For All Future Authors..

saluraropicrusa

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deathjavu said:
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'm a Homestuck fan, and I pretty much agree with what you guys have said.

I'm not really a fan of the comic's plot, think the pacing is garbage (and some of the writing is pretty bad), I kinda really don't like Hussie himself, and I'm only reading the comic now to see how it ends.

The only thing I like about the whole affair are the characters, and most of the ones I like are dead (not that it actually means anything AT ALL for someone to be dead in that comic).

And, yeah, I don't really like the direction Gamzee's taken. I would have preferred it if he'd stayed consistently terrifying/violent, instead of having such a long period of being The Silly Reaction Face Clown who's sometimes hidden in a corner of a panel and then SURPRISE SHARK FACE. He used to be one of my favorite characters... but it's hard to enjoy him as a character lately.

I... have nothing to add to this topic. I just wanted to jump in on the Homestuck talk 'cause I almost never get to complain about it.
 

Realitycrash

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WhiteFangofWar said:
'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 alteratives)', he drawled.
When I write, I prefer to stick to my rule (which I will not enforce on others, however, because it's just personal taste and not something that majorly bugs me) that you should never use the same adjective or verb twice in the same paragraph. Nouns are fine. However there are exceptions. Sometimes, it just looks silly to use some extravagant and old-fashioned synonym for "smile", even if the word comes up three-five times in two paragraphs next to each-other. If you truly can't rework the text to avoid using the word without changing the meaning, then go for it.
Problem (at times) is that many synonyms have very subtle different meanings, nuances, and aren't truly synonyms. 'Drawled' does not mean exactly the same as 'said'. 'Ejaculated' will RARELY work as a word carrying the meaning 'He said', with its heavy sexual overtones. Sure, you can use them, but some characters are described as having certain quirks or manners/patterns of speech, and using a different word to describe an action just to make it look nicer will not jive well with said characters patterns.

An easy way to avoid this, at least for 'Said', is to just not write it out all the time. For example:

John jumped off the side-walk into a small pool of gathered rain-water, slowly circling down the drain. He landed with a satisfying splash, soaking his brand new sneakers.
"Why must you always ruin good things?" Jake sighed behind him.
- "I don't know, maybe I see it as improving, ever thought of that?" John replied.
- "How so?"
- "Well, now they won't have that awful 'new-shoe smell'. I could never stand that. I mean, I like 'new-car smell', but 'new shoe'? Eww."
- "Could you possibly get any weirder?"
John smirked, bent his knees, took aim for another puddle, and catapulted himself into it. This time, he drenched not only himself, but Jake too.
- "If I'm weird, then so are you, brother".
 

Techno Squidgy

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shrekfan246 said:
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. So is War & Peace, if all those cartoons are anything to go by.
Tolkien was much more concerned with grandiose descriptions and intricately expanding the lore than he was with actually advancing the narrative forward. As a poet and philologist, he was also much better at setting up and describing the lore than he was actual specific events as they happened within the story.

It creates a somewhat stilted structure for people to try following.

I mean, I agree that they're good books for all intents and purposes, but their 'density' can flip over to being tedious and boring to the people who just want the story to get on with itself instead of reading another page and a half about those steps Frodo needs to climb.
It took me several very long train rides, late nights and pouches of tobacco to make it all the way through LotR. It's an absolute slog of a read. I kept having to go back and re-read sections where my eyes had glazed over...

Worth it in the end though. I found that things happened very quickly in LotR, it's just a lot of fluff between things happening.
 

Ace Morologist

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A Painfully Realistic Rule:

-Write what you like to read. If you try hard enough and look long enough, SOMEBODY will publish it. Or you could even publish it yourself. A lot of books are crap but they still got published. Some of those dudes even got rich writing that stuff.

"As for the rest of Coughlin's laws, ignore them. That guy was always full of shit."
 

TallanKhan

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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. So is War & Peace, if all those cartoons are anything to go by.
I think it has alot to do with the fact that writing styles have changed substantially in recent years and so has the writer/reader relationship. It used to be the case that an author's writing style was accepted as a legitimate artistic choice and as a reader you had to adapt to that if you wanted to enjoy their work. More recently writing has become less of an artistic and more of a scientific process (mostly as product of publishers looking to broaden a book's commercial potential) with things like accessibility to the reader considered during the actual writing process. For people who have grown up with many of these newer works, with fewer, more generic styles representing the bulk of their consumption this accessability has become an expectation. This expectation in turn can lead to something of a culture shock when people pick up the work of an author like Tolkien who expects the reader to put some effort into reading.
 

Realitycrash

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Spot1990 said:
Fractral said:
I'd add 1) Sex can be referred to, but tastefully, and with a minimum of description
Eh, it can all be summed up under the general Law of Conservation of Detail. If it doesn't serve the plot, or to illuminate aspects of the character, then leave it out. Now, I am not saying that you can't have blatant fanservice or food-porn, but it is in general frowned upon in fiction. I find it utterly pointless as I have readily access to porn or any other kind of desire that I need sated, but I understand that others might like such excursions.
 

contagonist

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Realitycrash said:
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?
Let's distill that into lethal purity.

Every story that ever was and ever will be is thus: something happens.

There. That's it. That's the plot to everything ever until there are no longer things. This is the ultimate spoiler.

Something happens.

No need to buy a book, or watch a movie, or play a video game ever again, because you already know what is going to happen: exactly something.

There, do you see what I did? Do you see the point I'm trying to make? I am not being unfair. I am pushing the doctrine of conceptual reduction to it's fullest logical extent. That extent is that everything is alike when you purposefully ignore what makes things unique.

You have a red flower and a blue flower. When you ignore color, they are the same flower.

This is wrong and you know it is bullshit. It becomes terrible when you let it guide your creative decisions.
 

Realitycrash

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contagonist said:
Realitycrash said:
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?
Let's distill that into lethal purity.

Every story that ever was and ever will be is thus: something happens.

There. That's it. That's the plot to everything ever until there are no longer things. This is the ultimate spoiler.

Something happens.

No need to buy a book, or watch a movie, or play a video game ever again, because you already know what is going to happen: exactly something.

There, do you see what I did? Do you see the point I'm trying to make? I am not being unfair. I am pushing the doctrine of conceptual reduction to it's fullest logical extent. That extent is that everything is alike when you purposefully ignore what makes things unique.

You have a red flower and a blue flower. When you ignore color, they are the same flower.

This is wrong and you know it is bullshit. It becomes terrible when you let it guide your creative decisions.
Depending on how you define 'Something happens', I could write a story which most likely 'nothing' happens. Take the classic Hemingway story, for instance.
"Baby shoes for sale, never worn". That's the entire story (and Hemingway famously went on to claim it was his best).

But I get your point. But I thought you argued just against one single archetypical story, and not the others. But I agree, dissing something for being 'an archetype' is kinda silly.
 

deathjavu

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Yes, technically nothing is original and 99% of the words you use already exist, writing is just about finding the right combination, blah blah blah.

You know what's really not original? This particular conversation about originality. Nor is it really helpful to writers. Worrying about the "originality" of something is utterly pointless; it's a waste of time at best and actively harmful to writing at worst.

You want a rule for writing? Write every day. There. #1, guaranteed to make you improve rule, moreso than any others listed.
 

Realitycrash

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Spot1990 said:
Realitycrash said:
Spot1990 said:
Fractral said:
I'd add 1) Sex can be referred to, but tastefully, and with a minimum of description
Eh, it can all be summed up under the general Law of Conservation of Detail. If it doesn't serve the plot, or to illuminate aspects of the character, then leave it out. Now, I am not saying that you can't have blatant fanservice or food-porn, but it is in general frowned upon in fiction. I find it utterly pointless as I have readily access to porn or any other kind of desire that I need sated, but I understand that others might like such excursions.
Well a book like Filth wouldn't work without graphic depictions of sex, so no it isn't always for titillation. People like Irvine Welsh and Chuck Palahniuk use it remarkably well. My point is simply that no other action needs to simply "be referred to" but without much detail, in fact that would be very poor writing. I just don't like the view that sex should be something we pretend doesn't happen and if it must happen then we must deal with it by not dealing with it
For me, a sex-scene that doesn't advance the plot is about as interesting as reading the main character having breakfast. It's tedious, so I prefer to have both of them skipped. However, if there is something significant or humorous to be said in either scene, something that is more than just Describing What Happens In Details, then go for it.
If detailed sex conveys how much the characters love each other, and have longed for each other, and yet they are nervous and this impacts on future events and is reflected in past events, and if you can pull all that shit off, then sure, go for it.
Most people can't. Most people really, really can't.
 

Keiichi Morisato

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thaluikhain said:
senordesol said:
The point being: if it's 'fantasy'; make up some 'fantastical' things -stuff that may not have a real-world analog.
Some stuff, no reason to get rid of everything real.

OTOH, if you can make up a brand new way of things working, good for you...very hard though.

OTOOH, there's no reason for anything in particular to be different. We generally accept that gravity works, and metallurgy is much the same, and so on. Way back when in D&D, the elves had a magical talent for seeing in the dark which was just a passive IR vision that could detect body heat. Certain other monsters had active IR, could see further, could see things that didn't have bodyheat, but they could themselves be easily seen by things with passive IR.

Likewise, there was a Conan story were the ancient monster was the last remnant of a species which had evolved before humanity, and then fallen into decline when their water source got poisoned.

I think it's unfortunate that there's a divide between science fiction and fantasy nowdays.

(Not to mention those insufferable people that insist on bigotry in their fantasy (no gay people, women are second class etc) because it's "realistic", but don't mind dragons and wizards and whatnot)
if an author doesn't want to include gay people in the book it's all on him, it really does not matter in the grand scheme of the story. if you are gay and want to include a gay character that is all on you. all i care about is whether that material is good or not.
 

BNguyen

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shrekfan246 said:
Realitycrash said:
(This is me and my lamentations concerning several styles of writing. It does not mean people are not free to enjoy whatever they like. It's me, humorously, criticizing them. The purpose of the thread is to add your own lamentations over styles and patters. So, go ahead. Not necessarily limited to books, but any form of story-telling)

1 For all future authors, here is an important rule: You get ONE (1) metaphor OR ONE (1) Simile PER SENTENCE.
One ought to think that it is more than sufficient and overly generous, yet it's been proven time and time again that you can't even handle this.
But how can they prove the flourish of their pens when they're forced into restraint, chained like a prisoner awaiting execution while wishing for the freedom of a bird, fearing the angry mob like so many stones rained down upon their person?

2 You are not JRR Tolkien. A sentence has a beginning, a middle, an end, and serves a purpose. A sentence is not an entire paragraph with dislocated abstract figures of speech and an abundance of adjectives.
If that is what you fancy, then you should write modern prose poetry.
And then suffer public execution.
He spoke the words resolutely but on these endless wires, the paths traveled in an instant by technology both sublime and unreal, connecting an entire world together with boundless abandon and allowing the instant communication only dreamed of in years gone by, he must have known they would go unheeded. For people are nothing if not stubborn when set in their ways. One would find it more and more difficult to sway them every morn, their hard personalities grown large as a redwood and even more rigid, festering like the rot of a plague over a ruined village at midday with nothing but the carrion birds for company.

3 Finally, if you simply must go on a dreamy tangent not at all related to the plot, where you expound upon the inner wishes and desires of your main character, please oh-sweet-mercyful-christ-please make it abundantly clear that this is indeed a dreamy tangent and a figment of the characters imagination. Because neither are you Pynchon. If you were, you'd be facing public execution, and we do not want that, do we? Because I like you. I really do
Was it simply a fever dream, though? He would never know. How could he, when all those around him were more bother than help. A few answers, that was all he asked, but he never got them. Cursed to roam the endless boards with no discernible landmarks--and in fact no evident land either--wandering the barren halls, haunted by the voices shouted from no mouth, stared upon by the faces with no eyes, while his own words were heard by those without ears. It felt an eternity before he found something he dared to call 'human'.
excellent work, good to see excellent backlash against an OP who tells you that the best way to get your work heard is to quietly slink off into the dark and mutter complete nonsense in all but the most simple of forms and even less concerning substance and heart towards what you, as an author, should be able to decide what and how to communicate with your readers. Is this all that modern art has been reduced to? The most simple slag and utter waste as can be produced by persons who consider themselves on par with masters such as Shakespeare, retelling his works but breaking them down into pathetic morals and one-dimensional characters who have no real thoughts of their own and react to but the basest of all human emotions - lust and fear?
As an aspiring author, I wish only to tell my readers, whether they exist or not, of how I see the worlds I create, of how I interact and listen to the characters that inhabit them, and how I was victim or instigator one of every event that took place, whether good or bad. That is what it means to be an artist and I, for one, will not stoop to the lowest common denominator just to earn a few wads of green cloth imprinted with the images of great leaders gone by.
 

FalloutJack

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Realitycrash said:
So then...

No invoking the Metaphorgotten trope.

No run-on sentence paragraphs.

No sudden trippy fantasies without warning.


Right, gotcha. We're good.
 

Thaluikhain

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Keiichi Morisato said:
(Not to mention those insufferable people that insist on bigotry in their fantasy (no gay people, women are second class etc) because it's "realistic", but don't mind dragons and wizards and whatnot)
if an author doesn't want to include gay people in the book it's all on him, it really does not matter in the grand scheme of the story. if you are gay and want to include a gay character that is all on you. all i care about is whether that material is good or not.[/quote]

Only they can't turn around and say that they couldn't include gay people, because it'd be unrealistic. However, this seems more prevalent amongst fans than writers.

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.
Argh, yes...I dunno if Campbell can be blamed for that, or just for writing the formula down like that, but yeah, enough already.
 

Dirty Hipsters

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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. So is War & Peace, if all those cartoons are anything to go by.
The problem with Tolkien is that he gets so focused on world building that he tends to forget the actual narrative that he's writing for paragraphs and even pages at a time, meaning large parts of his books have nothing to do with the immediate adventure. Now this would be fine, but there's also the second problem of the world building seemingly beginning in the center of things, rather than in a linear fashion, meaning that when he's describing one geographical area he talks about it in relation to other places and events, none of which have ever been mentioned in the story before. So essentially if you want to actually understand many of the descriptions at any level other than a cursory distraction, you need an encyclopedia of Middle Earth next to you as you're reading. So it's not really a problem of the writing being dense, it's more of a problem of Tolkien having an assumption that the reader is familiar with every bit middle earth history he's ever made up, and also capable of recalling all of it at will, which can tend to be rather tedious.

That's one of the reasons I liked The Hobbit more than I like the Lord of the Rings, it has less of the abstract world building elements, which makes it much easier to read.
 

Tom_green_day

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I look at this thread and see the same books and authors mentioned again and again- Tolkien, George Martin- you know there are other genres of book than fantasy/science-fiction, right?
My favourite author is Bill Bryson, I'm pretty sure he revolutionised comedy or travel writing and by employing a similar style I've made myself different to 99% of 'aspiring authors' who just try to write the new Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings.