Before reporting broken links, please check the updated version which is always located here.
- Joss Whedon’t Top 10 Writing Tips
- 34 Writing Tips that will make you a Better Writer
- 50 Free resources that will improve your writing skills
- 5 ways to get out of the comfort zone and become a stronger writer
- 10 ways to avoid Writing Insecurity
- The Writer’s Guide to Overcoming Insecurity
- The Difference Between Good Writers and Bad Writers
- You’re Not Hemingway - Developing Your Own Style
- 7 Ways to use Brain Science to Hook Readers and Reel them In
- 8 Short Story Tips from Kurt Vonnegut
- How to Show, Not Tell
- 5 Essential Story Ingredients
- How to Write Fiction that grabs your readers from page one
- Why research is important in writing
- Make Your Reader Root for Your Main Character
- Writing Ergonomics (Staying Comfortable Whilst Writing)
- The Importance of Body 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.
The opinion doesn’t always have to be conscious, but it does have to be taken into account when the character is written. Angry apathy (I don’t care about that and how dare anybody else!) is still an opinion.
- Their gender
- Their ethnicity (in fantasy works, this could include species)
- How much money they earn
- Their age
- How many friends they have
- Their own religion, their friends’ religions, and all major religions
- The people they interact with on a daily basis
- Their parents
- The future
- Any rules they have to follow
- Which behaviors are morally objectionable
This is a really good article about how quickly people actually die from cuts and punctures inflicted by swords and knives. However, it’s really really long and I figured that since I was summarizing for my own benefit I’d share it for anyone else who is writing fiction that involves hacking and slashing your villain(s) to death. If you want the nitty gritty of the hows and whys of this, you can find it at the original source.
…even in the case of mortal wounds, pain may not reach levels of magnitude sufficient to incapacitate a determined swordsman.
Causes of death from stabs and cuts:
- massive bleeding (exsanguination) - most common
- air in the bloodstream (air embolism)
- suffocation (asphyxia)
- air in the chest cavity (pneumothorax)
- infectionStabbing vs cutting:
- Stabbing someone actually takes very little force if you don’t hit bone or hard cartilage.
- The most important factor in the ease of stabbing is the velocity of the blade at impact with the skin, followed by the sharpness of the blade.
- Stabbing wounds tend to close after the weapon is withdrawn.
- Stabbing wounds to muscles are not typically very damaging. Damage increases with the width of the blade.
- Cutting wounds are typically deepest at the site of initial impact and get shallower as force is transferred from the initial swing to pushing and pressing.
- Cutting wounds have a huge number of factors that dictate how deep they are and how easily they damage someone: skill, radial velocity, mass of the blade, and the size of the initial impact.
- Cutting wounds along the grain of musculature are not typically very damaging but cutting wounds across the grain can incapacitate.
Arteries vs veins:
- Severed veins have almost zero blood pressure and sometimes even negative pressure. They do not spurt but major veins can suck air in causing an air embolism.
- Cutting or puncturing a vein is usually not fatal.
- Severed arteries have high blood pressure. The larger arteries do spurt and can often cause death due to exsanguination.
Body parts as targets:
- Severing a jugular vein in the neck causes an air embolism and will make the victim collapse after one or two gasps for air.
- Severing a carotid artery in the neck cuts off the blood supply to the brain but the victim may be conscious for up to thirty seconds.
- Stabbing or cutting the neck also causes the victim to aspirate blood that causes asphyxiation and death.
- Severing a major abdominal artery or vein would cause immediate collapse, but this takes a fairly heavy blade and a significant amount of effort because they are situated near the spine.
- Abdominal wounds that only impact the organs can cause death but they do not immediately incapacitate.
- Severing an artery in the interior of the upper arm causes exsanguination and death but does not immediately incapacitate.
- Severing an artery in the palm side of the forearm causes exsanguination and death but does not immediately incapacitate.
- Severing the femoral artery at a point just above and behind the knee is the best location. Higher up the leg it is too well protected to easily hit. This disables and will eventually kill the victim but does not immediately incapacitate.
- Cutting across the muscles of the forearm can immediately end the opponent’s ability to hold their weapon.
- Cutting across the palm side of the wrist causes immediate loss of ability to hold a weapon.
- Stab wounds to the arm do not significantly impact the ability to wield a weapon or use it.
- Cuts and stab wounds to the front and back of the legs generally do not do enough muscle damage to cause total loss of use of that leg.
- Bone anywhere in the body can bend or otherwise disfigure a blade.
- The brain can be stabbed fairly easily through the eyes, the temples, and the sinuses.
- Stabs to the brain are more often not incapacitating.
The lungs as targets:
- Slicing into the lung stops that lung from functioning, but the other lung continues to function normally. This also requires either luck to get between the ribs or a great deal of force to penetrate the ribs.
- Stabbing the lung stops that lung from functioning, but the other lung continues to function normally. It is significantly easier to stab between ribs than to slice.
- It is possible to stab the victim from the side and pass through both lungs with an adequate length blade. It is very unlikely that this will happen with a slicing hit.
- “Death caused solely by pneumothorax is generally a slow process, occurring as much as several hours after the wound is inflicted.”
- Lung punctures also typically involve the lung filling with blood, but this is a slow process.
The heart as a target:
I’m just going to quote this paragraph outright with a few omissions and formatting changes for clarity because it’s chock-full of good info:
…[stabbing] wounds to the heart the location, depth of penetration, blade width, and the presence or absence of cutting edges are important factors influencing a wounded duelist’s ability to continue a combat.
- Large cuts that transect the heart may be expected to result in swift incapacitation…
- …stab wounds, similar to those that might be inflicted by a thrust with a sword with a narrow, pointed blade may leave a mortally wounded victim capable of surprisingly athletic endeavors.Essentially, the heart can temporarily seal itself well enough to keep pressure up for a little while if it’s a simple stab. The arteries around the heart, while they are smaller and harder to hit, actually cause incapacitation much more quickly.
characters and their relationships are what is good about storytelling, in my opinion.
if you have strong characters and strong relationships, you can take your characters and put them in any situation and tell compelling stories about them. characters should always be the driving force in a story. The setting, plot, and all the rest really exist to help the characters shine; it’s a sad thing to use your big, shiny fantasy setting to cover up weak characterization.
Describing a character’s body language can be very important and helps your story from being too “telly”. You end up showing your readers how your characters are feeling instead of constantly telling them what’s going on. For example, if someone’s face “burns bright red”, you know they’re either angry or embarrassed (or perhaps a combination of both). Depending on context, your readers can figure out how your character is reacting. Using these simple techniques can help improve your story and make it much more entertaining.
- A character that is over confident (possibly the antagonist) will most likely stand taller, put hands on his or her hips, or bark orders at others. The way they sit will also reveal a lot about their character. Their legs will probably be unfolded and they might sit up straighter to show dominance.
- Someone who is shy and closed off will slump his or her shoulders or wrap their arms around their legs if they are sitting. They will do anything to remain unnoticed, which will come across in their body language. Submissive people tend to smile a lot because they might not want to engage in conversation.
- Anger can be described through clenched teeth, reddening skin, heavy breathing, or crossing arms. If a character feels physically threatened, he or she might ball her fists as if ready for a fight.
- When people lie they tend to touch their face or avoid eye contact. They will try any physical action that might distract people from the fact that they are lying and it will often be subtle.
- I once read that when you’re attracted to someone or open to conversation with them, you’ll point your knees in their direction. Your knees will often face the person who you wish to talk to. If someone is not open to conversation or feels uncomfortable, they will turn their body away from the person to show they aren’t interested.
There are a lot of clues in everyday life as long as you pay attention to them. If you want to learn more about body language, all you have to do is analyze the people around you or even yourself. What do you do when you lie? How do people know when you’re happy? Take a look around and observe.
I figured I’d share it with you guys. I sort of found it while digging around on the internet a looooong time ago, but I still use it. It’s from a little smut writing guide I put together for the benefit of myself and a couple of my other friends on livejournal an eternity and a half ago when I still used livejournal.
Rebloggable version, as requested by davrosbro. :)
Oooh! Yes! I love kisses. Kisses are where it all starts ;).
Okay, first, remember that a kiss is much, much more than just lips. It is lips, but also tongues, teeth, eyes, faces, hands, noses, bodies, heartbeats, breath, voice- and most importantly, a kiss is emotions. A kiss without emotion is just wet mushy lips stuck together. Ew. Gross. The most important part of a kiss isn’t the how, but the who- because of the emotions between the two people.
lips- Lips can slide, glide over each other smoothly, or they can be chapped and rough and dry and get stuck on each other. They can match, top-to-top and bottom-to-bottom, or they can overlap, with one person’s top or bottom lip captured between the other person’s lips (yummy). If there is lipstick or chapstick there is lipstick or chapstick flavor, otherwise, lips don’t have a taste (can you taste yours?). Lips also can smack- the sound of two of them coming together or pulling apart, because they’re wet and warm and soft.
tongue- Tongues are always wet, and always warm. They’re very versatile. They can trace over lips, teeth, or another tongue. They can be smooth and graceful or teasing and flicking. When tongues are involved, there is drool. It’s only sexy when you like the person you’re kissing, or else it’s kinda gross. :P
teeth- teeth can clack together awkwardly, or teeth can bite down sensually. A person biting their own lip is cute, a person biting another’s lips is sexy. A person biting gently is sensual, a person biting roughly is sexual.
eyes- Eyes can be wide open with surprise, half-lidded with desire, fully closed with pleasure. Eyes can gaze lovingly, lustfully, wistfully, hungrily, seductively- it all depends upon the emotions of your characters. Have them do whatever you like, but don’t leave them out- give them at least a mention!
faces- Faces are what the lips are attached to. Noses bump, cheeks flush, ears turn red, foreheads either wrinkle or relax. Kisses can leave lips, quite easily, and become kisses on chins, cheeks, noses, foreheads, ears, necks, throats. Kisses on noses or foreheads are cute and adorable, kisses on cheeks are sweet, kisses on chins, ears, and throats are very sexual. And a kiss on the lips can be all of those! <3
hands- Hands are super-important. In order to describe a kiss, usually you want to also describe the hands. Where are they? Does one character have their hand behind the other’s head or back, holding them close? Are they on someone’s shoulders pulling them near, or pushing them away? Fingers brushing someone’s cheek or palms grabbing someone’s ass convey two very different kinds of situations, even if the kiss itself is exactly the same.
noses- Noses are annoying. They easily get in the way, especially for first kisses! People have to tilt their head to one side or the other, and if they don’t, noses bump. I’d only mention noses if a kiss is supposed to be awkward or uncertain or nervous.
bodies- bodies are either close together, or far away. Someone can be surrounded comfortingly by someone’s arms, or terrifyingly trapped by them. Bodies are warm or hot, they are calm or nervous, relaxed or tense. Body language says a lot. Is your character pulling away, or moving closer?
heartbeat- Hearts can beat fast or slow, and that’s about all they can do- but there are lots of reasons why they do! A heart can beat fast with fear or excitement or nervousness; a heart can pound with lust or race with terror or sing with joy. Hearts can glow, cower, or shatter. When you really want to drive the emotions of a character home, mention the heart.
breath- To me, the most consuming part of a kiss is the breath. The air that someone else has just breathed going deep into your lungs is very intimate. Lips and tongues don’t have a taste, but breath does. Each person’s breath tastes different, smells different, and surrounds a person differently than anyone else’s breath. Breath can be warm and sweet, breath can be hot and sexy, breath can be hot and frightening. It is something that is very present and should not be left out. A lot of writers leave breath out. And it’s so important; it’s the most intimate part of a kiss. Someone else is breathing into your lungs, and it’s either heaven or it’s hell.
voice- Voice conveys much, even without words. A voice can groan, whimper, gasp, moan, catch, whine, scream, sigh. Voice can convey emotion powerfully, and while some kisses are silent, usually they’re not.
emotion- Emotion is the most important- and the thing you try not to say. You want to describe it, through all of the things above, so that it’s perfectly clear what your characters are feeling, without you ever using the “feelings words”. If they’re in love, their bodies will lean close, their eyes will smile, their voices will giggle softly. If they’re nervous, their palms will sweat, their noses will bump, their voices will shudder. If they’re afraid, their muscles will be tense, their faces will grimace, their lips will not open. Emotion is the color that you keep inside your mind as you write; it’s the base line that drives the description behind everything else you say.
Wow, that was a lot! Gosh I hope it wasn’t too much! Keep in mind not every kiss has all these things- this is just a list of things to consider when writing a kiss, and based on how long of a kiss you want to make. Keep in mind that typing “they kissed for a long time”…that’s six words, it takes half a second to read, so that’s a short kiss! If you want a long kiss, you need long sentences that make the reader linger.
So maybe to start off, pick three things on the list to describe in your first kiss. Don’t try to do it all- that would be too much for even the most epic kiss. Just pick what’s most important to this particular scene, to these particular characters, and describe those parts along with the lips, and you’ve got yourself an awesome, emotional kiss. <3
The openings of stories, or even chapters, can be very problematic. It’s important to open with something that will grab the attention of your readers and make them want to read more.
The rule when writing any scene is this: Get in as late as possible, and get out as early as possible.
What’s the important action or moment in your scene? Begin when that moment begins; you don’t need to describe people arriving or greeting one another. Jump in with the action straight away. Likewise, you don’t need to write about people saying goodbye and leaving. Once the important moment ends, it’s time to move on again.
When you’re editing your story, you may find that you can dump the first two paragraphs you wrote, or even the first two chapters.
Throw your readers right into the action; they want to feel like they’re a part of the excitement, they want to be carried along with it. Don’t make them sit through nothing happening; they’re unlikely to still be there when the action finally does start.
Rebloggable version, since this seems to be so popular ;)
Anonymous asked you: Do you have any advice for writing smut?
1) Be shameless. Get comfortable writing sentences like “He trailed the tip of his tongue down the length of his lover’s cock, making him shiver and twitch as the heat spread to his tip, turning it purple.” The more a sentence makes you blush, the better a sentence it is and the more it belongs in your story. If you’re censoring yourself, if you’re not writing things that are super-hot to you and make you hot as you write, then it’s gonna be a dry, boring smut scene.
2) Be detailed in actions, and more importantly, reactions. Which is hotter? “He swirled his tongue around his lover’s nipple, tracing around the areola in a slow circle before closing his lips around the tip.” or “he slowly licked over his lover’s nipple, making her shudder and gasp, arching her back into the warm heat of his mouth.”
The first example is good detail, but includes no reaction, so your reader is probably just going to get bored. The second sentence has less detail on the action, but more detail on the reaction- and that’s what shows a character is feeling something, how they react.
Shivers, moans, groans, whimpers, clasping fingers, twitches, eyes closing or opening, faces tilting or turning, toes curling- those are the reactions, the hot stuff, the stuff that says “this character is feeling.”
Put that in, and you don’t have to worry about describing every detail of the actions.
3) Don’t use words that you normally wouldn’t use. “Ministrations”, “gyrations”, etc. This words make me want to vomit, they’re so horrible. No one uses them. Describe your smut with normal everyday words. This does not mean use boring words. There are a hundred ways to describe breathing, for example: gasp, hitch, inhale, pant, sigh, hiss, etc.
4) Watch porn, but with a grain of salt. It can give you some references for areas you have no personal experience with, but keep in mind that the people are acting and this is scripted.
5) DETAILS, details, details. Mention many details and EDIT YOUR STORY to KEEP THEM STRAIGHT. First, write the scene. Let it flow the way you want, the way it wants to go, get in the emotion and the character’s reactions. Then go back and make sure that you have kept track of articles of clothing, the positions people are in, who’s eyes are open, closed, where hands are, etc. Nothing ruins a smut scene like someone getting a blow job while their pants are still on in the reader’s mind.
6) Make the PACE SLOW. Writers tend to be embarrassed so they rush through their smut scene. BUT THIS IS THE PART YOU’VE BEEN BUILDING UP TO, THAT YOUR READER IS WAITING FOR. So don’t rush it- let it linger! Most smut scenes feel too long when you write them- and then fly by too quickly when you read them. Three pages of smut is short. And I don’t mean make it longer by dragging it out- I mean make sure that the pacing of your writing is slow. Don’t have everybody stark naked after the first paragraph. Tension and build are what sex is all about; don’t sell it short. How do you know if your smut scene is paced correctly? Same way you tell if the rest of your story is paced correctly. Reread it, reread it, reread it, edit, edit, edit.
If you haven’t reread your scene at least twice, it’s not done. That goes for any scene, not just smut.
7) EMOTION. Show it. Sex is powerful, regardless of who’s having it. It intensifies everything. If the character is miserable, they are very miserable; if they are happy, they are very happy. Show it, describe it on their face, in their actions, in their motions and possibly with words (I like to write smut scenes full of dialogue, but that’s my style, other authors are different). But connect your reader to how at least one character is feeling, depending on the point of view of your story.
8) And lastly, did I mention be shameless? BE SHAMELESS. If you’re not mortified to show it to your grandma, then you’re not doing it right. (Unless you have one heck of a cool grandma).
Okay, that’s all my advice on smut for today. Hope this helps! :)
Are you still stuck for ideas for National Novel Writing Month? Or are you working on a novel at a more leisurely pace? Here are 102 resources on Character, Point of View, Dialogue, Plot, Conflict, Structure, Outlining, Setting, and World Building, plus some links to generate Ideas and Inspiration.
CHARACTER, POINT OF VIEW, DIALOGUE
Advantages, Disadvantages and Skills (character traits)
Family Echo (family tree website)
PLOT, CONFLICT, STRUCTURE, OUTLINE
SETTING, WORLD BUILDING
TOOLS and SOFTWARE
My Writing Nook (online text editor; free)
Bubbl.us (online mind map application; free)
Freemind (mind map application; free; Windows, Mac, Linux, portable)
XMind (mind map application; free; Windows, Mac, Linux, portable)
Liquid Story Binder (novel organization and writing software; free trial, $45.95; Windows, portable)
Scrivener (novel organization and writing software; free trial, $39.95; Mac)
SuperNotecard (novel organization and writing software; free trial, $29; Windows, Mac, Linux, portable)
yWriter (novel organization and writing software; free; Windows, Linux, portable)
JDarkRoom (minimalist text editor; free; Windows, Mac, Linux, portable)
AutoRealm (map creation software; free; Windows, Linux with Wine)
- yeahwriters - lots of prompts, images, quotes and motivation
- writeworld - prompts, quotes, references, tips
- fuckyeahcharacterdevelopment - character, plot development and vocabulary tips
- writingprompts - amazing and original picture prompts
- dictionaryofobscuresorrows - words you might not know and their meaning
- wordjournal - more words
- shannahmcgill - writing tips
- archetypesandallusions - creative writing tips
- kingdomjournalist - writing tips (not only how to write but also how to prepare emotionally)
- livewritedream - bit of everything (prompts, tips)
- mooderino - concise and to the point questions that help you build characters and stories
- thewritershelpers - quotes, advice, book/author recommendations
- writingquotes - what the url suggests
- get-scribbling - prompts
- writing-problems - to know you are not alone in your struggles
- So You Want to Write a Fantasy: Writing Female Characters
- So You want to Write a Fantasy: Culture
- SYWTWAF: Writing What you Don’t know
- A list of adjectives to describe physical attributes, Or, As it turns out, I could go to Starbucks with half this list
- Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
- Some primers
- More Primers
- RaceFail ‘09: Or where Deepad’s I didn’t dream of Dragons comes from, and why.
- Writing characters of Color
- Writing Outside your experience
- Media Representations Wiki - stereotypes/tropes/culture/etc
- On A:TLA’s whitewashing - All The World’s White, the Rest of Us merely live in it
- The Face of the Other: Do Manga & Anime characters look “white”?
- Describing Characters of Color pt 1 & Describing Characters of Color (pt 2)
- I Didn’t Dream of Dragons
- So You Want to: Avoid Unfortunate Implications
- Transracial Writing for the Sincere
- Why Writing Colorblind is Writing White
- What a Girl Wants: Representation
- An Equal Place at the Table
- Avoiding LGBTQ Stereotypes
- The Problem With Colorblindness (and the Rest of Racebending.com)
- Making Movies for White People: A Tongue in Cheek critique of Minority Representation in the Media, or lack thereof
- From Margin to Center: Writing Characters of Color via Racialicious
- Writing Characters of Color - a helpful community!
- Why my Protagonists aren’t white (even though I am.)
- The Dangers of Telling a Single Story (a helpful Video)
- The Lack of People of Color in Historical Fictions
- How to Read and Respond to Literature of Color
- The Advantages of being a White Writer (in getting published)
- Writing Characters of Colour (Now With 10% Less White Liberal Anxiety!)
- Fic and Skin Tone (discusses Nyota Uhura, otherwise relevant)
- On Problematic Writing
- Writing Race in YA fiction: Debunking Myths
- Diversity Writers: How to Write People of Color
- The Importance of Inclusionary Writing
- Overcoming the Noble Savage and the Sexy Squaw: Native Steampunk
- The Intersection of Race and Steampunk: Colonialism’s After-Effects & Other Stories, from a Steampunk of Colour’s Perspective
- Beyond Victoriana: For EVERYTHING Steampunk/1800s/Industrial Revolution that isn’t just Victorian England and the archives Tales of the Urban Adventurer
- Can I just watch A Game of Thrones in Peace? (A brown feminist fan rant).
- Fantasy and Sci-Fi race Bingo
- Invoking Strangely Colored people
- Many Voices
- AfroFuturism, SciFi, and the History of the Future
- Some Open Thoughts on Race & Dsyutopia
- When Will White People Stop Making Movies like Avatar?
- Portraying POC in YA Fantasy: Are we There Yet?
- Debunking White Fantasy
- Racism in Fantasy
- Magical Realism is Fantasy written in Spanish.
1.) It’s not hard to figure out what to do, there are plenty of resources.
People say you have to get it right, do your research, but … what else are you supposed to research? It’s not like people with more pigment in their skin have completely different personalities than those with less, any more than any individual. It’s frustrating when I can’t even figure out what the heck people are talking about.
Bam. Research step one done for you.
2.) Writing characters of color/minorities is a good thing.
I don’t like the notion that fantasy authors are under some kind of obligation to present ethnically diverse worlds. I’m English, and a fair sized part of English history consists of unwashed beardy white people in mead halls. If I’m inspired by my own history and cultural heritage, then that’s what I’m damn well going to write about. I’m not writing about some other culture just to appease the people who think there aren’t enough black characters in fantasy, or whatever. You want it, you write it. Nothing to do with me.
3.) Your all White Fantasy Land Didn’t Exist in Real Life:
…the rather medieval one has more diversity than real medieval Germany probably had […] In a world with medieval means of transport, it just doesn’t seem natural to me to mix dark-skinned people with blue-eyed blondes in one setting. I just try to give the people a colour that fits the place where they live.
You mean like the people from Africa and the Middle east who began to take over Southern Spain, as well as the Jews who were pretty well spread out throughout Europe, the Middle Easterners they would have met on the Crusades, and the incoming Mongol Hordes who spread to the very edges of Eastern Europe before the empire finally collapsed? Don’t forget that Turkey is right there, and the silk road would have gone from Song Dynasty China, through India, and ended in Turkey before moving further westwards into places like Germany. Also the attempts at the Franco-Mongol alliance would have been pretty interesting. (That’s about the 13th century - arguably smack dab in Middle Ages Europe and definite contact between France/Christian Europe and the Mongolian Empire.)
Unless you’re writing everything in the far reaches of Denmark or something, historically speaking, I call bullshit on people who have societies that are only all white ever, because it’s just inaccurate. Consider the relative closeness of Northern Africa to Spain, or Turkey to the rest of Europe, the conquests of Alexander the Great, the Crusades, Slavery existing in Europe, including England, the slave trade, imperialism, Pax Mongolica, The Silk Road, Jewish Diaspora, the Islamic Empire vs The Holy Roman Empire, Egypt, Algeria, China’s sailing across the world, The Maruyan/Gupta Empires of India, tea trades, Columbus sailing in hopes of finding China, etc, etc, etc.
4.) I mean I just don’t believe you anymore. It’s unrealistic. Seriously guys.
You’d think I’d just denied the holocaust or something. Get a grip. All I said was that I’m going to write about my own cultural experience and anyone who thinks I should do otherwise for the sake of political correctness can bugger off.
This isn’t even about being PC this is just not being wrong about everything.