Staying Focused When Writing


Also, do you have any tips on staying focused when writing?
  • Find a workplace. Some people can only work efficiently in certain places. Certain environments will boost your productivity, while others will completely ruin it. Find the places where you’re the most…

Writing 101: How Should I End Dialogue?

(Source: fanitheblackcatworld)

I’m Sorry Ma’am, That’s Classified: Security Clearances and Classified Information Basics for Writers by Adam Firestone


If you’ve read this column with any regularity, you’re probably aware that I’m a little “funny” when it comes to technical and procedural accuracy in fiction. There are few mechanisms by which an author can lose a reader’s respect and interest more rapidly than the use…


The latest generator, the random demon maker! Complete with horns, wings, and (mostly) unappealing personality traits, you can make your own demon in varying degrees of non-human-ness.  

(Fun fact you can technically get my headcanon for demon!Dean on Supernatural [but that’s probably like a one in a million chance])


Quite a few people requested some form of trait/personality generator, and here’s the result!  I wanted to keep it vague enough that the options could work for any universe, be it modern, fantasy, scifi, or anything else, so these are really just the basics. Remember that a character is much more than a list of traits, and this should only be used as a starting point– I tried to include a variety of things, but further development is definitely a must.

Could pair well with the gender and sexuality generator.

To Play: Click and drag each gif, or if that isn’t working/you’re on mobile, just take a screenshot of the whole thing (multiple screenshots may be required if you want more than one trait from each category).



might look a bit weird in your search history, but it’s the most helpful and informative site i’ve found for naming characters. search by letters, meaning, nationality, and syllables, among other things. has intriguing name lists — from harry potter names…

(Source: baratheonwrites)

5 Common Story Problems with Simple Fixes


Our stories are often plagued with these common story problems, but if we don’t know how to fix them, we’ll never improve our writing. It’s important that you remember you don’t need to scrap your novel if you keep having the same issues over and over again. Hopefully this…

   Anonymous asked:
   What are some other world building or related blogs you would recommend?




Well…It will be a long list. Let’s see:

World Weaving - blog similar to mine. Answers questions and posts useful stuff.

Making Places - by Evan Dahm and several other people. Not active lately  but has a ton of useful information.

Worldbuilding School - exactly what the title says, also they have nice articles on maps.

Fictionfactor: World Building -loads of useful articles, though site specializes in writing and related.

Worldbuilder  - have some useful stuff and also some on DnD (Ghostwalk) session by owner of the blog

Other useful places:

Clever Girl Helps - writing, worldbuilding, research, random facts

Fuck Yeah Character Development

Fuck Yeah Critiques For Sue - on hiatus right now but has a lot of useful info, mainly a critique on original and fan characters.

Write World - has a lot of useful information about everything related to writing.

Fuck yeah forensics - useful information on forensics and other police stuff. Also they have a great list of recommended sources on  forensics, anthropology and other dead people stuff.

Fix your writing habits - tons and tons of useful information

Fiction writing tips - exactly what title says.

The Writers Helpers - they also can help with finding beta reader - check their navi section.

Daily character development

Writing questions answered - a lot of information, very well organized

Fuck yeah Character development - that’s a different blog, but they also have loads of great stuff, including personality tests.

Writing Weasels

The writing realm

Clever help

TWH-Forensics - help on wiriting forensics stuff

Reference for writers + and their master list of online sites and references

The Writing Cafe

Total Rewrite - warning: good blog but they have a very dark theme so it can be hard to read.


   Anonymous asked:
   do you think it's too unrealistic that a bunch of teenagers save the world? Like in so many YA novels adults barely exist unless theyre the useless single parent or villain. How can I bring more adults into it while still focus it as teenagers?


I think it’s unrealistic depending on the setting and the characters in question.

In a culture where people are considered to be adults in their young teens, they will be treated like young adults by other characters and will be expected to behave a certain way. Therefore, it’s more realistic for them to be on level with other adults, but it gets unrealistic when older adults are not beside them.

In ASOIAF, I can believe Arya’s actions, decisions, and skill because she had access to learn those skills and because she’s at the same level as young squires in Westeros. But she doesn’t do it by herself and she has a lot of help along the way from capable allies.

In The Hunger Games, the adults who are forming the rebellion try to regulate Katniss as much as they can and Collins is able to do this without making them all seem like antagonists. The story is still about a teenager who helps to change her society, but she is a symbol for the rebellion rather than the leader. This brings in adults while focusing on teenagers.

Those two situations are ones that I see as realistic. If Katniss had gone off on her own with Gale, Peeta, and whoever and was able to infiltrate the Capital by themselves while proving that all the adults were wrong, I would call that unrealistic and ridiculous.

If you want to have more good adult characters while still focusing on teenagers, here are some ideas:

  • Parents: Unless your story has the technology to create artificial yet completely human specimens, everyone is going to have parents. These parents might not be living, might not be around, might be estranged, or might be elsewhere, but in most situations, it’s unrealistic that no one will have a relationship with their parent(s).
  • Other Family: Whether or not the parents are around, there could be other family members who are close to your character. These can be older siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, or someone else. They don’t have to be blood relatives, but could be considered to be family.
  • Other: Neighbors, teachers, mentors, trainers, friends, members of authority, anyone your character has contact with can be a character. They don’t have to be close to your character, but they can still be important in the story.

To focus on teenagers, their stories will have to be the main stories, but some adults should still be developed with good character arcs. Characters of all ages should interact and should have an impact on each other in some way.

To make them interact, put them in situations together. Adults and teenagers should not only interact when they need to or when they meet as a formality (like in school or a meeting). Not all adults are going to be protective or right about every situation. They’re going to mess up and they might have a similar mentality as teenagers. Some will trust teenagers and some will not. 

Force your characters into situations with each other. Let the adults be human and not just parents or teachers or whatever their job is, but don’t let them overshadow the triumphs of teenagers if you want to put the focus on the younger characters. Give the big moments to your teenagers, or at least write them. The teenagers don’t have to be around for every major triumph of the adults, but they’ll probably hear of them eventually. It’s all about which events you write out and which characters you focus on.

Even if an adult is doing most of the work while you’re writing from the POV of a teenager, you’ll be focusing on what the teenager is doing. Don’t forget to mention the effects of what the adults are doing through. Those actions just won’t take up the most space in your writing.

65 Questions You Aren't Used To


1. Do you ever doubt the existence of others than you?

2. On a scale of 1-5, how afraid of the dark are you?

3. The person you would never want to meet?

4. What is your favorite word?

5. If you were a type of tree, what would you be?

6. When you looked in the mirror this…

(Source: fixing-her-face-in-a-compact)

   lucifersrise asked:
   Recently I've had many great ideas that I've spent days, even weeks researching but whenever it comes to actually writing, I tend to just.. Shrivel up, so do you have any advice for how to handle this? Especially since the story I'm planning is quite complex.


Your jerkbrain is trying to talk you out of doing something it knows is hard work. Research is, by comparison, relatively easy. Don’t let your jerkbrain win!

  • Chunk it! If you have a good sense of what the story is, try to hammer it down to as much detail as possible, and split those details into manageable jobs. This is why I split my noveling efforts into scenes or subscenes, just to have a goal to work towards.
  • Map it! You know your story is complex. Maybe a psychical representation of what happens where can help you out. Track subplots with different colors and post-it notes, create movable flashcards with themes. As one of our readers pointed out, those school project poster boards are great for laying out your plot in detail. Try it out!
  • Outline it! Your brain is kicking and screaming at you to avoid hard work. Fool it by sketching out scenes, then filling in details as you go along. This is a great place to play the What If game, finding new ideas and plot resolutions as you go.
  • Write it! You may have to move. I can’t tell you how many times I have packed up my shit and gone to the library or a cafe because my jerkbrain associates my desk with ‘wooo internet~!’ You may have to clean everything off your desk. You may have to unplug the internet, or go outside. But you do have to force yourself in an environment where you have nothing to do but write. Once you do, the writing will follow.

It might take some time. It might be like pulling nails. But finding a way to get into the groove is important, and you should try everything you can. Don’t let your jerkbrain win!

A quick tip for writers out there, who use Microsoft Word:



Change the background colour of the pages to a mint green shade.


It is said that green is a calming colour, however, the main reason why I like this, is because I can write for a much longer period of time now, as a white background I used before…

   Anonymous asked:
   To what extent do you have to fight self insertion in your characters and to what extent do you indulge it? In order to write a character, do you have to in some way empathize with that character, even if you don't agree with them in order to write convincingly from their perspective?


Here are two pieces of common writing wisdom that, in my opinion, are often misinterpreted:

  1. Don’t write self-insert characters.
  2. Write what you know.

I think there is logic to both of these rules of thumb; but, as with lots of writing advice, people are sometimes tempted to take them to outlandish logical extremes and then interpret them as hard and fast rules which must never be transgressed.

People see “write what you know,” for example, and think that means they’re being told not to put centaurs or space aliens or 12th-century monks in their story, because they personally have never known a medieval monk, space alien, or centaur. Likewise, they see “self-insert is bad” and think that means that they should never give a character any traits or struggles taken from their own lives; that in order for their fiction to be “legitimate” or “mature,” everything in it must be invented from whole cloth. Taken to such extremes it’s pretty clear that these pieces of advice actually contradict each other. I’m supposed to write what I know—but I can’t put to use the disaster that was my high school locker, or the songs I wrote while bored at my first job, or the girl I fell in love with in my apartment building, or my evolving relationship with gender presentation, or my craving for Top Ramen every time I get a cold, or, or, or…

In short, taken to such extremes, both these rules are ridiculous.

Of course authors should put bits of themselves in their characters! And of course they should also use their imaginations to do narrative and empathic heavy lifting! I feel like one can take any given work of literature, and see immediately that the author is doing both these things. “Self-insert” is why Joyce wrote about Catholics in Dublin instead of atheists in Helsinki or San Francisco; he was “writing what he knew,” but his actual first-hand experience didn’t include brothel-keepers who spontaneously transformed from male to female, or being the sexually frustrated, grieving wife of an aging Jewish drunk. Likewise, Mary Shelly had never literally overseen the construction and then abandonment of a corpse-sewn Creature, and in that respect she was not “writing what she knew”; but she did have the experience of having recently lost a baby, with all the attendant guilt and questions about parenthood, innocence, and responsibility—all of which elements of “self” she very much “inserted” into Frankenstein.

I know peoples’ writing motivations differ but for me, if I didn’t have some personal investment in the struggles of the characters, I don’t really understand why I’d be writing. I certainly can’t see myself remaining sufficiently invested to finish a novel-length project. Usually the stories I write have enough of me in them—my preoccupations, my internal conflicts, the hard things I’m grappling with in my own life—that their trajectories actually do some work, however oblique or open-ended, in helping me solidify my own thoughts and feelings about those struggles.

Does that mean I’m just writing thinly-veiled autobiography? I don’t think so. Not in most cases—though if I were, there’s certainly a long, legitimate, and glorious history of autobiographical novels, from Mill on the Floss and In Search of Lost Time, to The Bell Jar and Invisible Man. Personally, with the very notable exception of The musician (and to a certain extent Atthis, once long ago) I don’t feel like I’m exactly writing in this tradition. But it does contain many of my all-time favorite books. 

I think the key here—why the above novels are masterpieces whereas the fiction people usually mean when they caution against self-insert is less successful—is that, if one is writing a fictionalized version of oneself, it is imperative that one be self-critical. Any character, whether a thinly-disguised version of their author or not, will lose the trust and the interest of a smart reader if they have zero flaws or internal conflicts. If the reader suspects the author of imagining themselves to be as flawless as their flawless character, that’s sort of extra boring and distasteful… but IMO the flawless character was already fairly boring and distasteful to begin with, self-insert or no. In really compelling autobiographical fiction—certainly in the four books I list above—part of the deal is that the author is brutally honest about the fatal flaws and petty shortcomings of their avatar character, and by extension themselves.

Note that this doesn’t mean they have to demonize that character or make that character pathetic or unlikeable; I find all four avatar characters above hugely compelling and even broadly sympathetic, however much they also frustrate me. But one of the built-in benefits, I think, to writing autobiographical fiction, is that the writer has unprecedented access to the deep, dark recesses of a fully-formed human heart and mind. I mean: my own heart and my own mind are the only ones I will ever have even the potential to know with that kind of completeness. I will never be inside any subjectivity but my own. Which means that if I’m going to write about myself, even more than when I’m writing characters further from me, I feel I’m under a moral obligation to go all-in.

That said, there’s a huge amount of middle ground between having a character be an author-avatar, and having them be utterly divorced from the author’s own experience. All the things I listed back up in the second paragraph—the locker, the job, the lady-love, the gender stuff, the Top Ramen—all of that kind of thing is absolutely fair game for character-building material. What’s more, giving a certain character my craving for Top Ramen when ill, doesn’t make them a self-insert character. They’re just a character who has a quirk I happen to share— a quirk which may read as more convincing given that I know it’s true of at least one real person. Most fiction-writers I know do this kind of thing all the time. And it’s in no way limited to realistic fiction: I could write a sci-fi novel where a woman falls in love with the girl living on the floor below her in their space station; or a high fantasy novel where a young mage character takes up song-writing while bored out of her mind at her sentry post. Grounding my fiction in own experiences in this way is “writing what I know,” regardless of the setting; but sharing a few traits or experiences doesn’t (necessarily) make that character an author avatar.

I’ll also add that your final question seems to me to go beyond the whole question of self-insert and author avatars, since most folks can empathize with another person without identifying with them—but yeah, definitely, in order to represent the POV of an unsympathetic character, one must try to imagine oneself into their shoes.

HOPE THAT HELPS, sorry it’s huge, etc. etc.

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