- Spears, Sorcery, and Double Consciousness (Part 2) (Part 3) - a series about African-inspired fantasy and the Western vs Non-Western writer.
- Sexy Loki, Queer Tricksters, and the Problem with LGBT Villains - an opinion piece on how lgbt+ villains are written and used in fiction.
- Postcolonial Fantasy and African Against the Word “Tribe” - a discussion on the use of the word “tribe” in fiction, especially fantasy.
- The “Other” Histories of Fantasy - about (the lack of) non-European settings in fantasy and drawing from history.
- Fantasy’s “Othering” Fetish - about the portrayal of POC in fantasy, particularly how they are “othered”.
- Green-Eyed Asian - about giving POC traits that are more common in white people in an attempt to “beatify” or “exotify” them.
- Respective Portrayals of Asians in the Media and How to Balance Them - a primer on stereotypes and portrayals of Asians and Asian-Americans in American media.
- No Queens in Afrika: Women Rulers in Sword & Soul and Other African-Inspired Fantasy - about the use of the word “queen” in relation to non Western European (mostly African) female rulers.
- Tropes of Women of Color in Sci-FI - an eight-part series looking at five tropes that surround women of color in sci-fi.
- Why Sci-Fi Keeps Imagining the Subjugation of White People - an article about the popular topic of colonialism and anti-colonialism in sci-fi.
- On Black Women, Teen TV, and Fantasy Space - a short article about the desirability of black women in fiction and its relationship with women being validated “through heteronormative romantic success”.
- On the Erasure of People of Color from Dystopian Fiction - about the absence of POC in speculative fiction, particularly futuristic settings.
- Mary Anne Mohanraj Gets You Up to Speed Part I (Part II) - a two-part essay about race and racism in fiction and about writing a race other than your own.
- You’re Hurting My Head Again SF/F - a rant on erasing an entire race for the sake of an alternate history.
- Diversity and Disability - about the lack of representation for disabled people in YA fiction and the two tropes that often surround disability in fiction.
- No, Really, Stop Raping Your Women! - disputing arguments that favor rape and sexual assault against women in fantasy.
- Monstrous Females and Female Monsters - on the difference between the portrayal of male monsters and female monsters, and on what makes a female character a monster.
- How White Writers Should Address Racism - a short post on how characters address racial and ethnic prejudice in fiction.
- Dystropia: Why the Sassy Gay Friend Isn’t Progressive - an article on writing “sassy gay friends” and how it can turn bad quickly.
People have written a lot of touchy-feely pieces on this subject but I thought I’d get right to the heart of the matter
Thanks to The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Humphrey Carpenter, we can literally speak with the author of the world fantasy classic. After all, many of us are looking forward to the last part of the trilogy - ‘The Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Ar
If It Works, It Works
Are you worried about whether it’s okay to write a book with only one character? Or if it’s possible to kill off the hero at the end? Or if you can create horse-dragon hybrid?
Look, if it works for your story, it works. You are a writer. A creator. You’re supposed to be creative and daring and you’re supposed to put your passion into these stories. If you can make something work, for your story, then it works.
There is an Audience for Everything
There is literally an audience for everything. If you really love your idea about undercover robot lesbian cops who work in a coffee shop on a space station that serves thousands of aliens each day, then someone else will probably love it too.
You Have No Obligation
You do not have to show your writing to anyone, especially your first draft.
You do not have to publish all of your stories online or elsewhere.
You do not have to change the ending of your story if a disgruntled fan wanted something else to happen.
Your Story Will Have Similarities
True originality no longer exists and the obsession with originality will prevent you from getting any writing done. It will make your writing suffer. Do not let the fear of not being original enough stop you from writing a great story. All stories have similarities to each other, even when they are vastly different.
This is okay. This is normal.
Your First Draft is the Written Version of “I’ll Fix it Later”
The first draft is where you are allowed to procrastinate on the details. If you write a scene that isn’t well organized or a major info dump, just tell yourself you’ll fix it later. The only thing you have to do in your first draft is finish it.
Later drafts are where you clean everything up by rewriting the entire story.
Procrastination; the #1 enemy to writers everywhere. The #2 enemy? Writer’s block. (But we’ll discuss that later.)
Once we hit a high level of procrastination it can get extremely difficult to get back to writing no matter how much, or how little you’ve already written. You know exactly what you want to say, but as soon as the time comes to face those keys or pick up that pen you just… meh. You suddenly lose interest in your writing, and at this point you probably consider writing to be boring. So like any rational person, you decide to take a break.
Just a few days off to clear your mind.
And a few more days.
A week! Yes a week of writing rest, then we’ll be good to go!
Something very similar to this thought process crosses your mind, and before you know it, you’re sitting on the couch struggling to fit your hand down the end of a Pringles tube while binge-watching Doctor Who on Netflix. You want to write, you really, really do. You just don’t feel like doing it RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT.
Time to kick yourself out of the procrastination funk! It’s not going to be fun, and later you’ll be angry at yourself for not starting writing again sooner, but with a few hints and tips, I may be able to help make it a little easier; What you need to do is start writing again.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but at the same time completely impossible. “That’s what I’m having difficulties with!” You may think to yourself. “I can’t just start writing again to start writing again! It doesn’t work that way!” Sure it does, you just have to be smart about it. Writing is something you need to be consistent about, even if you aren’t working on your original project, writing other small things can help you maintain a smooth rhythm so you’re still working. You can help with this by
- Writing in a Journal;
just a quick entry can help you regain confidence. Try to write an update about what’s going on in your personal life, (or simply just write about whatever you wish) at least once week to keep those writer muscles moving.
- Keep a Day-by-Day Word Count Goal;
This is an excellent and really simple way to make sure you keep writing with minimal distractions. Start with a low count goal, probably 500 or less. Once you’ve completed that goal, you’re done with writing for the day! As time goes on and you become a stronger writer who suffers from fewer distractions, you can up the word count. Just keep a mindset that you’re not getting anything else done today until you complete this word count.
- Find the Time to Write;
This is especially important, and can not only improve your writing efficiency but also your writing quality as well. You should have a 30-60 minute time period (at minimum) where you have no where to be, and nothing to do. Dedicate these precious time blocks as ‘writing time’, and use them as opportunities to chip away at your word count goal for the day. Some people like starting very early in the morning, when the stress of the day has not yet gotten to them, while others (myself included) prefer to practice their writing at night when the house is quiet and no one will come looking to interrupt me. Choose a schedule which works best for you.
- Find the PLACE to write;
Perhaps one of the most important for those who suffer from constant distraction; you need to find a place you can write which is quiet and lacking in Facebook updates and cute cat videos on YouTube. That’s right, for most of you, this means walking away from the computer and writing by hand, or at least turning off your WIFI. While the internet is intensely entertaining and educational, it is also dangerously addictive and can suck up all your plans to do anything productive today in a heartbeat. In fact, anything that you find distracting needs to be gone from your writing space. For most people these are of course internet, loud sounds, and loud and distracting environments. I know a lot of stereotypes show quiet, shy, people working on their screenplays in libraries and indie coffee shops, but those are really good places to work on your writing.
- If All Else Fails…
Work on a quick project which won’t consume much time or effort. Write a short story, song, or poem, and with that you may be back on track heading straight towards Distraction Free Land!
So, as a quick overview, my tips for battling procrastination are;
*Write in a journal at least once a week,
*Keep a daily word-count goal
*Set specific times throughout the day/week for writing.
*Find a room or area, completely free of loud or distracting sounds and environments.
*Work on a very short, easy project
I hope these tips help to improve your procrastination problems. If you have any questions or need some more advice or tips, feel free to shoot me a message any time!
These were the Writers Write posts you enjoyed most in August 2014.
- Eight Commonly Misused Words - Common mistakes made by writers
- Punctuation Personality Types - Which one are you?
- Why you need strong verbs when you write - Three ways strong verbs improve your writing
- 20 Literary Quotes About Cats - Writers have always been fascinated by cats
- What does it take to write a book? The five qualities published authors share
- Start here: Three things you need to do at the beginning of your novel
- Six Fascinating Character Types - Characters should be fascinating
- The Plot Maker - Create a rom com storyline in five easy steps
- Tolkien’s 10 Tips For Writers
- Five Ways to Make Description Work in Your Novel - Description is a way to engage the reader’s imagination.
Reflection on how experience, rather than fuelling imagination, can stifle and smother it. The importance of imagination.
Want more writerly content? Make sure to follow maxkirin.tumblr.com for your daily dose of writer positivity, advice, and prompts!
One of the questions I get asked most often is, “How do I write a novel of my own?” The answer to that one is depressing or liberating, dependant on your POV: any way you like!! There are, however, lots of ways NOT to write a novel … and Andrew outlines some of them over at B2W today. There’s loads of links to other food for thought about novel writing, too. Enjoy!
Powerful and impeccable writing skills are necessary for professionals across all industries to convey their messages to their audiences/customers. Even the most established writers constantly fine-tune and brush-up their writing skills to ensure that they communicate effectively. Whether you are writer, a lawyer, or an entrepreneur, some great tips will surely help you to produce high-end quality documents:
Practice is the Key to Perfection
If you are not sure how to bush-up your writing skills, know that practice is the most important component to master this art. You will find significant improvement just by keeping some time aside for writing regularly and sticking to this schedule.
Mix it up
The use of repetitive words and phrases can cause your readers to lose interest in your written document. Variety attracts interest; using a wide span of descriptive words and incorporating a number of various sentence structures can keep your reader focused and can produce a more interesting and persuasive final piece.
Less is More
Avoid unnecessary terms or vague verbiage. When a simple word can serve the purpose, do not make it complicated by using long words or phrases. Readers are more interested in getting to the point and do not want to waste their time on understanding unclear metaphors. This simple step can create a significant difference in your finished product.
Avoid Grammatical Errors
It is advisable to comply with the accepted rules of grammar in your piece of work. Grammatical rules are meant to enhance the clarity of your writing; avoiding these rules may create a negative impression of your language competence on your readers.
Consult the Experts
Even the most accomplished writers often need professional Proofreading advice on their work. It is advisable to consult an editor, or you can also attend a class in writing, to improve your writing skills.
Reading other materials occasionally and more often for pleasure can help you write fresh and relevant literature. Take some time out to read a novel, newspaper or magazine. These can provide exposure and can add new ideas and new phrases to your vocabulary that you can incorporate into your writing projects.
Do not be Afraid of Failure
Fear of failure is the biggest obstacle most writers face. Muster the courage to write and submit your finished work to an editor or proofreader. It will help you achieve success in your chosen field.
The best advice to improve your writing skills is to simply write more often. Most accomplished authors set aside a few hours from their schedule each day to practice their expertise. If you can inculcate this level of commitment in yourself, no doubt, you can improve your writing skills over time.
Proofread Many Times
Even the veteran writers can sometimes miss subtle grammatical errors. Academic Proofreading is the only way out to identify and rectify these errors. Do it as many times as you can to create a perfect piece, free from any grammar or spelling mistakes.
Well-read people are mostly great writers too, but the art of writing can also be mastered by following the above-mentioned tips. Doing so is a must for anyone who really wants to improve their writing skills.