It's a Writer Thing

Whether or not you write well, write bravely.

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Drums And Heartbeats
Write about a character in the middle of a battlefield. The city they once called home is being torn in two. Any other person would rush to leave, but this character is running into danger. What would push them to do this? Are they looking for something, or someone?

Want to publish a story inspired by this prompt? Click here to read the guidelines~ ♥︎ And, if you’re looking for more writerly content, make sure to follow me:!



Drums And Heartbeats

Write about a character in the middle of a battlefield. The city they once called home is being torn in two. Any other person would rush to leave, but this character is running into danger. What would push them to do this? Are they looking for something, or someone?

Want to publish a story inspired by this prompt? Click here to read the guidelines~ ♥︎ And, if you’re looking for more writerly content, make sure to follow me:!

Filed under word prompt

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Noveling Adventure Giveaways!

TGNA is back from summer vacation! 

In order to celebrate our re-launch, we’re hosting MASSIVE giveaways.

Starting at 9AM EST Saturday and running until 7PM Sunday, we’ll be giving away prizes on ourtwitter account (@novel_adventure). Simply follow and retweet to win! These prizes include critiques, books, and more!

We also have several awesome prize packs that we’re giving away here on the blog:

  • Two mystery book packages – Two lucky winners will each get a set of 3 books chosen by Serena, Kit, Isabelle, and Megan.
  • Character Sketch — one lucky winner will receive a character sketch from the super-talented Laura Hollingsworth, thanks to Alyssa.
  • Outlander Audiobook — one lucky winner will snag an audio copy of OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, courtesy of Lauren.
  • Ultimate Submission Package — one lucky winner will receive a Query Critique from Danielle Ellison, the author of SALT and FOLLOW ME THROUGH DARKNESS, and Senior Editor at Spencer Hill Press; a Pitch + Synopsis Critique (with up to three revisions!) from Sarah; and a 30-Page Critique from Valerie.

You have until 12AM (Midnight) EST Sunday to enter the rafflecopter giveaway below!  Winners will be announced on Monday. Good luck!


Filed under Promote noveling Critique submission

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Anonymous asked: Hello! Do you happen to know of any guides or help that could be useful for creating and writing a character that is homeless? Thanks!


Off the top of my head no, but at the end of this post I’ll list some resources that might help you. When writing a character who is homeless, some important things to look at is the area they live in (being homeless in NYC vs. being homeless in rural Alabama will be two different experiences), why they are homeless, and perhaps for how long. 

When picking an area I’d do some research on the weather, because if your character is living in a cold climate you’ll need to figure out what they do for shelter. Also maybe look into the different types of aid that area provides for its homeless, some places are more hands on with helping their homeless, others sadly not so much. Your character will also obviously need food and water, so you’ll need to figure out how they get these. They could panhandle, go through garbage, regularly go to a shelter, or steal- perhaps a mixture of all three. No matter, it should be one of the first things you sort out.

As far as reasons there are an infinite amount. It could be anything from addiction, an untreated mental disability, physical disability, sudden death of a family member, loss of a job, eviction, or even intentionally (think Into the Wild).

Really my main piece of advice is research research research. It’s kind of hard to write a general guide to homelessness because there are so many circumstantial things that go into it and it’s hard to really cover everything. Also, please don’t have your character homeless as just a quirk or something interesting about them. Homelessness is a very real and serious issue that millions of people suffer from, and should be treated with the utmost amount of respect and care.


- Mickey

Filed under homeless hobo location character Writer Resources

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My scene checklist


I make sure I have all these things in mind before I start writing a scene. Yours will might be a bit different because different people have different writing techniques.

  • What is my POV character’s voice?
  • What emotion is my POV character feeling and how does that affect their voice?
  • What will happen during this scene?
  • How will this scene end?
  • How will the next scene begin?
  • Is there anything in the future I can foreshadow in this scene?
  • What are the non-POV characters thinking throughout the scene?
  • Is there anything that should periodically enter my POV character’s mind?
  • What is the character arc for everybody involved?

(via characterandwritinghelp)

Filed under writing tips writing scenes scenes format pacing pov structure

195 notes

Anonymous asked: I have a character who was a cook in a early 14th century castle and while I've found good info on what the food and kitchen was like, I found very little on the function itself other than saying it was a high position among the servants. Would you have any more sources, info or advice, please? Thank you in advance, this blog is always extremely helpful and I often find what I need here, love it.


I’m not sure what you mean by the ‘function’…? If I was to hazard a guess, a cook would be involved in;

  • Ensuring the right ingredients are available;
  • Preparing food;
  • Cooking the food;
  • Arranging it ready for serving.

Given it’s in a castle, I would presume the cook would have some interaction with the highest ranking person in the building, even if it’s just through their aides/the rank directly beneath the castle’s owner. At least I think that’s how they would understand what kind of dishes they should be cooking (or recipes they should be developing) to best please those regularly dining.

Additionally, I would think if the cook was the head chef, he would be ranked above all of the other kitchen staff, and so be involved in appointing/distributing tasks, initiating/training new staff, etc.

I’ve found a short documentary which has a decent bit of information about the King’s head cheaf in Medieval times, so that’s worth a watch. Otherwise, like you, I can only really find information on recipes and kitchen appliances…

Followers, do we have any experts out there who can help?


- enlee

Filed under 14th century history historical fiction Medieval cooking food cook balls feasts castles Writer Resources

143 notes

Ten Steps to a Perfect and Somewhat Clichéd Horror Script!


Source: SimplyScripts

1. The Hook. Start with a bang. Step right into a suspense scene. (“Scream” opens with a terrifying sequence with Drew Barrymore on the phone with a killer)

2. The Flaw. Introduce your hero. Give him a flaw. Before you can put your hero in jeopardy we must care for him. We must want our hero to succeed. So make him human. (In “Signs” Mel Gibson plays a priest who has lost his faith after his wife died)

3. The Fear. A variant of The Flaw. The hero has a fear. Maybe a fear of heights, or claustrophobia. (In “Jaws” Roy Scheider has a fear of water. At the end he has to conquer his fear by going out onto the ocean to kill the shark)

4. No Escape. Have your hero at an isolated location where he can’t escape the horror. (Like the hotel in “The Shining”)

5. Foreplay. Tease the audience. Make them jump at scenes that appear scary — but turn out to be completely normal. (Like the cat jumping out of the closet) Give them some more foreplay before bringing in the real monster.

6. Evil Attacks. A couple of times during the middle of the script show how evil the monster can be — as it attacks its victims.

7. Investigation. The hero investigates, and finds out the truth behind the horror.

8. Showdown. The final confrontation. The hero has to face both his fear and the monster. The hero uses his brain, rather than muscles, to outsmart the monster. (At the end of “The Village” the blind girl tricks the monster to fall into the hole in the ground)

9. Aftermath. Everything’s back to the way it was from the beginning — but the hero has changed for the better or for the worse. (At the end of “Signs” Mel Gibson puts on his clerical collar again — he got his faith back)

10. Evil Lurks. We see evidence that the monster may return the future..(Almost all “Friday The 13’th”-movies end with Jason showing signs of returning for another sequel)

Filed under horror script plotting cliche format writer reference

1,421 notes

Avoiding the White Savior Cliche


Anonymous asked: At one point in my story a character of color is assaulted and nearly dies. He is saved, however, by a white character. How can I write this without treading into White Savior territory?

The first step is knowing that you can easily fall into writing the White Savior cliche. I see that you are aware of this, though I still recommend that you read TVTropes’ posts on Mighty Whitey and White Man’s Burden. You might also read Does My Hero Look White In This: Hollywood’s White Saviour Complex by Katherine Kingsle.

I think what’s important is that you write a person helping another person, not a character who is white saving a character of color. The character of color doesn’t need saving because they are not white, right? Even if they’re assaulted for being a person of color, they don’t need saving because, owing to their non-whiteness, they cannot otherwise help themselves… right? Well, then don’t write that! 

I think there must be a sense of agency from the perspective of the character of color. If the character of color is hopeless or too “overcome by their own prejudices and circumstances to help themselves” (x) and requires the white character to swoop in all idealized and shiny to save the character of color from their problems, then you’ve got a White Savior situation on your hands. Time for a rewrite.

Also, this rescue scene might take refining from you during the editing process. You might want to have some of your non-white writer friends take a look at it for potentially problematic writing. 

I’m sure other writers will want to weigh in on this topic with their own tips and resources. We will add any helpful comments we receive to this post.

Thank you for your question!


(via characterandwritinghelp)

Filed under white savior cliche stereotype Writer Resources tropes character

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merriekenwood asked: that is a spectacular gif... anyway!! i was wondering if you have any tips for catching plot holes, and for creating a suitably dramatic and affecting ending? i'm currently editing my first attempt in writing in the mystery genre, and i keep stumbling across plot holes, making me wonder if there are more i or my beta have missed! and my ending doesn't feel like it packs enough of a punch to satisfy the reader, but i'm not sure how to generally improve it? thanks mandark :~)


Well, with plot holes, that can be tricky. A lot of the time, people don’t notice plots holes right away. They’re immersed in the book/movie/show, and they don’t catch it. It’s after when they think about it, consume the work again they pick up on things. 

One thing that may help is to chart all the major plot points-do they add up, are there inconsistencies? It may also help to let someone look at it with fresh eyes, or to take a short break from your story and come back to it. It’s hard to catch anything when you’ve poured over a manuscript constantly. Keep track of where/when characters show up, how they get information, the skills they have.

A lot of really famous works have really gaping plot holes, you can’t catch everything. 

Some things on plot holes:

TvTropes: Plot Holes

Mind the Gap: Plot Holes

Checking for Plot Holes

Keep Plot Holes from Ruining the First Draft

Now for endings-something I myself have a hard time with. 

Think about how you want your readers to feel-happy, unnerved, sad? What do you want them to get out of it? Where do your characters end up? How did the characters develop? Do you tie up loose ends? You can answer everything, but there are things people want to know. 

For your genre, people usually expect a resolution with a clear answer of who did it. If you don’t reveal it, people will often feel cheated. Different genres have different sorts of endings. 

How to End Your Story

How to Find Your Story’s Ending

How to End a Mystery Novel

Filed under editing plot holes betas plot hole ending mystery suspense ends writer resources

1,740 notes

Writing Tips #122: Dealing with Character Trauma



Your protagonist is going to go through a lot. Whether you’re writing a grueling horror novel or a romantic comedy, it’s the suffering of the protagonist in one way or another that carries us through the story. I’m looking at this through the lens of an urban fantasy/horror writer but it applies no matter what your genre.

But if our characters are even remotely human we need to deal with the aftermath of them undergoing that trauma. Let’s say you’re writing a Lovecraftain horror story, the heroine has to fight her way through madness, monsters and mayhem* to find herself at the end of the story with all of her friends dead (perhaps some by her hand) and her perception of the universe absolutely shattered. If it’s a one off story you don’t need to deal with what that kind of experience can do to a person in the long term, although it’s a good idea to at least hang a lampshade on it.

In a series or a story that covers a long time period it has to be addressed. It will depend somewhat on who your character is, but sooner or later if they’re exposed to violence or extreme strangeness they’re going to have to deal with it. Whether dealing with it means speaking to a counsellor, medication or simply having a good friend to talk it over with is up to you and to the scale of the trauma your characters go through.

A series that dealt with this well was Charles Stross’s Laundry Files where the main protagonist, Bob, is called upon to deal with everything from spy skulduggery to Elder gods that think he looks delicious. He experiences extreme violence from every possible angle and it all but destroys him. The only way he holds everything together is the organisation that he works for provides counselling and medication (not to mention a quiet safe place to stay) while he learns to cope.

It’s worth mentioning that while professionals who are trained to deal with bad things (soldiers, cops, doctors etc) cope better under pressure because they’ve been trained to, they will still need help dealing with major traumatic events. This is true even if your character is an absolute badass, in fact the only time it might not be true is if you’re writing a protagonist who’s a sociopath. Even then, sociopath’s aren’t superhuman and they will experience their own fallout from traumatic events outside of their control**.

Something else worth noting is that characters who end up killing other people during the course of the story are going to be changed by the experience. How they change is going to depend a lot on the character and if they’ve been trained and conditioned to kill. If you want to do some more reading on this then I can highly recommend Dave Grossman’s book On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society for a closer look at the effects being trained to kill and the act itself can have on people.

For your fiction, the most important thing is to remember that you can’t have your character unaffected by the things they’ve gone through and the things they’ve done. Such characters are boring, not in the least because they’ve been done to death. Far more interesting is the character that get’s hurt, is terribly traumatised by the things that have happened to them but keeps going anyway.

* The three M’s

** They’ll probably be okay with traumatic events within their control

(via characterandwritinghelp)

Filed under trauam character trauma ptsd characterization characters writing advice