Limits of the Human Body by Soda Pop Avenue
Credit goes to SPA, but I wanted this here for a writer’s reference. This way we know exactly how far we can push our characters ;)
Limits of the Human Body by Soda Pop Avenue
Credit goes to SPA, but I wanted this here for a writer’s reference. This way we know exactly how far we can push our characters ;)
kill the idea that openly caring characters are boring
set on fire the line of thought that dictates that altruism is a bad thing and that selfishness/sassiness is an inherently more appealing and ‘intricate’ quality than an affectionate nature
smash and bury the concept of the false equivalency between angst and complexity
kindness and empathy are not synonyms for “blandness” and “lack of personality”
I’ve been doing some scholarly research, and I noticed this thing that’s been really dragging society down for the past few millennia: it’s that everything is wrong with you. You are gross. First of all, your hair is gross, because it is not long and thick enough. But don’t strap fake hair to your head! That’s also gross! Also, what the fuck is up with your skin? It is so dry and scaly like a lizard (but not one of those sexy lizards)! Except uuuuuuugh, do you have to take so long putting on your idiotic woman-lotion? This penis isn’t going to fondle itself! CHOP CHOP. Now, I know all this contradictory minutiae regarding your attractiveness can get confusing (especially with your lipstick-encrusted walnut brains!), but luckily, plenty of guys are generous enough to explain what they don’t like about you in great detail. Over and over. You’re welcome.
For your edification, the good folks over at Yahoo have compiled a list of the “15 Biggest Beauty Turnoffs from Real Guys"—yet another survey of "real guys" to reinforce the precise line of shit we women need to walk to remain attractive to them (it’s the least we can do, really). Because that media trope never gets tired. Let’s jump in!
If you are looking to attract a man with your fluffy false lashes and your flowing fake mane, it is time to take a different approach. We scouted the truth and discovered the things women do that make men turn the other way. All in all, men love to see the woman underneath the makeup, so ditch the dramatic routine and go natural for once.
First of all, I am neither an empty man-socket nor a fucking venus flytrap. I am not looking to “attract a man.” I am just trying to do my stuff and then maybe meet a person who likes me because I am also a person. I didn’t want to get all serious right off the bat, BUT SORRY: Women’s grueling, lifelong, losing battle to transform themselves into magical, flawless creatures with Disney hair and 15-inch waists and massive ham-lips is not for the benefit of women. And when men say that they “love to see the woman underneath the makeup,” they’re not saying they want to see your leg stubble and greasy bangs—they’re saying they want you to be better at hiding your maintenance routine. Because the maintenance spoils the fantasy.
"My wife spends 20 minutes after the shower putting on body lotion. Apparently it has to be applied evenly. For me, it is just a time suck." -R.D.S.
TICK TOCK, WIFE! QUIT SUCKING R.D.S.’S TIME AND START SUCKING SOMETHING ELSE.
"It gets on my nerves when women take too much time on makeup. You would think after a lifetime they would have the process down to less than 45 minutes!" -Christopher
Yeah, women! You’re sooooo high-maintenance! To be clear, we definitely don’t want you to stop painting that prettier face over your regular face every day—because gross—but could you just hurry it up? You’re late for Christopher’s blowjob.
"I can’t stand when she has wet hair after the shower and lays on my pillow, I usually roll over on the wet spot." -Jeff
Okay, that one is legit rude. But "wet hair" is not solely a woman’s domain. Fun fact: Dudes are also capable of becoming wet in a shower and then lying on a bed. Equality! Look at us go!
"If she has to be at work at 6am and uses the hair dryer, it wakes me up. Then, just when I get back to sleep. She is wearing her heels in the bathroom and the kitchen. Click. Click. Can’t you wear slippers?" -Pablo
So don’t have wet hair but don’t use the hair dryer. Got it.
Also, definitely wear sexy heels (sensible flats are for lesbians, obv!), but don’t walk in them. At least not when Pablo is sleeping. If you could just scoot yourself around on the carpet like a dog with butt-worms, and then put your heels on outside in the beauty bark, that would be ideal for Pablo. Thx.
"I don’t like extensions because when you put your hands in her hair you can feel all the lumps. It might be good to look at but not to touch." -Robert
Jeez, all this hair stuff is confusing! So…don’t have wet hair, don’t have dry hair, don’t have natural hair, don’t have fake hair. GOT IT.
And, you know, Robert, when you teach women that they need to be objects to even qualify as women, then why are you surprised when they start to literally integrate with objects?
"I’m picky about oral hygiene - brushing, flossing, mouthwash. She has to brush her teeth before bed and in the morning before we kiss. That extra care once we reach a certain level of intimacy is important." -Rod
Have you tried Milk Bones?
"They don’t put caps back on things or they put it on but they don’t screw it on so when I go get something it spills." -Connor
Oh, for fuck’s sake, Connor. Women don’t put caps back on things!? This is a woman thing now? ARE YOU SURE THIS ISN’T A “CONNOR’S SISTER” THING? My boyfriend leaves his wet towel on the bed, but you don’t see me e-mailing fucking Kirk Douglas and President Obama and Bobby Flay about it.
"Those thick eyelashes that women put on are annoying. It makes a woman stick out and people know that they aren’t real. I like a woman who looks nice and natural. Regular people don’t need all those eyelashes." -Lindsay
Regular people don’t need all those eyelashes.
"My wife doesn’t dye her hair often enough. I don’t like to see those dark roots." -Anonymous
"I wish my girlfriend would get a manicure more often instead of doing it herself. She is pretty low-maintenance." -Shaun
First of all. I find it hard to believe that Shaun can even tell the difference between a salon manicure and an at-home manicure, unless his girlfriend has some sort of tremor-inducing palsy, or multitasks by combining nail maintenance with trampoline practice. Which means this whole thing is just about signaling—Shaun wants to be with the kind of woman who gets her nails done at a salon. Nevermind the fact that going out to get your nails done can eat up several hours a week (I presume he also wants his girlfriend to have a career and a social life and to take care of her family and do her taxes and maintain her home and feed herself and possibly sleep once in a while), and can cost hundreds of dollars a month (I also presume Shaun is not footing the bill).
And second of all, let’s all just take a second to note that women have now been criticized for being high-maintenance, maintenance, and low-maintenance.
And third of all, MAYBE SHE JUST LIKES DOING HER NAILS BECAUSE IT’S FUN. Sometimes women get to make our own decisions and do things because those things make us happy.
I can’t believe we’re even still having this conversation, but dudes, LISTEN: Women’s bodies, even ones into which you get to stick your penis, are not yours. Women have the right to be gross, to have hair, to be slow, to put on make-up, to not put on make-up, to wear fake eyelashes, to smell good or bad, and to be human beings. Women are not your dog our your lawn or your living room, you do not get to prune and groom and design us, and negotiating things like hygiene and style within a relationship is a matter of mutual respect. My right to do my own nails does not stop where your personal boner for trimmed cuticles begins.
Also, women: If you are single, it is not because your fake eyelashes are too bushy or Kevin doesn’t like cucumber lotion. This shit is an oppressive waste of your time. Here’s my new beauty tip for everyone on earth: Go read a book or something.
"He said he loved me and then… And then he shot me."
submitted by writingandchocolatemilk
Anyone in the roleplay community who knows me knows i am one hundred percent about one specific thing: religions. It pains me to see people only use religion when they are playing “religion freaks”. That term roughly translates to someone who’s obsessed with religion and…
Character Motivation and Consistency:
So lets take a moment to talk about character consistency. This is something that I find a lot of people have a hard time with and a lot of it has to do with the actual development of the character in itself. When making a character, we pick out traits and experiences that define our character. All of these things including flaws and talents are important but something that people tend to forget with picking out a character is what their motivation is.
Author Orson Scott Card reminds us “We never fully understand other people’s motivations in real life. In fiction, however, we can help our readers understand our characters’ motivations with clarity, sometimes even certainty. This is one of the reasons why people read fiction—to come to some understanding of why other people act the way they do.”
Why is Knowing Motivation Important in Writing?:
This essentially, explains to us why characters act the way they do. Choices are determined by the motivation of the character. They are a guide in the choices they make because where they want to go or what they want determines what choices they are going to make. Very very VERY seldom does anyone make a choice at random. By knowing your characters primary motivation, the choices that they make will remain consistent (Even if they are not the ‘right’ choices.
Basic External and Internal Motivations:
Bold-face is obverse aspect (stuff in parens = goals, effects, or other association)
- Survival/safety; Fear of the world (food, water, escape from danger)
- Physical comfort; gluttony (shelter, warmth, good food, health)
- Pleasure; hedonism (sex, great food, culture, games)
- Dominance; tyranny (power, social standing, competition, respect)
- Acquisitiveness; greed (wealth, materialism, collecting, excellence)
- Curiosity; voyeurism (learning, searching, investigating)
- Mastery; perfectionism (excellence, conquest, discipline, achievement)
- Reproduction; profligacy (children, creativity, family-building)
- Autonomy; isolation (self-sufficiency, freedom, non-confinement)
- Affiliation; conformity (security, cooperation, loyalty, clan)
- Love; lust/ownership (connection, passion, sex, mirroring, approval, giving)
- Revenge; justice (righting wrongs, recognition of grievance, vengeance)
- Guilt; denial of guilt (responsibility, shame, punishment, redemption, forgiveness)
- Identity; self-centeredness (self-esteem, self-knowledge, self-protection)
- Surcease; conflict avoidance (peace, escape from anxiety, death)
- Spirituality; fetishism (religion, transcendence, transformation)
- Growth; decay, aging (learning, maturation, wisdom)
- Ambition; insecurity/anxiety (fear of failure, inferiority, stress)
- Vindication; rationalization (success, proving self, apology)
The Difference in between a Goal and Motivation:
The goal is like the flower… the motivation is the roots.
The goal is the outward manifestation of the motivation. It is concrete, measurable, and specific.
You don’t know when you’ve fulfilled the motivation: “I want success” isn’t measurable– what’s success? But you know when you’ve achieved a goal: ”I want to be on the New York Times bestseller list–” That’s measurable. You’ll know when you reach it.
Just keep in mind that while the goal is the external manifestation of the motivation, the connection is not always a straight or clear one. You can have a goal that is destructive and against your true motivation– “looking for love in all the wrong places” is an example.
Or you can have a laudatory goal for a selfish or twisted motivation– “I want to be first in my class to show my father up!”
Motivation is the past; Goal is the future; Conflict is the present.
Distinguish between MOTIVATION and ACTION:
Remember that motivation exists to inspire the character to make choices and take actions. If you’ve been told your protagonist is “too passive”, it’s likely what’s lacking is motivation that leads to action.
Every action, however small, should be motivated. If the motivation is obvious, then you might not have to show it (we assume that she’s running from that tiger for survival).
Compare the external (obvious) motivation to the goal and/or actions. If they don’t match, an internal motivation is probably in force. What hidden desire or fear is influencing actions?
An alternative reason for motivation/action mismatch: You’re trying to make an original character act in stereotypical ways.
And keep this in mind:
Heroism and villainy are in the action, not the motivation. Heroes do heroic things, they don’t just intend to do them. And villains do bad things even if they have the best of intentions.
Taking all of these things into account, here are three exercises that I found a while back and use to help figure out character motivations:
1. Real People as a template:
Make a list of 5 people you know really well. Beside each, make notes about how they:
- react to stress
- experience happiness,
- treat other people.
After that, list what motivates each of these behaviors. Try to be as factual as possible, drawing from things you know; for things you’re unsure of, use common sense to hypothesize.
A person might make it their goal to treat others with respect because of religious beliefs, or maybe because they were disrespected in the past. Someone might react poorly to stressful situations because they have a deep-seated fear of failure, stemming from a past experience.
2. Characters from Literature:
List 5 characters from literature and what motivated their actions throughout their respective stories.
For example, Shakespeare’sHamlet. His thoughts are motivated by revenge (because his uncle secretly killed his father), along with anger, sadness and confusion (because his mother married his uncle so soon after his father’s death).
Add to this a host of other factors, and you have a well-developed character you can understand.
3. Self reflection:
Write paragraphs to describe
- your most frightening experience
- your happiest experience,
- your most stressful experience, and how you reacted to each situation.
After, list all the factors that motivated your behavior. How is your personality shaped by your motivations?
During the story (Or role play) it is important to remember these character motivations when your character makes choices. That is really what this is about; identifying the motivations that make your character act the way that they do.
During the plot, motivations may change, and should actually shift for the character to develop, but never all at once and never out of the blue. Still the back story that drives your characters motivations will always be part of them.
For instance; I write a character whose past has made her a survivalist but over the course of a year she shifts to protection of the family that she has developed. However this took a full year to happen and her motivation of survival was never put on the back burner. Instead it just expanded to protection of the group and not just herself. Her fear of lose over this new family is what really drives her.
And there you have it: Keeping your character consistent through their motivation.
As I’ve been going through the intern slush, I’ve noticed that many times, when I recommend a rejection, it’s largely because of voice. Voice, to me, is one of the most important elements in a novel, because if it’s wrong on the first page, it’s usually wrong throughout the whole manuscript.
Being that I read a lot of YA submissions, this post is largely centered on voice-related problems I frequently see with YA submissions. But many of these issues can also apply to NA by looking at the points with a slightly older cast in mind.
YA Voice Red Flags:
- Lack of contractions. This can actually be a problem in any category, but it’s especially important in YA manuscripts—a voice without any contractions always sounds stiff. This is one of the easiest (and often one of the first) voice-related red flags I pick out. Why? Because we speak and think with contractions, so when they’re absent, the writing becomes stilted and loses a great deal of flow, making it extraordinarily easy to pick it out. “I am not feeling well so I can not go,” for example, doesn’t sound nearly as fluid as, “I’m not feeling well so I can’t go.” Agreed? Good.
- Outdated slang. If you’re writing YA, you need to be current with the language—no exceptions. For examples, teenagers today don’t really say “talk to the hand” or “phat” or “what’s the 411” anymore. (Note: those weren’t taken from actual submissions, I’m just giving outdated examples). Outdated slang, to me, is an enormous red flag and tells me the writer isn’t reading enough YA.
- Forced (current) slang. This is an equally problematic, but harder to spot problem. Sometimes I see submissions that use current slang, but the waythey use it feels…off. This is a little harder to describe, but the easiest way to ferret them out of your manuscript is to have critique partners and/or beta readers who are up to date with the current slang read your manuscript.
- Corny curse substitutions. This is a biggie. While not all teenagers curse, many of them do—and when they don’t, they don’t often use corny substitutions. “Frickin’” for example, could work as a substitution for a particular four-letter word, but “french fries” probably won’t.
Note: UNLESS your character makes a point of being corny, or it fits with your voice. I won’t say this never works (because I’m sure there’s a book out there that can make it happen), but to be honest, I’ve yet to see it work successfully with exception to “D’Arvit” in Artemis Fowl, which mostly worked because it wasn’t corny—it was a made up gnomish word.
- Teenager stereotypes. This is huge. When I see teenager stereotypes blended into the voice or the characters, it almost always puts me off. Teenagers are not a sum of their stereotypes, and relying on them in your writing, quite frankly, is lazy. You can do better–and teenagers deserve better.
- Listen to teenagers talk. A lot. Don’t have a teenager in your life? That’s fine—watch YA-centered TV shows and movies. They tend to feature teenagers who are effortlessly up to date with current slang, references, etc. Or go to your local mall and do a little (subtle) eavesdropping. Yes, really. It’s research.
- Read YA. By and large, the YA that’s published today (especially if it’s relatively recent) have great examples of successful YA voices. Read them. Learn from them. Write your own. (This step by the way? Not optional if you’re writing YA).
- Get critique partners. This is so ridiculously important—make sure you have beta readers and critique partners look at your work. I personally recommend having several rounds of betas and CPs, so you can see if the changes you made in the first round, for example, were as effective as you hoped.
Would you add anything to either list? Unmentioned problems? Solutions?
Winter in Finland.
This is where I live and the weather was incredible today.