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Never lose your infinite imagination and exquisite humor
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Present fears are less than horrible imaginings
Customizable Name Generator


Hey, this was a little while back, but you got a question about about coming up with names for characters once you know the naming conventions of a species/race/culture/etc. I recently found a generator that lets you input guidelines for the names it generates. It’s extremely customizable and it’s become one of my new favorite go to resources. My only complaint would be that it doesn’t have a way to specify omissions, only things you want to include meaning that if you want names that start with any letter but ‘r’, you would have to specify that you want names that start with a, b, c, d, e, and so on all the way through q, and s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z, instead of just saying no r’s. Still, it’s by and far the best name generator I’ve come across and I wanted to share it with all of my fellow science fiction and fantasy writers out there.

Anonymous sent: how do you write a character that has started learning a new language and slowly get better at speaking? im trying to write a character like that, everyone else except them speaks the language but they know most of it but need to think before speaking but im not sure how to word their words


You’ve experienced learning a new language before, even if you don’t think you have. When you were a baby, you couldn’t speak your mother tongue until the people around you taught it to you. And how did you do that?

You started with words. ‘Mama’, ‘Papa’, ‘Hello’, ‘Cat’, ‘Dog’. It’s the same when you learn another language when you’re older. You might know a few words, but you can’t - initially - put them into a sentence that makes sense.

I used to learn French but I didn’t go beyond a very basic speaking level. If I were to try and speak or understand it now, I’d have the same level of understanding as a toddler does when they’re learning to talk. They hear certain words, they can hear tone, but they can’t engage in a high-level conversation with those around them, simply because they don’t understand what they’re hearing. However, every so often, something clicks and their short words/phrases extend into a longer, more complex thought.

The Learning Process

Let’s pretend I’m like your character. I’m in this place and I can’t communicate very well, but one day we’re all sat out in the yard and across the street, I see someone from school walking their dog.

'Dog. Dog. Dog.'

I only know how to say ‘dog’ in this language and nothing else, so all I can do is repeat it to get my point across. I’ve seen a dog, everyone else can now see the dog, but…

'Want dog.'

Not much longer after that, I’ve learnt to expand on the point a little bit.

'I like dog.'

A better sentence, but everyone just assumes I mean ‘I like dogs’, so I have to expand my vocabulary further.

'I like that dog. Sarah dog. Cute dog. Funny.'

A simple, easy to understand set of phrases. It’s not just any dog I like, it’s a particular one; a cute and funny one, like Sarah’s. Still sounds like I’m talking like a baby though.

'I like Sarah's dog, it's cute and funny. I want that kind of dog, too.'

An ability to put more into the sentence, to make it even easier to understand. I’m no longer just pointing at the dog like some lunatic, there’s an actual reason why I wanted everybody to hear about it. I like dogs, yes, but I want a dog and not just any kind: one that’s like Sarah’s.

So the language develops from one key point like that. You start with single words, then go into phrases, then into more complex sentences.

This is an example of pretty much every day in the life of a child as they learn to speak.

Until your character becomes a little more fluent, they’re going to sound just like that. Their sentences will be broken, they may be frustrated when they’re trying to communicate but nobody understands what it is they want to say and it can cause a lot of embarrassment/hilarity when they misuse or misunderstand certain words and phrases.

Although unlike a child, the key is that their vocabulary is lacking, not their ability to understand their higher emotions/feelings. So they’re not going to regress into toddlerhood just because they can’t express themselves correctly, ha ha! It will include a more complex set of feelings for them as an adult/older individual.

I hope this helps a little bit… Followers & Admins are free to add in their own thoughts too…!

- enlee


Dunno if anyone’s interested in these, but this was my latest assignment for CGMA’s Art of Color and Light class- this past week focused on how light interacts with different materials.
It’d be cool to try some different skin tones, I just used my own pasty hand for reference. Maybe even an alien species with non-red blood, so the occlusion shadow glows a different color where light passes through? Would it be purple for Namekians and green for Vulcans? (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧ possibilities
Also, the iridescent pearl wasn’t a requirement, but I enjoy Sailor Moon and suffering. If anyone’s got pointers on iridescence, I am all ears over here, because I clawed my way through that one screaming


Dunno if anyone’s interested in these, but this was my latest assignment for CGMA’s Art of Color and Light class- this past week focused on how light interacts with different materials.

It’d be cool to try some different skin tones, I just used my own pasty hand for reference. Maybe even an alien species with non-red blood, so the occlusion shadow glows a different color where light passes through? Would it be purple for Namekians and green for Vulcans? (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧ possibilities

Also, the iridescent pearl wasn’t a requirement, but I enjoy Sailor Moon and suffering. If anyone’s got pointers on iridescence, I am all ears over here, because I clawed my way through that one screaming

5 Common Story Problems with Simple Fixes


Our stories are often plagued with these common story problems, but if we don’t know how to fix them, we’ll never improve our writing. It’s important that you remember you don’t need to scrap your novel if you keep having the same issues over and over again. Hopefully this list will help you pinpoint what’s going on and provide ways for you to improve your novel.

Problem: Unmotivated Characters

If you’re having trouble figuring out where your story should go next, the problem could be with unmotivated characters. Characters aren’t in your novel just so you can push them around every once in a while and make them do things. They need to develop over time and keep your story going in the right direction.


Work on your character’s wants, goals, and motivations. You need to figure out what’s driving your character if you want them to do anything. Where do they want to end up? What’s standing in their way? What’s their plan? Who will help them? Think about everything your character will need to do to resolve your novel. Focus on what they want and what motivates their actions and your characters will stop being dull and lifeless.

Problem: Boring First Chapters

A boring first chapter is dangerous because you want to captivate your audience right away. You don’t want to lose readers just because of this, but sometimes it happens.  You should give enough information to keep your readers interested, while also keeping them intrigued enough to figure out what happens next.


Putting emotion into your scenes from the beginning will not only help set the tone, but we’ll get an immediate understanding of your world. The best advice I can give is to construct a scene that helps us best understand your character. If they’re on the run, show us that they’re being chased. If they’re sad and lonely, construct a scene that lets us feel their isolation. You don’t necessarily need to open your book with action, but you do need to introduce the conflict. Think about what your character wants and go from there. Think of your first chapter as an introduction to an essay. You don’t go right into the points immediately, but you set us up for something good.

Problem: Plot Holes

Writers worry about forgetting to include important information in their novel that’s necessary to the plot. If you’re discovering that readers often point out plot holes in your story, maybe it’s time to reevaluate how you plan your novel.


Pre-planning or prewriting your novel often solves any plot hole problems. If you take the time to write out important scenes so you don’t forget them, your story will become stronger. However, if you’re not someone who likes to do so much planning, you can tackle plot holes during the editing phase. Take notes when you’re editing so that you can catch these plot holes and figure out where you can add necessary information. A plot hole does not always mean your novel needs loads of reworking, but it is something you need to take the time to fill in.

Problem: Poor Pacing

Poor pacing can ruin a novel, but luckily it’s something you can tackle head on before you even start writing your story. Good pacing helps add tension to your novel and helps you make sure there’s enough rising and falling action to keep your story interesting.


Planning out your novel ahead of time also helps solve pacing problems. You can create a timeline that helps you keep track and plan out when you want certain things to happen. Read up on story arcs and try to plan out your scenes accordingly. If you’re already done with your novel and you notice poor pacing, try rearranging scenes or spreading out the action.

Problem: Info-Dumping

A very common writing problem is info-dumping. This is when you tell your readers loads of information at a time without showing them anything important. Info-dumps usually occur in first chapters of novels, but they can happen anytime during the course of your story. Info- dumps can drag down your story and bore your readers.


Cut out long paragraphs where you explain what’s going on in your novel and show your readers instead. Avoid over explaining things that can be explained through action. Letting your audience figure things out instead is a much more satisfying reading experience and it lets your readers connect with your characters on a deeper level.

-Kris Noel

Protagonists: Writing About Heroes


Every story has a hero, and the hero of the story can often change depending on the narrator’s point of view. The trick is to create an interesting hero that your reader can root for without boring your reader to death. So here are some tips for doing that

1. Create an interesting backstory. We’ve all seen stories about heroes who come from nothing and through virtue of destiny/a hidden power/sheer hard work and dedication, the hero finds himself/herself in a position to defeat the bad guy. But there are some twists you can add to this old archetype. Your hero could be the son of the antagonist (just look at Star Wars!) or at the very last minute, one of your supporting characters can show up to save the day (do I hear Samwise Gamgee?) There is no “ideal” background for your hero, so be creative! 

2. Heroes are not good all the time. Even Hercules had a weakness. Perfect characters are boring and they will kill your plot. It will literally flatline. So the thing to do here is add a flaw. Let’s take for example, Michael Corleone in The Godfather. He’s a murderous member of the mafia, for Pete’s sake! And if the story were told from the perspective of his enemies, Michael would be the bad guy. But the fact of the matter is, we’re enthralled by his flaws as well as his virtues. These traits can be physical or psychological as long as they come into play during the course of your hero’s journey.

3. Speaking of which, the journey: typically, a hero goes on some sort of physical journey that ends up being a psychological one as well. Lessons are learned, friends are made, battles are won and lost, and all of it shapes the outcome of the story. Now you can choose to have one or the other or both, but there MUST be some sort of journey involved in order for your characters to be dynamic.

4. Sometimes, the hero loses. As much as you will love your hero and her/his friends, they have to fail every once in a while. (HUNGER GAMES SPOILERS: Katniss is a prime example! She did her best, but in the end, nothing she could do could save Prim.) Be brutally honest. Channel your inner George R. R. Martin and slaughter some characters.

5. Give everybody something to fight for. This part is tricky, because you really have to know your character. What would he/she fight for? Die for? Why is it so important? Who would try and take it away? Would the hero ever give up and if so, under what circumstances? (Do this for your villain as well.)

Some other quick tips:

  • You can have more than one hero, just as you can have more than one villain.
  • You can tell the story from both perspectives; this forces your reader to choose a side. It’s important to make both sides equally good and bad here, but in different ways.
  • Put some innocent bystanders in the way of the enemy so that your reader can have a little tiny glimpse of the consequence of failure.
  • You can have a hero that encompasses a “big idea,” such as honesty, friendship, honor, etc. This also makes it easier to choose a fatal flaw. For example, an honest character could come off as haughty, a friendly character could be naive, an honorable character could be stubborn, etc.

There are several nuances to creating a character and it takes practice to perfect your own process, but these are some good starting guidelines to make sure you at least have a moving plot. The rest will begin coming together once the rest of your story starts to develop.

8 Character Roles


Protagonist: the central character tied into the main storyline. Their goals fuel the action and their own personal journey.

Antagonist: the character whose goals directly oppose those of the protagonist. They are not necessarily an ‘evil’ character or ‘the baddie’, but their journey towards their own goals blocks the protagonist’s journey.

Mentor: the mentor voices or represents the lesson that must be learned by the protagonist in order to change for the better and achieve their goal.

Tempter: the antagonist’s right-hand. The tempter doesn’t necessarily know the antagonist, but they both share the role of stopping the protagonist from achieving their goal. The tempter tries to convince the protagonist to ‘change sides’, but may end up changing sides themself.

Sidekick: the protagonist’s unconditionally loving friend. This character may become frustrated or suffer doubt, but always stands by the protagonist in the end. Typically, the sidekick embodies the theme without even realizing it.

Skeptic: the skeptic does not believe in the theme or the protagonist’s goal. They have no loyalties, and are simply following their own path.

Emotional: this character acts impulsively, letting their emotions fuel their decisions. Sometimes this works to their advantage, sometimes it is their downfall.

Logical: the rational thinker who always plans and reasons the best course of action. Again, sometimes this works to their advantage, sometimes it is their downfall.

Wound Types, Stages of Healing, & Treatments


Reformatted for easy reading. Link to original at bottom of page. Many of the treatments listed are under the assumption one has access to hospitals and doctors.

Wound: from the Old English word, wund

Wound healing consists of an orderly progression of events that reestablish the integrity of the damaged tissue. The initial wound touches off a series of programmed, separate yet interdependent responses to the injury, including inflammation, epithelialization (growth of new skin), angiogenesis (blood vessel regeneration), and the accumulation of matrix, the cells necessary to heal the tissue. Many wounds pose no challenge to the body’s innate ability to heal; some wounds, however, may not heal easily either because of the severity of the wounds themselves or because of the poor state of health of the individual. The Life Extension Foundation has designed this protocol to support and enhance the healing of internal and external wounds that fall into this category. (For related information on how to support the body’s ability to heal and rebuild itself, refer to the Catabolic Wasting and Muscle Building protocols.) Any wound that does not heal should be examined by a healthcare professional because it might be infected, might reflect an underlying disease such as diabetes, or might be a serious wound requiring medical treatment. Always inform your healthcare provider of all supplements and treatments you are using.

Types of Wounds

Although all wounds follow roughly the same healing process, there are many different causes of wounds. Partial-thickness wounds penetrate the outer layers of the skin (the epidermis and the superficial dermis) and heal by regeneration of epithelial tissue (skin). Full-thickness wounds involve a loss of dermis (deeper layers of skin and fat) and of deep tissue, as well as disruption of the blood vessels; they heal by producing a scar. Wounds are classified by stage. Stage I wounds are characterized by redness or discoloration, warmth, and swelling or hardness. Stage II wounds partially penetrate the skin. Stage III describes full-thickness wounds that do not penetrate the tough white membrane (fascia) separating the skin and fat from the deeper tissues. Stage IV wounds involve damage to muscle or bone and undermining of adjacent tissue. They may also involve the sinus tracts (red streaks indicating infected lymph vessels).

One medical term for a wound is an ulcer. An ulcer is an open sore on the skin (or a mucous membrane) that causes destruction of surface tissue. An ulcer can be shallow or deep and crater-shaped. Ulcers are usually inflamed and painful.

Traumatic Ulcers

  • An injury caused by any kind of accident (or trauma) can result in a wound that affects the skin, blood vessels, bones, muscles, soft tissue, or organs that may result in development of an ulcer.

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(Source: wwrites)

Five Mistakes to Look For In Your Dialogue



The “Now What?” Months are here! In 2014, we’ll be bringing you advice from authors who published their NaNo-novels, editors, agents, and more to help you polish November’s first draft until it gleams. Today, Cara Lockwood, author, editor, and NaNo sponsor, spotlights five dialogue potholes:

Good dialogue is hard for even experienced writers to get right. Bad dialogue, however, can be a major red flag to agents, publishers and readers in general that you are a novice writer not ready to be published. I’ve helped many first-time writers correct the most common missteps with dialogue, such as:

Flat dialogue 

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