What do you consider to be good writing?

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OokamiKasumi
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Re: What do you consider to be good writing?

#16 Post by OokamiKasumi » Mon Apr 25, 2011 11:11 pm

clannadman wrote:What do you consider to be good writing? What is good literature and what isn't?
Good Writing in my experience:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Makes it easy for the reader Identify with the main character.
Human Characteristics and Flaws are what makes a character Realistic, no matter how fantasy-based that character is: shyness, jealousy, anger, facing overwhelming odds, stubbornness, self-consciousness... Everyone deals with these feelings. Characters should too.

Illustrates and Solves common human Issues.
Everybody has personal issues. A Good story offers a SOLUTION to at least one of them. It doesn't have to be a Right answer. A Wrong answer can be just as valuable -- if not more so.

“How do I get the handsome guy I just met?”
"How do I deal with a sucky job, and a boss I seriously loathe?"
“How do I get my family to like my new lover?”
"How do I deal with a family I can't stand to live with?"
"How do I know that my new friends are actually Trustworthy?"
“How do I deal with a monster in my closet?” (VERY popular among Young Adults.)

Ever hear the phrase: “People are People”? No matter who they are, or where they live, human issues Never change. Sure, you could be writing a Horror or a Fantasy, but the people in your horror or fantasy should STILL be dealing with the same issues everybody else deals with:

From: Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
-- Sucky bosses - How do you think Saruman really felt about working for Sauron?
-- Love interests - Arwen Evenstar's Dad, the king of the elves, did not approve of her dating that scruffy human.
-- Family issues - Eowen of Rohan had to deal with a senile dad PLUS several bossy older brothers.
-- Friend Issues - How do you think Frodo felt when he discovered that Boromir was only being nice to him because he wanted to take the Ring?
-- Monsters under the bed - Wringwraths & Orcs. Need I say more?

Doesn't make the reader cringe from poor Spelling, Grammar or Sentence Structure.
Before you code your game, FIRST write your scripts in Word or Open Office, or hell, Google Docs and use your SPELL CHECK. No, it's not perfect, but it gets the basic job done.

As for Sentence Structure, write each line Chronologically, in the actual order it happened: Action THEN Reaction. The #1 most common mistake in fiction is when the writer does it backwards, usually (but not always) marked by the word "as".

Example:
~~~~~~~~~~~~
The vampire drank his fill as he crouched over his victim.

Think: Which actions actually happened first?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1. The vampire crouched over his victim.
2. He drank his fill.

The chronological way to write this would be:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The vampire crouched over his victim AND drank his fill.

Illustrates damned good RESEARCH.
Want to get hate-mail fast? Write about something you don’t know a gosh-darned thing about. Whether you are writing a Vampire story, a Historical, a Fantasy, or a Sci-Fi, be aware that your reading audience has very likely read every single book on that subject they could get their grubby mitts on -- for YEARS. You can guarantee that those readers will know if you don’t know diddly-squat about your subject.

Google.com is your friend. Use it.

My two cents worth...
Ookami Kasumi ~ Purveyor of fine Smut.
Most recent Games Completed: For ALL my completed games visit: DarkErotica Games

"No amount of great animation will save a bad story." -- John Lasseter of Pixar

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Re: What do you consider to be good writing?

#17 Post by Wintermoon » Tue Apr 26, 2011 3:28 am

Good writing is invisible. When reading a well-written story, I forget that I am reading because I am so immersed in the story. When reading a poorly written story, I get so distracted by how the story is written that I can't focus on the story itself.

Good writing is writing without mistakes. Bad writing is writing with mistakes. Common mistakes include:
  • Incorrect grammar.
  • Incorrect spelling.
  • Incorrectly used words.
  • Failing to mention important details.
  • Including too many irrelevant details.
  • Ambiguous use of pronouns.
  • Overly complex or otherwise awkward sentence structure.
  • Gratuitous long or unusual words.
  • Inconsistency in person or tense.

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Re: What do you consider to be good writing?

#18 Post by KimiYoriBaka » Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:21 am

@OokamiKasumi:
I think you're stretching it a bit with that Tolkien analogy. Sure it can be interpreted that way, but I don't think things that aren't addressed in the story should be used as examples for good writing (specifically the saruman part).

also, the word "as" does not imply an action-reaction. it implies that things are being done at the same time. the order in a sentence using "as" is supposed to signify which action is more relevant. Thus, your replacement sentence doesn't actually have the same meaning as your example one. If you want the example to be wording chronologically, it should be

"As the vampire crouched over his victim, he drank his fill."

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Re: What do you consider to be good writing?

#19 Post by Snowflower » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:21 am

@OokamiKasumi
That was really helpful. I think I might use your guideline as a guideline for myself, kind of like a checklist?
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Re: What do you consider to be good writing?

#20 Post by OokamiKasumi » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:26 pm

KimiYoriBaka wrote:@OokamiKasumi:
I think you're stretching it a bit with that Tolkien analogy. Sure it can be interpreted that way, but I don't think things that aren't addressed in the story should be used as examples for good writing (specifically the saruman part).
You missed my entire point, darlin'. Those things stand out from that story BECAUSE they were not addressed. They're all Plot Holes. Plot holes are bad, m'kay?
KimiYoriBaka wrote:...the word "as" does not imply an action-reaction. it implies that things are being done at the same time.
Whether or not two or three actions were accomplished at the same time does not change the fact that one reads a sentence One Word at a Time and will picture the events portrayed in the exact order they are written -- without fail.

> Rain. Battlefield. Carnage.

> Dance. Drink. Smile.

If one writes the events in an impossible order to immediately picture:

> The vampire drank his fill as he crouched over his victim.

The reader automatically STOPS reading to take a moment to rearrange his mental movie to suit what was supposed to be pictured. This happens every single time Chronological Order is violated.

I'm not saying that simultaneous events CAN'T be written, I'm saying that using "as" is not the way to do it. Any group of events listed in one sentence are generally perceived as happening all at the same time -- until you get to the "and". However, they should still be listed in the order in which they happened to make the reader's mental IMAGE of the event crystal clear.

As far as I'm concerned, the only place an "as" belongs is at the BEGINNING of a sentence.

-- Example:
As all the soldiers marched, the drums and fifes played.
KimiYoriBaka wrote:...the order in a sentence using "as" is supposed to signify which action is more relevant.
'Relevant' style sentence structure only works in NON-Fiction, such as essays and journalistic reports. Non-fiction IS written in order of Impact, of Significance. Fiction is Not.

Non-fiction composition:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1. Tell them what you're going to tell them.
2. Tell them in detail.
3. Tell them why you told them.

Stories are written in Chronological order, the order in which events happen.

Story composition:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1. What happened first.
2. What happened next.
3. What happened after.

The structure of a story's sentences should ALSO be written this way because the reader is picturing the events being described. Stories are mental movies that the reader plays in their imagination while reading. Chronological Order keeps the reader's mental image of what they are reading from being confusing.

What you are talking about is spamming the forum like a silly person. Essays are NOT written in Chronological order, they're written in order of Impact. Clever phrasing and word-play works well with Non-fiction because Non-fiction is Not written to make mental movies at all, its about Persuasion; about convincing the reader of your point with phrases and sentences that impact the reader directly.

Essay Composition:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1. This is Important!
2. These are all the reasons why it's important.
3. This is why it's important to You.

THAT is what they teach you in school -- all the way through college. Fiction is written another way entirely: Chronologically.

In a Story, clever phrasing and relevant sentence structure -- anything which puts a sentence Out of Chronological Order -- distracts the Fiction reader from their mental movie and in fact, stops them cold.

Every time a story's sentences are written out of Chronological Order, the reader is forced to Stop Reading -- stopping their mental movie of that story -- to reread the sentence in question and then reset their imagination -- their mental movie. If this happens too often, the reader will drop that story to go find something easier to imagine. In fact, some readers will not only drop that story never to read it again, they'll avoid anything else that author writes.
KimiYoriBaka wrote:Thus, your replacement sentence doesn't actually have the same meaning as your example one.
> The vampire crouched over his victim and drank his fill.

If you saw a different meaning in this line from the original, then we are clearly Not visualizing that event the same way.
KimiYoriBaka wrote:If you want the example to be wording chronologically, it should be:
> "As the vampire crouched over his victim, he drank his fill."
Correct! As far as I'm concerned, "as" should only ever be used at the Beginning of a line, unless of course, it's part of a comparison like "as long as".

However, I have made it a habit of avoiding the word "as" entirely to ensure that I don't make accidental mistakes.

One last thing...
-- This is ADVICE. These are merely things I learned as an author from my editors. You are more than welcome to use it, or Not use it as you please. 'Kay?
Last edited by OokamiKasumi on Thu Apr 28, 2011 4:35 am, edited 4 times in total.
Ookami Kasumi ~ Purveyor of fine Smut.
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OokamiKasumi
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Re: What do you consider to be good writing?

#21 Post by OokamiKasumi » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:27 pm

Snowflower wrote:@OokamiKasumi
That was really helpful. I think I might use your guideline as a guideline for myself, kind of like a checklist?
I'm glad you like it, and of course you can use it, any way you like in fact.
Ookami Kasumi ~ Purveyor of fine Smut.
Most recent Games Completed: For ALL my completed games visit: DarkErotica Games

"No amount of great animation will save a bad story." -- John Lasseter of Pixar

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