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2021-01-23 01:43:48

    Hey, help me please. How do you write description in your novels? Not a character one, surrounding ones. How do you describe from 3 POV , the background of the novel?

    5 Tips for Writing Great Descriptions

    Hi there! Thanks for writing. I talk at length about this in my book The Complete Guide to Self-Editing for Fiction Writers (See Chapter 4 / “Building Your Story World,” Chapter 16 / Setting the Scene, and Chapter 21 / “Choosing the Right Details” for the majority of the discussion about description, but it’s peppered throughout), so I’ll just give a brief rundown here. :)

    Tip #1: Use concrete, sensory details

    That means describing, with precision, a detail you can see/hear/touch/taste/smell. Avoid using vague words that are hard to visualize or sense, like “the house was ugly” or “the weather was bad.” Instead, choose a sensory detail (or two) for your descriptions, for example “the house was a wretched shade of salmon pink” or “the wind was blowing I could taste dust in my mouth.”

    Tip #2: Try not to over- or under-use descriptions

    It’s common for beginning writers to either use no description, or go completely overboard. I give examples of both in my book. While there’s no hard rule about how much description is too little or too much (it depends a lot on the particular story, genre, and the writer’s style), I personally like to include around 4-5 sensory details per page.

    The idea is to give the reader a solid sense of where they are without going on and on, making them want to skim over as you carry on for paragraphs about the smell and texture of a doily.

    Tip #3: Use more description during important parts of the story

    Description draws your readers attention to what you’re describing. Use that to your advantage. If that doily contains a blood stain that’s a pivotal clue in your murder mystery, by all means spend three sentences describing the particular color red of the blood or the weird smell it emits. Where you linger, the reader will linger.

    Tip #4: Use description to set the scene

    Use more description at the beginning of a new scene, or anytime the location of your story changes. I talk about this in the section on transitions in my book. Summary gets a bad reputation in fiction, but these transitional paragraphs are the perfect time to paint the scene with sensory details about your character’s surroundings.

    Tip #5: Pay attention to “camera movement”

    One common thing I see in writer’s manuscripts is what I call “jerky camera movement.” Here’s an example:

    Jesse pulled into the driveway of the suspect’s mansion around noon. A white, floppy dog barked ferociously in the window. It was a warm, sweltering day. Jesse looked down and realized her shoe was untied. The house had three large columns in front, each wrapped with a gawdy red bow. 

    In this example, the “camera” moves from the driveway, to the dog in the window, to the “day,” to Jesse’s shoe, to the outside of the house. If that was your head, looking around the scene, you’d get dizzy pretty fast. Here’s a smoother movement, starting wide and focusing in on Jesse’s untied shoe.

    It was a warm, sweltering day. Jesse pulled into the driveway of the suspect’s mansion around noon. The house had three large columns in front, each wrapped with a gawdy red bow. In the window, a white, floppy dog barked ferociously. As Jesse approached the door, she looked down and realized her shoe was untied.

    These aren’t perfect examples because I’ve dashed them off just now, but you get the idea :) Try not to make your reader seasick by making them look all over the scene (unless you’re trying to achieve that effect, for example, in a scene where your protagonist is drunk or discombobulated).

    Hope this helps!

    Chapters: 1/1
    Fandom: One Piece
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
    Relationships: Roronoa Zoro/Vinsmoke Sanji, Roronoa Zoro & Vinsmoke Sanji
    Characters: Roronoa Zoro, Vinsmoke Sanji, Kuina (One Piece), Monkey D. Luffy, Portgas D. Ace, Aka Ashi no Zeff | Red-Leg Zeff
    Additional Tags: Soulmates, Alternate Universe - Soulmates, POV Alternating

    A soulmate's words on your right arm doesn't always mean something special, or so Zoro and Sanji naively thought.

    how i got an agent, or: my writing timeline

    when i started writing, i had no idea how publishing worked and i had a lot of misconceptions about it. but i just signed my first literary agent so i thought i’d share what my experience has been getting to this point, in case it helps anyone else with their own publication goals. i’m also including financial details, like submission fees and income, because “i could never afford to pursue writing as a career” is something that kept me from taking the idea seriously.

    for context, i write mostly literary fiction and i’m on the academic/scholarly writing path. this process looks a lot different for other genres. 

    i didn’t write this in my pretty nonfiction narrative voice; it’s really just the bare-bones facts of how it went down, how long it took, how many words i wrote (both fanfiction and original fiction), and how much it all cost. 

    Afficher davantage

    Writer's Guide to Unreliable Narrators

    Unreliable narrators are narrators who intentionally or subconsciously mislead the reader with their own bias and lies. I love nothing more than a narrator who deceives me. There is something incredibly charged about not being able to rely on your guide through a story. So how can we write them?

    Determine What Kind of Unreliable Narrator your Narrator is.

    There are five kinds of unreliable narrator we see in fiction, each with their own way of leading the audience astray.

  • The Unstable: This narrator is usually an unstable character with problems with grasping reality or having trouble accepting it so they bend it to their own tastes. Example: Arthur Fleck in Joker & Amy Elliot Dunne in Gone Girl
  • The Exaggerator: the one who spins fanciful lies to embellish the facts of the story around them. Usually they embellish it in such a way to make themselves look good.
  • The Child: Though children can be a font of truth, they often have a way of muddling facts and being confused by certain aspects of the story they are not versed in. Example. Bran in A Song of Ice and Fire & Scout Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird
  • The Biased: The biased Narrator is usually an outsider. They enter the world with preconceptions of the world and/or characters around them. Usually they get disabused of their biases by story's end but not always. Example Damen/Damianos of Akielos in The Captive Prince Trilogy
  • The Liar: The Liar is simply just a liar liar pants on fire. They twist the narrative and outwardly lie about their actions and the reactions of others. The liar is self-serving, usually narcissistic. Example Cersei Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire.
  • How to Write Your Unreliable Narrator

    The thing you must remember is that your audience immediately trusts your narrator, they have no other choice. It is a given. However, it is your job to break that trust.

  • Allow the narrator to outwardly lie. Let them spout half truths or full out lies in the narrative. The audience will take what your character says as the gosphel until slapped with a conflicting account or detail. It provides a wham to the story that becomes a turning point. Perhaps the best example of this is Amy Elliott Dunne in Gone Girl (I recommend). She introduces herself as a sweet housewife who loves her husband despite her fears over his temper. However, in the section of the book she narrates she quickly flips Nick's account of the events leading up to her disappearance, turning the audience on their head so fast none of us have a chance.
  • Allow the character to mislead your audience with the absence of details. Your story is one big chain, omit a link and the thing is useless & subject to the questioning you want to draw out of the audience. For example, Daenerys Targaryen believes wholeheartedly that the house with the red door is in Braavos. However, she vividly remembers a lemon tree outside her window and sunsine. But lemon trees cannot grow Braavos and it is notoriously damp and cold. #lemongate
  • Speak to your audience through the events of the story, bypassing the narrator to get through to the audience. Sometimes the best reveal that the narrator cannot be trusted is showing the audience evidence that they are either not seeing what's happening or they are ignoring it. For example in Captive Prince, it is almost explicitly suggested that the Regent molested his nephew Laurent as a child. If one ignores Damen's narration, the signs are there to see from Laurent's reaction to his Uncle's presence and in some of Laurent's words. Damen chalks this down to Laurent being a brat and the Regent just being a villain. He has to be told despite the audience realising or at least suspecting it from the second book onward.
  • Play off your secondary characters. Use the characters around your narrator to disprove their account if the story and completely flip the story on its head. Usually, I trust the secondary characters when it comes to Unreliable Narrators. For example, Cersei Lannister gets her own POV in a Feast of Crows. Up until this point she has been very mercurial in her reactions in the first few books, to the point where other characters and the audience are confused about who the real Cersei is: the shrewd polictian or the wine mom with way too much faith in herself and her spawn. In truth, Cersei is incredibly paranoid about those around her and she thinks herself the cleverest player in the game. However, from others such as Tyrion, Tywin, Littlefinger and the members of the Small Council (who yes, all have a touch of misgyny to their criticisms of Cersei but really most of their points have a point since she is mad as a box of frogs) we see that Cersei tends to make enemies out of allies, assume the worst in others and make political choices to spite others or to put her faith in those who offer her little more than flattery.
  • Writing Tips/What Beta Readers Taught Me

    Since I’ve been learning a lot from my beta readers, I’d thought I’d share what I’ve learned (and just some general writing tips) here. (Mind you, this is just off the top of my head so not everything from the beta notes is included.)

    - Besides themes find the “glue” that hold your story together. For example, in Avatar: The Last Airbender, the glue was the Fire Nation War (and trying to stop it). This main goal was present throughout all four seasons, including in the side-quests. All characters had different motivations for teaching Aang, but the war kicked off all the events and was why Aang was learning the elements to begin with.

    - In order to help the characters feel more like real people, have them react differently to the same event. For instance, when a character dies, Person A could be sad about it while Person B could be angry.

    - Don’t be afraid to extend out scenes for tension.

    - Have your character asks questions. Especially if they’re new to a place/culture.

    - If you want to do a twist, drop small clues leading up to it, so it won’t come out of nowhere.

    - Don’t have the characters share everything with each other.

    - For research, try to find a video/source with a first-hand experience. For example, for anxiety, try and find a video with a person talking about what its like to have anxiety.

    - It’s always good to have a second pair of eyes of your writing.

    - When it comes to descriptions, use the five sense to help draw the reader in. Namely touch, sight, smell, hearing, and taste.

    - Have the character’s choices impact the plot, not the other way around. For instance, Aang running off after learning he was the Avatar was what allowed the Fire Nation to succeed in the war. 

    - Find the main theme of your story (see chart) and revolve everything (character arcs, chapters, etc.;) around it. This will help cut out fluff chapters and make the writing more cohesive.


    A Quick Guide to Foreshadowing!

    Foreshadowing - a warning or indication of a future event. In literature, it is when an author provides readers with hints or suggestions as to what will happen later in the story. 

    Foreshadowing can be used to create tension and set expectations as to how the story will play out. Can inspire reader emotions–suspense, unease, curiosity,

    Types of Foreshadowing

    Chekhov’s Gun
    The author states something that they want you to be aware of for the future - in the eponymous example, a gun hanging on the wall in an early chapter will be used later.

    A statement to character/ reader about what will happen in the future. Although sometimes unclear at first, they normally become true by the end.

    A more abstract way of foreshadowing, often shown through things like objects, animals, images and weather. Often foreshadows change in mood, luck or behaviour.

    When the author needs the reader to know something that happened that doesn’t fit with the current timeline. Often there will be hints/clues for things that the writer wants you to remember/pick up on later.

    Red Herring
    A type of foreshadowing that deliberately misleads the reader. False clues such as a character finding another suspicious, etc., may lead you to believe one thing when, in reality, they will have done nothing wrong

    Tips and Tricks for Effective Foreshadowing!

  • Don’t foreshadow too obviously - signpost rather than state! Arouse suspicion, but keep them guessing! 
  • If you make a promise, keep it!
  • The bigger the twist, the earlier it should be foreshadowed! Foreshadowing too soon is essentially a spoiler 
  • Keep foreshadowing in moderation 
  • Use beta-readers - sometimes our foreshadowing feels so obvious to us but it may not to other people who aren’t as close! 
  • An aye-write guide to Showing vs. Telling

    I’ll bet that if you’ve ever taken an English class or a creative writing class, you’ll have come across the phrase “Show, don’t tell.”  It’s pretty much a creative writing staple! Anton Chekov once said “ Don’t tell me the moon is shining. Show me the glint of light on broken glass.” In other words, showing should help you to create mental pictures in a reader’s head.

    Showing helps readers bond with the characters, helps them experience the emotions and action more vividly, and helps immerse them in the world you have created. So “show, not tell” is definitely not bad advice - in certain circumstances. But it has its place. More on that later. 

    So How do I Show?

    • Dialogue
    • Thoughts/Feelings
    • Actions
    • Visual Details

    So instead, of telling me He was angry”, show me how his face face flushes red, how his throat tightens, how he slams his fist, how he raises his voice, how his jaw clenches, how he feels hot and prickly, how his breathing gets rapid, how his thoughts turn to static, etc.

    Instead of telling me “The cafeteria was in chaos”, you could show me  someone covered in food and slowly turning crimson, children rampaging under the feet of helpless adults, frenzied shouting, etc. 

    Handy Hint!Try to avoid phrases like “I heard”, “I felt”, “I smelled”, etc. These are still “telling words (also known as filters) and may weaken your prose, as your readers could be taken out of the experience and you may lose their attention.

    Is Showing Always The Right Thing to Do?

    No! Absolutely not! Showing is not always right and telling is not always wrong! It’s important to develop the skill and instinct to know when to use showing and when to use telling, as both can be appropriate in certain occasions. 

    So, “Show, don’t tell” becomes “Show versus tell”. 

    What is Showing and Telling?

    Showing is The grass caressed his feet and a smile softened his eyes. A hot puff of air brushed past his wrinkled cheek as the sky paled yellow, then crimson, and within a breath, electric indigo”

    Telling is The old man stood in the grass and relaxed as the sun went down.”

    Both of these excerpts are perfectly acceptable to use in your writing! But both do different things, although their meanings are pretty much the same. The first example is immersive, sweeping, visual, engaging. The second example is much more pared back and functional. But both have their places in prose! 

    Telling is functional. Think about when you tell people things. You tell your children dinner is ready. The news reporter tells you there’s a drop in crime rates. Your best friend tells you she’ll be late because her car broke down on the way to yours. These are brief and mundane moments in everyday life. 

    So, do these deserve multiple paragraphs with sensory detail and action/feeling/thought for every little thing? Do you need to spend an entire paragraph agonising over a minor detail when there’s a sword dangling (physically or metaphorically) over your MC’s head? No. And I’ll explain why. 

    When To Use Telling

    As before, telling is functional. It’s brief. It’s efficient. It gives a gist of a situation without getting bogged down in detail.

    Showing is slow, rich, expansive, and most certainly not efficient! 

    Here’s an example of some telling: 

    Years passed, and I thought of Emily less and less. I confined her to some dark dusty corner of my brain. I had to elbow my memories of her to the side. I was too busy with other things. Finishing school, then university a year later. Life was full and enjoyable. But then, one dark cold September night…”

    You can’t show this example, unless you wanted to waste page after page of your MC waking up, going through everyday life, to get to the point your actual story started. If you do that, you will likely kill off any interest a reader would have in your novel and likely, your book itself.

    Summing Up


  • Should be used for anything dramatic
  • Uses thoughts, feelings, dialogue, action, and visual detail 
  • Will likely be used more than telling
  • Telling:

  • Can be used for 
  • Delivering factual information
  • Glossing over unnecessary details 
  • Connecting scenes
  • Showing the passage of time 
  • Adding backstory (not all at once!) 
  • people have asked me how i draw eyes so i made an extremely slap-dash eye tutorial! this is simply about how i draw a simple neutral eye, nothing to do with expressions (that’s a whole other thing).

    • start with the horizontal guide on the face, to help place the eyes. put circles where the eyes will go!
    • adjust the circles into diamond shapes– i got this idea from sinix design on youtube, it’s very helpful and easier to see where the lids should end than with a circle.
    • draw the top lid/lash lines, leaving a bit of space at the top of the diamond. keep each eye in time with each other– drawing one whole eye first makes it harder to match the other one.
    • then the bottom lids. i usually try to do all the lid shapes with a single curved stroke each. keep it simple pals!
    • irises & pupils. sometimes i’ll draw filled-in black circles for the irises, to help figure out where to place them naturally!
    • lid creases, use the leftover diamond at the top as a loose guide for where to place them. remember that the lid curves around the eyeball.
    • make adjustments! things don’t always come out perfect immediately. i usually have to thicken the lash line (i like mine quite thick), move the bottom lid up or down, and sometimes resize a whole eye (easier on computer than traditional, i know!). if you’re on a computer make sure to flip your canvas often so you can see these little things ❤

    and to practice, just doodle a lot of small eyes! keeping them small makes them easier and faster to finish, so you can focus on your strokes and playing around with shapes, tilt, lid space, all that. don’t worry about making the irises perfect circles/ovals or any of that, just try to capture the character. have fun!

    Blue’s Feathers and Wings Compendium: Atypical Wing Shapes

    Part 1 [Standard ]| Part 2 [Atypical] | Feather Markings | Tail Feathers

    A compendium of different feather marking types that can be used for inspiration in writing and art; especially if you want to be explicitly clear on the markings and don’t want to just have “striped” or “spotted”.

    Disclaimer: I am aware that some of these markings have different names when coming from different birds, and that some of these markings are more artistic than realistic, but this for the fun and benefit of others, not for science.

    A Few Tips On Writing Chapters

    Give each chapter a descriptive title. 

    Especially if you find yourself at sea when deciding how exactly to chop your story into pieces. Even if you don’t want to use chapter titles in your final draft, they’re of enormous use when you’re still figuring out exactly what the shape of your story is. By giving your chapter a descriptive title, you’re giving your chapter a focus and a particular story for your chapter to tell. 

    Make sure each chapter has its own self contained narrative arc.

    This is not to say that every novel must be episodic, but that each section should have its own beginning, middle, and end. It should have set up, build up, and resolution. It should ask a question an implicit question at the beginning and provide a slightly more explicit answer at the end. 

    Example: one chapter in my book is just 500 words. Two new characters drive into town, get out of a car, knock on a door, and they say their names. The beginning is the introduction of the mystery of these characters. It’s the question “who are these people?” As they drive, you see them and where they are going, which builds towards the answer. As a resolution, you get their names. 

    You wouldn’t call this a “short story” by any means, but it does have a firm beginning, middle, end. It is a contained unit. 

    A chapter break can–and sometimes should–come in the middle of a scene. 

    Twists and cliffhangers can appear at the end of novels, so it would be silly to say you couldn’t end a chapter that way, too. Cliffhangers and twists are usually both a result of other plot points, and the cause of a new problem. Narratively, they function both as the ending of one thing and the beginning of another, so they make for great chapter breaks. Separating the scene at a cliffhanger is often better/cleaner than lumping the entire scene into one chapter. 

    Example: Alex is warned to stay away from a dangerous cliff. Alex gets adventurous and wanders toward cliff. Alex falls off of cliff. Beginning. Middle. End

    Alex is actually hanging from cliff! Alex figures out a way to get back to solid ground, struggles. Alex makes it back to solid ground. Beginning. Middle. End.

    You want your readers to “just one more chapter!” their way through your book. Stuffing moments of high tension into the middle of chapters that resolve neatly won’t keep them turning pages.

    Always end your chapters on a point of intrigue.

    Using points of tension to bookend chapters is important because chapter endings are usually where readers put a book down during a reading session. They’re very naturally places to close the cover and walk away. 

    As a writer, you don’t want this. You absolutely don’t want to give your readergreat places to put the book down, because you need them to pick the book up again as soon as possible. Not the next day, or the next week, (or never), but while they have a spare minute during their commute, or during their lunch break, or under their desk in class. 

    You want to encourage this by taking that perfectly natural endpoint, that place they expect to be able to put the book down, and forcing them to take even a tiny peak at the next chapter. 

    This doesn’t mean ending every chapter on a verifiable cliffhanger, but there has to be something. A character can solve a mystery. A new character can appear. There can be a moment of irony. A new idea. Just so long as its something that will make the reader think “I need to know what happens next.” 


    things people do in real world dialogue:

    • laugh at their own jokes

    • don’t finish/say complete sentences

    • interrupt a line of thought with a sudden new one

    • say ‘uh’ between words when unsure

    • accidentally blend multiple words together, and may start the sentence over again

    • repeat filler words such as ‘like’ ‘literally’ ‘really’ ‘anyways’ and ‘i think’

    • begin and/or end sentences with phrases such as ‘eh’ and ‘you know’, and may make those phrases into question form to get another’s input

    • repeat words/phrases when in an excited state

    • words fizzle out upon realizing no one is listening

    • repeat themselves when others don’t understand what they’re saying, as well as to get their point across

    • reply nonverbally such as hand gestures, facial expressions, random noises, movement, and even silence


    This is all good advice,  especially if your dialog tends to be somewhat stiff or unnatural, but reading it all in a list, I’m imagining a section of dialogue with literally all of these, back to back, in order, and it’s fucking hilarious. Someone write me a microfic. I don’t even care who it’s about.


    Fantastic dialogue advice. Remember: dialogue doesn’t get held to the same rules as narrative. We don’t speak in proper English. We speak what’s called “spoken English”. We can start a sentence with “and”. Or we can end a sentence with a preposition. We can let out a string of words in a rambling, too-long g, all-in-one-breath sentence. The rules of grammar do not apply to spoken English. If you want to test your dialogue, try saying it out loud. Don’t read it. Just say it. Look at what the character is supposed to be trying to communicate, then say it out loud. Look at how you shape the sentences, and what sorts of words and pauses you use, and then forget all the ways your speech ignored the rules of grammar and English, and just write it that way. It will feel more genuine; less like a script and more like natural dialogue.

    The best part of writing dialogue is the ability to ignore all of the rules you have to obey everywhere else. Slur words together when someone is drunk,or drugged, or sleepy. Use the wrong word and get corrected by another character. Use punctuation to convey tone - “What.” vs “What?” for instance, where they’re both the same question but one is said in a flat tone. Use weird slang, and words that aren’t really words, and just…go crazy with it. Watch your dialogue - and thus your characters  - come to life in a whole new way as you explore giving them more than just words… do your best to give them a voice.

    Are you still stuck for ideas forNational Novel Writing Month? Or are you working on a novel at a more leisurely pace? Here are 102 resources on Character, Point of View, Dialogue, Plot, Conflict, Structure, Outlining, Setting, and World Building, plus some links to generate Ideas and Inspiration.


    10 Days of Character Building

    Name Generators

    Name Playground

    The Universal Mary Sue Litmus Test

    Priming the idea pump (A character checklist shamlessly lifted from acting)

    How to Create a Character

    Seven Common Character Types

    Handling a Cast of Thousands – Part I: Getting to Know Your Characters

    It’s Not What They Say . . .

    Establishing the Right Point of View: How to Avoid “Stepping Out of Character”

    How to Start Writing in the Third Person

    Web Resources for Developing Characters

    What are the Sixteen Master Archetypes?

    Character: A compilation of guidance from classical and contemporary experts on creating great dramatic characters

    Building Fictional Characters

    Fiction Writer’s Character Chart

    Character Building Workshop

    Tips for Characterization

    Fiction Writer’s Character Chart

    Villains are People, Too, But . . .

    Top 10 Tips for Writing Dialogue

    Speaking of Dialogue

    Dialogue Tips

    Advantages, Disadvantages and Skills (character traits)

    How to Write a Character Bible

    Character Development Exercises

    All Your Characters Sounds the Same — And They’re Not a Hivemind!

    Medieval Names Archive

    Sympathy Without Saintliness

    Writing the Other: Bridging Cultural Difference for Successful Fiction

    Family Echo (family tree website)

    Interviewing Characters: Follow the Energy

    100 Character Development Questions for Writers

    Behind the Name

    Lineage Chart Layout Generator


    How to Write a Novel: The Snowflake Method

    Effectively Outlining Your Plot

    Conflict and Character within Story Structure

    Outlining Your Plot

    Ideas, Plots & Using the Premise Sheets

    How to Write a Novel

    Creating Conflict and Sustaining Suspense

    Plunge Right In . . . Into Your Story, That Is!

    Fiction Writing Tips: Story Grid

    Tips for Creating a Compelling Plot

    Writer’s “Cheat Sheets”

    The Thirty-six (plus one) Dramatic Situations

    The Evil Overlord Devises a Plot: Excerpt from Stupid Plotting Tricks

    Conflict Test

    What is Conflict?


    The Hero’s Journey: Summary of the Steps

    Outline Your Novel in Thirty Minutes

    Plotting Without Fears

    Novel Outlining 101

    Writing the Perfect Scene

    Fight Scenes 101

    Basic Plots in Literature

    One-Page Plotting

    The Great Swampy Middle


    Magical World Builder’s Guide

    I Love the End of the World

    World Building 101

    The Art of Description: Eight Tips to Help You Bring Your Settings to Life

    Creating the Perfect Setting – Part I

    Creating a Believable World

    An Impatient Writer’s Approach to Worldbuilding

    Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions


    Character and Setting Interactions

    Creating Fantasy and Science Fiction Worlds

    Creating Fantasy Worlds

    Questions About Worldbuilding

    Maps Workshop — Developing the Fictional World Through Mapping

    World Builder Projects


    Quick Story Idea Generator

    Solve Your Problems Simply by Saying Them Out Loud

    Busting Your Writing Rut

    Writing Inspiration, or Sex on a Bicycle

    Creative Acceleration: 11 Tips to Engineer a Productive Flow

    The Seven Major Beginner Mistakes

    Complete Your First Book with these 9 Simple Writing Habits

    Free Association, Active Imagination, Twilight Imaging

    Random Book Title Generator

    Finishing Your Novel

    Story Starters and Idea Generators


    How to Rewrite

    One-Pass Manuscript Revision: From First Draft to Last in One Cycle

    Editing Recipe

    Cliche Finder

    Revising Your Novel: Read What You’ve Written

    Writing 101: So You Want to Write a Novel Part 3: Revising a Novel


    My Writing Nook (online text editor; free)

    Bubbl.us (online mind map application; free)

    Freemind (mind map application; free; Windows, Mac, Linux, portable)

    XMind (mind map application; free; Windows, Mac, Linux, portable)

    Liquid Story Binder (novel organization and writing software; free trial, $45.95; Windows, portable)

    Scrivener (novel organization and writing software; free trial, $39.95; Mac)

    SuperNotecard (novel organization and writing software; free trial, $29; Windows, Mac, Linux, portable)

    yWriter (novel organization and writing software; free; Windows, Linux, portable)

    JDarkRoom (minimalist text editor; free; Windows, Mac, Linux, portable)

    AutoRealm (map creation software; free; Windows, Linux with Wine)


    Helloooo! Do you have a particular method or tips for when creating and developing a character?

    Hi :)

    Sorry this took me some time, but there is so much I could talk about here. So I try to go with some basics.

    How to create a character

    Make a character sheet

    some examples for what I usually try to find out about my characters, regardless which genre I’m writing in


  • name, age, place of birth, where they live, nationality, ethnicity, education, occupation, religious affiliation, financial status, gender identity, sexual orientation
  • physical appearance

  • eye, hair and skin colour
  • distinguishing features (tattoos, birthmarks, scars, visible disabilities,...)
  • height and weight (proportions!)
  • walk (slow, fast, skipping,...)
  • tics and mannerisms (touching their face, blinking, grinding their teeth,...)
  • speech patterns and communication style

  • talk (slow, fast, slurred etc.)
  • accents and dialects
  • using slang, sounding educated, trying to hide a dialect/accent etc.
  • do they talk with their whole body? (gestures?)
  • extra question for speech and physical appearance: can people tell where the character is coming from and what influences they have from their heritage?

    past and present

  • how did they grow up?
  • happy memories
  • academic career
  • hobbies
  • past trauma or important turning points that still influence their life
  • specific lifestyle
  • social and political ideology
  • future

  • dreams and goals
  • expectations from themself and from outside
  • Relationship maps

    for longer stories it’s even more important to understand your characters relationships to each other

    two different approaches:

    1. proper list of family, friends, love interests, “enemies”, everyone else


  • who is still alive and where do they live?
  • who did they grow up with?
  • what was and what is their relationship?
  • friends

  • how long do they know each other?
  • would they trust them with a secret?
  • how close are they?
  • love interests

  • what is their relationship status?
  • what do they like about them?
  • is it reciprocated?
  • if they are not together why not?
  • “enemies”

  • how do they know each other?
  • what do they not like about each other?
  • did they always hate each other?
  • can their relationship become better?
  • 2. love, like, hate categories

  • make a list of people your character loves (use the different forms of love: romantic, familial, friendly,...)
  • make a list of acquaintances
  • make a list of people they dislike and people who dislike them
  • you could even try to draw their relationships with each other
  • make sure you include if the relationship changes throughout your story
  • Those are just some basic things I could think of that I usually like to write down about my characters. Depending on the story there are some variations of this and more information about specific topics.

    Pro tip for developing your characters: write short stories or little sequences with your characters that don’t neccessarily have anything to do with your story. I think of it as fanfiction of your own work. Put your characters with their intended roles and relationships in different situations and just write and let it play out. This is a good tool to find out if and how the characters work together. And it can even give you new ideas for their relationships to each other and new skills or habits for your characters. It’s basically a test run for your cast before you go into your bigger story.

    And one last important thing: don’t get too stuck on an idea. Characters can sometimes develop a life of their own. You don’t always have a conscious control over them. So don’t be afraid to change it if something is not working out or you find something else that is working even better.

    This took me such a long time and I hope it makes sense and helps you with your writing. Good luck!

    - Jana

    Writing advice from my uni teachers:

  • If your dialog feels flat, rewrite the scene pretending the characters cannot at any cost say exactly what they mean. No one says “I’m mad” but they can say it in 100 other ways.
  • Wrote a chapter but you dislike it? Rewrite it again from memory. That way you’re only remembering the main parts and can fill in extra details. My teacher who was a playwright literally writes every single script twice because of this.
  • Don’t overuse metaphors, or they lose their potency. Limit yourself.
  • Before you write your novel, write a page of anything from your characters POV so you can get their voice right. Do this for every main character introduced.
  • Chapters: 1/1
    Fandom: House M.D.
    Rating: Explicit
    Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
    Relationships: Greg House/James Wilson
    Additional Tags: Attempted Rape/Non-Con, Friends to Lovers, Non-Graphic Violence, Whump, Hurt/Comfort

    Wilson has had to make a few hard decisions lately. When he returns from an oncology conference and finds House hurting and uncommunicative, he soon finds that, even as he battens down the hatches to weather out another emotional storm with his best friend, House still has the ability to surprise him. This is a story of enduring love, hardship, and traversing new territory with an old friend.