I post anything that catches my interest, from sci-fi to fantasy, science to art. Definitely not mostly filled with Marvel. Nope.
This is an excellent writing advice from Chuck Palahniuk. This was first seen on tumblr. Unfortunately, when I clicked on the link, it no longer existed.
But, I still think it’s worth sharing.
writingadvice: by Chuck Palahniuk
In six seconds, you’ll hate me.
But in six months, you’ll be a better writer.
From this point forward—at least for the next half year—you may not
use “thought” verbs. These include: Thinks, Knows, Understands,
Realizes, Believes, Wants, Remembers, Imagines, Desires, and a hundred
others you love to use.
The list should also include: Loves and Hates.
And it should include: Is and Has, but we’ll get to those later.
Until some time around Christmas, you can’t write: Kenny wondered if Monica didn’t like him going out at night…”
Instead, you’ll have to Un-pack that to something like: “The
mornings after Kenny had stayed out, beyond the last bus, until he’d
had to bum a ride or pay for a cab and got home to find Monica faking
sleep, faking because she never slept that quiet, those mornings, she’d
only put her own cup of coffee in the microwave. Never his.”
Instead of characters knowing anything, you must now present
the details that allow the reader to know them. Instead of a character
wanting something, you must now describe the thing so that the reader
Instead of saying: “Adam knew Gwen liked him.” You’ll have
to say: “Between classes, Gwen had always leaned on his locker when he’d
go to open it. She’s roll her eyes and shove off with one foot,
leaving a black-heel mark on the painted metal, but she also left the
smell of her perfume. The combination lock would still be warm from her
butt. And the next break, Gwen would be leaned there, again.”
In short, no more short-cuts. Only specific sensory detail: action, smell, taste, sound, and feeling.
writers use these “thought” verbs at the beginning of a paragraph (In
this form, you can call them “Thesis Statements” and I’ll rail against
those, later). In a way, they state the intention of the paragraph. And
what follows, illustrates them.
“Brenda knew she’d never make the deadline. Traffic
was backed up from the bridge, past the first eight or nine exits. Her
cell phone battery was dead. At home, the dogs would need to go out, or
there would be a mess to clean up. Plus, she’d promised to water the
plants for her neighbor…”
Do you see how the opening “thesis statement” steals the thunder of what follows? Don’t do it.
If nothing else, cut the opening sentence and place it after all the others. Better yet, transplant it and change it to: Brenda would never make the deadline.
Thinking is abstract. Knowing and believing are intangible. Your
story will always be stronger if you just show the physical actions
and details of your characters and allow your reader to do the thinking
and knowing. And loving and hating.
Don’t tell your reader: “Lisa hated Tom.”
Instead, make your case like a lawyer in court, detail by detail.
Present each piece of evidence. For example:
“During roll call,
in the breath after the teacher said Tom’s name, in that moment before
he could answer, right then, Lisa would whisper-shout ‘Butt Wipe,’ just
as Tom was saying, ‘Here’.”
One of the most-common mistakes that beginning writers make is leaving their characters alone. Writing,
you may be alone. Reading, your audience may be alone. But your
character should spend very, very little time alone. Because a solitary
character starts thinking or worrying or wondering.
For example: Waiting for the bus, Mark started to worry about how long the trip would take…”
A better break-down might be: “The schedule said the bus would come
by at noon, but Mark’s watch said it was already 11:57. You could see
all the way down the road, as far as the Mall, and not see a bus. No
doubt, the driver was parked at the turn-around, the far end of the
line, taking a nap. The driver was kicked back, asleep, and Mark was
going to be late. Or worse, the driver was drinking, and he’d pull up
drunk and charge Mark seventy-five cents for death in a fiery traffic
A character alone must lapse into fantasy or memory, but even then
you can’t use “thought” verbs or any of their abstract relatives.
Oh, and you can just forget about using the verbs forget and remember.
No more transitions such as: “Wanda remembered how Nelson used to brush her hair.”
Instead: “Back in their sophomore year, Nelson used to brush her hair with smooth, long strokes of his hand.”
Again, Un-pack. Don’t take short-cuts.
Better yet, get your character with another character, fast.
Get them together and get the action started. Let their actions and
words show their thoughts. You—stay out of their heads.
And while you’re avoiding “thought” verbs, be very wary about using the bland verbs “is” and “have.”
“Ann’s eyes are blue.”
“Ann has blue eyes.”
“Ann coughed and waved one hand past her face, clearing the cigarette smoke from her eyes, blue eyes, before she smiled…”
Instead of bland “is” and “has” statements, try burying your details
of what a character has or is, in actions or gestures. At its most
basic, this is showing your story instead of telling it.
And forever after, once you’ve learned to Un-pack your characters,
you’ll hate the lazy writer who settles for: “Jim sat beside the
telephone, wondering why Amanda didn’t call.”
Please. For now, hate me all you want, but don’t use thought verbs. After Christmas, go crazy, but I’d bet money you won’t.
For this month’s homework, pick through your writing and circle every “thought” verb. Then, find some way to eliminate it. Kill it by Un-packing it.
Then, pick through some published fiction and do the same thing. Be ruthless.
“Marty imagined fish, jumping in the moonlight…”
“Nancy recalled the way the wine tasted…”
“Larry knew he was a dead man…”
Find them. After that, find a way to re-write them. Make them stronger.
We all like to talk about how much Bernard adores Bianca.
But we should also talk about how much Bianca adores Bernard right back.
Bernard is just as much her hero as Miss Bianca is his.
They have so much faith in each another and it’s beautiful.
seriously one of the cutest animated couples ever
So a week or so ago when I was on the east coast, in a moment of extreme weakness, I went to see the Avengers exhibit at Times Square. It was awesome, I somehow charmed a really sweet employee — ahem, operative — into giving me their rad as hell SHIELD beret, I bought Ellen like sixteen souvenirs (okay, two) — but that is not what I’m here about. (Ask me about the Cap t-shirt I got. Please. Oh my god. Ask me.)
What I’m here about is, unsurprisingly, the Captain America portion of exhibit.
The experience is immersive, all set up so you feel like you’re in SHIELD archives or the like. The Cap section includes the VitaRay (complete with a cameo by the salt stains from, you guessed it, Chris Evans’ back sweat), the rescuing-Bucky leather jacket, some seriously exclusive trading cards I Coulson’d all over, the Avengers uniform, and, endearingly, a section where you can test your strength against Steve’s. There’s also a little portion by the VitaRay that explains the changes Steve’s brain went through after they administered the serum. Being the massive bag of science trash that I am, this is where I spent most of my time.
The info graphic basically told me what we already know: that the serum enhances everything you had going for you before. So Steve’s brain is smarter and faster, the neurons have a longer life span, the hippocampus — that’s your memory storage — is nice and healthy; whatever. But then they said that the part of Steve’s brain that increased the most in mass and synaptogenesis was the amygdala. And I promptly lost all control over my feelings.
Cut bc this is about to get really gnarly. It’s science time, kiddos.
there is nothing we, collectively, as the star trek fandom, could do or put here on tumblr that would in any way surprise william shatner, because i mean this is a fandom in which somebody cosplayed a giant vulcan penis and did an interpretive dance while in the costume and this happened decades before tumblr began tumbling. i think the real question here is, can tumblr handle william shatner
Bucky looking a little like a potato as a child. Like, yeah he was cute, but... Yeah. But then the glorious winds of puberty blow through his thick hair and he's tall, dark and handsome and he's swaggers around with a smirk and Steve's just like "You shit, you fucking little shit." because PUBERTY HAS DONE NOTHING FOR HIM EXCEPT MAKE HIS VOICE FIFTY TIMES DEEPER WHICH IS FINE BUT HE HASN'T GROWN AN INCH IN THREE YEARS.
I JUST IMAGINED SKINNY!STEVE JUST LIKE…FINDING A PICTURE OF POTATO!BUCKY AND JUST LEGIT LOOKING RIGHT AT BUCKY
"you shit. you fucking little shit." IN HIS DEEP-ASS VOICE COMING OUT OF THAT TINY LITTLE BODY AND JUST
FUCK ME I CAN’T STOP LAUGHING
no but people who don’t like pacific rim because it wasn’t logical or scientifically accurate like
we don’t care
it is an homage to that genre. the original godzilla was a dude clearly in a rubber suit stomping cardboard tokyo and we were supposed to just accept that. pacific rim is a movie where a government council sat around like “what are we gonna do about these giant aliens coming from the ocean?”
"let’s build equally giant robots to punch them in the face"
"yes perfect" and like, that was of course the logical response because it’s friggin cool
mako didn’t use the sword because she had to wait until the perfect cinematic moment to do so
this movie is a love letter to painfully dumb action movies, but it is also one of the smartest movies i’ve ever seen. it’s just telling a story in a different way. instead of having audience vehicle main character explain everything to us, the movie shows you a world and asks you to accept its premise, and then lets you discover the story yourself.
this movie glorifies platonic love and familial bonds, this movie is about how we as people are stronger together, that it’s not one lone hero guy who can save the world, but the unity of all of us. it’s about the sheer unmitigated gall of humanity- “fuck this noise, we’re canceling the apocalypse!” it’s about the stupid dumb loud optimism that looks at the world and wants it to better, demands it be better, and does so with fists of steel.
it’s bombast and noise and i love it to bits so shut up and sit down and let me enjoy my giant robots punching giant monsters in the face okay?