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!

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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

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

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!

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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?

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

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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?

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

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.

Image of Computer: 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.

Read moreWhy You Should Write for Episode

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

Waste Not Want Not: Hold Onto All Those “Bad Ideas”

So you’re in the shower, scrubbing away when a fantastic idea hits you. It consumes you like wildfire, leaving you with a fervour for writing that you may have forgotten you had in the past few weeks. You think of the intricate plot and allow individual scenes to flood your mind. Vivid images of your new characters walk in and out of your head. You’re hooked on this idea, and you rush out of the bathroom, towel trailing awkwardly after you, in pursuit of somewhere you can scribble down your notes before everything leaks out of your head. You do just that and survey your work with a look of utter triumph on your face. It’s been a long time since you felt so satisfied, and you’re ready to dive right into your new world… once you’ve dried your dripping hair and put some clothes on, of course.

Idea
Artwork by ChaoticDeluge @ DeviantArt

The problem is that when you get back to your desk, armed with a pen and a sense of determination, you start to notice the holes in your story. It seems to have reduced in quality significantly in the time it took you to dress yourself. Now you realise that the characters’ motivations seem to be off… there doesn’t seem to be any point to anything, and everything just seems… well… bad. You spend a few minutes, hours, or even days trying to correct it, but you can feel a deep sense of revulsion growing in the pit of your stomach, working its way up to create a lump in your throat. This idea is just no good. You don’t even know why you thought it was in the first place. You wasted all that time you could have spent doing something else… like having a longer shower. You pick up your notes and, shoulders sagging with defeat, rip them into as many pieces as you’re strong enough to muster, then throw the whole thing in the bin.

Does this scenario sound familiar to you? I’m sure we’ve all been there. Such is the woe of being an amateur writer, after all.

close up photography of crumpled paper
Photo by Steve Johnson on Pexels.com

Well, I’m sorry to tell you this, but you’re all wrong. What you did was stupid. All those good ideas – yes, they were probably a lot better than you’d led yourself to believe – thrown into the bin! Shame on you! So I’m here to tell you what you should do in the future to make yourself a much better writer.

Read moreWaste Not Want Not: Hold Onto All Those “Bad Ideas”

My New Godsend: The Ultimate Planning Resource!

So, over the years, I have been looking for a story planning resource that will help me formulate and compile all my complex fantastical stories in a way that is understandable, accessible and removes the time-consuming elements of planning a whole universe. I would sit there with thousands of ideas, and they would remain in my head, only to slowly leak out again because I didn’t have the patience to write down all of my thoughts and I found the ones I had written down really difficult to sort through when I’m looking for small details. I gave up attempting to plan my stories before writing them, sticking to a short 2000 word summary of what I wanted to happen at the beginning, middle and end. However, what that meant is that all the beautiful ideas I had in Chapter One would either have to be put into the story there and then, or I would have to see if they would survive the passage of time and the slow leaking of my memories, so that I can place them in Chapter Ten instead.

So what the hell was I supposed to do? I tried so many different apps and ended up spending a fortune on Persona, Timeline 3D and MacFamilyTree 8 for my MacBook Pro in the vain attempt to compile all my data into timelines and family trees and character profiles. It did somewhat help, but having to use three apps for planning stories caused so, so many issues. There are too many of them, so I’ll just mention a few that really affected me.

For one, I was forced to work on four documents when writing down the original draft of a chapter to keep my facts straight. Sometimes I would employ my iPad on the side so that I didn’t have to keep opening app after app and feeling a little bit lost.

Secondly, there was the problem of the fact that each app only had one function. One could help me understand the elaborate makeup of the Royal Family, but it didn’t help me to cross-reference this with who was in charge of the country when a specific war was going on and how they would have contributed to the growing tension, for example. That would involve me going back to the timeline and cross-referencing it with the Family Tree app, then looking at the character profile app to have a little delve into their character.

The worst issue, in my opinion, is the fact that using three apps at once can cause so many discrepancies to appear! On one particularly frustrating writing session, after I had decided that it was stupid of me to not add all the Royal dates to the Timeline app and spending three hours doing that, I realised that I needed to know how old Princess Evanna was when she was captured. I went to my Family Tree app and had a look at her birthday… hold on! The story starts in the year 2206, and I had established her as seventeen! So why does the Family Tree app say that she was born in 2190 while the Timeline app says she was born in 2189?! Uh oh. I had to go back and cross-reference once again to make all my dates match. What a palaver!

Do you know what would be useful? An app that does a lot more than just the character profiles or locations or magic systems or different races that I have in my story. An app which compiles a lot of data that would possibly serve as super useful to me when I’m trying to sort through my ideas and actually use them in my writing. Something that can link characters via their relationships like a family tree app, whilst also allowing me to explain what the differences are between the various fantastical humanoid races I have used. Something that looks pleasant, cuts down the planning time, and has a search feature so that I can remember what the hell I was talking about when I wanted to add in a special plot point back in February 2017.

It has taken me almost two years, but I have found exactly that! And I don’t want to keep it to myself!

Read moreMy New Godsend: The Ultimate Planning Resource!

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