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The collaborative ATS writing tutorial.

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posted on Apr, 7 2012 @ 08:33 PM
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I started this thread to provide a means by which every ATS member can offer advise to other members, specifically about writing styles and formats. There only needs to be constructive criticism, no negativity, with the premise that "older" writers offer advise to "younger" writers. Not limited to advice, this thread should include questions people have about their own writing ability, with the goal of creating a tutorial that others can read, and perhaps, learn techniques to improve and become better writers.


Collaboration is working together to achieve a goal.


What's the goal?

To improve your own writing ability. To offer advise to others. The reason?

The latest writing contest, [WRC], generated 30 stories in the space of 6 days. That's a benchmark of 5 stories a day being submitted.

ATS members aren't creating stories because they have to, they are doing it on their own free will, and personally I've found the membership creating some really fascinating stories.

However, to be blunt, not all the stories are of publication quality. One member asked for proofreading help, and that is what spurred the thought for this thread.

Why can't we offer advice to one another?

With a quick PM to masqua, and a slight nod, I've established a thread in which perhaps we can collectively criticize each other, within the terms of the T&C, with the goal of correcting mistakes in our writing, with the hope of becoming a better writer someday. That is the goal of this OP.

So it is said, so it is done.




posted on Apr, 7 2012 @ 09:19 PM
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The first example:




The smoldering wreckage,burns lightning hot. The young Praetor,gleefully looked around the wreckage. The old MiG 25 beaten Easily,by just a thought. His lineage,for the last 75 years,successfully taking Country after Country.He remembered his great-grandfather telling him, " With these powers,we will one day rule the entire World."


Originally posted by Jean Paul Zodeaux: I am thrilled more than you could ever know to see you so actively writing creative projects. We are the storytellers of our time, brother. It is upon us to tell our stories and to tell them well. Please keep writing and working your craft. Writing can be tedious and very, very, lonely, but it has its pleasures as well.
Aristotle, in Poetics, stated that every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end, but it is the end that is the chief thing of all.
This may seem like one of those So Duh! statements, and sound simple, but it in its simplicity, it is profoundly complex.
I have a few suggestions: You begin in present tense; "The smoldering wreckage,burns lightning hot." The next sentence, however, is written in past tense; "The young Praetor,gleefully looked around the wreckage." Grammarians can be real pains in the asses about changing verb tenses. Of course, most grammarians don't really tend to be artists. The good ones will recognize that an artist can take a steadfast rule such as "Thou shall not change verb tenses" and do so anyway, and yet somehow make it work. The bad grammarians will just be stubborn about the rule regardless of how artful you have been.
For example, if you were to write; Smoldering wreckage burns lightning hot. Young Praetor gleefully looked around the wreckage. Then the strict rule of not changing verb tenses is not really broken, even if some pain in the butt grammarians would argue it is. The first sentence would be simply a statement of fact. The second would be a descriptive sentence which let's the reader know the story is in the past. If, however, you want your first sentence to be a descriptive one, then it is probably better for your reader if you write; The smoldering wreckage burned lighting hot.
I like the staccato style you are attempting, but would encourage you to be more clear with your thoughts. Perhaps if you tried something like: The old MiG 25 beaten easily. By just a thought. Country after country. For 75 years, Praetor's lineage had...he remembered his great-grandfather telling him, " With these powers,we will one day rule the entire World."
I don't mean to suggest you should've written as I just did, only that you take more time to shape your sentences to better tell your story. Your story deserves it.


I am a bit more for proper punctuation:

The smoldering wreckage burns lightning hot. The young Praetor gleefully looks around the wreckage. The old MiG 25 was beaten Easily, by just a thought. His lineage, for the last 75 years, had successfully taken Country after Country. He remembered his great-grandfather telling him, "With these powers, boy, we will one day rule the entire World."

Formatting is correct here. Verb tenses aren't quite right.


about changing verb tenses


For me, in my opinion, you really want to keep the same verb tense throughout the paragraph. Keep it fluid for a single bunch of words. If you can, keep it the same throughout the same story. When you proofread, make sure you "ings" aren't conflicting with your "eds". There's a present tense, and a past tense, in this example. My advise is to keep it one way or the other. Here's it done both ways:

Past tense:
The smoldering wreckage burned lightning hot. The young Praetor gleefully looked around the wreckage. The old MiG 25 was beaten Easily, by just a thought. His lineage, for the last 75 years, was successful in taking Country after Country. He remembered his great-grandfather telling him, "With these powers, boy, we will one day rule the entire World."

Present tense:
The smoldering wreckage was burning lightning hot. The young Praetor, as he was gleefully looking around the wreckage, began to realize the old MiG 25 had been beaten Easily, by just a thought. His lineage, for the last 75 years, was always successful in taking Country after Country. He remembers his great-grandfather telling him, as clearly as if it was that morning, "With these powers, we will one day rule the entire World."

Those are two variations. Both work. It depends on what you as the author want to do.

What are your thoughts?



posted on Apr, 7 2012 @ 09:20 PM
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reply to post by Druid42
 


Every time I write a short story, I'm looking for feedback and criticism.

My friends often say that I make things to complicated by including too many characters.

But to me, they add to the story.

But I still appreciate their input, whether good or bad. I don’t take it personally.

ETA: I like the present tense as it allows the mind to see what the author intends...I think.

edit on 7-4-2012 by TDawgRex because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 7 2012 @ 09:49 PM
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reply to post by TDawgRex
 


In effect that would be the purpose of this thread, to offer those to those who seek criticism want they want.

Post a snippet, and we'll be happy to peruse it.

Ask advise, it'll be given.

The only way to improve is to learn from your mistakes.

I also plan on offering a few mini-tutorials, a paragraph or two as post, covering some of the more common writing mistakes. I implore other members to pick a topic concerning the subject of writing, and to do the same.

Thanks for your input.



posted on Apr, 7 2012 @ 09:52 PM
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Originally posted by Druid42
reply to post by TDawgRex
 


In effect that would be the purpose of this thread, to offer those to those who seek criticism want they want.

Post a snippet, and we'll be happy to peruse it.

Ask advise, it'll be given.

The only way to improve is to learn from your mistakes.

I also plan on offering a few mini-tutorials, a paragraph or two as post, covering some of the more common writing mistakes. I implore other members to pick a topic concerning the subject of writing, and to do the same.

Thanks for your input.


Please look over a few of my short stories and feel free to criticize. I look forward to it actually.

I know I can’t be that good.


Yes I am former military so that is much of what I write about, but I do have a strong streak of SCI-FI in me as well. I tried to break out of that cycle by writing "The Unbreakable Bond."

But it still has a SHTF sound to it.

edit on 7-4-2012 by TDawgRex because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 7 2012 @ 11:14 PM
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This is a brilliant idea.

Not only will it allow those who write to post and receive constructive critique upon their own works, it will allow members to put honest thoughts into works of others.

If the end goal is to attract more people to the Short Stories Forum and add more the ever growing ranks of people who are confident enought to step up and post here, without fear of ridicule, then I am all for it.

Here is some critique I offered to another budding writerhere, and suggested if he wanted to get more of his work out there, to drop an edit in the SS Forum. Hopefully this is what is trying to be acheived here.

As for the Ruler Of The World Writing Contest, it has seen much more action than previous competitions, and for such a difficult title, it has shown more and more people are willing to get typing, and get their creative side out.



posted on Aug, 22 2012 @ 12:37 PM
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Thank you Druid42 for this thread. Hopefully the comments and critiques here will help all the budding writers as well as the seasoned ones.

Another area of writing to keep in mind is active sentences v.s. passive sentences.
Not every sentence can be active and electric, however one should choose the number and placement of passive sentences. It can make the difference between an exciting read and a truly boring read.

Thanks again for this thread. We all have much to learn.



posted on Oct, 3 2012 @ 01:28 PM
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Originally posted by TDawgRex
reply to post by Druid42
 

My friends often say that I make things to complicated by including too many characters.
But to me, they add to the story.

edit on 7-4-2012 by TDawgRex because: (no reason given)


Just a thought on this. With characters, you can add as many as you want. But the number of characters doesn't add to the story. It's what they bring, their characteristics, personalities, etc. Each should be developed fully unless it's a insignificant person that is only briefly there.

George RR Martin (wrote the series that is now HBO's hit Game of Thrones) uses a LOT of characters. Yet they are unique and he does character implementation beautifully in my opinion.

-----

My personal thought. I need help on dialogue. I am not going to provide specific examples. However, I want to ask: What are your thoughts on how dialogue should be written and how much dialogue should be included? Should descriptors be added, and how frequently?
For example. A pause in dialogue to explain their facial expressions, or movements. I am improving, but still need some tweaking on dialogue and making it real / consistent (mainly if i am writing a long story).

Also, do you write like this:
"Yes," Laura replies.
or
"Yes," replies Laura.
or
Laura then replies with, "Yes."

Also, how often do you stop saying the character's name? For example:
"Hello," Laura replies.
"How are you?" Jane asks.
"I'm good. And yourself?"
"Doing quite well."

or do you do this:
"Hello," Laura replies.
"How are you?" Jane asks.
"I'm good. And yourself?" Laura answers.
"Doing quite well," Jane answers.

How unprofessional is it to do something like this:
"Hello," Laura replies.
"How are you?" asks Jane.
"I'm good. And yourself?" answers Laura.
"Doing quite well," Jane then answers.

(switching up how the -this is who is talking part- is written)

Thanks in advance.
-Ghostx



posted on Oct, 3 2012 @ 02:28 PM
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Originally posted by Ghostx

Originally posted by TDawgRex
reply to post by Druid42
 

My friends often say that I make things to complicated by including too many characters.
But to me, they add to the story.

edit on 7-4-2012 by TDawgRex because: (no reason given)


Just a thought on this. With characters, you can add as many as you want. But the number of characters doesn't add to the story. It's what they bring, their characteristics, personalities, etc. Each should be developed fully unless it's a insignificant person that is only briefly there.

George RR Martin (wrote the series that is now HBO's hit Game of Thrones) uses a LOT of characters. Yet they are unique and he does character implementation beautifully in my opinion.

-----

My personal thought. I need help on dialogue. I am not going to provide specific examples. However, I want to ask: What are your thoughts on how dialogue should be written and how much dialogue should be included? Should descriptors be added, and how frequently?
For example. A pause in dialogue to explain their facial expressions, or movements. I am improving, but still need some tweaking on dialogue and making it real / consistent (mainly if i am writing a long story).

Also, do you write like this:
"Yes," Laura replies.
or
"Yes," replies Laura.
or
Laura then replies with, "Yes."

Also, how often do you stop saying the character's name? For example:
"Hello," Laura replies.
"How are you?" Jane asks.
"I'm good. And yourself?"
"Doing quite well."

or do you do this:
"Hello," Laura replies.
"How are you?" Jane asks.
"I'm good. And yourself?" Laura answers.
"Doing quite well," Jane answers.

How unprofessional is it to do something like this:
"Hello," Laura replies.
"How are you?" asks Jane.
"I'm good. And yourself?" answers Laura.
"Doing quite well," Jane then answers.

(switching up how the -this is who is talking part- is written)

Thanks in advance.
-Ghostx



I quite agree that content of the character's add to the story. But a short story should have a minimum of main characters. I have the tendancy to name the minor ones who contribute nothing to the story. A habit I'm trying to break.

I like this example that you provided above the best. It's obviously a conversation between to people with no one else involved.

"Hello," Laura replies.
"How are you?" Jane asks.
"I'm good. And yourself?"
"Doing quite well."

But adding a third could go like this.

"Hello," Laura said upon entering the room and seeing Jane.
"How are you?" asked Jane.
"I'm good. And yourself?"
"Doing quite well." She looked over at Jordan who sat slumped in a chair. "And you? How are you feeling?"
Jordan looked up dejectly, "Me? Well hell, I'm doing quite peachy considering my last two girlfriends have me tied to a chair in someones basement."
Jane picked up a knife off the table and smiled at him. "Really? Well let's see what we can do about that attitude of yours."


edit on 3-10-2012 by TDawgRex because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 3 2012 @ 02:43 PM
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Originally posted by TDawgRex
I quite agree that content of the character's add to the story. But a short story should have a minimum of main characters. I have the tendancy to name the minor ones who contribute nothing to the story. A habit I'm trying to break.

I like this example that you provided above the best. It's obviously a conversation between to people with no one else involved.

"Hello," Laura replies.
"How are you?" Jane asks.
"I'm good. And yourself?"
"Doing quite well."

But adding a third could go like this.

"Hello," Laura said upon entering the room and seeing Jane.
"How are you?" asked Jane.
"I'm good. And yourself?"
"Doing quite well." She looked over at Jordan who sat slumped in a chair. "And you? How are you feeling?"
Jordan looked up dejectly, "Me? Well hell, I'm doing quite peachy considering my last two girlfriends have me tied to a chair in someones basement."
Jane picked up a knife off the table and smiled at him. "Really? Well let's see what we can do about that attitude of yours."


edit on 3-10-2012 by TDawgRex because: (no reason given)

My conversation between Laura Bush and Jane Goodall got turned into a scarily erotic piece of literature involving knives, ropes, and chairs. Hmm. Okay.
Hahaha. Thanks for the advice though. And yeah don't name the minor characters or even really go into detail at all about them.
I often do the following as well...
If a main char. walks into a store to purchase some equipment for the upcoming mission (lets say rope + padlock) you wouldn't play out the whole conversation of the purchase you'd simply sum it up and say that he went to a store and purchased a rope and padlock. Or just go into a little more detail and just have him get the items, and then say something about how he approached the counter, and purchased the items without conflict.

You would only go into detail about the Cashier if like your main char was a fugitive or something. Then you might describe the cashier's familiar face, or his stare at the ID or his stare into the fugitive's face. or the sign that says no masks, hats or hoodies.
Otherwise there's no real addition to the story if you include all the gritty details in a normal interaction.



posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 04:30 PM
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I have not written anything for a while!

What I notice is that I tend to say "and" a little bit too much.

Although, that being said, reading a lot of the storys on here. I don't mind the odd mistake - as long as what is being said comes across and strikes a note with the reader.

Just get a good bunch of power words that create images/sounds/emotions then let the readers imagination fill in the rest.

eee.



posted on Aug, 5 2013 @ 05:33 PM
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reply to post by Druid42
 


I write well, but my writing seems lacking because I do not feel my writing capabilities are up to par for publication. I need that proofreading help definitely.

I am certain I will be participating in this thread often!

Thanks Druid for this wonderful thread!

I did not participate in this last writing contest because all that could come to mind was dull...lol... I am hoping to join the next one!
edit on 5-8-2013 by OpinionatedB because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 5 2013 @ 06:58 PM
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reply to post by OpinionatedB
 


Hang in there, my little loved one. You'll transpire. Takes time. Be patient!

(Nice bump, BTW!)



posted on Aug, 5 2013 @ 07:06 PM
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I am willing to offer help as well.

Great idea, Druid!



posted on Nov, 29 2013 @ 03:51 AM
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i am currently having issues regarding dialogue and how much is too much information to give, as i was writing it i felt that the back-story and information being given flowed well enough but now i feel that maybe for a reader it would feel like an overload of information..


I would really love to hear your thoughts on how much information is too much to give in a single monologue, i don't want it to feel saturated with information that could be given at another time. here is the extract in question



Leon opened the huge oak doors of the temple and made his way inside. The interior was just as magnificent as he had expected, marble statues of the seven archangels formed a circle in the centre of the room and within that circle marked upon the floor was a five pointed star. Leon studied the statues more closely, a brass plate at the base of each statue held an inscription the first one read “Michael, who is like god” The archangel Michael gripped his sword with both hands, the blade pointed towards his feet, Leon moved onto the next statue and read the inscription “Gabriel, Might of god” Gabriel stood proudly, his alabaster wings unfurled as if he was about to take flight and return to the heavens. Leon sensed movement behind him and turned to find an old man wearing black robes sitting cross legged within the five pointed star “ who are you?” Leon asked as he took a seat on the floor directly facing the man, he took several measured breaths before replying “ I think the better question is, who are you? Leon Deveraux!”
“well you seem to know exactly who I am so it's only fair you return the favour.” Leon Retorted.
“who I am is unimportant, it is your search for truth that has brought you to me.”
The man looked directly into Leons eyes and for the first time Leon noticed that his eyes were completely white but not the hazy opaque white of a blind man they were the same brilliant white as the archangel statues, he bowed his head once more and began to speak “ It's very simple Leon, you are drawn to this place like a moth to a flame and just as the moth seeks the light you seek the truth. It's an urge that will not subside it will be with you until the day your heart stops beating, I can give you some of the answers you are searching for but you must understand that in most cases the truth will not set you free, you may find yourself drawn into a world from which there is no escape if you cannot accept this then I must insist that you leave now and never return.” Leon considered what he had said for a few moments before deciding that he had come too far to leave now without any answers as to why he was being hunted by one of the largest PMC firms in the world, he wanted to say something aloof but all he could manage was “ I understand, please continue.”


The old man stood as he began to speak “ how well do you know your Milton?” he asked casually as he gently polished the bicep of the archangel Raphael. “As in paradise lost? I know the basics.”
“Good! Now disregard everything Milton wrote, I am going to start at the beginning which may take some time so please refrain from interrupting.

“The war in heaven had been raging for eons, the rebel campaign was not without its victories and the loyalist factions could not agree on how to defeat the lightbringer and his army. The archangel Michael devised a plan to trap Lucifer, He asked god to create a prison so that Lucifer might be contained where he could do no harm to the mortals and so god created the realm of hell.

“Michael commanded the heavenly host to meet the rebel army on the battlefield, many angels fell at the hands of the rebels before Michael managed to face Lucifer in open combat. Michael emerged victorious and using a spell cast the lightbringer into his newly created prison where he could do no more harm.

“The loss of Lucifer was a fatal blow to the rebel army and they surrendered, The archangel Raguel decided that the rebels could not go unpunished for the angelic lives that they had taken and he asked god to create a realm so that the rebels could be exiled from heaven and so the rebels were cast out of heaven to the realm of purgatory where they must remain in exile until the day of judgement.”
“That's a lovely story but what exactly does it have to do with me?”Leon asked
“what did I say about interruptions? I am getting to that.” The old man replied unable to mask his annoyance.



“You see Leon, angels can only exist in this realm if they occupy an earthly vessel. Lucifers prison prevented him from taking a vessel but the fallen who were exiled to purgatory had no such limitations. When a human becomes a vessel for an angel the angel becomes the dominant presence in that body, the human consciousness will remain dormant until the angel leaves or is killed and then the human soul will ascend unto heaven. You could essentially bump into an angel in the street and have no idea he was anything other than a regular mortal man unless you look directly in his eyes.

“The fallen are divided into two factions, those who remain loyal to Lucifer can be distinguished by their eyes which are entirely black, throughout history they have come to be known as demons for they take great pleasure in tormenting mortals. Those who are not loyal to Lucifer have sworn to protect the mortal realm from their twisted brethren, they are known as the watchers and their eyes are a brilliant shade of the purest white.”



Fallen(dialogue Extract)

Thanks


edit on 29/11/2013 by Ph03n1x because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 27 2016 @ 04:28 AM
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Hi , I just started to write on ATS. A Sci-Fi story. In it more or less all the ct's I believe to be true...
The reason for that is it that I'm tired of post stuff that gets debunked shilled trolled and ridiculed in other forums. I'm really starting to enjoy writing and I'm afraid my story will become a book..

However I'm not a English native but (Dutch/German) and therefore need some help. Is it possible proofread my stories and get contructive critique. Regarding the style gramma used and , the comprehension.



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