Posts tagged rejects corner
Posts tagged rejects corner
Do you know what one of the biggest draws of zombie apocalypse-style books is? People often read them so that they can later imagine themselves and a group of their friends in a similar situation. The setting just lends itself to such things. How would you rig a house to keep the zombies out? What weapons would you use? Where would you get your food?
There are several other stories that inspire the same kind of thinking. How would your Pokemon journey go? What items would you alchemize in Homestuck? How would you fight if you were picked for the Hunger Games?
The magic of these types of settings is that it makes people think and talk about what you wrote long after they finish reading it. Not every setting lends itself to speculation like this. The standard fantasy setting, for example, only has room for the heroes in the actual story. They are the chosen ones and nobody else can come. What’s worse is when a map is provided at the beginning of the book that only shows the places the characters go. I don’t know about other people, but I certainly love it when there are unexplored areas on the map that I get to fill in with my imagination.
When the story is still being molded and the setting isn’t firm in your mind, try to think of a way that more than just your main characters can be heroes. Aim for a process where people can become heroes so that literally anybody can become one if they really want to. In Homestuck, for example, all somebody has to do is buy Sburb to engage on the journey. In The Hunger Games, people can volunteer themselves.
It also helps to hint that the story world is bigger than just what the characters have to traverse. Give your readers little areas to call their own that your characters haven’t touched.
The follower of the day is kylasedai, who is awesome and also a person that I follow.
1. That moment when you notice a typo and completely stop your reading just to insult the editor.
2. That moment when you read about a character doing something that you thought only you did.
3. That moment when you suddenly figure out how the rest of the plot is going to go.
4. That moment when it looks like everybody’s problems are going to be resolved soon, but you can see that the book has far too many pages left for that.
5. That moment when you almost want to rip some pages out because a character is being sostupid.
6. That moment when somebody asks you if you’ve read a certain book and you actually have.
7. That moment when you’re worried that a character will die so you quickly go to a page near the end of the book to see if their name is still showing up.
8. That moment when you can’t tell that you’re even reading words because all you see is a little movie playing in your head.
9. Those moments when you don’t plan on reading, but you carry a book anyways because you like the feel of it in you hands.
10. That moment when you walk into a bookstore or go on Amazon but you don’t have enough money to buy every single book they have.
The follower of the day is queenofanavia.
Winter. How much snow is on the ground depends on where your character lives. Even in some colder climates, there won’t always be snow. Snow is just a physical reminder of the constant coldness. There’s less sunlight, which means that people are going to do things during the darker hours more. The world is quieter in winter because both people and animals like to stay in a shelter if at all possible.
Spring. Spring is the season most prone to cliches. Using it to represent birth or rebirth in your story is cringe-worthy. The beginning of spring is still very cold in many places. People love to talk about how many birds there suddenly are in spring, even though I don’t notice them more than any other animal. If you can write an entire scene set in the springtime without mentioning birds, you should get a medal.
Summer. I’ve been outside at 3 in the morning in summer, and I can tell you that it can still get cold. I think that it’s hilarious when a story set in the summer has a bunch of heroes run around outside without any sunblock and not get sunburn. Also, physical exercise causes sweat. Don’t forget that. Heat stroke is always a real possibility.
Autumn. Leaves fall and things die.
For all four seasons, always avoid talking about how the air smells. It gets annoying.
The follower of the day is kirbyyui.
Exhibit A: As Joe continued on the skyship to the magical realm, he saw a dragon fly past. It was proof that this adventure was taking him far beyond his sleepy suburb.
Exhibit B: As Joe continued on the skyship to the magical realm, he saw a large beast fly past. The creature had wings that spanned dozens of feet and claws as big as steak knives. Its entire body was covered in scales and as it passed, it snorted a wisp of fire from its nostrils. It was proof that this adventure was taking Joe far beyond his sleepy suburb.
Exhibit C: As Joe continued on the skyship to the magical realm, he saw a large, breathtaking beast fly past. The creature had wings that spanned dozens of feet. They dipped up and down with the wind, shooting waves through the very air. Occasionally, the monster would let its wings billow as it glided. Its claws were as big as steak knives, and they looked to be several times as sharp. Joe noticed their serrated edges and winced at the pain they could cause. The beast’s entire body was covered in sleek, black scales. Each one glinted in the harsh sunlight, and together they pulsated with the creature’s breath. As it passed, it snorted a wisp of golden fire from its large nostrils. The beast was proof that this adventure was taking Joe far beyond his sleepy suburb.
Exhibit A told us that a dragon was there. Exhibit B showed us the details of the dragon. Exhibit C gave a more exhaustive account of the dragon’s traits.
Now, out of context, I’m sure that most people would say that B is the nicest to read. A few would be drawn to C or A, but B gives some nice details on the dragon without going overboard.
It’s in the very description of this blog that I’ll never simply say “show, don’t tell.” That’s not just because the advice is common. It’s also because the advice is often wrong. Think of A as telling, B as showing, and C as purple prose.
I took a random word from A to describe in detail in B. I could have picked fly or proof or adventure or skyship instead. I just happened to select dragon as the word I would expand upon. If I gave every word in the sentence the same attention I gave dragon in B, it would all look like C. Some people think that every detail needs to be conveyed indirectly, the way the word dragon wasn’t used in B. Those people write books that are painful to read.
The length of the skyship journey and the importance of the dragon also factor in. If we’re going to see that dragon again, a description like C might serve to better implant it in the readers’ minds. If the skyship journey is meant to take a long time, the added description can help give that feeling. If the journey is only a minute or two, A is probably best, because more words give the feeling of more time. If you need to add extra length to convey time, one way to do so is to take a word and expand on it the way I did with dragon.
Tl;dr: context is key.
The follower of the day is thejournaladventure, which is a continuous story.
Please stop associating an angular face with intelligence and a doughy face with meanness and stupidity. This is a real problem. Most people in fiction who are described as having, say, a “weak chin” end up being unpleasant people. Even in works that otherwise disregard looks when creating personalities, people with fat faces end up being the jerks. Somebody’s face should not be shorthand for their personality. The expression on their face can, but not the face itself.
The follower of the day is moonfox23.
Without giving an info dump, you want to introduce as many things about the plot as possible in the first quarter or so of the story. The rest of the story should be about how these elements interact.
I’ve read several stories that introduce something crucial in the second half. My reaction is always something along the lines of “If this is so important, why didn’t you mention it before?”
Withholding the identity of the murderer until the end is commendable. Introducing an entirely new character to be the murderer at the end is not.
This isn’t to say you can’t introduce any new elements at all late in the story. For example, I have a story where one of the major characters is introduced more than half way through. She is introduced as a replacement for one of the other characters, singled out as the best match by a large corporation. The character she replaces and the company are introduced much earlier. Her introduction springs from two plot elements already in place, doing the things they would naturally do.
Everything late in the story has to come from something early in the story. Introducing something completely new that doesn’t emerge from an old element leaves a bad taste in the readers’ mouths.
The follower of the day is alovelypearl.
Imagine the world has gone through an apocalyptic scenario of some kind. The only people to survive are you and your followers on Tumblr. Everybody is conveniently located in a single town. How would you survive? Would you focus on rebuilding humanity or just chat about your fandoms?
You only need write a sentence or two, but longer answers are appreciated.
If you actually do this, let me know. I’d love to read it! ^_^
A lot of writers seem to think that every time a character wears something new, it needs to be described in detail. If the protagonist wears a hoodie one day and a t-shirt the next, the idea goes, the readers need to know.
I take a somewhat different stance.
Within the first few chapters, gradually establish what the normal clothes are for your setting. If any of your characters dress differently from this norm, let the readers know. After this is all established, your readers will have it clear in their minds what your characters usually wear. You need never bring up clothes again unless they are relevant to the plot in some way. This is because the readers will be able to imagine clothes about as well as you could. Let them figure out what your characters are wearing, so long as they know the basics of what your characters should be wearing.
You don’t need to describe in detail every outfit unless you are writing a story about fashion models or the like. Frankly, when I see a long description of an outfit, I get bored. This is doubly true if I already know what this person normally wears. When first introducing the fashion of your setting, give tiny details spaced throughout the first few chapters so that readers can have a big picture in the end without reading extensively about the shoulder lace of a specific dress.
In short: establish early on what people wear, but not in an info dump. Once this is established, the readers can fill in the blanks for whatever the characters are wearing without you telling them.
The follower of the day is formerhuntress.
Remember when you were little and watched or read Winnie the Pooh? Eeyore was almost always sad, but occasionally he would experience a small joy or get bored or experience another emotion. Eeyore is probably the most extreme example of a character associated with an emotion, and even he could experience the entire range. He was just usually sad.
Similarly, you should never have a character who is always experiencing a single emotion. Can they be associated with one emotion? Sure! Can they usually be found in that emotional state? Absolutely! Can they experience the same emotion 100% of the time?
Give your depressed people little joys and your happy people small sorrows. It doesn’t matter how many other quirks they have, a character will always be flat and one-dimensional if they can only ever be found in one emotional state. “Emotionless” counts as an emotional state unless they are a robot or similar.
As an added bonus, a character experiencing an emotion that they usually don’t experience can be a good point of drama. These drama points help keep people reading.
The follower of the day is sunnaybunnay. TW: some posts deal with self-harm.
I’m aromantic, so excuse me if what I say here is full of crap.
From what I’ve read about people falling in love in real life, the only thing constant across all relationships is that there is nothing constant across all relationships. No two romantic involvements are ever the same. I’m not talking about how each relationship is different because there are different people experiencing the same type of relationship, either. Every single relationship is incredibly unique.
In fiction, it seems the opposite is true. One of the things I hate about James Patterson (and I made an entire post about the things I hate about James Patterson) is how across his books, every relationship ends up the same way. He isn’t the only guilty party. The same law that seems to require a romantic subplot in every book also requires that these relationships should all be bland and similar. I don’t like reading about romance in fiction in the first place, and it makes it that much worse if every romantic development plays out the same way.
If you absolutely must have a romantic subplot, don’t make it a Standard Relationship™. As far as I can tell, Standard Relationships™ are either extremely rare or nonexistent in real life. All relationships have their quirks, and fiction should reflect this instead of telling us that the only difference between Bob and Carla’s romance and Joe and Betty’s romance is the people in them.
The follower of the day is technicallytheglassisfull.