aww nasa has a page for space technology terms you can use in science fiction


Math and Science Week! (for my fellow ‘nerds’)

I feel like I'm a bad person for not writing more POCs. Should I write more, or just ignore the feeling?
- faithfire



Short answer: yes, you should write more characters of color. But let me tell you why, really why.

I have said it before and I will say it again: The reason to include diversity in your work (and this goes for race, sexuality, gender, ability status, everything) should not be because you are afraid people will complain if you don’t. The reason to write POC is because we deserve stories, too. Please do not join the ranks of people who ignore us. You have recognized a problem in your writing—call it whitewashing, lack of diversity, what have you. But what I want you to do is recognize that it is a problem, and take the initiative to learn how to fix it.

  • Troubleshooting: But my story isn’t about race. Why do I need POC in a story about [not race]?

There is a misconception out there that characters of color need a reason to be characters of color. White characters never face this kind of criticism, as if “white stories” are “normal stories” and “POC stories” are “race stories.” Race does not need an explanation.

In this post, thewritingcafe said it best:

"By saying that a character’s skin color needs to be essential to the plot to be described, you are saying that only white characters are worthy of having stories that don’t have anything to do with racism, racial identity, and other issues related to race and colorism. It’s not that hard to say your character isn’t white. Their ethnic and/or racial background does not need to tie into the plot for them to exist."

  • Troubleshooting: I can just add in a few more characters and it’ll be fine.

The answer isn’t to toss in a few extras just to have characters of color. This is tokenism, and is not at all going to solve the problem. People of color deserve more than to be relegated to the background. We deserve to be represented as more than set pieces and one-off characters that revolve around a white cast and their problems.

  • Troubleshooting: I’ve never done it before. / People will be mad if I do it wrong.

I get that it can be daunting to write POC if you have little or no experience doing so, if you have written them poorly in the past, or if you aren’t used to it. These are not valid reasons to avoid characters of color. These are flimsy excuses that writers hide behind to explain why they don’t write characters of color. 

If you find yourself thinking this, it means that you need to do your research and get to writing. At some point, you need to buckle down and commit to writing what you learn about. This is not a task for next time, this is not a task for later, this is a problem now and there are answers now.

And it’s true—if you do it poorly, people will get on your case. This does not mean the only characters you are good at are white characters, but it does mean you had a misstep somewhere in your writing and research. That’s why we edit and have beta readers: to catch and identify these things before they go to print. Do not be afraid of criticism, it’s how we learn. There are plenty of kind people in the world who can help you, but they cannot help you if you refuse to start.

  • Troubleshooting: I don’t know where to start.

We have plenty of resources here on the blog, and there are plenty of others out there that can help you get started writing characters of color:

So here is the thing: Maybe you wrote exclusively (or at least mostly) white in the past. Maybe this is the first you are learning of the whitewashing phenomenon in fiction and you want to learn more about diversity and representation. That’s great, and I am glad you want to learn more. What is going to cause problems between you and I is if you take all this information and decide that none of it applies to you. It does. It applies to everyone.

Now you know better. So—do better.


Thank you :]

posted 6 days ago with 1900 notes via & source
# writing   








but aren’t there any free online courses about arthuriana?

I tought I would ask D:

dang, I’d love to teach one, but I don’t know the first thing about designing an…

May I add that the website has an excellent archive of essays, a lot of which are on literature and arthurian legend. IT’S REALLY GOOD???? AND YES, CAROLYNE LARRINGTON IS AWESOME AND YOU SHOULD TOTALLY GO CHECK HER WORK OUT. Also: Jean Markale, he is a classic in French unis, and a lot of his work has been translated.  I COULD REC BOOKS FOR HOURS BUT I WILL RESTRAIN MYSLEF FOR NOW


Added reviews : DD

A lesson we learned on Series One was that we hardly ever have a red herring, in an Agatha Christie way—we never take the viewer up a story cul-de-sac in order to make them think something’s happening when in fact it’s something else. But there’s a big difference there between your red-herring-story-cul-de-sac and actually having a story which takes you in unexpected directions. And I know that’s because Russell feels that very deliberate red herrings somehow make you distrust the show and the storyteller—they feel as if they’re putting a joke over on the viewers rather than taking them on an exciting story journey.
Helen Raynor (Script Editor), Doctor Who: The Inside Story (via beeghosts)

Just to remind myself to check later:

I'm working on a story in which there is a queen of a fictional country who gets married. It feels awkward to have her take the husband's name (should I even use last names?), or even to give the husband the title of king, because in the story the ruler can only be of a certain bloodline that holds a certain power, but the country isn't a matriarchy. I have heard of the title of 'prince consort' being used, but I'm not sure in what situations it should be used.
- Anonymous


Okay, so it sounds like what you’ve got is a fictional monarchy with a type of primogeniture that allows for rulership to pass in a gender-neutral line. 

A Prince Consort or a King Consort is the husband of a queen regent, who is not a king. That means that he does not have a claim to the throne by anything other than his marriage, though if he outlives the queen, it is possible for him to rule, in a scenario similar to when dowager queens rule. 
The spouse of the queen might also be referred to as simply ‘Prince’ or ‘Consort’, especially if the queen/parliament/precedent does not allow him to rule or inherit. 

That’s the system for several European monarchies- but I recommend checking out some other systems of inheritance and noble titles before deciding- you might find something that fits your scenario much better. 

Finally, rather than last names, I personally would use titles. In that scenario, the non-royal would probably have their title added too- so you’d have something like Pen, Queen of FYCD, and Peewee, Duke of Milkbone and Consort to the Queen. Typically, rulers have a bit of freedom over what they want to do with titles, as well. 

Good luck!



Searching for a writing community? A critique group? More amazing writing advice blogs (aside from this one, of course)? Guides to getting an Agent? Well, look no further!

posted 2 weeks ago with 1214 notes via & source
# writing   # !!!!!!!   
Adults in the publishing industry are currently responsible for the devastating and, frankly, embarrassing lack of diversity in the YA canon. Publishers and edits and basically everyone else who’s not writing what they see for a living, don’t seem to think we’re capable of handling a catalog of diverse narratives—which is complete and utter bullshit.

Don’t project your racist, sexist, transphobic, queerphobic, xenophobic, and otherwise marginalizing overview of reality onto my generation. Our realities encompass racial identity, gender identity, sexuality, religion, mental illness, disability, abusive relationships, poverty, immigration. The list goes on and on, and we need to see people with complex identities and narratives in our fiction.


I see and write a lot of “DON’T DO THIS!!!” posts, so I thought I would make a “DO THIS!!!” post.

General Requests

  • More POC in leading roles
  • More important friendships
  • More queer characters in leading roles
  • More disabled characters in leading roles
  • More genderqueer and trans characters in leading roles
  • Realistic women in leading roles
  • Happier/more positive characters and messages


My wish list tag is always updating and includes posts containing things I would like to see in fiction. characterandwritinghelp has a similar tag.

The plot bunnies tag is likewise updating and includes posts that I think would make for an interesting story.

More Things I Would Like to See

  • Steampunk with different ethnic influences alongside the gears
  • Utopias that try really hard to be good, even though they aren’t and never will be perfect
  • Science and magic coexisting
  • Creation stories - stories that focus on building and growth rather than destruction
  • People are good themes
  • Extroverted protagonists
  • Environments other than temperate deciduous
  • Stories centered on art
  • Stories without war

Read More

posted 3 weeks ago with 5431 notes via & source
# writing   
Adults in the publishing industry are currently responsible for the devastating and, frankly, embarrassing lack of diversity in the YA canon. Publishers and edits and basically everyone else who’s not writing what they see for a living, don’t seem to think we’re capable of handling a catalog of diverse narratives—which is complete and utter bullshit.

Don’t project your racist, sexist, transphobic, queerphobic, xenophobic, and otherwise marginalizing overview of reality onto my generation. Our realities encompass racial identity, gender identity, sexuality, religion, mental illness, disability, abusive relationships, poverty, immigration. The list goes on and on, and we need to see people with complex identities and narratives in our fiction.
posted 1 month ago with 976 notes via & source
# yEAH   # writing   
Physical capability and your characters #1; how to realistically kick ass and take names.


Every body has it’s natural limits.

It sounds simple but many a writer has forgotten this. Say it with me; every body has it’s natural limits. Can your character still run with a dislocated knee? I’m going to hazard a no, mainly because the dislocation of a joint destabilises it i.e your character does not have that leg to stand on. 

Another uncomfortable fact for you; It takes roughly 1000lbs of pressure and the drop of the body to break the neck when hanging a person.

With that in mind ask your self this; is it realistic that my (badass) character could do such a thing with their bare hands? Just another one of those questions that will draw strange looks for others if you utter it aloud but, trust me, it’s one you should ask. Nothing will undermine the realism of your story more than characters that, while being apparently unremarkable, suddenly sprouting super powers. 

Don’t get me wrong, you most definitely can have a non-hulking man do such things or, further still, a tiny woman besting such feats but you must account for it. 

Consider the following;

  1. Is your character male or female?
  2. How old are they?
  3. Are they healthy and fit? (in this category also consider weight, previous injuries, senses and psychological factors. E.g a healthy, fit young woman who regularly weight trains and takes self defense classes would have more of a chance of fighting off an attacker than an overweight, older man who was partially blind.)
  4. What size are they; weird question I know but think about it; a very small man has different combat/maneuvering options compared to his larges more muscle bound compatriots.

I wont bore you with the facts about how much damage a body can take before it becomes incapacitated (though there are resources detailing this at the bottom) instead we will look at the active capabilities of the human body in practical terms. Lets stipulate, first, that for now the character in question has no superhuman abilities whatsoever; we’re taling entirely tabula rasa. No training, no powers. there will be alot of things they simply cannot do but this doesn’t mean they are not impressive.

Consider this example;

Four subjects are locked in identical rooms and need to escape; the rooms have one door (locked with old, shaky hinges), one window (not locked but high above the ground with only a rickety series of ledges to descend by), one ventilation shaft (covered) and a steel framed bed. They are all equally intelligent; what matters here is physicality.

One is a large man (perhaps six foot fours, weighing two hundred and thirty pounds) he is well muscled and extremely strong (and heavy!). he has bad knees. He cannot shimmy through the ventilation shaft to freedom as he is too physically large, neither can he exit the window as, though it has a small ledge, his size makes it unlikely it will support him. Bad knees make it unlikely that he can kick the door down, despite his strength, for he could well hurt them further. This leaves him two options; pull the door from its hinges (if it opens inward) or use the bedframe to put pressure on the hinges and pull them from the door frame.

The second character is a large woman; maybe five eleven and one hundred and eighty pounds she is also strong but less so than her neighbour. She has an old shoulder injury. The likelihood of her pulling the door open with brute force is very small; even if we discounter her shoulder injury…unless she were a veritable Goliath then this is unlikely, though possible! She might however kick the door down as the legs are often much stronger than the upper body. She too could put pressure on the hinges with the frame. However her size may prevent her from using the grate or the window. 

Character three is a smaller man (five ten, one hundred and seventy pounds) missing his left hand; though still too big to fit through the grate he could also use the bedframe, kick the door or pull the door (though pulling a door off its hinges requires so much force  that I would say this is unlikely, though not impossible). He could not realistically and safely, however, drop down the ledges to the ground.

The final character is a small woman (five four, one hundred and thirty pounds) relatively agile but not overly well conditioned. This character could use the grate and stands a fair change of applying enough leverage with the bedframe to escape though her chances of using brute force to break the door down are slim. She, however, stands most chance of using the shaky ledges being small, light and more agile.

All characters are capable of being formidable if put under enough pressure, they simply have different capabilities which leads me to an important point; bigger is not always better- a character need not be a powerhouse to be remarkable.

Next time - characters who do more than they are (technically) capable of.


The limits of the human body

Some basic physical limits

How much punishment can your body take?

A useful video on the limits of the body

posted 1 month ago with 2191 notes via & source
# writing   
Write the kind of story you would like to read. People will give you all sorts of advice about writing, but if you are not writing something you like, no one else will like it either.
Meg Cabot  (via fictionwritingtips)
posted 1 month ago with 5955 notes
# writing   
On Writing Fantasy



In one sense, every story that is made up, or imaginary, is a fantasy, and a hundred years ago, if a writer were discussing fantasy, he would have used the term fantasy that way.

Today, when discussing fantasy as a literary genre, we more often are discussing a branch of literature that offers some strangeness as a primary draw, such as a strangeness in the setting for the story (such as imaginary places or magic systems), or perhaps in the characters that inhabit our own world—vampires and supermen.

Some people consider science fiction to be a subset of fantasy, though it can be quite different. Science fiction is most often a literature that deals with speculation about the future, and to some degree might even be predictive of the future in a way that fantasy is not.

The editor Donald A. Wollheim once suggested that bookstores create a section called “Wonder literature” that would include stories meant to arouse a powerful sense of wonder. Science fiction and fantasy would thus be sold together under his model. I rather prefer this. You see, we tend to categorize books nowadays by the primary emotions that they elicit—humor, romance, horror, thrillers, and so on. Wonder literature makes sense, though there are those who recognize that horror is often closely aligned to fantasy. After all, the strange is often terrifying as well as wondrous.

Some of the big players in the fantasy genre include people like Homer, Shakespeare, and Dickens. Most of the bestselling books of all time are fantasies—things like Harry Potter, Twilight, or the The Alchemist.


In fact, I’m going to make a prediction: eight of the ten top-grossing films this year will be fantasy or science fiction. I’m pretty safe in making that bet: it’s been true every year for the past 20 years.

Yet many folks don’t recognize how important fantasy is in our lives.

I grew to love fantasy as a child, sitting on my mother’s knee, as she told me bedtime stories like “Jack and the Beanstalk” and “Hansel and Gretel.” I don’t think that I recognized that animated stories—cartoons like Bugs Bunny or movies like Peter Pan—were roughly the equivalent of those bedtime stories.

Yet fantasy permeates society and my love for it blossomed as a child—from bedtime stories to cartoon, from cartoons to comics and fables and myth, from myth to more contemporary fantasies in the form of novels.

So what is fantasy for? What good is it?

Quite simply, fantasy is what we as storytellers use to hold the attention of our audience as we prepare to tell them something important.

Whenever something strange is introduced in a story, it grabs the attention of the audience. Whether we speak of a haunted house, or bring out a ghost, or have a character sucked back in time as we introduce a strange conflict, that grabs the reader’s attention, but quite often the story carries lessons that are of more value than mere entertainment.

In Homer’s The Odyssey, we learn about the need for courage to face the future, but we also learn about the duties that soldiers owe to brothers, and the ethics of how one should entertain strangers in our own homes, and so on.

In the same way, fantasy today carries lessons for life. I have a theory about fantasy. I suspect that the human brain is incapable of storing most of the information that we need to know in order to really understand the world. So very often, ancient history gets stored under the guise of fable.


Let me see if I can explain it more clearly. Take an incident from your own family history, something far in the past, and try to examine what you really know about it. The truth is, you probably don’t know anything—just the fable.

Read More


There’ve now been four entries in the Aroma Chemistry series - in case you missed any, here are the links to each:

posted 1 month ago with 1584 notes via & source
# writing