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Carol,Back to the top
I'm sure you are getting a lot of suggestions about your post re: fanfic authors. I wish someone had done something like this for me when I first started out.
I'm relatively new to the fanfic world, only been doing it for a couple of years. What I've learned about writing, I've learned from reading books on writing, and receiving feedback from others. Some of that feedback was positive and constructive, while others was downright nasty.
I think it helps if you have a thick skin if you want to write. There's no way you can do this day in and day out with thin skin. I was so desperate to know what I was doing wrong when I first started out, I read the nasty criticism and tried to find ways to use it to my advantage. I'm not saying that I'm a good writer now, simply wiser than I was two years ago.
My suggestion to new writers? Find a mentor. Find someone who is willing to be a beta reader and who has good grammar and editing skills. Otherwise, you are at the mercy of those out there that know about as much or less than you do. It's hard to find someone who has that sort of time to dedicate to such a project, but they exist. There are hungry fans out there that are always waiting for the next story.
Just my suggestion. :)
I hope some would find this helpful.Back to the top
1) A thesaurus and a dictionary are a writers best friend.
There's nothing more annoying than seeing the same word over and over again, especially when they're close to one another(i.e. same paragraph).
ex. 1) The body was gone. Scully ran towards the room, looking under every nook and cranny for the body.
Replacing it with "it" or "the cadaver" would have worked better.
ex. 2) Mulder felt his heart race as he jumped down the nadir.
This sentence doesn't make sense. If you don't know what a word means, look it up. Your prose can be as lyrical as can be, but you're not going to get a lot of readers if they can't understand you.
2) Grammar is important.
Now, you don't have to be a total expert(like mixing up commas with semicolons. Unless the reader is real picky, chances are, he/she won't even notice), but it's important to know the basics like making a new paragraph whenever the speaker or subject changes. Quotation marks and spelling are also very important.
ex) "Scully, why can't you accept that Elvis might have fathered those children?" Mulder asked, pacing around the dim office while thinking of arguments to counter his partner's often predictable theories.
"Because he's dead."
"Not according to this local paper."
It's pretty easy to figure out whose speaking which line. Compare it to:
Skully, why can't you acept that elvis might have fatherred those children? Mulder asked, pacing around the dim ofice while thinking of arguments to counter his partner's often predictable theories. Because hes dead. Not acording to this local paper.
3) Make sure the characters are acting in character.
There are, of course, exceptions to this(like an alternate universe or humor story), but for the most part, characters acting like they've been replaced by Eddie Van Blundht wannabees are a real turn off.
ex) "Frohike, marry me!" Cancerman exclaimed as he walked into the room.
The shorter man looked up, a smile forming on his elfin face. "Why of course, dear."
You better explain in the story how those two got together unless you want a lot of the readers asking, "Huh?"
Tips: After having waded through the recent feedback discussion on ATXC, I have one piece of advice: Write because it's what you want to do, not to get feedback. I hate to say this, but those who are writing solely to get feedback are doing it for the wrong reasons. I'm not saying that feedback isn't a wonderful thing or that I don't enjoy getting it. I'm saying it shouldn't be the reason for writing. Write what you want to read and write for the joy of it and the amount of feedback you get won't matter.Back to the top
I'd also like to reiterate what Liz Ann said about getting a mentor, beta reader, editor--what have you. Do it. Get someone you can trust and you'll never regret it. I'm lucky as my editor has a master's degree in English. Proofread your stories, run the spellchecker, but don't rely on it. Grammar and spelling are important, even in fanfiction.
Tips: Everyone is different, and we all write differently, too. The most important thing is that YOU are confident with YOUR writing. It takes hard work and a lot of introspection to get to YOUR PERSONAL BEST and once your there, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. The only reason to write is for yourself. If you don't enjoy it, there's no point to it. I'll leave you with a quote from Aristotle that has become my mantra. "We are what we repetedly do. Therefor, excelence is not an act but a habit." Don't try to cact in your writing, the best writing with the most meaning, comes from the heart, and that's what makes every story unique.
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tips: I speak from the point of view of a reader here, with many hours of reading stories, sometimes laughing my head off, sometimes in tears. But there are stories I have read, where I have been in tears not because Mulder has just died, but rather through boredom.
Although most stories are interesting to read, when action is described a little too much, it can be boring. For example, when it is written, 'Scully stood up to her full heght of 'x', turned around, and looked at Mulder. She was wearing a navy blue suit, complete with matching buttons, and spoke in tones last seen in 'Tunguska'... It soon means that you readers are bored, and likely not to want to see any more of your work. So write what you believe, but as several other people have said, get a brutally honest person to check out your stories, and the readers of the world will cheer with delight. K@T
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