Anonymous ASKED:
I couldn't find any tags on this topic, so here I am. I absolutely suck at writing summaries for novels.. I am always too broad or too detailed. I never know how much to include or when it is too much.. etc. Do you have any advice on writing a well-written, intriguing summary for a novel you have written?
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Anonymous ASKED:
If a dog or a cat were to turn human with the powers of magic how would that go? I have to be mindful of the animal yrs. to human yrs. and keeping their animalistic behavior, but what about intelligence and other things to keep in mind?

clevergirlhelps:

  • The spell that turns the animal into the human may adjust their intelligence to human levels. If they don’t, you will have a person with the rough intelligence of a two year old human (minus self-awareness).
  • If your human/animals are intelligent, they won’t have the same worldview as any human. The animals won’t  understand right and wrong (other than maybe jumping on the couch is wrong, fetching a stick is good, etc.). They may steal things, attack people, litter, or engage in other “inappropriate” behaviors because they don’t know any better.
  • Animals have personalities, and you’ll want to keep those in tact when they become humans.
  • If you want to keep their animalistic behavior, keep the good and the bad. Humans aren’t normally flexible to lick their own butts, but you’ll still have a whole host of habits to train your animal-turned-human out of or into, like wearing clothes, bathing, using a toilet, and not eating poop or decaying food. 

Look here for more.

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Dialogue and your characters; getting it right. 

writedemon:

Before we get into the details of character specific dialogue styles we should really cover

The Basics

I know, I know, you may already have these down to a tee and, if you do, feel free to jump right over to the next section. However, for those of you who find dialogue an enigma shrouded in a mystery (or however that tired old saying goes) then stick here for a few seconds because, trust me on this if nothing else, it’ll help.

Dialogue, as a matter of course, should;

  1. Sound natural
  2. Show characterisation

and

     3. Move the story on.

In order to do all this you must know your characters and plot like the back of your hand. It’s also important to know that the best speech tag available is he/she said; adverbs, on the whole, are added to speech tags for one (or more) of three reasons;

  1. The writer is inexperienced and doesn’t think that their writing can convey the characters emotions without the addition of adverbs.
  2. The writer has been lazy in the application of characterisation and needs to tell the reader how the character is reacting.
  3. The writer lacks confidence in their ability to show rather than tell.

Now its true that no-one can be rid of them entirely and, yes, adverbs do have their uses but the goal should be to have as few as possible. Take this example;

"How dare you speak to me like that?" He demanded angrily,

"Quite easily." She replied coolly, 

'Demanded' and 'Replied' are certainly decent speech tags ; they're not too intrusive and don't hog the limelight but the adverbs are unnecessary and dramatic. We should be able to tell by what the character is saying that he is angry; he might not, as a matter of course, demand - he might shout or snarl or hiss- but the language makes it easy to see he is angry. 

Speech tags should be nearly invisible, unless they have something important to say. Remember this and we’re off to a good start.

Read More

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VIA: its-a-writer-thing ORIGINALLY FROM: writedemon

Interracial Relationships & Avoiding Fetishizing 

writingwithcolor:

Anonymous asked: My story has a black character that eventually falls in love with a white one, and I fear that maybe it will come out as this black character is fetishized. What can I do to avoid that?

You don’t fetishize them. Simple as that. This means no comparisons to chocolate, candy or any other food/desserts when the White character references the Black character or their skin.

Also make sure that your Black character isn’t viewed as something the White character is “trying out” like some edgy experiment.

And no “jungle fever” which is essentially and quite bluntly saying one has an illness for their attraction to Black people so I’m not sure why people find that flattering.

Basically your Black character shouldn’t have to trip across any of these 10 Warning Signs for POC in Interracial Relationships.

Your characters don’t have to be “colorblind” and ignore the fact that they’re different races, especially if something comes up in their relationship that forces them to acknowledge it (racist/questioning friends or family, disapproving looks in public, facing discrimination) but it also doesn’t have to be a major thing either.

They should treat each other just as folks should treat their significant other in any healthy relationship (assuming it is one). Just avoid the mentioned habits above, and you should be fine.

~Mod Colette

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Description: Avoiding White Room Syndrome 

writing-questions-answered:

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Should I write that flashback? 

thecharactercomma:

Yes. Do it.

WRITE THE FLASHBACK.

(in the distance, the sounds of writers crying out that flashbacks are right up there with prologues/epilogues—worthless wastes of time)

But right now I’m going to argue YES, write that flashback. Write that prologue and epilogue. Just because you write it doesn’t mean you have to keep it in the final draft. For a first draft, write them all with no regrets. The flashbacks will help you in revision. They’ll improve your character development and character arc. They are FOR YOU.

(similarly, a prologue/epilogue is usually to help you figure out your plot)

Flashbacks will help you (the writer) get to know your character. Sure, this is stuff you should be revealing through real-time dialogue and action. But the better you know their intimate histories and agonies, the better you can show who they’ve become in present day. What makes them happy or upset? Who were they close to in their childhood? These things shaped who they are today.

You’ll learn what bothers your character. What do they regret? What do they miss? What do they want? This ties into the whole swoons and wounds thing I’m always going on about.

For example, let’s say one of Alice’s favorite memories is breaking her arm when she was four. Breaking her arm?! A happy memory?! Yes, because her parents actually stopped fighting for long enough to bring her to the hospital. They worked together for her sake. So, knowing about this point in her past lets me know how much she longs for a happy family, and how she sees herself partly at fault for her parents’ later divorce—she couldn’t be the glue to keep them connected and cooperating.

Where have you been, where are you going? Who they were at the time of the flashback isn’t necessarily the same person they are now… but parts will still be the same. How good are they at letting go? Do they hold grudges? If they’re still thinking about the things mentioned in the flashbacks you write, then you’re starting to get an idea of where they’re headed. Or at least, where they might be headed if they don’t change their ways. (hint: character arc)

So yes, please write those flashbacks. Let them help you figure out your characters.

Later, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll want to cut those flashbacks (as sad as it will make you), but don’t delete them entirely. Keep them on a separate document! They’re like resources for sharpening and strengthening your character’s development and build.

Flashbacks are friends!

—E

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Dialogue: Cutting it Down 

writing-questions-answered:

CC’s #1 Pet Peeve in Fiction 

thecharactercomma:

CPR.

You guys.

If you’re doing CPR correctly, you will usually break their ribcage to literally pump their heart for them. This is not something the patient will magically wake up from after a minute or two of compressions. Well, probably not. It can happen, but it is extremely rare for someone with no pulse to wake up with just CPR and no defib.

You should only do CPR on someone when they meet these three requirements:

  • Unconscious
  • Not breathing
  • No pulse

The brain can last 4-6 minutes without oxygen—any longer, and you’ll die. And around that 6 minute mark, the unconscious person will probably be waking up with brain damage. CPR is intended to pump the patient’s heart for them to keep blood and oxygen flowing until they can be resuscitated. Until they can be resuscitated. It can happen (like, in the single digits percentage-wise), but patients rarely wake up when someone just performs CPR on them. They wake up when they receive an electric shock from a defibrillator—hopefully. A defib, also known as an AED is that whole electric shock thing to restart the heart. Basically, you perform CPR until someone with a defib arrives. That should be your #1 course of action before starting CPR—call for help.

Often, CPR is taken as the course of action for drowning victims. In that case, your goal is to get the water out of their stomach and lungs. Their heart is probably fine, and they’re just passed out from lack of oxygen. They might still have a pulse. And if they have a pulse, don’t pump their heart for them.

Hollywood is ridiculous in their misrepresentation of CPR. So please, for my sanity, write it correctly. :)

—E

In case you’re curious my pet peeves #2 and #3:

#2: Thinking “up” and “upon” are synonyms.

#3: Incorrect and gratuitous semi-colon usage.

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VIA: lazyresources ORIGINALLY FROM: thecharactercomma
applesfromthetrees ASKED:
I'm doing a story set in St. Louis, inspired by my visit there a few years ago when my cousin who lives there got married. While she loves answering questions, I was wondering if you knew of any way I could do some of my own research without having to travel? I've done some searching on google, but I don't know if I'm asking for the right information.

characterandwritinghelp:

The good news is that the Internet exists, which will allow you to do things like search Yelp and Google. The bummer is that the answer to this question boils down to “lots and lots of research.” It’s good that you have someone to reach out to already, especially since that will allow you to ask for personal opinions and insider knowledge that a cursory Internet search might not give you—you can ask her how and why she likes or dislikes things about the city for a deeper understanding of what it might be like to live there.

When you talk to your cousin, have a list of specific questions in mind (instead of “what’s the weather like,” try for “how do the seasons affect the weather/temperature/etc” or “what’s your least favorite part of winter”). Clearly laying out what you need to know will help you get a more useful response—after all, you are the only one who knows what you need.

-Headless

Anonymous ASKED:
I want to write a fantasy setting based on Tang Dynasty China. Obviously I should do tons of research, but what other steps would you recommend I take to avoid it becoming racist, orientalist, or appropriative?

writingwithcolor:

Respectful depictions of East Asian historical eras

Keep the word ‘exotic’ out of your world if the characters in-universe wouldn’t find it exotic (e.g. regional accents, food, etc). In fact, I personally wouldn’t use it, since it’s part of othering, which is also something you shouldn’t do.

If the majority of your characters are dark-haired and dark-eyed, for example, there’s no need to comment on someone’s dark hair or eyes when doing descriptions. A great deal of people living in that universe wouldn’t consider the color worth commenting on.

There are other ways to describe people. Use those. (Obviously, there are exceptions to coloring—a good example is the manga Chouka Kou, which takes place in the Tang Dynasty and mentions when a character is blond and blue-eyed, because for them that’s unusual.)

Another example is not describing hanzi or writing as ‘symbols’ or ‘decorations,’ since again, othering. Yes, it looks different, but it’s not there to look pretty or tribal or what-have-you.

Also, read and consume works that take place in the Tang Dynasty to get a feel for what it was like back then, and note how things are written and described, because it’ll usually be done from an insider’s PoV, and that should give you a decent handle on how to go about it.

—mod Jess

A bit on description: I feel as if, if the majority of characters are of similar hair and eye color, it only needs to be noted initially as to give us a sense of what the common people, aka the setting’s “Default” look like.

This was so nicely set-up in The Hunger Games (too bad it was ignored!) and I think it’s a good example:

He could be my brother. Straight black hair, olive skin, we even have the same gray eyes. But we’re not related, at least not closely. Most of the families who work the mines resemble one another this way.

That’s why my mother and Prim, with their light hair and blue eyes, always look out of place. They are.

&

We have that Seam look. Dark straight hair, olive skin, gray eyes.

-The Hunger Games & Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins

—mod Colette

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