Character mannerisms to consider!
Mannerisms, in this case, are the little details that are unique to each character of your story! These are perfect ways help the reader know more about your character’s personality without needing to read through multiple sentences of description or dialogue. Mannerisms also become incredibly useful when you need to convey things like social status, upbringing, mental health status and how they interact with the world/people around them.
There are hundreds of unique ways to use mannerisms, for example linking one character to another despite their lack of interaction in the story. The dialogue and description might point to Character A having never met Character B, but they might share the same mannerisms, which would hint to some kind of past link between the pair.
How much space do they take up? Do they spread out when they sit or stay curled-up? Do they flail their arms to gesture? Do they speak loudly or quietly? Who listens when they speak up? Do they make a sound when they move?
How does your character sleep? What position? Do they sleep restlessly or soundly? Do they prefer covers, or do they sleep without?
How does your character greet people? Are they welcoming or reserved? How genuine are they being?
How much do they mirror others? Do they mirror everyone? (Mirroring is a subconscious behaviour where two+ people in a conversation will copy one another’s body language. This usually means there is a connection of some kind being made. Lack of / exaggerated mirroring might indicate towards a mental disorder or other (ex: personality disorder, neurodiversity, anxiety etc)
Which part of their body is the most expressive? Does your character use their hands a lot or do they tuck them away? Do they need movement to ground themselves (swaying, rocking, fidgetting…)?
Who would your character turn to in a group of people for comfort? Would they acknowledge that person more? Would they engage in a conversation with only them or would they just glance their way?
Do they have a re-occuring habit to indicate a mood? Do they crack their knuckles when excited? Do they bite their lip ring when angry? Do they look at their hands when sad?
How do they gesture? Do they speak with their hands? Do they point, nod or use their eyes to show something? Which movements are conscious, and which aren't?
Do they have a comfort item or person? Is there something they always think of? Is there something they hold with care? How much do they value that thing more than others?
How would they react to another person’s misfortune? Would their eyes light up? Would their heart hurt? How genuine would they feel? How genuine would they act?
Is there anything that makes them OOC (out of character)? (This is a good thing! One tiny OOC aspect can make a huge impact on that character) Perhaps they’re cruel but love cats? Perhaps they’re known for being the kindest but smile when they think of something tragic? How often do they act strangely? Do they do it in front of anyone? Do their actions indicate this or solely their thoughts?
I hope this helps you develop your characters! If you have anything to add, feel free to do so!
The only writing advice that matters is this:
Against all odds, despite doubt and scorn, with joy in your heart,
Fly in the face of common sense and refuse to grow old where it matters most - your mind and soul.
The undying love for you and poetry made me suffer terribly yet I'm bleeding happily
life as a writer
0 - 13 years old: You are exploding with ideas. You have so many ideas that all or most of them will disappear into the aether by the time you grow up. You won’t remember even a quarter of them but you do remember being high on imagination. You acted out entire stories with your action figures. You went on “adventures” with your friends. The entire world was a playground.
13-18 years old: You start developing original ideas. You may go on fan fiction sites and write your own twist on your favorite character. You have goals so big that you don’t realize they are too unrealistic, because in your mind anything is still possible.
18 - 23 years old: Crisis time. You’re not sure if you’re good at this. You still have many ideas but also there’s this little thing called college, or at the very least you need to find a job and figure out what you’re seriously going to do with your life. You may be neurotic about your work in some form or another, or may get frustrated never finding the time to write. You may think you suck and might quit. You may be paranoid that people will take your ideas because you want to be recognized as original. Whatever happens, you start becoming neurotic and anxious and frustrated. You will start dropping old ideas and old goals that you had.
23 - 28 years old: You either mature old ideas or drop all your childhood dreams and focus on something new. You have a day job but any free time you have to yourself is spent fleshing out your writing. Your day job could be something you’re into, if you’re lucky, but either way it’s not your main goal in life. The writing you do in those intervals of free time are what you really want to be known for.
28 years old to pretty much the end: If you have continued writing this far, then you know exactly what you want to do in life. You’re becoming set in your ways and the ball is finally rolling. You have the amazing ability to not pay attention while people are talking because you are writing about something in your head. Someone’s mad at you and you don’t know why. It’s probably because they were spouting about their emotional breakup over the phone and you were saying “Uh-huh” and “Yeah” while you were plotting out an entire three-act play in your head, or had the phone on speaker while you got warped into editing your podcast episode. Any neurotic insecurity you had when you were younger is a thing of the past, because all you do is think and make it happen.
Guess who finally finished their fanfiction? 😍
Not me, but someone probably did
the epic eternal struggle
me when I have a packed schedule: I have GOT to write something soon my SOUL is DYING from lack of artistic EXPRESSION
me on break: what....what am I supposed to do.....words.....suddenly ...disgust me???
if I had loved you
if I had loved you as a friend,
maybe you’d still be here
maybe we could be on our way to get some eats
afterwards we could have wandered the streets
If I had shut you down,
maybe we could be at the new pub in town
maybe if I hadn’t wanted more,
we could be at the record store
and maybe when we parted ways,
you’d have wanted to see me again
if I had loved you as a friend
My very friendly reminder to myself to actually write today￼…
Big heart, wrong generation.
Sometimes, you just gotta be self-indulgent with your writing, even if other people say it’s “cliche” or “overused”.
Write that masquerade ball with the lush gowns and the breathtaking stranger with the tempting smile peeking out from a trickster’s mask. Even if people say it’s been done a thousand times before and they don’t want to read it.
Write it because you like it
Write that happy ending that is so sweet, it’ll rot your teeth right out of your head. Even if people say happy endings that sweet aren’t realistic or whatever
Write it because you like it.
Write that heart-wrenching death scene just so you can write something decadently comforting afterward. Even if people complain that death scenes are only for the DramaTM.
Write it because you like it.
March Prompts 🍀
Word prompts to use for doodling or writing
four leaf clover
Experienced writers! Let's start a thread -
What is the one piece of writing advice you wish you'd been given when you first started?
I'll go first:
Writing is a craft, not a moral pursuit; it doesn't have to be profound to have worth, it just has to work.
“You loved me—then what right had you to leave me?”
~ Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
no because being a writer is actually so frustrating because
my brain: here’s a fantastic plot and absolutely immaculate vibes and very detailed daydreams that end with signing books in your favourite bookstore. writing it will be easy peasy because you love this idea SO MUCH
also my brain: words?? who’s she??? i don’t know her?? just stare blankly at the screen for a few hours and maybe you’ll see sense
My soul always approaches yours and I breathe you in the wind that brings the night to me. Your beautiful soul shines in the center of my heart and brings tender thoughts to my mind. Here I am, looking at each star, and voicing your name to each one. I confess to them how much I love you and how the stardust of your soul shines in the depths of your eyes. I tell them about the music that I always hear in your words just as they also hear the Moon's song. I reveal to them how magical your laugh is, like a mischievous comet that fills my sky with sparks. I confess how much I embrace you every day in my thoughts just like the mantle of the night embraces them, and how I keep the stories that you tell me like they keep the memories of the night in the brightness of their burning hearts.
I want to write but I dont think there is anything poetic in my life anymore
Pain is called dramatic, anger sedatived by antipshychotics
Happiness is felt but my smile is too fake to write about it
Nothing but physics happening between bodies
Love is too far of reach in my dreams.
Writing fight scenes!
Credits to @/shxdes.of.vixlet on instagram | no reposts!
•Plan fight scenes to fit logistically in your story
Some writers use fight scenes as irrelevant set pieces—fixed moments in a book or script that other plot elements center around. In the best writing, however, fight scenes serve the overall narrative, not the other way around. When evaluating a brawl or a battle showdown in your narrative, ask yourself: Does it move my story forward? Does its inclusion align with my main character’s motivations? Does the story naturally flow into and out of this brawl?
•Fight scenes should move the story forward
The very first rule for writing fight scenes is to ensure that it moves the story forward.
Here’s the easiest way to find out if your fight scene moves the story: Delete it. Now, read the scene before and the scene after. Can you still make sense of what happened? If the fight caused some type of transition in your story, keep it in.
And remember: Not all transitions are physical. Some are mental. You don’t always have to discuss the physical aftermath. You can also explore the mental fallout after a fight. This can be how the fight moves the story forward.
•Fight scenes should improve characterization
Because reading a fight scene can get boring quickly, it’s important that you focus on more than the bare-knuckle action. Use fights as a way to explore your character(s) and provide more insight on the following:
Why does the character make the choices that they make in the fight?
How does each choice reinforce their characterization?
How does each choice impact their internal and/ or external goals?
Is this conflict getting the character closer or further away from their goals? How?
What are the stakes for each character? What do they stand to win? What will they lose?
What type of fighter is the character? What are their physical or mental abilities? (Remember that not every protagonist will be a trained assassin, so they’re prone to make sloppy mistakes during a fight.)
Use the fight scene to reveal necessary information about the characters. Be sure to give the reader a glimpse into the character’s soul and not just into their fighting skills.
•Fight scenes shouldn't slow the pace
In movies fights go by quickly. But in literature, fight scenes can slow the pace. That’s because you have to write all of the details and the reader has to reconstruct the scene in their minds.
This is the reason why many people simply skip over fight scenes in novels. There are only so many kicks and punches you can read before yawning.
However, if you employ certain literary devices into your narrative, you can actually create a taut fight scene. Here are some tips:
Write in shorter sentences. Shorter sentences are easier to digest. It also speeds up the pace of a story.
Mix action with dialogue. Don’t just write long descriptions of what’s happening. Also, share the verbal exchange between your characters.
Don’t focus too much on what’s going on inside the character’s mind. Introspection happens before and after a fight, not during.
Keep the fight short. Fights should never go on for pages (unless you’re discussing an epic battle between armies, and not individuals).
•Use a style that fits your story's pacing and tone
This doesn’t mean your actions scenes have to fit exactly in with the rest of your prose, but you should use a style that complements the rest of your work.
For example, in his Spenser novels, Robert B. Parker often goes into great detail about what his characters wear, but his actions scenes are short and deadly.
Conversely, Lee Child’s hero Jack Reacher is a giant of a man, capable of great violence but also imbued with a great capacity to reason. Reacher is the thinking man’s action hero, so Child’s fight scenes tend to be less choppy and more descriptive, fitting in well both with the character and the overall tone of the books.
The styles are different, but both are effective and entertaining.
•Study how great authors do it
Mario Puzo, Lee Child, Karin Slaughter, John Connolly, Deon Meyer, Patricia Cornwell, Elmore Leonard, Louis L’Amour, Larry McMurtry and Robert B. Parker have all written novels chock full of bad characters doing bad things.
If you want to know how to write action, study these writers’ work. Some scenes feature intense, vivid descriptions; some have almost no description at all. Some action scenes are fast and deadly, some are longer and suspenseful.
Reading a variety of work will help inspire you to try a few different ways of writing action scenes, and ultimately find the one that works best for you and your story.
FUCK YOUR FIRST LINE AND UNFUCK YOUR WRITER'S BLOCK
I don't know if ya'll know this about me, yet. I fought with Imposter Syndrome for a good... six years? Yeah, for six years I wrote zilch. Nothing. Nada. Why? Because I ran into that ever delightful feeling of, "You don't write like [insert author name here], why are you trying?" Or, "Look at all these twenty-something year olds publishing their first book AND winning awards. Do you REALLY think you can do THAT?"
And no, I can't do that. I have to be content with never achieving that. But, writing is so ingrained in me, I wasn't "myself" for those six years. I wanted myself back.
So, for the last two years, I committed to un-triggering my brain to take the pressure off and give myself permission to suck.
One of those triggers is having so much of your dreams riding on the first line of your story.
Ya'll, I hate that. I hate articles that say the first line is THE most important thing to write. I hate it when authors say your first line is the thing that'll hook readers in and, "if you don't hook 'em, they'll never read your book!"
I hate those things with every single DNA strand in my body.
There are SOOOO MANY other things that are deal breakers for readers. POV, active vs. passive voice, too much description, too much dialogue, VIOLENCE. SEX. And we're not even going to touch Saggy Middle Syndrome and failing to fulfill plot promises (yet!).
What I'm trying to get at is: first lines shouldn't be your priority. It shouldn't even be the focus. What you really need to do is concentrate on character development, building a strong story, hitting the appropriate story beats, be aware of your pacing, FULFILLING PROMISES.
And when you've gotten to the point where you are satisfied with all of that and your beta readers just can't get enough... you can now work on that first line hook.
If you've EVER needed permission to fuck your first line so you can concentrate on the important shit, here is your permission, dear writer: FUCK YOUR FIRST LINE. GET BACK TO WRITING.
And remember, you don't suck at writing. No one really does. You just haven't improved your craft. Or, if you were like me, you placed too much pressure and one tiny part of writing. Don't do that to yourself. It's time to be brave, dear writer. And let all of that stupid advice go. Have fun. Remember what got you into writing and hold on to that for dear life.
~ Happy Writing, Ya'll ~
getting mixed signals...
English/creative writing teachers nowadays: if the plot and conflict of your story is not evident within the first 2 SECONDS of your novel, your readers WILL burn your book and kill your family.
meanwhile, the nineteenth-century author they've assigned you to read: bro how many pages do you think I can make this description of this rock last????