Ten Fiction Pitfalls

PitfallWow, these writing guides sure are making me feel bad right now. Guilty of all of them, especially number 5 and 8 which I am trying to rectify after reading the previous guide I’ve posted before this. Maybe I should put a sub-menu on the writing guides for my own reference and take out my amateurish exercises.

5. Don’t label characters Writers must describe characters, but often they simply use one-word labels, such as: “She was beautiful,” or “He was brilliant.” Labels are not descriptions. Instead, really describe a character’s physical attributes, and let readers draw their own conclusions. Example: Don’t label a woman by writing: She was drop-dead gorgeous. Truly describe her, as in this: Sara, slender, and about five-eight, seemed taller, in her high-heeled shoes. A pink sweater accentuated her curves. She shook her wavy blond hair and smiled, revealing glistening teeth. Sara murmured in a soft, sensuous voice, “I’ll have a Bloody Mary—lots of celery.” She laughed lightly. “I haven’t had lunch.” Similarly, don’t label a man by writing: He was unusually handsome. Provide descriptive details: Robert, a muscular six feet tall, rested a white-gloved hand on Sara’s bare arm. A red cummerbund contrasted with his white tuxedo and white patent-leather shoes. In a clipped English accent he told the bartender, “Bristol Cream Sherry.” Read the rest here – Ten Fiction Pitfalls

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Balancing Dialogue & Narrative

Dialogue

Some useful tips when writing or rewriting your work:

So, how do I find a balance between dialogue and narrative? After reading Bransford, Fitch, and McCarver, I found three different techniques:

  • From McCarver’s article: Find a particularly long narrative section and see how it might be broken up into more of a scene with dialogue.

  • After reading Fitch’s post: Find a section in the story where the characters have a whole conversation, and then cross out the dialogue that is commonplace. Because, as Fitch says, “A line anybody could say is a line nobody should say.”

  • From Bransford’s post: If the dialogue does carry the story forward but still feels “thin,” look for places to add gestures, facial expressions, and/or any details from the scene that enhance that section. Bransford says, “gesture and action [are] not [used] to simply break up the dialogue for pacing purposes, but to actually make it meaningful….”

I’m guilty of the second one. Trying to break up the yak yak now with advice from the third point. View the full article and all of its useful links here: www.christcraig.com

 

Comic Origins: Dr Manhattan

Dr Manhattan

Dr. Jon Osterman / Doctor Manhattan

Who is he?

A superpowered being who is contracted by the United States government. Scientist Jon Osterman gained power over matter when he was caught in an Intrinsic Field Subtractor in 1959. In contrast to other superheroes who lacked scientific exploration of their origins, Moore sought to delve into nuclear physics and quantum physics in constructing the character of Dr. Manhattan. The writer believed that a character living in a quantum universe would not perceive time with a linear perspective, which would influence the character’s perception of human affairs. Moore also wanted to avoid creating an emotionless character like Spock from Star Trek, so he sought for Dr. Manhattan to retain “human habits” and to grow away from them and humanity in general.

When you talk about comic book hero origins, most people would instantly think of Spiderman, Superman, Batman or one of the other upcoming Marvel heroes. These were always the most recognisable comic book heroes in pop culture. But the one that has always struck me as the one most brilliantly told is the backstory of Doctor Manhattan from the Watchmen. I loved how Moore revolved his story around the concept of time, or rather the absence of time, and I felt that Zack Synder brought it out perfectly in Doctor Manhattan’s monologue in the film version. There were so many little touches that only repeated viewings of the graphic novel and movie can do it justice.

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Ramblings Of A Noob Blogger

Being the noob bloglet that I am, I have developed a unhealthy obsession with the little ticker on the top of my WordPress page. On one hand, I find it extremely insightful in telling me how people are discovering and using my site, but on the other hand, I find myself irritably worried whenever I see it flatline for a couple of hours.

This is my first blog, so I came in here with no expectations. But slowly, as the views, likes and followers came in, I found myself steering my postings towards what I think gets attention – quirky little quotes and pictures. Then suddenly I stopped. I felt like a cheap little whore posting quotable memes. When I came back, I decided to focus on what I set up the blog for, pimping my own stories.

Then out of nowhere, I start getting significant search engine referrals for a particular post of mine, one of the photo prompts. Heck, someone even shared it somewhere, and I am beginning to see a big distinction between views and likes. That got me thinking, which one should I actually care about?

From what I see, bloggers on WordPress seem to be liking posts for the sake of it, or perhaps it’s a “I see yours, now come see mine” invitation. No offence meant of course, it still does wonders for my e-peen. But my most read posts actually got very little attention in terms of likes.

So, I would like to ask the REAL bloggers out there, not the pro-SEO and meme-me too posters. What should a noob bloglet actually care about when posting.

Specifically:

  • Length of an article? I think I need to cut back.
  • Are pictures necessary? We know most are screen grabs from Google.
  • Is it fair practice to take content from other sites and post it? (Even though you credit them)
  • Is it obnoxious to post content that you know no one wants to read?
  • Should I fish for likes and followers using non-original content?

I could probably google it and read some semi-pro site for this information, but I would like to seek a few alternative views first. Thanks in advance for any opinions you have to share.

P.S: I think this would constitute as a fishing post right?

EDIT: Just did quite a fair bit of research on spam-liking and spam-following. Ah well, guess the only true measure of readers is the number of comments / actual views you get then.

The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective Mediocre People

mediocre-shirt-1Just wanted to share a witty article I’ve read online.

Here’s an excerpt:

We can’t all be grand visionaries. We can’t all be Picassos. We want to make our business, make our art, sell it, make some money, raise a family, and try to be happy. My feeling, based on my own experience, is that aiming for grandiosity is the fastest route to failure. For every Mark Zuckerberg, there are 1000 Jack Zuckermans. Who is Jack Zuckerman? I have no idea. That’s my point. If you’re Jack Zuckerman and you’re reading this, I apologize. You aimed for the stars and missed. Your reentry into the atmosphere involved a broken heat shield, and you burned to a crisp by the time you hit the ocean. Now we have no idea who you are.

Read the full article here: TheRumpus.Net

Writing Exercise: Cutscenes & Backstory

Three things that I want to accomplish here.

1. Dialogue that brings out character, instead of useless fluff.

2. Inserting a cut-scene of a different character to the storyline without deriding it too much.

3. Inserting backstory  / more character descriptors without boring the audience

Please let me know if this short passage works for you, and let know if I did something very wrong here.

Into the Fire V1.1

There was a knock on the door.

“We’ve got a problem detective, best if ya come and take a look.”

“Get Patrick for crying out loud! I’m busy!”

“We tried Sir, but we can’t find him. The boys fished out a body from the East River an hour ago. The chief wants you on the scene.”

“Ah Christ, hang on, I’m comin’!” Erik shouted before turning back to the matter at hand. “Sorry sugar, but duty calls.”

“Dammnit, what about me!” Marie hissed.

The detective grinned. “If you want, I can get that nice man at the door to come in and keep you warm.”

Marie slapped him hard on the chest, “Now I know why I didn’t marry a cop.”

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