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Help / Pointers in writting

Posted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:27 pm
by mugenjohncel

Re: Help / Pointers in writting

Posted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:39 pm
by Dusty
Hints: Write something surreal. Then, if it turns out bad, you can claim to anyone who points it out that they just don't get modern literature.

Pandora's Cat wrote: --white

Do you have any idea what it's like, living in a sealed box, not knowing when you're going to die, but simply that it will happen?

Living in a box with a flask of poison is unsettling. What kind of poison is it? What will it do to me? Is there a way to keep it away from me?


but not anymore


Who put me in here? Do any of the other cats remember me? Can I escape?


death is not so bad, after all


Why am I so calm? What is this feeling?


but is this really death?


I am Schrödinger. Nice to meet myself.

--fade to lab

center "Happy Birthday!"

Pandora "Thank you, everyone."

Athena "We got you a present."

Pandora "Oh, what a nice box. I wonder what's in it..."

--fade to box

And Pandora opened the box. What was in the box?

A cat.

But as with all accidental discoveries, this was no ordinary cat, and this was no ordinary present, and this was no ordinary birthday, and this was no ordinary person, and these were no ordinary coworkers. Did Isaac Newton feel the same way when he met his first apple? Pandora imagined so.

People would always ask her, "How did a cat, of all things, influence your work?" And she would always laugh, knowing that they would never understand.

When disaster struck, people would ask her "Do you ever wish you hadn't met your Schrödinger?" instead. And she would always laugh, knowing they would never understand. Science was a mixed bag, completely independent of such trivial things like PR.
Hint 2: Don't listen to me, instead head over to college and take Creative Writing.


Oh, wait. I don't have anything to share, actually, so I second this request!

There aren't actually any really good tutorials out there, are there? Because there are lots of different styles of writing, maybe. (but there are a lot of different styles for drawing, too, hmm.)

Possibly reading other people's short stories might help. I read that somewhere online, so it must be true ( >_>). That's what got me into this stuff, anyways, and it helped a little, at least.

Re: Help / Pointers in writting

Posted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:07 pm
by VaanAshe
To a degree, I take a little longer to write stuff, but I like to write down a list of things which will happen (like you've done), then expand each bit, writing basically the first thing which comes to my head.

After that, I look at it from each character's prospective, and think "If I was that character, what would I do?" remembering to follow each character's personality traits and stuff. I then rewrite what I've written to include the changes to that character.

Eventually, I get a finished version which has all the characters as I want them, and so on and so forth. Of course, due to the amount of time it takes, I generally lose interest in stuff, so I'll sometimes only write down a first draft.

In those cases, I always like to leave it a day, then check over it again and change anything needed, leave it another day, then check it over it again and change anything needed, repeating until I've got a version I'm happy with.

Of course, this works for me, but it might not work for you. You've kinda got to find your own style.

Re: Help / Pointers in writting

Posted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:14 pm
Uhhh... I'm fine with stuff dealing with "eighteen-year-olds" :coughcough: and all, but... That is one strange story.

I'm not sure there's a sure-fire way to explain how to become a good writer (then again, you can blame my empathy problems :p)... Really, the only thing I can recommend is to make sure all of your characters develop somehow, make sure you're not too derivative :coughErgaoncough:, make sure the characters already havesome "essence" in them in the beginning of the story, uh... Okay, how about I just focus on how to flesh out Captai Piccard (he's French? Interesting...)?

First of all, there has to be a good reason ol' Pedo-Piccardo (well, it's more like Epheb-Alphonse or Hebe-Hubert or something) here is interested in "eighteen-year-olds." What happened to him in his childhood adolescenthood, really? How badly was he emotionally abused? Does he have a good relationship with his family now? When he was a teenager, did he runaway and become a hippie? What happened to him to make him you-know-what? For this, I suggest reading this article by Groth, Hobson, and Gary. A very interesting read...

Why is the niece so forgiving? (If it were me, I'd beat the guy up...) Does she associate baldness with comfort and protection? Why? Does she have troubles socializing with other people? Did she have family troubles? Does she sometimes regress to a childlike/toddlerlike personality when confronted with a distressing situation? Does she ever turn to bald imaginary friends when seeking comfort? How is she affected by the loss of her family? How does the niece do in school? Does her uncle help her with her homework? Does she cheat on tests? Does she befriend any of her peers? Does she explore herself sexually alone, or with other girls? (Though don't make it porno, okay? Make it something like, "You think i should get a bra?" "Maybe Maddie will know. She's already training." or something like that.)

Investigate in the background of the setting too. Add some depth to the world. And, be aware that the setting may become an integral part in how the characters develop and how their relationships develop... Does the niece become a hard-working and resourceful individual because of her uncle's meager income? Or does she become a criminal to supplement what she has? And the time period? The surrounding technology? City or suburb? Also, what's important in the popular culture? (a popular culture spices things up and can add more depth to the world.)

...Basically, you should ask questions about specific details. You don't have to work on every minutiae (the specific mood stabilizers the niece uses XD), but you have to fill in the details. You have to develop the characters. The setting must have some sort of importance. And... NEVER be too derivative, or else your game will be awfully juvenile :coughEragoncoughcough:.

You know what, I should make a Mad Libs-style worksheet just to assist writers who have trouble detailing and tracking details in their head... Yeah...

Re: Help / Pointers in writting

Posted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:19 pm
by x__sinister
:lol: I'm sorry, but you said 'writting', and it made me laugh. I don't mean to sound cruel, but... it was just a bit ironic, I'm sorry.

Anyway, here's your legit advice.
There aren't many, if any, writing tutorials because that kind of talent can only come from either your own natural talent, or from a writing class. Sign up for a creative writing class, if you can. Or, if you cannot afford it, go to a roleplaying forum. You can lurk there as a guest and read all the different types of genres and writing styles. It's not illegal to follow their example, as long as you don't copy.

Well, obviously since you have your own plot and everything, it wouldn't be copying, but you get what I mean, right?

Writing is a time-consuming process. Some people, regardless of the classes they take, just absolutely cannot write for the life of them. If you find yourself incapable by any means, then practice. If you still find you don't meet your own standards, there are plenty of people on these forums that will offer to write your story for/with you.

Re: Help / Pointers in writting

Posted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:26 pm
by sciencewarrior
Well, there are tons of advice on how to write fiction on the web, but for your specific problem, I suggest not trying to write it sequentially. Start from the places you can visualize better, don't worry too much about tone or consistency, and fill out your outline until you have your first draft. I like N0UGHTS's suggestions, but not for the first draft. It is too easy to get caught up in the whys of your world and spend hours researching when you would be better served by putting your text on paper.

Uh, and I wasn't going to comment on the specific idea, but yeah, I found it weird too.

Re: Help / Pointers in writting

Posted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:41 pm
I should really be working on my project (lineart and all), but I just wanted to say this.

Those two major characters of yours, they're pretty deviant. If you want to make them truly human and deep characters, they're gonna have to be really screwed up. :lol: Or at least have screwed up pasts...

Oh, and don't give me that, "Since they're related, I guess they might share a gene (or few) that makes them more susceptible to being psychologically different." Several factors :cough:, especially environmental/outside ones have to come into play to give them these... eccentricities. ([I'm] Serious, if I were that niece, I'd beat that uncle up. There has to be something wrong with her if she can forgive like that,e ven if she is a masochist. And I'd call the police ASAP, too. And hope I'd get to run to and cling to a young officer, handsome, lean one with some really lush hair... Oh, and he'd be wearing his peaked cap, too, leather and black, with that shiny golden badge on the crown... Black uniform... Mmmm... And he'd be wearing those sexy white gloves... "Oh, your name's Louise... Louise... You make that name sound so manly..."

I'm sorry, am I going too far? XD I forgot, she likes bald middle-aged guys, not gentle-yet-authoritative young men who have all their hair on their head and nwhere else...

Oh, and come up with a name for the niece. The next great timeless literary masterpiece is nothing if the niece is only referred to as "nice" or "girl" ever.

Re: Help / Pointers in writting

Posted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 4:27 pm
by Jake
N0UGHTS wrote: ...Basically, you should ask questions about specific details. You don't have to work on every minutiae (the specific mood stabilizers the niece uses XD), but you have to fill in the details. You have to develop the characters.
Derailing the topic slightly, but I wouldn't call this a hard-and-fast rule by any means, actually. Sure, it makes sense for most character-driven stories, but they're far from the only kind of story. A strategic-war story, for example, doesn't really need characters that much at all; it can be told in terms of troop movements and battles and so on. You might find it a good idea to come up with consistent detail for your troop movements and battles instead, but still, it's not absolutely necessary. You can bring a tear to the eye of most Englishmen by recounting the tale of the Battle of Britain, but frankly that doesn't need any characters or really any detail at all.

What stories need, at a fundamental level, is some state, which changes. Past that, there aren't any rules, just conventions. It makes sense to follow at least some of these conventions, because they're conventions for a reason - they work well. But breaking them doesn't automatically make your work bad.

And if you do feel the need for whatever reason to flesh out your story with details, then it's also worth carefully considering what details to include and what details to omit. As a general guideline, it's probably only worth mentioning something if it contributes something to that character. For example, it might be worth mentioning that a girl's mobile phone is pink, because the colour of one's phone is a personal-choice thing, it suggests she has the kind of character that picks a pink mobile. Conversely, it's probably not worth mentioning that it's a Nokia, or that she's on the Vodafone network, because that kind of choice typically doesn't get made for personal reasons - most people get a phone or network based on what's deals are on at the time and whether the phone has feature x that they want. Conversely conversely, if she chose that network because her boyfriend's on the same network, maybe it's worth mentioning after all.

Basically, too many details tend to make a story boring to read, so my advice in this regard would be to only mention stuff when it would normally come up. Consider the reader to be a friend who's watching the whole thing unfolding, for example; only mention the things that they'd notice at the time. A friend would ignore the little mundane everyday things, and only notice the changes, and the things which invoke specific memories.
N0UGHTS wrote: :coughEragoncoughcough:
Seriously, we get the idea, you don't like Eragon. But equally seriously, a lot of people did, it got some pretty good reviews, bearing in mind it's a kid's book. :P

Re: Help / Pointers in writting

Posted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 4:34 pm
by papillon
I can't comment about the book, but the MOVIE was awful, and I don't think it got any decent reviews... :)

Re: Help / Pointers in writting

Posted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 5:23 pm
by Deji
*Looks at her class notes, looks at some related stuff online and proceesds to write a long long things that hopes will help somebody*

Ok, here what I've learnt on how to write a story....

1. The Theme: What are you going to write about?
Just... pick a theme.

2. The Characters: Who participates in this story?
Describe roughly the characters involved, phisically and mentally. Add any personality trait/data you may think of at this point.

3. The Action Line: What happens?
Make a timeline bulletpointing everything happening in the story. No need to say why or how, just point out the specific actions.

4. The Plot Line: Why is all this happening?
Parallel to the Action line, write WHY are the actions taking place, why are the characters doing whatever they'r doing, what do they feel and what do they think.
At this point it'd be wise to develop your characters more in order to understand them and keep the coherency and not fall into OOCing your own characters just for the plot's sake.

5. The Scenarios: Where is each action taking place?
Pick each action and identify where is it taking place. Make a list. Each scenario could have an influence on the mood and the actions themselves.

6. The Sequences: How is this all happening?
Now, taking all the previous steps into consideration, build sequences of events, and roughly build the scenes.

7. The Rhythm: At what pace does this all happen?
The point of the rhythm is to keep your readers entertained. Something has to hapen every a certain amount of time!
The Rhythm is made of beats that keep the story alive. You actions listed earlier are beats, and also relevant and interesting pieces of information being revealed ar also beats. The beats have to keep coming at a certain pace.
Usually the first part of the story has a low rythm, while when it's nearing its end, it gets really fast.

I'd sugest taking a look at script and screenplay writting tips if you can find some =3

Now, some Narratology...
Warning: I studied this in spanish, so I have no idea what are the right names in english.
Warning2: boring content haead =D

In every story, there is the Chronological Time and the Narrative Time.

Think of them as two timelines.
The first one starts from the earliest event that is related to the story you're telling and goes on with every important thing that happens until your story ends.
This timeline does not need to be known by the final reader, but it's useful to have it!
The second one is the one you atually write, and can start at any point of the CT.

The classical starting points for stories are three:
- The start matches the Chronological Time of the story (Ab Ovo)
- The start is somewhere in the middle of the CT. (In Medias Res)
- The story starts from the end (Reverse Chronology, In extremis or In Extremas res)

So you can basically start whenever you feel like it and then complete the rest of the story with the help of "anacronies", that can be either analepsis (Flashback, racconto) or prolepsis (Flashforward).

Now, there are some concepts you have to have in mind when dealing with anacronies:
The Initial Story: your normal-time story where the anacrony is going to jump from.
Amplitude (of the anacrony): how much chronological time the anacrony covers. (Does it describe a moment? A day? A year? Many years?)
Distance (of the anacrony): How far from the present is the anacrony ("5 years ago...")

There are different types of anacronies:
External: it covers a period of time that happened before the starting point of the Initial Story.
Internal: it starts in a point inside the Initial Story's timeline.
Mixed: it starts before the Initial Story and ends ieither at the start of the Initial Story or further.
Completive: it fills a gap in the story.
Repeative (?): it retells a part of the story already told.

Ok... that's all DX
If you managed to read up to here, congrats!
I really hope it helps somebody, because it took me a while to write ^^;

Reccomended checking out: ... _included) ... screenplay ... -1688.html ... techniques

Re: Help / Pointers in writting

Posted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 6:17 pm
by Dusty
@N0UGHTS: That doesn't sound like a police officer, and I feel ashamed for thinking about the game I just thought about when I read what you posted as I shouldn't be able to know about that game and that particular character you seemed to refer to disturbed me immensely. trauma trauma trauma. I don't want to remember it so I'm being vague to avoid causing images to resurface

...end of the run-on, back to normal posting!

regarding writing: Relax more. If you're stressed, Tetris the evil writing demon will come up from the underworld and drop stuff on your desk. Then you can't work.

Trying to write well deliberately = stress = writer's block = nothing gets done

Writing while eating chocolate = happiness = I wrote a paragraph! It's only mediocre, but that's okay because I can edit and this isn't a school project that is due tomorrow.

Music seems to help me if the music I'm listening to has the same mood as the stuff I'm trying to write. Your mileage may vary. Sometimes you stop writing because you want to listen to music.

But these are personal tips and not creative writing theory. Is your problem "I can't convert outline into draft because I don't know how" or "I can't convert outline into draft because I can't get momentum"?

@Deji: I read it. Your valiant work has not been in vain!

Re: Help / Pointers in writting

Posted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 6:34 pm
Dusty wrote:@N0UGHTS: That doesn't sound like a police officer, and I feel ashamed for thinking about the game I just thought about when I read what you posted as I shouldn't be able to know about that game and that particular character you seemed to refer to disturbed me immensely. trauma trauma trauma. I don't want to remember it so I'm being vague to avoid causing images to resurface
That doesn't sound like a police officer? Well, if you're not thinking about dress uniform, I guess... Oh, and some poice officer uniforms are black and some of they do include caps. I guess it depends if you live in Palm Springs or somewhere colder... Compare Los Angeles uniforms to those from New York... Yeah...Oh, someone actually here (other than myself... And she offered me money, it was a bet! I won't say how much money I got, though...) has actually played it? Wow, my experiment actually yielded results. And no, that's not how I really think. (;-_-) I like maids better XD She makes me do the weirdest things for money... She probably wants to see me spiral into madness XD

Haha, Jake's right. I probably get too caught up in filling everything in... Even if it's actually not going to be in the story. Going crazy over details is probably not good and/or healthy, either... Haha, we'll both have to work on our writing techniques.

I admit it's quite an achievement for a fifteen-year-old, but I couldn't help but think it was like a fanfic I read once, which was like Elfen Lied, except the diclonii had silver hair, violet eyes, and no horns, and that the characters were children instead of young adults... Oh, and there were twin boys instead of one Lucy. (;-_-)

Re: Help / Pointers in writting

Posted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 12:12 am
by almond
Deji's post is very informative. I only like to add:

* Don't rush things.

I personally find myself writing too fast and increasing the pace too much to reach "that next idea" in my head to complete the story. In the end it ended up being too short, rushed and not enough development. >.> I believe everything has a pace and that the story writes itself when we get down to it, just like Stephen King said in the foreword of Wizard and Glass. But on the other hand:

* Don't get caught up in the details.

This is handled very well by Jake earlier and I do agree with his post.

* Show and tell.

This deserves a bit of explanation but could be summed up in two examples:

This is telling:
Bill is very happy today. I wonder what happened to him?
This is showing:
Bill was whistling all the way to school today for some reason. He has that stupid grin plastered onto his face the entire time as well. I wonder what happened to him?
They both convey the same message, but the second one gives us a more colourful picture about Bill. This is particularly true if we want to portray someone much more accurately and give him/her more life.

Just a few things to share that I picked up while writing stories and role playing in forums ^.^;;;