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hey u guys i'm doing this little writing exercise for a class and i need u to tell me if this is too ridiculous or not

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4 hours ago, Alcoremortis said:

I think the question that really needs to be answered is whether or not Princess Kittylitter was ever alive in the first place.

metaphorically or literally 

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It's a sad day when the spambots are the ones still on topic, long after it's turned into a complex analysis of Princess Kittylitter.

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hey u guys so this writing exercise was one of the things i had to submit in order to actually take the class and the professor liked it so woo. the class only has 10 seats but apparently over 100 people submitted stuff. 

lesson: if you want to stand out in the writing world, make all your characters roads. 

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also if you guys ever want me to read anything you write, feel free to postit. (as the editor of the dfaf literary journal, i am contractually obliged to read every short story posted on this forum) 

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I don't think I could post the stuff I write on this forum. 

I'm a sailor, I curse a lot.

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I can't share my writing here because I only write filthy erotica.

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13 hours ago, hot said:

lesson: if you want to stand out in the writing world, make all your characters roads. 

Quote

They lay next to each other in the oppressive August sun.

"She doesn't even know I'm here.", he thought. "Just look at her. So pristine and regal. She goes to all the big cities. I'll never leave the farm. I'm dirt. But If I could just get her to notice me, if I could just touch her shoulder..."

But his hopes were in vain. Country Rd. 3030 ran parallel to Highway 64, and the roads never met. Until one fateful day when a Department of Transportation committee held a fateful meeting...

Excerpted from "No U-Turn Except for Authorized Vehicles". It's a work in progress. I'm working on it along with "Changing Lanes". Could a one-way street go...both ways?

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I can, however, provide links, though only if everyone is comfortable with probably never seeing the end of any given story because I'm bad at finishing stuff.

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I used to be bad at finishing what I started, so I fixed it by just never getting started.

 

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I've been trending towards that. Though largely because I realized that starting to write things with no plan was pretty much guaranteed to get me nowhere.

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1 hour ago, Alcoremortis said:

I've been trending towards that. Though largely because I realized that starting to write things with no plan was pretty much guaranteed to get me nowhere.

That's what happens with some people.

But other times people who refuse to start without a plan just end up planning and brainstorming forever and ever, and so they never actually start. (This is my weakness, by the way.)

The road to getting sh** done lies somewhere in between.

Little bit of road mapping before you start, but a little bit of just jumping in blind and seeing what happens.

Edited by AnAnemoneInAnonymity

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Most of the time, I'd come up with a beginning and maybe a fun scene or two and be like "oh yeah!" and then suddenly realize after thirty pages that my story makes no sense and nothing happens. Maybe I'm just meant to be a sitcom writer. Who knows.

So now I want to at least have a barebones plot... not how the characters react exactly, but at least the goal of the story, ironed out. Like, if there's a bad guy, I want to have the bad guy's plan before I start. Or if I want the story to be about something, I'd like to figure that out before I start writing. 

Also, because I get bored easily if I'm not writing my favorite bits, I also experimented a bit with non linear storytelling. Basically, just telling my favorite bits of story out of order and letting the reader figure out what's going on.

Edited by Alcoremortis

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so i'm sure you guys have heard the tip that your protagonist needs to have a goal, but i never found that very helpful. i think a better way of phrasing it is that your protagonist wants to be loved. like, that sounds trite, but it really is that simple. maybe it's their mom, their best friend, their teacher, that girl with the stegosaurus tattoo, or whoever, but your protagonist wants someone to love him or her. just think about the person that you want to love you (everyone has one), and then think about all the stupid shit you would potentially do in order to earn that love. that stupid shit? that's yer story! 

ok, you think, but what about stories where the protagonist is more full of hate than love? well, you see, hate is just a very special kind of love. just think about that person that you want to love you, and how they will never love you, and how much it hurts, and then think about all the stupid self-destructive shit you would do because yer heart is cold + hard now! that's yer story!

so basically, that's tragedy and comedy. there you go! 

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8 hours ago, Klatuu said:

Excerpted from "No U-Turn Except for Authorized Vehicles". It's a work in progress. I'm working on it along with "Changing Lanes". Could a one-way street go...both ways?

:happytim:

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I don't really think of it as the protagonist has to "have a goal". I just think of it as the protagonist HAS TO WANT SOMETHING.

Maybe they want to be loved by a particular person and/or in a particular way.

But you think of a great character like the Count of Monte Cristo who at first wants to be loved (and is loved), but spends most of the book NOT wanting to be loved. All he wants is vengeance. That's his greatest flaw is that his desire for vengeance is so strong that it's made him a madman and blinded him to the more important things he could be working on like.... love! So that's in there, but if I were writing that story and just thinking that all he wanted was love, I might not get him to that complex place where he was actively rejecting and running away from love for the whole story.

Or starting out with a character like Scrooge. He doesn't really want love in the beginning, but he develops a want for love, which is part of the change he goes through.

Or look at a character like Sherlock Holmes. What a great character! And he certainly doesn't want love. He even seems to disdain it. All he wants is a challenge so that he's not bored. The television show version even characterizes him as a borderline sociopath. But he is VERY entertaining. (We get all of our human emotions and love and such through Watson, but Sherlock is the entertaining one.)

I think it's just that all characters have to WANT SOMETHING.

This is basically where the whole idea of a macguffin came from. It doesn't matter what the macguffin is. All that matters is that the characters want it. The story emerges from a character or set of a characters wanting the thing, but it doesn't really matter what the thing is. The story is the pursuit of the want.

But the pursuit has to be interesting. If you just hand the wanted thing over, the story is not interesting. The characters have to challenged and tortured a bit. It has to seem like maybe they are not going to get the thing. (And in some stories, maybe they don't!)

"Characters have to want something" is usually advice that is necessary for non-protagonists since writers can sometimes forget to make the non-protagonists as interesting as the protagonist. But look at a game like Psychonauts where all the side characters have their own wants they are pursuing, and they are all very different and interesting and enjoyable and awesome. Then compare that to a Bethesda game where every town is essentially full of JOHN PEASANTMAN. Bethesda games also make the mistake pointed out by those Red Letter Media reviews about the star wars prequels, which is that characters are more than just the job they perform. Characters in Bethesda games are pretty much just the jobs they perform. HELLO I AM JARL. HERE I AM JARLING. GOOD JARL DAY TO YOU. Which has about as much character as queen amidala (i.e. it doesn't have any).

oh boy, here I go again...

yadda yadda yadda opinions words etc

Edited by AnAnemoneInAnonymity

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This is why I play tabletop RPGs in forums. Write a character for a few months or years and then I add them to my stable of side characters, needs and desires ready to go for being picked up as a side character in a later story. 

I probably should think more about my characters, though. I tend to spend far too much time developing scenes involving said characters without too much thought into where things are headed or why. 

Eh, I might as well share this thing I wrote last year. Fair warning, some of it gets decently... uncomfortable. I have a slightly awful mind after midnight, which is when I tend to write stuff. 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-uwc2AAbfPghSp3IGsg2PdSg9L836rEn1lZMRxChnvc/edit

Thirty pages long and I'm not entirely sure where it was going. I was originally planning to scramble up all the scenes after I was done writing it (hence the repeated scene breaks), but then I realized that I'd written the order so specifically, that wouldn't work anymore. And the scene that I originally designed as a basis for the whole thing no longer fit into the story because so much changed in the first two pages when I started writing. I suppose on the plus side, some of the stuff I wrote still makes me laugh. On the minus side, some of it makes me wish I'd written something else but it's too late to change it.

 

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You don't have to read it all if you don't wanna. I'll be the first to say it gets pretty dang weird midway through and not in a cool way, in a way that will probably make you give me a hairy eyeball.

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On 9/12/2016 at 4:45 AM, Alcoremortis said:

You don't have to read it all if you don't wanna. I'll be the first to say it gets pretty dang weird midway through and not in a cool way, in a way that will probably make you give me a hairy eyeball.

lol are you referring to the part where he gets naked? you'll have to do worse than that if you want my hairy eyeballs, darling. like, hang-ups about nudity have been a natural part of the western tradition since adam + eve. 

anyway. i enjoyed this story, but as you said, it doesn't really seem like you knew where you were going with it. you need to get to the part where he attempts to break out a lot sooner if you want to keep the average reader's attention. economy is important. think like a programmer: if you can get the job done in 100 lines instead of 1000 lines, do it. 

also, as another general tip, try to remix older concepts when you can instead of introducing new ones. for example, what if we deleted the captain guy and put stan in his place. then it's like, whoa, stan is a lot more important than we thought he was. we totally have to reevaluate our conception of his identity. that moment of recognition can be very exciting for the reader. (for more info, plz refer to arsitoodle's poeticz.)

Quote

It is curious, the sorts of things one focused on when one was drowning. For instance, thinking about thinking about the things you think about while drowning. I'd always thought I'd at least see my life flash before my eyes, or have some big regrets, or something. Anything other than thinking about the things I should be thinking about.

this paragraph confused me a bit at first. like, repetition can be fun but if throw too many "thinkings" and "things" at me i'm just going to lose track. generally, you don't want to force your reader to reread paragraphs to understand them unless you're famous and you can get away with it. 

Quote

"Thank you for your input. If I ever need your advice in designing my surveys... I’ll never need your advice designing my surveys. Age?"

"Twenty-nine and five-eighths."

"Date?"

"Sure, I got nothing better to do with my time."

This joke is so close to working but it's not quite there yet. Like, why would she have age and date of birth on her survey instead of just date of birth? She seems too efficient for that. And why doesn't she say "Date of Birth"? I've never heard anyone say just "Date" instead of "Date of Birth" when that's what they're looking for. The dialogue feels just a bit too contrived for the sake of the joke. 

Here's one way you could rewrite it:

Quote

"And can you tell me when were you born?"

"About nine months after my mom and my dad decided to go back to her place and..."

"Just a date, please?" 

"Well, sure, I'll pick you up at eight."

Now she's going for the most significant data first. Now he's being playful with both his responses. She's smart and he's cheeky. Ehhh? You like? 

Quote

"Wait!" I interrupted her, "That's not nearly enough questions for a control. If you only have five questions, each individual question bears more weight and can bias the entire set. You'd need at least fifty or you won't be able to trust that there's not some factor skewing the end result."

This is great. Makes me really believe that he's a scientist, because this is the kind of unsexy statistical thing that only a real scientist would know. Same thing with your later reference to the "X-Y scatter plot icon in Microsoft Word." Now maybe have him whine about writing grant applications, lol. 

Quote

So yeah, I lived a pretty unobtrusive life. I think I already said that, but it bears repeating. Got my degrees, got a job, got a family. Nice normal life. So maybe I was never sick and walked away from that car wreck without a scratch (not true, I'd broken several ribs and my nose, but nobody needed to know that)... but I'd done a pretty good job of keeping my head down. Susan knew, of course. It's a pretty bad idea to keep important things like that a secret in a marriage, so of course I told her, but everyone else was well in the dark.

When you have to point out that you're repeating yourself, you might be doing it too much. Furthermore, notice how you use "pretty" three times here, even though the paragraph would have the same meaning if you deleted all three instances. As an exercise, try to imagine how you would write this paragraph if you could only use two sentences. 

Also, keep in mind that you would have an easy source of conflict if she didn't know his secret. Stories thrive on secrets. Though, to be frank, I'm getting tired of reading short stories that are fueled by husbands keeping secrets from their wives. It's almost like 90% of the writing establishment consists of dissatisfied middle-aged white men! So I'm down with seeing a couple that shares their secrets, but perhaps they could still disagree on other things. Like, when Susan later finds him in prison, she's totally flip about it just like he would be. It might be more interesting if one of them stops being goofy and realizes how cray-cray their situation actually is. 

Quote

"How the %#$@&! do you think I feel?" I screamed at her.

This moment is very important and needs to come sooner. If your character is just all jokez all the time, he'll start to feel a bit one-dimensional. So when we see him get angry or show any other emotion besides snarky, the reader immediately perks up again. Like, if you watch the Deadpool movie, try to pay attention to how the writers constantly flip back and forth between jokez and authentic emotion. Deadpool experiences infatuation, fury, loneliness, etc. That's how they get us to care about funny spandex man. 

Quote

"I won't. If I can't come up with something perfect by then, I won't even try," I said, wiggling uncomfortably against the still freezing metal, "Could you let me go now? This is actually starting to be colder than standing by myself."

Good imagery. A cold embrace. Unexpected. I like it. 

Quote

"I hope it's because my irrepressible charm wins you over and you decide to put me in the testing group for sexual stamina,"

um please write this scene.

Anyway, hope this helps, but if you don't agree with any of it, then just follow your heart and d-d-don't be afraid to believe in yourself! you can do it! god bless. 

Edited by hot

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Oh wow, you actually read it. Thanks a lot for the critique.

Yeah, part of the reason it kinda seems to dwell in one place is because originally I was intending to write the thing out straight and then scramble all the pieces out of sequence with the "My name is Daniel Hart" section starting off each segment. And then you could follow the story straight by aligning those bits in sequence or just read it all jumbled up. And then I ended up writing pieces that were far too big and relied on previous bits, so I couldn't do that anymore.

30 minutes ago, hot said:

Good imagery. A cold embrace. Unexpected. I like it. 

...I didn't even catch that. I just wrote it as a gag. 

>.>

<.<

I mean, yes, I definitely intended that. Ten points to me!

30 minutes ago, hot said:
Quote

"And can you tell me when were you born?"

"About nine months after my mom and my dad decided to go back to her place and..."

"Just a date, please?" 

"Well, sure, I'll pick you up at eight."

Now she's going for the most significant data first. Now he's being playful with both his responses. She's smart and he's cheeky. Ehhh? You like? 

Definitely gonna steal this. XP

But yeah, before getting too caught up in the details, I probably need to decide if there's a plot to be found. Honestly, spoilers, I was originally originally planning for a nihilistic style ending where he finally gets out and then a bunch of nuclear bombs decimate every nearby city and he has to go back to the bunker. And a lot of the rest of the plot I had planned was largely me thinking "what would MacGyver do?". Like, I learned how elevator surfing and fire sprinklers work and was desperate to inject them somewhere in an escape story.

Edited by Alcoremortis

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Yeah, it's really hard to get away with that sort of scrambled, nonlinear plot unless you're a genius. Most of the time, it's just going to work out better if you try to write a plot that has a sequential structure. You're an academic type, right? Try to think about writing a plot the same way you would think about writing a paper. You don't want to just throw a list of evidence at the reader; you want each of your paragraphs to build on each other towards a larger argument. Same kind of dealio with creative writing. You don't want to have just a list of disconnected torture or MacGyver scenarios, but a sequence of events that complicate each other. You want to have increasing depth and friction until you reach the climax. Then after you climax, you can take a shower and go home and feel even lonelier than you did before. That's writing! 

Edited by hot

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Well, it wasn't gonna be *just* that, I just tend to plan out individual scenes in advance because I think they're cool or funny and then figure out how they connect. However, having said that, I'll probably be putting this one on hold until I decide why anyone should care what happens in the story.

I do have two other slightly more solid ideas that I might give a shot during NaNoWriMo. Future scifi Roman Empire with vampires or post-apocalyptic scifi with robots.

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14 hours ago, Alcoremortis said:

I don't believe you.

Btw, you doing MeNoWriNoMo?

No. I'm doing EeNeMeNeMiNeMoTho. 

Edited by hot

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