Tips you would give to any author (86)

1 Name: LASER : 2010-03-31 14:55 ID:enp3ZjkW

Any and all tips that you deem an important part of writing

I'll start with don't satre at a blank piece of paper or a white screen when you're stuck with ideas, get as much of your writing done away from the computer otherwise it's easy to lose your drive while sorting out technical issues and errors and whatnot

2 Name: RayRay : 2010-03-31 16:07 ID:wWNq83H8

Carry a pad and paper everywhere, and look for inspiration with everything... even if it's something that someone says that you feel fits a character, write it down as you see it.

And if you get an idea for a chapter, don't over think it, jot down the main idea, but don't fret over it, just leave it to simmer and it'll come to you eventually.

3 Name: tiger002 : 2010-03-31 16:22 ID:yCRz1qU3

When you get inspiration, write it down. Don't worry if it's perfectly, just go with the idea, and worry about editing later. The important thing is to remember your idea when it's fresh in your mind

4 Name: tilldeathdouspart789 : 2010-04-01 07:03 ID:vOehvjBc

When planning a story, make sure you have a plot and themes. Jot down any ideas and change them until they make sense, then build the paragraphs/chapter around those ideas. Read back through your chapter and edit the flaws, or extend it.

5 Name: Lupa Dracolis : 2010-04-02 05:36 ID:krIZu3jx

Please, please, please use spellcheck if you're posting a story online for others to read. Also, accept 'bad' reviews as constructive as opposed to 'mean reviewers'.

6 Name: Bola : 2010-04-03 02:07 ID:wiyWnRLE

I agree with you all.

I'm almost sure that most writers have had it happen. There's such a perfect little idea that just crept up into your mind, but you're sitting in front of an empty screen, and it won't get filled by any means!

It is better to just write that idea down, even though you're not satisfied with the build up of your sentences. When you reread what you wrote later, you'll be surprised to find yourself using pretty much of it and tweaking only so little things in most cases.

It is indeed handy to always write down your ideas. Otherwise, you'll perhaps end up with a bloody fantastic opening scene and have forgotten about the rest of the story line ideas when you return to it after life's little struggles (that always come up when you least anticipate and want it!)

It is really necessary that something is spell checked. It isn't uncommon to read over little mistakes just because you're aware of what is or should be there.

Use good paragraphs as well. It is highly important that you don't end up with one gigantic block of text or a new line for every sentence. It is more pleasurable to read for others if you actually manage to capture every new idea in one little block of text, if that makes any sense at all.

And yeah, don't always think you are the better if someone gives you a bad review. You might be surprised how your stories improve if you actually listen to them.

Therefore, a beta reader sometimes comes in handy as well. It makes you less sensitive for bad reviews, I think.

7 Name: Chris000 : 2010-04-04 23:38 ID:QAtWaG3v

Work on your own time. Set a deadline, but be reasonable about it. Also, if you have a prior commitment, such as schoolwork or a family activity, that takes priority. Again, if you work when you don't feel comfortable, that will reflect in your work and you do not want that, believe me. It's happened to me and I regret writing the story as it was so rushed.

8 Name: Lookingglasswriter : 2010-04-05 07:00 ID:AwvRc69v

The first will never look the same as the last. Don't worry if your first draft isn't that well-formed and has plot-holes. Just make sure you fix these on your third read-through (I say third because sometimes you modify before thinking of a domino effect, stories can be destroyed by this.) Always write main plot lines down in bullet points on a piece of paper, if you stray too far and forget the main plot you might be too inspired by a film or other book, and all you are really doing is re-telling their story, not your own.

9 Name: Lookingglasswriter : 2010-04-05 07:02 ID:AwvRc69v

"The first draft" I forgot to put draft in.

10 Name: Amberdreams : 2010-04-07 03:08 ID:Q+5RrXs7

The point about having a writing pad to hand is a good tip - I now have note pads everywhere! I keep one by the bed too, as frequently an idea will suddenly pop into my head when I am falling asleep, or even waking up from a dream. Jot everything down, even if it feels like rubbish, you never know what gems you might miss otherwise.
Another tip - read widely, read a lot. Read poetry, novels, classics. Push your boundaries, read authors you've never tried before. Read dictionaries, use that thesaurus - words are your friends and your inspiration.
Be ready to work hard - after you get that initial idea down, there may well be a lot of drafting and redrafting before you finish.
There is a lot of good advice on writing out there that is worth checking out - eg Orson Scott Card's website has some interesting tips.

11 Name: Majin : 2010-04-08 12:31 ID:0XN2mlSC

1) Remember that your idea might not be as perfect as you think! Ask someone to read it over or discuss it to help spot plot holes, ideas which you and only you like or things which are difficult to follow for anyone else. Develop ideas this way and accept criticism.

2) X & Y (and sometimes Z too) get together rarely makes a good story by itself.

3) When you write a romance, ask yourself if the relationship is being built up gradually or if day 1 it's nothing, day 2 it's complete love without issue. Also read the Ranma/Sailor Moon fic Seahorse: (Ranma/Michiru).

4) Ask yourself if it's been done? Then if it's been done well? Then how often it's been done? Lastly how are you doing it differently? Not a problem for something like a Ranma/Disgaea fic, but if it's a Harry Potter - Harry/Ginny - Somehow meets the Founders/Goes back in time fic then you should ask these questions.

12 Name: Amberdreams : 2010-04-09 08:20 ID:Q+5RrXs7

Someone found this article and kindly posted it in Live Journal - it is so good I thought I'd share it here! Loads of really excellent tips on tightening up your writing style, many of which I need to absorb I think!!

13 Name: Iaculus : 2010-04-09 09:13 ID:0LXswG0k

>>12 Whilst I appreciate the main thrust of that article (i.e, cutting down on purple prose and waffle), I think that it goes a long way overboard in attempting to correct it. Beige can be just as bad as purple, and flavourful description should not always be the bane of an author's existence.

Example of this sort of thing being inappropriately-applied:

"There were naked actors standing around the pornography studio: three women and one man. Two other actors were having sex on a bed. There were some cameramen filming them, who had their clothes on. There was a desk in the corner with papers on it, and a bulletin board with messages."

I really wish more people would consider Hemingway as someone who understood the rules well enough to break them, rather than as a standard that should be emulated to the exclusion of all other forms of writing.

14 Name: ... : 2010-04-10 12:21 ID:nCQoW32r

I also find that writer's repetition of the word 'never' irritating. For elements of writing style, there is no such thing as 'never'. 'Never' use a word other than 'said' for dialogue? What about when a character needs to whisper? Shout? Overuse is bad, but 'never' is utterly ridiculous. Ditto for most of that writer's other points. That's one of the worst articles on writing I've read in a while, and I'm someone who likes to attack purple prose with a mallet.

15 Name: Lupa Dracolis : 2010-04-11 10:09 ID:krIZu3jx

The amusing thing is, they just about go against what every english teacher has been telling me for m whole time in school. In year six we had to write stories without using the word 'said' at all, for goodness sake! And that whole bit about letting the characters' voices speak for and describe exactly are we supposed to do that if we can't use adverbs?

16 Name: Captinifeelwozey : 2010-04-13 16:56 ID:ieRdqd/I

I always have a page that I save as 'Notes' for each story that I write and in it I write stuff like, sentances that pop into my head, or words that I think sound good and even scenes (when I dont know where to put them yet).

I have it open as im writing a chapter and then look back on it to see if theres anything in it I can add to the story. I also bullet point in stuff like facts, such as... rotas and peoples names, places they work. That way its always on hand when I need it.

17 Name: Siaftza : 2010-04-15 08:49 ID:p+RHEBUW

If you want to become a good writer, read. Read books by good authors, not only will you gradually pick up on grammar tips but you'll also develop a sense of writer's license. When I was taught English in school I was taught to always use full sentences and always have a linking word but no author will use that policy all the time in any kind of books. The way to become a good author is to be able to recognise the effects of certain phrases or grammatical points and be able to twist your words. I've been reading ever since I was 6 and I've been told I'm an exceptional writer, whilst I haven't read any kid of advice columns. It just becomes natural, and the best kind of writing is writing you can relate to as an author, as this makes it more engaging for readers. That's all the advice I can give.

18 Name: HMemma546 : 2010-04-15 12:07 ID:HlR3von+

I got this from a writersblock sight when I got stuck:
When writing instead of going back to correct it or add more, keep going until you've finish or at least done a chapter and don't want to continue it yet.
It helps as then instead of thinking of words to put instead of said in the middle of my flow I can wait.

19 Name: BlackMage16 : 2010-04-15 12:31 ID:eYgPeUtd

Somebody recommended this site to me Its a short guide on how to punctuate dialogue properly which I did find helpful so I thought I'd share.

20 Name: Darksecretlove : 2010-05-02 13:50 ID:sAek6M2D

Try to keep it realistic.
Try and write out the storyline in the main events, that makes it easier to know where you are in the story and where the stories is going.
Re-read what you wrote a day or whatever later, not right away. When you read it later on, you'll find flaws you don't notice right away.
When you're having a writersblock re-read the whole story you wrote to get the feeling back. Try and read other stories that have the same characters (if youre writing fanfics), or the same subject. Try and get your inspiration from anythign that gives you inspiration.
Go correct parts of the story your not completely satisfied with.

Take pen and paper ANYWHERE YOU GO.
I wrote the beginning of a story on the back of a bill... and it worked out xD (learned then to always bring some paper and a pen with me...)
if you think of something late at night, write it down RIGHT AWAY, you probably wont remember in the morning.
If inspiration strucks, do something with it! Don't wiat for the right moment, usually that's not when inspiration strucks!

21 Name: Madork Gunna : 2010-05-02 15:56 ID:OrRcuhQe

When in doubt, or stuck, or otherwise unable to continue: Blow something up. It doesn't have to be a literal explosion, or even something destructive, but make something happen that a) catches the attention of those involved and b) wasn't caused by anything or anyone 'on screen' as it were. Then make a reasonable explanation why the event took place, though you can worry about that after you're past your writers block.
For example, the hero and heroine are in the garden, talking about how they love each other and that they don't want the antagonist to separate them etc., and you don't know how to continue the conversation. Suddenly, in bursts the father! Their relationship is now revealed!
Now you need to work out why the father suddenly bursts in (he heard voices, he forgot his glasses, etc.) and what the consequences are (they're allowed to marry, they are forcefully separated, etc.).
Like I said, it doesn't have to be particularly destructive, just make sure it's a change of pace. Some random events suitable:
A guy in a tank driving past waving with a sword screaming: "Drive me closer! I want to hit them with my sword!" (one of my favourites, unfortunately not very common).
A natural disaster.
The comic relief barging in.
Meteorite strikes (counts as a natural disaster, but often forgotten. Extra useful as it can happen anywhere, anytime, it just is unlikely.).
A ninja/thief/assassin sneaking about.
Alien invasion.

Furthermore, Jim Butcher's live journal.

22 Name: ... : 2010-05-02 16:09 ID:nCQoW32r

... Oh dear.

23 Name: Iaculus : 2010-05-02 16:53 ID:0LXswG0k

>>21 The floor thanks the Michael Bay School of Advanced Storycrafting for its contribution.

24 Name: RayRay : 2010-05-02 23:06 ID:+EKiBPc4

:) Some of those I'm sure I've read in Crack!Fics before...

25 Name: Shiro Ookami : 2010-06-02 07:20 ID:EBn49UUD

I might not be the right person to give tips (most of my stories are unfinished and quite old and to be honest bad) but here is what I did/do:

When ever you come up with an idea try to "see" it, in my case I often see the beginning and the end but not what is in between, If that is the case try to make a list of what you would like to see in it, a simple example:
Boy meets Girl, Boy marries girl
I'd like to see in it;
Confrontation with parents,
Ex girlfriends/boyfriends showing up,
unrest in the city they live in,
You might use that list you made, you might not but at least you have some idea of what you'd like to see in the middle of the story.

Try to keep working on one idea (a short story thrown in between is another thing). In my case when I was really actively working on two fics, I had so many other ideas coming up (which I actually also worked one) that I lost focus on them and still haven't refound the focus on those two after quite some time.

Be believable within the context of the fandom you are writing for, do not make a person superpowered just because you like it, give a reason for it, it might be a simple reason like falling in toxic waste, being bitten by a radioactive spider, etc, but at least explain to the readers why the leadperson is so different.

As for romance, take your time writing it, a lot of fanfics which have two people fall in love are going to fast, one random slip up and two people fall in love for the rest of their lives, make it more dramatic (not overly so though) the couple doubting and so on.

Well that is all I have for now

26 Name: Marth : 2010-06-06 20:27 ID:RQ1a+ii6

A good enough writer can make a lot of writing no-nos (Cliches, Sues, flowery prose, etc.) work. Please do not assume that you're a good enough writer.

27 Name: DuxAtrum : 2010-06-07 12:53 ID:CZNRNcYe

>>23 Iaccy, I laughed so hard I had a coughing fit. <3

As to writer's block: when I'm stuck continuing a scene or thinking of how to phrase something (because I usually already know where I want to go), I skip ahead and write a different scene. Not a whole chapter—just a scene that I know I want to happen at some point, or something that pops into my head.

(For example, I'm currently working on an FFX fic based on the game's storyline. At the moment, I've only actually completed the first chapter—but I have fragments from the Moonflow, Bevelle... even part of the epilogue is written.)

I find this incredibly useful: because I'm writing something that's more actively interesting (rather than just forcing myself to complete a chapter, to move on ahead), it often rekindles my interest in whatever it was I was stuck with.

Then again, it's a strange method. It may not work for other people.

Also: Marth, thou speakest sage advice indeed! *nodnod*

28 Name: ... : 2010-06-07 13:09 ID:nCQoW32r

@Dux- I do that too, but then I just don't bother writing the scenes that bore me, and instead leap around in time in my fics. It's lazy of me, but I can't force dialogue; there's normally an underlying reason why my brain doesn't want a fic to go somewhere. At a later point, I will work out why. I will then spend a few minutes wondering why my subconscious is so much more intelligent than my consciousness.

29 Name: DuxAtrum : 2010-06-08 00:47 ID:hGHv8APn

Yeah, that can be a problem all right. In fact, that happened to me with said FFX fic—I left the first chapter for almost a year because I couldn't figure out how to write, like, the last five paragraphs.

On the other hand, the fragment from the Moonflow practically wrote itself. It's 2,958 words long. Not even a whole chapter, either.

Still, even if you drift off to other things, at least you're writing something rather than running mental circles and constantly mulling over a single troublesome scene. That's the way I see it, anyway.

30 Name: Amy : 2010-06-10 23:06 ID:yLzURSJj

a GOOD summary thats all u need

31 Name: Lupa Dracolis : 2010-06-11 04:11 ID:jnE/QjsG

>>30 Preferably one where you don't use text language.

32 Name: fan-to-fiction : 2010-06-11 10:24 ID:CHBvtrn0

Use a charachter sheet. IN which you put details of the charachter in it. If you need one of mine (I got loads) just go to my fanfiction account (fan-to-fiction) and PM me.
Also, use a script, where you put in the things you want to happen in chronological order. If you don't know yet then try to get to know your charachters more and picture them in a situation.

If it's a fanfic, ge tto know the charachters you write about; if it's not create your own very ORIGINAL charachters.
A summary must also be catching otherwise people won't even bother reading it and put warnings and disclaimers in the first author's notes.
Also, do not use author's notes in every chapter. Only in the very begining, the last chapter or when you want to say somehtign that's important.
Fir the rest, double check grammar and spelling (especially if it isn't your own native tongue like me).
And of course, don't forget your imagination!!

33 Name: DuxAtrum : 2010-06-15 09:38 ID:CZNRNcYe

>>30, >>31—Ooh. Need some lotion for that burn, Amy?

Also, >>32: Yes! I never used them in the past, but now I find character sheets quite useful, especially for characters whose personalities I'm unfamiliar with or haven't quite gotten down pat.

For instance, Joachim Armster from Castlevania. The ambiguity in his characterization stems from the fact that he has a grand total of maybe five lines (two scenes!) in the whole game. I wrote two chapters of him for a fic last year, left the story to concentrate on schoolwork, and then when I came back to it I'd forgotten that he was supposed to hate his father's guts (in the fic, that is). Result: fully half a chapter was wildly inconsistent with what had come before, and didn't fit what the fic needed.

Character sheets would have prevented that. Le sigh.

34 Name: ... : 2010-06-15 12:46 ID:nCQoW32r


(It's been stuck in my head for over a day. Now you can share my pain.)

35 Name: Emily Bowden : 2010-06-24 18:26 ID:i/HQsvw0

Write a couple chapters of your story to see how it feels in your mind. Sometimes, one idea will pop into your head and you can't wait to write and post it to see if others agree with you. Slow down and sit on it awhile. The idea may turn into a one-shot or a multi-chappie, or it may just sizzle and die...

If you get stuck writing an in-between-scene, it's okay to write ahead. Do that chapter that you know you want in your story, even if you aren't going to post it right away. You can always go back and fill in the gaps, and sometimes doing it that way will help get you out of a funk.

36 Name: A Random Fangirl : 2010-06-25 20:01 ID:MK9LNU9V

And don't say "I really suck at summaries" as your whole summary. I've seen that before. It's plain FAIL.

37 Name: Susan M. M. : 2010-06-27 15:23 ID:v/GfeXQB

For pity's sake, proofread! A paperback dictionary isn't that expensive. If you can't afford one, go to the public library. They won't let you check out a reference book, but they will let you use it for free.

5 Ws: Who, What, When, Where, Why (and How)

38 Name: ... : 2010-06-27 15:39 ID:nCQoW32r

I keep six honest serving men...

39 Name: Anonymous : 2010-07-03 06:37 ID:CZNRNcYe

>>34—Grah, Ellipsy, you fiend. Now I'm gonna be going around with ZYDRATE COMES IN A LITTLE GLASS VIAL in my head all day.

Also, >>37: Word. What gets me specifically is, heck, if you're publishing your fic that means you're <i>already</i> on the internet; is it really that hard to go to wordreference or or something?

40 Name: ... : 2010-07-04 01:34 ID:nCQoW32r

@Dux- Bwahaha. You know, whenever I hear it, I always think it would sound like something from a UT map without the singing. It reminds me of the music for DM Rankin. BUT CATCHIER.

41 Name: Lady Rever : 2010-07-09 18:41 ID:vp9O4UC0

Agreed. When I see "I suck at summaries", that stigmatizes the author as a lazy, incompetent bastard.

42 Name: Crystal Volcheck : 2010-07-10 19:46 ID:As/M31Sk

Always write a summary, not 'i suck at summaries, read and find out' The easiest way to do the summary is put a line from your story for the summary. It vague and makes one curious as to whats happening, in a good way.

Example For FairyTales and Mr.YumYums:
Don't let the title fool you. On my desk sits Mr. Yum Yums, his button eyes as empty as my soul. I guess even I can't let all of the fairytales go. One day I'll let him go, but I fear that if I let him go, I'll be letting my life go.

Or simple word play off the title of your story:
Bittersweet Nothing~It wasn't love, but it wasn't quite hate. More like friends with benefits, but they were far from friends to begin with. So what was between them? It only left a bittersweet taste behind.

Sorry for it being so long, but it the mistake I see the most, other than when people don't hit spell check.

43 Name: Finny's mommy : 2010-07-11 04:43 ID:sREcPvZF

Indeed, and it is so annoying to see it. I personally never read anything with summary 'just read!!. i suk at sumries.'

44 Name: Yellow 14 : 2010-07-13 10:38 ID:MSoZnwTr

Basics. If you're going to write, use punctuation, spelling and grammar. Before you start, know what ending you're aiming for. And most importantly, cause and effect.

45 Name: Dianna Phantom27 : 2010-07-13 11:34 ID:rss9zSwI

I'm here to help with whatever grammer I can help with, but I would mostly tell them what i see through a reader's eyes and might share some ideas. It actually helps a lot to tell them wht u see so they know how to make it more readible and/or intersesting.

46 Name: demonlifehealer : 2010-07-17 15:39 ID:BxJ57hfj

Yeah, I agree most people want to get their fanfictions out as soon as possible. I think the best thing that a person can do when writing a fanfiction is to sleep on it for a night and proofread it in the morning. You can be surprised the things you spelled wrong (that the spellcheck missed because they were technically words, like typing "her" when you wanted to type "he")

47 Name: fan-to-fiction : 2010-07-18 13:24 ID:mUyRWcdZ

Yeah I know that. My way of dealing with typo's is letting the chapter wait a week or so before I read it again.
Then most of the time I change some sentences and make it longer.

Though most fault I only find after I have posted it. So after publishing I export it and correct it.

48 Name: Lexy4KagInu : 2010-07-22 21:12 ID:sr1V86i9

Don't be afraid to make anyone out of character... It's fanFICTION. It's okay to have false personalities.

49 Name: ... : 2010-07-23 03:07 ID:nCQoW32r

~sings~ Diiie in a fiiire!
Or instead delete
Your fanfic-
Tion dot net account
And the world will be a better place!

50 Name: Marth : 2010-07-23 11:30 ID:RQ1a+ii6

>>49 Was that supposed to be to a specific tune? I can't figure it out.

Not that I disagree with you, obvious. Advice I would give to any author: Lexy4KagInu is talking out her ass. Ignoring her advice is a good idea; going back in time to stop her from ever discovering fanfiction is a <i>great</i> one.

51 Name: ... : 2010-07-23 11:45 ID:nCQoW32r

@Marth- The Twelve Days of Christmas, from '5 gold rings' onwards. I have no idea why, it just immediately came to mind and made a strange sort of sense at the time...

52 Name: DuxAtrum : 2010-07-24 02:54 ID:CZNRNcYe

Please observe Exhibit A, post number >>48, ladies and gentlemen. Yes, the one entitled "Paradigm of Everything Wrong With People's Approach to Fanfic." This is your typical example of a misguided fanfic author—please don't tap the glass, Billy.

We estimate this one is some twelve years of age, but it's hard to tell as we've only acquired her recently.

(And in case the point wasn't clear, listen to Marth, everybody. Anybody who tells you it's okay to mutilate and twist characters' personalities is at best trolling; or, more likely, they're talking out of their ass.)

53 Name: Billy : 2010-07-25 13:09 ID:nCQoW32r

*licks glass instead*

54 Name: DuxAtrum : 2010-07-25 15:36 ID:MmRINktq

Okay, Ellipsy, you can stop disguising yourself as Billy now.

Of course I know it's you.

55 Name: Billy : 2010-07-25 16:20 ID:nCQoW32r

no me an elps r jsut usin da saym laptop DUH

56 Name: LASER : 2010-07-27 15:55 ID:enp3ZjkW

Another one for the list; no matter how good they may be your english/grammar skills will not write your story for you. The difference between being a good writer and being academically good at english is HUGE.

57 Name: ... : 2010-07-27 16:50 ID:nCQoW32r

OTOH, one can't be a good writer without first being academically good at English, in much the same way that one will never find a good hand model who has no hands.

58 Name: Untitled One : 2010-07-28 14:12 ID:n+MQq+dk

Umm... well I think my tip would be...

Put your soul in it. When your writing you have to actually feel the characters pain, and not just have it as a "story". Put your writing in your heart.

(yep, I know that sounds gay but WTF? It worked for me :))

59 Name: Iaculus : 2010-07-28 23:38 ID:0LXswG0k

Emotional investment in your work is useful, and I was not aware that it was restricted to homosexual writers. If nothing else, it can add a measure of depth and believability to your characters - if you start treating them like real people, then hopefully you start <i>writing</i> them like real people.

However, it can be taken too far. Down that path lies the lurking menace of the Mary Sue, as well as stranger and infinitely more terrible things.

60 Name: Lady Hyena : 2010-07-29 19:00 ID:Z1MkhBR0

read their writing out loud to themselves. It helps alot. This way you dont see what you wanna but are forced to hear how its sounds and if its really what you wanted or not. So many people type type type then send it to be beta'd missing this and my gin god, so of it can my your eyes bleed!!!

Avoid words that they dont normally use. So many people will google words to change with one they used and then they used it wrong. No one cares for fancy words. No one talks like that. Most care about grammar, sentence structor, and puncuations.

put your heart into it! Dont half ass it! if your gonna write do it right. Dont do it for the populairty, you'll fail, dont do it coz someone told you to do it, then you dont really care for it, do it because you have to not because you want too~

With Emotions try to think how itd be not how you'd feel. I use OC's so its more of getting into there character and feeling how they'd feel not how i do.

AVOID OUT OF CHARACTNESS!!!! no one wants to read a fic about there favorite characters being a mary sue/gary stew D: Some like crack fics and such but be sure to put the warning in the summary!

Just my little tips=w=~
Lady Hyena-chan~

61 Name: Marth : 2010-07-29 19:57 ID:RQ1a+ii6

>>60 While I agree with most of your points (not all of them: diction <i>is</i> very important), your actual post was almost unreadable in some places. I don't expect or need perfect grammar/spelling on a board like this--and my grammar is far from perfect--but I could barely even follow your pronouns.

Also: You can <i>absolutely</i> write just to be popular and get away with it. I've done it with some (now-deleted) semi-trollfic. It got like ten times the reviews of my real fics, despite being badly-written.

62 Name: DuxAtrum : 2010-07-30 11:40 ID:CZNRNcYe

>>61 Oh man, a friend of mine did that—a purposefully bad fic (with only four chapters) designed to reel people in before she twist-suckerpunched them at the end by taking over the narrative herself and explaining that it was a bad, bad trollfic.

It has like a hundred and something reviews.

63 Name: EvilFuzzy9 : 2010-08-01 19:19 ID:8ZXWSPzK

Think twice before posting a fic: you should never start something you can't see through to the end (this is triply important to those who, like myself, suffer from either ADHD or ADD). I've learned this the hard way.

Also, random does not automatically equal funny, and trolling is rude. (Though, at times, it can be depressingly difficult to discern trolling from genuinely bad writing.)

Lastly, while there ARE some people who can pull off rapid-fire comedy, you should probably play it safe and pace yourself by delivering the gags one at a time to start with, or else it will seem forced. I got this advice from a fanfic writer whom I greatly admired back when I was just starting out.

64 Name: MinakoMikoto : 2010-08-03 20:49 ID:rIZHQA+0

@Post #63: I have ADHD too and boy do I have trouble finishing stories. What I usually do to get myself used to finishing stuff, is to write what are called One-shots, which are short stories that are only one chapter long. That way I can write an idea and not have to worry about multiple chapters.

65 Name: Anonymous : 2010-08-08 22:18 ID:bvxw9nBW

Well one of the best things I figured out is portraying (sp?) emotions, it somewhat ties in with the put your heart in it, but it's more put yourself in it if you ask me. Don't TELL people SHOW people. Think about how you would feel, or have felt in a similair setting and try your hardest to explain it. Adding things like your heart hurting, tears, stomach dropping, thoughts, ect. Make the reader a part of the story.

Like instead of "she felt so bad about it" say "her heart clenched at the thought of what she had just done, it felt as if it was going to constrict itself at any moment. 'how could I have done that?' she questioned herself as she felt hot tears roll down her cheeks. 'how could I have been so stupid?" See? much better!

Also, put an equal amount of dialouge and description. When it only has dialouge I find myself wondering what's going on, and when there is too much description it gets boring. Just don't add too much desciption in betweeen dialouge either (unless what they said really effected the character then you can add a little more, but still try to not add too much), it's bad when you have a paragraph of descibing after a simple word and the reader can't remember what you said.

While perfect grammer isn't necissary, as we aren't going to publish it, try to do the best you can. Read over it for simple mistakes and spell check, that way it doesn't get annoying to read. I hate when there's a really good story that I love but the author's grammer sucks so I keep correcting them in my head.

66 Name: lurksong : 2010-08-09 02:01 ID:NqdSTW3b

Keep writing. Write every day, even if you think you're a hopeless case or you're stuck on a particular scene. If you've got writer's block, try writing something else. Just keep writing, keep reading - you'll improve over time.

67 Name: Jaelyn : 2010-08-14 12:17 ID:M9xMzUqF

Keep authors notes short unless they have something the readers really need to know. I personally like reading authors notes, but I know some readers just skip them anyways. Also, if you are going to write a fanfiction at least know the name of the character first. I can not count how many times I have seen someone completely misspell a characters name and they don't even seem to realise thats not how the characters name is spelled. I can ignore it if the story is particulary good, but sometimes it just agrivates me to the point that I can't even continue with the story.

Another tip: Details are key. If you write a sort of story where the prompt is popular, add a lot of details in the story that make it remarkably different than all of the other stories.

68 Name: Nightlife666 : 2010-08-16 01:47 ID:bKiyWD5z

Write your story out sit it to the side for awhile go back and re read it then decide whether u wanna post it. Watch your grammar. My biggest pet peeve That i am OCD about is narrative to dialogue formatting.
it goes like this:
Narrative paragraph


narrative paragraph
Your Dialogue doe not go into the same paragraph as your narrative. it drives me to copy and past and fix before i read.

69 Name: ... : 2010-08-16 02:39 ID:nCQoW32r

@68- ... Er, no. Who taught you that?

New speaker, new line, yes (excepting rare exceptions). Otherwise, it's dependent on the pacing and the relevance of the narration to the spoken words. (I'd also say that if the narration is consistently irrelevant, the writing is... flawed.)

Paragraphing just aids clarity of meaning. There is no 'set' structure.

(It's good that people want to offer advice on this thread, but they'd do well to check whether or not they have a clue what they're talking about.)

70 Name: Marth : 2010-08-16 10:02 ID:RQ1a+ii6

>>69 I once got a review (from someone who "heard I like in-depth concrits" and so decided to not say a word about my plot or characterizations, because "in-depth" means "nothing but grammar," right?) which took me to task for not starting a new paragraph between dialogue and narrative.

But the important part is this: "This is slightly open to interpretation though, and standards vary across publishing houses as to what is correct."

Yes. Because how publishing houses feel affects me as a fan writer. Thank you for that useful detail. I feel a little bad making fun of this person, because s/he did give me some good crit, but wow, dude. Pretentious much?

71 Name: ... : 2010-08-16 18:12 ID:nCQoW32r

@Marth- That's ridiculous. As you say, it's an irrelevant detail the reviewer included to make thonself (hehe) look better. The criticism, BY THON'S OWN ADMISSION, is irrelevant, as it's open to interpretation. The reviewer therefore decided to waste space in what was a supposed criticism of your work to pat thonself on the back for thon's detailed knowledge of the publishing industry (i.e.: thon visited some Creative Writing How-Tos website or other) and impress other reviewers. Ugh.

72 Name: Kanemoshi : 2010-08-25 20:42 ID:JZ52Moxv

I must agree with #66: the best suggestion I can give for writing is WRITE! I have an entire team of betas to tell me when my chapters are reaching epic, impossible proportions, so a very large amount of what I write is never seen by the general public. That, however, does not stop me from continuing to pull out plots and emotion, making them as realistic as I can. The more you write, the better you get at putting down in words what is in your mind.

But the greatest advice I can give is go over what you write before you do anything with it! I am a bit of a stickler for grammar, but misplaced punctuation is one thing. Making it impossible for people to understand is something else entirely. It does not matter if you simply read your story out loud to an inanimate object or send it off to a beta. Either way, many of the horrendous mistakes I see on FFN and other sites would be caught if someone simply looked at the chapter before they put it up. No one is perfect, so that is why we have to edit. In just these two paragraphs, I have already read through everything a few times and corrected myself more than once! Imagine the kind of mistakes you could make writing over multiple pages!

73 Name: inkoftwilight : 2010-09-08 17:52 ID:XGngitU5

I always forget to look over my chapters. I end up getting so excited to post a new chapter that I don't look it over. Then I look back at it and realize how many mistakes I made.

74 Name: Sam : 2010-09-12 13:54 ID:bDGDVKrf

Darren Shan had written a brilliant guide on how to write a book and get it published, he puts a lot on emphasis on hoiw much work it all is.

75 Name: ... : 2010-09-13 13:53 ID:nCQoW32r

@74- I'm assuming it reads something like this:

  1. Get a teen to narrate. Make him a bit wet and weedy if male, but tough and strong-willed if female. Gotta subvert them there stereotypes.
  2. Gore.
  3. It was all just a dream.
  4. Lol no, tricked ya; it's real!
  5. More gore.
  6. Fight. Major character ripped to pieces. Said character continues to fight even after losing all four limbs and his head.
  7. Narrator dies. Gorily.
  8. The end.

(Story optional. Realistic dialogue/narration/any-sort-of-engaging-characterisation should be avoided.)

76 Name: DuxAtrum : 2010-09-16 04:08 ID:CZNRNcYe

I read the post and <3'd before I even saw it was you Ellipsy.

You never disappoint.

Incidentally, this seems relevant:

(On a more srs note, if anyone wants a good guide to writing, check out Stephen King's "On Writing." I've heard it's a very valuable read, even if you don't end up following all of the advice.)

77 Name: ... : 2010-09-16 11:16 ID:nCQoW32r

Okay, at this point I lol'd:

"Stephen King: Shall I tell you again how the Dark Tower ends?
Darren: oh God why do you have to hurt me so bad
Stephen King: You have been camping on my lawn for the past four days.

So true.

I did wonder if 'Cirque du Freak' was as bad as 'The Demonata Nonsensical Tomfoolery'. Apparently so.

Scarily, there are even worse children's horror authors out there. I pity any child who has the misfortune to stumble across this dross:

Preview the book and skip straight to page thirteen to see why it is so bad...

78 Name: Marth : 2010-09-17 23:16 ID:7O5rI8Tb

Guys. We're talking about terrible children's horror authors, and no one's brought up Stine yet? What's wrong with you people?

79 Name: ... : 2010-09-18 03:20 ID:i4+8wzNr

Ah, the difference is that nobody tries to pretend that Stine's work is actually good (and the Goosebumps books, at least, are aimed at a slightly younger demographic). There has been much unjustified Shangirling/Shanboying on these boards; I have been meaning to address it for some time.

(Not that I am excusing Stine; I am just explaining why I find him a little less irritating than Shan.)

80 Name: Figure.10 : 2010-10-16 20:00 ID:+Xa8Fw7j

Write with someone who you respect and like.

81 Name: prussia's-germany : 2010-12-20 16:40 ID:lnSsqBuD

i think that an author should focus on writing one story at a time, because if you have several to update (like i do) you pick favorites and tend to only update your most popular ones and the newest ones.

for some reason, when i write chapters, i tend to write without having things planned out.

82 Name: Zell : 2010-12-22 13:51 ID:Wk7qwxnj

My thoughts are that you should write, no matter how stupid you think your idea is. As a matter of fact, that's how I got EJTB started, and look at it today! It's my most popular fic!

83 Name: Anonymous : 2010-12-22 20:31 ID:nCQoW32r

84 Name: SoundzofSilence : 2010-12-22 22:33 ID:6seHZ9aZ

My advice to any author or anyone who wants to be an author is:

a) when you write something, have someone else edit it, someone who is trustworthy and critical. If you don't have friends or co-workers you can trust to edit what you wrote, don't look at what you've written for a period of time (a few days, a week, or a month) and read through it again

b) research your topic and be as accurate as possible (if you're going to BS something, do it well and make it convincing)

c) remember your readers aren't in your head. They might not know what you know and they haven't been beside you while you researched. For example, your audience might not know that Naruto is a descendent of the Uzumaki clan, a clan that specializes in seals. Explain that fact. Don't assume your readers have been keeping current on their reading, but don't oversimplify the explanation or it's insulting.

d) read a lot. Reading other authors' work can inspire you and, depending on what you read, helps improve your vocabulary and writing skills. If you like how someone writes, you might try imitating their style.

e) this is just my suggestion, but when you come across a word you don't know when you read, write it down and look it up later. This expands your vocabulary. You can also do this if you find a word you like--write it down and use it in your own story. It improves the quality of your writing.

f) Be consistent. If your character is a coward, when danger rears its head, your character isn't going to stand and fight (or not for long). He's probably going to run, or think about running, or how he and his companions (if he has friends) can escape with minimal or no damage.

85 Name: Anonymous : 2011-01-04 06:55 ID:kRBphZgy

  1. Don't write about something you have a very vague idea about (that includes sex scenes btw)))
  2. Don't beg for reviews or blackmail readers ("need 10 reviews before I post next chapter")
  3. Get a beta. Even if you are writing in your native language.
  4. Never (ever, ever!) put author comments in the middle of a story
  5. Don't create important OCs unless you are really good at writing. They will end up being Mary Sues.
  6. Don't just write. Read. That helps a lot.
  7. Don't make main characters superheros or give them super-powers (unless you are writing about them of course). The moment I spot a super-Harry or super-Naruto I know right away - the author is very young and immature. Huge giveaway )) Also those stories suck big time.

86 Name: WolfsLegend : 2011-01-10 10:38 ID:2osFZTg5

Hmmm... I agree to all advice mentioned above and...

~Always do your best to not get ahead of your typing(or let your thoughts go all out crazy) if so then your story will become too abrupt, have a lot of errors, and will seem less of a story(but if this occurs, at least you can always go over and change it).

~Another thought, speaking with an author is a big help too. You can easily find authors by searching near the back or front of a book, find a way to contact them, and then speak with them. It always helps to have someone already in that sort of thing so they can give you a heads-up and such.

~Each writer has a "style" of writing. Some may be write more poetically, more sinisterly, etc. Do not try and copy a writer's style, it resembles the same as simply drawing a picture. If you copy a writer's style it will most likely come out lifeless and will assist in uninspiring you.

~ALWAYS have a backup file of your writing(if it is only on a computer). I lost a number of files due to the fact that my tower was defective, crashing and me being unable to get the files(luckily years later I did). You never know when a virus or a crash of your tower could come at you, so always be prepared for it to happen.

~Never have the power strip that gives your computer electricity right below your feet! Otherwise you will keep hitting it by mere accident and then POOF goes your work!

~Every story idea that pops into your head should always be written down, you may add to it one day and make it into a story or it could help you out with a current story(even if its just one mere sentence).

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