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March 20, 2014 8:20 pm
How to Write an Engaging First Chapter


I probably get this question every day, so I think it’s about time I did a post on it. Many writers are concerned with writing their first chapters and they have trouble figuring out what they should include and what they should leave out until later.

When you’re submitting a manuscript in order…

March 17, 2014 12:01 am
"What I’ve learned to do when I sit down to work on a shitty first draft is to quiet the voices in my head. First, there’s the vinegar-lipped Reader Lady, who says primly, ‘Well, THAT’s not very interesting, is it?’ And then there’s the emaciated German male who writes these Orwellian memos detailing your thought crimes. And then there’s your parents, agonizing over your lack of loyalty and discretion; and then there’s William Burroughs, dozing off or shooting up because he finds you as bold and articulate as a houseplant; and so on. And then there are the dogs: let’s not forget the dogs, the dogs in their pen who will surely hurtle and snarl their way out if you ever stop writing, because writing is, for some of us, the latch that keeps the door of the pen closed, keeps those ravenous dogs contained."

Anne Lamott (via carolynlang)
March 12, 2014 5:45 pm


teantv: Hi, i'm thankful that i found your Tumblr. i'm currently thinking of writing a novel. my question is, how do you write about characters that you don't/can't relate to? i mean, how can a boy write a novel about a girl, or a straight person write about a homosexual person? especially if this difference between the writer and the character is a big part of the novel. Thanks, YOU ROCK!


I might further expand on this question later because this is a good one and the answer is super in-depth. Right now I’ll try to cover some basic points.

Writing is all about putting yourself in other people’s shoes. You have to think of your characters in terms of what type of person they are instead of their gender, sexuality, race, etc. These things will factor in the journey of your character, but it’s not impossible to write about something you don’t know. In fact, I would encourage it.

In terms of gender, male and female characters aren’t written that differently. Both genders need motivation, they need goals, and they need strengths and weaknesses. These things really have nothing to do with gender. As a boy, you can write a girl character and there’s no excuse not to. Just make them human and make them want something. Develop their personalities the way you would any other character. 

Here’s something I wrote that might explain what I mean: Why “Not Knowing” is No Longer an Excuse

The most important thing you can do as a writer is learn how to research. There are SO MANY references and people you can learn from on the internet, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t utilize them. ALWAYS research something you don’t know and make sure it’s from a legitimate source. This will help you avoid generalizations and stereotypes. Writing groups are also super helpful if you’re stuck.

Also, there’s no reason why you can’t relate to a character you’ve built. There’s always something you can understand and sympathize with in every person. We all have some ideas of love, family, and friendship, so saying that you can relate to a character on a basic human level isn’t true. You also have to figure out a way to make your characters relatable, so you need to be able to relate to them first.

There’s so much more to say, but I hope this helps!

March 10, 2014 12:31 am
"Psychiatrists have known for years that neurosis is governed by the distance between what you think you are, and what others perceive you to be.
Most good drama makes that gap visible, however small it may be"

paul abbott

(via yellowcrayon)

February 8, 2014 12:34 am
"If you want to make a feature film, you get ideas for 70 scenes. Put them on 3-by-5 cards. As soon as you have 70, you have a feature film."
February 2, 2014 5:55 pm


"Creativity is the translation into space and time, of passion and necessity. It is the conduit through which life and love find their voice."

Creativity Decoded by mixed media visual communicator Brianna McCarthy 

Brianna McCarthy’s x 2dots Feature

Connect with Brianna McCarthy via:

Webpage | Tumblr | Instagram

(via will-you-be-electric-sheep)

January 6, 2014 10:14 pm
"Your writing voice is the deepest possible reflection of who you are. The job of your voice is not to seduce or flatter or make well-shaped sentences. In your voice, your readers should be able to hear the contents of your mind, your heart, your soul."

Meg Rosoff (x)
January 5, 2014 2:21 pm
"I have noticed that when all the lights are on, people tend to talk about what they are doing – their outer lives. Sitting round in candlelight or firelight, people start to talk about how they are feeling – their inner lives. They speak subjectively, they argue less, there are longer pauses. To sit alone without any electric light is curiously creative. I have my best ideas at dawn or at nightfall, but not if I switch on the lights – then I start thinking about projects, deadlines, demands, and the shadows and shapes of the house become objects, not suggestions, things that need to done, not a background to thought."

Jeanette Winterson

(Source: larmoyante, via fearlessworm)

4:59 am
"The society to which we belong seems to be dying or is already dead. I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but clearly the dark side is rising. Things could not have been more odd and frightening in the Middle Ages. But the tradition of artists will continue no matter what form the society takes. And this is another reason to write: people need us, to mirror for them and for each other without distortion-not to look around and say, ‘Look at yourselves, you idiots!,’ but to say, ‘This is who we are’."
January 4, 2014 11:19 am
"Plot is people. Human emotions and desires founded on the realities of life, working at cross purposes, getting hotter and fiercer as they strike against each other until finally there’s an explosion—that’s Plot."

Leigh Brackett

(Source: writersrelief, via writeworld)

January 3, 2014 9:24 pm
"Let’s not worry about failure. Failure is a badge of honour - it means you’ve risked failure. And if you don’t risk failure, you’re never going to do anything that’s different from what you’ve already done, or what somebody else has done,"

Charlie Kaufman (BAFTA/BFI Screenwriters’ Lecture)
December 28, 2013 9:43 am

The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams. It is alive as dreams are alive, more real than real … for a moment at least … that long magic moment before we wake.

Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end. Reality is the strip malls of Burbank, the smokestacks of Cleveland, a parking garage in Newark. Fantasy is the towers of Minas Tirith, the ancient stones of Gormenghast, the halls of Camelot. Fantasy flies on the wings of Icarus, reality on Southwest Airlines. Why do our dreams become so much smaller when they finally come true?

We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think. To taste strong spices and hear the songs the sirens sang. There is something old and true in fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow hills, and find a love to last forever somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La.

They can keep their heaven. When I die, I’d sooner go to middle Earth.


George R.R. Martin, Why We Read Fantasy

(Source: cleverhelp, via dduane)

December 21, 2013 10:56 am
"Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say infinitely when you mean very; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite."

C.S. Lewis

(Source: wholelottaquotes, via writeworld)

December 20, 2013 2:26 am
"Writing can be a pretty desperate endeavor, because it is about some of our deepest needs: our need to be visible, to be heard, our need to make sense of our lives, to wake up and grow and belong."

Anne Lamott, “Bird by Bird”
December 15, 2013 7:10 pm

Step 1: Go through the projects you’re already working on and change a bunch of the characters’ first names to women’s names. With one stroke you’ve created some colorful unstereotypical female characters that might turn out to be even more interesting now that they’ve had a gender switch. What if the plumber or pilot or construction foreman is a woman? What if the taxi driver or the scheming politician is a woman? What if both police officers that arrive on the scene are women — and it’s not a big deal?

Step 2: When describing a crowd scene, write in the script, “A crowd gathers, which is half female.” That may seem weird, but I promise you, somehow or other on the set that day the crowd will turn out to be 17 percent female otherwise. Maybe first ADs think women don’t gather, I don’t know.

And there you have it. You have just quickly and easily boosted the female presence in your project without changing a line of dialogue.