Protect your writing time.
the elusive 7 act Structure
traits turned sour
honest - insensitive
persuasive - manipulative
caring - overprotective
confidence - arrogance
fearless - cocky
loyalty - an excuse
devotion - obsession
agreeable - lazy
perfectionism - insatisfaction
reserved - aloof
cautious - skeptical
self loved - selfish
available - distractible
emotional - dramatic
humble - attention-seeking
diligent - imposing
dutiful - submissive
assertive - bossy
strategic - calculated
truthful - cruel
Writers, please, please, please, I am begging you
I know we don't vibe with Mary Sues, and I know we like watching characters fail...
But if your character is the world's best assassin, they shouldn't be botching nearly every single step of every single job just because the plot demands it. If your character is one of the greatest fighters to ever live, they can't badly lose every single fight the plot throws at them and then barely win the final confrontation. If your character is a competent military strategist, they need at least a few small successes during the course of the plot. If your character is an experienced leader, they can't be constantly making the kind of missteps that realistically would cause their subordinates to lose confidence in them.
If your character is good at something. Show them being good at it.
Words to describe facial expressions
Agonized: as if in pain or tormented
Alluring: attractive, in the sense of arousing desire
Appealing: attractive, in the sense of encouraging goodwill and/or interest
Black: angry or sad, or hostile
Blinking: surprise, or lack of concern
Blithe: carefree, lighthearted, or heedlessly indifferent
Brooding: anxious and gloomy
Bug eyed: frightened or surprised
Chagrined: humiliated or disappointed
Cheeky: cocky, insolent
Choleric: hot-tempered, irate
Darkly: with depressed or malevolent feelings
Deadpan: expressionless, to conceal emotion or heighten humor
Despondent: depressed or discouraged
Doleful: sad or afflicted
Dour: stern or obstinate
Dreamy: distracted by daydreaming or fantasizing
Ecstatic: delighted or entranced
Faint: cowardly, weak, or barely perceptible
Fixed: concentrated or immobile
Gazing: staring intently
Glancing: staring briefly as if curious but evasive
Glazed: expressionless due to fatigue or confusion
Grim: fatalistic or pessimistic
Grave: serious, expressing emotion due to loss or sadness
Haunted: frightened, worried, or guilty
Hopeless: depressed by a lack of encouragement or optimism
Hostile: aggressively angry, intimidating, or resistant
Hunted: tense as if worried about pursuit
Jeering: insulting or mocking
Languid: lazy or weak
Leering: sexually suggestive
Mischievous: annoyingly or maliciously playful
Pained: affected with discomfort or pain
Peering: with curiosity or suspicion
Pleading: seeking apology or assistance
Quizzical: questioning or confused
Radiant: bright, happy
Sanguine: bloodthirsty, confident
Vacant: blank or stupid looking
Wan: pale, sickly
Wary: cautious or cunning
Wide eyed: frightened or surprised
Wrathful: indignant or vengeful
Wry: twisted or crooked to express cleverness or a dark or ironic feeling
how to write convincing dialogue
did you know that show, not tell applies to dialogue, too? while dialogue can be used to further your narrative, it can also be used to showcase your characters. here's how:
-what is your character hiding? most people don't say things at face value. they hide what they mean within their words and tone, but in writing, you can't verbally hear the character's tone. ways to convey non-verbal tone include: contradictions between words and actions, context behind the words (ie. the scenario, character's actions and feelings), syntax (ie. fragments, repetition, awkward phrasing). also consider who the character is hiding information from: is it the reader? the characters? both?
-favorite words or phrases. does your character use a certain phrase or word a lot? do they often put their prepositions at the beginning or the end of the sentence? these are questions to ask when you're arranging the syntax of the dialogue. everyone has a specific way of talking. make sure you give each character a distinguishable voice.
-personality. this is how you can create a distinguishable voice. is your character confident? are they shy or hesitant? do they repeat the phases of others because they have nothing to add to the conversation? are they confrontational or do they beat around the bush? ask questions like these. if your character is confident, they may make bold statements and appear sure of themselves unlike shy characters who use words such as "maybe" or "should" or "think." to boil it down, think active wordage versus passive.
-observe others. don't look solely at television or other books. sit at your local coffee shop and listen in on conversations, then try and break it down. are they hiding anything? do they frequently use any words or phrases? how would you describe their personality? the better you get at breaking down conversations, the better you can create convincing ones, whether shallow, deep, or as a narrative device, because even if you use your dialogue to move your narrative along, it should still be compulsively convincing.
one way to tell if you've ticked all these boxes is if you can tell who is speaking without any tags.
happy writing! if you have any questions about how to implement any of these tips, our ask box is always open.
daily reminder that if you create it, it’s art. it doesn’t have to be perfect. it just has to have bits of you in it <3
Writing about body pain
Body pain happens all the time in real life. When writing your story, you want to bring your characters to life. By creating characters and an environment that is immersive and realistic (as possible), it helps your readers relate to your characters. This is a quick guide to body pain, that is especially useful for all those adventures your characters will be going on. No one survives a dragon attack or war without some kind of injury. At the very least, some muscle soreness.
3 stages of healing:
1st stage: Acute This is the start of the process after getting hurt. Depending on the severity, often lasts up to a week. Characteristics: severe pain, inflammation/swelling, dark bruises (red, black and blue), muscle weakness, muscle spasms, reduced range of motion.
2nd stage: Sub-Acute This is when your body is starting to heal the tissue by creating scar tissue to replace or repair damage. Can last several weeks Characteristics: reduced swelling, bruises are clearing (yellow, green, brown), range of motion is starting to improve,less pain than before.
3rd stage: Chronic This is the final stage of the healing process. It can last months, if not years. Your body is finally adapting to the changes. Pain is no longer associated with the injury, but instead how the body healed. Characteristics: no bruising, little to no swelling, mature scar tissue (usually tough, and harder to move than other tissue), pain is more of an ache, not sharp. If not taking care of, mature scar tissue can cause muscle tension and reduced range of motion. Pain mostly comes on at the end range of a movement, or with stretching.
Visceral pain is organ pain. When one of your organs are causing problems, or are in pain, it typically feels more like a dull pain, or a pressure. The pain is usually vague, so it’s hard to tell where it’s coming from. Thankfully, visceral pain usually follows typical pain patterns, and you can easily find charts online. Example: Lung and diaphragm pain is usually around your neck and shoulders.
Nerve pain happens when the nerve is being pinched, compressed or was directly injured. Characteristics: shooting, tingling, zaps, numbness, stabbing or burning. Numbness is not like an analgesic. It can be a reduced sensory feelings, meaning you may not feel it if someone touches that part, but it can be very painful. Nerve pain will follow the length of the nerve.
Bone and joint pain:
These pains are directly associated with a trauma. Pain is localized to the specific bone or joint. Characteristics: Usually described as a sharp pain, especially with movements involving the painful area.
Muscle pain is extensive. Muscles work hard to protect your body while injured. Muscles will tense when the body is in pain, which usually results in more problems. This pain can be caused by overuse, injury, emotional and physical stress, or compensation for other injuries. Characteristics: deep steady aches, sharp, shooting pain, soreness, burning in muscles, spasms. Muscles will have two main problems if not injured: tension and trigger points. Trigger Points (aka knots) happen in very tense muscles. Trigger points follows specific patterns in each muscle. Example: a trigger point in the upper traps muscle is felt in the head, neck and shoulders. Pains and tensions like these can often be the cause of headaches.
Your brain processes pain in a specific way. Most often, your brain is so busy running everything, when it comes to experiencing pain, it can’t do it all at once. Thankfully. This means, if you have pain in your neck, your back, and your feet, there will usually only be one as the most painful while the others are background pain. The worst pain will usually be associated with your activities, and which part of your body you’re using the most. When getting rid of one of these pains, the next most painful one will be most noticeable. Have you ever had pain on one side of your body, then had it fixed with physio or a massage, then all of a sudden you notice pain somewhere else? It may not be new, it’s just that your body wasn’t focusing on that problem.
Let me know if this was useful to you, or if you have any questions or comments.
Please let me know if something I wrote is wrong.
Follow for more writing tips :)
10 Questions to Ask About your World
What are the common theories about the universe? (Fate, free will, what’s out there? Gods?)
How much does this society know about its world? (how much is explored versus not, are they fully aware of their history or are there things they haven’t discovered yet? What’s beyond their scope?)
What sort of religions or communities exist?
What foods do they eat, what wouldn’t be as normalized?
What traditions do they have? Festivals, celebrations, holidays, etc.
How does the average person spend a Sunday?
Is there a skill that’s expected for people to know? (ex. where I live most people know how to ride a bike) Is there something that would be odd in this society to know?
Do people drive or do they transit or do they walk? How do people get around?
How do people communicate with each other? (Phones, letters, birds, etc.)
What’s something that makes your setting unique or fit specifically for your story?
ʀᴇᴍɪɴᴅᴇʀꜱ ꜰᴏʀ ᴡʀɪᴛᴇʀꜱ <3
it's okay to stray from your story. go write that short fic you can't take your mind off of! give you—and your characters—a break.
you! won't! always! make! your! word! count! -- you don't need to keep stretching sentences because the scene you finally got right is a hundred words too short. sometimes it's better that way.
the "rules" and "tips" are just ~guidelines~ (especially for people who like to swear by them) -- writing has no laws. especially first drafts. scrap the grammar, scrap the emotional tips, write it because it feels right, not because someone else says so.
every writer procrastinates. it's not easy being a writer.
take time off for yourself. the only thing harder than writing a story is to keep pushing it when you need a break the most. come back to it later. I promise there will be no dumpster fires when you're gone.
all writing is "real" writing. I don't think there's an explanation here?? fiction writers are writers. nonfiction writers are writers. fanfic writers are writers. (like how all reading is real reading!! in every format, too!)
it doesn't need to be perfect. honestly, it might never be. but it can be really close to it. if you're not satisfied with it, move on and come back when you're ready.
you are just as skilled as any bestselling author. remember that everything you read has been heavily edited by teams of people! their first draft could not even be as good as yours is now.
not using clichés is cliché. you will find one in any story. no one can bring you down for liking a certain trope. just because it's common doesn't mean it's bad!
no writer is fully well-rounded. dialogue will be easier to write for some, and description for others.
and, finally, no one knows what they're doing. trust me. we're all stumbling around blind here.
Plot Devices to Complicate Your Story
You're excited to write an upcoming story, but the plot seems pretty simple from start to finish.
How can you make it more complicated to deepen your themes, lengthen the story, or leave your readers with plot twists that make their jaws drop?
Try a few of these devices 👀
Add motivation to your instigating action
When the princess gets kidnapped at the start of your story, your hero will rescue her, but what's the antagonist's motivation for kidnapping her? If they're in love with the hero and take their jealousy to the extreme or secretly know that the princess asked them for an escape plan to avoid marrying your hero, the plot is much more compelling.
You could add this detail anywhere in your plot, even in the first chapter.
Layer a second motivation underneath an action
After the princess is kidnapped, the hero starts their journey to rescue her. The reader finds out in the second chapter that the hero is being blackmailed to retrieve the princess and return her to their kingdom's biggest rival to start a war.
Amplify the original problem
Your protagonist rescues the princess and brings her home, only to find out that she's had a twin brother all this time who has been taken hostage by the antagonist in retaliation for the princess' escape.
Introduce a second, more evil villain
The antagonist has kidnapped the princess for their own motivation, but the reader discovers in the middle of your story that they serve a more evil villain who holds a personal grudge against the princess' father and wants his whole kingdom to suffer as revenge.
Create conflict that brings your protagonist to their rock bottom
The protagonist rescues the princess, almost reaches their home kingdom, but she escapes. The king sends the protagonist to prison for their failure and sentences them to death in three days. The reader will feel the hopelessness along with your protagonist, which is where you can create something that injects new hope into your plot (like a dramatic jailbreak thanks to the protagonist's best friend).
Make a character betray another
The protagonist reaches the princess with the help of their best friend, but the princess stabs the protagonist in the back by trading their best friend for herself through an unbreakable vow
Reveal an unreliable narrator
Your protagonist agrees to rescue the princess for the sake of the kingdom, but the second or third chapter reveals that they are really on a mission to kill the princess for personal revenge against the king.
Reveal that the villain has known everything the whole time
Your protagonist and princess escape, but the villain factored that into their plan to start a war and have their forces waiting outside of her castle when they arrive home
Introduce sudden regret that changes a character's arc
The protagonist has to leave their best friend behind to ensure the princess' escape, but in leaving them, the protagonist realizes they've been in love with their best friend the entire time. Regret motivates them to head back for their best friend and risk their life twice as soon as the princess is home safe.
Temporarily kill a character
The princess kills the villain with some help from your protagonist, so they think they're safe. On their way back home, the villain sets a trap for them in the woods because they actually survived the attack.
Try using Chekov's gun
Before leaving for the princess, your protagonist gets a potion made by a family member. The directions? "Use it in your moment of greatest need." The protagonist uses it later when they're facing the villain or after hitting rock bottom, so the potion becomes a plot device that instigates your second or third act.
Accelerate the plot
Your reader thinks the plot is all about rescuing the princess, but she returns home in the first 100 pages. The real plot begins by choices or actions made during her rescue, which unravel into a much larger story/world event.
You likely won't be able to use all of these plot devices in a single story. You may not even have the first plot for more than one.
Consider what you're writing and what dynamics your characters/plot present to decide if any of these tricks could enhance your writing.
The Language Of Flowers
Acacia: Hidden love, beauty in withdrawal
Amaryllis: Pride, a hard won success
Anemone: Vanishing hopes
Bells of Ireland: Wish for good luck
Carnation: Fascination, love and distinction
Daffodil (Narcissus): Honesty and truth
Dahlia flower: Warnings and change
Daisy: Innocence, loyal love and purity
Delphinium: Open heart, ardent attachement
Gardenia: Symbol of secret love
Gladiolus: Remembrance, faithfulness and sincerity
Hyacinth: I'm sorry, please forgive me.
Lily (general) : Purity of the heart and refined beauty
Lily of the valley: Return of happiness
Marigold: Passion and creativity
Orchid: Beauty, refinement and love
Peony: Happy marriage
Lavender: Love at first sight
Red rose: Love, respect, courage and passion
White rose: Purity, secrecy, silence, innocence and charm
Sunflower: Good luck and ambition
Tulip: Irresistible love
Violet: Faithfulness, modesty and delicate love
Zinnia: Lasting affection, daily remembrance and good memories