My story takes place in an otherworld setting where magic users make up about 1 to 2% of humans. Anywho, many of the magic users are noticeably marked because of their powers. This includes abnormal or vivid eye color and strange markings on their skin and unnatural hair color. I'm wondering if this is too cliche and overdone? How can I make it less cliche?
- Anonymous

clevergirlhelps:

A lot of authors choose mutations they can purple prose over to mark their magical characters. I’ve seen lots of magicians that have weird hair/eyes/tattoos … not so many with tentacle fingers, warts, or something creepy like eyes without whites. I don’t intend to force you away from your original idea, but it the commonness of aesthetically pleasing magic markers is something to keep in mind. 

I think it would be cool to have side effects that aren’t visual. For example:

  • A certain voice tone that all magic users have. It would be funny if all the magic users sounded like a six-year-old girl, but if you’re not aiming for the ridiculous, you maybe the voice sounds like that weird monotone people use to disguise their voice in videos.
  • Magicians are surrounded by their own background music. It’s very subtle, audible only to the magic user and people 0-2 feet away from them. The music changes based on emotions and type of magic wielded.
  • Magicians all smell a certain way. I’ve seen this a few times, but it’s always a minor trait or a result of tinkering in laboratories. Evil people tend to smell like brimstone and good people tend to smell like something flowery (women) or smokey/spicy (men). Choose your own scent.
  • Magician’s touch. You can detect a magician by the way their skin feels. Their skin may look normal, but touching it feels like touching scales or feathers or water or a live wire.

lastrplord:

Say What?! - The Many Faces and Meanings of Said (Requested)

First, let me clear up a rumor. Said is not dead. Said is very much alive. It’s a clever little word with an awesome ability - it can become invisible. Of all of the books I’ve read - and I’ve read many - I’ve never been jolted out of the fictional world because someone said something. That being said, it’s sometimes nice to switch things up and use different words, especially to convey a certain mood. That’s where this guide comes in. I’ve grouped many said synonyms into moods, and within those moods I’ve ranked them by how much emotion they convey. Onwards!

The Scale - little emotion, medium emotion, big emotion

Happily

joked, lilted, giggled, exclaimedlaughed, rejoiced, sang out, jabbered

Sadly

groaned, snivelled, cried, mourned, blubbered, wept, bawledagonized, lamented, sobbed

Angrily

asserted, retorted, ranted, snapped, growled, hissed, retorted, fumed, seethed, raged, thundered, roared, bellowed, snarled

Bossily

insisted, argued, bossed, dictated, professed, barked, yelled, demandedordered, shrieked

Pained

yelped, groaned, whimperedcried out, howled, screamed, shrieked, wailed, bellowed, roared

Scared

squeaked, gasped, whimpered, stammered, screeched, shrieked

Understanding

consoled, comforted, sympathised, agreed

Begging

beseeched, begged, implored, pleaded

Arguing

grumbled, huffed, countered, argued, disagreed, retorted, agreed

Other Ways To Say It

quipped, raved, sputtered, squawked, asked, answered, explained, inquired, posed, pressed, called, pried, whispered, proposed, yammered, queried, interrogated, replied, breathed, croaked, requested, murmured, responded, retorted, suggested, prayed, purred, hollered, blurted, mumbled, sighed, complained, jeered

In Which Diversity Isn’t a Myth

clementive:

Ok. I’m tired of the typical vampire, werewolf and fairy.I’m also tired of the occidental-centrism in mythology. Hence, this list. 

I tried to included as many cultural variants as I could find and think of. (Unfortunately, I was restricted by language. Some Russian creatures looked very interesting but I don’t speak Russian…) Please, add creatures from your culture when reblogguing (if not already present). It took me a while to gather all those sites but I know it could be more expansive. I intend on periodically editing this list. 

Of note: I did not include specific legendary creatures (Merlin, Pegasus, ect), gods/goddesses/deities and heroes.

  • Dragons

The Chinese Dragon

The Japanese Dragon

The Korean Dragon

The Vietnamese Dragon

The Greek Dragon

The Indian Dragon

The Polish Dragon

The Austrian Dragon

The British Dragon

The Ancient Dragon (Egypt, Babylon and Sumer)

The Spanish Basque Dragon

Of the Cockatrice (creature with the body of a dragon)

Alphabetical List of Dragons Across Myths (Great way to start)

  • Little creatures (without wings)

The Legend of the LeprechaunsThe Leprechaun

Chanaque /Alux (the equivalent of leprechauns in Aztec/Mayan folklore)

Elves

Elves in Mythology and Fantasy

Elves in Germanic Mythology

Kabeiroi or Cabeiri (Dwarf-like minor gods in Greek mythology)

Norse Dwarves

The Myth of Loki and the Dwarves

Ten Types of Goblins

Goblins

Tengu: Japanese Goblins

Gnomes 

More on Gnomes

Pooka: an Irish phantom

  • Creatures with wings (except dragons)

Fairies

All sorts of Cultural Fairies

Fairies in Old French Mythology 

A Fairy List

Bendith Y Mamau (Welsh fairies)

Welsh Fairies

Peri (Persian fairies)

Yü Nü (Chinese fairies)

The Celtic Pixie

Angels in Judaism

Angels in Christianity

Hierarchy of Angels

Angels in Islam

Irish Sylph

Garuda (Bird-like creature in Hindu and Buddhist myths)

Bean Nighe (a Scottish fairy; the equivalent of a banshee in Celtic mythology)

Harpies

  • Spirited Creatures

Druids

Jinn (Genies in Arabic folklore)

Types of Djinns

Aisha Qandisha and Djinn in Moroccan Folklore

Oni (demons in Japanese folklore)

Nymphs

Spirits in Asturian Mythology

Valkyries

Lesovik

Boggarts: The British Poltergeist

Phantom black dogs (the Grim)

Demons in Babylonian and Assyrian Mythology (list)

Demons in the Americas (list)

European Demons (list)

Middle-East and Asia Demons (list)

Judeo-Christian Demons (list)

Nephilim, more on Nephilim

Mahaha (a demon in Inuit mythology)

Flying Head (a demon in Iroquois mythology)

  • Ghosts

Toyol (a dead baby ghost in Malay folklore)

Malay Ghosts

Yuki-onna (a ghost in Japanese folklore)

The Pontianak (a ghost in Malay mythology)

Funayurei (a ghost in Japanese folklore)

Zagaz (ghosts in Moroccan folklore)

Japanese Ghosts

Mexican Ghosts

  • Horse-like mythical creatures

Chinese Unicorns

Unicorns

The Kelpie (Could have also fitted in the sea creatures category)

The Centaur

The Female Centaur

Hippocamps (sea horses in Greek mythology)

Horse-like creatures (a list)

Karkadann, more on the Karkadann (a persian unicorn)

Ceffyl Dwfr (fairy-like water horse creatures in Cymric mythology)

  • Undead creatures

The Melanesian Vampire 

The Ewe Myth : Vampires

The Germanic Alp

The Indonesian Vampire

Asanbosam and Sasabonsam (Vampires from West Africa)

The Aswang: The Filipino Vampire

Folklore Vampires Versus Literary Vampires

Callicantzaros: The Greek Vampire

Vampires in Malaysia

Loogaroo/Socouyant: The Haitian Vampire

Incubi and Sucubi Across Cultures

Varacolaci: The Romanian Vampire

Brahmaparusha: The Indian Vampire

Genesis of the Word “Vampire”

The Ghoul in Middle East Mythology

Slavic Vampires

Vampires A-Z

The Medical Truth Behind the Vampire Myths

Zombies in Haitian Culture

  • Shape-shifters and half-human creatures (except mermaids) 

Satyrs (half-man, half-goat)

Sirens in Greek Mythology (half-woman and half-bird creatures)

The Original Werewolf in Greek Mythology

Werewolves Across Cultures

Werewolf Syndrome: A Medical Explanation to the Myth

Nagas Across Cultures

The Kumiho (half fox and half woman creatures)

The Sphinx

Criosphinx

Scorpion Men (warriors from Babylonian mythology)

Pooka: an Irish changelings

Domovoi (a shape-shifter in Russian folklore)

Aatxe (Basque mythology; red bull that can shift in a human)

Yech (Native American folklore)

Ijiraat (shapeshifters in Inuit mythology)

  • Sea creatures

Selkies (Norse mermaids)

Mermaids in many cultures

More about mermaids

Mermen

The Kraken (a sea monster)

Nuckelavee (a Scottish elf who mainly lives in the sea)

Lamiak (sea nymphs in Basque mythology)

Bunyip (sea monster in Aboriginal mythology)

Apkallu/abgal (Sumerian mermen)

An assemblage of myths and legends on water and water creatures

Slavic Water Creatures

The Encantado (water spirits in Ancient Amazon River mythology)

Zin (water spirit in Nigerian folklore)

Qallupilluk (sea creatures in Inuit mythology)

  • Monsters That Don’t Fit in Any Other Category

Aigamuxa, more details on Aigamuxa

Amphisabaena

Abere

Bonnacon

Myrmidons (ant warriors)

TrollMore on Trolls

Golems 

Golems in Judaism

Giants: The Mystery and the Myth (50 min long documentary)

Inupasugjuk (giants in Inuit mythology)

Fomorians (an Irish divine race of giants)

The Minotaur

The ManticoreThe Manticore and The Leucrouta

The Ogre

The Orthus (two-headed serpent-tailed dog)

The Windigo

The Windigo Psychosis

Rakshasa (humanoids in Hindu and Buddhist mythology)

Yakshas (warriors in Hindu mythology)

Taqriaqsuit (“Shadow people” in Inuit mythology)

  • References on Folklore and Mythology Across the Globe

Creatures of Irish Folklore 

Folklore and Fairytales

An Overview of Persian Folklore

Filipino Folklore

Myths, Creatures and Folklore

Alaska Folklore

Spanish (Spain) Mythology

Mythical Archive

Mythology Dictionary

List of Medieval and Ancient Monsters

Native American Animals of Myth and Legends

Native American Myths

Bestiary of Ancient Greek Mythology

Mythology, Legend, Folklore and Ghosts

Angels and Demons

List of Sea Creatures

Yoruba Mythology

Ghosts Around the World, Ghosts From A to Z

Strange (Fantastic) Animals of Ancient Egypt

Egyptian Mythology

Creatures from West Africa

On the Legendary Creatures of Africa

Myths, Creatures and Folklore

  • References on writing a myth or mythical creatures

Writing a MYTHology in your novel?

How to Write a Myth

10 Steps to Creating Realistic Fantasy Creatures

Creating Fantasy Creatures or Alien Species

Legendary Creature Generator

Book Recommendations With Underrated Mythical Creatures

(I have stumbled upon web sites that believed some of these mythical creatures exist today… Especially dragons, in fact. I just had to share the love and scepticism.)

Guide: Describing Clothing and Appearance

writing-questions-answered:

When Describing a Character

DO:

  • provide enough detail to give the reader a sense of the character’s physical appearance 
  • highlight details that serve as clues to who the character is and perhaps what their life is like
  • describe clothing to establish character or when relevant to scene

DON’T:

  • go overboard with too many details or take up too much of the reader’s time describing one character
  • repetitively describe features or fixate on certain characteristics
  • describe clothing every time the character shows up unless its somehow relevant to the scene. 
  • describe minor characters’ clothing in-depth unless it’s relevant


Choose a Focal Point

When describing a character’s appearance, choose a focal point and work up or down from there. For example, you may describe them from head to toe, or from toe to head. Try not to skip around. If you’re describing their face, start with their hair and work your way down to their mouth, or start at the mouth and work your way up to their hair.


Describing Race and Ethnicity

There is a lot of debate about the right and wrong way to describe a person’s race. If you want, you can state that a person is Black, white, Hispanic, Native American, First Nations, Latino, Middle-Eastern, Asian, Pacific Islander, etc. Just remember that races are made up of different ethnic groups. Someone of Asian descent could be Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc. If you’re describing a character whose ethnicity is unknown or not important to the plot, you could just say that they were Asian or Black, for example. But, the rest of the time you need to be clear about whether they are Chinese, Chinese American, Korean, etc. Also, remember that not all Black people are African-American, such as someone born in England or Haiti, for example.

You may instead choose to describe a character’s race through the color of their hair, eyes, and skin. It’s up to you which you feel most comfortable with and is most appropriate for your story. Just remember, if you describe one character’s skin color or otherwise make an issue of their race, you should describe every character’s skin color or race.


Describing Clothing

Just like with physical appearance, when describing clothing you want to choose a focal point and work up or down. Think about things like the garments they’re wearing (pants, shirt, coat) and accessories (hat, jewelry, shoes). Be sure to choose clothing which are both relevant to your character and to the time and place where your story is set. You can find out about appropriate clothing by Googling the time and place your story is set plus the word clothing:

"Clothing in Victorian England"
"Clothing in 1960s New York"
"9th century Viking clothing"

Be sure to look for web sites that aren’t providing cheap Halloween costumes. Shops providing clothes for historical reenactors are often very accurate.


Looking for Inspiration

There are many resources online for both historical and modern clothing. For historical clothing, you can look for web sites about the period, web sites for or about historical reenactors, or web pages for historical enthusiasts or museums. For modern clothing, you can simply pull up the web site of your favorite department store or clothing designer. Choose an outfit that works for your character, then learn how to describe the relevant parts.


Resources for Describing Clothing:

Describing Clothing
Describing Clothes
Writing Tips on Describing Clothes
Describing Clothes and Appearance (If You Should at All)


Resources for Garments and Accessories:

Shirts
Trousers 
Dress
Types of Dress
Shorts
Briefs
Panties
Lingerie
Bra
Swimsuit
Pajamas
Shoes
Coats and Jackets
Sweaters
Hats
Jewelry
Sunglasses
Sleeves, Necklines, Collars, and Dress Types
Scarves for Men
Scarf Buying Guide
The Ultimate Scarf Tying Guide



Historical Clothing Resources:

OMG That Dress!
Period Fabric
Amazon Dry Goods
Reconstructing History
Historic Threads
Historical Costume Inspiration
History of Costume: European Fashion Through the Ages
Women’s Fashion Through the Years
Clothing in the Ancient World
Clothing in Ancient Rome
Clothing in Biblical Times
Vintage Fashion Guild



Modern Clothing Resources:

Clothes on Pinterest
Polyvore
Fashion Dictionary
This is a Fashion Blog
What I Wore
Fashion is Endless


Physical Details Resources:

Women’s Body Shapes
Men’s Body Shapes
Face Shapes
Realistic Eye Shape Chart
Facial Hair Types
How to Describe Women’s Hair Lengths
The Ultimate Haircut Guide for Women
Men’s Haircuts (Barber Shop Style)
A Primer on Men’s Hairstyles
Hair Color
Obsidian Bookshelf Hair Color
Obsidian Bookshelf Eye Color
Skin Color Chart
Curl and Texture Chart

posted 1 week ago with 9530 notes
# writing   
45 Things I Want to See More of in Stories

elumish:

  1. Characters with disabilities
  2. Soul mates with the issues of being stuck with someone for the rest of your life
  3. Soul mates where people end up getting outed against their will
  4. Soul mates for non-traditional-romantic relationships
  5. Functional families
  6. Functional non-romantic cross-gender friendships
  7. Friendships that fall apart and don’t fix themselves
  8. Sex that screws up relationships
  9. Romantic relationships without sex
  10. Sexual relationships without romantic attraction
  11. Love Vs where the best choice is neither of them
  12. Actual love triangles
  13. Bad decisions having real consequences
  14. Diverse groups of people
  15. Fantasy societies that are not homogenous
  16. Superpowers that are more of a burden than a gift
  17. Magic with consequences
  18. Dealing with magic being revealed to the world
  19. Showing the consequences magic has on the development of a society
  20. Interesting magic systems
  21. Modern retellings of non-European fairy tales
  22. GSRM people with importance beyond their sexuality
  23. The main character losing fights and then having to recover
  24. Having to train to acquire skills
  25. Failed relationships that end with friendships
  26. Main characters with happy childhoods
  27. People with unusual hobbies
  28. People who play sports who are more than just sport players
  29. People who play sports who dedicate their lives to their sport
  30. Religion saving characters
  31. Religion alienating characters
  32. Relationships despite religious differences
  33. Dealing with situations with no way out
  34. Dealing with other characters being in situations with no way out
  35. Rekindling old friendships
  36. Non-conventionally attractive characters who don’t become attractive
  37. Characters who never learn to live with themselves as they are
  38. Characters who learn to live with themselves as they are
  39. Characters doing bad things for the greater good, and having to face the consequences
  40. The government being the protagonist’s side
  41. Political intrigue with reasons other than love as the motivating factor
  42. High school with competent teachers
  43. Competent therapists/social workers
  44. Conspiracy theories that are really just theories
  45. Adult stories with realistic teenagers
What is up with “thy,” “thou,” “thee,” and “thine”?

theyuniversity:

image

image

image

image

image

characterdesigninspiration:

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).

posted 2 weeks ago with 112371 notes (orig)
# writing   
Guide: Describing Clothing and Appearance

writing-questions-answered:

When Describing a Character

DO:

  • provide enough detail to give the reader a sense of the character’s physical appearance 
  • highlight details that serve as clues to who the character is and perhaps what their life is like
  • describe clothing to establish character or when relevant to scene

DON’T:

  • go overboard with too many details or take up too much of the reader’s time describing one character
  • repetitively describe features or fixate on certain characteristics
  • describe clothing every time the character shows up unless its somehow relevant to the scene. 
  • describe minor characters’ clothing in-depth unless it’s relevant


Choose a Focal Point

When describing a character’s appearance, choose a focal point and work up or down from there. For example, you may describe them from head to toe, or from toe to head. Try not to skip around. If you’re describing their face, start with their hair and work your way down to their mouth, or start at the mouth and work your way up to their hair.


Describing Race and Ethnicity

There is a lot of debate about the right and wrong way to describe a person’s race. If you want, you can state that a person is Black, white, Hispanic, Native American, First Nations, Latino, Middle-Eastern, Asian, Pacific Islander, etc. Just remember that races are made up of different ethnic groups. Someone of Asian descent could be Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc. If you’re describing a character whose ethnicity is unknown or not important to the plot, you could just say that they were Asian or Black, for example. But, the rest of the time you need to be clear about whether they are Chinese, Chinese American, Korean, etc. Also, remember that not all Black people are African-American, such as someone born in England or Haiti, for example.

You may instead choose to describe a character’s race through the color of their hair, eyes, and skin. It’s up to you which you feel most comfortable with and is most appropriate for your story. Just remember, if you describe one character’s skin color or otherwise make an issue of their race, you should describe every character’s skin color or race.


Describing Clothing

Just like with physical appearance, when describing clothing you want to choose a focal point and work up or down. Think about things like the garments they’re wearing (pants, shirt, coat) and accessories (hat, jewelry, shoes). Be sure to choose clothing which are both relevant to your character and to the time and place where your story is set. You can find out about appropriate clothing by Googling the time and place your story is set plus the word clothing:

"Clothing in Victorian England"
"Clothing in 1960s New York"
"9th century Viking clothing"

Be sure to look for web sites that aren’t providing cheap Halloween costumes. Shops providing clothes for historical reenactors are often very accurate.


Looking for Inspiration

There are many resources online for both historical and modern clothing. For historical clothing, you can look for web sites about the period, web sites for or about historical reenactors, or web pages for historical enthusiasts or museums. For modern clothing, you can simply pull up the web site of your favorite department store or clothing designer. Choose an outfit that works for your character, then learn how to describe the relevant parts.


Resources for Describing Clothing:

Describing Clothing
Describing Clothes
Writing Tips on Describing Clothes
Describing Clothes and Appearance (If You Should at All)


Resources for Garments and Accessories:

Shirts
Trousers 
Dress
Types of Dress
Shorts
Briefs
Panties
Lingerie
Bra
Swimsuit
Pajamas
Shoes
Coats and Jackets
Sweaters
Hats
Jewelry
Sunglasses
Sleeves, Necklines, Collars, and Dress Types
Scarves for Men
Scarf Buying Guide
The Ultimate Scarf Tying Guide



Historical Clothing Resources:

OMG That Dress!
Period Fabric
Amazon Dry Goods
Reconstructing History
Historic Threads
Historical Costume Inspiration
History of Costume: European Fashion Through the Ages
Women’s Fashion Through the Years
Clothing in the Ancient World
Clothing in Ancient Rome
Clothing in Biblical Times
Vintage Fashion Guild



Modern Clothing Resources:

Clothes on Pinterest
Polyvore
Fashion Dictionary
This is a Fashion Blog
What I Wore
Fashion is Endless


Physical Details Resources:

Women’s Body Shapes
Men’s Body Shapes
Face Shapes
Realistic Eye Shape Chart
Facial Hair Types
How to Describe Women’s Hair Lengths
The Ultimate Haircut Guide for Women
Men’s Haircuts (Barber Shop Style)
A Primer on Men’s Hairstyles
Hair Color
Obsidian Bookshelf Hair Color
Obsidian Bookshelf Eye Color
Skin Color Chart
Curl and Texture Chart

posted 2 weeks ago with 9530 notes (orig)
# writing   

argonianbot:

i dont think you guys appreciate how rad this site is 

because first of all you got your basic fantasy and game race names for like

everything

image

BUT AS IF THAT ISN’T ENOUGH

REAL NAMES WHICH ARE GOOD FOR BOOKS

image

AND THIS THERE’S MORE????

BAM, PLACE NAMES

image

AND STILL MORE

image

image

SO YOU SEE THESE LITTLE OPTIONS HERE

image

PLEASE, PLEASE

GO AND TRY TO HELP A GOOD PERSON OUT

posted 2 weeks ago with 104758 notes (orig)
# writing   
The Best Tumblrs for Writers to Follow

amandaeoliver:

I have been on Tumblr for nearly four years and steadily been finding great accounts related to writing. Thought I’d share some of my favorites for other writers or aspiring writers. 

  • GENERAL

The Electric Typewriter I am convinced that Dan, the curator of tetw, has found and neatly catalogued every good bit of writing on the internet. I could be wrong, but check for yourself.

Last Nights Reading Drawings by Kate Gavino with quotes from readings in New York City.

The Rumblr The Tumblr account for The Rumpus. Their posts, reblogs, gifs, and horoscopes by Madame Clairevoyant make me giddy ever time they come up on my dashboard.

Press 53 A publisher of short fiction and poetry collections based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Their Poetry Wednesdays, Flash Fiction Fridays, and 53-story contests inspire many a sentence and story.

Penguin Classics From the editors of Penguin Books and Penguin Classics, they share quotes, photos, and, my personal favorite, Friday Final Lines. Every Friday, they offer the closing lines of a Penguin Classic.

The Paris Review Curated by their digital director Justin Alvarez, the quarterly literary magazine’s Tumblr is full of inspirational graphics and quotes that link to Paris Review articles, essays, and interviews well worth reading.

Button Poetry Even though they have only been around a little over a year, they consistently showcase new (and incredible) performance poets.

Yeah Write Everything creative writing related. Quotes, book lists, interesting articles and graphics

Electric Literatures Recommended Reading Recommended Reading is released on a four week curation cycle: beginning with a story chosen by Electric Literature, followed by an excerpt from an indie press, then an author recommendation, and finally a selection from a magazine’s archive. Each issue includes an editor’s note written by that week’s partner, introducing you to the work and their mission.

Black Balloon Publishing An independent press based out of New York City. They publish fiction, nonfiction, and memoir and “champion the weird, the unwieldy, and the unclassifiable.” They consistently publish great posts like Can You Identify the Handwriting of These 12 Famous Authors and Daddy Dearest: 10 Literary Fathers and Father Figures to be Glad Aren’t Your Own

Fwriction The online literary journal’s blog, “specializing in work that melts faces and rocks waffles.”

  • INSPIRATION

Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows Although the account hasn’t been updated in nearly 5 months, there are several years of archives with words and definitions John Koenig created for emotions that otherwise leave us speechless. 

Today’s Document A little history always gets the words flowing for me. The Tumblr for the U.S. National Archives posts one document daily. 

Hello You Creatives A collective of humans being creative. Inspiration, inspiration, inspiration.

Creative Mornings/Findings In a slump? Come here for photos, quotes, projects, and more from other creatives.

  • BOOK STORES

Strand Books Based in New York City

Powell’s Books Based in Portland, Oregon

Open Books Store Based in Chicago, Illinois

  • FREELANCE & PUBLISHING

Calls for Submissions for Writers and Poets 

Writing Opportunities

Freelancer Real Talk

  • RECOMMENDED READING:

Writers No One Reads

NPR Books

**I will continually be adding to the list

posted 3 weeks ago with 3050 notes (orig)
# writing   
5 Tips to Increase Writing Productivity

fictionwritingtips:

I spoke about overcoming writing excuses the other day, but what should you do to keep up your writing productivity once you’ve started? If you’re trying to reach writing goals and remain consistent, focusing on what makes your more productive should help.

Here are 5 tips to increase your writing productivity:

Find your writing space

Having your own space to write often increases your productivity. I know you won’t always have your own space, but you should be able to identify where you’re most productive. Some people like to write in a crowded place, like a coffee shop, and some people like to write in an academic setting, like a library. If there’s room in your home or apartment, try to carve out a space that’s ONLY for writing. You know when you sit there you should only be focused on writing. Try to surround that space with things that inspire you or are related to writing.

Keep a notebook

Nothing helps increase writing productivity like brainstorming. Taking a few moments to jot down ideas or explore where your novel is going will help you stay productive. That’s why I always keep a small notebook with me in case I feel inspired by something. This helps because if you run out of ideas when you’re writing, you can always refer to your notebook, which will help prevent you from getting stuck.

Set a weekly goal

Daily word goals can be difficult for some people to stick with. We don’t always have time and we end up feeling frustrated when we don’t meet certain goals. I like to set a weekly goal, so it gives me the flexibility I need to stay motivated. For example, focus on finishing a chapter or working on a scene you want to finish. You can also set a goal to write for a certain amount of time. This also allows you to go beyond your goals for the week and be extra productive.

Plan it out

If you plan your novel before you begin and then actively adjust your outline when something changes, you’ll see a significant increase in productivity. Knowing what you’re going to work on next will allow you to write faster than you thought possible. I know it isn’t a race, but this will keep you from second guessing what you already wrote about and will help you stay on track. If you often get stuck while writing, considering more planning.

Write when you can

Productivity doesn’t come from forcing yourself to write for an hour or two, it comes from taking small writing breaks when you get the chance. Sometimes I write during my lunch break, sometimes I write about ten minutes before I go to bed, and sometimes I write a couple sentences in the morning. The point is, all these writing sprints add up, and they’re significant. Being able to schedule your writing time is nice, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Write when it’s best for you and don’t worry about not being able to dedicate a large chunk of time to it!

posted 3 weeks ago with 1500 notes (orig)
# writing   
Reverse-Engineering Your Character Arc

writeworld:

Thank you for your question, lunabeck!

I’d spend some time figuring out what changes will be made to this character over the course of the story and why these changes are made. Where along the plotline of the story does your character acquire some of these changes you’re talking about? Why do these changes occur? What was your character like before the changes?

Examples? You betcha!

Example One:

So let’s say that your character (let’s call her Tara) feels a certain way about this guy Bert at the end of the story. She likes him. Cool. Did Tara always like Bert? Is it a worthy plot point to make her not like Bert at some time before the end of the story? If so, what changed her mind?

Perhaps Tara met Bert at the beginning of the story and they totally started off on the wrong foot. Maybe Bert insulted Tara’s friend. Maybe Bert had had a few too many Long Island Iced Teas and acted foolishly. Fair enough. It happens to the best of us. Over the course of the story, Tara has to grow to like Bert, though, right? Because at the end of the story, she likes him, and we know that going in. So what changes?

Bert could get a kitten. Everyone likes kittens. Then maybe Bert helps Tara move. That’s always endearing. Maybe Bert apologizes to Tara for insulting her friend, and Tara realizes that she’s been super hard on Bert for months over some tiny thing. Maybe this interaction puts Tara into an introspective mood, and she finally understands how judgemental she can be toward strangers because of her own fear of inadequacy. Then she and Bert move forward as equals in their friendship. Roll Credits.

The point is that Tara doesn’t always have to have liked Bert. It might actually be more interesting if they don’t start off as besties, you know? Tension between characters is conflict, and conflict drives stories. Maybe play around with what changing relationships might do for Tara’s character arc. If she likes Bert when she didn’t before, how has that changed her emotionally? How would such a change affect her reactions to events in the beginning of the story versus the end of the story?

Example Two:

Maybe Tara moonwalks her way through the story as a kind, generous person and an epic dancer. That’s fantastic (and definitely fun to have at parties), but it doesn’t have to be that way.

What if Tara starts off sort of dull and rude? And she can’t dance. Lame. 

Basically, what if Beginning-of-the-Book Tara and End-of-the-Book Tara are exact opposites? How could you make that a thing?

What events would have to occur in the story to change Tara from rude and dull to kind and generous, from a non-dancer to an epic dancer? 

Maybe she starts going to therapy to figure out how to transform her critical eye into a force for good instead of evil. Instead of valuing the short-lived high that comes from commenting on other people’s shortcomings, Tara could teach herself to use that critical eye to identify problems and her considerable intellect to work with others on creating solutions. Boom. Rudeness into kind generosity. 

Now, a change like this could take the whole story to evolve properly. This isn’t a one-trip-to-the-therapist change; this is a life-altering choice Tara has to make. It needs space. It needs time.

What about the dancing, you ask? Well, have her take lessons. (That sort of takes care of the dullness, too. Everyone needs a hobby!) Maybe dance class is where she meets Bert!

(These are, of course, extreme examples. Most character arcs are slightly more nuanced than this.)

If you’ve already got a character that is, in your mind, a finished project, it’s worthwhile to spend some time slowly unbraiding that character. Where do they seem weakest in terms of personality? How can you exploit these flaws in the beginning of the story? What personal or external struggles would cause even a subtle change in their personality?

At the end of the story, Tara, your character, is still human. If, say, Tara went from being incredibly ungrateful to counting her blessings, it is very rarely so drastic a change. Those are the kind of changes you really only see in articles about character development because they make for the clearest examples. They seem forced, inhuman even. It is more likely that if Tara starts off the story being incredibly ungrateful, she will still struggle with being ungrateful at the end of the story, if only internally. After all, the only type of finished person is a dead person. 

So if you have an end-of-the-book character in your mind and you’re trying to chart her journey, and maybe she has a habit of taking things for granted, or struggles with it a little, you can trace this character trait back to when it was at its worst and start there. You might even think about mapping out Tara’s development. Creating a map might help you visualize your character’s development vs. the story’s progression if that is where your trouble lies. It might help with timing and syncing up development with events in the story with each step of the character arc.

Essentially what you’re doing with character arcs is throwing rocks (story events) at a wall (the character) over a given period of time (the story). The rocks chip the paint. They crack the moulding. They dent the drywall. Eventually, if the rock is big enough or you throw enough little rocks at one spot on the wall, you’ll make a hole. At that point, the wall is changed forever. Even patching the hole won’t be perfect, and a patch can’t ever undo the fact that there was once a hole.

To reverse-engineer a character arc, figure out the chips and cracks and holes in the wall of your character, then find rocks that seem to match and decide how to throw them. 

Thanks again for your question!

-C and Hannah (theroadpavedwithwords)

posted 3 weeks ago with 1067 notes (orig)
# writing   

whatisdoneisinprogress:

fibr0myalgiaw0nderla17d:

Sensory Overload and how to cope.

(click on images to zoom)

So important.

I also find I can get SO from thinking too much, like brain-over-stimulation. Though that is kinda like audio input for me because of the way I think. After all, my go-to overload thought is “quiet please, make it stop”.

posted 3 weeks ago with 22818 notes (orig)
# writing   
On the Road Again … Traveling in the Middle Ages

clevergirlhelps:

By foot: Most people in the Middle Ages – except some really hardcore monks – didn’t travel long distances exclusively by foot. The average adult has an average walking speed between 2.95 mph (4.75 km/h) to 3.37 mph (5.43 km/h), and would consequentially cover between 15-17 mi (24-27 km) a day. Remember, people had to stop walking for lunch – the biggest meal of the day –and shortly before dark, so they could find shelter or mount defenses against bandits.

By horse: Riding alone or in small groups was the quickest method of travel. The average horse and rider can cover 20-30 mi (32-48 km) a day. Royal messengers – who have enough coin to pay for remounts on the way – can cover up to 80 mi (130 km) a day. That speed was reserved for extremely important news, such as declarations of war or the death of the king.

Read More

posted 3 weeks ago with 141 notes
# writing   
Medieval Armies

clevergirlhelps:

Soldiers

The high lords and king – if present – serve as the generals. There is no “leading from behind”. Nobles are expected to fight on the battlefield alongside their men. The Prince Edward of Woodstock (the Black Prince) fought on and led the front lines in the Battle of Crecy when he was only sixteen years old.

Lower-ranking lords and their knights came next. Armor was very expensive and not all knights or lords could afford a full suit of armor. Some were not even mounted. However, knights fought on foot and on horseback, so not having a horse was not too much of a hindrance.

Untrained peasants made up most of a medieval army. Some of them have never seen a weapon before or come armed with their scythes. They will have reinforced gambesons or boiled leather as their armor. That’s it. Also, they must answer their lord’s call to battle, giving you a large portion of the army that doesn’t want to be there. It’s not all bad; peasants and their lords set a maximum number of days out of the year that the peasants are required to serve. The average number of days a peasant needs to serve in the lord’s army is forty days.

Mercenaries are an important part of warfare as well. They are often bored young noblemen, dispossessed knights, or general rabble. They have seen battle before and as a result are much better trained than your average peasant. However, mercenaries were also prone to deserting a losing army, stealing, being bribed, or even attacking their own side.

Groups

  • Knights – often mounted; served as the “shock” element of medieval warfare
  • Pikemen – countermeasure against charging knights; first line of an army’s defense
  • Archers – countermeasure against charging knights and infantry; often had to carry a shield to hide behind if fighting in a pitched battle; mostly peasants/yeomen; considered the lowest of the low by most nobles
  • Infantry – mostly peasants; defended the baggage train; biggest part of the army; often served a defensive role, holding off the enemy so the knights could retreat behind friendly lines to catch their breath or organize a charge

Organization

  • The king controls the whole army
  • A high lord controls a “battle” or a unit of several thousand men. A typical medieval army had three to five battles. One battle could make up the entire rearguard, while another made up the vanguard, and the rest was the centre
  • Within the battles were conrois, which was a group of ten to twenty related or friendly knights
  • Equal in size with the conrois was the lance. A single knight controlled the lance. In the 14th century, a lance was one armored knight and several mounted archers. By the 15th century, a lance could be one armored knight, his squire, an armored sergeant, three mounted archers, a pikeman, and a handgunner.

Each subdivision of the army has its own flag, banner, sigil, or other standard. The flag was important in signaling maneuvers and stood high above the fighting to serve as a rallying point. It was also the symbol of an individual lord or nobleman. Losing the flag was considered extremely disgraceful.

Pitched Battles

Pitched battles were where two opposing sides agreed on a time and place to fight. The first thing you need to know about pitched battles is that they were extremely rare in the medieval world. In the entirety of the Hundred Years’ War, there were only three “big battles” with nobility present on both sides. The moral reason for avoiding pitched battles was religion. Most believed God would let the “righteous” side to win. While the righteous side was obvious when the Christians fought the Muslims, setting Christians against Christians muddled the matter entirely. Neither side wanted to be proved as the “evil” one. (Some Christians justified this by claiming God had inflicted a defeat against the morally righteous side merely to test their faith.)

The practical reason for avoiding pitched battles was the contemporary military doctrine. Common wisdom of the time held that capturing castles and other fortifications would lead to victory. After all, once a castle fell, the lands it owned also fell to the conquerors. Medieval warfare mostly consisted of leapfrogging from castle to castle until you or the enemy gave up

Chivalry

Chivalry on the battlefield demanded that knights would not sneak-attack other knights, kill helpless men even if they were the enemy, maintain all loyalties previously made, refrain from targeting a knight’s horse to bring him down, not attack an unarmored knight, accept the enemy’s surrender without inflicting further damage, and so on. Some knights took it seriously. (There is one case of a castellan surrendering his castle merely because he was impressed a certain lord was besieging him.) Most … didn’t.

Chivalry, when practiced only by one side, put the other side at a distinct advantage. Most pitched battles discarded chivalry altogether, especially the rule about not inflicting further damage after a surrender.

Archers had the worst of it. Knights hated archers because they were often peasants, and could bring down a knight while standing two hundred yards away – like a coward. Captured archers could expect no mercy. At the very least, their hands would be chopped off so they could never wield a bow again. At the worst, they served as human dummies for sword practice. 

~Note: To learn more, read the fabulous book Fighting Techniques of the Medieval World, by Matthew Bennett, Jim Bradbury, Kelly DeVries, Iain Dickie, and Phyllis G. Jestice~

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