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Author Topic: The Writing Nursery  (Read 4457 times)

Midnighticequeen

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The Writing Nursery
« on: February 07, 2010, 12:33:20 AM »
As you can guess by the title, this is a entry made to help you nurse your writing skills and creativity. I can usually find a bunch of topics dedicated to the visual aspect of a visual novel, but I can't find much for the writing aspect at all. It's important to remember that both elements are equally important to making a visual novel, and that no creator should focus more on one part than the other.

I would first like to say that I am not the best writer out there. Trust me, you can find better, but I'm always willing to help you improve your skills if you would like to learn. There are some things that I know that can help you become a better writer and they are some things that you know that can help me become a better writer. So please don’t hesitate to give me tips you learned or ask for any in return. Knowledge is knowledge and it's useless unless we are willing to apply what we know and share it with others.

Tips I want to share:

Writing is a skill
First things first, I need everyone out there to know that writing, like art, is a skill. Yes, there are people out there who are naturally talented at it, but it is still a skill. Everyone can do it and everyone can learn to do it well, so don’t get discouraged when your first attempt doesn’t quite compare to your idol's.

I guarantee you that the person you idolize in art or writing, did not start creating masterpieces from day one. They started like everyone else, by learning how to walk before they crawled. They explored new tips and techniques, and they practicing all the time. You don't become a “master” of anything without first being a amateur and taking it from there. So follow their lead, learn everything you can, and then build on your skills.

You won't become a master in a day, but you will see results if you keep at it. If you are patient I guarantee that you will see a remarkable improvement in your newer works compared to your old. Remember, practice makes perfect.

Start a development journal
This journal idea was developed for the people who have a lot of concerns about their stories and just can’t seem to start writing because of it. Start a new document with Microsoft or notepad and write every one of those fears down until you start to feel relaxed. This gets the weight of fear off your shoulder and lets you focus on your story. It helps to relieve any stress you might feel before you write and calms your nerves. Then, all there is left to do is to write.

About the Rough Drafts
Sometimes people need to be reminded that a rough draft is just that, a rough draft. You shouldn’t be obsessing over word usage and other mechanical errors as much as you should focus on what you're writing as a whole. So don't expect perfection one the first go, better yet, don’t even look for it. At this stage of the game, you just want to get the story down on paper and have fun writing it. The editing and revising can wait until later.

Don’t forget to edit
If you think that your job is over as soon as you put the last period at the end of your sentence, you are wrong. By editing and revising your story, you can improve the quality of your work before the rest of the world sees it. Editing your story gets rid of the inconsistencies in your story and the punctuation, spelling, and grammar errors that we are all prone to make. Unfortunately, it is often overlooked, leaving your work unfinished and unpolished and ultimately taking away from your story quality as a whole.

When you write the best story of your lifetime, do you really want it overshadowed by the grammar, punctuation, and other mistakes you made? If not, then take the time to edit your work. You story will read better and be better because of it.

Find a good editor
Not all of us are good at editing our own papers or seeing our own mistakes, so an outside pair of eyes should always be welcomed. Aleema, someone I met from Lemma, was my first editor ever, and she ripped apart my rough draft with red text, footnotes, and crossed out words. It hurt at first, but I learned more about editing and writing from her in one day then I would have in months on my own.

If you can't find a editor, then I advise you to tuck your story away for a week or two and then try editing. Sometimes giving your brain and eyes time to rest will help you edit your work, because by then you'll be looking at it with a fresh and alert pair of eyes. Also, try reading a sentence you'e not sure about out loud, it will help flesh out unclear sentences every time.

None of your work is useless
It doesn't matter if you wrote something that you think sucks or someone else dislikes. All of your work is apart of your writing experience. The more you work on a skill the better it will become and even terrible stories can help you grow because they teach you what not to do next time.

Picking out which story ideas to follow
Since we are all creative beings it's normal for us to have a lot of story ideas bouncing around in our heads from time to time. The trick is deciding which ones to keep and which one to let go. When I'm deciding what idea to go with I consider the following:
  • Is this a solid idea or a passing one: We all get inspiration sometimes, but there is a difference in which ones will disappear and which ones will last. If you have a story idea you love, but then can't remember it the next day then it's not worth pursuing. The solid story ideas will haunt you all today, tomorrow, and beyond so they are the ones I'm more likely to follow.
  • Workload: A very important part of deciding which story to follow. If it's a very long story and you're the only member on your team, then it's not likely to be finished anytime soon unless you have a lot of patience or volunteers who will help you out. Longer stories require more writing, more revising, more time, and more endurance. If your not likely to follow through with the work load for the story then your not likely to ever get finished. Your commitment to your goals, whether they be long or small, is an important factor to  consider.
  • Passion: Is this a story you can see yourself finishing? If not, then you should probably quit right now instead of spending time on a story that you don't even believe you'll complete. If you believe your patience and perseverance can outlast the workload and other factors, then by all means, go on ahead. I'll look forward to reading it.
  • Goal or overall message of the story: I like my stories to fulfill a certain goal or convey a certain message. If my new story idea doesn't have a basic goal or message then what would be the point in me writing it? 
    Not being afraid of you
Think about it, would you rather try something and fail or fail automatically by not trying at all? What can you achieve by being afraid all of the time? We will always fail at something, but we slowly get better with each try. Failure today does not equal failure tomorrow.  How did we learn how to crawl, to walk, to read, and to talk if not by failing and trying again and again until we succeeded? If you could be that brave and confident as a little child then why can't you feel that way now?

Another fear to talk about: the fear of success and the worry about what would happen if we gained what we wanted and then lost it. Some of us don't try because we don't believe that we deserve to achieve all that we want or we fear we won't be able to achieve something that great again. My question is, who taught you to think like that? Are you making your stories to make someone else happy or to make you happy? Who says you do'’t deserve to achieve what you worked hard for and what could you possibly have done that bad to be punished all your life with unfulfilled goals?

Who are we trying to prove ourselves to? Does it matter if the entire world doesn't like your story when you know that you did the absolute best you could and are completely satisfied with the results? Does someone else failing to see the beauty in your work automatically make your work worthless?

No. It doesn't. At the end of the day, if you're happy with what you did then no one else's opinion should matter. You shouldn't write to prove something to someone or to make someone else happy, you have to write for you! If you love what you do and you did the best you can, then everyone else's opinion should be secondary. Period.

Links
How to tell the reader about your world without being to obvious.
The Writers need for experience: http://hollylisle.com/fm/Articles/wc1-5.html
How to finish a novel: http://hollylisle.com/fm/Articles/wc2-3.html
*Hope you find any of my links or what I said helpful. Post here if you got anything to add  :)

Edited: April 14, 2011
« Last Edit: April 15, 2011, 02:32:11 AM by Midnighticequeen »
The only thing that can stop you from achieving your goal is you. You only live once, there's no point living that life afraid of your own greatness

lordcloudx

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Re: The Writing Nursery
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2010, 02:40:43 PM »
I have to say, I really like your piece on writing. It's both informative and inspirational. It really embodies the creative values that we want the members of The Teacup to embrace.

Quote
Sometimes people need to be reminded that a rough draft is just that, a rough draft. You shouldn’t be obsessing over word usage and other mechanical errors as much as you should focus on what you’re writing as a whole. So don’t expect perfection one the first go and better yet don’t even look for it. At this stage of the game, you just want to get the story down on paper and have fun writing it, the editing and revising can wait until
later.

Yes! I totally agree with this. At the rough draft stage, you should let your imaginative side do the talking without being hampered by technicalities, elements of style or rules on grammar. It's not that you should write sloppily on purpose, but rather, being too mindful of your grammar should take a backseat to actually pushing the story forward.

Although this is a visual novel-centric community, I'd also recommend trying out a fictionpress account if you want an alternative means of hosting your story and showing it to the world without the visual novel package. Of course, don't expect a huge readership due to the sheer number of users on this site.

Additional tip I'd like to share:

This one I use specifically for writing longer stories. Some of us like to write a story spontaneously, meaning you don't have a clear idea of how the story will unfold and basically let it write itself. Others, like myself, have some vague plan of how the story should unfold, or at least certain events that should happen sometime within as the writing progresses.

So what I do is use a rough plot outline consisting of a bulleted list.

A quick example:

  • Guy meets girl
  • Guy falls in love with girl
  • Guy obsesses if he should confess to girl
  • Guy finds out that girl is an undercover Russian Spy
  • Guy reads up on Russian culture to try and impress girl
  • Girl rejects guy outright for not being himself
  • Guy goes emo and joins some internet-based cult
  • Girl saves guy from participating in a group suicide attempt and confesses her love for guy (must happen!)

The example is a bit silly, but you get the point. ;D
« Last Edit: February 07, 2010, 02:56:28 PM by lordcloudx »

Midnighticequeen

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Re: The Writing Nursery
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2010, 03:08:53 AM »
 :) I'm glad you found my words helpful, that was my biggest concern when starting this thread.
 :D Yes, the list is a bit silly, but more like a funny silly that seem like it would really make an amusingly-cute love story. Which I would really like to read myself.  ;D

My plot outline seriously looks just like yours. Sometimes I use numbers instead of bullets, but I generally like to keep my plot outline flexible for some spontaneity and surprises. It's surprising what you will think off without even trying sometimes.
The only thing that can stop you from achieving your goal is you. You only live once, there's no point living that life afraid of your own greatness