Whether it’s a family member, a relative, a friend or even an enemy that your character lost, that certain person is still important in your character’s life, and losing that person probably has quite an impact on your character. Below are a few pointers to keep in mind if you are writing about a character who lost someone important in their life.
- Know your character’s relationship with that said person that he/she had lost. Consider about what your character thought of that person when he/she was still alive, and what part did the person played in your character’s life. For example, if it is a sibling that your character lost, understand how your character saw that sibling when he/she was still alive. Were they close? Or did they fight all the time? Did your character look up to his/her sibling, or did he/she get irritated at the sibling easily?
- Understand how the death of the person that they lost happened. Was it an accident? Did he/she commit suicide? Or was he/she murdered? How it happened might affect how your character thinks now, and it might also affect your character’s views on the person they lost.
- Think about your character’s personality. It may sound weird, but your character’s personality plays a big part on this. If your character is a quiet and reserved person, then he/she would obviously hate talking about the person’s death. And if he/she is this loud and confident person, then he/she would probably hide the fact that the person that died’s death had affected them. They’d probably try to get on with their lives and pretend that they’re 100% okay.
- And lastly, did your character’s views on the important person changed after their death? If it was an enemy of them that died, did it make your character feel sorry for that said enemy? Or did it make your character feel victorious? If it was a sibling or parent, did it make your character feel resentful that his/her loved one had left them behind?
So you’ve got your basic structure of the religion itself as well as its entities, deities, gods, goddesses, sprites, and other mythological beings, but what about the people?
You’ll need a way to address your religious officials. They may have a formal title and a casual title, or just one of those. Either way, these titles usually show what rank these officials are. This title dictates how they are addressed, such as: brother, sister, elder, highness, father, and other titles. Some religious officials go by a different given name, sometimes taken from a deity or other important historical religious figure.
How are your religious officials named? How are they addressed? Do they change their given names as well? How are these given names chosen?
Then you have the actual ranks and how religious officials move throughout them. These ranks will set up the role these officials have within a religion and how much power or influence they have.
How many ranks are there? Who is in each rank (see above)? How difficult is it to move up and down in the ranks? How is a religious official “promoted” or “demoted”? Does everyone start at the bottom? How many people can be in each rank? Who does each rank have authority over? How important are these ranks? Are they based on anything or used to parallel the religion itself (such as a hierarchy within deities and entities)? What is each rank in charge of? Is there a ceremony for becoming a religious official?
Ceremonies & Duties:
Religious officials will be a part of religious ceremonies and they may even be necessary. What part they play in a ceremony may depend on their rank and the duties of that rank. Higher ranking officials may only show up for extremely important ceremonies while lower ranking officials may handle common ceremonies.
When do religious officials take part in ceremonies? How important is their role? Do they represent anything? Why are they needed? Do they conduct the ceremony? Or are they just needed to perform a ritual or a ceremony within the ceremony?
Your religious officials will probably have life outside of ceremonies. If they know how to read and write, they will probably be teachers or they may record historical accounts. Sometimes religious officials must look after orphans or a town’s money and food. Your religious officials can do any of that and more, such as farming or trading.
This is the attitude that others have toward religious officials. There can be a general attitude that is shared by the majority of the people and there can be individual opinions within that as well. People may change their attitude and behavior around religious officials.
Do people fear religious officials? Are they supposed to? Do they love them? Dislike them? Respect them? See them as powerful? Go to them for guidance? See them as equals?
As with any profession or position, there is an expected behavior. In a religious setting, this behavior can be anything and it’s up to you to decide what that expected behavior is.
Is it quiet? Extroverted? Opinionated? Are religious officials expected to interact with audiences? Or just speak at them? Are they expected to be seen in public? Are they supposed to be kind? Or fearful? Or silent? Do they have to wear certain clothing? Can they have friends who are not religious officials? Can they have children? Can they have another job?
Then there’s also the behavior expected from the audience. Are they supposed to be quiet? Are they encouraged to participate? Must they memorize certain phrases, prayers, songs, or stories? Are they supposed to approach a religious official a certain way? Are they supposed to behave a certain way in the presence of a religious official?
Of course to be an official in anything, you need substantial knowledge on the subject. Your religious officials need to know a lot about their religion and those in higher ranks will probably know more or have more experience when it comes to analyzing an aspect of their religion.
Think about how much your religious officials know and where they learn it. Is there a school? Are they taught orally? Are they self-taught? Is it a family tradition? Do only they know how to read and write? Must they learn another language to read religious texts? Or is there just a religious language they must use? How long must they learn before they can become a religious official? Is there a test they must pass? Is there certain clothing to show how much a person knows?
To tell your everyday characters apart from your religious officials, you’ll probably need a visual indicator. Most religions have religious clothing, worn by both officials and non officials, but the officials often have different types.
When creating an appearance for your religious officials, think about hairstyles, accessories, dresses, coats, shoes, sashes, cloaks, pants, shirts, vests, hats, and anything else you can think of. Must they be dressed in this clothing at all times? Do they have different styles and outfits? Do these outfits differ based on religious ceremony? Are there different uniforms per rank? Is there any symbolism in the color or the style of the clothing?
Where do these officials live? Is there special housing for them, or do they live on their own? What about those in training? Do they live together? Do these officials live in the public, or in solitude? Why? Are they nomadic?
Some religious officials must follow rules within their rank. For example, some officials must be at a certain rank to enter certain rooms and touch important religious objects. There are also other rules they must follow, such as not being allowed to indulge in certain behaviors.
Do your religious officials have to follow any rules? What are the reasons behind these rules? What happens if they break a rule? Do the rules vary based on rank?
Who is allowed to be a religious official? How are they chosen? Do other religious officials choose them? Do parents choose them? Is it a personal choice? At what age are these choices made and why? Who is not allowed to be a religious official? Why not? Are there requirements that must be met?
Your officials must have gotten where they are somehow, whether through hard work or chance. If you have a major character who is a religious official, you might want to think about their journey a bit more.
Benjamin Dreyer is the VP Executive Managing Editor & Copy Chief of Random House Publishing Group. Below is his list of the common stumbling blocks for authors, from A to X.
- One buys antiques in an antiques store from an antiques dealer; an antique store is a very old store.
- He stayed awhile; he stayed for a while.
- Besides is other than; beside is next to.
- The singular of biceps is biceps; the singular of triceps is triceps. There’s no such thing as a bicep; there’s no such thing as a tricep.
- A blond man, a blond woman; he’s a blond, she’s a blonde.
- A capital is a city (or a letter, or part of a column); a capitol is a building.
- Something centres on something else, not around it.
- If you’re talking about a thrilling plot point, the word is climactic; if you’re discussing the weather, the word is climatic.
- A cornet is an instrument; a coronet is a crown.
- One emigrates from a place; one immigrates to a place.
- The word is enmity, not emnity.
- One goes to work every day, or nearly, but eating lunch is an everyday occurrence.
- A flair is a talent; a flare is an emergency signal.
- A flier is someone who flies planes; a flyer is a piece of paper.
- Flower bed, not flowerbed.
- Free rein, not free reign.
- To garner is to accumulate, as a waiter garners tips; to garnish (in the non-parsley meaning) is to take away, as the government garnishes one’s wages; a garnishee is a person served with a garnishment; to garnishee is also to serve with a garnishment (that is, it’s a synonym for “to garnish”).
- A gel is a jelly; it’s also a transparent sheet used in stage lighting. When Jell-O sets, or when one’s master plan takes final form, it either jells or gels (though I think the former is preferable).
- Bears are grizzly; crimes are grisly. Cheap meat, of course, is gristly.
- Coats go on hangers; planes go in hangars.
- One’s sweetheart is “hon,” not “hun,” unless one’s sweetheart is Attila (not, by the way, Atilla) or perhaps Winnie-the-Pooh (note hyphens).
- One insures cars; one ensures success; one assures people.
- Lawn mower, not lawnmower.
- The past tense of lead is led, not lead.
- One loathes someone else but is loath to admit one’s distaste.
- If you’re leeching, you’re either bleeding a patient with a leech or otherwise sucking someone’s or something’s lifeblood. If you’re leaching, you’re removing one substance from another by means of a percolating liquid (I have virtually no idea what that means; I trust that you do).
- You wear a mantle; your fireplace has a mantel.
- Masseurs are men; masseuses are women. Many otherwise extremely well educated people don’t seem to know this; I have no idea why. (These days they’re all called massage therapists anyway.)
- The short version of microphone is still, so far as RH is concerned, mike. Not, ick, “mic.” [2009 update: I seem to be losing this battle. Badly. 2010 update: I’ve lost. Follow the author’s lead.]
- There’s no such word as moreso.
- Mucus is a noun; mucous is an adjective.
- Nerve-racking, not -wracking; racked with guilt, not wracked with guilt.
- One buys a newspaper at a newsstand, not a newstand.
- An ordinance is a law; ordnance is ammo.
- Palette has to do with colour; palate has to do with taste; a pallet is, among other things, something you sleep on. Eugene Pallette was a character actor; he’s particularly good in the 1943 film Heaven Can Wait.
- Noun wise, a premier is a diplomat; a premiere is something one attends. “Premier” is also, of course, an adjective denoting quality.
- That which the English call paraffin (as in “paraffin stove”), we Americans call kerosene. Copy editors should keep an eye open for this in mss. by British authors and query it. The term paraffin should generally be reserved for the waxy, oily stuff we associate with candles.
- Prophecy is a noun; prophesy is a verb.
- Per Web 11, it’s restroom.
- The Sibyl is a seeress; Sybil is Basil Fawlty’s wife.
- Please don’t mix somewhat and something into one murky modifier. A thing is somewhat rare, or it’s something of a rarity.
- A tick bites; a tic is a twitch.
- Tortuous is twisty, circuitous, or tricky; torturous is painful, or painfully slow.
- Transsexual, not transexual.
- Troops are military; troupes are theatrical.
- A vice is depraved; a vise squeezes.
- Vocal cords; strikes a chord.
- A smart aleck is a wise guy; a mobster is a wiseguy.
- X ray is a noun; X-ray is a verb or adjective.
Anonymous asked: Is there a way to make the orphan cliche not a cliche? My main character is an “orphan” but her father is actually alive. Is there any way to make it original?
The orphan character is actually not a cliché, it’s a trope. There are many different orphan tropes, some of which have been used over and over again, but that isn’t the problem. The problem is when you don’t have a reason for making the character an orphan. For example:
1) You made them an orphan because you didn’t feel like taking the time to figure out or write a background for them.
2) You made them an orphan because you thought it would make them interesting.
3) You made them an orphan so the reader will sympathize with them.
4) You made them an orphan so they can go off on an adventure without having to worry about their family holding them back.
5) The fact that they are an orphan is in no way important to the story or the character arc.
Based on the fact that your character’s father is still alive, it sounds like you have given her background some thought and that her orphan past may be important to her character arc if not the plot. That’s a good first step in avoiding a cliché. Give your audience other ways to sympathize with her, other reasons to find her interesting, and other ties to complicate her call to adventure (if she has one). If your plot closely fits any of the common orphan tropes, you can look for things you can do differently to subvert your readers’ expectations. Do all of this, and you should be safe from cliché territory. :)
Since NaNoWriMo is coming to end, it’s a good time to brush up on how to end your novel. I know you might not being finishing your novel during this time, but this is good advice to have for future reference. Here are a few things you need to know about writing endings:
You don’t need to have a sad ending. I feel like a lot of writers are under the impression that the ending of your novel has to be sad in order for it to be good. Your writing can have a happy ending—it all depends on how you built it up. The ending of your novel should match the tone of your novel and it should tie up certain plot points. If your novel is part of a series, it’s understandable that your ending might be suspenseful and not everything will be tied up. Understand the tone of your novel and write your ending accordingly. There’s nothing wrong with ending your book on a happy note!
Flesh it out. Abrupt endings often leave readers feeling unsatisfied. Make sure you leave enough room to flesh out your ending. This is something that can be done during the editing process, but you don’t want to leave your readers feeling unsatisfied. Give your readers a little bit to go on and make sure you tie up anything that your were eluding to during your novel. The ending of your novel shouldn’t be only one or two paragraphs. Lead up to it.
Let your characters tell your story. Forcing an ending rarely ever works out. You’ve built up a story for the past few months, so give an ending that is worthy of your characters. If you’re stuck on how to end something, look at the flow of your novel. How have your characters progressed? Where are they going? Did they get what they wanted? Your characters are already telling your story, so don’t silence them at the end. Write what makes sense and stays true to your characters.
Avoid scenarios that cheat your readers. Obviously certain plot devices work if you do them right, but try to avoid certain overused scenarios. We don’t want to read a novel only to learn at the end it was all a dream or the main character was crazy the whole time. These endings can be unsatisfying and they’re done way too often.
Try the motivation tag! Get out of your house, find a new place to write from! Lock every distraction in another room. Turn off your WiFi, try using a pen and paper. Do anything you can to change it up and stick to it. Like Captain Planet says, the power is YOURS.
Tumblr URL: psychedelicgoolash
Genre: Romance, Slash, Comfort
Pairing: Skwisgaar x Toki
Rating (not sure about ratings, check here): M/NC-17
Warnings: Cursing, Mature Content (Sex, alcohol, etc.)
Completed: Y, but there is a planned part II
Current length: Approximately 16,000 words; may be split into three chapters
Predicted end length: This part is completed, but this is a second part in production
Title: I: Frets Across His Skin
Bio: Toki, after returning from his kidnapping, finds comfort in more than few ways with Skwisgaar; it’s the first part of a two piece story I am writing
What you wish the beta reader to help you with: Grammar, syntax, spelling, making sure it flows nicely enough, I guess the basics. If you are familiar with the fandom, awesome, if you’re not, that’s fine too
Link: I have yet to post it; I’d like to send it via Google docs or email, or any other method you’re really comfortable with.
Please take the time to consider beta-reading my story. =) Thank you!
1. Apps that help you focus
Cold Turkey (for Windows) and Concentrate (for MAC) allow you to block websites that distract you from your tasks, which in our case is writing our novel. You choose how long certain websites are going to be blocked. Cold Turkey is actually so genius that you can’t reset your settings, which means you can’t cheat.
2. For Poets
Poetreat helps you to find the right words depending on the rhyming theme you choose. Welcome to the future!
I’ve already talked about this app but it’s really perfect, which is why I’m repeating myself. It’s like a virtual notebook that helps you to organize your whole life and your stories.
4. Get Encouraged
Ever heard of Help Me Write? It’s very simple: you add your writing ideas and your audience will help you decide if you should pursue that idea by saying if they’d like to read that.
5. For Radicals
Write or Die is an evil little app that will punish you if you don’t achieve your goal. You set how many words you want to write and choose what kind of ‘punishment’ you want, should you not succeed.
6. Get Help - literally
Poetica is a community of writers who are willing to put their work up for editing by anyone who is a member. Unfortunately it’s not open to everyone yet, but you can subscribe to their mailing list and wait. I think it’s worth it!
7. Organize Your Brainstorming
8. Name Generator
If you’re like me, you’re obsessed with names. I choose names carefully because I believe that names influence the story a lot (this might be silly, but I can’t help myself). I used to stare into nothing for ten minutes trying to come up with good names for side characters and then started a 30 minute Google search and then all of a sudden I was on tumblr and…yes, exactly. I lost track of what I was actually doing: writing. So this name generator that I found really helped me.
What are your favorite apps and websites? Please share them with us!
Tumblr URL: biifurcatiion
Original Stories: no
Fandoms: the hobbit, welcome to night vale, homestuck, bandom (mcr, fob, P!atd)
Refused Content: OCs, poetry
Strengths: grammar, dialogue, characterization, smut
Weaknesses: word repetition
Previous Stories Written: Sit Tight- p!atd, We Could Fall- hobbit, Make It Double (part of hankystuck)- homestuck my ao3
Anything else you’d like to say?: I have a very light workload this trimester, and I’d like to use it to help out other people with their fic! People bring their essays to me to edit because I’ll correct their grammar and spelling, but also give feedback on ideas. I haven’t beta’d fic, but I would love to!
A guide on... schools systems
I’ve noticed that a lot of people that are not from American do not understand the school systems here. Not gonna lie, it’s kind of hard to grasp if you weren’t raised in it. Basically in this guide we’re going to talk about American school systems and how they differ from others. This ranges from ages of students, what the schools are called, and what they generally entail.