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Writing Advice: by Chuck Palahniuk

In six seconds, you’ll hate me.
But in six months, you’ll be a better writer.

From this point forward—at least for the next half year—you may not use “thought” verbs. These include: Thinks, Knows, Understands, Realizes, Believes, Wants, Remembers, Imagines, Desires, and a hundred others you love to use.

The list should also include: Loves and Hates.
And it should include: Is and Has, but we’ll get to those later.

Until some time around Christmas, you can’t write: Kenny wondered if Monica didn’t like him going out at night…”

Instead, you’ll have to Un-pack that to something like: “The
mornings after Kenny had stayed out, beyond the last bus, until he’d had to bum a ride or pay for a cab and got home to find Monica faking sleep, faking because she never slept that quiet, those mornings, she’d only put her own cup of coffee in the microwave. Never his.”

Instead of characters knowing anything, you must now present the details that allow the reader to know them. Instead of a character wanting something, you must now describe the thing so that the reader wants it.

Instead of saying: “Adam knew Gwen liked him.” You’ll have to say: “Between classes, Gwen had always leaned on his locker when he’d go to open it. She’s roll her eyes and shove off with one foot, leaving a black-heel mark on the painted metal, but she also left the smell of her perfume. The combination lock would still be warm from her butt. And the next break, Gwen would be leaned there, again.”

In short, no more short-cuts. Only specific sensory detail: action, smell, taste, sound, and feeling.

Typically, writers use these “thought” verbs at the beginning of a paragraph (In this form, you can call them “Thesis Statements” and I’ll rail against those, later). In a way, they state the intention of the paragraph. And what follows, illustrates them.

For example:
“Brenda knew she’d never make the deadline. was backed up from the bridge, past the first eight or nine exits. Her cell phone battery was dead. At home, the dogs would need to go out, or there would be a mess to clean up. Plus, she’d promised to water the plants for her neighbor…”

Do you see how the opening “thesis statement” steals the thunder of what follows? Don’t do it.

If nothing else, cut the opening sentence and place it after all the others. Better yet, transplant it and change it to: Brenda would never make the deadline.

Thinking is abstract. Knowing and believing are intangible. Your story will always be stronger if you just show the physical actions and details of your characters and allow your reader to do the thinking and knowing. And loving and hating.

Don’t tell your reader: “Lisa hated Tom.”

Instead, make your case like a lawyer in court, detail by detail.

Present each piece of evidence. For example: “During roll call, in the breath after the teacher said Tom’s name, in that moment before he could answer, right then, Lisa would whisper-shout ‘Butt Wipe,’ just as Tom was saying, ‘Here’.”

One of the most-common mistakes that beginning writers make is leaving their characters alone. Writing, you may be alone. Reading, your audience may be alone. But your character should spend very, very little time alone. Because a solitary character starts thinking or worrying or wondering.

For example: Waiting for the bus, Mark started to worry about how long the trip would take…”

A better break-down might be: “The schedule said the bus would come by at noon, but Mark’s watch said it was already 11:57. You could see all the way down the road, as far as the Mall, and not see a bus. No doubt, the driver was parked at the turn-around, the far end of the line, taking a nap. The driver was kicked back, asleep, and Mark was going to be late. Or worse, the driver was drinking, and he’d pull up drunk and charge Mark seventy-five cents for death in a fiery traffic accident…”

A character alone must lapse into fantasy or memory, but even then you can’t use “thought” verbs or any of their abstract relatives.

Oh, and you can just forget about using the verbs forget and remember.

No more transitions such as: “Wanda remembered how Nelson used to brush her hair.”

Instead: “Back in their sophomore year, Nelson used to brush her hair with smooth, long strokes of his hand.”

Again, Un-pack. Don’t take short-cuts.

Better yet, get your character with another character, fast.
Get them together and get the action started. Let their actions and words show their thoughts. You—stay out of their heads.

And while you’re avoiding “thought” verbs, be very wary about using the bland verbs “is” and “have.”

For example:
“Ann’s eyes are blue.”

“Ann has blue eyes.”

Versus:

“Ann coughed and waved one hand past her face, clearing the cigarette smoke from her eyes, blue eyes, before she smiled…”

Instead of bland “is” and “has” statements, try burying your details of what a character has or is, in actions or gestures. At its most basic, this is showing your story instead of telling it.

And forever after, once you’ve learned to Un-pack your characters, you’ll hate the lazy writer who settles for: “Jim sat beside the telephone, wondering why Amanda didn’t call.”

Please. For now, hate me all you want, but don’t use thought verbs. After Christmas, go crazy, but I’d bet money you won’t.

(…)

For this month’s homework, pick through your writing and circle every “thought” verb. Then, find some way to eliminate it. Kill it by Un-packing it.

Then, pick through some published fiction and do the same thing. Be ruthless.

“Marty imagined fish, jumping in the moonlight…”

“Nancy recalled the way the wine tasted…”

“Larry knew he was a dead man…”

Find them. After that, find a way to re-write them. Make them stronger.

{

(via 1000wordseveryday)

I need to go back to school.

(via cordeliagablewrites)inspiration

(via thescienceofobsession)

My learning is ofwficially insignificant. My writing minor and all those classes do not make me as qualified as reading this has.

(via kikukachan)

…It’s something to try. If the technique works for you, use it. If it doesn’t, toss it over your shoulder and try something else. All the writing advice out there is like a huge virtual hardware store, and all of us who’re concerned about leaning to do what we do better are wandering up and down the aisles together, looking for the tools that will work for us. There are a thousand thousand ways to write well, no two of them exactly alike, and neither are the tools used in the work. So pull techniques off the racks, try them out, see if they perform as advertised. Then get to work…

(via dduane)

}

fictionwritingtips:

This week I wrote about 5 common story problems and how to fix them. I talked about pacing, but didn’t really go into how to fix pacing issues. If there seems to be something wrong with the “flow” of your novel, it probably has something to do with your pacing. The pace of your novel can be VERY important because there needs to be a proper order to the things that happen. There has to be some sort of connection from event to event and it has to make sense to your readers. I’m not saying you have to do everything “by the book”, but the structure of your story has to have an order to a flow to it that keeps your readers interested. You can’t have the first two pages full of action and then nothing interesting for a very long time.

Here are a few ways to create an intelligently paced novel:

Make sure your opening scene has some “bite” to it.

You want your readers to immediately be interested in your work, so your first chapter must catch their attention. The opening scenes are crucial and they deserve a lot of your attention. You want your readers to be interested in what’s next. If you can’t hook your readers from the beginning, it will be hard to keep them reading. I wrote a lot about first characters, so check out these posts.

Know every story needs some ups and downs.

Not everything in your story should be the end of the world and not everything should be GREAT all the time. If your story has no conflict, there’s no point in telling your story. You need to space out ups and downs in order to create tension and keep your readers interested. Pacing also depends on what type of story you’re telling. The pacing of a thriller will be different from the pacing of a dystopian novel. Know what you’re writing and become familiar with the genre.

Delay the outcome of some events.

You do not want to present a problem and then have it resolved two pages later. This DESTROYS all tension. Your story thrives on your readers wanting to know what happens next and they will not stay interested if you tell them right away. Prolonging outcomes actually creates tension and interest because your readers will keep going so they can find out what happens. They will NEED to know what happens before they can put your book down.

Choose your words wisely.

Shortening your sentences and getting rid of unnecessary adverbs and adjectives will help quicken the pace of your novel and make your readers more interested. Using language that bogs down your novel will kill the tension and ruin the pacing. Only use the words you need and don’t be afraid to cut scenes that bog your writing down. You’ll see a huge improvement.

-Kris Noel

fuckingconversations:

Link 1  <Personal & Body Care

Link 2 <Emotional & Psychological Closeness

Link 3 <Sleeping & Other Spacial Closeness

Link 4 <Life Arrangements

Link 5  <Urgent Situations

More examples include:

  • Being asked to open someone else’s mail
  • Having someone’s mail forwarded to your house
  • Being listed as someone’s emergency contact
  • Accompanying someone to the doctor/ therapist
  • Helping someone apply makeup (You’re given permission to touch their face and neck, especially the delicate area around the eyes, and to alter their presented identity.)
  • Reading to someone
  • Drawing someone (long periods of intense scrutiny)
  • Folding someone’s clothes

adventuresintimeandspace:

Here are some scientific facts about blood loss for all you psychopaths writers out there.

amandaonwriting:

Cheat Sheets for Writing Body Language

We are always told to use body language in our writing. Sometimes, it’s easier said than written. I decided to create these cheat sheets to help you show a character’s state of mind. Obviously, a character may exhibit a number of these behaviours. For example, he may be shocked and angry, or shocked and happy. Use these combinations as needed.

by Amanda Patterson

TAGGED AS:  #writing  

cinematicnomad:

crazyassmurdererwall:

scottthepilgrim:

what if when you killed someone you gained their best trait

 (via tickatocka)

   (via crazyassmurdererwall)

nyehcromancer:

arinnhanson:

samswritingtips:

A breakdown of medieval armor, since a lot of pieces are required to create a full suit.

ref

Ref

serialkilling-things:

The motives of serial killers are generally placed into four categories: visionary, mission-oriented, hedonistic and power or control; however, the motives of any given killer may display considerable overlap among these categories.

  • Visionary: Visionary serial killers suffer from psychotic breaks with reality, sometimes believing they are another person or are compelled to murder by entities. The two most common subgroups are “demon mandated” and “god mandated.”

  • Mission-oriented: Mission-oriented killers typically justify their acts as “ridding the world” of a certain type of person they perceive as undesirable, such as homosexuals, prostitutes, or people of different ethnicity or religion; however, they are generally not psychotic. Some see themselves as attempting to change society, often to cure a societal ill.

  • Hedonistic: This type of serial killer seeks thrills and derives pleasure from killing, seeing people as expendable means to this goal. Forensic psychologists have identified three subtypes of the hedonistic killer: “lust”, “thrill” and “comfort”.

  • Power/control: The main objective for this type of serial killer is to gain and exert power over their victim. Such killers are sometimes abused as children, leaving them with feelings of powerlessness and inadequacy as adults. Many power- or control-motivated killers sexually abuse their victims, but they differ from hedonistic killers in that rape is not motivated by lust but as simply another form of dominating the victim.

TAGGED AS:  #writing  

sonofapie:

ladyskorpia:

ratchet-jean:

alliaofrph:

I save a helpful links so I think “ow,i should made a masterlist”. I only found the link from my bookmarks.

**maybe i renew/add a new link that i found

Read More

inthemiddleofsnowhere:

Working in animation, video games and comics, i encounter this questions more than I’d like to. I was surprised how so many people don’t have a clue, and its a very sincere and valid question, because education doesn’t make people understand each other naturally. 
Thank you for reading, I hope its useful. 

fuckyeahforensics:

Blood  pattern  analysts  use  a  number  of  terms  to  describe  bloodstains,  how  they  behave  and  the  methodology  of  examining  a  scene  for  blood  evidence.  The  glossary  terms  below  are  from  the  Scientific  Working  Group  on  Bloodstain  Pattern  Analysis  (SWGSTAIN)

Read More

do you have a list of jobs for characters?
TAGGED AS:  #writing  
have you written any books yet? are you planning to?

fixyourwritinghabits:

clevergirlhelps:

I’ve written several books. No publishing aspirations yet - still editing. And some of them there is no way in heaven or hell that I will ever publish. Astonishing as it sounds, I wrote Mary Sues, self-inserts, utopias, cliches, black-and-white morality, entirely cis/white/hetero worlds, and deus ex machinas. I also used «shudder» comma splices

What changed? I read some writing advice. I revised my work. I took criticism. I wrote and wrote and wrote. As a result, I grew as a writer. So if you’re comparing your beginning work to what writing blogs suggest and feeling like a failure, don’t. You will learn and you’ll get to where you feel you should be. 

I think the thing about writing is that everyone starts out like this - seriously, everyone. (Although at FYWH we don’t like the label Mary Sue, because it tends to be thrown about willy-nilly and can be used to describe, say, Batman).

And the thing that’s important is that you shouldn’t feel bad for that. We certainly don’t want you to feel bad for realizing that’s what you have written! I certainly wrote the same damn thing when I was younger.

The beautiful book you adore absolutely took years to make. And while that sounds discouraging, don’t be discouraged! It means you’ll improve and get better, just by writing more and seeking comments and advice.

luspea:

(So I was doing research for myself, but I thought that it might be useful.)

Adjectives for Smile

radiant; broad; beautiful; sexy; lovely; rustic; uneasy; gracious; seductive; warm; disarming; regretful; winning; surprised; bitter; reminiscent; whimsical; boyish; girlish; wreathed; metallic; faint; apologetic; affectionate; sweet; amiable; solitary; pitying; ridiculous; quizzical; spicy; special; contagious; fawning amused; icy; wistful; courteous; crafty withering; beaming; dazzling; ravished; enormous uncontrolled; sickly; sly; devilish; maternal; eager naked; frank; joyous; complacent; brilliant answering; forced; angry; sympathetic wanton; contemptuous; deadly; sad; simulated; audible; illumined; parting; approving; ironical; mocking; sudden; indulgent; welcoming; irradiating; agreeable; restrained; watery; rare; playful; superior; arch; perpetual; innocent; sparkling; big; somber; polished; responding; irrepressible; religious; peculiar; convenient; everlasting; tolerant; vapid; priceless; vague; racked; complicated; smart; polite; murderous; disdainful sunny; indomitable; sinister; diabolical; complaisant; dim; patient; haughty; endless; rapid; passing; benign; lurid; crooked; placid; hot; grave; malicious; incredulous; timid; bland; provocative peerless; vivacious; mellow; wan; new quiet; calm; abrupt; loving; sagacious; cautious; buoyant; greasy; sardonic; conciliatory; sidelong; nasty; dawning; grim; ironical; false; meaning; sustaining; saucy; atoning; cynical; prodigal; charming; natural indifferent; tolerant; wry; little; visible mournful; naughty; weary; patronizing; languid deprecating; fitful; humorous; sarcastic; mutual; idiotic; frigid; hospitable; doubtful; ingratiating counterfeit; curious; mischievous; childlike exultant; saturnine; speculative; pensive immutable; condescending; pert; impish roguish; ghastly; rueful; hollow; unctuous inane; joyless; wild; satirical; reassuring slow; hideous; flattering; listless; parting fleeting; engaging; severe; immortal; insipid; moonshine; fascinating; facile; beatific; restless; scornful; blossomed; wondering; moony; senile; ambrosial; covert; airy; incisive; faded; shy; social; angelic; envious; debonair; bashful; artificial; waking; antiseptic; mischievous; paternal; dubious; malevolent; roguish; hungry; pale ready; clear; thoughtless; gentle; infectious conscious; timorous; haughty; frequent backward; enamored; obnoxious; pallid derisive; beguiling; excited; brittle; smarmy; conceited; sneering; wide; rascally; timid; meek; reluctant; courageous; nervous; kind; involuntary; smothered; ardent; brave; beaming; glowing; incandescent; inviting; fake; phony; imploring; practiced; delightful; endearing; cheerful.

Verbs for Smile

achieve—; answer with—; bestow—; cloud—; conceal—; crinkle into—; extinguish—; extract—; flash—; grant—; illuminate with —; induce—; loosen—; manage—; mock— permit—; provoke—; quench—; repress— rouse—; share—; shed—; suppress— throw—; toss—; wear—; wreathe in— wrinkle into—; —abashes; —basks; — confronts; —contorts; —creases; —crinkles; —deludes; —departs; —disconcerts; —disparages; —fades; —flashes; —flickers; —hides; —hovers; —lightens; —lingers; — mantles; —plays; —reassures; —renders; —reveals; —twitches.

Adverbs for Smile

delightedly; approvingly; shrewdly; affectionately; reluctantly; ecstatically; whimsically; tolerantly; radiantly; indulgently; benevolently; tremulously;grimly; sympathetically; blandly; beamingly; wanly; auspiciously; impudently; disarmingly; mischievously; magnanimously; unctuously; contemptuously; lewdly, winsomely; wryly; languidly; artificially; automatically; apathetically; benignly; facetiously; superficially; demurely; guilelessly; angelically; affably; ambiguously; coyly; cynically; cunningly; exultantly; exaggeratedly; cryptically; ruefully; benevolently.

clevergirlhelps:

It aggravates me so much when I read about Asian characters. They are all described as having “black hair” and “narrow/angled eyes” and “yellow skin.” Worse still, Asians are not described at all. The author assumes that the reader will know what an “Asian” will look like, because they all obviously look the same. WRONG. 

Asians have course hair …

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fine hair ….

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….fluffy hair….

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… and hair that naturally turns red in sunlight

We have eyes that are brown ….

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….black….

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…..long….

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….round…..

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….small…..

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….and sometimes we have surgery to make them look more Western….

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Our skin is white….

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….yellow….

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….freckled….

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….and dark…..

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We can be tall…

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….just as we can be short….

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…and fat…

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…and thin….

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…and muscular…

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….and average

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ASIANS HAVE AS MUCH DIVERSITY AS ANY OTHER RACE. LET’S START WRITING THEM THAT WAY.