Author Topic: dndfreak's guide to writing novels and short stories  (Read 10621 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Yuu

  • Civilization Emperor
  • *****
  • Posts: 10050
  • = )
    • View Profile
    • KOSMOSIS CHRONICLES dA Page
Re: dndfreak's guide to writing novels and short stories
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2009, 06:06:24 am »
O MAI GUDONESSSSSUUUUUU!!!  :o  :o  :o

This thread really helps, IMO.

Great idea with the loop thing! I'll take that into account. :)

Offline Snork

  • Ensign Seventh Class
  • *****
  • Posts: 2934
  • Do I care?
    • View Profile
Re: dndfreak's guide to writing novels and short stories
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2009, 06:11:45 am »
Thanks for this :) It's quite helpful with my story!
Quote from: Orc Creation Story.
Stop rolling like pigs amongst the faeces and get out of the way of my sunlight, you stupid f***ers.
Jawless women and their fine, fine feet

Offline dndfreak

  • 1942 Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 3766
  • The GM
    • View Profile
    • PathLosers
Re: dndfreak's guide to writing novels and short stories
« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2009, 01:34:16 pm »
Great idea with the loop thing!

Thanks, came up with that one after writing this one piece for a few friends of mine back in freshman year of high school.  It had a good thirty different plotlines so I was desperately searching for a way to organize it.  My usual flowchart had way too many branches to make sense so eventually I made a "change log" for each character for easier reference.  It worked, it stuck, and I started making them before I even started on the story.  Thus the loop system was born.

Offline dndfreak

  • 1942 Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 3766
  • The GM
    • View Profile
    • PathLosers
Re: dndfreak's guide to writing novels and short stories
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2010, 04:30:00 pm »
Link to part 3: http://www.gamingsteve.com/blab/index.php?topic=16842.msg765534#msg765534

Part Four: Interpreting Your Loops and Fleshing out Characters

Okay, so you have a complete chain for your characters... now what?

The chain will be your "book bible", a reference guide you can use throughout your story.  Whenever you write something new, you can check with the loops you've made to make sure that it fits the characters involved; that it doesn't conflict with anything.  This technique will really help your writing flow, not to mention guaranteeing it's legitimacy.  It's also useful to be able to compare it to the plot outline sheets made in part 1 so that you stay on target and don't mess up the desired ending.  However, it may also be a good idea to change these reference materials retroactively, as you may often become inspired by your own characters.

However, the loops have more applications than that.  They affect the nuances of your character, the way they talk and present themselves, that flat out make the story that much less like words on a page and more like a living, breathing world.  Your past affects everything you do, so why not make it the same for those in your stories?

The most common application of this is dialog mannerisms.  People often use different terms when they speak that they pick up over time from:

-their place of origin (like Canada's eh or various references to geographic locations such as mountains or deserts)
-parents (mannerisms they picked up as a child)
-teachers (the accent or outlook of those that taught them the language often have an influence on the character's choice of words)
-clergy/religion (expressions like "oh my God", "praise Allah" or "by the name of the Goddess")
-peers (as big an influence as parents or teachers)
-occupational or non-standard terms (phrases related to specific professions or hobbies, such as metalwork or boating)

One of the best ways to use past events to invoke realism is to display the emotional effect that the event had.  For example, borrowing from Snork's Endless Blue,

"Curiosity killed the cat, dear. But I'll be willing to forgive you if you...Played nice.." As he said this, his hands moved sensually towards her breasts, feeling the suit she wore with his gloves.

Before he could do anything, Lucinda punched him hard in his face, breaking one of his eyeglasses and sending him toppling down. The two men behind him stopped what they were doing, but looked highly confused.

Lucinda didn't notice them though, for she was too busy beating the downed man in anger. She would never allow herself to be violated by another man again.

Here, you can clearly see that Lucinda's anger-driven emotions are caused by her past experiences and probably would have been significantly less violent if these things never happened.  You know how they say, "Actions build character."  It's no less true in the realms of creative writing.  In fact, it's even more accurate.

Don't fret if you can't find anything in your loop that would form the precedent; it's no big deal if you need to improvise a decision or two.  However, you have to remember that each of these choices you make will form a precedent of its own.  If the choice wields good results then the character will be sure to choose it again when the opportunity arises, however the opposite may occur if the choice affects them negatively.  In that regard, always be sure to pick a decision that the character would logically come to, since the option just might come up again.

Remember also that many people would prefer to have certain events in their past stay hidden.  Not everyone in the world is an open book, and your writing should reflect that.  It's also common for many writers to hold off revealing certain parts of loops in order to introduce a plot twist later on.  However, that doesn't mean that until the reveal occurs you should avoid mentioning that part of the loop all together.  In fact, dropping small hints like that can make the reveal that much more breathtaking for your audience.  There's nothing wrong with keeping your readers guessing on occasion.

You already know that your loops can affect both the speech and decisions that a character makes, but there is one more, often overlooked yet very significant factor: appearance.  People's backgrounds will often affect their apparel choices and grooming habits in the same way that they affect speech mannerisms.  After all, when you compare the clothing of a Tokyo businessman with an Eskimo hunter, they'll look nothing alike.  Although it will have nothing to do with the typical story, apparel really helps to introduce a character.  To pick another example from my drastically unfinished novel Gearlan Chronicles, Thaze was introduced as a mysterious figure shrouded in a long black cloak.  Having no prior knowledge of this character, a black cloak would lead most to assume a rather secluded person with a shady past.  Although the story itself changes it's meaning rather quickly, the underlying aura of mystery never goes away.

That's all for now.  In the next entry, I'll be covering how to use these translations of the book bible in your stories.


Questions so far?  Comments?  Concerns?  Feel free to post in this thread or send me a PM, but be specific as to which numerical part you're referring to.  the most recent one now might not be the most recent one by the time I see your message.

Also, feel free to contact me about assistance in your writing projects.  I might even use a snippet as an example in the guide (not without permission, of course).  In any case, I'm always willing to help you out (provided I have the time).

Offline Snork

  • Ensign Seventh Class
  • *****
  • Posts: 2934
  • Do I care?
    • View Profile
Re: dndfreak's guide to writing novels and short stories
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2010, 11:36:22 am »
Boy am I flattered.
[blush]
Quote from: Orc Creation Story.
Stop rolling like pigs amongst the faeces and get out of the way of my sunlight, you stupid f***ers.
Jawless women and their fine, fine feet

Offline dndfreak

  • 1942 Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 3766
  • The GM
    • View Profile
    • PathLosers
Re: dndfreak's guide to writing novels and short stories
« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2010, 03:27:33 am »
So I know I haven't gotten the chance to update this in a while...

In the meantime, I'd like to here from you guys if there's anything in particular you're stuck on, or just something you'd like me to elaborate.  It's one hell of a lot easier to do this on a case by case basis than by guessing what problems people may have.

Offline Kaizer

  • Mail Order Monster
  • *****
  • Posts: 4393
    • View Profile
Re: dndfreak's guide to writing novels and short stories
« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2010, 08:47:24 am »
yea can you write my junior essay for me?

Offline GroxGlitch

  • Gyruss Gyrusian
  • *****
  • Posts: 2718
  • Somehow, I've even less of a clue what's going on.
    • View Profile
Re: dndfreak's guide to writing novels and short stories
« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2010, 09:28:54 am »
yea can you write my junior essay for me?
[/quote
lol, sigged.

Offline dndfreak

  • 1942 Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 3766
  • The GM
    • View Profile
    • PathLosers
Re: dndfreak's guide to writing novels and short stories
« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2010, 03:10:49 pm »
yea can you write my junior essay for me?

Sure, the topic can be you being a douchebag.  Especially because if you don't get a passing grade on it then you can't pass english and you'll fail junior year.

Seriously though, that's not exactly what I meant.  I'd cite the old giving/teaching fish adage, but it just seems too cliche.

Offline Putspooza

  • Mr. Do! Disciple
  • *****
  • Posts: 2173
    • View Profile
Re: dndfreak's guide to writing novels and short stories
« Reply #24 on: March 25, 2010, 05:42:38 pm »
and yet you just did it.