1. Anonymous said: Hope your vacation(?) is going well!

    Thanks. It was a needed break from my summer classes, and I got to see some cool stuff and hang out with friends, so I would count that as it going well.

  2. Anonymous said: If i sent you a very small passage I have just written on a character that popped into my head, would you give me an honest critique of how I could improve it? I'd send it via anon and I don't mind it being posted publicly

    I would be willing to give a relatively broad critique. I won’t give line edits, but I will give comments. If it becomes unwieldy, though, I will cut it off. But you are welcome to submit.

  3. If you send me an ask from now until about ten pm BST on Monday July 28, I won’t respond immediately. That doesn’t I’m ignoring you (or even that I didn’t see it), but that I’m going to be in Amsterdam without my laptop and as such can’t easily write or post a reply. So…ask away, and I’ll get to them when I get back to not-Amsterdam either Monday night or Tuesday day.

  4. Anonymous said: Hey, I was hoping you could help me with something. I need someone's honest opinion, someone who doesn't know me, who isn't a personal friend and won't mollycoddle me into believing my potentially shitty idea has the promise of being a best seller. Can/do you answer asks privately? Thanks in advance. :)

    I am totally cool with answering asks privately, so ask away.

  5. Anonymous said: Do you have any creative ideas as to how two friends can become friends? I feel like I've been a bit lacking when it comes to anything outside of "they met at school/work."

    So…this is a pretty broad question, because it really strongly depends on what their ages are. That being said, I’ve compiled some possibilities for each general age range (excluding school/work):

    Small children:

    1. Neighbors
    2. Rec sports team
    3. Gymnastics/ice skating/dance/ etc. lessons
    4. Group music lessons
    5. Parents use same company daycare

    Middle school:

    1. Summer camp
    2. Extra classes
    3. Birthday party
    4. New neighbor

    High school:

    1. Transfer student
    2. Mall
    3. Coffee shop
    4. Doing college courses early
    5. Job/internship
    6. Travelling sports team
    7. College visit

    College:

    1. Club/bar
    2. Job/internship
    3. Job interview waiting room
    4. Roommate
    5. Roommate’s significant other
    6. Study abroad
    7. Political rally

    Post-college

    1. Job training
    2. Military
    3. Club/bar
    4. Speed dating
    5. Child’s performance/sports game/etc.

    Age-independent

    1. Hiking
    2. Family reunion
    3. Video games
    4. Religious gathering

    Other than that, what is probably my best (and weirdest) piece of advice is to think of all the fanfic AUs you’ve read. Think about how all of those people meet. People are really creative when it comes to AU.

    Think about how you met all of their friends. You don’t need to use the exact thing, but it’s the same basic idea.

  6. I have started to organize a tags page, which I will try to finish populating in the next could of days. The format isn’t great currently, mainly because I haven’t done real html since I was about 12, but it’s…something.

  7. Anonymous said: It happens, haha. I just wished it hadn't been to me, honestly. I get shy just asking questions and what-not, so to be ridiculed to such a degree was a nightmare.

    Totally get it. That really sucks. 

  8. Anonymous said: Do you have any advice for someone who creates a lot of characters? I've always kind of had a bit of a problem with that and I know for a fact that readers will no doubt get overwhelmed by introductions/etc. It's just highly recommended to never involve a large amount of characters, so I've been told.

    You are allowed to have a lot of characters as long as you deal with it properly. Think of A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones). I remember looking at the character list of one of the books and seeing that it was forty pages long. Now, that’s a bit extreme, but having large numbers, especially if your book is long, can work. You probably don’t want to have a huge number of main characters, though. Having 5 or fewer main characters and 10 or fewer important secondary characters is probably a decent (though relatively arbitrary) rule of thumb. Past that, you can have a gazillion tertiary characters.

    I’m not sure if you’re talking about how to keep track of them yourself or how to make it easier for your readers to keep track of them, so I’ll answer both.

    First, how to keep track of them yourself. Make a list. That may seem like a trite answer, but it really helps. If their relations are familial (for the most part), make a family tree. There are a lot of different family tree websites that you can use, and they can really help if you have complicated familial relationships. I started using Family Echo today, and it’s not perfect (you can’t really indicated biological vs. adopted parents, etc.) but unless you need to do something like that, it’s all you need. The only other real issue with Family Echo is that you can only choose male or female as genders (it’s binary and they (sometimes) force you to choose) so if you have non-binary/agender/bigender/etc. characters, it isn’t great for that. It will allow same-sex relationships, though, so you can do that.

    If your characters spend a lot of time apart from each other, you probably want to keep track of their separate timelines. My recommendation (which I got from someone else on Tumblr, and if you can find/remember who, please tell me so I can add it) would be to get little notebooks (I got tiny ones from Stables for like a dollar each), number each page, and use a page per day. You don’t need to fill every day for every character, but it can help keep parallel timelines, so you can keep track of what your characters are doing. That way, you can open to any page in every book and have it correspond. If you have a ton of characters, this might not be the best method, but I think this should be relatively practical for anything between five and fifteen characters.

    As for introducing them to the readers, I have a few suggestions. First, make their names as different as possible (without making them ridiculous). I know there are only 26 letters in the (English) alphabet, but having like twelve characters whose names start with A can be incredibly confusing. It’s especially bad if all of your character names are all the same thing (and/or really long).

    I personally really dislike referring to characters by different titles (the tall man, the black man, the archer, the one with the red tie) because then I get them really mixed up. If you stick with one title for a character (i.e. Bob is referred to as “the soldier”), it can work, and can even help so everyone remembers that Bob is the soldier, etc.

    If you’re going to describe your characters physically [which isn’t totally necessary (says the person who can’t remember her main character’s hair color)], make sure that they don’t all look the same. If you have a whole bunch of blond, blue-eyed white characters who are tall and lanky and curvaceous and beautiful who have similar personalities, nobody is going to be able to keep them straight.

    Tl;dr, make your characters unique. Also, don’t introduce them all at the same time. 

  9. Anonymous said: That's pretty understandable. School years are always busy. Still, I must thank you. You're a quality blog and although thewritingcafe is great, they're a bit slower and by the time I get my answer, I've already moved on. I can't stand any other blogs- mostly because I've been personally insulted by one of the people running one, as well as insulted by various comments on a harmless question about hair.

    I actually love thewritingcafe (though I never ask questions, so I totally get that). I’m sorry that you’ve had bad experiences with some other writing blogs, and am really glad that you like mine. Thanks so much for your support.

  10. Anonymous said: Does it ever become overwhelming? I mean, answering things about writing.

    Not really. I mean, writing is one of my greatest loves, and I like helping other people with their writing, so I really enjoy doing this. It is one of the reasons I post rather sporadically, though—especially during the school year, I only post when I have time, which sometimes means that there are long periods of time between when I post.