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  • LTea's Tips and Trix

    Welcome!
    To my official help and advice thread, 'Tips and Trix', where I intend to post help and advice on storytelling basics, because this is what I do for fun. I'm weird, I know.
    __________________________________________________ ________


    I have wanted to do this for a while, actually. I find that a lot of people fall into the same pitfalls as most beginner writers, and as an aspiring author irl, I hope to pass on some knowledge that I have accumulated over years of reading, writing, and researching in my own time. Feel free to pitch in with your own thoughts and advice. This is, after all, and industry based on opinions. No matter what I say or how much I ramble, it's entirely up to you what you take away, and I am in no way stating how things should be done. Unfortunately, storytelling isn't fact, so likewise it's a bit more awkward to 'teach'. Not that I'm trying to teach it.
    Anyway...


    If you would like to comment, feel free to do so. If you have something you want advice on, or a topic for me to discuss or explain, then by all means message me and I will be happy to oblige. Otherwise, I hope this helps offer some fun and useful insight, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

    I do also have a Review Thread, offering individual advice and thoughts on your Episode Stories, which you can find HERE. Please read my first post before requesting, and please do not use this thread to advertise your story, as that is not what this is for. I also have a 'Weekly Suggestions' thread, offering suggestions from stories I have reviewed, should you wonder what I would suggest as a good Episode story. You can find that HERE.
    __________________________________________________ ______

    With all that said, let my rambling and ridiculous stream of metaphors begin!

  • #2
    Tips and Trix
    Advice Article #1

    Instant Romances
    Don't... Just don't.

    I run into these an awful lot, which still surprises me, because if storytelling does have any rules, this would be one of them. Just don't do it.
    I'm not saying it's impossible to have an instant romance situation that doesn't work well, Cinderella is a classic example of it done right (kinda), but I am saying it is very difficult to make it work. The major problem with them is that, they're just not realistic. Cliche, I know, but it's true. The thing is, when it comes to romance in storytelling, it's much more then just a character falling in love. You're not just making two characters like each other, you're tricking real people into falling for fake ones. Why do you think fandoms are so powerful. It doesn't matter that those characters never existed, the relationship those fans have with them is a very real thing, and as a storyteller, it's the ultimate tool of creation. Creating a real bond.

    Now, realism in stories is a 50/50. The second you hear it, you start to grumble. 'but stories aren't supposed to be real, because reality is boring, and stories are a means of escaping that cripplingly dull reality...' Okay, yes. And yes, there are people out there who adore the idea of 'love at first sight', especially if the guy is as good as his face is. However, a majority of people don't fall for it. As humans, we like things we can relate to. We build our own real life relationships with them. I hang around people that have the same negative outlook on life and depressing realization that most of life's job is to screw you over. It's what we enjoy talking about, and joking about, and it's what we all relate to. I don't hang around people that go partying and drinking, because I like neither of those things, and I can't relate to their joy in those activities. Simple so far, right? Have stuff in common, good start for relationships. If a reader relates to a character, they're more likely to care. So, yes, reality is boring, but it's also what we know. We like knowing things, and we like knowing that we know things. It makes us feel powerful, and in-control.

    So, why can't an instant romance work? Why not just have some things in common, and go from there?
    Well, as it's like in real life, it's not that easy. There's another thing that gets in the way, and can make or break that starting relationship. It's called personality. A wonderful thing that makes a crowd of humans a bunch of individuals. We've all got one, tailor made through years of trial and error to get the perfect taste just right for us. Like a fine wine; some will love it, others will hate it. Nobody's perfect, after all. As such, it's all well and good that we share the same love of pancakes and syrup, but I'm not going to like someone who doesn't shut up about that love of pancakes. Someone who steals the limelight aren't always going to get on with the drama kids, just because they both like being on stage. The personality of a character is hugely important. What does this have to do with anything? Well, it's quite straight forward.
    If you fall instantly in love with someone, how can you possibly know their personality, and whether you actually like them first?

    What I often find, when it comes to reading stories that involve said situations, is that the characters falling instantly for each other lack these personalities. That's all well and good for them, because at least we can guarantee they will get along just fine, but the readers and audience will not be the same blank slates. If there's one thing that almost everyone agrees to, it's that you can't connect to someone with nothing to connect to. We don't like talking to walls, why would we like talking to characters that act like them? But, let's say the characters do have personality, and they are still choosing to fall instantly in love with each other. Why do we still not connect to the relationship? Well, to put it frankly...
    It's boring.

    Okay, now we are in opinion territory, but this is a wide spread opinion. When it comes to romance, almost all of the emotion and intrigue doesn't come from the happy moments, it comes from the dark ones. In Titanic, did we cry when they went at it in a strangers steamy old car? No, we cried at the end, where despite everything the only couple we truly wanted to survive wound up being torn apart. In 'Pride and Prejudice' did we... actually, that's pretty old, some of you may not have read it... In 'The Hunger Games' (that's better) did we care for the ending when we saw Katness with her kids? No, but we were stuffing popcorn in our faces as we watched her torment over who to pick, Peeta or Gale? We love watching chaos, because it's interesting. Linking back to our first point, realism in stories doesn't mean sticking to a mundane lifestyle. It means taking the worst possible scenarios - things most people only really face now and then - and throwing fifty of them at your character to see how they cope. There's a dark joy in a character's suffering. An instant romance? There's no fun in that!

    So. Insta' Romances... You can, but I highly suggest you don't. I can go on about romance, and how I think they should be built, but this article was about the drawbacks of doing things instantly. In short, love takes time. In reality and in fiction. It's built through knowing a person, and getting to know them, as well as going through the obstacles and challenges live brings with them. It's not based on looks, or how perfect a first meeting was. So, don't rush it, take your time and get to know your characters. If you can't see yourself loving them, I guarantee the rest of us wont!

    If you have further thoughts in this topic, I'd love to hear them. I'm keen to improve, as this is a first for me, so any thoughts are welcome ones.
    I hope this Advising Article has helped people to understand some things, and maybe inspired them too. Either way, I hope you enjoyed reading it!
    With all that said, Thank you!
    ~L
    Last edited by LTea; 01-03-2018, 01:19 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      *claps*
      That was so helpful!
      Thx LTea!

      Comment


      • LTea
        LTea commented
        Editing a comment
        Haha, you're welcome. X) I'm glad you liked it! (though I can't tell if that was sarcastic or not...)
        Last edited by LTea; 01-03-2018, 01:36 AM.

    • #4
      Sooo looong.... Bravo LTea, this is great! I only read about half of it because I have the attention span of a bunny rabbit, but I'll probably read the rest later.

      Comment


      • LTea
        LTea commented
        Editing a comment
        haha, that's fair. Glad you liked the about half you read! X)

    • #5
      Fam just subscribed to this thread

      Comment


      • LTea
        LTea commented
        Editing a comment
        Glad to hear it! I look forward to hearing your thoughts, and offering more random pieces of advice! X)
        Thank you! ^-^

    • #6
      Kudos to you for creating such a helpful thread!

      Comment


      • LTea
        LTea commented
        Editing a comment
        And thank you for acknowledging it! ^-^

      • AshlynnA
        AshlynnA commented
        Editing a comment
        I get really excited when I see helpful threads/topics, so I guess you could say they pull me in lol. It's great to see members lending a hand in the community; warms my heart. <3

    • #7
      Tips and Trix
      Advice Article #2

      The First Chapter
      The first impression DOES matter!

      So, a couple times in the past, I've received this question after giving a review. "Should I go back and change my first chapter?" The answer is yes. Every time, yes, because nothing is more important to a story then that golden first impression. As I explain, it's similar to trying a sample at a market. If you don't like the sample, you're not going to by the product. The same goes for stories. If we don't like the start, we're likely not going to bother reading/listening/watching the rest. That first introduction has to be the best, because it is what's selling your work to people. So, some tips on a good first chapter, here we go.

      Number one: Know the idea, and give us a hint.
      I did my EPQ Course on this topic alone. How to write a solid first chapter, and one of the main things I learned was that every good book can tell you what it is from the first chapter alone. We need to know roughly four things. The setting, The Protagonist, The Antagonist/Obstacle, and the Driving plot. For example, in harry potter the setting is placed in London. The protagonist is introduced, the boy who lived. The antagonist is hinted - He who shall not be named was stopped by Harry's parents - otherwise the Dursley family. The driving plot, Harry is a wizard expected to do great things. We can expect action, magic and mystery, and are drawn in by this unspoken evil that starts of defeated - knowing that it's not going to last for long.
      With this first chapter, we are given everything we need to know in order to decide to read it or not. Without this knowledge, we feel confused or empty, left out of the loop or not given enough. And, yes, it can all fit into one chapter. If you look at every great story, I promise you will find them. (at least I hope, I haven't read every great story, after all.)

      Number two: Prepare us for your Pace
      Your story doesn't have to be fast or slow, or even average, but whatever pace you pick needs to be established at the start of the book. Some people like to skip the details, others like to immerse themselves in the worlds, and you physically can't please everyone. So, chose the pace that is right for you and stick to it. What do I mean by pace? Well, an example would be to compare the openings of the films 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'Fast and Furious'. Both contain action, but while Fast and Furious snaps here and there and is done in a few moments, The Lord Of The Rings provides us with a slow narration and calm music, and takes it's time to explain the prologue of the story. The Lord of the Rings has a very slow pacing, explaining people, places, backstories and the main plot. Fast and Furious focuses on getting the plot across, and winds up with (surprise) a fast pacing. The pace of a story can change here and there, but it will likely remain the same mostly throughout. If your story is quick and action pact, then you shouldn't start with a slow introduction, because you will give your potential readers the wrong idea, and attract the wrong audience.

      Number three: Polish and Present
      As I mentioned in my first statement, your first chapter is going to be the sample of your work. In Episode, the first chapter is pass free, so you've got to give the best impression. Not everyone can tolerate bad language - I'm sorry if English isn't your first language, but there are people willing to help proofread on the forums. I'm not the best at spelling and grammar, but I do make sure to check over and over to make sure I get everything. Episode provides the test feature so you can find the glitches yourself. Don't be lazy and wait for someone to tell you, and don't say "well, the story is good, so what does it matter?" because that is like offering a delicious sample that's got dirt on it or half a bite taken out of it. It may be brilliantly tasty, but we're not going to think that when we're distracted by the hair that's now in our mouth. Check, check and check again. For Episode, check the sounds, direction, the animations don't repeat, the dialogue makes sense, timings are right and all that. You will always find something new to improve on, even if it's tiny and doesn't matter. If you don't, you're not looking hard enough. In which case, take a break, come back later, and you may find several mistakes staring you in the face.


      And last for now: Hook, line and sinker.
      The first chapter is one of the four big hooks; the other three being The Title, The Cover, and The Description. It is the fourth and final wall, and it should be the strongest. Not everyone get's past the first chapter, because with the first few tips, they would have made the decision if it fits what they enjoy reading. But some may like all of your choices and still may not get past the first chapter. Why not? Because the first chapter has to have a hook. In Harry Potter, it's the idea that this kid is promised to get up to shenanigans. He is the chosen one! In Lord of the rings, it's the fact that the most powerful, tide turning, darkest powered ring is out in the poor innocent world. We know it will cause chaos. A hook, more often then not, is a subtle promise that stuff will go wrong. We're humans. We have a love for chaos, don't you dare deny it! It's why we're drawn to gossip, to watching fights or hearing people complain - though we prefer to complain ourselves - and the same goes for a story. Promise us something is going to stir trouble, be it your antagonist or just some future threat. If it's a romance, who or what is keeping those two apart? Is it a Horror? What is so horrific? Is it a comedy? What could possibly go wrong to make me laugh? Cliff hangers are always useful, but that's an article all of it's own.

      So, the answer to those questions is, yes. Work your first chapter to an absolute shine, and then further. Use these tips to provide the best sample you can, and you should be well and good for reeling in readers, or an audience, whatever format your story is in. of course, this isn't all there is to a first chapter, but these tips are some of the big basics, and you may be surprised how often they are overlooked.


      If you have further thoughts in this topic, I'd love to hear them. I'm keen to improve, as this is a first for me, so any thoughts are welcome ones.
      I hope this Advising Article has helped people to understand some things, and maybe inspired them too. Either way, I hope you enjoyed reading it! if you have suggestions or are looking for advice, feel free to message or comment, and I shall gladly consider it.
      With all that said, Thank you!
      ~L

      Comment


      • LTea
        LTea commented
        Editing a comment
        Woo! Go Kitten! X)

      • amberose
        amberose commented
        Editing a comment
        This is so true! I recently re-did my first chapter of my first story after reading other threads recommending people to. After you've done 10 or so chapters, you go back to it and think of a billion ways to enhance it and make it better

      • LTea
        LTea commented
        Editing a comment
        I'm glad you agree. It can apply to more then just storytelling too. When we first do something, we get so caught up in the work that we tend to overlook a lot. It can often be a good idea to put something down and re-approach it later, so you see it with a fresh opinion.
        Thank you for your thoughts too!

    • #8
      Yay! These are so helpful!

      Comment


      • LTea
        LTea commented
        Editing a comment
        I'm glad to hear it! ^_^

    • #9
      Characterization:
      The Careful Creation of Fictional Friends


      The Basics



      Okay, something a little different.
      Characterization is a huge part of storytelling, because the characters are who we experience the story with. If we don't like them, we won't be able to read the story, and unfortunately it's really easy to make an unlikable character. Because of just how much I could go into this, I have decided to create something a bit different. In the Characterization sections, I'll be attempting to help you understand what it takes to build a person - because that is basically what it is - and hopefully this will help you develop your own characters personalities and make them stand out a bit better at individuals. If you have a specific 'type' of character in mind, then by all means send me a suggestion and I will try to help. But, as I could pick any number of personality types, this first post will be about the basics.
      So... let's build a character!

      One: Facts First
      Start with a blank canvas, and begin with the rough sketches. Don't worry too much if you only have a few ideas, as we progress, the holes should start filling in themselves. This is the really easy stuff, and if you leave it at this stage, your character will wind up bland and dead. But, it is necessary stuff. Without it, you have no structure, and a character will appear messy or have identity issues.
      Questions: What is their name? How old are they? What do they look like? What kind of person are they? What family do they have? What is their role in the story? (If they don't have one, don't bother with them.) What things do you have in mind for this character?

      Example: Shirley Smith is a teenager, has red hair and tanned skin. She lives with her parents, and loves her grandmother, but has a cool and tom-boy nature. Shirley is the Main protagonist's close friend. She will get angry as the story progresses, and by the end will be a rival.

      Two: Individual Introduction
      So, we have our facts, now we need to work out what makes this person different from the cast. Why they were specifically picked for that role. Without this stage, you cast is made up of blank mannequins. This stage aims to give those lifeless dolls faces and movements. Most people finish after this stage, and while it's not as bad as only completing the first stage, doing so can leave your characters a bit cliche or stereotypical, and they may sound like all the other characters.

      Questions: What do they enjoy doing? What are their likes and dislikes? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Are they an introvert or extrovert? Are they rebellious or respecting? Clever or dim? Vain or humble? Do they get angry quickly, or do they stay calm? Do they think through a situation or do they recklessly throw caution to the wind? How do they appear to a stranger? Why are they like this?

      Example: Shirley likes her motorcycle and reading books. She likes to party, and doesn't like ghost stories. She is somewhat superstitious, and is easily scared, but packs a punch and fights back. She is rebellious, and acts masculine like her father - who she admires. She is nice to most people, so long as you show her respect. She acts impulsively, and lets her emotions get the better of her, which is why she turns against her friend later on. Despite becoming a rival, Shirley is still loyal, and this becomes her weakness in her final fight with the Protagonist.

      Three: Visualize and Voice
      Now, you may think that we already have a good idea on what our character is like. Well, you're right and wrong. Yes, our example is clearly a rebel tom-boy type, but that's just it. She's a rebel, not a Shirley. Stage three is often overlooked, because it's one of the harder stages to understand. Without this, you have a stereotypical character. This is what's called 'adding colour' or as I call it 'spice' to a character. It makes them stand out.

      Questions: What do they wear? How do they greet the Protagonist, compared to their family/friends or a stranger? How do they react in situations of stress? Do they use nicknames or slang? Are they articulated, or do they speak casually? Are they emotive, or stoic? What do they want in life? What do they think of their own life? How trusting are they? Are they expressive, or blunt? Are they friendly to strangers? Are they friendly to friends, or are they more honest and open? Do they care about their appearance to others? How do they effect their surroundings? are there exceptions?

      Example: Shirley wears black and red, and dresses like a boy, with her signature leather jacket and aviators. She is close with the Protagonist, and they greet each other with insults that they both laugh at. She calls strangers 'Woman' and 'Dude', taking a casual and laid back tone until she get's angry. She also greets her family in a casual manner. She isn't very trusting, but she is honest and open with her opinions, which can land her in trouble a lot. She does care about her appearance, but she doesn't care if people thinks she hasn't tried, so long as she believes she looks cool. The only exception to her personality is her grandmother, who she acts very sweet and caring around, and greets with 'Grammy'. She is quick to get angry over things that annoy her, but if she isn't bothered by something, she will respond with wit. She is very dramatic when she is trying to be funny, otherwise she is rather lazy and casual.
      So, let's compare a scene...

      Stage one only
      Shirley left the house. "Bye." she said to her parents, as she went to school. Shirley met her friend at the gate. "How are you?" she asked. Her friend shrugged. "I am okay. How about you?"
      Shirley thought for a moment, then replied. "I am going to my grandmother's house later, I am worried for her health. She is not well." Her friend nodded sadly. "Do not worry, I am sure things will be fine." Shirley nodded.
      Another student tapped her on the shoulder. "Excuse me, do you know which way goes to the office?"
      "Yes, it is over there." Shirley answered, pointing to the office.

      Stage Three
      Pulling on her favourite leather jacket, Shirley left the house, slamming the door behind her. "See you later!" She called to her parents, who were too busy to answer. Taking her motorbike, Shirley met her friend by the school gate. "What's up, Sl*t." she said with a grin. Her friend chuckled. "Not bad, B***. You?" Shirley paused, and her grin faltered. She didn't want to tell her friend that she was worried, in case it put a downer on the mood. "I'm going Gammy's later, so that could be fun." She didn't meet her friends eyes. Her friend could tell what was wrong, though. They had known each other for years, and she knew that Shirley's grandmother was unwell, and how much Shirley loved her Grammy. "Sure. I'm sure she will be fine. "
      Shirley didn't believe it, but she didn't want to talk about it.
      Suddenly, another student tapped her on the shoulder, and Shirley jumped slightly. "Ack! Kid? What was that for?!" she snapped, acting like she hadn't been shocked. The student muttered an apology. "I'm sorry, I was wondering where the offices are, do you know?"
      Shirley smirked. "No, I'm blind. It's over there, you ninny!" she teased, nodding her head towards the offices.
      As the student hurried off, her friend gave her a look. "You didn't have to be mean."
      Shirley shrugged. "He shouldn't have snuck up on me, I almost punched him!"

      Can you see the difference? Which did you prefer?
      Last edited by LTea; 01-09-2018, 09:37 PM.

      Comment


      • Kittenlove
        Kittenlove commented
        Editing a comment
        I love this article! I actually tried it out, and it's great!

      • LTea
        LTea commented
        Editing a comment
        That's good to hear. I didn't know how helpful it would actually be, lol. X)

    • #10
      Hi LTea !

      This is really helpful! Thank you so much for doing this!
      I'm planning a new story and I really want to take my time to make it great so I thought I'd make an outline first. This is something that episode suggests episode authors to do, but there are not really any great guides on how to plan your episode story before writing it. Maybe this is a topic you would be interested in discussing? You know, make a list of what an author should think about when planning a story and making an outline. What things should the author think of? Which questions should be answered? Anything!

      This was just an idea I got while planning my story, so if you're not interested in discussing this topic, that's totally fine! I just thought I'd suggest it since I came across this thread and you do give great advice!

      Comment


      • LTea
        LTea commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you! I'm glad my advice is actually helping people. ^-^
        As for the suggestion, I'd be happy to help. I am just making a cup of tea, so when that's ready I shall see what I can do!
        Thank you for the suggestion, and for taking the time to read my thread!

    • #11
      Tips and Trix
      Advice Article #3

      Outlining
      Thinking before you act



      This article was suggested by Mia_writes, who asked for thoughts on the process of outlining a story. First, thank you for being the first to suggest something! Secondly, here you go!
      Fun fact, I had to outline this article before writing it, much like I also outline each of my reviews. It's a very useful process that everyone can use for all manner of things, not just writing, and it works as a method of keeping your thoughts in check. Without an outline, things can get messy, thoughts can be forgotten and strings can be left unattached. So, what is an outline?

      Well, in short, it's a series of notes or 'checkpoints' that aim to keep you on track. Similar to drawing, where the outline shows you where to colour, in writing it's like having a map and picking the places where you want to go. You should have a good understanding of your main plot, your character arcs, your subplots and anything else of major value to your story. Some people write really long and detailed outlines, some keep it short and sweet. Your outline should also help answer all of your story's big questions. Who is the villain? Who is the protagonist? Where is the story set? What big obstacles will the characters face? Similar to stage one of my Characterization article, all your facts should be laid out in the outline.

      So, what methods are commonly used for outlining?
      I tend to use the What and Where?method. Basically, ask yourself tones of questions, or get a friend to help, and answer as many as possible on your post-it notes or scraps of paper. Then, go through your answers and ask, where is this shown in my story? For example:Who is the villain? Jason, the two headed ogre. Where is this shown? He storms in, in the first chapter, and eats the Protagonist's cousin.
      This can also help leading on to other things. You wanted your story to be about a warrior that seeks revenge on an ogre, well, now you know why he wants revenge. This also reveals that the protagonist must have liked their cousin, if they then decide to seek revenge. Where is this shown? Well, maybe at the very start. The protagonist could say how much they adore that cousin. Alternatively, you could plan for moments later when the Protagonist has flashbacks of their cousin. Note these moments and scenes down, then place them on a timeline. I use post-it notes on the large white wall in my bedroom, because it makes me feel like I'm a detective working out a murder case. But, you could make a power-point, a bullet point list, or even just some scraps of paper on the floor. It's up to you.

      Another method some people use, I'll call it the Backwards method, is to jot down the things they want to happen in the story and then come up with links between those moments. For example: My story is about a girl who marries a king, and I want her to run away from a ball. Okay, why is she running away? I want her to be angry at the King. Why could she be angry? Maybe he lied to her about something?
      I also want a romantic moment at the start of the book, where the King gives her a magic pearl. Okay, why will this be important? Maybe the magic is stolen? What would this mean? That the King lied to her about being an honest and good man. She could find out at the ball, when the owner comes to get the magic pearl. This would give the girl a reason to run away angry.

      I don't suggest this method so much, because it can be awkward - at least in my opinion - but some people do work like this. Again, it's up to you

      And, lastly, some questions to consider while outlining...
      Well, I'm not going to lie, I could offer hundreds. An outline should feature everything important that you want to happen, as I mentioned before, like planning a trip and choosing what places you want to visit, and how you're going to get there. It should help you organize when and where things happen. Plot twists, subplots, anything you can think of. It really works as you go. Start off with your plot idea, and build on the who, what, where, when, why and how. It's useful to get a friend or someone who doesn't know the story to ask questions about it. I ask my dad what he thinks, and him just trying to understand the nature of my plot opens up questions I wouldn't think of. Characterization also falls under your outlining stage. You want your character to fall in love, what moments will lead them to doing that? You want your character to go from being a nobody to a kick-ass warrior? Who trained them? How talented are they? What skills do they have and what do they need to learn? How long does it take them? When did they decide to do this. For every answer you get, you need to make sure you know when these answers will be shown. It's all well and good if you know everything that's going on, the outline is there to help you see when things have been shown to us - the audience. We only see what you put in the story. The outline helps to make sure you put it in.

      So. Hopefully this has helped to explain what an Outline does, and how you can create one. I highly suggest making an outline before you start writing. I used to write without one, and when I came back to re-reading it I found things missing, and random potential plot points left in with no direction. Every person outlines differently, so don't wonder if you're doing it write. if it helps, and you can see what you're doing is working, then it doesn't matter if you've written a four page timeline or two post-it notes. It's entirely your process, and it's entirely up to you!

      If you have further thoughts in this topic, I'd love to hear them. I'm keen to improve, as this is a first for me, so any thoughts are welcome ones.
      I hope this Advising Article has helped people to understand some things, and maybe inspired them too. Either way, I hope you enjoyed reading it! if you have suggestions or are looking for advice, feel free to message or comment, and I shall gladly consider it.
      With all that said, Thank you!
      ~L
      Last edited by LTea; 01-11-2018, 08:10 PM.

      Comment


      • Mia_writes
        Mia_writes commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you for this article! I feel like I now understand a little better what I should do with my outlining.

      • LTea
        LTea commented
        Editing a comment
        Mia_writes - I'm glad I could help. I you have any other questions or suggestions, just let me know!

    • #12
      I just finished reading your last two post (read the first one yesterday) and while I got the cliche/the romance/building up the momentum, creating a character’s personality and the outline down 😅 I gotta say, I loved reading your articles because like you mentioned, we can overlook things and is refreshing to see someone else’s point of view. So as long as you have inspiration to write all this, keep it up! 😄😄

      Comment


      • LTea
        LTea commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you! I'm glad my articles are entertaining in the least. ^-^
        I'll do my best! X)

    • #13
      Characterization:
      The Careful Creation of Fictional Friends


      The Perfectly Flawed




      Right, now here is where we can all see what I had in mind for this section. Basically, feel free to suggest a character type, and I'll do my best to help showcase creating one. for this piece, I'm choosing the 'Perfect Girl' character that I keep seeing in many people's stories. This character is often known as a Mary-Sue, but only when it's done wrong. It is possible to have a character that people consider perfect and beautiful and the best kind of friend you can have, but you need to balance the scales. Everyone has their flaws, and if everyone thinks a person is perfect then it's likely that person's flaws are hidden well. So, here we go. The Mary, but not quite Mary-sue.

      One: Facts First
      So, more often then not, these characters have been given everything. Wealth, protection, popularity, beauty. But one thing we do know, is all of that comes with a knife on both sides. Imagine how pressured a person must feel, or how scared they must be if everything goes wrong. Maybe it has in the past, maybe it hasn't. Human instinct means we always expect the worst. Even happy, naive people have fears.

      Questions: What is their name? How old are they? What do they look like? What kind of person are they? What family do they have? What is their role in the story? (If they don't have one, don't bother with them.) What things do you have in mind for this character? What must downsides do they face, due to their fame/wealth/beauty etc.?

      Example: Samantha Johnson is in high school. She is tall, beautiful and elegant with long platinum blond hair and bright green eyes. She is the daughter of a very wealthy business man, and is the top of her class in almost everything. Her mother is only a house-wife, but they don't spend much time together. Samantha is the protagonist, and she will be the one that works out who murdered little Timmy. I also want her to form a romance with her rival, James Smith, who's father is second to Samantha's father. Samantha is constantly under pressure to excel at business studies like her father, and is scared of being attacked for her wealth. Her beauty means she frequently gets harassed, and her father's fame means she is also harassed by press.

      Two: Individual Introduction
      So, now we know the good and bad sides of their story, we can work on how they impact the character. With a character that everyone sees as perfect, we can expect them to be able to either mask their true emotions, or have a distance from regular people. They can be snobbish, or they can be manipulative, or they can be naive and stupid. Also, remember that nothing just appears for everyone. If they're really smart, they've sacrificed something to get that - normally socializing. Perfection, even for a false persona, takes sacrifice.

      Questions: How do they spend most of their time? What is their ultimate goal in life? What are their fears/stresses? Do they socialize or are they distanced? How do they act or talk in public? What do people think of them? What do their parents think of them? How are they treated? How do they treat others? Do they make enemies or do they try to keep the peace? Why are they like this? What did they sacrifice and why?

      Example: Samantha spends most of her time studying, she doesn't care where. Her goal is to succeed her father as the CEO of the business, and win her rivalry against James. She is able to act sociable and kind in public, but is more distanced when she doesn't need to. People see her as a perfect, clever heiress and either they love her, admire her, or they're jealous. She treats others well and acts polite and friendly, as she prefers to keep the peace then start a potential scandal for the papers. She acts like this so she can't be judged badly, and so her pristine reputation remains in-tact. However, to be clever and act kind, she has sacrificed most of her social and love life, and has nobody she believes is a true or close friend. She doesn't trust anyone, and she fears hurting her reputation and losing the chance to make her father proud.

      Three: Visualize and Voice
      Again, we've already got a good impression on how the character talks and acts, but now it's time to add those details that really make this character an individual. The thing hear to remember is showing how this person acts. It's easy if it's a protagonist, because we see them when they're alone, but if they're not, it's a matter of showing the cracks in their facade. The world sees them as perfect, but we need to know as readers that it isn't true. Hints and pauses in their persona, as well as adding those little perks, will help pull them apart from the crowd.

      Questions: What do they wear? How do they act? Do they snap under stress? How do they act when they're alone compared to when they're in public? When do they show their flaws? What is their true nature? Do they like their facade, or do they prefer being themselves? Do they realize they're not perfect, or do they think imperfections are glitches? How do they react to other people? What do they think of their friends/family/partners etc? What do they do that nobody else does? What do they think of their life? What do they think of other people's lives? When/what/where are the cracks in their perfection?

      Example: Samantha wears casual clothes when she's alone, but wears designer clothing in public for the press. She doesn't show stress in public, but she can snap with anger if pushed too far. When she's alone, she acts cold, blunt, tired and dull. In public she appears kind, polite, generous and fair. Samantha doesn't like the facade she puts up, because she knows its silly to believe a person can be blessed with everything, and she hates people thinking she's just been given everything. She knows she's not perfect, actually she thinks she's a bad person at heart, for using people to further her own gains. She is cold and distant to her mother, because she fears being nothing more then a house-wife. She acts very politely with her father, who knows she's acting but is too busy to do anything about it. The only person she seems to open up to is James because he understands what its like to be in her shoes, though he teases her about it constantly. She is nicknamed the 'Snow angel' in school, and isn't known for ever being angry, but if you find the right pressure points in conversion you will start to see her anger breaking through.
      So, let's compare a scene...


      Stage one only
      Samantha looked at the press. "I am not answering your questions right now." she said. She left the room, and shut the door behind her, cutting out the noise. James was leaning on the wall opposite her. "Hello." he said, looking her up and down. "You look nice today."
      Samantha greeted him. "You do as well." She replied.
      The door opened again, and her mother and father stepped out. "Samantha, you did well today." Her father said. Her mother smiled.
      Samantha smiled. "Thank you." She said, as her parents left.
      James opened the door, as his family's manager called him in. "bye."

      Stage Three
      Samantha smiled politely into the many flashing cameras. "I apologize, but I will not be answering any questions today. Thank you for your time." walking gracefully, making sure each stride was soft and light footed, she made her way to the small grey door and out of the crowded room. The second the door closed, and the echoing noise of cameras and questions had faded, she let out a long sigh and allowed her smile to drop. Her face ached.
      "Salutations, my fair rival." James mumbled, mocking her with a grin as he leaned casually on the opposite side of the corridor. Sam glanced up at him, and rolled her eyes. He looked her up and down. "Looking as ravishing as ever."
      Samantha collected herself, and leaned on the wall beside the door. "Not so bad yourself, though you can cut the act. We're rivals, not romantics, remember?"
      James shrugged, stuffing his hands into his blazer pockets. The grey door opened suddenly, and Samantha quickly stood up, straightening her blouse and smiling sweetly. Her mother and father stepped out, shutting the door and letting go of each others hand. Samantha continued to smile at her father, who patted her on the shoulder. "You did well, Sammy. We had some really tough cookies out there, but you pulled through, as always." He chuckled.
      Samantha giggled softly at her father's words. "Thank you, Father. I try my best."
      Her father rolled his eyes. "Formalities, Sammy. I'm your dad, not your boss." he laughed, striding off down the corridor. Samantha's smile faltered, as she turned to her mother. Her mother pursed her lips, sparing no more then a glance at her child, before trotting off after her husband. Samantha clenched her jaw. The woman was never satisfied.
      "And they wonder why I call you frostbite." James smirked. As his manager's voice called him, he lazily got up and paused by the door, his hand gripping the handle. "Wish me luck." he said with a wink, and Samantha rolled her eyes. "Just go already." she muttered, following after her parents and leaving him to the crowds.

      Can you see the difference? Which did you prefer?
      Last edited by LTea; 01-15-2018, 03:20 AM.

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