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S E T T I N G (Image source)

The setting consists of these elements, which you ought to describe through the course of the story. It is up to you, however, to decide how necessary it is to do so and why.

  • Which element is more important right now? Why? The most common answer is because it plays an impact on the story, so you should give it a higher priority in that particular moment. Overall we should get a feeling however brief of each or most of them.
  • Why are settings important at all? Because the story is happening somewhere. Even if it’s happening in a void or in the middle of a nothingness, you could describe it. It helps making your story more memorable and your writing more vivid. 
  • How much should you describe? Again, there isn’t a rule. It is up to you. You’d not spend a page describing a room that plays no interesting or important part in the story, would you? If you do it, you’ll make the readers believe it is more important than it actually is, or bore them out. During the first draft you can spend as much as you want pointing out details of the environment and the space but know that during revision, they could and will get cut out if they’re not relevant whatsoever.
  • The relationship between world-building and the settings: they’re directly related. If you’re creating a new world you’ll have to work through a lot of describing, and that has to do with—you guessed it—the environment. The space, time and temperature. All of these have to do with the world you’re creating if they’re different from what we normally see or if they’re not.
  • Let’s say it, describing things is oftentimes quite fun and a great way to practice vocabulary and your use of metaphors and similes to show and not tell in a powerful way. 

The following links provide great advice on both settings and world building and I recommend checking them out.


Writing advice you’re not going to like.


People sometimes send me Asks wanting writing advice.  I suck at it.  I don’t really know how I do the writing, or how one should do the writing, or what one should do to get better at the writing.  All I can ever think to say is “write a lot of stuff and you will get better at the writing.”  Which is true, but hardly a bolt from the sky.

Well, as it turns out, I do have one piece of Legit Writing Advice, and I am going to share it with you, right now.  If you were in any of my writing workshop groups at a con, you’ve heard this advice already.

Warning: you’re going to fucking hate it.  But if you do it, you will thank me.

If you have a piece of fiction you’re serious about, something you might want to actually shop around, or just something you really are into and want to make it as good as you can…do NOT edit it.

Repeat.  DO NOT EDIT.


As in, print out the whole fucking thing and re-enter it, every word (or use two screens).  Retype the whole thing.  Recreate it from the ground up using your first draft as a template.  Start with a blank page and re-enter every. single. word.

I hear you screaming.  OH MY GOD THAT’S INSANE.

Yes.  Yes, it is.

It is also the most powerful thing you will ever do for a piece of fiction that you are serious about.

Now, let’s get real.  I don’t do this for most things.  I don’t do it for my fanfiction.  But if it’s something original, something I might like to get to a professional level - I do it.  You absolutely COULD do it for fanfiction.  It’s just up to you and how much time you want to sink into a piece.

You can edit, sure.  But you WILL NOT get down to the level of change that needs to happen in a second draft.  You will let things slide.  Your eyes will miss things.  You will say “eh, good enough.”

The first time I did this, on someone else’s advice, I was dubious.  Within two pages, I was saying WHY HAVE I NOT BEEN DOING THIS ALL THE TIME.  I was amazed at how much change was happening.  By the time I got to the end, I had an entirely different novel than the one I’d started with.  When you’re already re-entering every single word, it’s easy to make deep changes.  You’ll reformat sentences, you’ll switch phrases around, you’ll massage your word choice.  You’ll discover whole paragraphs that don’t need to be there at all because they became redundant.  You’ll find dialogue exchanges that need reimagining.  Whole plot points will suddenly be different, whole story arcs will reveal their flaws and get re-drawn.

You cannot get down to the fundamental level of change that’s required just by editing an existing document.  You have to rebuild it if you really want your story to evolve.  You will be AMAZED at the difference it will make.

It will take time.  It will seem like a huge, Herculean task.  I’m not saying it’s easy.  It isn’t.  But it is absolutely revolutionary.

Try it.  I promise, you will see what I mean.

*PSA: Tipsy!Lori wrote this post.  In case you couldn’t tell.

How to make a character people love to hate


  • Make them unfair, especially if it’s towards the main characters. Bonus points if they know they’re being unfair and dismiss it.
  • Make them a bigot.
  • Give them a position of power.
  • Do not give them a zany personality. Anything can be forgiven for a character with a wacky personality.
  • Let them get their way at important points instead of having the main characters constantly triumph against them.

Umbridge fits most, if not all, of these points.






I wanted to double check that “The Cherry on Top” was a short novel or novella and I found this on uphillwriting.org. I think it’s very informative and hopefully you guys will find it useful!

Good friends, this list is wonderful, but it’s missing something!

Internet Articles

800 words maximum


this is the most beautiful thing i’ve seen today.

HOWEVER, internet articles can actually go quite a bit longer—the first-page Google results are usually 2,000 words or more. 

Writing Research - Ancient Rome


Ancient Rome was an Italic civilization that began on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants (roughly 20% of the world’s population) and covering 6.5 million square kilometers (2.5 million sq mi) during its height between the first and second centuries AD.

In its approximately 12 centuries of existence, Roman civilization shifted from a monarchy to a classical republic to an increasingly autocratic empire. Through conquest and assimilation, it came to dominate Southern and Western Europe, Asia Minor, North Africa, and parts of Northern and Eastern Europe, Rome was preponderant throughout the Mediterranean region and was one of the most powerful entities of the ancient world. It is often grouped into “Classical Antiquity” together with ancient Greece, and their similar cultures and societies are known as the Greco-Roman world. [x]


Society & Life


Entertainment & Food

Hygiene, Health & Medicine



Justice & Crime


A tool to use for find Synonyms: Synonym Finder.

This is a great, unique little tool I found by browsing for writing resources. It’s name speaks for itself: it’s a synonym finder.

The site is clean cut, has soothing colors, and to-the point results for any word you look up.

For example, when I look up the word “romance,” I get this:

Synonyms: romance, romanticism
Definition: an exciting and mysterious quality (as of a heroic time or adventure)

Hypernyms: quality
Definition: an essential and distinguishing attribute of something or someone
Usage: the quality of mercy is not strained—Shakespeare”

I had no idea what a “hypernym” is. Apparently it’s a word with a more general meaning that a more specific word fall under. Like, color is a hypernym for green.

On the right corner there’s a button to make graphs! So you can trace each synonym from it’s root word, and see how far the other synonyms connect in comparison to others.

I really like it, so I’m going to definitely bookmark it on my writing tools list.

Third Person Omniscient


A step away from the more common “limited” viewpoint, omniscience places the narrator in a position of all-knowing and all-seeing power. The narration can easily jump from MC Martha to Love Interest Lucy to George the Cashier, within the same chapter and often without page breaks. As readers, we can effectively see things from the point of best perspective or the point of best action, even if the best perspective is a bird flying overhead or Generic Soldier #1. Not every character will get a complete arc, but each head you get inside should still have a distinctive personality. It’s a hard line to balance, since you’ve got the narrative voice on top of a unique character voice. It’s not difficult to give a unique voice to your main characters, but not every generic onlooker should sound the same, either.

The perspective allows you to follow the action. If Martha gets knocked out, instead of time jumping to when she wakes up, you can shift into Lucy’s head for a bit. You’re not even limited to the main characters—you can easily get into the villain’s head and let us know what they have planned. This can, however, make it hard to give a good plot twist. This will usually shift your story’s focus to not be on the twist itself, but how they deal with the results.

The narrator might foreshadow upcoming events, either of importance or not. It adds a level of dramatic irony (where you know more than the characters). And really, be careful just to hint. The narrator might already know how things end, but you don’t want to give things away if it’s important.

Often the narrator has its own voice. Many times when I see 3rd person omniscient narrators, they use their all-seeing powers to pop into the heads of random characters as an opportunity for comic relief. They might make fun of characters, or offer their own opinions on the events. The characters have no idea that this all-seeing narrator is following their thoughts and actions, so again, dramatic irony.

The perspective allows characters to inspect each other, which makes relationships and possible relationships less suspenseful. Instead of being stuck in Martha’s head the entire time, wondering if Lucy likes her or not, the narrator can very easily switch to Lucy and give an insight about her feelings towards Martha. 3rd person omniscient is very common in romance novels for this reason. It ups the tension knowing they both like each other, but neither will admit it. The tension comes in their personal struggle to act or not act on their desires.

Examples of sentences you might read in third person omniscient:

A woman across the street saw the teenager disappear into the wormhole, but paused only a minute. She blinked. A trick of the eyes, she decided. Besides, she was already late for work.

Grug the goblin scurried away to do his master’s command, pleased that his expertise would finally be recognized. He’d get a promotion for this—all he had to do was kill some overrated girl with a sword. But Grug had a lot to learn about girls with swords.

Genres typically told in this tense:

  • High Fantasy, especially when there is an emphasis on fight scenes. Each fighter can react and size up the other’s movements, and appreciate each other’s skills. (The Legend of Drizzt series by RA Salvatore)
  • Romance. Like stated before, there’s tension in knowing what each side wants, and then knowing why they won’t act on it. Plus, romances generally cater towards a female audience. This POV allows readers into the more familiar woman’s perspective as well as the man’s romantic thoughts towards her. You can read all the romantic things your man never says out loud, but still thinks about!
  • Anything can be told in this POV, but make sure there’s a reason for it. Since the default storytelling mode is 3rd person limited, there should be purpose in straying from that.

If you want to write in this perspective, read plenty of books written in it. Here are a handful of book recommendations in 3rd person omniscient to get your started: Downsiders by Neal Shusterman, Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer, The Legend of Drizzt series by RA Salvatore. The first two link to book reviews with a creative writing analysis, both of which talk more about the narrative voice and ways to successfully implement a 3rd person omniscient narrative.

An overview of the other points of view.


Good problems to solve


I’m outlining my novel for the tenth time, and my head is going soft from repeated bashing against the wall. It’s one of those times when I should have listened to my own advice about three months ago, but whatever. We live to learn. Or something. Also I am here so that you don’t screw up the way I do. 

Make it as bad for your characters as you can. Show no mercy

I fell into the trap of feeling sorry for my characters. It sounds ridiculous since they are most certainly not real people. Yet again, I’ve made their life too easy, too pleasant, too smooth. 

So if something is going right for them, think of ways you can make it more complicated. Not necessarily world-endingly so, but every chapter should contain something for them to worry about.

Conflict from multiple sides, more layers

Say your character has to find someone. That goal clashes with that of your bad guy. So far so standard. But the interesting bits are in between.

Maybe they have to break laws along the way, meaning the police will be upset at them, their significant other, their parents. Additionally, someone else you didn’t know about might also be looking for the missing person. They might be forced to bribe, steal, lie, hurt others in the process, do things outside of their comfort zone. 

There’s also the distinction between internal and external conflict. In this case the external conflict are the people and obstacles in her way of finding the person, the internal conflict her grappling with morality, how far she is willing to go in order to save the person. 

Don’t overdo it

I know what I said in the beginning. There’s a reason for not kicking them all the time, something needs to go right for them after all or else they’ll come across as inept or impossibly unlucky. Because there is a difference between your guys having a bad day and having the universe declare them their favorite chew toy. 

If you want to throw questions my way, the askbox is always open. 

— Matt




Every word you write makes you a better writer. There is no such thing as ‘wasted time’ when you are writing.

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