Most writers fret over developing characters and getting down to every last detail, but what about introducing them?
The introduction of a character is the reader’s first impression of who this character is. If this character is important, you’ll want to make it stick out to the reader.
What to Avoid:
Queerness: If you introduce a queer character, forget the queer part. Ignore it during introductions unless absolutely necessary. Showing that a character is queer during the introduction creates a bias in the reader. Some readers nitpick queer characters and examine every detail to make sure the author didn’t screw it up. Establish this character first. Paranorman did this beautifully with one of their characters. It was the absolute last thing the viewer learned, after the film explored the character in all other ways available. However, you don’t have to wait until the very end. You can introduce this whenever you want, just make sure it’s not the absolute first thing you mention about a character’s life.
Appearance for a POV Character: The first thing you introduce about a POV character should not be his or her appearance unless it’s relevant. For example, if your character is in a jail cell during the 1700’s, you could describe his long beard or thinness to show poor conditions and neglect. But when do you introduce appearance? Well that’s the beauty of writing. Unlike a film, your reader cannot see everything. You are in charge of opening this world to your reader. Describe the appearance whenever you want, preferably after your reader has a little insight on the personality of the character, but don’t wait too long to do so. Give your reader at least a little bit of information in the beginning.
The Mirror: When introducing a main character for the love of everything do not make them look in some sort of reflective surface. It’s lazy and it’s overdone, especially in first person POV. A way you can use this without being cliche is if the character is looking at something specifically like an injury.
All at Once: Don’t reveal everything about your character at once, including character traits and appearance. Do this gradually, to keep the character fresh in the mind of the reader. If you info dump, the reader may have to go back to keep track of what characters look like.
More Than One: Be careful when introducing two characters at the same time. I can’t recall how many books I’ve read in which the main character meets up with two friends and says nothing more than what they look like and the fact that they both like the same hobby. It’s hard to tell these types of characters apart and it just becomes annoying when the author tries to introduce more than two characters at the same time. If you need to introduce more than one character at the same time, try giving some time between them. Even just a couple minutes will do.
First Pages: Don’t introduce all your characters within the first few pages. It gets messy and disorganized.
Back Story: Don’t introduce a character with tons of back story. Save that for later. The reader does not care about the back story yet and it’s too much information for them to hold at once. Readers needs to know the character before they are able to attach a back story to a face.
Too Many Names:
"Where are you going, Joe?"
"The pizza came, George."
"I’m not going, Hannah."
Avoid writing a bunch of dialogue like that at the beginning. Some of it can flow naturally, but keep it to a minimum and reveal names within the narration. Don’t wait forever to reveal a person’s name though. Doing it once is okay, but when you’ve got a larger cast it can be difficult to keep track of who is who.
Of course, these are not rules and there are exceptions. For example, in Brave New World, a person’s appearance gave hints to where they stood in society and thus giving a person’s height upon introduction was useful.
How to Introduce a Memorable Character:
When introducing a memorable character, try to think about who that character is. 30 Rock is a great example. During the first episode, one of the characters makes his introduction by literally kicking down a door in a casual manner. The behavior fit the character perfectly, as the watcher learns as the show reveals more about that character.
Characters should be introduced in their natural habitat. Again, using Paranorman as an example, the main characters are shown in ways that help define them. The main character is first shown talking to a ghost because he is able to see the dead. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark opens with Indy on one of his many archaeological journeys/treasure hunts and shows just how bad ass he is. Basically, you should introduce the major aspects of your character first and get on to the details later. You want to hook the reader with characters instead of starting out quietly.
How to Introduce Other Characters:
When you introduce any character, you should not think of them as something that has not existed before the page. Force the mindset that your characters existed before the story began. They already have mannerisms and voices that have been developed. You’re just focusing on one part of their lives. Therefore, it’s not really an introduction. You’re basically taking a picture of one time period of a person’s life. That picture is just a small part of what your characters are and what you see in that picture is what you get in an introduction.
You also need to introduce the motive, especially for the main character. This doesn’t have to be the main motive, but your character should want something. The reader needs to root for this character from the beginning to keep reading.
Once you’ve introduced your character, you have to keep that introduction consistent. It can’t be all dramatic at first and then die down for the rest of the story.
Summary of What to Introduce:
- A motive, large or small.
- A little bit of the appearance.
- A behavior or a character in action.
- Hints of personality (both good and bad qualities).
- The reason the reader should care about this character.
- Basics (name, age, gender, etc. (if applicable)).
Whovians make some of the best fan art on Tumblr so we’re sharing some of their best tutorials for Tumblr Tutorial Tuesday.
TUTORIAL BY PSCS5; How to make this text effect
- Photoshop cs5 extended was used
- TV Show: Teen Wolf
- Random coloring was made for the cap
- Font: Georgia in ItalicsLink to the example that was provided: here
- Alternate World: A setting that is not our world, but may be similar. This includes “portal fantasies” in which characters find an alternative world through their own. An example would be The Chronicles of Narnia.
- Arabian: Fantasy that is based on the Middle East and North Africa.
- Arthurian: Set in Camelot and deals with Arthurian mythology and legends.
- Bangsian: Set in the afterlife or deals heavily with the afterlife. It most often deals with famous and historical people as characters. An example could be The Lovely Bones.
- Celtic: Fantasy that is based on the Celtic people, most often the Irish.
- Christian: This genre has Christian themes and elements.
- Classical: Based on Roman and Greek myths.
- Contemporary: This genre takes place in modern society in which paranormal and magical creatures live among us. An example would be the Harry Potter series.
- Dark: This genre combines fantasy and horror elements. The tone or feel of dark fantasy is often gloomy, bleak, and gothic.
- Epic: This genre is long and, as the name says, epic. Epic is similar to high fantasy, but has more importance, meaning, or depth. Epic fantasy is most often in a medieval setting.
- Gaslamp: Also known as gaslight, this genre has a Victorian or Edwardian setting.
- Gunpowder: Gunpowder crosses epic or high fantasy with “rifles and railroads”, but the technology remains realistic unlike the similar genre of steampunk.
- Heroic: Centers on one or more heroes who start out as humble, unlikely heroes thrown into a plot that challenges them.
- High: This is considered the “classic” fantasy genre. High fantasy contains the general fantasy elements and is set in a fictional world.
- Historical: The setting in this genre is any time period within our world that has fantasy elements added.
- Medieval: Set between ancient times and the industrial era. Often set in Europe and involves knights. (medieval references)
- Mythic: Fantasy involving or based on myths, folklore, and fairy tales.
- Portal: Involves a portal, doorway, or other entryway that leads the protagonist from the “normal world” to the “magical world”.
- Quest: As the name suggests, the protagonist in this genre sets out on a quest. The protagonist most frequently searches for an object of importance and returns home with it.
- Sword and Sorcery: Pseudomedieval settings in which the characters use swords and engage in action-packed plots. Magic is also an element, as is romance.
- Urban: Has a modern or urban setting in which magic and paranormal creatures exist, often in secret.
- Wuxia: A genre in which the protagonist learns a martial art and follows a code. This genre is popular in Chinese speaking areas.
Word counts for fantasy are longer than other genres because of the need for world building. Even in fantasy that takes place in our world, there is a need for the introduction of the fantasy aspect.
Word counts for established authors with a fan base can run higher because publishers are willing to take a higher chance on those authors. First-time authors (who have little to no fan base) will most likely not publish a longer book through traditional publishing. Established authors may also have better luck with publishing a novel far shorter than that genre’s expected or desired word count, though first-time authors may achieve this as well.
A general rule of thumb for first-time authors is to stay under 100k and probably under 110k for fantasy.
Other exceptions to word count guidelines would be for short fiction (novellas, novelettes, short stories, etc.) and that one great author who shows up every few years with a perfect 200k manuscript.
But why are there word count guidelines? For young readers, it’s pretty obvious why books should be shorter. For other age groups, it comes down to the editor’s preference, shelf space in book stores, and the cost of publishing a book. The bigger the book, the more expensive it is to publish.
- General Fantasy: 75k - 110k
- Epic Fantasy: 90k - 120k
- Contemporary Fantasy: 90k - 120k
- Urban Fantasy: 80k - 100k
- Middle Grade: 45k - 70k
- YA: 75k - 120k (depending on sub-genre)
- Adult: 80k - 120k (depending on sub-genre)
A pseudo-European medieval setting is fine, but it’s overdone. And it’s always full of white men and white women in disguise as white men because around 85% (ignore my guess/exaggeration, I only put it there for emphasis) of fantasy writers seem to have trouble letting go of patriarchal societies.
Guys. It’s fantasy. You can do whatever you want. You can write a fantasy that takes place in a jungle. Or in a desert. Or in a prairie. The people can be extremely diverse in one region and less diverse in another. The cultures should differ. Different voices should be heard. Queer people exist. People of color exist. Not everyone has two arms or two legs or the ability to hear.
As for the fantasy elements, you also make up the rules. Don’t go searching around about how a certain magic spell is done, just make it up. Magic can be whatever color you want. It can be no color at all. You can use as much or as little magic as you want.
Keep track of what you put into your world and stick to the rules. There should be limits, laws, cultures, climates, disputes, and everything else that exists in our world. However, you don’t have to go over every subject when writing your story.
- Fantasy World Building Questionnaire
- Magical World Builder’s Guide
- Creating Fantasy and Science Fiction Worlds
- Creating Religions
- Quick and Dirty World Building
- World Building Links
- Fantasy World Building Questions
- The Seed of Government (2)
- Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy
- Fantasy Worlds and Race
- Water Geography
- Alternate Medieval Fantasy Story
- Writing Magic
- Types of Magic
- When Magic Goes Wrong
- Magic-Like Psychic Abilities
- Science and Magic
- Creative Uses of Magic
- Thoughts on Creating Magic Systems
- Defining the Sources, Effects, and Costs of Magic
- World Building Basics
- Mythology Master Post
- Fantasy Religions
- Setting the Fantastic in the Everyday World
- Making Histories
- Matching Your Money to Your World
- Building a Better Beast
- A Man in Beast’s Clothing
- Creating and Using Fictional Languages
- Creating a Language
- Creating Fictional Holidays
- Creating Holidays
- Weather and World Building 101
- Describing Fantastic Creatures
- Medieval Technology
- Music For Your Fantasy World
- A heterogeneous World
- Articles on World Building
- Grand List of Fantasy Cliches (most of this can be debated)
- Fantasy Cliches Discussion
- Ten Fantasy Cliches That Should Be Put to Rest
- Seven Fantasy Cliches That Need to Disappear
- Avoiding Fantasy Cliches 101
- Avoiding Fantasy Cliches
- Fantasy Cliches
- Fantasy Cliche Meter: The Bad Guys
- Fantasy Novelist’s Exam
- Mary Sue Race Test
Note: Species (like elves and dwarves) are not cliches. The way they are executed are cliches.
- Accepting – too accepting; willing to excuse extreme behavior
- Adaptable – used to traveling from situation to situation; may not be able to fully adapt/live in a permanent situation
- Affable – accidentally befriends the wrong sort of people; pushes to befriend everyone
- Affectionate –inappropriate affection
- Alert – constantly on edge; paranoid
- Altruistic – self-destructive behavior for the sake of their Cause
- Apologetic – apologizes too much; is a doormat; guilt-ridden
- Aspiring – becomes very ambitious; ruthless in their attempts to reach goals
- Assertive – misunderstood as aggressive; actually aggressive; others react negatively when they take command all the time
- Athletic – joints weakened from exercise; performance-enhancing drug abuse; competitive
rresources; font set 1 - serif + sans serif. (Also, thank you for 2000 followers!)
To the lovely anon who asked how I made this.
♦ Embrace yourselves, my english sucks.
♦ I’ve included a psd of the effect, download it! I’m sure it will be way more useful than my tutorial *///*
♦ Please take this tutorial as a simple guide line, don’t reproduce exactly what I did. Try something different and new. You can personalise you texts as much as you want!
- you don’t need any knowledge about making gifs, that’s pretty much the point of this tutorial, so if you’re new to photoshop, this tutorial might be helpful
- it would be really nice if you could like this post if you like this tutorial or find it useful
- this is the result:
Birds symbolize freedom, power, messengers or carriers, transcendence, death, war, wisdom, life and death, and deities.
Blackbird - good omens, magic, shyness, insecurity, and enchantment.
Crow - guardian, carrier of souls, magic, trickery, thievery, cunning, boldness, eloquence, destiny, intelligence, swiftness, sacred law, and mysticism.
Dove - peace, purity, love, prophecy, gentleness, the Holy Spirit, and tranquility.
Eagle - swiftness, strength, courage, power, intelligence, wisdom, vision, healing, triumph, prosperity, and creation.
Goose - parenthood, luck, innocence, travels, fertility, productiveness, loyalty, teamwork, fellowship, communication, call of the quest, and cooperation.
Hawk - observance, guardianship, wisdom, illumination, truth, experience, creativity, nobility, messenger
Heron - good omens, self-reliance, and determination.
Hummingbird - messenger, joy, beauty, time, and swiftness.
Owl - silence, swiftness, keen sight, freedom, magical, watchfulness, patience, night, and intuition.
Peacock - birth, pride, spring, prestige, and resurrection. Peacock feathers were once thought to be evil because they resembled an eye.
Raven - healing, magic, divination, wisdom, eloquence, teaching, guidance, death, bad luck, shape shifting, and prophecy.
Robin - growth, joy, hope, happiness, good luck, and song.
Sparrow - intelligence, gentleness, companionship, hope, common nobility, and fertility. The sparrow is the bird of the full harvest moon.
Swan - emotions, sensitivity, dreams, true beauty, transformation, empathy, grace, innocence, balance, purity, union, and love.
Woodpecker - prophecy, magic, guardian of trees, and rhythm.
This bird is from Philippine mythology. It is said to be the first creature in the universe, making it part of a creation mythology.
Adar Llwch Gwin
This is a large Welsh bird that know all languages and are loyal servants to their masters.
This bird belongs to Chilean mythology. Its wings shine and it brings luck to miners who see it. They emerge in the desert at night and act as light. However, this bird can also lead greedy miners to their deaths. It eats silver and gold, thus being a subject for miners to search for as the birds have these precious metals in their nests. It looks like a vulture, but it much larger.
From Russian folklore, this bird has the head of a woman and makes beautiful sounds. When its eggs hatch, a storm comes over the ocean. It sometimes has human arms. Hearing this bird’s song will make a person forget about everything else.
Ara and Irik
In East Indian mythology, Ara and Irik were two birds involved in a creation myth. They took two eggs from the water and made the sky and the earth with them.
Also known as alerion or the king of the birds
The avalerion is a mythological bird from Indian mythology. At any given time, only two of these birds exist. They lay a pair of eggs every sixty years, which take sixty days to hatch. After they hatch, the parents drown themselves. Other birds care for the newly hatched birds until they can fly.
In European heraldry, the avalerion is a heraldic eagle known as the king of the bird. Avalerions are depicted as having no beak and no legs, or sometimes feathery stumps.
It is said to resemble an eagle, but is larger, has sharp razor-like wings, and is the color of fire.
Also known as Bennu
Benu is from Egyptian mythology and modeled after the heron. The bird has two white feathers on either side of its head and wears either the crown of Osiris or of Ra.This bird often represents Ra (a sun god) because it is associated with the sun. Benu is a central part of creation mythologies. Benu is a symbol of rebirth.
This is a white bird that can sense death, as it refused to look at anyone who was dying. However, it can also take away the sickness from others and heal them. This bird is from Roman mythology.
From Chinese mythology, this phoenix is highly respected and represents yin and yang. It has a swallow’s face, but a rooster’s beak and a snake’s neck. Some say the Feng Huang resembles a peacock. This bird is often paired with the dragon.
Also known as Zhar-Ptitsa
The appearance of the firebird is just as the name suggests: red, orange, yellow, and glowing. Most stories about the firebird include a hero on a quest to find the bird’s feathers. The firebird gives hope to those in need and it is said pearls drop from its beak. This bird has the ability to restore health. It is often seen sitting on a golden perch and eats golden apples.
This bird comes from Jewish mythology and is immortal. Like a phoenix, it is destroyed in fire and then reborn as a full-grown hoyl bird in an egg. Its immortality was granted when Adam and Eve offered fruit to the animals. The hoyl bird was the only one that refused.
Also known as homa or the bird of paradise
The huma is a bird belonging to Persian mythology. This bird’s shadow is said to bring good luck to anyone who touches it (this detail varies). The huma is both male and female, dedicating a leg and wing to each gender. The huma flies incessantly and some say it has no legs.
The huma dies in fire and rises again in the ashes, just as a phoenix does. Some say eggs are laid in mid-air and hatched during the fall.
This bird has reptilian skin and comes from African mythology. This bird often dove from the sky and attacked passengers on boats to drown them. Looking into its eyes would anger the bird and guarantee death. It is said to be the size of an eagle.
Also known as Ouzelum
This bird is from British and Australian folklore. This bird flies backwards because while it does not know where it is going, it likes to know where it has been. This bird has colorful plumage and can be compared to an ostrich, but is smaller. Also like the ostrich, this bird buries its head when threatened, though not in sand.
The owlman is an urban legend of Cornwall. He is an owl-like humanoid with red eyes who preys on young women. America’s mothman is its counterpart.
Also known as Rukh
This bird comes from Middle Eastern mythology. It was a massive bird similar to an eagle, though it had a forked tongue and sharp teeth. The size of the bird is said to be so large it can carry off an elephant.
SUPERSTITIONS & MYTHS
- An owl that circles a house three times is said to be a sign that someone within the house will die soon.
- It is said robins gained their red feathers because they attempted to remove the thorn crown from Jesus’s head, but his blood fell on the bird instead.
- It is unlucky to kill a robin.
- The eye on a peacock feather is said to be the “evil eye” and therefore bad luck to bring inside a home.
- There are countless superstitions about birds near homes and windows that signify oncoming death.
- Tip your hat at a magpie to avoid back luck.
- It’s unlucky to kill sparrows because they carry the souls of the dead.
- A crow at the window represents the soul of a dead person.
- A nearby robin carries the soul of a deceased family member.
First of all, you need to know how to make gifs and if you don’t, here’s the tutorial (x). This tutorial was requested and as you know, I’m not that good at explaining things, especially tutorials lol but yes, let’s give it a try. Shall we?