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How do you try to improve your writing?

I try to avoid old, stupid things. 0.17532804507376 17.5% [ 2365 ]
I add new things. 0.14737934613389 14.7% [ 1988 ]
A combination of both (if one more than the other, pick it). 0.67729260879235 67.7% [ 9136 ]
Total Votes:[ 13489 ]
Alea Facta Est's avatar

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****NOTE: I'm kind of undead on Gaia, AKA I keep coming back just to screw around with my ridiculous little avatar. So if you have any really good requests to add to the original post, go ahead and message me about them! (No friend requests please. I'm not actually that involved.)****

People go on and on about all the things good writers need, and in fact become so obsessed with 'What makes a writer good?' that they forget all the pitfalls and thus fall into idiocy as easily as they create eloquence.

Thus, the Anti-Guide: a compiling of ways to totally screw the living (well, figuratively living) s**t out of a story.

Admittedly, my respect for awful writing has increased since I myself tried it. It's remarkably hard to break all those good habits....


Reminder--these are things you shouldn't do, so if you say something like
Quote:
Don't use Mary-Sues

it means that you think a good story has Mary-Sues.

Spawn:
Anti-Guide Round Robin
Harry Potter Anti-Guide
Naruto Fanfic Anti-Guide

Issues:
I do ask you to try something beyond fantasy, of which there are already a trillion awesome (or should that be awful?) suggestions. Don't venture into unfamiliar territory, but try to be creative.
Occasionally, posts will pop up that list things that have been beaten with a stick to the point where they are less than dust. Try to keep these posts going.

Also, don't worry about people who missed the anti- part of the Anti-Guide. It's kind of funny and absolutely not worth getting hung up over.

Strikethrough is unnecessary. We'll assume you're being sarcastic...and it hampers readability. Using double parentheses to signify your actual thoughts, however, is a good idea. Just don't mix them in too much. smile (Separate paragraphs=good.)

If you write a hilariously cliched story based upon something you see in this thread or you find more spawn, PM me and I'll post a link to it here. (Of course, this marks you as a bad person who wants to burn out the eyes of your fellow readers/writers.)

Check it out, the Anti-Guide has even spawned love poetry, credits to wingnut the improbable:

Quote:


Happy birthday to the Anti-Guide!
How I love you so,
Your sarcasm like cyanide
Your silliness like... whoa.
You're a whole year old, now
A geezer for a thread
But I'm still in love with how
You mess with writers' heads.
Long live cliches! Long live bad writing!
Long live things not true but tried!
Long live Sues and inept fighting!
Long live the Anti-Guide!


***

Oh Anti-Guide! Oh Anti-Guide!
You couldn't be cooler if you tried!
Your stashes of knowledge misinform
You always make my heart go warm!
You're full of arguements in 1337
The Anti-Guide can't be beat!
You love promoting Mary-Sues
And SuperAngsty (tm) pasts, too!
You have your n00bs, but that's OK
The Anti-Guide is here to stay!
(I hope)
Make all of your important characters Sues, and don't bother to spend any time or effort developing the characters who aren't important. The Sues are so wondrous and perfect that no one will notice the little cardboard cutouts populating the backdrop anyway.
Oh, and use sentence fragments. At every available opportunity. Create some if you don't think. You have enough.
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Writers need:

- Chatspeak. No good story could possibly go without a consistent replacement of decent words with quick shortcuts. Like anybody doesn't understand what you mean by "ur." Seriously.

- Pain. If you haven't suffered in the worst possible ways (or at least can't convince people that you have), your soul cannot possibly sustain a true work of art. If you find yourself low on suffering, purchase any CD of music written by Beethoven, Mozart, or Bach. Surely, if these don't send you into dark abysses of death, you might as well work for Microsoft. And if that doesn't do the trick...

- Groveling. Critics are really worthless beings who whine because they haven't been able to convince anyone that their pain is the most painful ever. Let them whine - it can't shake you! Make sure you show your work to all your friends so that you will be encouraged to produce the same genius plot ideas and character development over and over again.



...I'll see if I come up with any more later. xp
Don't bother with setting your fantasy world in anything other than the normal fantasy milieu. Nobody will care, I mean, it doesn't matter if it has no culture.

Remember, people from Japan are ten times better than people from America, although they get outclassed by Americans with Japanese names, although they're totally white.

Also, don't be afraid to bastardize culture. Japanese people and those of us who hate anime love seeing all those ninja and samurai kicking a** and stealing people from railroad tracks and completely owning each other. Remember that ninja wore black suits so that everyone knew they were ninja and carried ninja swords so that the guards could identify and execute them. Or try. Because ninja and all assassins are so badass that their secret kill-from-the-shadows training makes them REALLY GOOD AT COMBAT when their opponents are aware of their presence.


Don't forget, the best heroes and heroines are the ones who are only fifteen and yet can obviously beat anyone older than they are because all fifteen-year-olds know best. Every fifteen-year-old is the best at everything and is never wrong.


Never worry about anything besides physical conflict. Nobody cares if two characters are struggling with internal problems; we just wanna read the fight scenes.
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Love between a man and a woman is so done. If you're not going to border on pornography, you better make it an interesting pair.

Your main character is unique. Make that obvious. Distance them from society and any behavior that might make them seem like a normal human being.

Pay close attention to the elements. Balancing them is a must in your fantasy story. But also make sure the main character is some sort of "fifth" element, as no main character would be caught dead with normal powers.
And for God's sake, stop trying to be original! No one wants to read a story they've never come across before. What would be the point of that if you can't predict the ending to a T? The guy must always get the girl, and the girl must always be a damsel in distress. ALWAYS. whee
Never do research--your readers won't know the difference anyway. It's a waste of time you could be using to describe your heroine's wardrobe, which is much more interesting.

There's nothing in the world that can't be solved by Healing Sex.

The only way to give a character depth is to give them a Tragic Past, and have them angst about it constantly. The more tragic, the better.

Wierd hair, eyes, and appendages automatically make your characters more interesting.

Beauty equals good, ugliness equals evil. Remember this when creating heroes and villains. (Unless your villain is Tragically Misunderstood. Then they can be sexy.)
Umbra_Ravus
Never do research--your readers won't know the difference anyway. It's a waste of time you could be using to describe your heroine's wardrobe, which is much more interesting.

There's nothing in the world that can't be solved by Healing Sex.

The only way to give a character depth is to give them a Tragic Past, and have them angst about it constantly. The more tragic, the better.

Wierd hair, eyes, and appendages automatically make your characters more interesting.

Beauty equals good, ugliness equals evil. Remember this when creating heroes and villains. (Unless your villain is Tragically Misunderstood. Then they can be sexy.)


And of course, you must always remember that Tragically Misunderstood is a title worthy of capital letters when used to describe your character. As is Depressed, and Woeful.
Be sure to color-code all your characters based on personality and allegience (this includes their wardrobe!) and give them names so the reader instantly knows their most significant trait.

All animals are either beautiful, cute, or majestic, or they are evil. Evil animals are not allowed to be beautiful, cute, or majestic.

All animals that appear in your story must be aligned with good or evil. There are no neutral animals.

Any people which might be construed as being neutral must die in the first half of the story. Any character that survives must declare allegience to one side or the other.

The hero or heroine must face near-death but be saved at the last instant by some miracle.

Your hero or heroine is absolutely forbidden from thinking or feeling anything that might be construed as being remotely evil, sinful, or otherwise bad.
* You must always make your reader know your hero/ine is the wittest, smartest, sharpest person in the novel...even though they never actually say anything.

* Dialogue is always dramatically important and incredibly long. If your characters run out of breath mid 5000-word explanation of the whole plot in one sitting, all the better.

* Scenes and locations are always dark, desolate and gloomy.

* Heroines must always have alluring, enchanting, captivative, mysterious eyes.

* Every male character must fall under the seduction of the heroine.

* No character must break a sweat thinking.

* Your heroines must wear graceful Victorian Era gowns yet be liberal and have women's rights.

* Your fanatsy is set in a foreign fantasy land...which is why their culture is incerdibly similar to Japanese....and schoolgirls wear Japanese-anime style uniforms. stare

[[This is a pretty cool thread.... and very interesting.]]
* Hero/ines always have to be half elf, half kitune, half drow, half unicorn, half vampire, half in/succubi, half whatever....
You make your heroine not fall in love with the hero, you don't give her silver orbs, you don't give her a nasty personality, yet you also fail to write a plot worth reading at all - in other words, you try too hard to make your story anti-something; there is no real focus to your story except avoiding The Quest, avoiding The Mentor, avoiding The Spunky Rebellious Princess Regardless Of The Redundancy Of Her Title, avoiding The Mary Sue Syndrome, avoiding The Romantic Problem, avoiding The Use of Proper Capitalisation Since That is So Passe, avoiding The Angsty Whining OMG!goth Teenager Including the Full Wardrobe That Comes With It, avoiding Deus Ex Machinas, avoiding Spectacular Character Growth (that's so overrated), avoiding Special Characters, avoiding Unbelivable Stories, avoiding Dream Symbolism, avioding Character Whining, avoiding Village Idiots, and avoiding all things known to be used in some form of plot in general.*

It happens. In other words, something happens. The End. No further elaboration at all. --or...It happens.
Your protagonists spontaneously think along the same lines/agree to "risk-all-our-lives-for-good" ideas.

Stick in in-jokes that you got from school.

No wise-cracking familiar is without a tragic background story, and supreme powers - regardless of the fact that they now nap most of the time.

All the names you use can be traced directly back to Greco-Roman mythology. And that girl named Cassandra just so happens to have prophetic powers that no one listens to.

*Remember: everything in high amounts can be toxic. Including your beloved vitamins.
Don't bother making sense at all....make it so bad that people gouge their eyes out and tear off their ears and....those poor readers...
No rea;;y. It's okay. Go ahead an switch between tenses. Every other sentence. No one will care. Really.
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Involve something religious. The Bible's a bestseller, right?

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