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NightWithMoon PM
Joined Jul '10

Love scifi/fantasy, read a ton of books, and have nothing better to do than to see if I am as good a writer as I hope :)

I found this list by Alan Heathcock and agree strongly with almost every single one of them (I had to copy it out by hand and type it up and I did so quickly, so there might be a typo in here):

Dear peeps,

Yesterday I wrote the last sentence of the last story for a book I began - If I began this book the moment I decided I wanted to be a writer - some twenty years ago. I sincerely believe that anyone, with education and effort and patience can successfully write a book. I did. The process of finishing this book has been intense, more so than I'd imagined, but out of the intensity I've seen my way into a very clear understanding of my own personal tenets on writing. Here's a few of them

1. Make a unique character, with a highly specific flaw that puts it into question their ability to clearly interpret the world.

2. Do horrible things to your character, but never steal away their humanity.

3. Never make your character ignorant or crazy.

4. Enable your character to change, despite their flaw, and through trial, to understand a profound truth of the world. Figure out the profound truths of the world

5. Feel your character's struggle. Make yourself weep and angry and tired. Make yourself swoon. Find out what it means to be someone who is not you.

6. Empathy is of the highest importance. If a reader does not FEEL, then it is not drama but journalism, and journalism that is also fiction has little value.

7. FEELING is communicated through the senses. Communicate through images, sounds, scents, and textures, not through words. You will primarily communicate through images.

8. Put your character in a situation that is highly dramatic and unique, leaving your character naked to their flaws.

9. Spend a lot of time planning the plot. Create plots that are so unique and off-formula that nobody believes you've spent any time at all thinking about plot.

10. Let your character want something, but don't give it to them easily. Give them what they've earned. Make them work the entire story to earn it, or not.

11. Every scene you create must feel strange and unfamiliar. Strange and unfamiliar builds mystery, and feels dangerous, and mystery and danger feeds curiosity.

12. Invent settings that are interesting and peculiar or find something interesting an peculiar in settings that are banal. All settings are metaphoric reflections of your character's interior.

13. Never be obvious. Never be coy. Make a reader have to work a little to understand what they're reading, but eventually pay out their effort in empathy and clarity.

14. Reveal something in your endings, create a convergence of plot and story. Write the ending in a way it doesn't feel tidy. Be French with your endings.

15. Don't under-write. Supply everything a reader needs to see and feel and think. Control the reader at all times.

16. Don't over-write. Don't make a reader read a single word more than they need. If you make a reader read a single word more than they need then you've given them permission to skim.

17. Always find the exact right nouns and verbs. Verisimilitude is largely determined by the accuracy of nouns and verbs.

18. Write with a prose style that seems organic and free though it is completely planned and controlled.

19. Don't worry about length. A story will be as long as it needs to be, and not a word longer, or shorter. The story dictates its length.

20. No short cuts. Think of the most demanding ways to accomplish what you want and do those things. IT will save you time in the end.

21. Never intentionally offend anyone. But don't worry if people are offended by your work.

22. Make your titles simple and a little odd. Make a reader have to read your story to fully understand the title, and make a title that helps a reader fully understand the story.

23. Choose projects that make you feel something intensely. Be obsessed.

24. You must give yourself up to the story. Eliminate yourself. It's not about you.

25. Don't work around other people. Other people will make you self-conscious. Find some place you can be alone. Be alone.

26. Do not look beyond yourself for validation.

27. Be brave enough to take yourself seriously. Once you decide to take yourself seriously you will stop imitating others and will become original.


Alan Heathcock

I have tons of ideas for how magic works and what could happen, however, I tend to have trouble creating a plot to go along with any of it... so my stories may be slow to develop. I hope they will only be the better for it. Adding to that I would be open to suggestions on any of my stories and if your reading the my Book of Shadows (update*... my book of shadows that is one chapter long and has no future as far as I can see... I have ideas but they're abstract and it takes to much effort to turn it into something I can communicate - if it was that easy I would just write the darn story.. anyway) I encourage you to draw any and all inspiration from it possible.

Ok, this thought occurred to me and I had to get it down somewhere - Mass Crossover, A wizard trained as a shinobi with the discipline of sinanju. Epic combo (HarryPotter/Naruto/TheDestroyer crossover)

Have you ever been jealous of movie characters? I mean seriously they have their own musical accompaniment; that's worth it all by itself. There are so many moments in life where inspiration music in the background wouldn't go amiss - granted there also a lot of moments when it would be wasted...

I have noticed of my own writing that I tend to pick a story to focus on for a while (sometimes a few weeks sometimes a few months) and then I will switch tracks to another. This means that I will update each story in bursts until I tire or run out of ideas for that story line and switch to another. I haven't abandoned either Journeyman, Terra Sub Mea, or To Serve. However I am currently in the mood to be writing only Journeyman stuffs and won't update the others for a while yet (probably).

My views on Harry Potter: Firstly the universe of Harry Potter is is one of boundless potential - that is why I read harry potter fanfic, because, to be honest, the older I get the more pathetic the books are. Harry and Ron are downright stupid - in all the schools I've ever attended any student as incapable as them would be relegated to LD classes. As for hermione (she's one of my least favorite main characters) she's really just an obsessive, bossy individual (in the case of the books her obsession is education and school) other than that she really isn't all that seemingly brilliant. That being said I have read a fanfic where it described hogwart's education as the equivalent of achieving masters degrees in all the subjects by the time of graduation - in which case harry and ron's poor performance truly is impressive and hermione truly is brilliant... (By the way I really liked that fic). in other cases it seems to me that so much potential of the harry potter universe (that J.K. Rowling introduced us to) goes unfulfilled. And that is something that I hate, lost or missed potential.


Writing - what you do to get a point across on paper

Composition/compilation - when you're writing an essay

Poetry - when you want to convey more than words

Prose - When it's more than just words and greater detail than poetry.

This is what I always aim for in my stories, not just writing, but prose. I can't say I always succeed, but I definitely try. It's actually a bit of a funny story but I hate reading, absolutely hate it, even to this day. That being said I probably read about a million words on this site every week. I hate reading, but I love stories (and really unfortunately my mother stopped reading them for me when I was seven, so I had to actually learn how :P ). Anyway that's probably one of the reasons I never wrote when I was younger, sure I day dreamed - tons really - but I never had the patience to put it into words. That is until my high school Latin class. I will always be grateful to my Latin teacher for doing what none of my English teachers ever could - get me to fall in love with language.

My teacher was a bit of a weirdo, I won't deny it, and there were times I really didn't like her, but she was also brilliant and had an understanding and love of Latin that she managed to instill in all of her students that managed to stick with the class. She showed us how even without the sentence structure we are familiar with in English, Roman orators made art out of language. It's something I've since striven for in my own writing - a mix between Poetry and just plain writing. True writing, true stories, should flow and glide. You should be caught up not just by the tale, but also by the language.

Something I hadn't really noticed until he was dead and his series handed over to Brandon Sanderson, was that Robert Jordan knew how to do that. I think if it wasn't for how in love I was with his writing style I never would have been able to survive trying to keep up with his incredible story. Reading his writing was strangely comforting - he showed us not only the actions of his characters, but a little bit of their thoughts and their drive, and most impressively just how similar all his characters were when you stripped away their circumstances. Through his writing I think I finally and truly came to terms with the fact that while everyone has moments they feel like no one understands them, those moments are far more uncommon than we think - we're all human in the end and as different as we are from each other, there are things that tie us together that are so much deeper than everything on the surface.

I've since stopped reading the series, having grown tired of waiting for it to be written and (though it could just be changing tastes as I grow older) not nearly as captured by Brandon Sanderson's writing, despite his own skill. Even so I think I got something important from those stories and it has greatly influenced my own writing style.

FIC etiquette: These are things that bother me when reading a fic -

1) It's Important to actually write a summary and not try to allude to and hint at a great story, because honestly with over six-hundred thousand stories for harry potter alone, we as readers don't want to be tricked into reading a story we aren't interested in. Honestly there's been more than once I've skipped over a story that looked like it had potential because the summary was crap and told me absolutely nothing of what the story is actually about.

2) this is more a personal preference and something that's actually a little unfortunate for some stories - but I don't favorite any story in a series but the first - I always find it annoying when searching through another author's favorites list when I come across a potentially good story only to see that it's the second or third in a series and the author didn't bother favoriting (yes it's a word - ish) the first in the series.

3) even if you aren't a spectacular writer, one thing every author must get right (if only because it's so basic and makes reading a story so much easier) is that when people are talking you do not put two or more people talking in the same paragraph - it's horrifying how often I come across people doing that!

4) Ok this mostly applies to Harry Potter Fanfics, because I read them the most, but I think almost everyone can assume that if we're on this site and reading a HP fanfic that we are familiar with cannon... there is no need for you to spend ten thousand words rehashing what has happened in canon when there isn't any change! It's a major annoyance to start reading a fic only for the author to tell me in extreme detail how normal the dursleys are... I read the books, I watched the movies, I've read thousands of fics... I KNOW ALREADY!

5) Another horrifying mistake that is really, really common, is people confusing wonder and wander. Wonder is wonderful, wander is to meander. (also if it helps when you have won something that won is the same sound as in wonderful, and when you're wan it's the same sound as in wander... I can understand there, they're and their, sometimes, but wonder and wander really aren't difficult to keep separate)

6) the Authors note should never be more than two hundred words - I admit that I'm guilty of failing this one at times too, but it's not only discouraging when you click to the next chapter in a really promising story and a thousand of words in the chapter aren't even part of the story. - on that note I also rather hate it when authors address individual reviewers in their authors notes (when they respond to all the reviews one after another until you have to scroll down half the webpage to get to the story); if there's a good point a reviewer brought up, then address it as quickly and succinctly as you can!

Alright that's all I can think of right now, I'll post more of these when I think of them (or more likely a few months after I've thought of them then forgotten then thought of them again, then gotten the inspiration to edit my profile)...

It has also been pointed out that fanfic has become a bit of a personal addiction... So I will be on the site less - however, I have never had a problem of writing too much, so I won't be cutting back on that at all; meaning I should update at my normal sporadic and occasionally glacial pace.

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