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Writing right

The Right Writing

About the author

The Right Writing is a blog that offers a writing tip every day. I strive not to be just another writing blogger that says things like "show, don't tell" and "just keep writing." Instead, I try to offer unique insights about things that you might have missed.

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309 notes

April 17, 2015

i-am-the-infinite-space asked: I'm writing (another) young adult post apocalyptic story. There is a character who isn't super strong or smart or anything. Are there survival skills that can be acquired through everyday means? Like can a person learn to shoot real guns if they've played enough gunner based video games? Things like that would be helpful.

Somebody could be a poor survivalist and still survive on good social skills. Consider:

-Making friends with better survivalists who will keep them alive

-Manipulating better survivalists

-Taking on a leader role that doesn’t require hands-on hunting/gathering/defense/building/etc.

As far as survival skills you can learn through everyday tasks, I’m not sure. Do any of my followers know of such things?

272 notes

April 17, 2015

Happy birthday to me! : D

820 notes

April 6, 2015

Sometimes romance doesn’t work because one person justdoesn’t feel attraction back. In fiction, though, the feeling seems to always be mutual. This is understandable in romances because the whole point is for people to fall in love with each other. The way it happens every time in non-romances where romance is just a side plot is less understandable.

Consider these ways of thinking:

1. If I am attracted to somebody, they have to be attracted back

2. If somebody is attracted to me, I have to be attracted back

Having every single attraction be mutual in every single work of fiction feeds into those. Plus, it’s more realistic to have your characters fall for uninterested people sometimes. One-way love can be just as much a plot point as shared love.

Related: when Character A says firmly that they aren’t interested in Character B and Character B takes it as incentive to try harder and it works and they have a happy romance, that’s just creepy. “No” doesn’t actually mean “try harder.” Pursuing somebody who has made clear they don’t want you will not lead to happiness.

Filed under writing

5,729 notes

April 5, 2015

Maybe your characters are in trouble near the end of your story and you need to go back and make sure the way they get out of it is properly hinted at. Maybe there’s a perfect solution to the plot, but it introduces a large new element that you need to add in.

Don’t just say “something important will happen” or “Amy’s powers will do something huge.” That’s so nonspecific that it hardly counts as foreshadowing. Of course important things will happen. Important things happen in every story. And “mysterious powers” always ends up meaning “plot-convenient powers that could have been talked about in detail earlier, but since they weren’t it comes off like they were thought up at the last second to get the character out of trouble.” You can be specific and still be surprising. The Hiding Chekhov’s Gun post goes into some of the details on how.

It’s nice when foreshadowing is linked to the event it foreshadows by something other than the main character’s thoughts. “I looked at a bird and thought about Icarus, and how he flew too close to the sun and ended up dying” isn’t really foreshadowing for a spaceship later flying too close to a star and blowing up. An offhand line about how the fuel needed to be changed but wasn’t works a lot better because a reader can actually understand how bad fuel can lead to a spaceship explosion.

Filed under writing

749 notes

April 4, 2015

The number of words you use between two events gives your readers a rough idea of how much time occurs between them. This means that if you want to tell your readers that one event happens right another with no pause, it’s a bad idea to say that between the two events.

Good:

“Do you love me?” asked Maria.

“Yes,” said Tyrone, without hesitation.

Not so good:

“Do you love me?” asked Maria.

Tyrone didn’t hesitate. “Yes.”

In the second one, the time it takes to read “Tyrone didn’t hesitate” feels to me like time Tyrone is hesitating.

Filed under writing

896 notes

April 3, 2015

In the beginning of your story, you often have a lot of information to deliver so the readers can understand the stuff that comes after. This information needs to be given at a relevant time. It’s confusing and jarring to read “I dribbled my basketball. By the way, my mom died when I was five and my dad keeps all her stuff in the same condition she left it.”

Give your POV character or the narrative a reason to tell the readers what they need to know. Some good ways to do this are to have the main character look at an object relevant to the information or perform a task that needs to be explained using the information.

The first paragraph in particular is not there to cram as much disjointed backstory and worldbuilding into as possible.

Filed under writing

1,255 notes

April 2, 2015

When your readers first meet a character, unless you aretrying to intentionally mislead, that character shouldn’t be doing anythingthey don’t normally do. If you want to make it a point that Johnny almost never cries, don’t introduce Johnny in tears and then have somebody just say that it’s exceptional. Character breaking moments lose their significance when they happen too early because readers need to know the character to appreciate the difference. If you want to show that an event is so sad it makes a stoic person cry, you need to have already established a stoic person. You can’t just have one suddenly show up and cry because readers have no proof they were stoic in the first place.

If you need to say “Character never does X" after a character does X, you’re having them do X too soon.

Filed under writing

260 notes

April 1, 2015

http://www.jkrowling.com/en_US/#/news-events/latest/writing-essay

For those of you going through the archive, this was a rickroll for April Fools’ 2015.

Filed under writing

367 notes

March 31, 2015

ghost–jake:

ghost—jake:

my names Jake and I’m a pre-T transguy! My gender journey has been a tough ride so far but I know I can do it and you folks can too!

[he/him/his]

#transdayofvisibility

(Source: scrambled-greggs, via scrambled-greggs)

984 notes

March 16, 2015

I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with love triangles. The problem is that most authors write them poorly. Here are some pitfalls to avoid when writing a love triangle.

1. Don’t make it obvious which side will win unless learning to stop hanging on to wrong choices is the character arc of the person in the middle. Readers will wonder why you’re dragging out the decision when it’s clear what will happen. If only one side invokes passion while the other side is “just nice,” you’re falling into this trap.

2. When it finally becomes time for the character in the middle to decide, don’t suddenly turn one character into a jerk. Arbitrary character changes are never a good thing, but they’re even worse when they magically end a major conflict.

3. The decision should not be forced by one of the characters dying or getting taken away. This makes all the conflict beforehand seem pointless.

4. If you are not writing a romance, the love triangle should not overtake the main plot.

5. The person in the middle should not randomly switch which one they love more between paragraphs. This especially shouldn’t happen more than once unless their flip-flopping for no reason is an intentional character trait.

Filed under writing love triangles

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In fiction, though, the feeling seems to always be mutual. This is understandable in romances because the whole point is for people to fall in love with each other. The way it happens every time in non-romances where romance is just a side plot is less understandable.

Consider these ways of thinking:

1. If I am attracted to somebody, they have to be attracted back

2. If somebody is attracted to me, I have to be attracted back

Having every single attraction be mutual in every single work of fiction feeds into those. Plus, it’s more realistic to have your characters fall for uninterested people sometimes. One-way love can be just as much a plot point as shared love.

Related: when Character A says firmly that they aren’t interested in Character B and Character B takes it as incentive to try harder and it works and they have a happy romance, that’s just creepy.

Maybe there’s a perfect solution to the plot, but it introduces a large new element that you need to add in.

Don’t just say “something important will happen” or “Amy’s powers will do something huge.” That’s so nonspecific that it hardly counts as foreshadowing. Of course important things will happen. Important things happen in every story. And “mysterious powers” always ends up meaning “plot-convenient powers that could have been talked about in detail earlier, but since they weren’t it comes off like they were thought up at the last second to get the character out of trouble.” You can be specific and still be surprising. The Hiding Chekhov’s Gun post goes into some of the details on how.

It’s nice when foreshadowing is linked to the event it foreshadows by something other than the main character’s thoughts.

Filed under writing

749 notes

April 4, 2015

The number of words you use between two events gives your readers a rough idea of how much time occurs between them. This means that if you want to tell your readers that one event happens right another with no pause, it’s a bad idea to say that between the two events.

Good:

“Do you love me?” asked Maria.

“Yes,” said Tyrone, without hesitation.

Not so good:

“Do you love me?” asked Maria.

Tyrone didn’t hesitate. “Yes.”

In the second one, the time it takes to read “Tyrone didn’t hesitate” feels to me like time Tyrone is hesitating.

Filed under writing

896 notes

April 3, 2015

In the beginning of your story, you often have a lot of information to deliver so the readers can understand the stuff that comes after.

Some good ways to do this are to have the main character look at an object relevant to the information or perform a task that needs to be explained using the information.

The first paragraph in particular is not there to cram as much disjointed backstory and worldbuilding into as possible.

Filed under writing

1,255 notes

April 2, 2015

When your readers first meet a character, unless you aretrying to intentionally mislead, that character shouldn’t be doing anythingthey don’t normally do. If you want to make it a point that Johnny almost never cries, don’t introduce Johnny in tears and then have somebody just say that it’s exceptional. Character breaking moments lose their significance when they happen too early because readers need to know the character to appreciate the difference.

Filed under writing

260 notes

April 1, 2015

http://www.jkrowling.com/en_US/#/news-events/latest/writing-essay

For those of you going through the archive, this was a rickroll for April Fools’ 2015.

Filed under writing

367 notes

March 31, 2015

ghost–jake:

ghost—jake:

my names Jake and I’m a pre-T transguy! My gender journey has been a tough ride so far but I know I can do it and you folks can too!

[he/him/his]

#transdayofvisibility

(Source: scrambled-greggs, via scrambled-greggs)

984 notes

March 16, 2015

I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with love triangles. The problem is that most authors write them poorly.

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