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Writing tips by thunderfir-poketeam

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1. Have an original plot.

If every book was the same, we'd get bored with them pretty quick. Variety is what gives that special spice. Try to come up with a story that's entirely your own. If your work is based off another work, however loosely, make sure you use your own style. Don't just repeat what someone else has already written. Nobody likes a copycat, and you could face an unpleasant lawsuit that way.

2. Have a good title.

If you want people to read your book, you'll need a title that will catch their eye. Make it exciting, but keep it brief, too. Don't make your title so long that it wears the reader down. Try to stay within the limit of ten words. If you have trouble inventing a title, go through your story and decide what the main theme is, what it is in that story that really stands out.  

3. Make your characters as believable as possible.

The characters are what make the story a story. You learn about them, sympathize with them, and hate them. They make you laugh and cry. They fill you with joy, sadness, fear, and disgust. A good character is one that you can relate to. They have strengths and weaknesses, like you do. They grow and develop; they actually learn something as the story progresses. Avoid Mary Sues and Gary Stus—characters who are perfect, in essentially every aspect. They have everything going on for them; everything turns out in their favor. They have no need to change or grow throughout the story. That's unconvincing, and boring.

4. Have a catchy introduction.

"Once upon a time, there lived a pretty little girl, in a pretty white house…"

Oh, come on, you can do better than that, can't you? "Once upon a time" is the oldest intro in the book. Go for something a little more creative, something that really attracts the reader's attention. Give your audience a good reason for continuing with the story. You could start by expressing regret, anger, surprise, or joy for something that had happened, or someone can say something very interesting, like this: "You're not serious about this, are you, Jill?"

Now that's an excellent way to start off a book; it makes the audience wonder what's going on, and what will happen next.

5. Give your characters something to do.

A good plot is one of the most essential ingredients in story-telling. Your characters must do something; they must have a problem that's big enough to last throughout the story, and it must be something important and exciting. For example, two girls struggling to decide which dress they ought to wear for the upcoming school dance isn't much of a problem, and isn't very entertaining. However, two girls struggling to survive on a desert island after they've been shipwrecked is a very big problem, and therefore a great deal more thrilling. Whatever the dilemma is, whether life-threatening or not, make sure it's something that can be worked out; make sure the characters can actually do something about the situation.

6. Be careful of sentence length.

This is where an author is apt to make the biggest boo-boos. A sentence may be too long, too short, too wordy, or entirely unrelated to the story. Take especial care in this area; say what you must, but don't ramble. Don't drown your readers in an ocean of words. Stick to the point. Use "and" and "then" sparingly. Use nouns and pronouns wisely. Avoid using too many adjectives, such as: "He was the most vulgar, insolent, impudent, boorish, crude, disrespectful, distasteful, insufferable man I'd ever had the misfortune to meet." Only one or two adjectives should be enough, three at the most.

Don't say the same thing twice, such as: "She moved quietly and silently through the haunted house." "Quietly" and "silently" stand for the same word, and that's a mark against you.

Avoid one and two-word sentences as well, if you can help it. Try to maintain an equal balance of long and short phrases.

7. Use paragraphs properly.

You'd have a much more difficult time reading something if it was all bunched together. That's why we use paragraphs. Paragraphs, in short, mean organization. Many writers have no idea when and how to use paragraphs. With some exceptions, one paragraph should be at least three sentences long, and should not exceed seven lines.

You always make a new paragraph when something changes in your story. You make a new paragraph when the time, place, and action changes, or when the speaker changes. Two quotes by two different people must always be on separate lines, like this:

    "Mom, can I go to the movies with Kelly? Please?" I offered my best puppy-dog look.
    "Oh, all right—" The words had barely left my mother's mouth, and I immediately scooted out the door before she could change her mind.


8. Use good spelling.

There is no question about it: if you wish to be a writer, you must know how to spell properly. It is much more difficult to understand misspelled words; in some cases, it's like trying to make sense of a foreign language. Avoid text talk (THAT'S GR8, C U L8R) at all costs. Maintain a healthy vocabulary, but don't sound like you've butchered a thesaurus. Don't use excessively long, complex words, just to sound smart. If you have difficulty with big words, use a dictionary, or a spell-checker on a computer.

9. Use good grammar.

You will save yourself and your readers the headache if you maintain proper grammar skills. Good grammar helps a story flow much more smoothly. Always capitalize the first letter in a name, and at the beginning of every sentence. Know where to put commas and semicolons. Always use quotation marks whenever someone is talking, and always end a sentence with a period, or some other appropriate mark. One common mistake of authors is:

"I can't believe this." He said with a jaded sigh.

In this case, you use a comma at the end, not a period. And you don't capitalize "he". This is the right way to do it:

"I can't believe this," he said with a jaded sigh.

Another common error is the misuse of words that sound the same: there, their, here, hear, affect, effect. These errors are extremely easy to miss, especially since a spell-checker can't pick them up. Remember the differences between these words, such as how "there" means a certain location, while "their" refers to a group.

When you're talking of more than one thing, be careful of how you use "s" and "es". Also, watch your apostrophes. Apostrophes are used to show possession; you place the apostrophe before the "s" to show singular possession, or, in other words, if it's the possession of one person. If it's plural possession, or more than one person, you place the apostrophe after the "s". For example:

I want to check out Mr. Archibald's new apricot trees.

Whoa, look at that boy's cool hat!

Do you want to try out for the girls' basketball team?


When dealing with the possessive form of names that end with an "s", it's not always required to add a second "s", though it is preferred. Like this:

I promised to tend to Mrs. Jones's flowers while she was away on vacation.

10. Have a satisfying ending.

Not every story ends with "happily ever after". In fact, try to avoid using that kind of ending, if you can help it. The ending is where the loose ends of the story should be tied up. It must provide answers to questions that were asked at the beginning. Your ending doesn't always have to be a particularly happy one, but it should end on a satisfactory note. For instance, the character can be at peace with the world, or two opposing characters can reach a compromise. Your ending may contain a note of hope, or some little piece of truth. You may even end on a surprising note; the "element of surprise" often wraps up a story very nicely.
I'm not the world's most perfect writer, but these are the tips I'd learned throughout my life that proved to be essential. If you want to write, make sure that you get it right!

NOTE: You can also view this as a news article: [link]
Add a Comment:
 
:iconawesomely-happy-hero:
Awesomely-Happy-Hero Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hmm... one thought. I think a good way to show when it is required to add an extra "s" for the possessive form of names that end with "s", is to check if it adds an actual "s" sound. For instance, "Jones's" would naturally be said "Jonesizz". However, if you tried to say "Mary Poppinsizz" is would probably sound weird, which is why you write "Mary Poppins'" instead.
Reply
:iconunicorn-skydancer08:
unicorn-skydancer08 Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2014
I guess you could be flexible. Just don't get carried away.
Reply
:iconawesomely-happy-hero:
Awesomely-Happy-Hero Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hmm... I dunno about flexible, I just always thought it was an actual grammar rule? And, of course, you have to remember to add an apostrophe after the S on words like Mary Poppins' to indicate a possessive.
Reply
:iconunicorn-skydancer08:
unicorn-skydancer08 Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2014
This is one of the trickier aspects of grammar.
Reply
:iconawesomely-happy-hero:
Awesomely-Happy-Hero Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ah, I must agree on that. XD
Reply
:iconunicorn-skydancer08:
unicorn-skydancer08 Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2014
Sometimes even I have to look up a rule or two to make sure I've got it right.
Reply
:iconscriptium:
scriptium Featured By Owner May 29, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks for the tips! These will definitely come in handy as I write more stories! c:
Reply
:iconunicorn-skydancer08:
unicorn-skydancer08 Featured By Owner May 29, 2012
Mel Mather's Writing Tutorial, at your service! :salute:
Reply
:iconthethirdreviewer:
TheThirdReviewer Featured By Owner May 8, 2012   General Artist
I presume this is going to come in handy for me! Thanks for writing it.
Reply
:iconunicorn-skydancer08:
unicorn-skydancer08 Featured By Owner May 9, 2012
Welcome, my friend. Glad to be of service. :salute:
Reply
:iconthethirdreviewer:
TheThirdReviewer Featured By Owner May 10, 2012   General Artist
Yes, you are helpful. I am still very grateful.
Reply
:iconunicorn-skydancer08:
unicorn-skydancer08 Featured By Owner May 29, 2012
And you are most welcome.
Reply
:icononyxsturm:
OnyxSturm Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2011  Student Writer
Very nice tips, especially #10. Bout time someone agreed not every ending has to be a happy one.

--
You have encountered a Wespe Blitz.
A.) Die screaming
B.) Die crying
C.) All of the above
Reply
:iconunicorn-skydancer08:
unicorn-skydancer08 Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2011
I prefer a happy ending as much as the next person, but I've seen sad endings that are done very well.
Reply
:iconstumpythestump:
StumpyTheStump Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2011  Student Writer
This is great, but I have a question about this part: "I can't believe this." He said with a jaded sigh.
In this case, you use a comma at the end, not a period. And you don't capitalize "he". This is the right way to do it: "I can't believe this," he said with a jaded sigh.

Why is that?
Reply
:iconunicorn-skydancer08:
unicorn-skydancer08 Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2011
Because that's improper grammar. In all the good books I've read, none of them were written like that.
Reply
:iconstumpythestump:
StumpyTheStump Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2011  Student Writer
Well, yes, but I wanted to know why it's improper and when to utilize it.
Reply
:icondoloriferousfrost:
DoloriferousFrost Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
The 'he said with a jaded sigh' (quotation marks for quotations; 'quote' is the verb, not the name) is explaining how the speech was delivered: it's an adverbial phrase. Just like an adverb describes a verb, so does an adverbial phrase describe the speech. An adverb is always in the same sentence as its verb, which means that the adverbial phrase is also required to be in the same sentence as the speech it's describing.

Full-stops are always the end of a sentence, so if the closing speech mark ("x") is preceded by a full-stop, this is the end of the sentence. Therefore the adverbial phrase cannot be applied to it. 

Examples:
#1 Comma and adverbial phrase:
                       ' "Rub this in," the nurse chimed. "It'll soothe the pain." '
#2 Full-stop and separate sentence:
                       ' "Rub this in." The nurse handed Betty the cream. "It'll soothe the pain." '


However, if question/exclamation marks or interrobangs precede the closing speech mark, this does not always end the sentence. They are, after all, punctuation that describes how the speech was delivered; as this is what the adverbial phrases do, an adverbial phrase can follow one of these punctuation marks. These punctuation marks can act to end a sentence, too.

Examples:
#1 Question mark and adverbial phrase:  
                        ' "Could you shut the window?" asked Betty with a sigh.'

#2 Question mark and separate sentence:
                        ' "Could you shut the window?" She rubbed her sore ankle, sighing. '
Reply
:iconunicorn-skydancer08:
unicorn-skydancer08 Featured By Owner May 8, 2012
Maybe this will help explain it better: [link]
Reply
:icondarknie222:
darknie222 Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2011
Thanks, the only problame i still have i am bad in name's and i am a dutch guy with only many 7 (verry easy) and 6's so my spell is not so good to. at last of all this i got a begin plot but its a litle hazy so however thank you for this and has anybady a small story idea (sci-fi)
Reply
:iconunicorn-skydancer08:
unicorn-skydancer08 Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2011
Just keep working at it.
Reply
:icondarknie222:
darknie222 Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2011
i understand what you mean but i need inspiration, i have watchd many movies but all amarican movies are almost the same (no origanel plot). so need to make it smaller whats verry small besouse there not much sci-fi movies with there own great ideas, only one i can get in my head now is star wars, Charakters are easy. then i use mivies with there unic characters like pirates of the carribean.
Reply
:iconunicorn-skydancer08:
unicorn-skydancer08 Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2011
Becoming a good writer does not take place overnight. It took me many years to get to where I'm at, and even now there's plenty of room for improvement. No doubt I'll never write a perfectly flawless story that everybody will love, but I hope to write a story that I can read without flinching too much.
Reply
:icondarknie222:
darknie222 Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2011
sure not evrybody will love the same story becouse evryone is unic, thanks for this usefull infomation, goodluck with your own writing
Reply
:iconunicorn-skydancer08:
unicorn-skydancer08 Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2011
Thank you. If you're ever interested in reading my book, I'll be sure to let everybody know when it's out.
Reply
:icondarknie222:
darknie222 Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2011
only thing have to know before i read a story is:
were is it about
is the begning slow

just tell me when its out
Reply
:iconunicorn-skydancer08:
unicorn-skydancer08 Featured By Owner May 8, 2012
You'll know.
Reply
:iconjaison-krishna:
jaison-krishna Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011
I'm definitely gonna keep these in mind.
Reply
:iconunicorn-skydancer08:
unicorn-skydancer08 Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011
Thank you. I won't claim to be the world's best writer, but these tips have come in handy for me.
Reply
:iconkenliano:
Kenliano Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Interesting read and good points.
Reply
:iconunicorn-skydancer08:
unicorn-skydancer08 Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2011
Thank you!
Reply
:iconcrownclown13:
CrownClown13 Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2011
Thank you for the advice.
Reply
:iconunicorn-skydancer08:
unicorn-skydancer08 Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2011
Glad to be of help.
Reply
:icongoddessoftheforest:
goddessoftheforest Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!!!! Sadly I have several friends who break one or two of these rules constantly when we're roleplaying, and as I like saving the posts from our IM conversations I often have to spend hours at a time correcting their mistakes and sometimes even re-writing some of their material so it makes sense. :stupidme:

For the actual article you posted here though, I offer you my sincerest applause. :clap:
Reply
:iconunicorn-skydancer08:
unicorn-skydancer08 Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2011
Thank you very much. Many aspirant writers would do so well if they'd just follow the rules.
Reply
:icongoddessoftheforest:
goddessoftheforest Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Agreed!
Reply
:iconunicorn-skydancer08:
unicorn-skydancer08 Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2011
Even Stephenie Meyer made a boo-boo in some of these areas.
Reply
:icongoddessoftheforest:
goddessoftheforest Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Like breaking rules 1, 3, 5 and 10? I completely and wholeheartedly agree. :shakefist:
Reply
:iconunicorn-skydancer08:
unicorn-skydancer08 Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2011
Don't forget 6 and 9.
Reply
:icongoddessoftheforest:
goddessoftheforest Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Indeed. My favorite way of describing the whole Twilight series, as far as the style it's written in, is that it's supposedly written from a high school student's perspective and yet is written as though the author were in junior high. UGH.
Reply
:iconunicorn-skydancer08:
unicorn-skydancer08 Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2011
And they call it romance? I call it a highly unhealthy obsession.
Reply
:iconshychick:
Shychick Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2011
Excellent advice! You covered every one of the basics here. These are all what I try to adhere to during my writing, particularly during my own personal series.
Reply
:iconunicorn-skydancer08:
unicorn-skydancer08 Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2011
Yeah, I had a tough time with some of these myself. Semicolons and paragraphs were the worst.
Reply
:iconprissykissy:
PrissyKissy Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Good timing on this, as I'm trying to finish a revamped chapter of my story :)
Reply
:iconunicorn-skydancer08:
unicorn-skydancer08 Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2011
Yeah, I know in my case, I need all the practice I can get.
Reply
:iconthebebop95:
THEBEBOP95 Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2011
Sorry I meant It makes the work age over time in a bad way.
Reply
:iconunicorn-skydancer08:
unicorn-skydancer08 Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2011
It's okay, I get your message.
Reply
:iconthebebop95:
THEBEBOP95 Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2011
Ok yeah sometimes I think to fast and that's a bad habit.
Reply
:iconunicorn-skydancer08:
unicorn-skydancer08 Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2011
I'm a bit of a fast person myself. I need to learn to slow down.
Reply
:iconthebebop95:
THEBEBOP95 Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2011
Yeah and I've though of the eleventh rule, don't overuse pop culture refrences. It make work age over time in a bad way.
Reply
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