Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Non-standard Woes of Writing

In the world today, In times like these, Billy woke up from a dream while sitting in class, Bridgette was not very popular and wished the cute girl/guy would notice her. If you haven't noticed yet, these are cliches. Sure, they aren't very good, and that's because I find it difficult to think of some off the top of my head. Off the top of my head is an over-used phrase. You should also try to steer clear of those, too. Maybe you should try to avoid using over-used phrases and cliches. It makes you seem like a less credible writer who isn't able milk the utter of creativity on their own. Sure, get help with writing, but the words on the page have to be yours.

Cliches, plagariasm, unbalanced amounts of dialogue, exposition, and description, a terrible grasp of grammar and syntax, as well as dozens of other issues, large and small, sap the energy and dynamic tension that a great story can have.

There are a plethora of Dos and Don'ts in Writing. There are books written on them, and there will be more, too. Why are there so many and why am I adding another to the list? Because as a writer who is learning his trade at blacksmithing his way to publishing, one mallet against metal at a time, writers have to look after one another, even if they are competing within the same market. Also, there are some terrible stories published every year, and that's because the authors did at least one major thing correctly: owned their audience.

Oh, but jheld, you might ask, how can I "own my audience"?
One might also ask, "Who is my audience?" I sure hope you're not asking yourself that right now.

Owning your audience might sound terrifyingly impossible. Basically, to find your audience, you must know what your story is about and who the characters are. And you'll say "oh that's easy!" And then you become confused because you still can't seem to garner the steam. You'll wonder how your favorite authors did it. Yes, even Stephanie Meyers did it.

(Back after vomiting.)

Veteran readers don't like to be put down or made to feel stupid. This includes writing at a level where you tell your reader what to think, instead of letting them think for themselves. This includes not telling the whole story in the first chapter. What is your story if you don't let it grow? Thus, leave some things to mystery. Readers like mystery. Mystery means many things, but what it really means is that you don't give away all your ideas and plot twists in page one. Let the reader try and figure it out on their own, shooting out some tips and foreshadowing here and there from your proverbial SOS gun (can't remember the official term, but you should get the fireworks reference).

For young adult readers, though it may be easier to find the popularity, remember that many of them may only read mainstream works. Thus, I find that you should still watch over-used characters, themes, and stories. You might get some great start, and it's fantastic if you do become published, but it might not last very long. But, publishers do not want to publish something too close to a previously published story. Always be careful. Know your story and those already in existence.

Also, don't make vague references to non-mainstream culture. Yet, if you are writing for a niche market, then go ahead and be consistent and let it fly! But, if you are writing mainstream, you may be referring to characters in some story, so cut out the names, and make the metaphor, or whichever rhetoric device, more strong and easy to notice. Get rid of the name and you include a much broader audience. Again, completely up to you. Niche markets are hard to own, too, but you are a bigger fish in a smaller pond.

Don't write tomes just for the sake of Harry Potter-esque epicness. If your style and story are deep enough, then you will find your idea branching out a lot. Only write words if they further the story. Only write dialogue that furthers the story. Only write exposition (some through dialogue) if it furthers the story. Otherwise, why do you need it? Too many stories out there are guilty of fun little scenes writers wanted to keep, but then frustrate the reader. If you want to keep a following, then use word economy. That is, shorten things when you can. If you can't say the same thing with the same meaning in less words or better words, then don't. But, that has a flip side: if you have to elaborate on something because it will help the story, then go ahead! Whatever makes the story better :)

There are many other things to discuss about the art of story writing. I don't know all of them, and I do know more than what I've written here. There are some of the important things to remember while in the craft. I hope this helps.

jheld out.

No comments:

Post a Comment