Eientei and Lunar Capital
Forest of Magic and Flower Fields
Hakurei Border and Afterlife
Hakurei Shrine, Human Village and Myouren Temple
Scarlet Devil Mansion and Misty Lake
Youkai Mountain and Heaven
Underground and Makai
not a color we know
not a color we know
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Writing Advice Thread (5)
2013/02/03 (Sun) 05:12
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This thread is for some of our authors (and readers) who have spare time from their busy social lives
and mental meltdowns
to give writing advice. We're giving vague hints, but we're not writing a story for you. Come ask for advice if you don't know how to write something, but we can't help if it's too specific. In such cases, go discuss with your readers.
2013/02/03 (Sun) 15:17
>in such cases, go discuss with your readers
Warning: Readers may not inspire faith in website.
2013/02/04 (Mon) 14:32
How close should I tread the line when it comes to "powerlevels"? Stuff like one character claiming another is in fact the most powerful in Gensokyo etc?
2013/02/04 (Mon) 15:43
Every character should claim that they are the most powerful in Gensokyo.
To prove it, they should have a tea drinking competition to see who can relax the best while elegantly drinking tea.
2013/02/04 (Mon) 15:46
Or beam spam with pretty lasers.
Note: This can be hard to do. Tea is easier.
Note Note: Fight scenes are hard. Don't describe every action. That's boring and stiff. Give enough description so readers know what's going on and let their imagination fill in blanks. The balance and technique is going to take multiple tries.
Note Note Note: Try it anyway. Post results.
2013/02/04 (Mon) 16:17
>mfw when my next update regardless of votes is going to involve Meiling with Sun Wukong's As-You-Will Cudgel versus a god
Yeah, I'm probably going to have to take a page out of Journey to the West and describe fights in huge sweeping strokes for a fight of this scale.
At least Meiling can't turn her hairs into copies of herself, that shit's crazy.
If things go the way I hope, I'll get to write a huge brawl focusing on stance/stroke/direction/footwork/dodges minutia after that.
2013/02/04 (Mon) 17:22
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Speaking of Journey to the West...
>Some sort of animal youkai that converts to Buddhism and follows a monk
The resemblance is uncanny.
2013/02/05 (Tue) 00:33
As both a reader and a writer, it iritates me to no end when I see anyone vote and then they leave
>Works for me~!
as their comment. Shit's far more worse than just leaving it empty. I mean, it must be the same guy or some shit, I see it all the time.
2013/02/05 (Tue) 11:01
I, for one, can’t bring myself to hate that guy. The tilde is so squiggly and funky.
Seriously though, despite being essentially a public tripcode user, he is an alright voter. Joins huge bandwagons, breaks ties, doesn’t vote for retarded options.
Sage for not writing advice related.
2013/02/05 (Tue) 16:09
I don't think it is all the same person. I do it sometimes, and I see it on votes that aren't mine.
2013/02/05 (Tue) 17:48
I have occasionally voted as Works for me~anon
Also Hurray! anon.
2013/02/05 (Tue) 18:07
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If ever I have hated a stranger on the internet...
2013/02/05 (Tue) 18:22
Has anyone ever written a story that operates purely on write-ins, with no multiple choice options at all?
How well would that go over?
2013/02/05 (Tue) 19:03
The first that comes to mind is, well, Kahi's stories. Not trying to begin the shitstorm, but opinions vary wildly.
As far as I'm concerned, I think a write-in only story can work assuming A) You have at least one intelligent reader and B) The author knows when to throw votes into the fucking dumpster
2013/02/05 (Tue) 20:15
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Peaceful Ran Cat Chen
Y-YAF, I thought that we were closer than - strangers! I dreamt that we could, one day, rule this thread together, dispensing wisdom and justice to anons everywhere underneath a bright and sunny sky...
And when the day turns to night, when our court finally finishes its closing ceremonies, when the last of the royal guard has politely retreated from the halls, you would turn to me, and I you, and we'd retire to our private chambers, locking the door behind us...
... I see that you...
... do not feel the same way about me...
... everything I ever hoped for...
... was an...
... I'm sorry, anon. My heart, it pains me now. Allow me a few minutes to compose myself.
... seven minutes should suffice.
2013/02/05 (Tue) 22:47
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2013/02/06 (Wed) 00:44
Suika can do that anyways.
I haven't but given anon's general ability and willingness (not that great and not that willing) to do write ins, it's not exactly a great idea.
2013/02/06 (Wed) 02:31
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2013/02/06 (Wed) 12:35
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You guys crack me up.
Can anyone give me general advice on my story? I've asked a few times for voters to tell me what they like and dislike, but I hardly ever get any responses. I figure YAF will tear me a new one, but if it helps me improve I don't really care.
My story is Myouren Academy in Others, by the way.
2013/02/06 (Wed) 16:27
I wanna see some ROT3K shit okay
Show me your sun tzu baby, and I mean that as lewdly as possible
2013/02/06 (Wed) 16:29
SUN TZU IS NOT PART OF ROT3K. Learn your Chinese history.
2013/02/06 (Wed) 20:04
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Sun Tzu lived and died before the Three Kingdoms period - which meant that his teachings were already recorded, and actually in "widespread" (for those with education) circulation, intent study, and blind execution.
He's not completely wrong by referencing Sun Tzu, but it is a little bit of an antiquated reference. I prefer worship of Zhuge Liang myself. He's a more relatable idol, and also quite the troll.
2013/02/07 (Thu) 00:17
No shit yo
Sun Tzu might not even be a real person!
2013/02/07 (Thu) 00:17
Somebody plays dynasty warriors.
2013/02/07 (Thu) 00:23
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[ ] Pursue
[ ] Don't pursue
2013/02/07 (Thu) 02:33
I read the entire translation of Romance of the Three Kingdoms. In elementary school. I've visited shrines to major personalities of that time period. I've done at least two research papers on the time period.
Several of its themes are being planned for deployment in Tainted Bonds.
Let it not be said that I'm not loyal to the blood in my veins.
-[X] Use a cheapass strategy to cherrytap him to death because the AI is dumb
-[X] Alternatively, play coop and infini-juggle him
-[X] Steal Red Hare because hell why not
2013/02/07 (Thu) 03:11
you are aware that the historical Zhuge Liang was something of a
massive bullshit artist. He went so far as to outlaw scholars in Shu so he can proceed to make himself look good. I used to like Shu more but find myself leaning more towards Wei due to how practical Cao Cao is as Shu's undoing could be summed up as this: Honor before reason.
But back on the thread topic,
, there is such a thinga s too many choices.
2013/02/07 (Thu) 07:52
You're not a romantic at all, are you?
I would kill for two sworn brothers.
Hey, I already have one.
2013/02/07 (Thu) 10:16
And then you throw your son down on the ground because one of your finest generals risked his life to save your son, making him grow up slightly retarded because you didn't just drop him on his head, oh no, you THREW him down, leading to the eventual undoing of your kingdom because there wasn't any kind of competent leadership coming from the emperor.
Seriously, Liu Bei, get your shit together.
2013/02/07 (Thu) 11:23
One might argue his surrender was a bright thing as at this point in Shu's history, the people under him were insisting on continuing attacking the other kingdoms despite Shu being a shadow of its former self. And as a result, Shu's people weren't endangered by dragged out warring.
But yeah, HONOR BEFORE REASON. Between the better part of Shu's forces wrecking themselves trying to avenge Gan Yu and the retardation possibility, Shu basically wrecked itself in the long run. Ideas are fine and all but making them happen is another thing.
Good thing for Shu, various games tended to whitewash them pretty good.
2013/02/07 (Thu) 11:43
Here... Just did some reading on Liu Shan and it seems in history and the book, he was quite a screwup with him blindly listening to a scheming advisor, ignoring good advice and generally letting Shu go to waste. Liu Shan's actions may not fit under HONOR BEFORE REASON, but the ultimate cause is (his father throwing him down and getting himself killed as opposed to properly raising him)
It was as such that Sima Zhao felt sympathy for the Shu retainers upon getting to know Liu Shan.
2013/02/08 (Fri) 21:44
here. I’ve been trying to come up with a response for you, but it’s hard to explain clearly. But, I’ll try. You deserve at least that much.
First, the prose is kind of amateurish. There’s a lot of little mistakes and awkward phrasing; it’d take a long time to explain it all.
But, I think the bigger issue is that the writing is always so compact. Events happen really quickly, and I can never get into the story when everything’s moving so fast. However, I think you can beat that by just being more specific and lengthening your descriptions. It can be as simple as describing
someone does something; for example, you could tell us about all the fidgeting and nervous glancing-around Miyako does while she’s taking a test,or give some examples of all the different monster-voices Shou can do. If you just ask yourself what extra details you can give, you’ll come up with a lot of neat ideas.
Lastly, Alex seems a little
competent. He’s beaten Suika at dodgeball, torn up the music auditions, beaten Minamitsu at mini-golf, defended Sanae from her abusive boyfriend, gone out with Tenshi, and made friends with Parsee, and he never has any trouble with his schoolwork. It doesn’t seem very realistic, and I have a hard time relating to someone like that. His trauma seems like less of a serious problem and more of an easy way to get sympathy. It’s not as fun when everything’s so easy, you know?
I do want to see you get better. I’d be happy to talk if you caught me on #touhouporn, but that’s not always easy. Weekends are best.
2013/02/09 (Sat) 23:22
This is actually my first real attempt to write something that others will actually read. As for the events happening too fast, I actually felt that everything is progressing too slow. I see what you mean about giving additional details, what I see in my head doesn't always make it onto the paper. And you say Alex is too competent, which I agree with. But I can't actually go back and change it now can I? As for beating Suika, he was just lucky. When he defended Sanea I was going more for making him seem like a nice guy. Lastly, he isn't exactly
with Parsee, she more or less tolerates him at this point.
I won't try to justify my amateurish writing unless I feel that you're completely off base, which you aren't. But Alex's grief, or lack there of at the moment, over his mothers death is going to getting attention soon. Alex's personality is based off of me a little, so the way he is grieving is similar to how I grieved.
2013/02/09 (Sat) 23:24
I say I won't try to justify it but that's exactly what it sounds like I'm doing.
2013/02/10 (Sun) 00:17
"As for beating Suika, he was just lucky. When he defended Sanea I was going more for making him seem like a nice guy. Lastly, he isn't exactly friends with Parsee, she more or less tolerates him at this point."
I don't want to say it, but Alex is a borderline Sue, and the fact that he's "based off of me a little." isn't helping.
Shit just goes his way. Even his challenges don't have any weight because he lucks out or is naturally good at it. Listen to BSD and work on your characterization. You can make an excellent MC with a great personality and still leave it open enough that a reader can place himself in his/her shoes.
2013/02/10 (Sun) 04:45
I don't know about being too perfect, but the fact he has no real specialty sort of makes him bland. Some weaknesses aren't a bad thing after all, though too many are. Both specialty and weakness makes a character stand out more.
2013/02/11 (Mon) 03:38
Well gentlemen while browsing this board in one tab and flicking through slowly downloading pornography in the next I discovered there exists dynasty warriors cosplay video pornography. I noticed this partly due to yourselves.
Think about that for a second. Just think.
Liu Bei would be sad.
2013/02/11 (Mon) 04:52
I must pursue Lu Bu
2013/02/11 (Mon) 04:56
Please click /th/ and  button.
Look at the top story on that page.
Continue my favorite story goddammit.
2013/02/13 (Wed) 12:06
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2013/02/13 (Wed) 17:29
Paint skills off the chart
2013/02/13 (Wed) 19:40
I don't know what that means.
2013/02/14 (Thu) 06:10
wow okay it looked like aya was writing in the thumbnail my bad
I made a post in the thread a while back. Chill out. I gotta finish up TMD. Dick around a bit. Gonna pre-write some stuff. I got a schedule I wanna try to work out... It's still gonna take a bit of work, but it's coming.
2013/02/14 (Thu) 07:10
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There is something distressingly missing from your list. A certain excuse, you know?
2013/02/14 (Thu) 09:10
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When that updates is not currently up to me.
Please, have an Aya to assuage your anger.
2013/02/15 (Fri) 02:05
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Well find him, dig him up, and poke him until he makes some words!
And I'm not angry.
2013/02/15 (Fri) 03:34
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I poked him the other day, I think he knows.
2013/02/15 (Fri) 03:48
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And now I know he knows. Thank you.
2013/02/18 (Mon) 18:29
Here's some advice for you struggling with romance.
Whenever you cannot find a proper way to express the emotions of your characters, go to this site and take a look around. You're sure to find something you'll like.
2013/02/20 (Wed) 07:50
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I am most certainly dead, and please consider me so for another few days/weeks. I have a slight dispute going on right now.
2013/02/21 (Thu) 01:27
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aya lost something
Good luck, deadsy. Get well soon.
2013/03/01 (Fri) 01:13
Right then. Dialogue. How can I not make it sound contrived or affected? Aside from saturating myself with media and creeping in on the lives of other people I feel as though there's something off, something colloquial or rhythmic that's lacking. Any takers?
2013/03/01 (Fri) 02:47
You absolutely, positively need to say the dialogue out loud if you don't know. It can help significantly. Preferably in the same position as your characters (sitting, standing, lying down, what have you.)
2013/03/01 (Fri) 12:50
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The answer is plain if you look around you.
2013/03/01 (Fri) 15:42
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2013/03/01 (Fri) 15:57
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Just do it, man.
2013/03/02 (Sat) 17:56
That's for scrubs.
I already read son. Religiously.
2013/03/07 (Thu) 08:12
Hey established writefags.
Is it considered a self-insert if you only project your negative characteristics on your character? Doing so greatly simplifies coming up with a personality for me, but I don't want to be THAT sort of writer.
2013/03/07 (Thu) 08:34
I want to give my two cents but since I'm not an established writefag...
2013/03/07 (Thu) 09:23
You should avoid whole sale copying sets of traits, but using your experience to help flavor a character is another matter.
A general sign is how much your friends recognize your traits in the character. If it's too recognizable, it's a bad sign.
2013/03/07 (Thu) 13:52
Every writer puts some aspect of themselves into their characters. As long as you keep the character consistent and don't make it obnoxious, there are no problems. Self-inserts are only horrible when it's obvious the writer is just going for wish fulfillment or some shit.
2013/03/11 (Mon) 18:13
I've noticed that to be true. So I did Favors with the express idea (personally) of writing a protagonist that is very, very little like me. It's been an interesting exercise and I think has helped me to be a slightly less terrible writer.
2013/03/11 (Mon) 18:46
I thought the whole point of writing CYOAs was that the MCs' personalities were defined by the readers options, not by the writer.
2013/03/11 (Mon) 22:25
Traditionally, yes. And in stories running by that theme it does. That doesn't mean we can't have the readers choosing the adventures of established characters.
What this nigga said. Nothing wrong with drawing from your own experiences as long as you don't make it a wish-fulfilling wankfest.
I personally based at least one of my characters on an actual person -- although not myself.
Can you guess which?
I kid. Don't. Please.
That makes me think how shitty of a protagonist I would make. Unless the story involved a lot of watching from the sidelines and smirking at other characters' folly. Then I could squeeze myself in there. Somehow. Maybe. I'd still be a shitty protag, though.
2013/03/12 (Tue) 00:29
I think some variation of this question has been asked before, but...
How exactly do you maintain a balance between choices shaping the story and having a pre-established plot? I've had a lot of thoughts of trying my hand, but I constantly worry that I'll end up railroading hard if I keep a specific plot progression in mind.
2013/03/12 (Tue) 03:17
I think it's a matter of making it clear what's preset and what's not. Anon doesn't like choice sets that have the exact same result for all of them.
But I have a question: Is awareness of ability, talent, audience, etc important? I'm curious what the answer is as I think it's very important, otherwise you'd end up upset over something depending on the area.
Example? A writer getting upset because his audience isn't as responsive as he'd like. (Caused by lack of audience/taste awareness) It's like trying to read War and Peace to a group of blue collar workers in a bar.
2013/03/12 (Tue) 03:36
Awareness of yourself and others is important, sure, but that's not something you can really affect. More often than not (that I've found), you can't teach a person's expectations. It's a part of their personality.
For example, I like to think my voters are intelligible people that can make good points and are also full of shit. You all suck, but so do I, so we can go eat shit together in my terrible writing.
2013/03/12 (Tue) 13:30
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This might be just because of my personal approach, but so long as you've got a firm grip on the story yourself as the author and make a good job of it, nobody, I reckon, should mind railroading of a greater or lesser degree. Well, that and if you don't paint it as a DO WHATEVER YOUR NIGGA ASS WANTS kind of story then pull a 180 and hop on Choo-Choo the Railroad Shoe.
I mean, my last story was in 90% a train made of love, bubbles and hand-holding, and no one seemed to mind, so clearly I am a sort of an authority on this subject, right?
2013/03/14 (Thu) 01:31
How do I write posts to encourage additional voting? Some of the updates I write get 10+, while other updates in the same story barely get 2 or 3. I want to know so that plot-important updates get good amounts of participation.
2013/03/14 (Thu) 04:19
Picked up something good while lurking on the internet:
>One thing I've learned is that in order to properly understand a character, one should write as much as possible from their perspective, even if one never uses any of it. This may seem obvious and even trite, but how often does a writer, especially a game writer, actually sit down and write pages and pages of text that he knows he'll never use? Trust me on this one: it does make a difference, and you won't regret it.
2013/03/14 (Thu) 04:48
it's a matter of how contested the choice is basically.
If one choice seems overwhelmingly right, people will only vote for it and thus not as many people will vote compared to something far more contested. An example of a highly contested vote? Waifu vs Waifu.
2013/03/14 (Thu) 05:01
Or choices about routes. And I'm not just talking about romance routes.
2013/03/15 (Fri) 09:04
Sometimes I feel like writing, but then I just draw a massive blank when I try to come up with something original. Does anyone have any good methods for getting a good concept together for a story?
2013/03/15 (Fri) 09:47
Bring a notepad with you
all the time
. Whenever you come up with an idea for a story, jot it down immediatly. Then, when you have a bit of free time, you can go over all the things you've written down, pick the ones you believe that have potential, modify them or mix them together. That way, when you sit in front of the computer, you won't have to 'waste' time thinking about good ideas, and you will be able to focus only on the 'form'.
But if you're talking about how to come up with such ideas... Well, inspiration is something that can't be taught. As a certain renowed member of this site would say, read motherfucking books all damn day. But don't stop there; comics, films, videogames and TV can also be useful sources of inspiration to get some ideas. Hope that helps
and stops him from posting that damn image again
2013/03/15 (Fri) 18:25
Hey guys, I know it's only tangentially related to the thread, but I can't think of anywhere else to post it. I have a confession to make. I've been feeling an urge to tell someone about it, and I think I'll feel better if I do.
My story is trash. It's complete garbage. I have no idea how I still have readers.
I failed at planning, so there ended up being multiple major plot changes in mid-story. Due to this, there are set-ups for things that don't happen and things happen with no set-up whatsoever.
The characters are flat. I can see their points of interest in my head, but I completely failed to bring them out in text.
My excuse for romance is a fucking joke, and I literally (I mean the actual literally here) can't stand to go back and read it, out of embarrassment.
Right now I'm writing a scene that has 3 different plot holes/conveniences in it, and I can't figure out a way to undo them.
And finally, my sense of pacing is fucked. I'd bet my right testicles that my readers have no idea where they are in the story progression right now. It's all terrible.
That's all stuff I can see myself, and people are notably terrible at self-critique. It's probably not even a quarter of it.
The upside is I'm learning some lessons from it, I guess.
2013/03/15 (Fri) 18:39
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2013/03/15 (Fri) 18:40
Also, learning is awesome. You're going to write utter shit your first time, no way around it. It's important that you learn things from it, and that they're not "I'm terrible and should give up." You should talk to people about your story and bounce ideas off of them. Helps me, at least.
2013/03/15 (Fri) 19:25
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THE BEST THE BEST THE BEST THE BEST
I think it's time for an author guessing contest!
Seriously though, unless you've fucked up royally bad, there's always ways around it. You're the author. You can go back and see what you can use. Make shit up. Go crazy with it. You can even take some elements you put in there "just 'cuz" and make something out of them, make them seem like foreshadowing. Nobody will know! The same with legitimate foreshadowing you happened to forget. No one will see it as foreshadowing unless something comes out of it. The classification of foreshadowing is a retrospective process. And with enough suspension of disbelief, asspulls can be written off as plot twists -- especially if your readers are susceptible to epileptic tree farming. Your story is worth as much as your readers' minds make it out to be. A pile of shit and cranberries can be made into the deepest story ever told if the readerbase paints and treats it as such.
But yes, you're right. You're probably shit. The important thing is you learn from this. Like I said somewhere in this thread already, the day you look back and see no mistakes is the day you stop improving.
>I have a confession to make
2013/03/15 (Fri) 19:58
try talking to your friends about it as if you have good friends they will tell you issues and try helping you with them.
But with a first story it's generally accepted that the start will be rough due to a mix of reasons, such as establishing style and characterization.
2013/03/15 (Fri) 21:43
>The upside is I'm learning some lessons from it, I guess.
This is the best part. Even if your story is giant stinking pile of dung, keep plugging at it. Even if it doesn't get better, there's always something to be learned - if nothing else, you get to experiment how to make it better. Whether you manage to work things out or not, keep your confidence up and carry on. You'll be be better writer at the end of it no matter what.
As far as fixing the story, well, other people have good suggestions. I suggest hallucinogens.
2013/03/16 (Sat) 00:03
>A pile of shit and cranberries can be made into the deepest story ever told if the readerbase paints and treats it as such.
Heh, I know quite a few stories that are like this.
2013/03/16 (Sat) 00:05
I see the entirety of the modernist era in literature like that.
2013/03/16 (Sat) 03:13
>keep plugging away at your story
Nope. Keep plugging away at
, but feel free to drop your shitty story and do something else if you really want.
2013/03/16 (Sat) 04:19
>feel free to drop
2013/03/16 (Sat) 08:45
People on this thread highly recommend on planning, but how far should I plan ahead? Should I begin with the end in mind and write from there?
2013/03/16 (Sat) 09:23
I would advise on thinking things as a whole but as far as outlining the story, leave some room to improvise just in case something new comes up for you to use or anon throws you a curveball.
2013/03/16 (Sat) 14:28
A beginning and an end, plus key events that have to occur along the way for the storyline to take place. Always remember that even pre-planned events can be adjusted to fit into a situation wrought by your readers' votes or your momentary decision. Also having at least an inkling of a plan for each of the choices you offer at the end of an update is preferable, to avoid stumping yourself in a case where the vote elects an option you hadn't really planned and/or didn't want to write.
The obvious words here should be, "Just don't offer choices you don't want to write," but the truth is sometimes the extra illusion of choice may serve to reinforce the readers' investment into the story. You just have to make them
And remember, as the author you can make or unmake a plot in an instance: even if you scrap an entire plotline in the middle of a story in favour of another (maybe better) one, no one will ever know if you take the time to match it with what you have already written.
2013/03/16 (Sat) 14:42
I hate illusions of choices when they make me think that this story can be steered to the direction I want, even though it can't.
In the end, I'll feel cheated for reading the story.
2013/03/16 (Sat) 14:53
>A pile of shit and cranberries can be made into the deepest story ever told if the readerbase paints and treats it as such.
Yep. Touhou is the proof.
2013/03/16 (Sat) 15:06
The trick is not to let you know the choice was illusory.
2013/03/16 (Sat) 20:08
that's easier said than done as if such a change fails, it'll be a shark jumping point.
Same goes for "illusion of choice", though it helps if the journey is different with each choice even if the final destination's the same.
2013/03/16 (Sat) 21:04
No other way than to learn from your mistakes, mate. Trial and error. There are no sure-fire tricks to writing. There's too many variables. Sometimes it'll work, sometimes it won't. You'll achieve more favourable precentages as you go along.
2013/03/24 (Sun) 02:45
I've got a question for this thread. It takes a bit of background, unfortunately.
After taking a forced hiatus due to events not presently relevant, I'm trying to come back to writing my story. This has brought two things to my attention.
1.) The plot, now that I'm not riding the wave of "This is an awesome idea, I should really write this!", comes off as being overly ambitious, to the point where I doubt my ability to write it. To use an analogy, it feels like I'm attempting PCB's phantasm stage. I usually run out of continues on stage 5 easy.
2.) The writing, now that I read it without knowing exactly what I intended to say when I wrote it, contains enough flaws that were I to find the story as a reader I would likely not read the story. Given that I would (and do) play the games, this would make the writing worse than ZUN's art.
Given these two points, I am considering either setting the story back on hiatus and working on improving my writing before resuming it, ending the story shortly, significantly reducing the scope of the plot until I feel that it is possible for me to write the story, or continuing my attempt to write the original story despite my doubts.
Option one would probably see the story never resume, save by someone hijacking it. I would likely start a more limited story to work from there.
Option two would effectively be a SNOW END within the pre-introduction phase, which I am hesitant to write. Marginally better than outright dropping it without a word, though.
Option three...well, I would have to cut out five of the six major plot threads, and completely change who the main character is to make it work right.
Option four...I'd prefer to do this, actually, but I am concerned that it would result in monthly updates, another multi-year burnout, and an injustice to the concept. That last is what most concerns me, oddly enough.
Of those four, which would be recommended? If number four, would you happen to have any advice for writing a plot beyond my ability to write, aside from taking significantly more time to write it carefully?
TL;DR: I suck at writing, and don't think I can write my story. Should I write it anyway?
2013/03/24 (Sun) 03:31
Don't put it off. Write and gain some closure on it. And then keep writing.
You never know.
2013/03/24 (Sun) 04:42
Yes. You should write it anyway. The only way to stop sucking at writing is to continue writing.
That said, if you feel that you're not up to the story, it may not be a terrible idea to write something else. Just as long as you DO write. Only way to stop sucking.
2013/03/25 (Mon) 18:29
I'm a aspiring THP writer starting to fill in the scenes according to my story outline, but I came across this problem.
How do you represent drawling, intentionally lengthened sarcasm (etc.), and screaming in text?. Like when Remi goes mockingly bratty: "Oh Patchouli, come ooonnnn", and when a character screams a warcry ("DIIEEEEEE!") sometimes of words, sometimes of non-words) at the top of their lungs. Currently, I write it just as it sounds (sometimes I append a '~'), but that feels sloppy. For the former, I get the feeling think I could avoid it with skillfully placed action description, but nothing I try is satisfactory.
For the latter, I think I could just omit the explicit shout and state it as an action.
2013/03/25 (Mon) 21:49
2013/03/26 (Tue) 01:59
Writing in the night seems to be exponentially easier than in the day. If the sun is up, I just can't get started. It's fucking weird.
Anyone else suffer anything similar?
2013/03/26 (Tue) 04:22
Not at all. Fuck the sun, most of my writing takes place at midnight or later.
It's a damn shame I'm usually too worn out from the day to write for long...
2013/03/26 (Tue) 18:28
There's less distractions at night. Less people being noisy, less people wanting things and less stuff that has to be done. It's the perfect time to put on a little music, pour a drink and get to it. So it's not strange at all.
2013/03/26 (Tue) 19:58
Laconic, but effective. Thanks.
2013/03/26 (Tue) 20:06
I always found music to be a great distraction when it comes to work or writing. I prefer to be in silence and be left alone with my muses. Doesn't mean I don't get inspiration from music in several ocassions, but I for one prefer to focus on one thing alone.
2013/03/28 (Thu) 13:39
Try vocal-less/instrumental tracks. I've found "ambient" albums (Archive, Ratatat, Infected Mushroom if you're into that, RJD2, etc.) and "background noise" tracks (rainymood, soundsculptures, and so on) make for a nice aural environment for writing. The lyrics are usually the most distracting element, since they sort of hijack your brain's cognitive functions trying to decipher the words.
And I agree about nighttime being the best time for writing. As a David Eddings fanboy, let me quote:
>"I don't sleep very much, Belgarion. A man can lose a third of his life in sleep. The day is filled with bright lights and distractions; the night is dim and quiet and allows much greater concentration."
2013/04/08 (Mon) 05:45
What motivates you to write THP?
And how do you avoid/minimize burnout?
2013/04/08 (Mon) 10:39
The ending I've drawn out. If I can get to there I can die happy.
But I'll be damned if I write it with no leadup or background or explanation. It's the conclusion to an epic, and it deserves every last step.
As for minimizing burnout... well, I've been busy, not burned out, as far as updates go. I know exactly what I need to write, I just need the time to sit and do it.
But if you're talking mid-update burnout? Just sit back and listen to some mood music, read your old stuff, read other works... a short break is fine. Just don't go into the deep end of vidya and not come back for months, heh.
2013/04/08 (Mon) 17:01
>The ending I've drawn out. If I can get to there I can die happy.
Wait, does this mean you've already decided on the ending so our choices have no effect on it at all?
2013/04/08 (Mon) 17:17
You didn't know? He's told you the story's on rails multiple times.
2013/04/08 (Mon) 17:39
Welp, sorry for asking then.
2013/04/08 (Mon) 20:02
No need to apologize, broski.
2013/04/08 (Mon) 21:34
Not "no effect". An example might be Fallout 3 or something.
The ending happens when you turn on the water-purifier thing (and also die); there is no alternative ending. But the things you did along the way will also leave behind their own legacy, and shape the future to come beyond "clean water". Does that make it sound better?
2013/04/08 (Mon) 22:06
You probably should have picked a non-shit Fallout game, really.
2013/04/08 (Mon) 22:13
I chose 3 because I figured it would be most well known. Also because I didn't want to spoil anyone else on the earlier ones.
I beat one of the Fallout games (think it was 2) in less than half an hour, I have l33t sk1llz yo.
2013/04/08 (Mon) 22:17
YOUR STORY IS BAD JUST LIKE FALLOUT THREE
AND YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD
JUST LIKE I NEVER DID IN FALLOUT THREE BECAUSE THE CHARACTERS ALL SUCKED AND I WAS NEVER SAD TO SEE ANY OF THEM DIE
THEY MANAGED TO FUCK UP DOGMEAT
2013/04/09 (Tue) 00:23
- (143.26KB, 1094x1379,
The Mystery of the Druids
Those are fightan words, son.
Please tell me all the reasons why my story a shit.
also yeah 3 sucked major donkey balls
2013/04/09 (Tue) 00:33
To prevent burnout? A moderate update rate, not too fast, not too slow. Going too fast has other downsides, such as alienating people not able to make 90% of the choices in a day. Once a day is the fastest a writer should go and even then the odds for burnout is still pretty high.
2013/04/09 (Tue) 02:34
I've already told you elsewhere, besides, it's not absolutely 'the worst' level terrible. It's only like Mussolini level terrible. What I'm saying is that IT IS TERRIBLE AND SO ARE YOU
2013/04/09 (Tue) 03:45
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YOUR STORY IS HORRIBLE BECAUSE IT DOESN'T UPDATE AS OFTEN AS I WANT.
That is the complaint I have with all of the stories I follow. Because I have little taste and there are few things I don't like.
What I do like is a sense of 'epicness' a feeling that the world is bigger than the MC and his partners and that we are ever advancing to a objective. Some examples:
-A confrontation with Sakuya.
-A confrontation with an alternate version of ourselves.
-The resolution of a mystery.
-Preventing everyone from solving a mystery.
-Finding our friends.
-Finding what the hell is wrong with the MC
2013/04/09 (Tue) 09:22
How many words should one aim for per update?
I feel like I write too little.
2013/04/09 (Tue) 09:41
For me, it's around 800 words. Every writer has his/her own quota, really. Sometimes one can write much like Asimov on drugs, and sometimes you can't squeeze a word from your brain even after 8 packs of cigarette. Sometimes you feel a few words is enough to tell an update, while in another update you describe every inch of details in your story.
TLDR: Adjust your own quota for your own pleasure.
2013/04/09 (Tue) 19:17
Exactly as many as you need to say what you want to say. Shooting for some arbitrary number isn't a good idea.
I'd advise you to simply write until you reach a point you want to offer a choice. It shouldn't matter if that is 500 words in or 5000.
2013/04/10 (Wed) 02:57
>How do you represent drawling, intentionally lengthened sarcasm (etc.), and screaming in text?
Late reply is late, but: you describe their tone. This can be simple:
>"Subtle," Sakuya says
- or elaborate, using an analogy:
>"I see." The words were so clipped Simon could almost hear the
as they hit the floor halfway to his column.
The general, efficient way is to try and avoid the word "Said" as much as possible. There's like two hundred more descriptive words you can use instead; google for a list and search it for the exact right one.
2013/04/10 (Wed) 04:12
>religiously avoiding the word said
Disclaimer: the word said is COMPLETELY OKAY for normal dialogue and exchanges. Narration that avoids using the word 'said' completely has amusing results.
But yeah, for extremely inflected (I'm not even sure that's a word) statements, there's generally a descriptor or substitute that will make the tone clear and obvious.
2013/04/10 (Wed) 12:13
Speaking of dialog: during a discussion scene with many characters, how do you engange in direct conversation (as in, without putting the name of who spoke after every line) without confusing the readers?
2013/04/10 (Wed) 12:44
There's going to be a moment when you
to show who's talking in order to avoid confusion, especially if all the participants exchange their turn to speak. However, if, for example, there are three people, but only two actively engage in the conversation, you can omit their names until the third person butts in.
2013/04/10 (Wed) 13:29
Let me try:
The three fairies stood in silent awe as the colossal door started to open by itself. Luna was the first to speak:
-... that's a big door. Are you sure this is a good idea, Sunny?
-Don't be a scaredy cat, Luna, a prank to The Attendant One will put us on the big leagues!
-He's called 'The Transcendent One'
-You don't even know his name?! I told you, coming to the the Fortress of Cassettes was a bad idea! I'm starting to feel... ?
-Thanks, Star! Wow, you always remember everything!
-No, I meant that this place is Called the 'Fortress of Regrets' not 'Cassettes'
-Ha! And you got angry at me for not remembering his stupid name!
-Hey, you're supposed to be the attendant one here!
-I told you, He's called the Transcendent...
-I'm not talking to you!
-...is this why they call it 'The Fortress of Regrets'...?
Please ignore the content of the dialog (specially the fact that the reader has to assume that she meant 'attentive') Was this part confusing?
2013/04/10 (Wed) 14:07
A bit confusing IMO, especially in the middle, since the three fairies do jabs at each other rather quickly. I would put it like this, barring any mistakes I make with who speaks which line.
The three fairies stood in silent awe as the colossal door started to open by itself. Luna was the first to speak:
-... That's a big door. Are you sure this is a good idea, Sunny?
-Don't be a scaredy cat, Luna, - the leader of the trio mocked - A prank to The Attendant One will put us on the big leagues!
-He's called 'The Transcendent One' - Star corrected in a monotone voice.
-You don't even know his name?! - exclaimed Luna in exasperation. - I told you, Sunny! Coming to the the Fortress of Cassettes was a bad idea! I'm starting to feel... ?
-Thanks, Star! Wow, you always remember everything!
-No, I meant that this place is Called the 'Fortress of Regrets', not 'Cassettes' - explained the brunette fairy, always in her deadpan tone.
-Ha! And you got angry at me for not remembering his stupid name! - Sunny laughed.
-Hey, you're supposed to be the attendant one here! - complained Luna.
-I told you, He's called the Transcendent... - sighed Star.
-I'm not talking to you! - screams Luna.
-...is this why they call it 'The Fortress of Regrets'...? - mutters Sunny.
I might have gone to the other extreme and overused the names, but I believe it's better to explain too much and bore the readers, than explaining too little and leave them confused. A way to avoid this to become too repetitive is refering to them by any identifying characteristic instead of using their names all the time. For example, referring to Luna as the brunette fairy, or Sunny as the leader of the trio.
Also, you can use these interjections to describe the speakers' tones, expressions and gestures like I did. Conversations are not only about speaking words; how those words are spoken and body language are also fundamental elements of human (or fairy in this case) interactions. These parts are the perfect moment to engage in such descriptions, and they'll add more depth to your dialogues.
2013/04/10 (Wed) 14:23
Confusing as FUCK. It took me far too long to piece out each voice. Random Capitalization Mid-Sentence, usage of ellipsis where hyphens are far more appropriate, butchered punctuation, and I haven't the faintest clue where you picked up the convention of using hyphens to start lines of dialogue. 2/10 for effort and spelling, read moar.
Actions and narration. You can avoid the "he said she said they said I said you said" repetition with some creative narrative pacing.
Lemme try with the core of the dialogue that's been given.
The three fairies stood in silent awe as the colossal door started to open by itself. Luna was the first to speak. "That's a big door. Are you sure this is a good idea, Sunny?"
"Don't be a scaredy cat, a prank to The Attendant One will put us on the big leagues!"
"Transcendent," Star corrected her, annoyed.
Luna blinked. "What?"
"He's called 'The Transcendent One'."
Sunny turned on Luna, her face scrunched up in disbelief. "You don't even know his name?! I told you, coming to the the Fortress of Cassettes was a bad idea! I'm starting to feel - "
"Regrets," Star suddenly interjected.
"Thanks, Star!" Luna said, oblivious. "Wow, you always remember everything!"
A vein bulged out on Star's forehead. "No, I meant that this place is called the 'Fortress of Regrets', not 'Cassettes'!"
"Ha! And you got angry at me for not remembering his stupid name!" Sunny stuck her tongue out at Luna.
"Hey, you're supposed to be the attendant one here!" Luna complained, adding yet another mistake to the growing list.
Star threw her hands up into the air, unable to stand the inane bickering of her companions. "I told you, he's called the Transcendent - "
"I'm not talking to you!" Luna screamed, whipping around and cutting Star off with a slap to the face.
As she watched the other two fairies take to the floor in a mutual grapple, Sunny muttered to herself, "Is this why they call it 'The Fortress of Regrets'?"
2013/04/10 (Wed) 14:31
>I haven't the faintest clue where you picked up the convention of using hyphens to start lines of dialogue
Spanish uses hyphens to start dialogues instead of quotation marks.
2013/04/10 (Wed) 14:33
Well, not you, as the messenger, but the other faggot should probably have realised that this is an English board.
2013/04/10 (Wed) 14:38
I sympathize with him; the usage of hyphens is one of the hardest conventions to get rid off if you spent all your life writing in Spanish and then try your hand at English. Well, at least that was in my case. But yeah, it's true, everybody should be familiar with the English rules at this board before writing a story here. It's just that I don't feel it's a reason to patronize the poor guy for.
2013/04/10 (Wed) 14:46
Not just Spanish, it seems; French too.
>Guillemets (<< >>) are usually used only at the beginning and end of an entire conversation. Unlike in English, where any non-speech is found outside of the quotation marks, in French guillemets do not end when an incidental clause (he said, she smiled, etc.) is added. To indicate that a new person is speaking, a tiret (m-dash or em-dash) is added.
This also explains the ellipsis 'abuse'.
>In English, an interruption or trailing off of speech can be indicated with either a tiret (hyphen) or des points de suspension (ellipsis). In French only the latter is used.
So English words with French/Spanish/(romantic language?) quotation conventions. An amusing blend.
I'm kinda surprised that
didn't mention this at all. Do we have two foreigners here? Just a bit curious.
2013/04/10 (Wed) 14:54
French use guillements to start dialogues, as the link you provided clearly explains. The usage of hyphens makes me believe
is from a Spanish speaking country.
Incidentally, I'm from Spain. I failed to mention it because seeing hyphens used in that fashion it's just so natural to me that I forgot it's wrong to use them in English.
2013/04/10 (Wed) 15:30
That was very informative, thanks. And, yes, I'm from Spain (kind of)
As a side note, I don't write here and never will but hijacking the thread seemed acceptable due to its slow pace.
2013/04/10 (Wed) 16:29
This is also a curious read:
2013/04/10 (Wed) 19:28
It's a writing advice thread. Anything related to writing, whether technical or narrative, is on-topic. No hijacking at all.
Tell your friends! Tell your family!
Then get them into Touhou, vote on our stories and start fics of their own.
2013/04/11 (Thu) 00:36
>Tell your family!
As long as /at/ listed at the top of the site, it's a suicide.
Talking about friends... Do your friends know about your story? Do you ask them to read your story? Can you still writing if your girlfriend knows you're writing a CYOA about little girls in fancy dress and hats?
Is it even possible to have a girlfriend and write about your waifu at the same time? Is it cheating or not?
2013/04/11 (Thu) 01:36
I don't think he was that serious about the family bit.
2013/04/11 (Thu) 05:01
In order: Yes, yes, yes, I don't have a waifu, and not.
AN INTRODUCTION ON HOW TO PLOT, IF YOU'RE TERRIBLE LIKE ME
2013/04/11 (Thu) 07:04
- (1.14MB, 1300x1473,
So some people wanted me to explain how I write plot for CYOAs, because I think I've got a system that allows a significant amount of flexibility while actually still planning. Because “not planning” is probably the root cause of a lot of dropped stories. Hell, I know it was the cause of my first.
THIS IS A MINIMAL-PLANNING, MAXIMUM-FLEXIBILITY APPROACH. IF YOU WANT YOUR STORY TO BE ON RAILS, ADJUST AS DESIRED.
HELL, ADJUST AS DESIRED ANYWAY. I'M A TERRIBLE WRITER.
1. THE GIMMICK
Let us start from the beginning: the story's 'gimmick'. The 'gimmick' is the base idea that people have when they think of a story: “Reisen has to do three favors in exchange for having the Hourai Elixir work,” “A D&D wizard falls into Gensokyo,” or “A shitty film-noir-ish terrible Investigator falls into Gensokyo and thinks he accidentally killed someone on the way in, because he's got a drinking problem that he never actually fixes in the whole of the story.”
Gimmicks are important! They form the base of the story, they form the very essence of the story. If you boiled down your story to a single sentence, that is the gimmick. That is how most stories, in my experience, are born here. BUT! BUT, FUCKING BUT, AND THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT AND IF HTML <BLINK> TAGS WORKED HERE I WOULD USE THEM FOR THIS VERY NEXT LINE:
STARTING YOUR STORY WITH NO PLANNING PAST THE ORIGINAL GIMMICK IS A TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE FUCKING IDEA.
The gimmick will give you your OP, a little bit past that, some zany non-linked-to-plot events that you want to see happen, and occasionally an ending.
THIS IS NOT ENOUGH.
2. THE BEGINNING, PART 1.
What is needed, first of all, is a beginning. Your gimmick probably gives you this without too much thought. And that's good! We'll be coming back to it. Keep your beginning in mind. If you can figure out your two or three most important characters here, more power to you! It'll help with the 'plot nodes' I will describe shortly. If not, well, we'll be coming back to the beginning soon enough.
For an example, here I had planned out that the beginning of Favors Owed would have the initial letter requesting a favor be in the OP. In addition to that, I did some character development of the people that Reisen would be working to protect.
3. THE ENDING, PART 1.
“But Rabbit! Why are we planning the ending now?” Because plotting out a story is much like following a map. And you need to know where you're going on the map. The map is one you're drawing at the same time, but with this method, you only have to plan out a few things. The rest will fall into place organically, and prevent your story from being ON RAILS ALL THE TIME. Unless that's what you want.
Now, while the title of this section is “the ending”, it might be better to call it “an ending.” You'll (probably) want multiple options available to you, as you approach the end of the story. Giving yourself options now will make it easier down the line when you're coming into the crunch of the end of the story- you won't have to shoehorn all of Anon's ideas into somehow working with your primary ending. I know for Favors Owed I started out with about six possible endings, with there being a couple more added throughout the story due to ideas that Anon gave me. THIS IS A GOOD THING.
Your endings should be somewhat vague, a couple sentence summary of each is what I've worked with for myself. You should develop them as you progress along your story, adding details and possibilities and conditions for the ending.
And then maybe you'll get to the end, throw all your work out the window, and write something different entirely. That's okay. The point of these endings is to give you a point for your plot to work towards, not to be set in stone. At least you got to the end, if you're doing that. Congratulations!
A corollary to this is: DO NOT WRITE PAST YOUR ENDING (aside from possible epilogues). At least not without doing the planning all over again. I wrote past my originally planned ending in Compensation: Adequate, and the story suffered (in my mind) for it. It just devolved into plotless hijinks.
4. PLOT NODES
This is the meat of my plotting strategy, and I think the most important part of it. While the beginning and end are of importance, you've also got to think of how you're going to get to the end from the beginning. And sometimes, that's a vast distance. The point of plot nodes is to reduce that apparent distance, by sort of setting yourself intermediate “plot goals.” These can be characters, relationships, scenes, or things. Scenes is probably the most commonly used for me, like the Youmu scene.
One very obvious example of this in Favors Owed is the three favors: each of these is a plot node. The first was a plot node and the beginning, and the second was another plot node. These were goal posts for me in my story. They gave me direction, something to aim for. Another example of this is Sanae: her section after the first favor, during the introduction of the second, and a little bit after that, formed a wide plot node for me. It was easy to write, as I had a plan: her relationship and development was important to the story, and the node was really just a single guiding sentence at the beginning: 'Sanae gets drunk and confesses to Reisen.' They can be like mini-gimmicks in that sense.
Of course, the Sanae plot node wasn't actually planned from the start: the original plan for the story was for Reisen to be in a relationship with Youmu: but since you can swap out plot nodes essentially at will (so long as you adjust down the line) you can be flexible to accommodate Anon's choices. Youmu's relationship development node was removed, replaced by Sanae's relationship development, and the infamous 'Youmu scene'. I'd done that swap pretty much right after I wrote the Sanae /at/ short.
Remember when I was talking about gimmicks, and I said “some zany non-linked-to-plot events that you want to see happen”? These are those zany non-linked-to-plot events. Except you're linking them together, to draw the line between your beginning and end.
Yes, you'll leave some empty space in between the nodes. This empty space is filled by your day-to-day updates, getting from one plot node to the other. (I especially had to do this, considering that I left all the favor selections up to Anon.
vote for the third favor, it isn't too late
) But this just attests to the flexibility of this system: I think I could have reasonably had anyone for the first, a slightly shorter list for the second, and it'd have worked out just as well as the choices have now.
Of course, some events are mutually exclusive: but that's just simply putting a fork in the story, e.g. Tell Sanae/Don't Tell Sanae.
5. THE ENDING, PART 2.
We're back to the ending. Do any of the plot nodes change what you had in mind for the endings? They probably did. Make changes as you see fit. Not much else to do here.
6. THE BEGINNING, PART 2.
You've got your ending in mind, and your significant plot nodes for the story in mind. What do you have to change about your OP, about your introduction to accommodate this? In Favors Owed, I had to change the wording of the 'bargain' to make it more abstract and less concrete in the beginning.
Spoilered because some people found this rage-inducing when I told them:
Remember how the bargain in Favors Owed with the fairies was pretty vague in the beginning, but is now pretty ironclad and simple? If, waaaaaaay back near the beginning, Anon had chosen to defy the fairies from the beginning, and refuse to do the first favor, the bargain's wording would have been significantly different, and the story would have gone in a completely different, probably less bunny-abusing direction. But I kept this a secret, to make it a blind choice. And so it has changed, and I've let that plot branch wither and die. I did take a few things from it, though.
7. WHAT ELSE DOES THIS GET ME?
Besides a clear sense of direction, and flexibility to adjust that direction as you and anon see fit? One of the things I've enjoyed the most about Favors, that I could not have done with Compensation: Adequate is the end-of-thread-summaries-and-choice-disclosures. Since I've got a plan, and I know where I'm going, I know how each choice will advance the plot towards the next major event. And so I can provide significantly more authorial transparency as far as individual choices are concerned. I really, really like writing those.
Without planning, most stories are doomed to fail. Not many people can consistently write what comes into their head, make it fit with their current plot, AND like it enough to not burn yourself out. I devised this as an attempt to lower the burden of thinking so hard for each update. Writing Favors under this method has been significantly easier than writing Compensation without it. I know I'm going to use this method and refine it for my next story (of which I've already got a gimmick, the beginning, a couple of plot nodes, and three endings.)
2013/04/11 (Thu) 12:14
That said, remember that the post-ending writing gave us drunk Sakuya and Flandre
(shhh, I'm stopping time)
so, with minimal planing, I don't think it is such a bad idea.
2013/04/11 (Thu) 12:30
That sounds like a waste of time to me.
2013/04/11 (Thu) 16:17
Oh, it was funny, and that's one of the pieces of writing I'm most proud of on the site, but goddamn, the story became terrible after that point.
2013/04/13 (Sat) 00:51
Terrible but necessary.
2013/04/13 (Sat) 04:23
2013/04/17 (Wed) 05:12
I've always wondered, but are bad ends still necessary? It was pretty common in the old days, but now they're not that prolific. What lead to that change, if there was any at all?
2013/04/17 (Wed) 06:02
Not exactly, they're a hold over from VNs and their decline in use have a decent number of reasons:
-getting away from VN tropes
-Some realizing having something that lasts longer than a bad end is more cruel.
There's also the belief that too many bad ends results in a dropped story and that the bad end minefield nature of some older stories cowed anon into voting timidly and avoiding bold choices.
2013/04/17 (Wed) 07:49
I've found them a good way to deal with write-ins that you don't want to make canon in your story, but people bandwagon on them. So you write a one-shot bad end short. The one time I did this it was fairly well received.
2013/04/17 (Wed) 10:23
As opposed to refusing the write in and giving them a chance to revote? It'd have saved you time and time/energy that could have been spent on a real update.
2013/04/17 (Wed) 13:24
The third one really hit the nail in the head, y'know? I've stopped reading stories because the punishment for our choices was too high. Pretty darn effective.
If you refuse to do a popular write-in 'because' it really annoys voters. I'm all for a short to explain why was it a bad decision and the consequences. Plus, it also gives hints (in the example, more than a hint was a big billboard with neon lights saying DO NO TRUST THE SCARLET DEVIL MANSION'S DENIZENS)
2013/04/17 (Wed) 16:04
I didn't say refuse without giving a reason. That and giving bad ends might cause some to go seeking them out (a lesser reason why the practice went out of style: people didn't want bad end hunters to mess things up for others)
2013/04/17 (Wed) 16:45
bad end hunters sounds like an excellent story name
2013/04/17 (Wed) 17:30
>As opposed to refusing the write in and giving them a chance to revote? It'd have saved you time and time/energy that could have been spent on a real update.
Perhaps, but where's the fun in that?
2013/04/17 (Wed) 18:09
Exactly. I thoroughly enjoyed writing the bad end short. I don't have a lack of energy/enthusiasm for writing, seeing as I've written at a consistent pace for almost a year now on this story.
That, and I got to make a very blatant "deal with the devil" allegory. Rather enjoyed that.
2013/04/17 (Wed) 23:25
you don't have the greatest record for finished stories though. Didn't you drop that detective story?
2013/04/17 (Wed) 23:47
If I wanted to, I could call it finished on its last update. But I wouldn't call it that. I'd call it just plain bad.
In any case, one story does not a trend make. Especially since I've put far more effort and planning into Favors. I don't see myself dropping another story. X-Communist doesn't count, as that's simply a writing overflow site for shenanigans when I want to write but can't for some reason on Favors. I think I've made that fairly clear in that story.
2013/04/17 (Wed) 23:49
(Also I wrote past the ending on Compensation, which is a really bad idea. I both rushed the ending, and wrote past it. Which is bad. Don't do this.)
2013/04/18 (Thu) 23:26
Do you ever intend to continue/finish X-Communist
2013/04/18 (Thu) 23:59
Continue? Yes. Finish? Nope. Hasn't really got an end in sight, unless you're counting the vaguest possibility of Cydonia.
Also, if you're waiting for updates, blame Deme. He's the one that claimed rights on the next update.
2013/04/19 (Fri) 00:01
isn't that the issue with such projects? That whoever's up next fails to provide an update?
2013/04/19 (Fri) 01:09
Eh. So I'll go smack him for it this weekend. Or write it myself this weekend. Either or.
2013/04/19 (Fri) 22:45
You wrote that?
my world... shattered
2013/04/20 (Sat) 04:12
What can I say, I'm a terrible writer.
2013/04/28 (Sun) 04:25
Hi, I'm an aspiring writer with no former writing experience, who's trying to write a EOSD/PCB story.
-It's on the long side, est. going to be around 50,000 words.
-It's not going to be a CYAO, also there is open-ended section that I can CYAO with (it is only one segment of the story though).
I have the story mostly planned out, down to a rough list of all the scenes. There are a few possible outcomes, the actual one will determined by how I perceive the characters would act. For the characters themselves I feel I've got a as much as a grasp of their personalities and motivations as I'm going to get, without writing the damn story. It's varying present.
A large portion of the story take place as a collection of scenes with gaps of time in between them (the scenes progress forward in time though, no crazing jumping around). What are good ways to introduce a scene after a time skip? Sometimes the amount of time needs to be shown, but most of the time it doesn't. Also, there are some global shifts that take place in Gensokyo over time, but I'm unsure how to present them in the story. The writing perspective is mostly going to be third-person omniscient, always following some character. One idea would be to have a character go outside, where changes are visible, and make apt observations, which would eventually give the image of said shift. Another is opportune exposition time, like say a class a character is attending, that Keine is teaching (Balistafreak used this in Tainted Bonds, I think).
I'm not quite sure of the questions I should be asking, exactly, but this'll do, for a first contact.
As for the writing:
I wrote a few of the scenes, with not the slightest hint of proofreading. My English is fine (and unexceptional), but I don't have the mechanical story writing skills yet. It would be a good idea to write a few short pieces and have them critiqued. I'll post something up in half a weeks time.
Also, would any one be willing to check over the story itself? There definitely is a story here, but I would quite like to know how big or small of a deal some of these existing problems actually are.
2013/04/28 (Sun) 06:24
My story uses time stamps, so I'm not sure if this applies to you. But generally, something like "X days/weeks have past, and these things happened" near the beginning will work. Observations generally work better than exposition for large slow transitions unless it was an important event, in which you should make it explicit, but you could also include them in the time skips.
Also, put the prototype scenes through pastebin. Standard THP protocol.
2013/04/29 (Mon) 21:35
Also I know it's nitpicky, but it's CYOA, not CYAO.
2013/05/01 (Wed) 03:46
What are some good technical resources for beginning writers?
2013/05/01 (Wed) 11:30
I'll head off YAF here and say this: Read motherfucking books, all damn day.
2013/05/01 (Wed) 17:43
Read books, and write down things any writing points of interest that you notice.
2013/05/01 (Wed) 17:49
To add to what
said, read books, and write down any writing points of interest that you notice. Look up words you don't understand. If you're looking for CYOA specific writing patterns, read some stories from the recommendations thread. Of course there's much more to be gained than just this.
There definitely exist formal resources, maybe somebody can point you to something.
2013/05/01 (Wed) 18:41
I am personally very fond of this particular book, since it supplies actual examples from existing, acknowledged fiction, and explains in detail the device used. It's a good read. Only don't stick too hard to the thesaurus found in the latter half of the book. Expanding your vocabulary is fine. Demanding it be always as eloquent as possible may be destructive.
Anyway, here's the book:
2013/05/01 (Wed) 20:11
Thank you. Things like this are what I am looking for. References for the mechanics of writing, you could say.
2013/05/02 (Thu) 20:31
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You can have these very good rules I copied to my personal notes a long time ago:
1.Avoid Alliteration. Always.
2.Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3.Avoid clichés like the plague. (They’re old hat.)
4.Employ the vernacular.
5.Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
6.Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
7.It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
8.Contractions aren’t necessary.
9.Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
10.One should never generalize.
11.Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, ‘I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.’
12.Comparisons are as bad as clichés.
13.Don’t be redundant; don’t use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
15.Be more or less specific.
16.Understatement is always best.
17.Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
18.One word sentences? Eliminate.
19.Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
20.The passive voice is to be avoided.
21.Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
22.Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
23.Who needs rhetorical questions?
24.Parenthetical words however must be enclosed in commas.
25.It behooves you to avoid archaic expressions.
26.Avoid archaeic spellings too.
27.Don't repeat yourself, or say again what you have said before.
28.Don't use commas, that, are not, necessary.
29.Do not use hyperbole; not one in a million can do it effectively.
30.Never use a big word when a diminutive alternative would suffice.
31.Subject and verb always has to agree.
32.Placing a comma between subject and predicate, is not correct.
33.Use youre spell chekker to avoid mispeling and to catch typograhpical errers.
34.Don't repeat yourself, or say again what you have said before.
35.Use the apostrophe in it's proper place and omit it when it’s not needed.
36.Don't never use no double negatives.
37.Poofread carefully to see if you any words out.
38.Hopefully, you will use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
40.No sentence fragments.
41.Don't indulge in sesquipedalian lexicological constructions.
42.A writer must not shift your point of view.
43.Don't overuse exclamation marks!!
44.Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.
45.Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
46.If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
47.Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
48.Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
49.Always pick on the correct idiom.
50.The adverb always follows the verb.
51.Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
52.If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be by rereading and editing.
53.And always be sure to finish what
2013/05/02 (Thu) 22:05
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>25.It behooves you to avoid archaic expressions.
Worst rule ever.
2013/05/02 (Thu) 22:36
54. Never make exceptions. Except to this rule.
2013/05/07 (Tue) 05:03
How do you make a spoilered-out blank space? I tried it and it only gave me regular blank space.
but with the SOMETHING being whitespace.
2013/05/07 (Tue) 07:10
If this works, lots of spaces between spoiler tags, with an ALT+255 character right before each /spoiler tag.
2013/05/07 (Tue) 07:14
Or rather, just use straight ALT-255 whitespace. It might also work to just have an ALT-255 only at the start of the line.
And if it does this will be more than one space to the right.
2013/05/07 (Tue) 19:45
◘ ◘ ◘
◘ ◘ ◘
2013/05/10 (Fri) 08:18
Sorry for the lateness. I greatly underestimated how long it would take to finish the first scene. It's incomplete in one section (displayed as notes instead), but I was getting impatient.
2013/05/10 (Fri) 11:03
Your tenses wander in places, you should convert everything to present or past. Also this:
> "Their alive! Someone get a healer!"
Other than that, it’s alright.
2013/05/10 (Fri) 15:39
Here, this should help. Remember that commas go inside quotes, and be careful with sentence fragments. Find me on #touhouporn if you have any questions.
2013/05/10 (Fri) 22:10
Oh wow, we just keep getting SDM stories, don't we?
While some other boards are dying due to the lack of them.
2013/05/11 (Sat) 04:07
It's what happens when A) a board has a super popular FINISHED story in it and B) has a popular character faction that got even more popular due to A).
many other boards seem to be suffering from one thing or another, such as big name stories being dropped.
2013/05/11 (Sat) 06:40
I wonder if there are any writefags here that are willing to proofread on a regular basis. Not for grammar or syntax, but rather style critiques.
2013/05/11 (Sat) 07:14
Thanks for reading.
As for tense, the section was supposed to only be in the present tense during the part where we take Patchouli bored perspective. The rest was meant to be in past. From there I still managed to mix up the tenses.
A serious thank you.
I'll repost the the section after edits.
If I can get that far, there's a PCB side, which is largely written from Youmu's perspective. At that point, I'd be far enough into writing the story that I'd lose a toe rather than leave the thing unfinished.
That may be true, but having read and being into a story doesn't make me want to write a story about those characters. After all, the idea's already out done and out there. As for popular characters, yea.
Haven't been here long enough or haven't been paying attention, and so I don't know how past events have shaped some of the boards. TBH, I don't think it should matter though.
2013/05/11 (Sat) 09:46
you might be among the few in that regard as for many it tends to inspire them to try their hand at /sdm/ stories.
What else explains the resurgences /sdm/ gets that not even /border/ or /youkai/ get (despite having finished stories on their sites)
>TBH, I don't think it should matter though.
Ideally it shouldn't but it does as old grudges die hard , same with old associations. Even now I'm not sure if /shrine/ has gotten fully out of YAF's shadow (there's only about one story there that regularly updates) and /eientei/'s not much better with only 1-3 writers updating. It's quite apparent with Little Soldier Lost, a long running story whose readers seemed to have bled off somewhere along the way.
Not helping things is the habit of people putting stories in /th/ when it should be elsewhere and for flimsy reasons (more readers), which does not fix this issue what so ever.
2013/05/12 (Sun) 04:49
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THP, what should I do if a new non-gaiden 2hu game comes out while my story is still unfinished and active?
2013/05/12 (Sun) 05:34
Whether you include it or not is a matter of personal preference. You would probably be better off not vastly changing your plans based on new material though.
2013/05/22 (Wed) 19:36
Hoping this is still alive
I need a little advice
I was wondering how I should go about introducing an alter ego
The short version of the story is that the MC is aware that he has an alter ego, but I haven’t given many clear hints of it yet.
I don’t want it to suddenly just pop in like “Hi I'm here now. Deal with it.” but it’s a main trait with the character, so I want to introduce it as soon as possible.
What’s more is that the two of them are capable of speaking with each other (but haven’t done so due to some conditions)
My current idea is to have him make an appearance to make the MC avoid getting crushed to death, by forcing control over the body and jump out of the way.
But that’s just kind of too sudden for what I’d like.
2013/05/22 (Wed) 20:44
pretend to switch to another narrator entirely and don't dwell on it at all. An alter ego means, in a fashion, a change in person (or personality). Make it natural and
it a change of person. Make the readers think this is another character.
For extra paranoia fuel, have your other characters act familiar with the alter-narrator, but never explain where or why they know him/her.
use the ability of cross-convo that you mentioned. For instance, after an especially tense moment or confrontation, have the
begin a scene of dialogue somewhere in a quiet place, and have the previously-active personality answer the now-narrator's (other personality's) accusations as he/she slowly changes their clothes. End the scene saying he/she is now wearing the usual getup of the other ego.
"Guess it's up to me now to clean up the mess, huh?"
2013/05/23 (Thu) 03:06
You know, I was expecting the spoilers to all be variations on "read motherfucking books all damn day".
2013/05/23 (Thu) 04:45
That one should already be mandatory.
2013/05/23 (Thu) 07:28
well if you got any books with this asspect, I'm all ears
2013/05/23 (Thu) 07:55
Your spelling kind of worries me.
You say you're a writer here?
2013/05/23 (Thu) 08:38
That was written quickly in the THP message box.
I usually look it over once or twice before posting
But yes, I claim to be a writer. An inspiring newbie writer
2013/05/23 (Thu) 08:43
That's "aspiring", not "inspiring".
Unless you claim to inspire other writefags to write here.
2013/05/23 (Thu) 09:13
You should show people something you wrote here and then YAF will help you. Or someone who is not YAF.
2013/05/23 (Thu) 14:46
Rule 1 of THP:
There exist two types of people. YAF, and the others.
Anyway, you said I should post an example, then here’s a cut out of my next update
“I'm sorry Okuu. We can talk later, maybe this evening.”
I already know I'm not going to recover everything the first day I'm awake, well, it’s the second day I guess, but that’s beside the point, so spending one night doing nothing but talking shouldn’t be a problem. I'm not on a time limit either, not as far as I know at least.
She just responds with an eager nod.
I turn around to leave, but I quickly turn back as a thought just hit me. “Before I leave,” I catch her attention which was quickly shifted back to the flames, “Mind if I ask you one last question for now?”
She shakes her head. “Not one bit.”
“When we arrived here, me and Satori that is, you knew right of the bat that it was Satori. How did you know?”
I sort of feel stupid from the way she looks at me, like the answer is as obvious as day. “Her scent,” she answers as she tabs her nose with a silly grin on. “I can recognize her scent from anywhere.”
Her scent? Well that’s an excuse I can accept. Though, it does raise a new question. “Then wouldn’t you be able to recognize mine as well? Didn’t you ‘smell’ me approaching as well?”
“Since Satori-sama has been carrying that thing around with your scent on it, it was a little hard to notice you.” Interesting. “The first time she came here after...” she hesitates, visibly, “after the incident, I thought it was you already.”
“Sorry, didn’t mean to bring that up again. But thanks.”
With nothing else to ask of her, I wave her off and start walking back up the slope, if you can even call this walking.
So Satori has held onto something of mine since the incident. Whatever it is, it might hold a memory. But then again, if it was of any real importance to me, she would have showed me already. But it if isn’t, then why would she be carrying it around in the first place?
A loud crack snaps me out of my thoughts, and I look up to locate the source. And what I do spot is a stalactite falling from the ceiling.
It- It’s falling straight at me.
With some effort I manage to get myself up again. I ignore the pain pulsating through my arm, and all the small wounds that came when I slid along the rough stone ground.
I dust myself off. “Well that was close.” I look up to where it fell from, and sure enough, it’s plainly visible that a stalactite just broke off. I then admire the damn thing that decided that I’ve relaxed enough. “Like hell I’d let something like you kill me off.” I give it a, honestly, weak kick, since that’s all I can muster.
I already know it’s bad, no need to point that out. But to become better is part of
2013/05/23 (Thu) 17:53
Okay. I'm not YAF (thank fuck), but I have to ask, before I get started tearing into this: is English a native language to you?
2013/05/23 (Thu) 18:21
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>I already know it’s bad
With this kind of self-esteem, I feel better if I sit in the sidelines.
NIGGA, YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT CRAZY RIDE YOU MISSIN
2013/05/23 (Thu) 18:23
No. Technically it’s my 4’Th language, but I rarely use the 2’nd and the 3’rd, so I consider it my 2’nd.
I'm speaking with a guy who’s offering to be my proofreader, and by Jack’s not-so-holy name, I need one
2013/05/23 (Thu) 19:00
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No sitting on the sidelines. YOU BROUGHT THIS UPON YOURSELF.
2013/05/23 (Thu) 19:15
>With this kind of self-esteem, I feel better if I sit in the sidelines.
I might not think high of myself, but I sure as hell aim to improve
2013/05/23 (Thu) 19:45
Yes. Yes, you very much do. Since English isn't your first language, I don't feel the need to tear into it nearly as viciously. Obviously you know there are a lot of issues with the technical side of the writing. Significant issues, to the point where I would suggest never posting a story update without proofreading. Beyond that, though, I'd need to see more of the story to tell you if the actual plot sucks or not.
2013/05/23 (Thu) 21:56
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>Since English isn't your first language, I don't feel the need to tear into it nearly as viciously.
You do us all a disservice.
2013/05/23 (Thu) 22:03
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>a lot of issues with the technical side of the writing
There's one thing that's a sure remedy for that.
You know what I mean.
No, really, don't make me post it.
Honestly, there isn't a way to get better with a language but to get acquainted with it. Intimately, too -- as intimately as you possibly may. A good start would be to
read god damn boo
er, find a proofreader that is also willing and accepting of a discussion on errors in addition to rectifying them. Through learning from one's mistakes is one of the more natural ways to systematisation of rules. You can find that, you've made the first very important step.
Which doesn't mean you shouldn't read motherfucking books all damn day. Seriously.
2013/05/23 (Thu) 22:12
Also, explain this nonsense:
>“I'm sorry Okuu.
>“Sorry, didn’t mean
STICK TO A SINGLE FORMAT, GOD DAMN IT!
DO YOU WANT TO DESTROY US ALL?
2013/05/24 (Fri) 00:02
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Okay, you can have this. I probably tripped up somewhere in there a time or five, but it’s 2AM. I won’t be held accountable.
>“I'm sorry Okuu. We can talk later, maybe this evening.”
Commas, god damn you. Commas before naming the addressed person, commas before “though,” “however,” “either” and so on. “I’m sorry, Okuu – I’m sorry for being such a huge comma-missing bundle of sticks!” “I’ve got an entire bag of commas upstairs, Anon, and all with your name on them.”
>[Sentence 1:] I already know
not going to recover everything the first day I'm awake, well, it’s the second day I guess, but that’s beside the point, so spending one night doing nothing but talking shouldn’t be a problem. [Sentence 2:] I'm not on a time limit either, not as far as I know at least.
WHERE DEM APOSTROPHES AT? WHY ARE YOUR SETENCES THE LENGTH OF MY DICK? WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY IN THE FIRST ONE?
Short sentences. You want them. You need them. Always.
The thing about short sentences is, paradoxically, they offer more meaning for your reader than a long-winded, complex one does; for the longer a sentence, the more difficult it becomes to comprehend, and the more it begins to resemble a sequence of disjointed, unrelated, relations of an event that would otherwise take a lesser amount of time than trudging through it reading it takes, or certainly writing it up; moreover, it will also confuse the reader greatly as the volume of information conveyed grows. See?
All the while short sentences offer quick bursts of concrete information that the human brain copes better with. What you want to do, generally, is to keep your sentences brief and concise. There is also another thing about short sentences to keep in mind. As you near the end of the paragraph, shorten them even more. It’ll shock the reader. See?
On THP, you will also want to break your paragraphs more. This is due to the board’s awful spacing. A break you might also use to strengthen the shock of a paragraph-ending statement. Allow me.
I knew already I wasn’t going to recover everything the first day I’m awake. Well, to be fair, it’s already the second day, but that’s not important now. Any way you cut it off, spending one night doing nothing but talking shouldn’t prove too much of a problem. I’m not on any sort of time limit, after all.
Not as far as I know, anyway.
>She just responds with an eager nod.
“Just” is a mostly informal word that you’ll want to avoid whenever you can. The same can be said of “like” and similar. On the other hand, using “just” in the meaning of “in that instance/at the same time” is generally more okay-ish.
Also on this note, one good way to hold your reader’s interest is to
. This is done in many ways: using non-standard syntax, avoiding clichés, giving stock phrasings a miss, and so on. This is a skill you’ll surely pick up with experience, as there is no sure way of learning it the textbook way.
Just, please, once you pick up an especially interesting new phrase/syntax, do not start slapping it all over the place. That usually makes it fairly patent you’ve just learnt it.
She gives me an anxious nod.
She inclines her head with a smile.
All she does is make an eager nod.
Okuu only bobs her chin at me eagerly.
>I turn around to leave, but I quickly turn back as a thought just hit me. “Before I leave,” I catch her attention which was quickly shifted back to the flames
ind if I ask you one last question for now?”
Avoid having to much fluff between two segments of the same sentence. Avoid “said bookisms” – don’t aim for a description of a complex action or fancy synonyms for something as simple as saying something. As a rule, “I said,” “said Okuu,” “she replied” is more than enough. Remember that your readers have their own imaginations. The less you say, the more they will be forced to use that to fill in the gaps – the more they will feel engaged in the story. A lot of the time it’s even better-advised to skip the “I said”s altogether.
Just as I spun around to leave, though, something occurred to me. “Actually,” I said, “mind if I ask one last question?”
As I was turning to leave, a thought flashed in my mind. “You know, before that,” I said, “would you mind one more question?”
Also, Once you begin a sentence, it does not end until a full stop/question mark/exclamation mark. “This is how it goes,” says YAF, “when you interrupt a sentence in a dialogue with an ‘X says.’ Notice the lower-case after the comma there? That’s the thing.” The only exception to this is when you say that someone has said, “Something like this, for instance. Or something else.”
>She shakes her head. “Not one bit.”
And now this is a good place to signal that Okuu had already occupied herself with something else.
catch her attention which was quickly shifted back to the flames
Okuu snaps away from the flames. “Ah? Oh. No. Not at all. Go on.”
Natural Okuu speech.
Again, you don’t
to mention Okuu’s attention had wandered to the flames. It’s enough to say that she reverts that attention from the flames and imply it’s to the narrator. Your readers, once again, aren’t brainless – they can, and should, make assumptions and inferences about the text.
>“When we arrived here, me and Satori that is, you knew right of the bat that it was Satori. How did you know?”
And now for some narrator flavour.
I scratched my cheek, mulling over my next words. “When we arrived here,” I murmured, “me and Satori, that is, you knew right off the bat that it was, in fact, Satori. How... How did you know that?”
>I sort of feel stupid from the way she looks at me, like the answer is as obvious as day. “Her scent,” she answers as she tabs her nose with a silly grin on. “I can recognize her scent from anywhere.”
Flavour, flavour, flavour.
The winged girl looks at me as though I was the silliest thing in the world. Then, suddenly, her lips curve up in a roguish grin. “Her scent. I’d know her scent from the other end of the underworld. Probably,” she adds with a little shrug.
>Her scent? Well that’s an excuse I can accept. Though, it does raise a new question. “Then wouldn’t you be able to recognize mine as well? Didn’t you ‘smell’ me approaching as well?”
I’ll take liberties with this one, but again, this is just flavour and everyone has his choice one. Also, you don’t need to mention explicitly that your narrator accepts the excuse – if they didn’t, they’d make a point of it. Since they don’t, it’s a fair assumption to assume your readers will assume your narrator assumed it unimportant. Aw shit, what the hell happened here?
This raises an interesting point. “Then shouldn’t you be able to recognise mine as well? I mean, you could smell me approaching as well, right? I do have a smell... right?”
>“Since Satori-sama has been carrying that thing around with your scent on it, it was a little hard to notice you.” Interesting. “The first time she came here after...” she hesitates
visibly, “after the incident, I thought it was you already.”
She hesitates visibly. She doesn’t, do it visibly. She does it visibly. I am trying to explain it to you clearly. I am not trying to explain it to you, clearly. A comma often changes the meaning of a phrase – especially in English. Keep your verbs closely connected to your adverbs. Do not keep them connected, closely, to their adverbs. Got what I’m saying?
To add to that, this is a good point to mention that it’s generally good if you can separate your character’s interior monologue from their narration. The simplest way would be to use italics, after firstly getting used your reader to the thought that italics signify such monologue.
Well, butter me up and call me Sally,
This might just be the smartest thing I’ve said in a long while.
“Master Satori has been carrying that thing around—that thing with your smell on it—so it was a little hard to notice you.”
How very curious.
“The first time she came here,” Okuu continues, “I mean, after the... the
She already had it on her. So I thought that was you.”
It’s unnecessary to state that someone hesitates if you use an ellipsis—which naturally signifies a pause—thus trimming down the amount of text – which is always good.
On this point, let me introduce you to three very important typographic symbols. The en dash, the em dash and the semicolon.
The semicolon is used to denote listing of elements, features, etc.
There are three words I’ve got to say about this video game: fuck, shit, and bitch.
The en dash is used to present an opposite point or a conclusion.
What happened there was unspeakable – a real horror. We should have called the police – but then, even they might have failed to stop it.
The em dash is something—a very useful something—that you use for interjections and interruptio—
WHOA WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT? JAPANESE HONORIFICS? ARE YOU WRITING IN ENGLISH OR JAPANESE? MAKE UP YOUR GOD DAMN MIND!
>“Sorry, didn’t mean to bring that up again. But thanks.”
“Sorry. Didn’t mean to bring that up again. But... thanks.”
Say your dialogue out loud and pay heed to how it sounds – naturally or otherwise.
>With nothing else to ask of her, I wave her off and start walking back up the slope, if you can even call this walking.
Okuu accepts the apology with a mute nod. When she turns to face the fires again, I let my shoulders limp.
I guess this is as far as we’ll go,
I decide. With nothing else to say, I mutter a quiet good-bye and start back up the slope. The hot underground wind furls about me as I put the first few metres behind me. The mansion’s empty windows look down at me from far above – dark, unblinking eyes, oblivious of my inner plights. It’s going to be a long walk back.
That is, if you can even call this a walk.
This is a good place the end the scene, too. And since we’re ending a scene, it’s good to soothe the reader after an important (?) exchange of information. This is why, longer sentences become useful here, where you need to lull the reader into a more lethargic state.
Then end the whole thing with a brief, sharp, sarcastic sentence for an even better effect.
Also, check your phrasal and prepositional verbs. “Wave off” means to refuse. Not to wave good-bye.
Now, from here, when you start the next scene after a breaker (three asterisks, dots, whatever you choose), you can start it
in medias res
, as the narrator ponders the conversation they just had while lying in their bed back at the mansion.
So Satori has held onto something of mine since the incident. Whatever it is, it might as well hold some kind of memory. Then again, I suppose if it had been of any real importance to me, she would’ve shown it to me already.
What a mess
, I grumble, tossing about on the bed.
The first of the troubles is I don’t give a care about the memories. They would be useful, sure – but elsewise, I can as well do without them. All I want are Satori’s legs, after all. Those slim, snow-white thighs that run from her waist all the way to her knees, only to become the loveliest calves you’ve ever seen. The tiny feet, the cute little ankles... And those toes – oh, the toes! What worth are forgotten memories beside those toes?
With some effort, I launch myself to my feet. This is no time for ruminating. Satori is in the mansion—or should be at the least—and I left Okuu by the furnace myself. Orin I haven’t seen since the previous evening. Nor any time today. If ever there was a time, it is now. I slip on my shoes and go for the door. I have to go.
Those toes will not suck themselves
Hmm? What’s that? Stalactites? What stalac—... Oh. Oh. Well, never mind everything I just said then.
2013/05/24 (Fri) 02:46
Couldn't sleep, huh?
2013/05/24 (Fri) 03:31
What does Satori's nightmarish tentacle hell have to do with this?
2013/05/24 (Fri) 04:28
That is actually pretty helpful.
2013/05/24 (Fri) 12:54
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we dont know
You could have stopped it. Just as you could have stopped me. And yet you didn't.
Why didn't you stop me?
2013/05/24 (Fri) 16:25
There went my lunch breaks.
No matter, that’s some pretty useful advice.
And a nice showcase of the gap between our levels, a gap Yukari won’t help
Its great advice I’ll try to keep in mind, I just got a few comment on it.
Blame the autocorrect of word processor. Word won’t let me set I’m as the autocorrect for im, but writes I'm every time.
I’ll look into fixing that when I'm done.
> I knew already I wasn’t going to recover everything the first day I’m awake. Well, to be fair, it’s already the second day, but that’s not important now. Any way you cut it off, spending one night doing nothing but talking shouldn’t prove too much of a problem. I’m not on any sort of time limit, after all.
I can’t see sentences being built like that when I write, but it sure as hell is smoother and more natural than what I wrote.
I wanted to ask further about
> break expectations
But then I saw
>This is a skill you’ll surely pick up with experience, as there is no sure way of learning it the textbook way.
But if you think you can explain it a little better; go ahead.
> Just as I spun around to leave, though, something occurred to me. “Actually,” I said, “mind if I ask one last question?”
> As I was turning to leave, a thought flashed in my mind. “You know, before that,” I said, “would you mind one more question?”
Won’t that break the ‘time’ in which everything else is written? I’m trying to write it, like it literally just happened. Writing like your example, would be jumping slightly in time, no?
It looks smoother, but it feels wrong to write.
> Natural Okuu speech.
Didn’t someone on an earlier board say something like: The personality you think the person has, is the personality you should go with.
You’re the experienced one, so do tell.
> And now for some narrator flavour.
A thing that comes with experience?
Btw. Your flavor doesn’t fit the char. But it was just an example after all.
Mine > she hesitates, visibly
Yours > She hesitates visibly. She doesn’t, do it visibly.
I attempted to make the “visible” part, a comment to the observation. Otherwise I wouldn’t have put that in at all.
> it’s generally good if you can separate your character’s interior monologue from their narration.
I don’t quite comprehend. Clarify please.
> There are three words I’ve got to say about this video game: fuck, shit, and bitch.
I asked my teacher for the detail today, and she explained that it’s to connect two sentences that can stand alone as it is. Would I be wrong about that?
> WHOA WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT? JAPANESE HONORIFICS? ARE YOU WRITING IN ENGLISH OR JAPANESE? MAKE UP YOUR GOD DAMN MIND!
Let me explain why. If you don’t care; skip to the next part.
Japan speaks Japanese.
Japan use honorifics.
Gensokyo is a pocket dimension taken from Japan.
Thus Gensokyo speaks Japanese.
The underground is connected to Gensokyo, and through the game SA it’s confirmed they speak Japanese as well.
That’s why I use the Japanese like that; it’s just “translated” into English for people to read. That and I just can’t imagine Okuu calling Satori anything but –sama.
> It’s going to be a long walk back.
>That is, if you can even call this a walk.
That’s a part you may have misunderstood. He’s questioning whether or not what he’s doing could be called walking. Not questioning whether he’s on a walk or not.
It’s not mentioned in the cut out, but he’s semi-heavily wounded.
>Also, check your phrasal and prepositional verbs. “Wave off” means to refuse. Not to wave good-bye.
Well it does here. But that’s a thing to keep in the back of my mind.
> when you start the next scene after a breaker (three asterisks, dots, whatever you choose)
If you’re talking about the … I put in, they were supposed to the short delay from shifting personality. Not a break
> in medias res
Excuse me. But what?
And about the last part
>Orin I haven’t seen since the previous evening. Nor any time today.
Did you actually find the thread and read it, because that’s pretty damn accurate for a pure guess.
>All I want are Satori’s legs
That’s so out of character it’s funny
2013/05/24 (Fri) 18:15
From the big picture, the use of Japanese honorifics in English writing has long been associated with weeaboos and the dreaded quality of fanfiction.net. Also, you aren't "translating" at all if you aren't turning that "sama" into English. The obvious problem is the lack of available translation beyond mister, doctor, professor, etc. So, it is better to drop them completely unless you feel like turning "Satori-sama" into "person-of-higher-esteem-Satori" every time you need to write it. Also, I'm sure that YAF has many more reason why you should or shouldn't do anything pertaining to writing.
2013/05/24 (Fri) 19:05
Would "Lady" Satori or "Miss" Satori work in place of "Sama"?
2013/05/24 (Fri) 19:28
'Master Satori' or 'Lady Satori' work just fine.
Also, it's fucking annoying that a Satori's name is Satori. It doesn't even start to... never mind, I'll save it for the rage thread.
2013/05/24 (Fri) 19:40
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>But if you think you can explain it a little better; go ahead.
What I meant by “breaking expectations” could be summarised as “breaking the mould.” Wait, that doesn’t make sense either? Hold on. Okay. I think I got it.
In essence, what breaking expectations means is to be one step ahead of your readers’ predictions and thwarting them. I do not mean plot-related mumbo-jumbo; what I mean is the language itself. This means: avoiding stock phrases, avoiding or breaking idioms, avoiding stock phrasings and comparisons. The point of this is, if you use such standard elements commonly found in everyday English, your readers’ brains will quite automatically fill the elements in before they even read them. This is why writers avoid stock comparisons like the
, because to the readers’ minds it’s like a red rag to a
. And pray tell me, what is the point of having a writer if the readers can accurately predict and come up with the story themselves?
On the other hand, a type of narrative which abjures standard phrasings will most certainly keep the reader on his toes. This amazing feat is achieved because the brain’s cognitive functions pertaining to language will freak out when its predictions do not fit with the actual reality of it. This will make the text exciting to read, since your reader simply
won’t know what to expect next
, and my, my, isn’t that a precious, precious thing. How utterly exciting, no?
The problem with this area of expertise is, you’ll need
with the English language itself to know what kind of follow-up your English-speaking readers will expect, and thus, what kind of phrasing to avoid. This applies also to clichés, which all of us are keenly aware of, and hence expect once we catch an upcoming air of them.
In other words, don’t let us write the story ourselves. Surprise us. Show us our most basic predictions are useless when reading your magnum opus. To do this, though, you will need firstly to know what we expect in the first place.
Hope this exhausts the topic.
> Won’t that break the ‘time’ in which everything else is written?
Yes, it’s past tense, and let me share with you a secret: that was a slip-up. So used am I to the past tense that my brain switches quite automatically to it whenever writing narrative is concerned. I meant it to stick to the present tense of your story. My apologies.
> Didn’t someone on an earlier board say something like: The personality you think the person has, is the personality you should go with.
Yes; I did not read your story, so I’ve no idea what kind of character your NUCLEAR WINGED HORROR is. The point of that was, Okuu was obviously taken unawares by the question (as evidenced by your mention of her attention having already wandered). Now, when someone surprises you with a sudden question, do you immediately go on to prompt calmly, “Go ahead?” No, I do not think so. You’ll at least release an inadvertent, “Huh? Oh. Okay,” or something similar. Try to put yourself in your characters’ shoes, imagine them in everyday situations and try to work out their customary reactions to common stimuli: being surprised, being flustered, being annoyed, and so forth. Speech quirks are a very simple, yet effective, method of making your characters more human – only you need to keep them consistent with the situations wherein they are exhibited.
I’d provide some examples here, but seeing as I don’t follow many of THP’s stories, and shouldn’t presume that you followed mine, that might prove slightly difficult.
> A thing that comes with experience? Btw. Your flavor doesn’t fit the char. But it was just an example after all.
Naturally. I didn’t take the time to acquaint myself with your particular narrator. And did you know something? It’s better this way – because you’ll have to come up with your own flavour text instead of making use of my ready-made examples.
And not an experience thing, either. It’s just to show that those little snippets of action do, in fact, make a difference. You know that interpersonal communication is in a major part non-verbal, yes? Well, the same applies to written text; being told something explicitly will have very little impact on your reader. A brief mention of a character’s action or gesture, however, will get their brains going trying to interpret it. And that’s precisely what you want. Show, don’t tell. Instead of saying someone is hesitating, say they pause and tug at a strand of their hair. Instead of saying someone looks very annoyed, have them grit their teeth and hiss a curse. It’s the little actions that make our impression on others. And the littler they are, and the more of them we observe, the more we will feel compelled to examine and figure them out. Which is precisely what you want your readers to do.
> I attempted to make the “visible” part, a comment to the observation.
A simple grammar issue. Someone does something visibly. No comma there. Although if the focus is on the manner and not the action, what you may do is either front the adverb (“Visibly, she was hesitating.”), or make the manner-observation entirely separate (“She hesitates. Visibly.”). The latter has the added merit of being a short, sharp, final statement, which we have discussed the advantages of already. Your reader’s mental process here will look something like this:
> “She hesitates.”
>OH SHIT SON
>> it’s generally good if you can separate your character’s interior monologue from their narration.
>I don’t quite comprehend. Clarify please.
Narration is description of actions. Interior monologue is the character’s own thoughts. It’s bad to mix them because it confuses the reader. Make it clear that this part is just your regular narration, while this is something the character expressly thought in their head. Italics are one method.
Unless, of course, your character actually pronounces all the narrative text in their mind as they go, in which case never you mind.
> Semicolon? Where?
Obviously, I meant a colon. The thingo you see in the example sentence. Two equally sized dots, one over another. My brain shorted out for a moment there.
> Thus Gensokyo speaks Japanese.
Then why isn’t your story in Nipspeak? And if it’s translated, why are the characters still addressing one another in Nipspeak? “Master Satori” is perfectly reasonable, seeing how she
their master. “Lady,” “Miss,” and so on are also perfectly acceptable. You write in English. Write in it.
> Excuse me. But what?
DO I HAVE TO GOOGLE EVERY DEFINITION MYSELF?
The beautiful thing about in medias res is you can also begin individual scenes using the same method, and it will have an impressive effect on your readers, who will see stuff happening right off the bat and think, “OH SHIT WUTS GOING ON?”
The entire “trick” of writing is to appeal to correct emotions. All words have their connotations. All of them invoke certain emotions. The same can be said of syntax and pacing. Imagine you wake up by being thrown into a pool. Suddenly you’re in the middle of the god damn thing, you don’t know what the everloving shit is going on, and you’ve got to think and move fast to get out of it. That’s what in medias res is. Throw your readers into the god damn pool. Let them drown. Who needs them, anyway?
>Did you actually find the thread and read it, because that’s pretty damn accurate for a pure guess.
>Also, I'm sure that YAF has many more reason why you should or shouldn't do anything pertaining to writing.
YOU SHOULDN’T WRITE BECAUSE VIDEO GAMES
TAKE MY WORD FOR IT
2013/05/24 (Fri) 20:51
Don't joke like that. Really, don't.
2013/05/24 (Fri) 20:56
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Well, that about answers my questions. Thank you for taking you’re tim-
>and shouldn’t presume that you followed mine
Dear Mr. Yandre Alice Fag
It has come to my attention that you aren’t aware of which anonymous you’ve been speaking to for the last few posts. Thus I’d like to request a fragment of your time to help clarify this matter and avoid further mistaken assumptions to be made.
I, my dear writer, am a big fan of yours. Your assumption was wrong as I stated earlier. I’m basing this statement of the fact that I’ve read nearly all of the stories released as nmVOHsTRd and foOlREAVlE. The exceptions being ‘This shatters reality’ and “Tenshi is in this story”. I’m nearly done with the former however; the latter being the next on my list of THP stories to read.
While I refuse to falsely claim that you, Mr. Fag, have inspired me to writing on THP; I will, however, claim that your work has kept me on the site for nearly half a year now.
I hope to have used your precious time well, on informing you of your mistaken assumption.
And I would like to use this attention to properly thank you. Not just for helping me, but for writing as well.
2013/05/24 (Fri) 21:06
Don't feed his ego too much or it'll threaten to explode in a gory mess.
2013/05/24 (Fri) 21:33
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2013/05/25 (Sat) 03:09
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Oh boy too much YAF praising is not good.
2013/05/25 (Sat) 07:46
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nigga you baka
to use semicolons, by The Lonely Island:
2013/05/25 (Sat) 11:04
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Come at me bro
2013/05/25 (Sat) 12:03
This has somehow become YAF's pimp my writer.
2013/05/25 (Sat) 13:15
Well to end that I got a question
How to simulate in a way the characters won’t notice before it’s too late
2013/05/25 (Sat) 15:03
Jesus Christ, guy. You ever heard of doing your own god damn research?
96 nanoseconds in Google.
2013/05/25 (Sat) 16:23
>characters won’t notice before it’s too late
Doesn't this mean that an earthquake happens out of the blue, narration-wise at least. Why would you need to write in precursors if nobody notices?
2013/05/25 (Sat) 18:29
Well, my question was aimed more towards "How I should write it in"
Just going "Suddenly the earth started to shake" aren't good
The way I imagine it is where it quickly fades in and get close to its peak before the character even knows what's going on.
The only other character around did notice and point out a precursor, though neither she nor the mc knows what it means
next time, just post a "let me google that for you" link
2013/05/31 (Fri) 22:58
How important is it that the story is a CYOA and not just a normal story here? I'm working on my first "serious" one and I'm not sure I could handle all the possible divergences that might occur when I'm just starting out. But then on the other hand if people can't contribute, they might be less interested in following from what I hear.
2013/05/31 (Fri) 23:35
Just make it clear and I think people won't mind.
2013/06/01 (Sat) 00:36
You probably won't get as many responses, though. People won't be a motivated to reply if all they can do is comment.
2013/06/01 (Sat) 01:15
Oh, it's not like anyone writes here for the attention anyway, right?
2013/06/01 (Sat) 01:44
I know that's why I started writing here. Ain't gonna lie to myself.
2013/06/01 (Sat) 05:01
depends on how good the story is as things like Palandesia or whoever you spell it hardly had choices but boy did it have comments.
Not everyone does, otherwise we'd see a bunch of shitty GH clones.
Not a promising sign, people in it only for attention don't last long.
2013/06/01 (Sat) 09:54
>Not everyone does, otherwise we'd see a bunch of shitty GH clones.
>implying GH is still the "in" thing to write nowadays
2013/06/01 (Sat) 16:45
You finished the job though, yes?
2013/06/01 (Sat) 16:53
You don't really have to repeat the end of your questions below with added ellipsis, do you?
... Do you?
2013/06/01 (Sat) 17:25
I don't know. It doesn't annoy you, does it?
2013/06/01 (Sat) 18:14
Found it while looking around. Thought I might post it here, since this
a writing advice thread after all
Unrelated to the current topic though.
2013/06/01 (Sat) 22:29
The best advice ever given.
2013/06/02 (Sun) 02:32
anything with waifuing is easy cheap popularity. I would have to give most attention seekers credit for not going such a route even if they're prone to making inferior clones of other old stories.
2013/06/18 (Tue) 01:47
moar story planning games
2013/06/24 (Mon) 10:18
I would like to ask if my writing is too "slow" in terms of story events. Would my fanfic seem to be progressing too slowly?
Here is the link:
Thank you. Suggestions on how to improve appreciated.
2013/06/26 (Wed) 19:51
First of should you consider yourself.
think it’s going to slow? Do
think it would be better to speed it up? How much should you speed it up?
After that, if you still are unsure, then ask your readers. They have been reading the story so far (or so I assume). They should be able to answer your question, probably even better than
I can. (Shouldn’t speak on behalf of others.)
Personally though, I think it’s going fine.
On a separate note. Consider putting your ‘authors notes’ after the choices or maybe even post them separately just after. That way, readers who don’t want to read it can easily identify it and ignore it.
2013/06/26 (Wed) 20:45
No this is:
2013/06/26 (Wed) 22:11
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I think you called.
2013/06/28 (Fri) 10:04
Take all these yourself?
2013/06/28 (Fri) 13:29
I wish I had a set of “Motherfucking Books” stickers in all shapes and formats to stick on the most inappropriate of places, but sadly I do not.
... Can one print stuff on sticker paper with regular ink printers?
2013/06/28 (Fri) 16:34
i think you can by special printer paper that works like stickers.
2013/06/29 (Sat) 05:12
Do what "professional" graffiti artists do. Get poster/gloss paper-the kind with a sheen that's used for cameras- print out your bull and get industrial glue to slap it on walls.
Bam, educating the 'muricas and easterly countries.
2013/07/01 (Mon) 18:05
I always have trouble getting motivated to write - which is kinda bad considering I'm already running a story.
It's not a matter of writer's block, or declining interest; I dream about it when I sleep, and I always know where I want to take the next step.
I's just - I can't seem to actually park my ass down and write. Any suggestions?
2013/07/01 (Mon) 21:35
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There's no magic trick. You just have to park your ass down and write, even if you don't feel like it. Getting started is always the hardest part; writing in no exception.
Part of it is probably the "new" wearing out, though.
Posting Flandre because there isn't enough not-little sister tier Flandre on the site.
2013/07/08 (Mon) 17:22
Something I've found to work very, very well is to "talk it out with yourself," by sitting down and
writing about all the reasons you can't write.
This also works for damn near any reason you can't write - plot problems, motivation, getting "into" the story, etc. Unlike your own mental circumlocutions, typing it out "pins" it on the page; makes it a known, static quantity, which makes it a lot easier to get a grip on.
Furthermore, as the guy above me said, the best solution is to just sit your ass down and
but you don't necessarily need to be writing the exact thing you're angling at. It's hard to write about X when your thoughts are occupied with Y (Y being 'oh god I can't write' or 'oh god I've been doing a lot of Y lately, I'm all into that instead of this.) In which case writing it out seems to expunge it from your system, and gets you thinking about your story again.
Its something deeper then your conscious thought at work. Like most writing tricks, it sounds corny as hell but works spectacularly well.
2013/07/08 (Mon) 17:40
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>how to write more unusual
Having just read your weaponsmith/Youmu thing on /shorts/ I can attest that you know what you're talking about, there. The very start of my own story was a bit like that; mainly because I was shooting straight from the hip and really, really working the second-person narration for all it was worth - completely dropping phrases like "you think" or "you remember;" since such phrases are naturally absent in our own day-to-day self-narrations. (The Game did a pretty good job of that.) I've slipped away from that for a while now, partially because I've reverted to more descriptive writing, as is my wont.
After reading that bit in /shorts/, I really want to get back to experimenting with more novel syntax. The great thing about that is, you can weigh the frequency as desired.
2013/07/09 (Tue) 00:19
does it work for "oh god work is running me into the ground and I don't feel like doing much?"
2013/07/09 (Tue) 17:14
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It greatly speeds up the brainstorming process, so, yes, it helps a lot. At the very least it lets you work out what you need to do, what your goals are, etc. so when you DO have time, you can spend it all writing your update instead of getting ready to write your update.
2013/07/11 (Thu) 00:36
Why are you encouraging him?
Actually. YAF. Do it. And post pics as proof.
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