The Problem With Politically Correct Fiction

Fiction takes place in the imagination, but that doesn’t mean that literally anything goes simply because it’s imaginary. To every story, there is a suspension of disbelief – a cloud of willing delusion that allows the reader to get into the story by tossing rationality out the window.

 

Of course there is magic in Lord of the Rings. In that universe, magic exists, and if a critic were to stand up at a sci-fi convention and proclaim, “I just can’t get into LoTR because this magic stuff just doesn’t exist in real life,” then they’d be laughed out on their ass. Fiction isn’t supposed to mimic real life, otherwise it wouldn’t be fiction.

 

We have no problem with Thor wielding a flying hammer because we’ve accepted it as part of the story. Gods in that universe exist, the Nordic Gods specifically, Thor being one of them, and godlike weapons just… do that kind of stuff. But fiction must have some internal consistency. If [Token Love Interest] started flying around too with absolutely no explanation given, then the confusion would kick us out of the story. There must be some laws regarding fantastic elements of the story.

 

However, there are expectations and assumptions that we take in to every story from our real-life experiences.

 

We assume in the Avengers universe that most cars run on gasoline. We also assume that there is air on Earth and that the physics, when not contorted by superheroes, functions in similar ways to our own world. These aspects of the world are never explicitly stated, and they don’t need to be, because if they were then we’d be in for a twelve hour movie. Instead, we assume that everyday objects in fiction act as everyday objects in real life. If they suddenly don’t, then we run into problems.

 

If we were to watch the Avengers and see [Love Interest] fill the escape car with vegetable oil instead of gas, with no explanation given, we’d say to ourselves, “Wait, so do all cars run on vegetable oil in this world? What’s the point of that? Everything else works the same. We saw the jet planes use gas. I don’t get it.”

 

That, “I don’t get it moment,” is the moment where the story falls apart. The suspension of disbelief is broken, even though we just saw Thor fly across the ocean in the previous scene. You assumed cars ran on gas because everything else looked the same.

 

To put it all in simpler terms: while there are assumptions we must leave behind to enjoy fiction (Thor’s hammer makes him fly), there are also expectations that we can’t help but take with us (cars run on gasoline). The proper balance between the two creates a story that we can get lost in, but one that doesn’t need to spell out that universe’s laws of physics.

 

And these expectations are what makes the craft of fiction so much harder (though not impossible) for your average Social Justice Warrior or Politically Correct Writer. If you’ve spent at least some of your life outdoors and in the company of other people then you’d see for yourself how different groups of people, especially the sexes, have different attributes, both physically and psychologically. Our experience reinforce stereotypes, which might be wrong, but in many cases are right. There are things we don’t see, like rainbow coalitions with every race and sex/sexual orientation, Asian football players, or women the size of the Hulk. And it is precisely these views, gained from our own experience, which clash against the egalitarian fiction that the Social Justice Warrior creates.Their view of real life people revolves around human equality. They believe that the abilities and psychologies between all races and genders is pretty much the same, and that the difference between race and sex ultimately comes down to superficial aesthetics and some internal plumbing.

 

That may be great for inclusiveness, but it makes the storytelling process harder, not easier..

 

For example, has it ever seemed odd to you when a crime drama or thriller busts out a class-A hacker, that hacker happens to be a girl? It’s odd because you’ve never seen a class A girl hacker. Heck, you’d be hard pressed to find a class A girl programmer in real life, given how computer science is mostly a man’s game. You’ve never seen such a thing in your life and yet politically-correct fiction presents this over and over as if it’s reality. At some point, you notice the disconnect between your expectations and the fictional world, and there goes your suspension of disbelief.

 

What’s interesting is that this fictional world can also have cyborgs and aliens and dragons, and yet this largely mundane aspect can kick us out of the story because, like I said above, there are assumptions we must leave behind and there are expectations we can’t help but take with us. Aliens and cyborgs are okay, but a woman acting contrarily to every other woman we’ve ever met in our everyday lives, without sufficient reason, is not. If there is no reason, then we see such things as explicit endorsements from their creators of what the world (both fictional and real) should be like, rather than what is.

 

The irony is that fiction that more accurately aligns with real world expectations and assumptions, even if they are supposedly racist and misogynistic in certain aspects, will cause less friction with our willful suspensions of disbelief. They might not be better stories, per se, but they will be easier to get lost in.

Writing Tips Pt. 4

Previous sessions:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Strong Female Characters

 

You’re going to get frustrated

 

…and that’s okay. When you’re first acquiring your own style, you’re going to struggle to find the right words. A sentence isn’t going to play out the way you want to. What’s worse is when you don’t know what a better sentence would be. All you know is what you’re writing is wrong. It is up to you to find your strategy around it, whether that’s leaving it for another day or writing different variations of the same sentence until you get it right. Eventually, your early frustrations will dissipate as you get more experienced. Don’t let the first draft of your first novel turn you off. Just like playing an instrument, you need to struggle with it for a while until you grab that expertise. Then, the headaches will start to pass.

 

Writing isn’t a hobby; it’s a habit.

 

If you want to get in great shape then you have to make a habit of going to the gym; it just can’t be a hobby. That means setting aside specific time and doing it whether you’re feeling it or not. Skipping one day means you’ll be more likely to skip another. Just as this wisdom applies to your workout, it also applies to your writing.

 

Few people can just sit down, out of the blue, and put gold down on the page. It takes hard work and training to accomplish that. Setting up habits is, in my view, the best way to do that. Once you get the routine and the accompanying mindset down, writing will become much easier.

 

Writing is Acting (Maybe)

 

To quote Miyamoto Musashi: “You should investigate this thoroughly.” Take this tip with an especially large heaping of salt, for I’m not even completely sold on my reasoning. But, here it goes.

 

When you create a character and put them on stage, with personality, emotions, dialogue and movements, you are doing it through the lens of your own self. Every character has a part of you inside, and it is you who is acting on that stage of your mind. I’ve found that it helps to assume the role of your character as you write. Get mad as they confront their nemesis. The narrator will get mad too. Then, the prose itself will radiate that emotion.

 

Verbs are your fuel

 

Take that last sentence:

 

Then, the prose itself will radiate that emotion.

 

Radiate. I could have used any number of other verbs, some boring, like “show”, and some not, like “bleed”.

 

 Then, the prose itself will show that emotion.

 

Then, the prose itself will bleed that emotion.

 

What’s the difference between the two? One’s simple, almost too simple, the other more complex and titillating.

 

Verbs are your fuel. Use good ones and your writing will smash, obliterate, erupt and decimate to another level. At the same time, lowing the octane of your verbs will relax the prose, which is necessary from time to time. It’s not either or; both are tools to be used as necessary. It’s up to you to understand which to use and when.

 

Watch out cluttered words:

 

Very

Only

Just

Then

Could

Was

 

Always do a Ctrl F for these words and make sure they’re not being overused. Just as verbs are your fuel, these words can clog the prose of your story. Use them sparingly and they may enhance your story by giving the reader a more natural narrator, but doing it too much will produce unnecessary clutter.

 

Most of Your Work Comes in Editing

 

Sometimes it’s just freakin’ hard to put the right words down. Maybe you’re writing in first person and just can’t get the character’s language right, or maybe you can’t get the perspective down from a third person narrator. Sometimes, your brain just broken.

 

Good thing about writing is that most of the changes happen in the editing stage. Any section can be built upon, or even torn down and recreated. You’ll write the first draft and get ideas on how to enhance a scene weeks later. Go back and edit.

 

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P.S. I have a twitter thing now. Follow me if you’d like. I’ll be posting articles and music I find.

Strong Female Characters

Boy oh boy, is this topic not written about extensively. Yes, every person has their own take on Strong Female Characters, especially when it comes from political correctness and feminism. Personally, I’ve mused on this topic for a while and have finally come to a conclusion on how to write them. Take the following as mere suggestions when it comes to applying strength to female characters in your own writing. Here goes.

 

Too often, writers take a female character and make her boisterous, intimidating, and bitchy in an attempt to display her strength, however one doesn’t need to be outwardly aggressive or dominant to possess strength. Much of the time, a Superman does hide behind the meek and mild Clark Kent exterior. However, far too often aggression and strength are equivocated, especially in fiction, and especially for female characters.

 

Personally, I think this has more to do with wish fulfillment on the part of female writers. They want their characters to be everything they are not while saying and doing things they wish they could. And if it’s not female writers creating stereotypical Strong Female Characters then it’s supplicating male writers doing it as a form of unconscious (or sometimes deliberate) pedestalization of women.

 

Fortunately, these characters don’t work because the writer’s portrayal is so out of touch with reality that the willful suspension of disbelief is stretched to its breaking point. Making women aggressive doesn’t show their strength, but, more importantly, none of us know of any women in our day-to-day lives, not a single one, who are as aggressive as the typical Strong Female Character. They just don’t exist in the real world.

 

“Now dragons also don’t exist in the real word,” I can hear the critics say, “and we have them in fiction. Fiction can have whatever you want, blah, blah, whatever.” Yes, of course, dragons don’t exist in the real world, which is why we can make them be anything we want them to be. However, women exist in the real world, which means we already understand their workings (basically) through our interactions with them. Taking a thing that exists in real life and warping it so out of proportion for the purpose of wish fulfillment or a blatant political message will kick the audience right out of the story. The last thing you want as a writer is to have your audience see the puppet strings and say to themselves in the middle of the story: “oh, the writer just put that in there for [a blatant, non-plot related and entirely ideologically motivated reason].” It’s like product placement in a movie. It breaks the illusion of the fictional world and kicks you right back into reality.

 

But worst of all, the approach of equivocating women, strength, and aggression completely ignores the innate differences between the sexes, which should be well understood in the manosphere.

 

The most important difference when writing power into both sexes is that men are conflict tolerant and women are conflict avoidant, even when both have sufficient strength to handle a problem. It’s not uncommon to see a man be rash with his strength and intimidate a foe into fighting, whereas seeing it from a woman punts us right out of the story. It isn’t her strength that clashes hard against our sensibilities, but how she comes across with that strength. Seeing a woman act like a man is as disruptive to the novel’s dream world as a talking dog done without jest.

 

The pioneer mother with the baby on one hip and a rifle on the other wouldn’t go looking for trouble, but she’d be damn prepared when trouble came to find her. Women generally seek peace and security, thus outright violence is always a last resort to conflict resolution. A female character would be no different, even with sufficient strength to handle the problem. Her strength merely manifests by her drawing a line in the sand and ordering the antagonist not to cross. If they do, she reacts. She doesn’t spring forward and fight before the line is drawn. Yeah, a man would do it, but a woman would not. Thus, when I notice women in fiction doing things that men do, I see it as either horrible writing or wish-fulfillment propaganda, or both.

 

An actual strong female character would sit back and wait for the right moment to use her power. She wouldn’t go looking for trouble. She likely wouldn’t amplify the situation. She would not go out of her way to prove she’s a badass (Ms. Katness Everdeen, looking at you). If anything, she would use her visage of weakness as a potent disguise against her enemies, which would drop at the proper moment when her true power is released, but not before. Never before it’s ready.

 

Be smart when writing female characters, strong or weak. Use the knowledge of our innate differences that you’ve picked up from reading the blogs around here and thoroughly use it when crafting characters of each sex. That way, you’ll have realistic character that, I don’t know, we can actually identify with and understand.

Even MORE Writing Tips

Part 1

Part 2

 

Oh, I’m not finished yet.

 

Your First Novel is Going to be, Well, Not Good.

 

So you’ve graduated from writing short stories and now you’re ready to start a bigger project. Thing is, your first novel is not going to be your magnum opus; your first novel is going to be your practice girl. You’ve got sentence structure and grammar down, that’s cool, but it takes experience to entwine together a competent plot and structure. Most likely, your first novel is going to have some critical flaws in that department, even if it’s meticulously edited. There are plot holes, inconsistencies and pacing issues that are going to come to light as you write, and that’s okay, for your first novel.

 

When you’re all finished, take a look at your novel with a wider, big picture scope. Take what you learned in writing it and start another.

 

It’s Okay to Scrap Works While Learning.

 

The first novel I ever wrote was scrapped after the first draft because it was complete garbage. My second novel is in the perpetual editing stages of its second draft. My third was another throw-away, never to be seen again. My fourth was what you can see at the menu bar at the top. Fifth and six novels were abandoned at 80% completion of the first draft. However, my seventh novel is complete through the second draft and will be self-published within the year. My point: it’s okay to write garbage and throw it away as long as you’re learning. It takes hundreds of hours of practice to get something right, and sometimes that entails writing a 100,000 word story that will never be read or published. It is not a waste of time if you’re getting better while doing it.

 

You might hate giving up something that took hundreds of hours of work, but it’s even more of a waste to try and revive the corpse. Keep it for reference, but move on.

 

Cannibalize Ideas From Dead Stories.

 

Maybe you have an idea for a sweet mech fight, but don’t have a story planned out or you have no idea what story universe it takes place in. That’s okay. Keep the fight stored on your computer or in your brain because perhaps it can be placed in your next story once you get the idea for that. Sometimes two seemingly independent story concepts can be combined into one, once you finally get the idea that brings them together. This is also where your previously scrapped stories can come back stronger.

 

You will get better with age.

 

No, I don’t mean you’ll get better with experience (which is true), but you will get better with age. The problem with beginning writers is that they lack maturity, nuance in their world view, and are missing real-life experiences which they can draw from. Their influences are, well, juvenile. It’s understandable, because in your teens or in college you get ahold of anime, video games, superhero movies, which then influence your fiction. Problem is, most those things are made for younger or middle of the road audiences. They lack subtext or complex themes.

 

Those things you will pick up as life unfolds. So, if you’re a younger writer, your focus shouldn’t be on sending that superhero novel out the door as soon as possible, but learning to write and sending the next novel out the door.

 

Writing Forums are a Waste of Time.

 

Writing forums are a huge time sink and you won’t learn much from them at all. There is little explicit instruction, and very little mentoring from experienced writers. 90% of the population are newbies, and it’s hard to learn anything from them. The last 10% are knowledgeable writing hobbyists or actually published writers, but they are so busy that they won’t take the time out for individual mentoring. That’s just not practical. Add to that some of the egos these people have, then add on their politically correct sensibilities, and then add to that their modernist writing style and you have a negligible font of information.

 

The best writing forum can only really give you a critique every once in a while. At their worst, writing forums are bastions of ego and political correctness. Mainstream writers of today didn’t get popular because they mastered the craft; they’re popular because publishing houses want to publish inoffensive novels with blatant PC messages tacked on and those particular writers fit the ideological mold. That’s all. The “masters” you see on those forums with book covers on their signature are not master craftsmen, but poster boys. They have nothing to offer you.

 

You’re much better off simply stumbling around the internet for writing tips at first (like, oh, here). Then, write your own stories to know if you have the aptitude or not. Finally, find a critique group to really learn. However…

 

Avoid Your Average Critique Group.

 

No matter what kind of critique group it is, whether it’s a college class, a local writer’s group, or an online forum, your experience with any of them is going to be hit or miss.

 

The best critique group is going to be one that is harsh, but fair. If you sit down and everyone’s way too happy to be there, you need to leave, because they are going to pull their punches to avoid hurting your feelings. Trying to avoid a little heartbreak isn’t going to help your story at all. You need to know what’s wrong so you can fix it, even if it makes you look like a moron. Obviously, it doesn’t help if they blatantly insult you, hence why I said a group needs to be “fair.”

 

The best critique group I ever had was in the advanced fiction writing course in college. There, you get fifteen critiques a week, all from cutthroat and usually snobbish English majors. It is the one place where the college liberal’s status competition works to your advantage. They will tear apart your story and make the red ink run. Just don’t expect them to hold your hand. For the moment though, that’s all you’ll need.

 

A note for online critique groups: their effectiveness depends on the caliber of the community. If it’s newbies then you’ll be missing out on critical information. If they’re made of experienced writers then you might get some benefit, but, again, the masters might not really be masters.

 

In a perfect world, critiques are the best way to learn because they are a combination of experimentation, feedback, and instruction, however they are dependent on the human element to make it work. Always be skeptical of the group you’re about to enter.

 

With that in mind…

 

You Need a Thick Skin

 

Your story is your baby, but at some point you’re going to have to sacrifice it in the process of editing. It stings when your work comes back bleeding with marks and notations. It sucks, but get over it. Learn to put distance between you and your story. It doesn’t help your cause to get too attached. This is most difficult for young guys, and even more difficult for writers who invest so much emotional stock into their work. Kids will get offended when their others comment on their story, but older people understand the reality that everything has flaws. Again, maturity will help you here.

 

The first thing my instructor told us on the first day of the advanced writing class was: “Your writing is shit.” And she was right.

More Writing Tips

My posts on other topics are still forthcoming. In the meantime, here’s a few more writing tips.

 

Read Before Writing

 

You warm up before practice, so read before you write. Seeing the words, speaking those words through your thoughts, puts you in the right mind to generate new words and sentences. When reading a piece of fiction, you might notice an awkward sentence and know how the author should have phrased it differently. This is essentially your sweet spot, because you are both being critical and thinking of new ideas at the same time.

 

Edit as You Go

 

After you write a section, go to bed for the night. When you return to your writing once again, read what you wrote at your last session. This does four things: first, it accomplishes the Read Before Writing requirement; second, it picks up typos that you made the last time you wrote; third, it eases the burden of editing when you finish the piece entirely and start a dedicated editing process, because you’ve essentially edited it through already; and fourth, it provides relevant context of the story when you start again. For example, rereading the last section, which may have included a fight scene, brings you back into the flow of things and allows you to keep the previous scenes in mind as you make new ones. This is especially important when adjusting tone and pacing.

 

Don’t Over Edit

 

There is such a thing as too much editing. When I wrote my first novel, I literally read it eight times to get it right. Problem was, every time I made a change, I opened myself up to making typos in the line I just corrected. So, I had to go through it again, only to make even more errors. It doesn’t just end at typos either. Even if you don’t make any mistakes, changing one sentence also changes how that sentence flows and relates to others. Going back to change one thing, to make it absolutely perfect, will cause a domino effect that turns an exercise in modifying sentence structure into a complete chapter rewrite. Learn to edit effectively, do it two or three times, then set the work down and let someone else edit. Your sanity and time is worth a lot more than the worst case scenario: an awkward sentence.

 

Remember, most of these issues can be avoided by using track changes!

 

Structure is as Important as Plot

 

Plot is what happens in a story. Structure is how that story is told by which characters get the spotlight and how their timelines are placed in the story. For example, if you have a single, central character, you could just start at the beginning and tell the story from start to finish in an entirely linear fashion. Or, you might start at the middle, or even end of the story, to give the reader a hint of what’s to come, and then spend the rest of the book in a sequence of flashbacks that tell the story up to that point.

 

However, if you have multiple characters, you need to judge which characters will get the spotlight and when. You can base this sequence primarily off relevant story events or you can do this with a definite rhythm.

 

The former: Character A section, character B section, character C section, then D, A, E, F, A, D, B, A, C, B, A (seemingly random).

 

The latter: Character A, then character B, then A, C, A, D, A, B, A, etc (Character A gets most of the attention in an organized way).

 

All of this also depends on whether your story is in first or third person. And do you have asides like journal entries or interludes with one-time snapshot characters?  You need to organize them in a cohesive way too.

 

While it takes an analytical mind to catch typos and other editing mistakes, it takes an intuitive, holistic approach to structure the story effectively.

 

Poor story structure leads to important (and well-loved) characters getting lost behind secondary characters. It can lead to a lot of wasted time doing absolutely nothing or following characters that don’t matter. It can make slow sections run too long and put multiple action sections too close and without pause, totally screwing up the pacing. Your job, as a writer, is to balance all these factors.

 

Writing isn’t as easy as it sounds, huh?

 

That’s why…

 

Don’t Go Full-speed Into Half-backed Ideas

 

Or, in other words, take time with your planning stage. You might have a story set in your mind, but no idea as to its execution – no clue as to whether it’s in first or third person, whether it’s linear or not, and what structure it will have. Don’t just start writing. You need to have some central ideas first: tone, theme, and like the aforementioned structure. Spend some extended time in the shower just thinking about the overall picture you want to convey and consider the means to do that. If it takes months to come to that eureka moment, then do it. That moment will set everything into motion.

 

However, this can bring a problem. There’s always the possibility the story can get stuck in the planning stages until it withers and dies without any execution, let alone proper execution. Yes, it’s a risk, but consider that spending countless hours on what amounts to a mediocre story is far worse than the chance of letting one die on the vine.

 

Try to capture that moment of inspiration. If you don’t get it, then maybe the story was not meant to be.

Tips for Writing

Yesterday I talked about of a dark renaissance, which has now prompted me to share some of the things I’ve picked up during my few years of writing fiction, specifically things that I haven’t noticed other writers touch on. Like when dealing with any other advice, take my tips as a grain of salt and remember: there’s always an exception to the rule.

 

Don’t forget about your narrator

 

Doesn’t matter if you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, a novel or a blog, your narrator is key to making everything work. The narrator is the voice of your writing and how that voice is manipulated will determine how the audience appreciates it.

 

A blog post regarding, say, feminism can go many different ways depending on the voice of the narrator (i.e. you). Imagine writing a post that speaks just to guys, or your friends, or anonymous schmucks on reddit. Conversely, imagine writing that same post but with the knowledge that your mother is going to read it. Hopefully, you’d keep the same content, but alter the words. Maybe you’d avoid using the word “feminazi” and go with the term “radical feminist”. You’d put away the verbal brass knuckles and opt for a softer touch. Altering your narrator alters the voice, the tone, and even the concepts. Learn to manipulate it in different ways. While it’s good to have one particular execution down, make sure that you can diversify your writing.

 

This is more important in fiction, where the narrator actually tells the story. Most people think that writing in first person is easier because you’re stuck in the mind of that one character. You can telegraph their thoughts with ease and the whole world is viewed through that one lens. However, I disagree that it’s easy. Writing a story entirely in the mind of a character means you have to portray the character’s perspective and thoughts consistently. Can you describe the scene of a funeral in the mind of a thirteen year old boy, with thirteen year old boy thoughts and thirteen year old understanding? How about doing it in the mind of an android instead? While it seems easy at first glance to execute first person narration, it’s actually pretty hard beneath the surface. The nuances of perspective can, and will, trip you up.

 

And it doesn’t become any easier in third person. Now you have to juggle different points of view through a voice that is outside the story looking in. The shallowest form of this narrator simply describes what is going on as if they’re narrating a movie to a blind person. This technique always fails because it is boring. What’s missing is the understanding that the narrator is just as part of the story as any character. The narrator, even in third person, can add in a quip or a joke or a particular perspective. Learning to give characterization to a narrator that isn’t even part of the story allows that narrator to become a storyteller, rather than just a voiceover, and storytellers keep people reading. The most extreme example of this (that I could find) is from Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five:

 

“Billy looked inside the latrine. The wailing was coming from in there. The place was crammed with Americans who had taken their pants down. The welcome feast had made them as sick as volcanoes. The buckets were full or had been kicked over. An American near Billy wailed that he had excreted everything but his brains. Moments later he said, “There they go, there they go.” He meant his brains. That was I. That was me. That was the author of this book.”

 

That is a famous line for a reason.

 

Understand the mechanics of prose

 

Prose is like music. It has a rhythm. It has a melody. It can beat like a drum from word to word, sentence to sentence, or it can flow up and down, swimming around itself to create lofty sentences which take the reader on a journey between each stop. Or not.

 

For example, take a sentence which describes a man picking up a gun and his hands are shaking.

 

1: Hands shaking, he picked up the gun.

 

2: With shaking hands, he picked up the gun.

 

3: He picked up the gun with shaking hands.

 

4: His hands were shaking as he picked up the gun.

 

5: As he picked up the gun, his hands shook.

 

6: He picked up the gun, and his hands shook.

 

7: He picked up the gun. His hands were shaking.

 

Each sentence says the exact same thing, but it conveys different emotional tones, and some are more effective than others (7 is my favorite, even though it’s technically two sentences, but 2 and 4 work well by my personal assessment). Think of each sentence structure as a key made for a certain lock (lock = tone). Some keys work in different locks. Finding the perfect fit requires experience. But keep in mind that no sentence exists in a vacuum. The previous and following sentences will also determine how effective any particular sentence is. Add in a few different elements, actions, events, narration, point of view; master the percussion as well as the ebb and flow of the tones; juggle them all together, and you’ll have your piece.

 

Writing is not so different than composing music. To be a composer, you have to learn to manipulate the nuances of each note and tempo, bringing them together to complete the song. Writing relies on this just as much. Learn to manipulate words to entice the audience and you’ll succeed as a writer.

 

Find your voice

 

After so many years of studying and practice, a composer of music eventually comes to their own unique style of composition. Similarly, you as a writer should find your particular style of writing. Maybe you go for quick, jerking sentences. Maybe you hold back and give a light touch to your prose. Either way, the key is to find your particular style. While it’s okay to get inspiration from other writers, don’t try to copy their style exactly. No composer in their right mind would try to out Beethoven the Beethoven, but they do take the original works and expand on them with a personal twist. Have a favorite writer? Good. Take their style and let it be the soil to grow your own, but don’t try to be the next one in succession.

 

Have high standards for your writing

 

This is a big one that few writing tips ever seem to touch on. In the course of writing, you’re going to put down a lot of sentences on paper (or in Microsoft Word). That means you’re going to get tired of tweaking each one, and you’re going to feel the inclination to be lazy. Don’t.

 

Some writers think they can get away with some shitty sentences (or even shitty chapters) because the other bits are good. Some writers even think that merely functional is adequate. These guys make for mediocre writers because somewhere along the line they lost a personal standard to hold their writing to. If you want to be a good writer, you have to develop a pretty high bar and force yourself to meet it, not just for every chapter but for every sentence. If something doesn’t work or doesn’t work all that well, don’t just ignore it and move on because it’s hard; actually make it work.

 

Go outside, because anything can be your inspiration

 

A seemingly insignificant experience can end up causing the inspiration for an entire story. Maybe it’s a particular scene in a movie or TV show. Maybe it’s a song which takes your mind through an epic scene. Maybe it’s a moment in time that conveys a greater experience. Whether it’s driving a forklift for the first time or seeing a bar fight, each experience adds to your creative collection. There are times where these experiences make no impact, and other times the most seemingly insignificant thing can trigger the creative spark. It is up to you to seek out these things, whatever they are.

 

Of all writing tips, this one is probably best suited for those in the manosphere. We are part of the underground for a reason. At the same time, we are constantly striving to be better men in body and mind, and leaving our comfort zones. The beneficial byproduct of those endeavors is the worldly experience needed to foster an arsenal of creative ideas. If you’re a man who strives to expand his horizons, then keep doing what you’re doing. If you’re a new keyboard jockey: get out and do something.

 

In any case, no matter if it’s writing, painting, drawing, composing or any other artistic pursuit that I fail to mention, at least get out and attempt it. The manosphere needs a few more bards.