April192014

Anonymous asked: How do you go about introducing the fantasy world you've created for your story to your characters?

characterandwritinghelp:

This is known as exposition. Before I go on, I feel like I need to differentiate: Do you need help introducing the world to the characters, or to the readers? These are two separate concepts, but they can coincide: the reader’s view and understanding of the world can be filtered through the character, or the reader’s understanding of the world can be greater than that of the character as fuel for tension and drama.

Introducing the world can take a number of different forms, some better than others. Those to avoid would be things like info dumping and writing in worldbuilding as though you were creating an encyclopedia entry on the subject. As general advice, expose development in small pieces and try not to devote paragraph upon page upon chapter to explaining the intricacies of your world. Chances are that we don’t need to see all of it, at least not right this second.

If the character is a newcomer to the world (portal fantasies, Prince-and-Pauper-esque stories, etc.), chances are that readers are new as well. In describing the world to the newcoming character, the readers are exposed and introduced to it as well. Exposition of this nature can look similar to description: describing the facet of the world we are currently involved with, such as the new school of magic that the stunned character has just witnessed, a creature that the protagonists have never seen before, working through the political climate with a character thrust into the center of a peace negotiation, etc.

If the character is well-acquainted with the world, it is the reader who needs an introduction and no one else (probably). This can be trickier, since your character already knows everything and does not need the explanation that the audience does. Consequently, this will look a little more overt than other types of exposition, since you will almost always need to put this in asides to the audience rather than force characters to rehash things they are already familiar with (resulting in As You Know speeches and other forms of infodump via dialogue).

Infodumping can be sneaky, and you may not realize that you’re doing it. It can take the form of long conversations and chunks of dialogue, an extended passage in which a character thinks about their backstory or another flashback type scene occurs, or it can be paragraphs of straight-up description. This can work in some cases, if the description or story is genuinely interesting, funny, or otherwise pleasant to read. However, most of the time readers will be anxious to get on with the plot.

The best way to make exposition work for you is to make it relevant to whatever is currently happening in the story. If the information being presented has little or no relevance to the current events (“that abandoned castle over there was once the home of King Olaf III who liked to eat soup with a fork, now let’s get back to stealing that diamond”), odds are that it doesn’t need to be there, no matter how interesting the facts. If you can make information relevant (“that abandoned castle over there was once the home of King Olaf III who had a secret passageway under the castle, we can use it to bypass security and steal that diamond”), you gain the double bonus of advancing the plot while giving the reader information about the world.

You will always know more than the reader. This is not a bad thing, just a fact to bear in mind. It is absolutely fine to know more than the reader; you are the writer and you need to know everything you can. What the reader needs to know can vary by situation and by event.

Think of exposition like Legos: they come in differently sized bricks, build on each other, and tend not to go anywhere if you don’t build the entire thing right now. Exposition handles much the same way. You can lay down a few blocks to be the foundation, run off and deal with swords and dragons for a bit, then come back and add another room to Fort Exposition. When the situation arises that something needs to be explained, have a break and build a bit. Know when to stop and get back to the action, or risk boring the readers.

There is a general rule that more than one paragraph of straight explanation is at least bordering infodumping, and that more than two paragraphs is almost definitely classified as an infodump. If you have an entire page of exposition and nothing else, it’s probably time to hit the brakes.

More links for you:

I hope this helped. Let us know if you have any other questions.

-Headless

4PM
3PM

Anonymous asked: How would you write about being wounded by an arrow or by a sword?

clevergirlhelps:

Look in the injury tag for tips to describe pain and wound healing (tw: gore, blood, etc.). If you’re looking for how the blade could injure someone or information on blades in general, look in the sword and knife tag

Here are some words/phrases to use when someone has been wounded:

By an arrow

  • Pierced
  • Grazed
  • Drilled
  • Perforated (esp. with multiple arrows)
  • Stuck
  • Punctured

With a sword

  • Stabbed
  • Slashed
  • Pierced
  • Gashed
  • Slit
  • Rent
  • Sliced
  • Chopped
  • Lacerated
  • Ripped
1PM
April172014

maxkirin:

Writing Advice from: Neil Gaiman

Want more writerly content? Follow maxkirin.tumblr.com!

(via houseoffantasists)

3PM
1PM

Inspired by this and this

(Source: halfagony-halfhope, via theroadpavedwithwords)

April152014
April142014
thewritingcafe:


Anonymous asked you:
do you have any tips on how to write rules or amendments for my fictional society?

Start with the type of government your society has. Certain governments will have different laws and economies.
Cultural Values
If your society sees dogs as divine beings, it might be illegal not to have a dog in your home for more than 30 days. That is a law based on cultural values. If there are robots in your society, there will probably be rules about robots. If your society is prejudice against a certain group of people, there might be rules about that.
Think about what your society values and what they see as taboo. You should also think about current issues and how the population feels about it. If there is a great fear of a form of government, it might be illegal to support that government. If murder is common and your society doesn’t see it as an issue unless the person murdered is a noble or someone in the upper class, it might only be illegal to murder certain people.
There’s also the little details that most people don’t think about. If there is private property, there will be laws about that. Can law enforcement officials enter private property without permission? Or just public property? If all property is public property, there probably won’t be much privacy.
The Laws
Write out any laws that are relevant to your story. The exact wording of your laws will reflect your society. If the laws are broad, there will be loopholes, but also leeway for people in power to make it mean what they want it to mean. 
If the laws are old and outdated, decide if people want to change them or not. Older laws with outdated terminology might make laws more confusing or irrelevant, but they can also allow more options.
Think about how laws are made. Do they have to go through several people before becoming an official law? Who has the power to propose laws or reject them? Who has the final say? Who can make adjustments? Can laws be adjusted over time or are they final the first time around? Does religion have a say in laws? When and why are laws created?
Punishments
With laws there are punishments. One form of punishment is called a Draconian Law in which the punishment outweighs the crime. Are the punishments for breaking the law mild, moderate, or severe? Can stealing something small get you a life time sentence in prison? Or just a slap on the wrist?
Punishments and crimes can be matched up if you want them to be equal (i.e., the greater the crime, the greater the punishment), or certain crimes might have to meet certain requirements for certain punishments. For example, committing one major crime might have a low punishment because only one crime was committed. Committing several small crimes might have a higher punishment because more than one crime was committed. Do whatever you want to do.
You should also come up with exceptions of punishment. For example, it is legal, in the US, to kill a person if the intent was self defense.
Think about the types of punishment. Are they physical? Can people be sentenced to death? Do they have to pay a fine? Do they have to do community service? Are they exiled? 
Prisons: You don’t need prisons or something similar, but they’re a form of punishment. If your society has dungeons, prisons, jails, or similar places, decide what they are like, who goes there, what it’s like there, and where they are located. Are they located far away from populated areas? Are they underground? Are people given free reign throughout the property, or are they confined to a small space?
Law Enforcement
With law and punishment comes people who enforce those laws. You’re going to need some kind of government force that controls the population. Decide how many different groups there are, what they are in charge of, how many law enforcement officials exist, and how much they enforce the laws. They might not do much to enforce laws or they might be extremely strict.
Holders of Power
The people in power are most often the ones who create, destroy, and uphold laws. Laws that are not written down can be changed by the person in power, depending on the culture, and will naturally change over time.
Go back to the idea of who decides what and why. If business has power or great influence over government, laws might cater to business. For example, in the US, monopolies were at one point illegal. However, the law never defined what a monopoly was and therefore capitalism kept going and business funded the government.
If laws change easily with each ruler, the laws of the society will reflect the personality of whoever is in charge.

thewritingcafe:

Anonymous asked you:

do you have any tips on how to write rules or amendments for my fictional society?

Start with the type of government your society has. Certain governments will have different laws and economies.

Cultural Values

If your society sees dogs as divine beings, it might be illegal not to have a dog in your home for more than 30 days. That is a law based on cultural values. If there are robots in your society, there will probably be rules about robots. If your society is prejudice against a certain group of people, there might be rules about that.

Think about what your society values and what they see as taboo. You should also think about current issues and how the population feels about it. If there is a great fear of a form of government, it might be illegal to support that government. If murder is common and your society doesn’t see it as an issue unless the person murdered is a noble or someone in the upper class, it might only be illegal to murder certain people.

There’s also the little details that most people don’t think about. If there is private property, there will be laws about that. Can law enforcement officials enter private property without permission? Or just public property? If all property is public property, there probably won’t be much privacy.

The Laws

Write out any laws that are relevant to your story. The exact wording of your laws will reflect your society. If the laws are broad, there will be loopholes, but also leeway for people in power to make it mean what they want it to mean. 

If the laws are old and outdated, decide if people want to change them or not. Older laws with outdated terminology might make laws more confusing or irrelevant, but they can also allow more options.

Think about how laws are made. Do they have to go through several people before becoming an official law? Who has the power to propose laws or reject them? Who has the final say? Who can make adjustments? Can laws be adjusted over time or are they final the first time around? Does religion have a say in laws? When and why are laws created?

Punishments

With laws there are punishments. One form of punishment is called a Draconian Law in which the punishment outweighs the crime. Are the punishments for breaking the law mild, moderate, or severe? Can stealing something small get you a life time sentence in prison? Or just a slap on the wrist?

Punishments and crimes can be matched up if you want them to be equal (i.e., the greater the crime, the greater the punishment), or certain crimes might have to meet certain requirements for certain punishments. For example, committing one major crime might have a low punishment because only one crime was committed. Committing several small crimes might have a higher punishment because more than one crime was committed. Do whatever you want to do.

You should also come up with exceptions of punishment. For example, it is legal, in the US, to kill a person if the intent was self defense.

Think about the types of punishment. Are they physical? Can people be sentenced to death? Do they have to pay a fine? Do they have to do community service? Are they exiled? 

  • Prisons: You don’t need prisons or something similar, but they’re a form of punishment. If your society has dungeons, prisons, jails, or similar places, decide what they are like, who goes there, what it’s like there, and where they are located. Are they located far away from populated areas? Are they underground? Are people given free reign throughout the property, or are they confined to a small space?

Law Enforcement

With law and punishment comes people who enforce those laws. You’re going to need some kind of government force that controls the population. Decide how many different groups there are, what they are in charge of, how many law enforcement officials exist, and how much they enforce the laws. They might not do much to enforce laws or they might be extremely strict.

Holders of Power

The people in power are most often the ones who create, destroy, and uphold laws. Laws that are not written down can be changed by the person in power, depending on the culture, and will naturally change over time.

Go back to the idea of who decides what and why. If business has power or great influence over government, laws might cater to business. For example, in the US, monopolies were at one point illegal. However, the law never defined what a monopoly was and therefore capitalism kept going and business funded the government.

If laws change easily with each ruler, the laws of the society will reflect the personality of whoever is in charge.

April112014

Anonymous asked: Hey CleverGirl. :) My main character is sort of a psychic. She can sense people's true thoughts or feelings, but she can't control it and sometimes it doesn't work on certain people. Could you give me some cliches I should be aware of for psychic characters? And some extra info if you don't mind. :) Thanks!

clevergirlhelps:

Cliches

  • Creepy psychic. The character can’t connect with people. She rarely talks. The author/director vaguely implies the psychic is autistic. When the psychic does talk, it’s in a creepy monotone. Often has strange, weirdly prophetic nonsequiturs.
  • Psychic nosebleed. If she overuses her powers, her nose must bleed. It is a Rule.
  • Delicacy. The psychic is extremely sensitive to the emotions around them. A strong emotion will literally knock them over. The psychic’s delicacy is reinforced by their physique: small, thin, and mousy-haired.
  • Reading at your convenience. The psychic can sense all emotions … except when it’s convenient for the plot. You mentioned your character having this trait. It’s not a bad trait so long as you provide or attempt to provide an explanation for it. Your psychic character and anyone working with her powers will attempt to find an explanation so the MC can’t be guarded against. Also, your MC is probably curious why it works on some and not others. She’s probably investigated for herself and may come up with a theory.

Other

Types. Psychics can see everything in your mind. They don’t see, “Oh, crap, I’m late for my doctor’s appointment. Hurry up!” which is what the character is thinking at the moment. They see everything the character is/has been/has done. In effect, instead of seeing the frantic worry of being late, a psychic character would see “I am a self-absorbed psychopath with no remorse mwahahaha.” If it really was mind “reading”, the psychic would only see the former. Most psychics can dig around and, honestly, it would make for a more suspenseful story if you put stops on what a psychic can and cannot see. For example, a psychic can’t see anything you aren’t actively thinking of.

Read More

April102014

art-of-swords:

Dagger - Low Bind from a Reverse Strike

Fiore dagger work. Attacker coming from reverse strike. Defender goes for a hyper-extension, attacker bends the arm to break the counter, defender then forces the “Low Bind” or “Strong Key” to disable the attacker from break free.

Source: YouTube

(via howtofightwrite)

9AM
8AM
6AM
4AM

syfygeek13 asked: hello! do you have any references or advice for describing hair? the color, texture, thickness, etc.?

thewritingrealm:

Hi!

Colors:

Red- 

Red- your usual, natural shade (even if it’s dyed, just looks natural) ‘redhead’

Fire-engine red- bright red; usually achieved through dyeing

'Ginger'- lighter red hair with orange or gold tones

Orange- lighter red hair that appears orange

Strawberry blond(e)- a shade with red or brown undertones.

Blond(e)- (hey, while we’re on the topic, blonde and blond are one of the few English feminine/masculine words. Blonde is supposed to be used for someone who identifies as female, blond for male. I honestly don’t know what would happen in the case of a non-binary but in another language it’d probably just go to the male ‘blond’ because male tends to be the default. Anyone have more information on this)

Light blond(e), medium blond(e), dark blond(e)

Platinum- a very light blond(e) color that may even appear white in certain lighting. This term could refer to bleached or natural hair. The natural would be common in children and Northern Europeans.

Dirty-blond(e) and brown hair mixed, often brown at the roots.

Honey- caramel brown undertones, maybe even a hint of red. Darker than strawberry.

Ash- ashen or gray undertones, usually a pretty light shade

Yellow-blond(e)- often achieved through dyeing

Sandy- a mix of blond(e), brown, and gray tones

Bleached- light shade; term is used to refer to unnatural hair

Brown-blond(e)- a mixture of brown and blond(e) tones.

Brunet(te)- (brunet is masculine, brunette is feminine)

light brown, medium brown, dark brown

Chestnut brown- a medium to dark tone

Golden brown- a light shade with gold tones

Chocolate brown- a medium shade that could be light or dark

Walnut brown- a lighter medium brown

Russet brown- dark brown with red, auburn, or gold highlights

Auburn- red-brown

Raven- dark brown, almost/if not black

Black- the most common hair color in the world

Jet-black- black hair

Gray- when the hair begins to lose pigments, it will start to turn gray. The roots are affected first, where the hair grows from, and unless dyed, over time the whole head will become gray. (Not to be confused with hair that just has gray tones)

"Salt and pepper"- a term coined for people with darker or black hair. When their hair starts to lose pigments and begins to go gray or white, some of their hair will be white/gray, while the rest is dark, giving it the ‘salt and pepper’ look.

White- when the hair begins to lose pigments, it will start to turn white. The roots are affected first, where the hair grows from, and unless dyed, over time the whole head will become white.

Not to be confused with hair that appears white because of lighting such as very light blond(e) or white-blond(e) hair.

Also, people with low amounts of melanin (albinism) or other special cases could also end up with white hair.

Dyed/highlighted/”unnatural” hair-

Unnatural hair can be pretty much any color(s) there’s dye for. Blue, pink, green, as well as any natural color, of course, the possibilities are endless!

Hair types:

Straight- strongest hair type that reflects light well which can give it a glossy appearance. Depending on the texture and thickness, it may be difficult to get this hair to hold a curl without the use of a lot of chemicals (hair spray, a treatment, etc.).

Wavy- light ‘s’ shaped curls. Can usually straighten or curl fairly easily. May frizz fairly easily.

Curly- hair that is usually curly down the entire length of the hair shaft. This hair type often faces frizz and dryness. 

Kinky/Coiled- tightest curls, often with an ‘s’ or ‘z’ shape. The most fragile of the hair types. Curl definition, shrinkage, and dryness are issues faced by people of this hair type.

Dreads- matted, thin braids often formed through the ‘neglect method’.

Bald- no hair, could be a result of age or medical problems

Buzzed- a shaved head

Texture:

Fine- the thinnest, finest texture. Often found in children. The hair is delicate and breaks easily. Cannot hold a lot of product without looking greasy or unhealthy. Does not hold style well. Soft, smooth to the touch.

Thin- a bit thicker than fine, but still a very thin, delicate texture. Often found in children. The hair is delicate and breaks easily. Cannot hold a lot of product without looking greasy or unhealthy. Does not hold style well. Soft, smooth to the touch.

Medium- hair of average texture. Not broken as easily. Holds styles pretty well. Covers the scalp well. Usually does not have too many issues with frizz or dryness if properly cared for and will get oily after a few days without wash.

Thick- thick, full hair that styles well and holds its own shape well. Ex: may be able to stay in a braid without the use of a hair band. Can tolerate high amounts of heat, dyes, and chemicals without dying out as easy.

Coarse- the thickest kind of hair that styles well and holds its own shape well. Ex: may be able to stay in a braid without the use of a hair band. Can tolerate high amounts of heat, dyes, and chemicals without dying out as easy. May get a bit out control if not properly cared for because of the extremely thick texture.

Hair styles:

Twist and pin up-dos.

Latest hair styles.

Hair styles for men and women.

I really hope this can help you, or anyone else who gets stuck on describing hair! :D

← Older entries Page 1 of 56