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Q. Can I use or share your art on deviantART or other sites?
A. Not without modifying it in some way, not without asking me first, and not without crediting me. It is forbidden for you to post or use it without my permission or credit. I have the right to report deviations posted or used without my permission or credit.
Certain pieces of mine may not be altered. Please, no matter the circumstances, always be sure to ASK BEFORE USING in case the piece may not be used.
For other sites: you may NOT post the artwork itself, ONLY the URL, and you MUST credit me.
If anyone sees a piece of mine posted elsewhere without crediting me, PLEASE send me a link! Much appreciated.
Q. Can you critique my work?
A. Yes! Traditional, some digital, and literature. Note me.
Q. Are you a penguin?
Spring Break 1981Who Watches the Watchers?Spring Break 1981 by bloedzuigerbloed
At night they left their televisions on, and in the mornings they scolded their children for it. We knew about this. They did not know about us, oily, matted hair piled high, watching their pink faces jiggling like water. Like pigs. We watched through the windows all the time, although we could not change the channel.
All the wealthy ladies wore foxes around their throats and snakes on their waists and rhinoceroses on their toes. I was standing in the corner, listening to my daughter (the vegan) chide them, and thinking to myself that this costume of theirs was not necessarily to consume and end the animal life. Fur-bearing women were giving birth to the ancient, wild creatures they wore once again, reviving them from death. I could see their belts slithering off their hips and delivering swift bites to each and every finger in sight, I could see their hats beating their feathered wings and taking flight. The rhinoceroses charged with
Virgin(s)Father’s wide, furrowed brow is hanging like a cooked steak and slowly rises when we reveal to him why we are holding our stomachs gently. We notice the anger in his eyes and the forbiddens that slip past his teeth, remembering back to the summer, when we all pitched tents in the heat and suffocating humidity that made us go insane for money.Virgin(s) by bloedzuigerbloed
The champagne we consumed between acts, while watching the jugglers (with sweaty sleeves twice turned up) switch from balls to knives to delicate glassware (and even a woman’s bewildered baby) in deep concentration, was to prevent us from exploding into the one million mosquitoes that plagued us. When it was our turn, voices gasped at us, we who had no body to ourselves, but a single shared one in a dress sewn as wide as the moon to fit the both of us. We held out our arms to the crowd with the ribbons in our hair wet with sweat and bumps on our skin. “More champagne, the tiger tamers are coming out!”
In our own tent, Rose
All Our AnimalsFill our many throatsAll Our Animals by bloedzuigerbloed
With burned rubber and spices
Melt mint all over us
Saffron and lilacs and rices
Marbled stripes in the water
Tapping on an engine
Run as they reflect
The shaky lines
My old man drew
With a glowing pen of steel
Run deep like whales
Ripping open the world
Sacks of air
Like eyes in the dark
Wise men can
Everything is tin
Pull us in
Into a rowboat on the sea
Watching the white lights dim
Finally at peace
Hey, want a critique? Note me! But first, please refer to my rules and instructions:
Link to deviation(s).
Let me know the specific areas you'd like me to focus on. (Examples: "Is the dialogue realistic enough?" "Any grammatical mistakes?" or "Is there some way I can make this paragraph more fluid?") These will be very helpful!
Be sure to specify whether you would like harsh critique or gentle criticism.
I will respond to let you know I received the note and to clarify anything. I probably won't get to critiquing right away.
Things I WILL NOT critique:
-W.I.P.s (work in progress)
-Low quality images (where I cannot clearly see the piece)
-Pornography, fetish, or pairings (I decide whether or not it counts.)
-Derogatory work (Racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. or promotes/supports these themes. Again, I decide whether it counts.)
-Pieces so poorly done (no effort was put into it) that they cannot be considered finished work
You should also keep in mind...
I critique both premium and regular members.
All critiques are free, but I'd appreciate a thank you or llama!
If I turn your work down, check the above list of things I don't critique. It’s probably on there.
All critiques are based off personal experience/opinion. Keep in mind I don't know everything!
If you have questions regarding why I do not critique a certain type of work or whether or not your work falls within the criteria, please don't hesitate to me!
Ever have that experience where you’ve finished a vignette or story you’re quite proud of, only to re-read it and find it rather… well… boring? Or find yourself with a great concept, but no clue how to make it sound readable? Do you zone out just re-reading your work and have difficulty capturing others’ attention as well? I’m sure you have. We all have.
At all costs. The “glazed doughnut” in this context is not the sugary toroid you might be imagining, but rather an area of text where the audience cannot pay attention and “glazes over.”
Some instances of this: The author rambling on about minute details that have no effect on the plot, character development, background development, or themes. Or perhaps there are no paragraph breaks on the page and the reader is forced to mow through the whole page in one sitting.
How to fix this: It’s easy to slip into this in your writing if you have the tendency to ramble during conversation, so every so often take a break from the story to read it out loud. Take a note of when you take on a monotone. Perhaps even ask someone to listen while you read and point out areas where they were getting bored or noticed a monotone in your speech, or request that they read it over and take note of when they started to skim and stop paying attention. Also, adding paragraph breaks makes it easier for readers to see the overall content of the page and pay attention more easily, as well as skip around if they choose to.
At least don’t do it too often. If you’ve already said it, it’s okay to say it again. After all, repetition is a common literary device for poetry, and often in prose the same themes resurface repeatedly. But directly referencing a subject any more than a few times can be eye-roll inducing (meaning alluding to it occasionally is fine). Your readers might want to shout, “Yes, the protagonist is tall! I already know! You’ve told me 4 times!” or “Why won’t this character shut up about their dead pet tortoise? She just finds every possible way to slip it into conversation!”
After paragraphs upon paragraphs explaining and re-explaining the same thing, the readers will get annoyed. I know because I have, reading countless books that fail to be mindful of the repetition rule and bore me with pages of the same dribble. So, if while reading your piece you begin to notice the same recurring sentences and facts, be sure to pick and choose the places where you believe these are really necessary and omit the rest.
How to fix this: Go through and toss out any excessive repetition. (Yes, I know it sounds tedious, but it's worth it.) And chances are, the reason you’re repeating yourself so often is because you want to stress the fact that your character is tall or an orphan or depressed. Instead of mentioning it tons of times, demonstrate it only a few times. Showing it helps get the message across to your viewers more easily than saying it, so you only need to put it in there once or twice. But if it’s still not working, keep in mind whether or not the fact is so imperative to get across to your viewers and so integral to the plot that you need to put it in there in the first place.
I highly suggest utilizing one. (I linked to an online thesaurus down at the bottom of the page.) But it’s painfully obvious when someone was writing a piece with an online thesaurus open in another tab and they had no idea what they were doing. As a general rule of thumb: don’t use any synonyms you aren’t familiar with. If you do, you might end up misusing one.
There’s nothing that draws in the attention of an adventurous reader like an entirely new topic. Try a never-done-before setting with unique characters participating in a plot ridden with unexpected twists and turns. If you want to really suck your readers in, don’t go for the predictable. Be random. (Story randomizer linked at the bottom of the page.)
Who knows, you might choose a random combination of settings and character personalities that actually produce a very promising piece of work that you can expand into a published piece. There are plenty of online generators that will combine a random series of plots and characters for you if you’re stuck trying to come up with something.
This is actually a great exercise to do weekly or even daily. Find an online generator to choose random elements for your story (settings, names, personalities) and use it as a prompt. Write a short snippet about it. Or even a whole story, if you think you can. Just to get the juices flowing. This is useful when suffering from writer’s block as well.
The sentences we learn to write as little kids are simple, independent ones. “The black cat sat on the mat” is straightforward and simple, with no information other than there is a black cat positioned on top of a mat. To spice up the sentence, it’s important to add a dependent or independent clause the the beginning or end of most sentences.
If you notice too many simple sentences together in one paragraph or page (or even throughout the whole story), try to modify them with clauses at the beginning or end. This will make it more tolerable for your audience (assuming you audience doesn’t consist of six year olds) to read.
Sense neglect is when you don’t bother to give three or four out of the five senses a chance. Your descriptions mainly consist of what a character/narrator sees and/or hears, but very rarely mention taste, smell, or touch. You’d notice if you could suddenly not smell or feel anything, wouldn’t your readers notice too? Simulations are most effective when all or most of the senses are activated, so submerge your reader in the story by not neglecting your senses. Embrace them! And use them to your advantage.
I know it sounds like it won’t help much, but it does actually deserve some thought. It’s easy to start skimming through a story instead of actually reading when all the names begin with the same letter, or have the same vowel sounds. If you think you could manage to do that without causing too much harm to come to your story, try it. Perhaps Toby, Tony, and Tracy will be more likely to suck readers into the story and help them absorb it if you make a few edits to their names.
Nobody (at least nobody I know of) wants to sit and hear someone drone on and on about the same old subject without varying their word choice the tiniest bit. They'll get bored and want to put the book down.
Just don’t. And this isn’t just a tip for making your writing interesting, it applies to all things you’re interested in doing.
Cooking, research, painting, gymnastics, etc. Remember that if you managed to do it, you can most definitely manage to do it better. So why stop in the middle and say “Meh… it’s good enough”? Not to sound cliche here, but you won’t improve if you don’t push what you think you’re capable of. The most common reason why I find some of my work boring is that I didn’t try hard enough and stopped working because I felt lazy. I know that if I don’t put in my hardest work on a story, it doesn’t deserve half the attention I wanted it to get. It deserves exactly what I put into it. And it gets about that much, too.
There’s no reason why anyone should settle for mediocre and expect everything wonderful to come raining down around them. For some people, success comes quickly because they have connections with the right people, but the best thing you can be known for is what you worked hard on. Don’t stop in the middle. Keep going.
Online story outline/setting generator:
My “Abstract Vs Concrete” tutorial here on DA:
Ever think there must be a better way to beef up your writing than to spill on for pages and pages? There is. To use an idiomatic expression, the devil is in the details. Now let’s get specific.
Think about playing ‘Mad Libs.’ They often ask for you to fill certain spaces in with nouns. But what they don’t specify is whether these nouns are abstract or concrete.
What is an abstract noun?
According to Google: “[An abstract noun is] a noun denoting an idea, quality, or state rather than a concrete object.” Some examples: Bravery, candor, jollity.
You can’t touch abstract nouns or perceive them with any of your real-world senses, although you’re able to see evidence of them. (You cannot hold sadness, but you can physically perceive the qualities a sad person may exhibit.) These can also be abstract adjectives: brave, candid, and jolly.
What is a concrete noun?
Google found me the following definition: “Concrete nouns are things that you can experience through your five senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch.” Some examples: A cat, light, the moon.
You can touch and physically perceive concrete nouns, whereas abstract nouns are the ghosts of the noun community. You can only tell they’re there by the things they leave behind.
How does this connect to beefing up my writing?
Abstract nouns are vague ideas that can have many different connotations and definitions depending on the context and depending on the reader. Concrete nouns, however, have specific definitions, and allow the reader to more easily create an image in their mind.
For example, which sentence evokes more meaning to you?
She was very tall.
Her high heels caused her to tower several inches over his head.
Chances are, you more easily visualized the second sentence. In the first sentence, you only had the idea she was tall. Height is an abstract concept because it raises questions like: Tall compared to what? How tall? Tall physically or tall as in having a lot of confidence? In the second sentence, you can visualize her high heels raising her up and get a general idea of how tall she is, making this character that much easier to see.
This doesn’t sound like it would add much to your writing. After all, you say, tall is tall. What difference does it make how specific it is?
A lot of difference. It’s been shown that characters people can more easily visualize are the ones that they tend to identify with. Even if you’ve never watched your uncle die in a plane crash, you would be more likely to identify with a character’s struggles if they say their uncle ‘perished after his plane hit a mountain’ rather than simply saying ‘he died.’ Seeing the smoke billow out as the plane falls, hearing screams, it all contributes to the level of connection you have with this character.
But I like abstract nouns. They’re easy to use and good placeholders for when I don’t have time to write a full description. Can’t I still use them?
Of course you can. I agree, they’re good placeholders, but placeholders is all they should be. If you’re only using them because you don’t feel like writing out something detailed and specific, perhaps you should think more about the level of work you’re willing to put into your writing.
The thing is, abstract nouns are perfectly fine to use once and a while in your writing, but they aren’t as powerful as concrete descriptions. Chances are, your readers will have more difficulty identifying with your character if you rarely use specific terms, and this may cause issues with the reader being able to work out the character’s intentions.
The dangers of specificity
You’re treading on dangerous territory if you over-explain everything. Sometimes it’s easy to get carried away and put in every single little detail, treating your reader like they’re an alien that has never experienced any Earth events. You need to give the reader a bit of credit and allow them to work things out on their own. There’s nothing wrong with implying things every once and a while.
There’s also the trouble of tiring descriptions. It’s all well and good to have a detailed description, but professional writers know how to say more with less. If you go on for paragraphs and paragraphs with description, it’s going to get exhausting to read. Often it’s best to condense a longer sentence into a shorter one by using synonyms. For example, ‘his antique, rustic, low house with a large porch’ can be made into ‘his antique, rustic bungalow’ and have the same effect on the reader with fewer words. It’s key to find the right balance between detailed description and simplicity. Remember, a little can go a long way. And when it comes down to paragraphs and paragraphs of description, don’t be afraid to cut some parts out.
Going from vague to specific: a quick how-to
Alright, so you understand what needs to be done. Concepts usually need to be replaced with descriptions and physical things. But how to do it?
-Try working from personal experience. For example, describing a character as ‘strong’ has twenty billion (not really) different meanings. Use what ‘strong’ means to you. Is strong seeing your grandfather walk without his walker for the first time in years? Is strong spending eight weeks trying to break a world record for cup-stacking? Is strong attending protests for that law for equality you need passed, despite what your parents think?
-Tap into your five buddies: The senses. Try to imagine what this scene smells like, looks like, sounds like, etc. Frequently exercise your senses to keep them sharp and ready to use, and you should always be looking for opportunities to use any of them in your writing.
-Keep a quick reference list of common abstract concepts and use it when you’re editing. This way you’ll more easily be able to locate them. If it feels like it needs to be changed to a concrete description, circle it. (Or box it, underline it, mark it however you want.)
Emotions are abstract by nature (as I said above, you can’t hold sadness.) and often need to be further emphasized. They’re the most commonly used abstract nouns, but that doesn’t make them any more powerful to read. It’s important to describe the emotion rather than stating it.
For example, simply saying ”His mother was depressed” holds a lot less meaning than when the emotion is demonstrated: ”His mother stayed in bed for hours most mornings and didn’t bother to brush her hair.” This one is much more easily visualized, and the reader can tell what’s going on without it needing to be explicitly said. There are several things to keep in mind when writing emotion:
-Actions What is the person doing? What are they not doing? This mother is acting lethargic, not caring about how she looks, which are both signs of a person being depressed.
-Dialogue What are they saying? What are they not saying? Language is an important method of expression, so keep in mind the things your character chooses to express.
-Appearance Their facial expression, clothes, hair, etc. tell a lot about the person’s mood.
-Body language Write about their hand motions, the way they walk, their posture, and how ‘open and confident’ they’re acting. It’s helpful to check out different studies about the relation of mood and confidence to body language.
(A.K.A. the Big Long Bulleted List Where You Learn More Than the Average Person is Comfortable Knowing About Me While Staying a Safe Distance Away Armed With a Shiv.)
Some of my stuff:
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I can art sometimes maybe. I'm decent.
Paintings in watercolor and acrylic
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Short stories and vignettes
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