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Writing Challanges Update - NOW HIRING

sparkwrites:

Gooood morning (Or not. I don’t know what time it is where you are, but it’s not morning here.)

So here’s the dealio: We’re looking for one or two people willing and interested in helping use to manage the writing challenges.

We’re assuming you are a writer. Maybe you’re a reader. Either way, we’re cool.

DESCRIPTION AND DETAILS

You will NOT have access to the main account (as of right now, this may change, but do not expect it to)

  • You will be added as a member to the submissions account, as these is where your services will be needed.

Your primary responsibilities will be managing incoming submissions to the submissions blog (sparkwritessubmissions). This includes

  • publishing submissions
  • contacting writers if any errors are found in their submissions (such as missing links)
  • keeping a tally of points
  • Preparation for voting at the end of each month

Secondary responsibilities may include:

  • Assisting in the planning process for future challenges
  • Scouting the web for interesting/relevant articles to post on the main blog.

You are not required to spend X amount of hours attending to the submissions blog per day/week, but we do expect all submissions to be processed within 48 hours of submission.

All submissions for a given month MUST be processed by the deadline (24 hours after submissions close)

Voting should be prepared to go up by the 1st of each month. (We will discuss how voting will work once we’ve selected the full team)

 APPLICATION

(Please submit via Ask. Any applications submitted anonymously will be ignored)

Pseudonym (Or your real name. Whatever you want to go by):

How many hours can a week are you available?

Why do you want to join us?

Goggle account and/or Skype (this will be our primary means of communication):

Any awesome ideas you hope to bring to the table?

16 Jun ♥ 15 notes ● via source - reblog

Writing Challanges Update - NOW HIRING

sparkwrites:

Gooood morning (Or not. I don’t know what time it is where you are, but it’s not morning here.)

So here’s the dealio: We’re looking for one or two people willing and interested in helping use to manage the writing challenges.

We’re assuming you are a writer. Maybe you’re a reader. Either way, we’re cool.

DESCRIPTION AND DETAILS

You will NOT have access to the main account (as of right now, this may change, but do not expect it to)

  • You will be added as a member to the submissions account, as these is where your services will be needed.

Your primary responsibilities will be managing incoming submissions to the submissions blog (sparkwritessubmissions). This includes

  • publishing submissions
  • contacting writers if any errors are found in their submissions (such as missing links)
  • keeping a tally of points
  • Preparation for voting at the end of each month

Secondary responsibilities may include:

  • Assisting in the planning process for future challenges
  • Scouting the web for interesting/relevant articles to post on the main blog.

You are not required to spend X amount of hours attending to the submissions blog per day/week, but we do expect all submissions to be processed within 48 hours of submission.

All submissions for a given month MUST be processed by the deadline (24 hours after submissions close)

Voting should be prepared to go up by the 1st of each month. (We will discuss how voting will work once we’ve selected the full team)

 APPLICATION

(Please submit via Ask. Any applications submitted anonymously will be ignored)

Pseudonym (Or your real name. Whatever you want to go by):

How many hours can a week are you available?

Why do you want to join us?

Goggle account and/or Skype (this will be our primary means of communication):

Any awesome ideas you hope to bring to the table?

15 Jun ♥ 15 notes ● via source - reblog

camuizuuki:

autumnyte:

kimcardassian:

dramasbomin:

downloading-new-emotion:

commander-banana:

I have this problem where I would much rather read the story I’m trying to write than actually write it.

i’ve been looking for this post my entire life

you put it in words

#i want it to spring into existence already written for me #but i don’t want someone else to write it because they’ll do it wrong

I relate to this so much.

YES. ALL OF THIS.

13 Jun ♥ 314,173 notes ● via source - reblog
# writing
jpg816: Want to find a tutorial about 'when is it proper to write a sympathetic villain'. I can find a lot of tutorials about HOW to write a villain, but i'm curious if there's ever a time to make a villain 'blacker than black'.

I’m a little unclear about your question, but I’m gonna answer what I think you’re trying to get at:

I think villains should ALWAYS be sympathetic. I’m not saying all your readers should side with the villain and not the hero. But its important to keep in mind that your villain is a person to. They have reasons for their behavior. People are not just evil for the sake of being evil. If your antagonist lacks a back story, its going to make the story flat.

The Writing Sympathetic Villains - Buffy’verse style provides a more in depth analysis

13 Jun ♥ 5 notes - reblog
# jpg816# replies

On Writing Sympathetic Villains - Buffy’Verse Style

I received an ask about sympathetic villains that I thought warranted a little writing.

I have always been a huge supporter of sympathetic villains, because I think it makes the story more real - it’s important to remember that bad guys are people too, and they have a reason for being bad. Bad for the sake of bad is just kind of boring.

Now, because I’ve been marathoning reruns for the past week or two, I’m going to use BtVS to explain this.

In the early days, you have (1) the Master, who is a kind of forgettable foe in that he’s a soulless evil thing that does evil things; it’s the same with the one-shot villains - we don’t care about them because they don’t have back stories.

But then we have (2) Angel, Spike, and Drusilla, who we get a lot of back story on. Obviously we feel a lot toward Angel, who was a good guy and is suddenly evil and a little psycho. Dru was a lot psycho, and Spike was right up there with them. We get a lot of history about all of them, and we’re already invested in Angel. We don’t necessarily want Angelus to win, but we want him to survive, because we want Angel to survive. Dru’s particular brand of crazy is intriguing, and something about Spike made him so likable to the audience that the creators/writers moved him from ‘temporary - will kill later’ status to ‘show regular’ status.

In season three, we have Trick, who end up being not the true big bad, but just a lacky with a moderately amusing personality, the Mayor, who is incredibly annoying, and eventually Faith. The Mayor is very ‘evil for the sake of evil’, but we do get a lot of background on Faith. She was our friend and she was turned against us. She felt betrayed, and turned to the one person who treated her well, despite the fact that, yeah, evil.

We also meet Anyanka, who initially is also a one-off, but when she comes back, we feel bad for her because shes ‘newly human and strangely literal’. Even when she goes back to her evil ways, we like and her feel for her.

I could keep going, but I could probably talk for days about this show, so I wont. The Master, Angelus, Dru, Spike, Faith, The Mayor, The Initiative, Adam, Glory, The Trio, Dark Willow, The First. Who are our favorite villains? The ones we love, and love to hate. We don’t care much about the Villains that don’t have a story. Evil for the sake of evil is boring. When Willow turns bad, we’re crying right along with her. Maybe we don’t want to destroy the world, but we’re on the edges of our seats, waiting to see how it will all play out. But villains like the Master or Mayor are less fun, because they don’t have a rich backstory. We don’t really care what’s going to happen to them because we already know they’re going to die.

But giving them a sympathetic backstory means that, even when they do inevitably die, someone (a reader, watcher, whatever) will remember them, and maybe write about them.

-Sparks

12 Jun ♥ 30 notes - reblog

Writing Challanges Update - NOW HIRING

Gooood morning (Or not. I don’t know what time it is where you are, but it’s not morning here.)

So here’s the dealio: We’re looking for one or two people willing and interested in helping use to manage the writing challenges.

We’re assuming you are a writer. Maybe you’re a reader. Either way, we’re cool.

DESCRIPTION AND DETAILS

You will NOT have access to the main account (as of right now, this may change, but do not expect it to)

Your primary responsibilities will be managing incoming submissions to the submissions blog (sparkwritessubmissions). This includes

Secondary responsibilities may include:

You are not required to spend X amount of hours attending to the submissions blog per day/week, but we do expect all submissions to be processed within 48 hours of submission.

All submissions for a given month MUST be processed by the deadline (24 hours after submissions close)

Voting should be prepared to go up by the 1st of each month. (We will discuss how voting will work once we’ve selected the full team)

 APPLICATION

(Please submit via Ask. Any applications submitted anonymously will be ignored)

Pseudonym (Or your real name. Whatever you want to go by):

How many hours can a week are you available?

Why do you want to join us?

Goggle account and/or Skype (this will be our primary means of communication):

Any awesome ideas you hope to bring to the table?

12 Jun ♥ 15 notes - reblog

Writing Challenges Update

I have gone through and published all of the March submissions that I failed to get to in the past. (Again, many apologies). Because so much time has past, and the changes we are making, we won’t be awarding points for these submissions, but they are now there for people to see and hopefully comment on :)

As previously said, we’re making changes to the structure of the challenges. There will still be roughly 4 challenges per month, but they will likely all run from the first to the 29th or each month. Points will still be awarded based on completion. However, at the conclusion of each month, we will allot time for voting, in which people will be allowed to vote for their favorite submissions. The winners will receive additional points, and have a higher chance of being named Writer of the Month.

Also, we will be looking for one or two extra helpers to manage submissions and voting. More info on this tomorrow.

-Sparks

11 Jun ♥ 2 notes - reblog
# psa
not-crazy-to-be-awesome: Hey, if I'm trying to write a realistic college experience, but haven't been to college yet (currently in Junior year) do you have any tips, or anything I could consult? I don't count Animal House as a credible source.

Hmm, well, it’s definitely tough to write about something you’ve never experienced. That said, lots of people have written about magic and space travel and the year 26000, and my guess is that most of them haven’t experienced those things.

So, start with a little research. If you happen to live near a university, take a trip and just sit around and observe. Listen to conversations. Write down your observations. If you do not live near a university (which is an utterly baffling concept to me - I have lived in a ‘college town’ my whole life: there are three universities and two community colleges within a 15 minute drive from my house), pick up some books. Its not the greatest source of information, but it does give you an idea of how others are portraying a college experience. Maybe you want to mirror what they’ve done, maybe you want to turn it on it’s head; totally your decision.

But really, if you have the opportunity to just sit around a college campus for a while, that’s your best bet. Also, you’re going to be graduating in about a year, and heading off to college. Start writing your story now, make changes later. (Boy, I say that a lot, don’t I)

-Sparks

7 Jun ♥ 7 notes - reblog
# oh-look-a-thing# asks
Anonymous: Is it too early to start writing a story if you haven't come up with any details about other characters, and are still going over the plot/conflict? Thanks.. :3

YES!

While I am a huge fan of lots of planning, I feel that part of the process of getting to know your characters often involves actually (*gasp*) writing them. The best way to find out more about your characters is to see how they react in certain situations. So put them in situations, see what happens. Later on down the road, once you figure out exactly what is going on, you may decide that much of the early writing is not necessary to the overall story, but every ounce of writing is good. Even bad writing is good. Write, learn about your characters, write more. Edit later.

-Sparks

6 Jun ♥ 7 notes - reblog
# Anonymous# asks
thehurricaneatbakerstreet: What advice would you give for someone who has trouble concentrating on a story? I have so many ideas and I write them all down, but when I do start writing one, I can't get past five chapters without getting bored and writing a new one. I've written bits and pieces of so many things, I'm worried I will never get anything done. What advice do you have?

This is a brilliant question, and one to which I am still searching for an answer.

The truth is, there probably isn’t one sure-fire method of kicking the so-called ‘writer’s block’. Well, maybe there is, but you’re not gonna like it.

Write. Just write. Pick one of those ideas you liked, but for whatever reason didn’t finish, and tell yourself you are going to finish it. I find that my biggest problem occurs in the space between plot points - I’ve just finished a major thing, and now it’s time to get started on the next major thing, but I don’t know what to do, so I just don’t. WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T STOP WRITING.

Maureen Johnson has some really great advice for this: “Give yourself permission to suck.” Write really terrible scenes if you have to, but just keep writing. Eventually you’ll find yourself working toward something that is less terrible. The important thing is to get it written. Worry about revision later.

Tip: if you’ve got a bunch of unfinished stories lying around, pick the one you like best, or that you have the best idea of a direction for. Start working on it. Finish it. We don’t care how terrible it is. Just finish it.

PLAN! I personally work best when I have a good, solid idea of where I am going. For my current project, I have planned out, to some extent, every major event, and numerous relevant minor event, using a phase outline (here is an article that does a great job of defining phase outlines). Having a solid plan is really important for a multitude of reasons, but the main thing is: it keeps you from getting sidetracked. If you don’t know where you’re going, it’s easy to not get there. Have a plan. Know your plan. Write your plan down (see below). Follow your plan. Your phase outline doesn’t have to be as defined as the one in the article above, but they should detail all the major plot events, and key scenes throughout. You can be flexible with it - if you realize through the course of writing that something isn’t going to work out, you can make adjustments, of course, but this is the best way to keep yourself on track.

WRITE YOUR PLAN DOWN. Yeah, this is like crazy important. I too have started writing something, got a couple chapters in, and then stopped. I came back a few years later, read what was written, and thought “wow, this is a great idea, I should really work on this”. Except there was a major problem: I had (and still have) NO IDEA where I was headed with it. Great idea, I’m sure, but I don’t know what it was. Write your plan down. Then if you DO abandon it, you can come back to it in the future.

I think that’s all I have to say.

-Sparks

6 Jun ♥ 23 notes - reblog
# asks# thehurricaneatbakerstreet

Public Service Announcement/HUGE APOLOGY

This is me saying I suck: I suck.

I am so sorry about not being around for… oh god, several months. That’s what I get for taking on a writing blog in my last couple semesters of college. What was I thinking?

Good news though! A friend has agreed to help me out with this, so we should get the challenges up and running again by as early as July (maybe August, we’ll see). We’ll be making a few changes to the current structure. We will keep you updated on everything that happens.

Additionally, we’ll be looking for a third enthusiastic writer to help us out. I’ll post more information on that in the next couple of days, so be on the lookout if you’re interested.

I have a few asks in our inbox, as well as submissions to March challenges. They’re probably kind of old, so wow, sorry, but I will post all of them (hopefully today), baring any technical complications.

Anyway, thanks so much for your patience, and again, so sorry.

-El

5 Jun ♥ 14 notes - reblog
# psa

Punctuating Dialogue

writingbox:

There are specific ways to punctuate your dialogue. Learning to do this correctly will make you look more professional and accomplished as a writer to potential publishers and agents.

  1. Speech followed by a dialogue tag: “Come on,” she said. Use a comma after the speech, treat the dialogue tag as being part of the same sentence.
  2. One sentence of speech split by a dialogue tag: “Come on,” she said, “or you’re going to make us late.” Only punctuate with a full stop right at the very end of the whole sentence. Start the second part of speech with a lower case letter.
  3. Two sentences of speech split by a dialogue tag: “Come on,” she said. “We can’t afford to be late again.” End the tag with a full stop and start the new sentence of speech with a capital letter.
  4. Speech separated by action: “Come on.” She pulled on her shoes and opened the door. “We can’t afford to be late again.” The action can’t be rolled into the same sentence as the speech, so it becomes three separate sentences.

And remember that all punctuation marks attached to the speech itself should be placed inside of the speech tags.

4 Apr ♥ 2,198 notes ● via source - reblog
3 Apr ♥ 389 notes ● via source - reblog

The 22 rules of storytelling, according to Pixar

#1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.

#2: You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.

#3: Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.

#4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

#5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.

#6: What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?

#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.

#8: Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.

#9: When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.

#10: Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.

#11: Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.

#12: Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.

#13: Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.

#14: Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.

#15: If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.

#16: What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.

#17: No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on - it’ll come back around to be useful later.

#18: You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.

#19: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.

#20: Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?

#21: You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?

#22: What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.

3 Apr ♥ 430 notes ● via source - reblog

The Girl Who Would be an Author: Hair in Writing

girlwhowouldbeanauthor:

Describing hair in writing can be a challenge. You don’t want to go overboard on details, but sometimes you feel like people won’t have a good grasp of the character or the society they live in if they don’t know what their hair looks like. Here are some tips on that!

Just describing a color…

2 Apr ♥ 305 notes ● via source - reblog