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Although that’s probably true (heh), you don’t need to literally include cursing to make teenagers sound real. Network TV doesn’t have a lot of cursing, but it has widely accepted representations of teenagers on a bunch of shows. Watch some TV for inspiration! Bad grammar, apathy, and crass-but-not-cursing language can all sound realistic.
That’s how I wrote the scene at first, but it just didn’t feel right to me. One thing I learned from an art teacher waaaayyyyy back in Junior College was, “If it’s wrong, but looks right, it’s right. If it’s right, but looks wrong, it’s wrong.” It “looked wrong” writing without the cursing. It felt right when I changed it. It’s just a personal thing with me, and if I had to change it to suit a certain audience I would, but I think there are times when the cursing works better, no matter my personal feelings. It really depends on the characters, and for those characters, the cursing was better.
Having all my characters sound the same is a big worry for me. I wonder a lot if dialog comes off authentic. When I wrote two high school students, I didn’t put in cursing in, but I personally didn’t want to see it in my writing, but then realized that wasn’t how my kids talked, except around me and other adults (mostly). Around their friends I’m sure they swear up a storm. Even after making some adjustments, it took me a while to get used to it. I guess I just find it hard to be casual with my dialog sometimes. I’ve done so much formal writing that it’s hard to break.
I’ve been wondering this since the Sparkler contest, but how important is word count? I had a hard time keeping to the 500 word limit and being happy with the work. I’ve tried to write another short story in that same limit and ended at 720, and the culling down to 500 seems to have lost a lot of feeling I had in it.
I’m aiming for an urban fantasy/romance, so wattpad sounds about right for me. I will check it out. I would like to connect, but I’m a lurker at heart. It’s hard for me start conversations. Don’t even ask how long I debated before starting this thread!
I am on Twitter, but since I’ve been writing about manga and kids comics, my follows are heavily in that vein. I’m not sure where to even start with authors on twitter.
Right now, my personal writing blog is just for short stories, fanfic and personal observations about writing. I’m still working on plotting my longer serial, which I’d like to get some feedback on or some beta readers at some point before I start writing. I’ve always wondered if my fanfic belongs on fanfiction.net since it isn’t fanfic in the traditional sense. I use the world building, but create all my own characters and stories. I might reference events in canon world, but I don’t generally touch canon characters. I have two rare instances.
When I do get to writing my serial, I will create a site dedicated to it alone. I agree as a reader I don’t want to search through entries to find the updates, so I wouldn’t do that as a writer. I do try to be specific about categories and tags, and sometimes think I get carried away.
@sgl I will try the sites you suggest. I’ve wandered around some Google+ groups, but they seemed more about marketing than helping. I tend to fixate on one story at a time anyway, so once I start writing once, I’m loathe to switch to something else unless I have to, so that’s won’t be a problem. What I’m most worried about is keeping a regular schedule once I do start.
I certainly wouldn’t object to any feedback about my site. It is at
Thank you so much for all the advise so far!
@Lianne and @sgl Thanks for the tips. Project Wonderful does sound like the place to advertise. What kind of an investment is that?
Where do you find communities of self-publishers and how do you know its good?
I’ve started a fanfiction.net account after several months of procrastinating. I already have my own wordpress site. Is it worth it to make a wordpress.com one two?
Is it better to have other writings like stories up as well? Is it okay to mix fanfic, or it better to just put it all on fanfiction.net?
As I looked over the outline I wrote again, I noticed it’s actually going to be an action-heavy scene, where silence and gestures will be used more anyway, and the language barrier will be revealed at the end.
I was wondering if it was too cliche to open the story with a dream/nightmare. After a long battle with my characters they have chosen to go in another direction, and I’ve come up with some new things that require a new opening.
I believe I have solved my exposition problem. I am leaning toward having the male lead search the internet so he and the reader can learn more about the female lead. I can have lots of fun with conspiracy sites interspersing truth with fiction.
I have a new question dealing with narrative. I want to do a scene with almost know speech between two characters who speak different languages. I can see how this would work visually, but is it something that can be done successfully in prose?
@Lianne – The biggest obstacle I have to writing is time. I put my obligations first, so my personal writing gets to sit on the back burner. But I never stop thinking about it! I have no problem with scrapping something I’ve been working on, especially if I’m not happy with the direction/characters. I guess that’s been my problem so far. I haven’t been able to settle on a direction. I just recently changed up the characters, because I was feeling too confided with the original ones. I’m feeling a lot more free with the new ones I’ve come up with, but with that freedom has come a lot of different directions I can go in, and I was feeling lost about which way I should go. I want to do a story that balances both action and romance, and I’ve been having difficulty coming up with a plot to do that. The things I kept coming up with before seemed to be too heavy in one direction or the other.
@sgl – No please, do join in! The more the merrier. I was actually starting to feel a little guilty that was monopolizing all of Lianne’s attention (no, not really) :) One thing I can say I do try to do is make sure I know where I’m going, so I know how the story is going to end before I start writing. It’s all the bits in the middle that I will stumble on. I was starting to worry that I was over thinking things as I seemed to be keep hitting the reset button. I’m glad to hear it’s not as bad a thing as I thought. Thanks for that great advice. I personally perfer the filtering of world building through characters, I just worry too much about a character becoming to much of a “Mr. Exposition”. I want to get the information out without it being too obvious.
Yeah, I was thinking something similar after I wrote that. If the world was already established I think I could get away with hiding things, but starting from scratch as I am think means not hiding the main character like that. I then got the idea to twist it around, to open with something like an mob hit, where a slow reveal can add to the suspense and revealing the main character can be more natural. Then I can use the drowning scene later to bring the two leads together.
Doing this would practically turn everything upside down, and may even require changes to characters and motives. I’m not adverse to doing that. But I’ve been working with the same basic premise for several months now, and have written quite a few scenes and outlines. At what point do I stop with all the tinkering and just settle on something? I’m starting to feel I’ve got some creative paralysis with all the waffling I feel like I’m doing.
@Najela I come up with stories in a very similar way. I’m always thinking “what if?” Sometimes it’s a character. Sometimes it’s a line, but most often it’s a scene. A pair are wavering on starting a relationship, but think the other isn’t interested. What if one of them was caught in a compromising position by the other? Often the scene just takes off from there.
I tend to think so much in individual scenes, so my biggest problem comes in figuring out how to connect them. I don’t tend to think in terms of boring or exciting. I prefer slow and fast. Have some exciting actions scenes, then slow down to let the reader catch their breath before jumping on to the next one.
The manga Bizenghast did something similar, and it works well in that story. I think I’m just gonna have to learn to control myself. I really like having thing come up naturally in the story than try to force it on readers. And the elements I want to introduce are supposed to be unknown, so I’ll just go with the “educate a character and reader” method.
Another thing that starting to bother me is my opening. I was going to go with one character rescuing the other from drowning, but the rescuer isn’t exactly normal, so I’m not sure how to go about, or even if I should describe her at all. I was leaning toward rolling out her description slowly, but one feature is going to be obvious at in that scene.
Great article! It was reassuring to see that I’ve doing somethings right as I develop my story. I finding one of my stumbling blocks is in the world building, more specifically in the doling it out. I’m constantly tempted to go into lots of exposition, even though I know I shouldn’t. But having written so much in fanfic where it isn’t necessary cause everyone already knows the rules of the universe, I find it hard to figure out how to work the bits in and when.