I've answered your questions!
First off I would like to say thank you all for your wonderful feedback on this! I love how successful it is, I love how a lot of you have saved it for future use and how no one has taken what I've said in a bad way - it's brilliant! You're all superstars and you have all got major talent with what you write, some of you could even consider publishing your stories (maybe take out any slash relationships or edit it so that it's not centered around the boys because I'm pretty sure they aren't allowed to professionally - or legally - print that). You all have strong potential to build on a writing career.
Secondly, the purpose of this added chapter. I get asked questions over email and I had one or two in the reviews section as if I'm some sort of know-all writing guru, which I'm not. I'm just highly educated and have gained a strong sense of opinion and confidence. However, I thought it might be ever so slightly, kind of cool if you guys throw loads of questions at me (preferably about writing, but it would be fun to have the odd generic question in there too) and I'll sit here and write a Q&A chapter. Sound good?
If I can direct you to the reviews section, start filling them with questions and when I get 8 questions in there, I'll start answering. Yeah?
Here we go!
After the positive response to How To Write A Story, I started answering your questions too! You ask me whatever you want and I shall answer them in the hope that I can help!
How does one make sure that a chapter is well-written and uses a good variety of language? – Bella_Jinxx
It mostly comes down to your writing ability – if you have that natural talent, then you should be fine. If you can’t write for toffee, then it doesn’t take long to learn a few tricks.
The biggest feature in writing that you should keep an eye on is overusing words. If something is beautiful, don’t refer to it as “beautiful” every single time. Try saying it is “gorgeous”, “stunning”, “striking”; use a thesaurus if you can’t think of any alternatives. You should also make sure you’ve broken up sentences appropriately. Don’t forget that commas are there as a breathing mark, so use them! They make a sentence easier to read, even if you’re not reading it aloud because – don’t think this is weird! Once you think about it, you’ll realise it too – your brain needs to breathe. Your brain won’t take in a long sentence with no breaks in it because it needs those moments to collect itself, to review what it’s just read and be ready to move on.
Then when you proofread it, read it out loud to yourself as you check it over and if something sounds unusual then fix it. Things that sound unusual could be:
• Something that you personally would not usually say – you just need to rewrite it as if you were saying it in a conversation to a friend
• Something that sounds forced and doesn’t fit the style in which you’re writing – once again, just rewrite it as if you were saying it in a conversation to a friend
• Something that doesn’t seem to make sense, like a misplaced word – this is most likely just a typo such as knew/new, know/now, the/then/they
Whilst reading it, just make sure it flows.
How would one go about starting another chapter? – XEvil_AngelX
Firstly, don’t worry about a time gap between your chapters. The reason you stopped the last chapter where you did is because it’s a good place to actually stop. You don’t need chapters running in real-time and talking in detail about what the characters had for breakfast the next morning.
It’s actually a tricky question, because it’s highly dependant on the original story. When starting a new chapter, find a place within the timeline that is just before an important point of your plot. You don’t want to jump straight into someone getting chased through 1940 NYC streets unless you intend to go back and explain why your character is being chased. It’s like setting the scene; it doesn’t make sense unless you know where you are.
Is it OK if you put the summary, then put “this summary sucks”? – amyisawesome
The summary does not suck until you tell everybody that it sucks. It might not be brilliant or you may feel that you’re not happy with your summary, but as long as you follow the rules in How To Write A Story, you can’t go far wrong.
Saying “this summary sucks” means you doubt your own writing skills. If you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else? A lack of confidence is evident through those three simple words and it will show in all of your writing. You might not think it does, but trust me, it really, really does!
Avoid any negative comments on your own work, whether it is in the summary (i.e. this summary sucks) or in an Authors Note (i.e. this chapter isn’t my best writing, sorry).
How do you make a smut scene effective? – CosmicZombie and Bella_Jinxx
You need to feel comfortable writing it; otherwise the whole scene will seem off and extremely uncomfortable. If you don’t feel comfortable writing it, then write up until you start to start to struggle. You don’t have to write the sex, just imply it.
If you do feel comfortable writing it, or even love writing it, make it sound natural. Don’t force it or use technical terms. Stray away from the words “sexual intercourse”, and use the words “penis” and “vagina” sparingly. When you’re engaging in sexual activity (don’t use that phrase either, I only use it for the sake of trying to keep this PG-13), you don’t use those words all the time – you refer to the male organ as a “dick” or a “cock”, and the female organ as a “pussy” or “fanny” (U.K.) – so in your writing, try to use those words more. Don’t take it too far, though, and use words such as, “vajayjay”, “nunny” or “willy”. They jarr a lot and it doesn’t make it sound natural!
Something else to consider is the content of the scene. Avoid writing about just the literal event, concentrate on the physical and mental feelings and exaggerate/enhance them. In reality, you may sometimes just lay there thinking about what you’re going to be having for dinner or the next film you’re going to watch and the sex is doing nothing for you. This doesn’t happen in your stories. In your stories, each sexual encounter is like fireworks exploding in the pit of your stomach, it is the most amazing feeling in the world and each time just gets better and better. (unless bad sex is crucial to the story). Make sure you play on the emotions and describe the intimacy between the two (or more) characters.
If you're putting something controversial or risky into a story, how do you know whether to go ahead with it or not? – MCR_rawrr
Just do it.
As long as it’s what you want to write, then you will be fine. I’m one of the biggest controversial writers around, I’ve written about incest, paedophilia, alcoholism, self-harm, rape, etc. (and very little else) and I’ve always had a positive response. You need to ensure you put a heavy warning either in the summary or at the top. Use capital letters and bold font so that people read it first, then the readers will be filtered. If it’s something that people don’t feel comfortable reading, then they just won’t read it and you stand a smaller chance of having any negative reviews.
A lot of people will most likely be sat at home, telling themselves that they don’t want to read it because it’s wrong and they don’t think it’s acceptable, but I can guarantee they will still click on the link. Do you know why? Because it’s forbidden. It’s morally unacceptable and that entices people, it gives them a thrill.
Also, some of the best writing styles come out of a darker theme, if you have the guts to write something morally unacceptable, then you’ve definitely got the ability to write a quality piece of work.
Does “alot” exist? – paraphrased from various people
“Alot” is not a word, even my spell check agrees. Every time I type “alot”, my laptop changes it automatically to “a lot”.
It’s a word that, through time, has become a part of everyday English despite the fact that it is not registered as a ‘real’ word. It’s comparable to saying “would/could/should of” whereas the correct wording is “would/could/should have”. Words like that get written into modern day language easily, but they do not exist! I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to check what you are writing. Using your exams as an example, if you used “a lot” or “would/could/should of” repeatedly, the examiner more than likely marked you down for it because it is not recognised as correct prose.
Some common mistakes (don’t feel bad, they’re common because everyone does them!):
• then and than
• you’re and your
• there, their and they’re
• if and whether
• effect and affect
• accept and except
• no-one and no one
• two, too and to
• its and it’s
• can and may
• allowed and aloud
• loose and lose
• imply and infer
• bare and bear
• lay and lie
The best response to this fictional word is this: “You say 'alot' does not exist? Maybe. But look it up on Google Images. Cutest thing ever.” which was written by CyanideSunlight in response to How To Write A Story. I implore you to Google Search it.
When writing, I feel that I have a lot of punctuation problems. I feel like I put too many punctuation marks in. Is that bad or can it live? – OhmyGee
Punctuation is important! Don’t panic about putting too much in, it’s all useful. As long, as you’ don’t start, putting. “too much” in places, where they’re not needed. You should never worry about using too many marks, because without punctuation a sentence can be a lot harder to read. Each mark has its own function, i.e.:
• ! (exclamation point) – it makes you feel the power of the situation, whether it’s comedic, excitement, urgent, important,etc.
• , (comma) – breaks up the text and makes it easier to read. It sometimes makes helps it make more sense.
• “” (quotation marks) – you really need them if you’re story is going to make any sense. Don’t replace them with italic text, it doesn’t work.
I don’t write those in a patronising way, I know you all know what exclamation points, commas and quotation marks are! I was just making a point.
What is a good chapter length? Does it depend on the style and subject of the story, or is it better for all story chapters to be a similar length? – CosmicZombie
A good chapter length could be dependant on the story, if you look at published books then some chapters are around 2000 words and others could be around 5000 words. I personally believe that if it’s an extremely light-hearted story then you should probably keep to around the 2000- word mark so that your brain doesn’t turn to mush. However, if you are writing something heavier then you will more than likely stand better if you make it 2000+ words.
This is purely because a story with heavier content is more likely to engage the reader. It will contain a lot more detail which will keep said reader sat glued to their chair, and they feel slightly put out if it’s short because there is a distinct lack of description and then it just cuts out. Like pulling someone out of a dream, the story is contained and finishes abruptly.
One-shots or two-part fics. These should most definitely aim to be up around the 5000 word mark. Whilst it is supposed to be short, it is still a story and should contain as much detail. The idea is that the plot is shorter, not the writing standard.
When writing a story based off a traumatic event or just something you find would work for a story...how would you go about starting it? – XEvil_AngelX
Assuming you’re talking about real-life situations, then make sure you know the facts about the event. This sort of story will take a fair bit more research.
Through research, you will find it a lot easier to write about your chosen event. This is because the more you learn, the more you take in information that almost becomes a second nature to you. Do you find it easier to write about World War I or your own memories? It’s always good to play on people’s feelings and emotions as opposed to just the literal happenings. and you can do this by empathising with your character.
Any tips on dealing with writer's block or lack of confidence? – CosmicZombie and XEvil_AngelX
A lack of confidence is easier to combat than you would expect; it’s only caused by a fear of what people might say, or by experiences of what has been said before. You just have to remember that what you are writing is your own, you’ve created this and you’ve put your effort into this. No matter what someone says about it, it’s an achievement on your own part an don’t ever forget it!
As for writer’s block – it is probably the worst thing that could happen. In that time that you’ve been sat staring at your screen at a complete loss of what to do, you could have probably written the full thing. If only you had the focus and inspiration. I hate the feeling, as I’m sure you do too. There are ways to beat it though!
• If you are an organised person, you might have written notes in planning for your story. Refer to them and you can most likely move on by expanding the notes you’ve written.
• Listen to certain music or watch certain TV shows that have been proven to previously inspire you.
• When you read a story, you quite often get lost in the words and almost daydream your way through, so do that to your own work. Read through the parts you have written previously and take your mind to that alternate universe, hopefully you will automatically begin to continue the story.
• Read through your story just before you sleep. Dreams quite often work on the basis of what you were thinking of before you sleep, so let your unconscious mind take over and dream up the rest of the story.
You mentioned in the 'How To Write' thing that you were making a 'How To Review' thing, is that still happening? – Poppana
It is, I’m part way through writing it. I hope it gets as much interest as How To Write A Story! Don’t worry though, it won’t take too long to get up. I’m really bad at prioritising so I’m writing this when I should be filling in a time-sheet for work and I also have How To Review and the next chapter of Obsession to write up too as well as learning the entire piano score for Beauty and the Beast by the end of September (by the way! If you’re in Northeast Girlguiding UK and you’re heading to Curtain Up, then I might be doing some solo practice with you! And sing louder, we only have two radio mics). My ability to organise myself is atrocious, I’m sorry, just keep bugging me about it!
What do you do when you write a chapter, and then you look back on it and it could be a lot better but you have no idea on how to improve it? – MCR_rawrr
The best thing you could do is work out what is “wrong” or “less effective”. A good chapter needs some sort of basis to it which would be the reason for the chapter. Filler chapters are generally the ones you feel less confident on purely because they have very little use, why would someone be interested in reading about two people going to a shop and buying their groceries? To combat this, think of each chapter as its own story. Would you write a full story about an every day situation, like shopping or brushing teeth? No. If you can add some more drama or excitement into the chapter then you might be able to revive it, otherwise scrap it completely.
Another thing to consider is whether you’ve repeated yourself a lot, or over-used short sentences. For example, in most cases, writing something like “He was so pretty. He made my heart flutter. He looked at me. He smiled and offered his hand. He took me to the dancefloor.” just doesn’t work. It’s almost childish, that’s how an 8 year old writes! You’ve been through school, you’ve taken Literature lessons since you were 4, you should understand the basic concepts to creating a good piece of work! Just go back and expand on sentences, add metaphors/similes/analogies/whatever and pad it out in an interesting way. The coat is not “red”, the coat is “a deep scarlet, dripping with faux fur”. It is not “windy”, it “feels as though the wind could throw me off my feet, the sheer force of it pressing into me from all sides”.
You’ll probably be noticing typos as well. What you’ve written is flowing straight from your head so you’ve most likely misspelled words and gotten so far ahead of your fingers that you’ve missed out small parts.
…also, do you like potatoes? – MCR_rawrr
Yes I like potatoes. Except for when my little brother gets out the spud gun. Potatoes are for eating, not for killing.
Keep throwing questions at me in the reviews and I'll answer them ASAP!
I thought I should probably tell you a little bit about me as well:
My name is Rose, I'm 18. I passed my English GCSE with a high A grade a year early. I studied Music Technology, Maths, Physics and Media Studies at college. I do work for a Health and Safety Training company and teach Music and Drama. I am currently in the process of setting up a Recording Studio.
You can contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by Twitter: @RoseDoesntDrink