Q
any resources/links or tips on writing a character who's mute/not able to talk (not since long, his tongue has been cut off)
Anonymous
A

characterandwritinghelp:

I think your research needs to go a lot further. Speech without a tongue is difficult, but possible: your voice can still make sounds without a tongue. Some links for you:

Give these a try. Let us know if you have other questions.

-Headless


Q
In my story the main girl gets raped. This is a big part of the story but does not happen until later in and it changes things in the story. How do I write this without making it a plot device.
Anonymous
A

thewritingcafe:

  • If this is the only thing that makes your character change, you are using this as a plot device.
  • If this is the only that that gives your character a character arc/narrative, you are using this as a plot device.
  • If you are using rape for the sole purpose of shocking your readers, you are using this as a plot device.
  • Not applicable to you, but if the person raped is a disposable character (i.e., one who only exists to be raped), you are using this as a plot device.
  • If you are using rape to “punish” a character, you are using this as a plot device.
  • If you are using the rape of a disposable female character to act as a motivator for a lead male, you are not only using rape as a plot device, but you are putting a woman in the fridge.

Give your character agency, make sure rape isn’t what “makes them strong”, and don’t use it to prove a point to another character.

More:


fixyourwritinghabits:

Any tips on writing an older male character with out him being “dad” like or anything similar?

(via thewritingcafe)


Writing Research - The Fifties

ghostflowerdreams:

The 1950s or The Fifties was a decade that began on January 1, 1950 and ended on December 31, 1959. By its end, the world had largely recovered from World War II and the Cold War developed from its modest beginning in the late 1940s to a hot competition between the United States and the Soviet Union by the beginning of the 1960s. [1]

Names

Society & Life

Commerce

Fashion

Entertainment & Food

Dialogue

Health, Hygiene & Medicine

Law Enforcement & Crime

(via characterandwritinghelp)



5 Common Story Problems with Simple Fixes

fictionwritingtips:

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 list will help you pinpoint what’s going on and provide ways for you to improve your novel.

Problem: Unmotivated Characters

If you’re having trouble figuring out where your story should go next, the problem could be with unmotivated characters. Characters aren’t in your novel just so you can push them around every once in a while and make them do things. They need to develop over time and keep your story going in the right direction.

Solution:

Work on your character’s wants, goals, and motivations. You need to figure out what’s driving your character if you want them to do anything. Where do they want to end up? What’s standing in their way? What’s their plan? Who will help them? Think about everything your character will need to do to resolve your novel. Focus on what they want and what motivates their actions and your characters will stop being dull and lifeless.

Problem: Boring First Chapters

A boring first chapter is dangerous because you want to captivate your audience right away. You don’t want to lose readers just because of this, but sometimes it happens.  You should give enough information to keep your readers interested, while also keeping them intrigued enough to figure out what happens next.

Solution:

Putting emotion into your scenes from the beginning will not only help set the tone, but we’ll get an immediate understanding of your world. The best advice I can give is to construct a scene that helps us best understand your character. If they’re on the run, show us that they’re being chased. If they’re sad and lonely, construct a scene that lets us feel their isolation. You don’t necessarily need to open your book with action, but you do need to introduce the conflict. Think about what your character wants and go from there. Think of your first chapter as an introduction to an essay. You don’t go right into the points immediately, but you set us up for something good.

Problem: Plot Holes

Writers worry about forgetting to include important information in their novel that’s necessary to the plot. If you’re discovering that readers often point out plot holes in your story, maybe it’s time to reevaluate how you plan your novel.

Solution:

Pre-planning or prewriting your novel often solves any plot hole problems. If you take the time to write out important scenes so you don’t forget them, your story will become stronger. However, if you’re not someone who likes to do so much planning, you can tackle plot holes during the editing phase. Take notes when you’re editing so that you can catch these plot holes and figure out where you can add necessary information. A plot hole does not always mean your novel needs loads of reworking, but it is something you need to take the time to fill in.

Problem: Poor Pacing

Poor pacing can ruin a novel, but luckily it’s something you can tackle head on before you even start writing your story. Good pacing helps add tension to your novel and helps you make sure there’s enough rising and falling action to keep your story interesting.

Solution:

Planning out your novel ahead of time also helps solve pacing problems. You can create a timeline that helps you keep track and plan out when you want certain things to happen. Read up on story arcs and try to plan out your scenes accordingly. If you’re already done with your novel and you notice poor pacing, try rearranging scenes or spreading out the action.

Problem: Info-Dumping

A very common writing problem is info-dumping. This is when you tell your readers loads of information at a time without showing them anything important. Info-dumps usually occur in first chapters of novels, but they can happen anytime during the course of your story. Info- dumps can drag down your story and bore your readers.

Solution:

Cut out long paragraphs where you explain what’s going on in your novel and show your readers instead. Avoid over explaining things that can be explained through action. Letting your audience figure things out instead is a much more satisfying reading experience and it lets your readers connect with your characters on a deeper level.

-Kris Noel

(via thewritingcafe)


punkhowlett:

INSPO→  The Red String of Fate

The red string of fate, also referred to as the red thread of destiny, red thread of fate, and other variants, is an East Asian belief originating from Chinese legend and is also used in Japanese legend. According to this myth, the gods tie an invisible red string around the ankles of men and women who are destined to be soul mates and will one day marry each other. Often, in Japanese culture, it is thought to be tied around the little finger. 
The two people connected by the red thread are destined lovers, regardless of time, place or circumstances. This magical cord may stretch or tangle, but never break. This myth is similar to the Western concept of soulmates or a twin flame.(x)

punkhowlett:

INSPO→  The Red String of Fate

The red string of fate, also referred to as the red thread of destiny, red thread of fate, and other variants, is an East Asian belief originating from Chinese legend and is also used in Japanese legend. According to this myth, the gods tie an invisible red string around the ankles of men and women who are destined to be soul mates and will one day marry each other. Often, in Japanese culture, it is thought to be tied around the little finger. 

The two people connected by the red thread are destined lovers, regardless of time, place or circumstances. This magical cord may stretch or tangle, but never break. This myth is similar to the Western concept of soulmates or a twin flame.(x)

(via characterandwritinghelp)


betterbemeta:

These are some of my girl rules when regarding and writing female characters:

  • Girls have authority. Show leaders that are female and show leaders that aren’t female taking advice from women and girls. Every other piece of media and the world around us is sure to impress that girls don’t have authority- we don’t need it in media we create.
  • Girls are subject to reality. There are enormous expectations on girls every day in every way, but our media tends to omit everything but an image of what girls ‘should’ be. For every beauty queen, there is their time spent and money devoted to makeup and clothes. For every lifestyle, there is the support of said lifestyle. Girls have homes, have chores, have jobs, have families, have triumphed, and have made mistakes. They pay understandable penalties for their actions, and enjoy success as applicable. They have a context just like male characters and we need to show it, because for some reason in much of our media girls seem to emerge from the ether fully formed, fit, toned, shaved, styled, with money in a wallet, super awesome karate powers, nice clothes— and no shown lifestyle or background to support it.
  • Girls defy gendered expectations. In light of the above, we also have to identify what actually isn’t ‘reality,’ but society and what we feel is normal but is not set in stone. Girls can have any job and any background boys can, can look the same or have the same body type as any boy can, can perform any feat a boy can. There are female firefighters and female wrestlers and female loggers and female construction workers— and they are just as good at their jobs whether or not they have the same body type as their male peers. I don’t want to see any more women put on a cool crime fighting team and said ‘well they can be the spy or the scout because women are smaller than the muscular men.’ Women don’t have to be small, spies can be large, and a small woman can use her body to achieve the same results as a male bruiser. The same goes with women in any other profession- what qualities aren’t actually reality, but are just our expectations?
  • Girls define themselves. In our culture, femininity is often perceived as a lack of, or a contrast to, masculinity— but this is a terrible idea and renders female characters dependant on male ones to have an identity. If a character says she’s a girl, no matter what she looks like, sounds like, seems like, she is a girl, and her traits are traits that belong to a girl. We can categorize traits as traditionally typical for cis males and cis females (‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’) but traits that belong to a character, are the property of that character. Girl power is just as much butch as it is hard femme. Girls define themselves, and are not to be defined by others.
  • Girls have agency. Girls want stuff, and girls get stuff. They aren’t along for the ride, or are just one of a set: they have their own strong opinions and motivations for their actions. They’re able to decide what they want and to change their situation without judgement or being thought of as ‘inconvenient’ or ‘a nuisance’ by others. If they need something, they should be allowed to seek it or ask for it or even demand it, without being considered a burden. Girls can say ‘no’ to anything, at any time, and not have that be taken as a reflection of their worth, or an opinion to be persuaded.
  • Girls are not mysterious. There is nothing mystical or wondrous about femininity. It is an identity. Girls do not act in ‘mysterious’ ways, there is no ‘female intuition,’ and women are not ‘impossible’ or ‘unfathomable’ or more difficult than men are. When we respect the ideas, the feelings, the speech, and the motivations of others, these ‘mysteries’ of women vanish entirely: a falsehood enforced by male privilege not understanding that women face different realities, implications, and social problems than men. We shouldn’t enforce a ‘mysterious’ or ‘mystical’ or ‘special’ femininity in our media, either- women are half the human population, not puzzles or unicorns.
  • Girls are not tools. No plot should depend on someone being female. A female character can have something depend on her abilities (a cis woman’s ability to bear a child, for instance) but that says nothing about her femininity- no more than her ability to win a tournament or lead an army.
  • Girls are not limited in their interactions. Girls talk with girls about anything they want. Girls talk with boys about anything they want. Girls talk with anybody of any gender or lack thereof about anything they want. They are not merely conjured up when they have something only the designated girl can say, or when they plot demands girly things. There’s no reason for girls not to be present at all times, involved in any conversations nearby. They don’t go on a shelf while others are talking.
  • Girls are fun. They’re fun to be around, are interesting, are clever, are animated, and they have a lot to say that’s both meaningful and entertaining. Too often female characters and their arcs are more detailed, yet also more ‘serious’ or ‘tragic’ than the arcs of some of their peers. Often this seriousness has to do with a male character’s influence, arc, or demise. No thanks! 

Of course, these rules apply to any gender, and nongendered individuals too. But female characters are often denied these things in media that we both consume, and media we personally create. Coded cis male characters do these things constantly, at length. Non-males? Not so much.

EDIT: I forgot a rule. It’s here.

(via characterandwritinghelp)


Writing Resources Masterlist

referenceforwriters:

The full list of resources RFW has reblogged or shared.

Editing Software

Writing Software

  • WriteRoom (distraction free; $9.99)
  • Scrivener (multi-faceted writing platform; $45)
  • Pages (mac specific writing software; $20.99 with iWork)
  • MS Office for Mac (multiple programs for composing; $150)
  • Google Docs (free online writing)
  • My Writing Nook (online text editor; free)
  • Bubbl.us (online mind map application; free)
  • Freemind (mind map application; free; Windows, Mac, Linux, portable)
  • XMind (mind map application; free; Windows, Mac, Linux, portable)
  • Liquid Story Binder (novel organization and writing software; free trial, $45.95; Windows, portable)
  • SuperNotecard (novel organization and writing software; free trial, $29; Windows, Mac, Linux, portable)
  • yWriter (novel organization and writing software; free; Windows, Linux, portable)
  • JDarkRoom (minimalist text editor; free; Windows, Mac, Linux, portable)
  • AutoRealm (map creation software; free; Windows, Linux with Wine)
  • ZenWriter (free and for $9,95; autosaves; Windows; you can add music; easy to carry on a flashdrive)
  • BigHugeLabs (online; minimalistic; free; auto-saves; you can create and account and see your documents anywhere you log in)
  • More Free Software

Generators

Character Questionnaires

Writing Communities

Organization

World Building

Productivity Boosts and Background Sounds

For more resources, check this tag and this list. Suggest some if you know of any. 

(via characterandwritinghelp)


Q
Can you give me tips on writing about electrocution?
Anonymous
A

klariza-helps:

Note: I had to sit through a 45 minute electrocution lecture courtesy of a teacher I asked about the history of electrocution. See how I love you?

Anyway, sure thing! I was going to just give you a paragraph on writing it, but then one thing led to another, and I decided to go ahead and write a small guide on electrocution and electric shock, as I couldn’t find a tumblr based one myself. (If all you really care about is writing it, just scroll down to the end of the post.)

Let’s start out with what electrocution is and basic information about it.

Know the difference between electrocution and electric shock. (I’m bringing this up because people often confuse electrocution and electric shock.) The basic difference is that one kills you, and the other doesn’t.

  • Electrocution - “death caused by electric shock, either accidental or deliberate. The word is derived from “electro” and “execution”, but it is also used for accidental death.”
  • Electric shock - “a sudden discharge of electricity through a part of the body.” (non-deadly)

Current is what kills in electrocution. The current level is determined by the applied voltage and the resistance of the material (i.e., your body) that the current is flowing through. Depending on the individual, the resistance of dry skin is usually between 1,000 -100,000 W.

image

image

(image courtesy of my digital electronics teacher)

POTENTIAL TRIGGER WARNING?: If you’re interested, take a look at this post. It shows a dead body after electrocution

Most electrocutions are done accidentally. It’s actually rather rare that you are electrocuted on purpose. In fact, electrocution in general isn’t all that commonplace. One count that I found expressed electrocution with a lifetime odd of 1-in-5,000 for Americans. (I’m almost sure that the website was referring to a high current electric shock, but I’ll let it slide.) I don’t know what sort of situation your character is in, but keep this in mind when writing.

  • Electric Shocks

An electric shock is usually painful. A small shock from static electricity may contain thousands of volts but has very little current behind it due to high internal resistance.

Their danger levels depend on:

  • The amount of current flowing through the body.
  • The path of the current through the body.
  • The length of time the body is in the circuit.
  • The voltage.
  • The presence of moisture.
  • The phase of the heart cycle when the electric shock occurs.
  • The health of the person before the occurance.

Shock effects include:

  • Psychological
  • Burns
  • Neurological

Fun fact: electric shocks are used in electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). General anesthesia and a muscle relaxant ensured that the patient doesn’t feel a thing, even though enough electricity to light a room for one second passes through their brain. Patients do, however, experience (typically) temporary memory loss. ECT is known to be used on severely depressed patients or patients with boipolar disorder. (x) 

  • Electric Chair:

Alright, so I’ll start off with some early history on the electric chair, because who doesn’t love background information?

New York built the first electric chair in 1888 (figures). (William Kemmler was the first to be executed in 1890.) Others began to adopt this method, though it is not the sole method of execution in any state today as it was then. (The electric chair remained the only method in Nebraska until February of 2008.)

image

(1890, used to kill Kemmler)

image

(2005)

What happens in the process, you ask?

Well, the person is usually shaved and strapped to a chair with belts. The belts cross the prisoner’s chest, groin, arms, and legs. A metal electrode is attached to the scalp and forehead, over a sponge that has been moistened with saline (it can’t be too wet or too dry). An additional electrode is moistened with Electro-Crème and attached to a part of the prisoner’s leg. The prisoner is blindfolded, and the execution team leaves the room. The warden tells the executioner when to pull the handle to connect the power supply. A current jolt of 500 to 2000 volts for about 30 seconds is given, but this varies from case to case. (Robert Gleason Jr. received 1,800 volts at 7.5 amps at TWO 90-second cycles.) The body relaxes when the current is turned off. The doctors wait momentarily, and then go check to see if the heart is still beating; if it is, another jolt of electricity is given, and this continues until the doctors can officially proclaim that the heart is not beating. (Multiple physicians check this.)

Give me gross specifics on what goes on, maybe?

The prisoner’s hands usually grip the chair. They may violently move their limbs, causing dislocation or fractures. Their tissues swell. Defecation occurs. Steam/smoke rises, and the smell of burning is in the air. At postmortem, the body is hot enough to blister if it is touched. An autopsy has to be delayed so that the internal organs can cool. Third degree burns with blackening are present where the electrodes met the scalp and legs.

Quotes! I want quotes on what happened, I command you to give me quotes!

U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan had this to say about execution by electric chair: “…the prisoner’s eyeballs sometimes pop out and rest on [his] cheeks. The prisoner often defecates, urinates, and vomits blood and drool. The body turns bright red as its temperature rises, and the prisoner’s flesh swells and his skin stretches to the point of breaking. Sometimes the prisoner catches fire….Witnesses hear a loud and sustained sound like bacon frying, and the sickly sweet smell of burning flesh permeates the chamber.

I wanted to talk a bit about botched executions as well. 

  • William Vandiver- He was still breathing after an initial surge of 2,300 volts. The execution took a total of 17 minutes and five jolts of electricity.
  • Wilbert Lee Evans - When hit with the first jolt, blood spewed from the right side of the mask on his face, covering his shirt with blood and a sizzling sound could be heard as blood dripped from his lips. Evans moaned continuously until a second jolt of electricity was applied. 
  • Pedro Medina - Foot-high flames shot from the headpiece during the execution. The execution chamber was filled with a stench of thick smoke. It gagged the two dozen official witnesses. An official flipped a switch to cut off the power to end (early) the two-minute cycle of 2,000 volts. Medina’s chest continued to heave until he died after the flames went out.

Gruesome? Definitely.

  • How do you apply all of this in your writing?

Take the information I have given you in stride. Understand what electrocution and electric shock are. Know your character. Some people are scared of death, some aren’t. Know how your character would react in such a situation when they’re face to face with the person who, with the pull of a switch, will send a lethal amount of current running through their body. 

On an ending note, I highly recommend you READ THIS ESSAY. Not only does it send goosebumps down my arm every time I read it, it will help you understand the psychological aspect of electrocution as well.