Active and Passive Voice
Active voice occurs when the subject or agent in the sentence performs the action, often towards an object. For example, let's look at the following sentence written in active voice:
Katie spilled the milk.
In this sentence, Katie is the subject, and she performs the action (spilling) on the direct object (the milk.) The most obvious way to spot active voice is through the use of active verbs, which are simply verbs that express actions. In most cases, the sentence will take on the simple form of the tense it's in, whether past, present, or future.
In passive voice, the object being acted upon is emphasized over the agent. A passive version of the previous sentence would look like this:
The milk was spilled by Katie.
In this sentence, our object (the milk) appears before the action (was spilled) and the agent (Katie.) You will also notice that this sentence is in the progressive fo
Punctuation BasicsPunctuation Basics7 years ago in Writing More Like This
Writing is like math. If you dont follow the right formula, you end up in a state of mass confusion. Synonymously, punctuation is like following a map. If you miss the street signs, youll end up completely lost. The following is a list of common English punctuation marks and their most basic functions. Contrary to popular belief, there are no exceptions to these rules. Breaking them has never been in style.
The most common English punctuation marks include the following:
. = period
? = question mark
! = exclamation point
, = comma
= quotation marks
; = semicolon
: = colon
- = hyphen
( ) = parentheses
. . . = ellipse
Wow, thats a lot of symbols! So, how do you use them as you write? Here's a quick and dirty list.
1) Every sentence must end in a period, question mark, or exclamation point.
2) A comma signifies a pause, distinguishes betw
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
Editorial - ClicheEditorial - Cliche11 years ago in Editorial More Like This
Cli·ché (klee-shay) also cliche (kl-sh) n.
1.) A trite or overused expression or idea: ?Even while the phrase was degenerating to cliché in ordinary public use... scholars were giving it increasing attention? (Anthony Brandt).
2.) A person or character whose behavior is predictable or superficial: ?There is a young explorer... who turns out not to be quite the cliche expected? (John Crowley).
(source: http://www.dictionary.com/ )
It's not something pleasant to hear, or pleasant to say.
But what's to be done, when you find it one day
in a pile of mismatched lines like a stack of hay?
They aren't hard to spot, like white backgrounds
and black dots. You'll know what I mean, in
a minute or two, but cliché phrases and ideas
will be the death of you.
What does a word or phrase need to do in order to become cliché?
There is no patented test that words must go through nor a physical examinat
Advanced Writing TutorialWord choiceAdvanced Writing Tutorial8 years ago in General Non-Fiction More Like This
Word choice is imperative and potentially complicated. You want your language to sound in-character (it doesn't matter whether it's limited first-person or omniscient third-person; it still needs character) and intriguing without being confusing or nonsensical. It is good to have a thesaurus and dictionary nearby when deciding on word choice; neither one is more important than the other. It is very important to remember that even though words can be generally synonymous, that doesnt mean they have the same definition. This is where roots usually come into play.
Let's use the word "great" as an example; thats a pretty easy one. Imagine that you're writing a story, just typing along, and you want to substitute the word "great" with something having more intensity. Well, let's just think of a few of the synonyms you could use: magnificent, marvelous, fantastic, fabulous, amazing, awe-inspiring, breath-taking, excellent, wonderful.... The list goes on.
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
Write Better: Read MoreWe didn't believe it, either, but you really can learn a lot from reading a book! If you've ever wanted some worthwhile advice from someone other than your high school English teacher, this is the place to look. The authors below are experts in their fields, well-respected and admired by accomplished writers from all over the world, and we're bringing you a list of their most prized and collectively-effective books. (Tried-and-tested by our worthy administrators, no less!)Write Better: Read More8 years ago in Reviews & Guides More Like This
So what're you waiting for? Learn how to make every word count!
Reading Resource List for the Aspiring Writer
Writing Reminders: Tools, Tips, and Techniques (Jim Burke)
Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer (Roy Peter Clark)
Writing without Teachers (Peter Elbow)
Writing With Power: Techniques for Mastering the Writing Process (Peter Elbow)
A Guide to Writing StyleA Guide to Writing Style6 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,
Wrath of the Grammar NaziIn favor of avoiding parallel structure debates (misplaced modifiers, ahh!) and a general crusade against passive voice, WordCount is offering a list of common "pet peeves" to satisfy the punctuation junkie in all of you.Wrath of the Grammar Nazi8 years ago in Editorial More Like This
Please understand that this list is by no means exhaustive, nor is it original, but it warrants saying from time to time. Nothing in here is meant to insult you, all rules can be broken, and there are always exceptions. One should also note that rules about comma usage and "the dash" differ from place to place and country to country, but this list falls back on Oxford's guide to style (because we all need a place to start).
1. Apostrophes are not there to make words look pretty. They do have an actual purpose (namely to indicate contractions or possession);
2. Semicolons connect two related thoughts while simultaneously separating two complete thoughts (or objects in a list);
3. "A lot" and "all right" are not words. They are
Basic Grammar TutorialComplete sentencesBasic Grammar Tutorial8 years ago in General Non-Fiction More Like This
A complete sentence has a subject that is described or acted upon. This means that it requires a noun and verb that interact. In the example I am about to show you, the incorrect version is divided into two separate sentences; the second is the incomplete one, or a sentence fragment.
Example of incomplete sentence: The clock had frozen. Which was okay with him, since he hated the ticking noise.
Example of complete sentence: The clock had frozen, which was okay with him, since he hated the ticking noise.
To put it in very simple terms, a clause is an independent part of a sentence. It has its own subject or sub-subject that relates to the main subject. Separate clauses are most commonly separated by commas. Introductory clauses require periods, too. The only time that an introductory clause can go without a period is if the sentence consists of six or fewer words, which is what const
Worldbuilding Part1: MapmakingWorld Building Part 1: Map MakingWorldbuilding Part1: Mapmaking7 years ago in Writing More Like This
Welcome all to World Building, the talk show that helps with all aspects of writing and creating. Please welcome your host Seleane Gray!
Hello, everyone. Today well be working on maps. There are a few types of maps:
1. The World Map this is where you will see an overview of your world.
2. The City Map this is where you will see each city your character is in with intricate detail.
3. The Building Map this is where you will see each building your character is in with elaborate detail.
4. The Ship Map also known as the Transportation Map, is for the vehiclesi.e. ships, air balloons, and anything your imagination can make upit will show each one in the range you wish (this map isnt necessary but Ill show you anyway).
So lets get started!
First, youll need to find/buy/gather the following:
1. A large, clean surface, preferable size to be 4 by 2.5
2. Graph paper an
How to write a summaryHow to write a summary7 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
A Short Guide to BrainstormingA Short Guide to Brainstorming6 years ago in Writing More Like This
Got nothing to write? Stuck in the middle of a story? Just getting your mind wrapped around a new idea? Asking yourself, "Where do I go from here?"
Here is the two-step guide to story development. It works every time, 100% guaranteed.
Ask yourself this simple question: "What if?"
Staring at a blank page? Ask "What if . . . ?"
Stuck in the middle of a story? Ask "What if . . . ?"
Don't know how to end your story? Ask "What if . . . ?"
Don't think your story is going in quite the right direction? Ask "What if . . .?"
Ask yourself this second simple question: "Why?"
What if aliens invaded our planet?
What if the antagonist is obsessed with redheaded women?
What if the good guy dies in the end?
What if the protagonist lies to his love interest instead of telling her the thing he desperately wants to get out?
Here's the point:
Absolutely anything is possible in the world o
Character Creation TipsCharacter Creation Tips8 years ago in Writing More Like This
Note: I wrote this after reading a similar article in The Writer magazine about a year ago. Hope it's helpful!
Not all characters are created equal. Here are some steps to make yours superior.
Figure out what your character wants, needs, desires. A closer relationship with God? A place to belong? Just to survive? Figure it out. You cant move on to number 2 until you have.
Now that you know what your character most desires, you should be able to figure out what he/she most fears. Doing the wrong thing, being alone, death? They are the polar opposites of your characters desires.
Go back in time to before your story begins and create a detailed backstory for your character. What happened in to past to create in him the desires and fears that he has now? Be specific. Write out individual scenes, or at leas
Point of ViewPoint of View6 years ago in Writing More Like This
Point of View AKA Narrative Mode
Quite basically, who's telling the story? Not necessarily which character, since that doesn't always really play much of a factor, but rather who the chronicler is. As a general rule, you want the point of view to remain the same throughout, although, we'll talk a bit more on that later, and why people tend to hate it.
This is Running with Scissors or How to Lose Friends and Alienate People (the books; not the later live-action adaptations). The whole of the story is told in the words of the main character. By definition, first person point of view is limited, meaning that the narrator can only tell us what s/he has personally witnessed. And for obvious reasons.
° "It was one of those jobs that just got way too big way too fast. Before we knew it, the feds got called in for something completely unrelated. Course, we didn't know that, so we panicked."
The narrator tells us what they know, what they remember,
Punctuating Dialogue: A GuideStandard Punctuation: DialoguePunctuating Dialogue: A Guide8 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
Elements of StoryElements of Story7 years ago in Writing More Like This
Updated Mar. 18th 2009
The following is a self-discovered list of elements contained in an excellent story:
An interesting and intriguing main character, an individual with a unique past that has made him who he is at the time of the story. Be sure to explain the important aspects of this backstory where appropriate.
This main character must have a story goal: a mission to accomplish, a mystery to solve, his past to reconcile, a villain to overthrow, a treasure to find, a person to save, etc.
Along with this goal, the character must have an all-consuming desire that drives him to accomplish what he sets out to achieve. Love, revenge, money, justice, purpose, an identity crisis, etc.
Fear. This is the person or thing that has the power to stop him from accomplishing his goal. A threat.
An enemy. If another person, this enemy must be smart, strong, and resourceful with a goal directly opposing that of your main character, and he must have an equally strong desire to ful
Research: How to do ItResearch: How to do It6 years ago in Writing More Like This
Weve already discussed where to do your research, so now were going to learn how to go about using those tools. Like everything else we do in life, theres a process to it, and once youve learned the steps, finding the information becomes a bit easier (admittedly, some of the harder queries will never get easier).
What do you Need to Know?
Knowing what it is that youre trying to research seems sort of obvious, but there are times when you wont have the first clue about what youre looking for. These are mostly situations when you already have your story plotted out, and now you need fact to work around your outline.
The situation: A group of police characters is out in the sprawling farmlands of the West Country in the middle of the night. After a brief struggle, one of them is shot. The character that has done the shooting and his accomplice flee. The remaining uninjured character dials
The Art of Refining ProseThe Art of Refining Prose8 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
Writing Tips - Grammar, pt 1Writing Tips - Grammar, pt 16 years ago in Writing More Like This
Part one: Parts of Speech
Now that you know how to use a comma and structure a quote, lets really get our hands dirty! Because all those commas and quotes and hard stops dont mean a thing if you have weak grammar. Grammar is huge. Theres a lot of it, so this will only be a blitz course, covering a lot in a small space. Hopefully, you already know most of it, though.
Parts of Speech
Thats right. Were doing sentence diagramming in this lesson. Youre going to need to know the difference between an adjective and an adverb later on, so this seems the logical place to start.
A sentence needs three things to make it a sentence. It needs a subject, a verb, and it needs to be a complete thought.
The subject is usually, but not always, a noun, a proper noun, or a pronoun.
Nouns: Nouns are something physical. Look to your left. What do you see? Thats a noun.
° Please pass me that book.
Proper Nouns: Proper nouns are exactly what
Writing Tips - DialogueWriting Tips - Dialogue6 years ago in Writing More Like This
If youre writing fiction, the dialogue is arguably one of the most important parts. And its the bit thats the easiest to mess up, if were strictly honest. And why not? Theres so much going on in that single sentence that any number of them can go wrong; voice, character, tone, point of view, punctuation. Well start with punctuation, because Ive already written that bit.
Go here. I was originally going to copy and paste that part of the lesson into this lesson, but then the thing wound up being ten pages long. So, read that, and then come back to this if you feel you might need help with the mechanical bits.
When to use Dialogue
Right. So, youve got a story all set up in your head (or on a piece of paper if youre inclined to pre-write), and its great. Your hero is blasting through space with a whole heap of misfits, and you
The Secret to Proper ParagraphingThe Secret to Proper Paragraphing5 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,
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
Tips On Self-PublishingTips On Self-Publishing11 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
Tips On Self-Publishing
I recently decided to self-publish a compilation of my work. It is something that I've wanted to do for a long time, but have always put off for several reasons; the imagined cost, basic lethargy in editing the damn thing, and laziness when it came to mail-outs to publishers. If this sounds like you so far, you might be able to benefit from a few things I learned along the way. Below I will discuss almost everything you will need to know before jumping into a self-publishing project, some pitfalls to avoid, and approximately what to expect to come out of your pocket. (I'm talking about money, pervert.)
Once I decided I was definitely going forward with this project, my first step was to find publishing houses/printers that offered the services that I wanted. There are many resources for this, but I found the below link most helpful in finding presses that would actually not only turn around a quote quickly,