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Blog Your Junk


[Image courtesy of flickr by Lara604]

We are often told that we need to toss a lot of what we think is our best work before we can begin working as a real writer, and there is a lot of wisdom in this. I see now that several works I thought were amazing when I got them ready for publication were merely stepping stones to help me become a better writer, and I’m sure I will look back to my current work and cringe some time in the future. We also do a lot of other writing that will never make it into our finished works even after we pass these milestones.

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Short Distance Frustration

Short Distance Frustration

How do you overcome those last few inches? Hopefully better than this.

TRANSMITPHD knows our frustration well. Share your solutions in the comments.


Let’s Take a Vacation

Writer's RetreatHere at Incidental Comic’s Writer’s Retreat I’ve been working quite hard to move my work from Procrastination Patio to the Author’s Cloister, but I have to take frequent trips to the Workshop and the Rotunda. Where have you been spending your writing time?


The Hard Part

issue46Seriously! Ideas are easy, writing is hard. And this woman in So You Write has just taken the end of Star Wars and removed the Sci-Fi. Not saying you can’t make a good story from it, but that’s where the work comes in.


Trust Your Characters


Some authors believe their characters exist in another world, living their lives independently of what the author is doing and writing their characters as doing anything out of character breaks the link they have with that other world. While that is highly unlikely, it makes for a colorful mental image of the worlds we create in our minds and the lives characters continue to live when we aren’t actively thinking about them. In our sleep and other idle moments of chaotic contemplation we keep developing and growing our characters, and when we force them to do something they wouldn’t do we run into writers block or start writing meaningless side content that ultimately needs to be cut out.

“In real life people do occasionally act out of character or do things we wouldn’t normally expect them to do. In fiction, there should be a good reason for a character to do something outside of the ordinary.”
― Craig Hart, The Writer’s Tune-up Manual: 35 Exercises That Will Scrape the Rust Off Your Writing

If we trust them, these characters can be a wonderful aid, helping think up plot developments you’d never dreamed on your own, plot elements that will feel organic to the reader. The most direct technique to accessing the power of your characters is free writing, not planning things out ahead of time and just letting your character(s) do what they do, go where they would go. This can be very liberating to many authors as they don’t need to think of everything before they write it, exploring their literary landscape through their character. But it can also be quite terrifying for many, writing into the unknown. I suggest you try it, and trust your characters.

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Ultimate Culture Creation Worksheet


When worldbuilding, one of the difficult tasks writers encounter is understanding the cultures they are creating. As it is, we often do not learn about the other cultures around us or even study our own cultures. One tool that helped me gain a better grasp on cultures as I was younger was the Cultural Worksheet.

Something similar to the culture worksheet was given to my 8th grade social studies class by our teacher, Ms. Derwinski, to help us understand cultures. I wish I knew her full name and where she got the original so I could properly thank and cite her contribution. I have since used it to help organize several of my fictional cultures. It has gone through a few minor tweaks over the years to improve usability.

This Ultimate Culture Creation Worksheet can be used as a checklist or guide. Fill in the document with the relevant information. The first few times you should go in order to help with organization, but feel free to go back and fix things if you change your mind later. This worksheet provides a framework to ensure you address all the major elements of a culture.

Before using this worksheet to flesh out your fictional culture try filling it out with your own real life culture or a fictional culture you already enjoy. Doing so will help you understand each of the elements better and smooth the process of designing your own.


First, title your culture.

I. Background of Culture

A. Time: When does your culture take place? This can be in Earth time or your world’s time.

B. Geographic Setting: Briefly describe the geography that impacts the culture.

C. Physical Description of People: What distinguishing features do they have, if any?

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