destiny_921's Guide to Writing *JULY 3 UPDATE*

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destiny_921's Guide to Writing *JULY 3 UPDATE*

#1 Post by destiny_921 » Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:24 pm

3/7/13: Added "Play-boy Persona", "8. Evoking Emotional Responses". Edited "3. Plot/Storyline"

Oh, hi, Contents!

1. Ask Yourself! Before Beginning
2. Characters
-Female: Mary-Sue, Feisty female protagonist, Ice Queen
-Male: Gary-Stu, Ice Prince, Bad Boy Type, Play-boy Persona
-Protagonist, Antagonist and Characters in General
-Common Dilemmas (i.e: How do I write a good cast of characters; What makes a well-developed character.etc)

3. Plot/Storyline
-Foreword/Prologue
-Conflicts
-Climax
-Falling Action
-Ending/Epilogue

4. World/Setting
5. Misc. Dilemmas
6. Language
7. Writing for a VN
8. Evoking Emotional Responses


*If you wish to look at only ONE section, search (ctrl+f) for that number alone. Thank you.

1. Ask Yourself! Before Beginning
  • - WHAT message do you want to portray?
    - WHY do you want to write this?
    - DO you want your story to stand out?
    - ARE you willing to see your story through?
ALL of the above questions play a vital part in writing. Why? Because:

~ Without the WHAT, there would be lack of DETERMINATION.
~ Without the WHY, there would be lack of DRIVE AND AMBITION to SEE IT THROUGH.
~ Without the DO, there would be lack of IMAGINATION.
~ Without the ARE, there would be lack of FAITH that your story WILL BE COMPLETED.

IF you have all of the above, this would mean that you are WILLING TO COMMIT YOURSELF to the story and will DO ANYTHING to make sure that it's COMPLETED.

2. Characters
  • - Protagonist/Main Character
    - Antagonist/Villain
    - Side Characters
As a whole, I usually differ from stereotypes. They have been so overdone that it's not even funny so usually I try to spice them up a little bit, if not put my own twists on them.

  • ~ FEMALE ~
  • Damsel-in-distress? Boring. Mary-Sues? No way.

    How do I avoid writing a Mary-Sue?
    For one, don't make her too nice. And, for two...

    DO NOT, for the love of cookies, make her good at every single thing from weapons to baking and the like. UNLESS! There is a REASON behind her perfection of the activities. But be careful of HOW you write her. Make it realistic. There's a thin line between "Mary-Sue" and "façade within reason".


    I want to write a more.. feisty female protagonist. But there's been many, so what should I do?
    Why, give her her own charm! She could be a feisty female with a temper to match, and also a tendency to switch moods so quickly that it's hard for people to keep up. Or, she could be someone with ADHD. Go for it and put your twist! Do some research! ;)

    What about the Ice Queen persona?
    This is usually one of the most heart-wrenching to write. Distant and cold, but inside - as fragile and delicate as a crystal. Usually it's due to the fact that she had been hurt badly in the past; some have written their female chars as having grown up this way - family environment and the like. Cold on the outside, delicate on the inside. So ask yourself: what made YOUR character this way?
  • ~ MALE ~
  • OH YES I DID.

    How do I avoid writing a Gary-Stu?
    Again, same with the Mary-Sue. DO NOT make him overly-nice (like: creepy-stalking-nice unless you're going for a char with an odd personality) and perfect at everything UNLESS THERE IS A REASON.

    What about the Ice Prince type?
    Well, usually, he would be written as someone with a dark past or a dark secret...you name it, and it's been done. BUT! WHAT dark secret or past he has, is up to YOU. So have fun with that and Think Out of the Box *grins*

    The Bad Boy Type?
    Delinquent, all-around jerk but secretly have a nice side? Does he have a reason for being a jerk/sarcastic all the time, or is he just naturally that way? Have Fun With Dialogue.

    The Play-Boy Persona?
    Usually depicted as having a charming and charismatic personality, with good/decent looks, it's up to you as the writer to keep the dialogue fresh and not full of cliches like "Why? Cat got your tongue?" and over-cheesiness unless you meant for it to be witty/funny. Cliches are good sometimes - just don't over-do the using of them unless it's deliberate.
  • ~ PROTAGONIST, ANTAGONIST AND CHARACTERS IN GENERAL ~
  • Write out a full biography of them. Full name, nick-name, character type/race, class, personality, description, hobbies...everything. If your setting is, for example, let's say - Mafia or the Underworld, note down their weapons proficiency and combat abilities as well. If it involves magic of any sort, include them too.

    :!: EXAMPLE :!:
    Setting: Fantasy
    Full Name: Anna Johnson
    Nickname: Ann, Johnson
    Character Type: Elf
    Class: Rogue
    Weapons (preferred): Daggers, longsword
    Hobbies: None
    Personality: Known as the Ice Queen in her village, she constantly keeps a distance from everyone. Wary and cautious, she is the epitome of constant vigilance.
    Outlook on life: She seems to regard everything as tools at her disposal.
    Background: She was a survivor of a massacre at her home. Currently, she's a freelance mercenary. Some says that she works with the Dark Order, others say that she's a Neutral. What is true is unknown.


    COMMON DILEMMAS...
    How do I write a good cast of characters?
    As you write and flesh them out – personalities, quirks and habits – everything, be them, act like them and delve into their world. Live their life. How would you react if you were in the same situation as them? How would you react if you were actually them? Write, and bring them to life.

    What makes a well-developed character?
    A well-developed character is one which, as the story progresses, grows up as well - mentally, spiritually, physically; it depends on you as the writer how far the character will develop as the plot moves. Will the character develop only slightly, or maybe more? I usually go for in-depth character development, because it's far easier to immerse myself into that world, that situation. I find that while doing in-depth development, the character becomes more relatable.

    Help! How do I balance between my MC and side characters' development?
    Well, this is a toughie. Why? Because you're trying to draw some focus away from your MC and give some to your side-characters while the plot is progressing. The key to this, I think, is interaction and communication.
    BASICALLY...(G.D.P)

    Group Events
    Dialogue/Discussion
    POV (Point of View) Change


    While the above is/are happening, do not forget to write/set/change their reactions.

    :!: EXAMPLE - FICTION :!:
    Before: Amy had always been quick-tempered, and really sensitive to - well, pretty much everything.
    After: She was better now. But of course, who wouldn't grow up after...that?

    :!: EXAMPLE - VN :!:
    Before: Amy: What was that for!? That's just plain rude!
    After: Amy: *sighs* Honestly, you're such a jerk sometimes... *shakes head*
3. Plot/Storyline
  • i) Foreword aka Prologues - The Beginning
    ii) Building Up - Conflicts and the Like
    iii) Climax - The Pinnacle of the Story
    iv) Falling Action - Descending
    v) Ending / Epilogues
Your story, as a whole, should have ALL of the above. Do a general outline whether it be with programmes, notepad or other word documents. Be sure to PACE WELL and NOT RUSH. Allow your character and plot to develop, but not too slowly or too fast. If you are not sure about the pacing, do not hesitate in asking for opinions or critique.

You could also do a general/vague storyline like this:
  • 1) Anna has a strange encounter.
    2) A conflict/fight occurs.
    3) The truth is out.
    4) Anna makes a confrontation.
    5) She makes peace.
How do I write a Foreword/Prologue?
Basically, a foreword/prologue is an introductory chapter. Usually, I will introduce the setting that the protagonist is in, or the thoughts of the protagonist to provoke curiosity - if not something else.
  • :!: EXAMPLE - IF SETTING (MINOR SAMPLE) :!:
    Thousands of millennia ago, there was a world where mythical beasts and beings reigned. It was said that all beings had their own special powers, gifted to them by the deities who ruled the world. Endless meadows of evergreen, breath-taking waterfalls...they were everywhere.

    :!: EXAMPLE - IF THOUGHTS (MINOR SAMPLE) :!:
    (Taken from my Wattpad story, Double Life)
    Do you ever get sick of putting up masks? Faking smiles, laughter and even personality. Hiding your true self behind a facade, fearing rejection. Putting up walls around your heart so that you won't get hurt, won't get shattered into pieces. Barriers barricading your heart from reality, hiding behind the walls so that you won't have to have your heart broken and not get too attached...
What kind of conflicts can I do?
Well, there're several options. It could be a simple misunderstanding, let's say, over "favouritism" or a confrontation between the protagonist and family. It can be a fight/battle scene too. For what REASON, well, the possibilities are endless!

However, do ensure that there are reasons behind the conflict. Make sure that the interactions somehow build towards the conflict, instead of having one magically appear smack-out of nowhere.

How do I write the climax?
Just keep in mind that the climax is the PINNACLE of the story. The highest point, so to speak. It is the place where all the build-ups from your previous conflicts, misunderstandings, arguments and everything comes to the boiling point. So when you're writing this, keep that thought in mind.

How do I write the falling action?
Okay, so you're done with the climax. Everything's out. Now, things are gradually coming to a stop - almost to the end. This is the place where misunderstandings are cleared, things are clarified.etc. Basically? Tie up the loose ends at a slow but steady pace :)

How do I write the ending/epilogue?
So everyone survived! Or not. Go for realism. Do you think that your story is meant to have a happy ending or not - following the plot? The rest is up to you. Just make sure you wrap everything up neatly, so to speak.

4. World/Setting
  • WHAT IS NEEDED?
    ~ History
    ~ Traditions
    ~ Races
    ~ Classes
    ~ Rankings
    ~ Organizations
This is where details are desperately needed with a huge load of imagination and/or research. Go crazy, nuts, whatever. Just make sure that all the above conditions/conditions which your story needs are fulfilled so that you have a good grasp of the world which your story is set in!

5. Misc. Dilemmas

Oh snap! I changed the sentence, and it looks better. But it doesn't really suit my storyline now....
Don't worry. You're not the only one who suffers from this >.> What I usually do with this is that I read through the parts before that sentence and tweak them to flow smoothly to that particular line. Tweak, not revamp.

I got this idea for a better scene...
Compare, compare, compare. Leave the old one alone, write out the new one, and compare the both of them. Ask yourself: Which one would you think suit your storyline more? Which one is better? And then make a decision. However, if you like both, and want to keep both of them, I would advise you to save the scene for another part, if not another story/piece of writing.

My story seems not interesting enough. What do I do!?
This. The tricky one. Well, for me, I draw inspiration from everywhere and everyone (literally and figuratively). Or, you could use cliché's, but write out a cliché with your own personal twist. Make it different from the usual every-day, over-done scenes.

Example: Girl bumps into guy, they become friends, and....
Becomes: Guy accidentally knocks over a girl, misunderstandings occur, they dislike each other and....

*Note that: How they meet, what conflicts and misunderstandings which occur depends all on you. It does not have to be your usual I-hate-you-cause-you're-such-a-kid scene or whatsoever.

Good story/word limit? *NEW*
That depends on a few factors..
  • - How much do you want to reveal in each chapter?
    - How much is it appropriate to reveal in the chapter - following your plot?
    - Are you going for arcs?
    - How long is your story?
How much do you want to reveal in each chapter? How much is appropriate to reveal in the chapter, following the plot?
Be cautious. Don't reveal too much of your plot, nor too little. Moderate it. Write it out, go over it, and ask yourself i)if it seems too much of an info dump and ii)does it give away everything? If you aren't sure, don't hesitate to ask someone to go over it for you (i.e: beta/proof-read)

Are you going for arcs?
Some writers/authors go for arcs. Now, before I go on, what are arcs (more specifically, story arcs)? They're story-lines set in episodic style, so to speak.

:!: EXAMPLE :!:
Arc 1: Chapter 1-5 - The Political Dilemmas
Arc 2: Chapter 6-10 - Forging Alliances and Negotiations


Basically, what you've planned here is for the first five "episodes" to deal with the political problems of your story. As chapter 5 closes, then Arc 2 begins - the alliances and what-not, and so on forth.

How long is your story?
Write out a rough estimate. Let's say you plan to end your story in 25 chapters (if you write out an estimate of words, it's much harder to close everything.). Now, check/think about your outline/plot. If there's a lot of conflicts involving multiple characters, then perhaps 10k words per chapter. But overall, it depends on your plot/storyline and how long it is. There's no story limit.

6. Language
So you aren't sure about your language, and want to improve it. Or maybe you aren't sure about your grammar and stuff. Here's some links :)

Subject-Verb Agreement
It's and Its
You're and Your
Auxilary Verbs - (a fancy name for those 'be', 'do', 'should'....)
Progressive and Perfect Tenses - (am, was, will be..)
Perfect Progressive Tense - (has been, have been...)
Prepositions - (on, at, in...)

Others:
Grammar Goofs
20 Common Grammar Mistakes

Exercises:
Online Exercise 1
Online Exercise 2

If you want to read, but can't afford to buy books - read here. There's tons of works there which are beautifully written. A couple of my favourites include "Love at Last Sight" by Jordan Lynde under the username XxSkater2Girl16xX and "Alone on Cloud 9" by xoStardust.

7. Writing for a VN
Honestly, I've only recently ventured into this. So bare with me if some of my stuff here is wrong :) I find it different than writing the usual stories, poetry and the like, mainly because there's BGs and Sprites to remember/think about.

How to prepare yourself? Well, for one, research, research, research. I did about a couple weeks of research before offering my writing services for the Universal Hope. It's going fine so far (in my opinion anyway.) Another thing is, play a lot more VNs to get the feel of the style. Get used to writing graphics. You could randomly Google an image and challenge yourself to write something from it.

A work-flow for VN?
Weeelll...This is basically how I do it:
  • - Write out possible choices according to plot scenes/events/dialogues
    - Write out the scenarios and keep them to a maximum of three (the best ones, and according to the choices)
    - While doing so, ensure that the above's pace is good and not too slow or too fast - and that they flow smoothly (Basically: Be realistic!)
8. Evoking Emotional Responses

Please take note that this is my opinion based on my experience. The key factors for me are these: relatibility and details.

By having the reader be able to relate, to understand - in some way, connects the lines between fiction and reality. Realizing the predicament of the character as he/she had been through it before, understand the feeling of the character - it immerses them more fully into the story, the setting.


For example:

It was pouring again.

A wistful sigh escaped me as I stared out the window that reflected my gloomy mood. It had been raining cats and dogs for days, and it seemed as if there was no end to it. No end to the darkness.

No end to the darkness that was my loneliness creeping into me. I had no family, no friends - only acquaintances.

Relatives?

I scoffed at the thought. They had simply vanished after the death of my parents a year ago. Taking me to the town's orphanage and leaving me there, saying that they would return in a couple of weeks as they had to tie up some loose ends before being able to come back for me - I had eagerly lapped up their words.

How naive I had been...


Many would be able to relate to this. Such as people who had been abandoned, lost their parents or are just lonely. Even people who had been deceived or lied to would be able to relate, allowing them to sympathize with the character.

Language is also an absolutely vital element, as even the way you phrase your sentences can affect how a reader feels. If I were to write the above example like this,


It was raining again.

I stared out at the window gloomily at the pouring weather with a wistful sigh...


It would be a bit more..jarring. So, what's the difference?

In the first example, I went for a "gradually-immersive" tone by drawing more attention to the emotional aspect rather than the subject (that is "I"). The second example draws more attention to the subject - it's as if I'm stating the obvious first before inputting the emotional aspect second.

Another thing that is equally important is this: paint with details. Please. Not too much, not too little.

I could have written my example as plain and simple sentences:


It was raining.

I was alone again. I sighed..


But would it have the same effect as example one or two? No. It's dull. I simply do not care and am not intrigued to find out more. End of.

Also ensure that you have reasons behind what the character did, how the world became like this and that.etc,.etc


----------
~END~
----------


**I'll add more to this later!
**ALSO, if you have any questions, feel free to post. I'll reply asap.

I hope this guide helps you in some way. Good luck! :)
Last edited by destiny_921 on Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:56 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: destiny_921's Guide to Writing

#2 Post by inhalance » Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:02 pm

Wow. So glad I came across this thread. :shock: I feel like I'll be referencing to it very often. Thanks for this helpful guide :)
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#3 Post by destiny_921 » Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:08 pm

You're welcome! :) I'm glad that it helps.
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Re: destiny_921's Guide to Writing

#4 Post by destiny_921 » Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:57 pm

Update: Added "What makes a well-developed character" & "Help! How do I balance between my MC and side-characters!?"
“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try”
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Re: destiny_921's Guide to Writing *JULY 3 UPDATE*

#5 Post by destiny_921 » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:52 am

Update as of 3/7/13: Added "Play-boy Persona", "8. Evoking Emotional Responses". Edited "3. Plot/Storyline"
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Re: destiny_921's Guide to Writing *JULY 3 UPDATE*

#6 Post by misteen » Wed Jul 24, 2013 5:31 pm

Thank you for sharing :D
This guide was really interesting and full of useful tips.

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Re: destiny_921's Guide to Writing *JULY 3 UPDATE*

#7 Post by destiny_921 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:32 am

You're welcome! :)

Glad I could help!
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Re: destiny_921's Guide to Writing *JULY 3 UPDATE*

#8 Post by Semienigma » Fri Aug 02, 2013 3:58 pm

Wow....this is really helpful! I never put that much thought into my writing and was running into all kinds of problems! Thanks so much for posing this x3
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Re: destiny_921's Guide to Writing *JULY 3 UPDATE*

#9 Post by destiny_921 » Tue Aug 06, 2013 10:32 am

Aww, I'm glad that it helps :D You're welcome!
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Re: destiny_921's Guide to Writing *JULY 3 UPDATE*

#10 Post by Ran08 » Wed Aug 07, 2013 6:01 pm

Thanks for this! :) It was quite helpful. Plus, it was a fun read too! ^^

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Re: destiny_921's Guide to Writing *JULY 3 UPDATE*

#11 Post by Lishy » Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:34 pm

Great thread!
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Re: destiny_921's Guide to Writing *JULY 3 UPDATE*

#12 Post by thehacker » Sun Aug 11, 2013 12:55 pm

great!!
English is not my first language and it found me hard to write for there is a lot of vocabularies that is used in writing a story
While I might be good enough for everyday conversations but I'll need to read a lot of things from now on :)

Thanks, it gives me a lot of new things to know

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Re: destiny_921's Guide to Writing *JULY 3 UPDATE*

#13 Post by trooper6 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 1:21 am

thehacker wrote:great!!
English is not my first language and it found me hard to write for there is a lot of vocabularies that is used in writing a story
While I might be good enough for everyday conversations but I'll need to read a lot of things from now on :)

Thanks, it gives me a lot of new things to know
Have you thought about writing it in your native language and then maybe getting someone to translate it?
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Re: destiny_921's Guide to Writing *JULY 3 UPDATE*

#14 Post by destiny_921 » Sun Aug 18, 2013 2:01 am

@Ran08 - You're welcome! Haha I'm glad it's fun C:

@Lishy - Thank you! :)

@thehacker - No problem!~
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