Writing 101

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Writing 101

Jawa Lo
Vampire
Joined: 19 Apr 2006, 07:39

04 Jul 2007, 18:16 #1

Writing 101

I have had a swarm of PM’s over the past year. In every email I receive, I get an array of various questions ranging from: How do you write? to Can you help me or give me advice?

This thread is going to be a help thread to those writers who want to, but don’t know how to, construct a story with the key elements needed to make it successful. There are a handful of writers who are going to post their advice, as well.

I suppose I should disclaim this: The opinions/advice is my style, how I work, and no one else’s. I am sure everyone has their own rules to follow, but these are mine.

Here we go. I hope this helps.

1. Know your plot from start to finish
This helps eliminate most writers block. It doesn’t mean that you have to know what each paragraph in each chapter should entail. It does help to have a basic outline of where your story is going, a rough image.


2. Define your characters
If your story has an antagonist, know him/her. If your story has a protagonist, other than Sam and Dean, know him/her. Get into the minds of your characters. If Mr. Villain was offered a coffee by the protagonist, how would he respond? The most successful character is one who is well rounded and personified. Make them 3D, not one dimensional.

3. Don’t just assume, know
Don’t just make a character do something on a whim. Make sure that what they do either effects the plot or doesn’t. Don’t make up situations because you think it sounds good. Sit down, think, and go over it in your mind. If having coffee in a chapter is useful, then go for it, but make it sound like it should be there, not that you had nothing to add so you put them in a coffee shop. Really think, why a character would be there, or why they would think a certain thought.

4. Going back to rule three, know your characters quirks and traits before you put them on paper

5. Make situations believable
If your character is either being tortured by the antagonist, or is just hurt, they can’t get up and run as if they’re in perfect condition. I have seen this numerous times, where Sam or Dean has been injured drastically, yet they get up and fight with a broken leg. Doesn’t work, sorry. They need medical attention. Or, if you do decide to go the torture route, make sure your antagonist doesn’t maim them to the point of no return. They are humans, not supermen. Other points of believability that make a fic work: Dean can’t fly, Sam can’t run faster than a car, Sam can’t get stabbed, and then miraculously get up and drive himself to the hospital after writhing in pain for three paragraphs. Get it? Got it? Good.

6. Look deep within yourself and channel your English spirit

Here I am going to go over some common English slips ups.

Disclaimer: These are examples taken from my own work. Please don’t use them in any other way, except to help you. And, please, note that some sentences/paragraphs (especially certain analogies) from my work will not make sense to you because they are from a story that is almost completed. And to the reader’s of Bind, yes, these snippets are from chapters I have not posted.


1) Punctuation in dialogue

Here is the biggest misconception when writing a story—comma usage.

Example one: “Nothing compared to what they are about to do.” He replied. –Wrong. There is no period ending the dialogue.

The correct way it should be written is: “Nothing compared to what they are about to do,” he replied. –A comma is used, and the He becomes he.

Example two: Broken up dialogue. If your character starts to speak, and the said is added in the middle of a sentence, a comma is used to break the dialogue, not a period. Now, if your character finishes their sentence, and then said is added, and then another sentence, a period is used.

Wrong way: “Thank you. Now.” Zen said. “I have to go.”

Correct way: “Thank you. Now,” Zen said, “I have to go.”

Example Three: An action following dialogue.

Wrong way: “Mortal death is too kind a gift for the travesty you caused. A life with a curse, a life without memory, that is the death you should be granted,” She leaned down and brushed her lips against his parched mouth.

Correct way: “Mortal death is too kind a gift for the travesty you caused. A life with a curse, a life without memory, that is the death you should be granted.” She leaned down and brushed her lips against his parched mouth.

A period is used to close the dialogue, and then state the action that follows the speech.

2) The use of “ly” words (And yes, this is the hardest one for me. I am doing it all the time)

Too many “ly” words, such as: quietly, swiftly, nicely, sweetly, hesitantly, they can actually ruin a sentence rather than add effect to it.

Example:

Not necessarily wrong, but the flow is off:

The cold tiles cruelly chilled the side of his face, begging him to give into the icy silence Death had unmercifully licked them with. His vision was blurry, but he could see his hand as it shakily twitched against the floor. Nothing around him seemed to exist, save his bloody fingers as they trembled.

Now, if we scratch some of the “ly” words, let’s see what we get.

The cold tiles cruelly chilled the side of his face, begging him to give into the icy silence Death had unmercifully licked them with. His vision was blurry, but he could see his hand as it shakily twitched against the floor. Nothing around him seemed to exist, save his bloody fingers as they trembled.

Now, finished:

The cold tiles chilled the side of his face, begging him to give into the icy silence Death had licked them with. His vision was blurry, but he could see his hand as it twitched against the floor. Nothing around him seemed to exist, save his bloody fingers as they trembled.

3) Choppy and/or fragmented sentences

The beauty of writing a novel/fanfic, is this rule isn’t as strict, as in, say, you were writing an essay.

Now, to properly move your character, they need to have a fluid motion. How? By making them do more than just stand, sit, walk, eat, and run.

Example:

Zeniff shifted his body, trying to move his arm from under his side. He placed one hand on the tile, and then turned his form. Using what strength he had, he attempted to push his body up. Tremulous arms gave way, unable to hold his beaten figure, and he fell hard to the ground. His fingers moved in a clawed rhythm against the white tiles, his nails barely scraping the smooth surface as they passed.

That paragraph was the original. Say we take away some of the “fluid” parts out of it, and leave it bare, then Zen’s movements become choppy. Like this:

Zeniff shifted his body. He placed on hand on the tile. He attempted to push his body up. His arms gave way. His fingers moved against the tiles.

Now, see, that doesn’t have the same flow or image, which image is very important to a reader. So, when in doubt, make them do a bit more. Don’t have Dean just walk to the bathroom. But beware; don’t overdo it, as well. You can have, “Sam walked through the door.” That is fine, every once in awhile. Don’t make your characters move like they are character in a video game. “Sam walked through the door. Dean looked up, but ignored him. Sam snorted, and then went to sit down on the bed.” See, doesn’t work. And trust me; I have seen it written that way in many fics.

4) Thesauruses are our friends

Please be aware that there is more than one form of a word. There are thousands of words in the dictionary, and at least five different versions of a word you might use to describe something in a sentence.

I have often seen a lot of people write the same word twice in just two sentences. “Dean quickly ran to the Impala. Sam noticed his brother’s urgent sprint, and quickly ran to get to the car, too.”

No. Not even. The “quickly ran” twice is very distracting.

A nice tool – that I often use – is a website: www.dictionary.com Try it out.

5) Description

Description is essential for a reader. It helps them visualize what is going on, and more importantly adds to feelings, settings, and just the story itself.

When you are describing a setting, please say more than there was a white house on the corner and it looked creepy. Does that sound creepy to you? No. Instead, talk about an eerie film of fog that is surrounding the property, or the whitewashed siding that is chipping. Why is it creepy? You might know, but the reader won’t.

A basic rule: Show, don’t tell. Show them why it is creepy; don’t tell them it is creepy.

This rule also applies to characters. Instead of saying your character is nervous—which is fine to do, but not all the time—show them they are nervous.

Mary’s tiny fingers fiddled with the buttons on her coat, her eyes cast down, unable to look into Tom’s angry gaze.

Instead of saying: Tom was angry at Mary, which made her nervous.

Get it? Got it? Good.

6) Words that just don’t work

-Began. Characters don’t really “began” to do something. It is a fumbling word. A reader actually gets distracted by the word began. Simply, take it out.

Example: Sam reached into his jeans pocket and began to pull out his cell phone.

Why not change it, remove began, and see how it flows.

Example: Sam reached into his jeans pocket, his fingers inches from the metal device, when a sudden noise to his left distracted him.

7) Then and Than, Your and You’re, Their, There and They’re

-Then: pertaining to time. Ex: I won first place, and then…

-Than: used as a comparison. Ex: I had no choice other than…

-Your: a form of the possessive case of you used as an attributive adjective. Ex: I like your sweater.

-You’re: the words you and are combined. Ex: I do believe you’re the killer. (Easy way to recognize is to sound it out. I do believe YOU ARE. Then you know it is you’re)

-Their: a form of the possessive case of they. Ex: Someone put their gum on my chair.

-There: a point, place, state of condition. Ex: I was going to go there... Or: There she is!

-They’re: a contraction of they and are. Ex: They’re strange people. (Again, read it aloud. They are strange people, which contracts to they’re)

8) Tenses

If you start a story in past tense, please keep to that tense. And, if you decide to go down the present tense route, it doesn’t really work for third person POV. In third person POV, present tense can be very distracting. Now, if you are writing in first person POV, it flows better.

And again, stick to the tense you start with.

9) AIM chat isn’t how words are written

Yes, I have seen this in stories. Sad, but true. Words that are used in AIM or MSN do not belong in a story. There is no such words in writing like: Thnx, gr8, Y? r, u, and plenty of others.

When a character is saying Oh my God, he is saying exactly what is written, not OMG.

Was isn’t wuz. You’re/your isn’t ur. Oh my God isn’t OMG. You isn’t u.

You get my point.

That is it for the English rules for now. I might think of some later. :)



7. Research your characters, settings, devices

When in doubt, Google. It only takes one person to notice what you wrote—because you didn’t check your sources—is false. Make sure you do proper research into the backgrounds of certain areas, laws, procedures, etc… A doctor doesn’t prescribe “cancer pills” to a patient if they are terminal. It doesn’t hurt to look it up and see.

8. Formatting your chapter

When writing a successful chapter, you have to add detail into it. You can’t have—and, yes, I’ve seen this—a whole chapter full of nothing but dialogue. Items cannot appear out of nowhere.

Example: “Can I help you, Dean?” Sam asked.

“Find anything?” Dean asked.

If your chapter is a full page of that (above), then I’m sorry, it won’t be an interesting chapter.

Add more to it, give them life.

Example:
Dean drew in a long breath, held it, and then exhaled. Hours had passed and Sam was still clicking away the keys on his laptop. His head lolled over to the side, hitting the motel pillow with a soft thud. Dean sighed again, but this time he made sure it was loud enough for Sam to hear.

“Can I help you, Dean?” Sam asked, aggravation laced within his tone.

“Find anything?” Dean asked.

Comparing the first example to the second, the first one is dry, whereas the second example clearly states the characters moods. Do not make a story full of dialogue, it ruins it. Characters are humans—despite the ink that technically makes them letters—they have emotions. Setting the surroundings for your character is very important, as well. Put trees, snow, rain, or a dog, anything around them. Give the reader a scene to picture, not just a voice.

Another great formatting tip is breaking up your paragraphs correctly. I have read several stories where they are one LONG, GIANT paragraph. Find the right moment to break it up. As well, break up your dialogue from your paragraphs. Dialogue is separate.

(Raven524 was kind of enough to let me use her paragraphs in this example. I had used my own, but it was from a chapter that I had not posted yet, and didn’t want to give anything away. The other reason is that her description is perfect to parallel my creepy house analogy from sub-rule five, Description.)

Example: The house was quiet with only the sound of the storm raging outside. The house had been empty for years, which showed in the areas of neglect. The overgrown yard, the rose bushes gone wild long ago. The outside of the house had lost most of its paint over the years, leaving the grey color of the clapboards to reflect the mood of the house. The inside of the house hadn’t faired much better, old wallpaper curled from the ceiling to meet the floor. Furniture covered in white sheets, which had faded with age and neglect. Shadows of the majesty of the house from days gone by could be seen everywhere. But soon that would change…on the night of All Hallows Eve…the house would once again be the site of a celebration. Only that night’s attendees would be in for a little more trick than treat.

Okay, now, find points that can be broken up. This is too long of a paragraph.

Example Two: The house was quiet with only the sound of the storm raging outside. The house had been empty for years, which showed in the areas of neglect. The overgrown yard, the rose bushes gone wild long ago. The outside of the house had lost most of its paint over the years, leaving the grey color of the clapboards to reflect the mood of the house.

The inside of the house hadn’t faired much better, old wallpaper curled from the ceiling to meet the floor. Furniture covered in white sheets, which had faded with age and neglect. Shadows of the majesty of the house from days gone by could be seen everywhere.

But soon that would change…on the night of All Hallows Eve…the house would once again be the site of a celebration. Only that night’s attendees would be in for a little more trick than treat.


The End


--Everything that is written here are rules that I follow, so don’t take them completely to heart. It isn’t meant to offend, it is meant to help. So, if this upsets you, then go look at it again, and you will notice that I have not pointed out a single individual.

I know I am not perfect, and yes, I make mistakes, too. I am a writer who is learning, and is continuing to learn, as well.

Please, please, please every writer on this site, add your own comments and let’s try and help out the writers who want us to guide them. I can name a handful of people that have ten times the writing capacity of me, and would be great mentors. So, get down here and add some stuff.

And, to anyone that has learned or finds this useful, drop a note.

Love!

Lo
<Center>




SN.tv awards '06 Most Creative Writer, Horror/Demon Fic, and tied with Best Flashblack!
2009 SN.tv awards winner for Best Flashback
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Krazee4Dean
Shtriga
Joined: 09 May 2007, 17:03

04 Jul 2007, 19:03 #2

This was definitely useful. I'll try to keep all these things in mind as I keep attempting to write.

Thanks for the tips! I'll be refering back to this from time to time. :)
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lauz
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lauz
Member
Joined: 02 Jul 2007, 03:28

04 Jul 2007, 23:01 #3

Very useful & interesting to read through (good examples!)
Thanks for that =D
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charmed1of2
Demon Hunter
charmed1of2
Demon Hunter
Joined: 01 Jul 2006, 13:26

05 Jul 2007, 04:09 #4

:D I agree with alot of what Lo has said, research is a vital part of a story. In my sequel to The Caverns I had looked up the Waco Texas shootout, I spent hours watching a Jim Jones documentary on how cult members think.

Also, the reader needs to be pulled into the story, to feel what the guys are feeling like they are there themselves

EXAMPLE

Sam sighed and wrapped his arms around himself. The memories of the cave, and seeing Ben crashed through him. He could feel it seeping into his veins, a poison, an evil entity threatening his mind, his sanity.He hugged himself tighter against the cold, pushing his thoughts away.


Rather your enemy is a man, woman, demon etc get into their head so the reader understands why they are doing whatever you have them do


EXAMPLE

Michael watched from a distance, quiet, a predator waiting for his signal. His thoughts went back to the one night that changed his destiny. His father was at the neighborhood bar when his mother started arguing about his spiritual revelations. She believed him to be a sinner, the voice of his God was evil. She came at him to dish out his punishment but to her surprise he was prepared, for his Lord had told him in advance what he needed to do. The look of utter surprise in his mother's dead eyes as she lay sprawled on the basement floor, her body twisted and broken still made him smile.He had left that night, moving from place to place gathering his followers.


A similar price had been paid at the compound. He was the holy one, the one blessed with God's words. Rather man, woman or child if they lost their way and left the outer walls of their sacred place to reside with the unholy, or talked with authorities were hunt down and brought back. They were put in a pit and stoned to death by the others. His God demanded this of him, the betrayers were to be examples, the sacrificial lambs. They failed to uphold the compounds trust, to deceive and disclose secrets were viewed as death verdicts for he was the judge and jury for all.He looked at the brothers through his scope, he was ready to do his role in his Lord's plans.


What Lo has said about detail, descriptions are very very important, I am not perfect by no means , I make errors we all do, we are human afterall.



Also, I don't mind doing a beta job for someone but please i will not write your whole chapter for you, also I have people giving out my email telling friends I will beta for them, sorry but you will get it back unless you pm me first, thanks




About the guys, many of us write with the sn disks playing in the background so we can watch the way the guys move, facial expressions, the way they walk etc. This might help you get in the right frame of mind to get your chapter done



Well thats all for now lol I'm sure I'll have more when my brain is functioning better lol


Luvs

LORRIE :evil :fire


My requested banner made by Steff's daughter Bex. Awesome job hun.
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Ged
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Ged
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Joined: 26 Sep 2006, 01:41

05 Jul 2007, 06:32 #5

I read this topic with interest and feel there is a lot of merit in it. As a reader of some fan fiction - good, bad and appalling - I wanted to add my personal input.

Firstly, I have not yet written any SN fan fiction. I tend to write fan fiction when I am dissatisfied with the direction of a show and, so far, that is not the case with Supernatural. However, I have written fan fiction about other series, most recently the OC, when that show was spiraling to its death. I think some of those are still up at fanfiction.net, if anyone is interested.

I have a few pet peeves when it comes to writing in general, and fan fiction in particular.

Write for yourself. You are not being paid for your passion, so do not write for your audience, whoever you perceive them to be. Your work must be a product of your enthusiasm and your own imagination. It is not a tool that can – or should – be turned on and off at the whim of others. Keep it real and keep it personal to ensure your batteries last!

Write from experience. While research is imperative, it also helps tremendously to write about what you know. In the SN universe (unless you yourself are a hunter of supernatural beings) this does not pertain to the main story arc in which Dean and/or Sam will be battling the forces of evil. Telling that story requires as much imagination as it does skill. No, what I mean is do not place your characters in a situation that you either cannot imagine (the fantasy of hunting the supernatural), or have not experienced (swigging whiskey, smoking, having sex, waking up with a god-awful hangover.) Do not rely on cliché to describe scenes that you have not seen (smoke-filled bar, dark alleyway, dilapidated house) or sensed (the weight of a handgun or rifle, the slickness and smell of blood, the feel and smell of a woman -or man - if describing a sex scene, the sound of a gunshot, the pain of loss and of regret). Your readers must feel what you feel and see what you see. If they don’t, you have failed.

Maintain your own style. Everyone writes differently and uses different methods to depict their story. For instance, if I can’t ‘see’ the scene, if it doesn’t feel right, then I abandon it. This is particularly relevant for any fan fiction writing I do because, as I am writing about characters belonging to a visual medium like TV, any scenes must be as visual as they are verbal. This, however, is my style and does not pertain to all writers. But, whatever your style, whatever methods you use to write your stories, stick to it and allow it to develop.

Write characters in character. Do not compose a work of fiction in which Dean or Sam are behaving in ways that are contrary to their established natures. That is not to say you cannot focus on a particular trait and use that as your starting point, but don’t have Dean happily settled down with a kid on the way, or Sam indulging in a ménage a trios. Every action and every word within every scene must ring true. Remember, these characters are not yours. You are simply ‘borrowing’ them and, like all things lent, they must be returned unbroken.

Which leads me to my next point:

Alternate Universe fiction. I am not a fan of this genre, for all the reasons stated above. To my mind, if you are going to write an AU, then you may as well invent your own characters rather than steal someone else’s and place them in situations outside their authentic realm.

For example, in WIAWSNB, Kripke explored the possibility of an AU for Dean. But it was still done within the premise of the show and was a fitting insight into Dean’s hopes and dreams that we have seen develop over the last two years. It was not simply a whimsical tale of ‘what if?’ and had direct bearing on his growth and his acceptance of his life’s direction. Hence, it worked.

Don’t be lazy. Check your own work. I do not believe in beta-reading, but that is just my opinion. If you can’t be bothered to edit your own work, then stop writing. You cannot learn if you don’t make mistakes, and you cannot improve by having others correct them for you. By all means, seek people’s opinions about the direction of your story or, if you’re unsure about posting and receiving public ridicule, then ask someone to read it and give their opinion first. But do not expect others to correct your grammatical errors and suggest more appropriate settings or characterization. People have their own lives and are probably too busy penning their own fiction to give you their full attention. Either it’s your story, or it isn’t.

Take your time. Your audience is going nowhere. They are waiting to read whatever you write, but you can be sure they won’t come back for seconds if the first helping is not to their liking. Do not rush the story and do not be too hasty to post it. And, just when you think you’ve finished, you haven’t. Go back and read it. Then read it again. If you’re bored by all this reading, then you can be sure your readers will be too. Make changes. Correct your mistakes.

Do not be precious about your work. Firstly, the characters and the story do not belong to you. Only the language is yours and it is what you do with it that will determine if you are a good writer, or a great one. Do not be afraid to start again. If a story is not going in the direction you hoped, scrap it. Don’t post second-rate work just because you can’t be bothered to make it better.

Do not fear critique. It is your friend and will guide you in a better direction. By the same token, do not accept gushing praise without questioning its merit. A good critique will give credit where it is due, but should also make you question the direction of your story, your characters and your use of language. This is called feed-back. ‘WOW! THAT WAS FAB! MORE! MORE! MORE!’ does not cut it. And you have every right to ask for more detailed responses if you feel it is warranted.


Just a nitpick to add to the grammatical Do & Don’t list:
Use pronouns (including relative pronouns) correctly. For instance, it is not ‘I am a person that …’ but ‘I am a person who …’

Edited to add: Oh, and regarding the Thesaurus, I agree it is a vey useful tool. But be wary of overusing it. Do not pluck a word from the list of synonyms without first understanding its meaning and its relevance to the context in which you intend to use it. The meaning of words, and their appropriateness, can vary widely according to context. So make sure you keep a dictionary handy too.

Also, read, read, read! You cannot possibly improve your vocabulary and language skills if you do not read. Read anything. By anyone. About any subject.
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Jawa Lo
Vampire
Joined: 19 Apr 2006, 07:39

05 Jul 2007, 07:05 #6

Thank you, Ged. Everything you wrote was wonderful! There were a lot of categories I wanted to add, but for the sake of the length and hogging all of the topics, I refrained.

I know I am not the most qualified person to give advice, but it means a lot to me that you find merit within this topic. Thank you.

And, you made me catch my biggest grammar flaw, I am constantly doing that. Ha!

I opened a writing café, as well. I hope, possibly, maybe, it can become a place for what you had mentioned – critique. I find critique very useful when writing, as long as it is honest, which is my goal in the “Writing Café”.

I do disagree with you on the beta issue, but again – as you stated clearly – it was an opinion, and I respect it. But, even Anne Rice has an editor. :)

Please continue to add more to the topic when new ones come to mind. Again, thank you.

And, Lorrie, thank you so much for adding your voice to this topic, it is much appreciated.
<Center>




SN.tv awards '06 Most Creative Writer, Horror/Demon Fic, and tied with Best Flashblack!
2009 SN.tv awards winner for Best Flashback
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Ged
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Ged
Member
Joined: 26 Sep 2006, 01:41

05 Jul 2007, 07:17 #7

penguita38 @ Jul 5 2007, 07:05 AM wrote: And, you made me catch my biggest grammar flaw, I am constantly doing that. Ha!

I do disagree with you on the beta issue, but again – as you stated clearly – it was an opinion, and I respect it. But, even Anne Rice has an editor. :)
Hey penguita38. As I said, great idea. There should be more of this around the traps.

I was wondering if you would pick up that hint about the pronouns. Tried to be as discreet as possible! B)

Re Anne Rice, I see your point. And agree. But an editor is getting paid to do his or her job so that the author can get paid for their efforts. While beta'ing is a voluntary version of that, it is not the same thing and often those who beta other people's work are simply not qualified to do so - certainly no more qualified than the writer. I think self-editing for fan fiction is a must because it makes you take a good long look at your work. It requires self-discipline , patience and dedication - all traits that will stand any writer in good stead.

That said, kudos to any beta readers out there who can stand to sift through all the muck and bottle something that is pure and clean! I know I couldn't do it.

Cheers,
Ged

PS - I'll check out the cafe. Sounds like another good idea.
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catchme21
Scarecrow
Joined: 02 Sep 2006, 05:06

05 Jul 2007, 07:59 #8

Wow...awesome thread.

Lo's #5 is what I have problems with. Because my writing is so chunked out, and I don't have time to sit and write long chapters at one time, I often forget that I've harmed one of my characters and don't remember it until its too late. Like in WoC...I had Sam beat the crap out of Dean...and I have forgotten to write in those injuries as I went. Dean took care of himself...then nothing haha.

So if you write like me, it doesn't hurt to make sure you point it out on your timeline, or that you go back and reread what you've just done. It's something I really need to work on haha.

Thanks for starting this Lo!! I really think it could help with those of us that are sometimes frustrated with the way things are going, and those that are just plain frustrated.

Rock on,
Kris

Ah yes...and Ged?
Ged wrote:If you can’t be bothered to edit your own work, then stop writing. You cannot learn if you don’t make mistakes, and you cannot improve by having others correct them for you.
Sometimes it helps to have a second eye. :) While I don't use a beta myself, I often have friends quickly read it over.

Then again, everyone should check over their own work and not solely depend on the beta (hence the second eye lol). Reading over your own work three or four times really helps, and you'll be amazed with what you can catch.

Happy writing!!

This Isn't Where I Parked My Car

#2 in Supernatural Freaks United (SNFU)
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Jawa Lo
Vampire
Joined: 19 Apr 2006, 07:39

05 Jul 2007, 08:00 #9

:lol: I agree with you, some betas are definitely not qualified, but you take what you can get in the free writing world, I suppose. :)

Keep the advice coming, Ged. :D

ETA: Not a problem, Kristen. Ha! A timeline may be a good thing. But, as I stated, we are all learning and no one is perfect. I love your writing, Kris, and I appreciate the advice you've given.
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SN.tv awards '06 Most Creative Writer, Horror/Demon Fic, and tied with Best Flashblack!
2009 SN.tv awards winner for Best Flashback
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qsmkitten
Vampire
Joined: 22 May 2006, 10:25

05 Jul 2007, 08:23 #10

WOW major help there even I found some areas already that I could map out better with my writing.

All I can add right now is that when I have written in the past I felt that I was rushed and when I was rushed I forgot important things and that I could have added more description. When I started up a new story I decided to write out most of it and because I took my time I have noticed that I felt more confident with not having the pressure to finish it and acutally enjoy it.

With my first story I was rushing to finish it because I was so nerved by it and just wanted to get it over with. Writing stories is about having fun and letting others enjoy what you like to do. If you dont like it to where you just want it done then you only disapoint yourself knowing you could have done a better job.

And like LO said research is your best friend it doesnt hurt to pull up google to find out something to help make your story more indepth.

Although everything I just said was purely on my own experience so feel free to ignore me.

Steff





BE HAPPY AND I'LL ALWAYS LOVE YOU. IN MEMORY OF SCOOTER. 1992-August, 2008.
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catchme21
Scarecrow
Joined: 02 Sep 2006, 05:06

05 Jul 2007, 08:29 #11

The research thing is an awesome thing to do.

Just one question...if you have a made-up creature (my Oden really isn't a demon...just a name I pulled out of my a** to make my own brand of demons) is that ok? Lol...not sure if anyone has actually Googled "Oden" or not...I know I haven't...God knows what will come up...

The Lo loves my writing...lol...love yours too girl!!

Loves,
kris

This Isn't Where I Parked My Car

#2 in Supernatural Freaks United (SNFU)
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Jawa Lo
Vampire
Joined: 19 Apr 2006, 07:39

05 Jul 2007, 08:38 #12

catchme21 @ Jul 5 2007, 08:29 AM wrote: The research thing is an awesome thing to do.

Just one question...if you have a made-up creature (my Oden really isn't a demon...just a name I pulled out of my a** to make my own brand of demons) is that ok?  Lol...not sure if anyone has actually Googled "Oden" or not...I know I haven't...God knows what will come up...

The Lo loves my writing...lol...love yours too girl!!

Loves,
kris
If you make up a character, or even a demon, make sure you portray the creature to a point of believability, where no one will question the validity of your antagonist. Really map him/her out in your head, and to me, if you do that, you would have created a well-rounded character that everyone will love.

Just make sure you know your characters weaknesses, strengths, traits, etc. If you don’t, then it is a character that’ll fail.

This is my opinion, Kristen. I’m not sure how others may view it. I believe it is okay to make up your own character, even if it is a demon, as long as you put forth the effort to make the individual come to life on paper.

And, of course I love you writing, silly.
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Raven524
Winchester
Raven524
Winchester
Joined: 03 Jul 2006, 20:42

05 Jul 2007, 08:45 #13

This is really a wonderful idea!

I agree with what others have said so far but thought I'd add a few items to the list as well. I also am not an expert writer and do make mistakes! So I guess I'd preface this by using the old addage: Do as I say, not as I do! :rotfl

In the Proper Usage of English Category, here are a couple of things you should consider:

1) Apostrophe Usage: An apostophy should be used anytime you want to show ownership of something.

Example: Wrong Way: I hate my brothers shoes.

Right Way: I hate my brother's shoes

In the first part of the example, you are telling the reader that there is more than one brother and you hate all of their shoes.

2) It's, Its and Let's: Once again this sort of an apostrophe use issue, but also pertains to the correct usage of the words. You need to use an apostrophe if the word is really a contraction. It's should be used when you mean it is in the sentence.

Example: It's going to rain.

If you want to show possession, then you need to use its without an apostrophe.

Example: The arrow pierced its arm just above the elbow.

Finally, the word let's is a contraction for let us and should always have an apostrophe.

Example: Let's get the gun from the car before we leave the hotel.

3) Use of Numbers and Symbols: If you are using a number under one hundred, it should be spelled out in the sentence. The exception to this rule is if the number represents an address.

Example: Wrong Way: Dean counted 10 bullets on the floor.

Right Way: Dean counted ten bullets on the floor.

Right Way: Sam stood outside room number 15 of Rock Harbor Motel.

Right Way: Dean parked the car in front of the house located at 50 Mockingbird Lane.

Also refrain from using certain symbols, it detracts from the flow of writing. Percent, cents, and dollars should be spelled out in the sentence.

Example: Wrong Way: Sam still didn't feel 100 %.

Right Way: Sam still didn't feel one hundred percent.

As a side note, some sites will translate the characters or symbols into something else due to coding, so it's better to spell them out rather than having to edit them later on.


Now leaving common mistakes in English usage, here are a few words of advice. Once again, this is from my point of view and of course is based on my style of writing. But I hope it will help some of you as you begin to or continue to develop your own style of writing.

1) Have Fun! Fan Fiction writing should be an enjoyable experience for the writer. If you are having fun, odds are your readers will benefit from the joy you feel in writing. If you feel like you are forcing yourself to write, then it will come through in your writing. Don't worry about how often other authors update or how many stories they have written. You set your own pace, the only one you have to compete against is yourself.

2) Story and Character Development: I agree whole heartedly with what has been said before regarding having well thought out plots and characters in a story. Even the villian whether it's supernatural or human should have a background or story that drives what they do. When I begin a new story, I create a physical outline that includes the following:


Location(s) for the Story: Include a name and description of the location. It's great if you can use places that you have actually seen. But if not, use google and get an idea of what the terrain is like. If you've never been to Ohio, look at a map before you decide to have Sam and Dean take a dip in the ocean or climb a mountain. The more details you can provide, the better it will be for your readers. Also, if you are creating an imaginary city within a state that's fine. But you still need to know if the state has a desert or thick forests.

Evil Character(s) Description: Include Name, type of character (ie vampire, demon, etc.), physical description and either a backstory of why the character is the way he/she is or the mythology that applies for the supernatural being you have selected. For example, if you have a vampire in your story, will they burn up in sunlight or just get sunburns? How can they be destroyed, a stake through the heart or beheading? As you are developing your version of the mythology, make sure that it is believable and if necessary provide a reason why your vampire can only be killed with a silver bullet on the fourth Sunday of each month.

Good Character(s) Description: Obviously you should not have to do much for Sam and Dean. But if you are using other characters to help them, you will need to do the same as above. Basically, if the character is not well defined or does not exist on the television show, then you should take the time to make a quick outline. It is also a good idea to review your character outline as it relates to your over all story. If a character does not make sense or does not add anything to your story, then don't use him/her.

Plot Summary: Here I normally outline the main story idea, key points that I want to include in the story and how the story will end. Yes, I know many FanFic writers begin a story and get lost because they never thought about where the story would end. Most people would not go on a trip unless they knew where they were going. The same logic should be used when writing, if you don't know where you are going, stay home.

Research Notes: Yes, I do research when writing. Here is where I put down notes relevant to the story. For example in Fire Exit, the stone I am using actually exists. I researched to find out the properties of the stone and a description of it.


If you take the extra time to fill in this type of outline, it will make writing your story easier and also help you with consistency. There are other outline formats, this is the one that I use. The bottom line, do some work before posting your first chapter. It will make it more enjoyable for both you and your readers.

3) Ask Questions! When writing, you should always be asking yourself "why". If Sam is in bed with a woman or Dean is being tortured by a demon there should be a reason. Too many times I have read Fan Fiction where the author has Sam and Dean jumping from one bed to another with various women, but it has nothing to do with the plot of the story. While most of us would love to be the lucky woman in this situation, there should still be a reason for the action.

The same is true when using torture or injuring the boys. If you have Sam being tortured, then their should be a reason for it. If Sam asks "why are you doing this to me?" You should be able to answer. Unfortunately, sometimes authors get lost in hurting the boys and lose track of the story. If each chapter in your story is just one more way of hurting the boys and in the end, there is no logic as to why it was being done, the reader is left feeling like something is missing.

Asking questions can also help if you are stuck. Lets say you have written the story to the point where Sam has been in a coma. If you're not sure where to go next, ask yourself what would happen next? Will Sam be affected by the coma? What will Dean be thinking or doing? How will this affect the main plot and/or evil character?

Sometimes by just asking yourself questions, you can get yourself back on track.


I really encourage people to contribute to this thread, it can become a valuable tool to help all of us as we continue to improve our writing skills. :wub:

Thanks to Xlozx for the Awesome Banner and Avi!


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Raven524
Winchester
Raven524
Winchester
Joined: 03 Jul 2006, 20:42

05 Jul 2007, 08:57 #14

The research thing is an awesome thing to do.

Just one question...if you have a made-up creature (my Oden really isn't a demon...just a name I pulled out of my a** to make my own brand of demons) is that ok? Lol...not sure if anyone has actually Googled "Oden" or not...I know I haven't...God knows what will come up...
Well of course, now that you brought it up...I just had to Google the name. It's the name of a type of Japanese winter dish. :rotfl So now that I have that out of my system.

I agree with Lo on this, as long as you develop the character...the name really shouldn't matter. But then anyone who can develop a gargoyle into a heroic figure, shouldn't have any problems in my book !;)

:wub:

Thanks to Xlozx for the Awesome Banner and Avi!


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catchme21
Scarecrow
Joined: 02 Sep 2006, 05:06

05 Jul 2007, 08:59 #15

THANK YOU ROBIN...

Lol...
Robin wrote:2) It's, Its and Let's: Once again this sort of an apostrophe use issue, but also pertains to the correct usage of the words. You need to use an apostrophe if the word is really a contraction. It's should be used when you mean it is in the sentence.

Example: It's going to rain.

If you want to show possession, then you need to use its without an apostrophe.

Example: The arrow pierced its arm just above the elbow.
I hate using "its" or "it's"...just when I think I've got it right Word shoots me down!! Lol...

Cuz you think about it, you always want to use an apostrophe when showing possession..."Dean's car"...oh I hate it!! Lol. So thanks...maybe I'll finally get it down pat.

Loves,
kris

This Isn't Where I Parked My Car

#2 in Supernatural Freaks United (SNFU)
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