- A character with down syndrome who has no cognitive impairments, because not all people with down syndrome do but you wouldn’t know from the media
- A character who does have cognitive impairments and is shown to be in a loving relationship because cognitive impairments do not stop a person from having sexual and romantic desires
- A character with autism who is not portrayed as a victim or as a burden on their family, because autistic =/= broken
- A character who suffers from some form of psychotic illness such as schizophrenia that is portrayed in a way that is actually realistic and is in no way a serial killer or violent criminal because most mentally ill people are never violent.
- A character with bipolar disorder who is not cured by the power of love, but instead managed long term by a combination of medication, therapy, and their own hard work and determination
- A character with ANY mental illness that is not cured by the power of love
- Seriously, love is not a cure
- Depression and anxiety not being portrayed as cute/special/quirky
- A character with OCD who is not obsessive about cleanliness
- A character with tourettes who has never called out obscene things in public
- A character with a physical disability who is portrayed as a normal person, with normal needs and not some asexual angelic inspiration
- An asexual character who is not portrayed as shy, introverted and emotionless
And last but not least:
- Make these characters a diverse range of genders, sexualities, and of all races and ethnicity.
We’ve all been victims to it: Procrastination. It gets worse during weekends and long breaks. When deadlines are our own or don’t exist at all, when inspiration has run out, or when our interest is elsewhere, it strikes. As the summer nears an end, I look back on all my precious free time wasted in front of the television or on the internet instead of writing and wonder what I could have done to write more. Everyone has their own excuses for not writing more, so I’ve designed some of these tactics to be customized to you. Do what works best for your specific needs, but write. Just write.
Time. Do you have it? Maybe you’re a single parent working three jobs while you upgrade your degree. Maybe you’re an unemployed dropout living in your parents’ basement whose unfinished manuscript is the one thing keeping you from getting kicked out. I don’t know. Either way, here are your solutions:
- No time. You’re super busy? No problem. Make it portable. Put it on a tablet that fits in your bag or in a notebook so that you can sneak it into classes. Every spare moment on the bus or during class if you’ve finished your work early, take it out and work on it. Trust me, as someone who did most of the first draft to her first novel on the school bus to and from school (and during boring math classes…don’t tell anyone), you’d be surprised how much you can get done between things.
- Average amount of time. Maybe you’re just not very good at putting aside time for writing. That’s okay. Try this: Write for an hour every weekday, two hours weekends and holidays, and an extra fifteen minutes before bed every day. You can adjust it according to your schedule, but when you have stuff to do and time to write, it’s just a matter of recognizing your time to write and taking advantage of it.
- Too much time. Yes, it’s possible. Your life has no structure and you don’t write because all of your time is spent doing nothing. You know you should write, you just don’t. You need structure. You need goals. So make some. Try writing two chapters per day—or whatever you think is reasonable—and spend a minimum of two hours writing per day. Or try writing three hours per day, a minimum of one chapter daily. Race yourself and see how many words you can write in ten minutes, and keep track of your high score so you can aim to beat it. Every ten chapters or whatever you think is reasonable, treat yourself to a movie or something (preferably not a video game or something that will distract you from writing for too long. The exception is books. Books are good).
Motivation. Writing without motivation is like breathing without oxygen. It just doesn’t work. You may be lacking it for a variety of reasons. You’re bored, things are too predictable, you’ve been working on the same thing for so long, and writing has become (*gasp!*) a chore.
- Write on location. Does your story take place in New York? You might not have the resources to go there, but take a little satellite tour of your setting using Google Maps or read books that take place there. Everyone knows books transport you places. But your book takes place in Ancient Greece? Go to a toga party. Take a “Which Greek God/Goddess Are You?” personality quiz. The story takes place in the far off future on a planet you made up? Build a diorama of that place! Make a toothpick sculpture of your protagonist’s home. Immerse yourself in your story’s location. Better yet, go there if you can. Sit on the bench where your protagonist had their first kiss and write. Sometimes, all you need is a change of scenery.
- Simplify it. Our stories can overwhelm us from time to time. Pretend you’re in sixth grade again and do a book report on your own book. I’m serious. Make a poster with the title in block letters smack dab in the middle. Draw out the main characters and glue their pictures on the board next to each of their descriptions. Come up with all the ridiculous English-teacher-symbolism you can get from your writing, whether you meant it to be there or not. Think as a twelve-year-old and list the things about your work the twelve-year-old you would have loved or hated. Map out the plot on a very much simplified plot line to the best of your abilities. All those complications, false climaxes, and flashbacks are suddenly boiled down to beginning, middle, and end. If you want, you can look up book report ideas for elementary school online and do those. I remember doing diorama projects and paper bag book reports in sixth grade. Keep it creative.
- Entice yourself with the tools you use. If you write longhand, choose a notebook with a cover you’ll never get bored of or decorate the cover as if it were the cover of your published work. Use new pens that write in crazy colours or that have feathers coming out the end that make you feel like some fancy-pants writer. Because screw it, you are. Maybe even use a typewriter for the satisfying *ding!* you get at the end on every line. If you use a laptop or computer, get a cool keyboard that looks like it’s made of wood or put some keyboard stickers on. Do something that makes you want to use your tools of the trade more.
- Surround yourself with the right things. If you’re lacking in creativity, a messy desk will help. If you need structure, a neat and organized desk will work better. If you’re writing a scene set in the Sahara Desert and there’s five feet of snow outside, change your computer background to camels and turn on the extra heater while you play with that weird sand-dough stuff that can be found everywhere and is meant for children ages 3 and up. If in your next scene your main character is going on a romantic date, light a scented candle. If you’re writing about vampires, pour yourself a cup of cranberry juice and pretend it’s blood. You can take sips during the messier scenes.
- Get excited. Before you start your next chapter, think about what you look forward to writing in this scene. Are you introducing a new character you really like? Is the drama going to make you cry as you write? Is a planet going to explode? It’s going to be good, and you just can’t wait to get it all written down. If you only listen to one thing from this article that I spent a whole three hours writing, make it this. If you aren’t excited about writing your next scene, your audience won’t be excited about reading it. It will be too forced. It just won’t work. I’ve told you how you can get interested in writing again, you really don’t have to do much more. Just get excited and write.
I hope these tips help you out. When you think about it, time and motivation are all you need for a lot of things, including writing. Now you can go on your merry way and write!
If that didn’t help you, here’s a piece on Writer’s Block:
But there isn’t a singular look for African women and girls
Somali bantu women
And many more….
There’s no set number because everyone is different. Some people only go through three drafts and others go through ten or more. Here is a general description of the drafts that you should go through:
- First draft: This is the roughest of the rough. Make all the mistakes you want. After finishing this, take a break from your story for a while. You’ll come back with a fresher mind. The waiting period is up to you.
- First Rewrite: The second draft is when you rewrite the whole thing. If you didn’t have an outline before, it might be a good idea to make one now to keep track of everything.
- Other Rewrites: Some people need to rewrite the whole story more than once. Always take a break between rewrites. If you do continuous writing, you’ll get sick of your story and your imagination will fall. Work on some other stories between drafts.
- Major Revisions: Once you’re at the point where you don’t think you need to rewrite the whole thing, start making other major revisions. This includes rewriting individual scenes, pages, or paragraphs, changes to characters, and changes to plots. This might take a while.
- Minor Revisions: You’re pretty close to finishing when you get to this stage, but you’ve probably got some minor things you want to change. This would include dialogue, minor descriptions, names, appearances, word choice, etc. Look for cliche phrases, excess adverbs, wordy sentences, and inconsistencies in plot or character here. This step can also be combined with major revisions.
- Editing: This is when you look over every line to make sure everything is spelled right, to make sure your punctuation and grammar are correct, to make sure you formatted the manuscript correctly, and to make sure everything is consistent.
Here are some other tips for revision and editing:
- Save each draft as a separate file.
- Keep a checklist of things to do when you get into the more precise editing.
- If you use Microsoft Word or Google Docs to write, take advantage of the comments feature to write notes for yourself when rewriting or editing.
- Always take a break between each draft. You will have more energy and more motivation if you make yourself wait. You need a fresh perspective.
- Work backwards on some drafts. Most of us start out strong at the beginning and end up with flat endings because we’re drained of energy and we just want to finish writing or editing. Other times, start at the middle.
Tumblr URL: anequalopportunist
Original Stories: N
Fandom(s): Teen Wolf, Harry Potter, Supernatural, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Merlin, Marvel MCU, Arrow (TV)
Refused Content: Extreme Gore, Poetry
Strengths: Fluency, Obvious Spelling/Grammar, Brit-Picking, PLOT HOLES
Weaknesses: Subtle spelling issues, commas, etc.
Previous stories written (if any): FFNET:Ilovesexybritishmen: 9 Inch Hero, Sherlock - All They Need, Sherlock - Because of a Violin, Sherlock - Goodbye, Doctor Who - New New Doctor, Sherlock - Playing the Game, Sherlock - Sociopath, Harry Potter - Beginning of the Marauders, Doctor Who - The End, SuperWhoLock (request) - To Save a Soul; AO3:anequalopportunist: Supernatural - The One Where Cas Finds Out
Previous stories beta’d (if any): AO3: liketeachingpoetrytofish: Supernatural - No Quarter
Anything else you want to say? I highlight any comments and corrections I make in a document, however you would like to send it to me. I work on a case by case basis. If I’m not interested in working with you, it could be because of conflicts or an issue with the material, please don’t take it personally. Beta-ing is very important to me, however, my personal life (i.e. family, school, etc.) come first. Communication via email is recommended.
bone-charcoal asked: When I was about 11 I wrote a lot of stories and put them online because I thought I was good and I truly enjoyed it. But a few years into writing I suddenly saw my work on different websites under a ”Bad and stupid stories” page where someone links you to your work so others can bash and humiliate the writers for what they wrote. I’ve been writing again since about 8 months, but I became a bit afraid to write because of what happened when I was younger. How can I get over this fear?
I’m so sorry that happened to you. Unfortunately, web sites that take pot shots at amateur writing often forget the person behind the keyboard, and the fact that these are often very young people.
First, as difficult as it may be, you have to shake it off. The best writer in the world would have ended up on those sites at age 11, so don’t feel bad. Second, remember that writing is a craft and—just like with any craft—the longer you do it, the better you get. The fact that you’ve been writing for at least eight months since that happened means that you’re better than you were then. Third, learning to accept and learn from criticism is one of the most important things you have to do if you want to be a writer. Even award winning, best selling writers have their critics. When you’ve won awards and have several best sellers, you can ignore that criticism, but when you’re a new and learning writer, you should try to tune out the mean stuff and look for the genuine constructive criticism. If you see the same thing mentioned more than once, it’s a good bet that it’s something you need to work on. And that’s okay! No writer is perfect right from the start. Keep at it and don’t let bad experiences get you down. :) <3
In these situations, it’s always one of two answers.
In any case, the best bet is to look around for another beta reader. We understand this can be tiresome, but it will pay off. No one should be messed around, but unfortunately it does happen, and that is when you have to face the facts and move on.
Good luck; we hope whatever you do works out! :)
Character Motivation and Consistency:
So lets take a moment to talk about character consistency. This is something that I find a lot of people have a hard time with and a lot of it has to do with the actual development of the character in itself. When making a character, we pick out traits and experiences that define our character. All of these things including flaws and talents are important but something that people tend to forget with picking out a character is what their motivation is.
Author Orson Scott Card reminds us “We never fully understand other people’s motivations in real life. In fiction, however, we can help our readers understand our characters’ motivations with clarity, sometimes even certainty. This is one of the reasons why people read fiction—to come to some understanding of why other people act the way they do.”
Why is Knowing Motivation Important in Writing?:
This essentially, explains to us why characters act the way they do. Choices are determined by the motivation of the character. They are a guide in the choices they make because where they want to go or what they want determines what choices they are going to make. Very very VERY seldom does anyone make a choice at random. By knowing your characters primary motivation, the choices that they make will remain consistent (Even if they are not the ‘right’ choices.
Basic External and Internal Motivations:
Bold-face is obverse aspect (stuff in parens = goals, effects, or other association)
- Survival/safety; Fear of the world (food, water, escape from danger)
- Physical comfort; gluttony (shelter, warmth, good food, health)
- Pleasure; hedonism (sex, great food, culture, games)
- Dominance; tyranny (power, social standing, competition, respect)
- Acquisitiveness; greed (wealth, materialism, collecting, excellence)
- Curiosity; voyeurism (learning, searching, investigating)
- Mastery; perfectionism (excellence, conquest, discipline, achievement)
- Reproduction; profligacy (children, creativity, family-building)
- Autonomy; isolation (self-sufficiency, freedom, non-confinement)
- Affiliation; conformity (security, cooperation, loyalty, clan)
- Love; lust/ownership (connection, passion, sex, mirroring, approval, giving)
- Revenge; justice (righting wrongs, recognition of grievance, vengeance)
- Guilt; denial of guilt (responsibility, shame, punishment, redemption, forgiveness)
- Identity; self-centeredness (self-esteem, self-knowledge, self-protection)
- Surcease; conflict avoidance (peace, escape from anxiety, death)
- Spirituality; fetishism (religion, transcendence, transformation)
- Growth; decay, aging (learning, maturation, wisdom)
- Ambition; insecurity/anxiety (fear of failure, inferiority, stress)
- Vindication; rationalization (success, proving self, apology)
The Difference in between a Goal and Motivation:
The goal is like the flower… the motivation is the roots.
The goal is the outward manifestation of the motivation. It is concrete, measurable, and specific.
You don’t know when you’ve fulfilled the motivation: “I want success” isn’t measurable– what’s success? But you know when you’ve achieved a goal: ”I want to be on the New York Times bestseller list–” That’s measurable. You’ll know when you reach it.
Just keep in mind that while the goal is the external manifestation of the motivation, the connection is not always a straight or clear one. You can have a goal that is destructive and against your true motivation– “looking for love in all the wrong places” is an example.
Or you can have a laudatory goal for a selfish or twisted motivation– “I want to be first in my class to show my father up!”
Motivation is the past; Goal is the future; Conflict is the present.
Distinguish between MOTIVATION and ACTION:
Remember that motivation exists to inspire the character to make choices and take actions. If you’ve been told your protagonist is “too passive”, it’s likely what’s lacking is motivation that leads to action.
Every action, however small, should be motivated. If the motivation is obvious, then you might not have to show it (we assume that she’s running from that tiger for survival).
Compare the external (obvious) motivation to the goal and/or actions. If they don’t match, an internal motivation is probably in force. What hidden desire or fear is influencing actions?
An alternative reason for motivation/action mismatch: You’re trying to make an original character act in stereotypical ways.
And keep this in mind:
Heroism and villainy are in the action, not the motivation. Heroes do heroic things, they don’t just intend to do them. And villains do bad things even if they have the best of intentions.
Taking all of these things into account, here are three exercises that I found a while back and use to help figure out character motivations:
1. Real People as a template:
Make a list of 5 people you know really well. Beside each, make notes about how they:
- react to stress
- experience happiness,
- treat other people.
After that, list what motivates each of these behaviors. Try to be as factual as possible, drawing from things you know; for things you’re unsure of, use common sense to hypothesize.
A person might make it their goal to treat others with respect because of religious beliefs, or maybe because they were disrespected in the past. Someone might react poorly to stressful situations because they have a deep-seated fear of failure, stemming from a past experience.
2. Characters from Literature:
List 5 characters from literature and what motivated their actions throughout their respective stories.
For example, Shakespeare’sHamlet. His thoughts are motivated by revenge (because his uncle secretly killed his father), along with anger, sadness and confusion (because his mother married his uncle so soon after his father’s death).
Add to this a host of other factors, and you have a well-developed character you can understand.
3. Self reflection:
Write paragraphs to describe
- your most frightening experience
- your happiest experience,
- your most stressful experience, and how you reacted to each situation.
After, list all the factors that motivated your behavior. How is your personality shaped by your motivations?
During the story (Or role play) it is important to remember these character motivations when your character makes choices. That is really what this is about; identifying the motivations that make your character act the way that they do.
During the plot, motivations may change, and should actually shift for the character to develop, but never all at once and never out of the blue. Still the back story that drives your characters motivations will always be part of them.
For instance; I write a character whose past has made her a survivalist but over the course of a year she shifts to protection of the family that she has developed. However this took a full year to happen and her motivation of survival was never put on the back burner. Instead it just expanded to protection of the group and not just herself. Her fear of lose over this new family is what really drives her.
And there you have it: Keeping your character consistent through their motivation.