art and writing references

romantic0utlaw:

think about these things when you’re making a fictional place; even a developed city has its roots in how easy it was to settle in the first place!

Offensive Mistakes Well-Intentioned Writers Make

Food-Colored Skin

Not only is purple prose obnoxious; sometimes it’s downright racist. For some reason, writers have a fondness for describing dark complexions as “chocolate” or somesuch.

But wait, people like chocolate! What’s so bad about likening a skintone to something almost everyone likes?

The problem is that food-colored skin is a phenomenon mostly limited to dark-colored complexions. And it’s more than just a little creepy when strangers keep likening your skintone to an inanimate edible object. Plus, in some places “chocolate bar” is a playground taunt used to goad black children.

Not a very tasteful choice in similitudes at all.

Skin Color Only Described When Not White

In many stories, the color of a character’s skin will only be described when the character doesn’t have a fair complexion. This typically happens because the writer is white and subconsciously thinks of xir own skin color as the default and everyone else’s as the outliers. Even JK Rowling, whose books frequently focus on tolerance and equality, is guilty of this.

The solution is simple - just describe everyone’s complexion, and all will be well.

Written Accents

Written accents are offensive because they essentially tell the group whose accent is being written that “your way of talking is weird; my way is normal.”

Not only are written accents offensive to the group being represented, but they’re offensive to read because you have to spend extra time trying to sort out what the writer was trying to say.

If you want to write a character who is supposed to have an accent, use grammar and slang associated with people who have that accent. You could also just mention that they have an accent. But don’t butcher the spellings of the words. “He’s got himself in a right pickle, he has” is fine, but “‘E’s got ‘imself in a right pickle, ‘e ‘as” is not.

Things Appropriated From Other Cultures

Many new writers are bound and determined to make sure their characters have meaningful and unique names. I see many people who have clearly scoured the bowels of online baby name sites to find the perfect Vedic/Japanese/Aztec name for their white character.

This sort of thing is a form of cultural appropriation, which is a pretty huge faux pas. For the uninformed, cultural appropriation is when a member of a dominant culture takes something from an oppressed/minority culture and uses it in a shallow, trendy, or superficial way - and there’s really nothing more shallow or superficial than trying to make your character stand out by giving xir an “exotic” name instead of giving xir a memorable personality and story.

Likewise, people give their characters katanas and throw youkai into their stories for no other reason than “it’s more interesting” than Western culture. Throwing things from another culture into your story for no other reason than you think it’s “more interesting” reduces that culture to a cheap gimmick, which is pretty rude and offensive.

“Harmless” Stereotypes

The Japanese plant-lover. The wise Native American. The sexy Latina. There’s nothing bad about loving plants or being wise or sexy, so why would anyone find these offensive?

For one thing, it can create unrealistic expectations and assumptions about these people. Many Asian-Americans find themselves having to explain to people that no, they don’t know squat about gardening, really. Many Latinas would rather people didn’t expect them to be hot and spicy lovers based on their race. And contrary to what some think, Native Americans aren’t really born with a magical connection to the Earth and tend to find assumptions that they are quite irritating.

The Supercrip

There are two varieties of supercrips: the first is a disabled person who is treated as a hero just for doing everyday things that most people take for granted. It’s quite frankly condescending, and many disabled people would thank you to knock it off.

The second type is the character who has amazing skills or abilities because or in spite of xir disability. While a writer might be trying to say “just because a person has a disability, doesn’t mean they can’t be amazing!”, what the audience hears is “disabled people often have amazing abilities to make up for their disability,” which unfortunately isn’t true.

The Mighty Whitey

The Mighty Whitey is a white person (if not physically, then culturally) who finds xirself faced with the task of saving a marginalized group (often as not from other white people). The character is usually male and ends up becoming the leader of the people he just liberated, and he usually ends up with a hot ethnic-looking gal to boink. (Think Jake Sulley fromAvatar, and you’ve got the Mighty Whitey in a nutshell.) The Mighty Whitey will learn the ways of an ethnic group, and xe will become even better at them than the people who have been studying them all their lives.

What makes this trope so horrendous is the attitude of white supremacy: it implies that non-white people cannot solve their problems without a white person to help or even lead them, and that white people will always be better at everything.

Also, becoming a leader of a people whose culture you have only known/studied for a few months - or even a few years - is one of the most ridiculously puerile fantasies in existence.

Getting Mental Illnesses & Different Neurologies Wrong

Want to create a chilling plot twist? Just the killer the hero’s evil alternate personality! That’s called schizophrenia… right?

Wrong. And this type of thing is incredibly insensitive and offensive.

Aside from the fact that schizophrenia does not create multiple personalities, most people with schizophrenia and multiple personalities are quite harmless. Yet thanks to their portrayal in fiction, many people expect them to be dangerous, which makes their already-difficult lives even more difficult.

Occasionally, some people go the other direction and portray these people as innocent or even mystical. That’s positive discrimination, and that’s also bad because it creates unrealistic expectations.

Whether it’s schizophrenia, multiple personlities, autism, Asperger’s, psychopathy, sociopathy, or anything else, you’re going to use a mental disorder or alternate neurology of any kind, make sure you research it. And whatever you do,NEVER give your character a mental illness just to make xir more “interesting,” because that’s ableism.

Trying to Create an Aesop About Discrimination Without Actually Understanding the Discrimination in Question

Most people think they have a pretty good bead on what racism is all about - it’s about segregation, ugly slurs, and pointy white hats. Same goes with sexism - women can get jobs and vote now, so it must be over, right? Ha, if only.

In real life, these people are very rarely overt - in fact, most racism is extremely subtle, so subtle that the offender doesn’t even realize that what they’ve said or done is offensive or hurtful and will vehemently deny the possiblity that what they said or did could have been offensive. (A common response from these people is “I can’t be an X-ist! I have X friends!” Yeah, if only.)

Some examples of subtle discrimination:

  • Telling rowdy children to “stop running around like a bunch of wild Indians!”
  • Describing a non-white character or person as “exotic.”
  • Dressing up in Halloween costumes depicting ethnic stereotypes.
  • Insisting that a woman who does not want children right now will “change her mind” in the future.
  • Asking a woman why she’s still single if she’s so attractive.
  • Asing a woman who is angry about something if she’s on her period.
  • Insulting males who don’t live up to expectations of perceived masculinity by accusing them of acting “girly” or calling them gay.

If you want to learn more about what real discrimination of all kinds look and feel like, I recommend readingMicroaggressions. (Language warning.) Also, check out this handy-dandy list of links to privilege checklists so you can check your own privilege before writing off into the sunset.

Trying to Satirize a Thing Without Understanding Why it’s a Thing

The film Death Becomes Her satirizes the perceived vanity of performers who spend mind-blowing amounts of money on beauty products and plastic surgeries to stay young. Funny film? Yes. But it’s rather sexist in that it treats this perceived vanity as something that just happens to some women for no real reason. It ignores the fact that we live in a society obsessed with youth and that our consumerist culture has commodified it and tries to make us feel inferior every day for not buying it from them. It ignores the fact that the men in control of the entertainment industry constantly pressure women into getting plastic surgery and enhancements, even flat-out refusing to hire women who don’t meet their exact standards of beauty, regardless of their talent.

Killing Off LGBT Characters to Make an Allegedly Non-Hateful Point

There’s this thing that some writers do - they introduce an LGBT character, try to build some some sympathy for xir, and before you know it they’ve killed off this character in a manner that’s reminiscent of that old and noxious “too good for this sinful Earth” trope that pervaded Puritan literature.

This sends an absolutely terrible message to LGBT people - that the only way they can escape the shame and the hate that so often comes with being LGBT is if they die. LGBT youth are at a higher risk of committing suicide already - clearly, this is not a message we want to be sending.

Forgetting Women of Color in Female-Oriented Entertainment

Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Charmed. Pan Am. Sex in the City. All of these female-aimed shows exhibit distinctly monochrome casting choices. Sure, Charmed was sort of justified in that the three leads were supposed to be sisters. But Pan Am has no excuse - and there were plenty of non-white stewardesses in the 60’s.

Multi-Racial Groups Always With a White at the Helm

This wouldn’t be a problem if it didn’t keep happening all the time. But invariably, whenever there’s a multi-racial group or team of some kind, the leader will invariably be white. The implication is that while non-whites are good enough to have on a team, they still aren’t leadership material.

The Fairytale Gypsy

You know the character type - they live in wagons, wear colorful clothing, read fortunes, and play a mean fiddle.

The trouble is, what you see in fiction is a romanticized version of a very ugly reality: “Gypsy” is actually a racial slur for the Roma and Dom people. The reason they’re nomads is because racists have a habit of routing them out whenever they try to settle down, and their eclectic fashion comes from having to wear whatever they can get. Also, they’re no more magical than you or me.

Their portrayal in many fantasies perpetuates the myth that these people are fairytale creatures who vanished along with Long Ago And Far Away, rather than real people who suffer systemic oppression today.

Here’s the Secret to Writing Outlines

copykiller:

Start at the end. What is the very last thing that happens?

Ask “what causes this?”

Work backwards. Work backwards. Just keep asking yourself, “What causes this?”

Keep working until you reach the beginning.

Seriously, trust me on this. This thing saved my life.

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thejotaku:

ANATOMY TIPS

I was doing a bit of an anatomy study on my livestream and was asked to please post it. 

  • The crotch is the halfway point of the body from top of the head to bottom of the feet
  • Shoulders to hips = hips to ankles
  • Elbows rest at the waist line
  • Wrists rest at the crotch line
  • Shoulders and breasts/pecks should always be parallel, no matter what angle the shoulders are at
  • With boob placement, keep in mind where the collar bone, ribs, and shoulders are.  Breats have muscles that connect to the arm—hence why lifting an arm also lifts the breast corresponding with it.
  • Feet are the same length as your elbow to wrist.
  • There are two bones in the knee; the cap and a smaller one below it.  You CAN see them and adding that subtle detail is a really nice touch!
  • When drawing eyes, keep in mind that you should be able to fit the width of an eye between them
  • The face is broken down into thirds; hairline to eyebrows, eyebrows to bottom of the nose, bottom of the nose to chin
  • The halfway point of the head is at the eyeline
  • The mouth is 1/3rd of the way from the bottom of the nose to the chin
  • Ears are from the top of the eyes to the bottom of the nose
  • When drawing a 3/4th view of the face, do NOT MAKE THE FURTHEST EYE SMALLER — the perspective is too small to be noticeable unless you are doing extremely accentuated/warped perspective.  The eyebrows, top of the eyes, and bottom of the eyes should all be parallel regardless of the face’s angle.  The only differences should be the widths; front eye should be wider than the further eye.

Knowing the rules to anatomy is important!  Once you learn them, then you can break them. ( ≖‿≖)*

matsstrandbergauthor:

Karin Tidbeck tweeted this link, and it’s truly a treasure chest of great advice for writers, especially of fantasy, SF and horror.

projectkr:

travelingmadness:

pugletto:

prrb:

How I pratice drawing things, now in a tutorial form.
The shrimp photo I used is here
Show me your shrimps if you do this uvu 

PS: lots of engrish because foreign 

This is the best art advice ever and you should all listen to it because it’s basically what I’ve been telling people for years.

image

i was not expecting that to actually work

Reblogging every time this pops up on my dash because this is helpful for everyone .

amandaonwriting:

Cheat Sheets for Writing Body Language

We are always told to use body language in our writing. Sometimes, it’s easier said than written. I decided to create these cheat sheets to help you show a character’s state of mind. Obviously, a character may exhibit a number of these behaviours. For example, he may be shocked and angry, or shocked and happy. Use these combinations as needed.

by Amanda Patterson

sixpenceee:

hey as a neuroscience major and someone who wants to study and research the human consciousness in the future, this post was a must!
MIND OVER MATTER
if you believe you sleep well your performance improves
scientists convince people their hands are rocks
lying on a bed of nails without injury
many people in one body
yogi nearly stops heartbeat
curing cancer just by thinking you are cured?
the insane effects of hypnosis on some people
meditation drys wet towels
nocebo effect
phantom pregnancy
WOW FINDINGS ON THE HUMAN BRAIN
your brain makes decisions before you are even conscious of it
finding out what cats see
mental disorders and their brain scans
mirror neurons: everyone can read minds
the vegetative patient who could TALK to doctors
learning how to RECORD your dreams
loosing sleep can kill brain cells
what do babies dream about?
linked brains
rat brain scans during death
moving a bionic arm with thoughts
music can improve a lot of things
mind control is possible
BIZARRE CASES
the mentally ill man who cured himself with a gun
the woman who scratched through her skull
the man who can’t feel emotion
the man with almost no brain
the twins who share a consciousness
the creepy lazarus reflex
synesthesia: hearing colors, tasting shapes
savant cases
explaining parasomnia
monkey head transplants
explaining the split brain effect
the case of phineas gage
brain science explanation behind sleep paralysis
girl with half a brain
Alright that’s all I got so far guys! Be sure to check back on my science section because as we progress further and further and have amazing cool new things, I’ll have new posts with more information :)
Feel free to add to this list also!

sixpenceee:

hey as a neuroscience major and someone who wants to study and research the human consciousness in the future, this post was a must!

MIND OVER MATTER

WOW FINDINGS ON THE HUMAN BRAIN

BIZARRE CASES

Alright that’s all I got so far guys! Be sure to check back on my science section because as we progress further and further and have amazing cool new things, I’ll have new posts with more information :)

Feel free to add to this list also!

postgraduatepurgatory:

Essential Productivity Apps for any student:
Caffeine-  Prevents your screen from going into sleep mode. Great if you’re writing notes on an article and the screen keeps dimming, whilst you hope that if you stare long enough, the phrase “homologous ways to a view of hegemony” will start to make sense.
Flux- If you find that you can’t sleep for ages after studying late at night, then this app is a total game changer. It basically turns the light on the screen red, because science people say that blue light keeps you awake and red light doesn’t. (*Full Disclosure* I’m not a scientist)
Focusbar- The annoying voice of your mother nagging you to finish your homework…in app form. You can set the annoying level (I have it set on “wildly annoying”) and a bar will appear in the corner every few seconds to remind you that you’re supposed to be doing something else besides looking at cat photos. 
Microsoft Office- self explanatory, so I’ve linked to an article about life hacks for Microsoft Office instead. Because I’m just that awesome. 
Nag- Does your 5 minute study break keep turning into an hour on Youtube? Then you need Nag in your life. It’s basically an alarm/timer. But an extremely loud and annoying alarm/timer that’s very difficult to ignore. The bells genuinely sound more judgemental the longer you ignore it.  
Self Control-  Also known as Cold Turkey for Microsoft users. If you absolutely cannot be trusted with an internet connection, then you need Self Control in your life. You add a list of websites to the “blacklist”and then set how long you want the app to work for, and for that duration of time you wont be able to access those website. Seriously, not even rebooting your computer or uninstalling the app will let you access the blacklist until your time is up. Tough love at its finest.
Zotero-  The new love of my life. Zotero allows you to manage all your citations and sources in one easy place. It’s an absolute life saver- no joke. There’s an in-word add in, so it will write your bibliography and citations for you in any format you want. There’s a chrome/firefox add in and a mobile app, so you don’t even have to type the citation into Zotero. Just press the button it does all the hard work for you. It even updates itself online, so you can still access your bibliography if your computer crashes. I <3 Zotero 5eva. 

postgraduatepurgatory:

Essential Productivity Apps for any student:

  1. Caffeine-  Prevents your screen from going into sleep mode. Great if you’re writing notes on an article and the screen keeps dimming, whilst you hope that if you stare long enough, the phrase “homologous ways to a view of hegemony” will start to make sense.
  2. Flux- If you find that you can’t sleep for ages after studying late at night, then this app is a total game changer. It basically turns the light on the screen red, because science people say that blue light keeps you awake and red light doesn’t. (*Full Disclosure* I’m not a scientist)
  3. Focusbar- The annoying voice of your mother nagging you to finish your homework…in app form. You can set the annoying level (I have it set on “wildly annoying”) and a bar will appear in the corner every few seconds to remind you that you’re supposed to be doing something else besides looking at cat photos. 
  4. Microsoft Office- self explanatory, so I’ve linked to an article about life hacks for Microsoft Office instead. Because I’m just that awesome. 
  5. Nag- Does your 5 minute study break keep turning into an hour on Youtube? Then you need Nag in your life. It’s basically an alarm/timer. But an extremely loud and annoying alarm/timer that’s very difficult to ignore. The bells genuinely sound more judgemental the longer you ignore it.  
  6. Self Control-  Also known as Cold Turkey for Microsoft users. If you absolutely cannot be trusted with an internet connection, then you need Self Control in your life. You add a list of websites to the “blacklist”and then set how long you want the app to work for, and for that duration of time you wont be able to access those website. Seriously, not even rebooting your computer or uninstalling the app will let you access the blacklist until your time is up. Tough love at its finest.
  7. Zotero-  The new love of my life. Zotero allows you to manage all your citations and sources in one easy place. It’s an absolute life saver- no joke. There’s an in-word add in, so it will write your bibliography and citations for you in any format you want. There’s a chrome/firefox add in and a mobile app, so you don’t even have to type the citation into Zotero. Just press the button it does all the hard work for you. It even updates itself online, so you can still access your bibliography if your computer crashes. I <3 Zotero 5eva. 

maxkirin:

So, let me guess— you just started a new book, right? And you’re stumped. You have no idea how much an AK47 goes for nowadays. I get ya, cousin. Tough world we live in. A writer’s gotta know, but them NSA hounds are after ya 24/7. I know, cousin, I know. If there was only a way to find out all of this rather edgy information without getting yourself in trouble…

You’re in luck, cousin. I have just the thing for ya.

It’s called Havocscope. It’s got information and prices for all sorts of edgy information. Ever wondered how much cocaine costs by the gram, or how much a kidney sells for, or (worst of all) how much it costs to hire an assassin?

I got your back, cousin. Just head over to Havocscope.

((PS: In case you’re wondering, Havocscope is a database full of information regarding the criminal underworld. The information you will find there has been taken from newspapers and police reports. It’s perfectly legal, no need to worry about the NSA hounds, cousin ;p))

Want more writerly content? Follow maxkirin.tumblr.com!

scottylubemeup:

oh my god its a fictional world generator im so happy this is hte best thing i have ever found on the internet
What are some other world building or related blogs you would recommend?
Anonymous

andworldbuildingtoo:

Well…It will be a long list. Let’s see:

World Weaving - blog similar to mine. Answers questions and posts useful stuff.

Making Places - by Evan Dahm and several other people. Not active lately  but has a ton of useful information.

Worldbuilding School - exactly what the title says, also they have nice articles on maps.

Fictionfactor: World Building -loads of useful articles, though site specializes in writing and related.

Worldbuilder  - have some useful stuff and also some on DnD (Ghostwalk) session by owner of the blog

Other useful places:

Clever Girl Helps - writing, worldbuilding, research, random facts

Fuck Yeah Character Development

Fuck Yeah Critiques For Sue - on hiatus right now but has a lot of useful info, mainly a critique on original and fan characters.

Write World - has a lot of useful information about everything related to writing.

Fuck yeah forensics - useful information on forensics and other police stuff. Also they have a great list of recommended sources on  forensics, anthropology and other dead people stuff.

Fix your writing habits - tons and tons of useful information

Fiction writing tips - exactly what title says.

The Writers Helpers - they also can help with finding beta reader - check their navi section.

Daily character development

Writing questions answered - a lot of information, very well organized

Fuck yeah Character development - that’s a different blog, but they also have loads of great stuff, including personality tests.

Writing Weasels

The writing realm

Clever help

TWH-Forensics - help on wiriting forensics stuff

Reference for writers + and their master list of online sites and references

The Writing Cafe

Total Rewrite - warning: good blog but they have a very dark theme so it can be hard to read.

inevitablyhunter:

The Avoiding Same Face Tutorial!

I found the main reason I use to Same Face really bad, was because I was so terrified of making a person who was not perfect. Anime same faces a lot, comics even tend to same face, and in movies, we tend to get only a few varying types of “Pretty People” that we’re suppose to aspire to. So it’s really terrifying to take a step out of one’s comfort zone and draw those things that the people surrounding us tells us aren’t pretty.

In real life, people are so varying and unique. I found the more I started drawing the things that I was afraid to draw before for fear of ugliness, the less and less I found those things ugly, and the more I just found everyone beautiful.

Of course, not everybody is going to agree with me here. But if you want to stop Same Facing, you should push the boundary of what’s beautiful.

Because really, it’s the differences in us that make us all gorgeous.

ectobiolodaddy:

i think ppl should draw smooches more because basically if you can draw a heart you can draw a KISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

i mean these are simple smooch poses but… they are so fun 2 do *_*

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reishizuya:

HEY GUYS THIS IS A REALLY IMPORTANT ART REF

reishizuya:

HEY GUYS THIS IS A REALLY IMPORTANT ART REF