no but seriously this was my favorite part because they were able to wear dresses and be feminine and stuff and at the same time be able to kick major butt
While using their individual characteristics of their storylines as weapons
Toph: Lin, let me see the police report.
Me: What’re you gonna do, Toph? Read it?
So I have to go on a writing rant for just a minute (hour/s). Please excuse me.
Why are people so afraid of starting over? Like seriously, there’s no shame in saying, “Well crap, this isn’t right, let me try again.” What’s wrong with multiple drafts? Are people just that attached to their things that they don’t want to change something and potentially make their craft exponentially better? What’s wrong with change?
My English teacher this year said, “Writing is 75% rewriting.” And that’s unbelievably true. If you’re on a creative endeavor, your ideas are bound to change as you go along. You’re bound to discover things about your world and characters that could alter everything and change your story for the better.
Realistic characters are so important (to me, at least). If someone wants to have that verisimilitude that things like Harry Potter have (as in Hogwarts is actually a place and we’re all just muggles living in a world with wizards), you have to be willing to expand your ideas. Real people make changes in their lives. Real people react to situations in different ways. Real people might fit into stereotypes, but everyone breaks free of them in some form or fashion. No one always knows what to say or what to do. It’s part of being human. So why do people have these characters without any flaws?
Writing flawed people is much more fun. It affects the situation entirely. If every character auto-hits or auto-dodges, where’s the fight? It’s just a bunch of god-modding, unrealistic mumbo jumbo. Stories are made by characters overcoming struggles, be they personal or physical or even mental. If there’s no fight, there’s no drama. And then there’s less interest.
Perfect characters are hard to root for. They don’t have anything weighing them down that would make us worry that they could lose. And when they win, it’s far less rewarding because it was never a struggle in the first place. We naturally root for the underdog, and sometimes the underdog can hide as a confident person full of flaws they refuse to acknowledge. Sometimes the underdog is a powerful wizard with no confidence. If the world is against them, we want to be with them.
But we need a reason to feel sympathetic to them. I see so many stories that are “oh I’m a loner and I have no friends,” but then the character actually has several friends and isn’t a loner at all. And while it’s common for angsty teenagers to not realize that they do have people they rely on and do take people for granted, not every single teenager acts that way. Write yourself into your characters, but don’t make the characters who you think you are.
And I say that loosely. My characters are all a part of me in some way. For example, Daru has the confidence I wish I had, Aeron is the part of me that wants to say a lot but doesn’t, Gadmier is just straight up every bit of being grumpy as I can get, etc., etc.
For literally seven years, Daru was a “longer character with no friends” because I thought of ways no one would like her as a friend. And in that sense, I totally stole these ideas from these manga like Naruto. But in truth, those situations where people hated her for no apparent reason made absolutely no sense in her story. I was pulling ideas without their context, and I realized last year that it really honestly didn’t work. So I made a change. Now she’s actually not terrible at making friends, and she never was. People were (and still are) less interested in being her friend because she’s a rough bugger. She likes to beat people up, and she’ll find a reason to do it. That’s her character.
But a character like that can’t be the most interesting, and certainly won’t be one we would root for. She’s brash and mean and not that great at giving sympathy. So we give her a reason to still be sympathetic. She’s a confused teenager in a world she doesn’t understand, which can be very relatable to some people. She doesn’t have many friends, but the one she does have, she protects and treasures, even if she’s not good at showing her appreciation for it. So in that sense, she might no be the most amicable, but at least she’s loyal.
When flaws outweigh the shines of a character, there’s more room for them to grow. It’s so much more room for them to change. Because people change. For better or worse, people change. When they don’t change, they get stale, and we brush them off and move on. And no one wants a story with a kid who has super powers but just so happens to be a friendless orphan. No, that’s too common, and it’s become boring.
There are more tragic stories than orphans. In fact, I don’t know why they’re so apparently relatable. And why do they all suck at socializing? Why is every orphan character another Naruto? Every orphan I’ve met in my lifetime has actually been quite sociable. They don’t brood over the fact that their parents died (at least not from what I’ve observed). It happens. It’s so unfortunate, and I’m not being insensitive, but these things happen.
The underdog story of the orphan is acceptance. Every angsty teenager who writes these characters wants the same thing. That’s why they write these characters. They want to be acknowledged and accepted. It’s literally like half of Tumblr wrote these kinds of stories. (You know, the half that romanticizes suicide and complains about being lonely and sad and blah blah blah blah blah. Shut up 12.9 year olds.)
No matter what the story, the main character HAS to drive the plot. It doesn’t matter if they’re introverted, extroverted, extra perverted, whatever. If the character isn’t doing something to move the plot, EVEN IF IT’S JUST BY ASKING QUESTIONS (and lord Jesus getting some god dang answers!), then what’s the point. Don’t just throw situations at your characters and say, “Hey, react to this! Maybe I can make up a story from it!” Don’t do it. That’s an exercise to get to know your characters (which, arguably, you will learn more about them the more you write them). You use those exercises to build a resume of things your character would or wouldn’t do or say. If your character wouldn’t lie in a situation, why the heck would you make them lie??
Acting and reacting is so important. Five characters together don’t just stay silent and accept their fates. At least one of them would do something to get out of the situation they’re in. Fight or flight. One or the other. We make the choice subconsciously.
Experimenting with your characters in those different situations is fine, but don’t EXPERIMENT then call it your final draft and make it your permanent plotline. What if later you discover something new that would change how that “final draft” would have gone? I’ve been writing the same characters for years, and I’m STILL learning more about them. Every time I continue the story, I learn something new. There are things that I thought I knew that I was completely wrong about. (For example, I just learned in December that Aeron’s dad is an abusive alcoholic. I didn’t freaking know that before. He basically told me through his reactions to certain situations.) When your characters start writing themselves, that’s how you know you’ve got a good character. (I hope.)
What people don’t understand is that writing IS 75% rewriting. And getting started is the hardest part, but as soon as you know where you’re going, the rest gets easier. (I rewrote the first chapter of DS 20 times and went through various stages of “finishing” them (i.e. ideas vs. script. vs. novel vs. thumbnails vs. comic pages). I got 44 pages into my first version before I threw it out and started over. After that, the next version was 6 pages. Nope. 23 pages. Still no. 25 pages. Nope. I wrote 45 pages in a single-spaced 12pt font word doc in third person novel form (which took me MONTHS to do) and then I decided, “Hey, this is still not quite the direction I want to take.” I made MAJOR changes to that version, and for the longest time I thought maybe that would be my final. But it turns out it wasn’t. And you know, maybe even this 115 pages of script I have typed out isn’t my final version. It’s already got rewrites of multiple chapters.
That’s the thing, if it doesn’t feel right, maybe it ISN’T right. Sometimes writer’s block can be overcome just by changing A SINGLE LINE OF DIALOGUE. Because those things can literally change the entire course of the story based on how someone else reacts to it. It’s so entirely weird. But seeing these changes is also a lot of fun because you go, “Hey, it would be cool if I could change the course of a conversation in real life too!” You get those moments where you CAN go back and add in that snarky comeback that you thought of two hours later.
As a writer, you control a universe inside your mind that you create. It’s only as unique and creative as you allow it to be. The only limits you have are the ones you place upon yourself. So don’t write the same story we’ve seen a hundred times already. Go write something new. Put a twist on a story we all know if you have to. (Like the Little Mermaid but in space, which is a cool concept that I saw fleshed out.)
Yes, people want things they can relate to, but it’s the CHARACTERS we relate to, and even if the world is in a galaxy far, far, away and the characters are ram-demon-people and butterfly-bird-people (i.e. Saga), we can still relate to them and their intense sci-fi based conundrums. Make the people realistic and the worlds creative. It’s writing. YOU CAN DO ANYTHING. Have fun with it.
But understand that no matter how much you love it and think it’s amazing, it won’t always be that way to someone else. No idea is perfectly original, but don’t scene lift from movies and comics and manga without understanding why it worked in the first place. It shows inexperience. Make up your own scenes and put your special twist on them and make them as unique as you can in this flooded market of similarities.
And I’m not saying my stuff is the most amazing stuff in the world. It has its flaws, but I don’t fear people pointing them out. In fact, critique is such a good thing for artists, and so many people get so defensive over their work because it’s their baby. The moment you can step back and both love and criticize your work is the moment you’ve grown as an artist. We learn from mistakes, but if we don’t accept that we make them, we can’t grow from them. We’ll keep making them. So being adventurous is a good thing. You make more mistakes to fix and then learn from.
When you’re writing, you want to do things that make sense. Because the things that don’t make sense are the things that confuse readers (and probably even yourself.) Know what you’re leading up to before you do anything because then you can drop hints and foreshadow in more subtle ways. If you don’t know where you’re going, you pull stuff out of your butt to make it seem like there was always a plot. (I’m looking at you, Attack on Titan.)
Just like an essay, write the conclusion before the introduction. Outlines are important because they keep you on track. And straying from them isn’t always bad. You can add more to the plot (in theory) and make things more interesting. But when writing, everything you do has to have a purpose. This is why Avatar: The Last Airbender was such a perfect show. They had such a limited space to tell the story that they made sure every second counted. Every episode builds plot or character, even the “filler.” (Yeah, I stole that from Nostalgia Critic, but that’s because it’s utterly true.) Season one of Korra wasn’t as successful at storytelling because they didn’t know how many seasons they would have, so they compressed everything, and it ended up feeling a little rushed. But still, with even less time, they still got the story told with just enough to keep us interested in the characters (for the most part) and want to know who the villain really was. Everything had a purpose. So don’t include details that don’t add anything.
And please don’t blatantly describe things. PLEASE. Info-dumping is the biggest no-no I can think of. It shows inexperience like nobody’s business. Don’t explain to me every detail of their outfit. Don’t tell me their personality. Don’t tell me their likes and dislikes. Don’t even tell me everything about the setting or the villain/s and their ambitions. INFO-DUMPING IS A NO-NO. (This is part of why the Last Airbender movie sucked so much. The whole thing was more info-dump than action and dialogue.)
EXPOSITION on the other hand, is when you gradually introduce characters, settings, and plot through the action. Don’t tell me, “It was sunset. Akira wore a red coat and bandanna because fire is awesome, hurr hurr.” NO. Instead, you include that information in the action. I.e. “Akira’s coattail billowed the same blood red the setting sun spilled over the ocean.” In the first version, we only know the time of day and the color of her coat and bandanna. And it was boring. In the second version, not only do we get the color of her coat, we also know that it’s long (hence the coattail), and that she’s outside somewhere near the ocean during sunset. Oh, and there’s some nice imagery in that second one too. DON’T YOU SEE HOW MUCH BETTER THE SECOND ONE IS?
"Hi, I’m Daru, I’m a brash, loudmouthed brat!" ….. ~Deeeeep sigh~ No, no, no. Show us these things through her dialogue. If she’s a loudmouthed brat, we’ll definitely notice in the way she talks. “‘Gadmier, I’m hungry! Be an adult and feed me!’ she whined." See the difference?
God that’s long. Okay, so the jist of it is this: write realistic characters, don’t info-dump, think about things ahead of time, and DON’T BE AFRAID TO MAKE CHANGES.
If you made it this far, congratulations! You’ve reached the end! Thanks for uh…reading. It’s late. I emptied my brain…
This is literally the best photoset on Tumblr.
a guy walked into the board room and said
"hi sweetheart if you could fix me up a coffee real quick im meeting with the regional reports manager in like five minutes, thanks darling"
and i just stared at him and coldly said
"i am the regional reports manager"
we are now twenty minutes into this board meeting and i dont think i’ve ever seen a man look so embarrassed and afraid in my whole life
DO YOU SEE THIS? DO YOU? ALL OF YOU WHO HAD WRITTEN OFF PLUTO, WHO HAD CROSSED IT OFF YOUR PLANET LIST? REMEMBER HOW IT WAS ‘TOO SMALL” TO BE A PLANET? HOW NASA, IN COLLABORATION WITH THE INTERNATIONAL ASTRONOMICAL UNION REMOVED ITS PLANETARY STATUS AND CHANGED ITS NAME TO 134340? HOW EVERYONE THEN CONSIDERED THERE TO BE EIGHT PLANETS, NOT NINE?
BUT SOME OF US REMAINED LOYAL TO PLUTO. IT WAS NEVER FORGOTTEN. AND NOW HERE WE ARE, AND JUSTICE IS UPON US AFTER 8 YEARS.
BECAUSE GUESS WHAT? PLUTO HAS AT LEAST FIVE MOONS, A PRETTY BIG NUMBER FOR A ”DWARF-PLANET”, HUH? ESPECIALLY WHEN EARTH, QUITE BIGGER THAN PLUTO AND AN OFFICIAL PLANET ONLY HAS ONE. AND GUESS WHAT ELSE? ERIS, THE PLANET WHICH EVERYONE THOUGHT TO BE BIGGER THAN PLUTO, MAY NOT BE BIGGER AFTER ALL. AND THE BEST PART IS THAT PLUTO HAS AN ATMOSHPERE. THAT’S RIGHT, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, A SUPPOSEDLY NON-PLANET HAS AN ATMOSPHERE. AGAIN, ISN’T THAT IMPRESSIVE?
SO LOOK AT THIS. NEW FINDINGS, AND A NEW AGE FOR PLUTO. AN AGE OF RECOGNITION AND APPRECIATION. AND ALLOW ME TO CLOSE THIS -somewhat aggressive-PRESENTATION OF OPINION WITH THE MOTTO OF THE PLUTO APOLOGISTS: VIVA LA PLUTO!
I ALWAYS BELIEVED IN YOU PLUTO!
- white people are not the bad guys
- Christian people are not the bad guys
- Republicans are not the bad guys
- straight people are not the bad guys
- cisgender people are not the bad guys
- rich people are not the bad guys
- men are not the bad guys
- racist, bigoted, homophobic, ignorant, selfish, and / or rude people are the bad guys
dear social justice bloggers
BLESS THIS POST
Imagine a universe where
actually became good friends with
decided, instead of using his own
daughter for the chimera experiment…
WOW THAT IS EVERY SINGLE KIND OF NOT OKAY OH MY GOD
It started off nice
and now I want to throw you off a bridge
How to Train Your Dragon 2 is Lion King level tragic. BUT SO AWESOME
Learn how to break racist stereotyoes: befriend a racist and learn their side!
SO THIS FUCKING HAPPENED, WE WERE JUST TAKIN SELFIES AND IDK
ONLY SPIDER I WILL EVER REBLOG IN MY LIFE BECAUSE THIS IS SO FUCKING FUNNY
also, i am now forever traumatized by pillows
She just wanted to be in on the selfies.
The LEGEND OF KORRA Book 3 official trailer!
LIN BEIFONG MY QUEEEEEN!
Is this what I think it is—has that original vibe of ATLA and MAN PLEASE. KORRA SHOW YOU CAN REDEEM YOURSELF IN TERMS OF STORYTELLING, COME ON I BELIEVE IN YOU
Not an official trailer (from what I’m told), just fanmade from leaked ep 3-6 footage. Still awesome regardless!