Hola! You can call me J.
This blog was created in the hopes that I could help out the writers of Tumblr. It will consist of helpful reblogs combined with original text posts that I somehow think up with a little bit of prompting from lovely followers.

So, if you're a writer and you're having trouble getting started, or perhaps you have questions geared more towards grammar/sentence structure/form and the like, or anything at all, please feel free to send in a message. I will do my absolute best to help you all out!

I can't wait to meet fellow writers!

Guide: Post-Apocalyptic Clichés to Avoid

writing-questions-answered:

Tense Change

I have a tendency to switch between tenses because I write some present-tense stories and I wonder if you have any tips to combat that. - srngdrgn

The first bit of advice I have for you is to focus more on writing now and then worry about your tense use in the revising stage. When re-reading your work, use a highlighter to mark all the places in which you strayed for your desired tense. Then you have visual representation of how much you need to re-work (which isn’t usually that difficult to do) and you may find yourself adding extra plot devices in.

I think the best thing for you to do is be aware while you’re writing. It’s not a huge deal if you mix up tenses so long as you’re prepared to go back and fix it in the editing and revising stages.

acteon-carolsfeld:

Seven Steps to the Perfect Story

From structure and plot to heroes and characters, your story must have everything in place if it’s to connect with the reader. Follow our guide to storytelling success.

There’s an eighth step most of these things tend to miss. It’s called practice. One would assume that such a step follows without needing a mention, but I think it’s important enough to deserve bringing to notice.

Advice: Collaborating with Another Writer

writing-questions-answered:

Anonymous asked: A friend and I have decided to start working on a screenplay together. I’ve never written something with someone before and was wondering if you had any advice for writing with another person?

Writing with another person can be an amazing, rewarding experience, but it can also be tricky and sometimes frustrating. First some tips from my own experience, and then some links to tips from other writers.

My Tips:

1. Figure Out a Game Plan - sit down together before you start writing to figure out how you want to proceed. Figure out when, where, and how you’re going to write, and decide on a budget for supplies. Be sure to hammer out your plans for the future, so that you know what’s next after you finish your screenplay. 

2. Set-Up a Schedule and Projected Timeline - it helps a lot if you can schedule a time when you’re going to work on your project together. It doesn’t have to be the same time every day/week, but you should decide at least a week in advance what days and times you’re going to meet. Also, talk about cancellations so you’re not creating tension if something unexpected comes up and someone has to skip a meeting. The projected timeline will help keep you on target so that you are working toward a finishing date.

3. Flesh Out the Details in Advance - before you start writing, have a major brainstorming session and figure out the details of your plot, characters, world, etc. in advance. It’s important to get yourselves on the same page with everything so that you’re not stepping on each other’s toes later on.

4. Be Patient and Choose Your Battles - No matter how much you work out in advance, there are going to be points when you do step on each other’s toes. Try to be patient and understanding when that happens. If the other person insists on something out-of-line with what you’d planned or personally imagined, don’t make a fuss about it unless it is really and truly something that you can’t live with changing. Being open-minded and flexible will help keep things running smoothly.

Others’ Tips:

Tips for Collaborating with Other Authors
Lily Herne’s Top Tips for For Writing Collaboratively
How to Collaborate — and How Not To

amandaonwriting:

Historical Romance - How to add layers to your scenes
by Anthony Ehlers for Writers Write
In terms of historical fiction, we look back. We look back because that is where the answers lie. It is all about context. The research must be fun. It must also fit your story, and lift the narrative.Show us the ‘personality’ of that era, so that the historical setting becomes almost another character: show the sexual, gender and social politics, the mood of the times etc.
Five ways to add context
History itself. Who was in power at the time? Why? What was the main trade? What were the marriage laws? Historical detail is a great way to inform or give impetus to the plot, such as the London Season for Debutantes, etc.
How circumstances affect characters. We must never just lay on historical information, but rather weave into the story and it should ideally be seen through the lens of the character. How does she feel about how society treats women, etc.?
Sense it. Make use of the senses—the smell of the docks, the latest French perfume, the sight of a new ship or a building, the type of music in vogue, etc. – and tie those to the historical ambience of the world
Dress it. Make sure you know what your heroine is wearing, what undergarments support it, what was considered appropriate or risqué, and what kind of dress would suit your character best
Detail it. Go for small details that signal the reader that you’re building an authentic world – the dress, the dinner plate, the food, a cherished pet, an artwork or an objet d’art etc. Other details that may lift the narrative: modes of transport, whether it is a carriage or a horse (what kind?), the architecture,  furniture, the literature of the day, details of places of worship and churches, the type of medicine, etc.
We need to go under the surface of the story, to know what life was like in that era and how your character is experiencing it. Remember that your reader may not know anything about the period or time—they need the writer to build the world, paint the picture, give colour, texture and emotion.
The characters don’t live in a vacuum-we need to build the characters’ world through details, sensory description; the world must be believable and entertaining.
Five exercises to help you
Print images from Internet or collect photocopies from books and create a collage of these for your writing desk
Describe the interior of the heroine’s bedroom as if you were writing for a nostalgia magazine or for a new experiential museum
Describe the morning ritual of the hero: how he shaves, dresses, what ritual he may follow
Create a dinner menu for a typical social meal of the time, and source ingredients for it – imagine the trip to the market
Imagine a time traveller from the present happens upon your setting —have her write a dispatch back home to describe this extraordinary experience!

amandaonwriting:

Historical Romance - How to add layers to your scenes

by Anthony Ehlers for Writers Write

In terms of historical fiction, we look back. We look back because that is where the answers lie. It is all about context. The research must be fun. It must also fit your story, and lift the narrative.
Show us the ‘personality’ of that era, so that the historical setting becomes almost another character: show the sexual, gender and social politics, the mood of the times etc.

Five ways to add context

  1. History itself. Who was in power at the time? Why? What was the main trade? What were the marriage laws? Historical detail is a great way to inform or give impetus to the plot, such as the London Season for Debutantes, etc.
  2. How circumstances affect characters. We must never just lay on historical information, but rather weave into the story and it should ideally be seen through the lens of the character. How does she feel about how society treats women, etc.?
  3. Sense it. Make use of the senses—the smell of the docks, the latest French perfume, the sight of a new ship or a building, the type of music in vogue, etc. – and tie those to the historical ambience of the world
  4. Dress it. Make sure you know what your heroine is wearing, what undergarments support it, what was considered appropriate or risqué, and what kind of dress would suit your character best
  5. Detail it. Go for small details that signal the reader that you’re building an authentic world – the dress, the dinner plate, the food, a cherished pet, an artwork or an objet d’art etc. Other details that may lift the narrative: modes of transport, whether it is a carriage or a horse (what kind?), the architecture,  furniture, the literature of the day, details of places of worship and churches, the type of medicine, etc.

We need to go under the surface of the story, to know what life was like in that era and how your character is experiencing it. Remember that your reader may not know anything about the period or time—they need the writer to build the world, paint the picture, give colour, texture and emotion.

The characters don’t live in a vacuum-we need to build the characters’ world through details, sensory description; the world must be believable and entertaining.

Five exercises to help you

  1. Print images from Internet or collect photocopies from books and create a collage of these for your writing desk
  2. Describe the interior of the heroine’s bedroom as if you were writing for a nostalgia magazine or for a new experiential museum
  3. Describe the morning ritual of the hero: how he shaves, dresses, what ritual he may follow
  4. Create a dinner menu for a typical social meal of the time, and source ingredients for it – imagine the trip to the market
  5. Imagine a time traveller from the present happens upon your setting —have her write a dispatch back home to describe this extraordinary experience!

Best Friends Forever: Writing Close Friendships

everydaywriter:

Nearly every book I’ve read has a protagonist. And all of those protagonists were surrounded by several, if not a great many, friends. Within my own stories, my protagonists have quite a few friends. Among those friends, there are usually one or two, maybe three, friends that the protagonist is especially close to. One of my all time favorite series, Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, follows best friends Lissa and Rose, who act like sisters most of the time. While reading, it’s clear that the two have known each other for a long while, see each other as their closest allies, and see their lives as them against the world. It’s obvious that they’re very close. The question is how does Mead accomplish this? How does any author establish these types of close friendships between characters without blatantly telling the reader?

If you think of your own close friendships, or your best friends, you’ll probably recognize five or more of the following in your relationship with these particular friends –

Understand without speaking.

When you’ve known someone a really long time, or have spent so much time together, you get to know the person so well that you pick up on their habits and quirks and body language. When they bite their lip, you know it’s not that they’re confused, but that the water works are about to begin and it’s time to get them out of there. If their jaw tenses, you take their hand and squeeze it to show they don’t have to face the world alone. They do the same for you. You understand each other so well that no one needs to say anything, and it’s obvious that it’s time for coffee and chick flicks, or that it’s time to head to the soccer field to kick around a ball and de-stress. You might not be able to read each others’ minds, but you understand each other well enough that neither of you needs to say anything. You just do.

Tease each other.

There’s artificial teasing, there’s bully teasing, there’s flirting teasing. But among friends, it’s the way we gently point out each others’ issues and faults without being cruel, it’s how we remind each other of good times, it’s how we show each other that we don’t have to be adult or grown up (regardless of age), it’s how we connect and communicate. Between best friends, teasing is just another way we talk to each other. There’s no malice, jealousy, anger, or bitterness behind it. It’s often light, fun, laughable, and in good humor. It’s a way to make your friend laugh when they’re on the verge of tears. It’s the way we build each other up when our plans fall through. Teasing is always there, but it never, ever becomes a way of putting each other down.

Rely on each other.

Through good times and bad, friends can always be relied upon to be there and help each other. There are no excuses, there is no distance, there are no events that could prevent two best buds from helping each other out in times of emotional and physical need, and friends rely on each other for that. But friends also rely on each other for comfort, for support, for encouragement, and for all the things it seems the world wants to take away from us. Friends are there to remind us that what we want to do, where we want to go, is completely possible and achievable.

Seek each other’s advice.

Perhaps more than our parents, teachers, advisors, and mentors, we seek advice from our friends first. This might be a perfectly faulty action, but because friends understand each other and rely on each other, it’s natural that we seek advice from those we know, and who know us, best. This advice seeking might be as simple as wondering which outfit to wear for an interview, to legitimately questioning your life’s direction and wanting to know whether you should keep on that path. And because you can rely on your friend, they help you out, if only to making fun of something to help you laugh and remind you to loosen up and stop worrying.

Feel comfortable around one another.

As with all of the above, friends are comfortable with each other enough to seek that advice, tease each other, and rely on one another. Even more than that, friends are comfortable with and around each other that they don’t care if they do something stupid, or say something idiotic, or accidently snort and spew food from the mouth in response to something funny (guilty.) Because they’re comfortable with each other, these things happen and no one cares, because these silly things hardly define us. It’s the same with crying, or showing how truly angry we are, or how hopeless we feel. Friends know each other so well that they be vulnerable and sensitive, and the friend won’t misuse them.

Miss each other when gone.

Probably the greatest understatement of all these, but best friends will miss each other. They might be separated for only a day, maybe one has moved away. But miss each other they will, just the same. The effect this has on each other is anyone’s guess, as everyone reacts differently to separation. Some might become depressed, others might lash out, and some might just have that aching sense of loneliness in their gut that seems like it can’t ever be filled. There is most definitely a reaction, and missing each other is just the surface.

Have similar interests/hobbies/goals/pasts.

Whether they grew up together, or met at summer camp, or took the same art class, friends have similar interests. There’s something that initially drew them together, and in writing a book you can’t just put that aside. It will always be their foundation, and while the foundation can grow, there’s that one point, however small and insignificant in the present, that brought them together and caused them to meet (in Vampire Academy, Lissa and Rose both had long names they had to spell in school at young ages. Later on, they grew even closer together when they both survived the car accident that killed the rest of Lissa’s family.)

Grow together as individuals and as friends.

If any relationship is to last and get stronger, growth is a must. Trials, tragedy, celebration, joy; all these add to and change a person, their actions, and how they consider new situations, and this happens in a friendship as well. While going through similar occurrences, if friends cannot grow together, change, and mature together, then their friendship will remain the way it was when it started, and it won’t be able to adjust and react properly to new situations that the friends encounter. Without the ability to grow, the friendship will become stagnant and brittle, and eventually break. Make sure to show the friends, and their friendship, grow through the story.

Don’t judge.

It’s simple. Close friends, who understand, rely, advise, and help each other, just don’t judge. Regardless of what one does, or what the other thinks about a topic, they don’t judge. They accept that they’re individuals with different views and opinions on some things. After all, you can’t have the exact same views as someone else. There are similarities, there are differences, but despite what those are, there should never be any judgment. Friends accept each other for who they are.

Don’t try to change each other.

As I said, friends accept each other. They don’t try to change one another, or mould each other into what their ideal would be, because that would be the farthest thing from acceptance. Friends understand, they don’t judge, and they don’t try to change their friends’ personalities, opinions, views, likes or dislikes, or their hopes and dreams. They accept everything about each other, and celebrate their differences.

Confide everything.

Friends naturally want to talk with each other and discuss the things that happen in their lives, but best friends, as I’m sure you know, will talk about everything. They confide everything in each other without fear of being rejected or judged. They share their thoughts, their dreams, whatever comes to mind, and in sharing so much with each other, their bond grows.

Fights sometimes happen, but making amends occurs quickly.

No friendship is perfect, and because there are two people involved, disagreements are bound to occur. But when fights begin, whatever the topic, close friends will try to move past the argument and come to a conclusion, generally in the form of an agreement or better understanding of one another. They won’t linger on their differing opinions, and will try to make amends as soon as they can. This leads to stronger friendships, and is a way that the friendship can grow and develop.

Can’t imagine life without each other.

Perhaps more than anything else, best friends simply can’t imagine what life would be like if they weren’t together. It’s something they don’t want to think about, and is the last thing they’ll focus on when confronted with the real possibility of lifelong separation. They’ll come up with excuses, plans, arguments, anything that might be able to change the impending separation. They literally can’t picture their life being apart, because their personalities and dreams and emotional selves are so connected that the very idea of being apart for good is like imagining themselves being split in half (this goes for a romantic relationship as well, though more specifically within one where the two were best friends before they fell in love).

These are just a basic few things that can comprise a close friendship. You don’t need to use all of these, and by all means, don’t limit yourself to using only the ones I’ve listed. Use some, use none, but make sure you really look at the characters you have and focus on showing that closeness where it’s supposed to exist. It offers greater development of both characters, adds to the realism of the plot, and helps with the overall story.

For more on this topic with examples, check out Livia Blackburne’s awesome article –

http://blog.liviablackburne.com/2011/06/twenty-ways-to-describe-your-characters.html

Good luck and good writing!

~ Everyday Writer

Submitting a Manuscript: Writing a Covering Letter

referenceforwriters:

Many writers aspire to have their novel released via a publishing house after or instead of self–publishing, but have no idea how to approach the subject appropriately. When submitting your manuscript, it’s necessary to write a covering letter that is sent either before or alongside your work. It’s best to keep cover letters short and simple, while at the same time including enough vital information about your piece. We have listed below a few dos and don’ts when it comes to writing a cover letter.

Do:

  • Mention any positive reasons that you chose the publishing house, without using too much obvious flattery. Editors are interested to know why your work is so well suited for that particular company.
  • Very briefly summarise the novel, describing the genre and touching on the basic plot synopsis, and perhaps including what current market or trend the novel fits into. Next time we will be touching more on how to write an effective synopsis for submission.
  • Keep the submission about the novel; personal biography should be kept short and to the point.

Don’t:

  • Be aggressive or arrogant; try to stay as humble and polite as possible. After all, it is unwise to suggest you are doing an editor a favour by writing to them.
  • Use flowery or over-complicated language. Recipients will not be impressed with an overly formal, unreadable letter that suggests you do not know what style is appropriate. Keep it well written, simple and to the point.
  • Challenge the editor. Fairly obvious, but questioning whether a publisher is bold or brave enough to take on a groundbreaking new manuscript may not give the best impression of its writer.

By RowanvaleBooks. Make sure to check out the website for more interesting articles.

More on Publishing Process and Manuscripts

Anonymous asked: Hi! I have to make a short story that includes motifs and symbols, do you know any tricks to successfully incorporate them into stories?

I don’t really have any personal tips for you here, I think that symbols are just something that you predetermine will be important to your story and motifs are things that just keep recurring and tying things together. So… I’ll just leave a few links here that may or may not help you and hope they do!

If you have anything more specific you need help with, maybe incorporating a specific symbol or motif, then feel free to send in another ask!

a-silent-dream-and-spoken-mind asked: I wasn't quite sure if you've answered this question before because I'm new to your blog, but do you have any tips in writing in first person when your main character is the opposite gender? For instance, I'm a female and I enjoy writing male characters as much as I like writing females, but sometimes I'm not sure if I'm writing them correctly. Like once a teacher yelled at me for my male character saying brunette instead of "brown hair" since he's a male and believes that men don't say brunette

Okay well first of all, your teacher is ridiculous. There’s nothing wrong with calling a male character brunette. You wouldn’t say “yellow hair” instead of blonde, would you? So that’s ridiculous.

Honestly, the best way to do this would be to write your character and then maybe have it read over by a male that you trust so he could tell you if maybe they wouldn’t say something that you wrote or if they may react differently to a situation. 

Male and female characters aren’t really all that different. Don’t get scared of writing a character of the opposite gender.