she/her | teenager | bisexual disasterwriteblr • bookblrwriting stuff and also bookish memes and also absolute chaos@moonlit_sunflower_books on instagram
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fun ways to introduce new characters
have your protagonist walk into them
have them walk into your protagonist
falling from the sky
they flirt with your protagonist in a coffee shop
your protagonist flirts with them first
your protagonist saves them / they save your protagonist
they fix your protagonist's car
find them hiding in a closet
find them making out with someone in a closet
eavesdropping on your protagonist
involved in a car chase after your protagonist
your protagonist mistakes them for someone else
they bond with your mc over how loud the neighbours are
OR they move in next door and are annoyingly loud and your protagonist is determined to teach them what good music is
they kidnap your protagonist for ransom
they accidentally commit vehicular manslaughter and your mc is the only witness
the barista mistakes their order for your protagonist's
pizza delivery man
walk in on their demon summoning circle
they keep trying to sell your mc something on a flyer
secretly your mc's long-lost sister *gasp*
online dating site
they mistake your mc for a celebrity and try to take pictures with them
taxi driver
your mc catches them shoplifting and tries to get them to return what they stole
or they see your mc shoplifting and get them arrested
friend of a friend
break into their house because they need a place to hide from the authorities
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you know when you really want to read a new book but you also want it to be JUST LIKE this other book you finished but not exactly the same but similar but still different but with the same vibes but completely new? yeah.
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harmful eating disorder representation
[@/moonlit_sunflower_books on ig]
TW: eating disorders, starvation, throwing up, death
so often, in literature and media, eating disorders are portrayed as easy weight loss hacks, attention-gaining scams, or as purely physical disorders rather than psychological ones. unless you've had an eating disorder or know someone who has, you probably shouldn't be writing about them. i wanted to address this in a post because it's something really important to me, and i hope it helps!
disclaimer: i'm not a health professional or writing professional, and everything here is based on research and personal experience. please don't hesitate to point out if something is wrong or if there’s something else you would add!
eating disorders are psychological
many eating disorders revolve around a fear of weight loss or weight gain, and start as mere doubts that then become thought patters that are very difficult to break out of. often, eating disorders are portrayed as something purely physical in terms of very slow or fast metabolisms, weight fluctuation, or a small appetite. but a lot of the time, they're about how one perceives food and perceives the self, anxiety surrounding food, and constant fear and stress. this also contributes to weight fluctuation, but one doesn't exist without the other, and the mental strain of an eating disorder is often completely brushed over!
what is it like?
the psychological aspect of eating disorders can often be in the form of obsessing over food, hoarding food, and associating it with guilt and restriction. there’s also a perceived sense of control over one’s body that can be very obsessive, in terms of restricting food groups and over-exercising.
physically there can be many changes to the body. there’s not always weight loss, however, because that isn’t how eating disorders work. one thing among afab people is that over exercising and minimal eating can cause someone to lose their period, which is never mentioned. there can also be brittle hair, infertility, weight fluctuation, and more long-term effects i’ll talk about later.
people with eating disorders aren't always skinny
anorexia is not the only eating disorder that exists, and you don't have to be thin to have an eating disorder. you also don't have to be overweight to have body dysmorphia.
people with eating disorders can be fat, thin, muscular, or anything else under the sun, and people don’t have to “look sick” to have an eating disorder. it’s also really harmful when you say something like “i never thought you would have one” or “you’re so skinny, you shouldn’t worry about stuff like that” because it reinforces harmful ideas and low self-esteem surrounding eating disorders.
types of eating disorders
there are many types of eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia, pica, binge eating, and more. there are also plenty of borderline eating disorders that there aren’t always names for, but come coupled with over exercising and intense body dysmorphia.
long-term effects
when media depicts eating disorders as quick-fixes for weight loss, it’s really harmful for multiple reasons. a) it’s not healthy weight loss. b) it doesn’t work like that. c) you’re glorifying something that has a massive mental and physical toll on the body. d) the long term effects are incredibly harmful and completely brushed over.
the effects will be different for different types of eating disorders, but they can lead to general gut irritation, acid reflux, and tooth decay, and in the long term things like cancer, organ failure, and stunted growth.
the effects vary and this is not a complete list at all, but media never keeps in mind the ugly side of eating disorders - only the sense of control and the belief that one is doing something good to lose weight, which is entirely false.
if eating disorders are really bad, the person may have to be hospitalised in order to maintain a healthy weight. often dieticians may help to improve food intake and reach a consistent weight.
psychologically, different types of therapy are recommended to change one’s relationship with food and with the self. but it’s an uphill battle and no single conversation can heal it.
tl;dr the movies were wrong.
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teenage boys in young adult novels: greed bows to me. it is my servant and my lever. there was no part of him that was not broken, that had not healed wrong, and there was no part of him that was not stronger for having been broken. it's shame that eats men whole.
teenage boys in real life: i bet you can't eat that entire pizza by yourself-
teenage boys in real life: oh yEAH? WATCH ME-
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writing prompts as taylor swift quotes
go stream red (taylor’s version) and watch the all too well short film because they both made me sob and they are artistic masterpieces
anyway hope you enjoy these prompts (tag me if you use them!)
dialogue prompts
"it's you and me - there's nothing like this"
"i'll never let you go, 'cause i know this is a fight that someday we're gonna win"
"you're not my homeland anymore, so who am i defending now?"
"some day, we will be remembered"
"the rumours are terrible and cruel, but honey, most of them are true"
"will you still want me when i'm nothing new?"
"all this time i didn't know you were breaking down"
"this thing was a shot in the dark"
"i don't like your little games"
"we can't make any promises"
setting prompts
"in an angel city chasing fortune and fame"
"dancing 'round the kitchen in the refrigerator light"
"autumn leaves falling down like pieces into place"
"maybe we got lost in translation"
"we are alone with our changing minds"
"nights when you made me your own"
"if i was standing there in your apartment, i'd take that bomb in your head and disarm it"
"we shouldn't be in this town"
"there's glitter on the floor after the party"
characterisation prompts
"every time you call me crazy, i get more crazy"
"we play dumb, but we know exactly what we're doing"
"so casually cruel in the name of being honest"
"how can a person know everything at 18 and nothing at 22?"
"there's a heart on your sleeve, i'll take it when i leave"
"my baby's fit like a daydream, walking with his head down, i'm the one he's walking to"
"the shape of you was jagged and weak"
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writing strong protagonists
protagonists are often meant to be relatable to the reader, but because one’s audience is so vast and varied, it can often mean that protagonists simply become flat.
but the key to writing a good protagonist, in my opinion, is making them sympathetic - and having something about them that appeals to the reader, whether that be their sense of humour, their moral compass, or their relationships with other people!
disclaimer: i am not a professional writer, i'm a student who writes for fun, so make sure you do your own research. this is based solely on my own experience and opinion.
give them purpose
this is quite basic, but every protagonist must have a very strong motivation that the reader sympathises with. it could be love, revenge, loyalty, fear, fulfilment, approval, or anything else. but when you clearly establish why your character is doing what they are doing and make sure that it is justified in their internal narrative (i'll elaborate more on this later), the reader will want to support them.
make them sympathetic
this is a continuation of the previous point, but essentially, you need to make sure that your character justifies their own actions in their internal narrative. even if they do something rash, immoral, unhinged, or poorly executed, the decisions that they make should seem to make sense to them. essentially, give them a strong moral compass.
add a sense of humour
especially if you're writing in the first person, let your character have a sense of humour! let them make rude comments internally about people walking by them, let them be awkward and uncomfortable, and let them laugh about stupid things constantly. adding a sense of humour lightens the tone and makes your character more human, and although it may seem like it at first, it doesn't take away from the depth or meaning of your writing at all. it just makes it fun to read!
in six of crows, the characters spend very long making fun of kaz and his bad hair, and the book has some very complex themes. percy jackson has a younger target audience, so the humour is laced throughout the storytelling rather than added in bits and pieces, but that only makes percy more likeable.
give them LOTS of flaws
do NOT hold back on your character's flaws. not only does this make their character development richer, it makes the characters sympathetic and fun to read about. if your character loses their temper at the drop of a hat, it leads to much more conflict. if your character is a pushover they'll end up doing many things that they don't really want to. if your character is selfish, they might push other people away. if your character is socially awkward, they could miscommunicate and/or end up in situations they don't want to be in.
when a protagonist is too perfect, they don't have enough internal conflict and also separate themselves from the reader, because your reader will relate to one if not all of the flaws your protagonist has, which will make them far more likeable.
make sure you know them
i put this as the final point because i feel like it's both the most obvious and the most important - you should know your characters inside and out. you should know how they would react to different situations and the way that the inside of their mind works so that you're able to translate that to your story.
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chloe gong really just said “enemies to lovers is about looking someone in the eye and knowing all the darkest parts of them and knowing they know all the darkest parts of you and having a mutual respect and admiration for the other but being too unwilling to admit it and walking away because you love them too much to hurt them but not enough to give up your world for them and hoping that they find someone they deserve in the end” and expected me to walk away okay
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writing female villains
[@/moonlit_sunflower_books on ig]
we're all simps for women with swords, and I love a good female villain. but there are some ways that i think female villains can be really great and certain tropes that i think can be harmful.
this is just based on my personal opinion and amateur experience - i'm not a professional writer, so always do your own research! i'm also always open to friendly debate and constructive feedback :)
also, @/bluebxlle_writer on instagram also has an awesome post on writing female villains and their account is generally wonderful, so go and check that out too!
make them flawed
i have another entire post on this, but writing Strong Female Characters often means that your women are completely flawless - they win every fight, they don't let themselves be tricked, they see every obstacle coming. not only is this unrealistic, it makes for an incredibly flat character.
making your female villains flawed proves that women can be strong and still fail, and gives your protagonist the opportunity to succeed sometimes as well.
make them emotional
i included this specifically for female villains, because once again, while creating strong women it's very easy to make them emotionless and stoic. but when your villains feel love and despair and hope and excitement and sorrow, it makes them more human. it also again removes expectations that strong women need to have no emotion in order to be perceived as strong.
a three-dimensional backstory
just because your villain is a woman, her backstory doesn't have to be losing a significant other. let them be driven by emotion, but don't let that emotion be approval from men or love for another man. a female villain can have as complex stories and motivations as male villains, such as revenge, immortality, power, or even greed - not just love.
"femme fatale" characters
"femme fatale" is a character archetype of a mysterious, beautiful, and seductive woman ensnares her lovers and leads them into traps. she essentially hypnotises them with her beauty and takes advantage of their attraction to her.
the hyper-sexualisation of female villains is something that really bothers me, and while i make many jokes about being attracted to women with swords, this once again comes under the idea of women being solely made for love and/or sex.
make your female villains diverse. let them be ugly and gory and ruthless and maybe aro/ace and let them have more skill than just seduction, because women do not exist for male pleasure.
make sure they're not subservient to male villains
lastly, almost all female villains are subservient to male villains, which diminishes their agency and individual power. let your female villain be a villain in her own right, without serving men!
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writing couples the reader roots for
[@/moonlit_sunflower_books on ig]
we're all suckers for a good romance, but quite often the characters just don't vibe together and there is nothing more disappointing than that. any good romance should be one in which the reader genuinely wants the characters to be together, and i hope this helps figure it out!
disclaimer: i am not a professional author and everything here is based on personal experience and preference. i also have literally no experience with romantic relationships; this is all based on fiction.
give them obstacles
"why can't they be together now?" is the question that you must always be asking about your couples, and if there is no clear answer, then something is wrong.
there should be a legitimate conflict keeping them apart. the classic one is romeo and juliet, where they are rivals, and nina and matthias are the same. with kaz and inej, it was their trauma. cardan bullied jude in the cruel prince and jo saw laurie as a friend in little women. make sure that there is a conflict that makes sense for the characters so that tensions rise and there is relief when they finally overcome it!
give them chemistry
don't force the romance, let it come naturally. chemistry can be any combination of banter, physical attraction, common interests, longing glances, arguments, bonding moments, and friendship or alliances.
obviously depending on what sort of tropes you're using, the combination will be different. but there has to be some kind of attraction between your characters that makes them feel like more than friends. multiple times i've read books where it feels like the characters are being forced to kiss each other by the author, and i realise this is incredibly vague advice, but let them play out their narratives in your head! don't force them to do things that don't seem to be working.
and my number one romance rule is The Kiss Rule: if they have to kiss for the reader to know they're in love, then they're not really in love.
give them grief
this kind of comes along with the 'obstacles' point, but let the fact that they cannot be together offer some sort of grief to the characters. or let the fact that they are together tear the characters apart.
<mark of athena spoilers> percy literally fell into hell for annabeth (yes my standards for men are too high) and honestly, that seems like a pretty important obstacle. but also percy's fatal flaw is loyalty, which means that he will go way too far to stick by his friends' side.
make it slow burn
even if your characters are attracted to each other at ford sight, don’t let them get together immediately. this comes hand in hand with my point about obstacles. make sure there is a reason the two aren’t together, and make it a g o n i s i n g.
add in a few *almost* kisses, build the tension, and let it drag out enough that the reader feels genuine satisfaction when they finally get together!
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i love YA fiction but it’s so funny to me that a bunch of sixteen year olds are walking around murdering people and sacrificing themselves for love and martyrdom and the Greater Good and i’m sitting here doing calculus like “yes this is relatable i too hold my enemy at sword point and would be easily able to knock out a man three feet taller than me” whereas in reality i can’t win an arm wrestling match and i leave the house once every three months
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writing lovers to enemies
[@/moonlit_sunflower_books on ig]
alexa play 'my tears ricochet' by taylor swift
hey y'all! today's post is about writing lovers turned enemies because i am kind of obsessed with this trope (especially if it ends in lovers again, given that it was never toxic). i hope this helps! as always, i am not a professional writer and this is all based entirely on my own experiences and preferences.
their past relationship
if they started at lovers, there is definitely something that they had in common. it could be a common cause, music taste, personalities, interests, or even a friend group. they'd also probably know a lot about the other person, and would keep pointing out things that they remembered - such as the way their mouth moves, hand movements they do, the way they walk, their tone of voice, etc. since they're later enemies, this is also really important because it could lead to things like their fighting styles being predictable etc. but i'll elaborate on this later.
the end of their relationship
the end of their relationship is also really important to keep in mind. what caused them to fall apart? was it mistrust or a misunderstanding or a betrayal? do they hate each other for it now, or was it forgiven?
is their breakup the reason that they are enemies, or is the fact that they're enemies what caused them to break up? (chloe gong writes the latter really well in these violent delights!) fleshing out the reasons for their breakup and the events that led to and followed it will give you a solid starting point for the conflict during your story, as well as potential subplot ideas.
also, if this part is backstory, revealing it more slowly will increase the tension!
being enemies
there's going to be a LOT of tension between the two when they're enemies because of their history, and this is why it's very important to establish their relationship right at the start.
as i said earlier, their fighting styles may be predictable to each other, as well as certain mannerisms and tactical moves. however, ensure that there is a part that is unpredictable, because they have likely changed after the relationship (depending on how long ago it was). this could also be a weakness - they assume that a character will do one thing, but they do something else.
it might also be interesting to see whether or not there is still any romantic or sexual tension between the two, in addition to other unresolved conflicts. let them remember why they broke up in the first place; let them go back and forth between trust/nostalgia/reminiscence and anger. increase the stakes as much as possible!
books with this trope
these violent delights, by chloe gong (roma and juliette)
shadow and bone trilogy, by leigh bardugo (alina and the darkling)
the wicked king, by holly black (jude and cardan)
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wow i just realised how bad the grammar in this post is but oh well
in other news roma montagov and juliette cai own my entire heart and benedikt and marshall are Very Gay but i've been shipping benvolio and mercutio since forever so is anyone really surprised
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in other news roma montagov and juliette cai own my entire heart and benedikt and marshall are Very Gay but i've been shipping benvolio and mercutio since forever so is anyone really surprised
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We looked inside some of the posts by moonlit-sunflower-books and here's what we found interesting.
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