if u read a good piece of literature and feel inspired to write, either wait @ least a week afterwards or write and keep it to yourself, then look back later on. you might be ripping off and not even realizing it...
I find that if you think there is a flow problem leave the story for a few weeks or months and pretty much forget about it. Then after that time come back and read it again. With some of the non-Star Wars fics I have written I found that this works wonders. It also helps out the Beta-Readers in their job.
The only advice i can give is to simply write, write, write. Reading has also helped me. I try to get a basic idea of what I want (genre and the like) and then read as much about that as I can. That sparks my muse. Then I just write until what I want to say comes out.
Or if you drink chocolate milk. I've written my best stuff with a chocolate milk in one hand.
For whatever reason, I find that listening to favourite music that usually DOESN'T have words works for writing fan fics. For example, I listen non-stop when I'm writing Star Wars fans fics to each of the Star Wars soundtracks, I own them all. It's fun and I don't get distracted because they don't have comprehendable words that I can sing along to. It might work for someone else too... I usually get very hyped up with lots of ideas whenever I listen to music (which is usually movie soundtracks).
I find if your doing homework and you can't think properly- writing a story or something else clears your brain so you can write better- and do more homework. it works both ways i find- weird but true for me.
Considering I've never even tried to get archived...yet...it seems a little pretentious to give advice to people that have been, or better. But I thought, well, why not?
I've found that having a notebook in your bag is a great help. When I'm in the shops, or on the beach, I'm always getting hit by some person or some object that just hits me in the eye and says "This is a good character" or "This is a good plot". And if I leave it too late, I forget. That little notebook is an absolute must for me.
I also find that forcing yourself to write is a bad idea. Sometimes I begin a fanfic or some other writing task really well, and I feel I can finish it in no time, but I get bogged after a couple of pages and start writing absolute rubbish. It's a good idea to quit while you're ahead and come back later when you're fresh.
Keeping a diary - probably more a tip for girls, I don't know any guy who keeps one - is something that always helps me. You don't have to use great grammar or anything in it, and after a while you'll find that you'll be writing about your daily life - or just Star Wars, which is about eight tenths of my own diary - in a certain style, and you'll be getting comfortable with it. Once you've found your style, it's pretty easy getting to writing about other stuff.
There...my words of wisdom. Thank you to those who don't snort and those who do probably have a point.
This is a strange suggestion, but when writing fight scenes, draw it out first. I take a piece of paper and a pencil and doodle stick figures fighting how I want the scene to happen. I can often think sort of what I want to happen in the fighting, but I can never write it unless I visualize it. So, ta da!, visualization.
Author: baru-chan(signed) Posted: 1/3/2004 7:52:25 AM
baru-chan's Writing Tip:
How many times did you suddenly think that Anakin's character would absolutely *fit* that song? Or when you thought that your sister acted like Leia and wondered if she was like that when she was a child? When inspiration strikes, just go with the flow. If you suddenly have an idea about somebody or something, don't be afraid to write. Worry about spelling and grammar later -- when the proverbial lightning hits a person, it doesn't warn said person beforehand.
Not all fanfics are written in a linear manner. Some authors write the last scene of the book or the climax of the story first before writing the first paragraph. Don't hesitate to build a story around a scene you wrote, say, about a year ago -- some of the best fanfics were written that way.
And, most importantly, listen to your beta-readers. Something that is completely obvious to you might not be to other people.
MAJOR WARNING: If you don't want to end up with "prequel-George-Lucas-syndrome", READ YOUR STORY ALOUD to yourself, paying the most attention to dialogue. If you can't picture yourself--or anyone else, for that matter--remotely saying what you've come up with under reasonable circumstances, you know it needs fixing. If it sounds natural to your ears, you're on the right track. Trust me, silently reading off your computer screen does NOT work the same. Even better, if you know someone who's patient and has a good sense of humor (or appreciation for your dramatic side), dictate your story to them and ask how the dialogue sounds. This isn't exactly beta-reading, just a sounding board.
It really depends on how you are feeling like if you go home with a bad attitude just write to get anger out, or just get a scene and ask what if this happened ? That just gets you idea for a graet story.
Always write with your mood. How are you feeling today? If you've spent a long, hard day at work or school, write through the eyes of a frustrated character. If you just spent the day laughing with friends, write a comedy. This works, and most times the story will appear on the screen or paper before your mind has a chance to catch up.
I always like to have the major story plot line in order. Like if your story takes place between two books in the New Jedi Order than you have to read both books and have all the major details down in those books. Same with the trilogy. If the story takes place between ep1 and ep2 than you really have to have those details down.
and the more star wars books ya read the better you can keep the characters. and if they are ooc than put a warning so that everyone knows. Because some people do not like the main characters to be "Out of Caracter".
The Prophet was right - writing scenes while listening to music helps, but I don't limit that to fighting scenes. Depending on the mood of the scene that I'm working on, I may have my playlist of "Romance" or "Magic" or "Adventure" playing from my hard drive. It brings out the general atmosphere, and the story writes itself.
One thing that bugs me in some fan fiction is when the fundamental personality characteristics of some characters get changed. In order to have a believable work, it's important to stay true to the person. I read a story that takes place during Episode III, and for the entire story, Padme was weepy and clingy, and every sentence was either bathed in tears or had an exclamation mark at the end. She was never like that in TPM or AotC - she's strong and brave, but not dramatic. It read like a reeeeally bad soap opera.
Keep a notebook and a pencil/pen by your bed. When you wake up in the morning, write down the first things you think about and any dreams you remember. Sometimes they can lead to a good plotline or can provide a new character or an unexplored mannerism of an old one.
Pick a random object and write down everything you can about it. It helps the clarity of your writing if you are used to noting the fine details. If you put too much detail in a story, you can always take it out later.
Enjoy writing. If it isn't fun for you to write, it isn't fun for others to read. :)
Write, rewrite, and rewrite again until your brain turns numb. Studies show that you're able to think much more creatively when you write your thoughts down on paper, so always scribble your first draft down in a notebook, or anything. Next, correct your draft, adding details or eliminating useless words, and then type it up. And after it's typed, continue revising until you feel confident that your work is the best you could make it. Believe me, this works.
It also helps to put a piece away for a few weeks, then pick it up later and reread it. You'll be amazed how many things you'll correct or change, just because you let a little time pass inbetween revisions
Prewritten your story on paper, then read it over a few times. Know your story by heart. Start typing and have a clue of what fits with the tile and general plot. Change and take things out put in ideas that you didn't have in the prewriting. Read the final and add if you wish. Your stories will come out better then before
The war agaisnt the Vong and the Sith continues.Their leader Lee's dark side continues to kill all the Jedi that pass throuh his path. Lee now is more desprete to kill his Dark Side.But the dreded Voynx have been remade to kill the Jedi and when Mace Windu,Plo Koon,Arca Jeth are killed the Jedi are more afraid than ever.Shimra the Supreme Overlord of the Vong confronts Yoda in an epic Duel of Fate's.Who will win?Anakin Skywalker figth's Exar Kun.Obi-Wan confronts the Emperor.Lee fight's Marka Ragnos,Darth Bane and Dooku.
Part 2 of the Lee saga: Lee has chosen to be Grand Master of the Universe,now the galaxy has a new threat somehow the YUHZAN VONG have revived along with all the SITH and DARK JEDI that have existed.Now with the help of the Vong the Sith are destroing anithing in their path.It's up to Lee and Jedi to stop the Sith and it's up to The Republic to stop the Vong,though a powerful enemy is helping the Vong wich look's a lot like Lee(he has to because it's Lee's dark side,wich he abanded when he became Grand Master,now his dark side is the Dark Master.
It is a trillion years after the war with the Vong Luke's decendent Lord Lee is now the most powerful Jedi the Jedi Order has known.He is the Supreme Master ofthe Jedi order but he has a decition to make be Supremme Master or the Grand Master of the Universe.AND if he chooses 2 he will have more power than all the jedi that ever existed united he will the most knolege wisdom and greatest fighting techniche ever used though leving his family and friends behind.This is part one of 12 of Lee the Lord of Light.
What would happen if:Yoda killed Dooku inep.2,then Siduos is killed by Yoda(for me Sidous is Palp. so that his end to),Anakin still is good.This wil be part1.Now 2 will be in the Yuzhan Vong invasion:Yoda,Ben,Annie,Mace are alive.Luke is married with fellow classmate Mara Jade(Annie is married with Padme she still lives and is the new Supreme Chancellor will Bail is Vice Chairman and Mon Mothma is Chief Senator).The clone army is still with the Republic.Many ships that we see the Empire use(TIEs STAR DESTROYERS etc)are now used by theRepublic.The Jedi have now more than atrillion members do to the fact that they found a crystal named THYUKO that has the power of reviving people.The vong do not win the war.Yoda dies of age.ANNIE takes his place and so on the Skywalker linege.
DETAIL ,DETAIL ,DETAIL. Visualize then write. If you just write blindly, then your story will be all over the place.
If you slow down, imagine the words in your head before you write. When you're going to bed, try to think up new ideas. Your subconscious will imprint the ideas, replaying them in dreams, with you witnessing, able to write clearer.
Alot of people have a hard time writing lightsaber battles, and this hint works very well for those. It also works just as well for any other scene.
Visualize everything like a movie inside your head. Ask yourself questions. When I think up scenes, I run them through my mind, visualizing evey expression, every movement, the type of lighting it is in, even what type of music would be in the background. What tone am I going for? What would this look like in real life? What am I trying to emphasize here?
Imagine camera angles. In this kiss scene, is it like the Falcon kiss where we're close up, or is it like the Ep2 kiss at the lake retreat where we are watching from the distance?
How do I want it to 'look' in the readers mind?
In a lightsaber battle, picture the blurr of the lightsaber, what angle you want it to come down, how its glow at that angle will reflect on faces.
How fast is it going, will we bring everything into slow motion so that everything is in sharp clarity, from the bead of sweat on Obi Wan's forehead, the glowing arch of the lightsaber comming down twoards him and the emotions coursing through him, thoughts of the consequences of this battle going throug his head?
Or do we want it fast and sharp, comming almomst to fast to process, even the characters thoughts comming in fast and unconnected, chaotic, room for nothing but the battle, everything comming in flashes, blocking, breathing hard, oh force no what is going to happen, I don't want to die....
A movie portrays all these things, even though we aren't always concious of the details, our minds just process them automatically for us. In some scenes, like the snowspeeder versus Imperial walkers on hoth are fast and sharp, and some are like battle between Vader and Luke on the second death star, the emotional heaviness of it, and Lukes expression, focusing on Lukes lightsaber sitting on the arm of the Emperors throne....detailed.
This sort of detail and clarity, reguardless of pace or style is what makes something intersting, it keeps your scenes from getting repititve. I can't manage to do this unless I use this technique. But of course something differnt works for everyone, but this is what works for me. I hope that was helpful. :)
Write down EVERYTHING. As soon as you think of something, write it down immediately, because you WILL forget, no matter how much you swear you won't. Write down everything, snatches of conversation, imagery and even what seems like absurd ideas. You can always come back, pick and choose and whittle down. A lot of the time, you may not use some snatch for its intended purpose, but somewhere else!
1) Develope a thicker skin... get good hard ***ed betas who will make sure your hair is combed and your shoes are tied.
2) Write FIRST for yourself... not everyone will see things the same way you do, it's not a critique of you as a writer but a testiment of the diversity of creativity!
3) Use your tools... "Word" can be taught how to put that annoying accent above the 'e'.
4) Write FIRST for yourself.
5) Listen to your characters, use 'thier' voice... if you listen it will come to you... It may not sound like your friends version, or mine, or what some people believe is right but you will find yours....
6) Don't berate yourself for not being Stephan King, or Jackie Collins, or Carrie Fisher... the key word here is FAN...
Finally, write, read, and listen. Remember that this is ment to be a joy, not a chore...
When it stops being fun, walk away for a while... it's perfectly all right to do so. No one else will think the lesser of you for it, why should you?
Author: TK-007(signed) Posted: 3/26/2003 9:59:57 AM
TK-007's Writing Tip:
Whenever I right a story I always imagine what the readers are imaging in their head as they're reading it, in order to do that you have to articulate the intricate details of the world and the characters, but allow the reader to be enveloped by the words and get a clear picture in their head. I don't try to dictate the story for them, as if I'm showing them a painting of the world, I try to get them to escape and imagine the world for themselves.
I think that is the goal of an author. To paint a vivid detailed picture of the world, and for the readers to get out of that story whatever they perceive in the context of the worlds.
Sit somewhere and just imagine the story. If the story takes place on Naboo, go outside. The Senate, go into an office or something. Act it out. Be your character. What would they say? What would they do? Again, be the character. If writers block strikes, don't try and finish the story. Wait out the symptoms. It will be over soon. :) if all else fails, go sit in a room in the Jedi Temple, cross-legged, and feel the Force around you. ;)good luck! MTFBWY
Author: Cal_Wiggins(signed) Posted: 3/4/2003 1:35:37 AM
Cal_Wiggins's Writing Tip:
1)Keep it simple. If you can't understand where you're going with the story, it needs to be simplified. 2)Keep it organized. A common problem is that most people have these great ideas but can't get them in order. The plot shoudl go from point A to point B, but in the excitment of generating new ideas, the plot runs from point A to point D to point Q to point B. 3)Characters need character. Whether it is the created cast or your own original characters, you have to fill them out. Make them believeable. If you walked into a cantina and saw your character, could you hold a conversation with and would they hold your intrest. 4)Be your creation. Role play a little. Put your mind into that galaxy. If you can't see yourself doing, saying, acting like you write, it won't work.
Writing a story is fun yet not always that easy writeing blocks come up. Story conflichs and character development also may become a problem here are some basic tips I can gather for getting help myself.
1. Before you jump into writeing you should go through your ideals first and maybe write them down also do some basic character profiles to help you keep up with them and be creative.
2. Go around and read other storys that are simular to yours in ways. They will help you get some ideals and a basic on how to write things.
3. Add good detail to your story explain the characters thoughts and everything well and use it to move the story along. If you have trouble with something find something maybe in a movie or another book or something that can help you continue along.
4. Don't be afraid to make mistakes your first time through. Always write what you can then go through and redo it and add in things and fix things to help it become better.
5. Enjoy what you write and dont discourage yourself if your in doubt ask a friend or someone for help. Find ways to motivate yourself to keep going take your time and don't rush evertyhing just to get it done. Writing requires time and patience but always have fun while doing it.
As for writing styles just check out other styles on how thier written or write in a style that best matches your type of writeing remeber not everyone's styles are the same so don't worry about coming off differnt.
When I write, it takes me days, but I go really deep into the story. 1. I like to play Fleetwood Mac CDs (because they have a big variety of sounds) and just think about my story. I will sit there for hours, just thinking about it. I like to do that at night before I go to bed, that was, it also relaxes me. 2. To get deep into the character, I write up bios for them that don't have to be mentioned in the story. That way, you know how the person would talk and act. 3. I never go anywhere without a notebook and pen.
Just write. The way I write, I don't really plan too far ahead. If I come up with a good idea, I try to work it into the story soon. If I can't find a way to do that, sometimes I'll put it in a different story (I usually have three or four going) or start a new one just for the idea. Of course, this can result in blockage. But that's the beautiful thing about having a few stories going. If one isn't really going anywhere, you can just take the stuff you like from it and stick it in another story.
Read other people's stories. It might just spark an idea! Also, sit back and think of your character. What do they feel? What do they love? Also, try writing down ideas and pick the one you love the most. You can also do what I love: listen in on people's coversations. They might just form an idea. Have fun and be creative!
By using index cards you can write individual scenes on each card and then you could switch scenes around in any order you want by moving the card a in different order. Using this method you can also see if a scene idea really fits in with the story as a whole, and if any part of the story is missing something. Once you feel you have the whole story set out on the index cards you can write out the story scene by scene using the index cards as a map for your story.
CHARACTER MAKING! Before and when I write a book. I go around and ask people questions about what they like. I then take what I like and the others likes and make a character.
Another way I do this is I make Forums for people to sign and depending on what they put down Ill use that info for the Character.
Now here is the easy part. When I make a name I Either use the first or last name first depending on which sounds cooler. Such as a person named Audra, Use that persons first name and let them come up with there own last name like, Dreaper. Audra Dreaper.
Another way is to ask the persons first and last name like, Ralph Craft. Here is where you get 'creative'. Take what ever letter from the first name and place that one letter in place of the first letter of the last name like, Raph Lraft. Dosn't sound right yet dose it? Now add any letter you think would make it sound right like, Raph Laraft.
CREATING A PROFILE!
This may be fun, but to do this you must be 'creative'. Here are the essentials.
Name: Birth Place: Abilities ECT. The rest is up to you to create more essentials. Add stuff like Fav Food, Blah, Blah, Blah.
Writing tips: 1) If the dreaded writer's block strikes, don't just sit and stare at the computer screen. Go for a walk, listen to music, watch a good film, browse your book collection - do anything that helps get ideas and words flowing again (I personally find that a good karate session works wonders)
2)With the first draft of a story, don't be too worried about getting every detail and plot aspect right - get it finished and get the essence down first, and then you can tweak and chip it into shape at your leisure.
3) Enjoy your writing! A labour of love is so much more fun to write and read than something that was a bore!
I find that reading other (Star Wars) related fan-fic is REALLY helpful for inspiration. It can also improve your vocab for your story. I think that vocabulary is very importante in a story (and punctuation); I guess it justs boosts the value of it. Having a good plot is also key; you don't want a pointless story- unless you're writing a documentary one like a journal entry where it ell what happened and so forth.
I find that just about anything can get an idea into my head. That's how I developed the character Danielle Skywalker. before I got into Star Wars, I LOVED the movie Hocus Pocus and still do. I used to play a game where I would be Danni (I spell it Danny) and I changed the storyline around a little and the brother was dead, and then when I saw Star Wars, I got the idea of having Danielle be Luke Skywalkers cousin and it went up from there. Watching a movie or tv show gives me ideas because it has a plot that I like. I suggest watching one of your favorite movies that has action-adventure and romance and what not (take Indiana Jones for example) and watching it and using whatever you like about the movie to create your own storyline.
If you're writing a fic, not necessarily in first person, but including a specific character's thoughts and feelings about what's going on, try taking five minutes before you write to sit down, lie down, kneel, and just shut your eyes and become the character. If you find that your mind isn't switching over, try taking a break. If it still doesn't work later, try doing more research on your character. If it's an original character, try writing about something in first person, like taking a walk, but don't write as yourself. Try to think about what your character would do in the situation. It doesn't even have to be star wars related. It's aim is just to help you find and become your character more easily.
I find listening to one of the Star Wars soundtracks really gets me in the mood for writing Star Wars fanfic. If you're writing a battle scene listen to The Battle Of Hoth or Duel Of The Fates. If you're writing a love scene, put on Meadow Picnic or Across The Stars. And to get that evil ambiance for writing a scene involving the Imps, the Imperial March is perfect (obviousy!).
Author: Cal_Wiggins(signed) Posted: 8/3/2002 6:58:45 AM
Cal_Wiggins's Writing Tip:
Go nuts when you write. I've been writing for years, and the only thing that can help you write is your imagination. Just write. Have a field day. Make your characters do strange, frightening, and inhuman things. Step outside the storyline for a little bit. Don't be constrianed. And don't ever edit while you write. Be free. what do you think re-writing is for. Then you can go back and find what works and what doesn't. But don't do it you first draft.
since i'm currently writing a fic about little known characters i realized how big a help some fan sites can be, so go to yahoo, ask jeeves, or google (to name a few good search engines) search for your character or something related to them and see what you find. I got 6 pages worth that is helping me on my current fic. It's definitly worth the time to search.
This tip expands on what others have previously said about dreams.
When you have a dream (in this case concerning "Star Wars"), write it down when you wake up. Try to get every detail. Of course, this has to be original, not a redone scene from one of the "Star Wars" movies. When you finally feel like writing, review what you have written down. Tweak it a bit, by changing inconsistencies and such, unless it's going to be an AU fan-fiction. Then add to it, and write it down as a fan-fiction.
Since writer's block is the most common ailment to a writer, here's some tips to keep that dam from stoping the creative flow.
(These may not work for everyone. They're just ideas. If they work for you, wonderful! If not, make up your own way.)
#1- read a thesaurus, then find a crowded park or school hall and begin a conversation using all the big words you've just memorized. This works better if you don't know the person and you get into a really weird conversation about Jedi's. (hehe) #2- turn on your favorite song and put it on repeat, then stare at your blank sheet of paper or computer screen. (better with a big bowl of popcorn beside you!) #3- make your own writing room in some place like a shed, attic, closet, or secluded corner. Let nothing that disturbs you come in. Add personal touches that spark creativity. (like a poster or my favorite, having the only lighting be candles.)
Last but not least...Never ever underestimate the plotline of a dream! :)
Don't write for your characters, let them write themselves. (example: if something doesn't seem right in your story say it's kind of awkward, it could be that you're not staying true to the character's personality.)
For writer's block: Walls, doors, and dressers work. Just ram into them.
Never underestimate the plot of a dream. You could write a novel from it.
If you ever have writers block (which seems to be the most common topic) Try doing a thought web. Put the main issue in the middle of the page, and draw lines from there, putting any ideas, no matter how crazy, in smaller circles. Keep going until you find the idea you like. If you need me to elaborate on this idea, just say.
If you get writers block, it might help if you read. When reading a good book, you often find inspiration. And do not be afraid to get ideas from one person's story line. Plagerism is one thing, but inspiration is something entirely different.
Try having your characters do something, even if it sounds really boring. It may turn out to be a great story, or another idea may come to you out of boredom.
If that doesn't work, read the plot bunny listings at TFN. There is some seriously good stuff in there.
Or try reading (anything), an idea may come to you.
If none of that works, do something. Take a walk, eat jelly beans (my personal favorite), go to the park and watch the little kids...do anything but sit there trying to write. Sometimes it seems the harder you try, the more elusive ideas are. Stop looking, and soon the plot bunnies will be busting down your door. Odd, I know, but it works.
If you only have access to a public computer then store manuscripts as attachments in your E-Mail account for backup copies instead of relying on fragile disks. I attach the Word97 document to a blank E-Mail which I send to myself (although in terms of privacy I think this might be risky).
The best books espousing advice for writers I've ever read include Beginnings, Middles & Ends, by Nancy Kress; On Writing, by Stephen King; and The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White.
Ignore your first draft for a day before revising it for more objective distance.
Read with a dictionary at hand. Look up words unfamiliar to you and note how the author uses them. Place them on a list and use them in your own work to increase your vocabulary.
Avoid using "!" too much. "'No,' cried Obi-Wan" conveys more or less the same meaning as "'No!' cried Obi-Wan" due the the use of the word "cried". Context can imply meaning as well.
Here's one stumbling block that many writers may become swamped by when dealing with action sequences. Keep your action sequences short and to the point. Don't hammer the reader with what's going through Obi-Wan's head as he's spinnging with his light-saber.
Action sequences should play along the reader's eyes as if they are watching a movie. If you get caught in the details, a reader will become bored and likely skip through all of the excessive exposition.
Remember, your reader probably knows what a pod-racer looks like, so you won't have to waste pages of narrative describing it. Let your reader mentally fill in the blanks.
One more article for you budding writers out there. If you stop in to my site or-email me I'd be glad to help you further.
This one's about writer's block- which I've never had. No kidding, I've NEVER had it. The trick is in the article. Take a look.
Overcoming Writer's Block
by Jeff Heisler
This is a short article because the technique is not that difficult. I've been writing since I was 4 years old, and not once have I ever had writer's block. It has nothing to do with my skills as a writer, but it has everything to do with how I organize my writing time.
Are you ready? Here's the secret to beating writer's block (drum roll here)- Never sit down to write unless you know what you will be writing.
Look, your brain is a wonderful instrument- but it has it's limits. It takes time to jump from plotting and outlining (a left brain logical task) to creative writing. When you try to do both at the same time your mind gets stuck. Remember when the Three Stooges would try to get through the door at the same time? That's what's happening in your head.
Spend time plotting and outlining first- then write. Never try to do both at the same time and you'll never have writer's block- ever. I promise.
I came across this site as a Star Wars fan, but I'm also a writer so I thought I'd contribute an article I just finished.
I remember starting out. It was so hard to comprehend crafting a novel. Fortunately I learned how and you can too.
You may notice that some of these techniques are used bu Lucas etc. al. when they write. I'm sure they'll help you too.
By Jeff Heisler
How do you plot a novel? You read your favorite book and the writer put the twists and turns in just the right places. The pace was perfect. The excitement built to the end and them WHAM- What a finish! How the heck to they do that?
It's not as hard as you think- really. In fact, plotting is one of the easier and most enjoyable tasks involved in writing your novel. John Grisham agrees. He once told a reporter he loves to plot- but hates the writing. I can understand why. When you're plotting you see the story clearly in your own mind. You begin to ask yourself- what if this happened? What if that happened? It's like kindergarten playtime all over again.
So if it's so easy how do you do it? I'll tell you, but first you have to know that there is no one single method that works for all writers. You have to get an understanding of what others do and then make the process your own. Here's how it works:
Step 1- Write your book in two sentences or less. That's right- two sentences. Remember when you looked at the movie listings in the paper and they had these two sentence descriptions that told you what the movie was about. That's what you have to write first. Why? Because the golden rule of writing is to know what you're writing when you write it. Sure, you can get around this and throw out pages and ideas as you go, a lot of writers have. I think that's wasteful. I've heard several stories of great writers submitting their manuscripts in large trunks- thousands of pages. "The story's in there somewhere- they tell the editor." Look- no editor in today's publishing world is going to bother with that. You have to have the book done and edited to perfection BEFORE you send it in. That's why you need to write your story's plot in two to three sentences. Anything that you write or plot later must relate to those sentences or they need to be cut- period.
Here's an example: Moby Dick- Ahab, a whaleboat captain bent on revenge against the white whale that mauled him, spurs a tired crew across the ocean in a grand hunt. Ignoring the dangers of the sea he becomes consumed with revenge and will do anything to get it.
There it is. Hundreds of pages boiled down to two sentences. Melville should have done this exercise himself. He grew as a writer as he wrote more and more- culminating in this great literary classic, but even Moby Dick is flawed in a fundamental way. Melville includes an entire chapter that reads like an encyclopedia of whale biology. There is no story whatsoever in this chapter- just diagrams and descriptions of whales. It is often called the least read chapter in all great literature. Perhaps if Melville had kept the heart of his story in mind he would have left that chapter out- or at least put it in an appendix.
Boil down your story into 2 sentences and stay within those sentences.
Do this first. You will have to do it eventually when you submit to publishers and agents- so you might as well do it now and benefit from the sharp focus it provides.
Step 2- Get out your index cards. Get a bunch of 'em, whatever size you like. Now sit and think about your story. Are there scenes and events that pop to mind? Jot them down. No detail here- just enough to remind you what the card is about. Write the cards in any order. The LAST thing you want to do is to force yourself to think of these scenes in a linear way (see my column on the writer's mind for more detail.) Just jot down every scene you can think of. Some scenes will give you ideas for others. Just keep going. When you're tired put them down and review them later. Add more (don't take any out, even if you've decided you probably won't use them.) Keep adding cards and scenes until you just can't think of any more ideas. By now you're probably excited because you're getting a great view of the story and you can't wait to start writing. Well- wait anyway. There's more to do.
Step 3- Organize your cards. Now's the time to put them in order. Keep two things in mind- first, unless you're doing weird things with the timeline- everything should be linear. Event A should be followed by event B and so on. Don't do B,T,Z,P,A, or some darned thing unless you really, really know what you're doing. If this is your first book- I wouldn't even think about it. A-B-C, 1,2,3- Keep it nice and simple.
Second, think about what events you want your readers to see. Chances are you won't be showing every single action taken by every single character throughout the timeline. Decide what scenes are most exciting or important for the main storyline. Don't worry- you can easily find ways to share these events with readers without launching into the full scene. A main character could get a phone call or a note. They could hear about an event from another character- or maybe even guess that the event has occurred based on their observations. Make a little mark or symbol of the cards that you're sure you'd like your readers to see. Don't worry- nothing's set it stone yet. Just make a note and move on.
Step 3- Now that you have all of your events it's time to get picky. Lay your cards out on a large flat surface, or put them up on a bulletin board. When I first started I bought two sheets of corkboard and put them on the wall in my office. I pinned all the cards on the board the way I liked them. When you're done you should be able to see your whole novel and enjoy following the plot. Keep rearranging if you want to- go nuts. Don't stop until you like what you see. This is a concept called storyboarding, and it's used by creative in a variety of mediums. Watch one of those how-they-made-the-movie documentaries. They ALWAYS storyboard. It's a great tool.
Step 4- Details. Now take your cards down one at a time. You're going to make some notes on the back before you put it back up. You can make a new card if you need to. Here's what you're going to put on the back:
Location: Where is the scene happening? Watch for problems with logic here. A character in New York can't be in London 5 minutes later. Think of ways to have the setting enhance your plot. Be creative. I once put a car chase scene in the hallway of the Smithsonian. Just made things more interesting.
Time: What is the day and time this is happening? Also- watch for logical flaws.
Characters: List all characters who will appear in this scene.
Main POV: Every scene should be written through the eyes of just one character- your point of view character. Who is the POV character in this scene?
Main POV's goal: What is the POV character trying to accomplish here?
Problems that stop the main POV character from reaching their goal (Try to list 3-4 at minimum.): What's in the way? What's stopping the character from getting what they want? By the way- if there's nothing in this scene that's in the way this better be the last chapter of the book or you're in trouble. All drama is based on conflict. Make sure there's plenty of it in every scene.
Scene ending hook: In most of the book things should be getting worse, or if things are looking better- make sure your reader knows that relief will be short lived. End the scene with some hint of more conflict to come. Don't let the reader have an excuse to put the book down because they might not pick it up again.
Step 4: Put the project down and come back to it a few days later with a fresh view. Read- revise- and wait again. Do this until you're happy with the product.
Step 5: Start writing from the cards one scene at a time. I like to take what I've put on the cards and put them into a single document in Word. That way I can keep adding notes and rearranging without a lot of trouble.
When it's time for me to write I pick any scene- not necessarily in order, review the information and write the scene based on the information on the card. You always start writing knowing what your goal is and what needs to be included. No writer's block to deal with here.
That's it. Just keep writing those scenes till you're done and you've got a well plotted book.
1- Don't write for your audience. Write for yourself, and IF you think that it's good enough, have a couple people read it, make them mark it up, and keep revising. Be your own best fan and your own worst critic.
2- Don't become lost in a maze of small plots and things that will get the reader lost too. Keep it simple, but not so simple that people will put it down after guessing the whole plot in two minutes. Techno-talk is something to avoid for the most part.
3- Hook the reader in the first page or so. Don't ramble on and on. Get the ball rolling. You don't want a reader to become bored.
4- Lastly, have an English teacher look over your work and ask for advice. They can be a big help. Or e-mail an author or two and ask for advice on a subject. Characterization or dialogue for example.
When it comes to creating characters, each character needs to be different. Some characters have certain traits only they have. Some have a certain mannerism or "tag" that makes them unique. One thing that has helped me is to think of each character as a person. What motivates them? What's important to them? What makes them do what they do?
Well, I was thinking about saying something inspiring, but I changed my mind.
Read whatever you write out loud. That's the quickest way to figure out problems like punctuation, grammar, and wordiness. If something doesn't feel right, say it out loud.
Here's why: most of us were taught how to read by sounding out the letters and then the words as we read them. Therefore, most of us still "hear" ourselves sounding the words out while we read them. If you have a sentence that is full of commas where, they don't, belong, someone is going to. Trip over them.
If you think it sounds good but still have a vague feeling of wrongness about it, have a friend hear it and then read it back. After that, you shouldn't be getting beta reader's comments like, it's a great story, but it has a lot of grammar problems. :)
Do not let others try and tell you how to portray a character. This is fanfiction. If you veiw a character in a certain light write them as you veiw them. Don't let those who say "they aren't that way," bother you. It's called a creative license.
As a huge Star Wars fan, i've noticed that some things don't fit in the Star Wars Galaxy. Sex, for one. The closest thing to a sexual reference in any of the movies is that Luke and Leia are Amidala and Anakin's children... so we all know what must have gone on...
Another is swearing. Swear words from planet Earth don't fit (other than Damn). If your characters are going to swear, they tend to say more Star Wars things like: Holy Force, or Holy Sith, or 'Sithspit'. (the person who came up with that one was a genius.. heh heh heh). They wouldn't say things like "For God's sake..." or "For Pete's sake...", but rather something along the lines of "For the Emperor's sake...". I don't know, make them up. Be as creative as possible.
Another thing is references to places or things only found on planet Earth. For example, they don't speak ENGLISH (England is on Earth, remember) but speak BASIC. Make sure you don't have any of these mistakes in a story. People tend to put them in without thinking, so be extra careful. (and by the way, you can say "OK" (as long as it's spelt "okay") because it doesn't originate from "Oklahoma" but from "Orl Korrect", a humorous form of "All Correct".)
CHECK all spelling and grammar. Make sure you use the correct they're/their/there etc. Using the wrong ones is just plain sloppy and a pain to read. And don't stick apostrophes (') before the 's' in plurals. "'s" means that something belongs to that thing, and "s'" is when something belongs to more than one thing. "It's" is a contraction for "It is", and "its" is used when something belongs to 'it'. It's not that hard to remember. And if in doubt, get a dictionary.
And research every Star Wars aspect (like The Force) before you write about it.
How many times have you been driving along, or thinking about something, when a great idea (for a story) or concerning the one you're working on pops into your head? I know it's happened to me more times then I could count. It's a great feeling, but unfortunately, I've forgotten about it by the time I've gotten home. What do you do?
What I like to do after my initial outline of the story is take a long drive. On that drive, I bring my mini-tape recorder and I say anything that pops into my mind about the next scene in the chapter I'm working on. If I have an idea for dialogue or an emotional response by one of my characters, then I tell the recorder. Then, when I'm ready to start writing, I'll listen to that section on the tape. It helps me pull out things I like, and toss things I don't like. When I have a clearer direction in my mind about how to go, I put fingers to keyboard and I'm off.
I'm sure many of you, if not all of you, have experienced this at times when you are trying to think up creative and interesting ideas for the next part of your story.
You're sitting there, or standing, or lying down--whatever position you're usually in when doing your best thinking--thinking over all the parts of the story and the ideas you have down so far. You're waiting for that great idea to hit you, and suddenly, this really insane idea pops into your head. You think about it for a short moment, then reject it. It is just too far off for you to use, so you decide to toss it out and keep thinking.
But, I've found that pursuing that "insane" idea usually results in a better plot twist than I thought I would get. You have to take a second look at the idea, then weave your way through the plot of the story, creating paths that will make that idea possible and realistic. You have to make the connections, and keep asking yourself "What if...".
Sudden shifts in the story, the unexpectant, help make for a very interesting and captivating plot.
Next time you get that "insane" and "impossible" idea popping into your head, pursue it. See if you cannot turn it into the great plot twist you were looking for.
Mix genres. Put humor in a romance story. Put some adventure in you're drama tales. Multiple genres can play off each other really well, making the story enjoyable for more people. Also, imagine your character as best as you can. Use some one from real life, a friend, a celebrity, anybody, to give yourself a mental image of the character. You wont over describe as much if you know for sure what a character looks like
Don't forget that things don't just happen because the all-powerful author wants it too. If you're going to write an AU where something changes, give a REASON for the change. Okay, you don't *always* have to, but it's sometimes interesting to read a fanfic and say "Oh! **That's** why Padme lived!" On the other hand, sometimes the mystery is more fun.
Remember: Mara is Mara. It doesn't matter if she has admitted her feelings about Luke - she will never EVER become some sort of driviling, lovestruck, sappy teenager. She's too practical than that. I've read too many fanfics that start with a great interaction between the two and then have it degenerate to outlandish declarations of everlasting love. Keep her character - that's why we love her!
PS Is it just me or has NJO just butchered her character? *sigh*
If you get stuck, write down questions and answers. It'll help you get an idea of what you're looking for. For example:
Could the villian be Palpatine? --No, he's too creepy. The villian needs to be someone more normal.
Could the villian be a smuggler? --No, he/she needs to be someone who can move around easily in public, without having to worry about the police.
An ex-Imperial? --Maybe, but I can do better than that. It needs to be someone the main characters would trust.
An old friend from back home? --Perfect.
Why would an old friend be the bad guy? --He/She felt bad about getting left behind and decided to get revenge...
Acutally, in writing that as an example, I just got a story idea! :-) Be specific about your answers. If something doesn't work, write why it doesn't work. And writing it out is important. You think things through more clearly if you write them.
I find it helpful to base some characters on real people, and constantly ask myself "how would THEY react?". It stops all my characters thinking the same.
Another way to accomplish this is to take part in some SW role playing (not with game players who just want to shoot stuff- REAL role playing). It can generate some very unexpected characters and dramatic situations.
Author: Loka Hask(signed) Posted: 7/6/2001 1:08:19 AM
Loka Hask's Writing Tip:
My writing/English teacher tells me the same thing every time he reads my stuff.
"Write what you know, Andrew. Readers are convinced when the experiences are described perfectly. Don't guess. You wouldn't tell someone what mint tasted like if you had never tried it before. If you did, they would laugh, and you would be sh*t out of luck, wouldn't you?"
As my dad has so wisely imparted to me before, "think outside the envelpoe." In other words don't follow the beaten path, be original. The more 'way out there' the idea is often the more entertaining the story is.
One more thing. Never be afraid to express anything in your writings. Don't hold back unless you are not ready to write it. Violence, language, situations, etc. do happen in real life and SW is not immune to it. Never be afraid of expression. If you limit yourself, you limit your life.
Never be afraid to explore a story idea not been touched before, especially when dealing with the genre of Star Wars. Sure anyone can write an SW story, but that is the problem: ANYONE CAN! As an author, I demand myself to be challenged. And therefore I go out and try my hardest to do something different in subject matter, or take what all ready exist to the next level. And more importantly, TRY AND BE ORIGINAL.
Subject Matter: Nothing is really out of bounds. But how you write it does. It's not a question about will it be offensive or leud, but does it fit with the natural flow of words in the story. If a story is an all out comedy, but you put in a very high powered tear jerker moment in it, then you better make sure that something is written before that to explain why it had to be written. Otherwise, in any case, you will lose your readers.
Take What Exist To the Next Level: My favorite thing to do with SW. Thanks to the movies and book we can get a feel for the characters, events, organizations, etc. We can take that information, explore and examine it, and then come to conclusions and create even more from it. A good example of this is when Yoda and Luke are talking in ESB outside the cave, in which Luke ask, "What's in there?" and Yoda says, "Only what you take with you.". Now, everyone can assume that meant what Luke physically took with him(His weapons). But upon further examination, I concluded that also meant whatever questions he had in his mind. Doubts, random thoughts, emotions and feelings: Let's face it Luke took those in with him along with his weapons. I imagined Luke asking:
Was Father ever on Dagobah?
Who really is Darth Vader?
Will I defeat him?
I mean there was probably million of questions in Luke's mind and the cave responded to them with the vision of Darth Vader. But more importantly, something like that, expressed in a story, is taking it to the next level of story telling. I do it in my fan fic novel "The Dark Hope" and I got great positive responses.
TRY AND BE ORIGINAL: This is hard, for we are borrowing a strong premise that is SW and writing a story that relies on it. I think that is why many write Alternate Universe stories; you have a little more freedom creatively when you don't have to worry about making a character than developing them. But that is the beauty of writing: the challenge. The effort you put in trying to be original will show as you write and reader will see that and appreciate it. I put a lot of brain into "The Dark Hope" with the characters I created and than focused on their developement as the story progressed and found that my efforts showed and readers loved it. So much so that many of them want me to write spin off stories about the characters because of it, and there you can do so much more and not worry about having the spin off stories effect your main story. Yes, if you read TDH you will find familiar names like Palpatine, Yoda and Valorum, but like I said we are borrowing from an established premise, and therefore we ATTEMPT to make things original. I guarantee that you will draw readers out of the wood work with the effort.
I hope I have helped at least one person that reads this advice today. Just remember; above all, we are all the novice.
Having been writing for the last decade and then some I have picked up many things. Taking the plunge into fanfiction I have but three pointers
1) When writing scenes where emotions ride high such as scenes of vast beauty (Coruscant at night for example) try to envision the first time you saw something that was truly breathtaking and then harness the emotions that you experienced and write while they are in your mind. Your feelings will be conveyed and will spark those same feelings in the minds of your readers. It's a way of connecting and it gives the reader true insight on what you were trying to say...
2) Fight scenes for Star Wars are easily written when music is involved. Not just for emotion. "The Duel of the Fates" is probably the most often used music. (If you don't know why, buy the TPM soundtrack and listen for yourself) That selection is fine but what if the fight was more than just a battle? What if it meant something more? My best advice is to search the other Star Wars Soundtracks for music. ROTJ is really good. But don't limit yourself to just Star Wars, there were many movies made in the early eighties and even in the nineties that will supply the listener with much inspiration. Besides fight scenes based off of "The Duel of the Fates" seem to read the same. Being unique is key...
3) Lastly, try to keep descriptions down to a few words but those words need to convey all of the description necessary. For instance, I could say that "Mara Jade was as beautiful as the Corellian sunrise with hair the color of fire and eyes that seemed to be the mold to cast the finest emeralds." Sounds heavenly but I could also say that, "The woman known as Mara Jade stepped from the landing ramp. Luke smiled and said, "Wow." That's all that's needed. We all know what Mara looks like and we know she's hot but all that is needed to be said can be said in one word.
Be true to yourself and your characters, they are your creations and yours alone. Good luck in all future projects.
Try to envision the scene you're writing, especially if it's something very physical, like a fight. I've found it very helpful to imagine the characters doing the things I'm trying to describe... then putting into words what I see.
Try not to use very stilted language. Write to describe the way you feel it should be, not the way other authors write, using pages and pages to describe a BATHROOM!!! Seriously, I've read some like that before. If there's one thing that bugs me about fanfic is way too stilted language and over-descriptions. People often try to use overly dramatic descriptions of things; it's like overkill. Try not to include unimportant details. Example, don't: "Luke woke up at sunrise, putting on his maroon slippers and started his stretching excercises...he stepped eleven paces to the right and walked into the Moen shower and vaguely thought about what he should eat for breakfast..." Unless part of your plot involved Luke being attacked by his Moen showerhead in cahoots with his maroon slippers, don't do this.
Author: Lord Bane(signed) Posted: 6/10/2001 4:38:12 PM
Lord Bane's Writing Tip:
Do not limit your language. If you think a character should say something offensive (or would say, in real life) by all means put it in.
Such as: Racial slurs (make em up) Swearing Sexual innuendos Violence - if a character is going to gut another character and then describe it, don't be bashful. The killer wouldn't be.
Etc etc etc...
Writers cannot affort to be wusses with their characters.
Don't write JUST Star Wars. Write other things too, if you like sci-fi, write a sci-fi story that doesn't relate to SW. Write newspaper articles, Reviews, poems, everything. Like sports, the more you practice, the better you'll be.
Author: TheCommish(signed) Posted: 5/20/2001 10:55:05 AM
TheCommish's Writing Tip:
When you want to make a fan-fic, it's helpful to get a good idea in your head first, then develop it. Get a good feel for the character's personas, their fates, their hopes, etc. Develop their story to the end, and then keep it in your mind.
But, never relinquish control of your idea to others. It's your fiction, you have control of the characters. It's nice and great to take other's input, but don't let them control your story.
Do that, post your story, and the scenes will nearly write themselves.
When you're writing a character from the movies, try to "hear" the actor saying the line. I've found it particularly useful when writing Han Solo - you've no idea how many lines I've had to throw out because I just could not get them to come out of Harrison Ford's mouth!
Research goes a long way especially something as deep as the Star Wars Universe. Get it right the first time or you'll end up having others (most probably your readers) point out your continuity errors. Also, it's boring to have your characters not get bumps and bruises along the way. It always nice to read about a character with a slight stutter when excited or possibly another twisting his/her ankle when running from time to time. :)