Following on from my recent article Avoiding Female Stereotypes, we obviously need to discuss some of the male stereotypes.
Yup, these stereotypes creep into books and movies all too often and so I feel it’s my duty to point them out (mainly because they annoy me and well, that’s a good enough reason for me to write this article) 🙂
So, we are back to my World Building series. If you want to see the earlier ones, check out my Tutorial List, they are all linked in there.
I’ve discussed topics such as water, atmosphere and land so now let’s get to some of those living organisms.
Today’s topic is Flora. So what is flora? That would be plants.
If someone asked me what I wish I had known when I first started writing that would have helped me now, I think my answer would have been starting my electronic organising earlier.
Having amassed huge amounts of scenes, notes, ideas, plots, character profiles, lists, maps, pictures and more all to do with SEVERAL novel series’, an organised system was needed.
So is it really important? (I hear you ask)
I have read enough books to find that fight scenes can be difficult to write. Some of the novels I have read had painful fight scenes that either had to be skipped completely or re-read just to figure out who was doing what, so this tutorial is an amalgamation of my thoughts on the best ways to do it.
First, let’s break this down into aspects to think about:
If you missed part 1 check out here Writing Sex Scenes (part 1)
First know your characters, second know your location.
Words – If you are writing a gritty crime novel in modern-day, words like “fuck”, “tits”, “blowjob” might seem appropriate. However if you are writing a fantasy-type novel set in ancient Egypt they aren’t. Think about your words carefully.
This blog post was suggested by YokoNakajima from deviantART. Big thanks for suggesting 🙂
Having a different language in your story can be tricky, after all languages are not so easily created. Let’s take English as an example (since I’m English). This language has changed many times over the centuries.
We had a Celtic language that had a nice mix of Latin from when the Roman’s invaded. Then when people came over from Germany/Denmark they brought with them their Germanic language that got nicely thrown in as well.
Follow that up with a little Saxon invasion, then a Norman invasion. The Normans’ language was very similar to French, which is the reason we still have certain French words in our language today such as bureau and etiquette to name a few. So, many of our words have French origins.
Mini trivia: The word Dandelion is a good example. It comes from Dent de Lion meaning Lion’s tooth in French due to the jagged leaves.
We have language of Shakespeare, the Queen’s English, not to mention the different dialects all over this small island that mean one word in one area means something very different in another area!
So right away you can see how messy languages can be when developing.
Tutorial: BASIC DESCRIPTIONS
Every writer should have heard the term “Show, don’t tell.” Now I will go into that in more detail in another blog, but I’ve had people say they don’t understand this term.
Let me explain. Writers are not just storytellers. When we meet up with friends and family, we will tell stories of our day. We go through the events, often with wild hand gestures and more than enough exaggerated points.
This is telling. After all, if some idiot almost runs you off the road, I guarantee colourfulness of the story comes not from any description but from some choice curse words. You don’t describe physically the driver or set the landscape other than maybe a passing reference to what road you might have been driving on.
Showing comes from description and descriptions make a story come to life. Each reader will take what descriptions you give in your story, paint out the image in their mind’s eye and then add to it. With this knowledge, we know we need to supply some description to give our readers their mental paintbrushes but not every last detail as some things should be left to the reader.
The terms “talent” and “skill” can often be heard, banded about. I see many young writers, new writers who speak in awe of someone else’s talent. This is often followed, I am sad to say, by talk of “I’ll never be that good” or “I wish I was that talented.”
It is so easy to get disheartened in the creative arts. When I was younger my writing would suffer horrendously every time I read a great book. As the wow factor of the book faded, it would be replaced by a bitterness at myself and my work. This led to my own novel festering away alone as I refused to “waste my time” on it.
Thankfully I have grown out of that annoying habit and while I do still read books that wow me, they are now just a measuring stick by which I can gauge my own development.
I had drafted this article a while ago, however a passing comment from someone I know, regarding losing heart made me decide to complete and upload it. Maybe this is a good time to discuss feelings of ‘giving up’ (works well with my last post, Creative Constipation).
If your writing is streaking along happily right now, maybe the idea of giving up seems ludicrous. However I guarantee that at least once in every writer’s life, there will be a sense of “this is pointless, I can’t do it,” and the urge to pack it in will arise. For those of us unpublished, it can be a sinking feeling that the story will never be told!
A true writer loves to write, it is a passion that consumes, to some it is even a craving that needs to be fulfilled.
So what happens when the words don’t come, the characters fall silent, the plot line stops… or worse.
This is Creative Constipation (aka Writer’s Block) and every writer, from professional to amateur has suffered this. If you haven’t yet, you will – trust me.