Author Topic: Writing Tips  (Read 23886 times)

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Merlandese

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Re: Writing Tips
« Reply #45 on: July 22, 2012, 09:20:05 PM »
The problem I'm having right now is I'm not sure if my characters are too flat, or I'm just too hard in myself. It seems to me that a lot of my characters have one event in their life that really defined them, and then every part of their character stems from that, but that's just not realistic!

I personally think that's fine if you make the events of the book count as another defining event--or maybe have an event that changes the people involved. As long as they're adapting or changing, I think it's fine. But if they stay defined by that one event, I might suggest fleshing out their past a little more.

Then again, I can't know without reading it. :)

Vasha

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Re: Writing Tips
« Reply #46 on: July 22, 2012, 09:37:12 PM »
Part of me wants to rewrite the book anyways, cuz I (and some other people) love the characters, but the story was honestly a piece of crap :P

Merlandese

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Re: Writing Tips
« Reply #47 on: August 13, 2012, 03:44:07 PM »
Recently I've been reading/hearing a lot about good character development, and I thought I'd share these three steps I keep hearing over and over for those who want something to think about.

When making a character:

01. What do they want?
02. Why can't they get it?
03. Why do we care?

I think step 02 is the most interesting. The expected question is "How do they get it?" but this setup asks why they can't. There's a lot to that because the question in itself implies hardship or an adventure. If you have this question, your character already has a goal and a problem to overcome, and that's immediately interesting. The question "How do they get it" is then something you can infer automatically, and what inherently pushes the story forward.

Think about Johnny in To the Moon. He easily fills the first two questions, like, at the beginning of the game! We know he wants to go to the moon (01.) and that he can't because he's dying (02.). Brilliance.

River: What does she want? We learn that she wants to communicate with Johnny about their past (and in general), and that she can't because both of them have issues (her condition and his beta blockers). Both of her character questions are answered, but this time later in the game.

So we have two strong, leading characters who answer these important development questions, except one we learn early to get us hooked, and the other we learn later. This means we're constantly learning, almost scene after scene, about what makes these characters valuable as characters. We never get a chance to stop caring. And that's how it should be.

BRILLIANCE!

Look at Call of Warfare: Modern Duty for an example. These games are easy to pick apart because they don't have a character focus--on purpose. They show when a character doesn't work as a memorable character. The person you play as has no emphasis on the first two questions. You beat enemies, and you get to victory, but those are your goals, not theirs. That, of course, is the point of those games; they want you to be the hero. But the way for you to step into those shoes is to get rid of the questions above. When you add the character development--that is, when you give a character a want and an obstacle--you make them less an avatar and more a believable, interesting entity.

Question three is the trickiest. I have some thoughts on this, but it's really hard to pinpoint. It's even more multifaceted than question 02.

Ferdk

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Re: Writing Tips
« Reply #48 on: August 13, 2012, 05:38:46 PM »
That is indeed very helpful and makes me love TtM all the more :D

If you have more "summed up" tips like these, please share ^_^ or even a link to a long-winded explanation, anything can be useful :D
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Tumbles

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Re: Writing Tips
« Reply #49 on: August 13, 2012, 08:37:50 PM »
Yeah, that was a good read. :seraismile: Makes me think about all the characters I've probably screwed up before. :vikonsmile:

I think I've learned more in this thread than my writing unit at uni.

Spoiler: show


                                         

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Ferdk

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Re: Writing Tips
« Reply #50 on: August 14, 2012, 11:35:48 AM »
Yeah while it was an awesome read for future writing endeavours it was also a bit heartbreaking checking back the story I was trying to write. Its like watching a trainwreck XD none of my characters have anything remotely as useful as what Merlan described there -.- guess its time for a rewrite xD
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Merlandese

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Re: Writing Tips
« Reply #51 on: August 14, 2012, 06:29:06 PM »
I was going to make my example use Johnny as the early development, River as the middle development, and Watts as the later development, but it was too wordy and I didn't want to spoonfeed you all my opinion using a game we've already played. I figured you'd get the point after two examples. :p

I've been applying it to characters I like and dislike and seeing if the concept holds water, and it seems to. Enjoyable characters more often than not fit the requirements of that seemingly simple three step idea.

Not that I'm any authority on the subject. :) I really wish I would have applied it more heavily in Fleuret Blanc, but I was so focused on the underlying theme that the character of Florentine herself didn't answers those questions well on the surface. I mean, she did, but it's a little obstructed by the mystery, so it's something to watch out for in the future.

Glad you guys like the thread. Feel free to add your own information to the pool. :)

Gogobrasil8

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Re: Writing Tips
« Reply #52 on: January 22, 2013, 07:22:46 PM »
I will save that post on my "utility" folder :plat:
Lunair >> all

To the Moon - Finished
Do you remember my lullaby? - Finished
The Mirror Lied - Finished
Quintessence - Finished (Sorta, of course.)
A Bird`s Story - Finished

:plat:<- I love This Smiley

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Stardale

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Re: Writing Tips
« Reply #53 on: January 30, 2013, 06:49:00 AM »
I just want to settle this, since I heard some clever things today.

Make sure that your spelling is always consistent with the English variety. For example, if your spelling of behavior is "behaviour," then that word should be spelled like that throughout. In the same manner, if you use British English words in one sentence, you might as well use words that are commonly used in British English. It's actually confusing to read to varieties in one passage.

Also, the details are so important instead of simply saying "he said" or "says the Big Fat Neil." Details give life to a piece of writing.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2013, 06:54:44 AM by Stardale »

Tumbles

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Re: Writing Tips
« Reply #54 on: January 30, 2013, 07:26:37 AM »
Also, the details are so important instead of simply saying "he said" or "says the Big Fat Neil." Details give life to a piece of writing.


Spoiler: show

Spoiler: show


                                         

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HipsterPie

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Re: Writing Tips
« Reply #55 on: January 31, 2013, 06:46:17 PM »
Every time I notice my text is too short, I try to make sentences longer by describing the environment. That really helps. E.g. you could describe a look on someone's face, the clouds, how the weather is outside, what a person is thinking, how the ground feels, how a person is feeling at that moment. An not just 'sad, happy, angry' but in detail.
Always works for me.
Well, gorsh.

Tumbles

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Re: Writing Tips
« Reply #56 on: March 07, 2013, 07:48:04 PM »
Pixar's 22 Rules of Storytelling. I thought this was a truly interesting little read. :vikonsmile:

http://aerogrammestudio.com/2013/03/07/pixars-22-rules-of-storytelling/

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Vasha

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Re: Writing Tips
« Reply #57 on: March 26, 2013, 08:32:00 PM »
I'd just like to point out that details CAN add life to a story, but it also can really kill it if there's too much (I'm looking at you, Tolkien.)

Also, how do you describe something in a story if the first-person narrator is familiar with his surroundings? -always has this problem-

Merlandese

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Re: Writing Tips
« Reply #58 on: March 26, 2013, 11:16:43 PM »
I don't think there's a huge issue. First person is THE storytelling perspective. If you know the environment, you'd still convey the details of it to me in first person.

HipsterPie

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Re: Writing Tips
« Reply #59 on: March 27, 2013, 05:41:17 PM »
I'd just like to point out that details CAN add life to a story, but it also can really kill it if there's too much (I'm looking at you, Tolkien.)

Also, how do you describe something in a story if the first-person narrator is familiar with his surroundings? -always has this problem-
I always try to make up some surroundings that I'm familiar with myself, like streets and the city, or villages in the mountains I've seen, maybe places you've visited multiple times on vacation. And then bend it into your story and make up some little details.
Well, gorsh.