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  1. #51
    Senior Member durentu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ObeyBunny View Post
    Very good point- When I try to over analyze my own writing (while I’m writing) I just end up feeling like a teacher-ly third person watching someone else struggle putting together basic sentences (as stupid as it sounds, I end up remote viewing myself type.)
    I forget which, but some famous writer would sharpen some number of pencils (I think 10?) and keeps writing until they are all down to the nub.
    "People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds; it is something one creates." - Thomas Szasz

  2. #52
    Senior Member ObeyBunny's Avatar
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    Note! This does not solve writer’s block, they’re just good practices:

    • Keep a notebook and pen (or voice recorder) on you or near you at al times. (a pocket notebook in your purse, nightstand, backpack, and glove box) Don’t go to a restaurant and rely on being able to writer anything on their napkins.
      -
    • While reading a story, stop in the middle of the chapter (or when ever the book reveals relevant information) and think of all the possible places the story could go from there.
      1. (Damien, the bad guy, dies? Well the book isn’t over yet so he’s either replaced by a new villain, was an innocent man all along, or he somehow has survived.)

      -
    • Try an exercise where you read two paragraphs of a story and reword everything.
      1. Example: “I hit the ground, my face scraped along the pavement. I felt faint. I could taste the blood in my mouth”
        -
        might become
        -
      2. “The punch rocketed me to the ground at an angle and I ended up abrading my left cheek, ear, lips, and part of my forehead. Dizziness and the metallic flavor of iron washed over me in throbbing waves.”

      -
    • Make mental and physical notes:
      1. Keep track of your story’s timeline, (how many events happen in a year? Wouldn’t that amount of danger make your character neurotic and paranoid?)
        -
      2. the physical geography of the land that is traveled and what landmarks are visible from where your characters travel *Make paper maps* (why wouldn't your characters find the lake temple if it's within a mile of where they are? What exactly is obscuring their line of sight?)
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      3. how your characters find things like food and water (for high fantasy stories where they're not near a grocery store),
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      4. and who your characters meet. (that crazy old man walks the road every day, what is keeping the villain from finding him and questioning him as to which direction you went?)

    -
    • Keep lists of synonyms and antonyms for basic words:
      -
      1. Noise:
        -sound, racket, clamor, blast, blare, resonance, hum, echo, thud, crash, jingle, shout, scream, yell, screech, bellow, holler
        -
      2. Fight:
        -hit, shove, hurt, wound, kill, strike, punch, slap, beat, smack, batter, knock, push, thrust, heave, propel, jostle, throw, toss, manhandle, harm, injure, damage, spoil, slaughter, destroy,
        -
      3. Sad:
        -Weep, cry, sob, moan, wail, howl, blubber, depression, despair, sadness, gloominess, misery, hopelessness, melancholy, anguish, blue, unhappy, discontented, forlorn
    Q: "What is the process of seeking the truth?"
    A: "Distilled liquor"

    Q: "If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?"
    A: "Between a starving prostitute and a steak sandwich."

    Q:How would a mathematician capture an elephant?
    A:He would build a cage, step inside, and rename his new location as "outside."

  3. #53
    Senior Member ObeyBunny's Avatar
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    Further help on getting into the minds of characters who you don’t agree with

    Sometimes your evil characters are evil for no reason other than to give the protagonist a sufficiently difficult obstacle to face. This does not reflect well for you as a writer if major characters are lacking motivation.

    But you, the writer, are a good upstanding person- you can’t squash a spider in your bathtub without feeling a little remorse, you can’t spread untrue and slanderous gossip about people without feeling like the slime at the bottom of a can of Vienna sausages, you can’t stand at a street corner and think about violently raping the people passing by without feeling revolted at yourself for being such a worthless burden on society who sooner deserves a slowly rotating knife in your neck than a cup of ramen noodles.

    In truth, you can’t understand your story’s villain because you are too decent of a human being- so how are you to make him believable? How do you have your villain character justify his actions to himself?

    Well, it comes from training yourself to think on both sides of the playing filed. Here are some exercises that will help you think in terms of both a villain and a saint.
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    Exercise

    In well supported essays, please outline both the benefits and detriments of some of the following. Try not to think in terms of morality. (I’ve made all odd numbers safe and sane, and all even numbers dark and gross):

    1. Every student at a school should wear silk shirts and blue pants (mandatory uniform)
      -
    2. Partial birth abortions for all humans on the face of the Earth for the next 20 years
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    3. Handing out flyers that detail proper hygiene at a street corner
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    4. Repealing the right to vote of all citizens who do not agree with you politically
      -
    5. Building walls around neighborhoods and turning them into gated communities
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    6. Increasing the types of crimes that would result the death penalty (rape= death sentence)
      -
    7. Boring holes into the moon and digging tunnels (Colonizing the moon’s core)
      -
    8. Putting 10% of the human population in stasis (suspended animation) indefinitely or until we want to free them or use them (like if a degenerative disease has made the remaining humans infertile)
      -
    9. Making all the people who promise not to have children immortal, people who do have children grow old and die. Immortal people who have children are executed.

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    Note! Supporting an augment must have proof and evidence. Simply saying “That’s pure evil” is not a good enough argument. Think of this as a debate- try to think of what your opposition would say and try to include reactions for it.

    Here is an example of supporting and apposing arguments for number 2 (the abortion one)



    • Argument for aborting all babies for the next 20 years:
      • Decrease the population so that each person has more resources for themselves
        -
      • Dead baby fetuses are good sources of stem cells. Advances in medical treatment can occur if there were more dead babies available.
        -
      • Children set fires, brake glass, piss on electrical outlets, steal coins and silverware and burry them, push random buttons on dangerous mechanical equipment, and do other such things that are dangerous and financially harmful to adults. The world is just that much safer without children.
        -
      • Companies that rely on child labor would become very identifiable- as they would go out of business or suddenly increase their prices to pay for adult wages.


    • Argument against aborting all babies for the next 20 years:
      • Children’s immune systems tend to be better manufacturing antibodies than adults. The human race may go extinct if a virus came along.
        -
      • Companies that market things to children and pregnant mothers make up a large part of the tax paying businesses out there. The economy would be dealt a major blow if consumers for those businesses suddenly died or went away.
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      • Women (and men too, but definitely women) are biologically engineered to want to have children- an entire generation of people who are denied children can become depressed, suicidal, and slow workers. Not to mention, woman tend to put out more (hint hint) if they’re trying to get pregnant. Many men would be left getting even less sex.


    This is a relatively easy assignment. It shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes to do any of the questions. I did the example of some of the supporting and apposing arguments for number 2 in about five minutes.
    Q: "What is the process of seeking the truth?"
    A: "Distilled liquor"

    Q: "If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?"
    A: "Between a starving prostitute and a steak sandwich."

    Q:How would a mathematician capture an elephant?
    A:He would build a cage, step inside, and rename his new location as "outside."

  4. #54
    Senior Member ObeyBunny's Avatar
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    Okay guys, I’m probably not going to update much between now and May 28, I should have been studying for my two remaining finals but I just got so tired of alternating between only two very much hated activities.

    But please feel free to add your own content.

    I’d love to hear how other people solve such problems as writer’s block, creating characters, writing interesting dialog, inserting twist endings, and stuff.
    Q: "What is the process of seeking the truth?"
    A: "Distilled liquor"

    Q: "If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?"
    A: "Between a starving prostitute and a steak sandwich."

    Q:How would a mathematician capture an elephant?
    A:He would build a cage, step inside, and rename his new location as "outside."

  5. #55
    The Duchess of Oddity Queen Kat's Avatar
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    I never have a writer's block, but I know many people who are often uninspired. The thing is, everything can inspire me (except math, maybe). Maybe you should open up to all the crazy things around you. Don't try to search exclusively in extreme things. I once wrote a story about a 67 year old woman who was pregnant of 17 babies at once, after I noticed that lots of women I know start having children very late, knowing that older mothers have more chances to get twins, triplets, etc. Just take little weird things and make them more extreme if you think it's necessary. That's always effective.
    I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower. The TV was obviously on. I used to fly myself and I said, "There's one terrible pilot."
    - George W. Bush -


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  6. #56
    Senior Member ObeyBunny's Avatar
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    Here’s an exercise I think you will get a kick out of:
    1. Go online and find some of the most heinous, unpublishable, badly designed, poorly written, nonsensical piece of shit stories available online- preferably short stories or episodic fiction.
      -
    2. Read them- in small pieces so that you don’t loose your sanity- but read them.
      -
    3. Read a few lines, or a few paragraphs, or even a whole page if you can muster the strength, and do the following:
      -
      1. Think about why this story is so fucking awful.
        • Is it that the characters are unlikable bastards?
          -
        • Is it because the narration doesn’t give you a clear sense of where the story is taking place?
          -
        • Is it that the wording is bland or, alternatively, bombastic and indecipherable?
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        • Is it that the characters don’t really make tough choices and the story, as it plays out, is chosen for them?
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        • Is it that the genera doesn’t make sense or interest you in the first place?

        -
        What about this unholy abomination- this spit in the eye of god- is the worst part of your reading experience?
        -
        -
      2. Now, without reading all the way though, think about what could change the story for the better.
        • -
        • Should the ‘Mary Sue’ character touch a magic stone that would make her a flawed human being?
          -
        • Should the characters start to attract reader sympathy by gaining some likable quality?
          -
        • Should the phraseology be tossed out the window and then rewritten with clearer, more impactful sentences?
          -
        • Should the magic carpet of connivance that has prevented the characters from making decisions on their own be swept under their feet- and then the rest of the story have the subplot of the characters getting used to making choices?
          -
        • Should the story suddenly change genres? Should it stop being a historical fiction and start being a romantic drama?

        -
        What would make the story suddenly interesting?
        -
    4. Now finally (without reading all the way through) think of the many places the story can go to from where it started to what you think the corrections should be.

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    So, to reiterate, you need to:
    1. Find bad stories.
    2. Think of why they are bad and how they can be improved.
    3. Think of how the story would be if you made all the changes you listed in step 3, except you kept the way that the story started (the sequence of events)
    Q: "What is the process of seeking the truth?"
    A: "Distilled liquor"

    Q: "If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?"
    A: "Between a starving prostitute and a steak sandwich."

    Q:How would a mathematician capture an elephant?
    A:He would build a cage, step inside, and rename his new location as "outside."

  7. #57
    Senior Member ObeyBunny's Avatar
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    1. Think of a story that you liked
    2. Boil it down to its elements (the important characters and their interactions, the places they go and the new plot points that happen there)
    3. Next, make a poem out of it.



    Take Nightmare Before Christmas for example (this is the original poem that inspired the movie):

    It was late one fall in Halloweenland,
    and the air had quite a chill.
    Against the moon a skeleton sat,
    alone upon a hill.
    He was tall and thin with a bat bow tie;
    Jack Skellington was his name.
    He was tired and bored in Halloweenland

    "I'm sick of the scaring, the terror, the fright.
    I'm tired of being something that goes bump in the night.
    I'm bored with leering my horrible glances,
    And my feet hurt from dancing those skeleton dances.
    I don't like graveyards, and I need something new.
    There must be more to life than just yelling,
    'Boo!'"

    Then out from a grave, with a curl and a twist,
    Came a whimpering, whining, spectral mist.
    It was a little ghost dog, with a faint little bark,
    And a jack-o'-lantern nose that glowed in the dark.
    It was Jack's dog, Zero, the best friend he had,
    But Jack hardly noticed, which made Zero sad.

    All that night and through the next day,
    Jack wandered and walked.
    He was filled with dismay.
    Then deep in the forest, just before night,
    Jack came upon an amazing sight.
    Not twenty feet from the spot where he stood
    Were three massive doorways carved in wood.
    He stood before them, completely in awe,
    His gaze transfixed by one special door.
    Entranced and excited, with a slight sense of worry,
    Jack opened the door to a white, windy flurry.

    Jack didn't know it, but he'd fallen down
    In the middle of a place called Christmas Town!
    Immersed in the light, Jack was no longer haunted.
    He had finally found the feeling he wanted.
    And so that his friends wouldn't think him a liar,
    He took the present filled stockings that hung by the fire.
    He took candy and toys that were stacked on the shelves
    And a picture of Santa with all of his elves.
    He took lights and ornaments and the star from the tree,
    And from the Christmas Town sign, he took the big letter C.

    He picked up everything that sparkled or glowed.
    He even picked up a handful of snow.
    He grabbed it all, and without being seen,
    He took it all back to Halloween.

    Back in Halloween a group of Jack's peers
    Stared in amazement at his Christmas souvenires.
    For this wondrous vision none were prepared.
    Most were excited, though a few were quite scared!

    For the next few days, while it lightninged and thundered,
    Jack sat alone and obsessively wondered.
    "Why is it they get to spread laughter and cheer
    While we stalk the graveyards, spreading panic and fear?
    Well, I could be Santa, and I could spread cheer!
    Why does he get to do it year after year?"
    Outraged by injustice, Jack thought and he thought.
    Then he got an idea. "Yes. . .yes. . .why not!"

    In Christmas Town, Santa was making some toys
    When through the din he heard a soft noise.
    He answered the door, and to his surprise,
    He saw weird little creatures in strange disguise.
    They were altogether ugly and rather petite.
    As they opened their sacks, they yelled, "Trick or treat!"
    Then a confused Santa was shoved into a sack
    And taken to Halloween to see mastermind Jack.

    In Halloween everyone gathered once more,
    For they'd never seen a Santa before
    And as they cautiously gazed at this strange old man,
    Jack related to Santa his masterful plan:
    "My dear Mr. Claus, I think it's a crime
    That you've got to be Santa all of the time!
    But now I will give presents, and I will spread cheer.
    We're changing places I'm Santa this year.
    It is I who will say Merry Christmas to you!
    So you may lie in my coffin, creak doors, and yell, 'Boo!'
    And please, Mr. Claus, don't think ill of my plan.
    For I'll do the best Santa job that I can."

    And though Jack and his friends thought they'd do a good job,
    Their idea of Christmas was still quite macabre.
    They were packed up and ready on Christmas Eve day
    When Jack hitched his reindeer to his sleek coffin sleigh,
    But on Christmas Eve as they were about to begin,
    A Halloween fog slowly rolled in.
    Jack said, "We can't leave; this fog's just too thick.
    There will be no Christmas, and I can't be St. Nick."
    Then a small glowing light pierced through the fog.
    What could it be?. . .It was Zero, Jack's dog!

    Jack said, "Zero, with your nose so bright,
    Won't you guide my sleigh tonight?"

    And to be so needed was Zero's great dream,
    So he joyously flew to the head of the team.
    And as the skeletal sleigh started its ghostly flight,
    Jack cackled, "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

    'Twas the nightmare before Christmas, and all though the house,
    Not a creature was peaceful, not even a mouse.
    The stockings all hung by the chimney with care,
    When opened that morning would cause quite a scare!
    The children, all nestled so snug in their beds,
    Would have nightmares of monsters and skeleton heads.
    The moon that hung over the new-fallen snow
    Cast an eerie pall over the city below,
    And Santa Claus's laughter now sounded like groans,
    And the jingling bells like chattering bones.
    And what to their wondering eyes should appear,
    But a coffin sleigh with skeleton deer.
    And a skeletal driver so ugly and sick
    They knew in a moment, this can't be St. Nick!
    From house to house, with a true sense of joy,
    Jack happily issued each present and toy.
    From rooftop to rooftop he jumped and he skipped,
    Leaving presents that seemed to be straight from a crypt!
    Unaware that the world was in panic and fear,
    Jack merrily spread his own brand of cheer.

    He visited the house of Susie and Dave;
    They got a Gumby and Pokey from the grave.
    Then on to the home of little Jane Neeman;
    She got a baby doll possessed by a demon.
    A monstrous train with tentacle tracks,
    A ghoulish puppet wielding an ax,
    A man eating plant disguised as a wreath,
    And a vampire teddy bear with very sharp teeth.

    There were screams of terror, but Jack didn't hear it,
    He was much too involved with his own Christmas spirit!
    Jack finally looked down from his dark, starry frights
    And saw the commotion, the noise, and the light.
    "Why, they're celebrating, it looks like such fun!
    They're thanking me for the good job that I've done."
    But what he thought were fireworks meant as goodwill
    Were bullets and missiles intended to kill.
    Then amidst the barrage of artillery fire,
    Jack urged Zero to go higher and higher.
    And away they all flew like the storm of a thistle,
    Until they were hit by a well guided missile.
    And as they fell on the cemetery, way out of sight,
    Was heard, "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good
    night."

    Jack pulled himself up on a large stone cross,
    And from there he reviewed his incredible loss.
    "I thought I could be Santa, I had such belief"
    Jack was confused and filled with great grief.
    Not knowing where to turn, he looked toward the sky,
    Then he slumped on the grave and he started to cry.
    And as Zero and Jack lay crumpled on the ground,
    They suddenly heard a familiar sound.

    "My dear Jack," said Santa, "I applaud your intent.
    I know wreaking such havoc was not what you meant.
    And so you are sad and feeling quite blue,
    But taking over Christmas was the wrong thing to do.
    I hope you realize Halloween's the right place for you.
    There's a lot more, Jack, that I'd like to say,
    But now I must hurry, for it's almost Christmas day."
    Then he jumped in his sleigh, and with a wink of an eye,
    He said, "Merry Christmas," and he bid them good bye.

    Back home, Jack was sad, but then, like a dream,
    Santa brought Christmas to the land of Halloween.

    the end
    Poem copyright Tim Burton
    Q: "What is the process of seeking the truth?"
    A: "Distilled liquor"

    Q: "If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?"
    A: "Between a starving prostitute and a steak sandwich."

    Q:How would a mathematician capture an elephant?
    A:He would build a cage, step inside, and rename his new location as "outside."

  8. #58
    Senior Member ObeyBunny's Avatar
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    A story with a happy or hopeful ending will take a bad situation and turn it into a positive one. (Example: man dies trying to save a stranger- stranger learns the meaning of unconditional love [and becomes a better person])

    Time to practice reshaping negative things into forces that are for the greater good.

    ---
    1.
    Think of your disabilities, or if you don’t have any, think of someone you know of who does.

    Mine, for example, are:
    1. Dyslexia,
    2. dysgraphia (It’s the writing portion of dyslexia)
    3. One eye that sees in 20-200 vision (bad vision)
    4. The other eye that sees in 20 -40 vision
    5. ADD (attention deficit disorder)
    6. Cry baby syndrome (no further explanation shall be given)
    7. Being a bit vindictive when I’m angry
    8. Easily car sick/ plane sick/ boat sick.
    9. Vertigo in low light levels
    10. Shit loads of fears- I organize my life around safety.
    11. My teeth have about $14,000 worth of work that needs to be done on them


    (Good god, that sounds bad)
    -----
    2.
    Next, Let’s put a positive spin on the things you listed- How they come together to give a person who has them strength of character. If they don’t, what do they teach others?

    So for example:

    • Dyslexia, dysgraphia- teaches patience. The people who taught me to read, and mechanically tell the difference between letters like “q,p,b,d” sure had to have a lot. If the people around me have a greater degree of patience, they end up treating the people around them more agreeably and tolerant. A father who has a son with terrible dyslexia tends to be a more sympathetic boss (if he has people working under him.)
    • ADD (attention deficit disorder)- Probably teaches patients in others- as well as in myself. Although, it might just teach parents and school teachers to teach subjects in a more interesting or varied way. Teaching geography songs, putting on historically actuate puppet shows, creating flow charts for psychology- that kind of stuff. Although, with the invention of Riddlin, the positive aspects of ADD on other people might be lost.
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    An exercise like this should help your character's struggles seem like "a cross to bear" that somehow benefits other people morally or spiritually. If the other people in your story are evil and are not going to be changed for the better, your character's struggles may just be something to teach the character to be a moral person.
    Last edited by ObeyBunny; 06-01-2010 at 11:38 PM.
    Q: "What is the process of seeking the truth?"
    A: "Distilled liquor"

    Q: "If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?"
    A: "Between a starving prostitute and a steak sandwich."

    Q:How would a mathematician capture an elephant?
    A:He would build a cage, step inside, and rename his new location as "outside."

  9. #59
    Writing... Tamske's Avatar
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    A few more generalities I've learnt among the way!

    * Annoyance. If something annoys you in a work of fiction, try to explicitly define what it is and why. Then start to do better. If I ever use elves, they will have all sorts of skin colours. There are no real prophecies allowed in my fantasy stories. And if you enter the memory of someone, you'll see the scenes from that character's point of view, not as an onlooking bystander.

    * Details. A few well-placed details can make a story, while a page-long description breaks it.

    * The reader is stupid. This is - of course - not meant as an insult to readers. The reader never knows as much of the background and the characters as you know. Unless you show him, he'll have wrong ideas about your world and this can cause discord later on in the story.
    Got questions? Ask an ENTP!
    I'm female. I just can't draw women

  10. #60
    Senior Member ObeyBunny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tamske View Post
    A few more generalities I've learnt among the way!

    * Annoyance. If something annoys you in a work of fiction, try to explicitly define what it is and why. Then start to do better.
    This one is my favorite.

    Using a technique that is similar to this one, I'm able to create some pretty darn good character motivation. And I’ve found that if you read a story (published by someone else) that you don’t like for some unnamable reason and then you investigate- you can pretty much fix the issue and make the story legitimately fantabulous.

    "Rule of source of annoyance" (I’m now stealing the name because I like how concise you’ve made the concept) is one of the most cherished tools in a metaphorical writer's tool kit.
    Q: "What is the process of seeking the truth?"
    A: "Distilled liquor"

    Q: "If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?"
    A: "Between a starving prostitute and a steak sandwich."

    Q:How would a mathematician capture an elephant?
    A:He would build a cage, step inside, and rename his new location as "outside."

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