The Writing Thread -

madethistocomment

welcome to god's mosh pit
kiwifarms.net
I've noticed that the stories I have the easiest time writing tend to have a melancholy feeling to them.

I've got one story that's about a teenage boy coming to terms with his best friend's disappearance and then another about a young girl's life growing up dirt poor in the southwest, and then her struggles as an adult. I dunno why it's easier for me to write about stuff like this, considering I really like writing happy, fluffy stuff. My writer's block is just less prominent when it comes to The Sads™.
 

Oscar Wildean

OK Corral
kiwifarms.net
The stories I've had the easiest time writing are angsty ones. Even though I also like happy stories. My biggest writer's block problem is dialogue.
For example, I do a historical writing group story thing with people every year involving the Titanic and characters and I always get stuck on character dialogue when everyone else writes perfect background stories.
 

Galvatron

I can do no wrong... for I do not know what it is.
kiwifarms.net
I've noticed that the stories I have the easiest time writing tend to have a melancholy feeling to them.

I've got one story that's about a teenage boy coming to terms with his best friend's disappearance and then another about a young girl's life growing up dirt poor in the southwest, and then her struggles as an adult. I dunno why it's easier for me to write about stuff like this, considering I really like writing happy, fluffy stuff. My writer's block is just less prominent when it comes to The Sads™.
Well, are you a depressed person? Or do you have any prominent sad memories that have molded who you are as a person? I’ve heard that our personalities naturally come out in our writing, (you know, unless of course you deliberately try to write something opposite of your own mindset)
 
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Tasty Tatty

kiwifarms.net
I was kind of afraid the first book of my story would be too long, so after updating the outline, it ended up with about 25 chapters:

For the record:

Philosopher's Stone: 17
Fellowship of the Ring: 22
A Game of Thrones: 72 (although some are very short)
Twilight: 22
Outlander: 41
Hunger Games: 21

I know I shouldn't be worrying about this and do my own, but I think a first part should be short enough to not get the reader bored, only interested and expectant for more.
 

Fibonacci

Koning der Pijpbeurt
kiwifarms.net
Several years ago when I was at the height of my epic I HAVE AUTISM PLEASE LAUGH AT ME phase, I drafted a script for a hypothetical OPL-themed stage play (which I naturally envisioned could be adapted into a musical featuring OPL-themed parodies of popular pop/rock songs). I lost the original pages, but at some point had photocopied them and just today found the first 5 pages hidden away on my computer whilst cleaning out my documents folder.

Without further ado, I present to you, for your reading displeasure... CWC Get Your Coat: There's A Hippo On Your Head.

CWC Page 1.jpg
CWC Page 2.jpg
CWC Page 3.jpg
CWC Page 4.jpg
CWC Page 5.jpg

Note: I noticed a few unintended errors in the writing, but aside from that, the dialogue was mostly written in eye dialect and was intended to be read phonetically (including omitted words as part of Chris's infamous stuttering speech pattern).
 
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Oscar Wildean

OK Corral
kiwifarms.net
Does anyone else have problems starting off their stories? I'm writing a historical character's backstory and that's what I always get stuck on. The opening. Is there a way to fix that problem? It's always a frustrating thing for me when it comes to writing.
(That and having to write divorce in 1911, that's tedious and complicated.)
 
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Fibonacci

Koning der Pijpbeurt
kiwifarms.net
Does anyone else have problems starting off their stories? I'm writing a historical character's backstory and that's what I always get stuck on. The opening. Is there a way to fix that problem? It's always a frustrating thing for me when it comes to writing.
(That and having to write divorce in 1911, that's tedious and complicated.)
That is a very common struggle. Personally what I do, and I've heard other writers say this as well, is I skip the opening paragraph altogether and save it for last. It's actually a lot easier for me to write from the middle or the conclusion and work from there. This, of course, is only if you're writing a story or essay with a definitive ending or final destination. If I wanted my character or characters to evolve organically, I may not want to focus on the ending so early on.
 
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Oscar Wildean

OK Corral
kiwifarms.net
That is a very common struggle. Personally what I do, and I've heard other writers say this as well, is I skip the opening paragraph altogether and save it for last. It's actually a lot easier for me to write from the middle or the conclusion and work from there. This, of course, is only if you're writing a story or essay with a definitive ending or final destination. If I wanted my character or characters to evolve organically, I may not want to focus on the ending so early on.
In my case, I'm writing something where it's important that I start with the opening since I'll be posting it on a historical site. Although I have a month before I plan on actually getting deep into it. So I do have time to start off with my next scene and then go back to the opening. I'm trying to get in the mind of my main character and imagine what he's doing. My problem is I know what this character is supposed to do- he's going to work as a bank clerk (in 1909) but I'm having trouble writing what he's doing and how his day is going. I have an idea. I'm struggling to write it out. I'll probably just skip straight to the family dinner if I keep having issues with this. I envy people who can easily write out their first chapter.
It's definitely easier to write the middle scenes and so on. I don't know why.
 

Venus

Dat bitch
kiwifarms.net
Does anyone else have problems starting off their stories? I'm writing a historical character's backstory and that's what I always get stuck on. The opening. Is there a way to fix that problem? It's always a frustrating thing for me when it comes to writing.
(That and having to write divorce in 1911, that's tedious and complicated.)
The best way to feed backstory to the audience is to feed it to them the most organic way you can- I find that dialogue is the best way to do this. (With the divorce part- maybe have him confide in a trusted coworker about it over lunch break? That’d be one way to establish he’s getting divorced without info dumping the reader. You could also show it in the dynamic between him and his wife when he comes home- does he resent her? Does she resent him? Are they both simply young people who got married too early and regret it?)

Maybe you can start the story with the character leaving work to go have dinner with the family. That way, you can establish his occupation to the audience.

Or you can also establish their occupation by having another character ask them about how their day at work went.

Or maybe it starts with them being late for work?

Possibilities are endless, just go with whichever feels right.

Remember that your readers won’t care to read too much about the job description, they’ll be able to figure out they’re a bank clerk if you can sum it up in a sentence or less.
 
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Oscar Wildean

OK Corral
kiwifarms.net
The best way to feed backstory to the audience is to feed it to them the most organic way you can- I find that dialogue is the best way to do this. (With the divorce part- maybe have him confide in a trusted coworker about it over lunch break? That’d be one way to establish he’s getting divorced without info dumping the reader. You could also show it in the dynamic between him and his wife when he comes home- does he resent her? Does she resent him? Are they both simply young people who got married too early and regret it?)

Maybe you can start the story with the character leaving work to go have dinner with the family. That way, you can establish his occupation to the audience.

Or you can also establish their occupation by having another character ask them about how their day at work went.

Or maybe it starts with them being late for work?

Possibilities are endless, just go with whichever feels right.

Remember that your readers won’t care to read too much about the job description, they’ll be able to figure out they’re a bank clerk if you can sum it up in a sentence or less.
That's a brilliant way to handle the divorce thing. The problem is that Edwardian divorce took ages to do and was harder than getting divorced these days so I'm probably better off having it mentioned in conversation after all that time has passed by. In this case, I can see my character mentioning it to an estranged brother in a bitter way after running into him. Something like "You don't have to worry about me being with so and so. She's left/divorced me, just like you all wanted."
'Thanks for the tips. I think I will have him leave for work to have dinner with the family.
 
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Krimjob

kiwifarms.net
So question, two actually I guess. I've always been into writing, but recently I've gotten real serious about it after reading some of Murakamis work. So I want to get my writing up a notch, as I'm planning on posting my work online.

One: What is the deal with dialogue formatting? I sometimes see dialogue inside of a paragraph, and sometimes on a separate line. Is there a rule to follow here or what? I tried finding a pattern to it in some short stories I've read but they seem to just do whatever they feel like. I have books on the subject but they always focus on how to write dialogue creatively, never technically.

Two: I get that this is a real stupid question but what's your take on details? For example in my current piece, a short story, two characters are walking home together. How much details are too much on their surroundings and they themselves. I've read some expert advice on this, such as leaving the MC kind of open to make it easier for the reader to self-insert, but I never seem to find any decent advice on when I'm getting too much into detail. I get that this is largely a personal matter and the important aspect is for the text to flow, but I assume there has to be some pointers?
 

Underestimated Nutria

kiwifarms.net
I have never written before and just decided for the purposes of this thread to write the first couple paragraphs of what I thought would be a space opera type short story. I emphasise that I have never done anything like this before, did not plan the following, and have no idea what I am doing, where the story is going, or what I should do next. So any advice would be appreciated.

I was dancing the death dance when I found myself face to face with the ship master, Cmdr. James.

"My lord," he said, throwing himself to the ground and grinding his face into the sleek metal floor. "I beg your forgiveness for this cruel interruption. But it is an emergency -- we have detected a shipping convoy not ten hours flight away."

"A trap?" I asked.

"I cannot say, my lord."

I hastily washed my face of the ritual blood and pigments, quit my private quarters and made my way down the corridor toward the command centre. Along the way I encountered three crewmen who I had sentenced the earlier day for disciplinary infractinos. Their crimes being minor, it sufficed to suspend the three by ropes at various points along the main ship corridor. It was already apparent from the demeanor of pasing crewmembers that this punishment was instructive. Nonetheless, I ordered the first prisoner to be discharged back to her duties. She had been found guilty of insubordination, but the evidence against her amounted to little more than a rude stare and a cold mien, and so was sufficiently questionable that I implemented punishment merely to a avoid having her commander suffer a loss of authority.

The third prisoner met my eyes with an absent gaze. I was not offended and did not feel that his intention was to offend me. But it was not the face of a prisoner undergoing punishment, and I ordered that the skin around his wrists and waist, from which he was suspended, be flayed before he was returned to the ropes.

It occurred to me then that our encounter with the convoy might mean that I might leave the ship and not return for days or weeks. If that were to happen, who would order the prisoners to be taken down? I chuckled with bad humor. Keeping power as an admiral meant promoting - or grinding people into - subordinates who were craven, weak, suspicious, bitterly divided among themselves and terrified to exercise power. I had no illusions whatsoever about that. But if it were otherwise, I would not have survived a week in my position, let alone the thirty years that I have been charged with the command of the Empire's navy.
 

ISOPODEYES

14 beers at chili's 2: return of jafar
kiwifarms.net
Usually I write shitty Sonic fanfiction in the survival horror genre, I'm considering sharing one of the chapters I'm working on with a friend. Hopefully it won't become the next Fallout: Equestria.
 

iRON-mAn

kiwifarms.net
One: What is the deal with dialogue formatting? I sometimes see dialogue inside of a paragraph, and sometimes on a separate line. Is there a rule to follow here or what? I tried finding a pattern to it in some short stories I've read but they seem to just do whatever they feel like. I have books on the subject but they always focus on how to write dialogue creatively, never technically.
You should always take a new sentence every time someone new speaks but there's no exact place within the sentence that it needs to be (say the start or end), so,

"This is speech," he said.

is equally as valid as

He said, "This is speech."

Or you can do both.

"This is speech," he said. "As is this".

But when you add a second character, it should always be,

"This is speech," he said.
She said, "And this is dialogue."

Note that commas should precede or follow dialogue tags (said, replied, shouted). However, if an action follows the speech, it should be accompanied by a period.

"This is speech," he said as he sat in the chair.
"And this..." She took the seat beside him before continuing. "...is dialogue."

If the speech is particularly long, like something you'd hear from John Galt, the speech should be separated into paragraphs based on subject and topic as you normally would.

The book I found best for a lot of this kind of stuff was 'Self-Editing for Fiction Writers' by Renni Browne and Dave King.

Two: I get that this is a real stupid question but what's your take on details? For example in my current piece, a short story, two characters are walking home together. How much details are too much on their surroundings and they themselves. I've read some expert advice on this, such as leaving the MC kind of open to make it easier for the reader to self-insert, but I never seem to find any decent advice on when I'm getting too much into detail. I get that this is largely a personal matter and the important aspect is for the text to flow, but I assume there has to be some pointers?
Enough to give context, but nothing irrelevant. So, if it's a winter's day you can mention the cold, or details about how they can see their breath when they talk, if it's still early maybe there's still some frost in the grass, you can mention whether they're wearing heavy clothing or shivering, because it builds the immediate world in which they're walking home. Diverging into a tangent about how this winter is colder than the last three winters and how climate change is ruining the world would be too much.

But it's not a hard and fast rule, because, as you say, it's largely personal preference, and there are a lot of authors who have had tremendous success despite their tendencies to over indulge in the details. Some readers love it, some readers will be put off, at the end of the day it's largely about how much you think is enough depending on what you're trying to convey with the story. Short stories do tend to need to be more concise that novels though, when you need to be a lot stricter about word count.
 

Krimjob

kiwifarms.net
You should always take a new sentence every time someone new speaks but there's no exact place within the sentence that it needs to be (say the start or end), so,

"This is speech," he said.

is equally as valid as

He said, "This is speech."

Or you can do both.

"This is speech," he said. "As is this".

But when you add a second character, it should always be,

"This is speech," he said.
She said, "And this is dialogue."

Note that commas should precede or follow dialogue tags (said, replied, shouted). However, if an action follows the speech, it should be accompanied by a period.

"This is speech," he said as he sat in the chair.
"And this..." She took the seat beside him before continuing. "...is dialogue."

If the speech is particularly long, like something you'd hear from John Galt, the speech should be separated into paragraphs based on subject and topic as you normally would.

The book I found best for a lot of this kind of stuff was 'Self-Editing for Fiction Writers' by Renni Browne and Dave King.



Enough to give context, but nothing irrelevant. So, if it's a winter's day you can mention the cold, or details about how they can see their breath when they talk, if it's still early maybe there's still some frost in the grass, you can mention whether they're wearing heavy clothing or shivering, because it builds the immediate world in which they're walking home. Diverging into a tangent about how this winter is colder than the last three winters and how climate change is ruining the world would be too much.

But it's not a hard and fast rule, because, as you say, it's largely personal preference, and there are a lot of authors who have had tremendous success despite their tendencies to over indulge in the details. Some readers love it, some readers will be put off, at the end of the day it's largely about how much you think is enough depending on what you're trying to convey with the story. Short stories do tend to need to be more concise that novels though, when you need to be a lot stricter about word count.
Holy crap, thanks a lot. This was a lot easier to get than my current books on the subject made it out to be.

I'll keep the book you recommended in mind, I've heard tons of of authors quote it as one of their main sources for guidance/advice so it seems really good.
 

iRON-mAn

kiwifarms.net
I'll keep the book you recommended in mind, I've heard tons of of authors quote it as one of their main sources for guidance/advice so it seems really good.
It is, and the authors have quite a light-hearted, jokey approach to the subject, so it's an easy read as well.
 

Oscar Wildean

OK Corral
kiwifarms.net
What's a good thing to do if you get stuck on a scene? I'm writing a chapter where my main character (in 1909) is being set to marry a well off young woman and they're meeting and talking for the first time. I was doing alright until they were introduced and I got stuck on the conversation. It's quite frustrating.

If I can't come up with anything right now I'll probably just skip to the next scene and then go backward.
 
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