updated with links
Normally this would go on my ‘inspiration’ blog but I need this super bad.
"Three thousand years ago I had a disagreement with Zeus about the Trojan War, and he’s been harassing me ever since."
“You were alive three thousand years ago?”
“All of us were.”
MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY
I WANNA KNOW EVERYTHING, FIND THIS MAN AGAIN
Horror is considered a separate genre, but these three genres often overlap.
- Paranormal Romance: Romance with a paranormal element. However, the romance outweighs the paranormal aspect in most cases, but is still an integral part to the story.
- Urban Fantasy: Urban fantasy is often used interchangeably with “paranormal”. It takes place in urban areas and has fantasy, paranormal, or supernatural elements.
- Dark Fantasy: This genre is a cross over between horror and fantasy. It has fantasy and horror elements, but does not focus on them as heavily as other genres. This would be considered paranormal rather than supernatural.
- Gothic Horror: This used to be the name for the horror genre. This genre is not related to the goth fashion style. There are several forms of this genre (English, American, southern) that may involve romance or a sense of being “trapped”. Paranormal creatures (like ghosts and other creatures associated with the afterlife or death) are quite popular in this genre.
See Basic Horror Writing Guide for a general overview and some resources.
There is often a paranormal or supernatural element in horror, most likely some form of ghosts. However, there are also other elements present.
Certain abilities given to humans may fall within this category. This can include telekinesis, clairvoyance, and telepathy, among others. However, these abilities often come secondary to the horror element or the main horror creatures (ghosts, psychological torture, etc.). They should come second if horror is the main aspect of the story. Once these elements become primary, you’ve left the horror genre (primarily).
But, as with horror, including paranormal and supernatural elements must be there to further the thrill, suspense, or horror of the story. With supernatural and paranormal fiction, those elements should be integral to the story.
PARANORMAL VS SUPERNATURAL
This is a personal opinion
Supernatural: Something inexplicable that defies the laws of nature or something that was once a part of nature, only to defy it.
Paranormal: Something that shows signs of being beyond scientific understanding.
As noted in the definitions above, supernatural deals with transformation from the ordinary to the impossible. Paranormal deals with something beyond us, like clairvoyance.
Paranormal fiction tends to be lighter and it often has a romantic feel to it. When I say “romantic”, I do not necessarily mean love, but showing something in a light that makes it better than it actually is. Supernatural fiction tends to fall on the side of gritty horror more often than not.
What falls under each definition depends on who you ask, but abilities (for example, telekinesis) are generally considered paranormal while certain creatures (werewolves and vampires) are considered supernatural.
CREATURES & CLICHES
With this genre comes otherworldly creatures. Right now, the genre is heavy with angels, demons, vampires, and werewolves. While there’s nothing wrong with writing about those creatures, it’s good to expand. After all, supernatural and paranormal are forms of fantasy. You can do anything.
Research some underused creatures and put a new twist on them. Use them as a base for a creature of your own creation. Go nuts with these creatures and make them unique.
They can thrive in one environment and suffer in another. They can be subject to evolution. They can be associated with a certain element or symbol. Give them odd abilities and give them reasons for this. Make up your own mythologies.Yet with the four main creatures mentioned above comes cliches. We’re all sick of them and you should challenge yourself to write outside these cliches, though you can still rework a cliche and make it unique.There is a group of cliches in paranormal romance that stand out from the rest because they are harmful. For example, male love interests who are brooding, possessive, and creepy yet written as desirable.An important point to remember when you’re creating creatures is not to go so far that these become something else entirely. You can’t take away the fundamental characteristics if you’re trying to be unique. That destroys the creature. Your vampires don’t have to sleep in coffins or turn into bats, but you can’t really take away the blood drinking thing, can you? That’s the main characteristic of vampiric creatures (and there are many).More:
- Ten Worst Vampire Cliches
- The A-Typical Vampire
- Supernatural Creatures Inspiration/Definitions
- Vampire Cliches
- Werewolf Cliches
- Werewolf Genre Pet Peeves
- Writing an Overused Supernatural Creature
- Vampire Tropes
- A Guide on Zombies
- Guide to Ghosts
- Describing Fantastic Creatures
- Werebeast Tropes
- Tropes of the Living Dead
- Writing Zombies
- Sea Creatures
- Birds: Mythology
- Cliches in Paranormal Novels
- Is Your YA Paranormal Romance Cliche Enough? (chart)
- Cliches in Paranormal Romance
- Top 13 Paranormal Romance Cliches
- YA Common Cliches: Paranormal Romance
- Overplayed Urban Fantasy Cliche 1 2 3 4
- Fantasy/Urban Fantasy Cliches
- Mythical Creatures List
- Mythical Creatures A-Z
- List of Mythical Creatures
- Magical/Mythical Creatures
Some music to listen to while writing:
Bad Moon Rising | Black River Killer | Blood Circus | Come Little Children | Davy Jones Music Box | Ghost Riders in the Sky | Hell | Hell Hound Blues | Herr Drosselmeye’s Doll | Hotel California | House of the Rising Sun | The Killing Moon | Mr Crowley | Oogie Boogie’s Song | Sympathy for the Devil | This House is Haunted | This is Halloween | Void
- Supernatural Romance
- Books with Angels, Gods, or Demons
- Best Gothic Books of All Time
- Ghost Stories
- Angels & Demons
- Favorite Ghost Stories
- Best Books About Faeries
- Paranormal’s/Urban Fantasies That Don’t Suck
- Haunted Houses
- Paranormal in New Orleans
- Best Gothic Novels/Suspense Novels
- Forbidden Love in Fantasy/Paranormal/Supernatural
- Supernatural and Addictive Fantasy
- Best Shapeshifters
- Books with Supernatural Females
- Bone Chilling Paranormal Romance
- Anything But Vampires
- 19th Century Supernatural Horror
- Gay Horror
- I See Dead People
- Killer Ghost Stories
- Uncommon Supernatural Creatures
- Gothic Paranormal
- Best Adult Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance
- Indie Books - Paranormal Fiction
- Humorous Paranormal Books
- Hot Paranormal Romance
- Werewolf and Shifter Romance
- Paranormal Book Lists
- Not the “Normal” Paranormal
- Literary Fiction Meets Paranormal Romance
- Gay Paranormal Romance
- Lesbian Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
This should be useful for NaNoWriMo this year. I feel possible urban fantasy coming on.
This is a really good article about how quickly people actually die from cuts and punctures inflicted by swords and knives. However, it’s really really long and I figured that since I was summarizing for my own benefit I’d share it for anyone else who is writing fiction that involves hacking and slashing your villain(s) to death. If you want the nitty gritty of the hows and whys of this, you can find it at the original source.
…even in the case of mortal wounds, pain may not reach levels of magnitude sufficient to incapacitate a determined swordsman.
Causes of death from stabs and cuts:
- massive bleeding (exsanguination) - most common
- air in the bloodstream (air embolism)
- suffocation (asphyxia)
- air in the chest cavity (pneumothorax)
I’m cis*, and I want to write a character whose gender is non-binary, but I’m afraid of fucking up. How do thing?
First off, thank you for being afraid of fucking up. That tells me that you have some empathy and awareness going on, and those will be helpful to you as you craft your character. If you’re not at least a little concerned that your portrayal may be harmful, you may not grok the possible ways that your words can hurt non-binary folks.
Wait, you want me to be afraid? That’s messed up.
I mean, we’re not talking, like, me wanting you to get the nervous shits, here. That would suck, and I don’t see how it would help anyone. I just want you to be aware that you are writing from a position of privilege: if you fuck up, it’s non-binary people who will pay the price.
Okay. Privilege: I has it. Now what?
Now you do some really fucking honest self-assessing. I’m gonna need you to check your ego at the door, ‘cause this part of the process—hell, let’s not pretend otherwise, this whole process—is not about you feeling good about yourself. It’s about you getting a three-dimensional, respectful portrayal of a non-binary character on the page. You should be more invested in avoiding problematic writing than you are in avoiding discomfort.
Stuff you may want to ask yourself:
my favourite part of shakespeare plays is the person at the end that is like “see how these people fucked everything up. don’t do this. look at this fuckery. look at it. fuck this. fuck everything.”
Day 1: Favourite Kid
Might as well start this blog with that homestuck challenge thingy
From what I’ve observed, there are three types of food scenes. It really depends what kind of emotions you want to evoke in your readers as to how to put these scenes together.
The Food is Unbelievably Delicious
Take Shadowmagic's Conor, when he tries the fruit of the Land for the first time. Or Pellinor's Maerad, who comes across some beautiful and overwhelming banquets on her journey, a far cry from what she used to eat before the story began.
In both of these cases, there is a heavy emphasis placed on how ‘perfect’ the food looks. Nothing congeals, sweats or stagnates. You need to pick out appropriate descriptors to create the best picture. What kind of aromas surround the food? How does it sound when the character bites into it? What is the texture like? Think about the foods you like to eat, and how you feel when you get the chance to taste them!
When describing meat, avoid the bones unless your character is nibbling every last strip from them. You want the turkey crowns and chickens to be plump and full, not thin pickings. And although vegetables are on the top of most people’s ‘do not eat’ list, they can be fresh, glistening beneath a lump of melted butter, roasted or cut into delicate, thin circles. Puddings are wobbling, oozing chocolate and cream, smooth, angular and precise, delicate and decorated.
If your character eats something good, they should react to it too. Especially if it’s better than they imagined. Moaning with pleasure, wide eyes, gorging themselves… all signs that a person is enjoying what’s in front of them.
The Food is Absolutely Disgusting
The tastes here are sour and bitter. They burn your throat, nose and tongue and make your eyes water. When saliva floods into your mouth, it’s because there’s a high chance you’re about to start retching.
The smells are suffocating. There are no aromas or fragrances here - it’s smell and stench. Things gone off, things sagging and suffering in the warmth or grossly preserved in the cold. There’s sweat, liquids, grease and watery sauce. Everything is off-colour. Meats are pale and limp, vegetables shrivelled and small. Desserts are dry, hard and bland. Soups are thin and the cereal is soggy.
Basically, think of everything you’ve ever eaten that tasted disgusting and really focus on what made it so abhorrent to you at the time. Also, focus on details that would make you reject food. For example, not eating your beans on the same plate as everything else, because the sauce congeals and sticks to the other food.
Reactions to this kind of food are screwed up faces, tongues stuck out, exclamations of how awful it all is, hand waving in front of an open mouth to cool off the heat, hands clutched to throats because it burns just to swallow, whooping coughs, running noses, etc.
The Food is Just There
Forks sliding out of mouths, plates full of something or other. In these scenes, the food isn’t much more than an element to a scene. Maybe your characters are discussing things over dinner or they’re the only ones not eating in a restaurant.
In that case, the smells and visuals should correspond with what is happening at the time. Maybe the smell of coffee reminds Paul of how tired he is, and how much he’d rather just be sitting in a diner drinking coffee than discussing something as heavy as murder.
Frost from A Touch of Frost is always eating, but it’s because he has no time to actually stop and enjoy a meal. He goes for high calorie fast foods, things you can scoop out of polystyrene trays and eat out of papers. Food on the go, food that takes little effort to eat. There’s no marvelling over the taste - he knows how it tastes, because it’s all he ever eats. The smells are stale in his car and on his clothes, or not registered at all.
Here, you focus on the act of eating, and ignore pretty much everything else. The food is a simple prop in a whole other scene, and so it shouldn’t take any attention from the reader other than ‘it’s there’.
Food That Reveals Character or Atmosphere
Greedy characters bite into full cakes that split and drip over their cheeks and chins, anal characters separate the greens from the oranges and pick one pea at a time. Fussy characters spend more time organising their meal than actually eating it, and characters with no time polish off their dinner in less than five bites.
At awkward dinners, cutlery scrapes the plate, there’s wet chewing and loud swallowing. Elbows are drawn in, backs straight, eyes falling everywhere but on other eyes.
Hectic dinners have mashed potato slopping onto the tablecloth, juice stains on bibs, food ever-flowing, bowls being passed over plates and hands grabbing.
When writing the scene, think about what you want to show us about the atmosphere and the character and then imagine how the food would be consumed in that specific instance. So, your character is nervously waiting. She’s pulling apart her sandwich, nibbling, but not tasting. Your characters are in an argument; they’re not eating, but they’re holding forks up in protest and stubbornly shoving the food around their plates during the intervals.
Just a little segment, but they’re worth thinking about. Are they overflowing, or is what’s left tipped back into a jug at the end of the meal? Do the characters sip or guzzle? Breathe in or wince as it runs down their throat?
A lot of the time, it’s all about getting the tone right. Using your vocabulary to the best of its ability, so you can piece together the perfect food-y scene.
I hope this helps!
INFORMATION GUIDE FOR WRITERS: PREGNANCY AND CHILDREN.
So I’ve decided to write a rough guide for RP and writing purposes based on Pregnancy and Child development. I know that most people out there don’t have children and quite often find it difficult to play a pregnant muse or one that has a small child.
I am putting this out there now – I am in no way a studied professional – but I am a mother and have been for nearly 6 years. I am going by everything that I know personally and what I have learnt over time. This will be under read more because there is A LOT. I will also be putting it into sections as it is not something you can cram all into one post.
I will be starting where everything else starts and that isPregnancy part 1 of 2: