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Old 10-27-2003, 11:58 AM
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Teal Teal is offline
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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.
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