Now Playing Tracks

"Stories I Never Wrote" game on Protagonize.com

On Tumblr here, a writing exercise meme has been making rounds among fanfic writers, and I decided it was high time to bring it to Protagonize.com.

This has been a great and fun exercise because, in essence, you’re pretending that you’ve already written the story in question, and you’re just pulling a short scene out of it.

So here are the adjusted rules for Protagonize:

Tell me about a story I haven’t written, and I’ll give you between one and five sentences from that story… Athough I reserve the right to write more if I feel so inspired.

Then I’ll tell you about three other stories that you haven’t written yet, and I hope you’ll return the favor.

Click on the link above if you want to join in on the fun.  Everyone’s welcome to make this game grow.

io9 Article: The Rules of Magic, According to the Greatest Fantasy Sagas of All Time

I am developing an addiction to the webzine io9.com

They have some of the greatest writing/literature related articles I’ve found online.

This is the latest I’m sharing with you guys here.  The link above takes you to a massive (and I do mean MASSIVE) chart that lists a wide variety of fantasy novel series, the types of magic the stories employ, and the rules regarding the mystic arts in relation to their story world.

Did you know CYOA has its own Tumblr?!

chooseyourownadventure:

One Book, Many Readings - Choose Your Own Adventure

writingsbycrscott:

Do you remember remember reading any of the Choose Your Own Adventure books when you were a kid?  If not, or if you never have, you missed out.

The Choose Your Own Adventure books were some of my favorite things to read when I was growing up.  Essentially they were a single book, but the story had a multitude of different endings depending on the choice you, the reader, made.

I found the link above while doing research for my own Choose Your Own Adventure-style original story I’m working on currently.  This website includes not just an extremely thorough scientific and literary breakdown of the structure of the CYOA-styled stories generally, but also goes in depth into examining the paths and patterns of several actual books. 

It’s especially fascinating to look at both the charts and animated graphics illustrating the paths a reader can take to reach any of the endings in a story.

The last link on the top header of the website, the one labeled “Play” is an actual full CYOA story for your reading pleasure. 

This resource, for my own project, has been absolutely indispensable.  I am so glad that someone took the time and effort to create it.

We ADORE the link above.  It was like finding out someone has secretly been chronicling your greatest moments since birth and put them in the best cinematic montage EVER, with your favorite music in the background and a surprise ending.

Oh WOW!  I didn’t know that the Choose Your Own Adventure book publishers have their own Tumblr!

*CLICKS on the FOLLOW button IMMEDIATELY!!!*

One Book, Many Readings - Choose Your Own Adventure

Do you remember remember reading any of the Choose Your Own Adventure books when you were a kid?  If not, or if you never have, you missed out.

The Choose Your Own Adventure books were some of my favorite things to read when I was growing up.  Essentially they were a single book, but the story had a multitude of different endings depending on the choice you, the reader, made.

I found the link above while doing research for my own Choose Your Own Adventure-style original story I’m working on currently.  This website includes not just an extremely thorough scientific and literary breakdown of the structure of the CYOA-styled stories generally, but also goes in depth into examining the paths and patterns of several actual books. 

It’s especially fascinating to look at both the charts and animated graphics illustrating the paths a reader can take to reach any of the endings in a story.

The last link on the top header of the website, the one labeled “Play” is an actual full CYOA story for your reading pleasure. 

This resource, for my own project, has been absolutely indispensable.  I am so glad that someone took the time and effort to create it.

Reblogged: 102 Resources for Fiction Writers

goddessofcheese:

102 Resources for Fiction Writers

vulpesinculta:

Are you still stuck for ideas for National 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.

CHARACTER, POINT OF VIEW, DIALOGUE

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

PLOT, CONFLICT, STRUCTURE, OUTLINE

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?

Monomyth

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

SETTING, WORLD BUILDING

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

Setting

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

IDEAS, INSPIRATION

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

REVISION

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

TOOLS and SOFTWARE

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)

screaming

Because a writer can’t have enough resources.

(Source: ruthlesscalculus)

Rants by Limyaael

If you’re a writer and you’ve never read a Limyaael rant, you have been depriving yourself of a great series of essays on various aspects of creative writing. 

The person known as “Limyaael” started writing “rants” back in 2003, when she was an English grad student studying for her PhD.  Since then, she’s written well over two hundred separate rants over the years.

Her rants are so epic, she’s even got her own article at tvtropes.org!

She hasn’t written any new rants in well over a year, but all her old ones have been archived both on LiveJournal and InsaneJournal.

Listed below are several of my favorite rants and short descriptions of what they are about:

Putting your characters through absolute hell
an essay describing seven different, but extremely effective, ways to make your characters SUFFER on massive emotional and psychological levels

Interesting villains
an essay describing seven ways to give your villains more depth in their stories by avoiding cliche villain tropes and trying new viewpoints

Unequal relationships
an essay not about love relationships, but about relationships where one party has significant power over the other (i.e. master-slave, king-servant, charge-bodyguard)

On consequences
an essay with six points about consequences and the characters who suffer from them and how far you should take it in your story

Avoiding deus ex machina
an essay with five points on how to avoid relying on “deus ex machina” to solve the conflicts and wrap plots in your stories

   

What Is A Trope & What Can it Do For You?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a trope as a “cliché” or a “figure of speech”.  In storytelling, a trope is far more than that. 

Tropes, in writing, are common literary conventions that are so common and well known that most readers/writers can recognize them on sight.  These include specific plot devices, character types, and narrative structures to name a few instances where tropes can be found.  Of course, explaining them like this is pretty vague.  Below are several examples of well known tropes.

  • THE OLDEST TRICKS IN THE BOOK
    This is one of the most commonly referred to tropes in storytelling of any sort.  These are plot devices which found their birth in stories that have been around since the age of mythology and fables and are still used today.
    • Crying Wolf
      (A character speaks too many lies, so no one believes him when he finally tells the truth.)
    • Look Behind You
      (A character is in a tight spot and tells their opponent to look behind him.  If the opponent looks, the character takes off.  If the opponent doesn’t believe him, there probably is an impending threat behind the opponent.)
    • Slipping a Mickey
      (Tricking a person into drinking a drugged beverage.)
    • The Honey Trap
      (A mole/thief/spy uses seduction to gain the trust of a character)
    • Divide and Conquer
      (A character will get two of his enemies to fight one another, then takes on the weakened victor himself.)
  • RECOGNIZABLE CHARACTER TROPES
    In all manners of storytelling, there are a number of commonly used, recognizable character tropes.  The characters follow certain formulas that make them instantly recognizable.
    • Conveniently an Orphan
      (Losing or having no parents is often used as a plot/motivational device for a character)
    • The Five-Man Band
      (Five characters in a team, who all fall into certain specific roles:  Leader, Second-in-Command, Geek, Strongman, The Peacekeeper)
    • Good Cop/Bad Cop
      (Two characters are interrogating a prisoner/suspect.  One character acts as the “Bad Cop” and acts threatening/menacingly towards the suspect.  The other character acts as the “Good Cop” and simultaneously acts protective and sympathetic towards the suspect, offering to remove or hold back the “Bad Cop” in exchange for information.)
    • The Old Master
      (Beware of the old man/woman who works/worked in a dangerous profession but has managed to live to a very ripe old age.  The same warning can be given to martial arts masters who are well into their 60s or beyond.  Despite their age and initial physical appearance, with great age comes great knowledge and experience that allows them to overcome any younger opponent.  These are often mentors for young heroes.)
    • The Drifter
      (Often a loner who seems to wander aimlessly from place to place.  Usually starts off as a quiet individual who isn’t looking for trouble, but trouble finds him and drags him into solving the problems of the town.  When that happens, his real identity as someone completely different starts to be revealed.)
    • MOTIFS
      During the course of a story, certain recurring dominant images and/or themes might start cropping up, usually a symbol of something greater than what it appears to be.  Here are some common motifs used in a variety of tales.
      • Death’s Hourglass
        (A physical representation of the actual end of a character’s life, or something counting down a potential end should the character fail at a task, such as a ticking time bomb or a doomsday clock.)
      • Elemental Powers
        (Characters have affinities to certain natural elements that reflect on their personalities.  For example, someone with a fire element might be have a quick, violent temper.  Someone with water as their element might be calmer with a more go-with-the-flow kind of attitude.)
      • Phoenix
        (A symbol of life, death, and rebirth in the form of a fire bird.  Does not represent immortality, but rather living a complete life, dying, and having a new life created at the end of the old.)
      • Feather Motifs
        (White feathers often symbolize divine power or purity, due to their association with angelic wings, doves, and swans.  Black feathers are often symbolized for the opposite of the white, and are often associated with ravens and crows, birds who prey on the dead.)
      • Seven Deadly Sins/Seven Heavenly Virtues
        (Seven bad personality traits that are said to lead a person into ruin.  These include Greed, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Pride, Sloth, and Wrath.  There are also Seven Heavenly Virtues which counterbalance the Sins.  These are Charity, Chastity, Diligence, Humility, Kindness, Patience, and Temperance.)

    There is a wide variety of different tropes. The ones listed above are just the tip of the iceberg.  If you would like to examine more tropes in greater depth, then please visit tvTropes.org.

       

    "Pride and Prejudice" as Facebook Status Updates

    A person had the absolute brilliant idea of taking the story of Pride and Prejudice and formatting it to resemble a series of Facebook status updates.  You can find the original source website here.  Below is a graphic of the entire story.

      

    The Best 100 Opening Lines From Books

    Another writing gem found through StumbleUpon, I found a great web page created by Stylist magazine from the UK.

    This link will take you to a page listing some of the one hundred best opening lines from a wide variety of books.

    The first line of any story is the most important.  This is the line that will initially hook your reader and reels them into reading the rest written after that.  Unfortunately, the pressure to create that eye-catching opening line often causes many writer a lot of trouble.  If you’re having trouble coming up with a first line, keep these tidbits of advice in mind:

    1. Keep it simple.  First lines don’t have to be complicated, 50+ word long declarations.  Sometimes, the best first lines are short, snappy, and to the point, but still leaves the reader asking questions about the rest of the story.  Here are a few examples all under ten words long.

      Example 1:  “You better not never tell nobody but God.”  The Color Purple, Alice Walker

      Example 2: “All this happened, more or less.”  Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut

      Example 3:  “What’s it going to be then, eh?”  A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess

    2. Introduce a Character:  What better way to start off a story than to introduce one of your main characters?  It could be a hero, a villain, or someone integral to the plot.  Whoever it might be, let your reader connect with them right off the bat.

      Example 1:  “Call me Ishmael.”  Moby Dick, Herman Melville

      Example 2: “Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.”  Back When We Were Grownups, Anne Tyler

      Example 3:  “Marley was dead, to begin with.”  A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

    3. Be Shocking:  Depending on your story, you might not want to just lure them in.  Instead, take your opening line and smack them right between the eyes when they aren’t expecting it.  Surprising your reader with something unexpected may be just the ticket to get them to read more.

      Example 1:  “Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge.”  The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood

      Example 2: “ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE is scrawled in blood red lettering on the side of the Chemical Bank near the corner of Eleventh and First…”  American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis

      Example 3:  “A screaming comes across the sky.” Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

    4. Set the Tone:  Finally, the last bit of advice I can offer is to set the tone.  Start your story off by setting the tone of the tale.  Is your story humorous?  Romantic?  Scary?  Serious?  Reveal that at the outset to your reader.

      Example 1:  “If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.”  A Series of Unfortunate Events, Lemony Snicket, Daniel Handler

      Example 2: “It was about eleven o’clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills.” The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler

      Example 3:  “True! - nervous - very, very nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?”  The Tell-Tale Heart, Edgar Allen Poe

    If you liked these examples of some great opening lines, then please click on the link above and check out Stylist’s Best 100 Opening Lines for yourself.

      

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