Posts tagged writer
Posts tagged writer
Here is why just because a famous author goes against commonly-held advice, you shouldn’t, too. Pick and choose which reasons suit your author.
1. They knew what they were doing. Instead of going against good advice just because they wanted to, they went against it because going against it suited their story in a specific, tangible way that balanced the drawbacks.
2. They came from a time period before people realized the advice was good.
3. They had so many great things in their writing that their flaws seemed minor by comparison. Had they followed the advice, however, their writing would still have improved.
4. They were trying something completely new and the good things and bad things about writing that new idea hadn’t yet been sorted out.
Surely I’m not the only one who deals with this.
So here’s the scenario. You’ve been writing for a while and you’re only two pages away from your big scene. All of your main characters are in the same city, raring to fight. The good guys are in a restaurant on one side of the city, preparing, and the bad guys are in their lair on the other side. Everything should be easy from this point, but out of nowhere comes this enormous case of writer’s block. You have no idea how to get the good guys to the bad guys’ lair. For pacing reasons, it would be best if the process took up two pages. Unfortunately, all you can do is put a single paragraph detailing the journey because there just isn’t enough information to fill up the rest of the space without resorting to filler or purple prose.
You decide to leave it there, since whatever you would have put probably wouldn’t have been that interesting anyways. When you later read over it, you find that the paragraph you put in seems to rush things, doesn’t give adequate descriptions, and doesn’t fit with the tone of the rest of your story. There appears to be no way to fix it, because expanding it to two pages would just result in a lot of boring crap. What do you do?
Paragraphs like that are signs that your plot isn’t as good as it should be. If the good guys needed to travel for that long, they needed to find something plot-important along the way. When you do something just to force the story along, you’re ironically cheating yourself out of valuable story. You need to use your writer’s brain to figure out what is missing, because a bunch of people walking over to meet a bunch of other people is not the best possible thing that can happen.
This does not mean that you should put in every little detail and never skip any time in-story. I trust that you’ll know when pacing and plot dictate that you need more when you usually need less.
A list of bad publishers and common publishing scams can be found here.
Here are some general tips on writing female characters.
Your setting should dictate the amount of female characters your story has. A historical setting might not have as many adventurous, kick-butt females as a modern setting would, and a science fiction setting would probable have even more. The point of a story is not to paint over the truth so that it more fits ideals.
Female characters should be pretty much exactly like male characters save for two things: the standards for femininity of their culture shape them and they have opinions on their roles, as females, in said culture.
No matter how much we try to avoid it, our culture shapes us. That’s why there are more feminine women than feminine men. If you have, say, five female characters, at least one or two of them will land more on the “feminine” side of things. This does not mean they can’t kick butt. It just means they have mindsets and interests that have traditionally been considered girlish. Kanaya from Homestuck is very feminine, but she’s still a chainsaw vampire.
Never punish a character for being feminine. Never punish a character for being masculine. Neither one is a bad thing to be. Another character might treat a woman worse for being too girly or too tomboyish, but the narrative itself should never do so.
So to write a good female character, use the same standards you would use to make a male character, only add “cultural gender influence” into the mix of traits.
Note: I am not saying these things are bad in all situations. They’re just incredibly hard to pull off well. I personally would avoid them.
Story idea generators:
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