Which OC is just some guy
Pirates but in space.
But, like, not in a serious treasure hunt or stuff. Just besties who are pirates causing chaos all over space and doing side-quests that end terribly while having fun (and being hunted by enemies, police forces, whatever).
[Maybe they do have a real quest and, to keep people off their tracks/ keep them from finding out what they're doing, they're causing chaos in a "let's make them think we're stupid" kind of way.]
-Mod Vienna @see-through-stars
How to Kick a Reader in the Gut
Disrupt the reader’s sense of justice.
This generally means setting a character up to deserve one thing and then giving them the exact opposite.
Kill a character off before they can achieve their goal.
Let the bad guy get an extremely important win.
Set up a coup against a tyrannical king. The coup fails miserably.
Don’t always give characters closure.
(Excluding the end of the book, obviously)
A beloved friend dies in battle and there’s no time to mourn him.
A random tryst between two main characters is not (or cannot be) brought up again.
A character suddenly loses their job or can otherwise no longer keep up their old routine
Make it the main character’s fault sometimes.
And not in an “imposter syndrome” way. Make your MC do something bad, and make the blame they shoulder for it heavy and tangible.
MC must choose the lesser of two evils.
MC kills someone they believe to be a bad guy, only to later discover the bad guy was a different person altogether.
Rejection is a powerful tool.
People generally want to be understood, and if you can make a character think they are Known, and then rip that away from them with a rejection (romantic or platonic) people will empathize with it.
MC is finally accepting the Thing They Must Do/Become, and their love interest decides that that’s not a path they want to be on and breaks up with them
MC makes a decision they believe is right, everyone around them thinks they chose wrong.
MC finds kinship with someone Like Them, at long last, but that person later discovers that there is some inherent aspect of MC that they wholly reject. (Perhaps it was MC’s fault that their family member died, they have important religious differences, or WERE THE BAD GUY ALL ALONG!)
On the flipside, make your main character keep going.
Push them beyond what they are capable of, and then push them farther. Make them want something so deeply that they are willing to do literally anything to get it. Give them passion and drive and grit and more of that than they have fear.
“But what if my MC is quiet and meek?” Even better. They want something so deeply that every single moment they push themselves toward it is a moment spent outside their comfort zone. What must that do to a person?
Obviously, don’t do all of these things, or the story can begin to feel tedious or overly dramatic, and make sure that every decision you make is informed by your plot first and foremost.
Also remember that the things that make us sad, angry, or otherwise emotional as readers are the same things that make us feel that way in our day-to-day lives. Creating an empathetic main character is the foundation for all of the above tips.
what i love about being a writer is how eternal the craft is. no matter how long it's been since you actually worked on your wip, you're still a writer. it's in the way your subconscious looks at nature and sees metaphors, in the way your mind predicts a plot twist and sees it coming, in the way your notes app is filled with single lines of poetry that you never went back to, in the way you always have a notebook with you even if it's empty, in the way that you pick up pieces of history and twist them into stories in your mind without even realising it, in the constant daydreaming about a fantasy world you'll never actually write.
being a writer isn't just about writing, it's a state of mind. and i think that's really beautiful.
→ some things you could do to indirectly tell them you care about them
giving them an unexpected but welcome massage
running a warm bath when they get home late
tucking their blanket neatly around their body when it slides down
catching their tears with your finger and wiping it away
unclasping and untying any ties, accessories and clips on their hair while they have fallen asleep so that they don't feel uncomfortable
charging their devices for them if they forget
curating personalized playlists for them
sending them flowers randomly
picking them up from work
offering your seat to them on public transportation
sending them encouraging messages before important events
making a warm drink for them if they're working/studying late
keeping up with their interests and hobbies
hyping them up for even the small things
helping them fall asleep— singing a lullaby, telling a story, running your hand through their hair or patting them gently on their back till they fall asleep, etc
making them some celebratory food/dessert after a good news
making them some food/dessert just because
including them in your family traditions
learning about their culture if yours and theirs aren't similar
fixing something for them if they can't or are too busy to do it themselves
giving them a comforting hug
listening to their worries and problems, showing understanding
taking them to places where they can de-stress
filming small moments together and keeping them in a folder
helping them wash up and drying their hair for them
carrying their bag for them
waking them up from a nightmare and helping them calm down
reminding them about their health concerns/keeping track of their medicines if they need to regularly take some
you know what would be wild?
a parallel universe where mythological creatures etc were real, but, get this, normal creatures aren’t. instead they are myths, or cryptids or whatever. just imagine
“Man Attacked By Group Of Feral Unicorns”
“Florida Man Bitten By Dragon, Claims It Was An Alligator”
“Oh my God, only little kids believe in penguins”
“I took some BuzzFeed quiz to find out which mythological creature i was and it said i was a zebra. That’s bullshit, I’d definitely be a guinea pig”
“Could Bees Be Real?”
“Top Ten Real Badger Sightings You Won’t Believe”
“Stacy got a griffin for Christmas, that’s not fair, I want one too!”
“Of course mice are real, stop being so ignorant”
“My trip to Mexico was great, except for the time a chupacabra stole my taco”
“Please Do Not Feed The Sasquaches”
“Polish Tourist Tries To Pet Loch Ness Monster, Almost Drowns”
Okay but hear me out: the second and the third chapters are the hardest in the entire book.
Everybody complains about chapter one and endings, and I get it - that's your big money moment, make or break. That's what matters the most to the reader. But I think in terms of sheer difficulty for the writer, in terms of individual chapters, the very beginning is where projects live and die.
Chapter one is an idea. I have probably thirty or forty chapter ones sitting in my computer that never went anywhere, or were cool thoughts but didn't have a plot behind them. They were scenarios with no inertia. One chapter a story does not make.
But the second chapter, that's where things start to change. Chapter two, in most books, is pure setup. You're not just writing the immediate aftermath of the first chapter, you're writing the whole damn book in a few thousand words. That's hard. It takes a LOT of mental energy and requires you to do the actual work of plotting, whereas chapter one you can just dash down whatever inspo you've got whether it goes somewhere or not.
That's tough as hell, but I don't count two chapters as a story either. Two chapters is still nothing but an idea. Chapter three is where the character takes their first action influenced by the inciting event, makes their first move, goes from a person to a protagonist. Chapter three is where you stop telling the reader what could be and start showing them what is. I think you can have the best idea in the world, but if it can't carry itself to chapter three, it's not a story. Certainly not a novel, yet. And that's why the beginning of a project is so critical, because you're mega frontloading and roadmapping a lot of what comes later right at the very beginning.
So when you're starting your next WIP, don't make your goal be to reach the end of the book. Shoot for chapter three. I promise you, once you've got three chapters down in your word processor, the rest of the book will be a whole lot easier.
Morally Grey Hero Prompts
1. “You're getting weak.”
2. “How are you going to explain this?”
3. “I don't want to have to fight you.”
4. “You are truly pathetic.”
5. “I thought that this would work…”
6. “You are only making things worse.”
7. “What are we going to do?”
8. “I don’t think we can fix this.”
9. “Is this really what you want?”
10. “Trust me, I know.”
Let's play a game! How would you describe something vs how would your character describe it?
This can be a fun way to get to know your character(s) more! Depending on their thoughts, feelings, self-esteem, etc, they may view themselves differently to how you see them. For each of the following sets of questions, answer both of them and see how they compare or differ!
How would you describe your character's physical appearance?
How would your character describe their own physical appearance?
How would you describe your character's personality?
How would your character describe their own personality?
How would you describe your character's fashion sense?
How would your character describe their own fashion sense?
How would you describe your character's flaws?
How would your character describe their own flaws?
How would you describe your character's sense of humor?
How would your character describe their own sense of humor?
Responses to “I Love You” Prompt List
“I love you.”
“No, you don’t.”
“Don’t lie to me.”
“Don’t give me hope.”
“Don’t joke like that.”
“Is that so?”
“Don’t die on me, after saying something like that!”
“Took you long enough to say it.”
“I should hope so, we’ve only been together x amount of time.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“I love you... as a friend.”
“Thanks, I love me too.”
“Are you sure?”
“Woah, that came out of left field.”
“... I’ve got to go.”
“Wow. Um, okay.”
“Who are you and what have you done with name?”
“You mean me? Me?”
“Now’s not really the time for dramatic confessions.”
“Well that’s an utterly terrifying thought.”
“And you’re just realizing now?”
“Are you delirious?”
“Even after all this time?”
“All I did was offer to do x menial task.”
“You still have to pay your bill.”
“Great. Fantastic. Wonderful.”
“Okay. Okay, okay, okay.”
“Do you mean that or is it the alcohol talking?”
“Like as a friend, right?”
“That doesn’t matter anymore.”
“I wish I could say the same.”
“... Is this a prank/joke?”
“That’s old news.”
”I will never get tired of hearing you say that.”
and of course...
“I love you, too.”
hugging them from behind, laying their head on the other's shoulder
breathing in the other's smell
whispering to each other
cuddling on the couch
walking hand in hand
playing with the other's hair
softly smiling at each other from across the room
telling each other how proud they are of them
leaning into the other person
feeling for the other's hand
pressing a kiss onto the other's hair
humming a melody together
playing with the other's fingers
holding each other's gaze
absentmindedly massaging each other
resting their hand on the other's thigh, slowly stroking it
handing the other one a hot cup of tea, their hands touching for a moment
moving closer in bed
telling each other I'm here
cuddling in the first morning light
hiding their face in the other's neck
telling each other how much they love them
eating from each other's plates
brushing against each other, even if there is enough room
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Reblog to send your OC through the plinko
A glares at B, pulling against the chains tethering them to the floor. "You'll regret this. I'll claw out your throat with my fingernails if I have to."
"Tell me, A." B crouches down to A's height, just out of the chains' reach. "Are you really dangerous, or is that what you want people to think?"
"What kind of stupid question is that?" A asks and spits at B's feet.
-Mod Vienna @see-through-stars
"No," the villain gasped, falling to their knees beside the hero's body. "No, no, no."
They pressed their hands to the hero's chest in a pitiful attempt to stop the bleeding. They were shaking from head to toe, trembling as panic built up in their chest. The hero couldn't die. The hero couldn't die. The hero couldn't die.
"Hey, it's okay," the hero whispered, placing a hand over the villain's, intertwining their fingers together, holding them close to their heart.
"You promised me you’d be okay. You promised me you would live," the villain whimpered, a single tear falling down their cheek. "You promised."
The hero only let their eyes fall shut with a final sigh, a soft smile twisting up the corners of their lips.
"Sometimes it's easier to lie."
worldbuilding is sometimes *creates entire fantasy religion* *researches economic systems to replicate* *stays up till 1 am drawing maps* *makes unique magic systems*
and sometimes it's *throws dart at board* "this is where the palace is" *makes something blow up* "that's because magic" *writes about a monster* "he's also magic" *adds in mermaids for no reason* "poof magic"
and there is no in between
imagine the unwavering trust of reading to your vampire lover as they rest on your shoulder and against your neck in bat form after a rough day
are we friends, or more?
(or unconventional displays of affection and intimacy)
helping them stay balanced on a subway/bus
giving them a taste of your meal, with your own cutlery (bonus: by your own hand)
randomly curating and sharing a playlist that you think they would like
lending them your clothes
facing your body towards them in a group of people; even when they aren’t talking
calling them first when spreading some good news
talking about your interests unabashedly
remembering their favourite ice cream flavor (or something equally as meticulous)
checking in; asking if they’re okay at a busy social event
pretending to also dislike something they do; just so they don’t feel so alone
their contact name being formatted differently than everyone else
running to you when they see you
knowing their food/drink order
actually watching something they talked about in passing
walking them home, especially at night
trying to like the things that you enjoy, even if they aren’t completely onboard with it (yet)
talking about them to your friends/family
asking them how their work/test/class went at exactly the time it ends
comparing hand sizes
sending articles to them that are (even slightly) related to things they’re interested in
being openly defensive of them when others try to put them down
seeing something in the store that reminds you of them; then buying it immediately
mentioning them in your journal entry
asking them about their likes and dislikes, very often and randomly
telling them you enjoy spending time together
(bonus: both of y’all doing both of these things but neither of you noticing it smh)
Please don't worry if you write slow in comparison to others. 100 words a day? 50 words a week? 5 words an hour? Those are all words that weren't there before and that's so great.
Writing the Rules of Magic
I was working on coming up with ideas for a couple of magic systems, and figured I would condense some advice down for y’all. Please note that all of these rules are breakable! They simply offer you something to consider when creating your magic system.
SO, some things to think about:
1. Where does it come from?
Most commonly, magic saps or comes from the user's energy. In my Light & Death series, magic is in the air and it is up to the user to learn how to collect and harvest it, like a waterbender condensing humidity. Not completely important to figure out depending on the story (see Harry Potter,) but it can certainly add some flavor.
2. What does it cost?
A lot of storytellers ensure that their magic comes with a price, and that price is consistent with how much magic was used. This is important to figure out, especially if your story revolves around magic or contains an arc where your character must learn to wield magic. Giving it a cost and making sure your reader understands what that cost is can really boost the tension when your character is faced with the tough decision to pay for their magic in a high-stakes way.
3. Magic influences your world as a whole.
Unless your character is the first person ever to discover magic, it's likely that the people in your world have figured out ways to make their lives easier (or others' lives harder,) with the help of magic. How does your magic influence industry, travel, hierarchical structures, and the economy? You have a great opportunity to create a very unique world based on how your magic system works and how the people of your world chose to use it to their own advantages. (Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series is a great way to see that kind of thing happening in real time!)
4. The way magic is used can influence your story's tone.
Is it generally used for housekeeping and hexing? Are people killed with it, handily and often? The rules your magic has influence how that magic is used, and the general purposes of your magic will impact the tone of your story.
5. Who can use it?
The most common answers to this question tend to be:
- Everyone knows it innately
- Anyone who learns it/studies can use it
- It passes down from parents
There is no problem with using any of these, or coming up with your own option!
6. Actually use it
It's one thing to have magic in the background of your story. But if I pick up a fantasy book that mentions magic I want to see some very cool or thoughtful uses of said magic! If you feel like you have a saggy, boring middle, consider introducing a situation in which your characters need to use magic very creatively to get out of a situation they’ve found themselves in. It may take some thinking, but if you can give the reader some magic payoff, they will only sink deeper into the story.
7. It's okay to make your system boring
This depends on the story and the writer, but it's something I have to tell myself often. In my WIP, Two for Mirth, my magic system is very basic. There's primarily just healing magic (and necromancy, which is on the same spectrum as healing,) and you spend your body's energy to cast spells. It doesn't need to be anything more than that because the story isn't ABOUT the magic, it's about a girl learning how to stand on her own two feet, and falling in love with the grim reaper as she does it. The magic is a background element that informs the plot. This rule could also be called "only make what you need (as long as what you end up with makes sense)".
Miscellaneous Angst Prompts
1. “I finally found a place where I am loved.”
2. “I’m never going back.”
3. “You will have to learn to live with the monster you made.”
4. “When will you admit that you messed up?”
5. “You will be greater than I ever was.”
6. “Find someone better than me.”
7. “Just go before you ruin something else.”
8. “I’ve never been more scared of something that won’t matter.”
9. “There’s nothing we can do but wait.”
10. “You were never supposed to find out.”