Writers Anonymous
Writers, come in. Talk about your stories, problems, any advice you need, critique, etc. You don't have to be good, you just need to want to write! Fanfic or original fic writers, all are welcome. Read the rules before posting or risk Rhea's displeasure.
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Corinne Tate

I've been looking for a topic on here just to be off topic. I just thought it would be nice to have a place to make comments, chit chat, and bring up the odd subject which doesn't fit into other threads. I keep thinking about posting on some of the existing threads, but my opinions and experiences differ from the original intent, and I don't want to hijack a good thread.

For example: I've been looking at the petition, and it seems like it's just a thread where writers can sign up to ask the site to give them the power to remove offensive signed reviews and flames. But I'd really like to discuss this, and I don't want to sign any such petition. I understand that flames and trolls can play havoc with a writer and a story. But what I'd rather have is a rebuttal feature. Give me the opportunity to add my own comments to the review, and maybe a button to note my disagreement with the review.

I haven't been trolled on here yet. Maybe I'd feel different if I had to see my email fill up with "you suck, just die!" kinds of "reviews." But I look at it another way, which is any publicity is good publicity. Maybe not for my personal life, but for a fanfiction story, I'll take even negative press. Seriously, where can I sign up? I'll even feed the trolls (what do they like - pizza and beer?) The way I see it, if my real readers won't review, then I'll take the insults of a troll gang pumping my numbers up. Oh please don't do me any favors.

I'm not trying to minimize the irritation of getting this kind of hate, but anyone who actually reads my work would know the haters don't know what they're talking about. And I know human nature is to look at the car wreck. If a reader checked out the reviews before reading, they'd likely check out chapter one just to see what all the fuss is about.

2/15/2012 . Edited 2/17/2012 #1
Lorendiac

Corinne Tate said:

For example: I've been looking at the petition, and it seems like it's just a thread where writers can sign up to ask the site to give them the power to remove offensive signed reviews and flames. But I'd really like to discuss this, and I don't want to sign any such petition.

Actually, a thread was created way back when for detailed discussion of our different opinions regarding the need (or lack of one) for the change named in the petition. I believe the idea was to let the Petition thread itself simply be a list of those who were on board with the idea, with any back-and-forth argument taking place elsewhere to avoid confusing the issue of who wanted to have his or her name added to the Petition itself.

Here's the link:

General: Deleting signed reviews

The only problem is that nobody has bothered to post anything new in that discussion thread since last October, so I had to dig all the way back to Page 4 of this forum to figure out where it was hiding!

2/15/2012 . Edited 2/15/2012 #2
Corinne Tate

Thanks. I've got tons of off topic topics.

Has anyone else here given too critical a review and felt bad about it later? I was reading a VERY long story, and reviewing every chapter. After about thirty mostly glowing reviews, the story took a hard turn into Out-Of-Character land, and my review was very harsh. Well, the writer flamed me in PM, and I went off on a tirade about why the chapter was so wrong (It involved underage binge drinking, and the responsible adult being essentially asleep at the wheel.) She accused me of making a personal attack on her, which I didn't. But I did say it felt like I was reading a story by a novice hack.

In my defense, I figured after thirty chapters of loving responses she would be able to handle a negative response, and why I felt the way I did. I had already put her story on my favorites list, and recommended it in my author's notes. Otherwise she's an excellent writer, but that chapter and it's aftermath left such a bad taste in my mouth, I can't finish the story.

2/17/2012 #3
The Lauderdale

She accused me of making a personal attack on her, which I didn't. But I did say itfelt likeI was reading a story by a novice hack.

I can see how that would feel personal.

I posted a review once that was sarcastic about the characters' actions, and the author was miffed. I decided that my sarcasm had been unnecessary (and got in the way of communicating my point), apologized, and explained what I had found problematic in less sarcastic terms.

2/17/2012 #4
Corinne Tate

I did apologize. Trouble is, I just don't know where to go from there. I can't finish a story with characters I've lost all respect for, and I certainly can't review if I'm worried about being flamed. I guess this is just one of those instances where I'm going to have to let it go and walk away.

Which brings up another point which is not about writing at all. Am I really that out of touch that teen binge drinking offends me? The characters in question went to a Halloween party dressed provocatively. There was no adult supervision for the H.S. age kids. There were kegs of beer, loud music, and drunks making out everywhere. The 17 year-old drank until she was falling down drunk, and was groped by strangers. Her so called friends either ignored, allowed, or encouraged this to happen. And when she returned home sick and banged up from falling down, the adult in charge passed it off as harmless fun.

I've read this scenario so many times, and I just want to know where the HELP are the parents? I've heard enough news stories and personal accounts about dead teenagers I just can't think of this as harmless fun. To me writing this as a comedic reprieve is just wrong on so many levels.

2/17/2012 . Edited 2/17/2012 #5
The Lauderdale

Am I really that out of touch that teen binge drinking offends me?

Well it offends ME, so I certainly don't think you're alone on that score! Of course, when you see so many instances of these scenarios in RL, then they clearly happen, and are fodder for fiction like many other unpleasant actualities (war, r***, abuse, murder...) I think what you're talking about is how the author treats it, though, and whether you get the sense that the author is in "hurr hurr" agreement and/or writing the scenario implausibly or characterizing the principals poorly, or what-have-you.

I can't finish a story with characters I've lost all respect for, and I certainly can't review if I'm worried about being flamed. I guess this is just one of those instances where I'm going to have to let it go and walk away.

[sympathetic] I tend to get very emotionally wrapped up in characters and their deeds, or misdeeds, and when I review sometimes it is to express my total frustration/annoyance with the characters. Which isn't always the same as their characterization: it may be an excellent characterization or story treatment by the author, but the character is upsetting me on a *personal* level ("Ooh, if he was in the room with me I'd rip his spine out!") And I have to be careful when reviewing those because it can feel like I'm annoyed with the author, when that isn't the case. In this case, though, you *were* annoyed with the author over the characterization, and I get the sense that you didn't think (s)he was going to change the approach (s)he was taking. So...yeah. You can keep reading, knowing you will continue to be disappointed, or keep reviewing, knowing that neither you nor the author will be satisfied (both of which I've done.) Or, leave it, which is probably the wisest move.

2/17/2012 . Edited 2/17/2012 #6
Maderfole

I think they're just trying to put it under the "no harm, no foul" perception. If these 17 year old characters are the main focus of the fic, then having them get into some fairly wild and wooly situations is going to be somewhat necessary, depending on what kind of fic it is. Perhaps especially if its a Highschool fic, I think the last thing a highschool type author is going to want to put in their cool Halloween party is the spectre of adult supervision. Either the characters are supposed to be mature enough to handle that kind of thing (even if they obviously can't) despite their physical age, or they are deliberately being rebellious by attending a shady party... a very highschool trait, I think you can admit. And the sad fact is, thee are plenty of parents out there who would pay little to no notice if their kid and friends came home obviously wasted. My parents weren't that way (which is why my rebellious sister always waited for them both to go out for a night to hold massive parties at our house) but I know parents who were completely uninterested in what their kids did at parties.

Trying to equate real life new stories and such into the world of a fic is doomed to failure. We don't usually read fics because we want to submerse ourselves in cold reality, even if the fic itself is written in a realistic fashion. We go to fics precisely because they give us a safe outlet for things that just can't happen in real life, or if they did happen, could be a horrible, scarring tragedy. The only consequences in a fic are the ones the author is willing to write in there. I don't think you're out of touch for you to find teen drunkeness offensive, yet at the same time, I do think you're a little out of touch that you think a teenage author or teenage characters wouldn't have binge drinking be an activity, because of its forbidden, rebellious allure, regardless of later consequence. Feel free to be offended... just don't be shocked...

2/17/2012 #7
Corinne Tate

I can understand (a little) when the story is written by an "emerging" writer as a way of living vicariously through their characters. But the writer of the story I m thinking of was somewhere between her twenties and thirties, and she knew what she was doing as a writer. The story began with the serious subject of child abuse and likely child sexual abuse. The party and drinking was supposedly a fun time.

Maybe if all the characters were teenagers sneaking out and having to face the consequences later it might not bother me so much. But this was in Twilight fandom, where the "teens" are really over a hundred years old - but for Bella who is the abused child in this story. It's not really the teen behavior in these stories that gets to me, it's the way the adults check out.

Maybe this really happens in RL, but not at my house. I think it's irresponsible of writers to portray this as acceptable. S'cues me, my age and maturity are showing.

2/17/2012 #8
The Lauderdale

You darn kids! Get off my lawn! /teases

Do you think there was any chance that the author would subvert or show consequences later? Just throwing it out there - without knowing the story or being able to look at it, I'm talking in the dark. I suppose that even if the author weren't an "emerging" writer per se, it could be possible that if she's in her mid twenties she could still feel "close" to that time herself, if she herself partied hearty at that age. Seventeen could feel like a continuum with nineteen, could feel like a continuum with 21, and so on. (Like the silly young adults who live next door to me, and who consistently keep going into the wee hours of the morning.)

'Course, I've never been a party-person: I was probably already in my late thirties when I was seventeen. ;)

2/17/2012 . Edited 2/17/2012 #9
Lousy Poet Automaton

I started writing fanfics in 1995. My sensitivity to harsh messages and reviews sometimes spiked (especially if stuff was going on in my life, like when a loved one got sick), but overall, I've just plain developed a leathery hide.

I've posted this before in other places: for me, one should never feel bad about giving a review that's too harsh. And getting a flame should never stop one from writing.

I've written posts explaining that flames are good, and I've done my share of flames when I was just in a lousy mood that day and a mildly critical review became brutal. I've done off-topic flames too, where I blast an otherwise well-written story for having a character that blurts a single incredibly ignorant line about real world issues.

I also write long, detailed reviews that encourage writers I feel have potential, and sometimes just a bit of fluff if I'm hoping to read more soon.

Try not to feel bad about either giving or receiving 'ouch' pieces. It's the internet. It's hard enough being courteous all the time to people in real life, let alone people you'll never meet. It's nice to try to be nice, but you shouldn't stress over it when you fail, and it should never stop you from doing what you want to do.

As with many things in life, there are some things worth fighting for, and some things where it's best to just take what's there and live with it. You only have so much energy in the day. If an 'ouch' message or review has something constructive for you in it, take it and ignore the rest. Otherwise, life is just too short.

2/17/2012 . Edited 2/17/2012 #10
WinchesterPhantom

Binge drinking. Hoo boy. See it doesn't offend me in the slightest. I am a member of the teen binge drinking culture. Should I be ashamed? No, not at all. Sure one or two times aren't some of my proudest moments but mixed in with some of the bad have been some great times. And before anything is said yes I am aware you don't need alcohol to have fun. And I've had many great times without it as I've had with it.

As for the parents - well, when I've been at parties the parents have always been very responsible but if a kid wants to get that drunk then it can happen easiely. I've never though had a parent who has laughed it off - that isn't realistic to me. However I have been to gatherings where parents are away and so there has been no parental supervision - hell, I've hosted some small things like that. Its a perfect opportunity for a party after all - no parents = fun times. To be honest the situation described in that fic there sounds all to familiar with the girl falling down drunk - except of course the part with the friends ignoring it. Of course that is maybe just because my friends and I all look after one another. Sometimes I'm looking after them or they are looking after me. Its a code with us. You always look after one another.

And in most cases drinking is harmless fun ... but like with everything there is a thin line between that and danger. A very thin line that can be easily crossed. When that line is crossed things should never be laughed off though.

2/17/2012 #11
Corinne Tate

I guess I'm just a little floored at how easily accepted it is these days. I mean even if it's harmless fun, it's still quite illegal for a 17 year-old to be drinking - by about four years in my state. It's not the teenagers I fault, but the adults who should be in charge. In the story the adult was a doctor for crying out loud! The drunk teen was a petite girl, unused to alcohol, who drank enough to cause alcohol poisoning.

Sigh, I guess I'm just going to have to face the fact I'm overprotective, and old-fashioned.

So, speaking of old fashioned and modern acceptance, what do y'all (I love that word, as it's both singular and plural) think about profanity in general and the F-bomb specifically?

2/18/2012 #12
The Lauderdale

Binge drinking is harmful by definition, no matter what age you are.

And I wouldn't say that I accept underage drinking. I realize that it happens, and I accept writing about it. That's a little different from accepting underage drinking itself. Sort of like, I realize murder happens, and I accept writing about it, but I do not accept murder... (This is an analogy, of course. I obviously don't think the two are directly synonymous.)

Re: profanity, what are you asking exactly? Profanity (albeit not of the religious variety) is intrinsic to the characters I write about.* And I swear myself, as an adult, though I obviously do not do so in a professional or otherwise sensitive context. And I have clear memories of swearing profusely in conversation with the other kids while we all waited for the bus, age thirteen and fourteen. But what are you thinking of in particular?

_____

*ETA -

They drop F, S, C, T, P, and B bombs, and a host of derivative or otherwise related words and phrases - so, scatological or sexual imprecation. But no references to Jesus, Christ, God, Hell, etc, because it's not part of their culture. I finally decided that I could allow them the occasional "damn" because when you break it down, "damn" doesn't just have evoke the Christian idea of "Damnation" - "damn" has older roots and can just be generally condemnatory (note the etymological link between the two.)

2/18/2012 . Edited 2/18/2012 #13
Corinne Tate

I guess I was using the word profanity as a blanket to cover all "bad words." Now for me I don't believe any words are specifically bad. But like I tell my kids language has power, and words can be ugly, disrespectful, hurtful, and shocking. For simple matters of respect, we all watch our language when we're together as a family, either at home or away. When they're with their friends, I'm not going to worry about policing them - their speech is their own.

I think I was more interested in how different writers deal with objectionable language in their stories. I know as a reader I'm probably more sensitive to an overabundance of rude speech than most. I think a writer should be careful when and why characters spout off with F this and F-ing that. To me it needs to be done in character. I'm not suggesting that writers white-wash their stories so moms like me don't get offended. But it would be nice if they learned some new nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. It would be nice if they remembered that the canon characters didn't use that language.

I write M rated stories, but you won't find a lot of profanity (sorry, I just can't think of a better word here.) I don't shy away from it if the character and the situation demand it. I think it makes a stronger statement if it's absent most of the time, and when a character uses it, it stands out.

Now on Fictionpress, I've got a couple stories that are polluted with foul language. It's because the characters really would use it. Their foul mouths often embarrass me, but to be true to their characters I write it.

I've also done some head scratching over religious based profanity. I'm a Christian, and there is that pesky commandment about taking the lord's name in vain. I had to decide for myself that my god's name is not God or Lord. Unless I'm specifically referencing Him, I allow myself to use "oh my god" and similar words and phrases. For me it's about the spirit of the law and not the letters.

2/18/2012 #14
The Lauderdale

I write Orcs, and I give them dirty mouths. Tolkien had this to say of Orkish speech:

...Orcs and Trolls spoke as they would, without love of words or things; and their language was actually more degraded and filthy than I have shown it. I do not suppose that any will wish for a closer rendering, though models are easy to find. Much the same sort of talk can still be heard among the orc-minded; dreary and repetitive with hatred and contempt, too long removed from good to retain even verbal vigour, save in the ears of those to whom only the squalid sounds strong.

I think this is a great passage that says a lot - about Orcs, about their manner of speech, about people who use that manner of speech, and of course about Tolkien himself. I will add that I think he is pretty impressive for conveying the unpleasantness of Orcs and their speech without using the words themselves [in the actual dialogue he writes for them, I mean, not in this passage]. It's not the approach I take, but he does it well.

2/18/2012 . Edited 2/18/2012 #15
Maderfole
I'm former military, and I write military type stories. Swearing is part of that culture, though of course it varies by person, and even circumstance. A soldier is far more likely to swear profusely and more profanely when in the company of those of like mind and habits (i.e. other soldiers) than when around civilians, other friends or outsiders. When engaged in official duties, we don't swear hardly at all, when working more casually, constantly. As for specific words, no word or combination of words is sacred or taboo. It all varies by character, by circumstance and by what mood I need to convey. Sometimes strong profanity is just the most visceral way to convey a character's feelings. Though on the other hand, I have some characters who never swear at all, regardless of the situation, to the point where its shocking when they say something like "hell".
2/18/2012 #16
Hippothestrowl

That Tolkien quote reminds me of how beautiful his prose is. It's just a delight and a pleasure to read quite apart from the information it contains. Compare that with my hero: J.K.Rowling. Years ago like most people I saw the movies. Here and there I saw brief quotes from the books and they seemed rather weak:

Harry sat on his bed. Harry heard a tap on the window. Harry went to the window.

OK, I'm greatly exaggerating; it's not that immature but it is written in ordinary everyday simple language. But when I actually read the books. Wow! Talk about the whole is greater than its parts! 'Spellbinding' is the cliche most used to describe her works but it's applicable. Great emotional surges and fascinating interwoven detail makes her work as immersive as Tolkien.

Which reminds me... hehe well this thread is just for talking right? I recall reading LOR years ago when I lived in London. I girl at work had lent me the book and I'd read it on the underground train on the way home each night. Now all commuters know that when you reach your stop you just want to get home, get dinner cooking whatever. I got to my station and I could not stop reading. I had to stand on the platform like an idiot for the last ten minutes of the Shelob section. haha happy days. (reading not commuting.)

2/18/2012 #17
Corinne Tate

Now THAT'S a good book! I've never been one who can read a book to fall asleep; I get so caught up in it, I'll be watching the sun come up with no sleep. I love when I can get so immersed in a book that I can forget where I am and what's going on around me.

As much as I admire LOtR and all that goes with it, I haven't read them yet. To be honest, the series intimidates me. I have no memory for names, and especially those I wouldn't encounter in the real world. Add to that the epic scale of the story, and it makes me feel like a beginning swimmer being tossed into a churning ocean. I've played D&D for years, and I've read a lot of fantasy novels. But that one is the granddaddy of them all.

2/18/2012 #18
Hippothestrowl

Try The Hobbit first then. It does precede LOR anyway although it's not crucial to read it first. It would be a shame not to read LOR because of not expecting to absorb it all. I used to skip the songs which I hated and probably one or two passages. Likely I forgot many of the characters too. But it was still a joy to read.

2/18/2012 #19
SimonSeville27

I definitely agree with you Hippothestrowl. I haven't read any Harry Potter (ducks from flying books being thrown) but I agree that simplistic language can be spellbinding.

When it comes to language and descriptiveness, I always err on the side of simplicity. My writing, on face, is completely immature. If you ever read something I write, you'll notice I rarely take time to truly describe things. What you'll frequently see in my stories is in extremely emotional scenes, I'll write something as simple as, "A tear fell from Simon's face" or even simply "She began to cry and said...". The reason for this is that even though these descriptions are extremely simple, they are used so infrequently that they pack a punch. And even though I don't take the time to describe things, I get wonderful comments about my readers of how they loved my descriptiveness. For instance, I wrote a one-shot that was almost exclusively made up of letters back and forth between to people. There was almost no descriptiveness in the entire story, no matter how emotional the scene was. Probably the most descriptive thing I wrote was "A teenage chipmunk stood up from his chair. His face was covered in tears." And yet, this was what one of my reviewers had to say about the story:

A most fascinating story. The plot itself is so deep and carefully designed, though to some it may seem to exist only in the end. The words, phrases and even whole sentences that are repeated in every letter affect the reader and the number of the messages between Simon and Jeanette alone awakens interest as to what exactly has happened. This curiosity builds up with every read paragraph and is finally sattisfied when their eyes reach the page's bottom, which by turn creates a feeling of contentment. Despite the partially hidden plot the important things are clear. This mysterious scent is really hard to achieve and demands very high writing skills. In fact, your literature is so close to spiritual perfection it reminds of poetry. The tale reflects the bitter-sweet taste of life without your soulmate wonderfully. All the one who reads it has to know to understand the occurrences is that the two chipmunks are separated but not because of lack of love. And, obviously, you fully comprehend the concept of Valentine's day.

For over a year I've searched fanfiction for good Simonette stories to read. At first it was very exciting, then I ran out and began waiting for others to appear. Little by little, with each fanfic that met my eyes my ability to feel what I read grew numb, the magic faded. But at a certain point while I was reading this that spark came back.

This kind of tales are unique and not many people can write one successfully. I'm glad Sploosh inspired you. Someone beet me to making the first long review but I tried to tell you all that I think about your work of art. Well, there goes half an hour. Thank you a lot for bringing us all the pleasure of having the chance to experience such emotions. I wish you much inspiration in the future and tales with a simular effect on readers. Bravo!

The point? Even though my writing was admittedly, naive, simplistic and had very little descriptiveness, it evoked a huge emotional response from this reader. It just goes to show that you don't have to spend three pages describing the color of a person's face to understand that they are sad. Sometimes, the reader just wants you to say that they're crying...

(By the way, that review was for the story 'To My Valentine' if you're curious...)

---

Now I also wanted to talk about the profanity discussion that was going on...

I pretty much agree with everybody else on this issue. I'm fine with profanity, but it has to be used in the appropriate context. In one story I read on this site, the author (and keep in mind, this is a fanfic from a cartoon series where nobody swears at all...) had the f word twenty-one times in chapters 2 and 3 alone... and this is a T rated story. That's just ridiculous in my mind, especially for the context it was in.

I use the f word in my stories, but it is usually in the context of a very heated argument or a death just being revealed. And certain characters will still yell "Oh heck!" when they're shot, just because that's what their vocabulary is. You just have to know what your characters are and what the context is to know if a word is appropriate to use.

2/18/2012 #20
Corinne Tate

Looks like I'm going to have to dig out a copy of The Hobbit.

In my brief time as a beta, I discovered that simple is often the best choice. Sometimes as a writer I get so caught up in finding just the right turn of phrase and impressing my readers with my vocabulary, that I forget they have to be able to follow me. I saw it quite a bit in the story I was working with, and it shined a bright light on what I myself was doing wrong. Sometimes we can get too good at writing, and forget that we're like dancers and we're partnered up with our readers. The best writers know how to lead, without letting the reader stumble.

As to that profanity issue, is there a way to review stories where there's an overabundance of it and it's out of character and context? I think often the writers use the very language they themselves use, and expect everyone to be okay with it.

2/18/2012 #21
The Lauderdale

I've had a very long, weird, evolving relationship with Tolkien and LOTR. I read the trilogy twice (age 12 and 17) as a duty to my favorite genre, and was bemused both times (although I did have a fondness for the characters the second time around.) I found his Orcs interesting, though, plus I read Mary Gentle's Grunts when I was around fifteen or sixteen, so that surely played a part as well. It was after the movies came out, and I started reading and then writing Orc fic, that I really began to absorb more of Tolkien's world and ideas. I read the trilogy again for the third time in 2010 and I think that was probably the first time I really "got it" and enjoyed it.

That's some twenty years - and really my relationship with Tolkien goes back further, since I simplified this chronology a lot. Yet other people have read him and were hooked from the get-go. It's interesting.

Definitely read The Hobbit first. It's fun and effortless, plus it sets a number of things up (although Tolkien actually had to go back and revise The Hobbit some to bring it more in line with LOTR.)

As to that profanity issue, is there a way to review stories where there's an overabundance of it and it's out of character and context? I think often the writers use the very language they themselves use, and expect everyone to be okay with it.

I probably would say, "This doesn't seem in keeping with So-and-so's character or the original book. It's a little jarring and distanced me from the story/characters." I might follow it up with a question: "Do you think it contributes to your story?" or "Were you trying to create a particular effect with this?" Or I might just stick with the former the original declarative observation and statement of effect.

2/18/2012 . Edited 2/18/2012 #22
SimonSeville27

(We should see how many different active conversations we can get going at once...)

As to that profanity issue, is there a way to review stories where there's an overabundance of it and it's out of character and context? I think often the writers use the very language they themselves use, and expect everyone to be okay with it.

As for reviewing those stories, I think you really just need to tell the author, either in a review or PM, that they should tone it down. I definitely think that people's use of language reflects their own use. I personally don't swear a lot, and sometimes I find it difficult to use really harsh language, even though I know it's appropriate for the context. Sometimes I actually force myself to swear in stories, just because I don't think screaming "Oh Popsicle Sticks!" is appropriate when you find out your husband was killed in a car accident... On the flip side, others throw it around so much in real life that they don't see it as a big deal. If you just let them know that they're swearing is excessive, they may tone it down in future chapters or ignore you. In the story I wrote about, he actually had so many complaints after the first three or four chapters that he had to tone it down, particularly since this is an huge length story (currently at 300k words and 45 chapters). Now I stopped reading at chapter ten because of the plot and tore him to shreds in a review, but that's another story...

In my brief time as a beta, I discovered that simple is often the best choice. Sometimes as a writer I get so caught up in finding just the right turn of phrase and impressing my readers with my vocabulary, that I forget they have to be able to follow me. I saw it quite a bit in the story I was working with, and it shined a bright light on what I myself was doing wrong. Sometimes we can get too good at writing, and forget that we're like dancers and we're partnered up with our readers. The best writers know how to lead, without letting the reader stumble.

I definitely agree... Like I said before, long descriptive writing can be absolutely beautiful, but it can also make the reader lost or just make them numb to the long descriptions. If every time someone is upset, you spend three paragraphs describing their face, how do you describe it when their husband is killed and they're even more upset? Sometimes the best way to describe something is to let the reader imagine it for themselves.

2/18/2012 #23
WinchesterPhantom

@Corinne Tate: Well, a 17 year old in my state can drink legally if on private property - in fact just recently a law was passed that if there was underage drinking going on at a private residence and the child is not your own then there must be a written permission slip allowing it. And see for me - I'm 18 but in my country I'm allowed to drink (hence its still 'teen binge drinking' but now not 'underage teen binge drinking'). I don't binge drink all the time - I have. There are more times when I've just had a glass of wine and thats all against the times I've been partying and gotten smashed. And don't feel bad for being 'old-fashioned' because it isn't. I have friends who don't drink and then I have friends who do. I had friends whose parents forbade alcohol until they were of legal age while I was allowed champagne on special occasions from when I turned about 16 (and only a glass). And in the end it doesn't matter.

On swearing - doesn't really concern me however when a person feels the need to swear every damn second damn word then its just 'no'.

(and 'y'all' is a sweet word)

2/18/2012 #24
Hippothestrowl

simon.seville27: Wow - that is some review. I tend to put more description in now because my first story was heavily criticised for not having enough and I agreed with hindsight. I do have a weakness to try to add more 'better' more detailed and vivid descriptions but I'm at risk of getting into purple prose territory and I have to revise and revise to fight that tendency. Embarrassment is a good motivator. I see one phrase still lying discarded on my cutting room floor was still vainly clutched by night's receding fingers. Yet ...to form a delightfully-contoured green hill up which the trees straggled and thinned as if resting from a pleasant exertion to look back at the view they had achieved didn't [get edited out.] That was after rewriting the paragraph ten or more times. I remember at one time it had something like... like wooden pilgrims. Yeuk!

As for profanity; I go with the original fiction (which is almost none in the case of Potter) or it just doesn't sound right. I come here to read and write more of the fiction I enjoyed when I read the originals so the closer to that the better for me.

2/18/2012 . Edited 2/18/2012 #25
The Lauderdale

(hence its still 'teen binge drinking' but now not 'underage teen binge drinking')

I must confess, I was conflating "underage" and "teen" in my head. Good catch.

I do have a weakness to try to add more 'better' more detailed and vivid descriptions but I'm at risk of getting into purple prose territory and I have to revise and revise to fight that tendency.

You know, there's this old thread, "Writing: What is the line between precise description and purple prose?" that I like a lot. http://forum.fanfiction.net/topic/2872/13962943/1/

On the other hand, it would be nice to have a thread for simile and metaphor. Done well, they can be effective and memorable.

On the third hand - heh - "Very Like A Whale" is one of my favorite poems.

One thing that literature would be greatly the better for

Would be a more restricted employment by the authors of simile and metaphor.

Authors of all races, be they Greeks, Romans, Teutons or Celts,

Can't seem just to say that anything is the thing it is but have to go out of their way to say that it is like something else...

2/18/2012 . Edited 2/19/2012 #26
Corinne Tate

Ah Winchester, different countries, different laws, different levels of responsibility. For me this may be a case of the pot calling the kettle - er, wow is that cliche'! To be honest, I did all my drinking before I was 21. I haven't had a sip since then - sort of been there done that. The only drinking I could do was binge drinking, because I hated the taste of alcohol. My plan was to drink a lot, very fast, so I would get drunk before I got sick. Stupid. Irresponsible. Stupid. (it bears repeating)

My complaint with the story I reviewed wasn't so much the whole party scenario, or that the character drank. It was that the three friends who went with her were not teens, but old vampires. The one in charge was another old vampire who was in love with her, and was charged with keeping her safe. Four characters who should have known better, allowed her to drink excessively, and abandoned her. It was out of character if it was canon. But more it was out of character for the writer's own story. Her response to my criticism was that the responsible character wasn't going to try to be her father. Why would he need to be a parent to understand that she was in a situation that could have easily turned out very bad? And why after hearing the details did he pass it off as fine.

(Juggling how many conversations now?) Actually I don't want this to be MY thread, so hijack at will.

Just read T.L.'s post. I happen to like similes and metaphors.

2/19/2012 . Edited 2/19/2012 #27
SimonSeville27

I'm a law school student, so I have no idea how prolific drinking is in the real world, but if people drink half as much as they do in law school, we have serious problems in the world...

Here are a few of the "school sponsored" events, my law school has hosted:

-A flippy cup tournament (Google it...) to raise money for a spring break trip to New Orleans

-Weekly Bar Review meetings (Not reviewing for the bar exam... just a bunch of people meeting at a bar... and then talking about it...)

-Various events with kegs of beer

-A Cocktail Party

And again, these are the "school sponsored" events...

Of course I am the youngest person in my law school at 19, which in my state, means I don't get to go to any of these events, and instead sit home and write FanFiction about a childhood cartoon... Of course, I'm actually sober at the final exam, so life does have advantages...

I tend to put more description in now because my first story was heavily criticised for not having enough and I agreed with hindsight. I do have a weakness to try to add more 'better' more detailed and vivid descriptions but I'm at risk of getting into purple prose territory and I have to revise and revise to fight that tendency.

Like I said, there's nothing wrong with being descriptive. The key is to know when to use it, and how much to use it. I think the biggest mistake I see in writing, is someone describing something that nobody actually cares about. Not everything is exciting. It would be ridiculous to write something like this: (This is my humorously overdone example)

"And then, she heard the bell. A bell that would change her fate. She knew that what that bell signified, may change her life. It rang again. Her body flung towards the sound. She slowly crept towards the noise. As she approached, the noise grew stronger, her fate grew deeper. She reached the sound that held her fate. As her tear ducts trained, she slowly set her hand on the slab of cold porous metal. Though all that was right in the world told her to stop, she turned the nob. The door creaked as she revealed the man waiting for her. Reluctantly, she took the package she had longed for from the man, no matter how wrong she knew it was. One part of her fate was certain, she was off her diet, now that the pizza came."

And as ridiculous (but fun to write) as that example was, I have seen people spend that much time on completely meaningless events. At a point, you just want to reach through the screen and shake the writer. If you save the descriptions for bigger moments in the story, there's nothing wrong with verbose descriptions, but you just have to know when to use it.

I personally write from a 1st person perspective in most stories, which allows me to have a much more simplistic dialogue. One trick I've picked up is having different 1st person perspectives each chapter, and shift the tone with the character. So in a chapter with my favorite character, who's a childhood genius, I have a very verbose and professional tone, but in his extremely naive younger brother's chapters, I write in an extremely simplistic way, where I say things like, "Then Eleanor walked in the room. Eleanor was so pretty." Not only does it make it easy to write, but it actually comes off as much more deep and well thought out, because of the drastic changes in tone.

As for profanity; I go with the original fiction (which is almost none in the case of Potter) or it just doesn't sound right. I come here to read and write more of the fiction I enjoyed when I read the originals so the closer to that the better for me.

I think the issue with this is in fandoms like mine where the original material has all the characters as 8 year olds. In my stories, they are usually no younger than 16, and generally well into adult life, so of course they would use more profanity than when they were 8. Because of that, I can't say that I agree that we can always go with the original material, but I think it's important to look at the behavior of the characters in that material to try and gauge how much they would swear as they got older.

---

(Oh and I think we're up to 4 conversations... let's see LOTR, Drinking, Swearing, and Descriptiveness... yup... four)

2/19/2012 #28
The Lauderdale

Just read T.L.'s post. I happen to like similes and metaphors.

Ooh. Thread perchance? As I said, done well, they can be pretty cool.

2/19/2012 #29
SimonSeville27

(Yay! Another conversation going!)

I'm not big on similes and metaphors. I agree that if they're done properly, they can be amazing, but people just don't do them well, so they end up confusing the heck out of the reader... plus I just don't like to think that much when I'm writing or reading, because it's a hobby.

I guess my disdain for similes and metaphors also has to do with the fact that every once in a while, an appellate court justice finds it funny to include poetry or metaphors as a part of their decision, and as a law student, I have to sort through the muck and figure out what they're saying. Priceless example: Fisher v. Lowe, 333 N.W.2d 67 (Mich. Ct. App. 1983)

We thought that we would never see

A suit to compensate a tree.

A suit whose claim in tort is prest

Upon a mangled tree's behest;

A tree whose battered trunk was prest

Against a Chevy's crumpled crest;

A tree that faces each new day

With bark and limb in disarray;

A tree that may forever bear

A lasting need for tender care.

Flora lovers though we three,

We must uphold the court's decree.

Funny? Sure... but from a practical perspective, it just mucks things up... so yeah, that's why I like things plain and simple...

2/19/2012 . Edited 2/19/2012 #30
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