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oddguy 09-22-2003 05:30 AM

Writers Unite! (Story Writing Tips)
 
This is a place where writters can join together to give each other tips and pointers and help each other out......or somethin' cheesy like that. Anyway, if anyone has any Q's about writting (or if I come up with a Q myself), it can all be asked, and hopefully answered, here. I find that learing from others and experimenting with different styles of writting really improves your own work tremendously, so I thought a thread like this would be very valuble to the writters of the OWF community. Post away!:D

-oddguy:fuzcool:

Silversnow 09-22-2003 06:45 PM

How the heck do I write a good fighting scene?

Big_Bro_Slig222 09-22-2003 08:09 PM

Be specific.
Dont take to long explaining something. Things need to happen quick.
Create an element of danger.



I'm not a good explainer, when I put chapter one up to "The First and the Last", look at that okay?

oddguy 09-22-2003 10:30 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Silversnow
How the heck do I write a good fighting scene?
Quote:

Be specific. Dont take to long explaining something. Things need to happen quick.
Create an element of danger.
As well as these, you have to keep in mind not to be repetative and make sure the words flow just right. Also try and describe emotions and facial expressions.

Bad: Bob puched Bill in the stomach.

Good: Bob and Bill both stood still in the parking lot. Even though it was raining very hard, the whole school had gathered to see this fight. It was practically an event; ever since Bill had started going out with Bob's ex, Jessica, rumors of a brawl had broken out before the two competitors even knew about it. Now here they were, Bill with his fists clenched so tight they were turning pure white and a smug expresion spread across Bob's face from ear to ear. Bob was always intimidating. He'd gotten into loads of fights before, so this wasn't anything new to him like it was to Bill. Bill was really nervous. Sweat was beading on his forehead and dripping down. A few tears even managed to squeze themselves out, but nobody noticed on count of the rain.
"Come on!" Bob eged on. "You didn't think I was gonna find out!"
Bill just continued to stand still, his back stiffened and his chest puffed out.

Eh, you get the idea.

-oddguy:fuzcool:

Silversnow 09-24-2003 04:59 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by oddguy
Bad: Bob puched Bill in the stomach.
That made me laugh for a while :)

I'll keep that in mind, thank you both.

oddguy 09-24-2003 11:24 PM

No problem, I'm just thankful someone replied to my thread!:fuzgrin: Glad to help, and to make you laugh!:D

-oddguy:fuzcool:

Abe's son 09-27-2003 01:02 AM

Tips for writing a fighting scean: dont make it stupid like:

"LOOK OUT WONKA! HERE COMES NEO!!"

S'all I can think about right now

TheRaisin 10-10-2003 02:19 AM

I think you want to pay special attention to detail in a fight scene. Describe everything that happens, make it move, make it "flow" in a sense. Also, don't make it too easy for the heroes... that just sucks. Make it sound like they're getting the crap beat out of them, but pull through when it counts. Hey, that's good advice! I need to remember that....

Al the Vykker 10-13-2003 12:49 PM

Ill just sticky this thread, because its like the art work tip thread in here. Great idea oddguy, and the rest of you continue to add ideas, its always great to have fiction writers, share ideas, and help each other out.:fuzwink: :)

oddguy 10-13-2003 01:22 PM

I feel so special inside. Thanks Al!:D

Anyway, I'm reading a book right now called "How to write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card." A very good book. Card wrote the "Ender's Game" series by the way, which is excellent, so I thought I'd take a look at his book of writing tips. The book actually inspired me to try and submit a sci-fi short to "Analog", the leading magazine in Sci-Fi publishing apparently. I hadn't heard of it until I read "How to write Science Fiction and Fantasy", but I guess they're the big guys.

-oddguy:fuzcool:

TheRaisin 10-15-2003 01:08 AM

I'm thinking my next Forum project might be a kind of semi-post-apocaliptic sci fi. But the thing is, I want to make it a first-person narrative, which would mean including a tiny bit more.... emotional stuff. Also, the main characters would be humans in the mid-to-upper teen years. The dilemma I'm getting at here is, do I want to be totally, brutally honest about emotions and character flaws at the risk of sounding, I dunno, stupid? Are the forums ready for something like this? Or should I stick to what I know, hard-core sci-fi focusing on action and plot? Can I really confidently talk about the complexities involved with, you know.... emotional stuff? Or would I just sound like a loser? This is a tough one for me.

TheRaisin 10-16-2003 02:34 AM

Ah, what the heck. Prepare for the best waking up with amnesia, part of a government experiment, post-apocalyptic and slightly more character-oriented sci-fi chiller ever on these forums! Probably shouldn't be too hard, seeing as how it'll be the only one.

oddguy 10-25-2003 02:25 AM

Has anyone in the OWF community ever been published? Just wondering. I know we have some great writers here.

-oddguy

Teal 10-27-2003 10:58 AM

My one tip is this:

Do not force yourself to write. You should be able to feel the characters, get under their skin and see out through their eyes, feel what they feel.

(They say "show not tell" but I have yet to get a handle on what they mean by this, exactly - I know what they mean, I just don't see how it's different)

"The dilemma I'm getting at here is, do I want to be totally, brutally honest about emotions and character flaws at the risk of sounding, I dunno, stupid? "

- if you don't try, you'll never get practice. If you don't get practice, your work will remain trite and oversentimental (I don't mean you per se, I mean "one" but that sounds pretentious). Don't worry about sounding stupid, as you won't think you're stupid at the time, it'll be the greatest piece of writing you've ever produced when you first write it. It's only when you come to read over a year or two later you'll think "oh god did I really write that?"
For instance:

Quote:

   Jenna Silverclaw was a pitiful sight. She lay propped up on pillows, her slightly greying fur looking even more unhealthy of late. Katrina walked over, trembling - she didn't want her to die, not yet, not ever...!
   "Mother..." She took one of her mother's dark brown hands in her own, and knelt beside the bed, shivering, afraid.
   The red-furred Vul smiled. "Hello, Katrina. So I get to see you one more time..."
That there I wrote a little over two, three years ago, I think. It makes me cringe to read it, now, and I cringe to post it, but I guess it illustrates things nicely. To write emotions you don't need to think of exotic words to say "sad", instead you let the reader know how the person feels - describe their actual physical feelings as much as anything, make it easier for a reader to empathise with the character. I know some people don't like that style of writing (they like to be "told", as in plain old "Janet was scared" rather than something like "the fear gripped her suddenly, pulled itself close on her racing heart, and for a few seconds time was at a standstill, frozen into immobility, as she and the... the creature... saw each other in the low lighting" - okay, that was crap, but you get the idea), but I think they're a minority, so far as I've managed to gather.

As an aside:

"Has anyone in the OWF community ever been published? Just wondering. I know we have some great writers here."

- ultimately I'd like to be, but I don't think my writing's good enough yet. Pfft for picky publishers.

nads 11-18-2003 06:44 PM

Can someone give me some plots or stuff. I'd love to write a story.

Adder 11-25-2003 07:07 PM

Plots....

Um....

That's a bit tricky. The only one I thought of that can be re-used was walking up in a forest and trying to remember why your there (in my case, I was following my girlfreind who decided to leave without saying why {total fiction of course!}).

But you'd be best to try and think of a character or a strange situation.
Heck, even how to deal with an overwhelming emotion. You just have to pick anything and see where it goes. They looking at some pic.s people post. That's where I came up with a rough Idea for a story, but I could only make it a conversation.(Thank you 'Slate' for howling at the moon {Moonsong by Teal})

Kesiah 11-26-2003 02:39 AM

Hmmmm.
I'd actually be more inclinded to say 'Don't write everything that's happening'. Sure you need to describe somethings, but if you describe everything, then your story will drag a lot.
For example; I might say somthing like this:

'Kesiah sat in the centre of the room. Her Yami, a younger girl of about 14, with blonde hair to her shoulders, pale blue eyes and pale, creamy skin, sat a little to her left, about two steps behind and to the side.
"When do you think she will get here?" Anna, as that was the name of Kesiah's Yami, said.'

Conpared to:
'Kesiah sat in the centre of the room, alone excepting the presence of her Yami.
"When do you think she will get here?" Kesiah's Yami asked. Kes recalled her name to be Anna, and that she was the younger of the two, but little else.'

So, while you describe less of the surroundings, you sort of learn more about the characters, by seeing what is important to the characters, through what they notice. Not many people would notice every little detail of a room, unless it is for a really good reason. So you can only mention things that are important to the character you are writing about.

And that was me raving on while pretending to be a good writer... But hey, I learned from it, even if you guys didn't. ^.^

Mac the Janitor 11-26-2003 11:33 AM

Always make sure you have at least a couple chapters devoted to character development. If you want to create emotions in your readers, you must first make them care about the character. Show his or her personality traits, trials and tribulations, you know...the good stuff. Just make sure the reader feels as if they really know this character, and they care about it. Your plot will be much more effective, and your story will be more successful.

oddguy 11-26-2003 05:12 PM

Mac is right. Character devolopment is essential to a good story. You have to make the readers fall in love with your characters. Once you capture the reader with your loveable characters, it's fun to torment them a bit. Make a horrible event happen to one of them. :devil:

-oddguy:fuzcool:

TheRaisin 11-26-2003 05:52 PM

In response to Kesiah's post:

Good point. Even if you could get through three chapters doing that, no one would be left reading it. The only exception is if you want to set the stage for some really specific action. If the action is dependent on the exact positions of various characters, objects, etc., you should get pretty specific.

Jacob 03-14-2004 02:01 PM

I'd say not to make the characters too cliché. Don't make the bad guys so bad that its obvious they're bad...as it were. And the same goes for the good guys.

Also, try not to advance your story too fast in your head. I've done that and i already know how all my characters [even the ones not introduced yet] stories are going to end.

Write ideas down, i don't do this and i hate myself for not doing so. I always think up good ideas, fall asleep, and forget everything.

If you have a group of characters for your fic and you are progressing nicely with their stories, keep with them and finish them off. I've introduced tonnes of new characters over the past months and this means tonnes of thinking on how their stories are going to progress. I'm sure some people who have read some of my other fics will realise how towards the end the stories have become sub-par [The assassins story, 'Freedom' or Alexie's].

Make the fights good, i still haven't mastered this, but i think my most favourite fight in all my fics is when Midian is killed and Alexie beats up Iraxx. This is just my personal favourite, even though it is quite sub-par.

I just have a question which revolves when introducing a character thats well known, do you always have to describe what they're wearing? I always do, but i sometimes feel this could be tedious. Any opions/answers would be appreciated.

Adder 03-15-2004 08:16 AM

I know what you mean Jacob, but I had the reverse problem.

I know where my characters are now, when the stories take place, but I've no idea of their past.

So I'm trying to work out the past of each character, and since I know their personality I'm trying to work out how it was moulded.

I also have no ideas what the stories will be, but I guess if I write down ideas I'll tease them out

Teal 03-18-2004 05:29 AM

Quote:

I just have a question which revolves when introducing a character thats well known, do you always have to describe what they're wearing? I always do, but i sometimes feel this could be tedious. Any opions/answers would be appreciated.
I rarely describe what they're wearing unless it's vaguely important. For instance, one species I'm developing have pretty "defined" fashions, and I like readers to know the sort of thing they tend to wear, but then I rarely write more than a sentence or so. I just let the reader make up his or her mind about clothing, since it's rarely pivotal to the plot whether they're wearing jeans and a tee-shirt or a Gucci suit.

Havoc 03-18-2004 08:27 AM

Since im just enterng the topic il just pas my fairy (odd :fuzconf: why did I put this here?) opinion as an avarage writer.

Quote:

How the heck do I write a good fighting scene?
I think this one is about ansersd by now :fuzgrin: .



Quote:

The dilemma I'm getting at here is, do I want to be totally, brutally honest about emotions and character flaws at the risk of sounding, I dunno, stupid? Are the forums ready for something like this? Or should I stick to what I know, hard-core sci-fi focusing on action and plot?

When your writing a story you should'nt involve yourself in the story. If your character cries, it cries. Thats not your fault (well... ok your writing the story...) and when it shows such an emotion that you need to write a scene: (lets say someone is crying again) His tears tubled down is cheek like rain drops on a window. He looked at bob and he cried even more. (blablabla, more of the same, you get the point I think). Point is that you should not leave thing out just becouse you think other ppl will think you sound stupid. Its your own writing style and if the character feels that way... thats not your fault (again though, your writing the story).


Quote:

Has anyone in the OWF community ever been published? Just wondering. I know we have some great writers here.
Well I got close, the publishers thought my writing style was pretty good. But the story... sjeez it sucked (also in my opinion, but you can always try)


Quote:

Can someone give me some plots or stuff. I'd love to write a story.
Try working out a personal fantasy of yours (no not the one with the girls across the street, I mean a normal fantasy). Thats what I did with my first 'novel' I meantioned above.
Im totaly tiger crazy and I always had the fantasy to have my own tiger. But since that is (probably) never gonna happan I just made someone els experience it for me. It was about this boy going on a summer camp and there he finds a tiger that escaped a nearby circus. It seems at that moment that tiger (Blizz - copyright to me) was the best trained tiger on the world and it would listnen like a puppy.
As the story proceeded we learned the father of the main character was in the army and eventualy got in trouble.
There ofcourse the mian character and the tiger where of to help him and his army team to get out of the trouble. Al this ofcourse was to much cliche for a treu story and it was more a story to try my skilz then writing a real novel. For the sake of fun I wrote a suecual but this time Lions where the main subject.

At this moment Im writing a novel with the same character, but this time the story is way better. Not gonna tell it to you guys though, you might steal it and make money over it :fuzsmile: :fuzwink: :sleepy: . J/K.


Quote:

I just have a question which revolves when introducing a character thats well known, do you always have to describe what they're wearing? I always do, but i sometimes feel this could be tedious. Any opions/answers would be appreciated.

When starting a story I tend to leave it to a reader to get an idea how the character looks like. Troughout the first few chapters you get an idea how they look like.

When then later in the story he re-enters you could just keep it small for instance with a character who has a leather jacket, jeans, sport shoes, sun glasses and a black shirt, you could smal it down to this since the reader already know the outfit:

"As he entert the room he took of his sun glasses and looked around. Then he tapped some sand of his jacket."

Clothing is part of a characters personality. Don't forget it!

---

Okay, when I think of more stuff or tips il let you guys know!

Teal 03-19-2004 02:47 AM

Quote:

When your writing a story you should'nt involve yourself in the story. If your character cries, it cries.
I would have to disgree absolutely with this entire point in its entirety. ;) (No offence intended, Havoc) Unless you can get into a characters skin and FEEL what they would in a situation, there is no way you're going to flesh a character out in such a way that your reader will be able to empathise with them. I'd never claim to be the best writer in the world, but I realise that to get FEELING into your work, you need to BECOME the character, very nearly. I can't write particular characters unless I can get into their skin and see out of their eyes, since it'll just feel false to me, and false to anyone else reading it.

Quote:

Well I got close, the publishers thought my writing style was pretty good.
*interested* Do you have any you could upload? I'm just interested in getting ideas from anyone that publishers haven't outright rejected to try to improve my own stuff. ;)

-----

As a few general pointers I try to keep to...

DON'T put colloquialisms in UNLESS your characters are supposed to be American/British/Outer Mongolian. For instance, most of my characters are supposed to be aliens, with their own mannerisms and slang and ways of speaking, and for a Kiravai (who are supposed to be rather snooty and precise in their speech) to suddenly come out with "Aw jeeze, man, gimme a break here" would read as... well, wrong. You'd think "why the hell has he just turned {insert nationality}?" If in doubt, don't use slang.

And grammar is your friend, yesindeed! You won't have a hope in hell of getting a story anywhere if you don't know about grammatical structuring. If you want something published but your grammar is a bit wonky, get someone to proof-read it for you (and I don't mean your schoolmate Bob, I mean a professional copy-editor).

And just to come back to one of Havoc's posts... personal fantasies/dreams are a good idea to start with, but try not to go for fanfiction if you do. ;) If, for instance, it is your dream to star in your favourite television show, then fine - but you run the risk of becoming a Mary-Sue, typically the most loathed character in all fanfiction. ;) Since naturally you want to be popular, so suddenly the entire cast must all be friends with you, and you want to be good at stuff, so you're good at everything (like you're a part-time nurse, part-time rocket scientist, part-time aeronautics engineer, etc). And of course, you have to be the hero... And what you end uo with it basically a story that's an ego trip. It's good for practice, and I must confess I'm guilty of writing a fair few of them myself (*blush*) but it doesn't make particularly popular reading for anyone else...

Havoc 03-19-2004 04:55 AM

Quote:

I would have to disgree absolutely with this entire point in its entirety. (No offence intended, Havoc) Unless you can get into a characters skin and FEEL what they would in a situation, there is no way you're going to flesh a character out in such a way that your reader will be able to empathise with them. I'd never claim to be the best writer in the world, but I realise that to get FEELING into your work, you need to BECOME the character, very nearly. I can't write particular characters unless I can get into their skin and see out of their eyes, since it'll just feel false to me, and false to anyone else reading it.
Well what the point I actualy wanted to give was that you shouldnt leave out bits of text vital to the story just becouse other ppl will find it 'written like a softy'. I have about the same feeling though and I realy can't write when someone is watching along, I just dont wanna do that.
But maybe I got to carried away in that little bit making it a bit confusing :).


Quote:

*interested* Do you have any you could upload?
Well... I could upload the entire story if you wanted to, its already on the internet (if i didnt take it off again...), but it wont help you one bit since the intire story is in dutch and im not gonna translate it just for you (no offence ;))
You could take a look at my fan fic: The world of Oddworld. But thats written just as a fan fic... quike and just for fun. So im not putting my back into it as much as I would normaly do. But it might help you in some points.


Quote:

And just to come back to one of Havoc's posts... personal fantasies/dreams are a good idea to start with, but try not to go for fanfiction if you do.

Your right, you shouldnt. But thats not exactly what I did. I just took my basic fantasy being: Im a boy, and I want to be friends with a tiger. Nothing more, nothing less. Then around that, I started figuring out the story.
Where would it take place in order for it to sound realistic? How can I put in some action without losing a main character or making him look bad (that BTW was one of my fatal mistakes I think, my character was to perfect). And how do I show of the characters? BTW, the tiger in the original story (ofcourse) never said a word (which is diffrent in the new version of the story), but even though it did'nt say enything... enyone who read my story always said: AAWWW I like Blizz! THey thought he was realy cute, I liked the compliment. :D

Silversnow 03-19-2004 11:23 AM

Could you explain exactly what a Mary Sue is? Next time someone calls my character that I want to be able to reply.

Sl'askia 03-19-2004 12:03 PM

If I remember right, a Mary-Sue is a character that is so perfect that you want to kill him/her just because of it. In other words: the character is capable of 'anything', all the cast are his/her friends, never gets hurt, and a few other things I forget at the moment. (there was a mary sue test...I'll need to see if I can find it...)

If you remember Spider Silversnow, he was a 'borderline' Mary-sue.

Edit: Here's an quote about Mary-Sue's from -this- site:

"You already know Mary Sue. Mary Sue is the perky, bright, helpful sixteen-year-old ensign who beams about the ship. Everyone on the ship likes Mary Sue, because Mary Sue is good at everything. Mary Sue is an engineer, a doctor in training, a good leader, an excellent cook, and is usually a beautiful singer. Mary Sue often has mental powers that may manifest themselves as telepathy, precognition, or magic. If Mary Sue is very young, she is often the offspring of one or two already established characters. If she's a little older, she will probably end up sleeping with the author's favorite character. Her name is often the author's name, be it a net.name, a favored nickname, or the author's middle name (this is seen in the most famous Mary Sue of all time, Wesley Crusher, who was named after Trek creator Eugene Wesley Roddenbery). By the end of the story, Mary Sue will be in bed with the desired character, will have beamed away amid cheers from all the regulars, or will be dead, usually accompanied by heavy mourning from the cast. The reader, on the other hand, will be celebrating. "

Jacob 03-19-2004 01:00 PM

Rachel, did you get my email, about a month or so back?

Don't tell me to PM her people, because she may have been online for a fleeting moment.

Sl'askia 03-21-2004 08:32 AM

Email? No I haven't to my knowledge. Of course...it depends on what addy you sent it to. The one I used to use (dragonzone) for this place is so full of spam I only go log into it occasionally to clean it out.

Edit: BTW...it is possible that I did 'see' it...but auto deleted because I didn't recognize who it was. I take no chances with email these days...thus it would be better if you PMed me.


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