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Eminence

The Writers' Room

Recommended Posts

Tyler

If you'd like to see some good emotion in books, try reading a novella from Steinbeck, like Of Mice and Men. It's relatively short - could get through it in one sitting, easy - and it is very good at making you feel for the characters in it. That's one of the first books I read and initially how I got into writing.

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Ziggy455
The Stand was mentioned earlier, I might try that next. smile.gif Im gonna look at the sample although on Google Play Books, the sample is usually just authors notes and one page of the intro. sad.gif

 

Im really enjoying the Percy Jackson book, I expected just another sh*tty Harry Potter rip off but its not, it has some reimagining of greek mythology aswell and the story is just becoming too interesting to leave alone.

The Stand is a behemoth of a book! Try something small. It's not always about the complexity of a plot that can make a novel a daunting thing to read. Sometimes, there's so much, you feel overwhelmed like you cannot keep up with the story. However, most of the most FAMOUS novels are simplistic in their prose. Steinbeck has a very simple form, yet his work is considered thematic and god-like to many aspiring writers.

 

Try some short-story anthologies. Try King's Night Shift or Everything's Eventual. Short stories are brilliant. Keep reading what you're reading, but remember there's more out there when you're finished.

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Eminence
However, most of the most FAMOUS novels are simplistic in their prose. Steinbeck has a very simple form, yet his work is considered thematic and god-like to many aspiring writers.

Hemingway, anyone?

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Ziggy455
However, most of the most FAMOUS novels are simplistic in their prose. Steinbeck has a very simple form, yet his work is considered thematic and god-like to many aspiring writers.

Hemingway, anyone?

Damn straight. Although he is extremely depressing. Kind of in the same style of the poet, Sylvia Plat.

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Lethal Nizzle

I recently read Willa Cather's My Antonia for one of my uni modules, and wrote an essay on it. It's short (about 170 pages) and for me it was a really nice and easy read. There is no real plot, it's more of a memoir of a man harking back to times gone by. He reminisces about his childhood/early life on the Nebraska prairie and Antonia, his childhood friend and his first and - arguably - his one true love. It's a novella full of emotion, mainly with nostalgia but it had me (even though I'm only nineteen) reminiscing about my childhood, my hometown and my old friends.

 

Also, hi.

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Eminence

What course are you studying?

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Lethal Nizzle

 

What course are you studying?

English Literature, the specific module for the My Antonia reading/essay was an introductory module on American Lit./culture. Pretty interesting module, we went from Walt Whitman/Emily Dickinson poetry to Twain, from Poe to Langston Hughes. Very eye-opening module, I was sad to see no American Lit. module on offer when I pre-selected my second year modules.

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Master of San Andreas
However, most of the most FAMOUS novels are simplistic in their prose. Steinbeck has a very simple form, yet his work is considered thematic and god-like to many aspiring writers.

Hemingway, anyone?

Damn straight. Although he is extremely depressing. Kind of in the same style of the poet, Sylvia Plat.

I agree, Hemingway is really depressing I was reading "A Farewell to Arms' the other day and it was nice in the beginning but in the end His wife and the child will die which was really sad.

 

Right I've got two questions:

 

Is it necessary for a Poem to be rhyming?

Where do you guys usually write your stories?

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Eminence

 

What course are you studying?

English Literature, the specific module for the My Antonia reading/essay was an introductory module on American Lit./culture. Pretty interesting module, we went from Walt Whitman/Emily Dickinson poetry to Twain, from Poe to Langston Hughes. Very eye-opening module, I was sad to see no American Lit. module on offer when I pre-selected my second year modules.

Yeah, once something gets covered in a module it tends not to repeat. That was my experience, anyway. I was glad to be able to do a creative writing module in my third year, though the tutor for it was hapless. What modules are you picking up?

 

@MoSA - Absolutely not, ever heard of free verse? Many outstanding poems don't rhyme. The worst thing you can do is force it.

 

And I do pretty much everything at my desk. Not one for taking the laptop to ye old coffee shop. tounge.gif

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VProductions

I write either at home (bedroom), school, in the park or in the matrix (lol jk)

 

I agree with Eminence about the rhyming, some times people go out of their way to make rhymes and it is just a waste of time, think of it like a rap, not all raps rhyme, they keep in reference, try not to go off topic just to rhyme. icon14.gif

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Lethal Nizzle

 

What course are you studying?

English Literature, the specific module for the My Antonia reading/essay was an introductory module on American Lit./culture. Pretty interesting module, we went from Walt Whitman/Emily Dickinson poetry to Twain, from Poe to Langston Hughes. Very eye-opening module, I was sad to see no American Lit. module on offer when I pre-selected my second year modules.

Yeah, once something gets covered in a module it tends not to repeat. That was my experience, anyway. I was glad to be able to do a creative writing module in my third year, though the tutor for it was hapless. What modules are you picking up?

 

I'm taking 6 modules overall, three compulsory and three electives. My compulsory modules are "Debating Texts: Theory in Literature" (Hard Times - Dickens, Mrs. Dalloway - Woolf, Beloved - Toni Morrison), "Modernism and Modernity" (Heart of Darkness - Conrad, Ulysses - Joyce, To The Lighthouse - Woolf, The Wasteland - Eliot) and "Medieval Encounters" (no set texts of yet). When I saw Ulysses my heart sank. tounge.gif

 

My three electives are "Shakespeare and Idea of Comedy", "Introduction to Writing Creative Non-Fiction" and "Introduction to Welsh Writing in English". I was going to take up "Intro. to Writing Fiction" but the module is capped and was full pretty quick. There was another module called "California Dreamin'", where it looked at literature/culture/music of the 1960s, an era of great interest to me but that was capped and filled up straight away.

Edited by Lethal Nizzle

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Eminence

Ah, that's a shame. It's annoying the way modules are capped like that... I mean, obviously it makes sense to have some limits, but for those who miss out it sucks.

 

That Modernism module sounds good, I did something very similar. To The Lighthouse and The Waste Land are great, I despise Heart of Darkness though. Didn't read all of Ulysses either, not a big fan of Joyce. tounge.gif

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Lethal Nizzle

They all seem interesting to be fair, the majority of the texts being ones that I haven't come into contact with before. Although I doubt I'll have the same enthusiasm when it gets down to it! I was quite looking forward to reading Heart of Darkness, simply because Apocalypse Now was based off it, and I love me some Apocalypse Now as my sig probably suggests.

 

And Ulysses, well... I Googled "Ulysses excerpt", found one and I couldn't even finish it that!

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Master of San Andreas

Thanks Eminence,(Can we call you Emi tounge.gif ?)

 

I've got a Max Payne-GTA like story planned, Not a fan fic I've had enough of writing fan-fic I've decided to create my own universe. It's a City full of Crime and a big war between 2 gangs something like that. Need all the advice I can, mainly:

 

How to create the perfect plot?

How to give the plot nice little twists?

How do I drag the reader and make the reader really feel that he/she is in the story?

Is 20 Chapters a good length for this story?

 

 

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VProductions
How to create the perfect plot?

How to give the plot nice little twists?

How do I drag the reader and make the reader really feel that he/she is in the story?

Is 20 Chapters a good length for this story?

Firstly, there is no such thing as a perfect plot, all plots are unique in their own way, and you can't ask someone how, ask yourself how.

 

Secondly, the twists should be easy to you, use your imagination, think of "what if" situations that might inspire some twists.

 

Thirdly, I dont even know how to make the reader feel that they are in the story lol so, I think Mokrie would be best to explain that one, his CIF made me feel like I was a character.

 

Lastly, there shouldnt be a set length for the story, when the story is finished, it is finished, there is no need to squash or stretch it, you are writing the story, you can decide.

 

Hope I helped tounge.gif

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Typhus

Went to bed and couldn't sleep - inspiration came suddenly as I tried to drift off and I had to get up and write down my thoughts.

Anyone else have sudden bouts of inspiration like that?

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Eminence

Big time. Though for me I can never usually sleep anyway, so those ideas normally strike just as I'm starting to get tired - and then I've got to get up, note them down, and start from square one again. Damn creativity.

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VProductions
Big time. Though for me I can never usually sleep anyway, so those ideas normally strike just as I'm starting to get tired - and then I've got to get up, note them down, and start from square one again. Damn creativity.

You can use Evernote to record your speech and thoughts or make a video of notes or just write them, it really is awesome! tounge.gif

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TonyZimmzy
Big time. Though for me I can never usually sleep anyway, so those ideas normally strike just as I'm starting to get tired - and then I've got to get up, note them down, and start from square one again. Damn creativity.

You can use Evernote to record your speech and thoughts or make a video of notes or just write them, it really is awesome! tounge.gif

I do this a lot. I'm never static for long, so I record a whole lotta sssheeeyot on the move. dontgetit.gif

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Master of San Andreas

Plot for my upcoming story 'Ghost Hunter'.

 

 

Jason Black sets out on a mission to stop an organisation from nuking the world. Along the way he meets Ryan Hunter and Tim Farrel  who agree to help him. With a corrupt government and a raging war between 2 gangs, they set out to stop it themselves.

 

 

Bio for the protagonist Jason Black.

 

Name: Jason Black

Personality: Strong, fearless and brave.

Bio: Once a small time criminal, he discovers a letter in a man after he killed him.

He learns that an organisation called INA is planning to nuke the world, he decides to save the world and give up his criminal acts.

 

Thoughts?

Edited by Master of San Andreas

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Typhus
Big time. Though for me I can never usually sleep anyway, so those ideas normally strike just as I'm starting to get tired - and then I've got to get up, note them down, and start from square one again. Damn creativity.

It's a nice feeling though, isn't it?

I've been writing like a madman, getting all my ideas down - and I think I have a really good story on my hands. Memorable hero, terrifying villain, I'm really psyched about it.

God knows if I have the talent to pull it off.

 

I know I can create villains who creep people out - not to be immodest, but I believe I have a talent for visualising monsters and crafting evil characters. But so often, my stories have characters who are not heroic, but merely shades of grey.

With this one I have a definite hero, a person I want the reader to like, root for and sympathise with.

 

Do any of you guys have tips for how to make a character truly likable? It feels like a daunting task, but I want to challenge myself and move beyond my typical moral relativism. It's funny that a more simplistic 'good vs evil' story should feel far more complicated than my usual fare.

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Mokrie Dela
Thirdly, I dont even know how to make the reader feel that they are in the story lol so, I think Mokrie would be best to explain that one, his CIF made me feel like I was a character.

 

It's simple

 

A friend of mine said that something can be explained well only if the 'teacher' understands it fully.

 

In short: learn your characters. Learn their personality and history,earn their speech patterns. Really become them. Actors call this method acting I believe - being in character all the time. When I was creating a Jason Bourne type character, I became him in a way. Went to a restaurant, and I cased the place out, noted the exits and 'ambush points' locations of weapons, etc. I assessed the staff and customers for 'threats' - even deciding where best to sit.

 

Also eavesdrop. If you're on the train or bus or in a cafe, don't fiddle with your phone but LISTEN. Hear people talking, how they talk etc, and pick out anything interesting

Research too - if he's a cop, look into cop talk (phonetic alphabet and codes etc).

 

The characters back story is important too. Give him history but don't list it all at once. Don't have passages explaining it all, but hint at things. Look at city of lies and JIF - I reference nik, johnny and rami's past but don't list it out. There's one bit where Rami's contemplating killing petrovic and he's thinking of his family - his ex wife and son. Something bad happened there right? But I don't reveal all. It's a contradiction but one I feel worked - I assumed the reader knew rami's past, so I merely alluded to it, but to those who do not know his past, it (I think/hope) has the effect of raising intrigue and making him have more depth.

 

For foreign characters, learn part of their language. Instead of 'sh*t' a French guy might say 'merde' for example, but be careful with accenting their speech too much

Speekeen, like zis is 'ard to fo ze reada, noh?

 

As I say often, be patient. Let the character come alive

Write some shirt stories with that characte if you want, and build him up through that. He wi grow throughout your story but you want him to be real from the off.

 

Hope that helps?

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Eminence

 

Big time. Though for me I can never usually sleep anyway, so those ideas normally strike just as I'm starting to get tired - and then I've got to get up, note them down, and start from square one again. Damn creativity.

It's a nice feeling though, isn't it?

I've been writing like a madman, getting all my ideas down - and I think I have a really good story on my hands. Memorable hero, terrifying villain, I'm really psyched about it.

God knows if I have the talent to pull it off.

 

I know I can create villains who creep people out - not to be immodest, but I believe I have a talent for visualising monsters and crafting evil characters. But so often, my stories have characters who are not heroic, but merely shades of grey.

With this one I have a definite hero, a person I want the reader to like, root for and sympathise with.

 

Do any of you guys have tips for how to make a character truly likable? It feels like a daunting task, but I want to challenge myself and move beyond my typical moral relativism. It's funny that a more simplistic 'good vs evil' story should feel far more complicated than my usual fare.

Yeah, it's a great feeling haha. Who needs sleep anyway, right?

 

I don't think it's immodest of you to state that; I think you definitely have an eye for crafting a memorable villain. With regards to your heroes, though, and wanting to make us like them, wanting to make them good, I'd just say this:

 

Characters (and this includes villains) don't have to be likeable, we just have to empathise with them.

 

I don't have to like your hero. But if I understand their goals, if I find him or her relatable, then often that's enough. Likewise for the villain: I have to understand where they're coming from. If they're just evil for evil's sake - if they don't understand their ideology, nevermind me understanding it - then they're going to be pretty one-dimensional. But you know this, I'm sure.

 

As for a quick tip about how to make someone likeable, though, if that's what you're going for? Save the cat. It's a little snippet of writing formula taken from the Save the Cat books on writing screenwriting. Some of the advice in here is ridiculous and obsessive, but some of it is gold.

 

Basically, to save the cat is to give the protagonist, early in the story, a moment engineered to make us like them (like saving a cat from certain death. Who can hate someone who's just saved a poor little cat? Excepting dog people, of course). If it sounds forced it's because, well, it is. But if it feels organic, it can be an effective moment. And the more disguised it is - the more natural it feels - the better.

Edited by Eminence

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Mokrie Dela

Like V's entrance in V for vendetta - he's basically a terroris but be saves Evee

 

I like stories where the 'hero' is the bad guy though, and trying to write a relatable character who's simply a downright c*nt is difficult. It's easier to write the good guy; he helps people and we can relate to that honor but why? Why can't he just want to see the world burn? We can all relate to rage and hate can't we?

 

I think the reader has to like such a character as well - understanding why he shoots up a elementary school, killin kids, is one thing, but would you like the character afterward? Perhaps it'd work if the character dislikes himself, maybe there's the relation but how could you read a story following a guy you simply dislike?

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VProductions
trying to write a relatable character who's simply a downright c*nt is difficult

Easy for me, I just picture him/her as that one c*nt that I hate, you guys know who I mean tounge.gif

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Master of San Andreas
So no one reviewing my story's plot? confused.gif

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Mokrie Dela
trying to write a relatable character who's simply a downright c*nt is difficult

Easy for me, I just picture him/her as that one c*nt that I hate, you guys know who I mean tounge.gif

Oh yeah easy to do that, but to still make him relatable and liked....

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Eminence

 

I like stories where the 'hero' is the bad guy though

Do you mean where the hero is a bad guy? I can't think of many instances where you're, strictly speaking, on the side of the 'villain' against another hero. There's always someone worse - the antagonist... at least from the protagonist's point of view.

 

@ MoSA: It's a little too vague and generic to really review it. Guy sets out to prevent an organisation nuking the world. Okay... what else have you got? What's unique about your take on this pretty standard trope?

 

Also, a little note about when you're giving us your story's logline - the sentence-long summary. It doesn't help to give us character names; give us character traits. Instead of "Jason Black sets out on a mission to stop an organisation from nuking the world", it's much more interesting to say "A small-time criminal changes his ways to prevent a mysterious organisation nuking the world". It tells us more, not only about the character but about the story's arc as a whole.

 

Plus, that way you don't have to waste time giving us a character bio. We can infer all of this information from that single sentence.

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VProductions

I like stories where the 'hero' is the bad guy though

Do you mean where the hero is a bad guy? I can't think of many instances where you're, strictly speaking, on the side of the 'villain' against another hero. There's always someone worse - the antagonist... at least from the protagonist's point of view.

 

@ MoSA: It's a little too vague and generic to really review it. Guy sets out to prevent an organisation nuking the world. Okay... what else have you got? What's unique about your take on this pretty standard trope?

 

Also, a little note about when you're giving us your story's logline - the sentence-long summary. It doesn't help to give us character names; give us character traits. Instead of "Jason Black sets out on a mission to stop an organisation from nuking the world", it's much more interesting to say "A small-time criminal changes his ways to prevent a mysterious organisation nuking the world". It tells us more, not only about the character but about the story's arc as a whole.

 

Plus, that way you don't have to waste time giving us a character bio. We can infer all of this information from that single sentence.

I think Mokrie means an antihero there have been loads. Like Cole from inFamous etc.

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TonyZimmzy

I like stories where the 'hero' is the bad guy though

Do you mean where the hero is a bad guy? I can't think of many instances where you're, strictly speaking, on the side of the 'villain' against another hero. There's always someone worse - the antagonist... at least from the protagonist's point of view.

 

@ MoSA: It's a little too vague and generic to really review it. Guy sets out to prevent an organisation nuking the world. Okay... what else have you got? What's unique about your take on this pretty standard trope?

 

Also, a little note about when you're giving us your story's logline - the sentence-long summary. It doesn't help to give us character names; give us character traits. Instead of "Jason Black sets out on a mission to stop an organisation from nuking the world", it's much more interesting to say "A small-time criminal changes his ways to prevent a mysterious organisation nuking the world". It tells us more, not only about the character but about the story's arc as a whole.

 

Plus, that way you don't have to waste time giving us a character bio. We can infer all of this information from that single sentence.

I think Mokrie means an antihero there have been loads. Like Cole from inFamous etc.

Breaking Bad. inlove.gif

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