Being a writer is awesome. You get to make up worlds, fill them with characters you love, and then kill them off one by one (because making your readers hurt is a special kind of drug). However, there is a lot of personal responsibility that comes with writing as well, and that’s something that a lot of writers don’t seem to realize. There are a lot of things I won’t discuss here that could fall under writer responsibility that people are sure to think should be included – the writer’s responsibility to their characters, to their readers, to agents or deadlines, his responsibility to inspire or change the reader’s life – those things are things that I believe differ from person to person and from writer to writer depending on your situation and beliefs. Instead, I’ll stick with things closely tied to the actual writing process. Onwards, brave companions!
1. Do your own work/writing/research.
Writing is WORK. It is not easy. That being said, you can’t hand off that work to someone else. It’s wonderful to bounce ideas off of someone, but you can’t take credit for their ideas. You also can’t take bits of other people’s writing and call it your own. Plagiarism is gross, guys. Furthermore, writing itself is not the only work that a writer is a responsible for. I’ve written before on how freakin’ important research is, but there’s no doubt that research can be the suckiest part of writing. I know that. Really. I just climbed through a million articles on Shambhala. Research can be horribly boring. However, you still need to do it. You need to do it for the sake of your story, because facts are awesome. Furthermore, you need to do it yourself. Only you know exactly what you need, and only you can decide what is worth including or not worth including. If you can’t do your own research or writing, that also implies that you are lazy or that your story is not worth it, and those are not traits I see in any of the successful writers I personally know. You are responsible for that. It’s a brutal truth, but a truth nonetheless.
2. You are responsible for your successes, but you are also responsible for your failures.
This is a big thing for me. I see a lot of writers that are super thrilled about when their writing goes well for them. It’s an awesome feeling. But I also see writers that love to play the blame game when things go wrong. “I didn’t sleep well last night.” “I just didn’t feel like writing.” “I didn’t want to do my fact-checking.” “My neighbors were being too noisy”. There are a lot of reasons why you might not be able to write, but I will bet that ninety percent of them are based around you. Blaming others does not one any good. If you can accept your successes, you need to be able to accept your failures as well.
3. When you do have a failure, learn from it.
I have what feels like a million writing failures. Really. I have made character mistakes, research mistakes, plotline and development mistakes. I cannot tell you many times I can look back on a certain piece of writing or something I did writing-related, wince, and hope to god that it stays buried in the shallow, cliff-side grave I covertly left it in during a moonlight gardening spree. Failures suck, but good does come from them. You can learn from your failures. Ignoring one of your weaknesses does not make the weakness go away. You owe it to yourself and your awesome writing ability to focus on your weaknesses like an angry shark until those weaknesses have been obliterated and devoured and you are cruising through an ocean of win.
4. Do everything to the best of your ability.
Because laziness sucks, and I KNOW you are better than that. You KNOW when something is not the best of your ability. Do you really want to let it out knowing that you half-assed it? That might work for school essays (guilty as charged over here), but it should never be acceptable for something that you are hoping to make into a career.
5. ACTUALLY WRITE.
This one is a no-brainer people. Seriously, just go do it. That’s the one thing a writer is pretty much totally responsible for.
You can totally do this, guys. So go to it.
If you don’t agree with me on this, that’s cool. If you do, that’s also cool. I am by no means an expert and this is just my personal opinion. I also think that Sharktopus and Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus are legitimate examples of excellent cinema, so there you go.
Enjoy reading about strong female characters kicking ass?
“It’s field vs forest, Caster vs hunter and Raina in the middle determined to protect them all.”
Creating Love Interests for Strong Female Characters
In my time I have been called a “tom boy”, “geek”, “butch” and just plain “weird”. Why? Because I love, love action, adventure, fantasy, swashbuckling, epics and heroes. I play video games, role play, dress up in costumes in public, learned to fight with swords, and read every book I came across. I want to be the heroine of every adventure out there.
But my escapist fantasies also have to include love interests, and that’s harder to find. How do you give a strong girl a love interest who doesn’t eclipse her? They can’t just sit around at home - that’s boring, and who wants to date that kind of dead weight anyway? - but if they get too involved in the heroics, it risks becoming his, not her, adventure.
Being very hot is also a huge distraction from the action.
I hear a lot of writers saying that they have trouble naming characters, but there are loads of places to go for inspiration;
- Online name generators; such as Seventh Sanctum, Serendipity, etc
- The census; there are census name generators online like this one
- The phone book
- The credits on tv programmes/movies
- The thank you list in books/CDs
- People you went to school with
Just remember to mix these names up (trust me, naming your villain after your ex is not a great idea!) Also, Google the names to make sure you’re not naming your characters after someone well known.
When you find a name you like, say it out loud. Make sure the first and last name sound alright together. Introduce your character out loud, introduce them to your other characters. Let your ears hear the sound of the name.
Also, check out my post 5 Things to Avoid when Naming Characters
ALSO I JUST GOT AN INTERNSHIP AS A FREELANCE WRITER???
Today has been an emotional rollercoaster and it’s only 8:00!
So I downloaded 4 (the EP released celebrate iTunes remastering the Beatles’s solo stuff) and I was totally unprepared for Ringo’s song, “Walk With You.” So long story short I cried all the way to work this morning.
Want to start self-publishing and need some practical tips? Here’s a guest post from Alice Kuipers on Wattpad:
When I was starting out as an author, not so very long ago, the main route to becoming published was to send work to agents, to publishers, to wait, to hope, to dream. For most writers, there were many, many rejections along the path to publishing, and I wrote lots of novels before my first published book finally found a home.
In the last few years, there’s been a huge shift in the publishing industry. Lots of authors still find traditional publishers for their books. But a huge, industrious group of authors have discovered the joys and challenges of self-publishing their writing. I have worked with several authors here in Saskatoon as they’ve honed and perfected their words getting them ready to self-publish and I’ve watched them with joy on the all-important night of their book launch.
There are some things to think about when you self publish. One terrific site for authors who want to self publish and who want everything I’m about to list already organized for them is Bibliocrunch. They provide editors, book designers, advice and ideas on budgeting. What more could you ask for!
- a main character who isn’t interested in romance/doesn’t pursue a romance/doesn’t end up in a romantic relationship
- characters who are overweight but are not characterized simply as ‘the fat one’
- same as the above but for LGBT characters
- and again for all ethnic characters
- adults who actually do stuff rather than take a backseat as the teens run around and save the day
- well-developed villains with understandable motives who have an actual chance of succeeding
- the importance of friendships when your family unit is broken/unstable
- coping with depression/anxiety/suicidal thoughts- realistically.
- how a person can be strong without being physically powerful or slapping a different person in the face every week
- that crying doesn’t make you weak, no matter who you are
- supporting someone else’s right to believe what they want, even though you might personally think it’s a load of rubbish
- how love isn’t all heartfelt confessions and spontaneous french-kissing
- the importance of having the courage to let go of the things and people who are bad for you— even if you love them. Even if they’re family.
- doing well in school is fine, but if you fail you can still be successful in life
- how good people can do bad things sometimes and what to do when your entire impression of a person is wrong
- that death is something that happens, but not something to fear
- that sexuality, gender and religion don’t matter, it’s what a person does that matters.
- that being in a relationship is not the only thing in life that matters
And there are so many more things that I’d like to see as well. I’m just so tired of seeing the usual “fitting in isn’t always important!” and “be yourself, kids!” messages in YA books, coupled with a disgusting amount of “Be in a relationship or your life means nothing!”.
Teenagers know that fitting in isn’t important, and they know they’re supposed to “be themselves”. The problem is that they’re teenagers and they’re not going to know who they are for another ten years- and even then it keeps on changing and changing until you’re dead!
I’m turning twenty next month, and while I may end my teenage years relatively unscathed, I have friends who aren’t so lucky. They’ve been given hard lives that you only see in books, TV and movies for the sake of drama. We need YA authors to take a break from writing these cheap, pandering books about ‘that cute, mysterious guy who just enrolled in class’ that they think “empower” teenagers, and actually write something that could help them. That could’ve helped my friends. That could’ve helped me.
You can change lives with your writing. You can do it. All of us can.
- It’s okay to want attention
- It’s okay to love yourself
- It’s okay not to be perfect
- It’s okay to put yourself first sometimes, because
- It’s important to take care of yourself as well as others
- You don’t have to be self-sacrificing and selfless and only think about others all the time
- YOu and YOU ALONE have the power to change your own destiny, your personality, and all of the things that bring you down in life. You don’t always have to be the victim
Because honestly, I think that many YA novels pursues a completely unhealthy self-image, with the protagonist ALWAYS being oh so selfless and good and never doing anything wrong and only thinking about others. I’m not saying that these things are bad, not at all, but I don’t think that I’ve read one single YA novel where it’s an important message to love and take care of yourself too.
And because I grew up with these books, it was put into my head that you can only be a good person if you ALWAYS put others above yourself, and you are bad and shallow and vain if you value yourself just as much as others. That is a very unhealthy train of thought, and that sticked with me and is something I’m still fighting against. That is the main thing pulled me down into my depression in the first place. And I’m just now learning that you have to love and respect yourself to love and respect others. And if I just had one book, one idol, that said that it was important to love yourself - I think that would have changed everything.