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

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 dictionary.com 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

Dialogue

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: http://community.livejournal.com/spork_squad/13402.html

(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.
Darren: BUT I LOVE YOU SO MUCH"

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:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vampyr-legion-Legendeer-Alan-Gibbons/dp/1858818354

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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