Note to authors: when a bullet is shot from a gun, it becomes so hot it’s sterile. You don’t get an infection from the bullet itself, but from the wound. That’s why in the short term it’s better not to remove the bullet, because bothering the wound just makes it more prone to infection! That is also why some veterans still have bullets in their body.
Anonymous asked: I am struggling with commas. I’m always asking myself if that phrase needs a comma before adding the next words or not. Are commas needed when the narrator pauses a bit while narrating the story? Is this acceptable: It was rainy outside, very. THANKS FOR THE HELP! :))))
Generally you should avoid using commas to signify a pause. Here are some rules for using commas:
Many people never start their novels because they’re afraid of failing. Why start something that’s going to take up so much of your time if it’s not going to be any good? What’s the point? The point is— if you love writing there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do it. If you want to write and it makes you happy, do it.
Some people don’t start writing or get discouraged by stuff they read online or hear from other people. Here are a few writing lies you should be aware of:
The bigger your vocabulary, the better
You don’t need a massive vocabulary to be a writer. Sure, it helps to know your options, but sometimes the most common and simple words get your point across the best. Vocabulary is something you can learn and grow over time, so don’t let that discourage you from getting started. The more you read and write, the bigger your vocabulary is going to get. Writing will only help you improve your skills.
Your grammar needs to be perfect
Grammar is important, but telling a good story is even more important. I try not to worry about grammar too much at first because grammar mistakes aren’t that difficult to correct. Plot problems are much more difficult to correct, so you should spend more time focusing on story. I’m not saying grammar doesn’t matter and that it’s not a big part of writing, but it isn’t something you should let deter you. Again, reading and writing will only help you improve your grammar.
You need natural talent
Not many people are magically born great writers. They spend years writing and soaking up knowledge about the craft before they become great writers. You do not need to have “natural” talent to become a good writer. Using that as an excuse not to write sort of insults other writers in the process. Someone is not good at something because they were born good at it. They’re good because they worked hard to improve themselves. Stop using this as an excuse not to write.
Write for the market
I know it might make sense to some people to write in a genre that’s popular, but that won’t get you very far. The market is always changing, so it’s never a good idea to write what you think someone might like to read. Don’t write a dystopian novel because you want to find the same audience as The Hunger Games. Write a dystopian novel because you feel passionate about your story and it’s the story you want to tell. I’m not telling you to avoid popular genres, I’m just telling you to reevaluate your motivation. If you’re writing to make loads of money, it will probably not work out that way. Write a story you desperately want to tell.
No one will root for that character
Some people might try to discourage you from writing “different” characters because they think people won’t be able to relate to them. For example, I’ve been rejected by a publisher because there were too many female characters in my novel and they didn’t think a male reader would be able to relate. I always thought this concept was flawed because if I’ve written a good character really anyone should be able to relate regardless of gender. The point is, don’t let anyone tell you what types of characters you should write. Just work on developing them and making their story the best it can be.
I spoke about overcoming writing excuses the other day, but what should you do to keep up your writing productivity once you’ve started? If you’re trying to reach writing goals and remain consistent, focusing on what makes your more productive should help.
Here are 5 tips to increase your writing productivity:
Find your writing space
Having your own space to write often increases your productivity. I know you won’t always have your own space, but you should be able to identify where you’re most productive. Some people like to write in a crowded place, like a coffee shop, and some people like to write in an academic setting, like a library. If there’s room in your home or apartment, try to carve out a space that’s ONLY for writing. You know when you sit there you should only be focused on writing. Try to surround that space with things that inspire you or are related to writing.
Keep a notebook
Nothing helps increase writing productivity like brainstorming. Taking a few moments to jot down ideas or explore where your novel is going will help you stay productive. That’s why I always keep a small notebook with me in case I feel inspired by something. This helps because if you run out of ideas when you’re writing, you can always refer to your notebook, which will help prevent you from getting stuck.
Set a weekly goal
Daily word goals can be difficult for some people to stick with. We don’t always have time and we end up feeling frustrated when we don’t meet certain goals. I like to set a weekly goal, so it gives me the flexibility I need to stay motivated. For example, focus on finishing a chapter or working on a scene you want to finish. You can also set a goal to write for a certain amount of time. This also allows you to go beyond your goals for the week and be extra productive.
Plan it out
If you plan your novel before you begin and then actively adjust your outline when something changes, you’ll see a significant increase in productivity. Knowing what you’re going to work on next will allow you to write faster than you thought possible. I know it isn’t a race, but this will keep you from second guessing what you already wrote about and will help you stay on track. If you often get stuck while writing, considering more planning.
Write when you can
Productivity doesn’t come from forcing yourself to write for an hour or two, it comes from taking small writing breaks when you get the chance. Sometimes I write during my lunch break, sometimes I write about ten minutes before I go to bed, and sometimes I write a couple sentences in the morning. The point is, all these writing sprints add up, and they’re significant. Being able to schedule your writing time is nice, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Write when it’s best for you and don’t worry about not being able to dedicate a large chunk of time to it!
One thing I’ve always noticed is how some people find it amazingly difficult to write pregnant characters. A couple of months ago I wrote a full story about a pregnancy, and I did my research. So I might be able to help.» Make sure you want to do this
Keep in mind that a pregnancy isn’t the easiest thing in the world. It takes doctor appointments, a lot of exhaustion, sickness and, most importantly, time. If you didn’t know, it takes about nine months for a baby to be born. That’s almost 275 days. That means that you should only go on if you really want to create a baby in your story, because you can’t skip too much time - it isn’t like the movies where in one scene the lady’s finding out she’s pregnant, and in the other, she’s already in labor.
Here’s a tip: if you really want to make your characters happy and thrilled with the news of baby, but you can’t afford the time and sweat that it takes to cook one, you have from 21-23 weeks to write a miscarriage.» Pre-Pregnancy
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: the conception. Even if you don’t write any kind of smutty scenes, you should let the reader know when and where the pregnancy started.
Unprotected Sex: think about how you’re going to put this in your story. If your characters are usually responsible, they won’t simply forget wearing a condom. Think about what is going on: are they completely sane? Are they under the influence of alcohol? Are they high (which, I must say, wouldn’t exactly make your characters irresponsible - it would either get them too horny to care or even more responsible than they already are)? Or are your characters already drowned to each other in a way that they can’t think of anything else? Are they married and actually planned on having this baby? All of this will have an influence on how the pregnancy will flow, and how it will affect people around it.» The Symptoms
Don’t think your character is going to find out she’s pregnant a week after the conception. It takes some time even for the baby to start, and if you remember biology classes, it’s not a simple process. It will take weeks, maybe months, for the woman to realize that she might be pregnant, and not all of the symptoms come in the first trimester. Usually, the first thing to warn her is that she is free of the devilish blood lost that comes once a month. Here are some symptoms that basically everyone gets:
- Absence of Period: every women keeps track of her monthly blood lost, even if not strictly. Of course your character might find herself way too busy or stressed and that will cause her not to realize that it’s been a week, a month, two months without it, but, eventually, she will notice. From the conception until birth.
- Small bleedings: sometimes, a woman might bleed a little when she’s in the first weeks or months of pregnancy. It’s nothing much and it doesn’t happen for too long; so it might cause some scare if she already knows she’s pregnant, or some relief if she was only suspecting. Either way, it doesn’t mean she’s not pregnant. It’s completely normal for a woman to bleed in her first weeks. From the first week until the end of the first trimester.
- Cramps: every woman has it - which can also cause confusion if she doesn’t know she’s pregnant or is only suspecting it. As you may know, some people experience menstrual cramps before, during or after their periods, and the same happens during pregnancy. From the first week until the birth.
- Breasts Increase: it might happen during the first few weeks, but after maybe one month, there will most likely already have a difference. A woman might notice something weird maybe not because they’re growing, but because they’re hurting. Your character’s breasts should get more and more painful at touch. As the pregnancy goes, they will continue to get bigger and bigger, and that might alert other people if she still hasn’t realized she’s got one in the oven. From the second/third week until birth.
- Dizziness and Sickness: some movies make it seem like a woman can’t eat, smell or sleep through a whole night without throwing up. The morning sickness will come after some weeks, and it will be a pain in the ass, but not like the television shows. Sometimes it’ll be the middle of the night and your character will wake up to vomit, or it’ll be the middle of the afternoon. Of course she will have a regular time where she will feel sick (when I say that, I mean as around 8am, for example, she feels like she needs to throw up) and in some mornings she will have it, and in others she won’t. Another thing that also is a bitch to pregnant women is that some scents will make them extremely dizzy and even feel the urge to vomit. Remember that it will not happen with everything and your character can easily go through a meal without feeling a thing, and ten minutes later she will sense a perfume that will set her off; other women don’t even feel dizzy about smells at all. Usually from the first couple of weeks to the second trimester.
- Stomach Swollen: not like a baby growing, obviously. All of the woman swells and her hands, finger, arms, everything will get bigger. It’s not like she’ll notice it when she wakes up, but when her ring starts to get too small, it’s because something’s not right. From the first couple of weeks until birth.
- Urge to pee all the time: this is something your character will need to get used to. It doesn’t only start after she already has a big belly, actually; even from the first weeks of pregnancy, she already needs to go a lot more often than she’s used to, and with a big baby pressed upon her bladder, she’ll barely be able to hold herself together. From the first month to birth.
- Tiredness: after a few weeks into the pregnancy, your character should get tired more easily and feel sleepy all the time. It’s not like she won’t have the energy to do anything, but if you’re writing a woman who is usually out in an adventure, she will get exhausted from something she’s used to do and sleep for more time and more often. From the first week to birth.
- Cravings: for some reason, people think that cravings only appear after the baby starts to show. To be honest, it depends from woman to woman, but some feel the urge to have something even from the early weeks of pregnancy. Keep in mind that it doesn’t always have the be the weirdest things, but pregnant women aren’t intimidated by something most people would find disgusting. From the first/second month (might be only after the second trimester) to birth.
- Change of taste and smell: a woman will become more critical of what she eats when she’s pregnant, sometimes even changing her palate. She’ll also develop her sense of smell, which might cause some dizziness. From the first month to birth.
- Gases: don’t laugh. It happens to every pregnant woman, just as the peeing factor. There’s a baby pressing her organs, be nice. From the first couple of weeks to birth.
- Mood Changes: it increases as the pregnancy goes on, but your character might experience it since the first weeks. That’s one of the things that will get people to notice how different she is. From the second to the third trimester, she could become so bipolar other people might not even stand being around the pregnant lady. From the first couple of weeks to birth.
- Acne: don’t forget the hormones of a woman are all over the place when she’s cooking another human being. It’s the teenage years all over again. It can come in any moment during the pregnancy.
- Baby Belly: this one is pretty obvious. The biggest thing to point out is that your character won’t start to show after a month or two in the pregnancy, no matter the whole “it varies from woman to woman” stuff. The baby will only start developing once it has formed organs and stuff, and that usually around the third month, in the beginning of the second trimester.» Finding Out and Gender
This is something you and only you can define, but there are only a couple of ways for your character to find out she’s pregnant: she will either go to the doctor and be examined, or she will take a pregnancy test.
Please keep in mind that pregnancy tests aren’t always right and even if they come off negative, your character can still mark an appointment with her doctor because, really, if she’s not pregnant and is presenting the first symptoms of it, something’s wrong and she must go the a hospital.
There is a hormone called HCG, and it is what will tell the doctor if the woman is pregnant or not. There are two different types of exams, the Qualitative, which will only point positive or negative, and the Quantitative, which will not only say if your character is pregnant, but also how far along she is. The level of HCG doubles after 48h into the pregnancy, so the doctors recommend to only take the test after a week of being late, and sometimes a woman might need to do it twice. If the result shows below 50mUl/ml, there isn’t a baby, and until 100mUl, it isn’t determinate. Above it, the woman is pregnant.
The gender of the baby will only be available after ten to twelve weeks, and that’s when most of the doctors can identify twins.» Consequences
Getting off the technical pregnancy issues, you should go back to your story. Think about everything a baby means.
- How is your character going to take the news? Sometimes, unplanned pregnancy isn’t welcomed too well, not even by the mother. Your character could easily decide to abort without a second thought or she might just go with it, even if she’s not exactly happy, because it’s her baby and she wouldn’t kill it for nothing in the world.
- Think about the father: Is he a decent man? Does he have something going on in his life which doesn’t allow him to be a dad right now? Will she stick with the mother, even if it was just a one night stand, even if he isn’t happy about the baby? Will he be a complete asshole and push the mom to abort?
- Think about what will happen to the baby: What if your characters don’t want to kill their kid, but also can’t be parents right now? There is always the option to give the baby away to someone who can and wants a baby. Or what if your characters do abort? Or the woman has a miscarriage? There are different ways to run from an unplanned pregnancy, such as there are ways to make it work. Okay, so maybe the baby wasn’t planned. Maybe it’s what came from a drunk one night stand between two people who hate each other, but it’ll bring those two together. Always create a pregnancy with a reason in mind. There’s not need to get a woman knocked up just for the sake of it.
- How are they going to tell the news and how it will affect people around them? A baby isn’t only the responsibility of two people. Don’t forget that this baby has grandmothers and grandfathers, and maybe an uncle, or a borrowed aunt. What if the place where the mother works can’t have a pregnant employee? What if the father is engaged to someone and just found how he’s gonna have a kid? I don’t think a fiancée is fond to the idea of sharing her husband-to-be with a mistress and a baby who isn’t even hers.» Abortion, Miscarriage, Stillborns and Teenage Pregnancy
I needed to touch the subject. I’m so sorry to whoever gets triggered with this kind of stuff, but… It can happen.
- Abortion: not all countries allow it. For example, I live in a country where the clinics only perform abortions in people who will die from the pregnancy or who were raped (I think there’s something more, but.) Do your research. If the story is going on in the country you live, it’s easier because you know how the thing works. Don’t think abortion is the simplest thing to do. If you’re getting your teenage character an abortion, please notice that most clinics would need parents’ consent. So your girl would end up in an illegal clinic and God knows what can happen from there. As it varies from country to country, it needs proper research.
- Miscarriage and Stillborns: a baby dying is only considered miscarriage if it happens until around the sixth month (23-24 weeks.) After that, a baby who dies inside the mom is called a stillborn. Miscarriages vary from woman to woman, and it’s more likely to happen during the first trimester, which is why your character shouldn’t get too focused on building a nursery or anything like that during that time. Your character might bleed the fetus all at once or at different times (it could even take a few days), which, during the first trimester, could be easily confused with the normal bleeding. After the third trimester has begun, a baby who dies is a stillborn, and your character might not even notice it if the baby doesn’t usually kick or move much.
- Teenage Pregnancy: a pregnancy is already complicated between two married adults, so imagine between two teenagers who don’t even know what they’re doing. A baby around that age affects a lot more than an adult, not only because neither the girl or the boy are ready to take care of another life, but also because there is school, the social pressure, the parents and the risks. Teenage pregnancies have more risk on miscarriages than normal, so if your character actually wants her baby, she better lay down and take care of herself really well. When you’re writing a, I don’t know, sixteen year old girl getting pregnant, think about yourself when you were sixteen and how frightened you would be. Someone around that age can’t even take care of herself alone, so she needs the support of other people. If the father isn’t willing to compromise (which is more likely to happen if he’s older or the same age, because a baby at a teenage age can ruin the chances of chasing dreams and going to college or whatever else), your character needs to find other people. Don’t try to create a tough girl who can do all of this by herself, because she’ll need to be a lot extraordinary not to break down. She won’t be able to go to school if she doesn’t have people to take care of the baby, and later college, and later work. Teenage girls are scared of taking care of another life, so the parents are a wall of support she can have. Don’t shut her down to friends and family.» Labor and C-Sections
So you’ve gotten this far (let me applaud you, because damn.) Your character has survived nine months of making a baby and it’s time for her to pop.
- Going Into Labor: the first thing that will happen to your character when she goes into labor is her water breaking. She might spill a lot of water or just a few drops, which might not alert her very soon, but - believe me - she will notice when the contractions start. A woman can bleed a little when she’s going into labor either because she’s already too dilated or because the water broke with a little bit of blood spilling, it doesn’t mean much. The contractions should start when the water breaks, and they’re painful as f*ck. Some women describe labor as the worst pain they’ve ever experience, and just a few can’t even feel the contractions until they’re too close and the baby is almost coming.
- Labor: I’m not going into details because what you should know is what you learned in health class and if you want that scene to be described really well, you do your research. What you need to know is that once a woman goes into labor, she’ll start getting contractions which are basically her body making path to the baby. It might be the most painful part of the process for some people, but once a woman is settled into a hospital and is dilated enough, doctors will give her a shot that will relieve the pain. Finally, when your character is 10cm dilated, the final process will begin and it’s time for the famous pushes and stuff. I would recommend someone to be with your character because, honestly, it will hurt a lot and she will need someone by her side in case of any complications or anything like that. Labors can variate from just a couple of hours to days (some women take a long time to get the 10cm dilated).
- C-Section: your character can choose to have a C-Section if she doesn’t want to go through the pain of the natural birth, so remember that if you want her to do that, she should book a date with the doctor. It can also be arranged if there are any kind of complications either for the baby or for the mom (like, let’s say the umbilical cord is wrapped around the little one’s neck). It is more risky for the baby if there wouldn’t be any problems with the natural birth, so your character will be warned if she chooses C-Section just so she won’t feel pain. What happens during the procedure: your character won’t feel pain because she will be anesthetized from the waist down, but she will be awake to hear the baby crying and even hold it in her arms.
My God, I think that’s it. I hope this was helpful (and for the amount of hours I spent researching, it better be) for the one who were wondering what happened during a pregnancy.
008. MAKING AN ORIGINAL CHARACTER
This guide is going to be about making original characters. Or at least, how I make them; there’s no one right way to make an original character. I’m not the authority on this topic, but as the owner of at least fifteen original characters of present (there have been plenty more in the past, but muses come and go like that) I figure I have some experience on this topic. I’ll be using my own main characters are references in this guide.
We have codified the process of writing for a reason. The rules of writing aren’t there to smother creativity or keep people from having their own style. We have rules for writing so we may safe-keep ideas. When the capsule of a sentence is broken into, it should form in the reader’s mind as close as possible to the shape that appeared in the author’s. Rules guide us how to efficiently pack and unpack ideas in text.
Let’s be clear: I don’t believe in the technical rules of writing out of some abiding respect for law and order. I don’t even believe the rules should always be followed. I adore the way E.E. Cummings transcends the page by completely disregarding “proper” form. Accessible, natural writing often steps around the technical rules to capture streams of consciousness and realistic dialogue. The vital point, however, is that when the written word wanders away from conventional rules, it ought to be moving toward something. Color outside the lines, yes, but do so because you’re drawing a new picture, not because you’re scribble-checking whether the ballpoint pen still has ink." -
- from reasoningwithvampires
This is beautifully written and I for one completely agree. When you’re trying to tell a story, you always have to remember the rules of writing. You can’t forget them because you think they smother you and your creativity. On the contrary, the rules of writing are there to help your writing so your story can be told.
Anonymous asked: Hi so I was just wondering if you have any tips on writing a series in kind of an anthology format? I’ve been thinking for a while that I’d like to write a series with each book focusing on a different character in the same world working towards basically the same goals and I’d really appreciate tips. Thank you!
I haven’t seen a lot of anthology-style novel series, but here are some tips I think you should keep in mind:
- stories should share at least one major unifying feature, like the setting, the world/universe, an event, a time period, etc.
- stories should also share at least a few smaller unifying features. This can be anything: food, customs, words, societal details, governmental details, cultural details, myths and urban legends, means of transportation, money or economic practices, etc.
- if you can find a way to maintain a fluid series arc that is simply told through different people, that’s another nice unifying touch.
- choose a name for the series that encompasses a shared detail all of the novels have in common
I hope that helps! :)
When Describing a Character
- provide enough detail to give the reader a sense of the character’s physical appearance
- highlight details that serve as clues to who the character is and perhaps what their life is like
- describe clothing to establish character or when relevant to scene
- go overboard with too many details or take up too much of the reader’s time describing one character
- repetitively describe features or fixate on certain characteristics
- describe clothing every time the character shows up unless its somehow relevant to the scene.
- describe minor characters’ clothing in-depth unless it’s relevant
Choose a Focal Point
When describing a character’s appearance, choose a focal point and work up or down from there. For example, you may describe them from head to toe, or from toe to head. Try not to skip around. If you’re describing their face, start with their hair and work your way down to their mouth, or start at the mouth and work your way up to their hair.
Describing Race and Ethnicity
There is a lot of debate about the right and wrong way to describe a person’s race. If you want, you can state that a person is Black, white, Hispanic, Native American, First Nations, Latino, Middle-Eastern, Asian, Pacific Islander, etc. Just remember that races are made up of different ethnic groups. Someone of Asian descent could be Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc. If you’re describing a character whose ethnicity is unknown or not important to the plot, you could just say that they were Asian or Black, for example. But, the rest of the time you need to be clear about whether they are Chinese, Chinese American, Korean, etc. Also, remember that not all Black people are African-American, such as someone born in England or Haiti, for example.
You may instead choose to describe a character’s race through the color of their hair, eyes, and skin. It’s up to you which you feel most comfortable with and is most appropriate for your story. Just remember, if you describe one character’s skin color or otherwise make an issue of their race, you should describe every character’s skin color or race.
Just like with physical appearance, when describing clothing you want to choose a focal point and work up or down. Think about things like the garments they’re wearing (pants, shirt, coat) and accessories (hat, jewelry, shoes). Be sure to choose clothing which are both relevant to your character and to the time and place where your story is set. You can find out about appropriate clothing by Googling the time and place your story is set plus the word clothing:
"Clothing in Victorian England"
"Clothing in 1960s New York"
"9th century Viking clothing"
Be sure to look for web sites that aren’t providing cheap Halloween costumes. Shops providing clothes for historical reenactors are often very accurate.
Looking for Inspiration
There are many resources online for both historical and modern clothing. For historical clothing, you can look for web sites about the period, web sites for or about historical reenactors, or web pages for historical enthusiasts or museums. For modern clothing, you can simply pull up the web site of your favorite department store or clothing designer. Choose an outfit that works for your character, then learn how to describe the relevant parts.
Resources for Describing Clothing:
Writing Tips on Describing Clothes
Describing Clothes and Appearance (If You Should at All)
Resources for Garments and Accessories:
Types of Dress
Coats and Jackets
Sleeves, Necklines, Collars, and Dress Types
Scarves for Men
Scarf Buying Guide
The Ultimate Scarf Tying Guide
Historical Clothing Resources:
OMG That Dress!
Amazon Dry Goods
Historical Costume Inspiration
History of Costume: European Fashion Through the Ages
Women’s Fashion Through the Years
Clothing in the Ancient World
Clothing in Ancient Rome
Clothing in Biblical Times
Vintage Fashion Guild
Modern Clothing Resources:
Clothes on Pinterest
This is a Fashion Blog
What I Wore
Fashion is Endless
Physical Details Resources:
Women’s Body Shapes
Men’s Body Shapes
Realistic Eye Shape Chart
Facial Hair Types
How to Describe Women’s Hair Lengths
The Ultimate Haircut Guide for Women
Men’s Haircuts (Barber Shop Style)
A Primer on Men’s Hairstyles
Obsidian Bookshelf Hair Color
Obsidian Bookshelf Eye Color
Skin Color Chart
Curl and Texture Chart