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"A good goal should scare you a little and excite you a lot."
Chris Soriano  (via setbabiesonfire)

(via burdge)

— 12 hours ago with 27291 notes

emdelainey:

I made my sister send me a progress shot since she’s been wearing her mesh underbust to bed. It makes me anxious to get home from vacation and sew.

(via hoop-skirts-and-corsets)

— 1 day ago with 116 notes
fashionsfromhistory:

Wedding Dress
Geoffrey Beene

This dress was personally designed and made by Geoffrey Beene for one of his house models, Catharina Oeschger. When Beene learned that she was getting married, he immediately offered to make her wedding dress, and she requested a gown that was “not a fluffy meringue”. Catharina married Peter Tinniswood on 9th August 1975 at St Nicholas’ Church in Thames Ditton, having flown out from New York via Iceland (where her intended bridesmaid (who unfortunately couldn’t make it) and former house-mate lived). As it was a very hot day, she dressed behind the church organ so that the linen dress would not be wrinkled for the ceremony.

1975
V&A

fashionsfromhistory:

Wedding Dress

Geoffrey Beene

This dress was personally designed and made by Geoffrey Beene for one of his house models, Catharina Oeschger. When Beene learned that she was getting married, he immediately offered to make her wedding dress, and she requested a gown that was “not a fluffy meringue”. Catharina married Peter Tinniswood on 9th August 1975 at St Nicholas’ Church in Thames Ditton, having flown out from New York via Iceland (where her intended bridesmaid (who unfortunately couldn’t make it) and former house-mate lived). As it was a very hot day, she dressed behind the church organ so that the linen dress would not be wrinkled for the ceremony.

1975

V&A

(via fashionsfromhistory)

— 1 day ago with 335 notes

scigrrrl:

brainsx:

hey guys, check out these kick-ass lab shoes I bought myself! they come in red and gray.

WANT THESE! LOVE IT!

(via gender-and-science)

— 1 day ago with 669 notes
cabinporn:

A-frame in Dydiówka, Poland.
Contributed by Katka. 

cabinporn:

A-frame in Dydiówka, Poland.

Contributed by Katka. 

— 1 day ago with 956 notes
"Most short stories have but one plot. The very best, however, have what I call a plot-and-a-half – that is, a main plot and a small subplot that feeds in a twist or an unexpected piece of business that ads crunch and flavor to the story as a whole."
Elizabeth Sims (via thewritingrealm)

(Source: writingquotes, via writeworld)

— 2 days ago with 2503 notes
Ask an Editor: Nailing the Story →

tubooks:

Last week on the blog, I talked about hooking the reader early and ways to write so you have that “zing” that captivates from the very beginning. This week, I wanted to go into more detail about the story and plot itself. When teaching at writing conferences, my first question to the audience is this:

 What is the most important thing about a multicultural book?

I let the audience respond for a little while, and many people have really good answers: getting the culture right, authenticity, understanding the character… these are all important things in diverse books.

But I think that the most important part of a diverse novel is the same thing that’s the most important thing about any novel: a good story. All of the other components of getting diversity right won’t matter if you don’t have a good story! And getting those details wrong affects how good the story is for me and for many readers.

So as we continue our series discussing things to keep in mind as you polish your New Visions Award manuscripts, let’s move the discussion on to how to write a good story, beyond just following the directions and getting a good hook in your first few pages. This week, we’ll focus on refining plot.

Here are a few of the kinds of comments readers might make if your plot isn’t quite there yet:

  • Part of story came out of nowhere (couldn’t see connection)
  • Too confusing
  • Confusing backstory
  • Plot not set up well enough in first 3 chapters
  • Bizarre plot
  • Confusing plot—jumped around too much
  • underdeveloped plot
  • Too complicated
  • Excessive detail/hard to keep track
  • Too hard to follow, not sure what world characters are in

We’ll look at pacing issues too, as they’re often related:

  • Chapters way too long
  • Pacing too slow (so slow hard to see where story is going)
  • Nothing gripped me
  • Too predictable

block quote 1Getting your plot and pacing right is a complicated matter. Just being able to see whether something is dragging too long or getting too convoluted can be hard when you’re talking about anywhere from fifty to a hundred thousand words, all in one long file. Entire books have been written on how to plot a good science fiction and fantasy book. More books have been written on how to plot a good mystery. If you need more in-depth work on this topic, refer to them (see the list at the end of this post).

So we won’t get too in depth here, but let’s cover a few points.

Know your target audience

When you’re writing for children, especially young children (middle grade, chapter books, and below), your plot should be much more linear than a plot for older readers who can hold several threads in their heads at once.

Teens are developmentally ready for more complications—many of them move up to adult novels during this age, after all—but YA as a category is generally simpler on plot structure than adult novels in the same genre. This is not to say the books are simple-minded. Just not as convoluted… usually. (This varies with the book—and how well the author can pull it off. Can you?)

But the difference between middle grade and YA is there for a reason—kids who are 7 or 8 or 9 years old and newly independent readers need plots that challenge them but don’t confuse them. And even adults get confused if so much is going on at once that we can’t keep things straight. Remember what we talked about last time regarding backstory—sometimes we don’t need to know everything all at once. What is the core of your story?

Linear plot

Note that “too complicated” is one of the main complaints of plot-related comments readers had while reading submissions to the last New Visions Award.

Don’t say, “But Writer Smith wrote The Curly-Eared Bunny’s Revenge for middle graders and it had TEN plot threads going at once!” Writer Smith may have done it successfully, but in general, there shouldn’t be more than one main plot and a small handful of subplots happening in a stand-alone novel for middle-grade readers.

If you intend your book to be the first in a series of seven or ten or a hundred books, you might have seeds in mind you’d like to plant for book seventy-two. Unless you’re contracted to write a hundred books, though, the phrase here to remember is stand-alone with series potential. Even Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was pretty straightforward in its plotting—hinting at backstory, but not dumping backstory on readers in book one; setting the stage for potential conflicts down the road but not introducing them beforetime. Book 1 of Harry Potter really could have just stood on its own and never gone on to book 2. It wouldn’t have been nearly as satisfying as having the full 7-book arc, but note how seamlessly details were woven in, not calling attention to themselves even though they’re setting the stage for something later. Everything serves the linear plot of the main arc of book 1’s story. We only realize later that those details were doing double duty.

Thus, when you’re writing for children and young adults, remember that a linear main plot is your priority, and that anything in the story that is not serving the main plot is up on the chopping block, only to be saved if it proves its service to the main plot is true.block quote 2Plotting affects pace

In genre fiction for young readers, pacing is always an issue. Pacing can get bogged down by too many subplots—the reader gets annoyed or bored when it takes forever to get back to the main thrust of the story when you’re wandering in the byways of the world you created.

Fantasy readers love worldbuilding (to be covered in another post), but when writing for young readers, make sure that worldbuilding serves as much to move the plot forward as to simply show off some cool worldbuilding. Keep it moving along.

Character affects plot

This was not a complaint from the last New Visions Award, but another thing to keep in mind when plotting is that as your rising action brings your character into new complications, the character’s personality will affect his or her choices—which will affect which direction the plot moves. We’ll discuss characterization more another day, but just keep in mind that the plot is dependent upon the choices of your characters and the people around them (whether antagonists or otherwise). Even in a plot that revolves around a force of nature (tornado stories, for example), who the character is (or is becoming) will determine whether the plot goes in one direction or another.

Find an organizational method that works for you

This is not a craft recommendation so much as a tool. Plotting a novel can get overwhelming. You need a method of keeping track of who is going where when, and why. There are multiple methods for doing this.

Scrivener doesn’t work for all writers, so it might not be your thing, but I recommend trying out its corkboard feature, which allows you to connect summaries of plot points on a virtual corkboard to chapters in your book. If you need to move a plot point, the chapter travels along for the ride.

An old-fashioned corkboard where you can note plot points and move them around might be just as easy as entering them in Scrivener, if you like the more tactile approach.

Another handy tool is Cheryl Klein’s Plot Checklist, which has a similar purpose: it makes the writer think about the reason each plot point is in the story, and whether those points serve the greater story.

Whether you use a physical corkboard, a white board, Scrivener, or a form of outlining, getting the plot points into a form where you can see everything happening at once can help you to see where things are getting gummed up.

Further resources

This post is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to plotting a book. Here are some books and essays that will be of use to the writer seeking to fix his or her plot problems. (Note that some of these resources will be more useful to some writers than others, and vice versa. Find what works for you.)

  • “Muddles, Morals, and Making It Through: Or Plots and Popularity,” by Cheryl Klein in her book of essays on writing and revising, Second Sight.
  • In the same book by Cheryl Klein, “Quartet: Plot” and her plot checklist.
  • The Plot Whisperer by Martha Alderson
  • I haven’t had experience with this resource, but writer friends suggest the 7-point plot ideas of Larry Brooks, which is covered both in a blog series and in his books

And remember!

keep calm and write on

Further Reading:

New Visions Award: What NOT to Do

Ask an Editor: Hooking the Reader Early

The New Visions Guidelines

(via thewritingcafe)

— 2 days ago with 330 notes
dreadpiratekhan:

A Swedish woman hitting a neo-Nazi protester with her handbag. The woman was reportedly a concentration camp survivor. [1985]

Volunteers learn how to fight fires at Pearl Harbor [c. 1941 - 1945]

A 106-year old Armenian woman protecting her home with an AK-47. [1990]

Komako Kimura, a prominent Japanese suffragist at a march in New York. [October 23, 1917]

Erika, a 15-year-old Hungarian fighter who fought for freedom against the Soviet Union. [October 1956]

Sarla Thakral, 21 years old, the first Indian woman to earn a pilot license. [1936]

Voting activist Annie Lumpkins at the Little Rock city jail. [1961]  
(freakin’ immaculate)
Source with more wonderful photos

dreadpiratekhan:


A Swedish woman hitting a neo-Nazi protester with her handbag. The woman was reportedly a concentration camp survivor. [1985]

Volunteers learn how to fight fires at Pearl Harbor [c. 1941 - 1945]

A 106-year old Armenian woman protecting her home with an AK-47. [1990]

Komako Kimura, a prominent Japanese suffragist at a march in New York. [October 23, 1917]

Erika, a 15-year-old Hungarian fighter who fought for freedom against the Soviet Union. [October 1956]

Sarla Thakral, 21 years old, the first Indian woman to earn a pilot license. [1936]

Voting activist Annie Lumpkins at the Little Rock city jail. [1961]  

(freakin’ immaculate)

Source with more wonderful photos

(via gingerhaze)

— 2 days ago with 31290 notes
clevergirlhelps:

I see and write a lot of “DON’T DO THIS!!!” posts, so I thought I would make a “DO THIS!!!” post.
General Requests
More POC in leading roles
More important friendships
More queer characters in leading roles
More disabled characters in leading roles
More genderqueer and trans characters in leading roles
Realistic women in leading roles
Happier/more positive characters and messages
Specific
45 Things I Want to See More Of (Part 2)
Black Villains
Boys in YA
Characters
Cool Things (2) (3)
Fantasy (2)
Female Characters (2)
Female Character Traits
Happiness
Horror Genre Mashups
Magic Systems
Male Characters
Medieval Fantasy
Modern Fantasy
Plots
Relationships
Romance (2)
Soulmate AUs
Stories
Stories I Want to Read
Urban Fantasy
What thewritingcafe Wants
YA Novels (2) (3) (4)
My wish list tag is always updating and includes posts containing things I would like to see in fiction. characterandwritinghelp has a similar tag.
The plot bunnies tag is likewise updating and includes posts that I think would make for an interesting story.
More Things I Would Like to See
Steampunk with different ethnic influences alongside the gears
Utopias that try really hard to be good, even though they aren’t and never will be perfect
Science and magic coexisting
Creation stories - stories that focus on building and growth rather than destruction
People are good themes
Extroverted protagonists
Environments other than temperate deciduous
Stories centered on art
Stories without war
Read More

clevergirlhelps:

I see and write a lot of “DON’T DO THIS!!!” posts, so I thought I would make a “DO THIS!!!” post.

General Requests

  • More POC in leading roles
  • More important friendships
  • More queer characters in leading roles
  • More disabled characters in leading roles
  • More genderqueer and trans characters in leading roles
  • Realistic women in leading roles
  • Happier/more positive characters and messages

Specific

My wish list tag is always updating and includes posts containing things I would like to see in fiction. characterandwritinghelp has a similar tag.

The plot bunnies tag is likewise updating and includes posts that I think would make for an interesting story.

More Things I Would Like to See

  • Steampunk with different ethnic influences alongside the gears
  • Utopias that try really hard to be good, even though they aren’t and never will be perfect
  • Science and magic coexisting
  • Creation stories - stories that focus on building and growth rather than destruction
  • People are good themes
  • Extroverted protagonists
  • Environments other than temperate deciduous
  • Stories centered on art
  • Stories without war

Read More

(via thewritingcafe)

— 2 days ago with 3499 notes

sixpenceee:

Informal infographic depicting evolution 

(via catscradlemorelikebabysbed)

— 3 days ago with 54293 notes

coelasquid:

comicsalliance:

BEAUTIFUL HORROR: EMILY CARROLL’S ‘THROUGH THE WOODS’ IS A COMICS MASTERWORK

By Sarah Horrocks

Emily Carrolls collection of horror comics, Through the Woods, operates largely on the alienation of the inexplicable experience. More specifically, with one exception, it explores that alienation in women, particularly young women. The struggle for many of these characters is the insidious horror of trauma, and all of the ways that trauma pulls you apart, both from yourself and your community, and leaves you susceptible to further terrors.

This trauma that suddenly makes you unreliable to the world around you, and indeed unreliable to yourself, provides much of the claustrophobia that characterizes the slowly closing trap of Carroll’s flashlight-whispered tales. These are spellbound stories through which every strength of the comics medium is put into employ. There are frankly very few writers in comics who can go toe-to-toe with Emily Carroll in this regard. The totality of these comics is a testament to the largely untapped potentials inherent in this medium.

One of the aspects of the whole that powers Through The Woods is its lettering. Carroll’s lettering has a handwritten character of its own, and oftentimes the twisting bending nature of the letters and words drive the composition of the pages as a whole, which allows Carroll to move effortlessly through sometimes complex layered montage pages.

READ MORE

!!! I didn’t realize this was out!

— 3 days ago with 837 notes
http://coelasquid.tumblr.com/post/95844919488/mithril-mercenary-replied-to-your-post-ive-been →

coelasquid:

mithril-mercenary replied to your post: I’ve been saving up webcomic pennies f…

you’re living a dream that most of us cannot live, coela. :)

If you have the luxury of not living completely paycheque to paycheque, a thing I’ve found that really helps save up is to figure out a manageable…

— 3 days ago with 77 notes
Anonymous asked: Hiya ! I hope you don't mind giving me some advice on starting an art blog •.•' I've been pondering on whether or not to have one as I sometimes do feel like I may not have enough 'talent' or technical skill. I truly would appreciate if you could help me :3 Also, I'm in love with your art! You most definitely have become an inspiration to me :) Have a nice day and keep up the great job :)


Answer:

bridgioto:

Oh boy I have a Lot Of Feelings about this!

The very short answer: YES. START.

The longer reason: The wonderful/terrible/wonderful thing about the internet, about blogs and forums and webcomics, is that there is no low bar.There is no need to “qualify”, no need to pass some kind of invisible line of “enough talent” to start putting your work out there. And I can’t emphasize strongly enough what a positive thing that is.

As a young kid, I was lucky enough to live by a library with a great comic book collection. I devoured all the Tintin books, and made my way through a good chunk of Golden Age Flash and Wonder Woman comics. I enjoyed them immensely, but they didn’t exactly spark a creative fire in me. Then, when I reached middle school, I discovered webcomics.

Here’s the thing about webcomics, which is the exact thing about the whole internet: you don’t have to ‘qualify’. You can suck as much as you want. But as soon as you start, you’re on a path to getting better. As Jake in Adventure Time sagely says (and I think I’ve probably quoted before): sucking is just the first step to being kinda good at something. The comic I always credit with opening that little door in my mind is El Goonish Shive, which started heregot to this and then this. It’s by no means the Sistine Chapel, but the thing that blew my little mind and set that first little fire in my heart was that you could actually see the improvement over time. Where Tintin and Wonder Woman came published and packaged as though they sprang fully-formed into the world, with webcomics I could suddenly see through that illusion to the reality underneath: that talent is really just hard work over a long period of time, and that every artist and every skill has a starting place.

I started my first terrible, terrible webcomic knowing that it would suck (and also somehow simultaneously being certain of being awarded an Eisner within the year). Seeing other people out there brave enough to share their path with the world helped me get over that first stumbling block of fear and shame, and actually put my stuff out in public.

Which brings me around to the other great thing about doing that: feedback and discipline :) Once you start, you’ll find two things. One is that you’ll get critique and feedback on your work. If you actually listen to how people respond to your art, and to crit from those more experienced than you, you’ll improve faster and faster. And two, you’ll find that posting art or comics is a great way to form habit and discipline. Webcomics especially. Needing to keep your deadlines and post on specific days every week keeps you honest about your work and your time. I never would have drawn as much if I hadn’t committed myself to getting a comic out M/W/F through most of high school.

To sum up:

1. Sucking is ok!

2. Post shit anyways!

3. Keep your mind open to critique and feedback!

4. STICK TO IT!

… as a gesture of good faith… deep breath…

…here’s a link to my terrible, terrible high school webcomic.

We all gotta start somewhere - now go and START :)

— 3 days ago with 94 notes