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Just re-read the first half (or so) of "A Fanfic Writer's Guide To Writing"
Just re-read the first half (or so) of "A Fanfic Writer's Guide To Writing"
#1
Just re-read the first half (or so) of "A Fanfic Writer's Guide To Writing (or, How To Be In The Ten Percent)" since I saw it was linked from the new ATT page about verb tenses. And, as usual, I found myself making comments of varying degrees of usefulness.


Quote:I. GENERAL GUIDELINES
...
2. Acquire writers' references, and consult them as needed.

Expanding on the online tools:
When you search for a single word or short phrase on DuckDuckGo, you will almost always get a definition (usually from Wikipedia) highlighted on the first page of search results.


Quote:4. Get into the *habit* of writing.
...
And it can be heartbreaking to sit
there for hours and look at a blank sheet of paper or an
empty document file, and have *nothing* happen.

Looking at a blank piece of paper for hours doesn't help you write, so stop staring at it! There are techniques for getting past that blank piece of paper; here are two:
* Go look at some paintings in the local art gallery (or, in a pinch, go do some people-watching in a place where that's appropriate, such as a coffee shop, a mall, or a park). Ask yourself what the people you're looking at are thinking about, why they're there, what did they just do before you saw them, and what are they going to do after you leave? If you can come up with a set of answers for those questions for one person, no matter how poorly those answers match reality, then you've just come up with a character. Now go back to that blank piece of paper and tell that character's story - you've already started it by answering those questions.
* Look at something nearby, or on TV or in a video. Ask yourself "what if..." something was different about that thing. What would change in its world if it was different? The answer to that question often forms the core of a new story that you can write.


Quote:6. Proofread and preread.

Do it yourself, or recruit a friend.

*Definitely* recruit a friend. When you proofread, you'll read what you meant to write; somebody else will read what's actually been written.

(How many times has Labster caught me naming Sailor Venus "Minkao" instead of "Minako"? I've lost track.)

I know the last paragraph in that section already says that... but repeating the idea in different words might help drive the point home... and this one is important.


Quote:7. Pick prereaders carefully.
...
self-
nominated prereaders run the risk of being (or turning into)
"yes men" who always respond "it's great!" to any new
material. While good for the ego, this can make it hard for
an author to grow in his skills, or to evaluate his growth.

All The Tropes calls this syndrome "Protection from Editors" - while that page discusses successful, published writers, the consequences it discusses apply to all writers who don't get constructive criticism.


Quote:9. Don't be wedded to your text.

A.k.a. "Kill your darlings".


Quote:12. Know your source material.
...
But almost
everything is on DVD these days, and the subtitles are just a
button-press away on your remote.

Or on streaming services.


Quote:I swear I will hunt down and kill the next
person I find misspelling "Dolores Umbridge" as "Dolorous" or
"Delores".
Hey, I put "Dolorous Umbrage" into a character's speech on purpose! Smile


Quote:II. STUPID WRITER TRICKS
...
xx. Eggcorns and Mondegreens
...
* "For all intensive purposes"

As opposed to "all lethargic purposes," I assume.


Quote:xx. Overusing Favorite Words
...
((Which author always used "sandalwood" for Ukyou's eye color?
Dreiser, among others. Need to doublecheck. Gregg Sharp?

I found one hit in a very fast search:

"Huh?" Ukyou's sandalwood eyes turned to look at him with barely concealed hope.
-- "Nerima, When The Walls Fell", by Tenma


(And somebody go through my works, please. I'm reasonably sure I overuse certain synonyms for "said" when identifying who said what, but I'm not sure which words I overuse.)


Quote:xref "Bathos"
...
A "Love Hina" fic I have been reading at the time I write this
suffers greatly from this -- the narrative voice frequently (read
"excessively to the point of monotony") calls Kitsune "the foxy
lady",

"Fox" is a literal translation of her nickname. It doesn't tell us why she's foxy, though.


Quote:xx. Chapter Size

Despite what Dan Brown does in "The Da Vinci Code" and his other
works, ten paragraphs do *not* a chapter make.

It worked in "Who Censored Roger Rabbit?", but that book was purposefully evoking the feel of comic strips; each chapter was the equivalent of a four-panel strip.


Quote:xx. The Eternal Now
...
((case in point: the cell phone era makes it almost impossible
to put characters in serious jeopardy -- unless the author goes
through hoops to take their cell phones away or strand them far
away from a cell tower.

Or, as is becoming more frequent, make the jeopardy something that cannot be resolved by calling for help. (For example, calling Emergency Services when somebody will die before an ambulance can arrive doesn't resolve the situation.)


Quote:xx. The "Burly Detective" Syndrome
...
Using "the red-haired
> girl" when it should be obvious to the reader that the person speaking is
> girl-type Ranma is so very annoying.

In-universe, well-known idiot Kuno consistently calls girl-type Ranma "pigtailed goddess". Do you want people to think you're as smart as Kuno?


Quote:xx. Special Advice for "Ranma" fiction:
...

* And while we're on the topic: Despite nearly a generation of
fanon, Nerima is *not* a haven of weirdness, known throughout
Tokyo as an open-air lunatic asylum, a mere visit to which is
tantamount to a legal declaration of suicidal intent. Nerima
is in fact a very sedate middle-class area, which Takahashi
(and other mangaka) use as a *contrasting* background for all
the bizarre happenings in their stories.

Wikipedia points out that approximately one-fifth of the population is over 60, and the city has its own English-language newsletter (the Nerima News Azalea). There's also an Japanese Army Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Base in Nerima.

As for using Nerima as a contrasting background, an equivalent would be having somebody who didn't care at all about fashion spend all her time in Shibuya.


Quote:III. CRAFTING FICTION
And that's where I left off.
--
Rob Kelk

"Governments have no right to question the loyalty of those who oppose them. Adversaries remain citizens of the same state, common subjects of the same sovereign, servants of the same law."
- Michael Ignatieff, addressing Stanford University in 2012


"Don't let anyone think for you; most people can barely think for themselves."
-
Rare Earth, ending credits
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RE: Just re-read the first half (or so) of "A Fanfic Writer's Guide To Writing"
#2
Thanks, Rob. Next time I do a round of updates on the guide I'll incorporate these!
-- Bob

I have been Roland, Beowulf, Achilles, Gilgamesh, Clark Kent, Mary Sue, DJ Croft, Skysaber.  I have been 
called a hundred names and will be called a thousand more before the sun grows dim and cold....

Reply
RE: Just re-read the first half (or so) of "A Fanfic Writer's Guide To Writing"
#3
Regarding calling the emergency services; many of the people who answer those calls are either certified in first aid, training for that certification, or otherwise trained and prepared to talk you through providing first aid. They also will point the appropriate emergency service your way with all possible speed. And that may be just enough to make the victim survive, or not enough with the victim dying anyway despite best efforts.
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RE: Just re-read the first half (or so) of "A Fanfic Writer's Guide To Writing"
#4
Even so, I see it mainly as a problem of degree - there's a saying I've seen in a few different contexts, most recently in a Potter fic but it applies just as much to cell phones and even more with only mundane travel resources - "When seconds count, the Aurors are minutes away." Having a protagonist, say, dial 911 on a cell phone, mutter the rough physical address and situation when it's picked up, then toss the phone into an out of the way corner and pull off their shirt (not popping the buttons, though, that gets expensive, time consuming, or both fast) to become Captain Super and get their action hero on will probably still see the fight over or turned into a chase before any official presence ever arrives., and if the situation hasn't been resolved by then it probably means they'll need backup, medical assistance, or at least crowd control anyway.
--
‎noli esse culus
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RE: Just re-read the first half (or so) of "A Fanfic Writer's Guide To Writing"
#5
Okay, I just went and looked at a sample of "sandalwood" as a color.

Dude... for eyes, that's "hazel". I see it in the mirror every morning.
--
Rob Kelk

"Governments have no right to question the loyalty of those who oppose them. Adversaries remain citizens of the same state, common subjects of the same sovereign, servants of the same law."
- Michael Ignatieff, addressing Stanford University in 2012


"Don't let anyone think for you; most people can barely think for themselves."
-
Rare Earth, ending credits
Reply
RE: Just re-read the first half (or so) of "A Fanfic Writer's Guide To Writing"
#6
I will note for the record that depending on where the POV character is from, it's possible that said character is better acquainted with sandalwood than with hazel. They're both trees. I'd expect that someone who thinks someone's eyes are colored like a type of wood would compare it to a familiar type of wood.

Then again I'm a big fan of localizing the POV correctly. I've ranted before about American characters speaking British and vice-versa.
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RE: Just re-read the first half (or so) of "A Fanfic Writer's Guide To Writing"
#7
I will note for the record, that depending on where the POV character is from, they might be better acquainted with sandalwood than hazel. If you're going to compare someone's eye color to a type of wood, wouldn't you pick one you're familiar with? You're just used to European/American conventions.

I'm a big fan of localizing POVs, but then you've seen me rant about Americans speaking British and Brits speaking American before.
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RE: Just re-read the first half (or so) of "A Fanfic Writer's Guide To Writing"
#8
Could someone with the appropriate privileges check the board's parellel dimension filter module? It seems to be on the fritz again.
--
‎noli esse culus
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