Diversity: Changing Your Language Helps Your Story

You Can Improve Your Diversity by Changing Your Language

If you’re like me, you might have spent a lot of your time wondering how you can make your stories more diverse. Sometimes the task might seem so impossible! There are so many things that you have to think about in order to make people happy with your story that it might seem like it will never happen. Believe me, I get it! But there are small things that you can do to make diversity that much easier for you. One of them that I thought of recently was changing the language we use when we’re speaking about diversity. You see, language can help us change our attitudes about certain things. If we shift the way that we speak about diversity, we can change the way to think about it and treat it in our stories. That’s going to help us so much!

No, I’m not here to police you or tell you to stop using the words you want to. This isn’t about forcing you to speak about diversity in a certain way. Sure, language can help us to change and grow as writers, especially when it comes to diversity. That doesn’t mean someone’s bad or wrong if they don’t use language in this way, though. We shouldn’t shame people who are trying! This is about helping yourself, not hating others. If you use language in a productive way, people will (hopefully) understand and respond to the way you see diversity and we can have helpful talks about how we can grow and improve as writers.

So stick around! Here are my suggestions on how you can change up your language to make your diversity come more naturally to you. If we can change the way people think about diversity, we can make the discussion a healthy one!

Read moreDiversity: Changing Your Language Helps Your Story

How to Make Your Bad Boys Good Characters

How to Make Your Bad Boys Good Characters - Bad Boy Cover

As much as I’d love to say “throw them all out and have some more rounded characters”, I have to admit that bad boys have an appeal with readers that we just can’t ignore. Some people like mystery! And most bad boys, at the very least, pretend to be mysterious. They’re tough and broody, which intrigues so many of the young fangirls out there. They’re also really easy to write! I mean, you barely need to think about their character. The trope does all the work for you!

But that doesn’t mean you should let the trope do all the work. You see, most bad boys are lazy characters. They’re thrown together because the writer knows they’ll do well whether they’re developed or not. And many fans will come flocking, ready to defend the bad boy and his actions to the ends of the earth. But you don’t need to be like that! Bad boys may give you easy reads, but you don’t need to make them simple, 2D characters! One of the biggest problems with bad boys is how they’re handled. They don’t often grow or change. No one calls them out for their actions. Worst of all, they give the main character (MC) so much emotional abuse that goes unchecked. Not the nicest thing to promote in the world. So we should challenge it!

But how can we start doing that? Well, stick around and I’ll show you how to turn your bland boys into complex characters.

Side note: I’ll be using “him” to talk about the bad boy and “her” to talk about the MC just to keep things simple. However, this could be swapped. There can also be a bad boy/girl and nonbinary people in LGBTQ stories.

Read moreHow to Make Your Bad Boys Good Characters

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!

Read moreWhat Should You Do with Criticism?

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.

Read moreHow to Fix Your Mary-Sues

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?

The Ultimate Guide to Writing Great Plots

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!

Read moreThe Ultimate Guide to Writing a Great Plot

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!

How to Make Your Characters Likeable - Image

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!

Read moreHow to Make Your Characters Likeable

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?

Why Diversity Matters - Image

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.

Read moreWhy Diversity Matters and What That Means for You

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.

There, their or they're?

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!

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

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.

Mistakes in Romance Stories - Cute romantic couple

Read moreBad Romance Story Tropes that Make Me Stop Reading

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.

When You Hate Your Story - Chaotic Deluge

Read moreWhat to Do When You Hate Your Story

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?

Dictionary search for the word "grammar".

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.

Read moreWhy You Need Good Grammar in Your Stories

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.

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

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.

Read more3 Weird Ways to Improve Your Characters

How To Write Diversity Well

Diversity can be a really hard thing to add to your story. It’s stressful! If you’re anything like me a few years ago, you’re worried that you’ll do it all wrong and people will hate your story. Or maybe they’ll even hate you! When you say this to other people, they might shrug you off and claim you’re being silly, but your concerns are 100% fair. I’m here to tell you that it’s normal to worry about diversity. In fact, with the way people on the internet can act sometimes, I’d be surprised if you weren’t scared!

But you don’t really have anything to worry about. Diversity has become this big, scary word, but what we mean by it is pretty simple. I think it’s a pretty bad term because it makes it seem like minorities need to be added to a story. It makes minorities seem weird or other, which is the exact opposite of what diversity should be doing. It’s about connecting people, not making them feel further apart! So many many people bite their nails about representation that it makes me feel like we’ve gone about this in the wrong way. Until we come up with something better, though, we’re stuck with what we’ve got.

It’s about time that someone gives you some proper, easy-to-follow tips on how to make your casts diverse. That’s what I’m going to try my best to do! So sit tight and relax. It’s a lot easier than you’d think!

Read moreHow To Write Diversity Well

Episode Writers: How to Get Story Reads

On Episode, promoting your story is a lot harder than it seems. Episode doesn’t do much to help their less known authors, so it’s down to us to make sure that we spread the word. That’s fine! At least it means we’re all in the same boat. But then how do some authors get so big while some amazing stories get lost in the shadows?

There are thousands of stories on Episode and it’s your job to stand out among the crowd. Woah. Crazy, right? No wonder there are so many amazing stories that never get the reads they should! How is one person supposed to stand out in a crowd of thousands when they have no help at all? Well, I’m here to tell you that it is possible. It will take you some work, but if you’re passionate about seeing the results, you can do it.

While I can’t promise you that I will make you popular, I can say that these are the best strategies for getting there. It’s all down to you and your story if they work. Stick around and I’ll introduce you to the Episode beast and show you how you can slay it for good.

Read moreEpisode Writers: How to Get Story Reads

How To Use Gem Choices Well

Gem choices have always gained a lot of criticism, and I know why! I was one of the people who hated the idea when they put them in featured stories, and you can bet that I was angry when they were added to community stories. It was a real worry to me that people would overuse them or use them badly. I thought they’d be treated as a way to get into the Writer’s Payments section as soon as possible and screw over the reader. I didn’t think that community writers could handle it.

Well, I can be wrong. I was definitely wrong about this one! In fact, it turns out that the Episode team sucks at using gem choices, while loads of the community authors use them well. Typical Episode. They teach one thing and preach another! So I’ve changed my mind about gem choices after seeing them used well in stories like The Infected. Lots of authors are using them well, and I really can’t complain.

There is still the chance that you could abuse gem choices, though. If you’re using them as a means to an end (to get into the Writer’s Payments), the chances are that you’re using them wrong. If you think about them and use them with care, there’s no reason why they can’t be a great bonus to your story! So sit back and I’ll give you some ways to use them well!

Read moreHow To Use Gem Choices Well

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Before you go, have you subscribed to our newsletter?

We’re always here to give you lots of great tips and tricks on how to improve your writing! Stay up to date with us for all the best tools and info, free of charge!