Don’t be sorry! Writing about fighting when you have no practical experience is a difficult challenge and writing fight sequences when you do is still time consuming. There are a lot pieces working together and figuring out how they function is difficult and something very few writers actually do well.
Here are a list some of our posts that may be helpful to you:
Also check anything in our Michael Janich tag, he is a very good instructor who teaches self-defense. I refer people to his videos for the work he does with concepts, where he actively explains what a technique is, what it does, and why it’s used before teaching the technique. As a writer, you need both technique and concept before you can put it on the page.
I plan on doing a write up on both elbows and knees in the near future. There’s a lot of misconceptions about how these techniques work.
Also check out Tamora Pierce’s Tortall series particularly First Test and Page in The Protector of the Small quartet. Tamora Pierce is one of the few authors that write fight scenes I feel comfortable recommending for reference.
Answer all these questions and you should have a fully-developed character for your audience to connect with.
A strong character can carry a weak plot; but a strong plot can’t carry weak characters
I didn’t know I needed this.
*Rubbing this all over my face*
i want to sit down and write sixty thousand words of a story with symbolism and metaphors and interesting characters with mind-blowing back stories arching down into a shattering climax but instead i just think about writing rather than actually doing it.
Avoid using semi-colons in fiction. Break the sentence into two instead.
Nah, dude. Nah.
If you think you should avoid using semicolons, then you don’t know how to use semicolons. Let me help you with that.
- Punctuation Made Simple: The Semicolon
- GrammarGirl: Semicolons
- Punctuation: The Semicolon
- The Guide to Grammar and Writing: The Semicolon
- Virtual Salt: Using Semicolons
- Writer’s Relief: Three Essential Semicolon Rules
- GrammarBook: Semicolon
- Purdue Owl Online Writing Lab: Commas vs. Semicolons in Compound Sentences
- Writer’s Web: Using Semicolons
- The Week: In defense of the semicolon
- Grammar-Monster: Merge Two Sentences with a Semicolon
- The Writer’s Handbook: Using Semicolons
- Instead of Comma Splices
no mom i cant throw away those notebooks, i have those half written poems from 2007 i might finish one day probably
oh my goodness, thank you so much, darling, that means a lot.
Once again I am having you fill in the details around your plot rather than trying to hammer out your plot. Why? Because the more you know about the elements that make up your story, the easier it will be to find that plot. In other words, you’ll get the roadmap once you finish laying down the road.
Setting is yet another often neglected area of writing, and it’s a terrible, terrible mistake. Your setting is a character, just as much as any person in the book, and it’s your guide to getting the reader sucked in. Here are some things to think about when finding your setting:
- Use appropriate details. When you or your characters make analogies and comparisons, they have to be relevant to the place they’re in. Someone who grew up in a landlocked, dry place isn’t going to compare experiences to surfing; someone from China isn’t going to reference things from Japan. How you describe your setting is going to depend on the experience of the character.
- Setting is about time as well as place. A story set in the 70s isn’t going to be talking about ‘digital’ stuff. Someone from the 80s isn’t going to use 90s slang. When’s the last time you heard someone say cowabunga who wasn’t a green animated turtle? That said, an e-mail, text message, or cell phone reference can let your reader know it’s modern day without quoting a date. If it’s historical and you can’t shoehorn in an exact year, look for contextual clues, what people are wearing, what they’re doing, what they’re thinking about.
- Location makes the mood. And mood makes the location! I’ve said this before, but a sad character is going to view a forest as dark and gloomy, a suspicious character might see it as dangerous, and a happy character might see it as a wonderful view of nature. How your character feels colors the way they perceive what’s around them - and with that, you can use description of their surroundings to describe how a character feels
- Setting is about character. Your setting is a character. Your setting is a reflection of your character. Your setting is one of the most important pieces of your novel. It needs to be a real place to your character. That way, it will be a real place to your reader.
Common questions about setting:
- Can I write about a place I’ve never been to? Of course, but you’re going to have to put your nose to the ground and really do your research. Use the hell out of Google Earth, read books placed there and articles describing what it’s like. Find people from there and talk to them. If it’s a historical setting, well, you got a lot of books to read.
- Do I have to set my novel where I grew up? It’s boring. Sigh. I get this. I really do. But your life experiences have a lot of power to them, and you can make them work for you. You don’t have to set your story in a small town when you want to write about a big city, but that doesn’t mean you have to throw away your life experiences! You can still describe the insides of buildings and homes, the feeling of walking down a street. You can take your experience cow watching (LOOK THERE ARE LOTS OF COWS WHERE I GREW UP) and change it to a habit of pigeon watching for your character. Use what you got.
- What if my setting feels bland? Quick, write down ten key facts about the place you’re most familiar with, then compare it to your novel. What do you have in your list that your novel doesn’t? Is it specific street names, or sounds? Is it missing the smell of spring?
- What if I don’t want to use an identifiable setting? I will find you and cling to your face until you change your mind. You need to have a very specific place in mind, real or imagine. It needs details, it needs life. You can’t write vaguely about ‘some West Coast town’ unless you very specifically know which town you’re thinking of. One of my favorite novels was set in a town that was never named, and it perfectly captured the malaise of living in a shithole town with a bad economy. It was obviously based on a real place, or a combination of real places. Don’t be vague, I beg you. Details are your friends, especially those you know on some personal level!
Your goal today: Flesh out your setting. Find buildings you might want scenes in, get maps of places or start drawing them. Figure out what the inside of character houses look like. Collect pictures, so many pictures, of cool places to set a scene. Get that setting down!
I’ve had really bad writers block for almost a year now. It’s so bad I can hardly bring myself to look at a word document. I really want to write again but I don’t know how to get out of this extensive slump. I’ve tried everything from music to taking walks and prompt challenges with no avail. Any help? - anonymous
I feel you. Writer’s Block is any writer’s worst nightmare, and getting out of it is a lot harder than some people would think. The most important thing right now is that you don’t let Writer’s Block take over. Don’t give up. Writer’s Block won’t last forever, and eventually you’ll find a way to beat it. We’ve all been there, for longer or shorter periods of time - it doesn’t matter -, all that matters is that you find a way to get to writing again.
First, let’s start by approaching the problem.
- Why are you having Writer’s Block? There are endless possibilities as to why someone would have Writer’s Block. Apparently, it strikes at the most random times. However, most of the times, there is one (or more than one) reasons behind it. Sometimes, people simply run out of inspiration, in which case there are no better options than to try to find it again. Other times, though, writers have other less obvious reasons. Try to think back to when this Writer’s Block situation started. Try to find the event or the events that might have motivated your Writer’s Block. Sometimes, acknowledging a certain reality makes us more apt to deal it with, and therefore, makes it easier to overcome problems.
- Why have your previous tries to overcome Writer’s Block failed? Ask yourself how each of those tries made you feel and why did you feel like that. This will help you realize which methods simply don’t work for you and which didn’t work at one specific time. Just because one method didn’t work, it doesn’t mean that it will never work again. Try to explore the reasons why your previous tries failed and separate the methods you know will never work again and those that might possibly work in the future, if approached in a different way.
- Does your idea for plot/characters/setting interest you? Sometimes, losing interest in what you’re writing can be a huge source of stress and eventually lead to Writer’s Block. It’s okay if you’re no longer interested in a certain story you used to be so excited about. Just store it somewhere where it doesn’t get lost and try to find something to write that actually excites you again. Maybe you’ll go back to that old story one day or maybe it will be a sweet memory to remind you of where you started.
- Accept Writer’s Block. Writer’s Block is extremely annoying, but the first step to overcome it is to accept it. Start by acknowledging that Writer’s Block is common and every writer goes through it at some point. Try to take the pressure off of your shoulders. If you stop stressing over it, it’s likely that inspiration will eventually come rushing back to you. Try to see Writer’s Block as something that “comes with the job”, rather than as something that will get you fired.
Okay, now that we’ve gone through the basics of Writer’s Block, I will give you crazy and not crazy tips I’ve learned over the years, and hopefully at least some of them will be helpful to you. Below, there is also a good amount of links that might help you.
- Think, but don’t think too much. If you already have a story, it’s important to think about it once in a while. Thinking about what you’re writing when you’re not writing makes room for new and exciting ideas that will get you pumped up for the next time you’re able to write. However, if you think too much about it, you might end up getting tired of your story or feeling like you’re running out of fresh ideas. If you’re still struggling to find a story, don’t think too much about how you really need characters or plot or a setting. Try to get ideas for your stories in your surroundings, but don’t force yourself into finding inspiration in everything you do or see. That will only make you tired and frustrated.
- Wherever you go, take a notebook with you. When you’re suffering from Writer’s Block, you can’t let any tiny piece of inspiration go to waste. That being said, carry a notebook with you at all times in order to write down any small idea that might occur to you: a character’s name, a description of a place, a sentence, it doesn’t matter. Remember that the names of the 4 Houses of Hogwarts randomly came to J.K. Rowling’s mind when she was on a plane. What if she hadn’t written them down? Harry Potter would never have been in Gryffindor.
- Be a spy. Take your notebook or your laptop to a public place. Parks or crowded streets are usually the best way of doing this, but a café or a library works too. Pick one person and write down something about them. For example, “White female wearing all black speaks quietly on the phone” or “Asian teenager reads book about pregnancy,” The purpose of this exercise isn’t to have an immediate result - however, if you get immediate inspiration from watching someone, take the opportunity and write about it right there. The purpose of this exercise is to allow you to go back to these little descriptions later on and try to write based on your own writing prompts.
- Free write. Free writing, sometimes, is enough. This website can be really useful for this. They present you a word and you have limited time to write whatever you want around it. Free writing allows you to stop holding on to your fears and simply letting go. Sometimes, it’s all it takes to overcome Writer’s Block.
- Find a new work space and a new way of writing. Sometimes, our brain associates negative experiences (like being frustrated because of Writer’s Block) with symbols, such as the place where you are when you generally get the frustration of Writer’s Block or that one Word document. If you usually write in your room, try to write in the kitchen, or in the bathroom, or in any other crazy place where you’ve never written before. If you usually write on Microsoft Word, try to find different Software or start writing by hand.
- Eliminate the distractions. Writer’s Block strikes, sometimes, because your mind is set on something you could be doing instead. Disconnect your laptop from the internet or find a browser extension that can stop you from going on certain websites. Go to a room where you don’t have books or video games or your cellphone. And if you think “I could be doing …. instead”, tell yourself that no, you couldn’t.
- Write without worrying if it’s good. Eliminate the pressure. Write simply to get your ideas on paper and don’t worry whether they sound good or not.
- Workout! Some people say this is stupid, but exercise truly helps with creativity. By allowing more blood to flow to your brain, exercise might make you have new ideas and new inspiration.
- Implement a Writing Schedule. Start with just five minutes per day. Write anything that comes to your mind. It doesn’t matter whether what you write is coherent or interesting or if it’s going to make you money. The only purpose of this is for you to get used to writing again. With everyday you succeed, give yourself a few more minutes of daily writing. If you’re not used to work under a time limit, set a word count. Start with 50 words and go increasing that number as your Writer’s Block starts going away.
- Try writing exercises. Writing exercises go way beyond simple writing prompts or writing challenges. There are so many ways in which you can improve your writing or spark new ideas. Make word lists or brainstorm crazy ideas. All of these count as writing exercises and might do wonders for your creativity.
- Remember Why You Loved Writing In The First Place.
For further reading:
We want a lot from the journals we send our writing to. We want them to be good, but not so good that they’ll slam their doors on our faces. We want them to respond in a timely fashion.
last so long
The first time she ever had to say goodbye
she was sprawled across the bathroom floor for so long
that the cool linoleum had left tiny grout marks,
lining her face like a grid.
She stared through me,
eyes like lanterns with the oil burned out.
Molten liquid skipping down her face,
Steam rising from her skin.
The words didn’t catch in my throat because there were none.
What are you supposed to say
when you watch someone’s dream die?
But you weren’t a dream, none of you,
you were real,
you were there —
an accumulation of her skin and blood and
I’m sure you would have had her eyes,
the ones she had before she lost you.
I blame myself for the miscarriages.
God kept giving me chances
to think of the right combination of words to give her,
to ease her, to soothe her, to usher in some semblance of peace.
Three times later
and I still don’t know how to do it.
That’s when it started being my fault.
This had happened before.
Every time we had been on this same floor,
the same emptiness pooling in her belly
where her child should have been.
I had been there with her, and like the times before
I should have known what to say, but what is there?
Do you need a blanket?
A glass of water?
Better luck next time.
Don’t give up.
It’s not fair.
I can only envelop her in my arms, holding her golden hair
in my hands and whisper fiercely
Her furrowed brows raise
when I can’t stop sobbing
This is my fault.
I still haven’t learned.
I have a sneaking suspicion that
it will just keep happening until I get it right.
She doubles over, heaving.
I am a blanket, covering her body
and we say goodbye one more time.
in my ears
when I am trying
to sleep -
if I only knew
how to tell you
that I would spare
to tune you
like a tiger
in my ear
instead of squeal
like my dying