Tumblelog by Soup.io
Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

September 21 2017


5 editor’s secrets to help you write like a pro


1. Sentences can only do one thing at a time.

Have you ever heard a four-year-old run out of breath before she can finish her thought? I edit a lot of sentences that work the same way. You need a noun, you need a verb, you might need an object. Give some serious thought to stopping right there.

Sentences are building blocks, not bungee cords; they’re not meant to be stretched to the limit. I’m not saying you necessarily want a Hemingway-esque series of clipped short sentences, but most writers benefit from dividing their longest sentences into shorter, more muscular ones.

2. Paragraphs can only do one thing at a time.

A paragraph supports a single idea. Construct complex arguments by combining simple ideas that follow logically. Every time you address a new idea, add a line break. Short paragraphs are the most readable; few should be more than three or four sentences long. This is more important if you’re writing for the Web.

3. Look closely at -ing

Nouns ending in -ing are fine. (Strong writing, IT consulting, great fishing.) But constructions like “I am running,” “a forum for building consensus,” or “The new team will be managing” are inherently weak. Rewrite them to “I run,” “a forum to build consensus,” and “the team will manage.” You’re on the right track when the rewrite has fewer words (see below).

(If for some insane reason you want to get all geeky about this, you can read the Wikipedia article on gerunds and present participles. But you don’t have to know the underlying grammatical rules to make this work. Rewrite -ing when you can, and your writing will grow muscles you didn’t know it had.)

4. Omit unnecessary words.

I know we all heard this in high school, but we weren’t listening. (Mostly because it’s hard.) It’s doubly hard when you’re editing your own writing—we put all that work into getting words onto the page, and by god we need a damned good reason to get rid of them.

Here’s your damned good reason: extra words drain life from your work. The fewer words used to express an idea, the more punch it has. Therefore:

Summer months
Regional level
The entire country
On a daily basis (usually best rewritten to “every day”)
She knew that it was good.
(I just caught one above: four-year-old little girl)

You can nearly always improve sentences by rewriting them in fewer words.

5. Reframe 90% of the passive voice.

French speakers consider an elegantly managed passive voice to be the height of refinement. But here in the good old U.S. (or Australia, Great Britain, etc.), we value action. We do things is inherently more interesting than Things are done by us. Passive voicemuddies your writing; when the actor is hidden, the action makes less sense.

Bonus: Use spell-check

There’s no excuse for teh in anything more formal than a Twitter tweet.

Also, “a lot” and “all right” are always spelled as two words. You can trust me, I’m an editor.

Easy reading is damned hard writing.
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

September 19 2017


How to Write Characters in Realistic Polyamorous Relationships


Earlier this week, an anonymous follower asked: Any advice for writing a REALISTIC poly relationship?

Friend, you are in luck. As a polyamorous person, I’m always looking for more stories that include good poly representation! So first, we’re going to dig into some information about what poly is and what it isn’t, go over some vocabulary, and discuss how polyamorous relationships function in the real world, and then I’ll get into some dons and don’ts for writing polyamorous relationships. Read on under the cut!

Keep reading

7926 e2f5 500

So I’m still in the first draft of my Voltron fic, and I figured it was as good a time as any to talk about my writing process for stories, mostly because so far that one has plenty of examples. Ahem.

In writing, at least where the first draft is concerned, I have two big problems :

  • I really, really hate stating with a blank page
  • I under-write.

<!-- more -->

The first one, I generally fix by getting one of my old pieces of writing (if possible from a fic for the same fandom, more out of superstition-like habit than anything else) pasting it into a new document, and then using the overwrite function in Open Office to have the new text I write replace the old one. This way, I don’t have to see the bit of blank at the bottom of a text and, more importantly, I don’t have to freak myself out with how much bigger than intended a story gets.

(Otherwise I just keep looking at the word count at the bottom and despairing about my inability to write anything short and sweet anymore.)

Of course, since the goal of this method is to prevent myself from seeing my word count progress (by making it impossible to distinguish from what I’ve already written), that means I have to make sure to mark my place and signal the bits that are for planning and should not be erased…hence the index at the top.

It’s also really useful for when I rewrite a story to turn it into draft two because it allows me to stick to the unfolding of events as presented in draft 1 and only change things when I actively want to rather than by accident because I couldn’t trust my memories.

My second big problem is under-writing.

I know most of the writing advice I’ve seen (on Tumblr or elsewhere) assumes people write too much and that they’re going to need to scrap scenes, paragraphs and descriptions left and right, and while I’m familiar with the need to cut a 1k scene because it doesn’t fit the flow of my story, my fics don’t get shorted after editing, they get longer.

I never put enough details the first time in. Even in school, when I handed essays in, 99% of them came back with a note telling me to develop my reasoning at more length. The same is true for my stories, and I used to miss a lot of necessary details in them because I’d think of them after finishing to write a scene, then finish the first draft, then forget about these additional details on the way.

I’ve tried several was to remember those details: go back and add them in right away, write them down in a notebook, write them down on my phone, write them down in the prep file…but they never quite made it to the page.

Honestly, I’m a little embarrassed to say it’s taken me almost fifteen years of writing to figure out how useful comments would be (I have @talysalankil to thank for that actually, because he’s the first person who thoroughly betaed my work and therefore used Google Docs comment on me). Nowadays, when I think of something to add in a scene/passage or dialogue, I just highlight the thing with a comment, write the things I want to add (including a line of dialogue, sometimes) and move on until I’m done with draft one.

Sometimes, it’s a fairly short comment (see: Extract 1) sometimes it’s a long comment based on a fairly short portion of text (Extract 2) and other times you just have to make a comment box that highlights two pages and a half and includes a couple of all caps outbursts (Extract 3).

So here it is for my writing process…I’m not sure if it’ll actually be useful to people or what, but I felt like sharing and hey, if nothing else, the people who are interested in the Voltron fic get to have more sneak peeks, chronologically marked for your convenience ;)

September 18 2017


Upcoming fic: [Untitled for now]

Soooo…if you don’t follow my personal blog, you probably don’t know that my external hard drive is, at best out of use at the moment (I strongly suspect it’s fried for good but I’m waiting to have a colleague look at it next week before I officially declare it lost for sure) meaning that all my wips are out of reach for now.

It’s a super big blow and kind of destroyed my will to work on those projects right now, particularly things like The Immortal Cup that took three years of preparation and frankly more maths than I care to admit before I even started it.

So, in order to get back to writing stuff without rubbing salt in the wound by constantly wanting to reach for my prep files and remembering they’re (most likely) gone, I decided to write for a new fandom aka: Voltron: Legendary Defenders.

So far I have about 5k written, and this is the pivotal (possibly central?) moment of the fic, which is written in Shiro’s POV and will feature my answer to various questions such as:

  • What if Ulaz hadn’t died?
  • What if I could find a way to explain Lotor and Keith’s existence in one fell swoop?
  • What if the Paladins didn’t just ~forget about Zarkon being black’s original pilot for mumblety episodes?
  • What if the characters had time to react to events instead of jumping from one plot twist to the other right away?

And of course, my favorites:

  • What if I dug a little deeper into Shiro’s issues and how much he tries to repress them (and also why does he do that)?
  • How the fuck do 10 000years old aliens, five humans, five giant robots and the rest of the universe communicate with one another without borrowing the MCU’s allspeak.

All in a days’ work, and probably bound to hover around 10k words once finished.

Enjoy the preview, I guess, but keep in mind it’s a first draft :P

<!-- more -->

Coran, on the other hand…he’s not looking at the table, not really, and he’s mostly sitting straight, but there’s something in the lines of his mouth, in the way his head tilts forward, that make him look older and more tired than Shiro has ever seen him. The ridiculous over-the-top personality is gone, too, and he sounds somber when he clarifies sighs:

“I’m afraid I failed all of you, young people. I should have told you about this right from the start.”

Shiro glares Keith into silence before the accusatory question blooming in his features can make it past his lips. There will be a time for recriminations, that much is certain, but right now Shiro would rather hear what exactly he’s been pulled into.

“You know, by now, that Zarkon was the Black Lion’s first pilot.”

Lance is the loudest in his surprise, but Pidge and Hunk don’t exactly receive the news with complete stoicism either. Even Doc’s eyes widen in shock, though beyond that and tightening his fingers into fist, he manages to keep his reaction fairly moderate.

Allura, for her part, merely looks down at her hands.

It doesn’t do anything to alleviate the sinking feeling in the pit of Shiro’s stomach.

“Zarkon was already the the Grand Galra of Daibazaal when he met Prince Alfor. I wasn’t privy to the beginning of their friendship, and I don’t know how they met the other three, but eventually they agree on forming a coalition of planets that would defend their interest and ensure their corner of the universe would remain a peaceful place.”



Thing #1 you learn as a writers:

You know those lists we all see on how to writer *insert character type here* full of dos and don’ts?

Yeah, forget everything single and replace with a much simpler rule sheet that applies as a universal.

1)No matter the character type, writing people as people above all else is the number one rule. The number one way to avoid stereotypes is to write everyone in a three-dimensional human. 

2)People do stereotypical things because stereotypes are created from exaggerating and generalizing reality. The difference between a stereotype and and a character that does stereotypical things is that for the later those traits do not define them. The stereotypical behavior is just facet of a complex personality.

A good example of this for people from the lower-class or Southern US is Finn on Bones. He has a lot of traits from his place of upbringing like his accent, southerisms, and tastes but isn’t defined by them. He’s still just as smart and well educated as any of his co-workers and people stereotyping him as “dumb white trash” is actually shown to be something he struggles with in an educated environment full of city folk.

Trying to hard to avoid stereotypes completely often results in alien and unrealistic characters that come off as cold and inhuman because they have no particular personality traits people from their real life demographic can relate to. 

As someone from a lower-class area in Southern-Iowa, I relate to Finn because he likes “down-home” things like Country Music and Fishing while still trying his best to be educated and respectable. I relate to that more than i would someone having a generic intern college-kid intern and claiming he’s from a lower-class, American upbringing with no traits that actually show it.

3)Anyone can be a villain, the key just avoiding implying things like a certain minority status are the root of a characters evil. It can be a tricky dance because sometimes cultural things can lead to certain extremes, but for real people it’s often a case of a violent personality type twisting their beliefs around their evil desires to justify it.      

4)No matter what people tell you: Tropes are not bad and in the hands of a skilled writer about anything can be done well. Some of the most beloved media is often built on the back of a well-used cliche.

That’s it, that’s literally the backbone of writing good characters that don’t come off as cardboard cut-outs or paper-thin stereotypes. 

September 17 2017


Q&A: Write It


I’ve been a fan of this page for a long time, and this isn’t a combat question, but it is a writing question. I’ve had a horrible plot and character idea since I was eleven, a twist on religion and the multiverse. I do not want to write that idea, it’s confusing to myself even. Whenever I try and write something else, I suffer from writers block and can only think of that world. Is there an escape from this damnation?

Write it.

The answer to any idea that won’t leave you alone is to write it. You’re not eleven years old anymore, there are things you can do with this setting and this story that you couldn’t then. It’s hanging on because it wants to be told. You can lock it up in a deep dark place when you’re done and never show it to anyone. There’s writing Starke and I will never show or share with anyone.

Just do yourself a favor, escape from purgatory.

Let it out.

It doesn’t have to be in total, just in pieces. You can try letting it free then working on something else at the same time. Much as your conscious mind insists it’s a terrible idea, there is a part of you that is desperate for this story to get out. So, listen to this part of you.

Give it life.

You will not be judged by every horrible idea you begin with, and honestly many, many ideas are terrible in the beginning.  If we don’t let ourselves be awful we never give ourselves the chance to become great.

Writing is a process, like with everything. We never have all the answers in the beginning, just an idea. A spark that lives in the quiet corner of our minds. Most of us will never have an idea that emerges whole. When I get far enough in a story, (usually around 20,000 words) I need to step back and do research as a breather. I did through research materials and get a sense for where I want the world to be like. This is the part for me where the most interesting ideas happen, the story changes and a new plot emerges. Give your creative mind time to get there. What you imagine and what makes it onto the page will be different, and it will be further refined as time goes on.

This is also the part where I tell you that every single horrible thought and plot you think up has the potential to become your best writing. The bad ideas are the ones that initially sound good, then disappear on the evening tide. The really good ones? They’re the ideas that stick with you. They come back, time and again. There’s something in them which attracts your mind, a nugget of creative brilliance or some exploration you haven’t realized you need yet.

One of the most important truths as a writer is learning to listen to yourself. Beneath all the noise of the outside world, society, and our thoughts, there’s another voice in there.

Creativity lives in what interests and excites us, often in what seems terrible but we just can’t let it go. It isn’t in the politically correct, or the should be’s, or the best ideas. Sometimes, it’s silly, and confusing, and disconcerting, and you don’t know what to do.

Let the eleven year old you come out to play.  Give them the gift they weren’t able or ready to give themselves. If you can come up with no other reason to write this story then do it for them.

Tell them their story.

We find peace when we remember to love ourselves, when we love the shades of who we were. Those people in our past, who we’ve outgrown but never left behind. Writing is, in many ways, an expression of the dreams we never lost. Some stories stick around until we find the words to express them, when we’re ready to tell them. In that moment, they become more insistent. When they do, they’re telling you that you’re ready. There are doors in all our hearts which take us back in time to the dreams we had when we were young. The voice of our inner child is the source of creativity, its where our magic and wonder exists. Writing is just an extension of playing make believe. Canonized and uplifted, maybe, but that’s what it is. Listen to the parts of you that remembers joy without judgement or criticism. All ideas are horrible in initial concept. In the end, we all write about what we want rather than what’s right. Self-acceptance is, perhaps, the most important part of any creative pursuit. Creative catharsis as it were.

We cannot write for any audience other than ourselves until we learn to write selfishly. This means engaging with the silly ideas, the terrible ideas, the horrible ideas, the destructive ideas, the frustrating ideas, the cliche ideas, and all the others when they decide to stick around. It’s not just okay to be selfish, it’s necessary. The creative must believe in themselves, and realize that sometimes we don’t get to decide which stories we tell. Sometimes, we tell them because want to. Sometimes because we need to. Listen to your inner world. When the same idea returns time and again, brought to the beach that is your conscious mind, accept it for what it is. Don’t fight the tide.

You may find, when you finally do tell this story, you’ll be greeted not by a stranger but an old friend who wondered why you were gone so long.


This blog is supported through Patreon. If you enjoy our content, please consider becoming a Patron. Every contribution helps keep us online, and writing. If you already are a Patron, thank you.

Q&A: Write It was originally published on How to Fight Write.

September 15 2017


Looking Around: Some Common House Terms


Hello Friends! Today, we’re going to look at some common house terms, specifically related to roofs, dormers, porches, (and a couple diversions, of course). These terms will give you a foundation for how to talk about everyday houses, and give you an idea of how to classify houses by their basic shapes. 


Even a very simple house like the one above can provide us ample opportunity to practice our terminology. This house has elements borrowed from “higher” styles, such as the decorative brackets commonly found in the Craftsman style, but ultimately it’s as common as a common house can get. Still, it gives us an opportunity to relearn terms we might have forgotten, like the different parts of a window

The easiest starting point for talking about houses is the roof, as roofs are a great way to group similar types of houses without relying on style. 


Common Roof Shapes:


Sometimes roof terminology can get tricky. For example, the gambrel roof is a shape of roof, but there can be front-facing and side-facing gambrels (the example above is side-facing.) Center-gabled roofs are often confused for cross-gabled roofs. 

Uncommon Roof Shapes:


Shed roofs, while very common on dormers, porches, and additions, didn’t really come into vogue as a distinct roof shape like the example above until the 1960s. Hipped with Cross-Gable roofs are found usually on large Queen Anne-styled houses, though there are some exceptions (they are, of course, the prototypical nub). Mansard style roofs look different on rowhouses than they do detached houses, and in later houses look almost gambrel-like, such as the example above. 

Sometimes it’s difficult to tell what’s going on with a roof, like in the example below: 


In this example, while the gable is centered, it’s technically a cross gable because it is attached to a projecting mass from the main body - the two masses “cross” in a T-shape, making it a cross-gable. Were the entire front facade one mass instead of two, with the gable flush rather than attached to a projecting mass, it would be a center-gabled house instead. 

Eaves and other Decorations


Some of these are terms you can use to impress your friends (I know I definitely get some looks when I throw down the word ‘fascia’ at parties), but the key terms to remember here are rake and eave. The rake is the part of the roof that overhangs the gabled end, whereas the eave is the part of the roof that overhangs the side walls. 


The cornice is commonly referred to as the “trim”. The frieze is kind of like a baseboard but for the roof, and, like the cornice, is omitted on some more plain houses. 


When the eaves have a closed soffit (some eaves have open soffits, like on craftsman houses), they are called “boxed” or “closed” eaves. On newer houses, gutters often cover the fascia. 


On some common houses, some roofs are more ornamental, for example, on even the plainest of Craftsman bungalows, there are a lot of interesting details: 



The names of dormers follow the shape of their respective roofs. A dormer with a gabled roof is a gabled dormer, for example. Some dormers earn their names for other reasons, however, hence this handy guide:


A few subtypes of common houses are recognizable by their dormers, such as the adorable twin gabled dormers of so-called “Cape Cod”:


However, it is important to note that the Cape Cod isn’t it’s own style, but rather a specific layout common to Minimal Traditional houses. Houses with gambrel or mansard roofs and split-level colonials (such as the example used for the “wall dormer” above) usually have embedded wall dormers above or through the cornice line. 

Some houses are notable for their lack of dormers. The rooflines of ranch houses, for example, are too low-pitched for any significant second story space - ranch houses, rendering dormers pointless:



Ahh yes, time for @porchrates favorite part of the post. Porches are commonly described by their height and how much of the house they take up:


A portico is another name for a covered entry porch. The gabled part of a portico is called a pediment, because on many classically styled houses (e.g. Greek Revival or Neoclassical), they borrow the proportions and pared-down details of the pediments found in usually Greek (but sometimes Roman) temple architecture.

A wrap porch (a porch that extends around to at least one adjacent side of the house) is often called a veranda, though this usually refers to porches that wrap around at least three sides of the house, such as the porches commonly found on Southern Colonial plantation homes and large, rambling Queen Anne houses. A porch that covers the full facade is called a full-facade porch. 

Full-facade porches are in some way integrated into the roofline (they may be interrupted by dormer(s), like in the example above). If there is a gap between the top of the porch and the eaves of the roof, the porch is sometimes referred to as a full-width porch rather than a full-facade porch. 


One last thing about porches: houses with very shallow porches (less than 4 feet) have either had the porch put on as an addition, or, more likely, the porch is decorative - a clear sign of a house built in the last 30 years. 


(Insert Joke™ about something something new houses something something shallow)

Anyways, folks, that does it for Round One of Common House Terms! Stay tuned for a special Labor Day week of McMansion Hell, with a New Hampshire McMansion tomorrow, a New Jersey (!!!) McMansion on Tuesday, and the next installment of Common House Terms: Materials and Windows on Saturday!!


Are YOU in the Baltimore metro area?? Do you want to witness me give a live diss on McMansions and talk about my rad as hell politics in one of the 3 coffee shops I write this blog in? Well you’re in luck because Thursday, September 7th, I’ll be doing a McMansion Hell LIVE event at Red Emma’s Bookstore & Coffeehouse. More info here, if you’re up to it.

If you like this post, and want to see more like it, consider supporting me on Patreon!  Also JUST A HEADS UP - I’ve started posting a GOOD HOUSE built since 1980 from the area where I picked this week’s McMansion as bonus content on Patreon!

Not into small donations and sick bonus content? Check out the McMansion Hell Store- 100% goes to charity.

Copyright Disclaimer: All photographs are used in this post under fair use for the purposes of education, satire, and parody, consistent with 17 USC §107. Manipulated photos are considered derivative work and are Copyright © 2017 McMansion Hell. Please email kate@mcmansionhell.com before using these images on another site. (am v chill about this)

September 14 2017


Q&A: Bar Fights


Any recommendations for a bar fight in a sword & sorcery setting?

The basic question at the heart of any and every bar fight is: who are my characters and what are they like when they’re drunk?

That’s going to tell you a lot about where and how the fight will go. This leads to other important questions: How much do you know about being drunk? Have you ever been drunk? How much time have you actually spent around other people when they’re drunk and you’re sober? How much time have you spent around other drunken people while drunk?

If the answer is little to not at all, this is going to be a challenge. The key to writing good bar fights is understanding how humans work while under the influence, and the cascade effect of multiple drunken individuals interacting with each other.

Alcohol exacerbates factors already present in our personalities, it removes inhibitions. What those inhibitions are depends on the person. Depending who your character is when they’re drunk (and whether they drink at all), you’ve got a range of options for how the bar fight begins. (This is all before we get to the drinking traditions of different cultures. From the Irish, to the Scottish, to the British, to the Germans, to the Japanese, everyone’s got a specific use for alcohol. Also, regiment rivalries like Army versus Marines. In the hazy land of alcohol, tribalism reigns free.) Nailing down your character’s drunken personalities is important to writing a successful bar fight. Without that individualism and understanding, it won’t feel natural.  Depending on the genres you’re used to looking at or have been reading, your exposure to natural drunken reactions may not be great. We can say words like ‘compromised’ and ‘impaired’, but unless you know the behavior that translates into it’ll be a rough hike. The major issue most writers face when coming to bar fights is they become so focused on forcing the fight to happen that they forget the drunks. The assumption is that it’s irrational, the other person is just a jerk, or it can somehow be written off in the aftermath.

Keep this in mind: your bar fight isn’t just an isolated fight scene, it’s part of your story.

Every bar fight begins with some inciting incident. The behavior and course of action of the participants seems entirely rational to the person who is drunk. It may seem irrational on the surface, but assuming that will doom the scene. Everything a drunken person does is incredibly logical in the moment, it’s just that their decision making and grasp of context is compromised. They no longer understand consequences. So, the part of your brain that goes, “no, that’s a bad idea” doesn’t kick in. Your id does what it wants, when it wants, however it wants. This doesn’t mean those desires, ideas, or decisions will work out. It just means you’ll do it.

This is where that interplay between alcohol and violence begins. The brain is not processing anything beyond, “I want to punch that dude.” Or, “I hate you! I’m gonna hit you with my stiletto heel.” It may not even begin somewhere negative. They could just like hitting people or violence is an expression of how much they’re enjoying themselves. They could also be trying to stop the fight, like every single cowboy who fires his revolver into the ceiling of a bar because loud noise = everyone stops. However, no thought is given to the people upstairs. We’re acting on impulse, there’s no comprehension of what comes after or what the results will be. The choices can be anywhere between intentionally aggressive or genuinely well-intentioned. Regardless of the outcome, the inciting incident that kicks off violence between two drunken people is based in something real. It is not generic. It is character specific.

Remember, these characters are not out of control. They are not irrational. They are making choices. Dumb choices, more often than not, but they’re still choices. It was logical when it happened, it’s just a stupid decision. Painting in vague swaths will ultimately handicap you, your humor, and your drama.

If you ever want an answer to who your character is when drunk, the simplest question is: what would they do if they thought were no consequences for their actions?

That’s who they are.

A mean drunk can be the seemingly nicest person, who is essentially forcing themselves to be nice all the time. When they’re drunk, all that antagonism they keep buried comes out.

A flirty drunk might be someone who feels emotionally or sexually repressed, who isn’t brave enough to express themselves or feels it isn’t a good idea to act on their impulses.

A fighting drunk might be someone who is angry, someone who likes to fight, someone who enjoys the feeling of being powerful/invincible (they’re not),  someone who is looking for an excuse to explode because they feel out of control in their own life. It can honestly go any direction.

A drunk isn’t going to always be the same kind of drunk. The mean drunk can be flirty or transition into a fighter. The destructive drunk can also be flirty, out to sabotage a relationship they feel uncomfortable about. There’s a spectrum of drunken behavior that changes based on the amount ingested, which is why it’s a bad idea to ascribe morals to who they are when impaired.

What’s important to remember is the underlying cause for their behavior, something pushing them to behave the way they do. It can be personality based or situational, or both. In a fictional context, bar fights are about showing us who characters are. Their flaws, their failings, and where the short end of their temper is. Knowing who someone is while under the influence is often eye opening.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking you see the real person when they’re drunk. Think of it as their most impulsive self, if that helps. This is only who they are when their brain has been poisoned to the point where their common sense stops functioning. They’re not firing on all cylinders. The real person is somewhere between who they pretend to be and who they are when they don’t give a shit about aftermath. The person they are when they’re drinking can run the gamut. They could end up in the corner catatonic, hitting on their crush (single, married, or otherwise engaged), cracking people’s skulls open with their axe, or serenading the watch barracks as a three am wake up call. They could fall into the river and drown.

What’s powerful about alcohol in fiction is a character’s personal issues are often laid bare. This is central to your characters when drunk. Good bar fights incorporate the characters, and are driven by their actions. They are driven by the choices of those in the scene.

Bad bar fights are when an author tries to create a bar fight wholesale with no attention to, well, the people in the fight. They work from the outside in, rather than the inside out. It’s usually, “Character X comes under threat from Drunken Asshole Y, and then they prove they’re a badass.” This route can work, but it’s boring. It’s even more boring if there are no consequences or chaos that results. Bar fights do not happen in isolation, but in crowded spaces. Someone will jump in. Being drunk is not a justification. It’s removal of inhibition. No fight is ever a get out of jail free card. Everybody has to own up to whatever it is they do while under the influence, whether that’s cheating, stealing, arson, or murder.

The good news is bar fights are mostly the same… anywhere. All you’ve got to do is take into account what the place looks like and what kind of weaponry everyone has access to.  Then, remember it doesn’t matter how good at fighting your character is, because the chaos of a bar fight spreads. Rapidly. Also, nobody fights at peak proficiency when they’re drunk.

When a bunch of drunken people throw down, they’re just going to cause even more drunken people to join in. Someone is going to stumble into someone else, get thrown across a table and end up slammed on the floor in a rain of glass. The people at the table might take some issue with that, especially if they’re the fighting kind, testy, and prone to violence while on the sauce.

Basically, your characters are going to want to get out of dodge before the drunk mage in the left corner decides he’s going to set the whole place on fire because a barbarian just sent his buddy out the window. It was an accident. He really was swinging for the guy on the right, honest. That won’t matter though, and alcohol doesn’t mix well with fire and wood.  Light a match and… boom.

Basically, a fictional bar fight is like a trail of cascading dominoes. One piece hits another piece, which hits another, and another after that. That’s where the most entertaining ones are, it’s just mass chaos. It might start with fists, it might start with weapons, but it will move from one to the other. You can bet some ale or grog is going to go in someone’s eyes followed closely by the mug. Alcohol and weapons don’t mix, and if you’re drunk enough everything becomes a weapon.

Bottles. Mugs. Tables. Chairs. Plates. Paintings. A rack of deer antlers. Stuffed badgers. Whatever you can get your hands on, really.

One guy grabs another, lifts him and just runs him up the bar face first through all the drinks, bottles, glasses, and food. Only for the first guy who grabbed the guy to get grabbed by another guy and have his face plowed straight into the bar.

So, what does it look like?

Mass chaos. Everybody fights everybody else. Someone will inevitably be scrabbling under the tables trying avoid getting skewered. Someone will pull a knife, another guy’ll pull a sword, and the last guy grabs a spoon… then realizes and runs. Someone’s going to be grabbing up all mugs and beer, drinking as fast as they can because hey, free beer! The two guys who started it all might just end up deciding they hate that other guy over there more and team up. The maid and the bartender are either hiding behind the bar or they’re in the thick of it. You better believe someone’s robbing the till. There are a couple of lovebirds macking through the whole thing, though the partners may switch. And then, there’s that one guy snoozing. He doesn’t wake up.

They’ll fight until either A) the guards come and roust them, or B) there are no guards to break it up, so they’ll fight until they run out of steam. Basically, it’s a riot.

You can get some amazing drama out of these bar fights, but the best thing to do is initially play it for laughs. Consequences are for tomorrow. However, remember those consequences on the morrow. Nothing happens in isolation, and no one is ever going to be quite drunk enough to forget everything. A bar fight is an inciter for drama, it is not a get out of jail free card. Every tension that caused the fight to happen in the first place will still be there when your characters wake up, and they’re going to have to own up to whatever it was they did.

Western bar fights are the best because the fight inevitably leads to someone getting shot, dying, and then somebody swearing revenge. Or, you know, several people get shot and everybody swears revenge. Then, they all go out to shoot each other while sober. (At least one character will still be drunk.)

Sword & Sorcery rides extremely close to the Western, so it’s worth keeping those genre tropes in mind. After all, Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian is a major influence here, and Howard grew up in Texas boon towns during the early 20th century. He observed the real thing, and that made it into his work. Sword & Sorcery bar fights are Western bar fights, which means someone’s going to get murdered on accident and that’ll be the inciting incident for your characters into either a major or minor whirlwind of drama. If they’re involved, they’ll probably have to leave town.

Now, writing drunk people takes practice and, to get it right, personal experience helps. My suggestion is to get drunk with your friends and study them. Go to bars with friends, be the designated driver and take the opportunity to people watch. If you are of age and struggle with writing drunken characters then there is also the method actor approach. Get yourself tipsy during the first draft. Notice I said tipsy, not drunk. (This works well when writing sex too, if you’re shy like me)  However, if you are a minor, under twenty one, or an alcoholic this isn’t an option. Turn then to fiction, and all the writers who write drunkards really goddamn well. If that’s just watching Pirates of the Caribbean of The Hangover twenty more times, then so be it. My suggestion is watch lots of Westerns and movies where soldiers go to the bar. Western bar fights are so iconic they’re genre cliches. They’re also mass chaos, utterly hilarious, and more than a little horrifying. That said, I don’t care if your choice is Top Gun or The Pacific or both, you need a sense for what the trigger happy look like when drunk. What the depressed and miserable look like when they’re drunk. All the different kinds of raging assholes, because there are so many possibilities.

Try to remember that drinking is a social exercise. The goal is really for everyone to get drunk together. Keep in mind too that when you’re drunk, nothing ever quite goes to plan. Someone might try to pull their sword, only to have it get stuck halfway in their scabbard. Try to fire their bow without their bowstring… or arrows. Climb on tables. Seduce the millers daughter by falling into the rose bushes. Whatever. They thought it was a good idea at the time.

No matter where they are or what genre they’re in, humans are going to be mostly the same under the influence. All that really changes are the tools they have access to. Once you figure out the motivations, the second half gets a lot easier. You can just apply what you know of the behavior to new situations as they are re-imagined.

If you know how people behave when they’re drunk and can figure out the catalysts then you can write them in any situation. It doesn’t matter if it’s the 21st century, the 20th century, on the moon, or in High Fantasy.

People are people.

If it helps, I’ll tell you who I am when drunk. I am a multi-stage person who changes based on the amount of alcohol consumed. (This is most people, everyone’s got stages between tipsy, drunk, really drunk, and goodbye world. The amount of time it takes between those stages is your tolerance level.) I rotate between being a touchy, flirty drunk who needs to hug everyone, a sad drunk who cries into my cheerios, a manipulative drunk who will use my crying to get people to feel bad for me, and a sleepy drunk who conks out on the couch. It can literally be all four, just one, or skipping straight to the last stage.

I can tell you that based on the one time I was really drunk, but not blackout. I don’t drink much, so believe me when I say that one time in the safety of your own home is all you need. (If you can’t due to circumstances or just don’t want to ever for any reason, then watch videos of drunk people on YouTube. They post them.)


This blog is supported through Patreon. If you enjoy our content, please consider becoming a Patron. Every contribution helps keep us online, and writing. If you already are a Patron, thank you.

Q&A: Bar Fights was originally published on How to Fight Write.

September 13 2017


A brief and ugly summary of surviving cold climates


















For visitors and writers alike.

  1. You were never meant to be here. Never forget this. You are an ape of the equator, built to run the savannah and swim in tropical waters. Whatever terms and conditions your body has, they are void here. Mother nature never certified to function in a Death World.
  2. Enduring the cold is never a matter of “how much” as much at it is “how long”. Think of it as the water levels of the vieogames you have played. No matter what equipment enables you to remain longer, you can’t stay there indefinitely. The coat that keeps you warm and toasty for three hours in -15 is enough to keep you functional for an hour of -40.
  3. Whatever the locals say, listen to them. Err to the side of caution if you must. You may not endure what they can endure, but you SURE AS FUCKING NOT cannot survive what they say cannot be endured.
  4. That being said, alcohol is a filthy fucking liar and so is anyone who offers it to you. The warmth it gives is an illusion, and a sign of damage. You are worse off feeling comfortable with a mouthful of whiskey as you are freezing your gonads off stone cold sober.
  5. Winter tires. Studded winter tiers are a MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH when you drive on a frozen road. That being said, whatever the locals tell you that your car will need to run as theirs do, take it. Taking the risk of being pranked is worth survival, and you can always stab their tires in the spring if they were shitting you.
  6. Eat. For the love of god, make sure that you eat. Heavier meals might be unpalatable at first for someone used to lighter nutrition, but maintaining bodily warmth in a cold climate takes up a lot of energy, and you will feel tired and drowsy for a long while shile your metabolism adjusts to producing more heat than Mother Nature ever intended. The skinny people in your party are especially vulnerable, ensure their well-being on a regular basis.
  7. If you have a smartphone/other essential technology on your body, keep them close to your body to keep them warm. They were not designed to be frozen any more than you were.
  8. Sleep is death. SLEEP IS DEATH. Never, ever stop to rest in the cold, if you do not have the means to make a fire/otherwise produce heat. The cold tires you out because keeping warm takes energy, but taking a rest will not return your energy. If you feel the need to sit down and rest because you are tired because of the cold, call for help. This is not a hyperbole, if you feel like you are too tired to go on in a cold climate, CALL A FUCKING AMBULANCE. If you fall asleep in the snow, you will not wake up. Hypothermia can and will literally kill you.
  9. Avoid skin-to-snow-contact if you can. It hurts because you were not supposed to do it. Consider ice to be like acid. Touching is bad for you.

Feel free to add to the list if you feel like I missed something.

Some things to add from a native northerner moved south who’s surrounded by people who know fuck-all about harsh winter weather:

  1. If you are expecting severe weather that might take out your electricity, and you can afford a generator, GET ONE. They aren’t terribly cheap but you can find one in the $400-500 range at Home Depot or any other store like it really.
  2. Gas up your car. Seriously. If your power goes out and you need to move because your current residence is in the sub-fucking-zeros you need to have fuel to get where your going. Not only that but even IF you don’t have anywhere to go, sitting in a car with the heat running is much better than freezing your ass to death in your house. 
  3. Stock up on water bottles and canned goods. You will need both if you get snowed in. Eating is absolutely essential to staying alive, because as OP stated, keeping warm burns a LOT of calories.
  4. If you have time before the storm hits, buy some good, thick blankets. Wool or fleece are your two best bets. Hell, if you can’t find a good place to get blankets, go to Walmart and buy straight up fabric. The more, the better. 
  5. If you have a pet reptile, and the power goes out and the temperature inside your house is very cold, don’t feed them, and don’t leave them in their tank. Take them out, put them on your chest, and wrap yourself in a blanket with them. The best way at this point to keep them alive will be to share the body heat you have. 
  6. Bring your pets inside. Yes, I’m looking at you, Nancy with the “outdoor cat”. Their cute little toe beans will freeze the fuck off and they’ll die of hypothermia. I don’t care if your 300 pound Tibetan Mastiff isn’t housebroken, unless you wanna explain to your 2-year old why Captain Fluffball is frozen to your front porch, bring him in.
  7. If you have a fireplace, utilize it, but don’t set a fire inside your house that you can’t control. And don’t use fucking gasoline. That’s how you blow shit up. 
  8. If you’re stuck out in the cold and you start to feel tired and strangely warm, you have hypothermia. Get the fuck to a place with actual warmth. Leave your clothes on. The cold is lying to you. You’re not hot, you’re slowly freezing to death. If you can, call a fucking ambulance. 
  9. Remember that extremities freeze first. That means your toes, your nose, and your fingers. Layer the fuck UP. If I have to go out in the snow, I usually wear a pair of knit/fleece gloves under a pair of snow gloves. And then I duct-tape that shit to the sleeves of my coat. It looks silly but it keeps moisture from getting stuck in there and freezing my hands off. For shoes, wear boots and like, 3 pairs of socks. The warmer and fuzzier, the better. Your feet will thank you. If you have a ski mask, use it. If not, wear a scarf and wrap that shit as tight around your face as you can.
  10. On the topic of moisture, if any part of you gets wet while you’re outside, locate the nearest warm place you can go to and take the wet garment off and dry that shit. I don’t care if it’s your socks, your shirt, or your undies. Get em off and get em dry. Wet clothes are a fast way to get yourself frozen to death.
  11. If you absolutely need to do shit outside, velcro or duct tape your gloves and boots to your sleeves and pants. I know it will limit your movements a bit. I know that it will look stupid. I know it will be hard to get off. But duct tape doesn’t let SHIT through it. And as I’ve mentioned before, you don’t want ANYTHING you’re wearing to get wet. 
  12. If you do have a portable heater or fire or heat in your home or whatever, have a fan blowing too. It will spread the warm air around faster. It might not feel warm at first, but it’s circulating the air. It will heat up eventually.
  13. If you’re with other people, huddle up with them. Share your body warmth. Have a nice cuddle session with your friends/family/neighbors. It might just save you.
  14. IF A CHILD IS IN THE SNOW, THEY WILL FREEZE A WHOLE FUCKIN LOT FASTER THAN YOU WILL. This doesn’t mean be chivalrous and give them your coat. It means you pick their tiny ass up and shove them IN your coat or hold them as close as you can while you try to get to a warmer area. The smaller they are, the faster they freeze. Time is absolutely critical. And if your kid is out in the snow, you need to be out there with them and keep your eyes on them at all times. 
  15. Finally, invest in a blow dryer. If your hair gets wet and you gotta go back out in the cold, you’re going to be miserable as fuck. Blow dry your hair so it can be nice, warm, and voluminous when you go back out to punch Jack Frost in the face.

(I’ve been reading so many posts about earth being Space Australia the Death World that I didn’t even notice there weren’t aliens in this one until my third read-through, so I’m counting it for the blog theme.)

A few further points from me, having grown up in Canada’s coldest major city: 

  1. The wind can be even more dangerous than the cold, and if your skin is exposed to it, it can freeze and even necrotise. Frostbite is a serious medical problem. So bundle up; wear a touque, wear your hood up, wear a balaclava or hike your scarf up over your nose because you could lose it otherwise. If the wind gets in your face, walk backwards. That’s not a prank; walk backwards. 
  2. If it’s really cold, your gloves aren’t going to do shit; you’ll want mittens and handwarmers. It’s not convenient but at least you won’t be dropping fingercicles on the frozen pavement.
  3. There is no such thing as winter chic. Not in a place with a real winter. You’re going to look like a bundle of cloth if you dress properly anyways, so there’s no sense in trying to be stylish about it. There is no fashionable/unfashionable, there’s only practical/impractical
  4. Get a block heater for your car; if you come from a cold place, it’s probably standard equipment.

If you fall through ice into frozen water and can’t climb out, allow yourself to freeze to the ice - someone might see you and save you, even if you pass out.

Snow is a great insulator and if you need to, you can build shelter out of it. A quinzee is fastest. It can keep you alive if you are lost.


In a blizzard, do not travel. I know you’d rather be home than stuck at work overnight. But low visibility in a blizzard is not the same as low visibility in fog. You can get easily twisted around in areas that you know like the back of your hand, and no one will be able to see you to help you if you need it. Do not travel in blizzards.

Related to this: the normal rules do not apply in the cold. You can knock on a stranger’s door for help; you can take strangers in to warm up. You can approach a stranger in the cold and offer them rides if they look like they need help. Children should know that if forced to choose “talking to strangers to ask for help” and “freezing to death,” they are to choose “talking to strangers.”

If you ARE too warm in your many layers, but it is still deathly cold out, DO NOT unzip your coat. Lowering the temperature of your core is dangerous. You can easily cool down by removing a mitt or glove. You can lose fingers and toes if your extremities aren’t protected, but if your core gets too cold you can die.

Do not go ANYWHERE without appropriate winter gear, even if you think it’ll only be a quick jaunt from here to there. You never know when your car will break down or get stuck. You need that coat.

Don’t leave either your children or your pets in your car while you go into a store, or my god what is WRONG with you?

Everyone who has grown up in a cold climate knows what it feels like to be so cold you can’t bend your fingers or feel your face, knows what it’s like to be so cold that touching anything warm burns, to be so cold it takes hours to warm up, to be genuinely worried that they’ll lose their fingers or toes.
No one will judge you for being so cold you start crying only to have your eyelashes freeze together. We’ve all been there. We will help.

Fun fact - after moving to a much colder area I’ve gained 6 kilos. Skinny people can and will store additional fat - it’s to help them survive after changing climate zones. If you are moving to another climate area (namely, colder climate area), invest in a better wardrobe. Boots with thick sole. In Russia we have valenki and we wear woolen socks underneath

Wool is your friend. The fluffier the better. The more fluff the better insulation. Skiing clothes are also a good help, especially coupled with other layers and wool. And, oh! If you can, get one of those: 

Woolen shawls like these ones are usually handmade, so as to preserve the fluff, and they are wonderful for heat insulation. You can use one for yourself, you can bundle up your kid, and it’s gonna be warm and snug. Like, I wore one when we hit a -30C streak a while ago, and it was nice. 

GUARD YOUR HIPS! I mean, it’s pretty easy to bundle up your torso, but your hips and thighs and knees… Yep. Not so much. If you have some woolen kneewarmers for arthritis, or you can procure some for yourself - do it. 

Okay wear does one acquire such a shawl because I a) need that for aesthetic reasons and b) it’s so fucken cold in my house help

(Google tells me that this is an Orenburg Shawl)

The reason wool is great is because it stays warm when wet, polar fleece does too but never seems as toasty.

If you allergic to wool and can afford it get silk long underwear and sock/glove liners and wear them under woolens. If you can’t afford it try to find a cheaper alternative. Also figure out which kind of wool you are least reactive to because even with a base layer you are going to get itchy.

Back to pets: if you have fish and the power goes out cover the tank with space and wool blankets right away. Every once in a while check the temp, if it is falling below ideal scoop out some of the water and warm it over a camp stove, not too hot, then gently pour the water back in. This will also help aerate the tank a little. plus it gives you something to do if you’re bored.

Also, if you know the powers is likely to go out you should fill the tub/buckets with as much water as you can. You can boil it for warm drinks and bucket flush the toilet, which you’re going to want.

Edited to add: this is no joke. My cousin’s friend fell asleep in his car a couple winters back and froze to death. It happens. Be safe.

I have had several friends move to Canada and not realize that you can lose fingers.
Also, if it doesn’t look like you gained 30 pounds its not a winter coat.

Canadian here: A good winter coat isn’t necessarily “you gained 30 lbs” unless you’re north of the tree line, but that’s a good guideline. Personally I swear by military-issue wool trenchcoats as a nice combination of thin, flexible, full-coverage, water-tolerant (and mildly resistant), warm, and usable in the summer - but keep in mind that we bottom out at -20 here in a typical winter. (Our big problem is that it’s wet and windy.)

A few tiny details I can add:

  • When shopping for a coat, check the fastenings (zipper, buttonholes, etc) for a cover flap that can be anchored in place (on a zipper, generally by velcroing to the other side of the zipper; on my trenchcoat it’s sewn over the buttons). Even if it looks like a good coat otherwise, this is a dealbreaker - without it, the wind will stab you directly in the chest with a thousand needles at the slightest provocation.
  • That thing above about the blow drier? Downplays how miserable wet hair is. It will freeze. Into icicles. Directly on your neck/face. And insult to injury, you will lose hair if and when you break one.
  • Get a backup battery for your phone. When traveling, keep it in a pocket against your body. Your phone is your only lifeline in an emergency, when you need help you will need it now, and cold eats batteries for breakfast. Having a warm battery can make the difference.
  • Do not drive faster than the locals, unless you have no particular will to live. Ever. Of particular note, 4WD/AWD doesn’t make a single fucking bit of difference on ice. Every year in my area a couple people get killed because they forgot that.
  • On a related note: If you have to drive in the snow, your instinct will be to follow the tracks of the last guy. This is generally good advice - in most snow conditions it will improve traction - but be careful. There have been a few times I almost followed someone’s tracks right into their accident.
  • Layer with different materials. Wool is a great insulator, but knit wool in particular is extremely porous; you want something tighter either below or above it.
  • Do not cross running water without a bridge, or still water without an experienced guide or a clear manmade trail. (Do not drive across a body of water period. This is an advanced skill, and failing will kill you. You are not a local.)  You’d think this would be obvious, but every year when I lived in Truro at least one person would get to watch their car floating away on an ice floe - if they were lucky.

The Norwegian Mountain Code is a short list of basic rules to follow when TRAVELLING IN HARSH, COLD TERRAIN. 

If you need to take a rest while out and there is deep snow, MAKE A SNOW CAVE. Snow is airy. It will insulate. Make sure the entry is BELOW THE SPACE WHERE YOU WILL REST as warm air travels upwards. The smaller the cave, the less air for you to lose body heat to. MARK THE CAVE with skis, branches, anything tall. Call for help. It helps to know where you are - a GPS is useful, your phone will do. 

BRING THE SHOVEL INSIDE. You might need to re-open the entrance if it’s windy. You can always use your skis to dig a cave if needed be.

You can make a sitting/laying place inside the snow cave from twigs or branches to avoid contact with the snow. 

When dressing, ALWAYS layer:

  • innermost layer is wool. Always.
  • outermost layer waterproof. Windproof inside of that one. 
  • remember that clothes will not keep you warm. AIR KEEPS YOU WARM. Make sure your layers are not too tight - you want your clothes to TRAP AIR between you and the environment to minimise heat loss.

Re-emphasizing the ‘Cold Sucks The Life Out of your Battery’ - I don’t know how many times my car battery died due to the bitter cold. Like, it just went ‘nope, too cold’ and refused to start my car. 

My friend has to go take pictures for work, even in the winter - She makes sure to have her phone plugged into an external battery tucked inside her bra, cord strung through her coat sleeve, because her phone battery alone goes from ‘100%’ charged to ‘10% charged, plug in!’ with zero apps running, in less than a half hour. I have watched it happen. Warmth saves your batteries. cold kills it.

ALSO: WOOL, NOT COTTON! Wool wicks water away from your skin, and stays warm even when wet. Cotton will hold that soggy foot sweat right to your skin, and suck all your heat away. Tends to give you boot blisters faster, too. That cotton T-shirt getting sweaty is going to drop your core heat fast af if you open your coat. 

Water resistant boots. With actual traction. Cute booties with smooth soles are to be worn inside only. If you plan to be outside a while, those boots with the rubber lower part and the removable felt inserts are what you want. The insert can be dried (fully dried, not meh kinda dry) in front of the fridge or over an air vent.

If you’re driving/in public transit and walking and otherwise in an urban area, you still want to winterize your boots. Rub some good quality dubbin on them if they are leather. Check if you can get some with wool already sewn in, preferably not just at the cuff as decoration. 

Good warm brands : 



Cover your ears. Ears have bad thermal retention. 

Also, on the car: if you are running your car to stay warm, make sure that the exhaust pipe is clear. If it gets blocked by snow, you are going to have a bad day. 

Reblogging this again to bring a point home.

We live in an area with mildly nasty winters, as noted above - the temperature bottoms out at around -20 C, but we get severe wind, and the average humidity is 75%. We need to know how to survive, but it isn’t anywhere near as nasty as some of the places people talk about above.

Here’s how we dress to go shovel the driveway, knowing for a fact that we have a safe warm place with hot chocolate and blankets and a dryer literally within 30 meters at all times.



This last picture looks basically like me between the months of November and April, because guess what that’s how you have to dress to not die when it hits -20F. 

September 11 2017

3164 cf1b




Feel like getting creative and making your own Coat of Arms? Here’s a beginners guide of understanding them to help you create your own.


September 10 2017

1897 5926


i was looking up historically accurate clothing as a bit of art inspiration and found the online museum of saudi arabian costume

there’s a bunch more gems just like these and they’re all so beautiful and unique.  there’s also great information about the clothing, too, such as how they were made, who wore them, what fabrics were used, what the different parts of the costumes were called, etc.  just a really fun and informative site and i thought i would share my find.

September 09 2017




If you’re straight, write stories with gay characters, but don’t write stories about being gay. That’s not your story to tell.

If you’re cis, write stories with trans characters, but don’t white stories about being trans. That’s not your story to tell.

If you’re allistic, write stories with autistic characters, but don’t write stories about being autistic. That’s not your story to tell.

If you’re neurotipical, write mentally ill characters, but don’t write stories about being mentally ill. That’s not your story to tell. 

If you’re able bodied, write stories with disabled characters, but don’t write stories about being disabled. That’s not your story to tell. 

If you’re white, write characters who are POC, but don’t write stories about being a POC. That’s not your story to tell 

Write stories with diverse and complex characters, but unless you’ve experienced the oppression that we have, don’t write the stories that we need to tell ourselves. 

Finally something that explains it!!

September 08 2017


All About Writing Fight Scenes



@galaxies-are-my-ink asked,

“Do you have any advice on writing fight scenes? The type of scene I’m writing is mostly hand to hand combat between two experts. I’m definitely not an expert so when I try to write it, the scene ends up sounding repetitive and dull.”

Fore note: This post is coauthored by myself and one of my amazing critique partners, Barik S. Smith, who both writes fantastic fight scenes and teaches mixed martial arts, various artistic martial arts, and weapons classes.

I (Bryn) will tell you a secret: I trained MMA for seven years, and when I write authentic hand to hand fight scenes, they sound dull too. 

The problem with fight scenes in books is that trying to describe each punch and kick and movement (especially if it’s the only thing you’re describing) creates a fight that feels like it’s in slow motion. 

I write…

Lowering her center of gravity, she held her right hand tight to her face and threw a jab towards his chin. He shifted his weight, ducking under her punch. His hair brushed against her fist, and he stepped forward, launching a shovel hook into her exposed side.

But your brain can only read so fast. In real life that series of events would take an instant, but I needed a full eight seconds to read and comprehend it, which gave it an inherent lethargic feel. 

So, we have two primary problems:

  1. How do we describe this fight in a way the reader can understand and keep track of? 
  2. How do we maintain a fast paced, interesting fight once we’ve broken down the fight far enough for readers to understand it? 

(We will get back to these, I promise.) But for now, let’s look at…

Different types of “fight scenes:”

Keep reading

9737 f7d9 500




Why do these people always attack in any circumstances?

Oh my god.when my baby was 1 week old I did the 1 week old baby photo shoot, as required by Society. And of course we got the requisite photos of Baby Asleep in a Galvanized Bucket. With the rustic backdrop. You know. The one everyone has. And the one where the Mother and Father hold the baby aloft like Simba, and the background is misty. And the one where you all hold the baby like it’s a loaf of artisanal bread. All of the Peak White Nonsense photos. The photographer has seen it all before. Don’t worry about the baby cooperating - the photographer is magical, and after a brief warm-up period, they can hypnotise the baby into any pose, then they jump back and take the photo. All YOU have to do is sit there, and work on your loving expression. It’s not difficult; everyone manages.

You gotta do these pictures when the bab is about a week old, when they’re still scrunched up prawns with closed eyes, in that fragile between-worlds state. Idk but everyone does them. And you say “the baby will never be this Smol again!” To justify it. But you don’t have to justify it. It is indeed very cute. They are Smol, and presented like a loaf of artisanal bread in a large wooden bowl against a rustic backdrop, and it makes sense in context. Enjoy it.

If you get twins then you do the one photo where you put one baby on top of the other. You make a baby stack, and pay money to photograph it, and then you frame that shit. This is mandatory. Every multiple birth I know of has this picture. Every parent of multiples brushed their hair, and went out and got the picture, and also the one where they’re holding one twin in each arm and looking down mistily, and the one where each parent holds a baby and they stand back to back. You do the Comedy Twins version of the photo (look surprised because they are two!!) and then the Serious one, where the parents look down mistily. Lots of misty looks. We are celebrating White Parenthood here - it is even more intense than the wedding.

You put these photos on Facebook. Everyone else has the same ones but you are desperately proud, and you don’t care.

This is Peak White Nonsense. You have to understand that the newborn photo shoot is Peak White Nonsense. And the one-year-old photo shoot - the Cake Smash - is the single most Heterosexuals Are at It Again thing you ever saw. (It’s where you take the one year old, and you give them a large photogenic birthday cake and a wooden spoon, and take pictures of them covered in cake, looking excited but bewildered, with a giant wooden number “1” in the background. I can’t bring myself to approve of it. But it’s a Done Thing.)

But here is Beyoncé with her Twin Photo Shoot daring to GET THE SAME PHOTO. This is the same photo as British white couple Mike the plumber and Terri the hairstylist from Chippenham got with THEIR twins, the one where Terri stands in a maxi dress holding a twin in each arm, the one Terri’s parents will carefully frame in gold and show to everyone (EVERYONE). But Beyoncé? Beyoncé has an objectively better dress. And the backdrop is not the soft-focus floral wallpaper of the photographer’s studio in Chippenham, but REAL flowers, with the impression of a beach.

How dare she. How very dare she. How dare Beyoncé take a fresh and invigorating Twin Picture.

How dare Beyoncé be Beyoncé, and be objectively better at it. Quick, let’s pretend we don’t do newborn photoshoots! Then we won’t feel the Shame.


Reposted byCarridwenmanxxmolotovcupcake

So my hard drive fell down, Ubuntu doesn’t recognize it anymore and windows keeps telling me to formate it bc it’s empty

I just have all my series, all my work stuff and six years worth of fics on this thing nbd



The Fair Folk: “I can’t believe this. Twenty years I’ve cleaned your house and you DARE to try to REPAY me with GIFTS. This is such an insult. Fuck you, you insolent humans. I’m leaving here and never returning because you have insulted me so deeply.”

Also the Fair Folk: “Remember that one time you pulled a thorn out of a cat’s foot? That was me. To show my gratitude, here is a house made of solid gold, a life-debt, my daughter’s hand in marriage, and a promise that all your children will be gorgeous and successful at all that they do. I can also throw in a blow job if you want. I hope this is enough.”


lorata replied to your post “lorata replied to your post “TFW You have a cool fic idea but…”
OHHHHHHH yeah the……. yeah. yeah Japan’s policy on dual citizenship (aka you have to choose one or the other, and dual-citizen kiddos have to give up one of them when they turn 20, and if you renounce Japanese they PHYSICALLY CROSS OUT YOUR NAME IN THE KOSEKI LIKE HOLY COW) is …………… yes.
if it’s a modern AU and it doesn’t need to be LEGAL-legal, there are temples that perform same-sex ceremonies! there’s one in Osaka, there’s definitely ones in Tokyo, and they’re absolutely official and sanctified by the priests and everything because it’s the priest who decides, not like, the Vatican or the Unified Church of Blah who makes these decisions!
(if you ever need to know anything about same-sex laws in Japan HIT ME UP i know all the loopholes)
p { margin-bottom: 0.25cm; line-height: 120%; }

Yeah I find this politic very…uh…all or nothing ? It’s sort of in-keeping with what I’ve heard about Japan and foreigners in general, mind, but it’s still odd to me xD

I AM VERY INTERESTED IN THOSE CEREMONIES. Like. Are they like a regular one or is it modified for the needs ? And how socially recognized are they ?

I think I’ll probably have the characters go for partnership certificates regardless (on top of the ceremony, probably) but I’m still interested in knowing which one would be considered the most important socially speaking (I suspect the temple ceremony but I could be wrong)

Also, in the fic both characters are well-known (due to saving the world a couple times, and appearing in the sky of tokyo at least once) and one of them is kind of a member of the government* so I’m sort of wondering about the repercussion of them being public with their union tbh. Like, I’d imagine they wouldn’t be scared to do it, but I’m not sure how to paint the general reactions/backlash to that tbh (haven’t fully researched that, though, so there’s that xD)

(* he’s technically not done with his degree yet but since digimon appeared in the world ten years prior to the fic’s event and both my MCs were a. known to have visited their world already as well as being among the few people who can actually go there and b. already pretty much legendary in said digiworld so he kind of got there by default)




Opening for couples/polyship soulmates flashfic!

I usually do the first words written somewhere on their skin. Can be platonic or romantic! Willing to do Saint Seiya Classic, Soul of Gold, The Lost Canvas, and Legend of Sanctuary, because that’s what I know.

Toss a couple (or polyship) & whether you want romantic or platonic, or just don’t care, into my inbox and I’ll give you a soulmates drabble!

Hey, this is a thing! I’m working three 12-hour shifts in a row and I need to do something. Also I’ve been going nuts with wedding shit god that’s next week DISTRACT ME PLEASE.

Also, I don’t do anything where one party is 20+ and the other is under 18, and I reserve the right to refuse a request.

(If you don’t want to be tagged, let me know and I will remove your @)

@aphrodites-bloody-rose @aquariusdegel @teary-eyed-circle-of-friendship @terresdebrume @perladellanotte @versailles-fairytale

I would love some Aphrodite and Deathmask and I challenge you to make the words on one of their wrists ‘you’re the sweetest person I ever met’ (either one of them really). Can go romantic or platonic as you prefer :3

Also a platonic thing between Aphrodite and Shun would be super sweet imo ^^

9739 2468 500


guess whos getting emotional over zukka in 2017 (it me)

September 07 2017

9740 a947 500
Older posts are this way If this message doesn't go away, click anywhere on the page to continue loading posts.
Could not load more posts
Maybe Soup is currently being updated? I'll try again automatically in a few seconds...
Just a second, loading more posts...
You've reached the end.

Don't be the product, buy the product!