1. Another story competition is beginning! (Q1 2018)

    "You're bleeding on my floor."

    We've moved to a quarterly format, so you really have no excuse not to participate this time.

    So check out the new thread discussing scoring, rules, and other such matters in the in the Story Competitions forum and get cracking.

    Dismiss Notice

Writers Club: Ultimate Writing Resource List

Discussion in 'Original Fiction Discussion' started by Oz, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Messages:
    6,042
    Location:
    Mississippi
    I dunno, I've found 'protips' such as "limit your adverb use," "don't use passive voice unless you have a very good reason," and so on to be damned useful. And there are lots of little things like that that I didn't even know to look for in my own writing until I read/heard about it somewhere.

    Beyond that you get into things like showing and not telling, avoiding cliches, and so on. These are all things that can be learnt and applied to whatever you're writing, and they're things that I would never have heard about if I hadn't read a couple of books on writing.
     
  2. Juggler

    Juggler Death Eater DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Messages:
    993
    Location:
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Limit your adverbs; unless you're writing a multi-million dollar series about wizarding school. Don't use passive voice, unless you're using it stylistically. Cliches are bad, but Tropes Are Not Bad. Lots of grammar nuance can be subverted for the sake of storytelling. For almost every writing concept there's examples of how the opposite can be done successfully.

    Don't get me wrong, I've learned from these sorts of things. It's just that not a single one of them has helped me write any better, because it's all contradictive blogosphere clickbait with only occasional diamonds in the rough.

    Maybe I'm just different, though. I learn more about writing reading a single page of novel than I do after chapters of writing how-to books.
     
  3. Oz

    Oz The Big Kahuna Moderator DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    Messages:
    8,723
    Location:
    Baile Átha Cliath
    It's called advice for a reason, you're free to take it or leave it, and either way shit can still work. I really don't see what your point in posting was at all, apart from mindless provocation.
     
  4. Juggler

    Juggler Death Eater DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Messages:
    993
    Location:
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    I brought it up as a point of discussion. Not saying it's useless, but genuinely curious of what they do to help if the advice is factually incorrect.
     
  5. enembee

    enembee The Nicromancer Prestige DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2008
    Messages:
    148
    Location:
    Murias
    High Score:
    2,451
    For pretty much every piece of advice ever given you could probably come up with a few situations when it isn't a great piece of advice given in a particular set of circumstances.

    Adverbs, passive voice, cliches— yeah, whatever, they have their own place in certain circumstances. But the majority of the time, riddling your writing with adverbs, cliches and the passive voice will get that shit laughed out.

    Not to mention that there's an awful lot of advice for writers that isn't as simple as stylistic tips. One of the biggest issues I see with writers, particularly on DLP and within FF generally, is that they have no idea of how to properly structure or pace a plot, or effectively build tension, or maintain their reader's suspension of disbelief.

    Yeah, I've no doubt that if you just write and write and write you'll eventually learn to do these things by trial and error. Some people have a natural talent for these things. But the same could be said of trigonometry or anatomy. But we don't just dismiss the practice of teaching either of these things.
     
  6. Joe

    Joe The Reminiscent Exile Prestige DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    Messages:
    563
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    High Score:
    1,800
    1,000,000+ words of fanfiction and three published novels later, and I think I'm only just figuring it out. Heh.

    Here's some advice from Chuck Palahniuk:

    I make it a point now to go through an unpack. Trick to writing is finish what you start, but unpack the bare bones of the first draft into the second, then edit mercilessly for useless words.
     
  7. AlbusPHolmes

    AlbusPHolmes The Alchemist

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2011
    Messages:
    865
    Great, Joe! I try to unpack in my writing, and sometimes cheat, but yeah, I should really do more, more, more unpacking - though there are cases when "thought" verbs are the best way to go about stuff - at least without having your story degenerate into a "show" piece.

    One thing I really love is this
    It really shows the difference between amateur writing and taking your writing to the next level.

    And to leave this thread with something useful of my own, I recommend this book - Word Painting. A really good guide to doing better descriptions that are not stale, repetitive, cliche, etc.
     
  8. Thyestean

    Thyestean Slug Club Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2012
    Messages:
    185
    Location:
    成都
    Great post Joe. However, this made me think.

    How would this apply to first person narrative? When you are the head.
     
  9. Calz

    Calz Oh, I Got the Mic Now!

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2007
    Messages:
    309
    I... reckon I might be able to help here. Least, in my opinion.

    Make your characters real. Do this triply so for your main character. Give them faults. Give them fears. Give them things they love and obsessions. Make them real things, and then metaphorically watch them. Sometimes, if you're in your character's way, the best thing to do is run it like you're making a documentary of that character's life. A literary one instead of a visual one, but still, the same point.

    If your character is real, true, and whole, then you can have access to all of their thoughts, without you suddenly forcing them to become YOUR thoughts. You get two characters connected who are real things, and they'll interact like that.

    Maybe I'm getting overly whimsical or silly about the concept, but I stand by it in practice, even if its only something that works for me. It isn't so much staying out of their thoughts as in not knowing them. It's not having your fingers inside their heads, changing them.
     
  10. Jormungandr

    Jormungandr Prisoner

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Messages:
    2,961
    Location:
    Merry ol' England
    So, bumping with this.

    I recently (re)bought a book on characterization by Nancy Kress, and I thought this might be helpful.

    I wanted to post this as an attachment, but it's just a few kb's over the limit.

    So, just copy and paste the relevant parts of this post into a .Doc.

    Hope this helps!

    Note: there should be extra spaces under each "question", but the formatting got bugged. So, basically just write whatever you want/is relevant after using "Enter".
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 10, 2014
  11. Aekiel

    Aekiel Angle of Mispeling Prestige DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Messages:
    858
    Location:
    The Mouth of Ports
    High Score:
    9,373
    Did you just copy/paste an entire chapter of a book over? If you did, well, that's breaking the rule about warez right there.
     
  12. Jormungandr

    Jormungandr Prisoner

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Messages:
    2,961
    Location:
    Merry ol' England
    Not an entire chapter: just the template and a bit at the end that sums it up.
     
  13. Aekiel

    Aekiel Angle of Mispeling Prestige DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Messages:
    858
    Location:
    The Mouth of Ports
    High Score:
    9,373
    Still, not exactly on the right side of copyright.
     
  14. Jormungandr

    Jormungandr Prisoner

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Messages:
    2,961
    Location:
    Merry ol' England
    If I remove the end "summary", it'd just be the template.

    Would that be acceptable per rules?
     
  15. Aekiel

    Aekiel Angle of Mispeling Prestige DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Messages:
    858
    Location:
    The Mouth of Ports
    High Score:
    9,373
    You're missing the point. Copying and pasting part of a book is in the grey area of copyright law where a limited amount (in context) is legal but too much is not. This, in my opinion, goes so far over the line that Frank Abagnale is applauding you for your gall.

    It doesn't quite fall under the purview of plagiarism, but it's not far away either.
     
  16. Jormungandr

    Jormungandr Prisoner

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Messages:
    2,961
    Location:
    Merry ol' England
    Didn't think of that -- I just wanted to post something that would help people, and thought it'd be okay because I'm not posting whole chapters or whole books; just a snippet.

    I'll remove the summary bit, but keep the template; if one of the mods think that it's "over the line", I'll delete it or they'll delete it.
     
  17. Oz

    Oz The Big Kahuna Moderator DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    Messages:
    8,723
    Location:
    Baile Átha Cliath
    I'd ask you to remove it on the grounds it's a pain in the ass to read and clutters the thread. [noparse]:|[/noparse]
     
  18. Vira

    Vira Order Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2006
    Messages:
    837
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Canada
    I've never found character templates helpful. They're a nice time waster, but it's more useful to describe characters in paragraph form, what stands out about them, useful traits they might have, and other relevant data as it pertains to the story, instead of bullet points of their favorite ice cream and TV shows.
     
  19. Jormungandr

    Jormungandr Prisoner

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Messages:
    2,961
    Location:
    Merry ol' England
    Fair enough -- gone totally, or should I attach a .txt file?
     
  20. Rym

    Rym Auror

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    Messages:
    637
    I think the point is just to get you thinking about the character. If you can answer the questions, you basically have a good grasp of how they would act in different situations - which is what you need for a story.