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The Workshop - Tips, Tricks, and Theory

145679

Posts

  • ZybulZybul Registered User
    edited June 2009
    I found taking a writing class (composed of fiction/poem/script/your choice sections) was incredibly helpful for me - the deadlines were the swift kick in the pants I needed, and having people read your work who aren't your target audience is never a bad thing. I realized quite quickly that while I maybe somewhat talented as a writer, I had some serious short comings to confront and got exposed (and gain an appreciation) for genres and styles I never would've voluntarily explored.

  • res0nationres0nation Registered User
    edited August 2009
    Chronos21 wrote: »
    Klingons most definitely had all manner of projectile weapons. They just preferred melee as a matter of honour.

    I find it difficult to believe in a world without projectile weapons. Basically, they'd have to have never discovered any explosive materials, which is unlikely. The only way to do a world without that kind of technology is to go the Final Fantasy route, and make your reader know it's all going to be completely absurd anyways.

    Check out Japan. They invented firearms before the Americans showed up, but it usurped the purpose of the Warrior Caste... who also made the decisions. They spent their entire lives training with swords. The idea of a peasant being able to just shoot a guy in full armor was too much. So they eliminated them until outsiders showed up with cannons and they realized they couldn't be isolationist anymore. But the interim was a couple hundred years.

    Strong social order can trump technological progress. There have also been situations in which societies have regressed technologically. Tasmanian Aboriginals migrated there with tools to make fire and somehow the knowledge was lost.

  • The Dark HillbillyThe Dark Hillbilly Registered User
    edited September 2009
    It seems like there have been many novels or short stories that negated firearms in one way or the other. Some examples I've seen and liked were:
    • The Force Fields that disable weapons in "The Forever War"
    • Guns being rare, nobility controlled items in "The Gunslinger"
    • Ammunition being in short supply, like pretty much any post apocalyptic story.

    There was also a science fiction series where some sort of Techno Disaster made electrical items and gunpowder inoperative. Everyone was swinging swords within a short period of time.

  • The Dark HillbillyThe Dark Hillbilly Registered User
    edited September 2009
    I really like Ficly. Thanks to the many people who have it linked.

  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I just realized that I never posted a link to the Octoberfest NaNoWriMo prep stuff here. Hopefully it will be of use to some people.

  • HorseshoeHorseshoe Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Thanks for linking that Quoth, I think I am actually going to try and get back into writing this year... do a few warmups in October and see if I can get myself motivated for a November Novel.

    dmsigsmallek3.jpg
  • AmaliaAmalia AuthorFace Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    I think the key to improving and mastering your writing is this:

    Write DAILY.

    Every day, set time aside to write. Creatively. Exercise the part of your brain that wants to write every day. Don't wait for inspiration to strike, and only write in those rare moments. Writing is a discipline, and when you've gotten it trained and developed the habit to write daily, you'll be amazed at the difference it makes. I know I was.

    And yeah, I know it's easier said than done. It took me 7 years to get to the point where I had disciplined myself to that level, but it's SO WORTH IT. This is why I love Nanowrimo, because it gets you into the habit, or reinforces a habit your might be trying to develop.

    Sometimes I blog. Other times I tweet. But I'm always writing. (and so is that other Amalia)

    Give the Gift of Thor! Or maybe you'd be interested in that Orc Book I wrote.
  • LuxLux Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Is this the thread for random problems/wonderings that we have?

    Because I'm having trouble deciding if my style of writing is a problem. I feel like I might be getting too bogged down in the details of actions when I tell a story, instead of just a minimalist approach that I see in a lot of writing I love. When I write and read, I have a very clear image of what's happening, so whenever I'm inventing something I can't help but include a lot of little actions.

    So I'll write something like:
    "I'm home, hon," yells Darren up the stairs. I hear the soft clapping of slippers, and a woman appears from around the corner. She stops in her tracks when she sees me.
    "Oh," she says. "I didn't know you were bringing company."
    "This is my friend Joel," he says.
    She rushes down the steps to shake my hand, holding her bathrobe closed tightly.
    "Susan," she says as her hand clasps mine.

    Which has a lot of little actions (soft clapping, stopping in tracks, rushing down stairs, holding bathrobe) that aren't important to the story, but relay exactly what happens in the scene. Is that a problem? I don't see that a lot, but those are the images that are in my head when I'm imagining the scene. Are those supposed to be cut?

    For example, I'm reading Joey Comeau's Lockpick Pornography and there's this passage:
    “So it’s an apology present,” I say. At the front door, I reach out and ring the doorbell. No
    answer. We turn our backs to the door like we’re just casually waiting for someone to answer, and we look around the neighborhood.

    Nobody watering their lawns, or staring out their windows at us. We walk around the house. Out back we climb the steps to the deck and Richard lies on his back in the sun while I slide my lockpicks out and get to work.

    “I thought you were supposed to be at work this morning?”I say as I select a pick. Richard laughs.

    Whereas my writer instinct would have described the house, the neighborhood, the side of the house, and what the lockpicks look like. Joey just tells us what a person would relay in a story.

    So, I ask you this: Am I doing it wrong, or is it just a different style?

  • LumeLume Registered User
    edited May 2010
    I don’t know. Maybe it would be different if it was longer, but I’m not seeing a problem with what you wrote.

  • The Dark HillbillyThe Dark Hillbilly Registered User
    edited July 2010
    So, I've got a question for you fine people. I tend to have this habit where I will get stuck on a word when I'm writing. I'll tend to use the word over and over again in my text as I plow through the story. This tends to be something I don't even notice, really, until I've finished the story and I'm proofreading it. I don't tend to think this is a vocabulary issue. I tend to just avoid trying to break out the thesaurus to keep things interesting. I know this tends to be bad when you're reading it. As the word keeps popping up, over and over again, the reader tends to think, "Does this guy know another word?"

    My question is: What exercises do you recommend would help me avoid doing this during my initial drafts? Is it possible or is this something that just gets cleaned up on the second look?

    Also, I hope you noticed what I did there in the first paragraph to illustrate exactly what I'm talking about.

  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Honestly, unless you slow down your writing and start deliberately comparing one sentence to the next, scanning for repeats, I'm not sure what else you can do. That's what the second draft is for: watching out for repeated words or phrases, among other things. Don't feel like your first draft has to avoid this problem because it doesn't. You just have to fix it afterwards.

  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    So, I've got a question for you fine people. I tend to have this habit where I will get stuck on a word when I'm writing. I'll tend to use the word over and over again in my text as I plow through the story. This tends to be something I don't even notice, really, until I've finished the story and I'm proofreading it. I don't tend to think this is a vocabulary issue. I tend to just avoid trying to break out the thesaurus to keep things interesting. I know this tends to be bad when you're reading it. As the word keeps popping up, over and over again, the reader tends to think, "Does this guy know another word?"

    My question is: What exercises do you recommend would help me avoid doing this during my initial drafts? Is it possible or is this something that just gets cleaned up on the second look?

    Also, I hope you noticed what I did there in the first paragraph to illustrate exactly what I'm talking about.

    Does it convey a point? Reusing a word or phrase repeatedly isn't bad. I mean, Joyce did it all the time, but he did it on purpose. Read "Eveline":

    http://www.literaturecollection.com/a/james-joyce/dubliners/4/

    And look at the repetition throughout the story. Also look at the description of "stuff."
    Few people passed. The man out of the last house passed on his
    way home; she heard his footsteps clacking along the concrete
    pavement and afterwards crunching on the cinder path before the
    new red houses.

    He repeats "passed" even though there's plenty of words that mean the same thing. And for Lux's point, note how there's the footsteps clacking along and the pavement is concrete and then cinder and the houses are red and new. Why? That's really the question, which was brought up earlier in the thread. Ask yourself why you're writing what you're writing.

    In Lux's example, the slippers and robe describe how the wife wasn't expecting company. That's fine; it's a nice way of showing it. For repetition, why are you repeating? Why are you using a particular word?

    That's why people say "write a lot." If you write a lot, you can look at what you wrote and reflect on it, and ask yourself "why?" If you're always waiting to write, or putting it off, you don't give yourself time to step back and say "why did I write this?"

    || Flickr — || PSN: EggyToast
  • AclayAclay Registered User
    edited September 2010
    The first is that advice is a from a song by Baz Luhrmann, "Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it."
    With that being said let me dispense the advice of those much smarter than myself.

    Here is how I am able to get into my characters mind easier than writing reams and sheafs of biography on them. Once you have a basic idea for the character put them in the most boring setting you can think of and have them do some mundane task. I usually try to write something that I would do. This allows me to follow the character much closer, because I now have a common link.

    When writing characters I try not to become them. I just follow them around and see what trouble they get themselves into. I think of it as hanging out with a best friend. You know them so well that when the guy at the bar calls him a dickwolf, you roll your eyes in your head because know what will happen next.

    A line from the movie "Tropic Thunder," sums up my next piece of advice. It was meant for acting, but is well applied to characters in writing. "You never go full retard." The most evil of characters should still have some quality that makes him identifiable and the most good is some times mired in a moral morass.

    When you first start writing, don't try to write characters that are not human. You should learn to write about your own species and have it be understood before you write about another.

    Character and plot are both essential elements to a story. Don't write a series of anecdotes and call it plot. These are best saved as a diversion.

    Remember the 6 W's: Who, What, When, Where, Why, hoW. Ask yourselves these questions constantly.

    I will re-iterate the most important advice by previous posters:
    READ, READ, READ
    WRITE, WRITE, WRITE
    and the writer's mantra
    SHOW, DON'T TELL.

    If it was, it might be. If it were, it would be, but as it isn't, then it ain't. Thats Logic.
  • November FifthNovember Fifth Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    I am currently revising a short story that I wrote a few years ago, and I have run into a problem.

    The story is told through a series of flashbacks, and I have indicated the breaks in time by italicizing the paragraphs which are taking place in the past. Unfortunately, about two thirds of the story is now in italics.

    I am wondering if it might be better to invert the system and use italics to denote the present action or if anyone else had handled in a different manner.

    76561197986031338.png
  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Have you thought of dividing it into chapters and specifying the time period in the title or subtitle of each chapter? Then you won't need any italics at all. Or you could be like Faulkner and just expect the reader to figure it out.

  • SilvoculousSilvoculous Registered User
    edited October 2010
    Lux wrote: »
    ...

    Whereas my writer instinct would have described the house, the neighborhood, the side of the house, and what the lockpicks look like. Joey just tells us what a person would relay in a story.

    So, I ask you this: Am I doing it wrong, or is it just a different style?

    It's mostly just a matter of preference. Many people simply write in a sparser fashion. The excerpt in your post still got the point across for me, and the reader still gets the picture in his head as he's reading it. We generally know what the average neighborhood/houses look like (unless they're particularly interesting as part of the story) and we know what lockpicks look like; why describe them?

    All Quiet on the Western Front is written entirely like this (but taken to an even greater degree) and is my favorite example that I can think of. The average sentence length in that book is, like, ten words, to boot.

  • BornToHulaBornToHula Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    A lot of Hemingway's work is rather sparse as well. He used it to great effect in his short stories. "The Killers" comes to mind, it didn't really relay much information outside of the basic framing present in the story.

    steam_sig.png

    Origin is the exact same as my Steam, in case you're needing a Support or Assault in BF3.
  • tvethiopiatvethiopia Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    So, I've got a question for you fine people. I tend to have this habit where I will get stuck on a word when I'm writing. I'll tend to use the word over and over again in my text as I plow through the story. This tends to be something I don't even notice, really, until I've finished the story and I'm proofreading it. I don't tend to think this is a vocabulary issue. I tend to just avoid trying to break out the thesaurus to keep things interesting. I know this tends to be bad when you're reading it. As the word keeps popping up, over and over again, the reader tends to think, "Does this guy know another word?"

    My question is: What exercises do you recommend would help me avoid doing this during my initial drafts? Is it possible or is this something that just gets cleaned up on the second look?

    Also, I hope you noticed what I did there in the first paragraph to illustrate exactly what I'm talking about.

    well, the first thing i would look at is whether these words are active in your work, if they're necessary at all. i know this was just an example, but here you can remove EVERY use of the word "tend" and not lose any meaning. look what happens:

    So, I've got a question for you fine people. I have this habit where I will get stuck on a word when I'm writing. I'll use the word over and over again in my text as I plow through the story. This is something I don't even notice, really, until I've finished the story and I'm proofreading it. I don't think this is a vocabulary issue. I just avoid trying to break out the thesaurus to keep things interesting. I know this is bad when you're reading it. As the word keeps popping up, over and over again, the reader thinks, "Does this guy know another word?

    now, this won't always be the case of course, but the point is that if you're reusing a word so many times, there's bound to be some redundancy going on, and you can probably just cut some words completely.

    also, when you read, think about why authors choose the words they choose. no two words have the exact same meaning; they all have their own subtle connotations. why did they choose "still" instead of "quiet"? what would be different if they'd used a different word? it's not always about what you're describing, but also the mood that's created with the type of language you use.

    <3 Daintier. Smarter. Better dressed. <3
  • tvethiopiatvethiopia Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Lux wrote: »
    Is this the thread for random problems/wonderings that we have?

    Because I'm having trouble deciding if my style of writing is a problem. I feel like I might be getting too bogged down in the details of actions when I tell a story, instead of just a minimalist approach that I see in a lot of writing I love. When I write and read, I have a very clear image of what's happening, so whenever I'm inventing something I can't help but include a lot of little actions.

    sounds like this is just your style. if it feels like it's distracting from what's important you could pare it down, but i wouldn't generally worry about it. writers like henry james can go on for pages talking about one character's mental state in one moment in one scene and it works. not everyone is hemingway. just do what you do.

    <3 Daintier. Smarter. Better dressed. <3
  • KealohaKealoha Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    tvethiopia wrote: »
    Lux wrote: »
    Is this the thread for random problems/wonderings that we have?

    Because I'm having trouble deciding if my style of writing is a problem. I feel like I might be getting too bogged down in the details of actions when I tell a story, instead of just a minimalist approach that I see in a lot of writing I love. When I write and read, I have a very clear image of what's happening, so whenever I'm inventing something I can't help but include a lot of little actions.

    sounds like this is just your style. if it feels like it's distracting from what's important you could pare it down, but i wouldn't generally worry about it. writers like henry james can go on for pages talking about one character's mental state in one moment in one scene and it works. not everyone is hemingway. just do what you do.

    Yeah, I have to agree. I've had a problem deciding if something is "wrong" or not. I guess the more important question is, is something "bad"? And if so, why? Sometimes people look at what others do, or professors or writers say, and compare it to themselves and what they do and say, and think that different=wrong. It's not, always. Just different.

    I've lately been drawn to writing pretty stories of little consequence or gain. You read them, enjoy them, and throw them away. Slice of life type stuff. Nobody is really going to be thinking about them a year later, unless they connect to them on a personal level (which, maybe, is the point), but is it wrong or bad that I'm not trying to write the next Ulysses or Freedom? (lol@comparing the two). Nah, it's just what I want to do.

    !! ! ! !!
  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Be careful: you say the stories are "of little consequence" and you "read them and throw them away" but you also slip "enjoy them" in there. If they're of so little consequence, people might not enjoy them. I agree that not everything needs to be some vast epic life-or-death scenario, but I'd say that the plot at least has to be consequential to the characters involved. Otherwise, what's the point?

  • KealohaKealoha Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Quoth wrote: »
    Be careful: you say the stories are "of little consequence" and you "read them and throw them away" but you also slip "enjoy them" in there. If they're of so little consequence, people might not enjoy them. I agree that not everything needs to be some vast epic life-or-death scenario, but I'd say that the plot at least has to be consequential to the characters involved. Otherwise, what's the point?

    Yeah, I'm aware of that, now. I was also becoming more aware of it while I wrote that post, hah. Some stuff that I've been writing may very well be bad because I haven't been caring about how they appeal to others. That's a bigger issue than being overly descriptive, though ;)

    !! ! ! !!
  • ZendragiZendragi Registered User
    edited April 2011
    Is being overly descriptive really such a bad thing? I mean one of my favorite authors describes every detail as he sets up his worlds, though in later inerations of the series simplifies the details sporatically. I believe he does this as a baised assumption that you have previously read the former works, or curiousity will cause you to seek them out. Personally I love detail if its about armor, weaponry, buildings, etc. The only over imagery I do not care for is when describing a leaf for three pages, I think one or two paragraphs of detail are a good thing on points of interest or focal points. Is this a bad trait or a personal preference?

  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Personal preference. An author needs just enough detail to ensure that the reader knows what is going on. How far beyond that a reader is willing to tolerate varies by reader. Some would rather get right to the action, some to dialogue, and some are perfectly happy to be led around like a tourist in a museum getting the lowdown on each exhibit.

  • bobsbarricadesbobsbarricades Registered User regular
    has anybody ever known any YOUNG writers that have actually accomplished anything? I mean I know there was that Aragon kid, but I couldn't get past the first chapter. So I'm not just talking about something being popular. But like...an Umberto Eco, or a C.S.Lewis, or Asimov...writers with impact. They just don't come young, yea? Maybe there's an experience thing. And doing it..a lot. Like all art.

    Good thread.

  • MKRMKR Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    has anybody ever known any YOUNG writers that have actually accomplished anything? I mean I know there was that Aragon kid, but I couldn't get past the first chapter. So I'm not just talking about something being popular. But like...an Umberto Eco, or a C.S.Lewis, or Asimov...writers with impact. They just don't come young, yea? Maybe there's an experience thing. And doing it..a lot. Like all art.

    Good thread.

    Novelists or writers in general? Because there are young bloggers with thousands/tens of thousands of followers. Not always the best writing, but they put it out there and take the feedback well.

    MKR on
    yes hello this is blog
  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    Hiya guys, I've posted some really terrible stuff here now and again, but now I'm making a more concerted effort to improve my writing. I've started a journal and trying to write something in it at least most days, but often I feel like I have nothing to say and end up falling back on 'today I did...' entries which I don't feel like I'm learning very much from. Does anyone have any suggestions for ways which I can use a journal as leverage for my writing? Perhaps even some exercises? (I'd check the rules thread, but it seems to have disappeared.)

    Flay on
  • tapeslingertapeslinger Space Unicorn Slush Ranger Social Justice Rebel ScumRegistered User regular
    I'd suggest giving a shot to trying some prompts, it can result in some surprising stuff. I used to play in a contest where every person had a day to post a blog entry, and then everyone else would write entries inspired by the first entry. We all have small weird life experiences that can be mined for writerly exercise.

  • VanguardVanguard Rich or majority-emptied Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    has anybody ever known any YOUNG writers that have actually accomplished anything? I mean I know there was that Aragon kid, but I couldn't get past the first chapter. So I'm not just talking about something being popular. But like...an Umberto Eco, or a C.S.Lewis, or Asimov...writers with impact. They just don't come young, yea? Maybe there's an experience thing. And doing it..a lot. Like all art.

    Good thread.

    Arthur Rimbaud wrote everything we still read between the ages of 17-21, when he quit writing. He is a rare genius. Generally, you will not be a good writer unless you invest yourself into reading hundreds of books and writing all the time. Maybe not everyday, but you your output should be considerable over any length of time.

  • EncEnc Briarthorn Alliance FloridaRegistered User regular
    edited October 2011
    Wonk

    Enc on
    Guns make you stupid. Better to fight your wars with duct tape. Duct tape makes you smart.
    ooydlMBI
  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    I'd suggest giving a shot to trying some prompts, it can result in some surprising stuff. I used to play in a contest where every person had a day to post a blog entry, and then everyone else would write entries inspired by the first entry. We all have small weird life experiences that can be mined for writerly exercise.

    Thanks, any particular places you'd recommend for prompts?

  • tapeslingertapeslinger Space Unicorn Slush Ranger Social Justice Rebel ScumRegistered User regular
    Flay wrote:
    I'd suggest giving a shot to trying some prompts, it can result in some surprising stuff. I used to play in a contest where every person had a day to post a blog entry, and then everyone else would write entries inspired by the first entry. We all have small weird life experiences that can be mined for writerly exercise.

    Thanks, any particular places you'd recommend for prompts?

    Well, googling "writing prompts" will give you a head start. I do most of my blogging/journaling over on Writing.com, but they don't offer blogs for free, so it may not be what you are looking for but there are tons of prompts on there, some for journals and other things.

  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    Yup, that was the first thing I did. I'm checking out writing.com right now, it looks like a pretty good place to pick up some tips, thanks!

  • tapeslingertapeslinger Space Unicorn Slush Ranger Social Justice Rebel ScumRegistered User regular
    Let me know if you do end up over there; it is a pretty big site, lol. I am one of the mods who hang out on the Noticing Newbies forum so if you end up on there that's a good place to get started :-)

  • KamarKamar Registered User regular
    I already shilled this in other threads, but seriously. This podcast.

    http://www.writingexcuses.com/2011/10/02/writing-excuses-6-18-hollywood-formula/

    Writing Excuses is always good, it singlehandedly pushed my writing up a few tiers, but this one is something special. I might just love it because the way it made me look at my current project helped me solve something that had been nagging me for quite a while.

  • VanguardVanguard Rich or majority-emptied Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2011
    Show AND tell.

    Vanguard on
  • KamarKamar Registered User regular
    Not sure I get what you mean by that. Showing and telling is a mistake writers tend to make when they're on the threshold of learning to show properly, because they show then get worried the showing won't get noticed so they tell you too.

    Unless you meant something different.

  • maryrockettmaryrockett Registered User
    Tragic Love by Tammy Rockett Box and Mary Rockett [amazon.com]
    Mother and Daughter investigate there own reason for why there son was killed,the police claimed sucide, but mother and grandmother think it was possibly murder. very interesting book for teenagers, abuse can come in many different forms

  • OremLKOremLK Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    "Show, don't tell" is one of those pieces of advices which contains a lot of truth within its confines, but which is also very vague and often taken too literally by new writers. The most common mistake which results from this is an over-abundance of cold, physical description and very little character, often to the point of breaking POV.

    I wish there was some pithy, shorthand way to capture the essence of what "show, don't tell" means, but I haven't yet thought of one. What it's really about is immediacy. You want to put your readers within each important scene and take them through it step by step as it happens, so they can immerse themselves in the story. This does include description to set the scene, of course, but that's not the essence of the advice. It's really more like this:

    1. Telling:
    Kate walked into the alleyway and was mugged by a masked man. She gave him her wallet and ran home, crying for half an hour before she called the police to make a report.

    2. Showing with POV:
    Kate stepped into the dark alleyway, a triangle of yellow light spilling across the concrete from the street beyond. Her dinner with Tony had gone well, but what did he really think of her? She let the click-click of her heels set the rhythm of her thoughts, walking faster to drive the anxiety from her mind. She was still going over dinner in her mind when the dark shape of a man standing in a doorway ahead jolted her out of her reverie. She barely had time to shriek as he shot down the steps and slammed her into the wall.

    3. Showing the way new writers often mistakenly do when told "Show, don't tell!":
    Kate stepped into the dark alleyway, a triangle of yellow light spilling across the concrete from the street beyond. The dumpsters ahead made jutting silhouettes in the night, and mist spilled up out from a sewer grate in the concrete. Kate cut a prim figure, her dark red heels clicking as she stepped through the alleyway, her knee-length dress swishing its flowing fabric as she walked. In a doorway in front of her, a robber stood, a black ski mask pulled over his face. As soon as she saw him and shrieked, he dashed down the steps and slammed her into the wall.

    #1 is a synopsis, not a story, and some new writers go through their whole story this way, or in less extreme versions of this mode.
    #3 seems to show more physical detail, but it's actually breaking POV in multiple places. You're "showing" more of Kate physically, talking about her figure and clothes, but you're getting none of her thoughts and seem to be outside her viewpoint as you coldly look upon the scene. Like you have a camera swiveling around Kate looking at things, giving a wide shot of her walking, zooming in on the robber, and so forth.
    #2 isn't great and is still a bit "tell-y" (I wrote all of these very quickly), but it's the best of these despite the fact that it seems like we're not showing as much of the scene as #3. It's better because we're getting Kate's thoughts and impressions and we're clearly inside her POV. We're even connecting the physical scene with her emotions a bit. Most importantly, we're right there with Kate, inside her head, thinking things as she thinks them and noticing things as she sees them.

    One other important note: Telling isn't always bad, and you shouldn't assume "Show, don't tell" means you must always show everything. There are parts of a story which you just need to move past quickly so you can get to the action. By action, I mean scenes which move the story forward with tension or conflict, not necessarily gunfights and fisticuffs and, well, muggings. Anyway, sometimes you can just cut these parts out entirely, but at other times it works just fine to gloss over them, give the reader the information, and move on.

    It can be okay to say "Kate dropped by the liquor store to pick up a bottle of wine before heading over to Tony's apartment". You don't need a whole two page scene where she looks over all the varieties of wine and pays the cashier and counts her change and so on, unless it moves the story forward in some way. If she just needs to get some wine because she promised Tony on the phone she'd pick up some wine, tell us she got the wine and go on with the story.

    OremLK on
    currently playing LoL: Polymath
    a fading melody - my indie platformer for the xbox 360
  • arnepunktarnepunkt Registered User
    Write, just write. But know the ending of the story. Then read your story from time to time and you'll have another thing that should happen before the end. Just write that down. Read it again. Correct your writing. Delete parts you don't like or that are needless. Repeat that as long as you reach the end. And you already know the end. Makes it easy and a great ending part.

    Thats the best advice I can give. I know its short and you dont want to hear that there is nothing that makes you instantly a great story, but that's the truth. Just write and you will improve your writing, but dont forget to read it a few times after and correct it and delete some parts (or write them new).

    Anyway, good luck and have fun.

    No signature, because signatures are a waste of space. Äh, what? Anyway, check this out: http://arnereport.net
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