The Masterpost for Writers

This is for all of you writers who are in need of tips. This masterpost consists of tips for developing worlds, characters and a plot with the help of various sources I've found on the internet. In addition, I've added five blog recommendations dedicated to writing that you might find interesting AND a writing program I can give you acces to. I hope this helps!

How do I develop the world my story takes place in?
Especially with works of fantasy or science-fiction, it can be incredibly hard to develop the world, society or town it takes place in.

First of all, you'll have to figure out how the order/power in this world is divided. Is it a dystopia with a dictator, does it know a democracy or is it ruled by monarchs? From there on you can figure out what kind of people occupy your world, what their position is and how they act because of it. If you want to work with different countries, decide if they work together well or if they are enemies.
In addition, you'll want to decide on physical traits and names for countries and towns. It helps to look at your real surroundings and base it upon that, but below are some generators that can help you out as well:
  • Country name generator [x]
  • Town name generator [x]
  • Terrain features [x]
How do I develop my character's personality?
Readers usually become attached to characters who are not perfect. Flawed characters are much more realistic and readers will be able to identify with them on some scale. I usually advice writers to pick at least 3 good traits and 3 flaws. Here is a list to help you out:
  • Charactar traits/flaws [x]
To give your character more depth, don't just focus on their general traits. Try to think of details such as their origin, the way they treat others, mistakes they have made or small pet peeves. Studying real people can be a real help in deciding such details.
Make sure your character changes in some way during the course of your story. Otherwise there is no character development, basicly making someone a flat character.
How do I make up the rest of my character?
Once you have your character's personality, focus on other things such as physical appearance and names. 

If you cannot think of a name, search on baby name websites [x] [x]. It sounds incredibly silly but most are really convenient because they give you details on the gender, the meaning and the origin of the name. If you cannot work with those websites, take a look at the following generators.
  • Fake name generator [x]
  • Fantasy name generator [x]
For physical traits I suggest you to look at real people. Once again, do not make your character perfect, all humans have bodily imperfections. For further inspiration, take a look at these:
  • Examples of physical characteristics [x]
  • Character Physical Description List [x]
Keep in mind that you should not give a complete description of all your character's physical traits when he or she is first introduced. Mention one or two things, e.g. hair color and posture. Any other traits you want to use can be incorporated later in the story.
Plot cliches you'll want to avoid:
I have seen so many storytelling clich├ęs over the years that I'd like to point out some to you that you best avoid:
  • The protagonist as the chosen one. If you are keen on using this idea then give it a twist, for example that the character is not the only chosen one or that he or she turns out to be the wrong one after all.
  • The love triangle. Though terribly overused, it is fine to give a character two love interests as long as you do not let it drag on for the entire book. It will make your character seem indecisive and annoying and it does nothing to enhance the plot.
  • Other cliches can be found in the article "Top 10 Storytelling Cliches Writers Need To Stop Using", found here [x]
Things that can enhance your story:
Stylistic devices! They will improve your language and give much more meaning to your story.

  • List of stylistic devices [x]
Furthermore, an unexpected twist works really well and most readers love it!
Blogs to follow:
  • fuckyeahcharacterdevelopment [x]
  • prompts-and-pointers [x]
  • referenceforwriters [x]
  • writeworld [x]
  • thepenspointofview [x]
One last tip:
I have recently acquired a program called Scrivener, which is brilliant if you want to properly plan out and write your novel. It gives you space to write character biographies, place descriptions, research notes and much more. For anybody who is interested, send me a private message here [x] or here [x] and I will send you a link to download the program.

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