It depends on how different your world is. If it’s based on a real world culture (as yours seems to be with its medieval courts), then you probably have a good idea of how your story should go in terms of worldbuilding. If you’re starting from scratch, you should definitely worldbuild more because you’ll have to map social interactions, economic interests, political groups, etc. from scratch based on theories you need to research and apply.
I like writing about a third of my story before I go back to worldbuild if the story is based on a real-world culture. I barely start writing until I have the major social, political, and economic factors down if the world is completely new. However, worldbuilding is a trap. Once you start checking facts and studying cultures and attempting to reconcile parts of your culture, you often find you can’t stop yourself. Everyone’s writing process is different, so there is no rule of thumb or guideline you should follow. The above is only my opinion.
Advice: Flashback vs Recounting Someone Else’s Memory
Anonymous asked: Hey there! In my story, I want it to be told in a flashback, but I was wondering if the flashback could be of the other character’s perspectives? Like Character A is having the flashback but could it be in Character B’s perspective? Having it like that fits well for the end of the story but I want to know if it will confuse the reader or not. Thanks for your time!
It would be really tricky to pull off. The problem is that a flashback is a strong memory which allows you to sort of re-live something that you experienced. You couldn’t experience something from someone else’s perspective, so you couldn’t really have a flashback from someone else’s perspective. What you could do is recount a memory from someone else’s perspective if they told you about it. For example, Character A could say, “It was twenty years ago when Character B stepped off the plane and first felt the humid island air wash over her. She was excited and a little bit scared, having absolutely no idea what was in store for her.” But, that wouldn’t be a flashback. That would just be recounting a memory. Does that make sense? :)
Let’s get hairy
Describing appearance is something a lot of you struggle with and it is something I struggle with, especially when I’m trying to describe truthfully without making it boring or overly elaborate. Hair however I find even more tiresome to describe. I find it especially different because I don’t know much about hairstyles or trends. So I gathered some links that hopefully should help you with developing your characters appearance.
Hair ColourHair colour like anything has trends, different shades are in at different times of year and certain colours suit some complexions better than others. Whether or not this matters to you or your character is dependant on how much you care about it, but if you do these links below should help you out.
Find the best hair colour for you
Popular hair colours of 2013
Describing Hair Colour
List of hair colours
History of hair colour
1920s Flapper hair
Popular female hairstylesHair styles change, I mean think of the trends. The Rachel haircut in the 90s, the Beckham bob… there has been lots of different styles that have gone in and out of fashion. Although this is not of major importance in your novel, it’s nice to know what styles were popular in the time you are setting your story.
30 Victorian Hairstyles, victorian evening hairstyles
Hairstles from 1900-1920
1920s flapper hairstyles
1940s hairstyles (WW2 styles).
1950s ladies hairstyles, Hairstyles in the 1950s
Womens 1960s hairstyles, 1960s hairstyles
Womens 1970s hairstyles,
1970s hairstyles expressed individuality and freedom
Totally Rad hairstyles from the 1980s, womens hairstyles and looks of the 1980s
19 most important hairstyles of the 1990s, Hairstyles from the 90s (includes mens) , the long and short of 90s hair
The 15 best hairstyles of the last decade, best hair trends of the 2000s
Popular hairstyles of the 20th century
Popular Male hairstylesLike women male hairstyles are heavily influenced by celebrities and fashion. Think about the mullet! And that wacky Bowie hair! Oh and lets not forget the mohawk made popular by Becks! So mens hair changes with styles but men have a little extra hair on their face- BEARDS. So I’m also including links for popular beard styles. So let’s get started!!!
Hair at the 19th Century
Hair of the 20th Century
The 30 most iconic styles
1980s male hairstyles
The 15 most important male hairstyles of the ‘90s
Mens hair trends 2000-2009
25 Trendy male Hairstyles
Top 40 Male Hairstyles UK
If this interests you and you find the links useful, brilliant! If not, never mind!
There’s some stuff in the “characters of color” and “character description” tags on the tags page for skin in general.
Using “olive-toned” or “olive” to describe skin is still largely debated. Some people say don’t use it, some people say use it, and some people don’t care.
Advice: Setting Your Story in an Unfamiliar Place
Anonymous asked: Hi, I’m not sure if you’ve answered this before (I looked but couldn’t find it), but I was hoping you had some insight. I’m writing a story that takes place in another state. I’ve never been there except to see it on television. I didn’t arbitrarily choose this state, it just exists in this characters world. I live at home, barely making ends meet, and have no money to just pick up and move there, or even just vacation there. Do you have tips for writing another place than what you know?
I know you said ‘never mind’ since you found my post about setting your story in an unfamiliar place, but I figured I would take the opportunity to share the link again since it might help others. :) <3
Developing A Super Power
There are a lot of things that go into creating a super powered being, and all of them can be boiled down to two words: back story. You have to decide what power they have, how they got it, when it showed up, and a million other things before actually writing out the good parts. However, developing the super hero (or villain) is a bit more complicated.
The first thing to do with the development of a super is to teach them how to use their power. This can be a lot of fun because it gives you the chance to have your character make a lot of mistakes. The character is brand new to this and has no idea what the limits to this power are, or even if there are limits. So this is your chance to have them turn invisible in the middle of a first date, tear their car door off, or burn down the model airplane they’ve been working on forever. Teaching your character how to use their power can also help develop the super as a character. It helps to show how they handle different situations, or how they think about the world and the people in it.
The important thing to remember about super heroes and villains is that deep down they’re still human. They have the same wants, needs and motives as anyone else: love, greed, sympathy, anger, etc. However, what makes them interesting is the fact that they have power. They have abilities that no one else has, and that’s where writing these characters gets really interesting. Once the character has these powers (and knows how to use them) the logical next step is to make the “big decision.” Are they a hero or a villain. In comic books the decision to be a hero or a villain is almost always made after a major life event. This can be the death of a loved one, being framed for a crime, sometimes even after the character’s own death. What the writer has to think about is how the character deals with the particular event. This is just like any character development, but with the addition of powers. This may not seem like a huge addition, but it is, and this is because it gives a lot of possibilities for a reaction scene.
After any huge life event a person is going to feel a very strong emotion or maybe a bundle of emotions they can’t easily untangle. The trick to this part is figuring out how the power plays into it. When people are sad they cry, then they’re scared they scream and run away, when they’re happy they jump up and down, however, these aren’t just ordinary people. The tricky part (and often the fun one) is to figure out how the power reacts to this emotional cacophony. There’s a ton of different ways to do anything and the best part is it’s all up to you.
4 Ways to Have Confidence in Your Writing
Hello. I love writing a lot but I always feel inferior and small compared to other people who can write better than me. I feel that I lack the excellent vocabulary to convey my thoughts into perfect sentences that are interesting and exciting to the reader. Currently, I’m trying to write on a topic I have never written before and seeing others who can attempt at it much better than me, I feel like quitting soon enough. Any advice on this?
I do have lots of advice on this! I feel this way a lot too (EVERY writer does!) but these are the things that I think about that help me when I get in a rut of self-doubt:
What happens depends on the characters and the situation.
- Pre-Attempt: This is when the parent finds the character prior to the actual attempt. Physical damage hasn’t been done yet, so the reaction probably won’t be as extreme as it could be. Finding the character pre-attempt could be as little as a few seconds before the attempt or as much as a few months, depending on how the character planned their suicide (if they planned it at all). A parent finding out about the plans to commit suicide might not be as extreme either (once they evaluate the situation, anyway) because they know they caught it early.
- Attempting: This is when the parent finds the character in the midst of their attempt. They have already gone through with their chosen method, but have not died yet. The reaction to this can be all over the place, from relaxed (to try to calm the person and negotiate with them) to frantic.
- Post-Attempt: This can be near death, post-mortem, or if the attempt failed and there was not a lot of physical damage or not enough damage to cause death. Finding someone in this condition will probably bring out the most shock or fear because death is coming and there is not a lot of time.
Of course, all of the above depends largely on the parent. Here are some possible reactions and their reasons:
- Fear: Most parents are going to be afraid if they find their child trying to commit suicide. If their kid is near death, they’ll be fearful of not being able to get their kid medical attention in time. They could also be afraid of what they find in the scene, such as a gun.
- Anger: Unfortunately, some parents get angry when their kids experience problems like suicidal thoughts. Some may believe that it is sinful while others believe it is just for attention. They might critique their kid for the attempt or put them down for attempting suicide.
- Confusion: Some parents might be confused if they were unaware of what their child was going through (stress, mental illness, a general rough patch, etc.). This can be accompanied with shock.
- Guilt: Some people feel guilt if someone close to them tries to kill themselves. They may think that they could have prevented it and that they didn’t do enough to do that. Some parents feel as though they failed as a parent.
- Denial: This is a common reaction to many traumatic experiences. A parent might deny that anything is wrong with their child or they might deny the attempt altogether. If they deny it, they might try to avoid dealing with it.
- Shock: This is another common reaction and it can set in as soon as a parent finds their kid. Shock might prevent them from taking action at first or it might come up later.
- Depression: A parent might fall into a depression or at least feel sad after their child attempts suicide for various reasons, including the ones listed above.
- Obsession: Some parents will obsess with their kid for a while by monitoring their every move and not letting them be alone.
The method will also affect how a parent reacts. If a character is holding a gun to their head, a parent might feel more frantic and more fearful because a gun can cause instant death whereas a parent finding a character holding a bottle of pills will have more time to intervene. If their kid is threatening to jump off a roof, they’ll probably call the police. If their kid has some pills and hasn’t taken any yet and if the character is in therapy, they might call the therapist.
The method, the situation, and the parent’s initial reaction determines what actions they take.
- Police: Like I mentioned above, some parents might call the police. The ambulance will show up with them. The police are there for negotiations and they might be needed to restrain the suicidal person. If needed, the paramedics will start treating physical damage right away.
- Hospital: The parent might take them to the hospital themselves, if there is time. If there is no physical damage yet, they might have them admitted to the psych ward. Here is a short guide for what happens if a character ends up at the hospital after an attempt. Of course, that varies by setting and time period. The treatment depends on the method and the damage done.
- Therapist: If your character is in therapy, a parent might call that therapist. If your character is not in therapy, a parent might put them in therapy. A therapist may or may not have your character admitted, depending on the situation and how your character acts.
- Nothing: Some parents won’t do anything or will try to fix the situation themselves.
- Talking: Some parents, whether they do any of the above or not, might try to talk to their kid about what happened and why. Other times, they might try to indirectly communicate with their kid.
- Spoiling: Parents might start buying their kid anything they want or they might just give them a bunch of presents to make them feel better.
- Nothing 2: A parent might find your character’s method (prior to the attempt or if there was not enough physical damage to require medical attention) and they might not consider suicide at all. They might just ask what it’s for and leave it at whatever answer their kid gives them.
- Religion: Some people will turn to religion for help or solace. Less commonly, the person who attempted might be ridiculed if their religion sees suicide as a sin.
The relationship between parent and child will affect the actions and reactions of everyone involved, but here are some reactions the kid might go through:
- Denial: Depending on what the method was, the kid might lie about what they were doing and why, and they might get away with it.
- Fear & Anxiety: This can be a terrifying situation for anyone. Your character might be afraid of their parent when they are found and even for days, weeks, or even months after because having people know your darkest thoughts is scary. Or, they might be afraid of having to go to the hospital.
- Relief: Some people might be relieved that they were found before they went through with their attempt.
- Anger: Your character might be angry if their parent interrupts them.
Some Other Things That Influence Action and Reaction:
- Prior Knowledge: Parents who are aware of what their kid is going through might be expecting a suicide attempt, even if they don’t want to acknowledge that they are expecting it. A suicide attempt might not be as large of a shock.
- Experience: A parent who has had experience with suicidal people before might do a better job with noticing signs or with talking to a suicidal person. Certain professions, especially those that deal with teenagers, might come with knowledge of what to do in these situations.
- Relationship: The relationship between parent and child definitely influences this situation. It could strengthen their relationship or it could ruin it.
- Prior Attempt: If the character has attempted suicide once before, parents will know what to do and will know what to expect afterwards the second time around, especially in terms of medical treatment, but this might bring up more feelings of guilt in the parent if they blame themselves for their kid attempting again.
- Personal Beliefs: What a person thinks of suicide or mental illness (if your character has one) will affect their reaction. A person who does not believe in therapy or mental illness might try to avoid bringing up the situation. A person who strongly believes in therapy might force their kid into it.
What thoughts, feelings, and actions you touch on will depend on the POV and the character.
If the father tries to make the situation all about him (guilt, anger, shame, thinking he alone could have prevented it, blaming his parenting on the situation instead of other reasons, etc.) and the POV is also his, the scene might focus on his thoughts, feelings, and actions more than his kid’s.
If it’s from the kid’s POV and your character is experiencing fear or anxiety, the pacing might be slow.