially welcome!!

Proud Mary Sue hater forever!

EDIT: Another thing I thought of... It seems like Mary Sues boil down to the problem of narcissism especially since many people think of their Mary Sue characters as themselves (or something they want to be). I saw this stamp [link] and I highly recommend thinking about the point behind it. It falls into the same category as the whole Mary Sue/self-obsessed culture that there seems to so much of today. This is a rather excellent stamp as well [link]

Just for fun I'm gonna make a list of the most common types of Sues:
The "crazy psychopathic murderers"
The "sexy, butt-kicking ones that no one can get the better of" [link]
The "Random, crazy, hyper onez" (99% of the time being "random" really means being cliche).
The "depressed, deep, dark emo/goth/same-difference-always-dresses-in-black type"
The "warm/caring/friendly/a-million other adjectives that no one pays attention to" aka no personality kind.
For further cliches [link]


Fun fact: there is never, I repeat NEVER a need to state a character's breast-size. The end.
(In other words, avoid making things up out of narcissism and/or lust. It's unprofessional and lame).

I made a separate deviation on self inserts for more clarification: [link]
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Character Creation – Dreams and Fears
Absolutely everybody has their dreams for the future and there isn't anybody alive who isn't afraid of something. Giving your character both dreams and fears will help to flesh out your character a little bit.

Dreams
You probably have dreams for your future, so why shouldn't your character? They don't have to be huge, but it has to be possible to work towards them. Their dream could be to get the job they've always wanted. It could be to recover from an illness that they've had for a long time, or it could be as simple as to just find where they belong.

Whatever the goal is, there has to be something getting in the way. For example, my dream is to become a professional author, but I'm not comfortable showing what I've written to other people. It's the same for your character, achieving a dream shouldn't be so easy.

Of course, no one has just one goal in life, but they will always have one major one. That would be the one you would write down if you were creating a character reference sheet. There will be small goals leading up to achieving that dream.

Heroes aren't the only ones who have dreams. Villains have them too. If you are creating an evil character they will still need to have a goal that they are working towards. Sometimes it's the same basic goal as the hero's, but for a different purpose in the end. The difference in these goals will most likely define whether your character is a hero or a villain.

Example: Both Shafiq and Quintessa are after the same thing. The difference between them is that Quintessa will use it to plunge the world into darkness after making herself all powerful and eternally young and beautiful. Shafiq, on the other hand, will use it to save his family from a generational curse and then he plans to destroy it so no evil can get their hands on it.

Note: For a happy ending, the goal of the hero should be reached and the villain loses. If the villain wins and achieves their goal, then it's a not-so-happy ending.

Fears
Fear is the ability to recognise danger and flee from it or face it. It is also known as the 'fight or flight' response, a basic instinct.

Everyone is scared of something. Most of the time there is a reason, but they could be irrational fears. Sometimes these fears will be so big that your character just freezes up or passes out.

A traumatic experience in your character's past would most likely cause them to have a fear of that particular thing. If they had an incident with fire and have burn scars to prove it, then they are likely to be afraid of fire. If they almost drowned as a child then it would be reasonable to develop a fear of water afterwards.

A phobia is a persistent fear of a situation or thing. Someone with a phobia will go to great lengths to avoid that fear which is often considered irrational. If the phobia cannot be avoided then the person will endure the situation or object with visible distress and it could interfere significantly with social or work related activities.

Encountering a phobia usually provokes an immediate anxiety response. It may take the form of a panic attack; the symptoms of a panic attack can include trembling, shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness, hot and cold flushes, nausea, dizziness, sweating, light-headedness, and more. Fainting can also occur. A child will express their anxiety as crying, freezing, tantrums or clinging.

Your character is going to have fears, whether they are rational or completely irrational. They only need a few of them, and they should be used. If your character is afraid of spiders, have them scream every time they see one. Your character will probably notice whatever scares them more than someone who wasn't afraid of it.

Example: Faunus is afraid of blood, he faints when he sees large amounts of it; even small amounts make him nauseous. Shafiq is afraid of falling asleep because of the nightmares, he avoids it until he collapses and has to sleep. Flora is afraid of spiders and will scream and stomp on it until it is dead, and then she'll stomp on it some more.

Villains will have fears too; usually it is a fear of failure.

Your character doesn't need to conquer their fears. Having that fear can define them. Of course, it is possible to get over it, but getting over a fear is never easy.

Conclusion
Now your character should have their major goal and also some fears. They should be fairly fleshed out by now, but they need some friends and family. It's not possible to be completely alone in the world.
I decided to write some things about giving your character dreams and fears.

If you have some trouble with coming up with some fears for your character, there are some here: [link] It's a huge list, it won't be hard to find something.

I did have to do a bit of research, I hope it makes sense.

Shafiq, Flora, Quintessa and Faunus (c) me
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15 Writing Prompts

1. The sky was darkening when two young girls started to dance. Peoples jointed then and others started to sing. He then started to sing along.

2. I couldn’t believe I was finally there; that all this time spent traveling to that city had come to and end. Of course I was happy, but it was… Not what I excepted. Slowly, I realized that I was disappointed.

3. Death is a weird thing, life is even weirder. They both inspire a question who is simple and complex at the same time: Why?

4. I want to save you but I don’t think I can, so I’ll try until the last hope has faded away.

5. Kat started to unpack her things as I was studying her. She didn’t look like the girl that I remembered. In my memories, she had blond hair but hers was brown. Kat had changed, but I was happy to see her again anyway.

6. The fire alarm was screaming, men were running but the two teens couldn’t stop themselves from staring at each other. The girl took a deep breath then said to her now ex boyfriend:
“So, you are the one who did it …”

7. He couldn’t hide from the truth. He had gone too far and he could feel it deep inside, beneath his skin, down in his bones. All he ever did was wrong, so damn wrong.

8. Unlike most stories, this one star whit the aftermath of the battle of good against evil, a dying love and a simple goodbye.

9. “I can’t”
She said in a low, calm voice.
“I can’t because I don’t want to do it. It’s not right. It’s not what I see as right.”

10. Being stuck in a burning plane was a more than traumatizing thing, but the young man didn’t know if he cared anymore. After all, maybe it was just a joke… A stupid and brutal joke….

11. And if she was going to fall this way, she wanted them all to fall whit her.

12. “Well, if this is the first time we are alone together, I guess its kind of special…”
“No, not special, just a good time to do this…”
And then he kissed her.

13. Fights. It was not easy to face that my life now revolved around one thing: fights. Fights against the forces of evil, like they called it, but still bloody and useless fights.

14. Her grandma always told her to be careful and nice, but when she left it all behind, she didn’t care anymore. All those memories of so long ago didn’t matter anymore, there was just him and the dieses she was dying of.

15. When I was still a little girl, they took my mothers eyes away; they broke her and left her there to die. Since then, I trained and trained until I became the best gunner, until I could cut someone in pieces whit a single knife. Since then, my only goal in life is revenge.
I was really bored and unable to continue my story so I decided to make this list of writing prompts since it was the only thing I was inspired to write.
I hope it will help someone.
If you write something whit one of them, it would be nice to give me the link! 
(oh, and feel free to tell me if I placed it in the wrong category.)
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