"It should not be groundbreaking to have an older woman at the center of your story…"

Amy interviews Ed Brubaker, Co-Creator of The Winter Soldier and this week’s comic book topic, VELVET! Get the info on this espionage thriller now! 



  • screamers
  • fake coming outs
  • fake suicide
  • fake crushes
  • stuff that could hurt someone emotionally or physically


  • rickrolling
  • putting googly eyes on stuff
  • putting only ONE ice cube in someone’s drink when they asked for a COUPLE


From my Limited Edition zine You Don’t Know Me, made for Sticky Institute’s Feed The Animals 2014 (now all sold out, sorry!)

More of my zines and artwork on my Etsy store <3 <3 <3

Writing Tools: Foreshadow and Creative Recap


Lately, I’ve been studying the ends and beginnings of novel chapters. To begin a study session, I first must be inspired by something I like, and then notice what I dislike in comparison. I formulate a generic do’s and don’ts list from there, and then I proceed to write about it. This week, I really, really want to point out how authors flow from one chapter to the next.

For starters, I’ll begin with a literary tool called foreshadowing. By definition, the verb foreshadow means to signal that something is going to happen. When used as a writing tool, the author is either using it to progress the plot or to creating anticipation. Quite literally, foreshadowing can be stating that something is going to happen in the next chapter, without hinting to what that is. For example, the end of a chapter can say, “But Billy could not have been prepared for what was coming next.” If the author didn’t tell us the readers what is coming, then we are just as clueless as Billy. This is exactly a signal that something is going to happen, or a promise that the plot is going to be moving in the next chapter. Total cluelessness can get the heart thumping, for those who love writing suspense novels (hint hint).

Less literally, the author could say, “But Billy could never have guessed what he’d find in the closet.” This is a signal that something is going to happen, but it also hints to what that is, which in this case is Billy opening the closet and then reacting to what he finds. This gets the brain moving, and depending on the circumstance, can also get the heart racing. But usually the reader is, or trying to, deduct what is in the closet, adding their own emotions besides suspense caused by what they think is going to happen, such as fright, sadness, excitement; it’s like a reader’s DIY emotional roller coaster.

Foreshadowing always comes before something in which the reader does not know yet. If the book jumps back and forth between times, one cannot use foreshadowing to speak of a future, when in the previous chapter the event already happened and the reader is all-knowing, the characters are not. You’re explains in a foreshadow way what the reader already knows. That’s a form of creative recap, but we’ll get back to that later.

Mostly, foreshadowing is placed before something happens. It could be seconds before, or years before the event. Foreshadowing chapter-wise, the event it’s referring to could be placed directly at the start of the next chapter, which would be considered a fast-paced novel, or it could be put aside until later chapters, letting readers either forget about it or pick up pieces in the meanwhile.

A book doesn’t need heavy foreshadowing if the book is written for a day-to-day, contemporary premise. It’s not meant to be suspenseful. Creative recap, however, is necessary.

Creative recap is reconditioning/rewriting an event in past tense for repetitive emphasis. The importance of repeating yourself, reminding the reader who did what and what happened when, is like playing with flashcards, allowing the readers quick and easy assess to the past when you want them to remember something. Repeating names at the beginning of novels so they start to stick is an example. Though, we do it in a creative way that the reader will enjoy instead of just saying it. Hence why we call it creative recap. Another plus is that it helps connect the chapters through reference, and a general understanding of why each chapter is there builds over time.

An example of creative recap: “While that was happening, this was happening here,” or, “Only five years after this happened, this was happening here.” A simple statement of relationship in the first sentence of each chapter will fill in those holes. As a result, the readers won’t need to think too hard about the distance and time between them. Even if the chapters are almost completely unrelated to one another, it’s still easier for the readers with that connection.

When I mentioned before about some books going out of order, you cannot foreshadow if the reader already knows what’s going to happen. In this situation, “But Billy could never have guessed what he’d find in the closet,” turns into recap since nothing is hidden from the reader anymore. It’s there to repeat the knowledge, for emphasis. For the readers, it’s an instruction to start feeling a certain way, reminding them of what they already felt. It’s creative, because you’re not outwardly saying, “Remember this?” It’s more of a reference, a nudge-nudge, inside joke sort of thing.

Whenever you catch yourself thinking, “How can I make sure the reader picks this detail up,” or, “I haven’t mentioned this in a while, so how should I mention it again,” you’re probably using creative recap. You don’t want to outwardly say it, but you’re thinking hard about a creative way to do it. What ever you wrote as a solution is your prime example of creative recap.

There are many ways to go about creating creative recap, and there are just as many for foreshadowing. Both can be used to your advantage when it comes to repetition, repetition being the key to success. Because both are references technically, using either one will act as a second mentioning besides the actual telling of what will or what has happened. Use them as tools to improve your writing. In particular, use them to help your reader understand what’s going on in your book, unlike the metaphors and detail outfit descriptions in which build the pretty of your novel.

(P.S. Did you see what I did there with the bolded and strikethroughs? That’s a creative way of reminding you what I was referring to earlier, connecting the paragraphs, and making it easier to follow what I wanted to explain. c; I love creative recap.)

Thanks for reading,

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Writing dialogue is about observing closely what is on each character’s mind and how willing and how able he or she is to share it. And it is observing closely how exactly people are unable or unwilling to listen to each other.

Ron Carlson (Ron Carlson Writes a Story)


Phew, submission finished and sent out! Deadlines always bring out the procrastinator in me but I’m proud to announce that I finished in time! Now the waiting and fingernail biting begins! ^_^

Reasons Why Your Antagonist is the Antagonist


Any antagonist or villain that doesn’t have a reason for being the antagonist will come off as a flat character. Even if you know as the writer why a character is doing something, you need to find ways to explain it to your readers. When you reveal this information is up to you, but you need to do it at some point to make your characters relatable and believable. Here are a few things that might explain why your antagonist is the antagonist:

Family behavior

Looking at your antagonist’s background is always a great way to explain why they are the way they are. Think about how your character’s parents had treated them in the past. Maybe their father was busy at work and didn’t have time for your antagonist. Maybe their mother left the family or never wanted a child. Though these particular situations do not make people “evil” or “bad”, they do help shape your character. Build the individual situations of your characters and use them to help explain why your character turned out the way they did.

Again, family behavior doesn’t always negatively affect a person and turn them into something bad, but it might have an impact on your character. Try to only include information about this behavior if it has helped develop your character in some way. Or consider the reverse. Family behavior like a mother being too caring or suffocating might have caused a character to act out. There are so many ways to do it!

Personal background

Outside of family behavior, your antagonist might have had some bad things happen to them.  Maybe they were bullied when they were younger or there’s something they wanted badly that they never got. Looking into your antagonist’s personal background will help you understand a lot about your character. Were they constantly made fun of? Did they witness something violent that helped shaped them as an adult? If a character has felt weak at certain times in their life, they might want some control over other people.  Consider these factors.

Mob mentality

An antagonist might be an antagonist simply because they got caught up in something bigger than themselves.  They might have heard something from other people and decided to join the cause. They might have gotten swept up in something they didn’t fully understand and gained power. Something might be so ingrained in them that they can’t see your protagonist’s point of view. A character can be susceptible to what everyone else is thinking, so conformity might be a factor that turns them into the antagonist.


If someone is in a desperate situation, this will definitely shape their behavior. Consider the idea that your antagonist is just as desperate as your protagonist. They need to succeed. If they don’t, maybe something horrible might happen to them. A villain doesn’t always do things just because they want to stand in the way of the protagonist. They’re not just simply evil. There’s always a reason behind their actions and desperation might be one of them.

Remember, your antagonist isn’t always the bad person; they’re just someone who doesn’t want to see your protagonist to succeed. Their ideals clash and they believe different things. You should develop your antagonist just as much as your develop your protagonist. Explaining why they’re doing the things they’re doing will help your readers understand what’s happening.

-Kris Noel

Roddy Doyle's 10 Rules for Writing Fiction


  1. Do not place a photograph of your ­favourite author on your desk, especially if the author is one of the famous ones who committed suicide.
  2. Do be kind to yourself. Fill pages as quickly as possible; double space, or write on every second line. Regard every new page as a small triumph-
  3. Until you…