For All Future Authors..

EmilShmiengura

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- be humorous if you actually have an innate sense of humor.
- write in the first person only if you have/had a rich life experience or if you've mastered "the craft". When you write in the first person more of you may seep in to the story then you realize.
- stick to all the idiotic rules about the use of adverbs,adjective nouns, exclamation marks, daily word quotas etc. until you've outgrown them. But not a moment before that.
- while writing never think "what would my favorite author(s) do" . Rest assured, they're already there with you, don't let them influence you to the point where you become an imitator.


Johnny Novgorod said:
What's with all this Tolkien flaming recently? They're good books, if you have the patience and the concentration to go through them. They're dense read, sure.
Fox12 said:
The problem isn't Tolkien himself, it's all his imitators.
He's the most influential fantasy author of the modern age, and a better story teller then Martin by far.
For me at least that's not the problem. I've red the trilogy five times when I was a teenager, that's how much I've loved it. But the endless scores of imitators that Tolkien's writing has spawned is just a blight on fantasy as a literary genre. Tolkien pulled off those grandiose passages and those bombastic speeches and even when you saw what he was doing you just let him get away with it. People aping him on the other hand... He inadvertently held back fantasy as a genre and who knows how many talented writers got lost trying to emulate him.

As for Mr. Martin, he excels at marketing his creations first and foremost. He has genuine talent there, but only uses just enough to make something that sells. I read his "not a blog" blog (sic!) from time to time, I've seen interviews of him, I've seen some speeches... there is absolutely no hint of love for literature there. Excellent screen writer though.
 

Something Amyss

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Realitycrash said:
2 You are not JRR Tolkien.
I wish most "epic fantasy" writers wrote like Tolkien. I don't like the guy at all, but his prose seems concise compared to a lot of the folks I've read in the genre.

Lionsfan said:
Come now, who wouldn't want an awesomer sword?

Maybe they could make a double-whatsit and let the hero dual wield it!

Fractral said:
The second part comes because I can't remember reading a book in first person which wasn't awkward at some point. Some of the short stories pulled it off, though.
Screw that, I'm writing all in first person.
 

Arnoxthe1

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Fractral said:
I'd add 1) Sex can be referred to, but tastefully, and with a minimum of description, and 2) Don't write in first person. I have read My Immortal, as a joke, and by god is it painful. The second part comes because I can't remember reading a book in first person which wasn't awkward at some point. Some of the short stories pulled it off, though.
But... What? That's how most stories are. They follow the protagonist and his/her thoughts.
 

senordesol

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rorychief said:
What do you guys think about once off third person chapters?

I'm considering every two to three chapters having a chapter one third the length of the protagonists that jumps to another location and follows a minor character for a bit. Tv tropes gave me the impression this is frowned on or will be misconstrued as lazy cheating if the character sees something related to the plot that the protagonist couldn't. But my intention would be to take a break from the fish out of water, bewildered by everything protagonist to get some worldbuilding done that doesn't need to be in the form of a expository conversation. Still annoying?

If so is there anyway it can it be done well? I know this isn't writers workshop or anything but I'd appreciate the advice from anyone willing to show off :)
Depends on what you mean by 'minor character'. If he's just there to accomplish the role of 'finding stuff out that the protag can't' and serves no other purpose apart from that role, then -yeah- it's a bit lazy...and it's even worse if, in an attempt to avoid that, you give the minor character some contrived role in the finale that totally breaks everything they've been about up to this point (Like Catwoman in TDKR).
 

Queen Michael

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deathjavu said:
I've never heard of a single writer that gets it right the first time-
Julio Cortázar almost never rewrote his stories. Of course, he's an exception.
 

deathjavu

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Another rule: all writing rules are made to be broken...

BUT only once you know and understand them.

They're there for a reason, and if you don't get why any attempts to subvert them is just going to end with a shitty story.

Other, somewhat related rule: the first 100,000 to 1,000,000 words you write will be bad. It's just a fact, writing is a skill and like any skill, almost no one is anything approaching good without loads and loads of practice.

Other other rule: No one cares about your "idea" because "ideas" are nothing. Everyone has ideas. There are some terrible sounding ideas that result in amazing books. There are amazing ideas that result in terrible books. Writing is all about execution.

If you want people to care about your idea, show them the writing you've done with it. The idea itself is kind of meaningless. It's too vague, too unimpressive and everyone has em.
 

Fractral

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Arnoxthe1 said:
Fractral said:
I'd add 1) Sex can be referred to, but tastefully, and with a minimum of description, and 2) Don't write in first person. I have read My Immortal, as a joke, and by god is it painful. The second part comes because I can't remember reading a book in first person which wasn't awkward at some point. Some of the short stories pulled it off, though.
But... What? That's how most stories are. They follow the protagonist and his/her thoughts.
I suppose it's just a personal preference. You can have main characters and follow their thoughts in third person- most novels I've read are in third person and manage this just fine. It probably comes from bad writers who end up writing 'I did this and then I did this' and it becomes less of a story and more of a boring recount of the authors tale. It also, at least for me, lessens the chance of author projection, which always ends up boring because the author makes their character 'super awesome' when I want an actually interesting character.
 

freaper

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Apr 3, 2010
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Are we talking about anyone in particular? Because honestly, while his novels were quite entertaining, if I read one more time "his laughter was like fresh fruit" I'll go punch Patrick Rothfuss in the dick.
 

KeyMaster45

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Jun 16, 2008
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shrekfan246 said:
Funny, but off topic note: Your avatar matches perfectly with the beat of the rap music being blared from the high school football stadium next to my dormitory.

OT: Since the topic seems to have shifted to the quality of Tolkein's work, I have a confession to make.

I read all three LoTR books...but I skimmed Sam and Frodo's final trek up Mt. Doom that went on for several pages. I just couldn't take the lengthy descriptions anymore.
 

Stephen Wo

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I've got a rule. Lay off. Let people write what they want to write. Don't bog people down with unnecessary rules and regulations just because you don't like something. Plenty of great authors defied conventions like the one's you're laying down and their stuff turned out great because of it. Get off your high horse.
 

WhiteFangofWhoa

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Fractral said:
I'd add 1) Sex can be referred to, but tastefully, and with a minimum of description, and 2) Don't write in first person. I have read My Immortal, as a joke, and by god is it painful. The second part comes because I can't remember reading a book in first person which wasn't awkward at some point. Some of the short stories pulled it off, though.
1) Yes please.

2) First person is indeed the minority, but I have read some good ones. Bernard Cornwell's Warlord Trilogy comes to mind, but if you're just warning aspiring new writers away from it I agree. Also My Immortal was deliberately bad.

'Nice topic', WhinteFangofWar ejaculated. 'I would like to hear the opinion of the OP and the other posters on Said Bookism (the overuse of the word 'said' when characters are talking versus the use of increasingly stranger alternatives)', he drawled.
 

Mr.Squishy

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DVS BSTrD said:
My biggest problem is trying to figure out how to get what I see in my mind onto paper. I'm always imagining more than I know how to express and I'm never sure if what I've got is enough or even believable.
Oh good lord, this! I *want* to just write all of those good ideas I have, but it usually ends up in either a mess, or an incoherent string of only vaguely related events, or possibly detours.

Edit: Also, to whomever said 'don't write in the first person'...come on. A bit of variety never hurt, and as for good examples of it done well, have you ever checked out The Dresden Files?

Edit 2: Andrew Hussie is an overrated, talentless hack, and I don't see why people like Homestuck, much less praise the godawful writing. Seriously.
HONKHONKHONKHONAMICOOLYET!!!!
Sorry about that, that was highly immature
 

deathjavu

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Stephen Wo said:
I've got a rule. Lay off. Let people write what they want to write. Don't bog people down with unnecessary rules and regulations just because you don't like something. Plenty of great authors defied conventions like the one's you're laying down and their stuff turned out great because of it. Get off your high horse.
Another rule: all writing rules are made to be broken...

BUT only once you know and understand them.

They're there for a reason, and if you don't get why any attempts to subvert them is just going to end with a shitty story.
A few years ago I would have probably agreed with you, but the "rules" aren't just conjured from thin air. They all exist for a reason, and it takes a lot of work to get around them without ruining the story.

Not that I agree all of the rules listed thus far are legit. No first person? Wow, uh, you've just nixed something like 40-60% of all books ever. Maybe the problem was the authors, not the style.

Which brings me neatly back to my original point- it's all in the execution. The rules are more like... helpful guidelines. Methods and tricks for beginners. Which I can almost guarantee includes all of us. Anyone who thinks they're somehow above or past these rules is probably full of themselves.

Edit 2: Andrew Hussie is an overrated, talentless hack, and I don't see why people like Homestuck, much less praise the godawful writing. Seriously.
Well, one method of being recognized as a good writer is volume, also known as the Steven King method. There's that.

I'm a plot junkie and Homestuck has about one of the biggest, grandest and yet most(ly) logical plots I've ever seen.

Homestuck also consistently makes me laugh via character gags, warped callbacks and meta-aware self-deprecating irony.

I used to really love the characters too, but I think there's far too many for the pace of the story to sustain them all now. They're really withering from underexposure; Hussie will, like the readers (or any human), gradually forget what characters were supposed to be like after not interacting with them for weeks or months at a time.

Also Gamzee is nothing but an overpowered, improbably resiliant clown-based plot device now. He's like annoying purple spackle for the story. Any humor in him was pile-driven into the ground a long time ago, and now I just feel annoyed when he shows up.
 

Brian Tams

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Someone needs to go find Christopher Paolini and forcefully ram these points into his noggin.

You should probably add "Use big words where applicable", as in, don't just use gigantic words for the sake of using gigantic words.
 

contagonist

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I see Joseph Campbell as the Albert Einstein of fiction: a well meaning guy who made a remarkable discovery that wound up making the world worse for everyone.

Einstein, relativity, nuclear bomb. Cambell, Hero's Journey, 90% of genre fiction ever since.

Just because your piece features a reluctant hero being pushed into the other realm to kill his myth-dad and bring the the sacred rainbow semen back to all the useless boring plural pronouns he left (and it is indeed a 'he'), doesn't mean you're making a myth. You're making painfully derivative schlock, which makes not only you boring, but also your fiction boring.

Which is terrible.

Every time a writer apes the Hero's Journey, they are trying to hammer in some timeless quality into their work. This backfires, and makes their work out of date.

Here is a hint: we don't remember ancient myths because Farmboy McAveragefucker's symbolic patricide. We remember them because they are ancient myths. They were first.

Your chosen one is not first. He will not be remembered.

Stop.
 

Mr.Squishy

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contagonist said:
I see Joseph Campbell as the Albert Einstein of fiction: a well meaning guy who made a remarkable discovery that wound up making the world worse for everyone.

Einstein, relativity, nuclear bomb. Cambell, Hero's Journey, 90% of genre fiction ever since.

Just because your piece features a reluctant hero being pushed into the other realm to kill his myth-dad and bring the the sacred rainbow semen back to all the useless boring plural pronouns he left (and it is indeed a 'he'), doesn't mean you're making a myth. You're making painfully derivative schlock, which makes not only you boring, but also your fiction boring.

Which is terrible.

Every time a writer apes the Hero's Journey, they are trying to hammer in some timeless quality into their work. This backfires, and makes their work out of date.

Here is a hint: we don't remember ancient myths because Farmboy McAveragefucker's symbolic patricide. We remember them because they are ancient myths. They were first.

Your chosen one is not first. He will not be remembered.

Stop.
I agree with this so much that it's not even funny. Seriously, that fucking formula needs to go away. Like, now.
 

Queen Michael

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deathjavu said:
Hussie will, like the readers (or any human), gradually forget what characters were supposed to be like after not interacting with them for weeks or months at a time.
I haven't noticed this myself. Do you have any examples?
 

Realitycrash

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Fractral said:
I'd add 1) Sex can be referred to, but tastefully, and with a minimum of description, and 2) Don't write in first person. I have read My Immortal, as a joke, and by god is it painful. The second part comes because I can't remember reading a book in first person which wasn't awkward at some point. Some of the short stories pulled it off, though.
First Person works fine, for certain authors. If it is written as a journal looking back on your adventures, i.e First Person Imperfect (Which is an awesome name for a band, so DIBS!), then it works just fine. Many narrations use this technique (Imagine pretty much any movie which begins with an old story-teller going 'I was a young man back then').
For example, Dresden Files is an awesome series, and uses First Person.
I prefer Third-person, through.
 

Realitycrash

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Stephen Wo said:
I've got a rule. Lay off. Let people write what they want to write. Don't bog people down with unnecessary rules and regulations just because you don't like something. Plenty of great authors defied conventions like the one's you're laying down and their stuff turned out great because of it. Get off your high horse.
Please read the very first thing posted in this topic, in the OP. It's helpfully placed within parenthesizes.



deathjavu said:
Another rule: all writing rules are made to be broken...

BUT only once you know and understand them.

They're there for a reason, and if you don't get why any attempts to subvert them is just going to end with a shitty story.
A few years ago I would have probably agreed with you, but the "rules" aren't just conjured from thin air. They all exist for a reason, and it takes a lot of work to get around them without ruining the story.

Not that I agree all of the rules listed thus far are legit. No first person? Wow, uh, you've just nixed something like 40-60% of all books ever. Maybe the problem was the authors, not the style.

Which brings me neatly back to my original point- it's all in the execution. The rules are more like... helpful guidelines. Methods and tricks for beginners. Which I can almost guarantee includes all of us. Anyone who thinks they're somehow above or past these rules is probably full of themselves.

Edit 2: Andrew Hussie is an overrated, talentless hack, and I don't see why people like Homestuck, much less praise the godawful writing. Seriously.
Well, one method of being recognized as a good writer is volume, also known as the Steven King method. There's that.

I'm a plot junkie and Homestuck has about one of the biggest, grandest and yet most(ly) logical plots I've ever seen.

Homestuck also consistently makes me laugh via character gags, warped callbacks and meta-aware self-deprecating irony.

I used to really love the characters too, but I think there's far too many for the pace of the story to sustain them all now. They're really withering from underexposure; Hussie will, like the readers (or any human), gradually forget what characters were supposed to be like after not interacting with them for weeks or months at a time.

Also Gamzee is nothing but an overpowered, improbably resiliant clown-based plot device now. He's like annoying purple spackle for the story. Any humor in him was pile-driven into the ground a long time ago, and now I just feel annoyed when he shows up.
I actually love Homestuck as well, mostly for the humor, the plot, the music and one or two excellent characters.
But I have to say that Hussie, while certainly not talentless, has issues with his prose. Oh, sure, there's plenty of golden nuggets in it, more than enough to keep reading, but those nuggets are being excavated from a deep sedimentary layer of excrement. Sometimes his Pesterchum conversations just go on and on and OOOOOON and I just can't be arsed. It's fun that he is trying to show the average instant-messaging conversation of bored youths, but he has to learn when to stop.
Also, some plot-lines aren't that great, and would benefit from being cut short.
 

Realitycrash

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contagonist said:
I see Joseph Campbell as the Albert Einstein of fiction: a well meaning guy who made a remarkable discovery that wound up making the world worse for everyone.

Einstein, relativity, nuclear bomb. Cambell, Hero's Journey, 90% of genre fiction ever since.

Just because your piece features a reluctant hero being pushed into the other realm to kill his myth-dad and bring the the sacred rainbow semen back to all the useless boring plural pronouns he left (and it is indeed a 'he'), doesn't mean you're making a myth. You're making painfully derivative schlock, which makes not only you boring, but also your fiction boring.

Which is terrible.

Every time a writer apes the Hero's Journey, they are trying to hammer in some timeless quality into their work. This backfires, and makes their work out of date.

Here is a hint: we don't remember ancient myths because Farmboy McAveragefucker's symbolic patricide. We remember them because they are ancient myths. They were first.

Your chosen one is not first. He will not be remembered.

Stop.
Didn't that book sort of 'show' (or argue) that there are only so many (like 8?) variations of a basic story, so aren't we screwed either way?