If you’re a writer and the word “AuthorTube” means nothing to you, you are missing out. For the uninitiated, AuthorTube is a community of writers on YouTube who make all kinds of writing content from vlogs, to publishing advice, to live streams. It is a community of passionate writers, small yet invaluable in terms of how much you can learn. Everything I’ve learned about writing has come from actually doing the thing, and watching AuthorTube content.
Taking the leap from lurker to content-creator is a big one. Even if you’re not thinking of making an AuthorTube channel, there may come a day when you want to make one. My channel has facilitated community interaction I never would’ve gotten without it. I feel less alone and more motivated to work on my projects. So, if the need comes to you to make an AuthorTube channel, here are some things you should consider.
When it comes to studying tragedy, there’s no better place to go than the theater. The Greeks started performing tragedies in the 6th century, and people haven’t stopped since. With a tragic play for every era in human history, theater holds a boundless amount of knowledge for us to tap into.
Here’s a list of plays to watch (or read) to teach you the ins and outs of tragedy.
Stranger Things Spoilers (specifically character deaths)
It’s generally known that character deaths in any form of media can elicit passionate emotional responses from fans. Whether it's sadness (the death of a beloved side character), joy (the defeat of the villain), plain confusion, fear, or anger, simply offing one of your characters is a great way to get your readers riled up - especially when said character’s death is tragic. That’s how you can really break your reader’s heart. Whether it be tragic circumstances, tragic endings, or tragic deaths - empathetic readers will always mourn what could’ve been a happier ending. But what happens when all your strategic planning and plotting, results in your readers feeling disappointed? What happens after you burn down the village and nothing happens? What happens when your tragedy is pointless?
Unearned tragedy is no stranger to the world of books and film. All the time, we’ll see kingdoms and innocent people suffer from dictators, or evil monsters and the like. Tragedy can be unfair and unjustified - and sometimes characters can die just because of someone’s spite or greed. However, there should always be a reason for these deaths. For example, when Max ‘dies’ in Stranger Things, it’s not because the writers wanted to scare the audience; it’s because Eleven failed to save her. It shows the true threat of Vecna and the danger the group is currently facing, that Eleven is not strong enough to defeat him and (most importantly) the dire consequences of them losing. Even though she is brought back to life later, her death stills serves as a somber reminder that there is a powerful evil out there that they couldn’t defeat.
This work is part of a series, starting at FanFiction 101: Where to Read & Post.
AU as a fanfiction trope and/or genre might be the most diverse. Its most basic definition is a transformative work that differs from the canon established by its original source.
Although the concept of alternate universes is not limited to the fanfiction universes (i.e. the “What If…” marvel series), it thrives on fandom culture.
“AU fanworks cover a great deal of creative territory, and much discussion has gone into how exactly to classify the term and its subtropes. The openness of AUs allows fans to stretch themselves creatively.” fanlore.org
A craft book is a non-fiction book about the process of writing. They come in many formats from how-to guide, memoir, complied advice, and more. Some are funny, some are quite serious, but sometimes craft books can feel like a barrier to new writers, or even patronizing. You might think “why do I need to read about story beats? I know how to write.” Or, you might feel like a craft book takes the fun out of writing. Worry not, today we’re dispelling the myth that you must read craft books to be a better writer by providing alternate avenues for growth. August’s theme for JUVEN Press is Transitions. Therefore, let us help you transition into a better writer.
Looking at the great tragedies of literature, from Les Miserables by Victor Hugo to The Oresteia by Aeschylus, the characters suffer through seemingly endless turmoil. People starve in the streets, family members run each other through with knives, and everyone wails and laments at some point or another. Tragedies are about the (often extreme) hardships we face in life, and the strive to overcome them – even if we are destined to fail.
So, is there a line? Is there a point in a tragedy where it gets to be too much? How tragic is the writer allowed to make the story? If there’s nothing but bad things happening over and over, at times it can make the story feel muddled and congested. The reader might not know what to care about, or if any of the tragic events should matter more to the story.
Here’s a few things to consider when crafting your own tragedy.
Buying stationary, finding textbooks, cleaning up a desk, having scarce time to write… Right, it is back-to-school season again. How can young writers keep developing their craft when there is also a pile of assignments to complete? This is a list of the things I discovered during the past years which helped me fit writing into my schedule without setting aside my responsibilities or mental health.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley was one of the first science fiction novels that also serves as a perfect example of a self-fulfilled tragedy. It is also one of my favorite books of all time. It is a perfectly set up tragedy that involves the fatal flaw, the stakes, the setup, and the eventual tragic payoff.
The Fatal Flaw
Every classic tragedy involves the fatal flaw being present in the main character. Traditionally referred to as the Hamartia, the fatal flaw is the trait that brings tragedy upon the main character. The tragedy is usually rooted in some innate trait that the main character has, so they end up bringing all the pain and misery down upon themselves.
We live in a world that has taught us since we were very little that woman, non-binary people and other gender minorities do not deserve to take up space, specially within our stories, if they don’t have something to give over to cisgender men.
It doesn’t matter if I am a feminist, anti-patriarchy, and looking for (trans) gender liberation. There is always that first… not a thought, not even an idea, is an impulse of prioritizing cisgender men, giving them the benefit of the doubt, listening to them and reading their stories.
As a writer, I go about fighting such indoctrination by writing main characters that fall under the gender-minority umbrella. Though I have written once or twice about cisgender men, I do make a conscious effort of centering the experiences of trans men, cis and trans women plus non-binary folk.
Famous for poems including The Raven, The Bells, and Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe remains a staple among poetry and literature classes. In the same vein, Emily Dickinson’s poems such as Hope is the Thing with Feathers and I Heard a Fly Buzz - When I Died hold just as much relevance and prestige. Both poets boast a lengthy collection of poems, and often these pieces reflect on personal tragedies.
Poe experienced a good deal of loss in his life. He lost his birth mother, his adoptive mother, and his wife over the course of his lifetime, many of them succumbing to tuberculosis. As a result, a lot of his poems grapple with life after losing a loved one. His most famous poem, The Raven, personifies death as a raven that only speaks the word “Nevermore”, reiterating to the grieving narrator that he will never see his lost love again.