mad-hunter2185 said: Many people think books written by teens tend to be weak structured and lack certain elements. Why is that and how do I avoid this?


This is not a problem with young writers; it’s a problem with inexperienced writers, who are also often young. It gets attached to teen writers especially, whether or not that’s fair.

Here are some links that can help you with structure:

I recommend checking out books in your genre of choice (and other genres as well) and take notes as you read. Look for:

One big thing that all novels hinge on our strong characters. Here are some links that can help you with that.


Writing Effective Character Breakdowns


I got a lot of questions regarding how to write a good character breakdown. An effective character breakdown comes from a character holding in their frustration/pain for a while before they finally let it out in an extremely emotional moment. Sometimes this involves screaming, crying, raging—basically all the things we do in real life to let out stress and eventually feel better. I guess that’s why readers find it so satisfying; because we want to know that the characters would be feeling the same things we’re feeling.

Here are a few general tips on writing a good character breakdown:

Your character’s breakdown has to be built up first.

If your character is constantly crying and breaking down, we won’t really care when the next one happens. A breakdown shows humanity. It shows that your character has been fighting to stay strong, but they finally need a release. Everyone feels emotional every once in a while, especially when the odds are stacked against us, and it’s perfectly healthy to let it all out. Just make sure you build up to the breakdown effectively.

A good breakdown doesn’t mean they’ll be down in the dumps for the rest of your novel.

After a breakdown, someone usually feels relief. They might feel stronger or more determined to never feel that way again. Use this to help your character develop. Use this as motivation. If you have them wallowing in self-pity afterwards, you’ll lose your audience. Obviously a breakdown won’t fix everything, but it will allow them to release some pent up frustration and pain.

A breakdown is great when it’s followed by an important scene between the protagonist and antagonist.

If your main character has to fight when they’re at their lowest point, that makes the stakes even higher. They will use the breakdown in order to understand what they’re fighting for and find the strength to do it. It’s great when characters finally picks themselves back up and defeats the villain.

If your character has a breakdown that doesn’t mean they are weak.

A breakdown just makes your character feel more human. Use this to your advantage and show that your characters actually care about what’s going on. If a character is “strong” the entire time, it might be harder for your audience to relate to them. Show some humanity.

-Kris Noel

(via fixyourwritinghabits)


Anonymous said: Tools to Stay awake please; and focusing for long hours. While writing. I get sleepy all the time. I would like to get more done in my book. Then thousand words a day. Thanks if you can help.


Even the most focused of writing needs breaks, at least once an hour for a good 10-15 minutes on average. Not only does it give you the opportunity to stretch, eat/drink, go to the bathroom, etc, it also gives your mind a chance to regroup and attack again with more energy. Timers are a great way to get yourself trained into this, and you don’t have to start out in hour-long stretches. Start with twenty minutes of writing, and then a 5-10 minute break and expand from there. While a word count target each day is what some writers aim for, not everyone has the ability to dedicate extended amounts of time everyday to writing until you reach that mark. If you do have the time available, great. If not, working to get yourself into a sustainable routine will, over time, increase your productivity and word count.

As for getting sleepy — if you’re trying to write a lot over a long period of time without breaks, you’re going to get tired. Get up once in a while. Try writing while standing at a higher table or desk. Take a quick walk or do five minutes of stretching or jumping jacks or dancing. Drink something — not just caffeinated beverages, sometimes you really just need some cold water to rehydrate. Eat something — protein packed snacks can help boost energy over time better than sugary ones.

Overall, the key is to get yourself into a writing routine, and it’s going to take time and experimentation to find what works for you, and these are just a handful of suggestions. You can also do a web search for writing productivity as there are many resources out there with tips.

Hope this helps!

- O



Five Ways to Reconnect with Your Book


Perhaps you’re just starting out with your first novel. Maybe it’s your third and you’re struggling to meet a deadline. All of us, at some stage, need to regroup, reconnect and refocus on our writing projects. To make it a little bit easier, here are five approaches that can speed up the process.

  1. Writer’s Card. Write down your goals. Do this even if you’ve written them down before. It may be a good idea to write it down on an index or post card so that it’s portable—that way you can keep it in your bag, as a bookmark, or pin it to the fridge. This will be a daily reminder of your writing goals. Try to make them as realistic as possible, even if it’s a page or paragraph a day.
  2. Claim a Corner. Virginia Woolf said a woman needed a room of her own if she was to write fiction. A study or library of one’s own—male or female, fiction or non-fiction—is great. But all you really need is a corner of your own: a little dedicated patch somewhere in the house to keep your laptop, pencils, and notepads. Keep all your stuff in one place and it will be easier to reconnect with your project every day.
  3. Favourite’s Shelf. Sometimes we forget why we started reading and writing in the first place. Make a shelf of just your favourite books—look at your list of Top 26 Books in Writers Write. They can be novels, non-fiction books, children’s books or books on writing. It doesn’t matter as long as they serve as a tangible reminder of a long-held dream.
  4. Time Away. Once a week, take yourself out to a coffee shop, a bookshop with a reading nook or even a quiet park or garden. For at least an hour, immerse yourself in a reading or writing project—it could be free writing in your journal or catching up on a novel you’ve been dying to read. By immersing yourself in a quiet place and a single project, you will teach yourself to focus.
  5. Creative Fuel. Every artist or writer needs support from other creative souls. They share our energy—and feed our creativity. Another writer understands the little triumphs and the major disappointments. You may want to join a writing club or circle, go to an author evening or book signing to meet other writers, or simply go for a coffee with another writer. The race is always easier when there’s a voice on the grandstand shouting your name.

by Anthony Ehlers for Writers Write


Things almost every author needs to research



  • How bodies decompose
  • Wilderness survival skills
  • Mob mentality
  • Other cultures
  • What it takes for a human to die in a given situation
  • Common tropes in your genre
  • Average weather for your setting


(via fixyourwritinghabits)





Joss Whedon’s Top 10 Writing Tips (Source)


Actually finishing it is what I’m gonna put in as step one. You may laugh at this, but it’s true. I have so many friends who have written two-thirds of a screenplay, and then re-written it for about three years. Finishing a screenplay is first of all truly difficult, and secondly really liberating. Even if it’s not perfect, even if you know you’re gonna have to go back into it, type to the end. You have to have a little closure.


Structure means knowing where you’re going ; making sure you don’t meander about. Some great films have been made by meandering people, like Terrence Malick and Robert Altman, but it’s not as well done today and I don’t recommend it. I’m a structure nut. I actually make charts. Where are the jokes ? The thrills ? The romance ? Who knows what, and when ? You need these things to happen at the right times, and that’s what you build your structure around : the way you want your audience to feel. Charts, graphs, coloured pens, anything that means you don’t go in blind is useful.


This really should be number one. Even if you’re writing a Die Hard rip-off, have something to say about Die Hard rip-offs. The number of movies that are not about what they purport to be about is staggering. It’s rare, especially in genres, to find a movie with an idea and not just, ‘This’ll lead to many fine set-pieces’. The Island evolves into a car-chase movie, and the moments of joy are when they have clone moments and you say, ‘What does it feel like to be those guys ?’


Everybody has a perspective. Everybody in your scene, including the thug flanking your bad guy, has a reason. They have their own voice, their own identity, their own history. If anyone speaks in such a way that they’re just setting up the next person’s lines, then you don’t get dialogue : you get soundbites. Not everybody has to be funny ; not everybody has to be cute ; not everybody has to be delightful, and not everybody has to speak, but if you don’t know who everybody is and why they’re there, why they’re feeling what they’re feeling and why they’re doing what they’re doing, then you’re in trouble.


Here’s one trick that I learned early on. If something isn’t working, if you have a story that you’ve built and it’s blocked and you can’t figure it out, take your favourite scene, or your very best idea or set-piece, and cut it. It’s brutal, but sometimes inevitable. That thing may find its way back in, but cutting it is usually an enormously freeing exercise.


When I’ve been hired as a script doctor, it’s usually because someone else can’t get it through to the next level. It’s true that writers are replaced when executives don’t know what else to do, and that’s terrible, but the fact of the matter is that for most of the screenplays I’ve worked on, I’ve been needed, whether or not I’ve been allowed to do anything good. Often someone’s just got locked, they’ve ossified, they’re so stuck in their heads that they can’t see the people around them. It’s very important to know when to stick to your guns, but it’s also very important to listen to absolutely everybody. The stupidest person in the room might have the best idea.


You have one goal : to connect with your audience. Therefore, you must track what your audience is feeling at all times. One of the biggest problems I face when watching other people’s movies is I’ll say, ‘This part confuses me’, or whatever, and they’ll say, ‘What I’m intending to say is this’, and they’ll go on about their intentions. None of this has anything to do with my experience as an audience member. Think in terms of what audiences think. They go to the theatre, and they either notice that their butts are numb, or they don’t. If you’re doing your job right, they don’t. People think of studio test screenings as terrible, and that’s because a lot of studios are pretty stupid about it. They panic and re-shoot, or they go, ‘Gee, Brazil can’t have an unhappy ending,’ and that’s the horror story. But it can make a lot of sense.


Write the movie as much as you can. If something is lush and extensive, you can describe it glowingly ; if something isn’t that important, just get past it tersely. Let the read feel like the movie ; it does a lot of the work for you, for the director, and for the executives who go, ‘What will this be like when we put it on its feet ?’


Having given the advice about listening, I have to give the opposite advice, because ultimately the best work comes when somebody’s fucked the system ; done the unexpected and let their own personal voice into the machine that is moviemaking. Choose your battles. You wouldn’t get Paul Thomas Anderson, or Wes Anderson, or any of these guys if all moviemaking was completely cookie-cutter. But the process drives you in that direction ; it’s a homogenizing process, and you have to fight that a bit. There was a point while we were making Firefly when I asked the network not to pick it up : they’d started talking about a different show.


The first penny I ever earned, I saved. Then I made sure that I never had to take a job just because I needed to. I still needed jobs of course, but I was able to take ones that I loved. When I say that includes Waterworld, people scratch their heads, but it’s a wonderful idea for a movie. Anything can be good. Even Last Action Hero could’ve been good. There’s an idea somewhere in almost any movie : if you can find something that you love, then you can do it. If you can’t, it doesn’t matter how skillful you are : that’s called whoring.”

Want more writerly content? Follow maxkirin.tumblr.com!

This is some excellent writing advice for all of the swoonworthy writers out there!

Especially relevant to this blog is number 4: EVERYBODY HAS A REASON TO LIVE. 

Also, shoutout to Joss for saying exactly what I was thinking when I was watching The Island. Good lord, that movie devolved quickly.

(via dduane)


Guide: How to Get Excited About Your Story Again



Guide: How to Get Excited About Your Story Again


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