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January 16, 2013
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FIVE TIPS FOR ANY AUTHOR!

:iconblackeyehawk:
A fellow deviant recently asked for my advice on writing stories. I came up with five reasons and she liked them. So I'm going to share my advice with the rest of the world! 'Cause I'm nice, and feels the need to puff my chest out.

1. A SIMPLE OUTLINE

Start with the idea. Expand upon it, but not too much. Stuff like 'Mr. Grave walks into the Broken Blade Bar, kills notorious bandit 'Dogteeth Jake' with his trusty pistol, 'Dixie-Jane' is too long. Try 'Stranger walks into a bar, and kills bandit.' There, simple, straight to the point.

Then, get all the ideas down somewhere. Sheet of paper, text document, just write the simple ideas you want to place in the story. Expand later on, once you're certain that you got everything you need.

2. CHARACTER, NOT GOD

The hardest part for any aspiring writer is creating a character that isn't a Mary-Sue. The worst part about a Mary-Sue is that there is no consensus on a precise definition of a Mary-Sue. For the most part, a Mary-Sue is the 'perfect' character; important to the story, all the characters bow before her/him, possess no real flaws etc. How does one avoid creating a monster? Simple!

First off, make a character have some flaws. Don't just say they have a flaw, show it. Show, don't tell, remember? It can be a running gag (Oh, no, tins cans! A tin can killed my father!) or could be something serious, (Oh, how I wish I could swim in a world nothing but sea...but I'm scared.) it has to be important to the character and/or sometimes the story.

Second off, make the character real...or not. If the character is serious, give them a real personality. If the character is silly, make them insane! Actually, all characters need at least one or two real quirks. Even in a comedy, you need something serious so a joke can be born. Straight man says something serious, silly man responds something funny. Just because a character has a noticeable flaw(s), doesn't mean it can't be a Mary-Sue.

Third off...well, just have fun! A character needs to be likable, so create one that appeals not just to you, but to others! Even if you fail at the two point above, this third point will undone all that! Need a example?

SUPERMAN.

'Nuff said.

3 MIXING A FINE STORY

Okay, you got outline and characters. Now, how do they fit?

Don't just throw them together. Tie them together. Remember Mr. Grave? Yeah, he would fit the part of the dark stranger, but what about others? Do they have a reason to be here? Not just the story, but certain places and times?

As a example, take 'Space Mutiny' a hilarious bad sci-fi movie featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000. In one scene, one of the main bad guys captures the heroine and plans on torturing her by using a laser to burn out her teeth...yes. The other main villain comes in. Now, the main problem is that the second villain was a spy, one who had gone undetected so far. He had no reason to be there at all, save for one. So the heroine can reveal to the captain the spy after she escapes.

Don't be lazy. Don't have characters be in a certain place just to be in a certain place. Also, don't make characters stupid to make a plot point. A author should never, ever degrade a character just to keep the story going. Now, you can make a character going stupider a plot point, but be careful.

4 DON'T DROP NUKES NEEDLESSLY

What's a nuke, outside of being just a bomb?

A nuke is a term I now just coined to describe a event so large, it affects the entire storyline in a major way, often changing the shift of comedy and drama, flipping characters' personalities upside down, and other major changes.

Okay, questions.

Why should you drop a nuke? What will change? Who will be affected? How is the nuke dropped? When will it take effect; now or later?

Take for example, the infamous 'No Russian' scene from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. That's a bad nuke. Why? Because it shock players! What? That you're dealing with a bad ass villain! Who? Parents, so we can use the controversy to raise sales and be remembered! How? By the player slaughtering innocents, and then dying at end by the person you were following around, the same person who is the main villain and if you shoot him, you will get a game over. When? Right now!

Dropping a nuke is risky business. It could bring people in, or drive them out. Consider the five questions, and keep your finger on the safety button.

5 THE POINT OF IT

Why should someone spend their time on my story? That's the most important thing about doing art. You need to put effort in order for others to notice it and bother to read/watch/play.

This is the reason why I hate Family Guy. The writers admitted they didn't care about plot or characters, then why should I care about the show?

Give people a reason to pay attention to you.

Other those five reasons, have fun!

Hell, I write my stories off the tip of my tongue! It does help with pacing, too!

So, kick your doubts in the cans, sit down, get your favorite snack, put on some music or listen to your favorite show, and get a-writing/typing!

Feel free to throw criticism at me or ask questions.

Hope that helps.
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Devious Comments

:iconneurotype:
neurotype Jan 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:lock: The OP is currently unable to respond, and the contents of the post are journal material. FAQ #801: Are there any rules for the Forums?
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:icontiganusi:
tiganusi Jan 17, 2013  Professional
My advice for writers is if you take at face value any advice you get on the internet without seeing if it actually works for your writing purposes, you're a fucking sheep. That's all, really. Write, experiment, create and then painfully destroy a Mary Sue, use ALL THE PLOT TWISTS, pre-write such that it's longer than your finished product (it'll save you editing time later!), and don't write just for the sake of making words.
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:iconwizardofunseen:
WizardOfUnseen Jan 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
The five points that I think should be improtant are:-
1) WRITING. The most important.
2) Reading.
3) Read and reread what you have written.
4) Show your work to someone who is way better than you and listen to what they have to say.
5) Learn to take criticism.
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:iconpinkymccoversong:
PinkyMcCoversong Jan 16, 2013  Professional Writer
I'm wondering what the target audience is and why you feel qualified to give advice.  There's a lot here that seems like it's coming from a newbie -- focusing on Mary-Sues, separation of plot and character, and insisting that an outline works for everyone.  Nowhere do I see anything about reading or revision.  And I'm just seeing a lot of questionable stuff...like a character always has to be likeable?  Totally not true.  Antiheroes are amazing and you see them in so many stories -- would you say that Deadpool or Spike from Buffy are bad characters?  See also what `saintartaud has to say

I think you have to be really careful about giving authoritative advice, especially in a post like this that doesn't really encourage discussion.  You're posting this like it's a resource or a guide, which isn't necessarily appropriate for the forum unless you can show that you're an expert.  If this were a post that said "give your 5 favorite tips for writing," that would be different, and a good idea. 

I'm posting this with love.  I want to see this community succeed, and bad advice, even well well-intentioned, isn't terrible helpful.
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:iconwizardofunseen:
WizardOfUnseen Jan 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I have never read a story with antiheroes. :no:
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:icontiganusi:
tiganusi Jan 17, 2013  Professional
Any of the following contain antiheroes: the complete works of Shakespeare, Ernest Hemingway, Flannery O'Connor, Margaret Atwood, Timothy Findley, Albert Camus, every Gothic, Romantic or otherwise Victorian novel or short story, almost all Hispanic magic realism, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Oedipus Rex, your mother. Surely in high school you've read at least one of the above.
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:iconwizardofunseen:
WizardOfUnseen Jan 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Now that you say, yes, I remember now. I do not know why I could not think about any of them at time I was trying to remember. :noes:
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:iconpinkymccoversong:
PinkyMcCoversong Jan 17, 2013  Professional Writer
Ooooh.  I can't think of a book that I've read off the top of my head, but I know  the Dexter series features an antihero.  (The books are what the TV show is based on.)  Basically an antihero is a protagonist that is extremely unlikeable, does unsavory things, but you can't NOT follow his story...and he has an occasional heroic moment.
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:iconwizardofunseen:
WizardOfUnseen Jan 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Right after I wrote I have never read, I remembered I have and I felt stupid. :no:
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:iconpinkymccoversong:
PinkyMcCoversong Jan 17, 2013  Professional Writer
Aww!
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