Description is another killer problem. I have read dozens of stories in this fandom, and there are so many that are in desperate need of description. If you want your reader to enjoy the story, tell them EVERYTHING. What can you see, hear, smell, feel? Is there a breeze? What color is the dragon you're riding? How warm is the temperature of the water? Every detail can be an extremely important part of your story, even a plot device! In one story I wrote, I decided that Brooke Swiftriver, a Diviner, had a large burn over her left eye. That one tiny detail led to an entire back story. If you want tips on how to put more description in your story, ask those questions here.
Please read the Forum Rules thread before posting.12/17/2011 . Edited 6/16/2014 #1 Report
The rules are simple: no swearing and no being unkind to others. This is a place for HELPING, not hurting.12/17/2011 #2 Report
One way to add description to a specific part of a story: Get a sheet of blank paper and a pencil/a blank Word document and picture the scene from your character's eyes. Type/write every tiny detail you experience, and then pick out what's important for the readers to know.6/19/2012 #3 Report
Instead of using "He/She/It said" over and over again, try using some of these words:
In the case of a question, use these instead of "asked" :
Questioned (Depending on context, this could either sound very good or very silly. Read it aloud to yourself to check.)
Proposed (Not "proposed" as in "Asked to marry;" the word can also mean "suggested."
Beseeched (Hey, if you feel like speaking Ye Olde English ...)
Appealed (Can mean "Asked")
Sorry if I repeated any; I was reading from thesaurus.com xD6/19/2012 #4 Report
Diction: Word Choice for Effect
When you're writing, there are three different ways you could describe something: You could use positive diction, negative diction, or no diction at all. For example, if I'm describing my house, I could just say "My house is big and cream-colored." That doesn't show much bias, right? You can't tell from that sentence whether I like my house or not. That's using no diction.
Here's how I would describe my house using positive diction: "My lovely house is spacious and has a pretty cream hue." I pretty obviously like how my house looks if that's how I'm describing it. The words "lovely," "spacious" and "pretty" make you think, "Hmm, this house sounds like a nice place."
Negative diction is just the opposite: "My huge, ugly house has peeling, dingy brownish paint." Yeah ... I don't like the sound of that house at all!
This same concept can be used when describing anything. If your character likes the look of something, add some positive diction, and if they think it's ugly, use negative. Diction is a pretty easy way to add more description to a story. ;)6/27/2012 #9 Report
I'm sorry, I may have some repeated down here, but I'm just typing, and not checking. I know I sound lazy, but...well, I am. Sorry about that, but I'm hoping this helps.
in a happy way * laughed * rejoiced * giggled * joked * lilted * sang out in a sad way * cried * agonized * bawled * blubbered * lamented * sobbed * groaned * sniveled * wept * mourned
in a bossy way * insisted * bossed * demanded * preached * dictated * professed * ordered
in an angry way * raged * miffed * seethed * fumed * retorted * thundered * blurted in a pained way * barked * cried out * cried * screamed * jabbered * bellowed * groaned * howled * shrieked * roared * grieved * wailed * yelped
in a frightened way * quaked * stammered * shuddered * quivered * trembled
in a understanding way * empathized * accepted * consoled * crooned * comforted * sympathized * agreed in a tired way * mumbled * struggled * emitted * wearied
in a begging way * beseeched * begged * implored * pleaded * entreated * appealed to
as an answer * responded * retorted * replied * rejoined * answered * acknowledged
Shoot, I didn't realize how much I typed! This better help, because this is the longest post I've ever submitted. Geez! I'm proud of myself; I'm never had so much time to contribute...
There's probably a mistake in there somewhere, but do you think i'm really going to reread this entire thing? I'm going to sleep!
scarletfireblade7/24/2012 . Edited 8/15/2012 #10 Report
How 'bout these examples.
My brother's birthday party had balloons and cake.
My brother's birthday party had bright red balloons and a delicious cake!
Not the best description, I guess...I've done better.
My brother's birthday party had red balloons attached to mangled strings and a soggy cake that got all over my clothes.
I think it worked out a little. When I feel more up to it I'll type up some better ones. Thnx!
scarletfireblade7/24/2012 . Edited 8/15/2012 #11 Report
Oh that last post was supposed to be about diction stuff...hope it helped just a little!
scarletfireblade7/24/2012 #12 Report
There are about a thousand ways to describe one little scene...you just gotta find the right words, I suppose.
Like for the word color: You could use spectrum, shade, hue, rainbow, light, etc. And then you could name that specific color, without using the words brown or purple. How about mahogany or gamboge? And for a scenery, you could use words like verdure instead of plants.
I would appreciate if this worked out. Mostly it's saying: USE GOOD VOCABLARY...PLEASE!
scarletfireblade7/24/2012 #13 Report
@Scarlet: Those are some pretty good words. :)
I agree with the good vocab statement. I see basically the same story with slightly different wording and by different authors over and over again until I'm feeling slightly ill. O_o
Also, I'd like to add something my friend said today: You're putting your writing out for the whole world to see, so if you'd better put out your very best work with all the effort you can give unless you want terrible reviews.
She's right ... some stories I've revised 12 times before even sending them to my beta. The same with actual books. I'm currently working on the fifth draft of my first book, and my "pre-publisher betas" have only seen the prologue so far. If you want good reviews, do your best!!!!!!! That way, people are critiquing your very best, as opposed to critiquing your half-hearted attempt at writing.
"If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" Unknown7/24/2012 #14 Report
I'm not sure if this belongs on this topic, but does anyone else here have problems with the opening?
I'm probably the only one, but if anyone else has some tips for me, please post!
scarletfireblaze8/15/2012 . Edited 8/15/2012 #17 Report
The opening, as in the beginning of the game, or the opening as in the beginning of the story?
In response to first option: I don't like how evil it made Malistaire seem right off the bat ... they could have started with a scene of Sylvia's death before the whole "Ambrose comes in and has you design a character" thing. That would have been cool. xD
In response to second option: *Waves hand in air* I have had to go through SEVENTEEN DRAFTS to get the PROLOGUE correct for my first book!!!!!Seventeen!!!! O_o For The Destiny of Fire's Song, I had to revise the first chapter three times before I was semi-happy with the current version, and I'm STILL thinking about revising it again. I always have trouble with the first chapter/the prologue of a story, because the first part and the last part are the two most important parts of the story. The first part hooks your readers and makes them want to read more, and the second part is the last thing the readers remember and make them want to say, "Wow, that was a good book!" or, for famous authors, maybe they want their books to end with reactions something like this: "Nooooo! WHY DID SHE LEAVE IT WITH A CLIFFHANGER!? I hate her so much! I'm never going to read another one of her books again! *Six months later, when the next book is out, they're the first ones in line to buy it. XD*"
I'll put more on the beginning and ending, etc. in the "Parts of a Story" thread. :)8/16/2012 #18 Report
This is a little thing I've been playing with for the past few weeks, and it's one area where I've been trying to improve my writing.
You could be the best speller and have the best grammar in the world, you could know every word in the English language, and you could write flawlessly, but without emotion, writing is dead. There has to be something the readers can connect to, or something that they can feel as the characters are feeling it. I've mostly been working with negative emotion lately, since The Destiny of Fire's Song is a very dark story, with lots of opportunity for negative emotion. I've especially been working with writing death-and-post-death scenes.
To write a really emotional scene, you need to REALLY describe what the character(s) is/are feeling in detail. Also, be sure to do your research first; I know first hand that you can't write an emotional death scene without knowing how someone feels when a loved one dies. I had to do about two weeks of googling to find out everything I needed to find out for the redone chapter 12, and I managed to REALLY impress my friend with the result. :)
It's the same deal with pretty much any deeply emotional situation. It's nearly impossible to write a good emotional scene if you haven't experienced a similar situation or done research about said situation.9/4/2012 #19 Report
A side topic of emotion is "How to create a really good accident/tragedy" or something to that affect.
A lot of times, I see authors create the "Mary-Sue level tragic past" in which the mom/dad dies, the dad/mom becomes abusive, the siblings are killed/captured/turn evil, etc. etc. etc. xP Those are pretty awful to have happen to you, true, but why take away the ENTIRE family from the character, when you can create a much more tense situation with a lot more stress and EMOTION by other means?
Let's say we have a family of five: Mom, Dad, Older Brother, Younger Brother and Youngest Sister. Older Brother is the main character. They live in Dragonspyre, and they get attacked by dragons. There are two different options here:
1. I could kill off Mom, Dad, Younger Brother and Youngest Sister, leaving Older Brother to face his misery alone.
2. What if the dragons just take (not kill, kidnap) Youngest Sister? There are several large reactions that will occur: Mom and Dad will fight. They'll blame each other, and often times what start out as normal conversations will become screaming matches. Mom thinks it's Dad's fault for not protecting Youngest Sister. Dad will blame Mom for the incident, while simultaneously being indignant about being blamed. They might split up, causing even more chaos in the family, or they might stay together and try to work things out. Older Brother will feel guilty on his own, be ignored by his parents, and just become overall miserable. He will also guilty for not trying to find Youngest Sister when she's not dead-or maybe he doesn't know that she's not dead. Younger Brother will be sad, cry a lot, etc., since he misses his sister and his parents are fighting.
See? With option two, you get many more opportunities for emotional scenes, AND you cause a very realistic reaction in the family WITHOUT getting a "Mary-Sue Tragic Past." :)9/4/2012 #20 Report
I've got one thing that I forgot to add to that last post: To have your villains seem more evil/dangerous, use a similar tactic when developing their evil plans. If there's someone they need out of the way, why not destroy them mentally instead of killing them?9/4/2012 #21 Report
Yeah, I meant the opening of a story, not the game. Should of made that more clear (though I do have a problem with the game beginning...is it weird you just happen to be there when Malistaire shows up?)
Thanks for the tips...I will definetely use them when I begin a story!
scarletfireblaze9/5/2012 #22 Report
@Scarlet: I've always wondered that, too! I guess it's just a convenient way to teach you how to duel ...9/8/2012 #23 Report
One key thing about description that I've been learning is to only include what's important. Make sure everything you write down has a purpose. It's important to not give the reader a detail that he/she can not use.9/8/2012 #24 Report
Any tips on how to describe someone's clothing without just right out stating "(s)he was wearing..."?10/27/2013 #25 Report
@Scarlet: Why, yes. (Although you literally just asked how to fix this problem, I'll add le warning: Don't just list off what the character is wearing, My Immortal style O_________O)
You could describe the outfit through the actions of the person, such as "He tapped the brim of his hat" or something like that. You could also use the actions of the clothing to add more to the sentence than just "She wore a green dress."
Here are a few examples. All of these are technically correct, by the way, although some of them are less preferable than others.
Le first version of the sentence:
Alex wore a black hooded cloak, a black and red robe and black boots. She carried a silver cutlass.
Le second version of the sentence:
Alex cut an intimidating figure in her black and blood red robes. The faint breeze stirred her black cloak, and the silver cutlass in her hand gleamed in the sunlight. She pulled her hood lower before starting towards her adversary, who was cornered against a crumbling bit of wall.
Le third version of the sentence:
Alex inspected her reflection critically. Black robes, black hooded cloak, black hair. It would be difficult for any scout to notice her, although the glare off her cutlass could prove troublesome. I'll just have to avoid any searchlights, the Necromancer mused.
Le fourth version of the sentence:
The first thing that the Morgantine army saw was a patch of black that marred the endless blue of the sky. The edge of the figure's cloak flapped in the breeze created by the wing beats of the dragon she rode atop. The Necromancer dismounted just a few yards away from the army, unsheathing her gleaming sword as she did so. She brushed aside her cloak to reveal the red and black robes she wore beneath it. Morganthe glared at her army as the soldiers shifted uncomfortably.
"Hold your ground, fools! She's only one pitiful little Necromancer!" the Umbra Queen snapped.
"This 'pitiful little Necromancer' brought friends, witch," the girl called, grinning dangerously. In a flash of light, her own army- friends, family and rivals alike- appeared beside her.
(I'll just stop there ... I got a little carried away with that one :P)
I hope this helps! :310/28/2013 #26 Report
Ahhh, thank you, that was a lot more than I needed! . Why are you so nice???????
scarletfireblaze11/19/2013 #27 Report
Sorry, one more question :P Do you have any tips on writing cliffhangers with chapters?11/19/2013 . Edited 11/19/2013 #28 Report
@Scarlet: I figured that was a little much ... :P Sorry if I blew up your brain or anything with my randomness O_o (I've actually come close to doing that before ...)
Cliffhangers? Those are my favorites! (As I'm sure you've guessed from some of the Journey chapters :P xD) This website has some really good tips about cliffhangers: www . missliterati . com / blog / five - tips - to - mastering - the - cliffhanger (minus le spaces)
I'm not sure how others do cliffhangers, but I can tell you how I do them. It actually involves a lot of how I plan out my stories. I write out the plot ten chapters at a time in as much detail as I can, and then I just kind of ... write. When I think I've gotten to the end of a section, that's generally where I end the chapter. Sometimes it ends up as a cliffhanger, other times it doesn't. I guess it really depends on what's going on in your chapter- like if a character has just been kidnapped, for example, that might be a good place to leave a cliffhanger, where times of peace aren't always great spots. (Although I've both seen and done those "...but the peace couldn't last" type things before, especially in DoFS and the back stories.)11/26/2013 #29 Report
Thank you so much! Yeah, I kinda understood the basics of cliffhangers from actual reading, but since you are amazing at utilizing cliffhangers I figured I'd ask for your advice, too. Thanks again!11/27/2013 #30 Report