Writing Styles




Alright, I have serveral hundred ideas but I suck to high hevan when I try to write them out. Anyone have some good writing advice? Or is this something I have to completely develop on my own?



it takes practice thats all I know. Im sure there are ways to help but Im not to bright when it comes to all that.

Cause I suck too. I just tried, and only one person responded to my story lol, if ya wanna see what I mean its The Pasts Hatred: The Story of Tribal Steel. Its a bit scetchy and it sounds fast paced to me, but reading it coul dhelp ya out. Its long though, it has six parts. Post what you think.



Use variety in words. You can't go wrong there, I'm not sure why it works but monotony (like he went to do this, then he did this, then he did that) draws from a story for me. Not that I'm some great writer, I just like diversity in the choice of words.

We're not all walking dictionaries either, but that doesn't mean you can't take a sentence that looks just like one from the last paragraph and try writing it two or three different ways, especially if you want it to stand out like an important scene. I'll post a snippit of something I messed around with for a friend about our characters. The story is titled "Riding the Rail," and it's designed outside the bounds of what powers do in CoH(with good reason, no good story has a guy with a smoke grenade owning half the city). In this case, Super Reflexes has a bullet-time feel a la the matrix or Max Payne. I never have gone back to polish this, but the original audience liked it as is so I never bothered.

She was just creeping up behind the freak furthest in the back, when they all stepped to the side making a path up the middle to The Jaffa. For Alana Da'Straka the world froze, a freak in the back who was concealed by the fog had been charging the stolen weapon, a Crey 3800x Railgun Prototype, and now had it aimed directly at the defiant Jaffa. She heard every lap of the surf, the resounding dong of the buoy just off the harbor, even the sound of the frame of the railgun vibrating under the force of the magnetic fields entering their pre-fire spasms. The weapon, capable of releasing forces found only in the cosmic theatre, was now pointed at her best friend, and he had no idea what was coming.

Jaffa stood, adamant in his resolve.

-------End Part 1

Panic. Loss. Fear. Shame. The flood raged on against the white background, no end in sight. At the center of it was a face, a woman's face. Delicate and fair, pleading and fearful, she screams warnings... she cries in sorrow. He cannot understand her, because the decision is already passed, the moment of truth now gone into history. The flood shoves him further into the brightness, he wonders what Alana Da'Straka was trying to tell him, but the thought is lost as the warm light overtakes him.
Riding the Rail (Continued)

In a flash, Alana was upon the thug, her forearm rising to disrupt the shot already aimed true at her friend. With her speed there was time, she always had time. She could see he was just pulling the trigger, plenty of time.

Her reality was rocked as a shockwave flowed outward, distorting all time and space as she saw it. An object was violating all the current laws of balance, and nature was resisting. The symbol of Yin and Yang on her chest quivered as the silent calm of the scene was slammed into chaos.

A green light burst from the barrel of the railgun, aluminum peeling itself apart as it tore through the space between it and it's target. Cold fear overtook Alana as she regained her center and the world slowed back down, the pier below her shaking as another shockwave rolled toward her from the direction of her friend. She raised her head toward the Jaffa, dreading what may lay before her.

Again this is just an excerpt right in the middle of parts 1 and 2, think of it like changing from 1 comic issue to another. Word choice is more important than action because it is what conveys your action, but that doesn't mean using the same words a lot is bad either. It just provides a different look, using similar or even the same words can have the desired effect just as well. Besides, being a good writer is about finding your own style, take a look at mine and see if there's anything you can add to what you already have.

Just don't be as overly melodramatic as I am and you should be great.



Some good advice there from Jaffa. Take it to heart.

Also, never underestimate the value of WALKING AWAY, especially if you experience writer's block.

Put it down. Walk away. Forget about it for a week or so. Then go back and re-read the whole thing from the beginning. That tends to give you some fresh perspective, and maybe even some new ideas.

Oh, and read. A lot.

By the way Jaffa, some good stuff there.



Little tips:

1) Understand what your characters are feeling; it makes it a lot easier to describe. Let the audience get inside the characters' heads, and they'll fall into the story as though it was a movie.

2) Be as descriptive as you can, but everything you describe should have significance to the story. If the way the wind is blowing is important, talk about it... tell the audience what it smells like, how hard it's blowing and what's being kicked up/blown around by it.

3) Always use a thesaurus and a spellchecker of some sort, even if the spellchecker is just you proofreading carefully. The thesaurus will keep you from having to say things like, "It was hot outside, and the barrel of the gun was getting hot. If it got any hotter it might melt." (Okay, that was deliberately bad, but you get the idea )

4) Like Mordaris said, don't be afraid to put it down and work on it later. On the same token though, if you've got a really good idea bouncing around, jot it down in the simplest language you can and flesh it out later. When you read back over something, resist the urge to re-write the whole thing (I'd likely have a whole novel by now if I could keep to this one )



This is rather elementary, so sorry if you already know it...but never underestimate the use of dialogue. It is soo versatile. A few lines of dialogue between characters can be more valuable than several paragraphs of description. Also, i find having a character's thoughts voiced in dialogue form can sometimes be extremely important in developing character. Remember, the dialogue is important, but the line of description that comes after it is even more so.

"WHY!?!" said Matt. He was angry at the loss of his best friend.
"WHY!?!" cried Matt, as he fell to his knees in agony. He turned to the murders with a dangerous fury simmering in his eyes. He would avenge his best friend.

Other than that, yes, read A LOT. I suggest R.A. Salvatore's work for combat scenes, He is a genius.



Focusing on the idiosyncracies of your characters will help to give them personality and it should also naturally provide you with an idea of how this person would react to the events in your story. Careful, make these idiosyncracies uncommon or diverse or else you may end up with something that easily fits into a mold(This may not always be a bad thing if that mold was the original goal).

Example: Let's take something we all know...Oracle from the matrix. She is easily characterized as the cryptic mysterious know-it-all. However, she has a dash of the dear old granny. Since the actor knew the script has her as an old woman who takes cares of many children, the actor used easily recognized stereotypes of the "dear old granny" mold. Oracle bakes cookies, talks slow, smiles benevolently, worries about those younger than her, and has a relaxed demeanor that comes with her age. All these traits added up into a person, but see, already the character falls into the archetype of the know-it-all and the old granny.

In terms of this particular comic-book setting, try your best to avoid comic conventions if you want to be interesting. Too often in comics we get the generic "My (family member/bestfriend/lover) has died, now I have powers and I want revenge on bad guys"

Reread and revise, wonderful ideas can often end up as...to put it bluntly, crap. If something doesn't work, don't be afraid to delete something that seems wonderful on its own but doesn't work with the rest of your piece. It's hard to let go, but editing is crucial to flow.



Try to be aware of the reader's 5 senses. When you character enters a room, what does he see? What does he hear? Is there an odor or aroma? How does he feel, or what do things he touches feel like? If he eats or drinks, how does it taste?

If you surround your plotline with these things, your reader will experience the story the same way your character does.



One of the best writing exercises I know is to begin with a blank piece of paper and then write whatever comes to mind for three minutes (or however long) without stopping. No matter what comes to mind, keep writing. If your mind comes up completely blank, write, "what should I write about" or "I don't know what to write here". The point is to keep writing. When the time is up, look at what you've written. A few choice sentences or phrases might pop out at you as keepers.

Another exercise that a writer friend of mine uses is to have random people give him random phrases. Using that phrase, he comes up with a complete scene in which it's used.



Just watch TV and quit writing/reading. Man, you people are so boring. Do you ever level up? Or do you just write/read all day long?



While the response appears to have been meant to be derogatory, he might have a point. Television started on paper somewhere, the writing behind the plots is done the same as any other writing. Sometimes the plots aren't so good or involved, but that's not always the case. You also have the problem of a less controlled medium, since actors are interpreting the writer's intentions. You can have the greatest story in the world, but cast Pee-Wee Herman and Rob Schneider as your heroes with Kid Rock as the police chief and you are taking the hacksaw to even the greatest piece of heroic fiction. "Let's fight crime today! Nyah-huh!" *Rob Schneider runs into a closed door while the police chief is stoned in his office... with his crew of course*

Just do the same thing I mentioned in my post here, try and catch what the writer was going for, note what the actor adds/takes away in their performance, and see if it gives you any inspiration. Always do your best to add your own flair so as not to be reinventing the wheel, there's no fun in duplicating someone else anyway.

Thanks for the insight Valicade.



1. Understand your characters.

2. Make sure your dialogue (inner dialogue, too) is believable and consistent with your character's established personality. This helps the reader to understand your character(s).

3. Accept that you will never get it right the first time. Edit, edit, edit.

4. Read established authors to see what style of writing appeals to you.

5. Peer review. Write something. Anything. Then have someone whose likely to give you an honest and informed opinion do so. Listen to what they have to say and see if it makes sense to you.

6. Practice, practice, practice. You can't find your voice if you're not actively looking for it.



Only piece of advice I can give regards writing dialog and using the word "said."

A lot of people will say to avoid using "said" as little as possible -- I very strongly disagree with this.

The reasoning behind the people who say "don't use the word 'said' " is that it's repetitive, and yes, repetitiveness is bad. However, said is a nearly transparent word in the english language, and when you *consistenlty* avoid using "said" and replace it with other words you are drawing attention to the structure of the dialog, rather than the dialog itself.

It's more effective, in my opinion, to generally use "said" and replace it only when you want to place a certain kind of emphasis on what the person is doing.

An example of emphasis:

"I didn't do it," he said.

"I didn't do it," he insisted.

That's my advice. For the most part use "said", but vary it to add weight to a sentence.

Scrapper Jack (SJ/WP Brute), Sky Commando (WP/SJ Tanker), Curveball (Rad/DP Defender), and a bunch more.



Hey mate -

Nothing earth shattering, but pragmatic - my advice - write to a reader, not as if you are talking to someone. I write curriculum for a living, the biggest mistake I see new writers making is their attempt write as if they are talking to someone. Write to a reader, not a listner. As you start to put thoughts down, you will understand what I mean. The other posts in this thread are great advise as well!!

PS - check out my post - "do not enter" for my backstory.

=[TFA]= Moosemeat

Virtue Server - AR/DEV Blaster



I suggest R.A. Salvatore's work for combat scenes, He is a genius.

[/ QUOTE ]

I agree, His are some of the best written fight scenes you could ever find in a book. Hell, some of them are more descriptive then a simliar scene in a movie.

That's my 2 cents. Scimitar, avid R. A. Salvatore reader



to valicade

i was going to tell you that you are wrong and that there's more to life and even this game then "leveling up". Until i saw your little signature video there and decided that no post you ever make is wrong. please, post on you genius you.



Well, I'm no whiz, and I maybe I'm just repeating what's been said, but there's one thing I see all the time, even with professional writers, that drives me ABSOLUTELY NUTS. It's when they take this one word, a very descriptive or unique word like "shimmering" or "undeniable", and then they use it like six times within five or six pages. It's not a huge deal, but it completely removes me from the world I'm supposed to be immersed in when I see stuff like that. So, yeah, variety in vocabulary like others have said. And always make sure you've spelled everything right, use paragraphs, correct capitalization and punctuation and all that stuff. It sounds useless, and I used to think it was, but it makes everything infinately easier to read, and it will help the reader focus more on your content.

Also, something that I constantly struggle with is stopping myself from speeding everything up. Basically you get so worked up in writing the story, what comes next etcetera, that you forget to include detail and good dialogue, and perhaps extra information the reader could use. It can really ruin a story, something to keep in mind. Other than that, I dunno. I'm no professional, I know for a fact some of the other people who responded are far better at writing than I'll be for years. But hopefully that little tid-bit can come in handy.

Oh, and I think Valicade was being sarcastic. Hopefully. Remember, don't feed the trolls.



Simple advice I haven't noticed here so far -

Read it aloud

(You'll understand when you do it)

The Eternal Newbie

p.s. admittedly I know nothing about anything...but love to give suggestions.....hehehe



As someone who has written a lot of fanfiction (a lot of it bad, it took several years before I reached the point that I could write anything that is good by my current standards), there is one thing that rules over all in terms of improving one's writing.


Practice, practice, practice, practice, practice.

Writing is like any other skill, the only way to get better at it is to do it. Nobody's first piece of writing is good. That's a simple fact. One becomes a good writer by writing, looking at it, having other people look at it, finding out why it sucks, and then writing something else employing the lessons you learned from it. Then repeating this process. After some time of this, you will look back at the first things you wrote and wonder how you could even tolerate to show it to anyone else, because you will have improved. I know that's how it is for me... I hesitate to show anyone my early writing (even if it is on my website, I cringed when I put it up there), because by my current standards, it's bad.

Practice, and you will get better. Getting good advice from people who are willing to take the time to read your writing and help you with it is important also... such people can be hard to find, sadly, but keep trying.

Stick with it and you will improve. Don't be discouraged!



The most important thing, I think, is to know what the most important thing is (in your story). You may >want< to talk about your hero AND the Rikti invasion but when, for the sake of the story, you need to abandon one to improve the other, you need to know which one it's going to be. Many of the elements of your story flow directly from this... what gets mentioned/excluded, from what point-of-view it's going to be told, and what kind of style is best adopted in the telling.

If you are most concerned with Jack Mifflin, you may have to take the readers with him to the restroom and leave them in the dark about why everyone is laughing when he steps out again. If the mood of the Last Stop Cafe is of premier importance then maybe you don't even mention the names of the patrons but you do provide the readers with their thoughts. _Catcher_in_the_Rye_ is a good example of a story that focuses so much on a single character that it doesn't even have a discernable plot.

Of course you don't always HAVE to do what might be most expedient for the story... sometimes that makes it more interesting as well. But that is getting closer to the point where writing is more of an art (or experiment) than a craft.



4. Read established authors to see what style of writing appeals to you.

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This helps in many ways! It exposes you to good sentence structure, reinforces your sense of rhythm, and improves your objectivity. You can never be completely impartial of your own work, but it's good to come close.

My writing pet peeve of the moment: the word "very." I believe Mark Twain once said something interesting about it.

Modifiers in general should be used sparingly. (Adjectives and adverbs, gramatically speaking.) Most people don't run into problems until they go into the rewriting stage and start adding modifiers in. A strong word almost always beats a weak one leaning on a modifier. Wherever it seems a modifier needs to be added in, try a stronger word instead to preserve impact and rhythm. Wherever a bunch of modifiers seem clustered together, see if any can be done without.

As an example, the second sentence of my post originally ended, "... improves your ability to analyze writing objectively." Rewriting it, I realized my point was buried under all those big words!



Just watch TV and quit writing/reading. Man, you people are so boring. Do you ever level up? Or do you just write/read all day long?

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Some people have the mental capacity to do both.. and some people enjoy doing just one or the other.