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A few pointers to help write a story

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  15:13:09  6 November 2003
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Goodspeed
(Senior)
 
On forum: 07/25/2003
Messages: 70
A few pointers to help write a story

I
  18:40:31  6 November 2003
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Ian_C
The man lacking a plan
(V.I.P.)

 

 
On forum: 08/02/2003
Messages: 273
All sound advice, particularly about something as simple as using a spellchecker.

Another thing to bear in mind is not to get too frustrated with yourself, or your abilities, an assumption that people have made about me in the past is that because I write fairly well I must find writing easy and fluid - I don't. Both of the parts I've posted up so far for 'The difference...' have had about four drafts each, nobody comes out with great stuff on their first try ( well, some do, but let's not talk about them right now ), so you've just got to put as many ideas onto the page as possible and see how well they mesh together.

As Goodspeed said, if you clip and trim things only get better, your second draft will contain the good elements from your first, your third draft will contain the good elements from your second and the refined ideas of the first - which leaves the fourth draft to contain all these refinements plus avoiding the mistakes that you made before.

It can be a tedious process, and you'll need patience and honesty ( shouldn't be too difficult, as the majority of writers are incredibly self-critical ). You need to remember that nobody reads what you're writing unless you choose to let them; play around, try different styles, open another document and use it as a scrapbook for turns of phrase, character ideas, and short passages of description or action that pop into your head but you can't see a place for as of yet in the main story ( I've got about fifteen pages of rough notes like this, it all helps ).
  20:28:42  6 November 2003
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GrislySilence
Fanfic Reviewer
(Resident)

 

 
On forum: 10/06/2003
Messages: 168
I agree with Goodspeed in that you MUST hold your story in your hands. Even after you have already printed it out and checked for errors, do it again, you WILL miss some errors.

You might try writing under different circumstances than you are now if you find you're just not getting creative. Try different types of music, or no music at all, different lighting, different rooms. I usually use music that reminds me of what I'm writing. So think of the theme of your story, find some music that fits it, and press play. If you're typing your story as you're coming up with it, try writing it on paper first, or vice versa. You'd be surprised the results some of these can accomplish.

Inventive names are good. Don't make the mistake of using John and Mark and Mike and Bob and Billy over and over again. Simply changing the spelling a bit can make it better, like from John to Jon. Also, since Stalker is based in Russia, find some Russian names. I've always liked Mihail (not quite Mikhail), Svyatoslav, Ekaterine, Aleksandr, Pyotr, etc. But also be careful not to over-use cliched Russian names, names that even Americans have heard over and over. Alexei, and Mikhail are that way. Sometimes you can simply change a letter to a similar sounding one and you get a different spelling that is interesting, like from Pyotr to Piotr, or the other away around.

Sometimes you have to cut your favorite part out of the story. It hurts, I know, but you have to read it and make sure it works with the story. If anything, you can make another story where it does fit.

Make sure your characters are interesting, not paper cutouts who blaze through battles with lots of guns and explosions and blood.

Also, adjectives are cool, but you don't always need to use them. Short and sweet can sometimes flow better than slow and deep. But slow and deep is better for other situations. Don't make the story like a movie script, where every paragraph is about a sentence long. But don't make it a textbook either.

Logical structure is good as well. Makes sure we can follow where the story is going, even if we don't understand it (yet).

Keep the reader guessing. Don't explain everything. Don't make it too obvious where it's going to end up. Plot twists are good. But don't be too unbelievable.

Ok, that's it. Also, sign Ian_Cs petition.
  23:51:54  6 November 2003
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Claws
The Watcher
(Resident)

 

 
On forum: 10/23/2002
Messages: 1053
Good stuff guys, thanks for your effort.
  03:44:28  7 November 2003
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Amoki
back with a vengeance
(V.I.P.)

 

 
On forum: 07/31/2003
Messages: 1729
I think I also want to advise those who just started:

1) Do not hesistate to take a mentor. When I first started, I went around the forum and the Community part of STALKER to read others advice, and learn from them. That was how Goodspeed became mine- I had been flooding his Inbox ever since, although he hardly realised it... Taking a mentor means someone who can give you objective comments, but in the same time had a lot of patience to deal with you ...

2) Take "White Mice." Maybe this may be not possible since the holiday is coming, but always try to give them to your friends to read, even though they complain, whinge their way through the story... What they say may be how the others see your story. If they said it is too damn long, take the advice. Cut it short.

3) Read your books. This is the good 'ol fashion way. Buy a book, Download an e-book from KaZaa. Look for names like Tom Clancy, and study their sentence structure. Study their flow of Idea, the way their story peaks. Hell, even reading the Bible helps Comon' , don't tell me you plan to waste your time on computer games

4)Practise make perfect. The more you write, the more you learn,especially from the current rating system For this, I must thank Goodspeed again for his sound advise

5) Don't overdo your description! Why? You just need enough description to let the others know and imagine the setting accurately but not precise. Overdo your adjectives, and your story is going to be damn bored. (yawn) did I mention boring?

6) DO not write long story. This is what I had learn from my "My Stalker's Memoir" series. Yes, you may have the flame to type, but others don't have the flame to read. Remember- those novels in the market is on paper- readers can put a bookmark on it. The story in the literature contest don't. And you must remember- most of the people who surf the net Don't Read Books! But hey, there is a lad who liked my story so much that he printed it and read it and kept it, that Steathfish.
Plus, if your story is long, people will bound to get bored. This is what happened to Goodspeed. Poor lad , I gave him those kind of story that was worth 40-50 pages in MS word, and boy, he only made it through the first ten... But never mind. I must thank him again and again. (And by the way, Goodspeed, if you see this, II already sent you a new story with only 12 pages.)

7) Do your reseach! This is a must. see 8). If you don't know, always ask around, partucularly in the "Gameplay and Balance" section. There's a few weaponary expert around, one of them worth mentioning is X5060.

8) Know your audience. This is also a must. A very good example: Does a Tenor singer targets audience that liked Linkin' Park? No. The same goes with your story. People in the website are FPS fans - that's why they landed in the STALKER website and happened to come across the story. Hell, you don't try to cheat them by saying that you got a WWII Thompson in The Zone or had an OICW in the Dealer's attic.

9) Put your writing on paper. This is the Best way to start your writing- from sketch. This is what I had started doing. This way, you can avoid wordiness (after all, who had the flame to write 30 pages in a role?) and have the chance to redo your story again when you type. As Ian C said, the second type you write it, the ideas will go smoother, and you will get some more cool ideas.

10) Theme is the most important thing. Never, never do repeat others theme. And don't go for the Havoc type of storyline. Havoc is a character in C&C : Renegade, and,boy, he can put 1 round into others head to score a headshot of death, but he just can't seem to die unless the adversaries was too much. You do that kind of plot, the readers will lynch you. They will hang you on a tree and burnt your house

11) And this is what contradicts Goodspeed's comment. Never tell yourself your stories are crap. If you like it, they are some people who will like it eventually. But for this, you must put an effort to do your story. It will worth, tell yourself that. But for those really sick stories like "The eye" or the "HBW vs. THe Lucardion Zombies," don't even think about using this comment. THis is not personal, but the writer seemed to want a cheap way out to get the story.
12) And don't hesistate to post your story in the forum. They are a lot of kind folks like Ian C who will see them and comment. Learn from them.

And lastly, sign Ian C's Petition The current voting system really needs a change!

This is a few story which I suppose really worth studying- use them
1) The lost of innoncence 2) The difference between you and me 3) Live Cargo 4) Me and my AK 5) He who dares win series 6) Sasha Petrovic 7) Kill or be killed 8) THe pilgrimage (Newly posted) 9) Grisly Silence's Work, I can't remember the name 10) My stalker's memoir series ( if you compare them, aside from the length, you will discover the story is improving, thanks to Goodspeed's advice. But don't read it, that's why I put it at last- for some people, it is just too damn long, and my spelling was a little bit messy)

And remember- practise make perfect.
  02:42:32  8 November 2003
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Amoki
back with a vengeance
(V.I.P.)

 

 
On forum: 07/31/2003
Messages: 1729
I amy have some speeling mistake- I didn't bother to check. Not that I can't spell them. I.e, role means 'row'
  09:27:55  11 November 2003
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Amoki
back with a vengeance
(V.I.P.)

 

 
On forum: 07/31/2003
Messages: 1729
hey, Goodspeed, you still around?
  11:39:03  11 November 2003
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Goodspeed
(Senior)
 
On forum: 07/25/2003
Messages: 70
Right here Amoki. Just popping in from time to time, between work. You see, I've also submitted my own story. It's a bit frustrating to see that other people's work gets posted, but not yours. I know they're busy, I'm just a bit impatient. But I still haven't received a receipt cofirmation (after sending it twice), so the absolute uncertainty is getting to me.

The reason I haven't posted it on the Forum yet, is because I'm a big nitpicker about the text format (bold, italic en such). If I post it here, it'll all be gone and I have no way of correcting it.

Anyway, you've send me such a lot of text, it's taking it's time to read. But I do like what you did with the blind dogs! Very unexpected and creative indeed.
  02:58:51  12 November 2003
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Amoki
back with a vengeance
(V.I.P.)

 

 
On forum: 07/31/2003
Messages: 1729
Thanks Goodspeed.

Anyway, I come up with a few more tips to those who write:
1) Never trust MS Word. No, this is not from the spelling aspect, but whoever wrote the programme never designed it for writing. Sometimes the 'fragment' error is directly at the point where you are creating thoughts for your character, giving ideas, so on. Just ignore it. You follow it, it'll just kill your readers interest. And bear in mind, people from Microsoft did not join the contest
2) Originality. Explore the top-tens, and youll see what I meant. this is a list that I find :
Ian C's - revolution of the mutants.
Kill or be killed- dillema of killing
THe pilrimage- another version of what the military is doind, which is VERY interesting.
Live Cargo- the description of a day (and final day) in two government Zone worker's life.
Me and my AK - sadness if someone losing his AK ( though I rather go for the SVU- it
cost more )
REscuing love- a white knight resuing his damsel in distress ( how original , but really
a break from the monotony of killing and shooting), although not top-ten
3) ALways have a clear plot in your story. Never ever start from a thread, and end with a thread, as us chinese say- start with the head of a tiger, end with the tail of a snake. Not only it is messy, you just wasted your readers time.
4) while shrinking your story, remember to bear in mind not to repeart certain mistake. I'll point on out: "He put on the mouthpiece to his mouth." or "He climb up the stairs." You should notice it.

  17:25:29  10 December 2003
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GrislySilence
Fanfic Reviewer
(Resident)

 

 
On forum: 10/06/2003
Messages: 168
Hey Claws, could you make this thread Sticky? It's not going to help any new writers if its buried under all the other threads and they have to sift through them to find it.
 
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