Took a look at your material to give myself a refresher, since I apparently needed one . Found your article concerning capitalization and quoting quite useful. Only thing that still perplexes me is when referring to someone of royal decent. Thought The King/The Queen would be proper, but i'm still unsure.
Ya, that's what really got me into trouble with a story and it just perplexes the hell out of me at times. This would also apply, at least for me in terms of problems, to figuring out a person's title when referring to them beyond royalty. Example would using associate professor in place of the person's name. Not sure if I would capitalize associate professor or not. Only know that in some circumstances you need to apply capitalization to avoid confusion within a sentence when you don't want comedic effect.
Think the example that mostly sticks with me is one I read from an article about writing, talking about the difference between "helping your uncle jack off a donkey" and "helping your Uncle Jack off a donkey."
The first example, as I understand it, carries that comedic effect while the second one gives a clearer explanation to a reader.
Well, to be honest, if you're having a problem that the whole meaning of your sentence is changed unless you capitalise a word, you should probably re-word the sentence. Jack should be capitalised, yes, but not uncle.
And on epithets, you do actually want to avoid them whenever possible. They're horrible, nasty things that show up in purple prose and exist only to flower up the narrative unnecessarily.
The only time they should really be used is if you absolutely need to call attention to that person's station. For instance, "I had dinner with Obama" sounds impressive, but, "I had dinner with the President" sounds even better. (And this is also another case where the capitalisation can depend on the context. Here, president is capitalised, because he's THE president. If it were the president of Ford Motors or whatever, it wouldn't be capitalised because there are plenty of CEOs in the world.)
If you're using associate professor just because you don't want to use the person's name, then associate professor is being abused.
'"Your assignments are due at the end of the week," said the associate professor' is clunky as balls.
'"Your assignments are due at the end of the week," said Professor Webley' flows better. We know exactly who you're talking about, as like the CEOs, there are plenty of associate professors out there.
A general rule of thumb is don't try to say in five words what can be said in three. Words have meaning, but if you repeat them often enough, that meaning goes away. And then when you really need to point out the idea that you're trying to get across, you've no words left to do so.
Don't say infinite when huge is what you mean. When you come to something that truly is infinite, you can't describe it properly, basically.
"Don't say infinite when huge is what you mean. When you come to something that truly is infinite, you can't describe it properly, basically."
Unfortunately, that is a definite problem I ran into when I started writing, still do actually. When I check over my work after i've been writing for an extended period, I catch myself using a particular in several different contest. This ultimately degraded the word, and in the process, probably confuses the reader.
Overall I think my main problem is i'm still fresh when it comes to writing. Though i've been writing for close to a year now, as mentioned, it doesn't automatically make me a "professional" writer, or my work anywhere close to professional no matter how much I would want it to be.
Thanks for the info about the epithets, it's definitely helpful.
Also read your material on show vs tell and a bit on purple prose. One thing that seems hard is striking that good balance between show and purple prose, at least for me. Believe it was your article that talked about a woman's flowing hair and went into expansive detail about it. That definitely seemed like a prime example of purple prose. Though I keep reading about things about one person's Purple Prose being another finer point of explanation when you condense things down.
Not sure where I read it, or if it's true, but I swear I read something that as a writer you are given 3 shots to explain a situation within a paragraph. After that, if you expand beyond those 3 shots it goes into Purple Prose territory.
What would help a lot is finding out what research you've already done. I mean, everyone and their mom has written a blog about show vs tell (yes, even me), there's an active thread on what people like in character quotes, I don't know what "proper use of story elements" or "proper" exposition is supposed to mean here (it varies), etc.
So either we can all reiterate that like you don't know what you're talking about--which I don't think is the case--or, instead of asking a lot of vague questions, you could start asking questions specific to what you need. The best way to do that is, yes, in the critique sticky, but there are other discussion in this forum on using certain devices and such.
One of the things that was mentioned in the detailed critique was the character I used. It is bluntly put that she is a "walking, talking exposition machine," and uses "telling" elements more than what readers want/except, which is elements of "showing" the reader.
I had hopedthat I did, or at least part of me had hoped, a relatively good job at keeping those unwanted "tell" elements to a minimum. Though it seems to be contrary to my desires.
Looked at notable authors outside the realm i'm creating the fictional material for and read several other works by authors within the specific area. I did this so I could get a grasp of how to make a story and apply it towards the fictional material I'm writing about. After reading the guides online, materials here on Deviant Art, and reviewing other works, as mentioned, I had hoped to get past several of the notable problems, show vs tell being just one. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case since I still had trouble in "properly" utilizing that aspect of story writing.
With what was written in the email I do believe it best to retract my story.
Once you go past the notable flaws of show vs tell, exposition, capitalization, etc... , the story would need a major re-write to pass inspection. The only thing happening at that point, in my opinion, is a story being made specifically for that site. I truly believe my story has merit, but to completely re-write it for "one specific site" just seems silly and pointless to me.
I'll be sure to use the critique thread so I can get an idea of where I went wrong. Though the email points out the problems, it feels like it isn't just surface deep, kind of like a water stain in a basement that turns into a huge mess for a home owner.
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