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Tricks of the trade: things to consider when writing

User Thread
 33yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Cynic-Al is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Tricks of the trade: things to consider when writing
Okay this thread is spawned from a discussion between chained wings and myself over the speech aspect of his story about vampires. We were discussing how a big problem in lots of fiction is a tendency towards unrealistic dialogue and wondering why it seems to be such a problem to many authors.

Some of the points we covered included characters whose speech patterns are intentionally different to those of others, for example the vampire maximillian in CW's story has (as he described it) an anachronistic mode of speech, however I find very little problem with this, of course he will sound strange, that is intentional and is accepted by the reader. There is however a problem if he starts talking in a way that is not fitting to his personality, minor slips when the author forgets how he was writing the character. It's also important to pick the time/area you are coming form and make sure you look at some examples of how a person from that era/area would have spoken and make sure you keep to similar patterns.

With modern characters, the problem is often that we write their speech as it comes out of our heads, and we tend to think in bullet points in plain english, it requires conscious effort to go back over what we have written and make sure that the character uses enough colloquialisms and slang etc to make the sound realistic. Otherwise our descriptive writing and dialogue sounds similar which the never do in reality.

I'll come back to this, I'm sposed to be somewhere else.

ps. everyone else please feel free to join in.

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"So Schrodinger's Cat is not only neither dead nor alive, but might also be sexually aroused by elbows and peanut butter?"
[  Edited by Cynic-Al at   ]
 66yrs • F •
A CTL of 1 means that Chiron is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
I think good writing is rather like good painting (which I know a bit more about, LOL) in that it is not enough to just have a good subject to paint, or a good story to write about. It's all about the art of taking readers minds on an interesting journey. The rules being you are not allowed to be boring, ever!

And seeing as it is quite possible to have a good story line and then kill it by using bad/weak story telling techniques, or dialogue; its not easy.

Our painting critiques (when I was at uni) would say 'if it doesn't hold the eye for 3 mins straight off, then its not worth looking at'. I tend to hold the same principle about writing: 'if it cant hold my interest in the first chapter/installment, then its not going to be worth reading'.

Harsh I know, but perhaps a reality in these times when there is such a plethora of written material both on the web and published. So the craft of writing is key I think especially as there are loads and loads of good stories to tell, and its left wide open to see whose going to be able to do them justice.

I found this link which has some fairly interesting (free to try)software I think, that guides writers as far as structure and technique. Its free stuff to play around with (but conditionally so, so read carefully). But it does provide some sort of a useful grid work. See what you think...
http://dramatica.stores.yahoo.net/freesoftware.html

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 48yrs • F •
A CTL of 1 means that Sorceress is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
I agree that a story has to draw the reader in straight off the mark. It has to make you feel that you are there or at the very least you can have some sort of visual image in your head.

My trouble with writing is that I will start off really well and because I haven't made a proper plan or have any idea where the story is going, it tends to trail of terribly. The story I have just started writing(remembering the moon), unfortunately is a bit like that. The reason being it is an idea that came from a dream, something I do a lot, of course dreams are often very abstract and jump about and can be very disjointed and that's a mistake I keep making!

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""Each child holds the world in an open hand to mould it into any shape they choose.""
 66yrs • F •
A CTL of 1 means that Chiron is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
..Then Sorceress, you are an ideal candidate for the story writing software I was referring to. I have never used it, or actually written anything myself. But the software seemed to offer the necessary structure for creative thinkers like yourself.

That way you get all those (boring but perhaps necessary) prompts in order to guide you on towards a structural whole, and give you the necessary focus to push on with your idea.

I only glanced at the software (there are many different options available to choose from), but I'd recommend starting with one of the freebees first to see how it works as a concept.

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 33yrs • M
A CTL of 1 means that ChrisD is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
When I read a good fiction book, a lot of times I like that it's not completely like reality. I can have boring conversations filled with slang and bad grammar in real life anytime I want. But when I'm reading I can kind of have conversations with people who are witty on cue, intelligent, courageous and loveable. There are probably very few people in the world who actually possess all of these qualities to such a degree as in the book, so it's nice to be able to talk to them at least in my head.

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"The truth will set you on fire"
 66yrs • F •
A CTL of 1 means that Chiron is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.

quote:
But when I'm reading I can kind of have conversations with people who are witty on cue, intelligent, courageous and loveable. There are probably very few people in the world who actually possess all of these qualities to such a degree as in the book, so it's nice to be able to talk to them at least in my head.


..and you should perhaps remember that if you can have these conversations in your head in the first place, that those same qualities which you love are actually inside you..trying to find expression and manifest in the material world.

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 44yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that wizardslogic is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Does anyone recall Frost's idea of the "Sound of Sense?" It was more than just than poetic rhythm expressing the rhythm of human thought, I think. I've notice that in the works of really great fiction writers, the use of imagery, colors, sensations, symbolism (of the subtle kind), are often used to "paint' a picture of a particular human experience, a psychology, expressed in the imagery of the external enviornment. Isn't it true that the external world will always be "colored" by thought and emotion, by the psychology of each and every one of us, turning a simple, empty park bench into a qaint picture of a common human pastime for one person, or a universal symbol of loneliness for another? And aren't certain colors and sensations more pronounced for one person, depending on the particular state of thier psychology, as they would be for somone else with a different psychology? This understanding, I feel, makes for great fiction. It's like painting a picture of a certain character's psychology, or the general "psychological tone" of the work, using subtle forms of imagery. Even what one character sees in another can express this psychology. It's pretty difficult to do, though. You have to be very talented to do it successfully, I think.

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"Each conscious mind is alone in the universe!"
 44yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that wizardslogic is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Oh, and as far as dialogue, people often forget there is a natural rhythm to human conversation that expresses spontaneous thought transformed immediately into words, and words are often subtle expressions of the psychology of the person talking. That's tough to do, too.

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"Each conscious mind is alone in the universe!"
 43yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Praetor is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
I dont have much to contribute at the moment, but check out the story I'm working on that I've posted in the Stories / Scripts / Prose section, tell me what you think.

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"What's the point in not conforming, if it changes you?"
 48yrs • F •
A CTL of 1 means that Sorceress is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
I love the story you are working on, its the type of thing I would be likely to write, this concept you have of the echoes and all this touching of dimensions or parrallell universes is really powerful stuff. I am looking forward to more of the same from you.

Chiron, thanks for the advice it sounds like something i probably could do with. I do actually usually make a plan before starting a story and I'm getting better at it. I've written two science fiction novels which I am really proud of and I am on the last chapter of a children's fantasy adventure (have been for the last five years!) and I have about four or five ideas for more - but alas I just can't find the time or the motivation. I need to get off my butt and try and get the ones that are completed published or at the very least looked at by an agent. But I'm lazy and perhaps a little terrified of more rejection letters. Also of being told I'm just no good. I have no formal education to speak of when it comes to English, just one GCSE and although I have a great imagination it is only since studying with the open university that I have learnt to use some form of paragraphs and my punctuation and spelling has come on too.

I have tried writers groups a couple of times but they are so snooty and talk about things I don't understand. I really have never got to grips with what verbs and adverbs and adjectives and blah blah blah are, and frankly I don't care. If it sounds good, I write it!

Anyway I'm going to stop wittering on now and let you all have a serious discussion.

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""Each child holds the world in an open hand to mould it into any shape they choose.""
Tricks of the trade: things to consider when writing
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