Frank Brangwyn, The Brunswick Caught Anchors With Her Enemy, 1893
IT’S INCREDIBLY HELPFUL AND CAN FOR INSTANCE GENERATE TOPICS AND FIRST LINES, CONTAINS LOADS OF EXERCISES AND YOU CAN FIND PLENTY OF WRITING TIPS.
BLESS YOU I LOVE YOU OH MY GODS I’VE NEEDED THIS
WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?
Jealousy is an emotion that most of us are familiar with and it sometimes drives us to act out of character. Not one really wants to be jealous, but it’s something that happens from time and time—and it happens to our characters. Ignoring it or pretending that it doesn’t happen might make your characters feel too perfect or unrelatable.
Jealously isn’t necessarily a healthy emotion, but it happens, and it’s something we all have to deal with. Sometimes, however, jealousy drives competition between two people or helps you pinpoint what you want. There will probably be jealousy between your protagonist and antagonist because they might both be interested in something similar. They are always getting in the way of each other’s actions and they both feel like they are doing the right thing. The villain might be jealous of the hero because the hero has what the villain wants. The hero might be jealous of the villain because maybe the villain is stronger. If neither character wants what the other one has, your story will probably be very boring.
When people use jealousy in order to “dumb down” female characters, that’s when there’s a problem with it. Focusing on jealousy between two female characters over a romantic interest shouldn’t be the main point of your story. Acknowledging that these jealous feelings exist and having your protagonist deal with them in a healthy way is a much better way to tackle these issues. I don’t think this should ever be your main source of tension. There should always be more to your plot than two characters grappling with jealousy over the same person. You need to build your characters on something more than wanting what someone else has.
It’s unrealistic to assume that someone wouldn’t feel jealous if their love interest was being pursued by another person, but try to deal with it in an understanding way. Painting someone as “evil” because they want the same thing as you is often a bad idea. Jealously works when it helps a character acknowledge his or her feelings for another person—for example, Ron Weasley didn’t really thought about how much he liked Hermione until she was with Viktor Krum. It helps reveal the inner most desires of your characters.
Understanding that it’s okay for your characters to be jealous, as long as you don’t let it shape who they are, will help you create more dynamic characters. This is a great way to use emotions to your advantage when writing and understand how emotions will affect the overall story.
This checklist can be used during both planning and editing stages.
- Does your protagonist have a personality beyond being heroic and nice?
- Does your protagonist have agency?
- Does your protagonist’s personality change?
- Did your protagonist have a life and relationships before the events of the story?
- Does your protagonist have flaws?
- Is your protagonist active as opposed to passive or reactive?
- Is your setting described well enough that readers can imagine themselves there?
- Is your setting used or described differently than similar settings by other authors?
- Do readers have a sense that your world extends outside the events of your story?
- Does your setting have its own unique atmosphere aside from being a backdrop for your plot?
- Is it important that the events in your story take place in this setting and not another?
Your Romantic Subplot/Plot (if applicable)
- Does the relationship have flaws?
- Does the relationship take time to develop?
- Does the love interest have their own personality beyond their romantic traits?
- Does the love interest have agency both inside and outside the relationship?
- Does the love interest have flaws?
Your Major Non-Protagonist Characters
- Do your major characters have varying opinions on your protagonist?
- Do your major characters have traits outside of their relationships with the protagonist?
- Do your major characters have varying gender identities, races, ability statuses, and sexual orientations, unless there is a good plot reason otherwise (such as the story taking place mainly at a male prison or a gay bar)?
- Do your major characters have different worldviews and senses of morality?
- Do most of your major characters have agency?
- Do your major characters have flaws?
- Do all of your major characters need to be there?
- Do most of your major characters’ personalities change?
Your Minor and Background Characters
- Do most of your minor characters have something that makes them interesting and memorable?
- Do your minor characters have varying gender identities, races, ability statuses, and sexual orientations, unless there is a good plot reason otherwise (such as the story taking place mainly at a male prison or a gay bar)?
- Do all of your minor characters need to be there?
- Does your antagonist have a reasonable motive for their actions?
- Does your antagonist have agency?
- Has your antagonist done enough to be taken seriously?
- Does your antagonist have good traits?
- Does your antagonist have traits outside of their relationship with the protagonist?
- Do your scenes flow logically?
- Are all of your questions either answered or left unanswered for a reason?
- Are there too many coincidences?
- Does your plot begin at the perfect spot?
- Does your plot end at the perfect spot?
- Is there conflict?
- Are there any scenes that could be left out?
- Does your plot happen because of the actions, reactions, and decisions of your characters?
- Are there any spelling or grammatical errors?
- Are there any sentences that could be left out?
- Are most of your sentences active instead of passive?
- Do you use mostly strong verbs (ex: drank, ran) instead of weak verbs (ex: was, did)?
- Do you use too many adverbs?
- Are your sentences varied in structure?
Okay so I keep putting this off just because I don’t really know how I’m going to explain it without leaving a lot out, repeating the dumb things, and not driving home the right points. But here goes - I’m sure I’ll do all those thing’s but hopefully you get the idea.
A week ago today was The Hop Jam in Tulsa - I’ll spare you the details but basically it ended up that I flew down from STL with my mom who had just flown in from New York. Our trip down was the worst ever because Lambert Airport doesn’t know how to put people on planes - my mother’s own anxiety about planes, being on time, and shitty shitty people made it that much more stressful for me. Once we got into Tulsa we were met with a larger than expected but difficult to navigate airport, picked up by the Holiday Inn’s van, and made the trip to our room with a couple of pilots and flight attendants on a lay-over.
What I had overlooked when booking this trip was that Mayfest, the Mayfest, Tulsa’s big music festival - the very same one that any Hanson fan knows is where they played their very first gig (the year I was born) was the same weekend. Not only that, art and craft festivals were going on all over the city. We walked and perused through kiosk after kiosk, following the easiest map I’ve ever read to each Hanson landmark and Tulsa hotspot.
For the non fans - Tulsa is Hanson’s hometown and where they still call home. So yeah - it’s like Mecca, and I’d made my pilgrimage. On top of all of this, Hanson themselves was finishing up a weekend of festivities they had set up for fans for Hanson Day. Needless to say, the city was BUMPIN’. I never expected to feel so good in a Southern/Midwest town but hell I love every minute of it and we hadn’t even reached The Hop Jam yet.
Another Halloween themed post.
GHOSTS AND SPIRITS
- Iron and Ghosts
- The Early Ghost
- Guide to Ghosts
- Gravestone Symbolism
- 10 Little Known Mysterious Ghost Types
- Ghost Types
- The Different Types of Ghosts
- Haunted Places
- Cemetery Folklore
- Writing a Ghost Story
- Tips for Writing Ghost Stories
- Ghost Cliches
- Horror Cliches
- The Science of Zombies
- Zombie Biology
- Zombie Sociology
- Zombie Myths
- Stage II and Stage III Zombies (pictures)
- Vampires vs Zombies
- Undead Creatures
- Guide on Zombies
SHAPE SHIFTERS AND HOMINIDS
- Werewolves and other were-beasts
- The Shape Shifting Process
- Shape Shifters
- Hominids of the World
- Werewolf Myths
- Science of Werewolves
- Werewolf Behavior
- Werewolves vs Vampires vs Zombies
- Werewolf Anatomy
- Wolf Body Language
- Werewolf Myths and Truths
- History of the Werewolf Legend
- The Mermaid
- Sea Creatures
- Books About Mermaids and Sea Folklore
- Sea Creatures: Books
- YA Mermaid Novels
- Best Mermaid Books
- Awesome Mermaid Books
- Mermaid Anatomy
- A Dissection of Mermaid Anatomy
- African Vampires
- Writing the A-Typical Vampire
- So You Want to Write a Vampire Novel
- Avoiding Vampire Cliches
- Vampire Cliches
- Vampire Burial
- Vampire Mythology
- Vampire Biology
- Vampire Virology
- Vampire Sociology
- Vampires in Folklore and Literature
FAIRIES AND FAE
- Types of Faeries A-Z
- A Guide to Fairies
- Other Names for Fairies
- Books About Faery
- Best YA Fairy Books
- Best YA Fantasy Series About the Fae
ANGELS AND DEMONS
- Creating Creepy Creatures
- Mythology Meme
- Master Post of World Mythology, Creatures, and Folklore
- Figures of Norse Mythology
- Those Who Haunt the Earth
- Writing Horror, Paranormal, and Supernatural
- Genre: YA Supernatural
- List of Mythical Creatures
- Mythological Creature Picture Spam
- How to Make Your Supernatural Characters Unique
- Supernatural Theme Story
- Myths and Urban Legends Masterpost
- Original Gods, Goddesses, and Myths
- World Building Basics: Myths and Legends
- Mythical Creatures and Beings
- Symbols by Word
- Mythology Meme
- Writing Paranormal Characters into the Real World
Gothic Fiction: Gothic fiction (sometimes referred to as Gothic horror) is a genre of literature that combines elements of both horror and romance. As a genre, it is generally believed to have been invented by the English author Horace Walpole, with his 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto. (Wikipedia)
Books of the Genre
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
As a Southern Gothic novel and a Bildungsroman, the primary themes of To Kill a Mockingbird involve racial injustice and the destruction of innocence. Scholars have noted that Lee also addresses issues of class, courage, compassion, and gender roles in the American Deep South. (Wikipedia)
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
[The novel] addresses many of the social and intellectual issues facing African-Americans early in the twentieth century, including Black Nationalism, the relationship between black identity and Marxism, and the reformist racial policies of Booker T. Washington, as well as issues of individuality and personal identity. (Wikipedia)
The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
Written in Charlotte, North Carolina in a house on East Blvd, it is about a deaf man named John Singer and the people he encounters in a 1930s mill town in the U.S. state of Georgia. (Wikipedia)
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
The novel narrates main character Janie Crawford’s “ripening from a vibrant, but voiceless, teenage girl into a woman with her finger on the trigger of her own destiny.” [The novel is] set in central and southern Florida in the early 20th century. (Wikipedia)
Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor
The story of Hazel Motes, a twenty-two-year-old caught in an unending struggle against his innate, desperate faith. He falls under the spell of a “blind” street preacher names Asa Hawks and his degenerate fifteen-year-old daughter, Lily Sabbath. In an ironic, malicious gesture of his own non-faith, and to prove himself a greater cynic than Hawks, Hazel Motes founds The Church Without Christ, but is still thwarted in his efforts to lose God. He meets Enoch Emery, a young man with “wise blood,” who leads him to a mummified holy child, and whose crazy maneuvers are a manifestation of Hazel’s existential struggles. (Publisher)
Characteristics of Southern Literature
- A focus on Southern History
- Significance of family
- A sense of community and one’s role within it
- A sense of justice
- Religion and the burdens/rewards religion often brings
- Issues of racial tension
- Land and the promise it brings
- A sense of social class and place
- Southern dialect
- Uses the macabre, supernatural, grotesque, and ironic to examine the values of the South
- Known for its damaged and delusional characters
- First popularized by Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Ambrose Bierce
- Portrays a world in ruins
- Often deals with the plight of those who are ostracized or oppressed by traditional Southern culture
- When southern gothic authors examine the human condition, they see the potential to do harm.
- Morality is in question for many characters.
- A major theme for southern gothic writers hinges on innocence, and the innocent’s place in the world — they are often asked to act as redeemer.
Elements of the Southern Gothic Genre:
In most southern gothic stories, there is a pivotal character or someone close to them who is set apart from the world by a disability or odd way of seeing the world. You won’t meet very many “normal” characters in the writings of William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Truman Capote or Carson McCullers—and this is by design. This fascination with the outsider is in many ways used to show readers not only the individuality of the southern culture, but also to connect each reader to their own unique “freakish” nature.
This is often both literal and figurative. While many southern gothic tales include an incident where a character is sent to jail or locked up, there are also several gothic characters that live in fate’s prison without hope of parole.
Southern gothic writers covered a period in the South’s history when violence was particularly prevalent. After the bloodshed of the Civil War, and the period of reconstruction that followed, racial tension and fear ran high in many small southern towns. This plays its part in many of the stories of this genre.
Sense of Place
It wouldn’t be southern gothic if you didn’t feel like you’d been thrust in the center of a dusty, peach-scented, lonely downtown where porch-bound widows rock gently on creaky rockers, rusty pick-up trucks drive by filled with grimy farmhands, the general store is run by the town drunk, and flies and mosquitoes circle glasses of ice-filled lemonade. The sense of place is strong—awash in calm, pregnant heat, lost dreams and wayward souls.