Sunday, June 23, 2013

Best writing links of the last week 6/22

You know the drill but just encase there are any new comer's this is a list of the best writing links I've read in the past week. Many might have been published before the last week but I only read them recently.

25 Ways to Unstick a Stuck Story :

Native American's in YA Fiction :

When We Talk About "girl problems" :

Why Hasn’t the Number of Multicultural Books Increased In Eighteen Years? :

On The Subject Of Diversifying Your Bookshelves (A follow up to last weeks links from Chuck) :

3 Reasons Why Thinking Like an Actor Will Help Your Writing :

5 Ways To Shorten Your Short Stories :

All Literature is Fan Fiction... :

7 Ways Authors Waste Time "Building Platform" on Social Media :

Have a link you think I might be interested in share it in? Fell free to share it in the comments down below. Also feel free to contact me on twitter: @vyctorian

Monday, June 17, 2013

Best writing links of June ( Thus Far )

... and some from months that aren't June. Sorry for being gone for so long, but I'm back in action for now, this time with a a bunch of useful writing tips and advice for all my fellow writer's out there.  This is a long one, it also has some odd formatting gaps and I apologize for those.

Fueling Conflict In Fiction :

25 things every writers should know :

John Green's rant on people thinking he doesn't need publisher and book stores :

8 Things Every Blogging Writer Should Know :

 Tips for writing a deaf/hearing impaired character :

The #1 tip for writing success :

 List of common misconceptions via Wikipedia :

Why men should speak out about sexism, misogyny and rape culture :

25 Things You Should Know About Young Adult Fiction :

5 Easy Ways to Publicize and Promote Your Book :
10 Things Your Opening Chapter Should Do :

5 Strategies To Make Your Short Story Stand Out In A Crowd :

Royalty-only anthologies and writer exploitation :

Trend Watch 2013 (Young adult) :

12 Most Get-Serious Questions for Writers :

A Short List of Great Resources for Racial Diversity in Sci-Fi :

 Use Character Quirks to Grab Readers' Attention :

 Ten Things [Chuck Wendig] Learned At BEA 2013 :

Have a link you think I might be interested in share it in? Fell free to share it in the comments down below. Also feel free to contact me on twitter: @vyctorian

Sunday, June 16, 2013

We need more diverse literature, Now!

Chuck Wendig wrote earlier this week on sexism, misogyny and why men who are in a position of privilege  should stand against it. As a transwomen with some feminists beliefs, I support the kind of thinking in these articles. You should go read them, all three articles of it.

What I've seen less people talking about is the lack of racial and cultural diversity in literature, both in characters and in authors and I'm lost as to why this idea that protagonist must be white or mostly white in order to sell enough to survive, so lost I think that idea a work of fiction. (Though I'm not going to pretend racism is dead either, it is very alive and needs to be fought, and challenged hence this article.)

I was raised almost entirely in a generation filled foreign heroes names like Goku, Naruto, Ramma. "But those are imports and  manga and anime!" You might say and to that I have to say, "You're missing the point."

The point is I think that's proof enough that there are millions of people of all races willing to invest time in protagonists of different races and cultures and if you want a more literary example Memoirs of a Geisha was a best seller for ages.

I have never had an issue picking up a story with a protagonist of a different race nor from a different culture, I've rarely meet anyone whose said or shown that they have an issue with it, at least not of my generation. The generation who buys these Japanese comics by the truck load, and often drop 100's of dollars on the DVD box sets of these series in the animated format, and who often translate Japanese language novels online because nobody will import them, and now many of them have branched off into looking for Korean fiction, and Chinese fiction. I can't help but think it wouldn't be any different if the protagonist where Native American or a person of color or another ethnicity.

So why on earth aren't more people writing it? Or if they are, Why the fuck isn't it being published and marketed!? There is an audience here of all races that wants and has shown they are willing to pay for works with non-white protagonists and yet literary fiction is a wash with mostly white characters and white washes characters on covers and often hides their non-whiteness, as if our entire population will treat the existence of a non-white main character as an act of witchcraft.

There is almost no real diversity in the media outside of imports, more often than not when a racially diverse character pops up they're stereotyped in some way, angry black women, Asian martial artist and almost never as a main character. It is changing but it is slow, more authors, agents and publishers need to work on the release and promotion of diverse works and works by non-white authors. And more people in general need to stand up and speak up that yes, you are willing to read a book where the protagonist is not white or American.

I'm not just saying this because I write and enjoy diverse literature myself, but because it needs to happen, having Katniss Everdeen's is not enough. We need more Katniss's and Korra's. The battle for more females protagonists in fiction is a good one but not one that's finished or that we've won, but we need more capable female and male protagonists of all races, not just white American ones.

In 10 years around half of the American middle grade audience will be non-whites, this next generation coming up will be the for second time in this nations history there are going to be more non-whites than whites. There needs to be fiction ready for this new generation that shows the different races and cultures as equals, and allows people of all races to experience other races and cultures.

They shouldn't have to explore the back end of the comic book shop, like I had too. It should be all around them.

   Anything you'd like to contribute, got a good resource or book that involves this topic or you'd like to add to this? Feel free to comment down below.                 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Best Of The Week for 5/20

A list of what I feel are the best writing articles or advice I've had the pleasure to read over the last week. They may not always have been written in the past week, but the past week is when I read them.

This weeks best of the week contains a lot of links about the lack of (racial) diversity in YA, I was doing a lot of research toward that myself.

Here is an entire tumblr devoted to diversity in literature, mostly YA

YA books need to reflect our diverse society:

Where are all the black boys?:

When Books Are Really Good, Despite Being Written For Teen:

Twitter Hashtags for Writers:

Salt Circle -Interview with Chuck Wendig :

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Best Writing Articles for the Week of 5/12/2013

A list of what I feel are the best writing articles or advice I've had the pleasure to read over the last week. They may not always have been written in the past week, but the past week is when I read them. A whole lot of social media talk this week.

* How to sell loads of books -,%20150526.0.html

* How To Maximize Your Word Count And Write More Every Day -

* Gangs of New Media: Twitchforks, the Hive Mind, and “Social Lasers of Cruelty” -

* Roundtable on News and Social Media -

* Social Media for Writers: A Kool-Aid Drinking Cult? -

This one isn't writing related per se but I know some writers deal with depression and this blog/comic hits the point well in my mind while also making me laugh:

* Hyperbole and a Half -

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Four tips for overcoming doubt from an OCD sufferer

Writer's seem to have a lot of self-doubt, even award winning New York Times best sellers experience it; that crippling feeling that often manifests as writer's block. I've had bouts of writers self doubt myself (Some bouts were so bad my mental state looked worse than Rocky after 15 rounds against Apollo Creed) but I'm uniquely adjusted to doubt, when I was a pre-teen I was diagnosed with OCD often called the "Disease of doubt", and have been living with it my entire adult life. I'm not going to go too deep into details about my OCD but if you are curious about the disorder Wikipedia's article on the matter is a good starting point:–compulsive_disorder

Living with OCD isn't fun, and I wouldn't choose it but it has forced me to develop certain skills, and dealing with self-doubt is a survival skill when you have OCD. So here are my four tips for dealing with self-doubt, that started as anti-OCD tricks and become writer's tricks. 

1.) Have an inspiration collection.

An inspiration collection is a collection of movie clips, quotes, web-pages, songs, and other stuff to go to that inspire you and motivate you personally, not stuff that simply inspired you to write what you are working on now but stuff that moves you as a person. Doubt in your writing ability is doubt in yourself, and you need to find the things that resonate in your core and get your engine roaring again.

I have quotes from famous philosophers to anime characters, and songs from across multiple music genres. Draw inspiration from whatever has meaning to you at the core of your being and return to it when you are in doubt.

One of my personal favorites is this Tv Tropes page: (Real life - Artists, Entrepreneurs and Scientists)

2.) Take a nap.

This may not always be possible but I've found a quick one-two hour nap can wipe away self-doubt better than a full night's rest.

3.) Push forward, regardless.

Sometimes the doubt is so crippling it makes it hard to even think about what to write, writer's block hits you hard. Sometimes the block is huge, getting over it seems impossible and ones inability to get over it throws them further into self-doubt. Sometimes the only way past writer's block and to go straight through it, push for more words however small, work that block away until there is nothing left but shavings. This goes for any profession or problem that's too big to simply hurdle over.

This is the one I have to use the most dealing with OCD myself,  sometimes you can't stop you just have to keep moving forward no matter what. There may be a massive block in your way,  looming over you. Your mind is racing and the anxiety won't stop but you just need to grit your teeth, plant your feet into the ground and start (metaphorically) beating on the block, bare-fisted if you have to.

4.) Talk to someone/vent.

Sometimes getting it off your chest to someone willing to just listen is very relieving, or just saying it aloud. Get that doubt out of just your head it's only going to bounce around and build momentum up there.

Seriously before writing this I tweeted out how I thought I wasn't going to write an article this week due to me having trouble sleeping and being tired,  but here I am a few hours later writing an article on overcoming self-doubt and finding inner determination.

Those are my four tips for over-coming self-doubt, I'm sure there are others without OCD who have learned these skills as well but I thought I'd share. So how do you overcome doubt?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Awakened Inspiralation Best of the Week

A list of what I feel are the best writing articles or advice I've had the pleasure to read over the last week. They may not always have been written in the past week, but the past week is when I read them. I apologize if the links are poorly formatted I haven't gotten a chance to play around with blogger yet.

 * The 3 Types of Character Arc – Change, Growth and Fall:

 * How To Write Fiction Without The Fuss: how to write a scene :

 * On The Subject Of The “Strong Female Character” :

 * 5 Tips that Doubled My Productivity Last Year :

 * YA Lit Really Screws Over Parents :

 * Writing Excuses 8.17: Microcasting (This is actually a podcast, but I'm a huge fan of it.)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The power of giving up?

This is is by no-means a singular event with me but, last night I was writing, pretty badly. I had been drawing a blank for like twenty minutes trying to get past a scene (and I don't skip scenes). I'd just begun get over the block, when my writing program refreshed itself for some reason, likely me hitting the wrong key in my rapid typing frenzy, I saw this and I just got so frustrated I said, "Fuck it, I'm done!"

(I'm pretty open gamer on twitter and in gaming this is known as a "Rage-Quit", something gets so
frustrating you quit; traditionally defined rage isn't actually needed.)

But with a single beat, I went from "Fuck it, I'm done!" to "Fuck that, I'm not going to let this
beat me." Twenty minutes later I'd hit my daily word count and written some of the best dialogue I
think I've ever written.

This is the power of giving up or more accurately the power of momentary giving. The level of stress
goes away, because you've quit for the day. Your head clears, the weight on your heart lessens, muscles un-tense, breathing steadies, what's stressing you fades but you aren't really giving up;
You're hitting your personal reset button.

I see this in gamers all the time, they say they're quitting. The controller gets loose in their
hands, they reach for the off button; but they don't hit it sweaty palms re-grip the controller and
their eyes shift. With fires of determination reignited within them, they lean back and hit restart

Though I'm sure all professions have this, fuck; I'm pretty sure this is just a part of human
nature. We feel like nothing is working so we let go a bit, but vision is harder to let go of then our frustrations, and when our frustrations fade our vision clears and we push on ahead.

That's just my thoughts on the matter though. What are yours? I'd love to hear them in the comments down below.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

8 Tropes That Writers Should't Stop Using (unless they want too.)

Recently I read this article by Rob W. Hart over at

They shared their "Top 10 Storytelling Cliches Writers Need To Stop Using" and why; I had a bit of a disagreement with 8 of them so here is my defense of those 8. I'm also opting to use the word trope over cliche when I feel that is more appropriate. I use Tv Tropes heavy and that is the reason for this.

I'm speaking solely from personal preference/opinion and do not pretend to be an expert. Also this is my first non-personal blog post in a while so their might be some mistakes.

1.) "Characters describing themselves in mirrors"

 As someone who started out there creative life as an artist, I believe the visual appearance of something is critical even in literature; and getting that out their critical unless you are going for mystery or fear. A character's appearance in my mind should be described in as much detail as possible, as soon as possible. If I'm going to be spending an entire book with this character I want to know what the person looks like.

Are there other ways to do this? Sure; but that doesn't make the mirror cliche bad. I've been hearing this over and over again and although I've never used the mirror cliche myself, I've never groaned at it's use or found it to be "bad writing".

I agree there are ways to work it into the narrative that are less upfront, but sometimes that's a bad thing. When details of character come after the reader has already developed their own vision, it creates dissonance; And while cliche, using a mirror or similar device avoids this entirely when done early on. I've personally put down more books because of visual dissonance than because of a mirror. As for the nobody takes stock of their features. I'm proof this factually incorrect because I almost always stare at my features in the mirror and take into account their details.

2.) "Broadcasting an upcoming plot twist."

I fully admit the "little did he know" example is pretty lazy writing, but there is nothing wrong
with foreshadowing events, in fact the opposite is what's know as Deus Ex Machina, and if "little did he know" prevents that I'm all for it. Even in mystery events shouldn't be random and out of left field that's more of cop out than anything on this list.

3.) "Blaming bad behavior on bad parenting."

 I can see this as cliche, but sadly this is just truth in television. You may call it a cop-out but
it's a realistic and sadly common in real life. It's just factual, you can call it bad writing all
you want but that won't make it go away. This doesn't mean writers shouldn't explore alternatives,
they should and I agree it's easy to just make the parents the villain but in some peoples cases
sadly they are; and sometimes it's just a matter of them writing what they know.

4.) "Too many inside jokes/references."

I love references, I would not shy away from calling myself a reference author. I make
references, my characters make references. I will defend references up and down,
and back again and I don't just think they can only be used for humor and wit. I believe they can be used to convey intense meaning, subtext, draw parallels and invoke powerful emotions. If done poorly it can alienate readers, but when done right which they often are from what I've found most readers don't even notice them and those who do have a deeper experience with the text.

5.) "The chosen one."

I can fully understand being adverse to this one, I hate the idea of a fate in the real world myself and I agree on his point about heroism but I also understand it having it's place. Plus this cliche has a big aspect of escapist fantasy to it, which is why people keep coming back to it; they love it.

They aren't just special, they're a hero and the only one who can help us. They get special powers,
and awesome weapons. Some people need this, it's comforting, it's confidence building, it gives them hope. That maybe just maybe they they have some grand fate waiting for them, some great task,
and the hope that a work like that inspires in them can help them move mountains.

6.) "Countdown clocks."

 This one doesn't even have a legit reason why it's a cop out, it's a just cheap dig at The Dark Knight Rises.

7.) "Veiling your message in a dream."

This is another case where the hyperbole of "Nobody ever X" really starts to grain on me, mainly
because I have dreams like this all the time, and I know several people who also dream
like this. So in an event of "Write what you know" I do in fact write like this and see nothing
wrong with it.

8.) "Using sex as wish fulfillment."

I don't really have an issue with this personally, but I'm not going to defend it either.

9.) "Magical Negroes and Noble Savages."

Finally something we can agree on!

10.) "Knocking characters unconscious for plot convenience."

This another one of those I do this and I'm proud of it issues. Granted in my works, it's justified through super-powers and the like.Though in this case I conceded ... in stories where it would be logical for them to be taken to a hospital but usually they are being knocked out by someone who probably doesn't want them to get medical care; like a bad guy.

But that's just my thoughts on the matter.