Category Archives: Ultimate Writer List

Attention all writers: Before making your characters fall in love, first learn about Stockholm syndrome

There’s a reason why I don’t like most mainstream romances.

Its not their impracticality.

Its not their perfect endings.

Its not the unrealistic sex scenes everyone wants to try out.

Its the (in)direct applications of psychological issues.

How many movies/books have you seen where the girl is kidnapped by the ‘hero’ and after a few days of impromtu-togetherness-time they fall in love?

I expect to be killed by school girls and nostalgic young women tomorrow

“Blogger killed by Disney school girl fans and nostalgic young women” is tomorrow’s headline

A while back I published on this blog the ultimate writer list which had two rules I’d like to follow up on:

“22. Stockholm syndrome does not mean its true love.

23.When writing a romance piece, I will pretend that the male character is not in love with the female and if he sounds like a stalker/murderer/rapist, then I will rewrite the story.” (Myself, THERE APA! HAPPY? YOU WILL NOT HAUNT ME HERE)

Stockholm Syndrome happens when hostages express positive emotions, empathy and sympathy towards their captors/kidnappers. This syndrome has been widely discussed in media and stats show that a majority of victims do not associate with their kidnapper/captor. Despite the criticisms and stats of Stockholm syndrome, I think its important for any author to keep a mental note of it.

Objectively speaking, stories are generally about the exceptional characters in sometimes exceptional circumstances in whatever world the author has built. Many ‘romance’ stories have been built using the trope of kidnapping someone and then falling in love. By definition, these characters are the exception to the rule.

And most likely to suffer from Stockholm Syndrome.

If you think tropes like these (among several others) are harmless, think again.

Before writing any romance genre, please read this first.

Before writing any romance story, please read this first.

References and other links to look at:

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1920301,00.html

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AbductionIsLove

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Love-Romance-Mass-Media-Communication/dp/0805848320


Halloween night, NaNoWriMo Eve

All through the night the writers stared

At the hollow moon,

For on the morrow, would be their greatest battle….

Let NaNoWriMo Begin!

In honor of NaNoWriMo, I’ve begun an ULTIMATE WRITER LIST inspired by the Evil Overlord List.

The writer’s oath: “I solemnly swear to uphold these rules as separate truths to establish integrity, diversity and culture in my work and the craft. But if I receive a 5 digit long advance cheque, screw it.”

  1. I will actually start reading psychology books instead of relying on my knowledge of pop psychology.
  2. When writing Science Fiction, I will actually pick up a science book to do some basic research no matter how improbable my main story is.
  3. My symbolism will not be painfully obvious that a drunk undergraduate could figure it out instantly.
  4. If I write a villain to be cunning and capable, I will not write him or her to conveniently ‘forget’ or overlook something so my heroes can win.
  5. The same goes for my heroes being dumb. I will write capable heroes who actually think before they leap. The invisible hand of the author should remain invisible and not plot-wholly obvious.
  6. Whether I like it or not, dramatic events will change a character’s perspective not reaffirm their beliefs of being eternally happy-go-lucky. Instead it should challenge their belief system. It’s called character development.
  7. I will not make one character suffer so much that my readers will wonder when he or she will snap and go on a murdering rampage.
  8. Not everyone has a horrible tragic past. It’s all about degrees of difficulty.
  9. If I’m interested in exploiting a certain dark theme between characters (e.g. incest, rape, murder), I will not reflect this exploration in every opportune character available in my story.
  10. I will not be afraid of putting blood on my heroes’ hands.
  11. I will not rush my ending just because I am tired of rewriting and editing. My readers deserve a delicious and satisfying conclusion.
  12. If I’m afraid to write good realistic sex scenes, I shouldn’t promise my readers anything in that department.
  13. On the contrary, grammar is not my enemy. It’s my friendenemy.
  14. Obeying writer stereotypes is not the road to success. I will be healthy, sleep decent hours, not depend on certain substances (drugs, coffee, sugar rushes) and try to work out my issues rather than take it out on my characters or the people around me.
  15. Inner conflict is as the name suggests. INNER CONFLICT.
  16. The hero’s adrenaline can only take him or her so far in battle. Unless he’s a super being with no limits, then let the never ending battle continue.
  17. The same goes if they’re in love.
  18. I will not go to my recycle bin of ideas and fuse them together into a conceptual cluster fuck.
  19. Any cute animal companion is only a cute animal companion and not a human/intelligent magic creature/anything-anyone-that-can-save-your-characters-when-there’s-no-hope.
  20. Stockholm syndrome does not mean its true love.
  21. When writing a romance piece, I will pretend that the male character is not in love with the female and if he sounds like a stalker/murderer/rapist, then I will rewrite the story.
    1. Also if the female character, without the presence of her love interest, has no other goals/ambitions or actual character, I will rewrite the story. If she acts too perfect that nothing is wrong with her or life, except no boyfriend, I will write another story where she is a futuristic cyborg hell bent on killing her enemy’s ancestor and ends up falling in love with him.
  22. When learning about another country or culture related to my story, I will forget all preconceptions especially those stated by ignorant news channels. Instead, I will talk to three groups of people:
    1. The nationals
    2. The expatriates
    3. The Tourists
    4. And if possible, actually visit the place.
  23. I am doing this because I want to, not for the fame or money but to leave something valuable behind.
  24. I will develop my own adaptable philosophy that reflects my changing views as a writer and human being.
  25. If I self-publish, I will not harass my Facebook friends to buy my book as my startup cash. I will let my work speak for myself and try to actually learn how to publish in the current market.
  26. While writing a dramatic scene I will not listen to My Chemical Romance, Linkin Park or Evanscence. Especially the songs “Numb”, “In the End” and “Bring me to Life”.
  27. When writing male characters, I will pretend to be a teenage yaoi fangirl. If my mind can come up with obvious sexual scenes between the two, I will re-write the section. This works better if I do know a teenage yaoi fangirl fanfic writer to review my work.
  28. I will not write sequels for the sake of buying my third mansion in Switzerland.
  29. I will write female characters as individuals, not just male characters with boobs or romantic interest for the male character to chase.
  30. Just because I’m in a writing program does not mean I can depend on my assignments/portfolio to get me published.
  31. I will not say I want to be the next (Insert famous writer’s name here). I am an individual with my own style, voice and perspective. The famous writers are teachers and motivators. I will not insult them or myself by imitating/stealing from them.
  32. Acting cultured/emo/angsty does not make me a great writer.
  33. There is no ultimate story formula for guaranteed success. Stop trying to calculate it.
  34. Whenever I have a brilliant idea/concept, I will first check the bible of writing: Tvtropes.
  35. If my book/script/story becomes a movie, I will have the entire production and writing team watch all the episodes on thatguywiththeglasses.com.

Maybe you don’t have a first reader or someone you can trust to give you good feedback, so I’ll say what needs to be said: Believe in yourself, forget about anyone telling you that you can’t or it’s a waste of time.

It isn’t.

I believe in you.


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