An Unkindness of COMMASAn Unkindness of COMMAS in Writing More Like This
I SUCK at commas big-time. I tend to pull a "Mark Twain"; I sprinkle them in wherever to break up the monotony of the sentence. This article is my attempt to hammer the rules into my brain.
An Unkindness of COMMAS
What the heck are Commas for, anyway?
Besides abusing the sanity of the writer, the comma exists to help readers organize information in a sentence. It makes all the stuff the author is trying to say easier to swallow. Without them, sentence bits and pieces collide into one another causing confusion; rather like a train-wreck, though not nearly as exciting.
Just in case you'd like to know who made up all these comma rules, I got most of them from Strunk & White's "Elements of Style" the grammar handbook used by every publishing house in America, and a few overseas. The rest came from my editors.
To get a good idea of how commas work, let's take a look at what they are supposed to do -- and some major
INTERNAL CONFLICTINTERNAL CONFLICT in Writing More Like This
Note: this is how the professional authors do it. That doesn't mean YOU have to. As with all advice, take what you can use and throw out the rest.
His lips drifted across hers in a warm caress. His hand pressed at waist, the heat of his palm warming her flesh through her corset underlying the deep blood silk gown. His fingers drifted upward, toward her breast.
Desire pulsed within her core, in time with her heart. She wanted to let him tear the red silk from her body, and bury himself in her flesh, but set her palm over his to stop him just below her breast. He was a vampire and she, a mere mortal. The fear in her soul told her to stop, and yet her body begged for his mouth on her flesh. I am overcome, overcome by a desire I know only he can satisfy... He fired her blood more than any other man.
She turned away from his kiss. "Please, I can't."
His gaze narrowed, then he smiled. "
ACTION Sequences - Plug+PlayACTION Sequences - Plug+Play in Writing More Like This
Writing ACTION Sequences
The Plug & Play Method
Lets begin with a Review...
The flash of pain exploded in my cheek from the slap her hand lashed out at me.
Why is this wrong?
If you were watching this scene as a movie, that sentence is NOT how you would have seen it happen.
Actual Sequence of events:
1) Her hand lashed out at me in a slap.
2) A flash of pain exploded in my cheek
ACTION Sequences = Chronological Order
REALITY = something happens to you and then you react.
Action > Reaction > Action > Reaction = Chronological order
FICTION = the Plot happens to the characters and then they react.
Action > Reaction > Action > Reaction = Chronological order
If you want the reader to SEE the actions that you are trying to portray, Chronological Order is the ONLY way to write that scene. In other words, if you visualize the characters doing something in a specific
Advanced Plotting-The PREMISEAdvanced Plotting-The PREMISE 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
The Secret to Proper ParagraphingThe Secret to Proper Paragraphing 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 ACTION ScenesWriting ACTION Scenes 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
GMC - SIMPLIFIEDGMC - SIMPLIFIED 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
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
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
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.