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Okay, I decided to open this topic anyway, after my sad incident deleting everyone's posts. >.>"

So, writers, I have to ask you. What are the things that make a good story? What are the best traits for an unique, original character? What kind of title suits better a fanfiction? What aspects of the plot should be avoided and what should be included? How can I create a nice side-kick?

Remember this is not a topic on Grammar and Structure; we're here to talk about the elements of the story, not how to "physically" construct it.

The Decent Fic Guide is the place you should visit to talk about grammar rules, punctuation, paragraphing and those technical aspects. The Fanfics Discussion Thread is open to discussions of any kind; you just have to bring up a subject and we'll talk about it. Last, but not least, it's recommended that we all take a look at the Fanfiction Rules thread.

Discuss. :)

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Sat May 05, 2007 7:06 am
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Woot, I get to go first.

Characters NOT ASH KETCHUM! When writing a Pokemon story, (and I have done this many a time) do not make the character out to be a complete clone of Ash. The majority of people read fiction like this because they feel the anime is insufficient and that Ash is an immature little <s>swear word</s> and should be shot immediately. As a result, try and give your character something that makes them contrast greatly to Ash.

Leading on from that, make your character have something unique about them. I love to read a fic with a really cool character in it that has a bit of zing, and does't leap over moral issues as if they were hurdles on the ground. It's good to see a character that is independent from the author. I like to see when the author has actually planned it so that the character doesn't know what's happening in the future, for example:

What I see sometimes, and have done also wrote:


Professor Oak looked out at the sky, and saw a storm brewing.

"Hm, I wonder what that could be?" he thought to himself, rubbing his chin.

Ash came running in suddenly proclaiming something about legendary birds. "Professor, this storm could be due to Zapdos!"


And then, lo and behold, Zapdos would appear. I don't like it when that happens.

Plot

I love reading a plot with twists and turns. A plot that goes in one direction, and could be written by a three year old bores me, because by the time I have finished reading it, I have worked out the ending all ready. I'm not saying I do that perfectly, but I also try to allow the reader to guess just a bit before the revalation, so they get the "feel good" feeling that I get when I read a really good bit of fiction.

Title

The bane of my life. I can never come up with a good title. It becomes either cliched, too long winded, both, or stands as "Haven't thought of a good title yet..."

"The Final Battle," which was the title I gave to my fanfic of red battling Lance, was cliched because the battle was the typical final battle that everyone loves to see at the movies. I intended it only to be a one off, but due to great demand, I came up with a sequel, and I am telling you, a title didn't come up for ages.

I finally settled on "The Darkness Within Him," because of these reasons:

- It gave a somewhat different air and atmosphere to the anime.

- It told the reader that the story would be quite dark at some point.

- Gives a little ambiguity as to who the "Him" is, and forces the reader to read on.

So, to sum up:

- Make it stand out

- Brief idea of what's in the story (make it appeal)

- Give it a good hook that makes the reader want to look into it.

That's all I can really think of at the mo, I hope this is the kind of discussion you wanted Galar. ;)

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Sat May 05, 2007 9:51 am
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This may end up being really long...sorry...

Characters

Mary-Sues and Gary-Stus make shooting my foot seem more interesting. Ash is a prime example of a Gary-Stu. What is a Mary-Sue/Gary-Stu character you ask? Well, to put it simly, they're the perfect character. The ones seen over and over and over again. The ones that you know exactly what they're thinking because you've seen it tons of times before. The ones who are gorgeous, talented, and popular. The ones who are the angsty out casts who one moment are scorning the popular kids only to become one themself later on in the story. You know what I'm talking about now right?

Anyway, every writer has at least one Mary-Sue or Gary-Stu. I do, I even posted her story on here to try to make a point of sorts, I don't know where in the forum it is and I don't feel like tracking it down. Most people hate reading or anything to do with Mary-Sues because they're annoying. They're hardly what you'd call interesting most of the time. Now there are a few Mary-Sues that don't kill a reader but that means that the writer has successfully given a plot that does not further flatter the character. Like I said, a few. That means very few writers can pull this off.

How do you know if you have a Mary-Sue or Gary-Stu? I'm glad you asked. I, personally, use the "Original Fiction Mary-Sue Litmus Test." Now, there are probably a bunch of other tests like this, and exercises available, to evaluate your character. Keep this in mind, all of them are only guidelines. The one I use typically picks at the key things that make a character cliche, which is what a Mary-Sue is.

If they're guidelines how can you really tell? You look at the way the character interacts with the story, i.e. the plot and characters. The character themself is only part of it. To really tell if they are a Mary-Sue you have to look at the entire picture. If you do go to the Litmus test be sure to read the notes at the beginning they will sum things up wonderfully.

I'm going to stop harping on Mary-Sues now. What makes a good character? Characters that have characteristics that even them out. Look at most serial killers, I know strange example just bare with me here, most suffer from an anti-social disorder. That disorder keeps them from regreting the pain they cause, which is really bad for the victim. Now, they also tend to be really smart [stupid genes] and charasmatic. The last two are good traits and a lot of people want them. But you see...the killer is crazy, so his insanity counteracts what most people desire.

Here's a link to another site I'm a member of, they're way more advanced than I am so all of you who think I'm just crazy and that I don't know what I'm talking about half the time...go to it. The Young Writer's Society

To me characters are far more important than anything else in a story. You create bonds with the characters, you grow to hate some and love others. Why? Because you grow feelings for them of course. The plot is important, no doubt about that, to me however it supports the character and gives them life. Typically, I like stories that have interesting characters, everything else typically follows.

I may come back to this section later should I think of more...

Plot

Plot...hmmm. Well I look at it like a character. Does it have twists and turns [like a character should have flaws]? I like a plot that has very little action in it actually, I find action and adventure stories boring; but, I do tend to like stories more on the character though. The plot is the conflicts, the romance, the danger, and the adventure.

It gives the characters life, and makes the reader empathise with them, creating the vital bonds. They help the author get their view of a character across.

The plot is what happens in a story. Having a great character is all well and good but the story is as interesting as paint drying if nothing happens.

I may edit this later...

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Sat May 05, 2007 10:57 am
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I don't know if anyone has said this or not, but I guess I can...

Pokemon Battles

Some people might have Pokèmon stories, so here is what you should and shouldn't do in them if there are battles.

The Right Way wrote:
Joshua threw out his pokèball. A Totodile showed up from within the flashing red light. Ralph threw out his pokèball. A Sneasel came out, ready for battle. "Totodile, use Water Gun!" Said Joshua. The Totodile raised it neck. When it brought it back down, water gushed out of its throat. "Sneasel, dodge it!" Said Ralph. The Sneasel, a agile Pokèmon, jumped up in the air just before the Water Gun hit it.


The Wrong Way wrote:
Charmandr use ember. it hit. spinarak was hurt. spinarak then used string shot. charmander dodged. now used flame wheel. it hit spinarak! charmander won.


Most people are not that bad, but I do know one person who did this. Try to have details, make sure that Pokèmon and the names of the Pokèmon are capitalized, and use proper grammar and punctuation.

Oh, and if you are wondering how to do the "è," hold down Alt and press 0232 in the number pad. Hope that helps!


Thu Jun 28, 2007 5:17 pm
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Tragar wrote:

Oh, and if you are wondering how to do the "è," hold down Alt and press 0232 in the number pad. Hope that helps!


Umm... this might be a bit off-topic, but I think the accent on the "e" goes the other way, like this: é (Alt+130)

Anyways,...

Characters
A common start is to start with the character being a not-so-good-at-whatever-the-story-is-about character. However, after a while, you should make the main character do someting that hints that the saga is about to start.

Someone who's somewhat following along wrote:

It was a dark and windy night. The teenager dashed along the field, occasionally tripping over pebbles unaware. Suddenly, a signal appeared over the sky, a signal the teenager recognized with awe and terror. His eyes flashed scarlet, as he fled the field, knowing what must be done.


Someone who isn't wrote:
It was a clear blue sky, with Togetics hovering around the little girl. She climbed up a tree, and managed to step on a coincidentally flying Wingull to jump on another tree. She cried in victory, as the sun shone brighter. Suddenly, she lost her balance, tumbling off the tree and down a crevass. The Togetics used their special powers to bring her up again, and she went soaring up into the skies...

Ugh...

That's all I'll do for now.

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Fri Aug 24, 2007 9:25 am
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I think I'll post my two cents.

Chapter Length

A problem that is often mentioned. But how do you lengthen your chapters without spamming? It is actually very simple. There are a few general catagories:

Actions

Just think of every step involved.

Quote:
Jenny got her backpack and walked to school.


Quote:
Jenny got up, grabbed her backpack, and left her house. She greeted Mr. Fox, who was mowing his lawn, and walked cheerfully into the large school doors. She made a right turn and walked directly into her classroom, ready to begin the day.


See? Do that to a few actions, and the chapter length will increase nicely. Be careful not to overdo it, though.

Quote:
Jenny sttod up, walked over to the closet, opened the door, put her hand out, grabbed her backpack, pulled it out of the closet, put it on...


See? That's just plain spam.

Description

Describe the surroundings as much as possible.

Quote:
Jenny got out of her bed, grabbed her backpack out of the yellow closet, and left her house, admiring the cheerful red color paint she had helped her dad put on the house the previous weekend. She greeted Mr. Fox, who was mowing his lawn, which had grown a lot recently, and walked cheerfully into the large, brown, and rather dull school doors. She made a right turn into a long hallway filled with posters and walked directly through the orange door into her classroom, ready to begin another day of learning.


Imagine how long your short chapter could be!

Names

Your character needs a name, right? Well, here are a few pointers.

I would not recommend taking Wolf's strategy. That has got to be his only low point. Some of the color names are actual names, like Red or Scarlet, but who is named Gold or Yellow? Nobody!

Now, a normal name like John or Bill is fine, but be careful. Stay away from Bob. Also, be mindful of the time and place. Is the setting Asia? Give characters Asian names.

If your character has some sort of power, like Superman or something, include a subtle hint at what their power is in their name. For example, one character of mine has the ability to control water. Her name is Cerulea for the following reasons:

You can tell it is a girl we are talking about
Cerulean is a shade of blue, fitting her powers
It has an elegant feel to it, which is rather like her personality.

But don't go overboard and call a charitable person "Charity" or something like that. Keep it very subtle, or your names go down the drain.

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Wed Nov 21, 2007 8:37 pm
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Thanks for posting the link, Crimson (so many months ago..), right when I noticed it I realized I never took the test for some of my characters.

One of my characters scored a 35 (one point away from being a mary sue), one a 33, and one a whole total of 66. Do you think I'm about to change or throw out the character that scored as a mega-sue? No!

People have a hard time realizing what "Mary Sue" means. They think it means they're godly or a Marilyn Monroe, when all it means is that they basically have too many good points (or that they're a weeaboo). I took the test for myself and scored with a 54, which got Pelli VERY upset and he hated the test from then on because it was "stupid" and "faulty".

So yeah, if your character is a Mary Sue, just give it some bad points or get rid of some of the good ones. :/

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Thu Nov 22, 2007 12:13 pm
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Thunder_dude7 wrote:
Chapter Length

A problem that is often mentioned. But how do you lengthen your chapters without spamming? It is actually very simple. There are a few general catagories:

Actions

Just think of every step involved.

Quote:
Jenny got her backpack and walked to school.


Quote:
Jenny got up, grabbed her backpack, and left her house. She greeted Mr. Fox, who was mowing his lawn, and walked cheerfully into the large school doors. She made a right turn and walked directly into her classroom, ready to begin the day.


See? Do that to a few actions, and the chapter length will increase nicely. Be careful not to overdo it, though.

Quote:
Jenny sttod up, walked over to the closet, opened the door, put her hand out, grabbed her backpack, pulled it out of the closet, put it on...


See? That's just plain spam.

Description

Describe the surroundings as much as possible.

Quote:
Jenny got out of her bed, grabbed her backpack out of the yellow closet, and left her house, admiring the cheerful red color paint she had helped her dad put on the house the previous weekend. She greeted Mr. Fox, who was mowing his lawn, which had grown a lot recently, and walked cheerfully into the large, brown, and rather dull school doors. She made a right turn into a long hallway filled with posters and walked directly through the orange door into her classroom, ready to begin another day of learning.


Imagine how long your short chapter could be!



I can't say I wholly agree here...I get just as annoyed with seeing short chapters as you, but describing everything isn't just tiresome for the author, but reading it is also boring for the reader.

I think the skill is writing relevant things that have a primary effect of either adding to the story's plot, or further developing the character. The secondary reason would be chapter length which would come as a result. Taking your example:

Quote:
Jenny got her backpack and walked to school.


Now, that tell you nothing about Jenny apart from the fact that she has a backpack and that she has school that day (as I'm sure was your point.)

However, endless description, I feel, wouldn't really help it much either...

What about:

Quote:
Jenny checked her digital clock; it was exactly thirty four minutes past eight. She snatched up her mighty rucksack that she had packed the previous night, and hurried to the stairs, poking her head round her mother's door to bid her a rushed goodbye. Jenny was never late, and today was no different; but her philosophy did not say that being early was a bad thing.
Waving cheerfully at her next door neighbour, Jenny felt her cheeks go red. What must he think of her; she's always the first one at the bus stop, and it's not as if there's ever a blip in her routine..


You see how each point tells you something about the character? For example:

Quote:
Jenny checked her digital clock; it was exactly thirty four minutes past eight.


This shows how the character is specific and exact, giving her more depth than just 'she got her bag and went to school.'

'Weighty rucksack,' emphasises the amount of work she does, etc.

See how it tells you things about her while not losing the reader's focus?

It was just an example, so it's not all that good, but do you see what I mean?

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Fri Nov 23, 2007 1:36 am
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True. Keep what he said in mind, writers!

PS sorry about the comment on the creativity or lack thereof in your names, Obs

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Fri Nov 23, 2007 6:41 am
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I'm not going to deny that I am a writer of sorts. I am also not going to deny that great points have been made.

If you have an opinion on what I say, please PM me, rather than flaming in the topic. But seeing as this is a writing help topic...

I'm just putting down what I think is right. So please give me a chance before looking at it and saying "I hate it".

OK, enough with the "disclaimer", here's the actual two cents:

Characters

Well, you've gotta have them, and you can't do without them for fiction. Especially fanfiction. Sure, Ash is a great character (*cough*not really*cough*); but he can get boring ("Wow, sign me up!") if he's used all the time.

So when it comes to making a character, here are my basic guidelines to follow:

1) Avoid, at all costs, making the character a Mary-Sue/Gary-Stu. The only thing that does for an author is reveal what you want to be when you grow up (and seeing as Pokemon is just a franchise so far...I don't think that will happen very quickly).

2) Make sure the character has some flaws. Sure, he can be a great trainer, with a dream of being the Pokemon champion (a la Ash); but I think that a more interesting character would be one who is too shy to bother going to see Professor (insert tree name here) about getting a starter Pokemon, but when s/he finally does, the character gets over his fear.

3) When you make a character, try and do something special (like the example above). It makes it more interesting than having people see Ash-caused trainers all the time. And because it's your character, you can develop them however you want! Imagine, little Janey (the shy one) eventually grows out of her fear of Pokemon and becomes a Gym Leader! Boy, that's already wayyyy different from Ash now, isn't it?

4) If you use characters from the original Pokemon saga (games, TV, or otherwise); try to stick to their original character [but if it is a comedy, you don't have to be such a stickler on this one]. It would be funny to see Brock turning out gay (don't try it, please!!! :shock: ), but that's not realistic at all.

5) Made-up characters are always fun to deal with, but making them perfect does not work. Especially when all the readers can tell this is the stuff of your dreams, and you know you're in trouble. Try to stray away from developing the character exactly like you, or what you want to be!

Moving on to the next part in my rant, which in this case is plot.

Plot

1) Before you make a fanfic (heck, even a comedy), please have some relative idea of what you're doing. If you don't (as "Ask a Ninja" says), it will turn out like "he took elements from Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and all other fantasy books, piled them all together in a cannon, and blasted it onto the page". [Please note: Ask A Ninja used different wording for a different concept than I did, don't bug me about what I used...]

2) Just like you need an idea, type/write some out first before posting it. This way, you have time to edit/proofread before you put it on the unsuspecting world. I can tell you of a lot of people I know who would criticize on every single mistake easily because they can. Yes, I can be one of them at times...

3) All good things must come to an end. However much of a prophecy this seems, it's very true in daily life. Looking at the inverse, all bad things apply too. So don't drag things out if you can. Sure, it's nice to have a romantic relationship between the two main characters, but maybe it should wait until after their adventure together. Besides, maybe they won't like each other at the end...

4) Have some good plot twists in planning stages at all times. Taking the story in ways your readers won't expect will help you get their attention, and their loyalty to stick with the story till the end to see what happens. Going back to the above, all stories must end as well (darn!).

5) Whether you write a comedy, epic, or one-shot story, you must have these three critical elements:

- Beginning, where it starts and character/info intro.
- Middle, where the climax happens, introduce lots of problems to keep story going
- End, where all loose ends are tied up and story is finished

If you skip any one of those things, you should definitely reconsider writing stories on the fly anymore.

6) Don't write stories on the fly. Those are the worst ones to look at, and the hardest to read. Refer to Point 1 if you're having problems.

Next section of the rant (thanks for staying with me!):

Detail/Description

1) Thanks to Galar, I might have to refer to other topics to talk about grammar, so I won't here. But a few parting shots before I go: Detail is good, but too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Don't overload. Being overdescriptive can be surprisingly boring.

2) However big your vocabulary is, don't use it all at once. Imagine that you're writing for a fourth-grader, and then work from there. Perhaps even younger, because your huge vocabulary will get in the way if they don't understand half of it.

3) It is pretty obvious when an author/writer hits the thesaurus pretty hard for words. It is okay (even though I didn't think so for the longest time) to say words like "said" a lot in succession. Unless you can find a better word in your brain. Just an example of my writing where I did this:

Quote:

"But you can't leave me now," she said quietly. Her boyfriend shook his head.

"You don't understand, baby," he murmured, sick of listening to himself say this.
"I have to go, otherwise I live out on the street."

"I'll take you in," she said breathlessly. She was definitely determined to keep him, no matter what the cost.

"Listen," he started, but his girlfriend interrupted again.

"I'll do whatever it takes to keep you." She said resolutely, and he could tell she meant every word of it.

"I don't want you to leave, you've been the best thing that's ever happened to me, I can't let you go," she uttered, voice growing more confident and louder with every syllable.

The sweat ran down his forehead, and he had forgotten that he was in the middle of the Rec Center, but thought he was in heaven with his girlfriend. He was hearing exactly what he wanted to hear, but couldn't say the things that he needed to say...


Yes, I did just make that up off the top of my head. But you see how many times you can repeat words. English teachers talk about "dead" words, and unfortunately, many words are guilty of that. Just be smart when you're using them.

4) No matter how hard you try to please everyone, it won't happen. If millions of people ask you to describe a thing a certain way, you can't satisfy them all. If you are satisfied with your work, that is enough. The big writers realize that if they're content with it, they don't need any more work.

5) Even on that note, don't strive for perfection. Especially since most of the stuff here will be a fanfiction, don't go crazy trying to make everything perfect. Sure, it's a good drive, but in moderation it is best. So, be a perfectionist who knows when to stop striving.


Not to discourage anyone from writing, but hopefully these tips help!

These are my [definitely-more-than] two cents...

Edit: Hopefully the quote tag will work now, because it didn't work the way I'm used to. Sorry! :oops:

AEPMT :D :) :P 8-) :wink: :mrgreen:

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Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:10 pm
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Time to return here and give some tips again.

Adverbs

Adverbs, for any dummys out there, are words that describe an action. For example:

Quote:
Jill quickly walked through the hallway.


Typically, adverbs end in -ly. Let me say this: Any adverbs in your story should be removed immediately.

Adverbs say "this verb isn't strong enough, we need to help it with another word". Let's take Jill for an example. We can easily fix the example by using a stronger word. What word means "walk quickly"?

Quote:
Jill hurried through the hallway.


*poof!* And there you have it, the adverb is removed. The adverb/verb combo is almost never as strong as the strong verb alone.

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Last edited by Thunder_dude7 on Mon Apr 14, 2008 4:06 am, edited 2 times in total.



Fri Mar 21, 2008 7:24 am
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Just a thought that occured to me, Thunder_dude, but doesn't that technically classify under grammar? And there's nothing wrong with using adverbs, although I would agree, if you use them too much, it shows lack of confidence with your writing.

AEPMT :D :) 8-) :wink: :mrgreen:

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Fri Mar 21, 2008 6:13 pm
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Grammar is commas, exclamation points, and structure of a story. This is not.

Adverbs are fine for, say, some assignment for english. However, we are talking about what will appeal to the average reader. And the average reader likes nice, strong words and word combos. Adverb/verb combos are almost never as strong as a strong verb is alone.

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Fri Mar 21, 2008 7:41 pm
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Depends on the strong word, especially when you're hitting the thesaurus to find alternates for "said". Sometimes it's best to use them in tandem, but my friend (who is an avid writer himself) agrees with you, and says it this way...

Quote:
I've heard that using an adverb after every verb is bad. You're supposed to describe with the feeling in the dialogue itself.

Example of this: '"Go away, you idiot!" she said loudly.' Why do you need to mention she's screaming (saying it loudly) when for one, you already have an exclamation mark, and two, you could just use yelled. Not like you even need that! It speaks for itself, the way most lines should.


Not to say I disagree with it. But at the same time, it doesn't always have to be that way.

However, we later talked about the circumstances which I brought up earlier, and agreed of my use of adverbs (which I assume your post was a slight reaction to mine). Grammar should be used in everything, because not only does it make it easier to read (which should appeal more to the average reader anyways...), but also makes it more correct; which even if it's not tested on here, it's nice to see.

AEPMT :D :) 8-) :wink: :mrgreen:

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Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:55 pm
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Quote:
(which I assume your post was a slight reaction to mine)


Maybe subconsiously.

He was correct, as said is an exception to this rule for reasons he pointed out: The reader knows he's screaming, so why state it again with a long, flowey word? "Yelled", however, is a very simple word that could be used, as is "whispered".

These words, however, should only be used when evading repetition. Believe me, readers notice that.

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Sat Mar 22, 2008 7:40 am
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Adverbs are a part of speech we are all aware of that, but it is not an explicit part of grammar. If you have an issue with your wording, it is more than likely a style issue. "Said" is an invisible word. Most people barely notice it when they're reading. I've noticed, and it may be the same for you since you, that the more I write the more I pay attention to the words on the page and how someone's written them. So, I now notice "said" like crazy, especially in my own writing. Has that happened to you? Anyway, when you use said, it shouldn't matter what the surrounding enviroment is doing. If you set everything up well, the reader should hear the dialogue in its intended tone. Of course, there's nothing against using a more vivid verb to replace "said" every so often.

In the case of the girl screaming "Go away, you idiot!" I think you should still use a strong verb like "screamed" or "exclaimed." It's just a personal preference, but I think it would help reinforce the idea that she's highly agitated.

I'm not sure about what you meant by the last sentence of your post AEPMT. If you were to have an issue with your wording in a sentence, it would probably be a style issue. While style and grammar are closely interlocked, they do have some differences that are too complex for me to try to explain it. That's not because I don't want to explain it, but because I don't know how.

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Sat Mar 22, 2008 7:58 am
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The last sentence meant that nobody on here has tried (except maybe the greats, of course) to see if better grammar makes it more "pleasurable" to the reader. I try to use grammar in all of my stuff. Style sort of helps the flow, so it definitely gets considered.

As for the rest of what I could say, that would probably fit in Decent Fics. But I do enjoy writing, and properly at that.

I hope you get it now, Crimson.

AEPMT :D :) 8-) :wink: :mrgreen:

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Sun Mar 23, 2008 1:54 pm
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Style is the whole reason we need places like this, so we can improve it. You make it sound like style isn't important at all. Like an after thought.

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Proper grammar is fairly encouraged in the Library, or at least most of the more dedicated patrons put some effort into using proper grammar. The entire site has no rules against chat-speak so when other users come into the Library we have no real way of enforcing a "be literate" rule. As for style...let's think of it this way. Style is the act of grammar rules. Grammar dictates how and when certain elements of speech and punctuation may be used. Style allows you to form sentences in a variety of fashions along with some of its own rules such as using the same tense throughout a composition. I agree with Thunder, style is important. It's easier for others to see style issues than it is for the writer, or, at least, that's how I see it.

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Sun Mar 23, 2008 3:44 pm
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Thunder_dude7 wrote:
You make it sound like style isn't important at all. Like an after thought.


I'm not saying it's unimportant, I just feel that grammar is a good thing to have. If you don't have flow, it's still hard to read. Style is very important to have.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that moderating between both of them provides the best results. It's a great place to improve your style, and a good way to exercise your grammar. I stand by both, and why would I bother to consider myself any kind of writer at all if I didn't?

Thanks for pointing that out, Thunder_dude. After all, I would hate to be misunderstood by others if I could help it.

Crimson, thanks as always for your valuable input. You two know very well what you're talking about.

AEPMT :D :) 8-) :wink: :mrgreen:

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Tue Mar 25, 2008 10:42 pm
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Ok, if we're just doing tips, I might as well throw one in if you don't mind.

ALWAYS, and I do mean always, make some sort of info sheet for novels. That's right, a full scale info sheet. Why? It will help you organize your information.

Characters
Make a spot for your characters. Do anything and everything. Their looks, their name (duh), their background, maybe what parts their in, their personality, stuff like that.

Setting
You need to make sure you know where your story takes place, or where it will occur. Make names for areas, not just "The Town" or "The Forest" because most places in our known time now adays have names. Instead, try "Little Cow Town" or "Fangorn Forest" you know? Think about what kind of place it is, or where they will be going? Snow, desert, tundra, badlands, urban, grasslands, forest, plains, mountins, hills, water, and any kind of mix or combination you can think of. Remember, if it's not Pokemon oriented, name things based on where they are. You don't want a Le Junte`(french) in Japan, or Quin Shaun Fo located next to London.

Weapons
If you have a novel using weapon, please use names apropriate to the gun weapon. "The Pistol" or "The Western Gun" Doesn't work like "The .38 special" or even "The Revolver." If you're using pokemon, this is the easiest, because you can say the name of the pokemon. You don't say "The Pokemon attacked" or "He chose the Water-like Pokemon" you say "Charmander attacked" or "He chose Magikarp". The same with all types of weapons. Swords, Bows, and other such things are also easy, as long as you describe them at least once in the novel. That's the shame with melee weapons, is that they all have a very unique perspective to them rather then the industrial made guns of today.

Also, know that not every problem can be solved, or should be solved, by taking out your gun and waving it around or shooting somebody. Know that in real life, weapons are used in deffence, in attack, or as a tool. Who knows, maybe in your book they are a social implement, but if your making a novel you probably want some reality in it.

Overview
In your info sheet, it's always a good idea to have an overview. It doesn't need to be updated or changed as you go through the book, I actually don't change mine to see the contrast from begining to final product. But you can really help yourself by thinking of how your book will start, run, and end. Sometimes, Knowing how it will end, or how you're gonna get there, will better prepare you to begin. How would the movie "The Paycheck" have worked if the guy just started writing without a plan.

Of coarse, you also want to put anything else you might want to check back on in it. Any kind of info, events, or names that you may need to look up in future books. Even with this sheet, I still end up wasting time looking through past chapters looking for names, events, or quotes I forgot or missed. This is a great thing to have while writing a book. It's important to update it, look back on it, and keep it as full as you can while writing a book. Trust me, it's a real lifesaver sometimes. Sometimes, you can even come up with info you don't use in your book, but it's still nice to have. Either you hint at it in the book, or in dialogue, or it's just a nice thing to know. I make sure I have extra content in there because I usually think of writing sequals to all my books.

I hope this was helpful.


Sun Aug 17, 2008 1:15 pm
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oh, here's something i should have shared with you guys:

there's a newer mary sue litmus test, i recommend it much more than the one crimson posted. it's hardly as biased, though several questions involve popular culture (as they should). it also has a less harsher point system - i believe everything scores only one point, whereas having a name similar or the same as your character got you 20 points right off the bat on the old one, dangerously close to being a borderline-sue.

you can find the test here.

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Fri Sep 19, 2008 3:57 pm
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The new test Valentine posted is very good indeed. It also includes an area where you can take away points through flaws.

New tip:

When you need to make your characters, here's a thing to try: The double-axe method.

Basically, you take a positive trait, then think of a negative trait that accompanies it.

Say your character is funny. Now, as a negative trait, you can make the character funny at innapropriate times, or thrive on obscene jokes.

Now, after you do that, formulate a past. The genre of your book and the history of the world will obviously factor into this. Just think of a reason why they would be all the things. One event doesn't automatically result in one trait, though. People react differently to certain events.

Once that's all together, your character will feel very realistic, and you didn't even have to waste five hours on what they usually eat for breakfast and their school locker number.

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Fri Sep 26, 2008 7:39 pm
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Tension. It's what drives the story. I hate the feeling when I'm reading, but without tension, nothing happens.

I'm not talking like, a random bloodcurdling scream coming from the seemingly most collected character in the group. That would be suspense, no matter what the results are. I'm talking tension, what stiffens your back and neck and causes you to squirm. It's very uncomfortable, but no one said stories ever had to be cozy reads, and they shouldn't.

As an example: in a novel(ette) I'm still in the process of setting up, the victim and the criminal meet and are forced to live under the same roof and be around each other for the majority of their waking hours. The victim is a child whose beloved father left her behind to pretty much take care of herself (as the mother had attachment issues and consequently snapped) until she and her father's boyfriend's daughter and nephew were physically able to live together with no support system. The criminal is a mother who doesn't give a **** about her little boy, using him only as a ways of making money and achieving her own goals.

Despite the victim really being a waste of space who literally shouldn't exist anymore, the very tiny bit of goodness in her pushed her to try and save the criminal's kid from what she had to live through. Obviously, the criminal and her posse strongly resist the victim's actions, which brings in tons of tension. Eventually people start switching sides and momentarily becoming neutral after being convinced by both of them, and this just adds onto the pile.

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Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:48 pm
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I now got something. In my new quest for publishing, my advisor has given me a book by the name of Writer's Market (2008) produced by the Writer's Digest Books, or some guy name Brewer, it doesn't plainly say. Anyway, it's world renown and it has SO many helpful hints and PUBLISHER LISTINGS that will help SO much better then shooting around in the dark.

Everywhere from magazines, books publishers, and large newspapers are listed. It's really great.
LINKS:

Writer's Market (2009)

Writer's Market (.com)


Tue Mar 17, 2009 3:15 pm
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