My Beta-Readers QuestionnaireMy Beta-Readers Questionnaire in Writing More Like This
Anyone who writes with the intent to be read by the public, from the brand-name published authors to the fan-fiction scribbler, will tell you that a good Beta Reader is worth their weight in GOLD.
So, what is a Beta Reader really FOR?
Most Beta Readers look for obvious grammar boo-boos and glaring spelling errors, but the really good ones look at your story as a whole and tell you where your strengths and weaknesses are so you can adjust them.
These are what I ask MY Beta readers to check.
-- Whether you're a Writer looking to check your work or a Beta Reader who wants to point out a few things to your favorite writer, feel free to borrow, spindle, and mutilate this list of questions to your heart's desire.
MY Beta-Reader's Questionnaire
Is it BORING?
- Does any part of the story Drag?
- Are their parts that you skipped to get to 'the good part'?
- Do I over-inform anywhere? (Also known as Info-Dumping.)
Did you G
High Speed STORIESHigh Speed STORIES 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
Structure of the GOTHIC TaleStructure of the GOTHIC Tale in Writing More Like This
What is the difference between a Gothic tale and a Horror story? Intent. Seriously.
Both Horror stories and Gothic tales delve into the realm of emotional trauma such as revenge, abuse, and hate--including, if not especially, sexual trauma. However, the darkness in a Gothic tale is not expressed or defined by graphically detailed, and gruesome, violence as it is in a Horror. Though violence is often featured in the Gothic, it is NOT the main focus of the story. The drama of Despair is the vehicle of the Gothic where a Horror story is driven by the action of Violence.
In a nutshell...
Horror = Action story
Gothic = Drama Story
While both Gothics and Horror are tales of the spiritual and/or psychological reality of the human psyche, Horror stories deal with the monsters that can lurk within our friends and neighbors. Gothics, however, deal with the monsters within ourselves; the hidden, self-destructive side that we don't wan
Interior MonologuesInterior Monologues in Writing More Like This
"I was just wondering what you think about interior monologues, long passages of reflection?" -- Curious Kitty
A note on:
-- Interior Monologues
Whether you are considering adding a lengthy monologue to a story, or intend the monologue to be the story itself where the focus of the entire story is on one character's thoughts and feelings with very little action -- from my observations and experimentation, the readers either love them or hate them. There's no in-between.
However, it is notable that the internal monologue stories that are sought out most frequently tend to focus on a profound emotion of some kind: grief, loneliness, heartache... Usually by either those seeking to deal with such an emotion, as a kind of therapy, or by those that have never felt such emotions. (Strong emotional stories are extremely popular among young adults.)
In both cases, not only does the reader seek to submerge the
The LAYERS of FictionThe LAYERS of Fiction 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.
Propaganda - Enemy of FictionPropaganda - Enemy of Fiction in Writing More Like This
The Enemy of Good Fiction
~ PROPAGANDA! ~
Many people have asked me, "Why don't you watch TV anymore?"
I do, sort of. I play movies that I buy and rent on my TV regularly. However, I Don't watch cable TV or local TV, and I NEVER watch sitcoms or Reality TV of any kind. If I want the news, I go to the internet.
Why Not? Because there's too much Programming going on in those programs, and not one drop of Reality in Reality TV -- especially the Law & Order ones.
TV = The Tool of Propaganda
By Phil Cunningham
Posted WITH Permission.)
Propaganda and Advertising, affects us all. The two operate using the exact same techniques, so it can be very difficult to recognize one from the other. The only major difference between the two is that advertising sells Products, while propaganda sells IDEALS.
Increasingly, the corporate advertising of goods and services is being coupled with political, "moral", and religious value messages - Propaganda.
The Subtle STATIC TRAITThe Subtle STATIC TRAIT 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
10 Second Tip - Foreshadowing10 Second Tip - Foreshadowing in Writing More Like This
I hear the term 'foreshadowing' a lot. That's when you hint at stuff to come, right? So yeah, but how do I DO it?
Foreshadowing is when the opening scene of a story is a kind of nutshell prophecy for the whole story.
* In a Horror, this is when the originating Bad Thing happens.
* In a Mystery or Crime story, it's when the first victim is slain, and/or object (McGuffin) goes missing.
* In a Romance this is where the main character meets their soon-to-be lover for a fleeting but memorable moment.
* In a Sci-fi, this is where the ruling Theory is presented.
* In a Gothic, this is where the main character transforms into a monster for the first time.
This also reveals the Premise, or ruling argument that the story is trying to illustrate; what the story is trying to Prove.
The results of Revenge
The path of Ambition
The reality of Love
The sacrifices one mak
Crossing GenresCrossing Genres in Writing More Like This
Every genre has core elements that make that genre that genre. In order to Cross Genres properly, you need to know each of your genre's distinctive elements and make them Equally Important in the story.
Simple, no? However...
One of the most common mistakes I've seen in every genre of fiction: IGNORANCE.
"Most of the common mistakes come with any writing that isn't so goodbad characters, bad plots, bad writing. The ones which are peculiar to alternate histories (fantasy and sci-fi) are bad research and bad extrapolation."
-- An Interview with Harry Turtledove --
How do you expect to cross genres properly if you don't even know the genres you're working with? Contrary to popular belief, even if you're writing pure Heroic Fantasy, just making it up as you go is NOT good enough!
On writing Heroic Fantasy
"The consequence of making that assumption is, inevita
The DUAL-NATURED CharacterThe DUAL-NATURED Character in Writing More Like This
Building the DUAL-NATURED Character
Let's start this lecture with a HUGE secret:
-- There are Three Essential Characters in every story:
> Adversary The one causing all the trouble.
> Proponent The one trying to keep things the way they are.
> Ally The close companion of one or the other caught in the middle.
In other words, you can tell any story with ONLY these Three Characters; perhaps not with any real detail, but you could still do the entire basic plotline.
And each essential character is governed by one of three SPECIFIC aspects, or Drives:
> MOTIVE - Driven by a REASON to Make something happen, such as Revenge.
> ACTION - Driven by the need to ACT, normally because if they don't they die, but an incentive such as a Reward or Prize works too.