PE: Story Planning Week!Greetings everyone and welcome to another fun-packed week at projecteducate! This week has been teamed back up with CRLiterature and will be focussing on story planning!
What do we mean by “story planning”?
Planning a story sounds like an easy task- even at primary school level you are taught that a story must have a beginning, a middle and an end. However there are plenty of important elements that build a story; a lot of prep work that can actually improve the quality of your novel writing in the long run. This can cover almost anything- from world building, character development, creating past history and plot mapping etc. There is a huge range of elements that can turn your idea into a strong well-structured novel.
Are you going to tell me how to write a novel?
Not exactly. We can’t tell you how to approach your novel and how to write it from chapter 1 through to the end. We’re not giv
Please Pants Responsibly (Paper Notebooks FTW)Please Pants Responsibly (Paper Notebooks FTW)3 years ago in Personal More Like This
There are two ways to write a novel. Plotting (you make an outline, a plan, a roadmap if you will, and then you sit down and write it) and pantsing (you write "by the seat of your pants, throwing caution to the wind). So when I get asked if I'm a plotter or a pantser, I'm all like er, uh, hold on, let me? Pantser? I think? But I kind of, um, do planny things?
And it gets kind of awkward because in these inarticulate moments I have managed to confuse everyone including myself. And probably spilled a drink.
In recent discussions, however, I've had a bit of a revelation, silly as it is. I've realized that I -- like many writers -- am a plotter/pantser hybrid. And perhaps what I'm doing is something we could call Pantsing Responsibly. And, maybe, just maybe, I could share some of my responsible pantsing tips with other writers. Starting with paper notebooks.
Anyone can find a notebook. If there isn't alread
Worldbuilding: Environments and Social StructuresAre you ready to build a world? Good!Worldbuilding: Environments and Social Structures3 years ago in Literature Features More Like This
The Magic Gateway, by jerry8448. This is what we want to do with worldbuilding.
Worldbuilding is a complex process, because it is essentially creating the base of a different reality from our own. An author must pull together all the elements of a 'world', and capture that in text. This applies in any genre of writing. Even non-fiction has aspects of worldbuilding because it has setting and world details the same as fiction. In any genre, if the world is flat, the story will be flat and one of the best ways to build a fictional world is to know about one's own. Stories and readers both require an interesting and engaging place to go to, and our world, as well as any imagined one, can provide this! Because our world is the base of most human experiences, it is a great place to understand for both personal and writing reasons. If the author understands the sett
The Name GameThe Name GameThe Name Game3 years ago in Personal More Like This
Pitfalls to Avoid and Tricks to Use while Naming People and Places
We've all been there. You're reading a pretty interesting piece of fantasy fiction, and a few paragraphs in you learn that the main villain's name is "Abraxas the Cruel, Lord of the Black Tower." You wince at the unoriginality, close the deviation, and move on to something more interesting. We've all been on the other side of things, too, with a detailed plot outline in hand, staring at a Word document that displays only a single line: "???? knew what he had to do--kill the president." We're sure that once we get that protagonist's name down, that perfect name, we'll be able to write the whole thing in one gush of brilliance, but all that's coming to mind are banal names like "John Everyman" or over-the-top ones like "Staff Sergeant Max Fightmaster".*
*Yes, that is his rea
How to Stop Planning and Use What You've GotArticle cowritten by ShadowedAcolyte and neurotype.How to Stop Planning and Use What You've Got3 years ago in Literature Features More Like This
We've chosen to present this in bullets. The first few are ways to tell when your planning has gone too far; the rest are how to get past that.
Featured literature was chosen for its ability to present exposition: good pacing, tantalizing hints, etc.
How do I know I've planned too much?
When you can't hold it all in your head.When you can't explain it without a long-winded summary."So you've planned X. How will you reveal X to the reader?" If you can't immediately think of a good idea, it's probably overplanned.
Volume: how much of your story is world-building/backstory?
Properly spaced, you could get up to 10% world into a story without ruining the book (e.g. for an epic fantasy or something else not set in a place readers will immediately recognize). The rest should be happening now.If the setting is much more familiar—like, Everytown, USA, it could easily be 1% backstory.
PE: Story Planning Round-upGreetings all!PE: Story Planning Round-up3 years ago in Literature Features More Like This
WHAT AN AWESOME WEEK!
So last week we had a fantastic event based on Story Planning; a week that was slightly relaxed for a PE week, but full of good advice. These articles haven't just been written for the sake of filling a week, we genuinely hope there is something in them that is useful to you as a writer, to help you with your journey. There's a flash fiction month around the corner, as well as a camp NaNoWriMo and then a full NaNoWrimo in November. There are the times to get planning- don't leave it too close to the deadline!
Here is a list of all the articles we posted in the past week! Please favourite, share the love, comment and express gratitude- especially to our article writers who took the personal time to write these articles and share a little of their own writin
The Problem With Character SheetsAlright, there are some pretty awesome character sheets out there. I don't personally use them, but I've seen others make them work. I'm not here to dispute the fact that they've got some utility, but I am here to point out one big problem with relying on a list of traits—which is generally how character sheets present these things—to define your character.The Problem With Character Sheets3 years ago in Literature Features More Like This
(Note: This also applies to Mary Sue tests. 'Not a Mary Sue' just means your character isn't a perfect storm of coincidence. It has nothing to do with likeability or even believability. <insert dictator here> isn't a Mary Sue, either.)
I think this approach is, if it's the only approach you take to figuring out a character, a really bad idea.
Take a moment to think about your best friend. What's their favorite food? What are they good at, and what are things they do that make you Google good places to dump a body?
How to Plot Like a GrimIn ten simple steps, you too can plot like a Grim.How to Plot Like a Grim3 years ago in Literature Features More Like This
1. Get an idea
This can be a brief snippet of dialogue. Or an ending that just seems perfect. Sometimes it's just the concept of what I'd like to see a character go through. I write that down. Usually it doesn't see the cold light of day for at least a couple months, but when I've thought about it long enough and can't seem to get the idea out of my head, that's when I sit down and start plotting things out a bit.
2. Work out the basic plot
Now that I've got the idea, I need to work out the basic details. But how do I do that? Well, I write it down. Then I think about the different angles to get to that idea. I write those down. If it's dialogue, who's talking? What do they feel? Who are they talking to? If it's a snippet of a scene, who's in the scene? Why are they there? What are they doing? What's going on outside of that scene?
PE Prose Basics: Revise and EditProse Basics Week is winding down now and hopefully you've learned a lot from the brilliant past articles. But, there's more to writing than just getting that first draft done, isn't there? That's where the next big crucial step comes in: revision.PE Prose Basics: Revise and Edit2 years ago in Literature Features More Like This
The Art of Revising:
Revision is such a huge topic to cover, especially since there are many ways to go about it. You can do self-edits, which always are a good first step, or you can get outside revisions from peers. Both are good ideas to really get your work to be top notch. But, the big thing to remember is that there's more to just editing your work than cleaning up a few spelling and grammar mistakes. Revising also includes corrections to sentence flow, scenes, and sometimes overall plot. So, before we jump into some ways to edit, here are a few different terms of methods of editing that may be handy to know-- especially if you're asking a peer to help you with revisions.
Literary Terminology GuideLit Basics WeekLiterary Terminology Guide2 years ago in Literature Features More Like This
This will be a straightforward article that lists some basic literary terms (in alphabetical order) that can be found in, well, literary works. You could use some of these terms to write a spectacular poem or prose piece about cake.
Before we get started, head on over to this other PE article that lists a BUNCH of Poetry Terms and Techniques.
An item of soft, sweet food made from a mixture of flour, shortening, eggs, sugar, and other ingredients, baked and often decorated. Also known as the first half of my otp.
A narrative that has multiple layers of meanings. Allegories are written in the form of fables, parables, poems, stories, and almost any other style or genre. The main purpose of an allegory is to tell a story that has characters, a setting, as well as other types of symbols, that have both literal and figurative meanings.
A reference to someth
PE Prose Basics Wrap UpAs projecteducate's Prose Basics week comes to an end, let's look back at all the awesome articles that came out this week. We learned all sorts of new things and hopefully got a refresher on some oldies. Whether you're just starting out in the world of writing or a well seasoned writer, there was plenty of advice to be taken in and lessons to be learned.PE Prose Basics Wrap Up2 years ago in Literature Features More Like This
Review of the Articles from this Week
Hear Me My Audience!! Formatting for the Interweb Era ''Said'' and Effective Dialogue TagsHook, Line, and Sinker: How to
Writing Resources for Noobs (...and not-so-noobs)I spend a lot of time giving advice to young writers. It's cool, I like doing it, and I really don't mind spending time with newbies discussing the business and the art. But I thought it might be useful to everyone if I put some of my favorite stuff here in one post.Writing Resources for Noobs (...and not-so-noobs)3 years ago in Personal More Like This
Chuck gets it.
I find that I often link a series of the same places over and over. There are a lot of resources out there on the web, and yeah, I could just tell y'all to go Google it, but while Google brings up some great links, I also have my own personal favorites. So here you go, EKA's Favorite Writing Resources:
On Querying, Publishers, and Agents
Absolute Write: Bewares & Background Checks
Jennifer Represents, blog of l
Prose Basics: What is Voice, Anyway?At this point, you've all had awesomesauce articles on word choice, varying sentences, dialect, and dialogue. Which is great, because it cuts my job down to five minutes of nattering on about how you bring all these elements together to create that elusive thing people always go on about: VOICE.Prose Basics: What is Voice, Anyway?2 years ago in Literature Features More Like This
Voice is the personality of the book.
You know that thing about avoiding cliché except every single plotline ever has been done and has the TVTropes article to prove it and OH GODS WHY?!?!
Voice solves 97% of that. It lends originality to your story by tossing a filter over the whole thing. 'The Shining' needed that kid-voice so readers could stare in horror over his shoulder, understanding things like the dark cloud of suicide in his father's head without having his reaction ruin half a page of ominous build. 'Dir
Using Colloquialisms: Are you down with it? Colloqualism: You down with it?Using Colloquialisms: Are you down with it?2 years ago in Deviant Events More Like This
A word or phrase that is not formal or literary and is used in ordinary or familiar conversation. synonyms: slang, idioms, patois, dialect.
Examples: whatcha, gotta, face on, ovver.
I’m sure you’ve had a good telling off by your teachers for using colloquial language inappropriately in your writing. I’ve had essays returned with the word “too informal” scrawled along the margin or a big red exclamation mark next to a certain word, who hasn’t? What just me? Oh right… my bad!
So WHY would we use colloquial language in our writing, after years of tackling the angry red pen?
I know we’re not supposed to judge a book by its over – or a person by their accent – but it happens. You can tell us a lot about a character by the kind of language they use. Are they all gangsta, dropping hooded verbs
Short vs. Long - Contest Contest closed, thank you for participating!Short vs. Long - Contest3 years ago in Literature Features More Like This
Story planning isn't about length—you can use all of the tips throughout this week to figure out anything from a very well-researched drabble to a cycle of novels.
So I'm just taking a moment to talk about the big difference between writing a short vs. long work. I'm not hashing out every distinction—I'm leaving microfiction in particular to the experts—so for our purposes here a short story is anything from 1,000 to 10,000 words and a novel is 40,000 words and above. (Literaticat will tell you different things. Trust her.)
The basics are the same: you need a beginning, middle, and end (yes, short stories are complete stories)! You need an engaging protagonist who works well with the plot, and there's the same range of available genres.
So what is the difference?
Scope. A short story has to be <
PE Prose Basics: Varying SentencesVarying Your SentencesPE Prose Basics: Varying Sentences2 years ago in Literature Features More Like This
When I was in college, I took an early morning Anthropology class. I had to wake up at five to catch the bus. Ugh. Yeah, I'm not a morning person. But I did it. The first day, our instructor stood before us and starting reading from the textbook. Word for word. Completely monotone. I was asleep within ten minutes. The rest of the week was the same; arrive, begin listening to the instructor, pass out. I had to drop the class and get whatever refund I could, while I could. It was my worse class experience there.
Most people know that in public speaking, the person talking needs to vary their tone and speech patterns and such to hold their audience's attention. They need to have a rhythm. Otherwise, they'll end up putting the audience to sleep. The same applies to writing. If you use the same sentence length or structure continually, you'll be the literary equivalent of my instructor. Repea
Record Cards, Astronavigation and YouOnce upon a time, there was a strapping young lad named Arnold J. Rimmer.Record Cards, Astronavigation and You3 years ago in Art Features More Like This
Arnold Rimmer joins the Space Corps as a lowly third technician, but has great plans to work his way up through the ranks until he is an officer. To become an officer, however, one must pass the dreaded astronavigation exam. Fortunately, Rimmer is organised. He knows how to make the absolute most of his time, and so he takes a sheet of paper and draws up a revision schedule. He blocks out the times he must spend at work, and also those times when he will be distracted by his slovenly bunk-mate, David Lister. On another sheet of paper, he notes down all the subjects that will be covered in the astronavigation exam, and weights the importance of each one, colour-coding them for ease of reference. Now that he has established what he must revise and when he can revise it, he fills in each available slot in his schedule, using all his skill as an expert calligrapher to
PE Story Planning: Utter FoolishnessPlanning Utter Foolishness!PE Story Planning: Utter Foolishness3 years ago in Personal More Like This
Alright, it's my birthday so I thought it was time to change up the deluge of organization and planning articles we've got for you, with a minor thought about foolishness. (Don't ask too much of me, I've been in birthday mode for a good twenty-four hours already. Get someone else to elaborate.) Oh, and cake. There must be cake. Make a wish...
This article had a point...
Oh right! Utter foolishness. Instead of detailed planning strategies, I offer you an alternative. I have an abundance of my own examples, but I will do my best to find some others that have some relevance. Hopefully. (Given the trend of this article so far, I'm not sure there is an applicable "relevant". We shall see.) Anyway.
We are all inspired, right? I hope so, anyway, otherwise what would you be doing on deviantART? Where do you get your inspiration from? If you're running low, we have great groups here on dA; Lit-Visual-Alliance is all about (in t
Making the Most of the Words You UseHave you ever opened up a dictionary and just starting reading it? (Oh, come on, I know I'm not the only one!) Well, if you haven't, you should go do that, right now, before you read any further. Okay, you're back. There are literally hundreds of thousands of words out there, and all of them are waiting for you to use them in your next literary masterpiece.Making the Most of the Words You Use2 years ago in Literature Features More Like This
Now, you may be asking "So what?" Words are just words, right? So long as you get your point across, that's all that matters, right? After all, green is green, whether you call it olive or neon or sea-foam. Right? Right?
Wrong! Consider this scene: Abigail walked through the quiet garden. The hedges formed a maze for her to navigate.
It gets the point across, but doesn't paint much of a picture without context. It's kind of boring, and doesn't give you any details or reason for caring. By adding or changing a few words, you can turn this dry piece of toast into an enchanting seedcake of delight.
PE Prose Basics: Pacing ( and Show vs. Tell)Hello, everyone! As you all know, this week over at projecteducate is Prose Basics. We're here to help all you prose writers (whether flash fiction, short stories, or novels) get better at your craft with some basic tips for growth. Today, I'm going to be talking about something you've probably heard about again and again: pacing.PE Prose Basics: Pacing ( and Show vs. Tell)2 years ago in Literature Features More Like This
What is Pacing?
No, it's not what you do when you're stuck on a scene and need to get up and stretch those leg muscles to get your writing juices flowing. It's actually a very important ability that writers have to control the speed their story is read. You as the author get to manipulate the reader in a way and make the speed of the story match the scene. What better way to drop the reader right into the moment? But, pacing also holds the ability to make or break your story and keep or lose your reader's interest. This is why it's so important in writing.
Setting the Scene:
How to Stay Inspired and Focused on Your WritingLiterature Basics WeekHow to Stay Inspired and Focused on Your Writing2 years ago in Deviant Events More Like This
Our world is so full of noise and distraction. It’s no wonder “Walden” is a classic—Thoreau had time and quiet in which to write it! And plenty of inspiration from nature.
So how do we focus, as writers, on our craft? Even if it’s our passion, sometimes it takes a lot of effort to sit down and just write—especially if we struggle with attention or hyperactivity, whether diagnosed or not.
As someone who has studied both academic writing and reading in college and graduate school, and a veteran of National Poetry Writing Month for 7 years and National Novel Writing Month for one, I can attest that intentional writing, for fun or for a grade, is not easy to focus on, especially without a good writing environment.
So what to do? Many professional writers will tell you just one simple thing: write. James Patterson said, “The trick is making writing into a daily habit. Same time. Same place. Same hot beverage of choice.
PE: Poetry Forms- An A-Z An A-Z of Poetry Forms!PE: Poetry Forms- An A-Z3 years ago in Literature Features More Like This
To kick start this week at projecteducate, we're starting off with a slightly lighter-hearted article listing just some of the poetic forms that exist out there. Lets be honest, there are hundreds and we can't list every single one. This is just a slice of the forms out there and if you are wishing to expand your understanding of different forms, do some research and don't take this as gospel!
Each form has a direct link to a site that describes the form in more detail, usually with examples too. I have also included some good examples from dA when I have found them.
Yes some of these link to wikipedia!
ABC- A poem where each word, line or stanza starts with the next continuous letter of the alphabet. Also known as an "Abcedarian"
Choosing a Literary Format and LengthLit Basics WeekChoosing a Literary Format and Length2 years ago in Literature Features More Like This
(ShadowedAcolyte deserves equal praise/blame for this one. Hello, ShadowedAcolyte.)
It's Lit Basics Week, for all types of literature, and we haven't discussed the most basic thing of all: deciding what your work should be. Prose, poetry, scripts all have some fundamental things in common. Since they all use words, they can convey the same information, such as the sadness of losing a loved one or the details of attending a classical concert. Of course, written scripts are a lot more dialogue heavy, and prose is more forgiving than poetry on some counts, but the essentials are the same.
So if content doesn't matter, how do you decide?
Format (e.g. prose, poetry, scripts)
What skills do you want to build? Are you trying to challenge yourself with the exactitude that poetry demands (yes even experimental), do you want to play with the media crossing opportunities a script offers, or take advantage of how flexible prose is to delve into your narr
PE: How to Make the Most of Your Lit on dALit Basics WeekPE: How to Make the Most of Your Lit on dA2 years ago in Literature Features More Like This
It goes without saying that being noticed on dA as an artist isn't easy. Add in the fact that you're submitting literature to a predominantly visual arts site and you have an even lower chance of being noticed. Your friendly Literature Community Volunteers do their best to feature an array of poetry and prose, but even that is only a single day feature of ONE of your deviations. Getting a following or even just getting deviants to read your lit and give feedback is hard work. But you'll see a common denominator amongst those deviants that have made it.
It's community involvement. You shouldn't expect to receive if you're not willing to give. But how exactly can accomplish that? Is going to random Lit Groups and leaving critique on a dozen or so deviations a week enough? Probably not. Will participating in group challenges, prompts and contests get you noticed? Not by itself. What if you run a weekly or bi-weekly feature article of Literature on dA? Still, no.
Writers' Block: The MythLit Basics WeekWriters' Block: The Myth2 years ago in Literature Features More Like This
We've all suffered from sitting down at our desk, booting up our computer, ready to start writing a story and BAM nothing comes out. We sit there and sit there and still nothing comes out. We put everything away and try again the next day but have the same results. Then we go to our favourite blog site and write a journal about how the world is horrible and we're suffering from writers' block.
But are we really suffering from a block?
If, on the third day, someone came to us and said, "Have two pages, double spaced in 12pt text written by tomorrow at noon on a topic of your choosing and I'll give you $1,000," would we still be unable to produce something? I'm sure if given a deadline and incentive like this, the majority of us would be able to write two pages, double spaced in 12pt text by tomorrow at noon. Proving that writers' block is a myth. Well, in most cases.
I'm not saying there is absolutely no such thi