Writing from the lower intestines.
Sorry for the delay in the updates here. A few last minute commissions and a family emergency kind of put this on hold for a bit. Sorry about that. I’ll try to see that it don’t happen again. (Until next week!)
These last few weeks we’ve had a few too many topics pop up in the news that I really wanted to address. From the Moonities Terrorism scare of Boston (Ignignokt and Err would be proud!), Anna Nicole Smith, and even the Super Bowl. But one thing that came to my attention over the past few weeks is writing. No seriously, I’ve encountered more scripts, prose and fanfics in these past two weeks than I have in just about any other time in my life. I dunno why… Maybe KFC getting rid of their Transfats has perked the writing bug in people. I dunno… I just work here. (Oh yeah, and I owe one of my staff members a reply to a really well written story he sent me. I didn’t forget!) But there’s a few things I’ve noted in some of these stories that I wanted to bring to light that hopefully will help out in the future.
- Pick a tense and stick with it. Seriously there’s nothing more frustrating reading in Past Tense then switching to Present Tense the next sentence, then back to Past Tense.
- Don’t use words if you are not sure of their meaning. Also do not, and God I cannot emphasize this enough, DO NOT USE internet vernacular when typing. Don’t type “I want moar, lol!” That makes you look really stupid. It’s one thing to use them in a chat or forum window. But as a writer, WRITE the words out.
- Now for some reason, this happens in just about all forms of writing, not just stories but even articles, reviews and even blog entries like this. Most, if not all modern day word processing programs come with a spell checker. Use it. Simply sit down and give it the once over. And when you are done, read it over at least once. Because the spell checker won’t usually catch grammar misuses like “they’re” instead of “their”. Just give it a through reading. I mean, you expect others to read your crap… You should too. (Just so you all know, I’m just as guilty of this as well!)
- When fanfic writing, try to keep the characters somewhat in line with what they’re supposed to be. For example, when writing a fanfic about, say Kingdom Hearts, remember that Sora and Riku are not gay. They love each other, but not in that way. More in a brotherly way. I don’t know about Roxas though… I think his keyblade bends a little to the left if you know what I mean.
- Your job as a fanfic writer isn’t to “write what the creators couldn’t do, due to censorship/lack of time/jumping the shark/mutant cows/ect.” You job is to write a story with these characters that is believable, and convincing to the established universe of the characters. This means, if you are writing a Kim Possible fanfic, don’t be having Ron swear his ass off because Kim and Shego are making out with each other, with Drakken masturbating to it. You have no idea how shallow and pathetic that is. (Besides, we all know it's Bonnie we want to see her makeout with.)
- If you want to take the story in a direction that is a bit more mature, that’s fine. After all, one day Batman was “BIFF! BAM! POW!” and the next he’s throwing a bat shuriken in the Joker’s eye. Just make sure you keep that word in mind… MATURE. That does not mean ADULT. That means a story that’s crafted on a sophisticated level. If you cannot tell the difference, then don’t bother. If you just want to write porn… Then that’s fine! Porn is good for you! Just don’t try fooling other people into thinking it’s a real story.
- When writing your dialogue, it’s not a bad idea to say it aloud to yourself and see how it sounds. If it sounds really stupid, then change it. If you would be embarrassed speaking a line and you’re only the writer, imagine the character!
- You guys know what maledicta is? You know how sometimes people will spell things S#!t or F&#K or **** like that? Well, that’s maledicta. It’s one thing if you’re doing comic books. That has a history of using maledicta. (A trend that is dying out, by the way.) But in prose... If you aren’t going to swear, then don’t swear. You can work around any dialogue without dropping the F-bomb. If you want to swear, then swear. Just remember that there is a such thing as moderation and limitations. A forum you post the story on, might not allow vulgarities, so make sure you write around it. And when I say write around it, I’m not saying cheat the swear filter. I’m saying instead of saying “What the **** are you doing?” say just simply “What are you doing?” And just because you can swear doesn’t mean you should, otherwise risk sounding like Fowlmouth from Tiny Toons. (That’s not a good thing, by the way!)
- Make a good balance with the details. Remember, detail adds length to your story and helps the reader know more of what you were thinking. It helps them establish in their mind what you’re trying to convey. (After all, writing is not a visual medium.) Just make sure you do not go over the top. For example, H.P. Lovecraft has come up with some wonderful concepts in a dark and creepy universe. (And I even based my own comic on some of his concepts.) However his writing is EXTREMELY DRY to the point that he’s over descriptive. He spent thirteen pages once just describing that Antarctica was empty and white. A paragraph will do nicely sometimes.
- When writing a chapter, a few paragraphs do not consist of a chapter. A chapter consists of a few to several pages. Keep that in mind.
- Synonyms are your friend. No seriously. Come up with some different words for “said”.
- Angst does not always equal good drama. Do not kill/maim/torture a character just for effect. Writing a tearjerker just because you want to manipulate the emotions of your readers is not a sign of depth or skill. Keeping the scale and intensity of your stories closer to reality, means that the genuine emotion you provoke in the reader will be all the more powerful for being attained through subtlety and skill rather than cheap theatrics.
And there you go! See you soon!
Last edited by MachSabre; 02-21-2007 at 04:51 AM.