Tips for fanfiction writers (that means YOU)

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GG Crono
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Tips for fanfiction writers (that means YOU)

Post by GG Crono » Mon May 10, 2010 12:16 pm

(I'm not sure if this would be better posted on the general fanworks forum, or here. If I am incorrect in posting it here, would a moderator please move it? Thank you.)

A lot of fanfic writers, especially ones just starting out, seem to have a preference for script format writing.

By script format, I mean something like this:
One fine summer day, I, Alice, ran into Bob on the street.

Alice: "Boy, this sure is an example of script format!"
Bob: "Wow, it sure is. Clearly this means we should have sex."

And then we did it. Like, ten times. Damn.
Right then. First, I'd like to make something clear. I am not pointing fingers at any specific writers here. This is more of a general message for those who enjoy writing.

In this community in particular, I can understand why the format is appealing. It mimics the style of a visual novel, which is what KS is. Plus, it's a lot easier to write than prose, which is why you sometimes see it elsewhere among less-experienced writers.

However, unless you're writing something that's actually designed to be a script (such as Goldilurks' excellent Katawa Haha), there's no real reason to do so. Written prose is not the same as a visual novel.

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that most of you do not have a lot of writing experience. Hey, that's fine! Budding writers should be encouraged and nurtured, and that is what I hope to achieve with this post. But in order to grow as a writer, you need to be willing to learn, and furthermore, you need to challenge yourself.

Yeah, writing isn't easy, and the script format simplifies things a bit. But it also looks lazy, and when it's mixed in with narrative, it rather breaks up the flow of the story. People do things when they talk. They pace, they fidget, sometimes they mumble or change their tone or other such things. Is something like this happening here? Describe it. Writing dialogue can take some getting used to, but it also makes for much better reading.

(A brief sidebar: There's a mistake a lot of new writers make when make writing dialogue that I'm just going to point out here, while we're on the subject.

"I like apples." said Alice. (Wrong.)

"I like apples," said Bob. (Right.)

If you would use a period to end some dialogue that is followed by more narration that's connected to it, use a comma instead. In addition, whenever you start or end some new dialogue, there should be a new paragraph.)

Anyway. If you want to keep writing in script format, then I obviously can't stop you. You may be comfortable with it, which is understandable. But if you really want to improve as a writer, you need to break out of your comfort zone a little. This is not a large community (relatively speaking), and the people here are pretty cool. So don't worry if your first attempts are less than perfect. You won't get laughed at. If anything, you might get some constructive feedback.

If you want some advice on how to improve your writing, The Turkey City Lexicon is a good piece to familiarize yourself with. It's mainly geared towards scifi writing, but there's some good all-purpose advice therein.

In conclusion: Writing is not easy. But it's not as hard as you probably think it is either. Prose format allows you to be a lot more descriptive, and furthermore, it makes your story easier to read. So even if you're unsure of yourself, give it a try. I think you'll be pleased with the results.

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Last edited by GG Crono on Mon Nov 01, 2010 4:27 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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EmP|ty
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Re: Some thoughts on the subject of script-format fics

Post by EmP|ty » Mon May 10, 2010 1:51 pm

I wholeheartedly agree with the point being made here, good post.

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Esa94
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Re: Some thoughts on the subject of script-format fics

Post by Esa94 » Mon May 10, 2010 2:25 pm

GG Crono wrote: "I like apples," said Bob. (Right.)
I thought the comma is supposed to be after the quotation mark?

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Ozymil
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Re: Some thoughts on the subject of script-format fics

Post by Ozymil » Mon May 10, 2010 3:15 pm

Esa94 wrote:
GG Crono wrote: "I like apples," said Bob. (Right.)
I thought the comma is supposed to be after the quotation mark?
Nyope, punctuation within the quotations.

Also:

http://www.halolz.com/wp-content/upload ... proved.jpg
Donnes-moi le chocolat, Hisao! Gib mir die Schokolade, Hisao! Dame el chocolate, Hisao! Dammi il cioccolato, Hisao! Ge mig choklad, Hisao! Giv mig chokolade, Hisao! 私にチョコレートを与える, 久夫! Daj mi czekoladę, Hisao! Geef me de chocola, Hisao! (Thanks for the Dutch ver. Leotrak) Bigyan mo ako ng chocolate, Hisao! Geef mij de chocolade, Hisao! Дайте мне шоколад, Хисао! Dá-me o chocolate, Hisao!

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Esa94
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Re: Some thoughts on the subject of script-format fics

Post by Esa94 » Mon May 10, 2010 3:43 pm

Ozymil wrote: Nyope, punctuation within the quotations.
http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/marks/quotation.htm wrote:In the United States, periods and commas go inside quotation marks regardless of logic. Click HERE for an explanation (sort of).

In the United Kingdom, Canada, and islands under the influence of British education, punctuation around quotation marks is more apt to follow logic. In American style, then, you would write: My favorite poem is Robert Frost's "Design." But in England you would write: My favorite poem is Robert Frost's "Design". The placement of marks other than periods and commas follows the logic that quotation marks should accompany (be right next to) the text being quoted or set apart as a title.
That quote only mentions English-speaking countries, but in Finland the British way is used. Therefore, we are both correct!

Silentcook
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Re: Some thoughts on the subject of script-format fics

Post by Silentcook » Mon May 10, 2010 4:07 pm

Stickied because I have been thinking of posting something along these lines since forever, but never actually got around to it because my commentary would probably have been... well... vitriolic. :oops:

So thanks for doing something better than I would have. Maybe I'll add some extra thoughts later (though considering the track record I just revealed, don't hold your breath).
Shattering your dreams since '94.

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GG Crono
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Re: Some thoughts on the subject of script-format fics

Post by GG Crono » Mon May 10, 2010 6:42 pm

Um...wow. I did not expect that kind of attention. Thank you for your kind words. :)

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ContinualNaba
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Re: Some thoughts on the subject of script-format fics

Post by ContinualNaba » Mon May 10, 2010 9:21 pm

I approve wholeheartedly of this.
[19:33] <!Suriko> i think i could go my whole life without putting my mouth on someone's ass voluntarily

[12:46] == climatic was kicked from #katawa-shoujo by climatic [climatic]
[12:46] <+ContinualNaba> wut
[12:46] <%VCR> wut
[12:47] <+Juno> Qué

Goldilurks
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Re: Some thoughts on the subject of script-format fics

Post by Goldilurks » Thu May 13, 2010 10:19 pm

GG Crono wrote:However, unless you're writing something that's actually designed to be a script (such as Goldilurks' excellent Katawa Haha), there's no real reason to do so.
"excellent"? *looks around* Wait, is there some other guy named Goldilurks doing this? You seem to have confused my project with something else.

lol, thanks for the love, and brilliantly put. Glad to see this stickied. On another note, I would be very interested in seeing more people attempt comic-script format, with directions for page layout and everything. If anyone wants to give that a try, and would like pointers, lemme know.
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From Shizune's Perspective: a fanfic

Silentcook
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So I heard you want to write...

Post by Silentcook » Fri Jun 04, 2010 11:11 pm

Much of this is nothing but a rehash or adaptation of guides written by people who know what they're doing, unlike me. Still, I think it can work well enough for beginners and amateurs, like me.

Have something to say.
Plan how you want to say it.
Write it.
Review it.
Condense it.


-Having something to say

You may think this is easy, automatic, even. It isn't. You can write all day, but if you haven't set a goal for yourself, your stuff'll go all over the place and get nowhere fast.
Wandering is fine, but you don't call it a trip; writing for the fun of putting words on paper is fine, but don't call it a story.
It may take you some time to think up what you want to say. This is okay. Nobody is forcing you to go for a novel-sized epic either. Feel free to start small.

-Planning and research

You know what you want to say, now decide on how you want to say it. Briefly outline the points you want to touch in the order you want to touch them.
"Briefly" is fairly key here. If the plan is as long as the projected piece, you're really going ahead without planning, and you're depriving yourself of a clear base of work.
You'll want to write about something you know nothing of at some point. I can practically guarantee it.
Assuming you're writing fiction, you'll find it fairly easy to wing things by being vague, by looking things up superficially, or by making your own stuff up outright.
If you are going to be factual or realistic though, you'll need to research. Get advice from a pro if you can; otherwise, it's time to pore over books. Bullshitting will not fly.

-Writing, significant part first

This clears the blank-page panic wonderfully. Do the important bits.
You will add to them later, put in a proper setup, wrap up with a nice ending, bridge parts together. But if you want to say something, say it.
You avoided jumping in too soon earlier, so don't be too late now.

-Revision and proofreading

If you're the "write everything in a gush" sort, you'll probably hate this part.
Proofread by yourself, spellcheckers don't count - they can and will cause problems, actually. If you can't check for yourself, you have no business writing in the first place.
Rereading will make you ponder on general structure and pacing too, so you'll catch things you could have done better or differently.
Proofread, because grammar and spelling mistakes ruin otherwise good work just like blocking traffic can ruin a pleasant trip.
Shifting lines around, sentence structure improvement, plot doublechecking, ambiguity removal and such all happen in this step - or ought to.
Did I say proofread? If you haven't done it at least this many times, you haven't done it nearly enough. Rest assured, something will STILL slip by.

-Wielding the axe

If you're the "write slowly and carefully" sort, you'll probably hate this part instead.
Wordcount, in and of itself, means nothing. Halving the text is better, if it conveys what you want more efficiently.
Remember: everything that isn't necessary, is HARMFUL. Not useless, or irrelevant. It's noxious, damaging, counterproductive. Get rid of it.

-Non-conclusion

This doesn't make you a literary wonder, but it should help you past the early pitfalls at least.
If you want to be good at writing, go read. Shoo. I mean it. I can barely avoid being too embarrassingly bad, myself.
And when a rule, including these, makes no sense in a given situation, bend the rule, not the situation.
Good luck.
Shattering your dreams since '94.

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Ozymil
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Re: Some thoughts on the subject of script-format fics

Post by Ozymil » Tue Jun 29, 2010 9:36 pm

Ooo, thanks for the delicious advice Silentcook. At least now I've got some mental guidelines to follow while I write banal and contrived fiction.
Donnes-moi le chocolat, Hisao! Gib mir die Schokolade, Hisao! Dame el chocolate, Hisao! Dammi il cioccolato, Hisao! Ge mig choklad, Hisao! Giv mig chokolade, Hisao! 私にチョコレートを与える, 久夫! Daj mi czekoladę, Hisao! Geef me de chocola, Hisao! (Thanks for the Dutch ver. Leotrak) Bigyan mo ako ng chocolate, Hisao! Geef mij de chocolade, Hisao! Дайте мне шоколад, Хисао! Dá-me o chocolate, Hisao!

Silentcook
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Tips for fanfiction writers (that means YOU)

Post by Silentcook » Mon Nov 01, 2010 4:04 pm

Shattering your dreams since '94.

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Re: Some thoughts on the subject of script-format fics

Post by neumanproductions » Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:30 pm

Why do I get the feeling this is being aimed at someone?
I guess i'll just have to make sure I don't end up like them.
Rin=Hanako>Emi>Misha>Lilly>Shizune (Misha counts in my world alright; and now she surpassed Lilly)
Fanfic series entitled... A Day in the Life of [character name here] (updated 6/8/10)
Random writings and Crossover... New stuff of Neuman (updated 5/6/11)
It's time to Duel... KS Yugioh Deck (updated 3/16/11)

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Escalator
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Re: Tips for fanfiction writers (that means YOU)

Post by Escalator » Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:22 am

I've found something useful. This thread seems appropriate.
http://ljconstantine.com/column3.htm

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Red_Machine
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Re: Tips for fanfiction writers (that means YOU)

Post by Red_Machine » Wed Feb 02, 2011 2:51 pm

Could I get some clarification on this, please? A lot of people say that the way I write is in script form, however it mimics all the books I have ever read. I start a new line for each person speaking, as it is written in novels, but a lot of people seem to think that prose is everything on one line which I have been taught is incorrect.
Hanako>Misha>Emi>Lilly>Shizune>Rin
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