I love revision. But I also really, really hate it. It’s hard work, and it’s a lot of critical hard work. One of the hardest parts is sitting my butt down and forcing myself to get to it, so as I delay doing just that, here are some of the rituals I do that help me focus:
- Take care of primary needs. This means I’ve eaten, because food in my belly keeps my energy up and focused, and whenever my thinking power starts to wane, I know I need to eat again and I do so as soon as I can. Anything else I might need (such as tissues or snacks) I make sure is within arm’s reach of me.
- Take care of ritual needs. For me, this means I go through my dashboard first, make my tea, detox for a bit, do some blog work and cross a few to-do’s off my list, perhaps go for a walk, and then begin rereading where I last left off. A set pattern that I follow makes it easier for me to get into working mode.
- Listen to a few songs that pump me up. Upbeat songs get my creative powers focused, but the key is that I can’t be scrolling Tumblr or reading something else simultaneously. I have to listen to a few songs, let myself think only about my story, and become fully immersed and invested. This helps create a driving need to work on it.
- Revise in solitude. When I write, I write to music. When I revise, it’s more like library time. I need to be able to hear my story without the music, to see it clearly and without any influence that music gives. If I don’t have absolute quiet, I keep my headphones on to block out noise. If my street’s particularly noisy, I have rain, or white noise to block out distracting noise.
- Seven minutes of uninterrupted focus. The first few minutes are agonizing, torturous, and I writhe and resist and only by the sheer force of will am I able to press on. But after those first few minutes, I completely switch on and go with great speed.
115 Ways to Say Walk
Blubbering: Unattractive, loud crying. Characterized by mutters, truncated, erratic breathing, clinched facial expressions and hunched posture.
Hyperventilate-Crying: Forceful crying causing heavy breathing, resulting in the inability to speak or produce sounds even resembling words.
Scream-Crying: Violent crying accompanied with bouts of yelling or sometimes shrieking. May also include slapping, punching or other physical expressions of distress.
Silent Tears: Soft, inaudible crying that does not draw attention; May manifest only in a single tear rolling down one’s cheek.
Sobbing: Heavy crying with a large volume tears flowing steadily; Generally audible but not inappropriately loud.
Sniveling: Audible, but soft crying, also prone to muttering and erratic breathing; May also show signs of drool or mucus.
Weeping: A gentler version of sobbing; Involves soft, steady stream of tears with some times lightly audible signs of distress.
Whimpering: Soft crying usually including few or no tears at all; Often incorporates muttering and/or high-pitched sighs.
The main job of a writer is to write. We write what we want to write about, we tell the stories we need to tell the best possible way we can, and we discover our own personal style through writing and reading.
Write selfishly. Never forget this.
Write the story that festers in your brain. Write because you need to, because you can’t NOT write. Write the way you want to write and not the way people say you should write. Oftentimes, listening to people indirectly telling you “what makes you excited to write is wrong” is harmful, even if it’s said with the best intentions.
Additionally, lots of people will tell you how you should be writing, but one of the best pieces my writing professor told me was, “Don’t listen to that bullshit.” Oftentimes, advice can really help us if we decide to take it. Good advice gives us thoughtful, considerate perspective outside our own and provides avenues we might take to better our story. But bad advice is harmful. Bad advice erases you from your story for all the wrong reasons, and bad advice can come in a multitude of categories.
- Format is all about whether or not you’re setting each shift of POV into a new paragraph, if your commas and quotations are used correctly for dialogue, so on and so forth. This is about the overall look. Write your story in whatever font type and color you so desire, but when you’re preparing to submit to critique partners or literary magazines or agents, make sure you know what the required format is. A critique partner who’s been down this road can help you with this, and if you’re ever unsure, Google manuscript, short story, or poetry formatting and look for the most up-to-date source.
- Structure, flow and characters are what the brunt of critique should be. General story stuff. What felt right, what didn’t feel right. Where the pacing lagged, where it could be improved. Characters and their consistency and impact on the story. Keep in mind that if a critique partner felt iffy about something, don’t dismiss them. There might be something legitimately throwing them off about a scene or character and they’re not sure what it is. However, if they tell you exactly how you should fix it word-for-word, be wary. Changes are not for anyone to decide except you. They might be spot-on about what they felt, but absolutely off about how to fix it.
- Grammar and punctuation should only ever be commented upon if the critique partner in question is a trusted source. Some things can be tricky, such as the uses of the apostrophe, and different people may give you conflicting advice/corrections. But keep in mind that grammar and punctuation are not laws, they are guidelines. Plenty of books on the shelves utilize fragments and run-on sentences and split infinitives, whatever your drug of choice may be, which leads into the next point.
- Style and voice are personal. This is about a writer’s own taste. It’s how they like to throw paint on the canvas and how they want it to look after they’re finished. The important thing to keep in mind with style and voice is that it varies from one person to the next and it’s not for anyone to decide on or change except the writer in question.
The most harmful critique I see is an attack on personal style and character voice. As writers, we grow and develop our taste over time, and this is a good thing because we learn what we like and we know why we like it. When we read, we read critically, even if we had intended to read purely for pleasure, and this is a constant, endless study to build on our writing. We learn the rules of grammar so that we can test how to break them most effectively.
Always learn the rules before you break them.
Good advice on style and voice comes from a critique partner who is open. They may or may not know the rules of grammar very well (and knowing grammatical terminology as well as a dentist knows the name of each molar does not give more credibility over a well-read critique partner who simply goes by their gut). They tell you when something in the narrative isn’t working as well as it could.Example: I used to love sentence fragments, and by ‘love’, I mean I flooded my narrative with sentence fragments—but I did so lovingly. My writing professor at the time told me STOP, because, not only did I neglect to realize I had so many, but the flow of my narrative had become jarring and fractured. She didn’t tell me to take them all out. She told me to use them less frequently and more wisely. I did. My style is a million times better.
Good advice also comes from a critique partner who addresses problems with the story, not problems with you, the writer. I’ve heard many a horror story of workshop groups where one participant’s critiques were overly harsh and attacking, but under the guise of “feedback in the real world is harsher than this and I’m doing you a favor.” That’s like people who honk at student drivers to “teach them a lesson”, which it doesn’t, it only makes them more nervous and scared. When someone says, “I’m just gonna tell it like it is,” it means, “I don’t feel like and/or know how to put forth the effort to explain this in any way that won’t be offensive.”
Bad advice will tell you how you should change your style or character voice instead of simply how it’s not working as well as it could. Sometimes critique partners mistake personal opinion as fact. It happens. But when said partners try to make your personal style of writing more alike to what they want to read—or more alike to their own style—that’s not good. Bad advice might even use their authority or status as a weapon to enforce their credibility, and that’s even worse. “I know how you want to write better than you do” is essentially how that translates.Example 1: I once received advice to never, ever use the word “very”. Well, I can see why. Descriptions such as “she was very beautiful” are empty, but what in my case? My two other critique partners disagreed, noting that the story’s POV is first person, and that any use of the word “very” was his personal, natural voice. To take it out would be to harm his voice.Example 2: This was when I had finished the first manuscript I wanted to publish, but the word count was grossly high. Someone with a huge amount of authority told me to pair the narrative down. I didn’t have much fat to shave off outside the character voice, and unwittingly, I shaved it down to the bone, stripping my character from the narrative. It was a disaster that I can see only in hindsight.
Bad advice will also tell you what NOT to write about, or criticize what you decide to write about, for no legitimate reason outside of “I don’t like it” (and sometimes this is disguised, again, as fact instead of opinion). Yes, we want to avoid writing clichés if we intend to have our stories read and accepted by the public, as an example. But clichés can be improved with fresh takes, written from new angles, redone to be new again, and this is much better than “Don’t write about this ever.”
Generally, we get some really good advice that effectively expresses opinions as purely subjective opinions, but differentiating good advice from bad isn’t always easy. What do we do?
- Always, always get second, third, fourth, etc. opinions. If I had relied only on “never, ever use the word ‘very’” in example 1, then I would have dulled the edge of my character’s voice like I had in example 2. Thankfully, I had two critique partners that I trusted to tell me otherwise.
- You have the power to reject feedback. Take in what your critique partner has to offer first. Nod. Get clarity if you need it. Then, thank them. Leave it at that. Don’t argue or tell them they’re wrong. If you disagree with what they have to say, simply don’t apply their opinions to your work, but make sure you absolutely understand where they’re coming from first. Be objective.
- Trust your gut. If you apply the advice offered and feel like this has changed your story in a way you don’t like, if it makes you uncomfortable, then undo what bothers you. Keep your story yours, just make sure you understand where your reader is coming from and why you can’t apply the changes offered.
In the end, the most important thing is to write selfishly, revise wisely.
100 Beautiful and Ugly Words
by Mark Nichol
One of the many fascinating features of our language is how often words with pleasant associations are also quite pleasing on the tongue and even to the eye, and how many words, by contrast, acoustically and visually corroborate their disagreeable nature — look no further than the heading for this post.
Enrich the poetry of your prose by applying words that provide precise connotation while also evoking emotional responses
- Amorphous: indefinite, shapeless
- Beguile: deceive
- Caprice: impulse
- Cascade: steep waterfall
- Cashmere: fine, delicate wool
- Chrysalis: protective covering
- Cinnamon: an aromatic spice; its soft brown color
- Coalesce: unite, or fuse
- Crepuscular: dim, or twilit
- Crystalline: clear, or sparkling
- Desultory: half-hearted, meandering
- Diaphanous: gauzy
- Dulcet: sweet
- Ebullient: enthusiastic
- Effervescent: bubbly
- Elision: omission
- Enchanted: charmed
- Encompass: surround
- Enrapture: delighted
- Ephemeral: fleeting
- Epiphany: revelation
- Epitome: embodiment of the ideal
- Ethereal: celestial, unworldly, immaterial
- Etiquette: proper conduct
- Evanescent: fleeting
- Evocative: suggestive
- Exuberant: abundant, unrestrained, outsize
- Felicity: happiness, pleasantness
- Filament: thread, strand
- Halcyon: care-free
- Idyllic: contentedly pleasing
- Incorporeal: without form
- Incandescent: glowing, radiant, brilliant, zealous
- Ineffable: indescribable, unspeakable
- Inexorable: relentless
- Insouciance: nonchalance
- Iridescent: luster
- Languid: slow, listless
- Lassitude: fatigue
- Lilt: cheerful or buoyant song or movement
- Lithe: flexible, graceful
- Lullaby: soothing song
- Luminescence: dim chemical or organic light
- Mellifluous: smooth, sweet
- Mist: cloudy moisture, or similar literal or virtual obstacle
- Murmur: soothing sound
- Myriad: great number
- Nebulous: indistinct
- Opulent: ostentatious
- Penumbra: shade, shroud, fringe
- Plethora: abundance
- Quiescent: peaceful
- Quintessential: most purely representative or typical
- Radiant: glowing
- Redolent: aromatic, evocative
- Resonant: echoing, evocative
- Resplendent: shining
- Rhapsodic: intensely emotional
- Sapphire: rich, deep bluish purple
- Scintilla: trace
- Serendipitous: chance
- Serene: peaceful
- Somnolent: drowsy, sleep inducing
- Sonorous: loud, impressive, imposing
- Spherical: ball-like, globular
- Sublime: exalted, transcendent
- Succulent: juicy, tasty, rich
- Suffuse: flushed, full
- Susurration: whispering
- Symphony: harmonious assemblage
- Talisman: charm, magical device
- Tessellated: checkered in pattern
- Tranquility: peacefulness
- Vestige: trace
- Zenith: highest point
- Cacophony: confused noise
- Cataclysm: flood, catastrophe, upheaval
- Chafe: irritate, abrade
- Coarse: common, crude, rough, harsh
- Cynical: distrustful, self-interested
- Decrepit: worn-out, run-down
- Disgust: aversion, distaste
- Grimace: expression of disgust or pain
- Grotesque: distorted, bizarre
- Harangue: rant
- Hirsute: hairy
- Hoarse: harsh, grating
- Leech: parasite,
- Maladroit: clumsy
- Mediocre: ordinary, of low quality
- Obstreperous: noisy, unruly
- Rancid: offensive, smelly
- Repugnant: distasteful
- Repulsive: disgusting
- Shriek: sharp, screeching sound
- Shrill: high-pitched sound
- Shun: avoid, ostracize
- Slaughter: butcher, carnage
- Unctuous: smug, ingratiating
- Visceral: crude, anatomically graphic
Notice how often attractive words present themselves to define other beautiful ones, and note also how many of them are interrelated, and what kind of sensations, impressions, and emotions they have in common. Also, try enunciating beautiful words as if they were ugly, or vice versa. Are their sounds suggestive of their quality, or does their meaning wholly determine their effect on us?
From Writers Write
TIPS FOR WRITERS
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!
Nobody hides under their blankets when they see Snidely Whiplash or Jesse and James. Here are a few tips on how to make an effective villain that makes your readers sleep with a nightlight.
- Give them an unusual, unsympathetic reason to hurt or kill.
If Lord Skulsanstuf kills for revenge, because of bigotry, or to prove how cool he is, he’s not as powerful. Readers hear about people in real life killing for those reasons all the time.
Instead, make him kill because he wants beautiful people never to have the experience of growing old and ugly. Make him kill because he thinks the only way to stay pure is to drink a glass of blood every morning. Then do a chapter from his perspective and show how delighted he is with his way of thinking. Instant chills.
- Allow them to kill fully developed characters.
Nobody cares that Lady Lotsoblood burned an entire village to the ground and tortured all the children to death if nobody in that village is important enough in your story to have a name. Look at all your characters and figure out which ones are the most expendable. Then let Lotsoblood work her magic.
- Go in detail about the strange deeds they commit.
I would never want to be stabbed, but I especially don’t want a knife to run down the side of my cheek, lifting parts of my skin so my assailant can brutally rip them off later. That sounds a lot worse because I can imagine it better in my head.
- Don’t bog them down with too many evil traits.
A vivisector who kicks puppies and burns down buildings in his spare time is silly, not scary. Good, nice traits can drive in the fact that your villain is human and therefore anybody could turn into them, which is a scary thought.
- Don’t make them annoying.
Professor Umbridge hits almost every point on this list, but she’s too annoying to be truly scary.
- Give them control of every situation.
Until the very final battle, the villain should know more about what’s happening than the heroes. The heroes should have a hard time keeping a secret no matter what measures they put in place.
whilst avoiding stereotypes.
I am a British (to be specific English) person. I am sick of seeing badly written British characters so I’m going to help you out.
Within the UK we then have England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. What you might not realise is that in each of these countries dialogue, traditions and slang can be vastly different.
I’ve seen posts going around with British slang words but it’s practically useless to you if you don’t know which areas say these words. I’m from Yorkshire which is classed as having a ‘broad’ accent. We have words such as ‘mardy’ ‘Ey up’ ‘Nah then’ ‘innit’ ‘Gennel’. But people from other areas have no idea what I’m saying and don’t understand the slang because it is so region specific. Oh and what causes major arguments with my university friends is whether bread is ‘Bread Cakes’ ‘Bread rolls’ or ‘Bread buns’.
So know the area and the slang.
There are more places in the UK than London. So think about it and do some research before you decide where you want your character to be from, do something different and have them from ‘up north’.
Although I touched on this in the region section I think this is really important.We don’t all talk like the bleedin’ Queen. When I was a child this was the most annoying thing about children’s tv shows. Not only was the British character always the bad guy they always had a badly done posh accent and sat around drinking tea.
So watch some videos, you don’t need to write in the accent but it will help you to familiarise yourself with the way people from that area speak.
These have a warning light above. Avoid at all costs. That snotty upper-class English person with a large chin? AVOID AT ALL COSTS.
I understand how easy it is to fall into stereotypes, but avoid them if you can. It will affect how good your end product is.
How we identify
I am a British person, but if someone was to ask me where I was from I would say English. Keep this mind when writing I don’t know many people who would introduce themselves and say ‘Oh I’m from Britain.’ We just don’t. All though we are one country- the UK. We all identify with the country we are born in. Most people are very proud and independent especially the Scottish and Welsh. They will normally identify with ‘Wales/Scotland/England/N.Ireland before they identify as British or from the UK.
So please keep this is mind!
Our own Stereotypes
Within the UK we don’t always get on and there is a lot of rivalry between parts of the UK. So for example the English call the Welsh ‘Sheep shaggers’ which is just a joke.
The South and North of England are hugely different places with people ‘darnnnn south’ thinking people from the north are all farmers and then the people from ‘Up Norff’ thinking those in the south are all posh. Off course it’s all nonsense, and we know it is. But we still say it!
A person first
You’ve decided to make a character British, great! But you should do your character development for this character the exact same as you would do any other character. The fact they are British doesn’t affect what their positive and negative traits are going to be. What effects these is their personality, background. Not where in the world they are from.
You’ve got a character in your novel that is British, not a British character.
Think of it that way and your character will be better off.
What this all comes down to, in the end is RESEARCH.
These links might give you an idea where to start, you will of course need to do further research
The best kind of research is to ASK someone. I’m from England and if you want to ask me any questions I will do my best to help, bear in mind though I can only tell you about where I’m from which is Yorkshire.
Hope this has been of help, I had a right laugh making this as I asked my Dad for help and he sat by me and randomly said slang words. (hence the slang post that I’m making)
If you can think of anything I have missed let me know and I’ll add it in. I haven’t included everything you need to think about but hopefully it will just help you get started.
EDIT: Another thing to keep in mind is that Wales especially has it’s own language and while not everyone from Wales speaks welsh in certain areas they do. So make sure you find out whether or not the area your character is from is likely to speak another language.
- Absent-minded - Preoccupied to the extent of being unaware of one’s immediate surroundings. Abstracted, daydreaming, inattentive, oblivious, forgetful.
- Abusive - Characterized by improper infliction of physical or psychological maltreatment towards another.
- Addict - One who is addicted to a compulsive activity. Examples: gambling, drugs, sex.
- Aimless - Devoid of direction or purpose.
- Alcoholic - A person who drinks alcoholic substances habitually and to excess.
- Anxious - Full of mental distress or uneasiness because of fear of danger or misfortune; greatly worried; solicitous.
- Arrogant - Having or displaying a sense of overbearing self-worth or self-importance. Inclined to social exclusiveness and who rebuff the advances of people considered inferior. Snobbish.
- Audacious - Recklessly bold in defiance of convention, propriety, law, or the like; insolent; braze, disobedient.
- Bad Habit - A revolting personal habit. Examples: picks nose, spits tobacco, drools, bad body odour.
- Bigmouth - A loud-mouthed or gossipy person.
- Bigot - One who is strongly partial to one’s own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.
- Blunt - Characterized by directness in manner or speech; without subtlety or evasion. Frank, callous, insensitive, brusque.
- Bold - In a bad sense, too forward; taking undue liberties; over assuming or confident; lacking proper modesty or restraint; rude; impudent. Abrupt, brazen, cheeky, brassy, audacious.
- Callous - They are hardened to emotions, rarely showing any form of it in expression. Unfeeling. Cold.
- Childish - Marked by or indicating a lack of maturity; puerile.
- Complex - An exaggerated or obsessive concern or fear. (List specific complex.)
- Cruel - Mean to anyone or anything, without care or regard to consequences and feelings.
- Cursed - A person who has befallen a prayer for evil or misfortune, placed under a spell, or borne into an evil circumstance, and suffers for it. Damned.
- Dependent - Unable to exist, sustain oneself, or act appropriately or normally without the assistance or direction of another.
- Deranged - Mentally decayed. Insane. Crazy. Mad. Psychotic.
- Dishonest – Given to or using fraud, cheating; deceitful, deceptive, crooked, underhanded.
- Disloyal - Lacking loyalty. Unfaithful, perfidious, traitorous, treasonable
- Disorder - An ailment that affects the function of mind or body. (List the disorders name if they have one.) See the Mental Disorder List.
- Disturbed - Showing some or a few signs or symptoms of mental or emotional illness. Confused, disordered, neurotic, troubled.
- Dubious - Fraught with uncertainty or doubt. Undecided, doubtful, unsure.
- Dyslexic - Affected by dyslexia, a learning disorder marked by impairment of the ability to recognize and comprehend written words.
- Egotistical - Characteristic of those having an inflated idea of their own importance. Boastful, pompous.
- Envious - Showing extreme cupidity; painfully desirous of another’s advantages; covetous, jealous.
- Erratic - Deviating from the customary course in conduct or opinion; eccentric: erratic behaviour. Eccentric, bizarre, outlandish, strange.
- Fanatical - Fanatic outlook or behaviour especially as exhibited by excessive enthusiasm, unreasoning zeal, or wild and extravagant notions on some subject.
- Fickle – Erratic, changeable, unstable - especially with regard to affections or attachments; capricious.
- Fierce - Marked by extreme intensity of emotions or convictions; inclined to react violently; fervid.
- Finicky - Excessively particular or fastidious; difficult to please; fussy. Too much concerned with detail. Meticulous, fastidious, choosy, critical, picky, prissy, pernickety.
- Fixated - In psychoanalytic theory, a strong attachment to a person or thing, especially such an attachment formed in childhood or infancy and manifested in immature or neurotic behaviour that persists throughout life. Fetish, quirk, obsession, infatuation.
- Flirt -To make playfully romantic or sexual overtures; behaviour intended to arouse sexual interest. Minx. Tease.
- Gluttonous - Given to excess in consumption of especially food or drink. Voracious, ravenous, wolfish, piggish, insatiable.
- Gruff - Brusque or stern in manner or appearance. Crusty, rough, surly.
- Gullible - Will believe any information given, regardless of how valid or truthful it is, easily deceived or duped.
- Hard - A person who is difficult to deal with, manage, control, overcome, or understand. Hard emotions, hard hearted.
- Hedonistic - Pursuit of or devotion to pleasure, especially to the pleasures of the senses.
- Hoity-toity- Given to flights of fancy; capricious; frivolous. Prone to giddy behaviour, flighty.
- Humourless - The inability to find humour in things, and most certainly in themselves.
- Hypocritical - One who is always contradicting their own beliefs, actions or sayings. A person who professes beliefs and opinions for others that he does not hold. Being a hypocrite.
- Idealist - One whose conduct is influenced by ideals that often conflict with practical considerations. One who is unrealistic and impractical, guided more by ideals than by practical considerations.
- Idiotic - Marked by a lack of intelligence or care; foolish or careless.
- Ignorant - Lacking knowledge or information as to a particular subject or fact. Showing or arising from a lack of education or knowledge.
- Illiterate - Unable to read and write.
- Immature - Emotionally undeveloped; juvenile; childish.
- Impatient - Unable to wait patiently or tolerate delay; restless. Unable to endure irritation or opposition; intolerant.
- Impious - Lacking piety and reverence for a god/gods and their followers.
- Impish - Naughtily or annoyingly playful.
- Incompetent - Unable to execute tasks, no matter how the size or difficulty.
- Indecisive - Characterized by lack of decision and firmness, especially under pressure.
- Indifferent - The trait of lacking enthusiasm for or interest in things generally, remaining calm and seeming not to care; a casual lack of concern. Having or showing little or no interest in anything; languid; spiritless.
- Infamy - Having an extremely bad reputation, public reproach, or strong condemnation as the result of a shameful, criminal, or outrageous act that affects how others view them.
- Intolerant - Unwilling to tolerate difference of opinion and narrow-minded about cherished opinions.
- Judgemental - Inclined to make and form judgements, especially moral or personal ones, based on one’s own opinions or impressions towards others/practices/groups/religions based on appearance, reputation, occupation, etc.
- Klutz - Clumsy. Blunderer.
- Lazy - Resistant to work or exertion; disposed to idleness.
- Lewd - Inclined to, characterized by, or inciting to lust or lechery; lascivious. Obscene or indecent, as language or songs; salacious.
- Liar - Compulsively and purposefully tells false truths more often than not. A person who has lied or who lies repeatedly.
- Lustful - Driven by lust; preoccupied with or exhibiting lustful desires.
- Masochist - The deriving of sexual gratification, or the tendency to derive sexual gratification, from being physically or emotionally abused. A willingness or tendency to subject oneself to unpleasant or trying experiences.
- Meddlesome - Intrusive in a meddling or offensive manner, given to meddling; interfering.
- Meek - Evidencing little spirit or courage; overly submissive or compliant; humble in spirit or manner; suggesting retiring mildness or even cowed submissiveness.
- Megalomaniac - A psycho pathological condition characterized by delusional fantasies of wealth, power, or omnipotence.
- Naïve - Lacking worldly experience and understanding, simple and guileless; showing or characterized by a lack of sophistication and critical judgement.
- Nervous - Easily agitated or distressed; high-strung or jumpy.
- Non-violent - Abstaining from the use of violence.
- Nosey - Given to prying into the affairs of others; snoopy. Offensively curious or inquisitive.
- Obsessive - An unhealthy and compulsive preoccupation with something or someone.
- Oppressor - A person of authority who subjects others to undue pressures, to keep down by severe and unjust use of force or authority.
- Overambitious - Having a strong excessive desire for success or achievement.
- Overconfident - Excessively confident; presumptuous.
- Overemotional - Excessively or abnormally emotional. Sensitive about themselves and others, more so than the average person.
- Overprotective - To protect too much; coddle.
- Overzealous - Marked by excessive enthusiasm for and intense devotion to a cause or idea.
- Pacifist - Opposition to war or violence as a means of resolving disputes. (Can double as a merit in certain cases)
- Paranoid - Exhibiting or characterized by extreme and irrational fear or distrust of others.
- Peevish - Expressing fretfulness and discontent, or unjustifiable dissatisfaction. Cantankerous, cross, ill-tempered, testy, captious, discontented, crotchety, cranky, ornery.
- Perfectionist - A propensity for being displeased with anything that is not perfect or does not meet extremely high standards.
- Pessimist - A tendency to stress the negative or unfavourable or to take the gloomiest possible view.
- Pest - One that pesters or annoys, with or without realizing it. Nuisance. Annoying. Nag.
- Phobic – They have a severe form of fear when it comes to this one thing. Examples: Dark, Spiders, Cats
- Practical - Level-headed, efficient, and unspeculative. No-nonsense.
- Predictable - Easily seen through and assessable, where almost anyone can predict reactions and actions of said person by having met or known them even for a short time.
- Proud - Filled with or showing excessive self-esteem and will often shirk help from others for the sake of pride.
- Rebellious - Defying or resisting some established authority, government, or tradition; insubordinate; inclined to rebel.
- Reckless - Heedless. Headstrong. Foolhardy. Unthinking boldness, wild carelessness and disregard for consequences.
- Remorseless - Without remorse; merciless; pitiless; relentless.
- Rigorous - Rigidly accurate; allowing no deviation from a standard; demanding strict attention to rules and procedures.
- Sadist - The deriving of sexual gratification or the tendency to derive sexual gratification from inflicting pain or emotional abuse on others. Deriving of pleasure, or the tendency to derive pleasure, from cruelty.
- Sadomasochist - Both sadist and masochist combined.
- Sarcastic - A subtle form of mockery in which an intended meaning is conveyed obliquely.
- Sceptic - One who instinctively or habitually doubts, questions, or disagrees with assertions or generally accepted conclusions.
- Seducer - To lead others astray, as from duty, rectitude, or the like; corrupt. To attempt to lead or draw someone away, as from principles, faith, or allegiance.
- Selfish - Concerned chiefly or only with oneself.
- Self-Martyr - One who purposely makes a great show of suffering in order to arouse sympathy from others, as a form of manipulation, and always for a selfish cause or reason.
- Self-righteous - Piously sure of one’s own righteousness; moralistic. Exhibiting pious self-assurance. Holier-than-thou, sanctimonious.
- Senile - Showing a decline or deterioration of physical strength or mental functioning, esp. short-term memory and alertness, as a result of old age or disease.
- Shallow - Lacking depth of intellect or knowledge; concerned only with what is obvious.
- Smart Ass - Thinks they know it all, and in some ways they may, but they can be greatly annoying and difficult to deal with at times, especially in arguments.
- Soft-hearted - Having softness or tenderness of heart that can lead them into trouble; susceptible of pity or other kindly affection. They cannot resist helping someone they see in trouble, suffering or in need, and often don’t think of the repercussions or situation before doing so.
- Solemn - Deeply earnest, serious, and sober.
- Spineless - Lacking courage. Cowardly, wimp, lily-livered, gutless.
- Spiteful - Showing malicious ill will and a desire to hurt; motivated by spite; vindictive person who will look for occasions for resentment. Vengeful.
- Spoiled - Treated with excessive indulgence and pampering from earliest childhood, and has no notion of hard work, self-care or money management; coddled, pampered. Having the character or disposition harmed by pampering or over-solicitous attention.
- Squeamish - Excessively fastidious and easily disgusted.
- Stubborn - Unreasonably, often perversely unyielding; bull-headed. Firmly resolved or determined; resolute.
- Superstitious - An irrational belief arising from ignorance or fear from an irrational belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome.
- Tactless - Lacking or showing a lack of what is fitting and considerate in dealing with others.
- Temperamental - Moody, irritable, or sensitive. Excitable, volatile, emotional.
- Theatrical - Having a flair for over dramatizing situations, doing things in a ‘big way’ and love to be ‘centre stage’.
- Timid -Tends to be shy and/or quiet, shrinking away from offering opinions or from strangers and newcomers, fearing confrontations and violence.
- Tongue-tied - Speechless or confused in expression, as from shyness, embarrassment, or astonishment.
- Troublemaker - Someone who deliberately stirs up trouble, intentionally or unintentionally.
- Unlucky - Marked by or causing misfortune; ill-fated. Destined for misfortune; doomed.
- Unpredictable - Difficult to foretell or foresee, their actions are so chaotic it’s impossible to know what they are going to do next.
- Untrustworthy - Not worthy of trust or belief. Backstabber.
- Vain - Holding or characterized by an unduly high opinion of their physical appearance. Lovers of themselves. Conceited, egotistic, narcissistic.
- Weak-willed - Lacking willpower, strength of will to carry out one’s decisions, wishes, or plans. Easily swayed.
- Withdrawn - Not friendly or Sociable. Aloof.
- Zealous - A fanatic.
So I thought I’d tackle another genre help, and since most of our followers seem to be YA writers (mainly) it seemed logical to tackle this one next.
So, what is YA?
Young-adult fiction (often abbreviated as YA) is fiction written for, published for, or marketed to adolescents and young adults [x]
Who is your audience?
It’s typically described as between the ages of 12-18. However depending on your story and your writing it could appeal universally. It honestly just depends!
Keep in mind whilst writing the sort of age you are wanting to aim your novel to. It helps when you have a slight idea of who is going to be reading it to write appropriately. Think about their likes and dislikes, what they would want to read and then do what the hell you want!
Sub genres of YA
YA just means young adult. So you can write ANY genre. Romance, crime, horror, fantasy. Delve into whatever genre you fancy!
The most popular and common YA genre is fantasy and has been for some time. This is something I think is lacking in adult novels but I don’t want to descend into an angry rant.
So what themes do these books have?
YA tends to deal with issues most associated with growing up, I’ll list the most common below.
- Coming of age
- Finding yourself
- Girlfriend/Boyfriend - First love
These themes make it so the reader can relate to the character. These themes can also be used in fantasy!
Harry Potter deals with death, growing up and finding yourself. Even though it is set in a make believe world the problems faced by Harry and co are ones we can all understand and sympathise with.
Trends are constantly changing and it’s hard to list them. But what usually happens is a book will come out and be successful and this will encourage a lot of similar novels to be published. So when Harry Potter came out, more novels about wizards lined the shelves. Then Twilight encouraged more supernatural based stories. Now we are seeing as a result of The Hunger Games much more dystopian books in the YA section.
This isn’t a bad thing but I don’t think you should try to predict these trends. It doesn’t matter!
The cliché love triangle
This wouldn’t be a YA genre post if I didn’t mention this. We all know the love triangle.
So should we use them?
Up to you! Do them your own way, make the love triangle work and be realistic and if you can do this well, why not slot one in!
However, remember what the focus of your story is. If the main plot is this romance, then focus on it. If it’s saving the world then leave it in the background as a sub-plot.
The three mains formula
What do I mean by this? By this I mean that most YA has three main characters. Are you ready for me to list some to prove my point?
- Harry Potter: Harry, Ron and Hermione
- Twilight: Bella, Edward, Jacob
- Percy Jackson: Percy, Annabeth, Grover
And I’m sure there are more!
I don’t know to be truthful, it just seems to work. Perhaps it’s so you can have a best friend and a love interest. Perhaps it’s because it’s easier to deal with than four.
I don’t know!
But, it works! If it doesn’t work for your novel, then it doesn’t matter. But for some reason this seems to be quite common in YA so I thought it was worth a mention!
Useful resources for writing YA
The basics of writing and reading YA- Writeworld
So that just about wraps up this genre post! As always take what we say and what the links say with a pinch of salt and do what YOU want to do.
If you can think of anything I’ve missed about YA send an ask.
The 7 habits of highly effective writers
Have you ever wondered why some people write easily and fluently, while others struggle and strain as if trying to squeeze a 185-lb body into a size six pair of jeans? In 30 years at this trade, I’ve noticed that effective writers tend to share seven traits. So, with apologies to Stephen Covey, here is my list.
Effective writers …
1) Separate the writing and the editing processes. When they write, they write, not worrying about the quality of their work. Writer/director Cecil Castellucci says: ‘The best flowers are fertilized by crap.’ Remember this and give yourself permission to write a crummy first draft.
Editing is a job for later. That’s when you’ll have plenty of time to rearrange big chunks of text, monkey around with sentence structure, obsess over word choice and fix punctuation.
2) Focus on the interesting. Effective writers (and speakers) always tell lots of stories. If they have to communicate something ‘theoretical’, they illustrate it with real life examples and anecdotes. They know that human beings don’t just crave food—they are also starved for stories.
3) Tap into the power of metaphor. As metaphor expert Anne Miller likes to say, ‘metaphors lead to instant understanding’. There are at least three metaphors in this article (can you find them all?)
4) Do adequate research. There is nothing more painful than trying to write when you have nothing to say. Effective writers understand that good research is all about asking interesting questions—of themselves, of the books, Web sites and reports they read and of anyone they interview. And this needs to be completed before any writing can begin.
5) Learn from the writing of others. Effective writers understand that they are lifelong apprentices. They learn by reading—constantly. Note: this is not just passive, flip- through-a-thriller-while-sitting-on-the-pool- deck kind of reading. This is active sit-up-and-pay-attention-to-technique dissection—similar to what a scientist would do in a lab. You won’t want to read this closely all the time, of course (it’s work—although fun work, to my mind). But effective writers do some of this every week.
6) Write in small bursts. Creative work doesn’t require oodles of time. That first draft you need to write? It’s best done in dribs and drabs, a little bit at a time. Instead of procrastinating, effective writers persuade themselves to write a little each day, no matter how frazzled and frantic they feel. (Editing, on the other hand, usually needs space, time and quiet.)
7) Read their work out loud. Language isn’t just meaning—it’s also music. The most effective writers can often be found sitting by the computer keyboards, madly whispering to the screen, repeating their words back to themselves. Yes, it looks kooky and co-workers may become alarmed. But effective writers don’t care. They do it because it works.
By Daphne Gray-Grant
A former daily newspaper editor, Daphne Gray-Grant is a writing and editing coach and the author of 8 Steps to Writing Faster, Better. She offers a free weekly newsletter on her Web site the Publication Coach. This story first appeared on PR Daily in August 2011.
From Writers Write
Anonymous asked you:
I’m a big fan of your blog and I don’t know where else to turn ^^; I’m having a lot of trouble getting the motivation to write, to work and to exist in general. I thought it was just procrastination, but it’s gotten to where I’ve completed 0 assignments all week and haven’t written anything for a whole month. I could really use any help or advice you’ve got, even if it’s just yelling…
First of all, I’m super glad you turned to someone about this, because I know it’s not always easy working up the nerve to ask people for help. Also, I’m a big expert on how to get myself (and my lovely partner in crime) to work beyond what I call our “brain rebellions”.
The brain rebellion is simply when we’ve fried ourselves by overworking for extended periods of time. Lots of people will tell you this is just bullshit and you need to learn how to “work through it” like “everyone else does”, but if you’re stressed, then you need to de-stress, not make yourself even more stressed. Don’t listen to those people, because, chances are, they don’t know a thing about your inner workings.
Here are some things to help you cope and de-stress:
- Know your limits. Everyone’s different and, consequently, everyone needs different things and works at different paces. The important thing is knowing how much you can take. Never think of it as “giving up” or “giving in” when you reach your limit. Think of it as, “My well-being comes first.”
- Be realistic about what you can handle. It’s okay to challenge yourself, but don’t tell yourself anything like, “Okay, yesterday I wrote 500 words, today I’m going to write 5k!”
- Don’t compare yourself to others. If you see someone who regularly writes 5k words a day, don’t kick yourself because you can only write 500. Your circumstances are likely so different from theirs that comparing yourself only hurts you with feelings of inadequacy.
- Take care of yourself first. Eat. Sleep. Take breaks to watch mind-numbing television or look at pretty artstuffs. Your brain is telling you it needs to turn off for a while, so let your brain turn off.
- Change your routines. If what you’re doing now isn’t working, consider changing it up. Work somewhere else, at different times of the day, in public places or in private. Sometimes our default working environments aren’t very good to us for various reasons.
- Go someplace new. Take a little mini-vacation. Go find your nearest state park. Take some friends (or a significant other, or, heck, go by yourself) and stay at a place in the mountains or by the river. Find your nearest old towns and do some window shopping. Give your brain a chance to think about other things and detox from stress.
- Treat yourself. Reward yourself with something you love but you don’t have very often.
- Find a community of people similar to you and connect with them. Support groups are awesome and the right people can help talk you out of bad places.
- Know that you’re more important than the work you do or put out. You must always, always come first.
- Ask for help. If you fall into one of those bad places, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It doesn’t make you weak — it actually takes a great deal of strength to ask for help. A school counselor should be able to direct you to where you can find help, or you can always try hotlines.
There will always be school and there will always be something to write, but you’ve got to fulfill all your mental health needs before you get to that. When I’ve a friend who’s clearly been overworking themselves and is considering whether or not to just shut the book for the night and do what they want, I will be the first supporter.
Once you’ve done the things above, then here are some tips to get yourself working again:
- Set small goals. A lot of the time, we think about ALL the things we need to do and it haunts us as one giant entity. Sometimes making “to-do” lists to organize projects in order of importance can do this as well, because then you have a full visual of how much needs to be done. Write your to-do list, take the first thing, and divide it up into manageable segments. Then —
- Organize your time. Work for maybe a half hour, then take a work-free, mind-numbing tumblr break or whatever you please (or you could write or doodle or look for new music — it’s okay to be productive on your breaks because sometimes productivity in any form is what it takes for us to feel good about ourselves). Then take this process and repeat.
- It takes seven minutes for you to fully fix your concentration on something new (at least, that’s what I’ve heard). The first seven minutes are the hardest when you pop open a school book to do homework or open up a word document to write, but give yourself seven full, uninterrupted minutes of focus.
- Train yourself to think positively. This’ll take time. My father says it takes 21 days to make or break habits, but this is of necessity. When you finish your working increment of thirty minutes, don’t go, “Oh hell, I only read two pages and I still have to read 17 and answer the response questions and alkdsfl.” Get yourself to start thinking, “Two pages are out of the way. Now I get some free time.”
- Take walks. If you’ve got nature around you (green belts or anything similar), then take a walk. Negative ions are said to be good for the body, and nature secretes loads of negative ions. If you don’t have nature, then get away from technology (which secrets positive ions, said to be draining) with a book or a notebook or a drawing pad.
- Talk to people, whether in person, on the phone, through AIM or Skype, Tumblr or forums. Connecting with people gets you to hear voices other than your own, and it also gives you the chance to unload all your thought vomit. Just make sure you find some positive reinforcements, not negative.
- Build yourself up. Work with smaller segments an increments at first. Work for ten minutes, then give yourself a break. Then, as you get more comfortable, challenge yourself to do fifteen minutes.
- Cheat a little. Oops, you got to this part in your story that you’ve been waiting for and you wrote for fifteen minutes longer than you should have. That’s cool. You might match your next work segment time to make up the difference.
- If you feel like giving up, stop. Repeat the first set of bullets. Don’t start working again until you’re ready.
Your writing may be suffering because you’re simply overworked and overstressed, but it could also be because of guilt: “I haven’t done any work, I don’t deserve to write,” or, “How can I do any writing if I haven’t done any work?”
Your creative process might be poisoned by this stress. For now, you could do little things for your writing that help inspire you. Between your work segments, look at art, listen to music, plot and plan. Try to keep yourself in creative habits, and when you feel confident again, start writing little bits and pieces that excite you.
Here are some additional links that might help:
- Backhanding Procrastination
- On Editing
- On That Note: Accomplish All The Things
- Breaking Down the Wall: Overcoming Procrastination
I hope all this helps, and thank you again for the ask.
Have a few resources on smexy times and the like.
Do your research if you’re going to do this. Some things are physically impossible or may put you in the hospital and/or kill you. Use your best judgment with this and when in doubt, leave it out.
A question about the Kama Sutra.