Vigilantism is one of those aspects that often carries a certain romanticism to it in media. Whether it’s a lone, broody person or a group, there is something poetic about people’s justice and the idea any person is able to take down criminals. As such, vigilantes can often be a very popular type of character to write, fueling our imaginations with exciting imagery of daring trials and the ultimate prevailing of justice. However, vigilantes are also a hard sort of character to write, as it often requires a certain balance between numerous aspects to succeed. Today, I would like to talk about 4 elements to writing a vigilante character that I think are important to achieving that success. While some may be obvious, they are things I do think get overlooked, so hopefully they will be contextualized in a way that gives you food for thought.
No matter what type of story you like, stories are all focused on the same thing: the journey from one point to another. Sometimes these points are physical locations, and sometimes they’re internal, emotional journeys that realistically take place in a matter of seconds. Nevertheless, as story consumers, we are partaking in a journey, usually with the focus being on one or more characters. With this in mind, there is a major expectation that comes with the concept of a journey: change. When a character goes on a journey, they are expected to grow. This growth doesn’t have to be positive, but nevertheless characters are expected to show how a particular journey affected them. This is not only important for making a story good, but also important for making a story impactful.
Unfortunately, character growth can be a hard concept to master for beginners (and even for those more experienced at writing). However, I feel if you break it down, there are five basic types of character growth that you can use to create a compelling narrative. Today, I would like to talk about these five types a little bit, breaking down the larger concept into more digestible chunks.
So you’ve done it. Your first draft of your new novel is done, and you’re ready to embark on the journey of editing. Maybe it’s your billionth time editing, or maybe you’ve never actually checked your first drafts ever before. Either way, an arduous journey awaits you, and you’re going to dive in. Only one problem: where do you even start and how do you actually edit your first draft in a way that can potentially improve it?
You would not be alone asking these questions, as these are issues that plague every author. Knowing what to look for or what to do when you’re looking at your first draft is difficult at best, especially if it’s not something you usually do. Thankfully, though, there are some foundations you can adapt to your editing process that will help you fix issues and improve on what you already have. Today, I would like to share with you my five guidelines where this is concerned, and hopefully these will help ease your own experience with editing your 2nd and beyond drafts.
Everyone has a story they’re just dying to tell, right? For experienced storytellers, stories are much like breathing. Epic conflicts, dynamic characters, and fantastical worlds come naturally at any moment. They might not be perfect at first, but the ideas flow fairly easily. However, this sense of natural story-telling ability does not exist for everyone. Every once in a while you will find someone who wants to tell a story but just has no story to tell. Perhaps they made an original character they like but don’t know what to do with them. Alternatively, perhaps their skills lie in another field (like art) and they want to delve into animation, webcomics, or something else. Whatever the reason, not having a story can be a real struggle when you need one for whatever project you’re working on.
Thankfully, if you are one of those people struggling to come up with a story, not all hope is lost. There are quite a number of ways you can go about finding a story to tell, and today I am here to walk you through some of those ways! So cease your flailing, and let’s talk about four methods you can use to find a story to tell.
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR VOLTRON: LEGENDARY DEFENDER SEASON 7.
As per usual, I am a bit behind everyone else and only just finished Season 7 of Voltron: Legendary Defender this week. By far I think this is the best season of the show, but this is not what I wish to talk about today. I’ve reviewed the show in general, and while that was a few seasons ago, nothing has occurred that’s changed my opinion from that review. Instead, however, I wish to analyze the show from a different perspective: what we can learn about writing from it. Specifically, I want to talk about the climax and what it teaches us about plot twists and how executing them can go awry. Obviously, you should beware some hefty spoilers for the end of the season.
“Show don’t tell” is a phrase you might have heard often in primary school English classes. If your education was like mine, though, the statement was never very well-explained. Rather, most of my teachers would expect you to pick it up naturally based on whether you were told you wrote something correctly or not. Suffice to say, it is not a sentiment that was always conveyed well and was difficult learn.
For many creative writers, this renders the criticism of something being “telling over showing” hard to address, as many do not have the experience to readily notice the difference. However, today I would like to rectify this situation a bit with some more concrete showcases of what it means to “tell” and what it means to “show” when it comes to writing. Specifically, today I want to tackle an aspect where I feel people struggle the most: character backstory. If you are a writer who’d like to try and get a better grasp on showing vs. telling, you’ve come to the right place. So sit back, and let’s dive in!
Sometimes there are certain bad habits in writing that are really hard to talk about and categorize. It’s just hard to find time to mention them; each topic, like world-building and exposition, has a bunch of more important components to speak on. Nevertheless, there are habits that should be discussed and pointed out, as they can often be habits that ruin a potentially good story. Today, I would like to share three of these and explain why they are bad habits to have. If you aren’t an experienced story writer, I hope you’ll take these points to heart and learn from them.
Once long ago, I wrote a post about doing the middle of stories, something many people (including myself) struggle with. However, before you can even get to the middle of a story, it’s kind of important that your story have a beginning. Beginnings (or expositions) can, unfortunately, be equally hard, as this is your primary time to setup a lot of your story and what’s to come. This is not to mention that this is also a primary time for you to lose readers right from the get-go, as the beginning is essentially the first impression handshake. As such, for today’s writing tips I want to walk you through my basic guidelines for having a successful beginning that will put you into a good position for the rest of the story. Always remember that these guidelines are simply suggestions, and every writer should do what works for them. Additionally, this guide will be aimed more at beginners, so if you’re an advanced writer this might not be the article for you.
Let’s say you’ve followed all my tips and tricks for world-building and now have the most robust and epic world for your story. You’ve got a handful of cultures, you’ve got one-of-a-kind settings, and you even have a cast of characters from each and every location. However, your world is so complex that you aren’t sure how to handle conveying the entire world to the readers of your story. What do you do?
First off, fear not. You are not alone and every world-building writer struggles with this issue at some point. Even if you’ve checked out my post on integrating world and story, if there’s a lot of world on your plate it can still be a monumental and overwhelming task. Some writers create worlds so vast that it takes an entire separate codex to convey every little detail written. However, even this still leaves one in a difficult situation when balancing the depth of the world with the story. As such, I’m going to walk you through five simple tips that you should bear in mind when writing your story and complex world together. By following these, you should be well on your way to making sure your world doesn’t overwhelm while still being present.