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About Literature / Hobbyist Premium Member Brandon22/Male/United States Groups :icontailsxcosmo-fanclub: TailsxCosmo-FanClub
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I'd like to share something with you. Recently, I was asked by one of my readers if I had any tips for good writing. What I initially thought to be a simple question, turned into an in-depth study of my own style of writing. I quickly came to the realization that there is no single correct method, and that any tips I gave would not be universally applicable to everyone. Given that my primary focus is fanfiction, I have decided to write a journal containing a few of my own ideas that I thought useful to the creative process. Again, there is no single way to write a story, and this is in no way intended to be a definitive guide to writing in general, but I hope that you can draw some meaning from my musings to help construct your own personal style.

#1 There is No Such Thing as "Too Much" Detail



Detail, I believe, is the most fundamental part of good literature. The ability to paint pictures with words--to intricately describe every scenario and character--allows the reader to become immersed in the world you have constructed. If you ever worry that you are being overly descriptive in your writing, here's a tip: don't. If you take three pages to describe the appearance of grass, then take those three pages! Cram every bit of detail into your writing possible. So long as your sentences flow well into each other and do not become repetitive, then the amount of detail is irrelevant.

#2 The Who, Why, and How?



There is a reason for everything--or at least there should be. This is something to consider in every aspect of your writing. Action without motivation is meaningless, and motivation without reason is empty. For every plot element, you should ask yourself three things, WHO is executing the action? WHY are they doing it? And HOW do they go about it? For example, if I have a character who has been established as gentle and pacifistic, and they commit a murder, the audience will become confused unless an explanation is given. If one fails to explain, then the reality of the scenario begins to break down, alienating your audience in the process. Always keep in mind the character you are writing for. If an action or motivation does not suit their personality, you should probably reconsider writing it.

#3 Use Them "Big Words"!



The English language is beautiful. There are so many interesting phrases and words that can be used to describe a scenario. Part of being a good writer is learning to command the English language correctly, and bend it to your will. If you feel that there is a particular word or phrase that you are using too frequently, pick up a thesaurus and see if there are other synonyms to use instead. One of the best ways to draw an audience is to make them think. If you confront them with an unfamiliar word, it prompts them to use their own deductive reasoning to derive the meaning from the other words surrounding it. It invokes a sense of curiosity, and alludes to a deeper meaning when you utilize the most descriptive and colorful words in your arsenal. If you are interested in broadening your linguistic scope, I would highly recommend picking up a copy of the book The Well Spoken Thesaurus by Tom Heehler. This book illustrates how to word things in the most powerful and effective way possible, and provides a handy guide for alternate words and phrases for common, every day words and phrases. I would highly recommend giving it a read.

#4 A Little Fan Service Never Killed Anybody



Let's face it, fanfiction is the highest form of fan service. Any way you slice it, you are writing for the gratification of yourself. Perhaps your favorite series ended on a sour note. Maybe you felt that the story wasn't finished yet. Or possibly, the characters you thought should end up together simply did not. Whatever the reason, fanfiction satisfies our need to see a desired outcome reached. This is not bad, and is just as legitimate a motivator for writing as any.

In fiction, we are describing a reality apart from our own--a place where anything can (and does) happen. No matter how realistic you try and make your story, in the end, you are still writing what I like to call "exaggerated reality". Everything in fiction is far more bombastic and fantastical than our world. That is the joy of fictional writing--the evocation of powerful emotions through embellished scenarios. This is not to say that everything should be written this way. If you write a story too far from reality, you alienate your audience, as they have no way to relate to your story. A few well-placed nuggets of fan service, however, can spice up a literary piece. It gratifies the audience. It takes into account what they (and you) want to happen, and grants them that satisfaction. If your two favorite lovers are sitting in a room together, insert that little bit of cheesy dialogue you have cooked up! Let them share a little kiss! (Even if it does slightly break character.) Adding that little touch of romanticism provides a nice break from reality, in favor of a more ideal scenario. Give in to the "mushy" side you have, and have fun with it!

#5 Don't Fear Mary Sue!



Mary Sue--the most dreaded term a writer (especially of fanfiction) can hear in reference to their character. For those of you unfamiliar with the writing vernacular, a Mary Sue is defined as a character (traditionally female) who is so perfect as to be annoying. The male equivalent of this is the Marty Stu.

Every writer desires to create characters of interest. Whether they be protagonist, antagonist or supporting cast, every author wants their character to contribute to the story in a meaningful way. Some writers, often budding ones, experience difficulty in keeping their characters in equilibrium with the rest of the story. This is not inherently bad, and is quite normal for the evolution of one's early writing. Unfortunately, that this can sometimes have the effect of overshadowing the plot--when one's character(s) becomes so grandiose, that all events begin to revolve around them. In fear of doing just that, some writers adopt the entirely opposite technique. These "Anti-Sues" are unskilled, unattractive, painfully dull characters and make very poor protagonists.

Consider the epic poem "Beowulf" (c. 700 - 1000), who's story centers around the Geatish protagonist of the same name. The poem forms its entire plot around just how awesome Beowulf is, for lack of a better description. In it, Beowulf is a hero, a king and later, a martyr. A man of strength, character and appeal, with no glaring flaws or weaknesses. By modern literary standards, the character of Beowulf could arguably be considered a Mary Sue (Marty Stu), yet Beowulf is considered one of the greatest (and oldest) literary works of all time! What distinguishes him from a badly written fanfiction character? My conclusion: there is no such thing as Mary Sues!

Every character appeals to someone in some way. The question you ask yourself should not be, "is my character too perfect?" There are numerous characters in fiction who could be described as being the best, whether it be in looks, intelligence or profession. A few examples are Sebastian Michales from Black Butler, The Doctor from Doctor Who, and Sonic from the Sonic the Hedgehog Series. (Yes, I went there.) What you should be asking is, "does my character fit here?" A lot of this depends on the scenario. If the story in question is about your character and their life (like "Beowulf"), then your character fitting in shouldn't be an issue. When utilizing your original character(s) in fanfiction, however, it becomes slightly more complicated. Ensuring your character does not steal the limelight when placed next to the others can be difficult, especially when you want your character to be noticed. Be mindful of your scenario. Unless they are the focus of the story, your character should never become the plot. Rather, they should help move events forward, along with the other characters. If you feel you've messed up and made your character too big, that's okay. That's part of growing your skills--realizing your mistakes and making changes. In the end, there is no gage that determines whether your character is a Sue or not, because everything is subjective. What one person might consider "overpowered", another might consider "heroic". Be mindful of your scenario and your target audience, and never be afraid to write the character that you want to create!

More "Darkest Night" coming soon! Happy writing!
  • Mood: Content
  • Listening to: White Wine in the Sun - Tim Minchin
  • Reading: Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug
  • Playing: Star Wars: The Old Republic
  • Drinking: Coffee

deviantID

TheFicDoctor
Brandon
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United States
It was the year of 2009. Having been home schooled for nearly six years and experienced heavy ridicule in public school, I had become a recluse, and my social skills had dwindled into non-existence. Having my drive stolen by what I perceived as a world out to get me, my motivation began to dwindle and I fell into the same trap of laziness so many young people experience today. Thrust back into the social battleground of high school, my experience was jarring to say the least. For the most part I kept to myself, avoiding contact with others and quietly doing my assignments.

I had always been the artistic sort. Having the ability to sink into my own world to escape the rigours and strife of the real one became one of the few comforts I knew. On the suggestion of a friend of my mother's, I submitted a poorly cobbled together portfolio to my school's art program on the off-chance that it might be accepted. I was genuinely surprised when I received a response from the head of the art academy, Rick Moncrief, who was not only impressed with my work, but was eager to enrol me in the art academy immediately. Hesitant, I came to the decision that I needed to branch out and agreed to participate in the art program.

Open to like-minded people who understood and accepted me, I began to open up once more, and was exposed to my potential as an artist. Inspired by things of my childhood, much of my art consisted of things such as Star Wars, Sonic the Hedgehog and Comic Book Heroes. My interests began to encompass far more than mere art, however. I began to spread into the fields of literature and English, which I discovered I possessed a previously undiscovered talent in. These skills, combined with my literary ability and childhood idols, began to merge, and the seeds of a plot to an epic story began to form in my mind. Unfortunately, my persistent laziness prevented this idea from coming to fruition. Feeling unable to move beyond this, I chose to discuss the issue with my teacher, who had become a very good friend and almost a surrogate father to myself. I realized that there was simply no easy solution. There was no switch I could flip in my head to create motivation. I would have to force myself, regardless of my emotional state. Pondering on this, I decided to begin with something I enjoyed--writing. Implementing the plot that had swirled in my head for some time, I thrust myself into the story with the promise that I would finish it, regardless of how long it took.

Thus, I pressed forward, pushing myself on despite my frustrations. Initially hesitant to share my story with others, I took my writing a step further by posting what I had created on the artistic website, deviantART. In less than a month I had accumulated a following of nearly fifty readers who considered my work exemplary. I was astounded by the reaction, and my confidence began to resurface after hiding away for so long. Finishing off my first book, I received an overwhelming amount of feedback asking me to continue my story. Indeed, my plot had not been finished. There was so much more to be told. Four years later, my story has expanded to four different books in a series, and is still incomplete. My following grows each day; and all of this began with a promise. My name is Brandon, and I won't stop until I'm finished...
Interests

Would you say my quality of writing has improved or become worse as my story has progressed? 

70%
16 deviants said Improved, definitely!
26%
6 deviants said It has been consistent.
4%
1 deviant said Other (Comment Please)
0%
No deviants said It has gotten worse. I'm starting to lose interest.

Comments


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:iconfancy1001:
Fancy1001 Featured By Owner 3 days ago
hey fic, what have you been up to
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:icontheficdoctor:
TheFicDoctor Featured By Owner 3 days ago  Hobbyist Writer
Ugh... work. I got a new phone recently and had most of my writing for the next chapter stored on my old one. I forgot about it and erased it. It was almost finished... Now I have to write it again...
Reply
:iconfancy1001:
Fancy1001 Featured By Owner 3 days ago
i had to go through the same type of thing when i lost my ipad, but thanks to the fact that i had sent all but the current chs in an email, i wasn't forced to rewrite the entire story, just ch 16, but that is rough, sorry fic. 
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:icontheficdoctor:
TheFicDoctor Featured By Owner 3 days ago  Hobbyist Writer
I'll live. It's just annoying.
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(1 Reply)
:iconheroofshadow:
HeroofShadow Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2015
Do you watch Gravity Falls? If you don't, I reccommend watching it. Show is superb
Reply
:icontheficdoctor:
TheFicDoctor Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
No, I haven't.
Reply
:iconiyzeekiil:
Iyzeekiil Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
I've been thinking, I feel that the current pictures you have from me are a tad out dated...I was thinking if you were interested in having me remake them. 
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:icontheficdoctor:
TheFicDoctor Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
It's certainly up to you, dude. I love every single piece you do for me. Outdated or not.
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:iconiyzeekiil:
Iyzeekiil Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
Also, I think because of my new tools and toys and tricks of the trade I have learned over time. I think I would be willing to..well..come back to doing the art for the series!...that is if you'd be open or be'd willing to have me back. ( Unless you already found a replacement)
Reply
:icontheficdoctor:
TheFicDoctor Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Dude, I'd love that. I haven't found a reliable replacement yet.
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(1 Reply)
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