Posts Tagged With: writing

Writing Tips

Hello all!

I’ve been reading a lot lately (fitting, since exams started and reading is obviously more needed than studying at this time), and in my search for more lovely books to add to my list of favourites, I have, unfortunately, come across some not-so-good ones. So hey, I just thought I’d type up a little list of things that would be better to take extreme caution with when writing. Let’s bear in mind that this is mainly feedback from the things I’ve seen in YA books, but I guess it applies to most fiction in general. Here goes!

Things to be extremely careful with when writing:

  • Narrating alternate chapters from different characters’ POV. Speaking from experience, reading a book which does this is highly confusing for the reader, to the point where being the said reader just makes you want to slam the book down out of pure frustration. Also, the number of times I have ended up stopping and thinking ‘who’s head am I in right now?’ before being forced to go back and check the start of that chapter is more than I can count. If alternating chapters does help you narrate and move the story forward, then I’d highly suggest at least putting the name of the person you’re narrating from at the top of the page alongside the title of the book/chapter.
  • Writing in third person present tense. Whilst this is rather original and something that is not done often, I’d like to think that this is for a reason. This is particularly painful (again, speaking from experience) because it takes the reader about half the book to get used to the unusual narration, and by the time they adjust and even grow to like it, the plot and characters have slipped right over their head. If you are going to write like this, please be cautious and make sure it’s needed.
  • Having overwhelming character development with no (obvious) reason. This one is one of the biggest no-no’s in my books. Just as having no character development is frustrating, having too much development without any reason is equally frustrating. If a character changes, good for them, but make sure the reader can see how/why and that the reason is valid.
  • Having a character come to a sudden revelation just because (sort of ties on from the previous point). This is used repeatedly in books, and quite honestly, it’s a little pet peeve of mine. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been reading a book where a character is trying to solve something and then they sort of glance upward and just know the answer. This can work very well – as long as it’s not overdone and it actually makes sense.
  • Having characters that are all beautiful and strong and kind and every other positive adjective in the dictionary. Only one thing to say to this one – let’s be realistic.
  • Making a female character argue for some reason or another with every other female she sees. Can we please just be mindful of the reader and what type of message is being sent out with female characters constantly bitching and fighting with other females (normally over a boy) whilst the males get along beautifully and have a good relationship with the majority of the characters?
  • This one is a complete and utter NO. Mocking things like cutting (or any form of self harm) and ED. As shocking as this may seem, I’ve seen many books which utilize things like this for a purpose that simply isn’t visible to the reader, and for many people this can be very triggering and quite offensive. Please proceed cautiously if you’re using themes like this.

That’s it from me (for the time being, anyway)! These are more my thoughts as a reader than a (hopeful) writer, but there you go. I really hope I haven’t offended anyone with this, and if I somehow have, I apologize profusely. If there’s anything you think I should add to this or if there’s something you’d like to discuss, feel free to leave a comment!

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Characters that Haunt You

He stalked forward in a whirl of black silk, surprisingly quick and lithe on his feet despite the dark aura that swathed and cradled him as though he were a caterpillar waiting to burst forth. But no, that was not he – he was anything but light and beauty. With dark, storm filled eyes and raked black hair, his very expression conveyed an arrogant demeanor and a cruel satisfaction, and it was with these feelings jaggedly painted onto his face that he swept along the crowded boardwalk, the smoke and sound spiraling upward from the cars mingling with the thunderstorm that he seemed to carry.

On his other side, the wide ocean lay open and sprawling, a tender sound of crashing waves cascading over his ears. He, however, focused on anything but the beauty of the crystal water; instead, his eyes were oddly drawn to the lip of the waves as it kissed the shore with a teasing sound then pulled away, each time taking with it the sand that was all too trusting. Ungrateful was the word that his tongue wrapped around in a loving caress as a vicious smile broke across his pale face.

His head jerked to the side in a sudden motion, a hungry expression chasing away all signs of vindictive joy as his eyes fell on a figure curled into the sand. He stood that for a few brief moments, feeling the churning in his gut rise to an all consuming ache of need before he gave into it with pleasure and swept forth, brushing past the measly humans that littered his path.

They, however, were too naive to see him; although they bustled past him with increasing fervor and hurry, none stopped to glance at the hooded man that roamed amongst them, darkness etched on every line of his face. Indeed, he moved as though he were a ghost, drifting effortlessly through spaces that seemed too small for a figure like him to fit through, and parting the humans with the barest of thoughts.

Nearly there.

Along the way, he sent a few hissing suggestions towards the people that milled around him on the walk, their own minds turned so inward that they failed to notice the fading beauty of the sunset and the radiance of the ocean. Never matter, for that made his job all the more easier. Worthless. Undeserving. Useless. Ugly.

He sent these and more speeding towards the minds of those around him, and as each word him home, he saw – with some degree of satisfaction – that they had the desired effect. Many were too easily susceptible to his powers; they cringed with each word spinning into their minds and their lips wobbled, and this only increased his power. Some, however, were too strong for his liking; these merely smiled and threw back thoughts at him. Beautiful. Hopeful. Loving. Useful. These were the ones who were dangerous, and he gave them a wide birth.

Reached.

He peered down at the girl he had been nearing slowly, his eyes taking in the tear stained face and frail appearance. Her misery radiated and pulsed around her, and he breathed in deeply, an expression of cruel delight twisting his features and distorting them more than they already were. Delicious. Without wasting another second, he shifted abruptly into a misty enigma, the darkness that had shrouded him collapsing into itself and forming a screen of black. It gave off the appearance of the night sky, but without the softening pleasantries of the stars or the moon – only utter blankness.

It – he – proceeded to swoop into the young female, before settling inside her weakened, numbed brain and settling himself there. This would be home for him for a while to come, and the warmth seeping into him and turning her cold only invigorated him to make himself comfortable. This he did, whilst the girl’s eyes turned more dead and expressionless with every passing second.

He was a monster. Depression was a monster, and it was without pity.

For the Weekly Writing Challenge, which can be found here.

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