Okay, so this is my gift to allll you guys on dA if you want to use it! The only rules are you can't erase my signature or distribute it without my permission. Other than that, print it, enjoy it, do whatever - just don't steal the fox.
I'm rather fond of my little cross fox. I may just draw a proper picture of him.
Now, because apparently a LOT of people didn't get the purpose of this at ALL for some reason when I mentioned it in my journal, this is what it is:This poster is NOT intended to teach people how to write. It's to remind writers of the most important concepts of story writing as they're writing so what they create doesn't suffer.
That's IT. Now, for the non-writers out there, I shall explain each of the concepts on the poster.
Make the audience care!This is probably the most crucial point to remember, because if you audience doesn't care about your characters, THEY WON'T READ MORE. It's that simple. Make your audience sympathize with the characters and your yarn shall prevail.
Every line of the story must move the plot along!This is VITAL. No matter what, each and every scene in the story must lead to the climax and eventual denouement. This keeps the attention of the audience and also helps you the writer.
Keep notes!This one should be obvious. If you don't keep notes SEPERATE from your manuscript, you'll forget things and/or be forced to hunt through your materials all over again. The most important set of notes you take will be on your characters; everything from name to age to hair and eye colour as well as relationship should be noted. It doesn't have to be fancy or concise. Trust me when I say that hunting through a manuscript for the name of some obscure character that you'd like to reappear is a waste of time and can distract you from writing. Save yourself some bother and keep notes! Here's an example of note about a character;
-Niku, male hynorse (AN: as hynorses all look the same generally this tells me as much as I need to know about his appearance), Kanau chariot team edger, 'owned' by High Prince Lare.
FILE>SAVE or CTRL>S I believe this one is obvious - SAVE YOUR WORK. Rewriting parts because you weren't adamantly saving every few paragraphs is NOT a fun task.
Know your characters!If you're worth anything as a writer, you'll know as much about your characters as if they were your best friends. To many authors their characters are this incredibly real in their minds; know their dislikes & likes, their history and how they react under pressure. What do they do for fun? What is their manner of speaking? (Vital for dialogue.) Who is their family and friends? Even orphans have family; they just aren't related by blood.
Knowing your characters will help you keep them on form and consistent.
Always remember the anatomy of a story; beginning, inciting incident, rising action, climax, falling action and denouement! If you've ever taken any sort of english, language arts or writing class, you should know what I'm talking about here. For clarification just in case:
Beginning - obvious. This is the start of the story, where your characters and the world is introduced.
Inciting Incident - this is the part where things start to get exciting. It's what causes your hero to set off on their grandiose quest, or more basically, when a problem is introduced which your dashing protagonist must solve through the course of the story.
Rising Action - the tension builds for the climax. Usually this is the largest section of a story and forms the main body. It's when your hero is hunting down the bad guy and encountering all the danger that is precurser to the climax.
Climax - this is where the tension breaks! This is the boss fight, the confrontation of good & evil, etc.
Falling Action - the tension begins to recede. It's where the battle is won and characters finally have time to catch their breath.
Denouement - where everything returns to normal. Often in the epilogue.
Whats obvious to you may not be obvious to your audience! Do I really need to explain this? Make sure it's clear what's going on, or your audience could become confused!
Thesaurus and dictionary are your friends!Dur. Nobody wants to read misspellings or the same descriptive word over and over. Thesaurus will give you examples of other words which mean the same thing. This keeps your prose interesting. Instead of 'hate' use 'abhor' or 'loathe,' etc.
Read your own work!I mean it! Read it out loud as well as silently. This will help you catch grammatical mistakes, as your voice will falter if your brain becomes confused while reading. If you're confused than so shall your readers be!
Grammar is important - pay attention!While not so important the first rough write, when you go back to read/edit your work you need to correct your errors. Common mistakes are thus:
Their & They're - 'Their' is possessive and means that something is owned by a group of people. E.g. Their house, their car, their cat, etc. 'They're' is slang of 'they are.'
Its & It's - 'Its' is possessive - its ball, its toy, its sword, etc. 'It's' means 'it is' and just like 'they're' it's slang.
Character murder is to be done with extreme caution!As undeniably fun as it is to murder somebody in prose (we writers are a rather sadistic lot you know) character murder should be executed carefully or you'll suffer the wrath of your future fans. Always have a good reason for killing a character, whether it be to make your war story more senselessly realistic or to move the plot in a certain way. Killing a main character in particular is something that should only be done after much thought. If you truly want to thoughtlessly kill people in your story, then kill background characters that don't matter. It's that simple.
Relieve tension after action!Give your poor audience a break after that scary part - have a light moment of character interaction or downtime.
Every story, no matter how serious, needs a little humour!Seriously. Your audience will enjoy your story a lot more if there's a smile in it now and then.
Remember the six senses at all times; sight, smell, hearing, touch, taste & intuition! This was something passed on to me by Eric Walters, so you know it's important. In any given moment, what are your characters sensing? Put yourself in their shoes and describe it.
DESCRIBE, DESCRIBE, DESCRIBE!Lots of people might argue with this one, but when you get down to it, description is one of the most important components of any creative prose work. If you don't describe the world the characters are in and what they are doing in that world as well as their non-vocal interactions with each other, friendly or not, your readers will NOT understand what's going on. I don't know about you guys, but I would get damn bored if I had to read five hundred pages of JUST dialogue. Seriously. I'd put the book down and forget it. Hell, I wouldn't even buy it. So describe damn it!!
You can agree or disagree with any of the points on here, but please keep your opinions to yourself because I'm frankly not interested in a long discussion about this. As far as I'm concerned this stuff is all basic, out-of-the-handbook-type-stuff that everyone should already know if they're writers. Not editing this.
That's all folks.
Hope you like the fox!
Woo, the glory of purple shading!
If you look reeeally close the paper in the fox's paws is REAL paper - I used some of my stock.
-Rosanna P. Brost