Trans Women on Episode: The New Update

Trans Women on Episode Update - Episode Logo on Trans Flag

Last Thursday, Episode introduced a new update that allows us to create trans women using the binary male body type. That’s great news for a lot of people out there for many reasons! As well as giving us more freedom to represent trans women, Episode has also given us the ability to represent drag queens, nonbinary people and cis men who like to wear “feminine” clothing. This is a massive leap forward, in my eyes! But with all of this progress, I think it’s time that we sat down to talk about how to represent trans women on Episode the right way.

Now, I’m just a cis woman. I’m not an authority on trans representation or how it feels to be a trans person. I’m just an ally with a little bit of influence and a lot of hope for this new update. I am, by no means, trying to speak over any of the trans people out there who want to comment on the issue. However, as a cis woman, I can see and understand the mistakes that cis people make when trying to represent trans women on Episode. I made many of them myself once upon a time! I probably still make many now. All we can do is learn and grow. Make sure you listen to as many trans people as you can on the issue. Use me as a starting point. Don’t just stick to cis people like me.

I’m also choosing to stick to trans women in this post. That’s because I hope there’s another update in the future aimed at representation for trans men! So with that in mind, let’s jump right in. Here are some of the things that I think need to be said about the new update.

Read moreTrans Women on Episode: The New Update

How to Write LGBTQ Characters Well

LGBTQ Pride - How to Write LGBTQ Characters Well

With this weekend being the start of Pride month, I think it’s a great idea to talk about how we can write our LGBTQ characters well. 2019 is a great time to broaden your horizons and write about a new group of people. There have been talks about representation and how we can write good minority characters! That means that there are more resources for you to look at than ever before! The LGBTQ community always needs allies to help them get their voice heard!

But let’s be honest: writing LGBTQ characters can be a daunting task. As with any other kind of minority group, it seems like people are judging your characters more! Plus the LGBTQ community makes a big deal out of representation, right? You might want to do things right, but it can feel like everyone’s working against you. I get that! But it doesn’t have to be like that! You don’t have to be so stressed. LGBTQ people don’t need to be so different from straight, cis people, really. You just have to make sure that you put some thought and care into how you present them and the messages you give off.

That still sounds scary, right? Well, don’t worry! I’m here to help you! I’m starting a whole series of posts to guide you through making your LGBTQ characters awesome! You won’t feel so lost by the end! Here is a great guide to writing LGBTQ characters well.

Read moreHow to Write LGBTQ Characters Well

Things All New Episode Writers Should Know

Things All New Episode Writers Should Know

So you’re a new Episode writer? Awesome! Episode is a great platform to start writing on. You have the chance to build your audience and show them your story in a fun, visual way that could hook anyone. But there are many things you need to know as an Episode writer. You seem it’s not all fun and games. Well, it’s mostly fun and games, but it’s going to take you a lot of hard work. Writing for Episode is a challenge! You’re going to have to develop a whole range of skills to do well on the app.

So I’ve put together a list of things I wish I had known when I chose to become an Episode writer. They might seem quite scary at first, but don’t worry! You don’t need to learn all of these off by heart before you so much as type a word on the portal. Of course not! It’s just a good idea to have some of the big things in your mind so that you don’t spend a lot of very confused months wondering how you’re even supposed to do this Episode thing. So just keep these things in mind when you start. Keep coming back to this list if it will help you! Bookmark it! Just make sure that you have a good idea of what it means to be an Episode author and you’ll be off to a great start!

Read moreThings All New Episode Writers Should Know

Great Writing Resources: My Recommendations

Writing Resources Featured Image

The best thing about being a writer in the internet age is the number of great writing resources that we have at the click of a button. The internet is full of helpful articles and great tips to help you write! Plus, you have Amazon at your fingertips, so you an get the best ebooks and writing aids. The chances are that you know all of this already, though! You are reading a resource right now! That being said, one of the main problems with having so many resources is knowing which to choose. All of them look good, don’t they? But you can’t use them all! If you try, you might end up spending more time ogling at all the choice you have and not enough time writing.can

So it’s a good idea to find the best writing resources and have them all in once place for you to choose from. That’s where I come in! I’ve spent a long time going through books and websites that promise to help you write. I’ve come out of the other side with a bunch of great things for you to use! Some of them help you to plan. Others are more about helping to cure writer’s block. There are even some in there to help you with layout and other style stuff.

So stick around and I’ll make your writing journey just a little easier.

Read moreGreat Writing Resources: My Recommendations

How to Use The Narrator in Interactive Stories

Narrator Focuses the Story

Whether you’re writing on Episode, Chapters or Tap by Wattpad, the chances are that you’re going to need to use a narrator at some point in the story. In fact, they can be one of the most important parts of the writing process! They’re definitely a character in their own right! So it’s important to know how to use them well. Your reader is going to be spending a lot of time with them, after all! It would be silly not to put some thought into how you’re writing that all-important character and whether there could be a better way to go about it.

But after all the time I spent and Google searches I did for this blog post, I can safely say that there’s not a lot out there to help you figure out how to make your narrator work. People speak about how they’re used in books and the different types you can have, but very few dedicate their time to explaining how to go about making each one work. Especially on apps like Episode! Interactive stories are so new as mediums that it’s very hard to find much info on how to write well at all.

That’s where I come in. As an Episode and Chapters author myself, I’ve spent a lot of my time experimenting to find out what works and what doesn’t. So keep reading and I’ll let you in on what works, what doesn’t and how you can choose the best narrator for your story.

Read moreHow to Use The Narrator in Interactive Stories

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

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

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