“Screw writing “strong” women. Write interesting women. Write well-rounded women. Write complicated women. Write a woman who kicks ass, write a woman who cowers in a corner. Write a woman who’s desperate for a husband. Write a woman who doesn’t need a man. Write women who cry, women who rant, women who are shy, women who don’t take no shit, women who need validation and women who don’t care what anybody thinks. THEY ARE ALL OKAY, and all those things could exist in THE SAME WOMAN. Women shouldn’t be valued because we are strong, or kick-ass, but because we are people. So don’t focus on writing characters who are strong. Write characters who are people.” – Lori
I got a tattoo yesterday of Dan Harmon’s story circle.
It also occurs to me that not everyone on here knows that that is! It’s the structure that Dan Harmon uses to write material and it is similar to The Hero’s Journey. The nerdy English major in me saw this for the first time and immediately connected with it. It describes a characters journey in many stories in history. The different quadrants of the circle mean different things and the numbers correspond with different points in the journey. 1) The character is in a zone of comfort. 2) But they want something. 3) So they enter an unfamiliar place. 4) They adapt to it. 5) They get what they want. 6) They pay a heavy price for it. 7) They return to their zone of comfort. 7) Having changed.
I’ve always enjoyed writing stories, ever since I was little but my problem is always ALWAYS the plot. When writing something this is obviously something to help you create a plot and it’s in a place that’s easily visible while I’m writing. But better yet it has personal meaning - we’re all on a hero’s journey in our own way. We all enter and exit zones of comfort for different reasons and is the price we pay to gain what we want worth it?
Community is very obviously a different kind of show and I think it’s due mostly to this structure. It’s the first show I’ve ever watched where I genuinely and honestly cared about the characters and I have been obsessed with it ever since. Community and discovering Donald Glover’s stand up made me want to do stand up myself, which I’ve done and it’s been one of the most difficult but rewarding experiences of my life. And listening to Dan Harmon’s podcast and reading has book has changed so much about how I think and how I relate to other people. And when things like that happen, it generally means it’s time for a tattoo.
Feel free to share - I’m proud of it and even though the thought of it sort of embarrasses me (at least the part of me that is in denial about being a typical fangirl) I’d be stoked if Dan saw it. Although being a fangirl helped me meet some really amazing people, so hell… I guess it’s time for me to own it!
Montblanc Pen Lover [x]
Montblanc has a series of very rare Skeleton pens, and while they aren’t strictly steampunk, they certainly tickle all the right fancies to feel at home in a steampunk wardrobe. Now all I need is to scrape up the $90,000 it takes to own one…
Someone should write a book where the main character slowly falls in love with the reader.
Famous authors, their writings and their rejection letters.
- Sylvia Plath: There certainly isn’t enough genuine talent for us to take notice.
- Rudyard Kipling: I’m sorry Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.
- Emily Dickinson: [Your poems] are quite as remarkable for defects as for beauties and are generally devoid of true poetical qualities.
- Ernest Hemingway (on The Torrents of Spring): It would be extremely rotten taste, to say nothing of being horribly cruel, should we want to publish it.
- Dr. Seuss: Too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling.
- The Diary of Anne Frank: The girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the ‘curiosity’ level.
- Richard Bach (on Jonathan Livingston Seagull): will never make it as a paperback. (Over 7.25 million copies sold)
- H.G. Wells (on The War of the Worlds): An endless nightmare. I do not believe it would “take”…I think the verdict would be ‘Oh don’t read that horrid book’. And (on The Time Machine): It is not interesting enough for the general reader and not thorough enough for the scientific reader.
- Edgar Allan Poe: Readers in this country have a decided and strong preference for works in which a single and connected story occupies the entire volume.
- Herman Melville (on Moby Dick): We regret to say that our united opinion is entirely against the book as we do not think it would be at all suitable for the Juvenile Market in [England]. It is very long, rather old-fashioned…
- Jack London: [Your book is] forbidding and depressing.
- William Faulkner: If the book had a plot and structure, we might suggest shortening and revisions, but it is so diffuse that I don’t think this would be of any use. My chief objection is that you don’t have any story to tell. And two years later: Good God, I can’t publish this!
- Stephen King (on Carrie): We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.
- Joseph Heller (on Catch–22): I haven’t really the foggiest idea about what the man is trying to say… Apparently the author intends it to be funny – possibly even satire – but it is really not funny on any intellectual level … From your long publishing experience you will know that it is less disastrous to turn down a work of genius than to turn down talented mediocrities.
- George Orwell (on Animal Farm): It is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA.
- Oscar Wilde (on Lady Windermere’s Fan): My dear sir, I have read your manuscript. Oh, my dear sir.
- Vladimir Nabokov (on Lolita): … overwhelmingly nauseating, even to an enlightened Freudian … the whole thing is an unsure cross between hideous reality and improbable fantasy. It often becomes a wild neurotic daydream … I recommend that it be buried under a stone for a thousand years.
- The Tale of Peter Rabbit was turned down so many times, Beatrix Potter initially self-published it.
- Lust for Life by Irving Stone was rejected 16 times, but found a publisher and went on to sell about 25 million copies.
- John Grisham’s first novel was rejected 25 times.
- Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) received 134 rejections.
- Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) received 121 rejections.
- Gertrude Stein spent 22 years submitting before getting a single poem accepted.
- Judy Blume, beloved by children everywhere, received rejections for two straight years.
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle received 26 rejections.
- Frank Herbert’s Dune was rejected 20 times.
- Carrie by Stephen King received 30 rejections.
- The Diary of Anne Frank received 16 rejections.
- Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rolling was rejected 12 times.
- Dr. Seuss received 27 rejection letters
Some of Pixar’s Rules of Storytelling, only in LEGO.
I’m a visual person; I like when things are acted out for me.
I find that, when writing bios, it’s really helpful to look at a list or a chart like the one above. Picking two or three traits from each chart and building a character based around them will give you a really interesting bio, because they will serve as a reminder that characters need depth and dimension.
Independent and clever.
Independent, clever, pretentious, and stubborn.
The first combination doesn’t come with any flaws, whereas the second will provide a more dynamic character.
HEY GUYS, this showed up on my dash this morning, and I thought it would be helpful if any of you are writing characters and don’t want them to come out as picture-perfect Mary Sues! :)
One thing I’d like to add, though, is that you should make sure the character traits don’t conflict in an oxymoronic way…. for example: Ambitious and lazy, or patient and impulsive. WAT. (Believe it or not, I HAVE seen it happen before! Don’t do it!!)