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Bushtuckapenguin

This is copied and pasted from rvbfics(dot)com and taylored to it's formatting along with illustrations, but pretty much still applies...

And Stop

This is it. This will be why you write. Forget readers. Forget reviews. Forget 'because I have time on my hands.' This is it. Close your eyes and imagine a scene.

The climax of your story, the final confrontation, it all comes down to this. Every character walks the razor edge between triumph and disaster. The Crowning Moment of Epic...

It doesn't have to be clear in your mind. You may not be sure of who's there or the precise setting but all it needs is one sharp vision.

Church being hurled by an explosion. Tucker spitted on a Covenant sword. Wash lying half unconscious on the ground, as blood trickles into his eyes and miragelike AI swim before his vision, taunting. Grif and Simmons crouching back to back behind the Warthog as they load their last clip and prepare to face the oncoming wall of Brute soldiers...

A harsh laugh, a low threatening voice, a defiant cry.

Then there's the atmosphere. A storm lashes their skin with pelting rain. Forks of unnatural lighting and the boom of thunder like hooves overhead amongst angry red clouds. Or maybe in a deserted hallway of a UNSC cruiser, where the scuff of armour and the buzz of phosphorescent lights is the only sound. Or unearthly rumbling of the mountain, as boulders bounce and splinter with figures of red and blue fleeing before them.

And music. Gowon, imagine the music. Building around the scene, rising and pulsing as suspense and urgency grows. Another splinter of lightning lashes the sky amongst the clash of cymbals. With the explosion of an electric guitar Wash shoves himself to his feet for one last attempt, despite the gushing wound and fading consciousness.

Now freeze. Imagine that moment. Imagine a movie poster with a catchphrase. Imagine a soundtrack. Imagine all that you have worked towards that shining, exciting, nail-biting moment as you and readers walk the razor edge, lighting, blood, and a scream of triumph as they overcome.

This is what you work for. Not readers, not reviews, not boredom. You want others to feel that gutretching tension you get when imagine that scene. It will take a long time to reach it, lots of work, lots of revision to get everything perfect, but believe me when I say it is worth it

Most of all...

Write for the love of writing, write because you want to tell a story...

4/3/2010 #1
Bushtuckapenguin

Welcome To Basics

G'day everyone, Welcome to the Basics! I suspect most of you are joining me for curiosities sake. I'm your host, the Bushtuckapenguin and here is a quick collection of tutorials to help beginners.

And I do mean basic, prepare for a patronizing tone and facepalmage but you need to have the foundations down before you can write anything solid. Then again, I don't know who I'm writing for because if you're too bloody lazy to get these right you need a new hobby.

These are the very least a reader and potential reviewer will expect from you, and if you can't get these right they aren't going to care about pace, plot, characters or anything because they're too busy squinting and cursing their screen, if they're going to bother with more than the first three paragraphs.

A reader will always take the path of least resistance. When they are browsing the archives they're constantly asking themselves the question, "Will I read this fic?" the default answer is 'No' because 'No' takes the least effort. Even once they're inside every step is a catastrophe curve. A catastrophe curve is when, step after impossible step, something fails to go wrong. Every paragraph, every sentence, every word is a chance for the reader to get bored, turn back and quit reading.

It's your job as a writer to wrestle it into, "Yes, I'll give it a chance. Yes, I'll keep reading."

You can't please every reader all of the time, but you can satisfy every reader's basic needs- well organized, spelling, punctuation, paragraphing, presentation and most of all, pride in your work! If you don't care about your fic enough there's no reason anyone else should. Don't you want every review you can get your hands on?

But writing is like anything else you learn, it has it's iron rules... Never use the machine like this. Never get in this animal's pen. Never use this medication... And when you first start you obey them to the letter because it's safe and you won't get hurt... But as time goes on you find your shortcuts to make it easier, you refine your technique and you see the rules broken enough times that you can see how to do it successfully... and you find out those iron rules aren't so unbreakable...

Learn the rules so that you can break them the right way.

This is also the part where I warn you I've never taken more than high school English. These are just the tidbits I've accumulated over the years of copious reading, published and fanfiction. Although these tutorials use the Red vs Blue machinima as examples these tutes run true across the fandoms.

So mates, learn the rules, break them properly. Get in, get around, review, rewrite, talk to fellow authors and get the basics right!

4/3/2010 #2
Bushtuckapenguin

Your Summary

Aha! Now we get to the meat of the tutorials, how to get readers straight off the bat, aka your little space in the category index.

Your summary is your advertising, the way you hook a reader! Think of every time you've sat in a cinema and been impressed by a movie promo. As scenes zip by, words flash across the screen and the music pounds you sit there thinking, Holy crap, I have to see that! Alternatively if it was made of blurry screenshots with a voice-over of the director chatting absently, you're not going to see it even if the actual movie was fifteen kinds of awesome.

As a fanfiction author you don't have gorgeous panning shots or a pounding soundtrack to rope in fans, but you work with what you have. If your summary is untidy, poorly spelled or cliché the readers are going to skip it for that better looking one just down the list. Remember you're competing with every other fic in the fandom for attention so give yourself the edge.

Lets work through this systematically.

Finding and Using a Title

Your story's title is important. It's the first thing your reader sees and judges, the first chance to capture their attention and the first chance they may pass up the story over if they're not impressed. A good title should match the themes of Red vs Blue and the themes of your fic. Any meaning it has should still be relevant by the last chapter. It should be short and punchy and attract attention!

This is something that will stump even the good writers, and I can't really tell you what makes a good title but I can tell what makes a poor title and some steps to take which will open your mind up to better possibilities.

-Poor Title Choices

Boring titles equals boring fics and most are boring because of repetition. The more you hear it the less impact it has, less memorable and more likely to be washed away with all those stories with similarly named fics.

A staple of most beginner fics is a title involving the word Story and it's synonyms, Red Vs Blue Story, Blood Gulch Tales, AI Chronicles. I plucked those from the air right now so don't bitch about me making fun of you. You are not a special, special snowflake. Use the search engine to your advantage and see what competition your tentative title has but it's up to you to decide if something is too close but the key to drawing a reader is originality. When in doubt, toss it out.

Another common one is The New Bloke/Rookie/Red/Blue/Team most often related the introduction of an OC. These don't work because thestory outgrows it. In the first chapter your OC is bright and new and shiny, but five chapters in they've lost the glitter and by the end of the story, if you've done it successfully they should be smoothly integrated with the rest of the RvB cast.

OC's also instigate the third common title, vanity titles or stories named after the OC. Freelancer fics are the common culprit because you can legitimately have a whole fic around OCs without feeling too wanky. These titles don't work because one of the reasons we love Red Vs Blue so much is they successfully make every character lovable, sharing screen time and story lines equally. Naming it after Agent Louisiana, or Red Team's new gal Danielle Hart effectively reduces everyone else to the supporting act and squealing Me! Me! Me! I'm the only one that matters! Using pronouns like, I Fell Into Blood Gulch or My RvB Story doesn't work either.

Finding the Inspiration

My first suggestion is to go have a look through your local video store to put you in the right frame of mind. Wander the aisles, think carefully and roll potential titles around in your head. Sometimes the perfect title will hit you there and then, or strike up the inspiration for a plot or chapter if your lucky. If still haven't got anything don't despair, there are other ways to find titles.

Now that it's comes to choosing a title it should reflect the style of the story. Where does your fic fit in the RvB timeline? What category will it list under? Luckily RvB has some effective patterns to fall back on.

Do you want your story to blend in with the Post-Blood Gulch style, a nineteen chapters with defined plot? Recovery, Reconstruction, Relocation, Recreation and soon to be Resolution... You can't go wrong with picking up a dictionary and flicking to your Re pages, from Recoloured to Rewired, you're bound to find one that suits the themes of your fanfic.

Do you have a Freelancer fic? Tex's miniseries Out of Mind had the potential of a new pattern and something about it certainly suggested the dark, psychological overtones of Project Freelancer. I also think it had strong ties to the main character's mental and emotional state so any play on those kinds of words will feel right. Examples might include, Peace of Mind, Piece of Mind, Out of Time, Out of Luck and if there's ever a Wyoming fic, Out of Date is just too perfect.

Not all fics take themselves that seriously, character-centric, romances, oneshots and drabbles. No worries!

Popular phrases, idioms or sayings will work. Trial By Fire, Zero Tolerance, Cutting Edge, Silence is Golden, A House Divided, Face the Music... http:// www.usingenglish.com/ reference/idioms/a . html is a random place to start but looking up the terms in any search engine is bound to find similar quotes with greater variety.

Another great suggestion is taking a poignant quote from your own fanfiction, something that will have a whoa moment at the end.

Next up a jargon specific term that has similar tones to your story. For example Serendipity, a scientific or important discovery purely by mistake or accident. Adytum, an architectural term for the most sacred room in a temple. Adagio, a musical term that for music that is slow and expressive. Probertency Encyclopedia (http://www. probertencyclopaedia. com/)or The Phrontistery (http:// phrontistery. info/ index. html) are excellent sites but if you look up any topic of interest, meteorology, geology, medicine, Greek Myth, something is bound to pop up.

The last tried and true source of inspiration is the same as many peoples, music! However you have to tread carefully.

Avoid any title after a song that is currently in your Top of the Popcharts, these are usually fads. One month later you've got a new favourite song and you'll want to change it. Changing your fic title means some constant readers could get lost and any art you have is suddenly out of date.

Staying away from song titles will usually avoid cliché, except in case of classic or obscure ones. For example Going Under after Evanescence is a burning pitchfork to the eye that screams wangst to any veteran reader (as do most Evanescence songs. I quite like them but they've been abused too much by twelve year old cutting OC's to not make me flinch). Meanwhile, Chandelier of Stars written by an Australian country singer named John Williamson isn't going to send of sparks of recognition except a few. And its pretty.

What I like to do is leave my CD collection alone and go look at someone who has completely different tastes than I do. I look to my parents collection. It makes me shudder but everyone needs to suffer for their art.

Closing my eyes I pull out a CD at random and stab my finger. Creedence Clearwater Revival's Bad Moon Rising. Hey, no worries! I don't choose Bad Moon Rising, instead I look up the lyrics on the internet and I suddenly see a few things I like.

I hear hurricanes a blowin' I know the end is coming soon I feel rivers overflowin' I hear the voice of rage and ruin

That actually sounds cool. Writing an Apocalyptic fic where the fate of the entire world is at hand? The End is Soon, or even, The End is Now. It's blunt and arouses curiousity. What might be even cooler is Rage and Ruin. Alliteration sounds good on the tongue.

Let's use another example, I go to my brother's, pick a CD, oh... Black Sabbath, okay. Fortunately it has lyrics so I look through and here's some things that catch my eye... Who worship you are blind....You'll just cast our souls... Sunday's star is Monday's scar...Rotting in decay...Seperating Sanity....Spiral Skies

From those I may get the titles, Blind Worship, Souls Cast, Today's Star-Tomorrow's Scar, Decay. Separating Sanity is too cool not to miss for a Wash fic!

One last time, I know my auntie listens to Enya, so I look her up on the Internet and I find... Anywhere Is. Here's some things that catch my eye. Maze of Moments... I Walk to the Horizon...I Wonder if the Star Sign...Spark of Constellation...Echoes of Their Story...To Leave the Tread of All Time...It could be on reflection...Near the End...

Which could turn into, Maze of Moments, Horizon, Star Sign, Star Shine, Echoes, Tread of All Time, On Reflection, Near the End.

The key to this is looking at something you've never heard before or hear very rarely, and not apart of your usual listening genre. If you listen to pop try grunge or rap, or if you listen to Linkin Park try Monty Python or Buddy Holly, it'll keep your mind open.

Also by jabbing randomly around this site, DarkLyrics.com, I found some good ones.

Found It!

Now that you've found your title, time to put it in the submission form. You must, must, must have it spelled and capitalized correctly because this is the first thing your reader will see. If you can't get the spelling in your title right, the reader won't expect much from the rest of the story, except for smug superiority.

A title shouldn't require the usual punctuation. Exclamation points have a manicness about them that can be tacky, a comma may indicate the title is too long and there's no need for a fullstop/period at the end. Under no circumstances are there to be ellipses ... or brackets (). Ellipses are the punctuation equivalent of 'he trailed off' while brackets are kind of 'by the way' and will lessen the impact of a title. A title should be short, sharp, and draw attention.

Others use punctuation as a decoration but this gives a cluttered effect. |||Blind Worship|||

Never put AN in your title eg Blind Worship- A Grimmons Fic. Don't treat your readers like idiots. If they need an Author's Note to tell them what it's about, your summary fails with an extra F.

Correct capitalization is pretty much the capitalization of everything except small words, like of, the, a, to and will be in the middle. There are exceptions. A fic called the end will be capitalized as The End. Don't type entirely in capitals either, the effect is like shouting rudely at the author.

If in doubt, feel ask questions in the review box.

Writing a Summary

Once again your summary is another window into your fanfiction, another point where the reader decides whether to continue or if it's just not good enough. Show it off, make it gleam and sell it to the reader. The outside has to look good before anyone bothers looking inside. If you can't keep the simple stuff in good nick, no one expects the story to be any better.

You need to give your summary the same attention you would your fic, spelling, punctuation, paragraphing, grammar, the whole shibang. Random Internet speak, blatant misspelling and excessive punctuation are only good if you want to give the reader the impression your head has been bashed repeatedly on a kitchen counter. Spelling your I's in lower case (i suck @ summaries!) isn't charming, you're braindead.

Wording your summary can be difficult but anything is better than nothing. Take your time, you can replace it whenever you like but make sure it does the job, namely make any member idling skimming the archives sit up, shut up and read. It needs to be unique, evocative and interesting. The reader is always looking for something new so browse through the top five of pages of RvB Society or FFnet and as you go through you'll notice patterns.

To start with try this formula; the characters, the setting and the antagonistic force. Who's in it, where and when are they and what is the problem, conflict or danger to solve.

Incomprehensible Summary

-gues wat happens in valhala after recostruction. the carries arnt mine, i did this for my friend lilipad -wooo! my first fanficti when i get sucked into blod gulch!!! :P -What happend to Griff and Church when they're stuck on sidewinda? is their luv in the air. lol! omg!

If you lack the mental capacity and dexterity to move your pinky 5mm to the shift key you shouldn't be aloud near crayons and pieces of paper with rounded corners let alone a keyboard. If you can't spell the characters names correctly, go write a fic about Ben and his big red ball. You are a lazy dropout who needs to concentrate to talk and breath at the same time. If you actually think that counts as English, there is no advice I can give other than don't breed. No txt speak, no texticons, and use grammatical correctly spelled English.

White Noise Summaries

-I was minding my own business watching Red vs Blue and suddenly I fell into Blood Gulch! -What's this, a new team is in Blood Gulch? Read Red Vs Blue Vs Grey!

-This is the story of my OC Freelancer Louisiana.

Anything repetitive still fails, these summaries become the white noise of the archive everyone skips over. I could pick out three Anywhere but Here fics from the air that follow that pattern. If you went to a dvd rental joint and found five movies with basically the same blurb on the back you're going to avoid all of them. Find the things that make your story, character or plot unique and fit them into your summary.

Author Commentary

-This is what I think would happen if the RvB characters celebrated Easter! I wrote it for my best friend who also Betad it.

-Set after Reconstruction 19, this is what happens to Wash and Maine. I felt like writing this because I thought the RT gang left a lot of questions hanging. -Read the sequel to Freelancer Adventure on this site too. The first chapters are just about them but the rest is how they go to Blood Gulch. South/Wash, other pairings later.

-This is a rewrite of my previous story which includes several OC's and the Red Team. Their profiles are in my bio. -My story is just a chance to show off my action skills, written late at night after vodka. It's a three part fic written in three different point of views.

Commercially published works do everything for a reason. They've done the hard yards and thoroughly tested what attracts the most readers, that's why aspiring after professionalism is a good idea. Looking at book blurbs, not one is the author carrying a conversation with potential readers. My book is about dark elves and spaceships and is the sequel to Other Stuff. This is because they're trying to immerse you in a new world and the idea of the author actively promoting it breaks the illusion. Instead of the enticing voice-over of a movie preview, they're listening to the dvd commentary and can't turn it off.

How to avoid it? Well most of the examples aren't doing what's on the label, they're stuffing in a whole lot of Author's Notes about story processes, motivations and style. Take that out because a reader chooses and sticks with a a story because the story sounds interesting, not the story behind it. If you use the word 'I' and it isn't from a character's point of view you're probably on the wrong track.

Author Commentary reminds us it's just a story and they're just characters. Don't refer to chapters, episodes, seasons or other fics will break the illusion of real people and real problems. Instead refer to events.

-When Agent Washington set of the EMP, he didn't realise a mole had stolen vital secrets of Freelancer, and the secrets of their pasts. Now his fate and Maine's are tangled and they must fight together to regain their identity.

-That time of year has rolled around again! Caboose is painting eggs, Donut's got his cottontail thong and Church is weaving baskets? Uh oh, Easter has come to Blood Gulch!

-Three desperate firefights. Three personal battles. Three Freelancers losing their minds. In a world of mud, blood and screams, only one will see the dawn.

Summary Repetition

-Three desperate firefights. Three personal battles. Three Freelancers losing their minds. In a world of mud, blood and screams, only one will see the dawn. Rated 18+ for language and violence.

-When Agent Washington set of the EMP, he didn't realise a mole had stolen vital secrets of freelancer, and the secrets of their pasts. Now his fate and Maine's are tangled and they fight to regain their identity. Post Reconstruction.

-Tucker finally gets Sister alone and things don't go as planned. TuckerxSister.Red Vs Blue copyright Rooster Teeth 2009

Really, you don't own Rooster Teeth? 18+, I couldn't possibly see big glaring Warning Tag! Summary repetition is when you're telling the reader something they already know, common canon knowledge, repeating tags or warnings or something self evident in the summary. Your target audience will already know the background information and they can read so don't treat the reader like an idiot.

Tag Clutter

-RvB Fic. Grif/Simmons, Church/Tucker, Church/Tex, Tucker/Sister, Caboose/Donut, Doc/Sister, Wash/South, North/Carolina.

-The Flood has come to Blood Gulch and a squad of super soldiers have been tasked to destroy them. Do you have your zombie plan? Horror. Comedy. Language. Violence. OC's. Several Pairings.

I've tried to add every tag possible to avoid that untidy mess that clings to a summary like chewing gum to the bottom of your boot. Tags and Ships are useful for quick browsing of information in an archive without an effective search engine but you can see they stick out like a sore thumb and completely ruin any suspense. If you want them to know it's Doc/Sister fic you're a poor author if you can't imply it in your summary.

Summary Excuses

-This is my first fic so be nice.

-I suck at spelling and summaries.

-Better than it sounds. It starts off bad but gets better.

If you suck at spelling, why didn't you use a beta reader or a spellcheck? Many a first fic has been brilliant but even if it isn't and you've done your best you have nothing to be sorry about. Readers and reviewers will be able to see you're trying and will recognise the difference between a newb and a noob.

If you suck at summaries, no one expects the story to be any better.

Better than it sounds? Then make it sound better! If it starts off bad do you think readers will sit around for five chapters for a payoff that might not come?

Push comes to shove, don't make excuses. They just sound like weak attempts to justify laziness and are more like whining.

Review Begging

-No reviews! No chapters!

-Reviews and comments plz!

-This is the first part of a story I will only continue if people want it too!

-Feel free to submit ideas and characters.

The tag R&R is an inoffensive part of any summary that nobody minds, but pretty redundant when you think about it because you wouldn't be posting if you didn't want comments and criticism. Repeating it, writing a whole sentence in your summary about it is irritating.

But if there's one thing more annoying than whinging on and on about it is taking your fic hostage for reviews, it's called Review-Whoring. Chances are if nobody cares enough to leave a review at this point, chucking a hissy fit isn't going to make it better. Even if you're an established and well loved author, by doing this you will lose all credibility.

Non-Summary

-My second fanfic, the sequel to 'Trial by Fire' R&R

-Haha! I wrote this after red cordial with my friend. This time in a brand new, original adventure!

-The adventures of Agent Louisiana! This is a story that gets better as you read it.

-Holy Moly! An Update!

-I suck at summaries! Read about it inside!

A wad of writing occupying the space a summary should. A summary needs to give enough information so the reader can make a choice about whether to read it or not. If there's no info the default choice is 'No.'

Mentioning if your fic is a sequel or a prequel is a good idea, but don't leave it at that. Optimally you'd like new readers to be so enticed by this summary that they go look for the first in the series.

Tags, Warnings and Shippings

As mentioned tags, warnings and shippings are extremely useful to readers when browsing and quickly and certainly makes searching easier. Also so many readers take offense to mislabeled fics and feel burned, avoiding the author in the future. I also advise to keep warnings current. Don't warn for a sex scene in chapter twelve when you're only writing chapter four.

Shipping: Shipping tags are common in a fandom with a variety of characters and common pairings but cramming every hinted pairing is just ugly. Mention the ones that contribute to the plot or peak the readers interest.

R&R: Stands for Read & Review and is used so much people it's become the white noise of summaries. You wouldn't be posting your fanfiction in a public forum if you didn't want feedback, it's a matter of what kind of feedback you'd like. R&R is the broad and easygoing of the review requests, you love all attention even 'U's gr8, rite more!' More often it is an acknowledgment the fanfiction has been read rather than subject to analysis or improvement.

CC: Stands for Constructive Critisism, it's for the authors who, while appreciating all reviews they're hoping for a proactive reviewer, opinions about wasn't liked and how it could be improved. They love analysis of the writing, feelings or imagery proved, detailed and thorough view all comments, however bad or blunt as just another step closer to perfection.

A lot of newbie writers add this without being quite prepared for what it entails. Don't add it if you aren't prepared to get a review saying, 'Slash and burn, start again, there is nothing redeemable about this fic.' If you use this tag and rant and rave about someone badmouthing your fic you'll come off as a whiny little liar. On the otherhand this is the best way for rapid improvement and most reviewers aren't that vicious.

No Flames: I have specifically avoided adding this choice to our list because while it's found the internet over, what it actually reveals is a noob who doesn't know the difference between a constructive crit and a flame. And the joke is, Flamers are drawn to this tag like moths to a flame. It is admission there is something inside to be flamed. Everytime I see this what I in fact hear is, "Wah! Don't say anything bad about me, I'm right and you're wrong. You're a big jealous meanie!"

BR: Boomerang Reviews have only caught on in a few fandoms and I'm certainly going to encourage it's growth here. A community becomes closer, more reviews all round and the quality of the archive goes up tenfold. By adding BR to your summary it's a promise; "If you review my fic, I'll review one of your fanfics in the same fandom, even if I'm not fond of the genre or pairing I'll show you the same courtesy you showed me." Don't post it if you don't mean it or you'll get a reputation as a liar. It's certainly an effective way to attract more reviews.

Newb Writer: Much more effective than No Flames, this says, "My first fic, I'm willing to learn but please go easy on me." Again, don't abuse it by going off like a whiny child if you get constructive crit instead of lavish praise.

Your Checklist

-I have read the rules of FF.net and my submission meets the requirements- Yes/No

-I have chosen an appropriate and evocative title for my fanfic- Yes/No

-I have used the search engine to check how original it is- Yes/No

-I have written an evocative and tasteful summary with correct spelling, punctuation and grammar.

-I have used appropriate tags and warnings- Yes/No

4/3/2010 #3
Bushtuckapenguin

Your Spelling

No, I'm not going to teach you how to spell. That's up to your teachers and your own responsibility but I know more than 40% of the fictions have terrible spelling. Bad spelling makes it impossible to read and if the reader has to sit there and puzzle out what the actual sentence is it's impossible to enjoy.

Then an author will complain about reviewers 'not being able to get past spelling'.

Lazy writers make excuses. Great writers strive to better themselves. If you find yourself saying any of the following, mash your fingers in a dictionary. A big fat one one.

-I'm only ??? so I'm no good at spelling. Age doesn't have anything to do with it, especially in this day and age where you have so much technology and so many people willing to help.

-I have a learning disability. This may be but over the years I've known eight or nine authors who have had dyslexia and similar difficulties and they had fewer spelling mistakes in their first draft. That's because they know their downfall and do everything they can to make up for it.

Blatant and repetitive spelling mistakes are an eyesore and warp your fanfiction. It is a reflection of yourself and your pride in your work. You should be aiming for zero spelling mistakes. Admittedly everyone makes the occasional typo that's different. They are accidental slips of the finger, teh instead of the, and are missed because of familiarity with the work. Constant spelling mistakes are published because ignorance and laziness.

Spellchecker

The first weapon in your arsenal against typos, bad spelling and grammar is your Spellcheck!

Microsoft Word definitely has one so use it but if your program doesn't have a spellchecker it's easy to download one off the web or even use an online site such as Spellcheck.biz.

Don't tell yourself don't have the time. If you have the time to go through RvB Society's rigmarole to submit your fanfiction, you have the time to spellcheck.

Rereading

Don't trust SpellCheck alone! No! *whacks with rolled up newspaper* Bad!

A spellcheck doesn't pick up all spelling mistakes, only the obvious ones. It won't know if names are spelled correctly so Grif and Griff will go unnoticed. Neither will they pick up homophones and often confuses their, they're and there if the program's grammar checker is really shoddy.

That's why you should reread everything at least twice. I also recommend leaving it a day apart between rereadings to avoid familiarity. Yes, rereading takes more time and effort but if your story isn't worth the few extra minutes than it's not worth telling.

Don't rush it. Sit back, relax and read. Reading aloud (or mumbling if you're self conscious) will pick up grammar and punctuation nuances. Perhaps while you're rereading you'll think of a better word or more emotive phrasing to drive a scene home. That's the beauty of rereading and waiting a few days before posting your chapter.

BetaReader

A beta reader is a person who reads a written work with a critical eye, with the aim of improving grammar, spelling, characterization, and general style of a story prior to its release to the general public.

You know how it goes, you've read it so many times while writing and then as you reread your mind skips over the mistakes. The good news is that by this time there should be barely any so the role of the betareader is always one of a polisher. Their job is to turn something from near perfect to perfect.

I was and still am, a betareader, but there was just one lad who wouldn't learn. I was betaring six other fictions at the time as well as his but they made an effort. I would fix up five spelling mistakes a paragraph, improper punctuation and shocking capitalization. Chapter after chapter (twelve was the last count) I would patiently fix up and send off with advice so he had no excuse about not knowing how to punctuate dialogue or that names needed to be capitalised.

He repeated the same mistakes over and over until after a miserable day I exploded calling him lazy and inconsiderate. I regretted it the moment I rashly pressed Send and tried to apologize but I never heard from him again.

Don't do this to your beta reader, appreciate them and don't take them for granted because they are doing you a favour.

Okay, time for the checklist!

I have spellchecked my work- Yes/No

I have reread my work once- Yes/No

I have reread my work a second time- Yes/No

I have given my work to a competant betareader Yes/No

4/3/2010 #4
Bushtuckapenguin

Your Paragraphing

Paragraphing, like punctuation is another thing that will om time become instinctive. Relax, if you don't know the niceties of paragraphing this is the way to fake it! The rest is refinement through expirience!

Imagine you're scrolling through the recent updates page and you see a fanfiction. Wow, it sounds seriously awesome with everything, pretty banner, neat summary and that rare pairing you love. There's nothing left to click and read, except...

"You like me!" Sister squealed, clapping her hands together with a metallic clink. She tried to shove herself bodily past her brother but Grif's physique was like fighting your way through a jumping castle. "That's hot!" "Ha, Tucker likes anything with an orifice. That is not a compliment," Church scoffed. He had been leaning against the wrecked tank watching on with amusement, but couldn't resist. "Not helping dude!""Didn't want to dude!" The day was bright, the air shimmered in the heat and Leonard L. Church couldn't bear another day. Every day was the same. Same fucking ritual. Pour Caboose is stupid Fruit Loops, kick Tucker out of the shower, smash Doc's Enya cd, throw Sister out of someones bed and spend the day standing out on the Blue Base cliff's waiting for a transmission, any transmission, from command until sun down. Rinse, lather and repeat. Of course it had always been that way but it was only in the last couple of weeks that it had seemed unbearable. Not since...Tex.Tex had always made this twenty seven degree Celcius hell tolerable. Even when she was bitching over the entertainment centre, even when she was beating his ass, or nagging him to death. Even when she was away chasing Wyoming, just knowing she was out meant he deal with this crap one more day because he might see her tomorrow. What happens to a ghost when their host is vaporised by a ten megaton explosion in the cold emptiness of space? It hurt to think about but at least it was providing a welcome distraction. Grif had somehow found out about his sister's sleeping arrangements and was not happy. Tucker grinned nastily at Grif, nudging his ribs even as Sister darted from one side to the other. "Bow chika wow- OW!" Tucker yowled as Grif whirled in a vicious arc, connecting with the casonova's exposed jaw. CRACK!

My eyes! My eyes! Oh god my brain is melting! That's just a slice of a story, could you really sit down and stare at that for ten minutes? They're too busy thinking lovingly of asperin to even try enjoying it.

Time to take the first step on the road to enlightenment!

Rule 1: Everytime a new character speaks start a new line. One Character = One Paragraph

This is for organisation and so at a glance you don't have to puzzle out who is speaking.

"You like me!" Sister squealed, clapping her hands together with a metallic clink. She tried to shove herself bodily past her brother but Grif's physique was like fighting your way through a jumping castle. "That's hot!" "Ha, Tucker likes anything with an orifice. That is not a compliment," Church scoffed. He had been leaning against the wrecked tank watching on with amusement, but couldn't resist. "Not helping dude!" "Didn't want to dude!" The day was bright, the air shimmered in the heat and Leonard L. Church couldn't bear another day. Every day was the same. Same fucking ritual. Pour Caboose is stupid Fruit Loops, kick Tucker out of the shower, smash Doc's Enya cd, throw Sister out of someones bed and spend the day standing out on the Blue Base cliff's waiting for a transmission, any transmission, from command until sun down. Rinse, lather and repeat. Of course it had always been that way but it was only in the last couple of weeks that it had seemed unbearable. Not since...Tex.Tex had always made this twenty seven degree Celcius hell tolerable. Even when she was bitching over the entertainment centre, even when she was beating his ass, or nagging him to death. Even when she was away chasing Wyoming, just knowing she was out meant he deal with this crap one more day because he might see her tomorrow. What happens to a ghost when their host is vaporised by a ten megaton explosion in the cold emptiness of space? It hurt to think about but at least it was providing a welcome distraction. Grif had somehow found out about his sister's sleeping arrangements and was not happy. Tucker grinned nastily at Grif, nudging his ribs even as Sister darted from one side to the other. "Bow chika wow- OW!" Tucker yowled as Grif whirled in a vicious arc, connecting with the casonova's exposed jaw. CRACK!

There we go, there's our first bit of relief. If I was flicking through stories and I came across this one I'd give it a chance to warm up because I can see the attempts at paragraphing but you can't stop there. What you have smack in the middle is a runon paragraph. A runon paragraph is several paragraphs mooshed together.

Rule 2: Separate runon paragraphs into topics. One Topic = One Paragraph.

This is difficult because quite often topics aren't distinct, one will flow into another but give it your best burl and time, practice and lots of reading. Slowly and surely it'll be habit. Here I can see

"You like me!" Sister squealed, clapping her hands together with a metallic clink. She tried to shove herself bodily past her brother but Grif's physique was like fighting your way through a jumping castle. "That's hot!" "Ha, Tucker likes anything with an orifice. That is not a compliment," Church scoffed. He had been leaning against the wrecked tank watching on with amusement, but couldn't resist. "Not helping dude!" "Didn't want to dude!" The day was bright, the air shimmered in the heat and Leonard L. Church couldn't bear another day. Every day was the same. Same fucking ritual. Pour Caboose is stupid Fruit Loops, kick Tucker out of the shower, smash Doc's Enya cd, throw Sister out of someones bed and spend the day standing out on the Blue Base cliff's waiting for a transmission, any transmission, from command until sun down. Rinse, lather and repeat. Of course it had always been that way but it was only in the last couple of weeks that it had seemed unbearable. Not since... Tex. Tex had always made this twenty seven degree Celcius hell tolerable. Even when she was bitching over the entertainment centre, even when she was beating his ass, or nagging him to death. Even when she was away chasing Wyoming, just knowing she was out meant he deal with this crap one more day because he might see her tomorrow. What happens to a ghost when their host is vaporised by a ten megaton explosion in the cold emptiness of space? It hurt to think about but at least it was providing a welcome distraction. Grif had somehow found out about his sister's sleeping arrangements and was not happy. Tucker grinned nastily at Grif, nudging his ribs even as Sister darted from one side to the other. "Bow chika wow- OW!" Tucker yowled as Grif whirled in a vicious arc, connecting with the casonova's exposed jaw. CRACK!

Rule 3: Start a new paragraph for emphasis.

If you want a sound effect, a poignant noise, dramatic gesture or plot revelation, to have the full impact on the reader give it a line all of its own. Don't over do it, like everything if you use it too much it'll lose its effect.

"You like me!" Sister squealed, clapping her hands together with a metallic clink. She tried to shove herself bodily past her brother but Grif's physique was like fighting your way through a jumping castle. "That's hot!" "Ha, Tucker likes anything with an orifice. That is not a compliment," Church scoffed. He had been leaning against the wrecked tank watching on with amusement, but couldn't resist. "Not helping dude!" "Didn't want to dude!" The day was bright, the air shimmered in the heat and Leonard L. Church couldn't bear another day. Every day was the same. Same fucking ritual. Pour Caboose is stupid Fruit Loops, kick Tucker out of the shower, smash Doc's Enya cd, throw Sister out of someones bed and spend the day standing out on the Blue Base cliff's waiting for a transmission, any transmission, from command until sun down. Rinse, lather and repeat. Of course it had always been that way but it was only in the last couple of weeks that it had seemed unbearable. Not since... Tex. Tex had always made this twenty seven degree Celcius hell tolerable. Even when she was bitching over the entertainment centre, even when she was beating his ass, or nagging him to death. Even when she was away chasing Wyoming, just knowing she was out meant he deal with this crap one more day because he might see her tomorrow. What happens to a ghost when their host is vaporised by a ten megaton explosion in the cold emptiness of space? It hurt to think about but at least it was providing a welcome distraction. Grif had somehow found out about his sister's sleeping arrangements and was not happy. Tucker grinned nastily at Grif, nudging his ribs even as Sister darted from one side to the other. "Bow chika wow- OW!" Tucker yowled as Grif whirled in a vicious arc, connecting with the casonova's exposed jaw. CRACK!

Rule 4: Always use double spacing on the internet.

That's good, that's correct but you can still do more. After a period of time that still looks cramped, still difficult to read. Wherever you post, you need to make sure you use double spacing. In the publishing world, your submission must be double spaced or it will go right in the trash and readers will do the same.

"You like me!" Sister squealed, clapping her hands together with a metallic clink. She tried to shove herself bodily past her brother but Grif's physique was like fighting your way through a jumping castle. "That's hot!"

"Ha, Tucker likes anything with an orifice. That is not a compliment," Church scoffed. He had been leaning against the wrecked tank watching on with amusement, but couldn't resist.

"Not helping dude!"

"Didn't want to dude!"

The day was bright, the air shimmered in the heat and Leonard L. Church couldn't bear another day. Every day was the same. Same fucking ritual.

Pour Caboose is stupid Fruit Loops, kick Tucker out of the shower, smash Doc's Enya cd, throw Sister out of someones bed and spend the day standing out on the Blue Base cliff's waiting for a transmission, any transmission, from command until sun down. Rinse, lather and repeat. Of course it had always been that way but it was only in the last couple of weeks that it had seemed unbearable. Not since...

Tex.

Tex had always made this twenty seven degree Celcius hell tolerable. Even when she was bitching over the entertainment centre, even when she was beating his ass, or nagging him to death. Even when she was away chasing Wyoming, just knowing she was out meant he deal with this crap one more day because he might see her tomorrow.

What happens to a ghost when their host is vaporised by a ten megaton explosion in the cold emptiness of space?

It hurt to think about but at least it was providing a welcome distraction. Grif had somehow found out about his sister's sleeping arrangements and was not happy. Tucker grinned nastily at Grif, nudging his ribs even as Sister darted from one side to the other.

"Bow chika wow- OW!" Tucker yowled as Grif whirled in a vicious arc, connecting with the casonova's exposed jaw.

CRACK!

Okay, time for the checklist!

I have started a new line with every new speaker- Yes/No

I have started a new line for each new topic- Yes/No

I have started a new line when I want to use emphasis- Yes/No

I have used double spacing in my fanfic- Yes/No

4/3/2010 #5
Bushtuckapenguin

Your Punctuation

Okay, I'm going to admit this straight away, I can't explain punctuation.

Punctuation is like driving a car. You can learn the steps, (slowdown, glance over shoulder, mirror check, clutch in, change gear). The more you learn the more natural it becomes. You don't think about where a comma goes, (or glancing in the mirror if you want to continue with the analogy) you just do it. The more and more experienced you become you find you're doing all the steps automatically, and you find it difficult explaining just how the steps go again.

It's difficult to describe to others unless you're trained which I most certainly am not. Mine became automatic because of the sheer amount of reading I did as a child. That's the best advice I can give on this topic. Read. Read published work and take note of how often they use exclamation marks and where their commas go.

However, here's my attempt at explaining punctuation.

The rules of RvB Society say to use standard spelling, punctuation and paragraphing, but don't let this be your main motivation. If you want your reader to get any kind of enjoyment from your fic, to feel the right kind of tension, to hear the significant pauses or the tones in their voice you need to have consistent and accurate punctuation. They're the stop signs, the giveway signs, the speed signs and the direction signs of your story and without them everything is chaos.

Frankly, we readers are lazy and if its too much trouble to read it's so much easier to give up and find a better organised fic.

Do yourself a favour and get it right!

Over time you will know naturally where commas(,), semicolons(;) and fullstops(.) belong but some of you may have to think about it. The easiest trick to knowing where to place them is to read aloud and listen for pauses.

If it's a short pause it's a comma, if it's a long pause it's a full stop.

If you are rattling off a number things, there's a comma between each item, eg South picked up her pistol, medikit, clips and an apple off the counter.

Then if it's a conjoined sentence, which is rare, use a semi-colon. Mostly you won't need to know about those.

Exclamation marks (!) and question marks (?) speak for themselves, as do brackets () and quotation marks (" ").

Dialogue

Lots of people get their punctuation when it comes to dialogue mixed up. Look at the following sentences and take note of the position of the capitalization (South, Amble, I) comma (,) and the full stop/ period (.).

1) "That's not true," said Church.

In this sentence we notice that the comma is at the end of the dialogue. Even though "That's not true." Is a sentence if spoken aloud in conversation, when writing the sentence doesn't end until Church completes his action, eg said so only when the action is completed is there are fullstop(.).

2) "That's not true." He turned his back, shaking his head. "I don't believe it."

Here we notice that there is a fullstop (.) completes the dialogue sentence and so the action, turning his back is separate

3) "That's not true," he said turning his back.

Here Church turns his back as he speaks, they are a combined action so commas are used at the end of the dialogue, the he is not capitalized because it doesn't start a sentence.

4) "That's not true!" exclaimed Church, shooting to his feet.

Here the exclamation mark and again in 8) do not complete the action, so exclaimed and asked aren't capitalized.

5) "That," said Church dangerously, "is not true."

In five the dialogue is split up for a dramatic pause. Because the sentence isn't complete there is a comma (,) after "That," and a comma after Church for the pause. However, even though there is no fullstop (.) "Is" is capitalized because it is at the start of the dialogue.

6) "That," said Church, picking at his fingernail and gazing around, "is not true."

Six is just the same as five, even though the bit in between is longer. It's used mostly to indicate a meaningful pause.

7) Church frowned. "That-"

"-Is not true," interrupted Wash.

Traditionally a hyphen is used join words but in this context it indicates being cut off abruptly. If he's cut off there is no pause, so no fullstop or comma. Wash finishes of the sentence but much like Church in 1) the action is complete, there is a comma after true and a full stop after Wash.

9) "Is that true?!" asked Church.

Ahh, the double punctuation of ?! It is curiously known as the interrobang, cool huh! This is not technically correct but it is used in published writing and becoming more and more common. You often picture it as a shriek of disbelief. The thing is, use these buggers rarely because if you use it too often it loses its effectiveness to provoke the reader.

10) "That's not true…" he trailed off, desperate for some other answer.

… Are referred to as ellipses and is the punctuation equivalent of he trailed off or his voice died away. Again, use sparingly or they lose their effectiveness. The standard is to use three (...), any more is untidy and excess.

What are the most common punctuation mistakes?

The first multiple punctuation."No way!!!" or "What???".

This is wrong because you're going to get exactly the same effect in the readers mind with one exclamation mark as you would with one, so it's overkill and gives your story an untidy look. Also writers who do this are crippled, they're using the punctuation as a crutch to get across imagery and emotion to the reader rather than adding description. The description will do a far better job for the inner eye of the reader. Eg:

"No way!!!" Donut shrieked.

or

"No way!" Donut shrieked in disbelief, breaking into mad giggles and leaning against a wall for support.

What are the differences? With the first we can only hear a squeal and we don't know what she does next, in the second we hear to tone, and that he's laughing and we can see actions. Which do you prefer, which gives you the better mental image?

Also, to quote Terry Pratchett's character from Discworld, Rincewind the Wizzzard as he reads a letter, "See, more than one exclamation mark. A clear sign of a man who wears his underpants on his head."

The second punctuation mistake I see new writers use is overstimulation.

"What!" yelled North. South gasped! She threw her body in front of her brother as pain tore over her ribs, opening a gill like gash. The agony! Grunting she fell to her knees and panted as another explosion ripped overhead! Shrapnel buried itself in the dirt around her!

Be careful how often you use an exclamation mark(!), your ellipses (...) and other emotive formatting like bold because the more you use them the less impact they have on the reader.

Imagine it like someone popping a balloon. The first time you scream and leap away. The second time you gasp and flinch. The third time you're so used to it all you do is shrug and walk away.

Use your punctuation carefully and your reader will be so drawn into your fiction they'll feel like they're really there!

Your Checklist

I have reread my chapter to ensure I have corrected all punctuation to the best of my ability.- Yes/No

I have not used punctuation as a crutch. - Yes/No

I have not overused punctuation throughout my chapter.- Yes/No

4/3/2010 #6
mutemockingjay

I'm going to flag this so that it will be easy for everyone to find. There are some things I myself disagree with, so care for a bit of a friendly debate?

Tags and Ships are useful for quick browsing of information in an archive without an effective search engine but you can see they stick out like a sore thumb and completely ruin any suspense. If you want them to know it's Doc/Sister fic you're a poor author if you can't imply it in your summary.

This is the one thing I would normally agree with if the fandom in question has an extensive character list. Like, using my old fandom, the Clique, as an example I could write something like this:

"He stared at the open grave, the Earth burying his feelings along with her...blah...blah...blah angst!blah." The pairing in question would be...Cam/Massie.

Instead of writing 'Cassie' in the summary box I can pick both Cam and Massie from the character drop-down menu. But correct me if I am mistaken here, but the Halo fandom doesn't have a character list for RvB, so depending on your summary it could be difficult to tell exactly who you are speaking about, if you want to be able to draw in the reader, but be mysterious enough to get them to click on your story, especially considering the crappy word limit on FFN summaries.

No Flames: I have specifically avoided adding this choice to our list because while it's found the internet over, what it actually reveals is a noob who doesn't know the difference between a constructive crit and a flame. And the joke is, Flamers are drawn to this tag like moths to a flame.

Oh hell yes. I do remember F/R's profile saying something to this effect: "Saying no flames in your summary is like waving a flag saying, "Please, please flame me because I am a fucking douche."

Then if it's a conjoined sentence, which is rare, use a semi-colon. Mostly you won't need to know about those.

I actually use semi-colons fairly often depending on what you are trying to convey. Sometimes a sentence is too long for a comma, but if you ended it right there and started a new one the format would be choppy, and nothing jolts a reader out of a story than choppiness.

4/3/2010 #7
Bushtuckapenguin

Absolutely mate! A theory is only valid if it stands up to rigorous argument, if there's no argument it's just an opinion.

I wrote this originally for RvBSA and was pretty lazy about editting it to fit FFnet. You can search by pairings so you didn't need them there. Here it's useful but you got to admit our fandom isn't updated often so scanning isn't really a problem.

There are quite a few tags I don't like on ff.net, mostly because they limit your summary so why waste it. R&R, Review Whoring and 'Submit a character.' I hate 'submit a character' fics. They're cheap, the writer is just looking for attention and ends up pandering to much to the 'reviewers' who are leeches. There's a girl in this fandom who goes around asking if her Sue can be in your fic and my thoughts are murderous every time I see her.

Ah, the semicolon! Again this was written for people who tend to abuse the common coma so I didn't want heads to explode. I never listened during English and my punctuation is instinct rather than educated. Anything I can improve? What other tutes would you like to see in the future?

4/4/2010 #8
Bushtuckapenguin

I see FFnet has buggered my paragraphing tute.

4/4/2010 #9
AColdAndBrokenHallelujah

I love semicolons! But I can't use them right, so I don't use them often. It's funny because most the time after we turn in our papers, and they get corrected, our writing teacher gives us a another lecture on how to use semicolons. And then we do another paper and mess them up again.

4/4/2010 #10
Recovery Two

I wrote this originally for RvBSA and was pretty lazy about editting it to fit FFnet. You can search by pairings so you didn't need them there. Here it's useful but you got to admit our fandom isn't updated often so scanning isn't really a problem.

What is RvBSA?

There are quite a few tags I don't like on ff.net, mostly because they limit your summary so why waste it. R&R, Review Whoring and 'Submit a character.' I hate 'submit a character' fics. They're cheap, the writer is just looking for attention and ends up pandering to much to the 'reviewers' who are leeches. There's a girl in this fandom who goes around asking if her Sue can be in your fic and my thoughts are murderous every time I see her.

Submit a character fics are against the rules on this site to begin with, as they count as 'interactive fics'. And agreed on the unnecessary tags.

Anything I can improve? What other tutes would you like to see in the future?

*thinks*

How about a section on how to recieve/give con-crit, maybe some tips on writing romance (as it has a tendency to go into fail territory, especially when it comes to limes/lemons...I can take that part if you would like, as romance is my specialty), and how to write a good AU?

I'll get back to you when I think of more stuff. *nod*

4/4/2010 #11
mutemockingjay

Okay, since I have a whole bunch of time on my hands and was wanting to do this for a while, no time like the present, ja?

Tucker's Guide to Writing Love and...Bow Chicka Bow Wow:

Love is complicated. Love is complex. Love is fucking messy.

Despite what you read in Twilight, love doesn't have some happily ever after shit most of the time. When writing love, even if you haven't experienced it (I believe anyone can bullshit something in writing as long as they treat the subject correctly. And in the case of sex, no anatomy fail, lulz) just try to keep that in mind.

That doesn't stop fluff altogether- in fact, fluffy romance is great because there are many moments like that in a relationship. Short, sweet little moments in time that make you happy to think about.

But when you are writing for our lovely little fandom (although this is true for all fandoms, I'm just gonna go into RvB with this one), personality is key when it comes to writing romance.

Tucker, for example, is highly unlikely to get angsty or especially mushy/sentimental about it. Although Tucker seems only concerned with sex, it is within the realm of possibility for him having stronger feelings than that. But regardless of who you pair him with, it is important to keep that attitude around him, otherwise you lose who he is completely.

I would think it would be against his very nature to even consider changing who he is for anyone he loved/loves.

When it comes to love/hate relationships like Church and Tex, it requires more depth (though fluff could work for the reasons mentioned above).

For love/hate relationships are a contradiction, made up varying levels of feelings- from anger, to bitterness, to lust, to love now or in the past- an inability to let go.

Usually such relationships involve something going sour in the past, but that is not always the case- some love/hate can be mere sexual attraction, the whole opposites thing.

When it comes to falling in love, more often than not it is a gradual process. It is very, very, very rare to experience "love at first sight", and I usually think this only applies to soulmates. If someone claims "love at first sight" it usually means, "lust at first sight".

And realizing you love someone can be at the most random of times, and creates a whole new slew of emotions.

My reaction to realizing I loved Ben was pretty much, "Oh shit, I've fallen for him".

It gets even more complicated when the relationship is physical before falling for each other- lust fucks up a lot of emotions, and this is where the classic, 'I said I love you too early and now my partner is pulling away' situation comes from.

Miscommunication also another dynamic that can cause relationship problems, especially when it comes to jealousy. Again, speaking from personal experience, a miscommunication between Ben and I via a friend led to a crazed amount of jealousy from him- he was under the mistaken belief I was into two other guys thanks to her word choice, and the whole gossip chain.

Realizing when one has fallen in love/how they behavior while in love is also very character driven. Yeah, love can make you a bit more mushy- definitely happy, you pretty much walk around with an idiotic grin on your face and the birds singing, all that shit.

But, say, we use Church as an example here. He does have a caring side, we know that much, despite his assertions to the contrary. You can see it when he is worried about Tex, and when he apologizes that he wasn't the man he should have been when it came to her. And I imagine in those first few days of happiness his usual nature would be somewhat tamed, but if we are reading a fic with a Church pairing and if Church has completely lost his spunk and attitude, then its a huge turn-off. Why would you read a fic with Church so OOC. One assumed you clicked on it because you wanted to read about him, and despite what love does to a person, it rarely does a complete 180 on their personality.

With some Freelancers there is room for personality changes, as some of them (Wash, South, Tex not included) are more vague in nature, or only mentioned once or twice, such as North or Carolina.

York has a bit more of a personality because of Out of Mind- you can see that despite his injury he has a generally easy going nature, though his biggest downfall is pride.

It can also be interesting writing Freelancer fics involving AI- considering that they can read their hosts' thoughts, and their own thoughts mix in with their hosts. It can be highly entertaining to read or write an exchange between York and Delta, for example, with Delta's confusion on such illogical human emotions or commentary on York's loving and/or sexual thoughts.

This is all I can think of to write on love at the moment, but if someone wants me to elaborate or clarify, don't hesitate to tell me.

Sex:

*cue dun dun dun music*

Now, before I go into writing sex, I want to clear up a lot of confusion that is created over the guidelines- what constitues M, MA, etc. We were having a lengthy debate about it on the LU, and finally Piemom emailed the support team and asked them to clarify depending on such matters.

Fuck me, I can't find it. Either way, it was a general consensus that an M rating would be like a R rated movie. That means you can go into describing sex, but not into the realm of fully pornography or overly graphic descriptions.

I am going to pull two examples to show the difference.

Within a M rating:

Inch by inch, she blazed path of light kisses and nips down his chest, following the ever denser dusting of dark hairs. James could feel her unbound breasts as they swayed and gently bumped against him. He could smell the lilac from her perfume, and smiled at Kat's notion of being a pirate wench. Men's clothing aside, she was not like any female pirate he had ever run across. Though truth be told, there had only ever been two of them, both ugly as sin and missing several teeth. Pirate wenches most definitely did not smell of lilacs. James decided he much preferred Kat's version of a pirate wench over the stark reality. A moment later, all traces of merriment fled as her mouth reached his waist and her fingers began to fumble with his breech's buttons. Surely she did not intend to do what her actions were suggesting?

Kat leaned back on her heels and studied James' face. She could read his disbelief, excitement and burgeoning hope. Val had been correct when she'd told her that all men secretly desired this act, even if they were loath to admit it to their wives.

"How much? Tell me how much you want me to continue. For instance, do you like it when I do this? Or do you want me to stop?" Katherine followed her question by lightly brushing her fingertips across his groin.

"Yes. I mean no. No, don't stop."

- Excerpted from Piewacket's "The Best Pirate I've Ever Seen".

Beyond the M rating (and therefore violating the guidelines):

...I'm gonna edit this in later because I can't read anymore Twilight smut without wanting to vomit.

Dos and Don'ts when writing a sex scene:

- Do make sure you know what you are talking about anatomy wise. I have seen very painful fics where people are putting dicks in places where they shouldn't be, such as the urethra. Seriously, that's so wrong on so many levels, not to mention even imagining that kind of pain.

- Don't use highly medical terms when describing body parts. No one wants to hear about her labia majora or whatever.

- Do get over yourself when it comes to terms. If you can't write a scene without bursting into an immature laughing fit over words like, 'penis, vagina, cock, pussy' etc, then maybe you shouldn't be writing sex to begin with.

- Don't be afraid to include dialogue in the middle of sex. It does happen, usually of the awkward variety, something along the lines of, "Did you come already? Fuck, I think the condom is coming off..."

On a similar note, yes, people make noise when they have sex. It's human instinct. However, that doesn't mean you are in goddamn porno.

Don't write something like this when it comes to dialogue:

"I think you know what I'm craving…I haven't had my own personal lollipop in a long time baby."

"Bellaaaa….." he moaned

"Oh Bella yes baby… BELLAAAA!!!!"

"OH EDWARD!" I screamed

"Does that feel good baby… my cock buried inside your wet pussy. Bella you are soaking wet baby… but so unbelievably tight."

"OH….yes baby…fuck yes…I love riding you." I moaned

"Ride me baby… ride my cock… ride it hard and fast. I love watching my cock slip in and out of you. Fuck Bella you are so sexy…"

...Those gems all came from the same fic.

Don't resort to purple prose or ridiculous metaphors when it comes to writing sex. A few examples of this comes from the LJ community weepingcock:

"Out of one of his luminous eyes a single tear dropped like silvery jasper. Yet even now his eloquent phallic erection stood its ground. His brain and heart might quake; this rose-gold warrior, primed with battle-juice, was too forthright and too wise yet to surrender."

The light in his eyes, the softness and lambent heat couldn't be anything less than love, even though neither of them had ever spoken the word aloud. She lifted her hands, touched his chest, his flat, hard belly, the velvet-sheathed steel that proclaimed him male. "Ran, come to me. Deep inside me."

"I let my hand rest gently on your locomotion as you exhaled. With each breath, I could see your life force rising and falling inside your blouse. Meanwhile, in my trousers, my urgency became substance. I licked my parched half-of-an-uncompleted-kiss; you slowly blinked your soft blue perceptions. Finally, we fell into one another's manipulations of the physical world and literally made love."

I swear to God none of these a troll fics.

Do keep in mind that when it comes to writing 'losing your virginity' scenes, more often than not it is painful for the girl in question, if she is the virgin.

Granted, it does depend on the person, but based on my own experience and those of my friends' about 90% of the time it is painful in some form of another. In some cases, such as mine is it really painful. Really, really, really fucking painful.

Granted, that doesn't mean that said virgin can't orgasm. But it certainly isn't going to be some sort of mind-blowing trashing porn type sex.

The scene also varies depending on the sexual experience of the partner. If both are virgins, they are going to be nervous, and it will probably be a mix of awkward and sweet- to borrow from a friend's experience, when he lost his virginity he was so nervous that his hands couldn't stop shaking and he couldn't get the condom on.

And on another note (granted, I do only speak from a female perspective on the virginity matter as a I am female) when a girl loses her virginity, there is usually a maelstrom of emotions that follow.

Shock, for one. 'I can't believe I'm not a virgin anymore' type thoughts running through one's mind. Going along with that train of thought, afterwards there is a sense that it is surreal, dream-like.

And losing your virginity is an incredibly intimate act (I mean, sex is as well, but losing it more so), it fosters a connection between the two people involved. It is difficult to describe to a virgin, and something you only understand when you have lost it.

As my friend put it, "You are always connected to the person you lost your virginity to, even if you aren't with them anymore."

There are some exceptions to this (such as rape) but I am not touching that with a ten foot pole.

If there is anything I should add, let me know.

4/17/2010 #12
DarkGidora

If there is anything I should add, let me know.Um, maybe we should have the, um, Doctor explain, uh, just how babies are made, y'know. In case someone... in the group, uh, may not exactly know how that happens.

In all seriousness, nice tutorial.

4/17/2010 . Edited 4/17/2010 #13
Recovery Two

Um, maybe we should have the, um, Doctor explain, uh, just how babies are made, y'know. In case someone... in the group, uh, may not exactly know how that happens.

8DDDDDD

Oh, that reminds me of something else I will add.

4/17/2010 #14
Recovery Two

A Sidebar on Writing Lust:

I forgot to mention this in my other tutorial because I had to go to school but this is just a little note, relating to writing sex scenes, as we all know sex is not all about love.

Yes, lust does give off a burning sensation. However, that does not mean you should only use synoyms for heat in describing it (I am slightly guilty of doing this).

Also, I don't care how smart a character is, lust has absolutely nothing to do with intelligence or logic and even the smartest people will end up doing stupid, stupid things because of lust.

...Personal experience ftw?

It's completely animalistic, an attraction you can't really fake, nor can you fully control. Though it is possible to do so- when you want someone so badly, right then and there, it is also extremely frustrating when you have to go against your instincts, rein in those last fragments of judgment and stop.

Something else to keep in mind.

So, in summary: Lust is good. Abstinence only is bad, and smart people will do stupid things because of lust.

Don't have sex. You will get clamyhdia and die. ;)

4/17/2010 #15
mutemockingjay

A quick tutorial on crossovers:

This is going to be more general as opposed to RvB specific, but seeing as I was once 'the girl who wrote all those weird Clique Crossovers and AUs' I figured this would just be helpful as a rule of thumb.

First thing:

I cannot stress this enough- if you are going to write a crossover (which there is nothing wrong with doing so) please, for the love of God, make it have some sense of logic.

Seriously.

Now, this crossover I am going to talk about is not a RvB one. However, it is a perfect example of what not to do.

Once upon a time, I decided to browse amongst the archive for The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. If I'm going to be perfectly honest here, I normally go there to flame the shit out of little kids who think that after watching this movie they are experts at Holocaust history and they...don't treat it with the respect it deserves.

It's my nerve. Always has been, always will be. I am not against fics set in that time at all- I'd be a goddamn hypocrite if I was seeing, as I have written an AU set in Lodz.

But I digress.

I click the crossover section out of pure curiosity, and this is when I find it: A Boy in the Striped Pajamas/Twilight crossover.

I am not kidding.

As I said above, I don't have much of an objection to writing about the subject matter. However, I intend to dissect to logic!fail in this, and bring out my inner history nerd in doing so. If you don't like to read about this thing, just stop right now.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a novel about a German boy, Bruno, whose father is stationed at the Auschwitz concentration camp. Bruno strikes up a friendship with a boy across the fence- a Jewish boy named Schmuel.

Anyways, it was crossed over with Twilight.

Now, though it is quite a stretch to do so, I am sure an author beyond my skill could make it happen effectively. This author could not.

Why?

Because she failed to give a logical explanation as to how the Cullen family ended up in Nazi occupied Poland, and how it would fit into the canon of both stories.

Her plot was that the Cullens were on one of their many travels, and ended up in Poland during the war. Carlisle, as a doctor, ends up at Auschwitz, finds Bruno and Schmuel in their dying breaths (spoilers: both die in the gas chamber) and make them vampires.

I'm not gonna touch the whole 'I'm Jewish, don't do this shit to my people' thing. I'm really not.

I am, however, going to analyze how this would not work as an effective crossover for a variety of reasons:

1. Motivation: What motivation do your characters have for ending up in another world?

In this fic, why on Earth would Carlisle and the others be in Poland to begin with? The author doesn't say. Yes, Poland is a dark country, much like the other places the Cullens would inhabit. By why that time? What would bring them to such a horrific, soul ripping moment in history?

The author fails to explain why they are there. And that simply does not fly.

2. Transportation: How do your characters end up in this world?

The author also declines to mention this in her story. I hate bringing up anything I write as an example here because it seems too arrogant, but when it comes to a RvB crossover I wrote that has been woefully negelcted, the storyline works a little something like this:

Massie Block, Queen of Westchester County and the Clique, made a mistake. She made several mistakes. Her personality pretty much led to her downfall, and her love for Cam did the rest, due to his suicide. Unable to cope, she does the most drastic thing she thinks she can do: Runs away and joins the army. At first, she hates it, and sucks at it. After all, a girl who only knows how to manicure her nails is gonna be crap at firing a gun. But it is also not within her nature to give up, and as a result of her stubborness, she ends up in Project Freelancer as Agent California...

Anyways, moving on. *blush*

3. Research: Research, research, research. I cannot stress this enough. I just can't. If you want to combine fandoms, you really have to do your research on how such a thing can be pulled off, especially if it is a fandom you are not as strong in.

Back to our Twilight example:

The logic fail is all over the place here.

She claims that Carlisle was allowed access to Birkenau by posing as a doctor.

In theory, that could work. In theory. However, since this author had clearly not done her research, she failed epically.

Allow me to go into such logic fail, however, if you don't...or can't...read this kind of thing, skip ahead.

Due to the nature in which Birkenau worked, this simply would not be possible. Because Bruno and Shmuel were killed in the gas chambers. Therefore, Carlisle would never have access to the bodies. Never.

For after everyone was dead, the chambers were opened and the Sonderkommando (Jews assigned to this grisly, horrible job) went to work. Depending on which crematorium they were using (II and III had underground chambers with the ovens at street level while IV and V had only street level chambers and ovens) the bodies would be put onto lifts before being burned. There is more to it than that, but I can't...go into it. I won't, for your sake and mine.

No Nazi doctors were involved after the selection of the victims, though on occasion they would watch a gassing through a peephole built in the door for 'entertainment'.

Therefore, Carlisle, no matter how much clout he would have in the Nazi system (another fallacy I shall go into at the moment) he would not be able to save Shmuel and Bruno. No way.

Which brings us to our next point.

4. Characterization: If you are going to have your characters in this other world, in an environment that is different from their usual one, characterization is the key for them to fit in seamlessly.

In the case of the above mentioned fic, I have already pointed out that to even gain access to Birkenau Carlisle would have to be high up in the system of Nazi bureaucracy. As a doctor, who he is as a person, Carlisle is gentle and compassionate. He seriously believes in the Hippocratic Oath, and although he lives everyday pretending to be someone he's not, he would not go as far as to pretend to be a Nazi to save others.

Especially when being a doctor in the Third Reich meant a disgusting violation of said Oath.

I mean, sure, there was Oskar Schindler. But Schindler was nothing like Carlisle- though Schindler was a good man, a righteous man, he was also a boozing, bribing, extravagant businessman who frequently cheated on his wife with various women.

That does not undermine what he did in the slightest. However, I merely say this to make a point about characterization, and how Carlisle could never possibly fit into that world.

...I will come back to this later. If I can.

4/20/2010 #16
DarkGidora

While I don't have an example nearly as striking as yours, I agree completely; you have to make sure that there is a sane reason why the two fandoms can be put together (unless you're going for an over-the-top crackfic which doesn't need logic). I've read a lot of crossvers meant to be taken seriously, which (due to the huge disconnect between the two series) makes it impossible to do so. Twilight and Naruto seem particularly prone to this; no matter which stance the series takes on the supernatural, no matter when it's set, someone, somewhere, will get the idea to make a crossover where the orange magic ninja guy throws down with acid-blooded parastic space bugs, or a team of power-armored supersoldiers from the future end up needing the modern-day Cullens' help fighting aliens.

4/20/2010 . Edited 4/20/2010 #17
mutemockingjay

True that, right there.

Oh, that reminds me of one last bit:

5. Cliche plots: I cannot tell you how many 'Insert character here' goes to Hogwarts fics I have seen. Seriously do a little thinking before writing a crossover when it comes to plot.

Although a new twist on a cliche plot is always welcome- I remember a poster at the FP decided to take that concept to a new level by instead of making a new student come to Hogwarts, she did a new teacher, and it was amazing.

4/20/2010 #18
DarkGidora

May I add something that's kind of weighing heavily on my mind right now?

6. Try to Avoid Favoritism: Granted, it's highly unlikely that both series' characters are perfectly evenly matched in terms of capabilities, social skills, etc. However, you should try to make sure that the characters from Series A aren't portrayed as superior in every way to characters from Series B, get all of the best lines and moments, and solve all of the problems. Both sides should have a roughly equal role in the plot, even if there is a big difference in terms of capabilities. If you're just going to write a story about how A is just plain better in all regards than B, why even have a crossover? Just write a story about Characters from A doing awesome things on their own. If you do a crossover, try to make sure both sides are fleshed out and well represented.

G'night all.

4/20/2010 . Edited 4/20/2010 #19
mutemockingjay

Character Writing: Les Petites Choses

I'm going to talk about both canon characters, and OCs in this one. What makes us fall in love with out favorite RvB characters? Their personalities, of course. And one of the great things about RvB is that we /only/ get that because no one knows what they look like underneath their armor.

And one of the key things to making a reader strongly attached to a character are their personalities (obviously, I know but bear with me here) and the quirks that each character has.

To quote Delta, "That's what makes us human."

It may seem like a stupid, insignificant detail like what kind of cereal Church eats. But it actually says a lot about Church himself, and it's a little tidbit that a reader can hold onto, relate to.

Take, for example, the first scene in Inglorious Basterds. Hans Landa, an SS officer, is talking to a simply French diary farmer about hiding Jews. The farmer is smoking a simple, hand carved wooden pipe that is slightly crude but well worn and obviously well loved.

Whereas when Landa pulls out his pipe is it probably the most fucking ridiculous pipe in the history of existence- comically large, like the type you'd see in a snobby high class smoking lounge, except exaggerated even further. Yeah, it gives you a chuckle in a tension filled scene.

But it's more than that- it says everything about Landa as a character, and uses the diary farmer as a contrast to make that even more apparent. Just by the choice of his pipe we can see Landa as an egotistical, pretentious guy with a touch of irony that he easily embraces.

We see that a lot in RvB, too- like knowing that Tex punches the Blue team members in the head while they sleep, or that Caboose puts mustard in Tucker's sheets for some reason that probably only makes sense to Caboose.

When it comes to writing Blood Gulchers we have a lot to work with, but doesn't mean you get off the hook- all of them have years of memories that have never been revealed in the show, and if you're going to write those characters you should have some vague sense of what those could be. At least.

When it comes to Freelancers and OCs, this is just as important, and with OCs even more so. When we have an OC in a fic the goal is to have them fit as seamlessly into canon as possible, so that it feels like Agent California or Massachusetts or Corporal Ryan were there from the beginning.

We don't need their entire life stories in a fic. But little tidbits here and there are needed to establish your character. Dialogue and actions do as well, but the small things (in French Les Petites Choses) are what bring characters to life.

And when it comes to a background for a OC or a canon character that you have never experienced or don't fully grasp, research the hell out of it.

Like for my background for South- she was born into East Coast WASP high society. Have I been born into East Coast WASP high society? Fuck no.

So I looked it up, and that's where I found out about Cotillion, which may have been useful to her in battle. Or the idea that many of those kids are bred into being fluent in more than one language, which is why in York's first memory of her she is cursing in both English and French.

When it comes to appearance, this is where things get a little tricky. Your characters can be beautiful if you want them to be, that's fine. And if they have a love for wearing like, old punk band t-shirts from the 80's, then that's fine too.

However.

We do not need a page dedicated to what they look like or what they are wearing every five seconds. Do not pull a Stephenie Meyer on us here and go on for a thousand words on how /beautiful/ York's features. Yeah, we got it with the first few sentences. Now shut the fuck up and move on.

Most good, published novels don't go into detail about a character's outfits over and over again, unless you're talking about a teen novel. There are exceptions to every rule and if you're writing something Sex and the City (yes I know that's a TV show shut up) esque, it is not needed.If your character is a fashionista, that's great for them. Seriously. But we do not need to hear it over and over again unless it is highly relevant to the story.

I'll add more to this later as I have to go for the afternoon~

5/17/2010 #20
UnnaturalKetchupTaco

Do not pull a Stephenie Meyer on us here and go on for a thousand words on how /beautiful/ York's features.

His smoldering butterscotch eyes were looking at me intently.

Why can't we have a sentance without five hundred adjectives or adverbs? It annoys the shit out of me. :|

But we do not need to hear it over and over again unless it is highly relevant to the story.^This. So much. I don't care that she had an American Eagle V-neck shirt with flowers on it paired with 7 Jeans, with blue Coach shoes, decorated with the Coach label. (Now for only 99.99.) Really, can we not say that she pulled on jeans and a t-shirt?

[/mini-rant]

5/17/2010 #21
AColdAndBrokenHallelujah

Every year, there's this writers convention, and a couple people from each grade are chosen to go based on the story that they've entered. I went once, and an author (can't remember who) told us to know the character down to the type of toothpaste that they use. Do they use mint? Do they use cinnamon? Do they floss? Do they -shudder- use baking soda?

I didn't understand how important it was then, 'cause I was a 5th grader, but now I do. It is the little things that count. Like Tucker's "Bow-chicka-bow-wows" might not seem that important, but they make him Tucker. And those times when Grif seems actually concerned for Sister, those make him more complex.

5/17/2010 #22
Captain Unstoppable

Hey thanks so much! I read all your posts and I hope it will help me write my story. And here is my one question...how do I give my work to a beta reader? I know it sounds stupid but I have never used it. Thanks again, and have a great day!

12/3/2010 #23
mutemockingjay

You're very welcome. I'm here to assist. ;)

Okay, what you have to do is read the rules, introduce yourself in the "who are these sexy bitches" thread, and then go to the "Request a Beta" thread and someone will be happy to help you.

I have a few projects on my hands, and won't be available regularly until January. Also, I owe someone a Wash/South return (God I suck...they sent that to me when I was in Maine) and something someone sent to me on Facebook.

/fail

12/3/2010 #24
GKingOfFez

When cleaning out our TV Room, my Mum and I came across some books about writing (because she wanted to be a writer and one point).

One of those was The Writing School's Guide to the 29 Most Common Writing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them.

It's a guide for serious writers planning to publish, but there's still some great general pointers for FanFiction and any other writing.

1. Don't Procrastinate!

2. Don't Talk Away your Story, Before, or Instead of, Writing it.

3. Don't Try to Write the Best Story in the World. Don't be Afraid to Fail.

4. Don't wear Blinders. See life through the Eyes of a Writer.

5. Don't Edit as you Write: Don't Stop to Admire-or Chastise-your Work.

6. Don't Generalise: Use Specific Images.

7. Don't Tell, Show. Use Dialogue and incident, Not Long Narrative.

8. Don't Forget to Contrast and Compare.

9. Don't Depend on Adjectives. Use Strong Words.

10. Don't Use Clichés, Qualifiers, Platitudes and Overdone Words.

11. Don't Overdo Punctuation.

12. Don't Forget Your Theme.

13. Don't Forget: You Need a Beginning, Middle and End.

14. Don't Lose Your Balance and Don't Digress.

15. Don't Self-Express, Communicate.

16. Don't Get Personal, Get Universal.

17. Don't Preach or Opinionate. Let the Reader Discover for Him/Herself.

18. Don't Think of Fiction as False! Honesty is Essential in all Your Writing.

19. Don't Neglect Research, but Don't Overdo it.

20.Don't Write all "I" and "Me" things. Use Third Person When You Want to Publish.

21. Don't be Afraid to Rewrite.

22. Don't be Obsessed with Trivial Concerns.

23.Don't "Want Everyone to Read It!"

24. Don't Listen to Opinion and Criticism from Spouses, Friends and People on the Street.

25. Don't Give Up!

The rest of them are about actual publishing, so I won't put them here.

What do you think?

1/15/2011 #25
AColdAndBrokenHallelujah

1. Don't Procrastinate!

/guilty.

I find that if you procrastinate just enough then sometimes you get a better idea of what you want to right. But go over that line and then you lose your story.

5. Don't Edit as you Write: Don't Stop to Admire-or Chastise-your Work.

Ehhhh, I disagree. I have to edit as I write, or I can't keep writing.

6. Don't Generalise: Use Specific Images.

Yesyesyesyesyes. Definitely. Our writing teacher last year called them $10 words for some reason I can't remember. But there's a big difference between "The air conditioning made her cold" and "To South, the artificially cooled air felt arctic cold against her too warm flesh." (Crimson and Azure, Corrupted Lament, Chapter 1).

10. Don't Use Clichés, Qualifiers, Platitudes and Overdone Words.

So, in this long-ass boring how-to-make-your-business-more-successful audio-book our dad listened to on the way to school/work, it said that "unique" no longer meant unique, because people were applying it to everything. Same thing here. Cliches don't give you that same image.

11. Don't Overdo Punctuation.

Whooops. And on the other end of things, don't forget your punctuation either. Because that's annoying as shit.

21. Don't be Afraid to Rewrite.

Just delete it all, or open a new Word, or hit enter a couple of times. It'll be easier.

Our English teacher made us get a little book--I can't remember the title right now, but it had a bunch of the same things in it. And some about word usage, which is really useful.

1/15/2011 #26
mutemockingjay

20.Don't Write all "I" and "Me" things. Use Third Person When You Want to Publish.

^ This one is false. POV doesn't matter when you publish. I've seen third, yeah, but second, too (which was interesting) and all of the Hunger Games books are first person so it's all "I" and "Me".

I actually like 1st for that reason--the character has a bias that you can't always get in other POVs as well. Like Katniss and Peeta. :P

1/15/2011 #27
Arctick Child

6. Don't Generalise: Use Specific Images.

The problem with specific images is that they can get too specific. For example,

"To South, the artificially cooled air felt arctic cold against her too warm flesh." (Crimson and Azure, Corrupted Lament)

sounds too clinical. Too much detail robs the piece of its magic, and leaves it with all the interest of a high school math book.

10. Don't Use Clichés

This, I think, would depend on the cliché being used. Some phrases are used excessively for a reason, after all.

21. Don't be Afraid to Rewrite.

Just delete it all

This, mon amie, would be why you never get anything done. Rewriting is useful, but it's also taken too literally. You don't have to rewrite the whole piece; find the parts that strike you as needing the most work and start from there. A lot of times a complete rewrite isn't necessary, you just have to find that one weak link and iron it out.

Another thing to keep in mind would be that you do, actually, need a second--and unbiased--set of eyes when writing. Authors tend to be either prejudiced for or against their work, so it helps to have someone else read the piece over before publishing and give you any critique or encouragement you may need. I'm fairly certain this has been said before, but it bears repeating; Betas are your friend. Just because you think a piece is ready to be introduced to the world wide web doesn't mean it is, and your Beta should--and I stress 'should' because most don't--be helping you to identify and correct your mistakes as they encourage you. One or the other isn't enough for a lot of writers; if you only point out mistakes it tends to ruin the author's confidence in their writing, and discourage them from publishing.

...I am such a fucking hypocrite. xD

1/16/2011 #28
Dessmond Williams

First, don't judge the link until you've read it!

Mary Sues and Gary Stus; http://thepunchlineismachismo.com/archives/589

Trust me, this guy makes a lot of sense!

1/26/2011 #29
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