Observe.

This is an excellent writing advice from Chuck Palahniuk. This was first seen on tumblr. Unfortunately, when I clicked on the link, it no longer existed.

But, I still think it’s worth sharing.

writingadvice: by Chuck Palahniuk

In six seconds, you’ll hate me.
But in six months, you’ll be a better writer.

From this point forward—at least for the next half year—you may not
use “thought” verbs. These include: Thinks, Knows, Understands,
Realizes, Believes, Wants, Remembers, Imagines, Desires, and a hundred
others you love to use.

The list should also include: Loves and Hates.
And it should include: Is and Has, but we’ll get to those later.

Until some time around Christmas, you can’t write: Kenny wondered if Monica didn’t like him going out at night…”

Instead, you’ll have to Un-pack that to something like: “The
mornings after Kenny had stayed out, beyond the last bus, until he’d
had to bum a ride or pay for a cab and got home to find Monica faking
sleep, faking because she never slept that quiet, those mornings, she’d
only put her own cup of coffee in the microwave. Never his.”

Instead of characters knowing anything, you must now present
the details that allow the reader to know them. Instead of a character
wanting something, you must now describe the thing so that the reader
wants it.

Instead of saying: “Adam knew Gwen liked him.” You’ll have
to say: “Between classes, Gwen had always leaned on his locker when he’d
go to open it. She’s roll her eyes and shove off with one foot,
leaving a black-heel mark on the painted metal, but she also left the
smell of her perfume. The combination lock would still be warm from her
butt. And the next break, Gwen would be leaned there, again.”

In short, no more short-cuts. Only specific sensory detail: action, smell, taste, sound, and feeling.

Typically,
writers use these “thought” verbs at the beginning of a paragraph (In
this form, you can call them “Thesis Statements” and I’ll rail against
those, later). In a way, they state the intention of the paragraph. And
what follows, illustrates them.

For example:
“Brenda knew she’d never make the deadline. Traffic
was backed up from the bridge, past the first eight or nine exits. Her
cell phone battery was dead. At home, the dogs would need to go out, or
there would be a mess to clean up. Plus, she’d promised to water the
plants for her neighbor…”

Do you see how the opening “thesis statement” steals the thunder of what follows? Don’t do it.

If nothing else, cut the opening sentence and place it after all the others. Better yet, transplant it and change it to: Brenda would never make the deadline.

Thinking is abstract. Knowing and believing are intangible. Your
story will always be stronger if you just show the physical actions
and details of your characters and allow your reader to do the thinking
and knowing. And loving and hating.

Don’t tell your reader: “Lisa hated Tom.”

Instead, make your case like a lawyer in court, detail by detail.

Present each piece of evidence. For example:
“During roll call,
in the breath after the teacher said Tom’s name, in that moment before
he could answer, right then, Lisa would whisper-shout ‘Butt Wipe,’ just
as Tom was saying, ‘Here’.”

One of the most-common mistakes that beginning writers make is leaving their characters alone. Writing,
you may be alone. Reading, your audience may be alone. But your
character should spend very, very little time alone. Because a solitary
character starts thinking or worrying or wondering.

For example: Waiting for the bus, Mark started to worry about how long the trip would take…”

A better break-down might be: “The schedule said the bus would come
by at noon, but Mark’s watch said it was already 11:57. You could see
all the way down the road, as far as the Mall, and not see a bus. No
doubt, the driver was parked at the turn-around, the far end of the
line, taking a nap. The driver was kicked back, asleep, and Mark was
going to be late. Or worse, the driver was drinking, and he’d pull up
drunk and charge Mark seventy-five cents for death in a fiery traffic
accident…”

A character alone must lapse into fantasy or memory, but even then
you can’t use “thought” verbs or any of their abstract relatives.

Oh, and you can just forget about using the verbs forget and remember.

No more transitions such as: “Wanda remembered how Nelson used to brush her hair.”

Instead: “Back in their sophomore year, Nelson used to brush her hair with smooth, long strokes of his hand.”

Again, Un-pack. Don’t take short-cuts.

Better yet, get your character with another character, fast.
Get them together and get the action started. Let their actions and
words show their thoughts. You—stay out of their heads.

And while you’re avoiding “thought” verbs, be very wary about using the bland verbs “is” and “have.”

For example:
“Ann’s eyes are blue.”

“Ann has blue eyes.”

Versus:

“Ann coughed and waved one hand past her face, clearing the cigarette smoke from her eyes, blue eyes, before she smiled…”

Instead of bland “is” and “has” statements, try burying your details
of what a character has or is, in actions or gestures. At its most
basic, this is showing your story instead of telling it.

And forever after, once you’ve learned to Un-pack your characters,
you’ll hate the lazy writer who settles for: “Jim sat beside the
telephone, wondering why Amanda didn’t call.”

Please. For now, hate me all you want, but don’t use thought verbs. After Christmas, go crazy, but I’d bet money you won’t.

(…)

For this month’s homework, pick through your writing and circle every “thought” verb. Then, find some way to eliminate it. Kill it by Un-packing it.

Then, pick through some published fiction and do the same thing. Be ruthless.

“Marty imagined fish, jumping in the moonlight…”

“Nancy recalled the way the wine tasted…”

“Larry knew he was a dead man…”

Find them. After that, find a way to re-write them. Make them stronger.

— Thanks Hiraku! (via obarnasnow)

(Source: wingedbeastie)


thisisnotjapan:

simplybarks:

oparnoshoshoi:

thatwasuzi:

letterstomycountry:

thisisnotjapan:

I was going through some old photographs and belongings of my grandmother’s in storage and I came across this. She saved the newspaper clipping from her internment.
Reading it made me feel so sad and disgusted I wanted to cry. 

LTMC: Jingoistic journalism at its best.

Never forget. This actually happened. In America. The United States.
FDR decided people of a certain heritage didn’t have rights and damn near everyone rolled over and let him do it.
Do not forget this. Do not let it happen again.

Next time someone says “the government would never do that!” or “the American people would never let that happen!” remind them of this.

OHMYGOD FOR THE LAST TIME IT WASN’T FDR’S IDEA HE LITERALLY HAD NO CHOICE BECAUSE THE COUNTRY WAS PRACTICALLY IN SHAMBLES AND WAS NOW ON THE VERGE OF A MASSIVE PANIC ATTACK CAUSE JAPANESE!!!!! PEARL!!!!! HARBOR!!!!! SO HE REALLY DIDN’T HAVE A CHOICE MY SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHER STRESSED THIS OK BYE

Your social studies teacher is a racism apologist. 
Japanese-Americans on the West Coast got sent to the camps because their white neighbors wanted their homes, businesses and property. If it was really about fear, then Japanese-Americans in Hawaii would have been rounded up. They weren’t. Neither were Japanese-Americans on the East Coast.
The main reason for the camps was simple greed, facilitated by racism. 
From http://www.pbs.org/thewar/at_home_civil_rights_japanese_american.htm:

At first, plans had been drawn up in Washington for the wholesale internment of all 158,000 people of Japanese descent living in Hawaii,too – nearly 40 percent of the total population of the islands. But wealthy landowners in Hawaii opposed the plan; they depended on Japanese field workers to tend their sugar and pineapple plantations. And the presence of a massive American military force on the islands made the danger of an internal threat seem less and less plausible. In the end, Japanese Americans in Hawaii would be allowed to go about their lives more or less as they always had.
But their counterparts on the West Coast would find themselves the subject of an anti-Japanese frenzy that seemed immune to reason. While they represented a tiny portion of the population, Japanese Americans on the West Coast had long been special targets of white hostility. Laws and customs shut out Japanese Americans from full participation in economic and civic life for decades. Japanese immigrants – known as Issei – could not own land, eat in white restaurants, or become naturalized citizens. But the American-born descendants of Japanese immigrants – called Nisei – were citizens by birthright, and many had become successful in business and farming. Pearl Harbor gave whites a chance to renew their hostility toward their Japanese neighbors – it also offered white growers and business interests an opportunity to agitate anew for the elimination of unwanted competitors.

View Larger

thisisnotjapan:

simplybarks:

oparnoshoshoi:

thatwasuzi:

letterstomycountry:

thisisnotjapan:

I was going through some old photographs and belongings of my grandmother’s in storage and I came across this. She saved the newspaper clipping from her internment.

Reading it made me feel so sad and disgusted I wanted to cry. 

LTMC: Jingoistic journalism at its best.

Never forget. This actually happened. In America. The United States.

FDR decided people of a certain heritage didn’t have rights and damn near everyone rolled over and let him do it.

Do not forget this. Do not let it happen again.

Next time someone says “the government would never do that!” or “the American people would never let that happen!” remind them of this.

OHMYGOD FOR THE LAST TIME IT WASN’T FDR’S IDEA HE LITERALLY HAD NO CHOICE BECAUSE THE COUNTRY WAS PRACTICALLY IN SHAMBLES AND WAS NOW ON THE VERGE OF A MASSIVE PANIC ATTACK CAUSE JAPANESE!!!!! PEARL!!!!! HARBOR!!!!! SO HE REALLY DIDN’T HAVE A CHOICE MY SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHER STRESSED THIS OK BYE

Your social studies teacher is a racism apologist. 

Japanese-Americans on the West Coast got sent to the camps because their white neighbors wanted their homes, businesses and property. If it was really about fear, then Japanese-Americans in Hawaii would have been rounded up. They weren’t. Neither were Japanese-Americans on the East Coast.

The main reason for the camps was simple greed, facilitated by racism. 

From http://www.pbs.org/thewar/at_home_civil_rights_japanese_american.htm:

At first, plans had been drawn up in Washington for the wholesale internment of all 158,000 people of Japanese descent living in Hawaii,too – nearly 40 percent of the total population of the islands. But wealthy landowners in Hawaii opposed the plan; they depended on Japanese field workers to tend their sugar and pineapple plantations. And the presence of a massive American military force on the islands made the danger of an internal threat seem less and less plausible. In the end, Japanese Americans in Hawaii would be allowed to go about their lives more or less as they always had.

But their counterparts on the West Coast would find themselves the subject of an anti-Japanese frenzy that seemed immune to reason. While they represented a tiny portion of the population, Japanese Americans on the West Coast had long been special targets of white hostility. Laws and customs shut out Japanese Americans from full participation in economic and civic life for decades. Japanese immigrants – known as Issei – could not own land, eat in white restaurants, or become naturalized citizens. But the American-born descendants of Japanese immigrants – called Nisei – were citizens by birthright, and many had become successful in business and farming. Pearl Harbor gave whites a chance to renew their hostility toward their Japanese neighbors – it also offered white growers and business interests an opportunity to agitate anew for the elimination of unwanted competitors.


postcardsfromspace:

rambleonamazon:

Until recently, I have had a tremendous amount of shame about the bullying I experienced as a child.
Whenever something would happen and my mother would find out, she would yell at me and say,
"Why didn’t you fight back?! What are you doing to make them treat you like that?"
So I felt like it was my fault.
(x)

There is a genuine dangers of my tears shorting out the computer and turning this entirely into a Laverne Cox fanblog.

The whole INTERNET should be a Laverne Cox fanblog.

(Source: feyminism)


zohbugg:

justamerplwithabox:

vivelafat:

prokopetz:

officialdeadparrot:

grellholmes:

elsajeni:

gunslingerannie:

justtkeepcalmm:

dean-and-his-pie:

fororchestra:

musicalmelody:

Fun Story: My director kept telling me and my tenor sax buddy to play softer. No matter what we did, it wasn’t soft enough for him. So getting frustrated, I told my buddy “Dont play this time. Just fake it” 
Our Band Director then informed us we sounded perfect. 

To my readers: “p” means quiet, “pp” means really quiet. I’ve never seen “pppp” before haha.
On the contrast, “f” means loud, and “ffff” probably means so loud you go unconscious.

I had ffff in a piece once and my conductor told me to play as loudly as physically possible without falling off my chair…

Me and my trombone buddies had “ffff” and he sat next to me and played so hard that he fell out of his chair.
The lengths we go for music.

Okay yeah so I play the bass clarinet and the amount of air you have to move and the stiffness of the reed means it only has two settings and that is loud and louder, with an optional LOUDEST that includes a 50% probability of HORRIBLE CROAKING NOISE which is the bass equivalent of the ubiquitous clarinet shriek.

One day, when I was in concert band in high school, we got a new piece handed out for the first time, and there was a strange little commotion back in the tuba section — whispering, and pointing at something in the music, and swatting at each other’s hands all shhh don’t call attention to it. And although they did attract the attention of basically everyone else in the band, they managed to avoid being noticed by the band director, who gave us a few minutes to look over our parts and then said, “All right, let’s run through it up to section A.”
And here we are, cheerfully playing along, sounding reasonably competent — but everyone, when they have the attention to spare, is keeping an eye on the tuba players. They don’t come in for the first eight measures or so, and then when they do come in, what we see is:
[stifled giggling]
[reeeeeeally deep breath]
[COLOSSAL FOGHORN NOISE]
The entire band stops dead, in the cacophonous kind of way that a band stops when it hasn’t actually been cued to stop. The band director doesn’t even say anything, just looks straight back at the tubas and makes a helpless sort of why gesture.
In unison, the tuba players defend themselves: “THERE WERE FOUR F’S.”
FFFF is not really a rational dynamic marking for any instrument, but for the love of all that is holy why would you put it in a tuba part.

This is the best band post 
Everyone else go home

Oh man, so I play trombone, and we got this piece called Florentiner Marsch by Julius Fucik, and we saw this

which is 8 fortes. We were shocked until,

that is 24 fortes who the fuck does that

Who does that?

This guy. Take a good look - that is the moustache of a man with nothing to lose.

Julius IdontgivaFucik

More like Julius Fuckit

this post just kept getting better and better
View Larger

zohbugg:

justamerplwithabox:

vivelafat:

prokopetz:

officialdeadparrot:

grellholmes:

elsajeni:

gunslingerannie:

justtkeepcalmm:

dean-and-his-pie:

fororchestra:

musicalmelody:

Fun Story: My director kept telling me and my tenor sax buddy to play softer. No matter what we did, it wasn’t soft enough for him. So getting frustrated, I told my buddy “Dont play this time. Just fake it” 

Our Band Director then informed us we sounded perfect. 

To my readers: “p” means quiet, “pp” means really quiet. I’ve never seen “pppp” before haha.

On the contrast, “f” means loud, and “ffff” probably means so loud you go unconscious.

I had ffff in a piece once and my conductor told me to play as loudly as physically possible without falling off my chair…

Me and my trombone buddies had “ffff” and he sat next to me and played so hard that he fell out of his chair.

The lengths we go for music.

Okay yeah so I play the bass clarinet and the amount of air you have to move and the stiffness of the reed means it only has two settings and that is loud and louder, with an optional LOUDEST that includes a 50% probability of HORRIBLE CROAKING NOISE which is the bass equivalent of the ubiquitous clarinet shriek.

One day, when I was in concert band in high school, we got a new piece handed out for the first time, and there was a strange little commotion back in the tuba section — whispering, and pointing at something in the music, and swatting at each other’s hands all shhh don’t call attention to it. And although they did attract the attention of basically everyone else in the band, they managed to avoid being noticed by the band director, who gave us a few minutes to look over our parts and then said, “All right, let’s run through it up to section A.”

And here we are, cheerfully playing along, sounding reasonably competent — but everyone, when they have the attention to spare, is keeping an eye on the tuba players. They don’t come in for the first eight measures or so, and then when they do come in, what we see is:

[stifled giggling]

[reeeeeeally deep breath]

[COLOSSAL FOGHORN NOISE]

The entire band stops dead, in the cacophonous kind of way that a band stops when it hasn’t actually been cued to stop. The band director doesn’t even say anything, just looks straight back at the tubas and makes a helpless sort of why gesture.

In unison, the tuba players defend themselves: “THERE WERE FOUR F’S.”

FFFF is not really a rational dynamic marking for any instrument, but for the love of all that is holy why would you put it in a tuba part.

This is the best band post 

Everyone else go home

Oh man, so I play trombone, and we got this piece called Florentiner Marsch by Julius Fucik, and we saw this

image

which is 8 fortes. We were shocked until,

image

that is 24 fortes who the fuck does that

Who does that?

This guy. Take a good look - that is the moustache of a man with nothing to lose.

Julius IdontgivaFucik

More like Julius Fuckit

this post just kept getting better and better

(Source: housecatincarnate)


The Last Billboard

A 36-foot-long billboard located at the corner of Highland and Baum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Every month, a different individual is invited to take over the billboard to broadcast personalized messages, which are spelt out using wooden letters that are changed by hand. 

you can follow it’s tumblr here.