Quick Guide: Story OrganizingA Quick Guide to Organizing Your Fantasy/Sci-Fi Novel
I'm going to try and briefly cover World Building specifically for Fantasy and Science Fiction (though it will apply in general to any setting), both major and minor Characters, and some basics of Timeline here. I am not going to walk you step by step through how to write your own story, but you should (hopefully) get some useful tips out of this.
I never used to organize my novels before I started writing. I have so many stories in my head, I would just pick one and start writing. I didn't have trouble keeping to the same details of a given character because I knew them so well. But after taking such a long break from writing Missing Puzzle Pieces, I really needed to do some serious work. I don't remember all the details I had in my head back when I started... in fact, I've completely forgotten the original ending. For those of you who don't know my story, which starts
GMC - SIMPLIFIEDGMC - SIMPLIFIED5 years ago in Writing More Like This
"I am I Need I Desire "
Goal, Motivation & Conflict - SIMPLIFIED
Goal, Motivation and Conflict seems to be the BIG MYSTERY of fiction writing. Everyone says that they're essential to good writing and they're right, they are. Absolutely. But this stuff can be a little confusing.
Let's begin at the beginning
-- What are all these things and why do stories need them?
Goal is what your character THINKS they are after.
Motivation is what makes them WANT to go after it.
Conflict is what Gets In Their Way.
-- Internal Conflict being ANGST or Drama.
-- External Conflict being the PLOT or Events.
The Plot (Events) Arc is the stuff that happens to the characters the plotline. There are 5 basic stages in a Plot Arc:
1 - Inciting Event
2 - Challenge
3 - Crisis/Reversal
4 - Ordeal
5 - Confrontation
The Character (Drama) Arc is the complimentary (or contrary) stage of Ang
10 Quick Tips: ProseFor the short of time, patience or remaining-eyesight: here is a quick, ten-point tutorial for better prose.10 Quick Tips: Prose5 years ago in Writing More Like This
The points are drawn from books, articles, casually-offered-advice and my own experience. Much like the Ten Commandments, they aren't all concrete rules. Just things to strongly keep in mind.
1. Vary sentence structure.
-> In particular, avoid starting every line with "I..." or "He..."
-> Try to vary your sentence length too.
2. Don't repeat words within a sentence.
-> Or too many times in sentences that follow each other.
-> Avoid repeated use of character names by using he/she where possible.
3. Avoid adverbs.
-> They clutter sentences and there's usually a better way.
-> Ask yourself, "Does this add any new information?"
4. Swap "which" for "that" where possible.
-> This is black magic. It just sounds better.
-> Also avoid "however".
5. Make pairs of adjectives different.
A Guide to Writing StyleA Guide to Writing Style7 years ago in Writing More Like This
Writing Style - The Bottom Line
Words are like sunbeams. The more they are condensed, the deeper they burn. - Robert Southey
Prose is architecture, not interior decorating. - Ernest Hemingway
Writing style is made up of two things: cadence and variation.
Good style is clear, readable, and invisible. Its purpose is not to attract attention to itself but to transport readers into the world of your story. If your readers notice your style without purposefully intending to study it, your style needs to be improved and refined. Good style, however, is transparent so that your readers simply see the characters and world of your story rather than the words you use to portray them.
To write with cadence simply means that your writing should sound natural. If it sounds right to you, it probably is--but if it doesnt sound right,
10Q Writers' Tutorial: SettingTen Easy Questions to Fix Your Fantasy Setting10Q Writers' Tutorial: Setting6 years ago in Writing More Like This
(may also work for sci-fi)
A fantasy story has to take place somewhere. And what better surroundings for your epic/tragic/blood-thirsty tale of war/love/orc-beauty-pageants than your mystical land of Neverheardofit?
Imagine it! The ragged mountains clad in purple fog. The bubbling streams sparkling with fairy magic. The sleepy-eyed dragons emerging from their noble lairs, their flickering tongues tasting the sweetness of battle in the air.
(Or just some spaceships and laser guns. This is a sci-fi tutorial too.)
You can certainly feel the magic (or techno-awesome) but, for some reason, your readers just aren't getting it. They keep asking awkward questions or, worse than that, not reading further than the first chapter.
You could give up in despair: A tragic artist, never to be understood.
Or you could try this simple little Ten Question Tutorial. It can't hurt,
Writing Style vs. VoiceWriting Style vs. Voice6 years ago in Writing More Like This
A Writer's Guide to Style vs. Voice
Here on dA, there seems to be a lot of confusion and general mass hysteria when it comes to the subjects of writing style and voice. What are they? What's the difference? Can you write one without the other? How important are they, anyhow? Do you really need either of them? Wait, what are they again?
Style is the form and structure with which you write.
Voice is the attitude and perspective with which you write.
In other words, voice is the emotion and feeling of a piece of literature, and style is the technical way of communicating that emotion.
Clearly, there is a tangible difference between the two. Style is a delivery system for voice. While voice can and should affect the form with which you write, you can most certainly write one without the other. However, the best writing is a masterful fusion of both.
I'm here to illustrate for you the difference between style and voice and to define exactly what they are and how you can us
How to write a summaryHow to write a summary8 years ago in Writing More Like This
NOTE!: This is a random tutorial that I wrote because of all the people I know that say they can't write a summary. I have left plenty of other info in the artist comments so go read that if you must, now! Oh, and I am looking for errors so tell me if you spot any, I need to change them, ktnxsbai!
HEY! Have you always wanted to write a summary that was so good your readers read the summary more than your story? Well I hope not, then no one would be able to read the writing would they. But have no fear, although I may not be the most amazing writer ever Im sure I can give you some basic tips on how to write a good summary that makes all the people who read it want to read the story right there and then.
Now Im not saying you are incapable of writing one, no, everyone can. But, there are certain ways you can write it to ensure that people are going to read it. Obviously you need a nice story title, if there isnt a good title people might not
5 Ways to Get Fantasy WrongYes, you're writing a fantasy story. Yes, that means many of the normal "rules" of reality are suspended. It doesn't mean you can just write whatever you like and expect your readers to swallow it. The existence of dragons they'll probably accept. Moscow being the capital of France they probably won't.5 Ways to Get Fantasy Wrong5 years ago in Writing More Like This
The key to "selling" weird, fantasy stuff to your reader (like dragons and half-elves) is making the world at large believable. This means getting the simple things right. So on that note:
1. Factual Errors
There are things in the wide-world of fiction that are fantasy elements; things like dragons, unicorns, and women who find beards sexy. There are other things in the wide-world of fiction that are factual elements; things like the speed of an average horse, the boiling point of water, and the observation that iron rusts.
Clearly, these are not two distinct categories that can have a line neatly drawn between them. You may have creat
The Secret to Proper ParagraphingThe Secret to Proper Paragraphing6 years ago in Writing More Like This
Once you know what your characters and doing and saying, how do you get all that down on Paper without ending up with a huge confusing mess?
Putting the Story on Paper.
Everybody knows that when a new speaker speaks they get a new paragraph, right? In other words, you DON'T put two different people talking in the same paragraph. Okay, yeah, so anyone who has written any kind of fiction learns this pretty darned quick, (usually from their readers.)
What nobody seems to get is that the same goes for a new character's ACTIONS. Seriously, when a new character ACTS they're supposed to get their own paragraph -- even if they don't speak!
In short, you paragraph by change in CHARACTER -- not because they speak, but because they ACT. Ahem... Dialogue is an ACTION. In other words, the reason you don't put two different characters' Dialogue in the same paragraph is BECAUSE you don't mix two characters' Actions. Okay?
"Wait a minute,
How to Start and Stay WritingHow to Start and Stay Writing6 years ago in Writing More Like This
I recently solicited my watchers to ask me writing questions that I would then attempt to answer in a writing guide such as this. This article is my first response, and there will be many more to come.
I've been asked to give advice on ways a writer can begin to put words on a page. The bottom line is as simple as this: sit your butt down and write.
Duh, right? It's the only way I know to actually write.
Sure, sitting your butt in a chair is easy, but getting your fingers to move and stay moving is a challenge. Here are three things that have helped me.
1) Have a goal.
Your goal can be as simple as "describe the person in this picture" or as ambitious as "write 1,000 words of my novel." Having a goal will drive you forward and motivate you to keep writing. Whatever you do, don't move your butt from your chair until you accomplish your goal.
Other practical goals include setting a timer, writing to the end of a chapter or scene, and completing a particular section of an outline or numbe
5 Steps to Organize Your NovelWhat You'll Need:5 Steps to Organize Your Novel5 years ago in Writing More Like This
A basic story idea
Printer (preferably laser) with plenty of paper
Three Ring Binders (2) with separating tabs
Build Your World and Characters
For most writers, this comes naturally. If you're having some issues, there are plenty of tutorials, guides, aids and groups available for assistance. For the purpose of this guide, you should have your world built and at the very least your main characters devised. Having secondary characters planned will get you bonus points!
Print Character and Plot Sheets
Each character should have their own sheet (keep the backs blank, they're a grand place to keep extra notes and page references). It's not necessary that you fill out every single line of the character sheet. Fill out only what is necessary for the character/plot. Feel free to add to the sheet as your write, too. The
The Subtle STATIC TRAITThe Subtle STATIC TRAIT5 years ago in Writing More Like This
The Subtle STATIC TRAIT
Secret Weapon of the Clever Writer
The Static Trait is the small personal HABIT an individual character displays which reveals their personal Neurosis, their driving NEED, especially in stressful situations. This habitual or even ritual behavior acts as both their greatest source of trouble and the linchpin to their success. It's the individual character's "Accident Waiting to Happen".
The most obvious place to find visible Static Traits is in both Comedies and Tragedies. These stories (and movies) RELY on their characters' Static Traits to linchpin the plot.
What made Laurel and Hardy so funny, were the little neurotic habits -- the static traits -- that would appear under stressful situations. Abbot and Costello built whole routines on Bud Abbot's little twitchy responses. The climactic scene in every one of their movies involved Abbot in a panic attack. You spent half the movie going "Oh no! Don't! Don't! Don't!...AH! He did
Advanced CHARACTER CreationAdvanced CHARACTER Creation6 years ago in Writing More Like This
Advanced CHARACTER Creation ~ for Fiction
Hero ~ Villain ~ Ally
There are three essential characters in every story. There may be any number of side characters, but in traditional Adventures, and Romances of every stripe (erotic or not,) the main conflict is usually, if not always, a TRIANGLE of complimentary opposites.
Translation: You could tell the whole story with ONLY these Three Characters; perhaps not with any real detail, but you could still do the entire basic plotline.
I'm sure you're familiar with the names Hero & Villain or Antagonist & Protagonist already. Those are pretty darn standard. However, always there, though seldom named is a Third character, the Ally -- the Companion to the Hero or Villain.
The Invisible Character: the Ally
The Ally's function is to be the Middle-Man, the nay-sayer that presents an opposing view t
Tips For Writing Flash Fictionby Stephen R. Smith with excerpts by Kathy KachelriesTips For Writing Flash Fiction7 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
In order to improve as a writer, you need feedback. It's difficult to write something the size of a novel, and equally difficult to carve out the time required to read one and provide any sort of meaningful critique on it. This severely handicaps the feedback loop so important for the aspiring writer.
Flash Fiction on the other hand allows you to exercise all of your story writing and editing skills while creating works that can be read in a few minutes. This makes it ideal for examining ideas, developing writing skills and getting the feedback needed to help elevate you in your craft. Note that while Flash Fiction stories can be read in a few minutes, you shouldn't expect to write them that quickly.
Kathy Kachelries, founder of 365tomorrows, had this to say about Flash Fiction:
"The most concise and widely-cited example of flash fiction is the story Ernest Hemingway penned, allegedly to settle a bar bet: For sale: baby shoes.
Essentials of a Short StoryEssentials of a Short Story6 years ago in Writing More Like This
Essentials of a Short Story
Quotes raped from a critique of Nathanial Hawthorn's Twice Told Tales by
Edgar Allen Poe - 1837
Edgar Allen Poe, celebrated as one of the finest short fiction writers of all time, was also a literary critic. These are bits of his wisdom on writing short stories, gleaned from one of his critiques.
"The true critic will but demand that that the (story's) design intended be accomplished, to the fullest extent, by the means most advantageously applicable " -- Poe
Poe's Prerequisites -- in a Nutshell:
To deliver fullest satisfaction, a short story should be structured:
1) To be read in one sitting.
2) Using a deliberate number of characters and incidents.
3) With words restrained in style and tone.
4) All done that should be done, with nothing done which should not be.
Poe's Prerequisites -- in DETAIL
A short story should be structured:
1) To be rea
High Speed STORIESHigh Speed STORIES6 years ago in Writing More Like This
When you absolutely, positively, HAVE to get the story done.
The trick to speed-writing is to Plan the story out first, more commonly known as PLOTTING.
"Diabolic" was written in 30 days -- all 15 chapters at 2500 to 3000 words per chapter, adding up to around 80k (thousand) words. A novel is 90k to 100k. I was able to do this because I already knew my main characters really well, (Vincent and Sephiroth of Final Fantasy VII,) and I knew where my story ENDED. Basically, once I knew where I wanted to go, all I had to do was figure out how to get there.
Note: If you're interested, DIABOLIC can be found at Media Miner. The 'Search' feature is your friend!
The plot outline I used only had 5 points:
1. Beginning - The Main Character gets involved with the Villain or Lover.
2. Complications - The situation worsens.
3. Emotional Turning Point - Panic Attack! Fear and/or Guilt vs. Desperation
4. Reversal - The wor
The Wasteland AKA the MIDDLEThe Wasteland AKA the MIDDLE6 years ago in Writing More Like This
The Trackless Wasteland known as: The MIDDLE
The middle (of a story) KILLS me. I freeze when I have to decide which way things are going to go, and how, and that happens during the middle for me.
Middle, middle, middle... It's the Slough of Despond!
The Middle is where I usually fizzle out.
The middle is DANGEROUS territory.
Why? Because the Middle of a story is where you have a million-and-one options, a million-and-one directions to choose from, and a million-and-one ways to really show off your writing skills.
The Middle is also, where you have a million-and-one opportunities to really screw up your story for good. Opportunities that will send you spiraling into ever tightening circles that eventually jam you into a corner you can't get out of. In short: get you Lost in your own story.
You KNOW yo
Writing ACTION ScenesWriting ACTION Scenes6 years ago in Writing More Like This
-------- Original Message -----------
"I can't write an action/fight scene worth a crap. Mind you, I can usually imagine them, I just can't write them." -- Wanna Do a Fight Scene.
If you can imagine it - you can write it. The easiest way is by doing it in LAYERS.
The Quick and Dirty Method for writing Action Scenes
Start with a list of ACTIONS & Reactions < in that order.
-- Actions ALWAYS go before Reactions.
(IMPORTANT! Each CHARACTER gets a SEPERATE LINE. ~ NEVER clump the separate actions of two different characters in the same paragraph or the reader will get confused as to who is doing what very quickly.)
Will lunged forward, his sword fully extended in a stab.
Jack caught Will's blade with the flat of his blade. Pushing the blade just out of range of his skin, Jack slide down Will's blade in a short fast stab.
Will turned to the side to avoid Jack's sword's point.
Jack did a quick side-step to stay in front
The LAYERS of FictionThe LAYERS of Fiction6 years ago in Writing More Like This
"If you have Action and Dialogue, do you really NEED Description too?
What is the difference?"
The Layers of Fiction
"Himawari-chan, I have your lunch!"
"Here you go Himawari-chan!"
"Thank you, Watanuki-kun!"
"You are very welcome, Himawari-chan."
"I see. Of course. Thank you, Yuuko-san. Do I need to tell you what she said?"
"No! No, you don't, and I don't want to hear it! I don't need a freaking baby-sitter!"
"Yuuko thinks you do."
"That's her! Not me!"
"Are you a fortune-teller?"
"No! Of course not!"
"I'll come get you after class. I'll get the instructor to let you wait while I practice."
"What? No! I said I don't want to wait !"
"You gonna eat that?"
"Yes I am!"
"I do not, not, NOT take orders from you!"
This is "Talking Head Syndrome." There are no dialogue tags, because I don't use them.
Writing Tips -1Writing TipsWriting Tips -15 years ago in Reviews & Guides More Like This
Okay, so writing. Something you are interested in? Well,
lets get to grips with just some of the basics of great writing. These tips
will transform your attitude from "How can I fill this page?" into "How can
I fill this page with good quality writing?"
Part One: Initial Idea
Why is it that finding an idea can be so hard?
Why does everyone else have the power to come up with amazing ideas, and what
are you left with? Nothing... Well, to you, that may be what it seems
like, but I'm sure if you dig deep enough, you don't really lack in
ideas, you just have a hard time bringing them to the surface. Here
are some ways to bring out that buried inspiration:
Base some ideas on real life events
Its probably the easiest way to write, you may have experienced what you are
writing about, this helps the mind describe the situation, it also makes it
sound much more realistic.
Use inspiration from other pieces of writing
10Q Writers' Tutorial: HeroTen Easy Questions to Fix Your Fantasy Hero10Q Writers' Tutorial: Hero5 years ago in Writing More Like This
(may also work for sci-fi)
Fantasy is all about heroes. Dashing knights in shining armour. Swashbuckling pirates in baggy trousers. And sultry princesses in not-a-lot-really.
No story can last longer than the opening few paragraphs without characters, and no character in the history of story-telling has ever been as awesome as yours. They've got it all: good looks, witty words, deadly swordsmanship, wizz-bang magic, and a backstory of almost poetic tragedy. What they don't have is any rabid fans.
Why? How could your readers possibly miss the ass-kicking/heart-breaking/swoon-inducing nature of your character's mad-skills/emotional-depth/pant-wetting-charm?
Well, they might well be idiots. Or you might want to take a look at this concise (ha!) Ten Question Tutorial.
It's worth a shot? Isn't it?
This tutorial will focus almost exclusively on the main protagonist.
When the Hero is NOT a HeroWhen the Hero is NOT a Hero5 years ago in Writing More Like This
Protagonist & Antagonist ~ A Different Definition
There are Three Essential Characters in Every Story. There may be any number of side characters, but in traditional Adventures, and Romances of every stripe the main conflict is usually, if not always, a triangle of complimentary opposites.
Translation: You could tell the WHOLE story with ONLY these Three Characters; perhaps not with any real detail, but you could still do the entire basic plotline. (Yes I know, I've said some of this before. Bear with me.)
Yep. I'm sure you're familiar with: Hero Villain Heroine (or Sidekick) already. Those are pretty darn standard. So, let's define them in a more Literary, (and complicated,) fashion shall we?
Antagonist - Protagonist - Ally
ALLY? Who the heck is That?
Always there, though seldom named
To Create a CharacterAre you starting a story? Do you have an incomplete, flawed, or no character at all? It's happened to me many times and in my struggles to perfect my creations, I have learned a few things. I present you with seven easy steps with a challenge each to get you thinking.To Create a Character5 years ago in Writing More Like This
Grab a piece of paper and a pencil. Let's start
Step 1: Past
When creating a character, you must first establish a past. Even a person with amnesia has a past, they just don't remember it. Pasts are important, they show what shaped the person and why they are the way they are today.
If your character has a scar, why? If they have amnesia, why? If they have a phobia of water, why?
Remember one thing: there is always a reason.
Challenge: Write a brief story (vignette) of your character's past to familiarize yourself with the way things were.
Step 2: Appearance
You may have a certain idea, a vague idea, or no idea at all as to how your character will look. First, think of their
Advanced Plotting-The PREMISEAdvanced Plotting-The PREMISE6 years ago in Writing More Like This
Advanced Plotting ~ the PREMISE
Could you tell me more on plotting story points? I can get the big story idea well enough, but I run into a snag deciding the whole causality thing -- A leads to B, leads to C, etc."
-- Mad about Plotting
Ah, so you wanna know how to put all the theories together to make a story, do you? (Gee, you couldn't pick the easy stuff could you?) Okay...
A story's Causes & Effects, the triggers that lead from one event to the next, comes from your Premise.
Just for the record...
A Premise is NOT a Concept!
The Premise is the theoretical / emotional problem that your story is trying to illustrate and answer. It's the glue that holds the whole thing together. It's the Purpose of your story.
A Concept is HOW you intend to illustrate that Premise, it's the story you wrap around it.
Example: The 'Matrix':
Premise: Knowledge vs. Ig