If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. ~Stephen King
This is the best writing advice anyone ever gave me and let’s be honest it’s awesome to be able to curl up on the couch with a good book and call it working. Reading teaches you about writing. Good books give you something to aspire to, bad books teach you what to avoid.
I try to read a book a week for review. (We post our reviews for Writers Write on The Bluestocking Review.) Reading for review is different to reading for fun. It makes me pay attention to things I’d usually overlook because reading like a writer is different to reading like a reader.
When I read for review I take note of the following:
- Genre: Is it a genre I enjoy? I don’t think it’s fair to the author if I read a genre I don’t like. I read across many genres so this isn’t the biggest issue. But does it hold true to its promise? Did it entertain me, scare me, or let me fall in love again?
- Viewpoint: I prefer books written in the 1st person, but only if the writer can pull it off. A trend at the moment is to have two alternating first person accounts. Very few authors can do this. It annoys me when the two characters sound the same. I do enjoy good 2nd and 3rd person accounts as well.
- Characters: Are they well developed? Are they believable?
- Dialogue: I adore dialogue. The more the better, but is it well written? Does it convey character and advance the story? I will put a book down if it lacks dialogue.
- Setting: How does the author convey this? Does he portray a sense of space by letting his character interact with the setting or does he bore me to death with paragraphs of description?
- Description: Coma inducing or a feast for my senses? I hate blocks of description. I prefer it when it is woven into a story.
- Pace: Did it start at an incredible pace only to run out at steam in the middle? Did it take forever to get going? Was it too fast overall or too slow?
- Plot: Does the story work? Is it believable? Is it good? Was it unexpected or predictable?
- Did I like the book or not? I allocate a mark out of 5. (See our scoring criteria.)
Once I have taken all of that into account I write a review of 150 words. I write one paragraph outlining the plot and one paragraph about my opinion. There is no point in writing a 1000-word book review. Be honest, those are the ones you don’t read on Amazon and Goodreads. I don’t necessarily touch on every point but I highlight the parts that impressed or disappointed me.
I learn from every book I read. If I find something I enjoy I examine it and see if I can apply the techniques to my writing. If I find something that irritates me I’ll work through my manuscripts to see if I have made the same mistake.
Book reviews are also something you can mention in a query letter. An editor could read them and will be able to see if you know what you are talking about when it comes to writing. Anyhow, it’s a great exercise. Perhaps you could try writing a review for your own book?
by Mia Botha for Writers Write
Although arrests can vary on the drama-scale (not every criminal is dragged away kicking and screaming, CSI-style), there are certain procedure that police must follow for the arrest to be considered legal and valid. The process of an actual arrest is fairly straightforward, though.
Here are some facts:
- An arrest is when a person is taken into police custody under suspicion of a crime, at which point he or she cannot walk away. There must be substantial grounds for a case before an arrest can be made. During an arrest, a person is charged with a specific crime.
- Taking someone in for questioning is not an arrest. This happens when there is circumstantial evidence linking the suspect to the crime, but the suspect is not obligated to give the officers information and can access a lawyer at any time. The police cannot hold a suspect for more than seventy-two hours without making an official arrest, although that time is forty-eight hours in some states.
- A person is always innocent until proven guilty from a legal standpoint, and the police cannot infringe on a person’s individual rights without probable cause.
- A person cannot be arrested for the same singular incident more than once. If a person is arrested and the charges are dropped or they are released before charges can be pressed, the police cannot go back, find more evidence, and re-arrest the suspect for that particular occurrence of the crime.
Here’s the basic process:
- (In some cases) A person is accused of a crime and brought in for questioning, after which they are either released or taken into custody.
- When being taken into custody, the officer must read the suspect his/her Miranda Rights. Failure to do so invalidates the arrest, and the suspect cannot be taken into custody a second time.
- The police will search the person in custody for weapons and confiscate all personal belongings, and in some cases search the person’s car, home, etc.
- Once in police custody, the criminal will be processed (or booked) at the nearest police station. Officers will take down all personal information, fingerprint, and photograph the person arrested.
- The arrested person will be held in custody for up to seventy-two hours, during which the police will decide whether or not to press charges. During this time, the person will be detained in a local police station or holding facility.
- At the end of the seventy-two hours (or when the police come to a decision) the prisoner will be taken to his/her first court appearance. Three things happen: 1) the person is charged with the crime, and they can either plead guilty/not guilty or wait for the initial trial. 2) a jury determines whether the person should be released on bail/personal recognizance or held in custody until the date of the initial trial. Note: if the person is released, they are still being charged with the crime but can go about business as usual until the court date. 3) either a court-appointed attorney is given to the person in question or the suspect contacts his/her own attorney.
- Months can pass between the first court appearance and the initial trial, during which the defense and prosecution will put together their cases. During this time, the defense can organize a plea bargain—that is, the defense pleads guilty but accepts lighter punishment. The person arrested may still go to jail, face fines, etc., but the sentence will be lessened. There can also be minor court hearings between the first appearance and initial trial, also known as pre-trial hearings. Most cases don’t go to trial and are settled during pre-trial hearings.
- The trial itself can last for days. During the trial, defense and prosecution lawyers will present evidence supporting their case, question witnesses, and make opening/closing statements. In a trial, both sides must have an attorney present. After evidence is presented, the jury will go into a separate room to review the case and court will adjourn.
- To be found guilty, there must be no shadow of a doubt in the jury’s mind, and there must be a unanimous vote. For this reason, most defense lawyers will work not to prove that their client is innocent, but that they might not be guilty.
- Once the defense is found guilty, the person will be taken back into police custody and incarcerated for the remainder of his/her sentence. Even if convicted, the criminal can work for a shorter sentence or a second trial, but it is very difficult. At this point, he/she can’t be released on bail. That’s only before the initial trial. If the defense is found not guilty, he/she is free to go back to life as usual.
I hope this helps! I tried to be a thorough as possible, but if there’s anything else you need clarified feel free to let me know! (:
Hello, I would just like to add some info for anyone writing a historical dramatic fan fiction involving crimes and such. Before fingerprinting (late 1890s) the Bertillion system was used which involved measurements, physical description and photographs. This meant that occasionally because of similarities in appearance and miswritten info there were faulty arrests. I hope this helps someone
Woah, that’s really, really cool! Thanks so much for sharing!
1. Apps that help you focus
Cold Turkey (for Windows) and Concentrate (for MAC) allow you to block websites that distract you from your tasks, which in our case is writing our novel. You choose how long certain websites are going to be blocked. Cold Turkey is actually so…
No, I haven’t! This is not an exhaustive list by any means: just stories that I’ve read and enjoyed.
I’m most familiar with European fairy tales, as I grew up with them. A collection I like very much is Maria Tatar, The Classic Fairy Tales (PDF): a critical edition focusing on six major tales (Cinderella, Snow White, Beauty & the Beast, Bluebeard, Hansel & Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood), offering versions from different cultures, adaptations and rewritings and subversions, etc. It’s fascinating to compare.
Britain & Ireland
- Francis James Child, English & Scottish Popular Ballads [e-text]
- W.B. Yeats, Irish Fairy & Folk Tales: short stories & a handful of poems; written in Irish brogue; I like “The Soul Cages”, “The man who never knew fear”, and “Witches, Fairy Doctors”; also Stephens, Irish Fairy Tales (e-text).
- Oscar Wilde, The Happy Prince & Other Tales & A House of Pomegranates (e-text) or The Complete Fairy Tales. All of them. Just—all of them.
France & Italy:
- Early Italian: W.G. Waters, The Facetious Nights of Straparola (e-text), Giabattista Basile, Il Pantamerone; the Story of Stories (e-text), esp. “Cenerentola”, “Petrosinella”, and “Nennino & Nennella”. My favourite is “Talia”, the much darker version of Sleeping Beauty.
- 17th century French: Madame D’Aulnoy, Fairy Tales (e-text). Charles Perrault, Contes (e-text) or French text with facing English translation, esp. “Beauty & the Beast”, “Cinderella”, “Sleeping Beauty” and “Bluebeard”.
- Modern: Italo Calvino, Italian Folktales—200 stories, dark and often macabre yet warm and witty; I like “Apple Girl”, “Sleeping Beauty and Her Children”.
- Jack Zipes, Beauty and the Beast, and Other Classic French Tales
- E.T.A. Hoffmann, The Golden Pot & Other Tales or The Best Tales of Hoffman (e-text) esp. “Sandman”, “The Mines of Falun”, “The Golden Pot”, “The Nutcracker and the Mouse-King”. (Good overview of Hoffman’s work.)
- J.W. von Goethe, “The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily”.
- The Brothers Grimm: good introduction to German Romanticism/fairy tale context; Jack Zipes’ introduction to Brothers Grimm (PDF); Joan Acocella, “Once Upon A Time" (New Yorker); Ashliman’s online collection. My favourite: Manheim’s Grimms’ Tales For Young & Old, esp. “Hansel & Gretel”, “Cinderella”, “Snow-White & Rose-Red”, “The Twelve Dancing Princesses”.
Scandinavia & Russia
- Asbjørnsen & Moe, Popular Tales From the Norse (e-text, print); East of the Sun & West of the Moon
- Hans Christian Andersen: Jean Hersholt, The Complete Andersen: an online collection of all of Hans Christian Andersen’s tales. My favourite print edition is Erik Haugaard, The Complete Fairy Tales & Stories. Particularly “The Little Mermaid”, “The Snow Queen”, “The Little Match Girl”.
- Aleksandr Afanasev, Russian Fairytales (alt), especially “Vasilissa the Beautiful”, “The Fable of the Turnip and the Honeypot”, “Koschei the Deathless”, the Baba-Yaga tales, “Snow-Maiden”.
- China: Pu Songling, Strange Stories From a Chinese Studio, particularly “The Tiger Guest” and “Painted Skin”, “The Magic Sword”, “Magical Arts”. Also Ed Young’s Yon Po Po and Ai-Ling Louie’s Ya-Shen.
- Japan: Yei Theodora Ozaki, Japanese Fairy Tales. I like “Momotaro”, “The Mirror of Matsuyama”, “The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter" ("Princess Kaguya", soon to be adapted by Studio Ghibli), “The Ogre of Rashomon”, “Prince Yamato Take”; also Royall Tyler, Japanese Tales: 200+ stories, all very short—the “Love & Loss” and “Water” sections are particularly lovely.
- India: Joseph Jacobs, Indian Fairy Tales (e-text): I like “Punchkin” and “Loving Laili”; A. K. Ramanujan, Folktales From India; “Savitri”
Modern fairytales & adaptations:
- Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories (epub, online, especially “The Company of Wolves”); Ann Sexton, Transformations (PDF, Scribd); Tanith Lee, Red As Blood; Nalo Hopkinson, Skin Folk; Neil Gaiman, Smoke & Mirrors (epub/mobi); Bill Willingham, Fables (download); Tim Burton, The Melancholy Death of Oyster; Catherynne M. Valente, Deathless; Revolutionary Girl Utena, Guillermo del Toro, Pan’s Labyrinth; Emma Donoghue, Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins; Ellen Jackson, Cinder Edna; Jon Scieszka, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs; Louise Murphy, The True Story of Hansel & Gretel.
How to improve writing skills by reading different genres (Source)
Memory Loss is exactly what it says on the tin: the loss of memories. It is typically defined by an individual struggling to remember events and information they could once recall with ease.
When imagining amnesia, most people come up with an individual who remembers absolutely nothing up until the point when they became aware. Most commonly, the character wakes up one morning and remembers nothing of their past, right down to how they got to their current position and even who they are/what their name is.
So you might wonder, ‘Well, surely they’ve forgotten every influence ever put upon them? I bet they don’t even know how to act like themselves’.
It’s difficult to say whether personality is innate, learnt or a combination of both, but amnesia doesn’t cause one to forget their instincts and identity completely. There may be minor changes, but nothing like becoming a whole new person (although it does depend on the type/severity of the memory loss).
I think the key is to show that your character has the potential to develop personality, even if it’s different from that of their past self. So how does your character respond to everyday events such as:
- Having to wait for a long time for something they want/need;
- Seeing someone in distress/in need of assistance;
- Being unable to find their way to a new place;
- Learning about something exciting;
- Learning about something devastating;
- Being tested in some way? etc…Show the reader that this character is more than just a blank slate. A character with memory loss will still have feelings and instincts like any other person, they just don’t have the material in their memory bank to tell them if they’ve lived through a specific experience before.Really, the best advice I can give you is to research about amnesia, look at case studies and read books about it. Here are some resources that might be a good starting point though:
- Remember, Remember: The Basics of Writing Amnesia
- Amnesia: How Do I Write That?
- Benedicthelps: A Study on Amnesia
- Fuck Yeah, Medical Stuff! - Memory Loss
- How Stuff Works: Retrograde Amnesia
- NHS: Memory Loss (amnesia)
I hope this helps…
I started the preparation for a novel and wondered what kind of things I should ask my most important characters. So I looked around on the net and put this list together.
1. What is your full name?
2. Date and place of birth?
3. Tell me about your parents?
Another Halloween themed post.
GHOSTS AND SPIRITS
- Iron and Ghosts
- The Early Ghost
- Guide to Ghosts
- Gravestone Symbolism
- 10 Little Known Mysterious Ghost Types
- Ghost Types
- The Different Types of Ghosts
- Haunted Places
- Cemetery Folklore
- Writing a Ghost Story
- Tips for Writing Ghost Stories
- Ghost Cliches
- Horror Cliches
- The Science of Zombies
- Zombie Biology
- Zombie Sociology
- Zombie Myths
- Stage II and Stage III Zombies (pictures)
- Vampires vs Zombies
- Undead Creatures
- Guide on Zombies
SHAPE SHIFTERS AND HOMINIDS
- Werewolves and other were-beasts
- The Shape Shifting Process
- Shape Shifters
- Hominids of the World
- Werewolf Myths
- Science of Werewolves
- Werewolf Behavior
- Werewolves vs Vampires vs Zombies
- Werewolf Anatomy
- Wolf Body Language
- Werewolf Myths and Truths
- History of the Werewolf Legend
- The Mermaid
- Sea Creatures
- Books About Mermaids and Sea Folklore
- Sea Creatures: Books
- YA Mermaid Novels
- Best Mermaid Books
- Awesome Mermaid Books
- Mermaid Anatomy
- A Dissection of Mermaid Anatomy
- African Vampires
- Writing the A-Typical Vampire
- So You Want to Write a Vampire Novel
- Avoiding Vampire Cliches
- Vampire Cliches
- Vampire Burial
- Vampire Mythology
- Vampire Biology
- Vampire Virology
- Vampire Sociology
- Vampires in Folklore and Literature
FAIRIES AND FAE
- Types of Faeries A-Z
- A Guide to Fairies
- Other Names for Fairies
- Books About Faery
- Best YA Fairy Books
- Best YA Fantasy Series About the Fae
ANGELS AND DEMONS
- Creating Creepy Creatures
- Mythology Meme
- Master Post of World Mythology, Creatures, and Folklore
- Figures of Norse Mythology
- Those Who Haunt the Earth
- Writing Horror, Paranormal, and Supernatural
- Genre: YA Supernatural
- List of Mythical Creatures
- Mythological Creature Picture Spam
- How to Make Your Supernatural Characters Unique
- Supernatural Theme Story
- Myths and Urban Legends Masterpost
- Original Gods, Goddesses, and Myths
- World Building Basics: Myths and Legends
- Mythical Creatures and Beings
- Symbols by Word
- Mythology Meme
- Writing Paranormal Characters into the Real World
This is an ultimate masterlist of many, many resources that could be helpful for writers/roleplayers.
- Improve Your Writing Habits Now
- 5 Ways to Add Sparkle to Your Writing
- Getting Over Roleplaying Insecurities
- Improve Your Paras
- Why the Right Word Choices Result in Better Writing
- 4 Ways To Have Confidence in Your Writing
- Writing Better Than You Normally Do
- How’s My Driving?
- A Description Resource
- 55 Words to Describe Someones Voice
- Describing Skin Colors
- Describing a Person: Adding Details
- Emotions Vocabulary
- 90 Words For ‘Looks’
- Be More Descriptive
- Describe a Character’s Look Well
- 100 Words for Facial Expressions
- To Show and Not To Tell
- Words to Describe Facial Expressions
- Describing Clothes
- List of Actions
- Tone, Feelings and Emotions
- Writing Specific Characters
- Character Guides
- Writing Help for Writers
- Ultimate Writing Resource List
- Lots of RP Guides
- Online Writing Resources
- List of Websites to Help You Focus
- Resources for Writing Bio’s
- Helpful Links for Writing Help
- General Writing Resources
- Resources for Biography Writing
- Mental Ilnesses/Disorders Guides
- 8 Words You Should Avoid While Writing
- Body Language Cheat
- Body Language Reference Cheat
- Tips for Writers: Body Language
- Types of Crying
- Body Language: Mirroring
- Words Instead of Walk (2)
- Commonly Confused Adjectives
- A Guide on Punctuation
- Common Writing Mistakes
- 25 Synoms for ‘Expession’
- How to: Avoid Misusing Variations of Words
- Words to Keep Inside Your Pocket
- The 13 Trickiest Grammar Hang-Ups
- Other Ways to Say..
- 300+ Sophiscated and Underused Words
- List of Misused Words
- Words for Sex
- 100 Beautiful and Ugly Words
- Words to Use More Often
- Alternatives for ‘Smile’ or ‘Laugh’
- Three Self Editing Tips
- Words to Use Instead of ‘Walk’, ‘Said’, ‘Happy’ and ‘Sad’
- Synonyms for Common Words
- Alternatives for ‘Smile’
- Transitional Words
- The Many Faces and Meanings of ‘Said’
- Synonyms for ‘Wrote’
- A Case Of She Said, She Said
- How to: Cure Writer’s Block
- Some Tips on Writer’s Block
- Got Writer’s Block?
- 6 Ways to Beat Writer’s Block
- Tips for Dealing With Writer’s Block
- How to: Make That Application Your Bitch
- How to: Make Your App Better
- How to: Submit a Flawless Audition
- 10 Tips for Applying
- Para Sample Ideas
- 5 Tips on Writing an IC Para Sample
- Writing an IC Sample Without Escaping From the Bio
- How to: Create a Worthy IC Para Sample
- How to: Write an Impressive Para Sample
- How to: Lengthen Short Para’s
- Drabble Stuff
- Prompts List
- Writing Prompts
- Drabble Prompts
- How to Get Into Character
- Writing Challenges/Prompts
- A Study in Writing Prompts for RPs
- Para Prompts & Ideas
- Writing Prompts for Journal Entries
- A List of Para Starters
- Bad Asses
- Bitches (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
- Emotional Detachment
- The Girl Next Door
- Introverts (2)
- Mean Persons (2)
- Party Girls
- Rich (2)
- Serial Killers (2)
- Shyness (2, 3)
- Villains (2)
- Disorders in general (2, 3, 4, 5)
- Attention Deficit Disorder
- Antisocial Personality Disorder
- Anxiety (2, 3, 4, 5)
- Avoidant Personality Disorder
- Alice In Wonderland Syndrome
- Bipolar Disorder (2, 3)
- Cotard Delusions
- Depression (2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
- Eeating Disorders (2, 3)
- Facitious Disorders
- Histrionic Personality Disorder
- Multiple Personality Disorder (2)
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder
- Night Terrors
- Kleptomania (2)
- A Pyromaniac
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (2)
- Sex Addiction (2)
- Schizophrenia (2)
- Sociopaths (2)
- Aspergers Syndrome
- Someone Blind (2)
- Cancer (2, 3)
- Muteness (2, 3)
- Ballet Dancer (2)
- Alcohol Influence (2, 3, 4, 5)
- Cocaine Influence
- Ecstasy Influence (2)
- Heroin Use
- LSD Influence
- Marijuana Influence (2, 3)
- Opiate Use
- California (2, 3)
- England/Britain (2, 3, 4, 5)
- New York
- The South (2)
- A Death Scene
- Loosing Someone (2)
- Old Persons
- Physical Injuries (2, 3)
- Sexual Abuse (2)
- Fight Scenes (2, 3, 4)
→ CREATING CHARACTERS
- Components of Your Biographies
- Character sheet (2, 3)
- Need Help With Character Creation?
- How to: Draw Inspiration for Characters From Music
- How to: Write a Biography (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)
- How to: Write a Fully Developed Character
- How to: Create a Cast of Characters (2)
- Writing an Original Character (2, 3)
- Creating Believable Characters (2, 3)
- Bio Formats (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
- Little Things You Can Add To Your Bios
- Connections (2)
- Bio Twists
- Jung’s 16 Personality Types
- Underused Character Personalities
- Birth-Order: Personality Traits
- The Difference Between Personality and Behavior
- How to: Show a Characters Personality In a Paragraph
- 16 Character Traits
- Underused PersonalitiesPersonality TraitsHabits
- 300 Possible Secrets to Give Your Characters
- I Bet You Didn’t Know..
- Character Plots And Secrets (2)
- Celebrity Secrets
- Secret Masterlist
- Song Lyrics Masterlist
- Songs for Biographies
- Favorite Quotes: TV and Movies
- Favorite Quotes: Notable Authors
- Favorite Quotes: Celebrities
- Favorite Quotes: Popular Books (2)
- Quotes From Songs
- Character Quotes
- Masterlist of Bio Lyrics
- Masterlist of Bio Quotes
- Masterlist of Song Lyrics
- Biography Lyrics
- A Masterlist of Quotes
- +130 Quotes
- The Quotation Garden
→ WHILE ROLEPLAYING
- 100 Paragraph Titles
- Para Titles - Song Title Edition (2,3)
- A Whole Ton of Para Titles
- 350+ Song Titles
- Para Titles For You (2)
- How to: Create an interesting starter
- How to: Make an Interesting Starter
- Gif Conversations: A Guide
- A Brief Guide to Starters
- Interesting Gif Convesation Starters
- Starters Masterlist
- Gif Starter Posts
- 46 Interesting Gif Chat Starters
- Ideas for Gif Chat Starters
- Masterlist: Jobs
- Possible Careers for Characters
- Artistic Occupations
- Martha’s Vineyard Job Masterlist
- Interesting Jobs
- Para Ideas
- Masterlist: Para Ideas
- Top 50 Places for Starters
- Writing Topics: Para Ideas
- 101 Date Ideas
- 68 Date Ideas
- 22 Date Ideas
- Popular Places to Eat
- Character Development Questionaire
- Character Surveys
- C.D. Questionaire
- 30 Day Character Development Meme
- Character Development Questions (2)
- 100 Pt. Questionaire
- IC and OOC Surveys
- Online Test for Character Building
- 30 Days of Character Development
- How to: Develop Characters
- Get To Know Your Characters
Romance (in general)
- The Little Ways a Ship Gets Build
- Roleplaying Relationships
- 8 Ways to Say I Love You
- How to: Make a Set Ship RP Work
- How to: Write a Romantic Scene
- Do’s and Don’ts of Writing Relationships
- Putting a Label on It
- Synonyms for Love
- Pregnancy (2, 3, 4, 5)
- Smut Guide: Casual Sex
- Smut Guide: For Beginners
- How to: Write a First Time Sex Scene Romantically
- How to: Smut - The Bare Bones
- How to: Smut (For Virgins)
- How to: Write Lesbian Smut
- How to: Write Smut (2, 3)
- How to: Write a Blowjob/Prepping for Smut
- Smut Guides of Tumblr
- Tips on Writing Sex Scenes
- A Guide to Language in Smut
- Domination and Submission
- Making Love
- A Smut Guide
- How to: Create the Best Plot for Your RP
- How to: Create A Plot Outline in 8 Steps
- How to: Write A Plot in 12 Steps
- How to: Write A Quality Plot
- How to: Spice Up Your Roleplay Plots
- Components of Your Plot Page
- Writing Up A Plot
- Basics of Writing A Plot
- Links for Plot Writing Help
- Eight Unique Plot Ideas
- Plot Twists
- Situation Ideas (2, 3)
- Guide to Plotting