I hate time travel
i love and fear the concept of time travel
A guide for people with no discipline, difficulties motivating themselves and a tendency to procrastinate, but with ambitious writing projects.
In other words: People like me.
Do you know, without looking, how much time your story covers? Here are three easy ways to keep track of time in your novel.
Powerful and impeccable writing skills are necessary for professionals across all industries to convey their messages to their audiences/customers. Even the most established writers constantly fine-tune and brush-up their writing skills to ensure that they communicate effectively. Whether you are writer, a lawyer, or an entrepreneur, some great tips will surely help you to produce high-end quality documents:
Practice is the Key to Perfection
If you are not sure how to bush-up your writing skills, know that practice is the most important component to master this art. You will find significant improvement just by keeping some time aside for writing regularly and sticking to this schedule.
Mix it up
The use of repetitive words and phrases can cause your readers to lose interest in your written document. Variety attracts interest; using a wide span of descriptive words and incorporating a number of various sentence structures can keep your reader focused and can produce a more interesting and persuasive final piece.
Less is More
Avoid unnecessary terms or vague verbiage. When a simple word can serve the purpose, do not make it complicated by using long words or phrases. Readers are more interested in getting to the point and do not want to waste their time on understanding unclear metaphors. This simple step can create a significant difference in your finished product.
Avoid Grammatical Errors
It is advisable to comply with the accepted rules of grammar in your piece of work. Grammatical rules are meant to enhance the clarity of your writing; avoiding these rules may create a negative impression of your language competence on your readers.
Consult the Experts
Even the most accomplished writers often need professional Proofreading advice on their work. It is advisable to consult an editor, or you can also attend a class in writing, to improve your writing skills.
Reading other materials occasionally and more often for pleasure can help you write fresh and relevant literature. Take some time out to read a novel, newspaper or magazine. These can provide exposure and can add new ideas and new phrases to your vocabulary that you can incorporate into your writing projects.
Do not be Afraid of Failure
Fear of failure is the biggest obstacle most writers face. Muster the courage to write and submit your finished work to an editor or proofreader. It will help you achieve success in your chosen field.
The best advice to improve your writing skills is to simply write more often. Most accomplished authors set aside a few hours from their schedule each day to practice their expertise. If you can inculcate this level of commitment in yourself, no doubt, you can improve your writing skills over time.
Proofread Many Times
Even the veteran writers can sometimes miss subtle grammatical errors. Academic Proofreading is the only way out to identify and rectify these errors. Do it as many times as you can to create a perfect piece, free from any grammar or spelling mistakes.
Well-read people are mostly great writers too, but the art of writing can also be mastered by following the above-mentioned tips. Doing so is a must for anyone who really wants to improve their writing skills.
I see these things everywhere, all the time. Granted, I’m a bit Nazi-ish mentally, but I will rarely correct someone unless he’s asked me to edit something. I just want this out there, so at least my followers can make themselves aware.
- "There" is an adverb describing place. "Their" is a personal pronoun showing possession. "They’re" is a contraction, meaning "They are." Know the difference.
- "Your" is a personal pronoun showing possession. "You’re" is a contraction. Know the difference.
- "Were" is a past tense form of "be." "We’re" is a contraction. Know the difference.
- "It’s" is a contraction of "it is." "Its" is a possessive pronoun. Know the difference.
- "Cant," "wont" and "didnt" are not words. Use apostrophes when appropriate.
- The personal pronoun “I” is always capitalized. Always.
- Names of people, places, and things are also capitalized. I’m not “david,” I’m “David.”
- Sentences require punctuation at the end and a capital letter at the beginning. You don’t even really need a subject and a verb when you’re online. Just put a period at the end of stuff and press that SHIFT key.
- When talking about a hypothetical person, never use the pronoun “they” or its forms. “Someone should pick up their clothes” is incorrect. If you must, give the person a gender. Male is traditional (but not required): “Someone should pick up his clothes.”
- This is one that I see all the time with “Grammar Nazis”—the definition of the word “grammar” is (approximately) “perfect usage of English conventions.” So it is impossible to correct someone’s grammar, since perfection cannot be corrected. You also can’t have good or bad grammar, since “good grammar” is redundant and “bad grammar” is paradoxical. In most of these cases, the word “usage” is a good substitute.
- I could write a whole note on verb tense, but for the sake of space, I won’t. Just, please, remember to use correct tense. “Have did” is not grammatical.
- One thing about tense, though—in the subjuntive tense (when using “I hope,” “I wish,” or when talking about a hypothetical situation), the verb “be” always becomes “were,” even if you’re talking about yourself. “I wish I were skinny” is correct.
These next few are from the Princeton Review, so they’re defintiely legitimate:
- "Among" and "between" have exactly the same meaning except for number; use "between" for exactly two, use "among" for three or more.
- "Alright" is not a word. You can say "all right," however.
- "Each other" and "one another" are again exactly the same except for number, even though a lot of people use them interchangeably. "Each other" is for two exactly, "one another" is for three or more.
- "Farther" and "further" are both comparative forms of "far." The former, however, refers only to physical distance, while the latter refers to figurative distance.
- "Fewer" and "less" use the same idea, but with different concepts. "Less" is used for qualitative things (i.e. things that cannot be counted, like water or frustration), while "fewer" is used for quantitative nouns (i.e. things that can be counted, like apples and thoughts).
- This isn’t technically a usage error, but the word “peruse” does not mean to “skim” or “glance over quickly.” “Peruse” means “to read carefully or with caution.”
There are lots more, and I’ll probably add to the list as time goes on. Continued:
- Plurals and Possessives: Adding an “s” to most regular nouns makes them plural. No apostrophe is needed for these plurals, ever. Adding an apostrophe before the “s,” however, makes the word an adjective to show possession, and possession of a single person, place, or hing. “The boy’s bat” is a bat that belongs to the one boy. An apostrophe after the “s,” in contrast, makes the word possessive and plural, as in “The boys’ bat” (the bat belongs to multiple boys). The exception is “its,” as above.
Probably. Fair warning: I’m going to be guessing here, and thinking through it, so I could be missing something important, or just flat out wrong.
Normal full plate isn’t just a slab of metal between you and the outside world, if it was it wouldn’t be very effective against blunt weapons; like maces, flails, mauls, warhammers, and morningstars.
Those were all weapons designed to transfer a lot of kinetic force through plate or chain armor, breaking the recipient. Plate works fantastically against swords, some axes, and polearms in certain circumstances, but, ultimately, if you’re a giant bell and someone else has a hammer, I can completely botch a metaphor.
The solution was to wear a layer of heavy padding underneath the plate. This would be flax or any other easily available fabric, that could then provide some kinetic protection, in addition to the plate’s protection from weapons like axes and swords.
Okay, so that’s the part I can say with confidence, here’s the part where I’m guessing.
The padding would probably provide some insulation against cold weather on it’s own. By design it’s basically just a thick coat under the plate anyway. If that’s sufficient to keep a soldier warm enough to fight, then that’s all it takes.
But, if it’s not, then you’d need to supplement the padding with something that would keep your combatants warm, and furs are an obvious choice. Now, I don’t know that furs would actually absorb as much kinetic force as the padded armor, and you can’t just add extra stuff under the armor without heavily reworking the plate. So you’d probably need to either sacrifice some of the padding for more warmth.
Depending on how the plate is articulated this might not actually be an issue. If you can slap a fur cloak over the armor, or even just attach fur over the plate itself, you might be able to keep your soldier warm when they’re not fighting without substantially increasing the weight they’re carrying and without accidentally freezing them.
I’m kind of preferential to the cloak because it’s slightly more likely to survive combat, and this gets to another issue. During combat, the issue wouldn’t be keeping your soldiers warm, it would be keeping them from overheating.
Anyone who’s ever worked strenuously in a cold climate should be familiar with this phenomena, but, while you’re engaged in heavy physical activity, including combat, you’re body will generate enough heat to compensate for the environment. You’ll feel the cold, but it won’t impair you. This can create a weird situation where while being active, you’ll actually feel too hot in your snow gear. You’ll perspire into it, and then you’ll end up with it drenched when you stop working. If you’re wet, your body temperature is dropping, and if your environment is cold enough, this can spiral into hypothermia.
For someone experiencing this today, the easiest solution is to wear layers, and toss off outer layers while working, so they remain dry, preventing excessive perspiration, and then put them back on when you’ve finished. But when you’re wearing full plate and in combat, that’s not an option.
In the case of your soldiers, this can create a situation where they’d actually sweat into their gear and face more of a threat from the cold after combat, assuming they had no place to make camp, and warm up.
It’s probably also worth pointing out that winter campaigns in northern climates have been a very bad idea through most of human history.
I hope this is useful, even if it is a little more speculative than I’d like.
You don’t have to know everything about everything before you begin writing a novel. You don’t need to know exactly how to do it. You don’t need to know everything about the topic you’re writing about, as long as you plan on doing research to actually learn about it. You don’t need to have experience. AND you certainly don’t need to prove anything to anyone else. Writing is something most of us do because we’ve chosen to. I believe that the more you write, the more you learn about your own life. Here are a few things that writing will teach you:
How to be dedicated to something—Like most hobbies, writing teaches you how to dedicate yourself to something entirely. It teaches you how to focus yourself and what it takes to accomplish a goal. It teaches you what it takes to do something you really love. You cannot finish a novel unless you’re dedicated to finishing a novel.
How to analyze a situation—Most writers and artists are born with a desire to understand the world around them. They want to be able to explain things and they want to share their experiences with other people. In order to do this, we really need to know how to analyze what’s happening around us. This makes us excellent researchers. We can become very observant, which is a great skill to have—even in your personal life.
How to be caring—If you want to write an emotional novel with great characters and an enticing plot, you need to care about your story. I’m sure that a lot of writers don’t fit this bill, but they usually end up as very caring people. In order to understand something or someone, you really need to get into the heads of other people. In order to truly tell someone’s story, you need to care about them in some way.
How to divide your time—Writing to completion is all about learning how to divide your time properly. You can’t finish a novel unless you put time into it. Writing has taught me how to spend twenty minutes effectively. It’s also taught me that if you really want to accomplish something, you need to make room for it in your life.
What your writing style is—You don’t need to know what your writing style is before you begin writing. This isn’t something you need to plan and strategize. If you write a lot, your writing style will be revealed to you and your readers naturally. Stop trying to emulate your favorite writers. If they’ve influenced you in some way, that will show through in your writing.
What you like to write—Over time, you’ll really learn what appeals to you and what doesn’t. You’ll notice a pattern through what types of scenes you like writing, what scenes and characters motivate you, etc. The more you write, the more you’ll see patterns in your writing.
Yesterday, I shared a list of links to help you guys pick a name that is meaningful to your character. Today, I’d like to share another set of links (as always) that focuses on meanings, mainly the meanings behind numbers, symbols and colors.
Why? Why am I so keen on finding things that have a deeper meaning to them? Because of Harry Potter. If you think about it, everything in the book has a purpose and a meaning. J.K Rowling picked specific names and numbers to perfectly mesh with her books. Everything has a place and a reason. I think this is something that admins can use in their role plays if they wish to spend time thinking about the specifics of their story. Admins can even go as far as to think about if their color scheme fits the atmosphere of their story.
Here are a few links to help you with that.
- Bible Numerology from Christianity About
- Understanding The Luck Of Numbers from WOFs
- Number Sequences from The Angels from Spirit Library
- Numbers in Chinese culture from Wikipedia
- Lucky & Unlucky Numbers Around the World [infographic] from Daily Infographic
- Symbols: The Web’s Largest Resource for Signs and Flags
- Heraldic Dictionary: Introduction from University of Notre Dame
- A Heraldic Primer: Introduction and Table of Contents from SCA College of Arms on the Web
- A Dictionary of Literary Symbols by Michael Ferber from Academia
- Symbols: Online Encyclopedia of Western Signs and Ideograms
- Symbols and their Meanings from Crossroad
- Dictionary of Symbolism from University of Michigan
- The Meanings of Colors from Color Matters
- Color Symbolism and Culture from Incredible Art
- Color Meaning from Color Wheel Pro: See Color Theory in Action
- Understanding the Meaning of Colors in Color Psychology from Empower yourself with color psychology
- Color Theory for Designers, Part 1: The Meaning of Color from Smashing Magazine
- Color symbolism, color and personality, gemstone color & meaning from Crystal Cure
He woke up ambiguously. “Hmm,” he seemed to say as he looked warily around him. Time for another day of swords or drugs or making business, whatever his job was.
He lit seventeen cigarettes, because who the fuck cared. “I’m a man,” he announced to the room. “I’m a goddamn man and sometimes I have to make the tough decisions that no one asked me to make and my jaw looks like a shovel and I have an important job, so fuck you,” just in case someone was listening.
He lit a cigarette, and then turned into a cigarette himself, so he was a cigarette smoking a cigarette, and it totally blew her fucking mind.
Anonymous asked: Hi! I’m kind of new at writing, and I’m working on an action story; zombies to be exact. I don’t know how to put violence/action onto paper very well, so it’s difficult for me. Do you have any tips?
Often, the most difficult thing about writing action is the pace. It is important not to weigh down your prose with descriptors while trying to paint your gory picture. As we’re sure you can tell from watching any action-filled summer blockbuster, things move fast! If the writing is “slow” (i.e., bogged down by a ton of expansive sentences, adverbs/adjectives, and lengthy dialogue), there’s always a strong reason for it. Keep that in mind when you’re writing.
If you’re writing from the point of view of your character (first-person), remember that he or she is not an omniscient being. In an action-packed situation like yours, describing every moment in fine detail would be unrealistic. Instead, be impressionistic — a flash of blood here, a zombie moan there, a dash of gray matter to top it off. Use vivid detail that moves plot forward in fits and spurts instead of paragraphs of blow-by-blow description.
Also, the violence and action should be a gritty mixture cerebral and physical if you’re writing from first-person point of view. The character should be fighting waves of fear-induced nausea, pressing his or her aching body onward, and praying to a higher power that the zombies don’t catch up. This is some meaty stuff for writers! Relish it.
If you’re writing in the third-person, try thinking like a camera in a horror movie. You might pan over the scene from above, show some desolated street corners, catch a glimpse of your hero hiding in a basement with a shotgun, show the oncoming zombie horde, and then let the battle break out. As Richard Price famously said, “You don’t write about the horrors of war. No. You write about a kid’s burnt socks lying in the road.”
Other things to keep in mind:
- Stay true to your character! If they’re supposed to be asthmatic or afraid of the dark or what-have-you, it’s okay for them to fumble with a gun or get a bit faint. Not everyone is a gun-wielding badass. For more on this, check out Writing Violence Is Easier Than Sex over at TheCraftyWriter.
- Think procedurally. Action relies heavily on chronology. There was a virus, it spread, a zombie outbreak sprung up, your hero is one of the last survivors, and then, and then, and then… You get the idea. Plan out your scenes of chaos extremely well before writing and then let the creativity flow once you know where your scene starts, how it ends, and exactly how it all happens. Check out this article on action from DavidAlexanderBooks for more, especially the last two paragraphs.
- Know your stakes! In acting, this is the real bread and butter once you know your character — this is when you get to take your character out for a walk and see how they react, and in doing so you learn a lot about them. If you know how much they have to gain or lose (a simpler way of saying ‘stakes,’ really), then you’ll better understand how this zombie situation is getting them down. Your readers will know your characters and will understand why they act the way they do as long as you fully understand this for them first. Read more about that and other handy tips for action writing in Making it Happen: Tips on Writing Action Scenes by Janice Hardy.
- Go ahead and over-write. Yeah, we said it. Describe everything as much as you want to. Write fifteen pages for something you want to be one page. Go ahead! After you’ve finished writing everything you can for a scene, trim away anything that slows down your story, seems unnecessary, doesn’t feel quite right, goes against character, or messes up your plan. You’ll feel the satisfaction of having a fully realized the scene and your complete understanding of all its details will inform the rest of your writing. The readers will be delighted if they can sense that you did the work and their imagination and attention span will thank you for leaving it out.
- Read your favorites/Watch your favorites. Good artists use reference images; good writers use reference narratives, even if it’s just for structure. Try to think of a book that you’ve read that’s full of action. If you ever lost yourself in the moment, so much so that you forgot you were actually reading a scene, then those are the scenes from which you should draw inspiration. Read critically and take notes on their structure. How did this author treat the scene, the characters, the setting?
- Quicken the pace with dialogue. Dialogue is a great way to move a scene forward quickly. Because action-based dialogue doesn’t necessarily need dialogue tags, short sentences full of emotion can propel the reader along at lightning speed. Here’s an example of action dialogue with no tags:In action scenes, dialogue should be short. Very short. Feel free to put your grammar in peril to get the point across as quickly as possible, as in the case of “‘You sure?’” in the example above. The idea is to convey urgency. Also, as is the case with the actual action of the scene, stay true to your character in action dialogue. If your character is a babbler, decide on that early on and write accordingly. Or maybe your character is the silent-in-times-of-stress type. Make sure to convey your character’s voice accurately in action scenes, and that character interaction in appropriate to the group dynamic already in place."Go now! Get to the docks! I’ll meet you there."
Med sprayed bullets into the wall of oncoming moaners. I watched a few hit the pavement. Blood splattered. The horde flattened those that had fallen. Closer now. A stone’s throw away.
Med glared at me over his shoulder. “GO!”
- Kill the adverbs and adjectives. Once you’ve over-written, remove all (yes, all) adverbs and adjectives. Re-read and see how the scene flows without them, adding them back in only when absolutely necessary. Descriptors are lovely, but they may weigh down your sentences. Remember, you’re going for the bare minimum of descriptive detail. Let the images you choose do the work. For instance: “He reloaded”, not “He slammed another full magazine into the empty gun”; not “There were mangled bodies everywhere in the street, piled up over twisted, bloody debris, hanging out of burned-out cars”, but “Bodies littered the street”.
- Limit your use of the verb be. Instead of adverbs and adjectives, use dynamic action verbs to help add detail. Here are some lists of action and dynamic verbs that may help:
- Clip your sentences down. Figure out the simplest way to get information to your reader and do that. Don’t elaborate. Just tell them exactly what they need to know to get them to the next sentence. In matters of fast pacing, commas and semicolons are evil. There should be a comma about every five sentences during an action scene. Clipping your sentences forces the reader to work harder to imagine the scene (in a good way) instead of wading through descriptive prose to get to the action.
- Jar your reader by alternating pacing.You’ve heard of bullet time, right? It’s that thing movies use to slow down action to the point where you can see a bullet moving slowly through the air toward its target. Use this same technique with your writing in times of great emotional upheaval. For example, if the hero’s friend has just been bitten by a zombie, slow down the action to a crawl and describe to your heart’s content:Did you notice the transition from descriptive pacing to action-based pacing? It happens when Denise appears at the entrance of the alley. As soon as the sentences get shorter, the pace picks up. Large blocks of descriptive text are not your friend in action pacing. Pare down your paragraphs. Avoid cliched dialogue (especially in death scenes). Move your characters through space and time quickly, and you’ve got action that gets the reader’s palms sweating.Together, Jerry and Rick looked down at the oozing bite mark on his forearm. Rick’s skin was already lined with black veins, the flesh around the bite an angry reddish-purple. This was it. Jerry’s vision blurred; something in his mind snapped. Before he knew what he was doing, he’d torn his shirt sleeve from the seam at the shoulder and tied it around the wound. Blood stained the fabric immediately, but at least they couldn’t see the teeth marks anymore.
“You’re going to be fine,” Jerry said tremulously, and Rick stared up at him with wild eyes. “You’re going to be just fine.”
Denise stuck her head around the corner of the alley. “We’ve got to get moving!” she shouted. Then she saw Rick. “What happened?”
“Nothing happened!” Jerry pulled Rick to his feet. “Let’s go.”
They met Denise at the entrance of the alleyway. On the main road, things had gone south. There were bodies everywhere. Denise took aim at a nearby zombie and shot through its ear. The thing crumpled, revealing three more behind it.
“Run for it!”
“I’m empty! Run!”
Rick tripped forward. Jerry couldn’t run and hold up Rick at the same time. Denise was already a block ahead.
“I’m dead, man.” Rick tore away from Jerry and collapsed against a car. “I’m already dead.”
He didn’t have time to argue. They were coming. Jerry ran.
Action scenes take practice and editing. If you can, plan your scenes thoroughly before you write them, get all the description out of your head and on the page, then dial it back to the barest minimum. The reader should be whipping the pages, not just turning them. Make them stop and stare in breathless panic at the end of a chapter. That’s when you know you’ve done your job.
- Writing Dialogue in Action Scenes
- How to Write a Kick-Ass Fight Scene by Susan
- Writing Action Scenes
- Pacing Dialogue and Action Scenes — Your Story at Your Speed
- Writing Action
- Writing Action Scenes
- Thriller: Writing the Action Scene
- Write Tip: 10 Tips For Writing Good Action Scenes
- Writing Fight Scenes
- 12 Tips for Writing Action Scenes
Thank you for your question! Did we miss anything? Do you have something to add? Tell us here!
Also, thank you to Evvy for helping out with this post. You’re awesome!