Post Reply Writers: Read Me!
2651 cr points
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34 / M / Florida
Posted 1/30/08 , edited 1/31/08
Looking for a little advice on your work? Here are a few pointers:

Be careful of spacing. A simple way of writing is to remember that a standard paragraph consists of a topic sentence, which introduces your idea. Following that is three descriptive sentences, which explain your topic sentence in detail. Ending the paragraph is your closure sentence, which wraps your idea up and transitions to the next paragraph.

Depending on the style of writing, sometimes you will use more or less spacing, making long paragraphs, or writing one liners. One example of using long paragraphs would be in works of nonfiction, or long narrative. You typically don't want to use this in works of fiction or short stories, since they tend to make the reader lose interest or become boerd. One liners are good for long conversations, where you change speakers often, or for thrillers where you are trying to lead the reader into a surprising confrontation.

When posting on forums, I like to use colors to distinguish between speakers. You always want to try and make it easier on the reader to distinguish between ideas, and speakers, and things like that so that you can keep their attention, especially in long stories. Of course you don't want to use things like that in novels and whatnot, since those kinds of things are meant to look a bit more proffesional.

You should always keep your audience in mind when writing stories and poems, keep in mind the age group, the majority gender, etc. Different age groups like different things, and primarily girls like romance and guys like action. There is always an exception, but you should decide at the beginning of your story what kind of audience you are targeting.

Descriptive words can make or break a good story. You should always aim to create a picture in the mind of your audience, but try not to make the picture too confusing. An example would be, "The small child wandered lazily through the field, the tops of the wheat shimmering like a golden sea in the light breeze." Can you picture it in your head? You want to avoid being too descriptive though, and here's an example of that. "The three foot four inch eight year old wandered slowly and lazily through the acre-wide field of wheat that had just finished growing. The tops of the ready-to-be-harvested golden wheat shimmered like a rolling and heaving golden-colored sea in the gusty, blowing wind." The image gets a bit distorted and you have to pay too much attention to detail to create a crisp picture. This tends to make you tired of reading the story after a few paragraphs of that.

Be sure to proofread your work before clicking post! I know I myself have a bad habit of spelling things wrong when typing them, or mixing up letters. I also tend to screw up punctuation at times, and have small grammar mistakes the first time around. If you think your work is perfect the first time around, have someone else read it first! There will ALWAYS be a mistake or two in the first draft, no matter how talented of a writer you are. Proofreading to fix grammar and spelling mistakes makes it easier to pick out the more difficult mistakes like over-used words, things that could use a bit more description, or run-on sentences.

Having writers block in the middle of a story? Try brainstorming a bit on paper! Write down all of the ideas going through your head, and just keep pushing through it until you can come along with a cohesive idea. It doesnt need to be in sentence form, or anything even remotely legible Just so long as you push your imagination, eventually it will kickstart into an idea that you can connect to other ideas, and create a story.

Run-on sentences and shotgun-style sentences can tend to push readers away from reading further into storys.

Shotgun sentences are like this. They consist of few words. They only say one thing. Usually are connected to others though.

Shotgun sentences can usually be connected to the sentences around them in some shape or way, try using the words and, or, but, because, etc.

Run on sentences are like this, they usually consist of lots of commas, and lots of the above stated words, usually because the writer is trying to get out his idea, and not thinking about how long his sentence is, but it's easily solvable, with less stress that you may think.

Just put periods where some of your commas are! Seperate your ideas, and try to speak out your sentences. If you can't say them in one breath, or if theres more than one or two pauses (like commas), then its probably too long. The same can be applied to when you are having a conversation between the characters in your stories. Sentences that are too long when speaking is called rambling, and rambling usually indicates insanity

I'll add more to this as I think of it, but these are a few basic ideas to think about when writing. Always proofread your work and remember what audience you are aiming at, and the style of writing you are using. Different styles of writing target different audiences, and so the above methods won't apply to them. Overall, have fun with your writing and try to have your stories make your audience have fun as well, it keeps their attention and makes them want more.

Good luck and have fun writing!
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29 / F / Sydney, Australia
Posted 1/30/08 , edited 1/31/08
Whoa, it seems like I went back to English class again lol. Good work.

One thing I really learnt is to do a little research. It helps alot. Makes the whole story more factual, or well real ^^

Another major thing ShadowStalker mentioned is read over things you wrote. Yes! Proofread! Wait a few hours/days then Attack your work with a red pen. I had 20 big drafts for my major work ;p
10452 cr points
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28 / M
Posted 1/31/08 , edited 1/31/08
There were some good pointers in there. I didn’t read the whole thing, but I noticed some good ideas that I’d encourage. Knowing your audience, for example, can make or break you as a writer.

Here are some of my pointers:

Write every day. Write before you sleep, even if its not directly a part of your main story. This keeps your mind actively delved into your own alternate reality even while you sleep. When you start dreaming about your story you know your doing good.

Read, and read a lot. As a writer you must read almost as much as your write.

Make yourself comfortable with your tools. That is to say, you cannot be a good writer without being able to type. I never took a typing class, but you need to be able to use all of your fingers when you type. You need to be able to know where all the keys are without looking, and you need to be confident that you’re not going to screw up. Your fingers should automatically react to what you want to put without having to ever actually think about the keyboard.

Thinking about the key board to…say, find a key, separates you from the story. That’s bad. You want to have yourself convinced that you -are- a part of the story, and that the story is reality, at least while your writing. You need to make it your own personal reality to at least an emotional level. Whenever you characters are mad, you better be mad yourself.

Have a relationship with your characters. This is completely vital. You must absolutely adore and love every single one of your characters. Even the antagonist, who you must hate, you must love. I’ve gone so far as to pretend I was in a relationship with one of my characters at night. While I will admit that I’m a bloody freak and most writers probably don’t play pretend like I do, I will also tell you with complete confidence that this -will- help your writing.

Basing your characters off of people you really know is a helpful and pivotal thing.

Write in a style that suits you and your interests. A lot of youthful and ambitious writers to be try to write in the same nature as the classical writers. Take Terry Brooks for example. He’s a highly successful writer, but he admits to having wasted years trying to write books in the old-English style.

Do not do this. You must write in what comes natural for -you.-

I’m an obsessive anime watcher with a slightly antisocial tendency. As a direct result of this I sometimes relate more to the cartoon characters on my screen than to real people. Fine, very well, I must now integrate that into my writing. So, I write fantasy novels.

Know your goal behind your writing. My goal is religious. I want to creatively expand the kingdom of my God. While I don’t like people using literature as a method to force their beliefs on other people, I do think that it is absolutely necessary to have a personal motivation behind your work. Something more than, “Well I want to be a writer because I’m good at it.” Even if that something is, “I want to be rich and famous.”

No writer ever goes through his/her career without, at some point, wanting to quit. You cannot. You must write everyday, for at least an hour or two a day. To do this, you need to motivate yourself. “Think about the money,” “Think about the message, the cause, ext.”

NEVER tell the reader something. You must show them.

Here's an example of telling:

"Ted was very sad."

Here's an example of showing:
"Tears streamed from his eyes as he toppled to the floor and wailed in emotional agony." a

Also, remember, reality is in the eye of the beholder. Your story is real, and it is happening, no matter what anyone else says or thinks.

A writer is God of his own universe.

Well, this is all for novels and stories, I’m not much help for poetry.

What I will suggest for poets is:

Take a bloody class. Learn the various beats and tools available to you. Understand the foot and meter, and work with words enough that you can know rather or not they are stressed.

And to everyone, vocabulary is you friend. Words are a writers greatest weapon.
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F / Im My Mind...
Posted 2/7/08 , edited 2/7/08
Since my childhood, my mind already had floated with imaginations that made others think that I had gone lazy, mad or freaked out... But with those imaginations, my desire of becoming a writer emerged. But all desires has its test of its own.

Like I almost give up,... that was during my early teendays...because many rejects my dream and everyone says it's a waste.. or if they didn't said it is, they give a disapproving expression about it.

But with God's help, I'm still surviving about it and to have my first published book is what I wished for so long...

Unfortunately, there are still circumstances that keeps me from finishing any one of my "ANTIQUE" stories...

But I still wish to have them finish...

1573 cr points
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25 / M / In front of the c...
Posted 2/7/08 , edited 2/8/08
Since you've all put your writing pointer's out on here, I'll follow suit.

Well as it goes in all books you've read even some of those Dr. Seuss books, they all start because of something. No not because of a Cat wearing a really nice Hat. They start because a problem or a form of trouble.
I like to call said problem: Surface Problem. This can be anything from 'Bob is being bullied by a bunch of boys' to 'There is a bomb planted in the bank'. Beyond the surface problem is what most like to call the moral to the story, I like to think it more as something that happens beneath in a more psychological level. I call it the: Story-Worthy Problem. At the end of each story your character should come to terms with this problem. A story should have one story-worthy problem and a stack of surface problems. Think of the story-worthy problem a needle, and the surface problems a stack of hay.
The story-worthy problem occurs beneath all of the surface problems.
A story without problems is not a story at all. Does anyone in their right mind want to read a book about how happy a kid's life was? Heck no! We want to know how his happy life turns miserable! We want our little poppet to despair!

The Opening Paragraph should be the most 'overworked'. Though I don't like the term 'overworked' I use it to emphasize on how important this is. I've seen many stories left unread because their openings were a summary instead of a scene. Summaries usually don't get the readers attention; like who wants to read a 245 page book when the first paragraph is about the main protagonist thinking...'My hair is a mess, my life is a mess; I hate my life' I thought to myself. <--That would just lose the reader's interest.

Knowledge of things is essential. Well, duh. But say you're a major in psychology; I'm sure you'd be able to create and flesh out some awesome characters and link why they act a certain way (Would be good for a mystery writer). Or say you want to write a story about a guy who plays the violin, the best way is to play the violin yourself and witness the hardship (I tried the violin because I wanted to do just that; write a story with the main protagonist a violin player). Only with this knowledge will you have what is truly a story.

. Pardon me for the caps. Moving on, Backstory is everything that has 'happened' up to the time of the beginning of the story so basically a character's history. Don't begin with backstory, it's a really bad habit for new writers. If backstory is necessary to your opening try to include only the minimum. If your story needs the backstory include it later on.

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