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Hi there! I'm Shiver, and welcome to my Enormous Encyclopaedia!

Here, I will tell you everything I know about writing, wordbuilding, character building and all the rest in the hopes that you will find this even remotely useful!

Anyways, here goes!


FantasyEdit

Ah yes, fantasy. Fantasy stories can completely transport you to a whole new world, if done right.

First off, the basics:

  1. What makes it a fantasy? Are there dragons? Magic? Other fantasy animals?
  2. What is the setting? Is it a magical floating island? A land of wizards? (Tip: Making a map will help!)
  3. Getting into depth now - What are the rules of magic? Who can use it? Do you need to practice it, or does it come naturally? Do the raw details, then get into the nitty-gritty.
  4. Ah, yes, the main character. Are they from a fantasy race? (If so, sort out everything regarding the fantasy race - appearance, abilities, social structure, diet, etc). Are they human? Are they magical? Again, sort out the raw details, then get into the nitty-gritty.

WARNING: FANTASY NAMES CAN BE HARD. MAKE SURE THEY'RE PRONOUNCEABLE. IT MAY HELP TO ADD A CHARACTER LIST WITH PRONUNCIATIONS.

After you've done all the basic setting-up, get into the plot.

NOTE: SOMETIMES YOU WILL HAVE A GREAT PLOT AND WILL HAVE TO BUILD THE WORLD AROUND IT. DON'T WORRY; YOU CAN STILL USE THIS GUIDE.

First off - the antagonist. Treat them like the main character - appearance, race, so on and so forth. It is important to make sure you have their motives down, otherwise they will not seem like a good character.

Worldbuilding TipsEdit

  • Make sure you know the time. Depending on when it is, they will have different lifestyles, life expectancies, and technology.
  • Sort out their social hierarchy. Who's on the top? What do they do? Who's on the bottom? Is there a reason?
  • Do they use money, or a bartering system? 
  • What's their family system/whatever you want to call it? Do they have arranged marriages? Do they sell their children to wealthier families for marriage?
  • What environment do they live in? What environment do the fantasy animals live in?

Horror Edit

Horror is one of my favourites! They can be spine-chilling and nightmarish, but sometimes it's pretty hard to properly execute them.

The basics:

  1. What's the villain/antagonist? Are they supernatural? Paranormal? From another dimension? Are they just a human?
  2. Where is it set? Is it post-apocalyptic? Is it modern-day?
  3. What does the villain/antagonist do? Is it a serial killer? Is it a demon set out to destroy humankind? Is it a mythical creature?
  4. Can anything stop the villain/antagonist? Does the protagonist know?
  5. How did the protagonist come into contact with the villain/antagonist?
  6. How does the villain/antagonist affect those who live around/near it? Do they live in terror of it? Do they even know it's there?

After you've gotten that out of the way, it's time for the plot!

(I'm going to make a section on plot-building later; for now let's just focus on writing horror)

Some Tips on Setting Up the Horror Scene Edit

  • Darkness is good. If the protagonist can't see, that makes it scarier.
  • Shorter sentences build tension.
  • Silence is good. It's even better if it's broken by, say, a shriek not far away, or a chuckle right behind the protagonist. Another way to use silence is to keep it, but allow the protagonist to faintly see whatever is coming after them, like glowing eyes and Pennywise-like teeth peering out of the darkness at them.
  • Describe the scary thing in as much detail as possible. Gore makes it scarier.
  • If the protagonist isn't 100% sure what they're doing, that makes it scarier. Let the protagonist be ignorant.
  • If the antagonist/villain isn't entirely human, that makes it better. Don't be afraid to make them mutated and twisted. Demonic possession is also good, because the protagonist would likely feel bad hurting the human vessel. Mutation by nuclear radiation would also be pretty scary, especially in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
  • Let the protagonist be scared. If the protagonist is scared, the reader will probably be feeling uneasy, too.
  • Shock is really helpful, but be careful not to overdo it.
  • Make sure the villain/antagonist has a reason for whatever they're doing, be it the instincts of a bloodthirsty animal or malevolent intentions.

Dystopian Edit

Dystopian fiction is good and can be interesting, but it is tricky.

Note: You DO NOT HAVE to have made an apocalypse change everything. Dystopian is about living in a land with a corrupt government, not in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Note: I will be referring to dystopian-with-an-apocalypse as common dystopian, as most dystopian stories tend to include an apocalypse.

Tropes to Avoid Edit

  • Love triangles. These come up too often and frankly can be quite annoying.
  • Straight, cisgender white girl who is at the bottom of the hierarchy rIsInG uP to defeat the evil government. It's overused and boring. Don't.
  • Rebellious teenagers taking down the government. Yes, this sounds like a good plot addition, but it's pretty much impossible and unrealistic. Maybe make a secret organisation that's been up and running for a long time.
  • The government is evil for no real reason. If the government is going to be evil, at least give them a motive!
  • Some unknown catastrophe wiped out almost all of the humans. Planet of the Apes is a good example of how to create a reason behind the dystopia. It sets up the ruined world perfectly.
  • Everyone's separated into separate quadrants. This is so typical and overuse. Please don't do this.

Note: I am not saying that these are Taboo and Banned and stuff; you can pull these off, but it will be difficult if you want your story to remain original.

Now that that's out of the way, let's move on to the basics:

  1. Setting. Is this after a nuclear apocalypse? Is it set after a war? What continent is it set in? Was there an apocalypse in the first place? Did the government become corrupt?
  2. Main character. Are they trying to take down the government? Are they trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic, corrupt government?
  3. What's this new world like? You have to set out the new rules of society and that kind of thing. Are there still societies after this apocalypse? Did the government change the laws? What can you get away with in this new world?

Note: Sometimes the line between dystopian and post-apocalyptic is blurred. You can put the two together, but it won't be dystopian unless the government is corrupt and cruel.

Setting Tips Edit

  • Sort out what's so bad about the government. What do they do that makes them so corrupt? Do they rig votings? Do they kill people who disagree with them? There must be something that they do wrong.
  • Work out how the people feel about them. Are they too scared to speak up for what's right? Are they openly rude about the government? Do they try to do anything about it?
  • What kind of government is it? Is it a dictatorship? A democracy? If it's a democracy, is it a fair one?
  • The people need to be disadvantaged. Do the government hoard all the food and riches for themselves? Do they put the people in the way of danger to save themselves?

Post-Apocalyptic Edit

Post-apocalyptic is one of my favourite, because there are so many dynamics you can play with.

Note: Post-apocalyptic requires sinister undertones and/or some horror themes.

First off, some important things:

  1. Name what caused the apocalypse. If you do this, you can decide how it affected the world and what this new world is like.
  2. An apocalypse will leave scars. If it was nuclear, there will be craters and wreckage from the bombs. If it was alien, decide what the aliens were like and leave some of their crafts or buildings lying around. If it was robots, there will likely still be robots prowling around.
  3. There will be monsters. You must decide what these monsters are like and what they do.
  4. Things will have changed. There might be new kinds of animals, or plants, or new terrain. It's up to you, but you have to change something.
  5. There will be lasting psychological affects. PTSD, for example. Almost all the human characters would likely have a form of it. Maybe anxiety, or depression.

Note: DO THE MENTAL ILLNESSES CORRECTLY. DO YOUR RESEARCH. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT.

Now, worldbuilding is significantly easier, as you just have to alter Earth's current state. This gives you a break, because you don't have to come up with a whole new world. As a result, I will not be including worldbuilding tips for his category. If you want me to, then tell me in the comments!

Now, you have to decide the state that humanity is in. How many humans are left? Are they able to maintain their former way of living? How does society operate? Here are some tips for specific apocalypses:

Nuclear Edit

  • Chances are, animals' and humans' genetics will be mutated and messed up. Try and add this into your writing.
  • If the bombs targeted the major cities, there are not going to be many inhabitable places made by humans, and there will not be many humans left.
  • Your characters will probably be alone. How do they handle it? Humans are highly sociable creatures. Are they searching for other people?

Aliens Edit

  • Are the aliens still around? If so, how do they interact with humans? What is their society like? What language do they speak? If not, what did the aliens leave? How many humans are left alive?
  • Are humans still in their own minds? Do they have control over what they do?
  • Did the humans receive advanced technology from the aliens? Do they have flying cars? Do they have superweapons?

With post-apocalyptic, make sure to make it creative! The more creative, the better!

Romance Edit

Romance can be incredibly cute or cringey, and you can fit it in with most other genres! Not only that, but it can be quite fun to write!

Tropes to Avoid Edit

  • Enemies to lovers. This is often overused and unrealistic.
  • Opposites attract. This is also overused and unrealistic, and frankly quite dissatisfying.
  • One person is a horrible rotten disgusting excuse for a person, and the other is a sweet angelic ray of sunshine. This can actually become a toxic relationship, where the ray of sunshine is emotionally and mentally abused and manipulated.
  • The woman basically becomes the man's mother, maid and baby machine all in one. This is sexist, wrong and perpetuates misogynistic stereotypes.

Note: The first two can be made to work, but it will be very, very difficult. And don't use the last two. Just don't.

Now, romance can be difficult, especially if you've never been in a relationship or are writing a relationship with tricky dynamics. Below are some examples of romances, and tips on how to write them!

Note: For all romances, I advise you use the Kiss Rule: if they have to kiss for you to know they're in love, you aren't writing the romance well.

Tips on Writing Romantic Scenes Edit

  • Your characters heart will thud and they will be nervous. Maybe have them sweat, or make their hands shake.
  • Eye contact will either be nonexistent or neverending. There is no in between.
  • Glances, blushing and accidental touch will add atmosphere to your story. Adding these is a good idea.
  • Your characters will probably be awkward. Embrace this.
  • Flirting can be cute, especially if the character who is not flirting gets all flustered.

Of course, it's best not to overdo it, and include some serious scenes.

Good Tropes Edit

  • LGBTQ+ relationships. Just...non-toxic LGBTQ+ relationships.
  • One is paralysingly shy, the other a raging extrovert. This can be quite funny and sweet.
  • Exhausted genius with an energetic extrovert. Really, introvert + extrovert is interesting and fun!
  • Chaotic Evil with Chaotic Good. A Chaotic Evil and the one (1) person they'd never hurt: their Chaotic Good bae!
  • Positive relationship with a mentally ill and/or disabled person. We need some more of this out in the world, to help kill the stigma surrounding these two topics and to let people with mental illnesses and/or disabilities know that they are just as loveable as anyone else and to never let stereotypes and stigma make them feel worthless!

There are plenty of other kinds of relationships to include, too. Here are some things that you should definitely avoid.

TRIGGER WARNING: MENTION OF MATURE CONTENT. IF YOU ARE YOUNG OR TRIGGERED BY THIS KIND OF THING, DO NOT READ THE BELOW TOPIC.

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Things To Avoid Edit

  • Violence. Anything violent is bad, unless the main character realises they're in an abusive relationship and finds that they have the courage to leave and rebuild their life, and find someone who treats them right.
  • Rape. No rape. None at all.
  • Abusive relationships. Especially if the abusive one is mentally ill and/or disabled.
  • Any of the above mixed with the 'Tropes to Avoid'. They would create truly atrocious, disgusting stories if that happened.

END OF TRIGGER AND MATURE CONTENT WARNING.

Comedy Edit

Comedy is one of my personal favourites. I really love it when a book makes me laugh out loud!

How to Make a Funny Character Edit

  • Wit. Having a quick wit and a sharp tongue can make a character hilarious.
  • Idiocy. Particularly stupid characters who have absolutely no idea what they're doing are both 1) relatable and 2) funny.
  • Lack of common sense. People with no common sense are hilarious, right? So incorporate that into your story!

Now, after you've gotten that out of the way, here are some ways to make your story funny:

  • Random things. For example, in the 13 Story Treehouse book series (by Andy Griffiths), there are so many random things that make absolutely no sense whatsoever. For example, the character Superfinger and Mr Bignose.
  • One character is a genius, the other an imbecile. Bonus points if they're in love.

Things That Should Not Be Used As A Joke Edit

  • Mental illness. This is a serious subject and should never be joked about, unless you yourself have a mental illness and feel that it is appropriate,
  • LGBTQ+. People have been killed and disowned for being LGBTQ+. Only LGBTQ+ people can make jokes about their identity.
  • Disabilities. Again, only people with disabilities can make jokes about it.
  • Gender. Self-explanatory.
  • Race. Self-explanatory.
  • Domestic violence, or violence at all.

TRIGGER WARNING AND MATURE CONTENT WARNING: WILL BE MENTIONING MATURE CONTENT AHEAD. PLEASE SKIP OVER THIS SECTION.

  • Rape. This is never okay to joke about.
  • Sex work. Sex workers should be respected for the people that they are.

END OF TRIGGER AND MATURE CONTENT WARNING.

Subgenres Edit

These genres are often created from blending the major genres above.

(eep ran out of time but will finish this)

Okay, now that we've finished the major genres (please let me know if I've forgotten any!), we'll move on to other writing tips!

Blending Genres Edit

Blending genres is the best way to make your story interesting! Like, for example, a post-apocalyptic horror story, or a fantasy comedy! Here are ways to blend your genres.

Picking Your Genres Edit

Some genres work together better than others. For example, post-apocalyptic and horror go well together. It would be best to pick genres that go well together. Here are the best combinations:

  1. Post-apocalyptic and horror. Post-apocalyptic leaves a lot of room for scares and horror to take place.
  2. Post-apocalyptic and fantasy. After meddling with genetics, fantasy animals were created! After the apocalypse, fantasy animals rule the world! Doesn't that sound fun to write?
  3. Pretty much any genre and romance. It can add some extra spice to the story, although you have to be careful not to add in unnecessary romances.
  4. Sci-fi and fantasy. I have only ever seen this in Artemis Fowl, and you all know how popular that got!

Note: Post-apocalyptic and common dystopian often have a lot in common: the apocalypse, trying to survive, so on and so forth, and are a lot easier to blend together.

(gonna add more to blending in a bit)

Plot Building Edit

Too many times I've thought of fantastic characters, beautiful worlds, and perfect dynamics...only to realise I don't have a plot.

Basic Things To Build A Plot Off Edit

  • First, take your protagonist. Is there something they want? What's stopping them from getting it?
  • Give them a way to get around whatever is stopping them from getting what they want. Make it a difficult way, but make it possible.
  • Coincidences to get them into trouble are excellent. Coincidences to get them out of trouble feels like a rip-off.
  • Friendship dynamics can really forward a plot. If your characters are truly three-dimensional, it can be very fun to toy with their wants and motivations to forward the plot.

How Not To Forward The Plot Edit

  • Female character dies to forward a male character's plotline. This happens far too often, especially if said female character is the only female character.
  • Really, if any marginalised character dies to forward a more privileged character's plotline. Especially if the marginalised character is the only marginalised character.

(gonna add more later)

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