To Plan or Not-to-Plan Your Novel: What Will Work Best for YOUR Writing Habits



Lately, I’ve seen a lot of debate on what is the more successful way to complete a novel: free form or planned structure. I have always been more on the free form side of things, just because I think it works and I’m horribly awful at sticking to plans. But with my latest novel, it is very planned and structured with an outline that I wrote in less than 24 hours and so far so good! Seeing both sides of this debate and trying them both, I would say that the way that is best for you to write depends very much on your writing habits. 

For the writer who has trouble finishing a story:

When I say “trouble finishing a story,” I mean, you either get sick of it, realize there is something wrong with it, or just aren’t sure how you want it to end - whatever the reason, your story just never gets finished and you move onto the next one, which also never gets finished. You’re most likely a freeform writer. You write in spurts of passion and the passion dies at a certain point and you can’t get it back. You need to write a structured story. Write a chapter by chapter outline, all the way through to the end. Make it action-packed. You are moving from one shocking scene to the next. This way, if one scene isn’t perfect, you still are looking forward to the drama of the next one all the way too the end. When creating this outline, consider taking into account my tips on the 3 Act Structure, as a basis before moving into individual chapter outlines. 

For the writer who keeps revising her outline and seems to do more planning than writing:

Typically, this problem follows aspiring sci-fi and fantasy writers like a shadow. It’s the world building problem! Your worlds are so elaborate and complicated that you lose track of everything else that already makes it tough to write a novel. My suggestion is probably something that all of you will hate, but it honestly helps - skip the world building. Base it on a real place, maybe some place in history like Ancient Rome, the legendary Troy, or Pompeii. Use features from these places or just play around with a map of a town near you. Make it crazy and fantastical as you go so it can be the world you wanted it to be, but focus on the story. If you’re less worried about believable geography, you’re more likely to actually sit down and start writing. Fix it to be the world you want once the first draft is complete. 

If you’re not a sci-fi or fantasy writer and you’re having this issue, I think you could use some practice in free form. Pick your beginning, middle, and end and just write it. If it’s not perfect, don’t worry. Just keep going. Write and write and write. That’s the only way to get out of this problem. Just keep in mind that you’re writing one of many drafts. This is not what the publishers will see, this is for you. It might look like crap, but you’ll fix it later. 

For the writer who has written 20 k words and realizes he’s missing a plot: 

Aristotle did say, “Plot is character revealed by action,” and he’s right. You need a plot. It doesn’t have to be all action, action, action, but there needs to be something that the characters want, there must be some type of conflict to keep the reader going. Actions are so telling of who a person really is, despite what they have to say. For you, I would suggest, taking a look at outlining, or at the very least, check out my page on The 3 Act Structure. Decide what yourThink about Antigone by Sophocles. While there are very few actions in this play (Antigone bury’s her rebel brother against the wishes of her uncle, Creon, the king, he gets angry, has her buried alive, and in a domino effect, his entire family commits suicide.) Despite what either character has said, the viewer is left wondering in the end who was right - Antigone who disobeyed the king or Creon who only asked one rule be enforced. 

Those are the main problems I see in first drafts… If there’s any bad writing habits I missed, let me know and I’ll add it to the list! 

(via thewritingcafe)

382,421 Plays






im not leaving this up but im just laughing so much

(Source: return-the-slab, via thatpunnyguy)

Anonymous Asked:
Oh! thank you for the tutorial ;w; it was very helpful! Eyebrow/forehead and eye movement is also something i have trouble with at times too, i didn't ask before but the little example with the eyes was a much needed example as well


You’re welcome!  XD  I have no idea whether this was a request for another tutorial or not but I went with it because I love to talk and more importantly I LOVE TO DRAW EYES I’ve been doing it since before I could draw anything else, this shit is ma jam.

so here have a thing about how I draw eyes as well, I’m sorry in advance for existing.

There’s a bunch of stuff about how you can vary shape and stuff as well but I’mma just talk about the bits you can mess with to express emotions, not how to make unique eyes.

Your pupil is actually a hole in the sort of really flat donut that is your iris. :D  Shade accordingly!  Also, not shown here: when the whole thing is colored and shaded, it’s kind of cool to put little tiny lines of highlights right above the lower lid, where the fluid coat on the eye pools just a little.  Like this!

(Sorry for the creepy example, it was the best one I could find to show what I was talking about.)

If your mouth is doing any of the intense things described in the previous rant tutorial, your cheeks are probably going to be pushed up by the action going on with your mouth!  Your lower eyelid is much more affected by that than your upper one.  

This is a big thing in anime—you can tell a lot by peoples’ pupils and how big/small they are.  In real life, bigger pupils also mean someone is attracted to the person they’re looking at, which is why studies have shown that people with dark eyes are generally considered more attractive!  Because your brain reads that they’re broadcasting attraction at you.  The more you know.

Really low, flat brows can be just as scary as high, arched ones, but they communicate different kinds of emotion!  The same applies to sadness, etc. etc. just anger is a good, expressive emotion, so I tend to use it as my go-to. :)

Usually the lack of pupil and iris indicates that someone is unconscious (or, in Homestuck, dead)—I also tend to use it when someone is berserk or enraged, but regardless it’s often used to indicate there’s “no one in there”.  It gives a certain lack of consciousness/humanity. 

There are several ways to draw a smile with closed eyes—take emoticons, for example.  ^u^ is distinct from UuU.  One is slightly more cheerful, because the emoticon’s “eyes” are bent upwards by the force of the smile bunching its nonexistent cheeks.  The other looks more serene, smiling but not smiling enough to turn the natural “u” of closed eyes into a ^

I have no idea whether anybody actually wanted this or not, but I just really like eyes and I may or may not have gotten carried away. U_U  Eh, anyway, thanks for reading, and if there’s ever anything I can explain my process for, just let me know! :D

Awesome Sites and Links for Writers


Just about every writer out there has several go-to websites that they use when it comes to their writing. Be it for creativity, writer’s block, to put you in the mood or general writing help. These are mine and I listed them in hopes that you’ll find something that you’ll like or will find something useful for you. I’ve also included some websites that sound interesting.

Spelling & Grammar

  • Grammar Girl — Grammar Girl’s famous Quick and Dirty Tips (delivered via blog or podcast) will help you keep your creative writing error free.
  • The Owl — is Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL) it’s a great resource for grammar guides, style tips and other information that can help with your writing, especially academics.
  • Tip of My Tongue — have you ever had trouble of thinking of a specific word that you can’t remember what it is? Well, this site will help you narrow down your thoughts and find that word you’ve been looking for. It can be extremely frustrating when you have to stop writing because you get a stuck on a word, so this should help cut that down. 
  • Free Rice – is a great way to test your vocabulary knowledge. What’s even better about this site is that with every correct answer, they donate 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program. So, please disable your adblock since they use the ads on the site to generate the money to buy the rice.
  • HyperGrammar — the University of Ottawa offers up a one-stop guide for proper spelling, structure, and punctuation on this site.
  • AutoCrit — the AutoCrit Editing Wizard can check writing for grammar errors, clichés and other no-no’s. It also provides a number of other writing resources as well.
  • Writer’s Digest — learn how to improve your writing, find an agent, and even get published with the help of the varied blogs on this site.
  • Syntaxis — it allows you to test your knowledge of grammar with a ten-question quiz. The questions change every time you take the quiz so users are sure to be challenged each time around. It definitely helps writers know if there’s something that they need to brush up on.
  • Word Frequency Counterthis counter allows you to count the frequency usage of each word in your text.


  • Copyscape — is a free service that you can use to learn if anyone has plagiarized your work. It’s pretty useful for those that want to check for fanfiction plagiarism.
  • Write or Die —  is an application for Windows, Mac and Linux which aims to eliminate writer’s block by providing consequences for procrastination.
  • Written? Kitten! — is just like Write of Die, but it’s a kinder version. They use positive reinforcement, so everytime you reach a goal they reward you with an adorable picture of a kitten.

Information & Data

  • RefDesk — it has an enormous collection of reference materials, searchable databases and other great resources that can’t be found anywhere else. It’s great to use when you need to find something and check your facts.
  • Bib Me — it makes it easy to create citations, build bibliographies and acknowledge other people’s work. This is definitely something that academics will love. It’s basically a bibliography generator that automatically fills in a works cited page in MLA, APA, Chicago or Turbian formats.
  • Internet Public Library — this online library is full of resources that are free for anyone to use, from newspaper and magazine articles to special collections.
  • The Library of Congress — if you’re looking for primary documents and information, the Library of Congress is a great place to start. It has millions of items in its archives, many of which are accessible right from the website.
  • Social Security Administration: Popular Baby Names — is the most accurate list of popular names from 1879 to the present. If your character is from America and you need a name for them, this gives you a accurate list of names, just pick the state or decade that your character is from.
  • WebMD — is a handy medical database loaded with information. It’s not a substitute for a doctor, but can give you a lot of good information on diseases, symptoms, treatments, etc.
  • Google Scholaris an online, freely accessible search engine that lets users look for both physical and digital copies of articles. It searches a wide variety of sources, including academic publishers, universities, and preprint depositories and so on. While Google Scholar does search for print and online scholarly information, it is important to understand that the resource is not a database.
  • The Old Farmer’s Almanac — this classic almanac offers yearly information on astronomical events, weather conditions and forecasts, recipes, and gardening tips.
  • State Health FactsKaiser Family Foundation provides this database, full of health facts on a state-by-state basis that address everything from medicare to women’s health.
  • U.S. Census BureauLearn more about the trends and demographics of America with information drawn from the Census Bureau’s online site.
  • Wikipedia — this shouldn’t be used as your sole source, but it can be a great way to get basic information and find out where to look for additional references.
  • Finding Data on the Internet — a great site that list links that can tell you where you can find the inflation rate, crime statistics, and other data.

Word References

  • RhymeZone — whether you’re writing poetry, songs, or something else entirely, you can get help rhyming words with this site.
  • Acronym Finder — with more than 565,000 human-edited entries, Acronym Finder is the world’s largest and most comprehensive dictionary of acronyms, abbreviations, and initials.
  • — is a unique online encyclopedia that contains everything about symbols, signs, flags and glyphs arranged by categories such as culture, country, religion, and more. 
  • OneLook Reverse Dictionary — is a dictionary that lets you describe a concept and get back a list of words and phrases related to that concept. Your description can be a few words, a sentence, a question, or even just a single word. 
  • The Alternative Dictionaries — is a site that you can look up slang words in all types of languages, including Egyptian Arabic, Cherokee, Cantonese, Norwegian and many, many others.
  • Online Etymology Dictionary — it gives you the history and derivation of any word. Etymologies are not definitions; they’re explanations of what our words meant and how they sounded 600 or 2,000 years ago.
  • MediLexicon — is a comprehensive dictionary of medical, pharmaceutical, biomedical, and health care abbreviations and acronyms.
  • Merriam Webster Online – the online version of the classic dictionary also provides a thesaurus and a medical dictionary.
  • Multilingual Dictionary – that translate whatever you need from 30 different languages with this easy-to-use site.

Writing Software

  • Open Office — why pay for Microsoft products when you can create free documents with Open Office? This open source software provides similar tools to the Microsoft Office Suite, including spreadsheets, a word processor, the ability to create multimedia presentations, and more.
  • LibreOfficeis a free and open source office suite. It was forked from in 2010, which was an open-sourced version of the earlier StarOffice. The LibreOffice suite comprises programs to do word processing, spreadsheets, slideshows, diagrams and drawings, maintain databases, and compose math formula.
  • Scrivener — is not a free program, but it’s certainly a very popular one. It’s great for organizing research, planning drafts, and writing novels, articles, short stories, and even screenplays.
  • OmmWriteris a free simple text processor that gives you a distraction free environment. So you can focus only on your writing without being tempted or distracted by other programs on your computer.
  • Evernoteis a free app for your smartphone and computer that stores everything you could possibly imagine losing track of, like a boarding pass, receipt, article you want to read, to do list, or even a simple typed note. The app works brilliantly, keeping everything in sync between your computer, smartphone, or tablet. It’s definitely a useful app for writers when you have ideas on the go.
  • Storybook — this open source software can make it easier to manage your plotlines, characters, data, and other critical information while penning a novel.
  • Script Frenzy — scriptwriters will appreciate this software. It offers an easy layout that helps outline plots as well as providing storyboard features, index cards, and even sound and photo integration.

Creativity, Fun & Miscellaneous

  • National Novel Writing Month — is one of the most well-known writing challenges in the writing community, National Novel Writing Month pushes you to write 50,000 words in 30 days (for the whole month of November).
  • WritingFix — a fun site that creates writing prompts on the spot. The site currently has several options—prompts for right-brained people, for left-brained people, for kids—and is working to add prompts on classic literature, music and more.
  • Creative Writing Prompts — the site is exactly what it says. They have 100+ and more, of prompts that you can choose from.
  • My Fonts — is the world’s largest collection of fonts. You can even upload an image containing a font that you like, and this tells you what it is.
  • Story Starters — this website offers over one trillion randomly generated story starters for creative writers.
  • The Gutenberg Project — this site is perfect for those who like to read and/or have an ereader. There’s over 33,000 ebooks you can download for free. 
  • The Imagination Prompt Generator  Click through the prompts to generate different ideas in response to questions like “Is there a God?” and “If your tears could speak to you, what would they say?”
  • The Phrase Finder – this handy site helps you hunt down famous phrases, along with their origins. It also offers a phrase thesaurus that can help you create headlines, lyrics, and much more.
  • Storybird – this site allows you to write a picture book. They provided the gorgeous artwork and you create the story for it, or just read the stories that others have created.
  • Language Is a Virus — the automatic prompt generator on this site can provide writers with an endless number of creative writing prompts. Other resources include writing exercises and information on dozens of different authors.

Background Noise/Music

  • SimplyNoise — a free white noise sounds that you can use to drown out everything around you and help you focus on your writing.
  • Rainy Mood — from the same founders of Simply Noise, this website offers the pleasant sound of rain and thunderstorms. There’s a slide volume control, which you can increase the intensity of the noise (gentle shower to heavy storm), thunder mode (often, few, rare), oscillation button, and a sleep timer. 
  • Coffitivity — a site that provides three background noises: Morning Murmur (a gentle hum), Lunchtime Lounge (bustling chatter), and University Undertones (campus cafe). A pause button is provided whenever you need a bladder break, and a sliding volume control to give you the freedom to find the perfect level for your needs and moods. It’s also available as an android app, iOS app, and for Mac desktop.
  • Rainy Cafeit provides background chatter in coffee shops (similar to Coffitivity) AND the sound of rain (similar to Simply Rain). There’s also individual volume and on/off control for each sound category.
  • 8tracksis an internet radio website and everyone can listen for free. Unlike other music oriented social network such as Pandora or Spotify, 8tracks does’t have commercial interruption. Users create free accounts and can either browse the site and listen to other user-created mixes, and/or they can create their own mixes. It’s a perfect place to listen to other writer’s playlist, share yours or find music for specific characters or moods.

(via thewritingcafe)

Reblog if you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, transgender or a supporter.

This should be reblogged by everyone. Even if you’re straight, you should be a supporter.

(via alltheatoms)





Glee’s attitude towards bisexuality summed up in 60 seconds

here it is in all its glory

the music tho

seriously, fuck biphobia, and fuck any form of mainstream media that promotes it.

(Source: tendads, via imjustabeautifulliar)