Tag: Fiction Writing

Getting Inspired For Writing

National Novel Writing Month

Ever think about writing a novel?
Ever think about writing a whole novel in JUST A MONTH?
Ever think that it would be utterly crazy and wild?
Ever think it help to have tools to keep you on track and a community to give you support and cheer you on?

Yes, yes, yes, yes

National Novel Writing Month

National Novel Writing month is coming up soon!!

You can sign up for free and access many tools that will help spur you on in your writing.

You don’t have to finish writing a whole novel, but it will help you get started on accomplishing that secret dream.  The goal is to write 50,000 words in one month.  Small groups form to help support each other. You can find out about local events and become part of a global movement.  Hundreds of thousands of people join each year for this fun and inspiring event. Last year there were over 668,000 people around the world!

Just go to http://nanowrimo.org/ for more information

The pep talks alone make it entirely worth signing up!

If you don’t really want to write a novel,

To get EVERYONE started in writing the Writing Center @ MSU is having a Write-a-thon on October 18th.  It is a great time where you join a small group of fellow community members and spend a few minutes getting inspired and then time just writing.  The groups walk to several different locations and let the surroundings add to the enriching experience.  Don’t miss this chance to write with like-minded people, to feel connected to a larger community, and to get that much needed boost in your writing.


This year’s theme is hunger. It is a broad topic that can link to whatever you want. OF COURSE, you can write about anything, but it is surprising the fresh ideas you will get from the facilitators and surroundings.

The write-a-thon starts in the main writing center (Room 300 in Bessey Hall) at 1:00pm and goes until about 4:00pm.  You can leave whenever you want, so come and join us for as long as you can.

For more information go to the Writing Center’s Write-a-thon page. We hope to see you there!

Character Development and The Sims

When you write a piece of nonfiction, you don’t necessarily have to worry about developing the character from scratch, but you still need to make sure their actions are intriguing enough to keep the audience’s attention. Let’s say that you’re writing a piece where you aren’t sure how that nonfictional character would react, what do you do? What about fiction writing? When you’re trying to tell the story of a character you created, how do you figure out what their genuine reaction would be?

These aren’t easy questions to answer. In fact, character development is one of the most difficult aspects of writing because the success/failure of a story relies on it. Luckily, there are free writing activities that can help, but there’s also a video game where the entire focus is character development: The Sims.

The Sims is a video game franchise that has been around for years. The video game focuses on a character that you create and customize everything about, and then you put them in a house, get them a job, and control the actions they do, such as: when they eat, what they eat, when they sleep, who they talk to, how they talk to them, and so on. As the game develops further with time, the makers enabled more aspects that the player could customize. The Sims 3 is the most up to date with The Sims 4 being developed now. In the Sims 3, one can customize every aspect of how a person physically looks from how high their cheek bones are to how short/tall their legs are. You can pick their personality, zodiac sign, customize their clothes color, give them piercings and so much more. You can completely make the characters your own. You can also create their partner, or have them flirt with who you choose, give them a car and hobbies, have them get a job and so much more.

Sims3cover sims screenshot3 sims screenshot2 sims screenshot1

Continue reading “Character Development and The Sims”

Applied Phlebotinum: TV Tropes and Fiction Writing

You know how sometimes, when you’re reading a book/watching TV/playing a game, something happens, and you’re like, “Oh, I’ve seen this before. And now that guy’s going to die, and those ones are going to fall in love as a result, and the bad guy is going to switch sides.”

There’s a reason for that. It’s because there is usually a particular rhyme and reason to storytelling, and people who read/hear/watch/play a lot of stories know that there are common threads.

This is the basis behind TV Tropes, a wiki site dedicated to giving a name and basis for the things we recognize in the kinds of storytelling without even realizing it.In the words of TV Tropes’ actual home page,

This wiki is a catalog of the tricks of the trade for writing fiction. Tropes are devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members’ minds and expectations. On the whole, tropes are not clichés. The word clichéd means “stereotyped and trite.” In other words, dull and uninteresting. We are not looking for dull and uninteresting entries. We are here to recognize tropes and play with them, not to make fun of them.

If you’re a writer of any sort, you have undoubtedly used a number of these tropes in your own work. If you’re not a writer, you have no doubt seen dozens of them. But do you really understand them? Can you use them in a sentence? Can you use them in your writing? On purpose?

Some of these tropes are fairly recognizable, while some others are a little more obscure, like Kryptonite is Everywhere, a trope pointing out the unusual coincidence that bad guys tend to often have – no! – the good guy’s weakness! Especially if the good guy is a superhero with only one weakness.

Even if that weakness is a piece of radioactive planet from the opposite end of the universe, petty bank robbers will have access to it. Sometimes multiple versions of it. Somehow.

Kryptonite Comic Image

This is a great example of what makes TV Tropes particularly useful. Though the site started (as the name implies) pointing out common tropes in TV shows, it has expanded to include literature, comic books, anime/manga, movies, video games, and even webcomics.

That means you can see how the same plot device or storytelling element shows up across multiple different forms of media.

Every time you look up a trope, you are given a detailed desrcription of that trope (complete with links to related tropes), and then at the bottom, a list of noted examples of that trope appearing in fiction.

If you prefer to just go search for your favorite movies, shows, or games, and see what tropes appear in those, you can do that, too.

Should you actually find yourself on TV Tropes, I must warn you: you may be there for a while. Once you start breaking apart the individual elements of fiction and seeing behind the curtain, it’s hard to stop. You end up learning a lot about the tricks and tools of constructing  a story, and then you start seeing them show up when you consume fiction, and you start to want to know more. It’s hard to stop.

So the next time you see someone use Applied Phlebotinum, or somebody gives a Hand Wave explanation to move the plot along, you should have no trouble calling it out.