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Thread: General Discussion: THE STORY

  1. #101
    Discovered Stowaway Kylor's Avatar
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    Default Re: General Discussion: THE STORY

    One thing that I've found that works when writing dialogue is to read it out loud to myself a few times, to figure out if what I wrote is something that character would actually say, and if the line that comes next would be a feasible reaction. I'm gonna start writing a short scene for a film class soon, and hopefully having actors read some of my writing will help me figure out where I'm at as far as emotion in my dialogue is concerned. Now for me to find something that I'm actually qualified to write seriously about without looking like a prick.

    As for being able to connect with characters in stories, I've found that the actual personality or circumstances the characters have mean little in the long run. Being able to understand and relate to someone's writing is a deeply personal and emotional experience, I think, and not something that can necessarily be forced by either the artist nor the audience, nor can anyone explain it without someone else having a completely different opinion on the matter. All the artist can really do is write what he feels, and hope that his audience will experience it with an open mind. And of course, context has a lot to do with it as well. In theater appreciation class, I learned that in ancient Greece, theater was supposed to be both cathartic and educational; meant to entertain while also giving the viewer a glimpse of themselves. Often I find that all well written stories are this way, and while the standards for what makes good art may change over time, that basic concept is what good writers should try to go for.

    On an unrelated note, what is the best time for you guys to write? For me, all my best work comes when I'm highly emotional about something. I've recently looked back at the things I've wrote thus far, and all the best work was made during times when I was truly upset about something, or otherwise excited or caught up in one thing or another. On the other hand, in times when I've been relatively content with myself, I could hardly find any words to put onto the page at all. So I've decided that from now on, I'll always keep myself occupied with one thing or another, so I won't get bored with myself. But what I'm afraid this has resulted in is me being really enthusiastic about creating something, but not knowing what it is that I should actually create.

    Welp, I'm just repeating myself now, aren't I? Sorry about that.

  2. #102

    Default Re: General Discussion: THE STORY

    Quote Originally Posted by Kylor View Post
    On an unrelated note, what is the best time for you guys to write? For me, all my best work comes when I'm highly emotional about something. I've recently looked back at the things I've wrote thus far, and all the best work was made during times when I was truly upset about something, or otherwise excited or caught up in one thing or another. On the other hand, in times when I've been relatively content with myself, I could hardly find any words to put onto the page at all. So I've decided that from now on, I'll always keep myself occupied with one thing or another, so I won't get bored with myself. But what I'm afraid this has resulted in is me being really enthusiastic about creating something, but not knowing what it is that I should actually create.
    I've found that thinking of ideas/dialogue isn't too hard, it's physically writing things down that I have an issue with.

    In my case I just listen to some music and force myself to have my notebook and pen in hand. Sometimes completely turning off all technology (laptop, cell phone, etc) so it doesn't distract me.

    As long as I fulfill those conditions I can be in any emotional state and still be able to write. Although I do have to keep my emotions in check while writing so I don't end up writing something that will mess with the tone of whatever I'm working on (a comedy can't be too depressing, a serious drama can't be too light-hearted etc).

  3. #103

    Default Re: General Discussion: THE STORY

    all my art anything happens when i'm half drunk, or when it's 3AM

    my emotional state never factors into anything and I can't do anything when I'm emotional. mood is iffy.

    i usually get work down afterwards, if I'm feeling heavy.

  4. #104

    Default Re: General Discussion: THE STORY

    As far as mood goes, it depends. If I'm in a really shitty or angry mood, whether or not I can draw or write depends on if I have an outlet or an idea. Otherwise, nothing happens.
    The best times for me are sometime during the night where I feel especially driven. When it comes to editing I can do that at pretty much any time.

  5. #105

    Default Re: General Discussion: THE STORY

    Hmmm, best writting times.
    I think its whenever I'm reading some manga, or watching some TV Drama or movie, and some idea pops to my mind.
    I totally hate writting with a pen and notebook. It just bothers me cause I write and erase to much, and without backspace I would probably spend more time erasing than writting. I also don't like to be too much isolated. I prefer to have skype turned on and all. When I'm seriously writting I don't even care if it flashes orange, but if not something might be said that catches my creative bone. (yohohoho)

    About dialog. I actually think thats one of my weak points. My ideas are all about actions and scenary, and I've trouble coming out with personalities. But I believe thats something that changes through experience.
    Much like Jay I believe that sometimes comming up with ideas is much easier than writting them down. However there are times when I just start writting and the ideas come to me during the process and I just write them down as I think them, its a pretty good feeling.

  6. #106

    Default Re: General Discussion: THE STORY

    *Between weight lifting and jogging*
    Okay, normally I don't ask for advice on Thread Crashers, but for those that read it, can you give me some advice on how to handle the vast amount of characters I have? I'm plugging pretty much dozens of people at a time when it's their turn to have action scenes before going back to focus on the main ensemble cast and villains. How much would you say is too much? Right now the formula is 'Main character, Side Characters, Main Characters, Side Characters, Main Characters, Side Characters.' Some of the side characters will be reduced to the background while others will be reused or placed in key points later in the story. Would this turn you off in a regular comic?

    Also, I'm having a 'Golden Age' arc in the middle of the action of the first saga, and it would pretty much set up the backstory of Thread Crashers in one go, and it will happen during a rather climatic part. Would the interruption turn a lot of people off? In my defense, the rest of the story would strictly be in the present.

    And since I'm asking for help already, anyone have any members from AP past they think should be in the flashback? I already have all the old mods and admins in mind, as well as everyone who appeared in National Coronation Day (fuck I hate copying stories). They can also be AP members that have just been around for a very long time.

    ...And any NPC members if you want to nominate them. I need bodies a cast when TC takes place there and I only have about ten. (Note: Nobody that joined after 2010)

  7. #107

    Default Re: General Discussion: THE STORY

    Vast ammount of characters. I actually like that. As for focus, there are many ways to handle that, but I'd say the best one is to make each part of the story interesting. People can miss the main cast but that won't be a bad thing if they are liking the current part. If well done it will only bring joy when they are finally back.
    I haven't read Thread Crashers so I don't know about the specifics, but a flashback in a climatic part is good as long as it is well paced and increases the drama. Iff the flashback is too long people might forget what was going on before the flashback.
    So if the flashback will be exciting and fast paced I think it would be good to have it in a really climatic part, in order to build up anticipation to the present story, without turning people off. If it will be a longer one that would take too long to reach its own climax then I think breaking it up into smaller pieces would be good. But that's just my opinion. ;)

    Also I wouldn't mind being part of the flashback, but I'm as irrelevant to this forums' history as you can get.

  8. #108
    Discovered Stowaway piratemarimo's Avatar
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    Default Re: General Discussion: THE STORY

    I need some opinions about dialogue tags you guys. Today our fiction writing teacher told us to ONLY use "said" for a dialogue tag. In other words, she's saying we shouldn't use words like he "whispered," "shouted," grumbled," "grunted," "proclaimed," "harrumphed," "declared," "giggled," "squealed," etc. She said that "asked" might be the only exception to this. I guess I just got incredibly annoyed because once I started moving beyond elementary school level, all the English teachers always told me to not just use the word "said" in writing because it gets repetitive and dull. And now suddenly I'm being told that using words besides "said" is just a crutch. She implied that a story which uses such words wouldn't be as interesting to read. It was unsettling to see people nodding as if in agreement. Hell, maybe that was just the obligatory nod people give teachers when half aren't paying attention anyway, but still. I simply cannot accept the notion that a story would lose excitement by using a variety of "said" phrases as opposed to just one (or two). Oh and she said we should practice not using adverbs either and that later on we'll try and learn ways to not use adverbs. What???

    Now obviously there are ways to work around that problem, like using fewer dialogue tags, using body language and descriptive words so that you know a person is whispering without needing to say "he whispered," but it's such an incredible challenge to master that kind of subtlety (at least for me). It bothers me because I don't know how I'd approach a scene without being able to use it. How often do you guys use "said" in your stories? Is it really just a crutch? I felt as though she's saying that using those words is what an amateur does.


  9. #109
    Pump-Action Pumpkin Jazzy Jinx's Avatar
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    Default Re: General Discussion: THE STORY

    Well, first of all, she's full of shit.

    And second of all, just don't even use any dialogue tags. You don't need to say that a person said something if it's obvious who's speaking. You only use tags when the dialogue jumps back and forth a lot or there's more than two people. Otherwise I'd recommend what you said about describing body language and being subtle overall.
    Last edited by Jazzy Jinx; February 7th, 2012 at 11:51 AM. Reason: Challenge yourself by being as descriptive as possible with as few words as possible.

  10. #110
    Discovered Stowaway Kylor's Avatar
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    Default Re: General Discussion: THE STORY

    Dialogue tags are fine, most of the time. Adverbs, on the other hand, are terrible and should only be used sparingly, but that's an entirely different subject. I find myself using dialogue tags other than said for two different reasons: A, when a character is shouting and "said" isn't strong enough of a word to use, or B. when the tone can not be inferred from the words or context. For example, I was recently writing a scene in ADT where two characters are talking, and the words they're using are, for the most part, polite and by the book, but outwardly they're being incredibly hostile, and are basically at each others throats. I needed to show clearly that the characters weren't friendly with each other at all, and had to do it in a way other than using physicalities.

    Otherwise, as Neil Gaiman once put it, "The word said is to prose what the arrow of a word balloon is to comics." I wouldn't use this as a strict rule, per se, but you should probably keep it in mind.

  11. #111
    Carcharodon Piledriver! Crossword's Avatar
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    Default Re: General Discussion: THE STORY

    I generally only dispense with dialogue tags completely when two or more characters are having a rapid-fire back-and-forth or someone's giving a long speech. My main challenge with tags is giving the descriptors more pizzazz, if you will. ''He said'', ''John said,'' gets repetitive and boring, but going the other way with lots of stuff like ''the chesnut-haired boy,'' or ''the willowy young lady'' etc. tends to look awkward and superfluous to me. It's really a double-edged sword.
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  12. #112
    Discovered Stowaway Kylor's Avatar
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    Default Re: General Discussion: THE STORY

    Quote Originally Posted by Crossword View Post
    I generally only dispense with dialogue tags completely when two or more characters are having a rapid-fire back-and-forth or someone's giving a long speech. My main challenge with tags is giving the descriptors more pizzazz, if you will. ''He said'', ''John said,'' gets repetitive and boring, but going the other way with lots of stuff like ''the chesnut-haired boy,'' or ''the willowy young lady'' etc. tends to look awkward and superfluous to me. It's really a double-edged sword.
    Well, another problem there is that if the descriptors are too eloquent, they force too much attention on themselves. You don't want the reader to focus on the "he explicated" "she concurred vividly" and so on and so forth, the reader should be reading the words the characters are actually saying. If you need descriptors after the lines to make a conversation interesting, the dialogue itself probably isn't very exciting. In the best case scenario, the reader shouldn't even notice the saids and such.

  13. #113

    Default Re: General Discussion: THE STORY

    I say one of the things that made me drop Harry Potter's books was the constant use of "Said". For me its highly repetitve and boring and dull and monotonous and you get the point.
    I way better prefer reading that someone said and other commented and other asked and other complained and other replied than everyone just saying and asking. And I personally don't like adverbs, but I enjoy equivalent expressions. Instead of "Said mockingly" "Said, mocking the girl who was saying bad things about his granny" or something.
    But I think that that teacher is not really the greatest teacher. From the momment you disagree with her, you can imagine some people would also disagree with her. And if some people disagree she shouldn't be teaching it like a universal rulle of writting. Its like a painting teacher telling you that curve strokes suck and you should only use straight ones.

    I was also told when I was in like 5th grade that we should almost banish said from our dictionary. I don't agree with banishing it, but I like to avoid it when I can. You may be able to infer that a guy commented when he, you know, commented. But at least its not repetitive and, in my opinion, annoying.
    But this is one of the things I find troubles to do when writting in english, I'm just not so much experienced in finding a mid-term between not-repetitive and superfulous. :/

  14. #114
    honk honk<-foxes say this Kitsune Inferno's Avatar
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    Default Re: General Discussion: THE STORY

    Well, here's the thing: everyone's right AND wrong here. The thing with said is that we are so trained AGAINST using it that we naturally force ourselves to use other dialogue tags so much, that we don't use said ENOUGH. It's one of my own flaws, so I don't claim to be an expert on it. But let me pull up a few examples:

    "What are you doing here?" Braig asked.
    "None of your business," Alysa said.
    "Go back to you room," Braig said. "It is late."
    "Are you trying to get on my nerves?" Alysa asked.
    "Excuse me," Jorvan said. "I would like to speak with Lady Alysa."
    "Be my guest," Braig said.
    "What do you want?" Alysa asked.
    "There is a private matter I must discuss with you," Jorvan said.

    There's an example of gross overuse of said and asked. Now let's look at things when we AVOID said and asked.

    "What are you doing here?" Braig questioned.
    "None of your business," Alysa spat.
    "Go back to you room," Braig ordered. "It is late."
    "Are you trying to get on my nerves?" Alysa barked.
    "Excuse me," Jorvan interrupted. "I would like to speak with Lady Alysa."
    "Be my guest," Braig responded.
    "What do you want?" Alysa interrogated.
    "There is a private matter I must discuss with you," Jorvan explained.

    Here we go, completely avoiding them. It looks really forced, doesn't it? In this case, we are forcing ourselves to avoid and it all comes out stilited.

    Now here's Kylor's point:

    "What are you doing here?" Braig asked irritatedly.
    "None of your business," Alysa spat with disgust.
    "Go back to you room," Braig ordered sternly. "It is late."
    "Are you trying to get on my nerves?" Alysa challenged fiercely.
    "Excuse me," Jorvan interrupted nervously. "I would like to speak with Lady Alysa."
    "Be my guest," Braig responded stiffly.
    "What do you want?" Alysa asked roughly.
    "There is a private matter I must discuss with you," Jorvan replied resolvedly.

    Yay more forcefulness!

    Here's where I'm going to say that you should use all three!

    "What are you doing here?" Braig asked.
    "None of your business," Alysa spat.
    "Go back to you room," Braig ordered sternly. "It is late."
    "Are you trying to get on my nerves?" Alysa challenged.
    "Excuse me," Jorvan interrupted nervously. "I would like to speak with Lady Alysa."
    "Be my guest," Braig responded bitterly.
    "What do you want?" Alysa asked sharply.
    "There is a private matter I must discuss with you," Jorvan explained.

    This is a little better, admittedly, and honestly at this point, you're theoretically fine. This sort of works, but here's where your own voice matters, your own style of prose. I'm personally fond of the notion that dialogue and description should not be treated separately. Even during a conversation, your characters will be acting, thinking, processing, and events will still play out. Here's a final version with that in mind.

    "What are you doing here?" Braig asked as Alysa approached, clearly annoyed with her for being awake at this hour.
    "None of your business," Alysa spat, making no effort to conceal her own annoyance.
    "Go back to you room," Braig ordered sternly, tapping his finger on the hilt of his sheathed blade. A threat? How cute. "It is late."
    "Are you trying to get on my nerves?" She put her hand on Freija, calling her younger brother's idle threat. Unlike her brother, she was willing to draw hers if necessary
    "Excuse me," a voice interrupted the encounter. Alysa turned her attention to the voice, which belonged to the young soldier from earlier. Jorvan was his name? "I would like to speak with Lady Alysa," he said, his voice quivering.
    "Be my guest," Braig responded bitterly, removing his hand from his hip and turning to go. Alysa smirked inwardly as he walked away.
    "What do you want?" she asked sharply, turning her attention to the meek boy in front of her. The boy's brown hair was messy and his frame lanky. This is the kind of man I am to lead? she scoffed to herself.
    "There is a private matter I must discuss with you," Jorvan explained, glancing nervously toward a room down the corridor.

    Not the best example, but it backs up my points. There's a nice blend of saids and askeds, a nice blend of unique tags, a few adverbs, but there's really a whole lot more emphasis on the action, rather than the delivery of the dialogue itself. Remember, when working with prose, you don't always have to be clear. For instance, the "Are you trying to get on my nerves?" line above works with no tags because Alysa's own actions help convey her tone, not the tag itself. Really, what it comes down to is NOT AVOIDING ANYTHING and USING A LITTLE OF EVERYTHING IN MODERATION. Hope that helps.

  15. #115
    Pump-Action Pumpkin Jazzy Jinx's Avatar
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    Default Re: General Discussion: THE STORY

    Hey Kitsune, why don't you push your opinion a little bit harder. I don't think we're all quite sold that what you're saying is the law yet.

  16. #116

    Default Re: General Discussion: THE STORY

    Nice work Kitsune. I like how you explained it, and I agree with what you said. I have the most troubles with still characters talking. I try to avoid having them glance down the corridors all the time, and describing hand gestures its kind of superfulous, so I always get something a little bit forced.
    I don't know if you agree but I find discribing changes in the environment amusing. "... whispered Jacob as a sudden gust of wind lifted the fallen leaves" -> Like this, but better.

  17. #117
    honk honk<-foxes say this Kitsune Inferno's Avatar
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    Default Re: General Discussion: THE STORY

    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Kenny View Post
    Hey Kitsune, why don't you push your opinion a little bit harder. I don't think we're all quite sold that what you're saying is the law yet.
    Writing's an art, not a science. :P There's no one way to write.~

  18. #118

    Default Re: General Discussion: THE STORY

    Kenny, Kitsune said your own style mattered. That invalidates all the forcing he (she?) did.
    Last edited by gotta<3OP; February 7th, 2012 at 03:49 PM. Reason: And I just got ninjed.

  19. #119
    Pump-Action Pumpkin Jazzy Jinx's Avatar
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    Default Re: General Discussion: THE STORY

    Maybe it's just me, but regardless of how valid a point is, I don't like having it screamed at me like I'm so wrong a normal tone of voice isn't capable of conveying how wrong I am anymore.
    Last edited by Jazzy Jinx; February 7th, 2012 at 03:52 PM. Reason: In this case ALL CAPS.

  20. #120
    honk honk<-foxes say this Kitsune Inferno's Avatar
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    Default Re: General Discussion: THE STORY

    Quote Originally Posted by gotta<3OP View Post
    Nice work Kitsune. I like how you explained it, and I agree with what you said. I have the most troubles with still characters talking. I try to avoid having them glance down the corridors all the time, and describing hand gestures its kind of superfulous, so I always get something a little bit forced.
    I don't know if you agree but I find discribing changes in the environment amusing. "... whispered Jacob as a sudden gust of wind lifted the fallen leaves" -> Like this, but better.
    If it leads into something later, then yes bring up the leaves blowing, or if it triggers an anecdote, then yes, mention them. If you're trying to paint a setting, set a mood (breezes usually imply tranquility, gusts of wind can be used to symbolize unrest), etc., then use it. If the leaves blowing bears no real significance though, it's best to leave it out.

    In my example above, Braig touching his sword is a character trait, like a very passive threat. That's why I included it. You don't need to really bother with hand gestures and the like. Just what's relevant. :)

    But again, there's no one way to write.~ Just don't over describe the scene.

    --- Update From New Post Merge ---

    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Kenny View Post
    Maybe it's just me, but regardless of how valid a point is, I don't like having it screamed at me like I'm so wrong a normal tone of voice isn't capable of conveying how wrong I am anymore.
    It's a posting habit of mine. I usually summarize long posts by bolding my points at the end, because I know some people aren't going to read all of it, it's just a habit. I'm not screaming anything. >_>

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