How To WriteAbstract: an analytical approach to plotting and writing fiction upwards of 1,000 wordsHow To Write10 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
Acknowledgements: the potentially amazing Rachel (IfrozenspiritI) served as guinea pig to this; go and tell her to finish the product of that experiment, because you'll love it. Chris Widdison (tearstone) approached me indecently with the idea of writing a longer essay (which will still happen, and be a lot more purdy than this here thing), which would incorporate this essay in another form, amongst others. He doesn't need to read any of this, because he already knows it all.
Target audience: young, inexperienced writers, especially those that find themselves pulling off vignettes and other super-short forms with an ease, while chronically unable to produce anything with more than a handful of scenes and more than 1,000 words.
Part 1: The Premise takes a look at the basic idea behind a piece
Part 2: The Story fills in some of those blanks and gives u
The Importance of Being FrankThe Importance of Being Frank10 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
The Importance Of Being Frank
At the end of this story, a Frenchman will be eaten by African driver ants.
* * *
Silvie closed the stall door behind her; she closed it timidly, with an empty expression on her face. Her hand shook. She paused for a moment, her mouth half open, her lip curled upward, and a frown on her forehead.
Then she walked over to the wash basins.
A fly buzzed between her and the mirror. She turned on the faucet, filled her cupped hands with water, and splashed it on her face. She looked at the stall's reflection in the mirror, closed her eyes, and slapped herself.
Let us slow down to take in the sights. At the exact moment Silvie's hand hits her cheek, everyth
2nd person fiction and YouYou like fiction written in the second person. You may not admit it to yourself, but deep down, you really do. It teases you with its confrontational otherness, its flamboyantly displayed post-modernism, its teeth.2nd person fiction and You4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Do not look at its teeth. You do not want to look at its teeth.
Fiction written in the second person and you have a long history of denial. At first, you were sure it couldn't be done. Then it was done, and it was done to you, and you liked it, too, but it was only the one time and you were kind of drunk. It was an experiment, and it was interesting as an experiment, but that was all it was.
Only, of course, it wasn't.
Fiction written in the second person has invaded your dreams, and what's worse, your sexual fantasies. You'd be picturing a luscious blonde, rubbing her rubbables, yearning for your touch, when suddenly a voice would pop into your head, calmly narrating what you were doing: "You are picturing a luscious blonde," the voice would say, "rubbing her rubbables. Hey
The Expected Part 1 of 4—Preface—The Expected Part 1 of 410 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
This is a walnut.
The walnut has no name. Its Latin appellation, however, is juglans, short for jovis glans. Jovis is what Zeus was called when the Romans saw him and decided they wanted one of those too; glans means nuts. Jupiter's nuts. It is highly probable that, back when this name was chosen, people meant to say walnuts were nuts fit for the gods. Funny, what the evolution of language can do to nuts.
This walnut is lying on the wooden floor of a monastery, a monastery beautifully situated in the middle of a seemingly endless forest.
This is Friar Mattheus. In a moment, Friar Mattheus will step on the walnut, slip, fall down the stairs, and break two ribs. Friar Mattheus really likes walnuts. A little earlier, he was going to crack this one open and enjoy it. At that exact moment, he had a doubtlessly divine inspiration for a chorale praising his saint of choice. The ingenuity of this chorale's words was that they would only make
paper-thinThe following story is a work of fiction. All events and inhabitants are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living, dead, or supernatural, is entirely coincidental. Take my word for it: it's all made up. Never mind what the story says.paper-thin9 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
ACT I; Scene 1
This is a true story. I have recorded everything as it happened and have neither added nor removed anything.
We open upon an opened home: imagine an apartment building minus the façade, like a doll-house, its rooms exposed for the divine female from beyond to reach inside and pose its plastic inhabitants in humorous situations. We do not see the little girl playing with her little world, but we can picture her: blond, of course, and pony-tailed, immersed in her own miniature play. She breathes life into those static toys and settles their fates between luncheon and dinner.
She is not malevolent.
Let us inspect the house again. Barbie and Ken have ne
A new approach to favouritesA new approach to favourites10 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
A rough outline of networked, similarity-of-taste based rating in the context of a deviantART-like site
This is a very long essay (8190 words), starting out from such philosophical concepts of what is art and what is taste, detailing (and I mean detail) a completely revolutionary approach to restructuring the concept of favourites in an art community such as dA, and finishing in a lot of technical details concerning this implementation.
All this was written with deviantART in mind; I intend to post it there, but I might publish it elsewhere as well. deviantART can be found at www.deviantART.com and is possibly the biggest art community on the world wide web right now.
More specifically, I come from literature. I am a prose writer, which makes me a minority within a minority. While it might be helpful to keep my perspective in mind to understand some of my statements, I believe that all I'm saying here can be applied to dA, or any dA-like community, g
Oratories and Laboratories...Oratories and Laboratories...10 years ago in General More Like This
A Rebuilt Life
I. A tale of the illegal, the illicit, the illogical
Oratory In the Laboratory - Part 2
"Oh no, Inspector, don't be deceived; that most redolent and pestiferous plague known as 'death' remains irrefutable, life is irretrievable, just as we-" a glance askance to the burgundy-blood-stained lab coat worn by the newly-dead instigated a painful pronoun change, "or rather I, stand before you irredeemable. I embalmed whilst he imbued, an atmosphere imbibed, till catastrophe ensued. The sepulchral saturnine expression frozen to her face became something altogether more morbid." Kneeling, he placed an outstretched palm against the still-warm chest of his brother, as if willing its re-animation in rhythmical respiration.
Something could be felt between thin cotton and quiescent ribs. A creased photograph, its edges damp and scarlet, was removed from the deceased's inner pocket, a familiar sepia smile greeting the surviving sibling.
"Once, her very name was a phonic philtre,
The Unexpected Part 2 of 4—The Unexpected—The Unexpected Part 2 of 410 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
A decorative hardened-clay magnolia blossom, with the number 82 artfully worked into it, surrounded the door bell. Jessica pressed the yellow button and waited.
The exterior of the house was painted in an obnoxiously happy pink hue. The small garden surrounding the path from the fence to the door lay in a desolate state of disregard. Jessica checked the small piece of paper in her hand once more and then, shrugging her shoulders, crumpled it and replaced it into the hip pocket of her jeans.
"Who is it?" demanded a voice with a thick Russian accent through the door.
"Sergei Vasiliyevich Avdeyev?"
"Dat is highly unlikely."
"No, I mean, are you Sergei Vasiliyevich Avdeyev?"
After a moment's silence, the door was opened in an unsteady movement. It gave way to a most peculiar sight: a man in his late seventies, his white hair a riot of tangles. His eyes were covered by ancient welding goggles, his forearms by yellow rubber gloves. The rubber gloves, in turn,
The Resurrected Part 4 of 4—The Resurrected—The Resurrected Part 4 of 410 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
In a place without time, close to 2005 AD
He makes a telephone in another place ring. He waits. Someone picks up.
"Hello Jacob, it's good to hear your voice."
Someone moves by, someone at a stage where it is hard to tell whether they are someone or something. It, whatever it is, wails and complains. He covers the mouthpiece of the receiver. Then continues.
"You sound tired, exhausted. I am sorry that I had to disturb you in your sleep."
"What with my funeral, yes."
The other end asks a question after a long silence.
"Not so good, Jacob. You have to help me. This place where I am has no sun."
* * *
Jacob, awake in bed, panting heavily. He thought of Miriam's hand. Of the sweet taste in his mouth. He wiped the sweat from his face and went back to sleep.
* * *
In a place without time, close to 2005 AD
He rises through the layers, separates from the slipstream below that pulls those inside it along and returns to them, for a frightful quasi-m
The Corrected Part 3 of 4—The Corrected—The Corrected Part 3 of 410 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
"And it's 10:31pm. We have an update concerning the strange ball lightning sighted earlier today and how we believe it's connected to the storm. On that note, water levels—"
Jacob turned off the radio and unlocked the passenger side door.
"Get in! God, it's pouring."
Paul climbed in and instantly turned around to look out through the rear window.
"So, what's up? What can I—" Jacob began.
"Drive. Please. It doesn't matter where."
The rain pattered down on the plastic of Jacob's blinker, which now rhythmically informed no one else but the rain of Jacob's intention to rejoin the non-existent traffic.
"Fuck," Paul finally said, angry and exhausted. He rummaged through his coat pockets to produce a soaked pack of cigarettes. "Fuck," he repeated, this time merely exhausted. From a dashboard sticker, a bear smiled at him.
Jacob was driving very slowly. The tires of his station wagon worked their way through two fingers of rain water on the street.
"Do you know w
Bound to WoodBound to WoodBound to Wood10 years ago in Transgressive More Like This
He'd been doing a lot of that lately. When you are in quite a lot of pain, first you scream, then you cry, then you shiver. So shivering was nothing new to him at this point, but the little girl was.
When she ran her tiny fingertips along his exposed flank, his first thought was that it must have been a drop of sweat running down his side, or maybe a drop of blood. Then he remembered he was no longer upright: he was lying flat on his back, hands and feet bound to wood.
It seemed to him that his body could no longer distinguish between pain and any other type of sensation; where her tiny fingers should have tickled him, they burned on his skin, their softest touch like a hundred thorns ripping into him.
And yet he shivered with pleasure.
He opened his eyes. In the flickering light of a torch, he saw the girl standing next to him. He raised his head as far as the restraints and his weak condition would allow. She could not have been older tha
Draw me as I amDraw me as I am10 years ago in Philosophy & Perspectives More Like This
When I was younger I thought death was an end, but now I think it is a process. I see this in the conversion of mourner's black to a trite fashion statement, in wisdom replaced by progress. It is a searching in the sand for words that might save you, while stones fall and understanding departs. It is knowing that most of my grandchildren's generation will not recognise the reference to which I allude, let alone its significance.
The gas heater flickers; orange light beneath plastic coals provides a comforting illusion. No more cinders, no more black dust coating every surface. I suppose I should be grateful.
On the television a man grins inanely. His wife competently organises around his bumbling ineptness. His children sigh and look embarrassed, or resigned.
"That's what it's like now, see?" I say to the ghost in the chair by the fireplace.
"What's that, Dad?" my daughter Alison asks from the kitchen, where no doubt she is planning my week very efficiently. The effective career mum, a
Voices... For and About KidsVoices in Writing For and About KidsVoices... For and About Kids6 years ago in Editorial More Like This
Well, the title of this piece promises a guide to writing for and about kids. This is an all-encompassing phrase that, I hope, will grab anybody who wants to write for or about any characters between the ages of about nought and eighteen. So, is this the part where I reveal that this guide is actually more limited than that? No it is not! At least, I have done my very best to cater to all possible needs, with the following handy headings:
Issues and Obstacles
The Voice of the Child: Advice on Writing Dialogue
Childrens Literature and the Narrative Voice
Young Adult Fiction and the Teenage Voice
I admit it: this guide is not going to be short, and while it is not going to be excessively long either, it will try to answer every question I have been able to anticipate.
Issues and Obstacles
Picture this. You have s
How to Write a StoryHow to Write a StoryHow to Write a Story9 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
For all you aspiring young authors, and even old pros, who are looking for a way to improve your skills, this is for you. In this manual I'm relying on my own experience as an author and as an avid reader. First I'll start with the five major problems faced by most authors.
1. Writing a Beginning. The most remembered part of a story is the beginning and the end. The beginning sets the mood for the rest of the story. If you start off on the wrong foot, readers might just put your story down and look for a different one.
2. Writing an Ending. For a reader, the ending of a good book is an action-packed tragedy. When was the last time you read a good novel and wanted it to end? A good long story can be an enjoyable thing, but as a writer, you want to be able to end it.
3. Descriptions. Long boring paragraphs filled with the descriptions of characters and places don't make for good reading. In small doses, a wel
On submitting proseOn submitting prose10 years ago in General Non-Fiction More Like This
Okay. So you've written something. Part of a story perhaps, or a description. A prologue or a novel chapter. You want to post it as a deviation on dA.
You want comments? You want people to take your writing seriously?
Show us you take your writing seriously then.
1. Proofing and Polishing.
If you apply for a job and your CV is full of typos, spelling mistakes and poorly worded sentences, you won't get the job. Your application will go in the bin.
Most people on dA don't know you. If they randomly find your work and it looks like you dashed it off, wrote it between lessons, and submitted it just as it is, most people won't bother to read much beyond their discovery of the first typo.
And why should they? You obviously don't care enough to spend a bit of time polishing your work, so why should anyone waste their time reading it? Really?
No one cares about how on-the-spur-of-the-moment your writing was done. Saying "I wrote this at 3am" or "I was high" do
The Art of Refining ProseThe Art of Refining Prose7 years ago in General Non-Fiction More Like This
The Art of Refining Prose
Many writers dread the editing process. Not only does it delay the showcase of prose, it can seem a tedious and painstaking task. Often, editing is more time-consuming than the initial writing and consequently, it is either ignored altogether or briefly indulged. This is a great shame. Sincere editing not only proves a pleasurable experience but invaluable to prose, as this is a wonderful opportunity to buff, polish and tighten the impact of one's writing.
Some might argue that editing is not only unnecessary, but detrimental to the raw concept of ones inspiration. The answer to this is simple: select a prose that hasnt been edited and compare against one that has. Its soon evident that a well-edited piece is not only easier to read, but communicates the authors ideas with greater clarity. Few Bestsellers hit the shelves having skipped the editing office. And unless the author has behind them years upon years of writi
Showing, Part OneShowing, Part One11 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
If you've ever taken a class in creative writing, you've no doubt heard the teacher repeat the phrase, "Show, don't tell" over and over again. While there are few hardest rules in creative writing, this persistent little mantra might be the ultimate. Teachers and writers who write about writing spout it out all the time, but what does it mean anyway? After, isn't all writing really "telling" on some level?
It's best to view "showing" not as a single technique, but a summation of the most effective writing techniques. If we know anything about poetry, it's that the best poetry usually conjures specific and concrete images. Beyond language itself, images are the meat and bones of poetry. So goes most of prose as well. The prose writer has the added duty of creating situations and characters that seem real and believable.
Showing invites the reader into the world of out poem and story. If the reader can see, smell, taste, and feel the world through our writing, the reader is more
Don't Say a Word—Don't Say a Word—Don't Say a Word9 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
He spreads her mouth open.
"Notice the little imperfections. We've also filed the teeth blunt; she couldn't hurt you even if she wanted to, sir."
She blinks. His hand jerks back.
"Jesus! That looked real!"
"Technically, she's fully functional. You just saw her blink away a tear. We've kept the wiring to an absolute minimum, but since we cannot fully anticipate the demands posed by our clients, we've tried to provide as full a range of functionality as we could. For instance, we simulate all bodily fluids."
"All of them?" he asks with a smirk.
"Feel for yourself, sir."
He slips his hand under the sheets and adjusts her legs.
"Quite astonishing, I must say."
"Your fingers. Wiggle them."
He does; she moans and smiles. Mirroring her smile, he withdraws his hand.
"She comes with fourteen voices; further voice-sets are available for download."
"And if I don't want her to say anything at all?"
"Then you set her to silent mode; not a prob
Tips For the NoviceTips For the Novice11 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
Tips For The Novice
It's an all-too common occurrence on my periodic forays into the world of internet poetry - writing weakened by a lack of fundamental knowledge concerning the essence of poetry writing. There are no rules set in stone about creative writing. The writer that strikes new trails can make a lasting impact on the world of poetry, but the chances of a writer stumbling upon golden words without a solid knowledge base are slim to none. The following tips for novice writers are intended to help shore up those fundamentals, to help the young writer breathe the essence of life into their poems, and to better share that essence with the reader.
The most important element you can inject into your poetry is imagery. Imagery is made up of sense data: color, sound, smell, temperature, the feeling of physical contact. When we remember anything with any vividness, we remember in images. When we fantasize or hallucinate, it is i
How to write a novel - OldHow to write a novelHow to write a novel - Old8 years ago in General Non-Fiction More Like This
A crash-course by someone who's done it before and will do it again
Step one will be getting rid of all the "I can't write a novel because *something, something, blah, blah*"isms. Here's a short list of the most used ones and why they're lame:
I can't write a novel because I'm too busy.
Wrong - All human beings need rest - and I don't mean just sleep. Come on, admit it, you spend some time each day reading, watching TV, surfing the internet, et cetera. I'm not going to ask you to stop doing these things, I'm going to ask you to consider doing more than one thing at a time, and maybe cut down some of the time you spend on those activities. "but you just said that I need y rest!" you say? Well, learn how to use writing as rest. More about that later.
I can't write a novel because I have no talent.
All human beings have what it takes to write a novel - imagination. Hey, I didn't say you were writing a bestseller, writing a novel for the sheer joy of wr
The Writing ProcessWhat is the Writing Process?The Writing Process7 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
Many of us learned that the writing process is made up of five parts: Pre-writing, Writing, Revision, Editing, and Publishing. Indeed, this process has been so ingrained, and the vocabulary and terms have become such a part of our education, that some students (and adults) feel as if writing is a formulaic, rigid thingnot unlike learning mathematicsthat they simply never excelled in. Fortunately, this simply isn't true. While the five basic steps of the writing process are effective, they can only be effective if the people using the process understand the purpose of each step.
Experience has shown that many students do not know the purpose of drafting beyond a certain, vague understanding that you're supposed to "correct" or "fix" something for each new draft. Its unfortunate, but its also been shown that students who are forced to Pre-Write in certain ways, even when they have been
Home AloneHome AloneHome Alone10 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
"For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause;"
- William Shakespeare, Hamlet
"Ring, ring, ring, goes the telephone
The lights are on but there's no-one home."
- Madonna, Hung Up
A book abandoned on a black leather couch. No dog-ear nor bookmark; only a stretch in the spine recalls the page last read. It fades, like all things must. No matter: no one will mind.
The TV tuned to static; no patterns arise from black and white noise: only echoes from the first explosion.
Thunder rumbles distantly; no drumming of rain; all is silent again.
Shelves and books and family snapshots. A fish tank.
See the underwater landscape: sunken ship and half-forgotten pirate treasure; see the mermaid sit on her sea-shell settee, staring past you into a vista of the storm. She knows not what approaches. One fish swims, one drifts belly-up. The swimmer impacts against the mermaid: again, again, and again. He persists, she sits unmovi
Punctuating Dialogue: A GuideStandard Punctuation: DialoguePunctuating Dialogue: A Guide7 years ago in Editorial More Like This
Sometimes we read dialogue so often, punctuated in so many different ways, that we either forget what we've learned (if that was anything memorable to begin with) or we rely on instinct to guide us. A common example of this can be seen in the opening dialogue of darksouldream's piece, Bobby:
No, replied Cindy `I think his sister Becky is staying with her, but she keeps muttering about parents out living children. The doctors been keeping her pretty sedated.
Most Americans will cringe at this. Why? Well, double quotation marks are the more acceptable usage (the "traditional convention") in American Standard English. However, in British Standard English, both the double quotation mark and single quotation mark are used. What's the rule? Stylis
NothingNothing10 years ago in Scraps More Like This
A bare stage. GUY 1 is standing CENTRE stage.
GUY 2 [entering]. Hey.
GUY 1. Hey.
GUY 2. What's going on?
GUY 1. I'm watching that burning house over there.
GUY 2. What burning house?
GUY 1. It's offstage.
GUY 2. Oh.
GUY 1. But it's there.
GUY 2. What for?
GUY 1. It's a plot device.
GUY 2. A what?
GUY 1. A plot device. Something introduced to the narrative in order to advance it. In this case, a burning house.
GUY 2. Oh. How's that working out?
GUY 1. Well, you showed up.
GUY 2. Is it a symbol or something?
GUY 1. Probably.
GUY 2. I don't get it.
GUY 1. Yeah, neither do I.
GUY 2. I don't think I like this plot device.
GUY 1. Give it some time. Sit down, have a smoke.
GUY 2. I do