Q
Do you have any tips on writing a Victorian era character?
Anonymous
A

fuckyeahcharacterdevelopment:

Well, my own advice would be: read books that were written in the Victorian period…! This is where you get the best look at their society and societal expectations. My best recommendation would be A.S. Byatt’s Possession. You can’t go wrong with most of the classics either.

Otherwise, look below. Shout out to The Writing Café and their flawless tagging system.

General:

Language:

Society:

Books/Information:

Best of luck…!

- enlee



Q
i really want to write a story revolving around dancing and the main character is, obviously, going to be a dancer and i was wondering if you had any guides or links that would be helpful to start researching because im hopeless at researching and i've never danced before. thank you in advance!
Anonymous
A

lazyresources:

…what kind of dancing? There are a lot of dances, so I can’t help you thoroughly. I’m so sorry. What I can do is give you links on general topics about dancing. Anything further than that, you will have to research on your own.

I do, however, suggest watching videos or movies. Youtube, for one, has a lot of how-to videos, and many do focus on different types of dancing. In addition, by watching people dance, you’ll have a visual account on the movements, timing, and music. Study how they move (even the subtle finger movements count). Look at their expressions. When do they breathe? What clothes do they use and is there any significance behind their choices? How is their hair styled? Don’t forget to research on the general lifestyle of a dancer. It doesn’t matter if dancing is a profession or a hobby—unconscious and conscious habits will be affected. Past the dancer themselves, do research on the history behind the dance. A lot of your research may not show up in your story, but it’s good to have background information on the dance you’re writing about.

Here are some links (Please note that while I heavily relied on wikipedia, do not use that site as your main source of information. Instead, use it as your starting point): 

On tumblr

Outside tumblr

Outside tumblr (videos)

I hope that helps~ 


Q
Hello there! I've come with a follow - because this blog is really great - and a question. I want to write a character with ADHD, do you have any advice on how to properly go about that?
A

lazyresources:

Be mindful. ADHD is a real thing—real people are affected by it. Thus, be careful on how you portray your character. Don’t use it to make a character “different.” Don’t ignore facts because they “don’t fit” your character. Don’t give in the stereotypes seen in popular media and dramatize those.

ADHD should not be the defining factor of your character. I suggest to build your character without the label “they have ADHD.” Get their background thought out (at least the general story of it). Give them relationships—what do they think of their parents? Are they romantically involved? Do they make friends easily? Give them an education; give them interests and hobbies and skills; give them a personality with quirks and faults. After that, research on ADHD and look at how ADHD can affect your already developed character. If there are some facts about ADHD that might go against your character’s traits, understand why and think of how to handle them. Don’t ignore these conflicts. Yes, ADHD affects people differently, so it’s possible some symptoms or traits won’t be apparent in your character, but never ignore these facts. Address them. Understand why these symptoms aren’t there. 

Some links:

On tumblr

Outside tumblr (general)

Outside tumblr (specific topics)

Outside tumblr (infographics)

I’m terribly sorry for the wait, but I hope that helps! And thank you for liking my blog~


Q
I'm currently in the worldbuilding stage and I'm doing pretty well, but one question: How do you /decide/ anything?? I keep weighing the pros and cons of (Example), high speed trains instead of cars, but I'm unwilling to (ironically) kill some of my darlings. I know things can be changed later, but I'd like to keep it down to a minimum. So what's your process?
A

characterandwritinghelp:

My process is to build as I go, and pause when I need to really develop something. I have a notepad section in my Storyist documents dedicated to worldbuilding: what I’ve already built, things I want to develop, things I still need to figure out. Having it in a searchable document is, I think, preferable to handwriting it since it’ll be easier for you to find later on.

That said, let’s chat about worldbuilding. Some things to keep in mind:

You’re building a world for a story. You are not building a story to fit a world. The world should work for the story and serve as a storytelling tool. Even in realistic works, things like consistent seasons and weather, locations, and cultural norms need to carry through into the story. And small details matter, as well. Don’t get so caught up in the planes/trains/automobiles question that you forget to develop culture, food, fashion, all that.

Maintain the mystery. Don’t give it all away in one shot. Characters and narrators don’t have to explain everything—nor should they. Let things unfold rather than bashing the reader in the face with everything you have.

Rule of Cool does not make the world go round. Yes, it’s cool. But does it belong? Part of worldbuilding is deciding what fits and what doesn’t, and this should weigh into your pros and cons. Yes, the robots are cool, but if you’re writing high fantasy, you’d better have a damn good reason for them. If not, say goodbye for the sake of a logical world.

Everything builds on everything else. Worldbuilding is not Pokémon evolution. Things don’t change independent of everything else, they influence each other and build upon each other. Consider how the cars or trains might influence other things in your world: trade, travel, communication, day-to-day life, infrastructure, population density…

(This is where I take your example and run with it.)

A good world is built for a population, not around a protagonist.

Something you might like to consider when deciding between two worldbuilding things is to figure out how each thing will be used/abused/gotten around, and what its most useful application is within your story. Find the loopholes. Figure out what people who love it will say about it, and then what people who hate it will say. There are always two (or more) sides to nearly everything in the world.

So, let’s check out the idea of travel. High speed trains and cars serve very different purposes, and we have the real-world experience to prove it.

Consider places in the world that have adopted the bullet train: Paris, France’s Métro system operates beneath a fairly densely populated metropolitan area. Citizens use the train to get to and from general areas, and walk the rest of the way. Cars are not as commonplace in Paris than they are in other parts of the world because they’re not an absolute necessity; some people walk to the train station, ride, walk to work, and repeat the process back home, and they do just fine. Going even further, France’s TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse [really fast train]) has shortened international travel to most of Europe to a matter of hours, allowing Parisians and many others to travel to and from other countries with ease. However, high speed trains can be incredibly cramped, ill-maintained dependent on funding and infrastructure, and can inconvenience you when they break down, especially if they are your sole method of transport. Building a rapid transit system will take a long time from start to finish, potentially meet some resistance in the form of budget and location (and possibly protest groups), and will be incredibly expensive. Blocking off one of the rails can range from “annoying” to “devastating,” depending on how it’s done (one person on the tracks vs. an entire protest movement launching boulders at the train cars).

Now consider cars. Cars fall short of bullet trains in that they travel slower, have lots of competition on the roads (between pedestrians, bikers, other cars, horses, maybe even some pegasi, I don’t know your story), and that they cost more in that a person either has to own or rent a car before they can drive it regularly. (And then comes the cost of fuel and maintenance cost.) They can be easily broken into and/or stolen, can be very dangerous in the wrong hands (drunk drivers, speeders, someone on the wrong side of the road), and can harm the environment. On the other hand, cars excel over bullet trains in that they can go off-road, do not have set schedules or destinations, can be privately owned, and are more useful for household projects and moving. In a car-centric culture, more people are likely to know how to drive cars, and there will almost always be one nearby. Cars are also more personal than a train will be: on a train, there are innumerable strangers that might be peeking at whatever you’re doing, where cars are nice and small. In times when fuel prices get high, people may opt out of cars in favor of things like high-speed rail (despite the fact that bullet trains use fuel, too). And then there is the ever-present question: where do you park? And what if you do if there’s truly nowhere to park?

Consider also what might fall in between. In this example, that might be something like a park-and-ride structure or a bus system. In addition to this, something beautiful about fictional worldbuilding is that you can create alternatives to whatever you think you’re stuck between, as well. This might mean bringing in pegasi and riding dragons, solving the energy crisis and making completely green cars, or something as simple as expanding a train system to mean smaller trains, bigger train maps, and more stops. There are lots of possibilities even if you’re not writing fantasy.

So: Cars are useful for transport between places of varying lengths, are good for adventuring, and tend to be privately owned and maintained. High speed trains are useful for transport between distant places, are public, and tend to be funded by governments. Neither of them are inherently better or worse, just useful in different ways. This is going to be true of a lot of things, and that is fine. Very rarely will an entire population of people agree that Thing A is unequivocally better than Thing B.

Pros and cons is probably what it will ultimately come down to, but the best way to do it is to put the things into the context of your story. Step outside your protagonist’s field of vision and check out how other people would live with one, and then the other.

Always remember, worldbuilding is a process, not a step. You may never be 100% done building your world. And that’s all right—the real world’s not done either.

-Headless


ATTENTION!

jawnsfluffyjumper:

Whoever reblogs this, I will draw a little sketch of what I think of your URL! This ends May 5th! I’ll do all, I swear. c:

(via presidentofthecumbercollective)


Q
In light of "questions to ask your friend after reading their novel" I have a question. I've been reading one by a "friend" of mine, however he doesn't take criticism very well. I've seen a post by one of the writing blogs I follow on how to give good criticism, which I have tried in the past with him but he still doesn't listen. One of his biggest problems is he writes in many POVs and yet they all sound like the same person until he says who it is. Is there any other way to nicely criticize?
Anonymous
A

characterandwritinghelp:

"Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary." —Winston Churchill

Do you mean that he reacts negatively to criticism, or that he never takes any of it to heart and applies it to his writing? Let’s examine a few possibilities.

  • Because It Should Be Said - Look At How You Criticize

Any advice about giving criticism needs to mention this. Take a look at how you word your criticisms. Are you being constructive? Are you criticizing to evaluate, or criticizing to condemn? Be honest.

See if you can change the way you word your criticisms. Perhaps ask him if he thinks you are too harsh on him, and why. (Bear in mind: he may think you are too harsh even if you’re being reasonable. Take his answer with a grain of salt, but do take his answer.)

Another thing you can try is mentioning things you enjoyed as well as things you think he can work on. Talking about what you like as much as what you don’t can help soften the blow.

Follow up with him, too. Give him a few days to process what you gave him to work on, and then check back in. See if he needs help or was confused about something you said.

Be calm, specific, and positive. Do not offer criticism when angry or upset (especially if you feel angry or upset with him), be as specific as you can so he can improve efficiently, and be positive even when offering negative criticism. The difference between “This is a terrible passage” and “I think you need to do [xyz] here” can make him more receptive to constructive criticism.

  • If He Doesn’t Heed Criticism (It’s Already Perfect, Why Change)

Does he listen when you talk, but then never change his ways? If this is the case, it may be that your friend is not looking for editing, critique, or feedback—he is looking for fans. He is looking for someone to tell him what he already knows: His writing is fabulous and nothing needs to be changed.

Ask him why he throws your criticisms out. Or better yet, ask him specifically what he wants you to critique him on. Grammar?Character development? Plot consistency? If his answer is “nothing,” you can offer to read his work for fun, but no longer give him feedback. (Only do this is you are genuinely interested in his work. If at any point, you no longer want to work with him or read his stuff, tell him so.)

On the flip side of this coin, he may know his writing needs improvement, but is resistant to changing his ways for other reasons. Perhaps he is attached to his characters or his plot and wants nothing to change, or maybe he is having trouble developing voice, but is fond enough of the one he has that he has no interest in developing outside it. Encourage him to ask you questions if he doesn’t understand what your criticism is. Maybe he doesn’t know where to start on the journey to improving his writing. If this happens to be the case, try recommending him resources. Offer to help him further if you think you can. (Or send him here!)

Maybe writing is an outlet for him, and he actually isn’t interested in improvement. That’s ok too. Let him know you will be there for him if he ever wants feedback, as above.

  • If He Can’t Handle Criticism (How Dare You Say It’s Bad)

Does he get snippy with you at every criticism you give? If this is the case, you may need to sit him down and talk to him about his attitude towards criticism. Remind him that criticism is not meant an attack on him, but is meant to give him something to think about and perhaps grow towards.

Unfortunately, if this is what you find yourself dealing with, there is really no way to change the situation except from his end. It may be easier for you to stop giving him critiques until he decides he truly would like and appreciate them.

If he simply cannot handle criticism, remember that it is not necessarily your fault. It is his issue, not yours. You are not responsible for turning him around to constructive criticism.

  • In Both Cases: Remember, You’re Handling His Baby

Writers get very attached to their work, and this is why I brought up the first point of being careful how you criticize. It is normal to get defensive when insulted, and it can be hard to remain objective when someone is ripping apart the magnum opus you spent hours upon hours working on. One thing you SHOULD NOT do is tell him “don’t take it so personally.” This is dismissing how he feels, because he is taking it personally: his story might very much be a part of who he is. Telling him not to let it hurt won’t make it hurt any less.

  • So, In Conclusion and In Both Cases: Do Not Be Mean To Each Other

Do not be mean. Do not criticize meanly, and do not react meanly. This is the Golden Rule of Constructive Criticism for both sides of the equation.

Hopefully, this will help the both of you. Let us know if you have any other questions.

-Headless


CITATION AND STYLE GUIDES

referenceforwriters:

These guides will help ensure you stick to certain styles when writing and correctly cite your sources.

  • APA Style: On the APA Style blog, you can get access to the fundamentals of American Psychological Association style, updates on specific style elements, and find loads of other reference material.
  • Associated Press Style: If you’re working on a journalistic piece, you’ll need to use AP style. Learn the fundamentals from this guidebook on OWL.
  • Brief Guide to Citing Government Publications: This guide provides examples of the most common government document citations. These examples are based on the Chicago/Turabian standard bibliographic style.
  • The Chicago Manual of Style Online: The Chicago Manual of Style’s website includes an online forum, guidelines for basic rules, and even creates quick citations.
  • Citing Sources: Learn how and why to cite your sources in this helpful guide from Duke University Library.
  • Comic Art in Scholarly Writing: A Citation Guide: The serious scholarly analysis of comic art needs an equally serious way to cite that material. This is the scholar’s pop art guide to citation.
  • The Economist Style Guide: Want to write for The Economist? Whether you do or not, these are some solid style rules for any journalistic writing.
  • The Elements of Style: This classic book by Strunk and White is offered up in its entirety on Bartleby.com so you can improve your writing without spending a dime.
  • Footnote and Citation Style Guides: You’ll find a vast array of citation styles for business, education, engineering, science, and social science from this useful resource compiled by Lehigh University.
  • How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography: This site will help you compile a bibliography when you’re ready to pull all those citations together.
  • MLA Style: Not sure how to cite something correctly in MLA style? Use this online handbook to get started on doing things the right way.
  • Turabian Quick Guide: Essentially the same as Chicago Style, this documentation system does have a few differences which you can learn about here.

+ 150 Resources to Help you Write Better, Faster, and More Persuasively 

(via characterandwritinghelp)


Q
I want to write a story from the POV of the villain, but I have no clue how to go about that. Suggestions?
Anonymous
A

thewritingcafe:

Your Villain is Still the Protagonist

If your villain is the MC and the POV character, they are the protagonist. Every protagonist needs an antagonist of some kind, whether this antagonist is a real person or inner conflict or something else.

Like all protagonists, your villain needs a motive and their antagonist needs to prevent them from reaching that motive, whether directly or indirectly. Your villain has something to fight for.

With POV characters and protagonists, you need the reader to like the villain. If they don’t like the villain, they at least need to root for them. This is very possible. Go through the likable characters tag on the tags page for tips on that.

Your Villain is Still a Villain

Villains are the bad guys, even if they don’t see themselves that way. The reader needs to know that what your character does is wrong. Go through the villains tag on the tags page for tips on writing a villain.

Your Villain is Still a Character

When the hero is the POV character, it may seem like the villain doesn’t go through a lot of change. POV characters usually get the most change because they are the POV character. Your villain, like all characters, should be round and dynamic. They need to change over time. They need good traits and bad traits. They need to be complex. They need a back story, relationships, wants, failures, and everything else that makes a character realistic.