For those who asked, here are better examples of some of the brushes from my new Ultimate Drawing Set for Photoshop. I know the video doesn’t show much, so these images should help a lot!
And don’t forget, my other brushes are still available here, too!
Photoshop CS5 or higher required.
Please share this with your art friends and happy drawing, everybody!
When it comes to diversity, I think that writers get soo worried about doing something correctly they do it wrong.
For example, the Marked series by the mother and daughter team with the last name Cast. They have a black character and a gay character. Which is great and progressive and similar to what most people’s high school experience looks like. BUT, they were the most stereotypical black and gay characters I’v read.
The writers spent too much time trying to write what they thought black and gay people sound like, they forgot to make them sound human. My advice is to ignore tips that are about writing race and stick to tips that are about writing characters. When you write your story you know your characters, you know all of their backstories, where they came from and that will inform how they speak.
For example, I am black and from the Bronx. If I didn’t tell you guys that I guarantee that you would have no fing idea. You can of course google slang from different locations, obviously if I’m writing a British character they can’t sound exactly like my New York character, and I want to be more authentic than throwing in some “bloody hells.” lol
Here are some tips about character development and voice.
#5: CHARACTER OUTLINE
#12:CASSANDRA CLARE’S TWO THINGS TO ASK YOURSELF ABOUT YOUR CHARACTERS.
#30: CREATING CHARACTERS THAT JUMP OFF THE PAGE
#37: TOP NINE CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT TIPS
#38: TWELVE CHARACTER WRITING TIPS FOR FICTION WRITERS
#45:HOW TO AVOID CREATING PLASTIC CHARACTERS
#46: THREE TIPS FOR DEVELOPING ENTHRALLING CHARACTERS
#48: FIFTEEN STOCK CHARACTERS - AND HOW TO RESTOCK THEM.
#59: HOW TO CREATE YOUR MAIN CHARACTER’S BACKSTORY
#64: FIFTEEN FIGURES OF SPEECH TO COLOR YOUR CHARACTERS
#73: TOP TEN TIPS TO CREATE A CHARACTER ARC
#79:HOW TO WRITE BETTER VILLAINS
#80: QUICK & DIRTY CHARACTERIZATION TIPS & “CHEATS”
#81: SO YOU WANNA WRITE/PLAY A POWERFUL CHARACTER THAT PROBABLY WON’T BE PERCEIVED AS A MARY SUE?
#82: BASIC TIPS TO WRITE BETTER CHOSEN ONES
#85: NINE KICK-ASS EXCERCISES TO FIND YOUR CHARACTER’S VOICE
#93: USE ARCHETYPES TO CREATE LITERARY CHARACTERS
#94: FIVE QUALITIES TO CONSIDER DURING CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
#95: FAST AND EASY GUIDE TO WRITING CHARACTERS OF THE OPPOSITE GENDER
#103: DEALING WITH A CHARACTER’S INTERNAL THOUGHTS
#104: CREATING COMPELLING CHARACTERS
#110:DO TOO MANY CHARACTERS SPOIL THE STORY?
#111:FOUR TIPS FOR WRITING SCENES WITH MANY CHARACTERS
#112:DOES MY NOVEL HAVE TOO MANY CHARACTERS?
#113:ANNE TYLER’S TIPS ON WRITING STRONG (YET FLAWED) CHARACTERS
#114:LOVING YOUR CHARACTERS TOO MUCH
#115:HOW MANY CHARACTERS ARE TOO MANY?
#122: DEALING WITH CHARACTER TRAUMA
Nearly every book I’ve read has a protagonist. And all of those protagonists were surrounded by several, if not a great many, friends. Within my own stories, my protagonists have quite a few friends. Among those friends, there are usually one or two, maybe three, friends that the protagonist is especially close to. One of my all time favorite series, Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, follows best friends Lissa and Rose, who act like sisters most of the time. While reading, it’s clear that the two have known each other for a long while, see each other as their closest allies, and see their lives as them against the world. It’s obvious that they’re very close. The question is how does Mead accomplish this? How does any author establish these types of close friendships between characters without blatantly telling the reader?
If you think of your own close friendships, or your best friends, you’ll probably recognize five or more of the following in your relationship with these particular friends –
Understand without speaking.
When you’ve known someone a really long time, or have spent so much time together, you get to know the person so well that you pick up on their habits and quirks and body language. When they bite their lip, you know it’s not that they’re confused, but that the water works are about to begin and it’s time to get them out of there. If their jaw tenses, you take their hand and squeeze it to show they don’t have to face the world alone. They do the same for you. You understand each other so well that no one needs to say anything, and it’s obvious that it’s time for coffee and chick flicks, or that it’s time to head to the soccer field to kick around a ball and de-stress. You might not be able to read each others’ minds, but you understand each other well enough that neither of you needs to say anything. You just do.
Tease each other.
There’s artificial teasing, there’s bully teasing, there’s flirting teasing. But among friends, it’s the way we gently point out each others’ issues and faults without being cruel, it’s how we remind each other of good times, it’s how we show each other that we don’t have to be adult or grown up (regardless of age), it’s how we connect and communicate. Between best friends, teasing is just another way we talk to each other. There’s no malice, jealousy, anger, or bitterness behind it. It’s often light, fun, laughable, and in good humor. It’s a way to make your friend laugh when they’re on the verge of tears. It’s the way we build each other up when our plans fall through. Teasing is always there, but it never, ever becomes a way of putting each other down.
Rely on each other.
Through good times and bad, friends can always be relied upon to be there and help each other. There are no excuses, there is no distance, there are no events that could prevent two best buds from helping each other out in times of emotional and physical need, and friends rely on each other for that. But friends also rely on each other for comfort, for support, for encouragement, and for all the things it seems the world wants to take away from us. Friends are there to remind us that what we want to do, where we want to go, is completely possible and achievable.
Seek each other’s advice.
Perhaps more than our parents, teachers, advisors, and mentors, we seek advice from our friends first. This might be a perfectly faulty action, but because friends understand each other and rely on each other, it’s natural that we seek advice from those we know, and who know us, best. This advice seeking might be as simple as wondering which outfit to wear for an interview, to legitimately questioning your life’s direction and wanting to know whether you should keep on that path. And because you can rely on your friend, they help you out, if only to making fun of something to help you laugh and remind you to loosen up and stop worrying.
Feel comfortable around one another.
As with all of the above, friends are comfortable with each other enough to seek that advice, tease each other, and rely on one another. Even more than that, friends are comfortable with and around each other that they don’t care if they do something stupid, or say something idiotic, or accidently snort and spew food from the mouth in response to something funny (guilty.) Because they’re comfortable with each other, these things happen and no one cares, because these silly things hardly define us. It’s the same with crying, or showing how truly angry we are, or how hopeless we feel. Friends know each other so well that they be vulnerable and sensitive, and the friend won’t misuse them.
Miss each other when gone.
Probably the greatest understatement of all these, but best friends will miss each other. They might be separated for only a day, maybe one has moved away. But miss each other they will, just the same. The effect this has on each other is anyone’s guess, as everyone reacts differently to separation. Some might become depressed, others might lash out, and some might just have that aching sense of loneliness in their gut that seems like it can’t ever be filled. There is most definitely a reaction, and missing each other is just the surface.
Have similar interests/hobbies/goals/pasts.
Whether they grew up together, or met at summer camp, or took the same art class, friends have similar interests. There’s something that initially drew them together, and in writing a book you can’t just put that aside. It will always be their foundation, and while the foundation can grow, there’s that one point, however small and insignificant in the present, that brought them together and caused them to meet (in Vampire Academy, Lissa and Rose both had long names they had to spell in school at young ages. Later on, they grew even closer together when they both survived the car accident that killed the rest of Lissa’s family.)
Grow together as individuals and as friends.
If any relationship is to last and get stronger, growth is a must. Trials, tragedy, celebration, joy; all these add to and change a person, their actions, and how they consider new situations, and this happens in a friendship as well. While going through similar occurrences, if friends cannot grow together, change, and mature together, then their friendship will remain the way it was when it started, and it won’t be able to adjust and react properly to new situations that the friends encounter. Without the ability to grow, the friendship will become stagnant and brittle, and eventually break. Make sure to show the friends, and their friendship, grow through the story.
It’s simple. Close friends, who understand, rely, advise, and help each other, just don’t judge. Regardless of what one does, or what the other thinks about a topic, they don’t judge. They accept that they’re individuals with different views and opinions on some things. After all, you can’t have the exact same views as someone else. There are similarities, there are differences, but despite what those are, there should never be any judgment. Friends accept each other for who they are.
Don’t try to change each other.
As I said, friends accept each other. They don’t try to change one another, or mould each other into what their ideal would be, because that would be the farthest thing from acceptance. Friends understand, they don’t judge, and they don’t try to change their friends’ personalities, opinions, views, likes or dislikes, or their hopes and dreams. They accept everything about each other, and celebrate their differences.
Friends naturally want to talk with each other and discuss the things that happen in their lives, but best friends, as I’m sure you know, will talk about everything. They confide everything in each other without fear of being rejected or judged. They share their thoughts, their dreams, whatever comes to mind, and in sharing so much with each other, their bond grows.
Fights sometimes happen, but making amends occurs quickly.
No friendship is perfect, and because there are two people involved, disagreements are bound to occur. But when fights begin, whatever the topic, close friends will try to move past the argument and come to a conclusion, generally in the form of an agreement or better understanding of one another. They won’t linger on their differing opinions, and will try to make amends as soon as they can. This leads to stronger friendships, and is a way that the friendship can grow and develop.
Can’t imagine life without each other.
Perhaps more than anything else, best friends simply can’t imagine what life would be like if they weren’t together. It’s something they don’t want to think about, and is the last thing they’ll focus on when confronted with the real possibility of lifelong separation. They’ll come up with excuses, plans, arguments, anything that might be able to change the impending separation. They literally can’t picture their life being apart, because their personalities and dreams and emotional selves are so connected that the very idea of being apart for good is like imagining themselves being split in half (this goes for a romantic relationship as well, though more specifically within one where the two were best friends before they fell in love).
These are just a basic few things that can comprise a close friendship. You don’t need to use all of these, and by all means, don’t limit yourself to using only the ones I’ve listed. Use some, use none, but make sure you really look at the characters you have and focus on showing that closeness where it’s supposed to exist. It offers greater development of both characters, adds to the realism of the plot, and helps with the overall story.
For more on this topic with examples, check out Livia Blackburne’s awesome article –
Good luck and good writing!
~ Everyday Writer
If you’re having trouble making your characters interesting or you feel like all your characters turn out the same, you’re probably creating flat characters. If your character hasn’t undergone a significant change during the course of your novel or your audience is having trouble relating to them, you need find ways to improve this. It’s important to remember that all your characters need to have goals, no matter how small, and they need to be actively working toward those goals to stay interesting.
Your protagonist should be relatable and realistic. Even if your readers don’t necessarily agree with what they’re doing, they should be able to feel what your protagonist is going through. This is your job as a writer. You need to get your readers to understand their thought process or what they’re going through, even if they’ve never experienced it themselves. This can be achieved by using real-life emotions in your story, so it’s important you don’t ignore the emotional aspects of storytelling. Most people will understand love, fear, sadness, happiness—EVEN if they’ve never been in the situation your protagonist is in.
One of the most important things to remember is that your character’s actions should remain realistic. And I don’t mean that they need to do things only we can do in our world, but their actions need to stay true to their world. Their actions should make sense in context to what they’re going through.
Your protagonist should also be a problem solver and proactive. A character with good morals will have integrity, but we all know not all main character have good intentions. However, all protagonists should be able to do things on their own, or else they’re going to be a weak protagonist. I’m not saying they don’t need help, but they need to overcome the big challenges on their own. They can’t just stand around waiting for everyone else to finish things. They need to take initiative at some point, and this should be due to their personal growth throughout the story.
Here are some tips on improving flat characters:
Focus on primary traits, complexity traits, and character flaws.
Primary traits: Every character you write should have primary traits. These are things like smart, funny, inquisitive, etc. These aren’t necessarily anything deep, but they give the reader enough to understand what sort of category or archetype that character fits in.
Complexity traits: Adding complexity traits will be what adds more depth to your characters, and will make your characters interesting. This is necessary if you are building lead characters/main characters. With complexity traits, you plan out the primary traits with more detail. For example, if your character is smart explain what he or she is smart in. Does he or she know a lot about history? Are they good at math?
Character Flaws: Finally, give that character flaws. These flaws humanize your characters and they generally stand in the way of your character’s success. It’s important that your characters fail sometimes and that these failures are a result of their personal flaws. No one wants to see a perfect character. We want to see someone who is able to pull themselves back together after experiencing failure. We want to see them earn their success.
Next, focus on character goals and motivations.
Character goals: Every single character your write needs to want something. They need to have a goal and those goals will drive your story forward. For example, your main character might want to run a marathon. It’s a big deal for them and they spend your entire novel training (and failing at training) until the end when they finally do it. Running that marathon is their goal throughout your novel and they won’t stop until they succeed. Remember, character goals are different from motivations.
Also, keep in mind that even secondary characters need to want something. Develop each character and make sure you understand why they want to do something. What do they get from helping out your main character? Why do they care so much? Think about what’s at stake for them.
Motivations: There are certain things that will push your characters forward. Expanding on the marathon scenario above, maybe your main character has to finish a marathon because they will win 1 million dollars if they do. Maybe their family is poor and this is the only way to help them. That’s your character motivation. It’s obvious they really care about their family and they need the money. It’s important to understand why your character is doing something and why they want something. What will accomplishing their goals do for them? Why do they need to do? Again, what’s at stake if they don’t?
Character development is a long, in-depth process, but hopefully following these steps will help you out. It’s important that you keep your characters proactive or else you run the risk of them becoming boring. Characters that work actively toward their goals are the most interesting.
Drawing perspective is considered one of the hardest things in art, except the mistakes usually done are pretty much always the same and can be avoided with a little care.
1. Lines not reaching the vanishing point
Well this is pretty simple to…
- a young character
- a character who lost someone important
- a villain (2)
- a character based on yourself
- a hit man or mercenary
- an indifferent character
- a bitchy character
- a dancer
- a vampire
- a drunk character
- a manipulative character
- a friends with benefits relationship
- a natural born leader
- a nice character
- a rich character
- a witty character
Some good advice here.
I edited the list to remove broken links.
Various ways of making armor and weapons.
Armour from foam flooring tiles - http://bioweapons.wordpress.com/2010/06/21/mass-effect-n7-armor-build/
A workable fuck-ton of male archery references (per request).
[Please note that the top two images of the white statues are for weaker bows; typically, the bow will have a stronger pull weight. The front arm would be fully extended and straight, and the hand gripping the arrow would not be pinching the arrow itself.]
Images (1 & 2) academicart
Images (3, 4 & 5) greytaliesin (who’s blog has since been changed to hallaheart)
Image (6 & 7) scott-eaton
Image (6) syccas-stock
Image (8) greygoosearchery
Image (9) naturalarcher
The problem with the term ‘writing fat’ is that it’s not very specific and hard to pin down. Some articles define it as unspecific words, or lengthy descriptions, but I think it can be summed up as more than that. I’d define fat in writing as a few different things:
Filler scenes. Are you writing scenes just to reach a word count? Do they have no impact on the plot or characters? Chances are you’re going to have to cut them out later. ‘Filler’ is used in TV and movies to provide a much needed tension break from the action or info-laden scenes (think of long shots of driving, making coffee, or the character just walking), or in the worst of cases, to meet some episode requirement (ALTA made fun of having done this quite well in one episode).
In a visual medium, the mind needs those moments to process the previous action or scene. In a written medium, it’s unnecessary, and these scenes tend to be a waste of your investment and the reader’s time.
Description that doesn’t tell us anything. It doesn’t matter how beautifully written it is, if the reader learns nothing from your description, they will start to skim. This is not easy to the hang of at first, but here are some things you should look for:
- Description that sets the stage. When well done, description that establishes the setting of each scene will hook your reader in. If you’re description a place for a reason, it’s okay. If you’re description something because you don’t know what else to write and you’re trying to fill up space, chances are you need to cut it down.
- Description that shows us something about the character. Body language and behavior are important, but you can also use description to frame a character’s mood and viewpoint. How the character views the weather or chooses to describe another person tells us a great deal about how they feel and what kind of person they are.
Pointless dialogue. In real life, a lot of what people say doesn’t have any particular meaning. They’re certainly not trying to move a plot along. In a story, what is said and how it is said is just as essential as anything else. Dialogue should convey information, whether the characters are aware that it is or not. A stilted conversation over coffee can indicate awkwardness and discomfort among two people, and what’s not said is just as important as what is. Your dialogue should be as pointed as your description!
Filler is fine for NaNoWriMo, but when it comes to editing, you need to be sure everything in your story has a purpose. Good luck!