1. Ellsbeth
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    Ellsbeth Member

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    White belt writer, POV, Hook and other jargon...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Ellsbeth, Apr 25, 2013.

    Hi, i'm taking my first steps towards a serious attempt at creating a small piece of a medieval fantasy-horror hybrid. Im on this forum to give myself a solid foundation on which to build my writing style and practice developing good plots, character development and world building. Im not aiming to be epic right now just to learn how to create a simple but effective story line for practice and personal development. What jargon am I going to bump into in the writing world? What is it and why is it needed? What are the rookie mistakes, good habits and techniques I should know about? (I have been reading since I was very young and currently I am reading a book called the writers journey loosely based on the hero with a thousand faces. I have a small and basic understanding already of plot structure and character arch-types.)
    thanks to anyone who posts :)
     
  2. cazann34
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    cazann34 Active Member

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    Good questions. The answer of which I can of course not answer. These will be YOUR mistakes and since every writer is a dividual so are their problems/techniques. One answer does not fit all. The only answer I can offer is become a regular visitor of this forum, read the questions and answers and gradually you will learn things that will help you in your writing.
     
  3. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Cazann is right.

    My own suggestion would be : WRITE. That gives you a starting point.

    Write a piece, then you've got something to work with. Post it, and we'll offer feedback. Don't spend a lot of time worrying about how/what to write before you start. Just dive in.
     
  4. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Well, that's not necessarily true. There're some common mistakes people do often make, esp beginners. One common mistake, and perhaps common confusion, is following "rules" too strictly and then not knowing when to apply them :D And in the writing world we do use a tonne of jargon. Right now I'm just far too lazy to type it all up though... I should be preparing for my classes this afternoon, just really don't wanna... :rolleyes:

    But yeah, just start writing. The majority of it is intuition anyway, which nobody can really teach you.

    Ok some rules that you should follow as a novice, because novices tend to make these mistakes - but then you should look out for ways in which other experienced authors break these rules and make it work. Gradually, learn to break the rules yourself.

    1. Show, don't tell.
    This is because telling is often easier than showing. However, sometimes telling is necessary. However, as a novice, you're unlikely to run into the trouble of not telling enough - likely you'd rather be not showing enough. Hence the golden rule: show, don't tell.
    --- then you have the hybrid: never show and tell at the same time. In other words, don't express the same thing twice.

    2. Never use adverbs.
    Again, because adverbs are easy. Again, there will be times when an adverb is perfect for the occasion. Your job is learning when that is. However, as a novice you're, again, much more likely to overuse this rather than under-use it, as it were, hence the rule.

    3. He said, she said.
    There's plenty of advice that says you should only ever use "said" and "ask" and nothing else, because other things such as "mutter" and "whisper" can distract the reader, sometimes unnecessary if the tone of the dialogue already conveys this. However, this is not a rule I abide by. The rule I abide by is the one below, which I think is a much better rule:

    4. Use the perfect verb
    Use the one verb that is perfect for the situation you're describing. If a man is running away, you could say "He fled" rather than "He ran away". "Fleeing" is much stronger and conveys a more vivid picture. I apply this to the "He said, she said" thing. If "whispered" conveys my picture perfectly, I shall go right ahead and use it. This is an example of knowing when to break the rules.

    Lastly, and this is not a "rule that you can break" - this is now grammar, and I see even pretty darn good writers on this forum making this mistake. It's really annoying :D

    A. Punctuation regarding dialoge tags!

    - He said, "Hello."
    - "Hello," he said.

    ^^^ Notice a comma follows "said" in the first line, and a comma follows "hello" in the second line. This is because "he said" is a dialogue tag. Hence the dialogue is in one sentence with the tag, because the verb "said" expresses the words he just, well, said.

    - He shook hands with her. "Hello."
    - "Hello." He shook hands with her.

    ^^^ Notice now it's followed by full stops (or periods). This is because shaking hands is NOT a dialogue tag. You cannot "say" hello by shaking hands. This is why they're in fact two separate sentences.

    The mistake a lot of writers make is the following:

    - "Hello." He said.
    - "Hello," he shook hands with her.

    ^^^ Both occasions are wrong. "He said" expresses the "hello", so "He said" as a sentence all by itself is just wrong. The comma in the second instance is also wrong, because you cannot "say" hello by shaking hands - they cannot be one single action, they're two, hence two sentences and a period is needed.

    As for writing jargon...

    B. Jargon!

    POV = Point of View

    MC = Main character

    WIP = Work in Progress, usually indicating a novel on this forum

    Self-pub = Self-published (eg. you print it yourself or put it up on Amazon and other means as an ebook)

    Trad-pub = Traditionally published (eg. via a publishing house)

    Info-dump = pretty self-explanatory IMO. This is where you're giving excessive or unnecessary details in a very large chunk, usually in an inappropriate place. For example: "Sarah ran for her life, gasping for breath. They're closing in. Her heart pounded in her throat. She bit her lips. She was wearing business trousers from Prada and her heels made her stumble. Her hair had been recently dyed a rich hazelnut brown, which she now brushed from her eyes."

    ^^^ Don't do something like that. Reveal information that's relevant and natural to the scene.

    Purple prose = when you become excessive in your use of language. Some people like this, though it's generally frowned upon nowadays. For example, "Sarah's beautiful red hair tumbled around her shoulders; it rippled like shimmers of rose-gold in the light. Her lips were like a perfect rosebud ready to be kissed, beckoning me as Snow White beckons her prince charming. Only she doesn't know I'm her prince charming yet."

    ^^^ I actually didn't quite know how to write purple prose, mostly cus well, you're not meant to lol. Either way, I hope I illustrated the point sufficiently and you can see when the description started becoming OTT (over the top). At least this is how I understand purple prose to be anyway.

    Third person limited = characters are referred to using "he", "she" etc but the experience is limited to the one character whose POV you're using (eg. your POV character)

    Third person omniscient = characters are referred to using "he", "she" etc but the experience is not limited to only one person - you are the omniscient narrator where you can delve into multiple POVs and reveal facts that character A might not know. This is a pretty difficult one to write, because it's really not just a matter of revealing more facts than one person can - it's in the way and tone you write. I haven't mastered this yet.

    First person = your narrating character uses "I" and obviously then, everything you reveal needs to be something your narrating character knows. This is, again, pretty hard to write, because you now need to write in a way the character would speak, whilst still keeping it in prose and not necessarily direct speech. This is sometimes written in the present or past tense. How you do it depends on your preferences.

    Second person = you, the author, talk to the reader by using "you" - this is the extent of my knowledge on this POV sorry. It's not commonly used and many frown upon it nowadays.

    If I've got anything wrong, feel free to correct me anyone!
     
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  5. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Good post, Mckk! That's pretty much it in a nutshell, afaik.

    I too would just suggest that write, read, write, read, write, and eventually you'll find your own voice. Also, get Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style." It's super useful.

    Then don't be afraid to put your work out there for people to comment on (and please, offer feedback to others too. That's a great way to learn!)

    Remember to have fun! :)

    ETA: oh, and think what you like, what types of stories, story-telling, characters, etc. That's when things like plotting, characterization, and world-building will come almost intuitively for you.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    google 'glossary of writer's terms' for a full list of in-lingo...
     
  7. Ellsbeth
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    Ellsbeth Member

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    post removed
     
  8. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    slow down there El. I like the ambition,but before you can post a piece for critique, you have to be a member for two weeks,critiqued at least two other pieces, and have at least twenty posts.
     
  9. Ellsbeth
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    Ellsbeth Member

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    oh? why is that? you'll have people like me who has no idea of what shes doing critiquing your work as opposed to someone whos actually good.
     
  10. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That may be true, but the critique process here is not primarily for the writer; it's for the critiquer. The idea is that you learn to critique the work of others, and that trains you to critique your own work. Of course, it benefits the writer of the piece being critiqued, but that's a bonus.
     
  11. Ellsbeth
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    Ellsbeth Member

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    ok that makes sense thankyou both. is it considered critiquing if my post up there was only written to try and copy the things in the list that mckk typed up for me? I just want someone to tell me if I understood what I was told or not before I start trying to actually create something.
     
  12. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Ellsbeth, it sounds like you haven't read the rules. Please do so.

    Your post above is not considered critiquing. What you have to do is go to the Writing Workshop and find a story another member here has submitted. Read other critiques of the story so that you know what is expected. Then submit your own critique.

    Basically, before you can submit your own work for critique, you have to:

    1) submit two constructive critiques of other members' work;
    2) post at least twenty times in the forum. You have ten posts already; you're halfway there!
    3) be a member for at least two weeks

    Read the rest of the rules, and the faq, and some of the sticky threads, and you won't feel like such a newbie.
     
  13. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    It's like that to make sure we get people, who loved to write, instead of someone who wants a quick review of a piece they made, and so that if someone is taking the take to critique your work, the least you can do is critique someone else's.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ellsbeth...
    you need to delete that material from your post, before a moderator does it for you...

    and when you are able to 'legally' post material for review, do not leave it in a solid block like that, as it's very hard to read... you need to insert line breaks where all the indents are lost in posting...
     
  15. Anthony Martin
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    Anthony Martin Active Member

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    Looks like cazann had it right. :)
     
  16. Ellsbeth
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    Ellsbeth Member

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    post removed sorry I've been offline for a few days :)
     

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