What Should You Do with Criticism?

What Should You Do with Criticism - Feedback Image

Criticism can he hard to swallow as a writer. After all, your story is like your baby! You put so much love and time into making it what it is that criticism can feel like an attack. I hear you! It’s not the nicest thing in the world to look through your fanmails and see post after post telling you what you did wrong. But that’s not the point of criticism! It’s not there to judge you or make you angry. It’s not there to hate on your story. In fact, it’s there to help you become a better writer.

But how should you deal with it? Should we be just blindly accepting all the feedback that we get? Of course not! It’s all about assessing what criticism works for you and your story and making an effort to see things from your readers’ points of view. After all, they’re the people you need to appeal to. They’re the ones who are going to give you the reads and praise and popularity that you want. And if you don’t handle criticism well, you could end up angering, upsetting or lashing out at the people who are there to support your story. Not a good image! And it will affect the way your work is treated in the future.

So here are some tips on how to deal with criticism in the right way. It should let you keep being the boss of your story whilst giving your readers the say that they want and deserve. The fact is that they’re going to discuss and criticise the story whether you like it or not. So you might as well give them the space they need to help them feel comfortable and happy!

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How to Fix Your Mary-Sues

How to Fix Your Mary-Sues - Image of Mary-Sue

So you have some Mary-Sues in your story and you want to fix them? Good idea! Mary-Sues can kill any great story if you’re not careful. They make the story seem fake and unrealistic by taking us out of the real world. No one in the real world is this bland and perfect, and who the hell would want to read about a perfect person, anyway? So it’s important that you know how to arm yourself against them and make your main character (MC) a good, interesting character.

I don’t care what excuse you have. Mary-Sues are just not interesting to read or talk about, frankly. They make you look like a bad writer who can’t give a character flaws or make them cool in their own way, so they just have to be good at everything they touch. Or maybe you’ll look like a little kid playing at being a writer. I don’t care if you’re 13 years old. You can write a mature story! But not if you fill it with Mary-Sues!

So how do you get rid of them? Well, there are many things that you’re going to need to do, starting with admitting a few truths to yourself. It will take some hard work, but if you’re willing to put the time and effort in, you’re going to make a story that’s much amazing, fun, and enjoyable to read.

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The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Great Plot

The Ultimate Guide to Writing Great Plots

All stories need a great plot. The plot and the characters make the story, so they’re two things that you need to get right. There’s no way that you can have a good story without them! If your characters are bad, then it doesn’t matter how good your plot is. You won’t have anyone there to pull it off well enough. If the plot isn’t the best, then your amazing characters will have nothing interesting to do. So there’s a lot to think about in your writing! How do you know that you’re doing both right? And what even makes a good character or plot, anyway?

Well, let’s have a look at plots, then. There’s so much that goes into making a great plot! It can seem quite overwhelming if I’m honest with you! You need to think about beginnings, middles and ends and everything in between. What makes the end of a plot good, anyway? And how do you even begin to tie them together? There are so many questions that you’re almost expected to know the answers to already.

Well, I’m here to tell you that there’s nothing wrong with not knowing the answers yet. That’s where I come in! I’ll break the story down bit by bit, so you can have a real look at the most important things to consider in your plot. I’ll break the big plot question into short bite-sized chunks so that you can digest it all easier. So sit back and relax! It might seem like too much, but we’ve got this!

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How to Make Your Characters Likeable

How to Make Your Characters Likeable - Image

Most stories rely on good characters. There are only a few that don’t! Readers have to follow these characters around through the plot, so it makes sense that they’re interesting and fun to read. Part of that is about making them likeable. If readers like characters (even the evil ones), the chances are that they’re going to stick around and keep reading, even if the plot isn’t the best. They’ll want to know what happens to their favourites and how they deal with the challenges you throw at them, even if other parts of your story are lacking. Characters make stories!

But how do you start? I mean, it’s all well and good to say that we should focus on making characters likeable. But what does that mean, exactly? How do you come about doing it? Well, it’s actually a lot easier than you’d think. Follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to making a likeable character in no time!

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Izuku Midoriya: the Character That Stands Out

Izuku Midoriya the Character who Stands Out

When you think of Shōnen anime, what stands out to you? Is it the characters? If so, what is it about the characters that actually stands out? You could say it’s their personality, but these characters have been pretty similar across different shows for a long time now. In which case, how can they stand out if they’re all just clones of each other? This is where Izuku ‘Deku’ Midoriya comes in. It’s really refreshing that he’s so different in an anime that is supposed to be the perfect shōnen show.

Izuku is a great character to really get down and have a look at for any writer who wants to use cliches without just becoming like any other story in their genre. Deku breaks away from other protagonists like him in a lot of really subtle ways. He also has a lot in common with them, too. That’s what makes Deku so unique! He really feels natural without going overboard with his differences. It just goes to show that you don’t need to change every detail about them to make your character stand out!

Let’s be honest: we can never make something truly original, but you can change up the tropes that are already there. ShanniiWrites has mentioned the ‘unique selling point’ in her post about writing for Episode Deku is a great example of a unique selling point. Sit back, relax, and I’ll tell you why!

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Why Diversity Matters and What That Means for You

Why Diversity Matters - Image

Diversity has been a big deal with audiences lately. It seems that no matter where you look, you’ll find readers talking about how there’s not enough diversity in one story, or that a film has some great diversity in it. For a lot of people, this seems to have come out of nowhere! I mean, not long ago, we weren’t really spending much time talking about diverse casts and representation. So why does everyone suddenly care now? What’s changed? And what should you do about it?

There is nothing wrong with asking these questions. I know that it can sometimes seem like people want to scream at you whenever you ask the most simple of things. That’s an awful way to react, but it doesn’t come from nowhere. There is a very small but very vocal group of people on the internet who hate the thought of writers adding minority characters to their stories. The trolls and the racists don’t make up even a small minority of the people asking questions, but they do speak the most and the loudest. It means a lot of minority people out there are on the edge already.

But I’m not here to tell you not to ask questions. I’m here to answer any serious ones that you might have. I’m here to not treat you as evil just because you don’t understand yet. So as long as you’re willing to keep your mind open and keep a rational head, I’ll help you to understand what’s going on here.

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There, Their or They’re: Which Should You Use?

There, their or they're?

Let’s face it: English grammar is hard. I’m an EFL teacher and an amateur editor, so I have to know lots about grammar. I still make mistakes, too! There’s no harm in getting things wrong! But there are some very common mistakes that loads of writers make. While that means your readers will understand why you made them, it also means there are plenty of people on the look-out, ready to correct you whenever they see them. One of the biggest ones is using there, their or they’re in your stories. If you get these right, you’ll be on your way to avoid the worst of mistakes in your writing.

It’s difficult, isn’t it? I mean, they all sound the same when we speak! Why does there have to be three spellings anyway? Does it really matter if you use there instead of they’re, or their instead of there? They’re fair questions. Some people just choose one spelling and stick to it. That’s fair enough, I guess. But when you want to get people to notice your story, it’s not great to mix them up or pick one and hope for the best. It screams that you’re an amateur! And as I’ve mentioned in my blog post about why you need good grammar, it’s one of the most straightforward things to correct, so you look pretty bad when you don’t!

So give me a chance to help you. It’s tricky, but with some dedication and practice, you’ll get it sorted in no time!

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Bad Romance Story Tropes that Make Me Stop Reading

Mistakes in Romance Stories - Cute romantic couple

The romance genre is full of bad stories. Let’s not lie to ourselves! Since it’s such a popular genre to write about, it makes sense that there’s a lot of awful stuff out there. But since we know that, doesn’t it make sense to try to change it? Or at the very least, shouldn’t you use your knowledge to stand out from the crowd? If you recognise the worst of the mistakes in romance stories, you can arm yourself against them and make something that stands out from the crowd.

There’s no reason why you can’t write a great romance story if you put a little thought into it. The first step is to be aware of the issues so that you can avoid, alter or turn them on their head. If you can do that, you have the chance to make something great! It’s up to you. So here are the top romance story mistakes to avoid.

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What to Do When You Hate Your Story

When You Hate Your Story - Chaotic Deluge

As writers, we often have a love/hate relationship with our stories. One minute they fill us with excitement and give us a reason to get up in the morning. The next, we’re pulling our hair out because they make us so angry. Sometimes, you can jump between these two feelings by the minute. I’ve done that before! And at the worst times, it can feel like there’s no point to your story — like you might as well stop now and get a new hobby.

We’ve all been there, believe me! You’re not alone! In fact, it’s so normal that I’d worry if you didn’t feel that way from time to time. I don’t think you need to spend your whole time writing with a sour look on your face. No! It’s just important to feel like you’re helpless from time to time. After all, writing isn’t an easy task. So hating your story is an important part of the writing process. It gives you a chance to do something about it and make your story even better.

But it’s not healthy to stay in that place. Sure, it’s a good idea to feel those feelings from time to time. However, letting them take over is going to cripple you and stop you from writing anything at all! That’s why it’s so important to strike that right balance. And here are the best tips to getting back on your feet when you hate your story.

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Why You Need Good Grammar in Your Stories

Dictionary search for the word "grammar".

You’ve probably heard people say that you need good grammar before. They’ll read your story and point out the smallest errors and that can leave you angry or annoyed. Why does it even matter so much, anyway? If they know what you mean, why should they even care? You’re only human, after all. You’re going to make mistakes! And of all the things they could focus on, they choose the thing that seems to have nothing to do with the story. Believe me! I get where you’re coming from! So why would you need good grammar in your stories so bad?

I understand how tempting it can be to just type away and hope your ideas make up for the language. You have some good points to make, but you just don’t have the language skills to show it yet. Why should you have to limit your imagination just because you aren’t a grammar expert? It does kinda seem like other writers are just being elitist from the outside. I mean, they don’t seem to care if you have the best story idea in the world! Ugh.

Well, there is a good reason why people say what they do. In fact, there are many good reasons! Who doesn’t want to read a well-written story, after all? Stories aren’t just good ideas written down on scraps of paper. It takes care to write well, and that’s what a lot of readers are looking for.

Still not sure? Well, here are some reasons why you need good grammar in your stories.

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Great Books To Read for World Book Day

World Book Day Logo - Books You Should Read

Happy World Book Day! As an avid reader, I have to say that I absolutely adore this day. I don’t need an excuse to celebrate books, but it’s great that there is one! It doesn’t matter how young or old you are. World Book Day should be an excuse to read some of those books you’ve added to your growing reading list. You have to start somewhere! So take a few minutes out of your busy lives today. Pop down to your local bookshop or browse Amazon’s incredible library. Or maybe you can crack open one of those novels you’ve had sitting, unopened, on your shelf for years. Whether you have an e-reader or you’re going to check out some books from your local library, today is the day.

World Book Day Logo - Books You Should Read

But many of us face a dilemma: we do want to read, but we have no clue where to start! Believe me, I know that feeling. There are so many books to read and so little time! Or you signed up for an email newsletter years ago and now you’re swamped with endless suggestions. Maybe you just need a little more info on the book before you commit to it. Whatever your reason, it can be nice to get some ideas from real people instead of machines pumping out promotion emails. That’s where I come in. I’ve read thousands of books over my short life. Some of them were very good and some of them were very bad. Most of them were somewhere in the middle.

Here are some of my favourite books and why I think you should read them this World Book Day.

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3 Weird Ways to Improve Your Characters

Art model covered in paint - weird ways to improve your characters

When it comes to planning your characters, it’s best to think outside of the box. No one likes boring, over-done and repetitive characters! That’s why you need to put a lot of thought into what you make. If you can think of weird and unique ways to improve your characters, you’re going to have an edge over everyone else out there. You’ll have new things to write about and lots of material to think about when you have writer’s block.

In this day and age, there are so many different things we can use to make our stories great if we put some thought into it. So why wouldn’t we take the time to use what we have? It only seems natural to me! I don’t know about you, but I’m so bored of using the same old character creation tools. I expect to be blown away by them every time! And it doesn’t happen. It’s time for us to shake up the way we look at things.

That’s exactly what we’re here to do. These methods are going to be strange, but will really help you if you give them a chance! Keep your mind open and take all of these tips on board. Of course, they are going to be weird. That’s the point! But give them a chance. I promise that they will really help you improve the way you write your characters.

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Why You Should Write for Episode

Image of Computer: Why You Should Write for Episode

Episode Interactive has its pros and cons. It’s a great app that helps readers to connect with stories in a new and exciting way. Plus, it makes it really easy to chat with your new fans! I loved reading and writing Episode stories during my time on the app. However, learning the code can be a scary prospect for new writers. This is really true if you haven’t read much on the app before you start (which you should do). So I’ve had many people ask me what the point of writing for Episode is. It seems like a lot of work for nothing to them. That’s fair enough, but there are some great reasons why you should write for Episode.

So whether you’re new to the idea of Episode or a veteran reader trying to decide whether you should join the writing crew, there’s a lot of reasons why you should write. Some of them are good for you and some of them are good for the community as a whole. We’re always looking for new writers and new people to talk to. You’ll be welcome for sure! So before you make your decision, give me a chance to tell you why you should write for Episode.

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What Sells on Episode?

If you tap into the romance genre, you can sell as well as Episode

If you want to write something that will get lots of views, you’re not alone. Yes, some people might call it selling out, but I beg to differ! It is fair enough if you spend time thinking about your readers and what you can do to make them happy. After all, who wouldn’t want to get reads for all of their hard work? So all of you authors probably want to know what sells on Episode. I mean, there’s no harm in knowing! Even if you decide that making popular stories isn’t for you, it is great to know your competition.

To be honest, I don’t even see it as selling out if you add a few tropes that you know will get attention. You just need to make sure that you care more about making a story you love. It’s only selling out if you let your money-making needs take over the plot and quality of what you make. It’s all about taking some of the story points that sell and making something new and unique that hasn’t been done before. I’ve spoken about “the same, but different” in my post on writing Episode stories, and this is the best way to do it. Make stories that people will recognise, but make them new and fresh!

So sit back and relax. It doesn’t matter if you end up using these selling points or not! Knowing the things that sell helps you to use them and avoid them. If you’re keen on building your audience, you could start with a story full of cliches, then move onto something more you once you have loyal readers. You can always learn something from the popular stuff in stories if you keep your eyes open.

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