Thanks for the kind words — we’re glad you’re inspired and find us a valuable resource!
Writing publications for shorter works exist; you just have to do some digging to find them. Still, the internet is a great resource for finding literary magazines and what type/length of stories/articles they publish. Writer’s Digest and Publisher’s Weekly always have a lot of great resources.
Hope this helps!
There’s not necessarily anything thematically or plot-wise that really separates ‘mature’ stories. It’s more in tone and the depth of your story and characters that makes a story more appealing a wider/older audience. For example, the Harry Potter series is written for young (read: middle-grade) readers, but it holds appeal for all ages. There are philosophy books written about it, not to mention graduate term papers and collegiate quidditch.
It’s not what you write about that determines the age-appeal range, it’s how you write it. If you’re trying to write for a more mature audience, the best advice I can give is to read the kind of books you want to write and mimic the writing style to get started. You might even try re-writing some of your older works with this new technique. Then, after a while, try your hand at writing something new and entirely your own but using what you’ve gathered from reading the kind of books you want to write as a backbone.
Hope this helps!
"Failing to catch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.” -Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
Do not let the dream of being a published author get in the way of your writing. I know it’s alluring, that fantasy of sitting at the front of a long line, pen in hand, signing all those fresh copies of your new novel, thanking everyone for their compliments and making just enough small talk about one or the other of your characters or your process to keep the line moving along, but still connect with each of your admiring readers, knowing all the while there’s a fat check sitting in your bank account from the advance, and more like it on the way from those already accruing royalties. I’m writing a book. I’ve been writing it for a while. I know this thought. But I do not sit down with it at my desk.
The difference between a drive and a delusion is that a delusion inhibits you. The danger of this published author fantasy is that sometimes it can get so big in your head, you stop seeing your writing for what it is, and instead only see what you hope it to be. When you allow yourself to do this, you set yourself up for a painful awakening. You plow through to the end of a project, finish exhausted, maybe make a few changes, and now you’re ready to shop it around to a few test readers to check a bit of the grammar and give you their general impression before you start sending letters out to agents, and even a few queries to publishers just for good measure. However, in your heart, you’re terrified. You don’t have any idea what you’ve done. You hope it’s good, but you just don’t know. If any of your writing were good, you wouldn’t be able to explain why.
Eventually the inevitable happens. The hammer falls. Sure, a few of your friends have given you responses with middling enthusiasm, but then you hear from someone serious. This someone is going to treat you, not as a friend, but as a writer. Now you have to face what you have written, and what you have written will not produce long lines of adoring fans. What you have is a draft, and your work is still very much ahead of you.
The disparity between the fantasy of your writing, in which your first novel is imminent, and the reality of a pockmarked and incomplete draft can kill the dream entirely. Don’t do that to yourself.
That’s what they are there for!
Recently I’ve been getting asks from people looking to improve their lexicon because it feels like it’s getting repetitive. Perhaps they’re using the same sentence structure over and over again. Perhaps they’re using always the same adjectives or the same verbs. I talked briefly about this in Vocabulary and Wordiness, both how to improve it and how to use it well when writing. This is a continuation of sorts.
Verbs are a very important part of writing, just like any other grammar element. Something I find particularly fascinating is how useful they are. A strong verb is enough, for example, to replace one to three adjectives/adverbs or even a sentence. The best metaphors are partly made by effective verbs. They do make the story come to life and be in movement. Verbs are responsible for the actions that happen in the story.
My advice to you today, which is the point of this post, is to learn more verbs. Truly. Not only their meaning but the best context in which to use them. Make the effort to learn, let’s say, at least two or three new verbs a week and use them while writing. However, remember not to get overly excited with a nifty new word and use it several times in a paragraph or even a chapter or a short story. Why? Because it is noticeable when a writer uses uncommon or cool words more than once or twice. KSW did an great bit in this article explaining it.
Awesome unusual words
Sometimes we find a super cool word that we love to use and reuse. It simply works in a sentence and conveys precisely what we want to convey. The word might not be all that unusual, but strange enough that it stands out if we use it twice in a chapter. The more we use it, the more it loses its efficacy.
“The blistering cold shower water…”
“The blistering wind…”
Let’s assume the first example sentence just needs to have the word blistering. In that case, it might actually be best to rework the second sentence to let the reader infer the word “blistering”.
“The wind ripped the swell of condensation from her lips. Her eyes burned as she crossed the patches of grass, her stiff fingers buried deep in the pockets of her coat. She knew the sparse green blades would be dead with frost in the morning.”
There was a comment in a reblogged post that caught my attention, and made me think of the whole use vs. utilize debate.
I agree with everything, BUT. Call me pompous, elitist, or what-have-you (you wouldn’t be wrong), but never insecure, and certainly not a twit.
There are many objective, indisputable facts in the universe, and one such fact: use is a crap word. It implies the expenditure of a worthless object, something so base, so banal, so overlooked, that it is only to be used, and likely discarded thereafter. Usage is better— clinical and detached. Utilized means use without all the cruelty and disgust. Residence implies a dwelling— not a home. Detached. — cheherazades-vigil
This is, of course, an opinion I agree with, to an extent. I think it’s a great new point of view and it broadened my view on the topic. It’s the reason I’m making this post to expand what I previously said in V&W, and the reason I highlighted a certain sentence above. Don’t just learn words for the sake of putting them into your writing so it looks cool. Put some thought into the context in which you’re using them and if they’re working the way you want them to work. Something as simple as putting the word utilize instead of use in one occasion could be very helpful to get a point across. It’s the little details that make a piece of writing memorable, in my opinion. Details that as a whole work in a satisfying way for the writer and the reader alike. This can be done during revision or a second draft. Don’t worry a lot on the first about it.
Vocabulary comes of useful in dialogue too and in showing character. How a person speaks reveals a lot about them. Does your character shorten words? Tries to speak as little as possible and be straight to the point? Or, on the contrary, do they share unnecessary information?
I could probably ramble on and on about how style and the structure of sentences can be good to make readers get a feel of character/setting or even pacing, but that’d be getting off-topic with what I’m trying to say here: learn more verbs and words in general, and how to use them to make your writing cooler than it already is.
Rivalries have reasons, they always do. These are some reasons from the top of my head.
With rivalries anything could be a competition, trust me- I’ve been there. My ex friend and I had a rivalry (which I’m pretty sure she didn’t know she was in) and I wanted to beat her at EVERYTHING. Just because, there was no real reason.
This sort of thing stems back to our own self importance and the belief some people have that you have to do better than other people, you have to ‘win’. I think every person wants to be better than others, I think whether people say this is the difference. At school my best friend was really clever, she got A*s in EVERYTHING and all I wanted to do was beat her, and I did (once) and I gloated like my life depended on it. Because I was so pleased with myself because she was the standard I judged myself against and to beat her was the best thing possible for me.
So with rivalries, decide whether or not it’s friendly. What they are competitive about and how they show this. Some people are very open about it- others not so.
Hope this helps!
“Aloud” is the more formal version of “out loud.” They mean the same thing.
“Out loud” is a perfectly legitimate word that can be used on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, text messages, and in other informal settings. If you’re writing an essay or research paper for school, use “aloud" instead.
Having said that, not many teachers will think less of you for choosing to use “out loud” instead of “aloud.”
(And since “out loud” is so mainstream, show your hipster diction by employing “aloud” in your writing.)
Nearly every book I’ve read has a protagonist. And all of those protagonists were surrounded by several, if not a great many, friends. Within my own stories, my protagonists have quite a few friends. Among those friends, there are usually one or two, maybe three, friends that the protagonist is…
Recently, I’ve seen quite a few posts about Mary Sue characters cross my dash that I don’t feel accurately deconstruct or understand the term. As someone who feels very strongly about the representation of women in media, (and as someone who has been reading fan fiction since the age of Yahoo emailing lists and live journal) I felt the need to write an article on the subject. Hopefully this will help inspire some writers and settle the concerns of others.
1. What Is a Mary Sue Character?:
The term “Mary Sue originates from the name of a character created by Paula Smith in 1973 for her parody story “A Trekkie’s Tale" published in her fanzine Menagerie The story starred Lieutenant Mary Sue ("the youngest Lieutenant in the fleet — only fifteen and a half years old"), and satirized unrealistic Star Trek fan fiction. The best fan written definition I have come across can be found: here
In essence: A Mary-sue character is a female character that shares three major characteristics:
- They are poorly written and one dimensional with incredibly predictable personality traits.
- They are the romantic interest of nearly all the male characters within the text.
- They are infallible in many ways. Including but not limited to intelligence, battle prowess, wit, and the consequences of their own actions.
What I believe most people who criticize the Mary Sue trope are missing, is that these characteristics all have different weights of importance to the development and identification of a Mary Sue character.
The most important characteristic of the three is the first listed: That Mary Sue characters are poorly written.
The reason that this is the most important characteristic is that without this aspect of the term, many of the strong amazing female characters who you would never even dream of considering “Mary Sue” characters would have to fall underneath the term.
It is the defining difference between characters of quality who happen to be strong and interesting and compelling, and characters who seem to have inherited these personality traits from osmosis. Meaning that the difference between a strong/diverse female character and a Mary Sue is the quality of character development and (in many cases) the understanding of well studied character design.
Without understanding the importance of this particular aspect of Mary Sue characters, the following characters would be considered Mary Sues: Xena, Martha Jones, Anne of Green Gables, Eowyn, Rose Tyler, Sailor Moon, Wonder Woman, Black Widow, Katniss Everdeen, Allison Argent, Lisbeth Salander etc.
As you know, these women are decidedly NOT Mary Sue characters.
The list above is designed to showcase how vital being “poorly written” is for a character to qualify as Mary Sue. There is a certain… laziness that is associated with the personality and character development arc of known Mary Sue characters (Like Bella Swan for example). And one cannot be defined as a Mary Sue character without it…
Then you should probably read into it and perhaps look for some case studies? Maybe even have a talk with a Doctor that works in this field?
I don’t think we have any information though, :/
THE NINE CHOIRS OF HEAVEN. An info-graphic for my editorial class and god am I thankful it’s done. Way too much went into this than what I had time for, but hey… I actually kind of like it?
Now excuse me, I must return to my fashion major lifestyle and go sew a coat u_u
EDIT: Re-uploaded with easier viewing!
The scuffles, controversies, and feisty debates that have helped keep the literary world lively over the past year.
Fight fight fight fight!
But actually, all of these are really good. A lot of them are about female writers sticking up for themselves against people who are being dicks.
Remember to eat protein and drink lots of water (or in my case… water AND coffee).
I chose main meds for my broken foot over studying/writing a paper so now I have about 5 hours to write five pages and edit two other essays. I tried to get up with my roommate when he woke up for work this morning… but we have a heated blanket… and that just really didn’t work out too well.
Also remember to treat yourself when you’re done! I have 3 finals today, so I know I will!
Good luck! The light is at the end of the tunnel!