1) Risus Monkey Fantasy Language Cypher

This is amazing!!!!!!!!!!

Are you creating a fictional language? Do you need help coming up with words that sound like they fit with what you’ve come up with so far?

Just put your fictional language in the model text, type some words in the translation text, and click “translate”. It’ll “translate” whatever words you put in using patterns from your sample text.

2) Speed Distance Calculator

These calculators aren’t perfect, but they can help you figure out:

  • How long it will take your characters to get somewhere based on how fast they’re going,
  • how far your characters moved based on how fast they were going and on how long they were moving,
  • how fast your characters need to move to reach a certain distance in a specified time

The calculator was meant for cyclists, but you can use it to get estimates for other things too.

3) Fantasy Calendar Generator

Another amazing resource!

This can create a random calendar for you or you can input the year, the number of months, the name of the months, the number of moons, the number of days in a week, the names of each day, and more.

You can even save the data for your calendar so that when you go back to the generator, all you have to do to get to your calendar is paste the data.

4) Inkarnate Map Maker

This is a new resource that’s still in beta, so it’ll probably be updated in the coming months.

This map maker is easy to use and free. You can add different climates, mountains, trees, towns, cities, text, and notes. For an example of these maps, look at the quick map I made for this post’s header.


Are These Filter Words Weakening Your Story?


After putting my writing on hold for several weeks, I decided to jump back in. I expected to find all sorts of problems with my story–inconsistencies in the plot, lack of transitions, poor characterization–the works. But what began to stick out to me was something to which I’d given little thought in writing.

Filter words.

What are Filter Words?

Actually, I didn’t even know these insidious creatures had a name until I started combing the internet for info.

Filter words are those that unnecessarily filter the reader’s experience through a character’s point of view. Dark Angel’s Blog says:

“Filtering” is when you place a character between the detail you want to present and the reader. The term was started by Janet Burroway in her book On Writing.

In terms of example, you should watch out for:

  • To see
  • To hear
  • To think
  • To touch
  • To wonder
  • To realize
  • To watch
  • To look
  • To seem
  • To feel (or feel like)
  • Can
  • To decide
  • To sound (or sound like)
  • To know

I’m being honest when I say my manuscript is filled with these words, and the majority of them need to be edited out.

What do Filter Words Look Like?

Let’s imagine a character in your novel is walking down a street during peak hour.

You might, for example, write:

Sarah felt a sinking feeling as she realized she’d forgotten her purse back at the cafe across the street. She saw cars filing past, their bumpers end-to-end. She heard the impatient honk of horns and wondered how she could quickly cross the busy road before someone took off with her bag. But the traffic seemed impenetrable, and she decided to run to the intersection at the end of the block.

Eliminating the bolded words removes the filters that distances us, the readers, from this character’s experience:

Sarah’s stomach sank. Her purse—she’d forgotten it back at the cafe across the street. Cars filed past, their bumpers end-to-end. Horns honked impatiently. Could she make it across the road before someone took off with her bag? She ran past the impenetrable stream of traffic, toward the intersection at the end of the block.

Are Filter Words Ever Acceptable?

Of course, there are usually exceptions to every rule.

Just because filter words tend to be weak doesn’t mean they never have a place in our writing. Sometimes they are helpful and even necessary.

Susan Dennard of Let The Words Flow writes that we should use filter words when they are critical to the meaning of the sentence.

If there’s no better way to phrase something than to use a filter word, then it’s probably okay to do so.

Want to know more?

Read these other helpful articles on filter words and more great writing tips:

How to write a fic set in France




I’ve been reading a lot of Les Mis fics set in Paris lately, and I have noticed that there are certain things about France that other people just don’t seem to know, so I am here to educate you so that you can make wonderful works where the barricade boys are authentically French. This is going to be super long, and I don’t want to force you all to read it, so for those interested my rant about French culture is under the cut.

Keep reading

Really good post, thanks a lot! There’s stuff that I wanted to say though:

– coffee to go & names on cups do exist, but only in Starbucks bc well, it’s American (but tbh I don’t really see Enjolras going there bc too capitalist for him haha). But yeah in any other cafe you would have to sit down with an actual cup

– drive-through doesn’t really exist (except in some McDonalds I think), but takeout does, in ‘foreign food’ restaurants like chinese, japanese, indian or pizza places

– French people do seem rude to foreigners… that’s because of the way we approach interactions in the public sphere I guess. I noticed that in the US, people would randomly start talking to strangers in the bus or other public places “like hey how are you/what are you doing here”; French people would never do that. That just seem weird and off to us and we’re like “why is this guy even talking to me? i don’t even know him”. You can ask for directions or the time though, we don’t bite.

– In stores, taxes are already included in prices. I know, unbelievable.

Nice! Just want to clarify or add some points:

– if we don’t give tips, it’s because the service is included in the final price, but you can let 1, 2 or 3 (at the very max) euros if the waiter was very nice. Same for the hairdresser (I don’t know why).

– saying “mon cher” is weird indeed (unless you’re a sarcastic little shit), but we say “chéri(e)” (really common, especially for old couple) or “mon/ma chéri(e)” for loved ones.

– even if you’re a socialist, you will criticize the government, frenchs criticize everything because there is nothing worse than something you can’t criticize, that’s how you start totalitarism

– we mostly study french books in school, like for example if you want them to study theatre, make them read Molière instead of Shakespeare, it doesn’t mean we don’t read him too, it’s just the way they teach french (Molière, Voltaire, Flaubert, Zola, Rimbaud & Verlaine, etc etc)

– don’t know how it is in America, but back when I was in school (the law changed since then here) we could study latin and ancient greek quite easily

– It’s common for the “Collège” and “Lycée” to propose school trips (that can last a say or 2 weeks) to another part of France or another country, with my schools I went to England, Italy and Greece (and had I don’t remember how much trips into France)

– regions aren’t the same in France, our accents, our culture, the way we greet people, our food etc etc…

– we start school at 3 years old. The “maternelle” is for kids from 3-6, then you go to “L’école primaire” (the primatory school), from 6 to 11, then  to “Le Collège” (secondary school) from 11 to 15 and then to “Le lycée” (High school) for 3 more years (from 15 to 18) and after that you can go if you want to the University.

– Before the “maternelle”, you can be placed into a “crèche” (nursery), have a nurse (really common, they take some kids at the same time) or stay at home with your parents. I don’t remember but I think it’s not an obligation to start school at 3, but everyone does it nonetheless.

– It’s not uncommon to finish your day at 17h or 17h30 when you’re in high school, and when you’re home it can be past 18h/18h30 or even later

– extrascholar activities are not a thing; you can do what you want with your time outside the school (if you have any) but it will not serve any purpose to enter anything

– school uniforms are not a thing

– nearly everyone had a “manga phase” during their teen years, mangas are everywhere

– but we mostly have BD

– now we have BDs that look like mangas

– it’s common for an high school to be on strike when the teachers are (so even if your teacher doesn’t do it, you may not be able to enter the school)

– we love japan so much people started talking about a “japanisation” of the country some years ago

– our big exam at the end of high school, le “BAC” is important, even though not as much as it was

– depending on the regions, you can “swear” a lot… but it can also not be considering swearing… I live in the South of France and everyone says “Putain” a lot (it’s like “Fuck” I guess here) and even if we don’t say it in the news or when you’re in front of your boss (I think I did it actually and he did it too), it doesn’t really matter here

– halloween is not a thing, not with the kids on the street, people may try to do it, but we may see like 1 or 2 kids on your door this day, it’s mostly to party in costumes nowadays

– no pumpkin-carving

– sometimes, but it’s rarer each year, during the summer we have block parties… It’s just a big reunion of the people living in the streets and everyone is cooking something… but like I said, it’s something quite rare now

– majority at 18, after that, there is no limit anymore for anything like you have in america

– administration is hell in France, everyone knows and hates it

– christmas is technically a thing, but less and less with years too, we still have christmas markets (during december) and some street decorations

– we don’t sing in the street… never

– we don’t hug strangers like they do in Brazil ^^ We’re maybe latins, but we’re still a little bit uptight for that, we’re not going to get angry for that, just a bit odd, that’s all. But we have free hugs too here! (and we call them “free hugs” because the translation is too weird)

– don’t forget the point made by @miomoii too (here: [X])

Using the appropriate vocabulary in your novel


It is very important that the language in your novel reflects the time and place in which the story is set.

For example, my story is set in Italy. My characters would never “ride shotgun”, a term coined in US in the early 1900s referring to riding alongside the driver with a shotgun to gun bandits. 

Do your research! A free tool that I found to be very useful is Ngram Viewer


You can type any word and see when it started appearing in books. For example…one of my characters was going to say “gazillion” (I write YA) in 1994. Was “gazillion” used back then?


And the answer is…YES! It started trending in 1988 and was quite popular in 1994.

Enjoy ^_^

Find more writing tips at or buy my novels here  (#1 new release on amazon It fiction, enjoy!) ^_^



I see this a lot, no one has actual names, or any reference for names, that are legit Native American, varying among the tribes, for their characters. and shit like that will give you names made up by white people.

However, I’ve got your solution.

Native-Languages  is a good website to turn to for knowledge on a lot of native things, including native names. If you’re unsure about the names you’ve picked, they even have a list of made up names here!

Please don’t trust names like for native names, they’re made up and often quite offensive to the cultures themselves.

Hello! Would you mind doing an example of not using filter words in a first person point of view? While I know that you can just switch out the pronouns for I/me/my, I just want to see it in action and when you should (and shouldn’t) use the filter words. Thank you!



Hi there! I would love to! I think I’ll start out with an example with filter words and then cut out the filter words to show you the difference.

For those of you who haven’t seen my post on Filter Words.

Now, for the example:

I felt a hand tap my shoulder as I realized I had made a huge mistake. I knew the consequences would be unsettling, but I had no other choice. I saw the light of my desk lamp bounce off of the officer’s badge before I had even turned around. It seemed like I always found my way into trouble.

It was the first thing off the top of my head, so it’s a bit rough sounding….

Now for without filter words (And a bit of revision):

A hand tapped my shoulder as it dawned on me: I had just made a huge mistake. The consequences would be unsettling if I didn’t get out of this mess, but I had no other choice. The light of my desk lamp bounced off of the officer’s badge. I always found my way into trouble.

By taking out filter words, you get right to the point.

I’d also like to add a few more notes that I didn’t have the chance to post previously.

Some Examples of Filtering:

  • I heard a noise in the hallway.
  • She felt embarrassed when she tripped.
  • I saw a light bouncing through the trees.
  • I tasted the sour tang of raspberries bursting on my tongue.
  • He smelled his teammate’s BO wafting through the locker room.
  • She remembered dancing at his wedding.
  • I think people should be kinder to one another.

How can you apply this?

Read your work to see how many of these filtering words you might be leaning on. Microsoft Word has a great Find and Highlight feature that I love to use when I’m editing. See how you can get rid of these filtering words and take your sentences to the next level by making stronger word choices. Take the above examples, and see how they can be reworked.

  • FILTERING EXAMPLE: I heard a noise in the hallway.
  • DESCRIBE THE SOUND: Heels tapped a staccato rhythm in the hallway.
  • FILTERING EXAMPLE: She felt embarrassed after she tripped.
  • DESCRIBE WHAT THE FEELING LOOKS LIKE: Her cheeks flushed and her shoulders hunched after she tripped.
  • FILTERING EXAMPLE: I saw a light bouncing through the trees.
  • DESCRIBE THE SIGHT: A light bounced through the trees.
  • FILTERING EXAMPLE: I tasted the sour tang of raspberries bursting on my tongue.
  • DESCRIBE THE TASTE: The sour tang of raspberries burst on my tongue.
  • FILTERING EXAMPLE: He smelled his teammate’s BO wafting through the locker room.
  • DESCRIBE THE SMELL: His teammate’s BO wafted through the locker room.
  • FILTERING EXAMPLE: She remembered dancing at his wedding.
  • DESCRIBE THE MEMORY: She had danced at his wedding.
  • FILTERING EXAMPLE: I think people should be kinder to one another.
  • DESCRIBE THE THOUGHT: People should be kinder to one another.

See what a difference it makes when you get rid of the filter? It’s simply not necessary to use them. By ditching them, you avoid “telling,” your voice is more active, and your pacing is helped along.

The above list is not comprehensive as there are many examples of filtering words. The idea is to be aware of the concept so that you can recognize instances of it happening in your work. Be aware of where you want to place the energy and power in your sentences. Let your observations flow through your characters with immediacy.

Ok, sorry for the lengthy answer, I know you just wanted an example…. sorry!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask at my ask box

THIS IS SO GREAT. I dind’t even know there was a term for this (I should have figured, right, because writers have words for everything), but it’s one of those things that being aware when you’re doing it (and editing it right the fuck out) will improve your writing SO MUCH. Removing the filtering helps to draw your readers more intimately into the action of your story, and as the text above says, adds power and immediacy to every sentence. THIS IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT TIP I WANT TO SCREAM ABOUT IT.

Writing PSA











  • Writing is hard. 
  • Outlining is harder. 
  • Trying to create a logical, step by step outline with character motivation based on an existing draft is damn near impossible. 

Plan ahead, kids

I’m facing this struggle right now. I’ve basically decided to throw the whole draft out and rewrite, with the draft as a reference/bible.

It’s hard, but I don’t regret it. I’m learning loads. Outlining helps me sleep at night.

I’m finding that I like outlining, because I think it helps me avoid major structural errors, and the enforcement of connecting the scenes via character action and consequence helps keep the pacing going. 

I used to think that outlining the book meant killing the surprise, but there’s still room for the story to move and change once you get in there. I like knowing off the bat that all the scenes I have planned out work – they’re dramatic, serve a purpose in the story, and are interesting.

I can’t figure out why outlining doesn’t work for me. I love making lists, and I work better when I have a to-do list. Editing involves less teeth-gnashing for me than drafting because I finish a scene and move onto the next one.
I also write/think in episodes, so I will have snippets of future scenes written and then will be guiding my story towards that event as I go. It gives me something to look forward to incorporating into the novel draft. You would think that outlining would provide me with a little list of things to look forward to in the same way.
And yet, every time I sit down to outline, all I get is a vague list of bullet points that gets thrown out about halfway into the draft. Maybe it’s a lack of discipline? Maybe I haven’t found the right outline format yet?

How do you approach your narrative structure? do you use any of the formal structures you find writing craft bloggers talking about online?

There are a lot of them. I tend to divide the story in a weird way. but I always figure out my major points, usually with Inciting incident, climax, midpoint as the first things I figure out. I HAVE TO KNOW what the midpoint is. I have to know what my big twist and or change in the middle of the story is. 

I never, never, NEVER outline by taking out a blank sheet of paper and then going like this:

1. Dean is running late for an audition

i. Dean hears a little girl crying
ii. Dean helps her find her mother and is now late for the audition 
iii. Dean can audition because the whole thing is running late 

I would die of fucking boredom and despair if I tried that.

What I do is i get together some index cards.

Real index cards. I could use the corkboard on scrivener but I find that the actual cards in my hands are better because of one thing that I will describe below. on each card, I write a sentence like:

Michael offers Dean huge sum to leave Cas; Dean rips the cheque into bits.

And then the next one could be:

Dean brings Castiel home to his place in Burnaby and is ashamed of it.

So far nothing connects those two cards. so I will have to connect them. But for right now I’m just coming up with simple scene ideas. I can write some of them in order, but I write whatever comes to mind, one sentence per card. each card is a beat. It might be a whole scene, but it’s probably less than a whole scene, and that’s okay, that’s fine for now.

I arrange the cards in what I think is the correct order, but I don’t *write* them in order. I usually just write whatever’s in my head. and then I read the cards in the order I think they go in, but once I get about say 40 cards for a novel, I shuffle them, and read them out of order. (i’ll end up with at least twice that, though.) The point isn’t to rearrange them in order, but to see if I can CONNECT the scenes to each other even if they don’t happen one after another in sequence. 

so let’s say that i have an anonymous note in one of my scenes, and in scrambled order the anonymous note card is next to my hero meeting a friendly person who supports them after a failure. 


yeah I know you wanted the antagonist to write the note. BUT WHAT IF? is that cooler? is it more interesting? do you have to do another GMC table all of a sudden? Or what if the friendly person saw the antagonist write the note, and wants to use their harassment of the hero to further their own plans?

this is why ONE SENTENCE PER CARD even though that sentence may not sum up a scene, but only a beat in the scene. so now you have room to note connections, motives, foreshadowing, symbols, epiphanies, etc. you can use the front of the card and the back. 

I shuffled the cards for Project Blackwing a few times and wound up with a few surprises that way. 

once I feel like I need to read the cards again, i put them in order (which might have changed because of the shuffle game) and I reserve the index cards that don’t fit (they might later, or they could be discards) 

Now I read the cards in order, and say, “and because of this,” or “So therefore” and read the next card. Does it follow? no? That’s a hole. a card needs to be rewritten, or a new card needs to be filled in, or there’s another card for your discard pile. once I can read the scene cards and feel like I have no gaps, THEN i can write my linear outline or even a synopsis based on what I have scribbled onto my index cards.

And that looks like this:

Scene 1 – Dean is running late for an audition in downtown Seattle when he hears a little girl crying. torn between making the audition on time and helping a child, he turns back and finds the girl’s mother in a nearby Starbucks. He’s going to be late, but he continues upstairs anyway and manages to audition for a lead role, doing his best.

Scene 2 – Castiel can’t believe the hot guy from Starbucks who saved the day is auditioning in front of him. He chooses Dean, not wanting to even look at the other applicants. He calls Dean’s cell phone.

Scene 3 – a telephone number with a Seattle area code calls. Dean’s on international roaming and the charges are outrageous. He decides to take the call and it’s Castiel, asking him to come upstairs to discuss a contract. Triumphant, Dean returns to the office. 

That’s a lot longer than the 1. i. outline but it’s a lot more detailed, so it’ll help you remember what happens next. 

i’ll try it!


I am so amazed by people who have the ability to outline. I can’t do it. I’ve outlined three fics and then felt like I’d already written the fic and that’s where it stayed. An unpublished outline.

You guys have way more skills than me.

“I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house. They know how many rooms are going to be in the house, what kind of roof they’re going to have, where the wires are going to run, what kind of plumbing there’s going to be. They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even nail the first board up. The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of know what seed it is, they know if planted a fantasy seed or mystery seed or whatever. But as the plant comes up and they water it, they don’t know how many branches it’s going to have, they find out as it grows. And I’m much more a gardener than an architect.”
George R.R. Martin

If George RRRRRR Martin gardens his way to a blockbusting series, so can you.