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 Story Writing Tips [Part 1]

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Akemi
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PostSubject: Story Writing Tips [Part 1]   Fri Jun 19, 2009 3:55 pm

Hello!

I'm just making this topic about grammar and punctuation, what's preferred and what's not preferred, when you're writing a story (technical term: narrative).
This topic will show you how to make it easier for people to understand what you are writing. Why? When you are writing your own stories, you know exactly what is happening, but for readers, it might not be that easy.
I will be covering more things that people tend to not know, to don’t know when to use. Capitalisation, commas and full stops (technical term: period dot), you should know who to use them, so I won’t be covering them.

Story structure and do’s and don’ts:

* New Paragraph: Start a new paragraph each time a new person starts talking or thinking.
E.G.
Sakura put her hands on her hips. “You heard; he’s my fiancée!”
“I know that!” Syaoran rolled his eyes. “You just said it!”
Sakura gasped in realisation. She pointed her finger at him, “You’re jealous!”

* Don't list out every detail: Don't go listing out every detail.
E.G. Don't:
She was wearing a short, cross-strapped, with glass pieces shaped as diamonds on it, black dress, and more glass pieces on the end of the dress. Her honey brown hair was let down loosely and rested on her creamy skin and her fringed was also loosely clipped to the right side with a little, red ribbon. On her face had no more than light pink lip gloss, as she hated too much make-up. Her nails were perfectly manicured in French style. Her black heels, which had a black bow on the end, and exquisitely match her dress.
Why? Many people dislike "spelling" out all the details. Most people prefer 'inference' (indirect implication). Stories sound a lot better when it is subtly implied. Awesome!

* Sophistication: Many people like to read story with sophistication. Sophistication of the plot, in words, and sentence structure. Yup.
E.G.
‘Similar’ instead of ‘a bit like’.

* Wording: When you are wording a sentence, be careful of how it turns out.
E.G. 1
They entered Syaoran’s hollow house. The floor boards echoed with each step taken, causing the girls to jump when someone stomps.
1. Was the house really hollow, or was that the name of the house?
2. Sentence number 2 can be worded better.
E.G. 2
Overall, she was flawless, but she felt as if she was missing something…
Was she really “flawless”, or did she look flawless? Make sure you maintain a sense of realism.

* Tense: I, myself, sometimes switch from past tense to present tense. This can be a real big problem. If you start in past tense, end in past tense. Vice versa for present tense.
E.G.
He wondered if she still remembers him, after all, it had been seven years since he last seen her.
‘Wondered’ is in past tense, but ‘remembers’ is in present tense; bad sentence structure. He wondered if she still remembered him, after all, it had been seven years since he last seen her.

* Numbers: It is preferred that you spell out your numbers in stories because it’s not maths!
E.G.
‘One’ instead of ‘1’.

* Semi colons VS hyphens:
Semicolons can be used to separate long or complicated items in a series which already includes commas.
E.G.
The students were Syaoran, music major; Eriol, IT professional; Tomoyo, designing major; and Sakura, bachelor’s degree in psychology.
The hyphen is used in some compound words and is also used to connect prefixes and suffixes to main words:
E.G.
Eighty-nine; pro-life; sister-in-law, etc.
Em-hyphens are used to put a strong break--such as this one--in the middle of a sentence, to provide additional explanation or emphasis, similar to the semi colon.

*Dialouges: Use the term said; most of the time your speakers will be saying something. Stating should be limited to times the characters are actually stating something, not every time; they're not screaming or whispering, and screaming and whispering shouldn't be happening constantly either. Said is the neutral term for speaking. It is invisible. When you use a different term, it needs to be because you want readers to notice the change, not because you're playing "how many words from the thesaurus can I stuff into my story". (Quoted from Farla from FanFictionDOTnet)
E.G.
To be used: "Hello," he said.
To be used: "Hello!" he said.
Never: "Hello." He said.
Never: "Hello." he said.
The only exception to this is if the next sentence doesn't contain a speech verb, in which case it's written as:
Use: "Hello." He grinned.
Never: "Hello," he grinned. Why: ‘grinned’ is not a speech verb.

* Thesaurus: Speaking of thesauruses (or ‘the lizard’), don’t over use the thesaurus. You may find many word in the thesaurus, but, not all the words listed will mean the same thing.
E.G.
Engage has two main different meanings: ‘the stage before marriage’ and ‘busy’. For the sentence, ‘He was engaged to her’, you would not change ‘engaged’ to ‘unavailable’ to her.

* Names: Use them most of the time. Yes, you can use ‘he/she/it’ when you want to create a sense of mystery, but it should be limited to, somewhat, that. You really should not call a person ‘the ebony haired girl’ then, somewhere along the track, call her ‘the pale white girl’. This is called epithet; a way of calling a character without using their name.
Many people find excessive used of different epithet for one character/person annoying when they read stories. This can also cause the reader to think that there is a new character. Be consistent; pick one and use it.

* Abbreviations:[b] Many people confuse ‘it’s’ with ‘its’. ‘It’s’ is the abbreviated form of ‘it is’. ‘Its’ is a possessive; belonging to something.
E.G. 1
“It’s mine!” she yelled.
Meaning: “It is mine!” she yelled.
E.G. 2
“Its colour clearly signifies that it’s mine!”
“That thing’s (its) colour clearly signified that it’s mine!”

[b]*Do research:
Stories are much more interesting and believable when it has a solid background. It also shows how much your story is worth reading.
E.G. 1
The boss/owner of an enterprise is called a ‘sole trader’ not ‘CEO’.
‘CEO’ is one of the highest-ranking corporate officer (executive) or administrator in charge of total management. (Quoted form Wikipedia)

* Parenthesis: Common known as ‘brackets’. Phrases, sentences, and words in parenthesises should be in the main sentence itself, not a single sentence.
E.G.
Right: He was sleeping (and snoring too). [That particular sentence would be used in first person writing]
Wrong: He was sleeping. (And snoring too.) It cannot be a singular sentence!
The only exception is when you’re quoting. The quoting I’ve used so far are not in a good form (don’t do it the way I did).

That’s it for now! I’m sure there’s more for me to add, but I can’t think of them right now. If there is, I’ll definitely make another post.
Until then!

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x3KurokawaAkirax3
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PostSubject: Re: Story Writing Tips [Part 1]   Sun Jun 21, 2009 10:46 am

You most of these from your tutor right? I swear I saw the same comments on your work =X, but meh, who cares as long as these help right?

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PostSubject: Re: Story Writing Tips [Part 1]   Sun Jun 21, 2009 12:46 pm

Ermm... Some of them. Some are from readers of my FF and some are just ones tat I pick up myself. Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Story Writing Tips [Part 1]   Sun Jun 21, 2009 1:13 pm

good for you, oh yeah, were the rules alright?

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PostSubject: Re: Story Writing Tips [Part 1]   Sun Jun 21, 2009 2:25 pm

x3KurokawaAkirax3 wrote:
good for you, oh yeah, were the rules alright?

Very Happy Awesome! Laughing

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PostSubject: Re: Story Writing Tips [Part 1]   Mon Jun 22, 2009 2:48 pm

nyah, your monkey is cracking up with laughter at a guy who holds gun to no one in particular XD

Jim's expression would be something more like this: Shocked or Surprised or No or OMG or Retreat or O.o

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PostSubject: Re: Story Writing Tips [Part 1]   Mon Jun 22, 2009 2:56 pm

Jim: Cool Don't you know who I am?

LOL Laughing

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PostSubject: Re: Story Writing Tips [Part 1]   Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:03 pm

Tim: Bored sure I do, you're one of the idiotic perverts I have the misfortune to come across and befriended.
Laughing

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PostSubject: Re: Story Writing Tips [Part 1]   Tue Jun 23, 2009 1:07 pm

Kim: What does 'pervert' mean? Is Jim a 'pervert'...? Sad

Laughing

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