The Problems With Stories Written by TeenagersDon't be offended at the title. "Teenagers" is just my way of saying "people who write unprofessional/shallow stories." Not all teenagers write shallow stories, it just sounds catchier.... Anyway.
The first thing I want to make clear is: I'm not talking about anything mechanical in this deviation. Grammar/spelling is important (obviously), but that point has been beaten to death by people on the internet already. My purpose, as always, is to talk about the stories themselves, regardless of the way they are communicated. Whether it be through written word or on-the-spot narration, I believe there are certain tricks to telling good stories. Not rules, mind you. Tricks.
I don't believe that telling good stories is about what you "should" do, rather than what you shouldn't. Example: people generally hate Mary Sues, right? Well, sometimes I notice things that are "like" Mary Sues, in the sense that they're equally as shallow/unprofessional ways of telling stories. The purpose of this deviat
The Problem with Self InsertsThe Problem with Self InsertsThe Problem with Self Inserts3 years ago in Reviews & Guides More Like This
There is nothing wrong with inserting yourself into a story. Like anything, it can be well done or... not so well done. The fact is, the majority of people who tend to write about self inserts happen to be beginners. Naturally, that causes there to be a pattern of certain, specific mistakes that are frequently found whilst reading anything on the internet. The purpose of this deviation isn't to say that self inserts are bad. I'm simply going to point out the most common mistakes that we usually encounter.
1. Making ourselves better than we really are.
Don't be fooled by the word "better." This can be replaced with mysterious, deep, dark, tragic, romantic, lovable... anything we want. Maybe a mix of a few of those things. The point is, the version of ourselves will be biased.
2. Not making anything bad happen to yourself
Let's talk about the word "bad." Does this mean something, perhaps, like... getting a disease? No. It means anything that interferes with
How Not to Write Love InterestsUPDATE: READ THE NEW EXTENSION TO THIS POST. LINK IN DESCRIPTION!How Not to Write Love Interests2 years ago in Reviews & Guides More Like This
Despite the few who haven't caught on yet and still believe that "kids hate reading," we all know that these days, reading is popular.
"I'm just like Belle from Beauty in the Beast, because I love books," teenage girls are saying, while teens of both genders are sitting down to enjoy things like Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Eragon, Lord of the Rings and other more obscure titles.
This is just what we've been hoping for, isn't it? Kids and teens finally taking an interest in literature. It has finally become cool. They're thinking of themselves as rebels or nerds or hipsters, all of which are just new versions of the word cool.
Ah, finally people are spending their time having actual constructive hobbies.
...Or are they?
Here I am going to explore just how this isn't necessarily true; how sometimes your time can be better spent playing a good, mind-building video game or watching a wholesome, creative
An extension of How not to Write Love Interests“Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.” - C.S LewisAn extension of How not to Write Love Interests2 years ago in Reviews & Guides More Like This
This quote is about faith not love, but you can see how the same logic applies. If faith is not merely to "feel" as if you believe something, why should love be merely to "feel" that you like something?
In the end, faith is remembering you have reason to believe, and love is a choice about how you treat someone. Feelings are irrelevant. They are passing. They are constantly changing, and that's natural. They can indeed play a role in our decisions about relationships, but are a fickle factor to base an entire decision off of. It's like building a house on the sand. We're human beings with intelligence, and there is no such thing as a feeling so powerful we HAVE to act on it-that is fantasy.
What about circumstances? What about age? Can it ever be simply a waste of time?
On my last deviation, people arg
MOST COMMON CLICHES IN STORIESMOST COMMON CLICHES IN STORIES3 years ago in Other More Like This
Crazy, psychopathic, murderer ladies
Sexy, butt-kicking girls
Depressed emo/goth/always-dresses-in-black types
The brown-haired girl with no personality
The mean, popular, snobby girl
Unreasonably cruel bullies out to make life harder for the main character
The best friend (if they were a good character who *happened* to be a best friend they wouldn't have to be described as this)
Fun fact: Making victim OCs is cliche
Another fun fact: how someone dresses is NOT their personality
Yet another fun fact: People who claim to be random really are not and they know it.
Super bonus fun fact: A character's breast size need NEVER be stated. The end.
Super de duper bonus fun fact: Please, spare us the paragraphs on what the character looks like. It is a story, not a fashion show. A few sentences with mentions of hair color or other select features you find necessary to point out(KEYWORD: NECESSARY) are perfect. After all, how
Why Strong Females are Bad Role ModelsToday I want to talk about how not to write girl characters.Why Strong Females are Bad Role Models8 months ago in Reviews & Guides More Like This
"Oh, I know what you're going to say. You're going to say that girls shouldn't always rely on men. They should be strong and able to fight for themselves. They should be equally as smart and quick-witted as the boys. They should-"
They should not be CONTRIVED.
It's not a choice between Bella Swan or Astrid from How to Train Your Dragon. You can actually invent NEW personalities for girls. Instead there are a handful that get recycled over and over.
I know, I know. "Authors can have boy characters with these problems too!" blah blah blah. This is a list of what I notice about a lot of girl characters specifically, whether there are boy characters like this sometimes or not. Here is a list of the most over-used/corny types of girl characters I see in literature:
Jane Plain is a bossy jerk (never portrayed as such. She's supposed to be thought of as "cool") who punches boys in the face wh
Why I Don't Believe in HatersHate is a strong word.Why I Don't Believe in Haters2 years ago in Reviews & Guides More Like This
Did you ever hear someone say, "We need to stop bullying!" and wonder to yourself, when you have ever seen a stereotypical bully with big muscles and a black, ripped-up leather jacket pushing around smaller kids and stealing their lunch money?
Realizing this is obviously corny and unrealistic, you throw this idea away in the sewer where it belongs.
But then who are these bullies that everyone is talking about? It seems very interesting that bullying has (as they say) become such a very big problem nowadays... Hence the inspirational phrases, "haters gonna hate," and "don't judge," coming into popularity.
But again, which bullies are everyone referring to?
I'm not writing this to say that bullies don't exist. I'm not writing this to offend victims. I know bullying exists. You could say I'm merely writing this to make fun of "fake" bullies and "fake" victims. Nothing I say in this will absolutely hold true in every (if indeed, most) situations of bullying. I'm only
Is she Mary Sue? Clarifying Mary SueIs she Mary Sue?4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
So, I realize that everyone has heard of Mary Sue characters, but the thing that bothers me is that Mary has never really been as clarified as she could be. Girls go around crying Mary Sue at every character with long pink hair, then go and create even worse Mary Sue characters in the false illusion that they're making nonMary Sue characters (or even anti-Sues) when in fact they're doing the opposite. Allow me to explain how this seems to happen.
First of all the term "Mary Sue" desperately needs to be clarified to these people, so this brings us to the very important question: What IS a Mary Sue?
At least everyone can agree on one thing. Mary Sues are characters that are so perfect it's annoying.
But. What do they mean by perfect? Everyone has different ideas of that, naturally. Unfortunately, this is how many fanfiction (and other) writers make their biggest mistakes.
When you hear the name Mary Sue what pops up in your mind? A be
How Not to Tell a StoryAfter being on DeviantArt for a few years now, I've noticed patterns in people's stories. Patterns, that I can't say I've ever seen until I started using the internet. I believe that's because these kind of patterns are thoroughly unprofessional. The pattern in short is this:How Not to Tell a Story3 years ago in Reviews & Guides More Like This
Character = victim
Plot = bad things happening to said victim
Maybe this sounds harsh. It's not if you understand that is ALL there is to these stories. They take any character, hurl them into a tragedy and that's it.
Let's get this straight: We do not know your character well enough to care about them yet. No matter how bloody and gutty their injuries are, no matter how many of their family members are deceased, no matter what their boyfriend did to them, no matter what kind of disease they have, WE. DO. NOT. CARE!!!!!
These kind of things are sad in themselves, but WHO is this person we're supposed to feel so horrible for? Establish THAT. It should be your absolute FIRST priority: no exceptions.
No more pasting
How to Judge a Book by its CoverWhen it comes to the "literature" from the Young Adult section at the library, I think it's gotten to the point that you can indeed judge a book by its cover.How to Judge a Book by its Cover2 years ago in Reviews & Guides More Like This
Just because something is a book, does not mean that it doesn't make you stupid. Sometimes books can be brain-rotting, even more so than a good old, wholesome cartoon, if I may be so bold.
Today I will show you a guide about how to judge a book by its cover; that way you can conveniently know what books to avoid and which you decide are tolerable.
WARNING!!!!!!!! DO NOT CONFUSE THESE FOR GOOD BOOKS THAT HAVE SOME OF THE SAME TRAITS.
Okay, carry on:
Charlie Jackson is a teenage boy who is off to save the world from an evil foe. He and his best friend: Conveniently-Loyal-Steve, the girl he secretly admires for some unknown reason even though she's a huge jerk: Girls-Have-To-Be-Perfect-And-Tough-Or-Else-It's-Sexist-Jane, set off as an "unlikely" trio on a cliche adventure peppered with mostly sarca
How To Write A First Chapter We all know the importance of the first chapter. Of the first line. This is what draws your readers in, and even if they're going to fall off a 900 meter cliff you need to make sure they do not drop the book! Or in this case, computer, or even phone. What I do is I read the first paragraph of the piece, and skim along the pages. If it's boring? I put it down and move on. I bet literary agents are doing the same thing. If the first pages are good, (or in this case, first "part" or even chapter) then your reader will assume the rest of the story is good. But if they aren't, who's to say the rest of the story won't be the same way?How To Write A First Chapter2 years ago in Reviews & Guides More Like This
In the first paragraph, do not have an "info dump"!!!! Just pilling all these back-stories and info straight from the beginning will bore your reader. Even if your character is living in some magical enchanting place where they can only do this and that and so on, do not tell them straight from the beginni
25 Ways to Keep Writing Talk about your projects - share your ideas, progress and problems with the people in your life25 Ways to Keep Writing2 years ago in Reviews & Guides More Like This
Write lists - to-do lists, shopping lists, wishlists, your character's to-do lists/shopping lists/wishlists
Keep a notebook in your pocket or bag and write down every idea, quote, observation that you find interesting
Listen to music that has inspired you in the past
Make connections with like minded people - join a club, find a writing buddy
Enrol in an art class - photography, needlecraft, writing, painting, cake decorating. Whatever you like. You might not be good at it but you'll be keeping your creativity alive. Stay creative.
Get a library card and use it - "Having fun is never hard when you've got a library card!"
Write in a different setting - go to a historical site, an open garden, a field, sit by a lake, find a nice spot in
Mary Sue Guide - Part 1The BasicsMary Sue Guide - Part 14 years ago in Reviews & Guides More Like This
Before you start reading this, two things to keep in mind:
Do not simply assume your OC is or isn't a Mary Sue before you start reading. Keep an open mind.
This guide is NOT a rulebook. No matter how Sue I think something is, that doesn't mean you absolutely should not do it under any circumstance. Also, some things are more minor than others. Just because your character has some Sue traits doesn't make her a Sue. A little flare doesn't hurt.
This is by no means meant to be offensive or aimed at any specific author or character. It is also not 100% accurate. There are always circumstances outside a Mary Sue Guide. The purpose of this is not to be a statement of fact but merely something to help.
Definition of a Mary Sue: A clichéd being that is often too perfect and unrealistic. Because of this, they may cause other characters to go out of character.
Possible Traits of a Mary Sue and How to Fix Them:
Why I Judge People"Judge not, lest you be judged."Why I Judge People2 years ago in Reviews & Guides More Like This
Christian or otherwise, these days it's everyone's favorite Bible verse.
Or is it?
Perhaps we should say, it's everyone's favorite Bible verse when taken out of context.
First of all, let's get this straight: it's telling us that we can't condemn people as in, "you're going to Hell!"
Respectfully telling someone, in their best interest, that what they're doing is wrong? Not so much.
If we only looked a little further, we would also notice verses such as:
"Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."
"If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother."
Now that you don't have the Bible to back you up, there are a few things I would like to say about this obnoxious "NO JUDGING!!!!111" phase we're unfortunately going through at the moment.
If someone has sincerely (*non-immaturely) told you that they want you to go to Hell, you are excused. Mos
Guide to (stereotypical) Personality ArchetypesMale:Guide to (stereotypical) Personality Archetypes2 years ago in Writing More Like This
1) The bad boy – He’s really tough, usually aloof and pushes people away. Few people actually get the “honor” of getting to know him. He usually has a secret past.
2) The adorkable dude – He’s upbeat and smiley, even though he’s just regarded as average or even a loser by the world. He has a heart of gold and is often the main hero of stories
3) The nerdy dude – Whether getting good grades is in or out, he never fails to get the GPA, do all the research, and ask questions in class. He’s usually into science or math.
4) The jock dude – He can play every sport known to man and be good at it too. He also watches sports, drinks Gatorade, and is a chick magnet for no apparent reason.
5) The weird dude – He’s usually into a lot of random nonconformist music, and believes in aliens and possibly karma. He could be completely superstitious, usually quiet.
6) The insane dude – He has this untamable force of energ
Rants: Mary-sues and how to make a decent OCRants: Mary-sues and how to make a decent OC4 years ago in General Fiction More Like This
Well, I figured that since Spongebob- Proof Of Spandy was so popular that I would do something that's different but also the same. I've written a little mini rant/opinions on an issue that isn't nearly as annoying as it used to be but it's still suck around for a quite a while everywhere I've been (Ex. DevArt, Fanfiction Net, LiveJournal). So, hope you can all enjoy and leave whatever comments you feel necessary. I would love to hear your opinions.
First I shall address Mary-Sues. Here's the five bad points of a Mary-Sue:
The name is only a slight problem. As in, it's not really one to be too concerned about but it is something that could give a good character a bad image. A name such as 'Melony Butterfly Lily DeeDee Silver Jay Hannah Rose, Melony Rose for short' is not going to give anyone a pretty image of your character and people will get tired just by trying to sa
Character vs. Narcissism in StorytellingThere is something unique about stories today, and in ways they are stronger and weaker than ever.Character vs. Narcissism in Storytelling3 weeks ago in Academic Essays More Like This
In Poetics, Aristotle emphasized the importance of plot above anything, and character was considered secondary.
"For the plot ought to be so constructed that even without the aid of the eye he who hears the tale told will thrill with horror and melt to pity with what takes place. But to produce this effect by the mere spectacle is the less artistic method and dependent on extraneous aids."
More often today, people are concerned about the reverse. Characters are what come above everything. We draw pictures of our characters, fill out questions about our characters, interview them, role play with them, but when asked, "So, are you going to make a story?" the response is more often than not, "Well, I didn't make it yet."
In a way, this attitude is refreshing. How many people can't get through a well respected book because they can't relate to it? Many books are worthy of respect for what the
Admiring Harry Potter (opposite of making fun of)Harry Potter is not exactly irreplaceable.Admiring Harry Potter (opposite of making fun of)9 months ago in Reviews & Guides More Like This
Harry Potter is hardly a classic.
Harry Potter doesn't hold a candle to greater works of fiction.
Harry Potter was just a lucky score.
My name is Makingfunofstuff, and I have read all the Young Adult Fantasy books in my library. You will not find another book like Harry Potter. You will not.
Let's talk about opinions.
Whether or not we enjoy something is an opinion. The intrinsic quality of an object is not.
And there are a lot of things about Harry Potter that deserve great respect.
I don't want to say the series is taken for granted, as it is obviously appreciated by many people. But I do believe that for the most part, we don't actually realize what the crucial elements are that set this story apart and raise it above the average work of YA fiction.
I don't know if J.K Rowling is a genius, or just had very good instincts about how to tell a story, but she comes across as a master at avoiding many mistakes that other autho
Making Fun of The Mortal InstrumentsI thought it would be interesting to write an example of a terrible story and explain which parts were badly written and why.Making Fun of The Mortal Instruments1 year ago in Reviews & Guides More Like This
So I wrote a funny Snape and Lily fanfiction, but then I realized there was an even better example called The Mortal Instruments.
It's a series that was originally a Harry Potter fanfiction, and still has lots of the same problems as a regular fanfiction even though it's been published.
"But those aren't problems, maybe I like stories that have those things."
Okay, you like them. *That's* an opinion.
The FACT is that they're not very well-written (meaning they're not something any kid you find walking down the street/off google can't accomplish writing). Consider this: the majority of fanfictions are written by beginners. Is it a coincidence that it's the beginners who all write this way?
WHY do people grow out of it? COULD any of it possibly just be immature?
Here I have inserted some comments into the story to highlight what I found to be the most fanfi
A Guide to Writing DialogueWhat is dialogue, exactly? The definition from Merriam-Webster’s dictionary was several lines long, so I shall summarize it in a short sentence for the sake of the readers; it’s the writing that illustrates conversations between two or more characters in a story. We read and hear it all around us, but creating it in your own work can be a challenge. However, if you find dialogue an obstacle in your writing, then don’t push the panic button. In this tutorial, you’ll find by analyzing what dialogue can do and how to use it, you can turn your greatest fear into your greatest ally in your story.A Guide to Writing Dialogue1 year ago in Writing More Like This
What dialogue is
Like I’ve asserted before, dialogue is basically what the characters are saying to each other. It can be found in multiple mediums such as books, movies, comics, video games, etc. We even engage in dialogue daily without even thinking. When you talk to your best friend, a co-worker, or even your dog, you create dialogue. It’s exchang
How To Write a Novel a MonthHow To Write a Novel a Month6 years ago in Writing More Like This
So you want to write a novel in a month? Well its not impossible. Many great authors have done it, and you can too. Its hard at some points and might make you want to give up, but don't. It will be worth it to be able to tell your friends and family "I wrote a novel."
You are all probably familiar with Nanowrimo, right? If not, its a month where thousands of people try write a book within that time limit, but national writers month is not the only month where this can happen. However, if you are using November a a date to start, here is a quick guide to get ready:
Research, Research, Research!
So you know what time period you want to write in? Then research like crazy! Research clothes, vehicles, horses, weapons, anything and everything that could or might end up in your story. This way you can write confidently/help yourself fall better into the story. Trying to research is a quick way to end up surfing the web, so get all your research done
Writers' Notes - Battles and WarsWriters' Notes - Battles and Wars5 years ago in Writing More Like This
While I have written a tutorial on fight scenes, I felt that it would be prudent to write one regarding wars and battles. After all a war or a battle is not just about how to fight.
When you are writing a war or battle first make sure you plan where it's going to take place. Land can be tricky, and it changes during a battle.
Image two giant armies amassing on a huge field. Infantry and cavalry alike, all decked in battle gear and heavy armour.
The pound of thousands of feet, man and horses alike. How do you think the ground will look? Grass torn and flattened, turned to mud especially if the weather turns and it begins to rain or sleet. Are there hills or mountains? Has one army taken a higher ground, dug a moat or added spikes of wood to protect their area?
Is there forests around them, have the trees been burned by one army to keep the other from using the wooded area as shelter? Has an army begun to p
Writing Notes - Killing charactersWriting Notes - Killing characters4 years ago in Writing More Like This
Many writers state that they are very connected to their characters. This is not surprising, for writers we build worlds, we create people and animals and imbue them with a form of life. We let them live in our heads and think on them often.
Often I have day-dreamed into my written world, sat on a log watching my characters around the campfire swapping stories. I've seen them laughing, passing around skins of bad wine and spiced meats. I've seen them sink into sorrow at those they have lost, those they couldn't save. Whether any of this gets written is a different matter because it is all designed for me to learn more about my characters, so see them react.
We begin to know them intimately, their moods and habits and loves and fears. We can read their facial ticks and subtle body poses. So why wouldn't we become connected?
When you write stories especially long ones were you have a larger amount of time to learn about your characters and allow them to develop they do become something i
How Not to write a Mary SueHow Not to write a Mary Sue4 years ago in Writing More Like This
How Not To Write A Mary Sue
So, what is a Mary Sue? It is used as a form of criticism in literature and refers to an idealised and somewhat "perfect" character that appears to have no flaws or if they do they are so limited that all the "perfect" characteristics overwhelm them making the character "flat." Mary sue often refers to a young female protagonist and male "Mary Sues" are often called "Larry Stu".
From my experience most Mary Sues are written in non-published works usually by young writers especially in fan-fiction. However there are a few Mary Sue writers who are actually published (sadly). It shows a deep lacking to create perfect characters unless it's done for satirical purposes.
So why should you avoid writing Mary Sues? Simple, perfect is boring!
We don't like perfect, we don't want perfect! Ask anyone in a relationship to list the positives traits, charms and idiosyncrasies of their partner and I guarantee at least one will be something that is weird, annoying, bizarre
The Cracks Begin to Show: Making Flawed CharactersThe Cracks Begin to Show: Making Flawed Characters3 years ago in Writing More Like This
First of all, I freely admit that what I say isn't gospel. I am a total amateur at art and writing. I've learned everything that I know via the internet and a few books. It's just that I appreciate all of the tutorials here on dA that have helped me out, and I want to put a little bit of my own methods back in.
I've run across an odd myth about fictional characters here on good ol' deviantART: If my character isn't a Mary Sue then I've definitely written a good character. Sadly, this is not so. A Mary Sue (see here for more) is just a specific kind of bad character. Not all bad characters are Mary Sues. It would be like saying that since the movie you made isn't Birdemic or The Room, it's a good movie. Erm that's not quite the case. Maybe your skills are only OK. What's a budding writer to do?
Making a good character is a lot more complex than just avoiding