Make-up is to writing

My sister and me with make-up on

Me without make-up on

*For those who are boys and reading this post, don’t skip it. I’m sure there are boys out there who are into make-up, and even if you’re not one of them, just imagine this as advice you’d tell your girlfriends when they don’t understand your writing obsession.

So, this morning I woke up in a dream-like state. I kept thinking my sister was lying next to me, talking to me about how there was a smudge under my eyes. I nodded, thinking how understandable that was because I went to sleep with my make-up on (which is something you shouldn’t do, but because I rarely wear make-up, I totally forgot I was wearing it and didn’t take it off). But whatever. I only wore a little bit of make up. Easily fixable.

And that was where my writing brain thinking-ness started.

Make-up is like writing. (You’re liking these analogies aren’t you? I know I am.)

How?

By the saying both make-up users and writers know: less is more.

Make up is only supposed to highlight what’s already there. To make a clear face that’s already pretty, even more beautiful. Use too much, and well, it’s not so pretty. It’s fake looking. And sometimes, if you don’t know your face well enough, you might end up higlighting the wrong features.

In the same way, that’s what people do when writing. Showing vs Telling. Not “showing” enough makes the story dull and plain (like a face with too light of a make-up). “Showing” too much and it’s like an overload and the readers wouldn’t know what to focus on (like someone wearing too many color eyeshadows and bright red lipstick with pink blush caked on someone’s cheeks). What you’d need to do is know when to balance the act of “showing” AND “telling.”

To do this, you’d need to know your story well enough. What do you need to stress? That the man is nervous because he’s being narrowed down as a suspected murderer? Or the cate in the corner of the room licking himself? I’m sure the man being nervous is more important in the scene so that’s something you’d want to “show.” As for the cat? If you really need the cat in that scene, just telling the readers he’s there would be enough. Don’t color him in or else you’ll leave the readers wondering if there’s some sort of connection/importance between the man and the cat.

If you’re able to do this, you’ll have a prettier and cleaner manuscript, with a good balance between showing and telling.

Truth and Dare

Truth: Although trying to tell the readers as much as you can about the story and its characters may seem to fasten the pace as you write the novel, it actually drags down the story.

A couple of days ago, my family and I went to Six Flags: Discovery Kingdom instead of the camping trip we have been planning for forever. It was really fun. I haven’t been there since the eighth grade field trip. I ate funnel cake, went on pretty much ALL the thriller rides…I even found the raft ride (which is so freakin’ hard to find. I had to ask five workers with the map in hand just to find the ride). From 10 in the morning until 9 at night, it was non-stop riding and eating.

It wasn’t so much fun for my mom. Unlike the rest of us – we slowly built up the “levels” of the rides – my mom’s first ride was on V2, a ride that goes upside down the majority of the time. It was too much for the first ride and she ended up sick. She even left the park soon after because of it.

This is something some writers do to the readers. Instead of building up the intensity of the conflict/story/characters/ect, the writer goes straight to the action (which may or may not work), info dump, or have a story with so much impact in the beginning, the more the reader reads, s/he ends up disappointed because nothing could compare with the beginning. When the writer does this, like my mom, the reader will get sick of reading the rest and would go home (or in this case, put the book down).

And that’s something we writers do not want to do.

So…

Truth: Too much, too fast = makes the reader sick

Dare: Although it may seem TOO slow to you as you write, slowly build up the characters and conflict. Read the story out loud to see if it flows. Have someone read it and ask your CP if the pacing seems off.

The different types of story reviews

I’m sure I mentioned this somewhere, sometime, but in case I didn’t or you don’t remember, I’m a writer and reader of wattpad and fictionpress. And one thing I always wonderered about as a newbie on there was “how do i get reviews/feedback?” I post stories because I need the feedback and constructive crits. The people on FP and WP? They are my crit group. My beta readers. I dont have editors where I am, cuz none of the people around me outside the internet is into writing.

But, I didn’t want just any ol’ type of reviews. I want ones that matter. So for those who wonder the same thing, check what Dice says.

post by Sage Dice Darwin

Now, about getting reviews and networking and such, the best thing you can do is give yourself a funny name. Like ‘Close Your Mouth You Spork’ for example. But if you can’t bring yourself to do that, the machine gun review strategy still works. Fire off as many well-rounded reviews as you possibly can, ask them to review you back. Enough decent people will get around to it. Just watch out for a few different types of writers.

First one to look out for is Selfish Writer. This kind of writer here is only out for themselves. Selfish Writers wants you to give them bags and bags of reviews. But, they don’t really care about you or your story. The only way they’ll review you back is if it’s in their best interest. If you stop reviewing their story, after a long while they’ll start to notice and miss you. Then they’ll try to get you back into their fold by reaching out to you and tossing you a useless review or two. Almost always less reviews than what you gave them. And at the end of this bone, they’ll subtly try to convince you to continue reviewing their story. If you do, they’ll take you for granted again and stop reviewing your stuff, untill you stop again. A pathetic cycle, right?

Next is Golden ** Writers (not reviewers). This kind of writer thinks their urine is worth more than your writing. They’ll post their “masterpieces” here and just expect you and everyone else to review because there storie iz soo awwsume!!k1!!. As if you owe it to them as a payment for being allowed to experience their timeless works of (crap) art. If you think a writer is a GPW, stay far away. Because they’ll never review you back. Their returning your review would mean admitting that exchanging reviews with you is fair trade, which implies that their legendary tales do not soar majestically above pedestrian works here. And that really, their stuff is on the same limbo-low level as the works of one of the common fictionpress peons (you). Trust me, they’ll never do it. Huge Ego waffles taste good and go down easy. However, Huge Ego personalities taste like trash and are impossible to swallow. Avoid the GPWs.

Then there’s Don’t-Like-Reading Writer/Reviewers. Since you have to read to learn to write, they tend to suck. And not know it. When you review them and ask for a return review, they’ll do things like giving you their standard review. You know, the one with no mention of anything specific about your story. Why do they give those? Simple. Because they didn’t read your story past the seventh syllable. That’s why. These rats have the attention span of a block of fuzzy green cheese. Only use these if you’re looking to pad your stats, to catch the eye of the higher quality reviewers. Understand, though, that they’re not evil. Just not the ideal reader. Manage your expectations, use them for what they’re worth, and you’ll be fine.

Then there’s the Holeass Writer/Reviewers. They are just losers with nothing better to do than to hurt the feelings of other writers, but being overly critical to the point of being a Holeass. They’ll do something like go on a long rant about how you misplaced a period and how the period — and the entire English language — have been disrespected by you and your “horrible” writing.

The quicker you can spot one of those kinds of writers and dodge them when firing off your reviews, the less headache you’ll have. And if you come across them, you’ll know what to expect. See their ** coming. And it’ll turn into your favorite comedy.

And once you can spot the people who can’t/won’t help you, that’ll make it easier for you to target the people who are worth reaching out to and connecting with.

If you want to read any of Sage Dice Darwin’s work (which I suggest you do- he’s a funny guy and has an amazing writing voice) you can go here. Thanks!

Diss the haters

Everyone hates bullies. Haters. They suck. Two faced dweebs? Even worst.

Luckily, I’m pretty toughed skin. I’m not very fast to react to comments (which makes me look really stupid when I’m being dissed in person cuz there will be a long pause in the middle before my comeback), but that’s a good thing. Especially against haters.

Why?

Well, you probably hear this a lot on writing blogs, but it’s a good thing to follow: you’re not always going to hear flattering things, so taking your time to respond to critism or, you know, flamers on your writing is a good thing. Now, I’m not saying that everyone who reads your stories/comments are just saying mean things to be mean. Or because they hate you. Or because they can. Sometimes you’ll get a response that hurts a lot and you’ll feel like commenting right back saying that he’s an idiot who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. But, taking a few days to reread and think it through will help you realize they aren’t actually flamers at all. They actually gave good advice, whether you agree with it or not. And you should thank them.

But, there are haters out there. Flamers at their worst. To tell you the truth, I got flammed a couple of times on my first draft of a story I wrote. The flame comments were stupid, made me laugh, and I was kinda giggly cuz I didn’t think someone would ever flame me in the first place (I had this weird idea that only really good writers get those, so I felt slightly honored). But after a while they got annoying. And it hurt a bit.

[EDIT: So my sister was reading over my shoulder just now, and she laughed at the word “flames” and “flamer.” Since I’m so used to those words by now, it made me realized not everyone knows what it means. It simply means people who talk bad about you, the author, instead of saying constructive crits about your story. They attack you with no real reason at all.]

So here’s what I’m saying: diss the haters- secretly. Complain about it with your friends. Feel slightly honored that someone took the time to give you something to laugh about later. Don’t let it bring you down, and reply back with a simple “Thank you for your time” or dont reply at all.

Because really, you’re better than them.

Names…names…names!

 Hey, Choppy here. I came early from school and thought I’ll share with all of you about some of the stuff on my fictionpress forum: “What about the manga section?” Contrary to the title, we actually don’t talk about mangas all that much. In fact, it’s infested with tons of writing advice (with randomness as well, but those are fun to read too).

The best way to know you’ve come across useful info on the forum? When the posts are long. It’s not hard to miss. You’ll have to go through tons of the pages to find them though, so I thought it would be nice to compile it on here.

So, let’s get started, shall we?

DO WE ACT AS OUR NAME? OR DO WE FILL THE NAME’S REP OURSELVES?

Everyone has trouble figuring out their character’s name. I know, for me, I go though babynames.com all the time. Names always seem to be the thing- you want a name that fits. That will be remembered.

TheArchimage wrote this about it and I thought it would be really useful:

“When naming characters, I typically raid a book of baby names for ideas, especially ones that include meanings and origin. I try to have the meaning of the name at least vaguely relate to the character. I have a few other rules about names, as well, some of which are listed below:Minor characters will have names from the same origin, while major and main characters will have name origins different from the norm to help them stand out. If I have a scene involving Ronald, Frank, Bill, and Mikhail, it’s immediately clear who is the most important character in the room even if it’s the very first chapter. This can also help develop the characters of the main movers and shakers of the story. This is of limited use in manga stories taking place in Japan; their homogeneous culture means basically everyone will have a Japanese name.

The first name is exactly one syllable shorter or longer than the last name. These names sound the most natural to the human ear and flow more easily than names where the number of syllables is the same or the difference is greater than one.

Any main character with a name longer than two syllables should have a nickname two syllables or shorter. Any name longer than two syllables is too difficult for other characters to shout out in the heat of the moment (such as when the character is put into mortal peril or has done something that really ticks someone off).

Unless you have enough characters that it can’t be avoided, no two characters of the same “tier” (main-major-minor) should have names that start with the same letter, and above all no two names should be nearly identical. Anna and Annie are too similar for a reader to easily distinguish between them, but even Aaron and Addison can cause confusion over several hundred pages.”

 

 Okay, so hopefully that helps some of you guys! I’ll try posting other advice people came up with on the forum and bringing it over here when I have time (going through all those forum pages take a while.) If for some reason you can’t wait and would like to find the advice and follow the conversation on the forum, the link is below.

http://forum.fictionpress.com/topic/4689/1728166/1/

authors versus teachers

 

  Before I get to my whole sha-bang, let me tell you guys something exciting:

I’m in my senior year of high school. Graduating in less than a month. And not only that, but I’ll be graduating as a 17 year old. (Forget about the fact that my birthday is the day after graduation- I’ll still be 17 when I walk the stage which just makes me feel so smart.)

Ahem. So, with that out of the way…being an almost-adult here and have been writing since the second grade, I thought I’ll share a ramble on writing. Like…the picture above.

Within my twelve years of school, you know how many times I’ve been asked that type of question/ been told to me by an English teacher? A Gazillion of times. I bet you have too.

And frankly, as a writer, I’m pretty sure, most of the time, the reasoning behind the blue curtains, isn’t what the teacher is saying. Because heck, in my writing, I tend to pick colors I like and that seem to fit the mood of the story. But I don’t get that in depth. Maybe sometimes- because as a writer, when I make something symbolic like that work with the storyline, I feel pretty darn impressed. But really? Nah.

Yeah, I’m digressing here, but I figured before I totally lose you, here’s my little fun writing question for you all:

Do you believe/tend to write like “the teacher” or “the author” more? Why? As a writer yourself, do you also get annoyed/amused/frustrated when teachers go in depth about something that seems like the picture above?

Microsoft Word Shortcuts + Anti-Procastination tricks = Happy Writers

picture fromhttp://1.bp.blogspot.com/-vM_w-IaNZEQ/TaRd-7Sb89I/AAAAAAAAARk/K_CZZIV5dCQ/s1600/Hungry-LazyDilemma.png

Don’t let the above picture be you when it comes to your writing!

 

I realized something: I’m actually not that lazy.

Okay, okay. I know…shocking. But I think that’s going to change soon. Why?

Because when I’m typing my MS (aka “Manuscript”- darn, should have put this in the vocab post I wrote), I was doing everything from actually spelling out the full character’s name or whatever, and boy was it a pain to do. It wasn’t until I found this niffy blog that I found out that I was actually doing it the hard way.

Microsoft shortcuts? Seriously? Bring it on.

Because The Intern did a good job explaining it as is, I’ll just give you guys the link. (Sorry, I don’t know how to do that clicky thing that would just pop the link up…but still, check it out.)

http://internspills.blogspot.com/2011/04/7-mindblowing-microsoft-word-tricks.html

Also, to go along with what Vicky had said about procrastination, I also came across another niffy blog post that just might help you keep your butt on the chair and your fingers flying across the keyboard! (As you could tell, I’ve been procrastinating with reading blog posts. Haha.)

http://rapidprogressive.wordpress.com/2011/04/25/lets-talk-about-it-later/

Let me know if any of this is helpful and if one of those procrastination tricks actually work for you. And if you’re still having trouble going through your writing hurdle, feel free to hit me up on wattpad, fictionpress, or email me! I may or may not be of much help, but just releasing some built up stress just might do the trick.

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