Amateur Ramblings

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cockend:

The mummified heart is said to be that of vampire Auguste Delagrance, responsible for the deaths of more than forty people back in the 1900, a period of vampirism in the USA. When he was identified, Delagrance was hunted down by a Romano Catholic priest and a Voodoo Hougan, and was destroyed in 1912. (x)

This is fucking Rad

(Source: welcometothe1jungle)

Writability: How to Make Cuts Without Losing Anything Useful

avajae:

Oftentimes, when editing, there comes a time when we have to make cuts. Whether it’s because the word count is way too high, or the plot is on the sluggish side, or there are unnecessary words floundering about, it’s pretty inevitable to avoid some eventual cutting.

However, cuts don’t have to be painful, and sometimes, they can even be relatively simple. And so I’d like to share five easy cuts to make without experiencing too much pain.

  1. Suddenly. “Jimmy crept around the corner, then, suddenly—” aaaaand stop right there. Suddenly is one of those words that we’ve been tricked into believing are useful. When we write “suddenly,” we’re trying to convey to our readers that whatever happens next happened without warning, but there’s just one problem—you’ve already warned your readers. 

    Every time you use the word “suddenly” you’re basically shooting yourself in the foot. “I suddenly felt sick,” for example, takes away the suddenness of the nausea, because your readers read “suddenly” and knew something was about to happen. “Suddenly” doesn’t tell our readers not to expect something, it does the opposite—it warns our readers that something is about to happen. And that’s not very sudden, is it? 

  2. Very, really, etc. These are often throwaway words. I want to say 7/10 times you use “really” or “very”, you can probably replace it with a single word that’s more powerful and effective. “Very tall” for example, could be “towering.” “Really slowly” could be “sloth-like.” Etc. etc. 

    There is an exception, however. Sometimes words like “very” and “really” are used to accentuate a voice, especially with younger characters. For example, while “very fast” can almost always be changed to “quickly,” but “navy” may not be better than “very blue” if your POV character isn’t likely to say “navy.” 

  3. Filter phrases. If you haven’t read Chuck Palaniuk’s post on “Thought” verbs, you need to do so now. I’ll wait. Go read it. I mean it.

    Did you read it? I hope so, because I can’t begin to tell you how incredibly helpful it is. Filter phrases are fine for first drafting, but when it comes to revising, it’s time to remove them and replace them with something more powerful. 

    In case you didn’t read it, filter phrases are phrases like “he thought” “she wondered” “I knew” “he felt” “she saw” “I smelled” etc. The problem with them is that they add an extra layer of filtering, which distances the readers from the narrative. 

    For example, “I smelled freshly baking cinnamon rolls” could be changed to “The sugary scent of cinnamon and sweet glaze was so thick in the air, I could almost taste it.” By showing us what the character is smelling rather than telling us what he/she is smelling, the imagery becomes much more powerful, almost as though the readers are experiencing it themselves. 

    Yes, it can be a little tedious going through your manuscript and removing them, but I highly recommend you do. It’ll definitely make your work much stronger. 

  4. I am, do not, will not, did not, etc. This is a super easy one. Oftentimes, especially in dialogue, I’ve seen writers forget their contractions. Sentences like “No, Jim, I do not think I will be going to that party” immediately sounds stilted just because the contractions were forgotten. “No, Jim, I don’t think I’ll be going to that party” sounds much more fluid, yes? (The answer is yes). 

    It’s an easy mistake, and you certainly don’t have to change all of them to include contractions (in fact, depending on your voice and the voices of the characters, you may only change a couple), but it’s definitely something to keep in mind because changing just a few can really add to the flow.

  5. Unnecessary scenes. This one’s a little trickier, but 9/10 times that I see a plot that’s dragging, it’s because of this little evil sucker. 

    Every scene needs to have a purpose. Every. Single. One. If you can’t go through each and every one of your scenes and identify the purpose (for example, character development, plot development, foreshadowing, etc.), then chances are it doesn’t need to be there. Another great way to determine this is imagine what would happen if you removed it—would your story still make sense? If your book would work without the scene, then chances are likely that you don’t need it.  


What other easy cuts can you think of when editing?

naturexphotography:

Following back

naturexphotography:

Following back

(Source: ifyouloveme-setmefree)

bookgeekconfessions:

I wanted to double check that “The Cherry on Top” was a short novel or novella and I found this on uphillwriting.org. I think it’s very informative and hopefully you guys will find it useful!

(Source: uphillwriting.org)

Bell's three rules for writing about magic

tabletopresources:

First, let me clarify one thing—this isn’t about designing systems of magic for your fantasy world. Whether your magical system has to pay attention to the fact that matter is neither created nor destroyed, or how to go about constructing spells…that’s not what we’re here for today. I’m talking about magic from a writers point of view, how it will affect your plot, your characters, your reader’s suspension of disbelief. And all the ways that beginning fantasy writers seem to blow it.

How to Fix Time and Continuity Problems

fictionwritingtips:

It’s very important to make sure your readers have a clear idea when something is happening, whether or not you jumped forward or backward in time, and how those events are connected time-wise. A big mistake that a lot of beginning writers make is not establishing time correctly, which could lead to a confusing story.

It can be a bit jarring when you’re reading a book and you come across a sentence like this— Two years had passed. The author is stating when something has happened and making it clear, but you still feel like you were robbed of two years of your character’s life. However, if it’s done well, the author will be able to cut out unnecessary information and get right to the action. Don’t skip ahead in the narrative unless you have a good reason to do it. Is there nothing happening during those two years that you need to explain? Is there a reason why you skipped ahead (something happened during those two years that you want to reveal later)? A huge jump in time needs some sort of explanation. It’s fine if you want to do it and many authors have made it work, but make sure you do it correctly.

Decide what timeline you want your story to exist in. This doesn’t mean you have to write out 10,000 years before and after your story takes place, but you need to decide how many years you generally want to cover. Does your story take place over the protagonist’s entire life? Does the story take place in one year? One day? Really anything is acceptable. Take the time to read stories that cover these timelines. Read a story that takes place in a day, a month, a year, etc. This will help you get an idea on how to pace your story and what can be done in a short or long amount of time.  Experiment with your timelines.

The best place to skip ahead in time is often during chapter breaks. Use chapter breaks to your advantage and to show that time has passed. For example, you can end one chapter where your character is finishing up some sort of space training (I don’t know why I picked this example, but let’s go for it!) and then have the next chapter start out with your character IN SPACE and on a SPACE MISSION. If it’s not necessary for your readers to know what happened in between and there are clear transitions/explanations for time passing, then you’re good to go. This is also a great way to put action into your story without any boring, unnecessary details.

Using terms like “A few days later…” and “By the next morning” will help you show short amounts of time passing within certain chapters. You will not be writing about every single action your character takes, so these will be necessary. It’s up to you to decide when you should use them and when you should cut out certain actions. Whatever is dragging your story down, cut it out.

-Kris Noel

bleedforyourtypewriter:

Ok here is a compilation of all the software and useful tools I’ve come across whilst writing. Some of them I’ve reviewed on here already, more coming soon. 

Got an idea? Well get planning! Here’s some useful outlining, brainstorming and mind- mapping software:
Coggle 
Lucidchart
Mural.ly
Blumind
MindMeister
Mindmaple
Mindomo
NovaMind
Popplet
Scapple
Tree Sheets
Visual Understanding Environment (VUE)
XMind
FreeMind
Oak Outliner
Work Flowy
The Outliner of Giants
Just want to get writing? You want a word processor:
Gedit
Google Docs
Kate
LibreOffice
Microsoft Word
My Writing Spot
NoteTab
Open Office
Quabel
Ted
Vim
yEdit
Making notes? Here you go:
CintaNotes
Evernote
KeepNote
Memonic
MS OneNote
Scribe
SuperNotecard
Tomboy
Timelines giving you a headache? Try these:
Aeon Timeline 
Dipity
Preceden
Tiki-Toki
Timeglider
Timeline
TimelineJS
TimeToast
Now perhaps you want to organise those notes. Got a lot of research? Character sheets? Images? Well here’s some tools to keep all that together:
Liquid Story Binder XE
LitLift
PangurPad
Scriptito
Scrivener
Writer’s Café
Yarny
yWriter
Are you easily distracted? The following tools will keep you on track:
Dark Room 
FocusWriter
JDarkRoom
Momentum Writer
OmmWriter
Q10
Writemonkey
Zen Writer 
Even more productivity tools to help keep you focussed on your task:
Cold Turkey 
FocalFilter
Freedom
InternetOff
Keepmeout
Nanny
Productivity Owl
RescueTime
SelfControl
SelfRestraint
Simple Blocker
StayFocusd
Strict Workflow
Time Doctor
Waste No Time
Website Blocker
So you’ve got something down? Need to edit? 
AutoCrit
EditMinion
Grammarly
LyX
SlickWrite
SmartEdit
After the Deadline
All done? Perhaps you’d like some e-publishing tools:
Acrobat
InDesign
Calibre
CutePDF
Jutoh
Mobipocket Creator
PagePlus
PageStream
PDFCreator
Scribus
Sigil
I’m feeling generous, have some more cool stuff:
750 Words
One Page per Day
Oneword
Penzu
Write or Die
Written Kitten
Focus Booster
Spaaze
AutoREALM (Map building software)

Enjoy! I may update the list as I find more, or I’ll make a second list.

bleedforyourtypewriter:

Ok here is a compilation of all the software and useful tools I’ve come across whilst writing. Some of them I’ve reviewed on here already, more coming soon. 

Got an idea? Well get planning! Here’s some useful outlining, brainstorming and mind- mapping software:

Just want to get writing? You want a word processor:

Making notes? Here you go:

Timelines giving you a headache? Try these:

Now perhaps you want to organise those notes. Got a lot of research? Character sheets? Images? Well here’s some tools to keep all that together:

Are you easily distracted? The following tools will keep you on track:

Even more productivity tools to help keep you focussed on your task:

So you’ve got something down? Need to edit? 

All done? Perhaps you’d like some e-publishing tools:

I’m feeling generous, have some more cool stuff:

Enjoy! I may update the list as I find more, or I’ll make a second list.

Bad thing about a writer's mind

  • 6am: Oh what a wonderful dream to wake up from. Now I'll give you five story ideas.
  • 1am: You're tired? Well I'm sorry but I must keep these ideas coming until it's almost 4am and you're dozing off on your computer/notebook.
  • Shower: I know how you can solve this plot hole.... with this scene.
  • In a store: That person over there looks like OC... oh! This gives me an idea! Who cares if you have nothing to write it down with.
  • At a party: Wow... here's a great way to word that scene you can't get down. Too bad in five minutes you won't remember much more than two sentences. From different paragraphs.
  • Timed test: You know what would be great? Instead of this happening, this happens and I am so glad this brilliant idea makes you want to write and not focus on this geometry question!
  • While writing at a decent time: Yeah, I got nothing.

fuckyeahvintage-retro:

The Evolution of Women’s Hairstyles

There are only two important elements to a great novel. The first is an interesting character. A character that you thoroughly know and feel will go a long way toward attracting a readership.

The second element is an interesting problem.

- Walter Dean Myers, with advice for a young writer. (via nightskyonkrikkit)

(Source: lettersandlight)