Me : I'm going to sleep
My brain : Let's imagine some fake scenarios that are never going to turn into reality.
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Our love story, living on the pages of a book is the kind of immortality I wish for .
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Story Structures for your Next WIP
hello, hello. this post will be mostly for my notes. this is something I need in to be reminded of for my business, but it can also be very useful and beneficial for you guys as well.
everything in life has structure and storytelling is no different, so let’s dive right in :)
First off let’s just review what a story structure is :
a story is the backbone of the story, the skeleton if you will. It hold the entire story together.
the structure in which you choose your story will effectively determine how you create drama and depending on the structure you choose it should help you align your story and sequence it with the conflict, climax, and resolution.
1. Freytag's Pyramid
this first story structure i will be talking about was named after 19th century German novelist and playwright.
it is a five point structure that is based off classical Greek tragedies such as Sophocles, Aeschylus and Euripedes.
Freytag's Pyramid structure consists of:
Introduction: the status quo has been established and an inciting incident occurs.
Rise or rising action: the protagonist will search and try to achieve their goal, heightening the stakes,
Climax: the protagonist can no longer go back, the point of no return if you will.
Return or fall: after the climax of the story, tension builds and the story inevitably heads towards...
Catastrophe: the main character has reached their lowest point and their greatest fears have come into fruition.
this structure is used less and less nowadays in modern storytelling mainly due to readers lack of appetite for tragic narratives.
2. The Hero's Journey
the hero's journey is a very well known and popular form of storytelling.
it is very popular in modern stories such as Star Wars, and movies in the MCU.
although the hero's journey was inspired by Joseph Campbell's concept, a Disney executive Christopher Vogler has created a simplified version:
The Ordinary World: The hero's everyday routine and life is established.
The Call of Adventure: the inciting incident.
Refusal of the Call: the hero / protagonist is hesitant or reluctant to take on the challenges.
Meeting the Mentor: the hero meets someone who will help them and prepare them for the dangers ahead.
Crossing the First Threshold: first steps out of the comfort zone are taken.
Tests, Allie, Enemies: new challenges occur, and maybe new friends or enemies.
Approach to the Inmost Cave: hero approaches goal.
The Ordeal: the hero faces their biggest challenge.
Reward (Seizing the Sword): the hero manages to get ahold of what they were after.
The Road Back: they realize that their goal was not the final hurdle, but may have actually caused a bigger problem than before.
Resurrection: a final challenge, testing them on everything they've learned.
Return with the Elixir: after succeeding they return to their old life.
the hero's journey can be applied to any genre of fiction.
3. Three Act Structure:
this structure splits the story into the 'beginning, middle and end' but with in-depth components for each act.
Act 1: Setup:
exposition: the status quo or the ordinary life is established.
inciting incident: an event sets the whole story into motion.
plot point one: the main character decided to take on the challenge head on and she crosses the threshold and the story is now progressing forward.
Act 2: Confrontation:
rising action: the stakes are clearer and the hero has started to become familiar with the new world and begins to encounter enemies, allies and tests.
midpoint: an event that derails the protagonists mission.
plot point two: the hero is tested and fails, and begins to doubt themselves.
Act 3: Resolution:
pre-climax: the hero must chose between acting or failing.
climax: they fights against the antagonist or danger one last time, but will they succeed?
Denouement: loose ends are tied up and the reader discovers the consequences of the climax, and return to ordinary life.
4. Dan Harmon's Story Circle
it surprised me to know the creator of Rick and Morty had their own variation of Campbell's hero's journey.
the benefit of Harmon's approach is that is focuses on the main character's arc.
it makes sense that he has such a successful structure, after all the show has multiple seasons, five or six seasons? i don't know not a fan of the show.
the character is in their comfort zone: also known as the status quo or ordinary life.
they want something: this is a longing and it can be brought forth by an inciting incident.
the character enters and unfamiliar situation: they must take action and do something new to pursue what they want.
adapt to it: of course there are challenges, there is struggle and begin to succeed.
they get what they want: often a false victory.
a heavy price is paid: a realization of what they wanted isn't what they needed.
back to the good old ways: they return to their familiar situation yet with a new truth.
having changed: was it for the better or worse?
i might actually make a operate post going more in depth about dan harmon's story circle.
5. Fichtean Curve:
the fichtean curve places the main character in a series of obstacles in order to achieve their goal.
this structure encourages writers to write a story packed with tension and mini-crises to keep the reader engaged.
The Rising Action
the story must start with an inciting indecent.
then a series of crisis arise.
there are often four crises.
2. The Climax:
3. Falling Action
this type of story telling structure goes very well with flash-back structured story as well as in theatre.
6. Save the Cat Beat Sheet:
this is another variation of a three act structure created by screenwriter Blake Snyder, and is praised widely by champion storytellers.
Structure for Save the Cat is as follows: (the numbers in the brackets are for the number of pages required, assuming you're writing a 110 page screenplay)
Opening Image : The first shot of the film. If you’re starting a novel, this would be an opening paragraph or scene that sucks readers into the world of your story.
Set-up [1-10]. Establishing the ‘ordinary world’ of your protagonist. What does he want? What is he missing out on?
Theme Stated . During the setup, hint at what your story is really about — the truth that your protagonist will discover by the end.
Catalyst . The inciting incident!
Debate [12-25]. The hero refuses the call to adventure. He tries to avoid the conflict before they are forced into action.
Break into Two . The protagonist makes an active choice and the journey begins in earnest.
B Story . A subplot kicks in. Often romantic in nature, the protagonist’s subplot should serve to highlight the theme.
The Promise of the Premise [30-55]. Often called the ‘fun and games’ stage, this is usually a highly entertaining section where the writer delivers the goods. If you promised an exciting detective story, we’d see the detective in action. If you promised a goofy story of people falling in love, let’s go on some charmingly awkward dates.
Midpoint . A plot twist occurs that ups the stakes and makes the hero’s goal harder to achieve — or makes them focus on a new, more important goal.
Bad Guys Close In [55-75]. The tension ratchets up. The hero’s obstacles become greater, his plan falls apart, and he is on the back foot.
All is Lost . The hero hits rock bottom. He loses everything he’s gained so far, and things are looking bleak. The hero is overpowered by the villain; a mentor dies; our lovebirds have an argument and break up.
Dark Night of the Soul [75-85-ish]. Having just lost everything, the hero shambles around the city in a minor-key musical montage before discovering some “new information” that reveals exactly what he needs to do if he wants to take another crack at success. (This new information is often delivered through the B-Story)
Break into Three . Armed with this new information, our protagonist decides to try once more!
Finale [85-110]. The hero confronts the antagonist or whatever the source of the primary conflict is. The truth that eluded him at the start of the story (established in step three and accentuated by the B Story) is now clear, allowing him to resolve their story.
Final Image . A final moment or scene that crystallizes how the character has changed. It’s a reflection, in some way, of the opening image.
(all information regarding the save the cat beat sheet was copy and pasted directly from reedsy!)
7. Seven Point Story Structure:
this structure encourages writers to start with the at the end, with the resolution, and work their way back to the starting point.
this structure is about dramatic changes from beginning to end
The Hook. Draw readers in by explaining the protagonist’s current situation. Their state of being at the beginning of the novel should be in direct contrast to what it will be at the end of the novel.
Plot Point 1. Whether it’s a person, an idea, an inciting incident, or something else — there should be a "Call to Adventure" of sorts that sets the narrative and character development in motion.
Pinch Point 1. Things can’t be all sunshine and roses for your protagonist. Something should go wrong here that applies pressure to the main character, forcing them to step up and solve the problem.
Midpoint. A “Turning Point” wherein the main character changes from a passive force to an active force in the story. Whatever the narrative’s main conflict is, the protagonist decides to start meeting it head-on.
Pinch Point 2. The second pinch point involves another blow to the protagonist — things go even more awry than they did during the first pinch point. This might involve the passing of a mentor, the failure of a plan, the reveal of a traitor, etc.
Plot Point 2. After the calamity of Pinch Point 2, the protagonist learns that they’ve actually had the key to solving the conflict the whole time.
Resolution. The story’s primary conflict is resolved — and the character goes through the final bit of development necessary to transform them from who they were at the start of the novel.
(all information regarding the seven point story structure was copy and pasted directly from reedsy!)
i decided to fit all of them in one post instead of making it a two part post.
i hope you all enjoy this post and feel free to comment or reblog which structure you use the most, or if you have your own you prefer to use! please share with me!
if you find this useful feel free to reblog on instagram and tag me at perpetualstories
Follow my tumblr and instagram for more writing and grammar tips and more!
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So many wips to work on don't know which one to focus on
And that's why I chose to work on ✨neither✨
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Writing Royals Part 2
The last part was all tips about how to write royal characters, and my apparently controversial opinions on certain things, like corsets......Anyways, I have two more tips I wanted to share about writing royal characters, and some questions I use when I’m about writing the people surrounding the royal family: the royal court!!! Every country with a monarchy or any similar system is gonna have a royal court around them. These people included advisors, favorites, ambassadors, and servants. Getting the dynamic of your royal court perfect often depends on how you write these characters, so here we go!
Homegirl, Where Are Your Guards???
There is nothing that bothers me more than when a royal character is like in the middle of a war or their people are rebelling and they’re like, “ugh, I hate having all these guards around me. I just want to be free!!!!!” Which, okay fine, having a bunch of people follow you around and stand outside while you pee, and generally watching your every move does not sound fun at all, but getting offed doesn’t sound fun either. If your character’s country is in the middle of a war, and even if they aren’t depending on the country, they are going to have guards around them all the time. In Tudor England, guards would sleep in the King’s room even if he had company because people were always trying to assassinate each other. Even if your royal character has magic or powers or something, they still probably need guards. If your characters have been royal all their lives, they probably will know their guards very well and know how to sneak away from them for that oh so coveted night in the town as a commoner. But, even though royalty probably did feel claustrophobic with all those guards surrounding them, especially in the Victorian era right up until the end of World War 1, everyone’s biggest fear was being assassinated. People were getting offed and assassinated left and right, so take that into account when your character oh so desperately wants to leave the palace.
Above the Law, Cause You Are the Law
I’m pretty sure that has been the motto of like almost every medieval to late Renaissance European monarch. Don’t get me wrong, there have definitely been good, benevolent monarchs who actually care about the needs and requests of their people, but then you get to Henry the 8th, and you’re like....., but that’s how it was back then, and even to an extent now. Royalty and nobility get away with so much shit that would send a normal person to prison, just look at Prince Andrew. Having all of that power and prestige, combined with being in charge of a country and being pretty much exempt from a lot of things can lead your royal or noble characters to have an inaccurate sense of right and wrong. Using Henry the 8th as an example, pretty much half of the things he decided in his life can be summed up with, “it’s okay when Henry does it, but if anyone else does it, then I’m offing them” That can create really good conflict if your royal character is forced to finally face the consequences of some of their actions, despite having gotten away with everything since they were a kid.
So, now that we’ve got your royal family figured out, it’s time to get into the royal court. Here are some basic questions that I asked myself when I was writing my royal court for my current, wip!
How big is the total court?- And when I mean court, I don’t just mean the nobles, I mean like everyone, the cooks, gardeners, everyone. I know I’m using Tudor England a lot as my example, but y’all know the Tudors and Henry Cavill own my heart. Anyways, Henry the 8th’s official household could have up to 800 people at one time, and anyone of his various Queens could have another 200 people at their disposal. That’s a lot of people.
What factions exist within the court?- In the words of James Madison, factions forming is pretty much inevitable. Inevitably, people are gonna have similar interests and agendas, and those people will often band together to bring down other people who have the opposite agendas as them. Royal factions are some of the best ways to add some intrigue and spicy conflict to your story.
Where does the court meet?- All royal courts center around the Monarch, but where does the monarch live? Does the Monarch move around throughout the year? In my wip, all the Sovereigns live in their own territories during the summer months, but during the winter months, they all live together at Brookshire. The location of your court can play a big role in how power is consolidated in your world.
Who all is in the court at any given time?- This questions is probably one of the most important questions when you’re building your royal court. The people close to the monarch who protect them, love them, or spy on them. These people, in some scenarios, might have more control over the country than the monarch themselves. They might scheme to control the monarch, marry them, or kill them.
For your convenience, here is a list of people that might be at a royal court at any given time sourced from: https://ryanlanz.com
The monarch(s) – Regardless of what titles you give them, this person or duo is the center of a royal court; she defines the rest of the court. If the monarch consists of two people they are most likely either married or siblings, sometimes both depending on the culture and age.
The monarch’s family – people related to the monarch by blood, adoption or marriage fall into this category, and these people might or might not have their own titles and additional positions, though not necessarily always officially. Consider how younger royal siblings might be sent places to be married off, and be expected to function as ambassadors without the pay, or the many hats that a dowager queen might wear in her “retirement.”
Ambassadors – these men and women come from other kingdoms but they’re vital to functioning on a wider scale. They communicate their lady’s desires, intents and goals, as well as bring her insider news from the courts where they are appointed. When things are going well, they command a lot of respect and power, but if their two countries are on the outs, their lives are almost certainly in danger. Keep in mind too that ambassadors are likely to have their own households, and there might be a junior ambassador in play as well.
Nobles – At any given time, a royal court is bound to be packed with the country’s gentry, there to doing things such as discuss business, introduce a child for courting, serve the crown for their appointed time or because they are so active in politics because they make their home wherever the Queen does. Unlike ambassadors who are primarily going to be focused on inter-country negotiations, noblemen and women will have their own agendas to further their families, and while you’d like to think that they’re all loyal to the crown and their country, sometimes their own ambitions might get in the way.
Court Fool/Jester – We like to think of the court fool as someone who is, genuinely, a fool, but that’s often not the case. The Fool is a useful tool for the monarch because he distracts the court, and more often than not acts as a spy, passing along tidbits of overheard information or sightings–after all, who pays attention to the simpletons?
Courtiers – Courtiers are different from nobles in that they are people whose talents or ambition have brought them to court seeking the next rung on their ladder, rather than people whose daily business has brought them to the Queen’s presence. They are here to make a name for themselves, and can almost always be counted on to act in their own best interests, unless motivated by an exceptional force. These types are often at court on their own dime.
Resident military commanders – Military commanders are not likely to be regular fixtures at court, as they’re needed with their forces. But the highest ranking among them are going to be in nearly constant contact with the monarch (or the monarch’s representative, as is sometimes the case) and that will often necessitate being physically present at court.
Guests – Whether from outside of the country, rich or poor, landed or not, the royal court is ALWAYS going to have guests, and a well-established court is going to have provisions for housing and caring for a large number of them. A person’s station and/or possible value to the crown might determine wherein a castle they are housed and how they are treated, but if you write in a few guests consider that their perspective could be useful in defining the court as a whole.
Semi-permanent guests – These guests are people who don’t necessarily belong at court, and while their stay might be lengthy, it is well established that it will not be permanent. Examples of these kinds of people might be businessmen appointed to oversee some long term prospects, or the children of foreign nobles who have been sent to another country to be educated.
The monarch’s favorites – These could be really good characters for you to develop in depth. They’re essentially wild cards, and as they are favorites of the Queen, they have the potential to be outlandish or scandalous, hated or misunderstood, but the love and blind eye from the Queen keeps them nearby… tethered.
Royal lords and ladies – It will be rare for any ruler to find themselves alone; their personal attendants live to see to their needs and are never going to be far from hand. These politically powerful positions are likely to be jostled over a great deal, especially if the monarch is young, and might overlap somewhat with the royal favorites. Sometimes these people are lifelong companions and sometimes they are placed strategically close to the monarch for certain goals but regardless of how they came to be there, they are likely to share in the fine things, wealth, power and danger that surrounds a royal.
Sponsored artists – Sponsored artists could easily be labeled courtiers, except that it wasn’t usually their idea to come to court, and they’re not there for their own ambition. If the wealthy of your world are at all inclined to supporting the arts – drawing, painting, writing, performance, design, etc – they’re likely going to want to show off their investments, so in this regard these artists are usually nothing more than accessories. Though being a court is always a good way to increase one’s sales.
Guards – Any court is likely to have several levels of protective personnel, all the way from those hired by the royal household to keep the general peace and take care of grunt work to personal, more elite bodyguards. This is another varied group that can include any number of peoples, skill level, objectives and professional capacity, but everybody who’s anybody is going to have one or two. Eunuchs might also fall into this category–those maimed men who have been conscripted in guarding typically women whose virtue is deemed vitally important.
Servants – Another highly varied group, but no less vital to the functioning of a royal castle and court. Servants might hold roles such as cooks, head cooks, librarians, messengers, laundresses, seamstresses, housekeeping, tasters, children’s nurses, ushers, grooms, heralds, and gardeners. If you world isn’t very progressive, some of these roles might also be filled with slaves or bonded servants.
Harem members – This again will depend largely on your story itself, but if the King or Queen is going to be flitting from bed to bed, there’s likely to be a group of bedmates hanging around for royal pleasure. Whether or not this group is well respected or received (or even publically visible) is up to you.
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Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Writing
saw lots of people doing this and I thought it would be fun so here are some tips I wish I knew before I started writing! // @writingzawn on instagram
Stories should be fluid
When I was younger I just used to write lots of random scenes that were only really snapshots into my characters' lives, shove them together, and call it a story. But scenes should feel connected, building towards some ultimate, shared purpose.
Outlining is very useful
I know it doesn't work for everyone, but I always used to get stuck halfway through a project and then end up writing dull, pointless scenes for the sake of getting to the end. I wish I'd known that the stage before you start writing can be really useful if you take it seriously and put the work in.
You have to enjoy the story you're writing
I always used to aim to make my stories 'meaningful' and forget about making them enjoyable. This meant I didn't enjoy writing them, so I never finished them. But something can be 'meaningful' and still fun. Sometimes you just have to let go and write something you're going to have fun writing, because something can be both enjoyable and have depth: they're not mutually exclusive.
Don't try to be like anyone else
I'd often start a project that was similar to whatever book I was reading at the time and try and imitate the author's voice and style. I don't think there's any problem with that in itself as it can help you to grow - as long as you aren't actually committing plagiarism - but it meant when I finished reading whichever book my project was inspired by, I lost interest and stopped working on it. I think it's really important to know what you enjoy writing, how you like to tell a story and what's important to you. Now I know the stories I like to tell, the genres that suit me best, the types of themes and characters I love, I manage to sustain motivation for longer.
Don't get too caught up on writing advice
There was a time when I was taking in so much advice and getting really stressed about following it to the letter that I stopped enjoying writing. I took each tip as a law I had to obey and it really restricted my style. Now I read writing advice to see how other people do things, to see if there are useful tricks I could benefit from, but if I don't think it fits how I like to work I let it go.
Follow your interests
I love ancient history, so I decided to set a book in ancient greece and ancient persia. If there's something you're really interested in, you'll probably have fun writing about it. Also, treating writing as an opportunity to learn about topics I'm interested in helps keep me motivated.
I benefitted so much from reading writing tips online, but learning that there were lots of circumstances in my writing where they didn't apply was important. You know your story best so you know if it's better to use an adverb there, for example, or to include a character-focussed scene that isn't important to the plot. Follow your gut.
Don't do something just because everyone else is
Lots of people in the writing community write fantasy, which is really awesome, but that's not a genre that suits me particularly. I used to feel I had to write it, though, because that's what everyone else was writing. Now I know realistic/historical fiction is what I prefer to write, and that's really helped me sustain motivation.
When I tell people the level of research I've had to do for my current wip a lot of people say 'well, why don't you write about stuff that you already know about?'. I used to feel daunted by historical fiction, so I wrote characters based upon myself set in the real world. I know for lots of people that's really rewarding to do, but I didn't find it enjoyable or healthy to completely focus on my own experiences in order to write a story about them. It takes a lot of time and effort to write historical fiction set in a time you know nothing about, but it is possible to get to a stage where you know enough about it. If you're feeling daunted by a project but really want to give it a go, I say go for it. If you put the work in, I'm sure you'll be able to give it a shot.
The process is much longer than you think
I used to aim to finish projects in a matter of months - I thought I could write a novel in the space of a year. But it's better not to rush the process. It's about the end result, not finishing it as quickly as possible. I've been working on my current wip for over a year and am yet to finish the first draft because I've been researching and outlining and daydreaming. But all that is only going to make it sweeter and a more successful story when I do finally finish.
Sometimes it's better not to set a goal than to set an unrealistic one
I find I can write to a much higher standard when I'm in the right frame of mind, so forcing myself to write 1000 words when I was exhausted from school just meant I ended up with tons of lifeless scenes that I cut anyway. Allowing myself to go with the flow and not pile tons of pressure on myself when I work more slowly than I would like has been really beneficial. Yes, you can always edit bad words later, but I've found striving to write good words in the first place keeps me motivated and enjoying the process. I know that's a bit controversial, but it's worked for me.
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Writing Curly Hair
Hey loves! Today's post is on how to write curly hair. Given that I've had curly hair for a couple years (since year 5. I had stick straight hair before that) I think I'm a pretty good resource for this? I am by no means an expert on curly hair so this is largely based off of my own and my friends experiences. If anyone with curly hair wants to add to this, feel free to do so in the comments!
Without further ado, I hope you enjoy the post!
General Questions to Ask
What type of hair do they have (e.g 2A, 4C. Pictures below, Note: type 1 hair is just straight hair)?
Does their hair type differ depending on what part of the head it's on?
What hairstyle do they usually wear?
What's the length when curly and/or straightened?
How often do they wash their hair and how long does it take?
Do they wear protective stylings?
How frizzy does their hair get?
How easy does their hair get knotted, and how does it affect them?
How thick is their hair?
Do they brush it often?
Have they ever straightened their hair?
Do they do it often? H
ow does them having curly hair affect them in daily life (especially if they're BIPOC)?
How big is their hair?
Our hair tends to get really knotty really quickly so if your character is in a setting where there isn't much access to basic hygiene stuffs their hair will probably look like a mess. Humidity also makes our curls exceptionally frizzy, which is SO annoying. Many people with long, curly hair tie it up before going to sleep so that it doesn't get tangled. If we don't have much time to manage it, we might tie it up regularly in everyday life so it doesn't get tangled. They're called protective hairstyles, and some examples of them are: braids, cornrows*, dreadlocks**, side twists, side twists into a bun or just simple hair buns! We also usually dry our hairs with old t-shirts, or if blowdrying, we use a diffuser.
Descriptive Words to Use
*&** cornrows and dreadlocks have important cultural ties to people of African heritage, so having a character who isn't of that heritage wearing one of those styles can be seen as cultural appropriation. I am not African, so I can't say anything on this topic, but definitely keep it in mind.
***There are some mixed feelings about describing black hair as kinky. As said before, I'm not black, I can't say anything on the topic, but be mindful of it!
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The battle between your head and your heart is never an easy one. Your head thinks about the future, the logic, and the reality of the situation. Your heart thinks about the past, the emotions, and the memories. Your head wants you to move on to the thing that makes the most sense, but your heart wants you to go to or stay in the place that makes you comfortable, even if it’s not what’s really best for you. I can’t tell you whether you should follow your head or your heart, but I can leave you with this— your heart should always guide your head, otherwise you’ll lose sight of what makes you, you.
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ok ok but like forget word counts for writing, it should be thought counts because im mentally writing 120395243895 scenes with awesome character development in my head so i'm technically working on my wip right like this is writing, no?
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so i was looking up some writing stuff, and....
yes.... the answer is yes....
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Tips for New Writers
After some time off to finish uni and recover, the writing tips are back! I had some requests for this post so whether you're new to writing or looking to start, here are my top tips.
1. Start a Passion Project
If you're hung up over your first story getting published, you'll start to hate it. Your first project should be something you love enough to finish it for you. I honestly recommend fanfiction as it's a great way to get early feedback and become used to critique, but an own story is just as good as long as you join a critique group.
2. Join a Writing Community
Whether that's on Instagram, Tumblr, a real-life society, or somewhere else entirely, there are many reasons to join the writer's community with a platform of your own. It's the best way to find Critique Partners (CPs), Beta Readers, as well as a wealth of tips that will improve your writing.
3. Explore Planning Methods
You'll need to use trial and error to decide what works best for you. Try fully outlining, diving straight in, Beat Sheets, Flash Cards, Ten Steps Ahead, or even just making lists of what you want to show. One will work for you, but it's different for everyone.
Write as often as you can. Nothing makes writing stronger than practice. It doesn't have to be "good" or neat or pretty, but words should go on the page. Don't let your insecurities keep you from filling that blank page.
[If reposting to instagram please credit @isabellestonebooks]
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22 Essential Literary Devices and How to Use Them In Your Writing
hello, happy Monday. Hope you’re all having a wonderful day!
I will skip the pre-info and dive right into it.
What Is a Literary Device?
is a tool used by writers to hint at larger themes, ideas, and meaning in a story or piece of writing
The List of Literary Devices:
Allegory. Allegory is a literary device used to express large, complex ideas in an approachable manner. Allegory allows writers to create some distance between themselves and the issues they are discussing, especially when those issues are strong critiques of political or societal realities.
Allusion. An allusion is a popular literary device used to develop characters, frame storylines, and help create associations to well-known works. Allusions can reference anything from Victorian fairy tales and popular culture to the Bible and the Bard. Take the popular expression “Bah humbug”—an allusion that references Charles Dickens’ novella A Christmas Carol. The phrase, which is often used to express dissatisfaction, is associated with the tale’s curmudgeonly character, Ebenezer Scrooge.
Anachronism. Imagine reading a story about a caveman who microwaves his dinner, or watching a film adaptation of a Jane Austen novel in which the characters text each other instead of writing letters. These circumstances are examples of anachronisms, or an error in chronology—the kind that makes audiences raise their eyebrows or do a double-take. Sometimes anachronisms are true blunders; other times, they’re used intentionally to add humor or to comment on a specific time period in history.
Cliffhanger. It’s a familiar feeling: You’re on minute 59 of an hour-long television episode, and the protagonist is about to face the villain—and then episode cuts to black. Known as a cliffhanger, this plot device marks the end of a section of a narrative with the express purpose of keeping audiences engaged in the story.
Dramatic Irony. Remember the first time you read or watched Romeo and Juliet? The tragic ending of this iconic story exemplifies dramatic irony: The audience knows that the lovers are each alive, but neither of the lovers knows that the other is still alive. Each drinks their poison without knowing what the audience knows. Dramatic irony is used to great effect in literature, film, and television.
Extended Metaphor. Extended metaphors build evocative images into a piece of writing and make prose more emotionally resonant. Examples of extended metaphor can be found across all forms of poetry and prose. Learning to use extended metaphors in your own work will help you engage your readers and improve your writing.
Foreshadowing. At its core, storytelling has one ambition: to capture and sustain your reader’s attention and keep them reading your story. Foreshadowing, or slyly indicating a future event, is one technique a writer can use to create and build suspense.
Humor. Humor brings people together and has the power to transform how we think about the world. Of course, not everyone is adept at being funny—particularly in their writing. Making people laugh takes some skill and finesse, and, because so much relies on instinct, is harder to teach than other techniques. However, all writers can benefit from learning more about how humor functions in writing.
Imagery. If you’ve practiced or studied creative writing, chances are you’ve encountered the expression “paint a picture with words.” In poetry and literature, this is known as imagery: the use of figurative language to evoke a sensory experience in the reader. When a poet uses descriptive language well, they play to the reader’s senses, providing them with sights, tastes, smells, sounds, internal and external feelings, and even deep emotion. The sensory details in imagery bring works to life.
Irony. Irony is an oft-misunderstood literary device that hinges on opposites: what things are on the surface, and what they end up actually being. Many learn about dramatic irony through works of theater like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet or Sophocles’s Oedipus Rex. When deployed with skill, irony is a powerful tool that adds depth and substance to a piece of writing.
Metaphor, Simile, and Analogy. Metaphors, similes, and analogies are three techniques used in speech and writing to make comparisons. Each is used in a different way, and differentiating between the three can get a little tricky: For example, a simile is actually a subcategory of metaphor, which means all similes are metaphors, but not all metaphors are similes. Knowing the similarities and differences between metaphor, simile, and analogy can help you identify which is best to use in any scenario and help make your writing stronger.
Motif. A motif is a repeated element that has symbolic significance to a story. Sometimes a motif is a recurring image. Sometimes it’s a repeated word or phrase or topic. A motif can be a recurrent situation or action. It can be a sound or a smell or a temperature or a color. The defining aspect is that a motif repeats, and through this repetition, a motif helps to illuminate the central ideas, themes, and deeper meaning of the story in which it appears.
Motif vs. Symbol. Both motifs and symbols are used across artistic mediums: Painters, sculptors, playwrights, and musicians all use motifs and symbols in their respective art forms. And while they are similar literary terms, “motif” and “symbol” are not synonyms.
Oxymoron. An oxymoron is a figure of speech: a creative approach to language that plays with meaning and the use of words in a non-literal sense. This literary device combines words with contradictory definitions to coin a new word or phrase (think of the idiom “act naturally”—how can you be your natural self if you’re acting?). The incongruity of the resulting statement allows writers to play with language and meaning.
Paradox. “This sentence is a lie.” This self-referential statement is an example of a paradox—a contradiction that questions logic. In literature, paradoxes can elicit humor, illustrate themes, and provoke readers to think critically.
Personification. In writing, figurative language—using words to convey a different meaning outside the literal one—helps writers express themselves in more creative ways. One popular type of figurative language is personification: assigning human attributes to a non-human entity or inanimate object in an effort to express a point or idea in a more colorful, imaginative way.
Satire. Satire is so prevalent in pop culture that most of us are already very familiar with it, even if we don’t always realize it. Satire is an often-humorous way of poking fun at the powers that be. Sometimes, it is created with the goal to drive social change. Satire can be part of any work of culture, art, or entertainment—it has a long history, and it is as relevant today as it was in ancient Rome.
Situational Irony. Irony: it’s clear as mud. Theorists quibble about the margins of what constitutes irony, but situational irony is all around us—from humorous news headlines to the shock twists in a book or TV show. This type of irony is all about the gap between our expectations and reality, and it can make a memorable and powerful impression when we encounter it.
Suspense. No matter what type of story you’re telling, suspense is a valuable tool for keeping a reader’s attention and interest. Building suspense involves withholding information and raising key questions that pique readers’ curiosity. Character development plays a big role in generating suspense; for example, if a character’s desire is not fulfilled by the end of the book, the story will not feel complete for the reader.
Symbolism. An object, concept, or word does not have to be limited to a single meaning. When you see red roses growing in a garden, what comes to mind? Perhaps you think literally about the rose—about its petals, stem, and thorns, or even about its stamen and pistil as a botanist might. But perhaps your mind goes elsewhere and starts thinking about topics like romance, courtship, and Valentine’s Day. Why would you do this? The reason, of course, is that over the course of many generations, a rose’s symbolic meaning has evolved to include amorous concepts.
Verisimilitude. Verisimilitude (pronounced ve-ri-si-mi-li-tude) is a theoretical concept that determines the semblance of truth in an assertion or hypothesis. It is also an essential tenet of fiction writing. Verisimilitude helps to encourage a reader’s willing suspension of disbelief. When using verisimilitude in writing, the goal is to be credible and convincing.
Vignette. A writer’s job is to engage readers through words. Vignettes—poetic slices-of-life—are a literary device that brings us deeper into a story. Vignettes step away from the action momentarily to zoom in for a closer examination of a particular character, concept, or place. Writers use vignettes to shed light on something that wouldn’t be visible in the story’s main plot.
I’ll make a post going into each of them individually in more detail later on!
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Ah, royalty, Kings, Queens, princesses, Henry Cavill as the Duke of Suffolk in the Tudors, what’s not to love about fictional royalty. I think almost every WIP I’ve ever written has somehow involved royalty. There’s just something about writing royalty that I’ll always love and find interesting. But, especially for my current WIP, writing royalty has involved a whole lot of research that has been fun if not a little tedious at certain times. So, here are some of my most useful tips and tricks about writing royalty in your story.
Yes, They Actually Work
I mean unless you’re making a character choice that your royal character pawns all of their work off on their secretary or First Minister or Steward or whatever, then royal people actually do work. Especially in countries where they have absolute power and aren’t helped or overseen by a parliamentary council or something of the like. Then, they really have to work. In countries where the monarchy is more a figurehead then yes they definitely don’t do as much work, but in my WIP, where the royals have pretty much most of the power, they all have to do a lot of work. Between all the scenes of plotting and romance and murder, I have scenes of them reading reports from ambassadors, signing treaties, looking over expenditure sheets. That’s one of the things that bothers me about a lot of books featuring royalty. The authors go on and on about how busy all the royal characters are and how good they are at ruling, but then they never show them actually working. And, I understand that might be boring for readers, but maybe at least mention it once or twice. If your royal characters don’t want to get like ya know executed or deposed or something, then they probably want to have some hand in running the country and doing the work.
But Do You Actually Wear A Ballgown All Day?
I’m thinking no, but please, prove me wrong. Even back during Queen Victoria’s times or the times of the Romanovs, the royals didn’t wear their beautiful full length, full-court dress ballgowns all day, every day. That’s just impractical and unrealistic. If your royal character is at their family’s private home for the summer or winer or whatever, then they’re probably not wearing a whole bunch of fancy clothes. All the fancy dresses and crows and tiaras we associate with royalty and nobility, were basically their Sunday best clothes, not clothes they would wear every single day. Now that’s not to say that their causal clothes probably wouldn’t still be expensive and well-made(but not always, the Romanov grand duchesses were known to wear cotton dresses when they were in private during the summer). And, y’all, I swear if your story takes place during a time period when corsets are used please do your research about them, and any clothes or time period for that matter. But, specifically, as someone who knows a lot about corsets, every time, I read about a character absolutely hating their corset and thinking its so uncomfortable, I loose ten years of my life.
Homegirl, where are your guards???
There is nothing that bothers me more than when a royal character is like in the middle of a war or their people are rebelling and they’re like, “ugh, I hate having all these guards around me. I just want to be free!!!!!” Which, okay fine, having a bunch of people follow you around and watch your every move does not sound fun, but getting offed doesn’t sound fun either. If your character’s country is in the middle of a war, and even if they aren’t depending on the country, they are going to have guards around them all the time. In Tudor England, guards would sleep in the King’s room even if he had company because people were always trying to assassinate each other. Even if your royal character has magic or powers or something, they still probably need guards. If your characters have been royal all their lives, they probably will know their guards very well and know how to sneak away from them for that oh so coveted night in the town as a commoner.
Better Give Me That Title
First person to name what song that’s from gets......nothing but bragging rights. Anyways, titles are probably one of the biggest components of royalty. Who gets a title and who doesn’t get a title causes lot of friction in royal families. The siblings of the monarch, may want their children to be titled, but the monarch might be unwilling to title potential claimants to the throne. Are titles exclusive with only a certain number of titled individuals allowed at each time, or does the monarch freely hand out titles to all of their favorites? Both options have happened historically, but you just need to find out which option works best for your story. In my story, there are only a certain number of duchies and counties per territory, meaning there are only certain number of Dukes/Duchesses and Counts/Countesses per territory. That makes the nobility an even more exclusive group because there’s always a set number of peers and the titles pass down between families.
They Are Still People
This is true with any character you write, but especially with royal characters, a lot of authors have a tendency to write them as people whose only personality trait is being royal which having meet no royal people in my life could be completely true, but I don’t think it is. I think because of the way they were raised, being royal is a large part of their lives and maybe the most important part but they still should have a personality and other interests outside of being royal. There are countless stories of royals in history being forced to give up their true passions, hobbies, and interests because they had a duty to rule their country. That doesn’t mean those passions just magically went away though. Your character will still have them, and some nice internal conflict could be showing them and their desire to idk knit come into conflict with their duty as the Leader of their country.
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Tips for Writing Short Stories
'Short stories are tiny windows into other worlds and other minds and other dreams. They’re journeys you can make to the far side of the universe and still be back in time for dinner.' - Neil Gaiman
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Why write a short story?
Short stories are often more focussed than longer works of fiction, and so all the elements within them must work together towards the common goal. Often they're more powerful because of this, as everything is focussed on the main theme or mood, making them an excellent form to communicate a single idea quickly.
How long is a short story?
Most short stories are between 1,000 and 5,000 words long. Flash fiction is shorter, often as little as five words long.
Find a simple idea
You don't have time in a short story for overly ambitious plotlines or back stories. The most successful short stories often use the mundane to craft a story that reveals something powerful/terrifying/magical/humorous in the everyday. Focus on a single character, event or setting and keep your scope narrow.
Have a clearly defined mood or feeling
Your point should be cohesive, so ensure you know the mood, idea or emotion you wish to communicate (or combination of these) and reflect it throughout your writing.
Eavesdrop and steal
Note down things you hear or see in your everyday life that spark your imagination, and come back to them later. Short stories often begin with a single image or funny character.
Know what you want to say
What do you want people to feel and think whilst reading your short story? Why are you writing it? What is the primary idea you're communicating? Ensure everything works towards communicating this theme. I always think a short story has less of a responsibility to entertain in the same way a book does, and more of a duty to enrapture.
Present the small as significant
You have the ability to surround everything you write about with a feeling of importance. Use clear, descriptive language and focus in on the unusual details to present the small - which is probably all you'll have time for - as just as significant as the mighty. Even the smallest, most mundane subject can be depicted as important.
Don't be afraid to experiment with structure and form
Short stories don't have time to take on the shape of a classic narrative. This means you can play around with chronology and point of view, making it a great opportunity for experimentation. Take risks; try something new. If you're not asking for much of your readers' time, they're more likely to go along with an unusual storytelling style.
Consider starting your story in medias res
You don't have a lot of time for exposition, so it's a good idea to begin in the middle of the action and fill in details later. This takes you straight to your important scene.
Everything must be vital
Read every sentence and ask yourself whether it really needs to be there. Does it serve the higher purpose of fulfilling your story's mood/theme? As Edgar Allen Poe once said 'a short story must have a single mood and every sentence must work towards it.'
Backstory is rarely needed
Your characters should be like icebergs: you show enough of the surface for people to infer what's going on beneath for themselves, without spoon-feeding your readers every single detail. Let them reach their own conclusions. Ambiguity is a great tool in short stories.
Have a strong ending
This should clarify your mood/theme and serve to tie together the story, making it clear how each element worked to serve this single purpose. The most compelling endings often focus on the characters and how they've changed. Maybe they have a profound realisation and change for the better, or become more cynical, or it's revealed that they were the villain all along. Whatever your ending focuses on though, it should make the story feel complete. Personally I love ambiguous endings where the readers have to decide what the message is for themselves.
Refine the central idea of your story and remove things that don't serve a purpose. Ensure the words flow, that the main emotion is as intense as it can be, and that the plot is well paced.
Trust in your readers
It might not be your cup of tea, but often the most successful stories never make it clear exactly what their message is. The writer leaves it up to the readers to decide for themselves and the final line is usually well-placed and allows for different interpretations. Remember that your readers can pick up on nuances and trust in their ability to understand implications. Make your writing precise but don't make it obvious.
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My heart says to let him go
"How do I let someone go,
When he was never mine to hold?"
Cries my soul.
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a list of traits—mostly negative, but they don’t have to be flaws; these can also technically be their strengths—to give your characters (because no one is perfect) and everyone is different.
here are some traits:
ex: someone who is defiant—this can be either good or bad. it all depends on their level of this trait. are they so defiant that they refuse to work with anyone else, refuse to accept help?
people-pleaser / pushover
ambition (rooted in evil)
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He only calls me love
when he decides he has time
He'll rip my heart out of my chest
without reason or rhyme
Each day's a gamble on which him
I get to wake up to
I don't know what to do
He tells me that he wants me
When we're all alone
But I saw her contact name
Has two hearts in his phone
I don't know whether to blame him
Or my naïve thinking
But this ship is sinking
How long until I
Leave you crying again
I want the happy ending
You promised back then
I gave you my whole heart
What happened to caution?
Wonder how it feels to be more
Than your second best option
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