I’m giving myself some space to get my head right, so I won’t be on here for a while. Don’t know how long, but I really think this site has started to weedle into my brain, and I don’t like what it has done.
So I’ll be gone a while. Message me on Skype if you have me; if not, then ask me and I’ll answer it eventually.
This is an excellent writing advice from Chuck Palahniuk. This was first seen on tumblr. Unfortunately, when I clicked on the link, it no longer existed.
But, I still think it’s worth sharing.
writingadvice: by Chuck Palahniuk
In six seconds, you’ll hate me.
But in six months, you’ll be a better writer.
From this point forward—at least for the next half year—you may not
use “thought” verbs. These include: Thinks, Knows, Understands,
Realizes, Believes, Wants, Remembers, Imagines, Desires, and a hundred
others you love to use.
The list should also include: Loves and Hates.
And it should include: Is and Has, but we’ll get to those later.
Until some time around Christmas, you can’t write: Kenny wondered if Monica didn’t like him going out at night…”
Instead, you’ll have to Un-pack that to something like: “The
mornings after Kenny had stayed out, beyond the last bus, until he’d
had to bum a ride or pay for a cab and got home to find Monica faking
sleep, faking because she never slept that quiet, those mornings, she’d
only put her own cup of coffee in the microwave. Never his.”
Instead of characters knowing anything, you must now present
the details that allow the reader to know them. Instead of a character
wanting something, you must now describe the thing so that the reader
Instead of saying: “Adam knew Gwen liked him.” You’ll have
to say: “Between classes, Gwen had always leaned on his locker when he’d
go to open it. She’s roll her eyes and shove off with one foot,
leaving a black-heel mark on the painted metal, but she also left the
smell of her perfume. The combination lock would still be warm from her
butt. And the next break, Gwen would be leaned there, again.”
In short, no more short-cuts. Only specific sensory detail: action, smell, taste, sound, and feeling.
writers use these “thought” verbs at the beginning of a paragraph (In
this form, you can call them “Thesis Statements” and I’ll rail against
those, later). In a way, they state the intention of the paragraph. And
what follows, illustrates them.
“Brenda knew she’d never make the deadline. Traffic
was backed up from the bridge, past the first eight or nine exits. Her
cell phone battery was dead. At home, the dogs would need to go out, or
there would be a mess to clean up. Plus, she’d promised to water the
plants for her neighbor…”
Do you see how the opening “thesis statement” steals the thunder of what follows? Don’t do it.
If nothing else, cut the opening sentence and place it after all the others. Better yet, transplant it and change it to: Brenda would never make the deadline.
Thinking is abstract. Knowing and believing are intangible. Your
story will always be stronger if you just show the physical actions
and details of your characters and allow your reader to do the thinking
and knowing. And loving and hating.
Don’t tell your reader: “Lisa hated Tom.”
Instead, make your case like a lawyer in court, detail by detail.
Present each piece of evidence. For example:
“During roll call,
in the breath after the teacher said Tom’s name, in that moment before
he could answer, right then, Lisa would whisper-shout ‘Butt Wipe,’ just
as Tom was saying, ‘Here’.”
One of the most-common mistakes that beginning writers make is leaving their characters alone. Writing,
you may be alone. Reading, your audience may be alone. But your
character should spend very, very little time alone. Because a solitary
character starts thinking or worrying or wondering.
For example: Waiting for the bus, Mark started to worry about how long the trip would take…”
A better break-down might be: “The schedule said the bus would come
by at noon, but Mark’s watch said it was already 11:57. You could see
all the way down the road, as far as the Mall, and not see a bus. No
doubt, the driver was parked at the turn-around, the far end of the
line, taking a nap. The driver was kicked back, asleep, and Mark was
going to be late. Or worse, the driver was drinking, and he’d pull up
drunk and charge Mark seventy-five cents for death in a fiery traffic
A character alone must lapse into fantasy or memory, but even then
you can’t use “thought” verbs or any of their abstract relatives.
Oh, and you can just forget about using the verbs forget and remember.
No more transitions such as: “Wanda remembered how Nelson used to brush her hair.”
Instead: “Back in their sophomore year, Nelson used to brush her hair with smooth, long strokes of his hand.”
Again, Un-pack. Don’t take short-cuts.
Better yet, get your character with another character, fast.
Get them together and get the action started. Let their actions and
words show their thoughts. You—stay out of their heads.
And while you’re avoiding “thought” verbs, be very wary about using the bland verbs “is” and “have.”
“Ann’s eyes are blue.”
“Ann has blue eyes.”
“Ann coughed and waved one hand past her face, clearing the cigarette smoke from her eyes, blue eyes, before she smiled…”
Instead of bland “is” and “has” statements, try burying your details
of what a character has or is, in actions or gestures. At its most
basic, this is showing your story instead of telling it.
And forever after, once you’ve learned to Un-pack your characters,
you’ll hate the lazy writer who settles for: “Jim sat beside the
telephone, wondering why Amanda didn’t call.”
Please. For now, hate me all you want, but don’t use thought verbs. After Christmas, go crazy, but I’d bet money you won’t.
For this month’s homework, pick through your writing and circle every “thought” verb. Then, find some way to eliminate it. Kill it by Un-packing it.
Then, pick through some published fiction and do the same thing. Be ruthless.
“Marty imagined fish, jumping in the moonlight…”
“Nancy recalled the way the wine tasted…”
“Larry knew he was a dead man…”
Find them. After that, find a way to re-write them. Make them stronger.
n. a moment of awareness that someone you’ve known for years still has a private and mysterious inner life, and somewhere in the hallways of their personality is a door locked from the inside, a stairway leading to a wing of the house that you’ve never fully explored—an unfinished attic that will remain maddeningly unknowable to you, because ultimately neither of you has a map, or a master key, or any way of knowing exactly where you stand.
A same-sex couple in Portland were kicked out of a cab Thursday night when the driver told them, “You can’t be gay in my cab.”
Kate Neal, her girlfriend Shanko Devoll, and another friend took a Broadway Cab home around midnight. When the cab driver saw them being affectionate, he pulled over on the interstate, yelled homophobic remarks at them and made all three exit the cab.
They called another Broadway Cab to pick them up, but the two drivers spoke and the second cab also refused to take them. The first driver has been suspended and an investigation is underway.
"Discrimination should not, cannot and will not be tolerated," wrote President Raye Miles, though he said the investigation meant he couldn’t comment on the specifics of the case. “I would like to take this opportunity to say that Broadway Cab is fully committed to the concept and practice of non-discrimination, equal opportunity, and diversity. This includes any form of discrimination based upon an individual’s sexual orientation."
The three women eventually made it home only after finding a police officer — who said he was actually looking for them. Someone had called the police to complain about a woman who refused to pay a cab fare. The women explained their side, according to KATU, and the officer gave them a ride home.
“I feel like there exists a disconnect between the artist/blogger/designer’s intent (to inspire) and some people’s inference that this inspirational content is free to simply be copied.”—DIY is not Duplicate It Yourself (via armeleia)
"A cyberpunk spam writer sending out the rounds" (Basically; Tumblr lost the original ask)
(As an aside, yes, They is the proper word here. The character does not ascribe to the gender binary. It’s the future, for fuck’s sake; deal with it.)
Engorge? Embiggen? Too fancy.
Chyp sighed. “Enlarge” again. Always the best choice, but it lacked so much pizzazz and syllabic wonder. These are idiots you’re writing to, they thought as the keystrokes resounded clearly against the dingy concrete. They aren’t concerned with fancy words, just make them want to click the link.
Their stomach grumbled its agreement with the unspoken thought, and Chyp sent off the next batch of body-increasing spam. Like every night, they were somewhere different; with the patrols in the Town growing by the weekend, every haven was only safe for an indeterminate parcel of time. The networks were rarely encrypted, which was a blessing, but also a potential drawback, especially if any NetPol ears were listening in.
"How much longer do we have?" Asked Chyp’s partner, and hacker, Lin.
"About thirty cycles. The Ns haven’t spotted us yet, so I can throw three more packages out, if i’m right.”
Lin shivered in the cool, pushing from the wall with her back and pacing silently. Chyp hated when she did that. Something was wrong.
"If this is about last night," Chyp chimed in quietly, half-focused on their work as the keys clacked away, “I didn’t know you were allergic. It’s something you could have ment-"
"Look. This isn’t the time. Or even the place." Lin muttered as she waved her arms around the dank cellar that passed for a haven. “I wouldn’t even take my shoes off here, and you want to talk about That?"
Her hands were still swollen; Chyp sighed again, mid-keystroke, and turned to her, their work forgotten. “I’m sorry. I just wanted to clear the air. Metaphorically, anyway.” They waved away a cloud of dust that had scuttled through the air vents, coughing into their shirt to avoid excessive noise.
Lin’s turn to sigh. “You know I hate it when you do that. Anyways, time’s wasting. We can talk about this at the bar.”
Chyp’s face lit up like a child’s would, having been given a beautiful new puppy. Their fingers stretched and crooked as they swiveled in the old chair, and set to work hammering out new and exotic ways of telling people that their junk was too small.
“Biology’s cruel joke goes something like this: As a teenage body goes through puberty, its circadian rhythm essentially shifts three hours backward. Suddenly, going to bed at nine or ten o’clock at night isn’t just a drag, but close to a biological impossibility. Studies of teenagers around the globe have found that adolescent brains do not start releasing melatonin until around eleven o’clock at night and keep pumping out the hormone well past sunrise. Adults, meanwhile, have little-to-no melatonin in their bodies when they wake up. With all that melatonin surging through their bloodstream, teenagers who are forced to be awake before eight in the morning are often barely alert and want nothing more than to give in to their body’s demands and fall back asleep. Because of the shift in their circadian rhythm, asking a teenager to perform well in a classroom during the early morning is like asking him or her to fly across the country and instantly adjust to the new time zone — and then do the same thing every night, for four years.”—Sleep and the teenage brain (via niallhortonhearsawho)
what about those of us who have even weirder circadian rhythms? Try feeling that way until well into the afternoon, every day.
there should be a horror movie called the friend zone where this hot chick is friends with a guy and hes tryin to get in the bone zone and shes like “oh mark ur such a good friend” and he gets all mad like “man i just wanted to pound you into the mattress!!” and shes like “i wish you hadnt said that mark” and like drags him to her basement with all her other male friends so they can be friends forever and he has to find a way to not be a piece of shit in order to get out
The premise of minimum wage, when it was introduced, was that a single wage earner should be able to own a home and support a family. That was what it was based on; a full time job, any job, should be able to accomplish this.
The fact people scoff at this idea if presented nowadays, as though the people that ring up your groceries or hand you your burgers don’t deserve the luxury of a home and a family, is disgusting.
God we fuck up teenagers’ heads. We tell them that biological conditions are moral punishments and then we get all shocked when they don’t practice rational risk management of biological conditions. We teach them “sex is super desirable and all the cool kids do it, and it’s hideously shameful and will destroy your life” and we wonder why they act an eensy bit neurotic about it. If you tried to design a system for making sexually active kids confused and unsafe, you couldn’t do much better than the American media and school system.
And for once, the answer is relatively simple. Just talk about sex like it’s a part of life. Some people have sex and some people don’t, because people are different. STIs aren’t bad because they’re Dirty Crotch Rot; they’re bad because they’re contagious illnesses like strep throat or whooping cough, and you can ask a doctor to check for and treat them just like you would with strep throat. Unwanted pregnancy isn’t a scarlet A; it’s a mostly-preventable accident that sometimes occurs when people are going about their normal business of having sex. You can ask the school counselor about a variety of topics, including career planning, problems at home, questions about sex, or conflicts with teachers.
If we could just get the goddamn stick out of our collective ass and accept that sex is a human activity and teenagers are humans, maybe there wouldn’t be quite so many plaintive “I don’t understand my body and I’m confused and scared and I don’t know anyone I can ask in person” messages flying out into the world.
A neo-Nazi Russian group has taken to social media to publicise images and videos of gay teenagers lured in on the promise of a date, before torturing them and forcing them to come out to friends and family on video.
I DON’T CARE WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON MY BLOG BUT YOU HAVE REBLOG THIS. I just don’t care. It’s time to boycott Russian Olimpics and don’t buy Russian vodka.
Even foreigners can be arrested in Russia now because of Putin’s anti-gay laws. This shit is serious and fucking archaic. Not only that, but the built up homophobia and hatred that has turned to violence is just atrocious.
This random guy on the street, looking at my Avengers t-shirt:It's funny how so many girls are into them these days just to impress boys
Me:Well, I didn't know that girls couldn't like something independent of what boys thought of them.
Guy:Seriously? You're telling me you like the Avengers for real? Alright, who is your favourite Avenger then?
Me calmly:Alright, well that depends on the line-up, but it's between the Wasp and Quicksilver.
Guy rolls his eyes:See, this is what I mean, stop pretending to like something you don't even understand. Quicksilver is an X-men, not an Avenger, it's a whole different movie-series. And the Wasp isn't a thing, you're just making things up now. Just admit it, you're just pretending.
Me, still calm:Oh you meant the movie. First of all, let me clarify. I thought you meant the general Avengers multiverse, movies, comics and cartoons, seeing as my t-shirt is a comic reference. Because The Wasp (pointing to her on my t-shirt) was a founding member of the Avengers, she was there even before Captain America was revived and joined. Secondly, Quicksilver aka Pietro and his sister Wanda aka Scarlet Witch aren't X-men, they were part of the Brotherhood of Mutants before they turned and joined the second line-up of Avengers. They're all Marvel characters, they move around a bit, it's the same multiverse.
Me, no longer very calm:Thirdly, telling me that I've been reading MARVEL comics religiously since I was 6 years old to attract boys is not a valid argument. I am not some sort of robot. I am perfectly capable of enjoying things for myself. Look. I could look down on you for only liking the movie and not being an expert on it. But I don't. You don't have to be an expert on something to like it. The same way you don't have to be a boy to enjoy superhero comics. So how about we not insult each other for liking the same damn thing, is that a good plan?
Guy:Oh my God, you are such a nerd.
Me, calm having flown the nest:listen you little misogynistic pig, if I don't know about the topic, I'm an idiot, if I do, then I'm a nerd? This topic is way beyond your IQ, and I'm wasting my time here. You can leave.