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writing-prompts-re · 10 days ago
A murder mystery where every character believes themselves to be responsible for the death, and tries their best to cover it up.
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leeshajoy · a month ago
A lot of the substances we think of as protection against the supernatural (e.g. salt, silver, garlic) are actually antibacterial, and would have helped stave off infections and illnesses that people once attributed to supernatural influence.
Based on this, I want to see a story where vampires are repelled by hand sanitizer.
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Writing advice #?: Have your characters wash the dishes while they talk.
This is one of my favorite tricks, picked up from E.M. Forester and filtered through my own domestic-homebody lens.  Forester says that you should never ever tell us how a character feels; instead, show us what those emotions are doing to a character’s posture and tone and expression.  This makes “I felt sadness” into “my shoulders hunched and I sighed heavily, staring at the ground as my eyes filled with tears.”  Those emotions-as-motions are called objective correlatives.  Honestly, fic writers have gotten the memo on objective correlatives, but sometimes struggle with how to use them.
Objective correlatives can quickly become a) repetitive or b) melodramatic.  On the repetitive end, long scenes of dialogue can quickly turn into “he sighed” and “she nodded” so many times that he starts to feel like a window fan and she like a bobblehead.  On the melodramatic end, a debate about where to eat dinner can start to feel like an episode of Jerry Springer because “he shrieked” while “she clenched her fists” and they both “ground their teeth.”  If you leave the objective correlatives out entirely, then you have what’s known as “floating” dialogue — we get the words themselves but no idea how they’re being said, and feel completely disconnected from the scene.  If you try to get meaning across by telling us the characters’ thoughts instead, this quickly drifts into purple prose.
Instead, have them wash the dishes while they talk.
To be clear: it doesn’t have to be dishes.  They could be folding laundry or sweeping the floor or cooking a meal or making a bed or changing a lightbulb.  The point is to engage your characters in some meaningless, everyday household task that does not directly relate to the subject of the conversation.
This trick gives you a whole wealth of objective correlatives.  If your character is angry, then the way they scrub a bowl will be very different from how they’ll be scrubbing while happy.  If your character is taking a moment to think, then they might splash suds around for a few seconds.  A character who is not that invested in the conversation will be looking at the sink not paying much attention.  A character moderately invested will be looking at the speaker while continuing to scrub a pot.  If the character is suddenly very invested in the conversation, you can convey this by having them set the pot down entirely and give their full attention to the speaker.
A demonstration:
“I’m leaving,” Anastasia said.
“What?”  Drizella continued dropping forks into the dishwasher.
“I’m leaving,” Anastasia said.
Drizella paused midway through slotting a fork into the dishwasher.  “What?”
“I’m leaving,” Anastasia said.
Drizella laughed, not looking up from where she was arranging forks in the dishwasher.  “What?”
“I’m leaving,” Anastasia said.
The forks slipped out of Drizella’s hand and clattered onto the floor of the dishwasher.  “What?”
“I’m leaving,” Anastasia said.
“What?”  Drizella shoved several forks into the dishwasher with unnecessary force, not seeming to notice when several bounced back out of the silverware rack.
See how cheaply and easily we can get across Drizella’s five different emotions about Anastasia leaving, all by telling the reader how she’s doing the dishes?  And all the while no heads were nodded, no teeth were clenched.
The reason I recommend having it be one of these boring domestic chores instead of, say, scaling a building or picking a lock, is that chores add a sense of realism and are low-stakes enough not to be distracting.  If you add a concurrent task that’s high-stakes, then potentially your readers are going to be so focused on the question of whether your characters will pick the lock in time that they don’t catch the dialogue.  But no one’s going to be on the edge of their seat wondering whether Drizella’s going to have enough clean forks for tomorrow.
And chores are a cheap-n-easy way to add a lot of realism to your story.  So much of the appeal of contemporary superhero stories comes from Spider-Man having to wash his costume in a Queens laundromat or Green Arrow cheating at darts, because those details are fun and interesting and make a story feel “real.”  Actually ask the question of what dishes or clothing or furniture your character owns and how often that stuff gets washed.  That’s how you avoid reality-breaking continuity errors like stating in Chapter 3 that all of your character’s worldly possessions fit in a single backpack and in Chapter 7 having your character find a pair of pants he forgot he owns.  You don’t have to tell the reader what dishes your character owns (please don’t; it’s already bad enough when Tolkien does it) but you should ideally know for yourself.
Anyway: objective correlatives are your friends.  They get emotion across, but for low-energy scenes can become repetitive and for high-energy scenes can become melodramatic.  The solution is to give your characters something relatively mundane to do while the conversation is going on, and domestic chores are not a bad starting place.
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gingerbreadpopsolo · 3 months ago
If you use fiction to escape clap your hands
If you use fiction to escape clap your hands
If you use fiction to escape from something that you hate
If you use fiction to escape clap your hands
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bellesbooks · 29 days ago
hardcover or paperback? bookstore or library? bookmark or receipt? stand alone or series? nonfiction or fiction? thriller or fantasy? under 300 pages or over 300 pages? children’s or ya? friends to lovers or enemies to lovers? read in bed or read on the couch? read at night or read in the morning? keep pristine or markup? cracked spine or dog ear?
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dreamy-prose · a month ago
little intimate things that leave me breathless
feel free to use these as prompts
you're talking on the phone and your lover quietly comes up behind you, wraps their arms around you, and starts gently kissing your neck. you begin to lose focus on your phone call as you concentrate on not making any noise.
your crush gently touching you on the arm or putting their hand on your shoulder as you two have a conversation.
having a piece of hair brushed off your face as you're reading or looking down.
looking at your crush or lover only to find them already looking at you and when you make eye contact, they smile at you.
holding hands while having sex and/or making out.
"i'm so proud of you."
being asked "are you sure?" (there's nothing sexier than consent)
you and your lover sitting next to each other at a table and they rest their hand on your thigh, gently rubbing their thumb back and forth.
your lover playing with your hair or vice versa.
telling a stupid joke and hearing your crush laugh.
helping your lover fix their tie or zip up their dress. or, you two helping each other undress.
telling your partner how stressed out you are and they are simply just listening before opening their arms and holding you until you feel better.
"i love you."
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writing-prompts-re · 3 months ago
A sniper, a bartender and a photographer meet In a bar. Unaware of each other’s occupations, they begin to talk about what it means to get ‘the perfect shot.’
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ashberrry · 21 hours ago
I hate texting, come watch the moon with me.
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the-modern-typewriter · 7 hours ago
Helloo~ could I request a hero who doesnt want to be a hero and the villain catches them having a crying/mental breakdown from anxiety?
"Careful," the villain said, "you don't want anyone else to see you like this. You're a new one, aren't you?"
The hero whipped around, scrubbing desperately at their tear-stained face. It didn't hide the shattering anywhere near quick enough. It didn't take back what had already been exposed. To them.
The villain held their hands up, all soothing-like. "Easy. Don't go off on me."
As if the hero was a bomb, to be managed and contained. They felt a little like that some days.
Still, for all of the villain's obvious wariness, they did not appear frightened. At least, not frightened enough not to have initiated the conversation in the first place.
The hero gulped. Everyone thought the worst part of the job was fighting villains; monsters of terrible power and cruelty. It wasn't. The worst part was being the thing that monsters were scared of, and wondering what the hell that made you.
"If you let me reach in my pocket," the villain said, "I can give you a handkerchief."
"You carry handkerchiefs?"
"A wet wipe. But that sounded less glamorous."
The hero snorted, thick and choked, and dabbed at their face with their sleeve.
The villain reached slowly into their jacket, keeping their movements unthreatening and easy to track.
"I'm not going to hurt you," the hero muttered. They realised as they said it that the words alone were another unforgiveable omission, worse even than crying. Heroes were supposed to fight villains. Nobody explicitly said anything about hurting them, sure, but there was no way a collision of super-powers didn't cause damage.
The villain offered them the packet of wet wipes. "Good to carry," they said. "You know, helps with the blood and stuff in a pinch."
There was something terrible about that which made the hero's eyes well up again.
The villain cursed, taking a step towards them before faltering - not quite getting close. "You need to stop crying." The villain voice was low, urgent. "Before someone else sees you. I'm sorry."
The hero nodded, gulped, tried to shove it all back down again. It didn't work so well. They felt like they were going to puke.
"I'm sorry," the villain said, again. They looked a little devastated too, if one knew what to look for.
"Why? Is it your fault?"
The villain's jaw clenched.
The hero concentrated on taking some deep breaths, in and out, trying to keep their vision from tunnelling with panic.
"This happening to you a lot?" the villain asked.
"Of course not. I'm a hero."
It was the villain's turn to snort, mirthlessly and without mockery. "Right. Shed a single pretty tear on the photo ops, but don't lose it in the back alley. Heroes."
The hero glanced up, sharply, at that.
The villain shrugged, a little awkwardly. "I've been in this game a while. I know what's expected of you. I don't know if it helps or not to know that you're not the only one who, um, feels like you do."
"And how do I feel?" It came out nearly a snarl.
The villain didn't flinch. "Like you don't want to do this, like you can't do this, but you have to. Otherwise they'll take you back to the academy to retrain you."
Ice plunged through the hero at the thought. Their breathing turned ragged. They didn't remember their knees buckling, but when they next blinked they were on the floor, curled up against the wall, rocking a little. Someone was making an awful sound.
"Hey," the villain said softly. They were crouched in front of the hero, dangerously close to a pool of tarmac turning to overheated sludge where the hero's hands were. "They're not going to do that. You're alright. Listen, you're alright. Okay? Look at me."
The hero looked at them, reeling.
"You could kill me," the hero said, barely above a whisper. "Maybe I lost. That happens, doesn't it? Occasionally? We lose to people like you?"
"Sure," the villain said, "and then they kill me, and replace you with a new shiny thing."
"We'd be free though."
"Dying for their cause is not freedom. You'd just be a martyr to manipulate the next generation with. Is that what you want?"
"I don't care."
"Yes," the villain said, and offered another wet wipe, "you do. If you didn't, you wouldn't be losing it in a back alley out of sight."
The hero took the next wet wipe, pressing the cool damp cloth to their eyes. Burning. Swollen. Prickly. They took another few breaths. "Why are you helping me?"
"Us heroes and villains have got to stick together. It's not like anyone else is looking out for us."
"Until they order us to kill you, anyway."
"Yeah," the villain said, "until then."
"Does it get easier?"
"You'll stop caring. That can be easier."
"You haven't."
"Yeah, well. That's why they want me dead so bad. Inability to stop giving a crap about heroes. I didn't self-detonate quietly in a back alley, you see, I tried to blow up the academy. Sadly didn’t manage to get it all."
"Wait. That was you? You're..." The hero's eyes widened. They shrank back, heart pounding.
"Head of the opposition," the villain said. "Yeah." They stood up, and offered the hero their hand. "So, stop crying, keep it together, and maybe if we're lucky I might just be able to get you out of this. If you want. But I can’t do that if they see you breaking."
The hero took the hand, after a moment's hesitation, and the villain hauled them to their feet. They faced each other.
"You can do that? You can really stop me being a hero?"
"Kid," they said, with something like a smile, "I’m a villain. Stopping heroes is what I'm all about."
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writing-prompts-re · a month ago
Writing Tip #01:
10 Ways of Ending your Story
- The Cliffhanger Ending: Ending the story in such a way that leaves the reader at the edge of their seat, either due to being in the middle of a dilemma or a shocking revelation (Ex: The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan)
- The Circle Ending: Ending the story in such a way does comes back full circle to its beginning. The reader gets a chance to compare the before and after, offering both the opportunities for irony or satire, and the contrast, whether bitter or sweet, is plain to see.
- The Dialogue Ending: Ending the story with dialogue from the characters. This ending allows the readers to feel a stronger connection to the characters since it is them sharing the end to their story instead of the author.
- The Emotional Ending: Ending the story in such a way that leaves readers feeling emotional, whether happy or sad, for the characters in the story. Before attempting to write an emotionally engaging end, you have to first understand why it is important for your readers to be engaged.
- The Humor Ending: Ending the story in such a way that leaves the reader laugh at either a line or even an inside joke from the story. Before attempting this ending, first think about your own personal sense of humor and how you'll be using it to produce a humorous ending.
- The Image Ending: Ending the story in such a way that puts the classic "show, don't tell" rule to good use by describing a scene.
- The Moral Ending: Ending the story in such a way that you show the character's growth and how far they've managed to come. This ending helps even the reader learn a lesson through the characters. The difficult part about this ending is figuring out what the moral of your story will be. Think of your characters, their goals, objectives, and how all of those have developed in the story.
- The Question Ending: Ending the story in such a way that leaves readers think about what will happen next. This ending is effective when you want the culmination of your story to be remembered. Play around with different questions and see what would work better!
- The Surprise Ending: Ending the story in such a way that takes the reader to the place least expected. When done right, these endings will live, and haunt, the readers' memories for years. A surprise ending may have the reader question heir perspective of the preceding events. It could also introduce new conflicts that changes the story's context. A subtle misdirection is key to achieving this kind of ending.
- The Reflection Ending: Ending the story in such a way that the character looks back on everything they've experienced, achieved, or even failed at. Everything they've gone through in their journey. This conclusion gives the character a chance to think/feel more deeply about what occurred in the story. It gives them time to explore their deepest feelings and even possibly come up with fresh or surprising insights.
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too-many-aspirations · 3 months ago
Do you like mutual pining because you Love slow burn and the yearning or because you take comfort in the idea that someone would love you and want you just as much as you would want and love them?
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foxiswriting · 2 months ago
nature names!! (feminine)
bc why not. ** = my favorites
also! not all of these will directly translate to the words (moon, sun, etc) but may be instead correlated with them.
names relating to the moon
aiday - kazakh
alcmene - greek mythology
belinay** - turkish
bulan - indonesian
chandra - hindi, marathi, telugu, tamil, kannada, nepali, bengali
feray - turkish
hala** - arabic
jacira** - indigenous american, tupi
lusine - armenian
mahin - polynesian
menodora - ancient greek
natsuki - japanese
purnima - hindi, marathi, bengali, tamil, kannada
sanda - burmese
sasithorn - thai
selene - greek mythology
tsukiko - japanese
names relating to the sun
arevik - armenian
eloise - english
haru, haruko - japanese
khurshid - persian, urdu, persian mythology
marisol - spanish
mehr, mehrnaz** - persian, persian mythology
mzia - georgian
nou - hmong
savitri** - hinduism, hindi, marathi
siqiniq - indigenous american, inuit
sóley** - icelandic
sunčica - croatian, serbian
sunniva - norwegian
tonalli - indigenous american, nahuatl
yang - chinese
yōko - japanese
names relating to water
anat - semitic mythology
arethusa** - greek mythology
aysu** - turkish
iara** - indigenous american, tupi
karen - japanese (im shocked)
lian - chinese
liên - vietnamese
maya, maayan - hebrew
neith - egyptian mythology
nerida** - indigenous australian (i love how it sounds like nereid)
rayyan - arabic
shui - chinese
talia - english (australian)
vaitiare - tahitian
names relating to flowers
abeba - eastern african, amharic
anfisa** - russian
anh - vietnamese
anthea - greek mythology
ayaka** - japanese
azahar - spanish
blodwen - welsh
calanthe - english
cvetka - slovene
diantha - dutch, english
endzela - georgian
euanthe - greek mythology, ancient greek
eun-yeong - korean
fiore - italian
flora - english, italian, spanish, portuguese, german, dutch, french, roman mythology
golnar - persian
guiying - chinese
gulmira** - kyrgyz, kazakh
hanae - japanese
hua - chinese
ianthe - greek mythology
kalei - hawaiian
kasumi - japanese
lei, leilani, leimomi - hawaiian
malai** - thai
millaray** - indigenous american, mapuche
nitzan - hebrew
palesa - southern african, sotho
pushpa - hindi, marathi, kannada, tamil, telugu, nepali
zahrah - arabic
names relating to night, stars
anisha - hindi
asra** - arabic
aster, astra - english
astraea - greek mythology
citlali - indigenous american, nahuatl
csilla** - hungarian
danica - serbian, croatia, slovene, slovak, macedonian, english
estrella - spanish
hōkūlani - hawaiian
hoshi, hoshiko - japanese
izar** - basque
maristela** - portuguese
miyako - japanese
nisha** - hindi, marathi, kannada, malayalam, tamil, telugu, gujarati, bengali, nepali
nyx - greek mythology
seren - welsh
sitara - urdu
tara - hindi, nepali
pomare - tahitian
names relating to trees
alani - english
bai - chinese
elowen - croatian
hadas - hebrew
iva** - bulgarian, serbian, croatian, macedonian
jela - serbian, croatian, slovak
kalina - bulgarian, macedonian, polish
kiri** - maori
liepa - lithuanian
lina - arabic
melia - greek mythology
pomona - roman mythology
sawda - arabic
taimi - finnish, estonian
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formulatingfiction · a month ago
I think the coolest thing about being a writer is that as long as you write, you /are/ a writer. It doesn't matter if you're not great at it, it doesn't matter if you've put a project down for now or you're taking a small break from writing altogether, if you're not published or don't have any plans of being published.
You write things? You're a writer.
I just think that's pretty rad.
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writing-prompts-re · 9 days ago
Two immortals fall in love. Neither of them are aware of each other’s immortality and the years are flying by…
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so1987 · a month ago
to the kids who spent hours hyperfixating on and daydreaming to nonfiction: you are valid.
your knowledge of cool animal facts is interesting! your hours of reading about black holes on wikipedia were not wasted! your creations based on science books and magazines are unique and beautiful! your daydreams and paracosms inspired by nonfiction are not a waste of time! someone appreciates your infodumping! you are as creative and passionate as any fiction reader!
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junosteelyourgirl · 21 hours ago
when juno said “you’ve just got to keep living, and you’ve got to have faith that eventually you’ll be glad you did” and alessandra strong said “dying is easy, you’ve only got to do it once. you can never stop surviving. you’ve got to get up and do it all day, every day— that’s what’s hard” and “i’m proud of you for surviving. that’s the hardest thing there is” and benzaiten steel said “but if you want to keep seeing what’s ahead, you gotta get back in the car” and sasha wire said “it’s not theatrical, it’s not glamorous, it’s not even satisfying, but it’s what you’re stuck with, so deal with it” and peter nureyev said “of course there’s [something out there worth seeing]. but you need to be alive to see it” and
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the-modern-typewriter · 10 days ago
hello! Could i request a villain with lie-detector powers who is fighting a hero and can tell that hero likes them (and they like hero back?)
"I know you like me," the villain said. "I don't know why you insist on lying to yourself, so."
"I'm not lying."
"So tell me." The villain appeared in front of the hero once more, a smile curling one of their corner of their lips. "Tell me that you don't like me. Tell me, in those exact words, that I don't make your heart pound? That you don't look forward to every time you see me?"
The hero glared at them, face-flushed. "I'd rather take you in."
The hero came to a reluctant stop at the sing-song voice. Their teeth gritted.
"I reveal the rotten truth in this golden beacon of a city," the villain said, more seriously, and the hero's insides jolted. They'd expected the usual teasing, not...
The villain was continuing, eyes hard. "I expose the lies told by the politicians, and the police, and your handlers."
"You cause mass panic and undermine-" the hero didn't finish, because the villain would hear the lie, the creeping doubt that maybe the hero no longer believed the good side to be as good as they had once thought.
It was true that the villain did have a habit of causing mass panic, but that wasn't truly the villain's fault. Sure, the villain could be ruthless in their timing for revealing certain truths, but they were only exposing the actions that other people had already taken and tried to hide.
"You know why they're so desperate to get you to knock me out and take me in," the villain said. "Why they're so desperate to never let me talk."
It was true that the prime directive of any hero despatched to take on 'The Lie Detector', as dumb as their name was, was to go for the mouth. Silence words. The head of the Super League said it was the only way to protect oneself from the villain's manipulations, from the poison they would spew like toxic radiation.
The hero had listened one too many times already, they knew that.
"I know you like me," the villain said, and the smile was entirely gone from their face now. "And I know you wouldn't like me if you honestly thought I was as bad as they told you I am. So, stop. Please. Stop. We both know I'm not going to win a physical fight with you. Do you know what they'll do with me when they take me in?"
The hero stared at them, heart pounding.
"It doesn't matter," the hero said, finally. There was a reason that they didn't want to say the truth aloud. "It can't matter."
"One of those was a lie." The villain studied them with equal intensity, scouring their face.
Of course it mattered and, of course, it couldn't.
"Do you know what will happen when you tear this city down?" the hero asked, because they had no doubt the villain would and could succeed in that. "Do you think the new people the league put in charge will be any better? That you'll keep them honest?"
"I can try," the villain said. "The people will rise, once they truly know-"
"You tell the people the truth, to the point that they snap, and the League will slaughter them."
The villain did not accuse them of lying, that time. The villain swallowed, fingers flexing at their sides, tracking the hero's moves in anticipation for a continued attack.
The hero couldn't bring themselves to move, not yet.
"I want to help them," the hero said. "You know that's true."
"I know you're scared."
"I'd be an idiot if I wasn't," the hero snapped. "Aren't you?"
The villain looked down, but the hero still caught the flicker of fear flashing across their face.
"I want to help them," the hero said, again. "And that means I need to be where I am, on the inside. Where I can do some good."
"Good like shutting me up?"
"That," the hero said, gentler, more broken. "Is why I insist on lying to myself. Because what's the alternative?" They took a step closer, looming over the villain, who suddenly seemed so small for a thing that caused such cataclysmic panic in the hero's employers. "Love you and lose you? We both know you've always been the strong one out of the two of us, my super-strength be damned."
"You could fight with me."
"To what end?"
"To take down the League."
"And then the other villains will have nothing stopping them, once the League is gone. The ones that aren't like you. I know you think - I know you think we're all corrupt," the hero said, "and maybe you're right. Some of us are. A lot of us are. But we're still not them."
"You just said the League would slaughter the masses!"
"Only if they felt sufficiently pushed. The villains would do it for fun. For profit."
The League maintained, at least, a shiny surface. Everything could seem fine, coasting along the skin of life. There wasn't blood on the streets. People, for the most part, were happy, right? They were safe. So long as they stayed out of the way, they were safe. The hero knew that system. They could work it. Offer what protection they could. In a world ruled by the villains...well, there would be nothing hold back the people already willing to lie and cheat. The truth wouldn't stop them, it would only set them free of the frail shackles of social acceptability, and the hero couldn't take that risk. They couldn't.
The villain looked at them for a moment, with such abject disappointment that it made the hero's insides shrivel.
The hero took the final step closer, cradling the villain's jaw in their hand. "I'm sorry." They felt ready to cry. "I can't risk everything for the truth. For you. I have too many other people to..." they stopped, again. This time simply because their throat felt too tight to talk.
"I love you," the villain said, and reached up to press a palm to the back of the hero's neck. "But that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. And I can't let you lie to yourself anymore."
The hero felt the device click, and whir, and they slumped to the ground, gasping. Their strength refused to come. Their body didn't want to move.
The villain crouched down, brushing the hair from the hero's eyes. Their face swum in and out of the hero's hazy vision.
"You cling to a system that will bleed you dry," the villain said. "At least the monsters will be honest about it."
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