Zeemaps - Free google maps
Website to make free google maps.
Fake newspaper snippet machine.
Another site that is similar but allows for a photo to be uploaded is this.
There are others of course found in this list but the aforementioned are recommended!
Cheat Sheet - Translating emotions into written body language
Something I’ve found… it’s a cheat sheet to help people translate emotions into body language…
When ‘Show Don’t Tell’ is Bad Advice, Again
I’ve seen more of those “stop telling when you should be showing” articles floating around in my Tumblr feed, and they got me thinking.
I had responded to an article regarding the whole ‘Show Don’t Tell’ mantra before this year rolled around, and my opinion of it still stands. I think that there’s a place for showing and a place for telling in writing. I also think that professing the whole “only do one and not the other” thing is probably sending the wrong message to young writers.
I understand why the advice is given so readily. I know that a lot of novice writers tend to tell way more than they should, and it’s an easy trap to fall into. Showing is much more difficult and much more time-consuming to do. While I agree that it’s important, and that it can vastly improve your writing, I believe that it’s not something you should strive to do all the time. There are instances where telling is more effective than showing. Aside from pacing, which I explained in the first article, here are a couple of other instances I came up with.
When You Have Something to Hide
Showing is unpacking. Showing is using vivid description (including simile and metaphor), sensory details, and actions to allow the reader to experience the story instead of being told via author exposition. When you do this, you make your writing more interesting, but you also draw attention to whatever it is you’re describing.
This stands out: “Wrapped around his body and held together by hundreds of messy cross-stitches, was a trench coat that smelled like moth balls soaked in cheap beer. The stench was so strong that I found myself plunging my nose into the collar of my own coat before I even reached him.”
A line like this does not: “He wore a tattered trench coat.”
As a reader, you remember the lines of good description where the author takes the time to unpack rather than the lines where you’re just told something.
However, telling can be effective when you’re not trying to draw attention to an aspect of your story. For example, say you have a minor character in the beginning of your story that will end up being a major player later on, but you don’t want the readers to know. You’re going to have to briefly introduce that character in some manner, and then have him slip into the background for a while. You can accomplish this by not giving him a lot of focus, and by proxy, not giving him a shown, memorable description.
This applies to not only characters, but to scenes as well. Sometimes there are incredibly boring things that happen in a story that you as an author is going to want to summarize by telling instead of showing.
As author James Scott Bell puts it, “Sometimes a writer tells as a shortcut, to move quickly to the meaty part of the story or scene. Showing is essentially about making scenes vivid. If you try to do it constantly, the parts that are supposed to stand out won’t, and your readers will get exhausted.”
In essence, showing is about choosing what stands out in a story and what doesn’t. Remember when you’re deciding what you should focus on, always ask yourself why. Why is it important that this character, object, or scene stands out?
Tone of Voice
I’m going to say it here, even if some people don’t agree. I think it’s okay to tell tone, and for that matter, pitch of a character’s voice when appropriate.
When we speak, we have “ups and downs”, and even if we don’t understand the language, we can generally tell if someone is asking a question vs. making a joke vs. giving a command vs. being serious based on them. These “ups and downs”, called inflection, are expressed in text through punctuation and by inferring via the subject matter of a conversation.
However, even with these tools, it’s sometimes hard to gauge how a character sounds without being told, especially if the author has something specific in mind or if what a character is saying doesn’t correlate to how they sound.
For example if you have a character who is talking about killing someone, but is overly cheery about it, it may be prudent to mention the tone since it’s not one commonly associated with the topic of murder.
You can also include a word about tone and/or pitch if there’s a specific way the character sounds, like:
Keep in mind that you also have great opportunities to show some of these sounds (depending on what you pick) with great descriptions, again keeping in mind how much focus you want to be put on this character’s voice.
Example: “When he spoke it was like he had swallowed a pail of beach sand.”
From author Francine Prose, “Needless to say, many great novelists combine “dramatic” showing with long sections of the flat-out authorial narration that is, I guess, what is meant by telling. And the warning against telling leads to a confusion that causes novice writers to think that everything should be acted out … when in fact the responsibility of showing should be assumed by the energetic and specific use of language.”
Showing vs. telling is all about the choice of what’s going to work better for your story. Don’t be afraid to show. Don’t be afraid to tell. Just know there’s a place for each.
When ‘Show, Don’t Tell’ is Really Bad Advice
By Jenny Martin:
If you’re a writer, you’ve probably heard “Show, Don’t Tell’ a million times. It’s one of those maxims you can’t escape. But I’m going to stick my neck out and declare…
I think that advice has led to a lot of really terrible writing.
Before you come at me with your sharpest pitchfork, let me explain my […]
I have to agree with this article. Most of the writing blogs, including this one, have given people the ‘Show, Don’t Tell’ advice, and while it’s certainly valid, there’s a time and a place to use it. The article states that the use of generic emotion phrases and reactions don’t really tell us a lot about the specific character in question and by solely showing, you lose opportunities for development. The author uses an example from The Hunger Games to illustrate her point and I feel it’s done really well.
I also want to take this opportunity to address an article that’s been floating around Tumblr. It’s entitled Unpacking by Chuck Palahniuk. Boiled down the article tells people to write without using phrases like ‘I thought’, ‘he thought’, ‘she thought’ or anything similar like ‘I remembered’, ‘I supposed’, ‘I forgot’, ‘I realized, ‘I imagined’, ‘I believed’, or ‘I wanted’, and instead unpack those phrases to show the reader what a character is thinking (and let them infer) instead of telling them.
So instead of writing: “Adam knew Gwen liked him.”
You instead write: “Between classes, Gwen had always leaned on his locker when he’d go to open it. She’d 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.”
We all know that showing is harder than telling because showing requires you to write more. I don’t think it’s feasible to replace every thought verb with this kind of unpacking, especially when you consider what this does to pacing.
Pacing in writing is essentially how fast or how slow you move through a scene. Fight scenes, for example, tend to be more fast-paced while dramatic scenes to build tension will be much slower.
Say your character was in a hurry to get to a doctor’s appointment and she thinks quickly that she doesn’t want to be late. Would you spend a paragraph or more trying to describe the entirety of her thought process instead just using ‘she thought’ in that instance? Probably not. You also probably wouldn’t spend any significant length of time describing every crack and stain on the sidewalk she’s running on either because it’s going to slow your scene down to a crawl.
Unpacking is fine. Showing is fine. But there’s a place for it. The best advice I can give is to read more books and look for instances where showing and telling are used separately, and together. Make note of what works well, and what doesn’t. Then try to practice that in your own writing.
[You. You are my favorite person, because in my exhausted state today, randomly seeing ‘arms spaghetti’ in the box of asks made me laugh hysterically for a solid five minutes in the middle of public. I don’t even care that they probably think I’m crazy now. That’s how great this is. Thanks, Anon. This seriously made my day.]
In writing, if you want to say ‘I talk with my hands’, you don’t want to tell the reader what’s going on. Instead, you want to show them, by saying [for my example] how my head bobs and nods for emphasis when I talk. My hands fly everywhere like they’re birds trying to escape from my arms at all times. I look like someone took a natural human being and pressed the fast-forward repeatedly until the remote broke — even saying the area around me was dubbed the Ranting Splash Zone. Things like this allow you to let the reader feel and imagine the actions, rather than just blandly read a sentence. It shapes future interactions and their perception of me in their minds’ eyes.
So, basically what you’re asking me is how to write a character who is afraid while facing down their biggest skeleton. You’re asking me how to write true fear. Well, that I can help with. In this, I’m going to walk through some of the science behind what makes you physically react when afraid, what those reactions are, and then touch on some of the mental/emotional points.
More under the cut!
I like to use past perfect for about a paragraph and then take it out when it feels “right.” I’m going to use your example as a jumping off point. Excuse my spontaneous writing:
"Ella remembered that Halloween night. She had seen a ghost, and there hadn’t been a single thought of candy bars or costumes after that. She’d been trick-or-treating with her friends when she’d seen a dark shape from behind a bush.
It had dark eyes, and there was a strange mist around it that made Ella wonder if it was some trick of the light, or possibly a trick of a crafty neighbor. She moved closer out of curiosity, shaking a little with each step.”
Notice the absence of past perfect in the 2nd paragraph. You’ve set up the scene using past perfect and then launched into the flashback at the right moment. When the flashback has concluded, begin using past perfect again to fade out of it.
"….Ella ran from the ghost, screaming her head off. It wasn’t until she got home that she realized her bag of candy was still on the porch of one of the neighbor’s.
She’d had nightmares for weeks after that. Her parents had let her sleep in their bed for a while, but eventually her mom had put her foot down.”
Notice the reintroduction of past perfect.
For those not in the know, past perfect is a verb tense indicating something happened before something else in the past. Most fiction is written in simple past tense, so any time you need to refer even further in the past, you turn to past perfect.
Roleplaying community and writers of all sorts — may I please have your attention? Particularly those who are having a hard time with writing right now, or who are uninspired. This might help you.
Marion Cotillard GIF Hunt
This was submitted by a former member of ours. 138 gifs of Marion Cotillard are available here. None of these are mine. Reblog or like this post if you find it useful!
Neutral / Negative Emilia Clarke (Brunette) GIF Hunt
This is my own personal collection of neutral/negative Emilia Clarke gifs. There are about 60+ gifs. Most of them are not in gif hunts so I figured why not share? Some of them are mine and some are not. Feel free to use them! Like or reblog this post if you find this useful.