[The Guide]

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  1. Chevalier Crystal Princess

    Jan 8, 2008
    Trapped on an Island
    Here the guides that members have assembled, and are related with writing can find their way. I'll be updating this with more resources, and if you have any information or resources you'd like to share, then you may contact me. Afterwards I'll speak to Cariad, as she will supervise this. I'll be recompiling more stuff later. I'll place a full acknowledgments to give credit to those who helped and will help in the future once the final version is completed.


    Added a second part to the guide, and i't goes more in-depth on some things. Definately read, because it will prove very helpful towards things related to writing. Again, if you have any resources you'd like to share, then please show them to me, and all credit wille given in due time.

    Index of contents(Use ctrl + f to find the reference ID)
    My First Story-(I)
    Getting Started-(II)
    The Process-(III)
    The way of Writing-(IV)
    Tips of the Wanderer-(V)
    The Way of Styles-(VI)
    The Mind of a Writer-(VII)
    Characters Part Deux-(VIII)
    Ends to Meet-(IX)
  2. Chevalier Crystal Princess

    Jan 8, 2008
    Trapped on an Island
    So, you’re interested in writing, but can’t seem to get it right? Feel like you could do better? Well, you’ve stumbled into the right place. Here we will discuss basics for you to get started.

    Writing: Writing is often used to express feelings, or to uncap that well of imagination inside one’s mind. Like drawing, it expresses many things in its forms and it differs from person to person.

    Getting started
    Most think that to begin writing one must have great amount of skill and what not. Well, that’s completely wrong! For writing you don’t need anything too fancy. It can be expressed in many forms, so the tools you need are probably right at your fingertips! Neat, huh?

    A brain: Seriously. Without a brain the ideas can’t come forth, so it is important that you’re not a zombie, or haven’t been pray to them. Brain-eaters…get it? >.> …okay, maybe it was lame. Let’s continue on, shall we!

    Tools: do you have a pencil, paper or writing software in your computer? If so, then you’re set! Any of the tools mentioned can be used. For now, just use the one you’re most comfortable with.

    III. The Process

    So, are you ready to write, now? No!? Okay…well, let’s see. I can help you with that. I’m thinking that you don’t know how to go about it correctly, am I right? Don’t fret! I have a solution.

    Main Idea: What does the story you wish to create centers on? What is the main purpose? Let’s say it’s a vampire story. So you need vampires, duh! And then an idea. The vampires go to the beach! That’s an idea right there.

    Plot: The plot keeps the story on-going and gives the characters purpose. Without plot there’s no advancing point. So we add plot to what we already have. The vampires go to the beach in order to make a sand castle. That’s the main gist of plot. Easy enough, huh?

    Characters: Characters are like actors. They portray and shape your story. Characters need personalities, be they evil, or good. Characters can be divided into many sub-categories, but for now, let’s focus on the characters needed for our story. Sometimes characters change with different circumstances and maybe the problems and events of the story shape then in different ways. Remember to work with that accordingly.

    So, we need vampires. To make a sand castle we at least need 2 characters. After that, we still need to give them gender (male or female) For the sake of equality let’s make one boy, one girl. We already have established that they are vampires. The vampire boy and girl go to the beach in order to build a sand castle. Good, this story is shaping up nicely!

    Problem: Problems, problems. We have our daily dose of them in our daily lives, so you must understand the basic idea of having problems. How do we add that into a story? Simple. Problems can be presented as obstacles that move the plot forward. Let’s say a crab threatens to pinch our vampire pair, or that the waves break their sand castle every time. When you write a longer story, it may be a good idea to let your characters' personalities and opinions change in accordance with the problems they come across. Don't worry if that sounds difficult though: it often works itself out.

    Climax & Ending: Climax is a great event before the ending, most stories need a climax, and so they build you up, and then soften you with the ending. This is the most normal case of climax and ending, even thought, some skilled writers do play with this a little, but let’s not get into that.

    So, now we have our short story ready!

    vampire boy n vampir gilr went 1 day to the beech to make a sand castle vampir girl saw a nice sputand began digin on the soft white sand vampire boy began collecting small shels to decorattheir castle not after very long the sky became darker andfat droplets of rain began pouring their beautiful creation was beginning to crumble 2had no choice but to escapetheir mighty castle fell under the evil waters as they ran under the palm trees vampire girl cried vampire boy told her that they could come back and make another with nu hope both returned home with knowing of making another sand caslte

    Nice story, huh? But wait….I forgot something! That story looks like a block of text with no colons, semi-colons, or anything for that matter! I guess I should explain the basics of grammar and spelling.

    IV. The Way of Writing

    So, we’ve written the story, but it’s horrid. Yes, we have not yet mastered the orderly way to write. But wait! We can still fix it! If I show you the correct way, we can actually make something good!

    • Grammar & Spelling: One must abide by the rules of the language! One important aspect of writing is order, if the laws of grammar aren’t followed, then it won’t be appealing to people. Same goes with spelling; if one doesn’t know how to spell correctly people won’t understand the message being conveyed.

    • Capital letters: In front of every name, and at the beginning of every sentence goes a capital letter. Capital letters are also used when mentioning oneself (“I”)

      Rob went to the park. He brought his kite with him. Notice the use of capital on Rob’s name and at the beginning of the sentence.

    • Period: Full stop. The end of a sentence or thought.

      I want Ice cream. After that I want to play. Notice how different thoughts conveyed are separated by a full stop.

    • Commas: Commas are used to separate items in lists, as in They own a cat, a dog, two rabbits, and six mice. In some cases use or omission of such a comma may serve to avoid ambiguity.

      I spoke to the boys, Sam and Tom. – The boys refer to Sam and Tom (I spoke to two people).

      I spoke to the boys, Sam, and Tom… – The boys, Sam, and Tom are separate units (I spoke to four or more people)

    • Colon: Mostly indicates the beginning of an enumeration.
      "My uncle has got many pets: a dog, a parakeet, a hamster and seven goldfish."

    • Semi-colon:Semicolons are followed by a lower case letter, unless that letter begins a proper noun. They have no spaces before them, but one or two spaces after. Applications of the semicolon in English include:

      - Between closely related independent clauses not conjoined with a coordinating conjunction:

      "I went to the swimming pool; I was told it was closed for routine maintenance."

      "A man chooses; a slave obeys."

      See how the sentences complement each other; the semi-colon is uniting them, so that you can cut on the choppiness.

    Warning: DO NOT OVERUSE THE SEMI-COLON. Whenever possible, just use a comma. It is not a rule, but it serves better to have variation; semi-colons aren’t that necessary.

    As a side note: Conjunctions are good, also (and, but, or, yet) they can be used with commas sparingly.

    Now we can finish our story with good grammar and spelling!

    Vampire boy and Vampire girl went one day to the beach in order to make a sand castle. Vampire girl saw a nice spot, and began digging on the soft, white sand; Vampire boy began collecting small shells to decorate their castle. Not after very long the sky became darker, and plump droplets of rain began pouring, their beautiful creation was beginning to crumble. Both had no choice but to retreat as their mighty castle fell under the treacherous waters. As they hid under the palm trees Vampire girl cried, but Vampire boy told her that they could come back and make another. With renewed hope, both returned home with the promise of creating a sand castle another day.

    That’s much better. We have learned almost every basic there is to creating a story.

    V. Tips of the Wanderer

    Blocks of text: No one likes reading a huge wall of text. This will scare people away! Remember that you need to begin a new paragraph each time a new character speaks. Whenever you think that your paragraph is too long, divide it.

    Thinking is your friend: Whenever you’re writing, think about what you are actually doing, feel it. GOING ON AUTOPILOT IS A BIG NO! Try to augment your way of writing each time.

    Shorthand button off: 2 every1 who uses shorthand, and lol, ttyl, etc. Do not use it in writing. This cannot be tolerated in writing.

    Endure critique: When you show your work you may come across forms of criticism for other writers. Please keep in mind that supportive criticism is only meant to help you, not to shoot your story down. Maybe you'll even learn a thing or two?

    Be creative: There are many forms of writing, and there’s really not much boundaries for imagination, so knock yourself out creating new things and expanding your horizons.

  3. Chevalier Crystal Princess

    Jan 8, 2008
    Trapped on an Island
    VI. The WAY of styles

    So, welcome to the second part of the writer’s guide. Yes, this is the second part, and if you haven’t read the first one, then I advice you to do so. Anyways, now that you’ve got a basic look into how is it that one starts writing, now we can emphasize some important things to know about characters and what not.

    First, you probably noticed the title mentions style. No, it’s not about the clothes you wear, or what music you listen to. But it is similar, the only difference being that in this case it’s about writing.

    Writing style [is the manner in which a writer addresses a matter. A style reveals the writer's personality or voice. It is the result of the choices the writer makes in syntactical structures, diction, and figures of thought. Similar questions of style exist in the choices of expressive possibilities in speech] –Wiki’d

    It’s really simple. You can notice the great difference in a certain style, such as, well this guide! Compare it to a fiction book, and you’ll notice that Fiction writing, in contrast, is designed to entertain and arouse the reader, and is improved by the preferred use of figures of speech. This guide has rather colloquial terms and smaller words. Of course I can’t do this guide without a bit of my own flair!

    Each person has a different style, whether it be from jargon, or how a person strings together sentences; how a person uses certain words, and his personal figures of speech.

    Here we will be showing two very talented KHV writers, and we’ll see just how varied style can be.

    Cross {Story by author Styx}

    Flightless Wings {Story by author timexhasxgone}

    Read just one chapter of those two stories, and you’ll see the great difference obtained by the different styles.

    A peculiar style? Yes, each style has something that makes it unique, and in most cases exquisite enough for a reader to keep going through it. As time goes by, you’ll begin to develop your style more and more. It is your task to keep looking for fresh things to develop your style, and make it interesting. Most importantly, it has to feel natural, and be what you want it to be. It’s as simple as being yourself!

    About Themes

    The theme of a story is another way of saying what the overall message of it is. The theme is the incorporation of additional, but minor ideas which complement and/or contrast the main idea of a story. Theme is the underlying context of a lesson, event or overall question that piques the opinion of the reader. The theme is what accompanies the idea in delivering the story. The theme can be subtle or bold, simple or multi-layered, the elaboration of the theme is based on the intentions of the writer, but the interpretation is solely on the whim of the reader.

    A more direct classification of what a theme is would be that it is the skeleton of WHAT happens and the MANNER in how it happens. The theme is usually associated with literary devices such as (the various forms of) irony, foreshadowing, metaphors, allusions, etc. However the implementing of the literary devices relies on how you, the author, write them (see Tone/Style for details).

    Generally themes can be put into three categories, broad refers to theme(s) easily seen from a first glance, semi-deep refers to themes(s) heavily implied by the characters/actions/events and underlying refers to themes that are interpreted from breadcrumbs of clues.

    Tone and Style

    These two aspects are intertwined with each other in that both are needed to even begin to make descriptive sentences. Tone is keeping the textual content consistent and appropriate for the genre, whereas style is just what it sounds like, ambiguous and having no real guidelines save for flow. Tone is the formal aspect of the two in that it is rooted in appropriate vocabulary usage and diction. Style, however, is what enables the author to distinguish themselves from others, as well as inject unique life into their words. Both can be constantly honed and improved because there is no such thing as a perfect tone or style.

    This combo-component of the story is difficult to give examples for because there is no right "answer". However this doesn't mean that the universal errors can't be avoided; use a dictionary/thesaurus while writing, re-read your sentences, read any sentences you're unsure of out loud and/or get a second (even third, fourth, etc.) opinion.

    Inconsistent Tone: She looked mournfully at the broken vase. She hadn't meant to break it. She knelt down and warily picked up a fragment of ceramic where a rose had been engraved. It was one of his favorite vases too. The brittle portion in her fingers cracked into even smaller shards. The freed pieces fell back to the floor like drops of delicate rain. She stared vainly at the ruined pile as if her gaze would restore the vase to its former glory. I bit my lip as I recalled the time when Axel had set his hair on fire. I remembered how goofily Axel had smiled and how Marluxia had only raised an eyebrow at him. What was he going to do to her when he found out? -Namine being worrisome at accidentally breaking one of the vases in Castle Oblivion

    (The bolded text is the inconsistent portions that will make readers go "what the hell?". This was done on purpose for the sake of example, so it’s fairly obvious, but in your own writing it may not be as apparent. The point of this example is to show the impact of keeping the emotions, thoughts and perspective in a scene consistent.)

    Weak Tone/Style: Larxene gave him a bad look. Demyx had done something really bad. Larxene wanted to hurt him a lot. -Larxene is angry at Demyx

    (As you can see, this has extremely weak wording. There is also little variation, emphasis, or much articulation on anything.)

    Revised Tone/Style: Larxene scowled at him. Demyx had committed a terrible act against her. She wanted to smack him over the head. -Larxene is aggravated by Demyx, for what reason, we don't know.

    (The vocabulary is improved but the style is as bland as prison gruel.)

    Redux Tone/Style: Larxene snarled at the dim-witted smile Demyx was giving her. The offending water user had dared to barge into her room at an ungodly hour to play his obnoxious sonnets on that wretched ukulele of his. The itching temptation of unleashing hellish vengeance on him was practically irresistible. She mentally reached out to conjure up a rather generous helping of brutality, but then a terrible realization dawned upon her. Ruefully she called back her spiteful bolts of thunder before they could finish forming. Demyx was of higher rank then her. She clenched hands together and ground her teeth down at the fact she had to tolerate his ridiculous music because he was her elder.-Larxene is viciously plotting Demyx's demise but manages to refrain herself from doing so

    (The difference can be seen from the previous two examples.)

    VII. The Mind of a Writer

    So, to finally create a story, you must think of one. If you don’t have that down, then you need to look deep inside, and take a plunge into the recesses of creativity. Your mind is the key!

    The Question Game

    Just as it says, the game is about questions. You see, our minds are constantly creating new things and our imaginations are constantly at work. We just need to tap into all that.

    Let’s say your mind wanders off in a string of creativity. Let’s think something simple. Petals of a flower. A single thought, this will provide. Now, you start asking yourself questions and begin playing around with the idea.

    Anything peculiar about petals?

    What if it was a mystical flower?

    What could happen if X person, or Y person found a flower?

    Now, let your mind wonder on such things; I know I have! I could keep going on and on with questions, but we must continue with the guide. The important thing is that you get the main gist of how to start out a story by jogging your creativity a bit!

    The Idea Revised

    We covered the very basics of the idea back at the first part of the guide. But now we’ll go a bit more in-depth with the whole idea thing.

    The idea is the very core of the story. It is essentially the divine spark that makes you want to pick up the proverbial/literal pencil and write wholly for the sake of writing. The idea is what makes or breaks the yoke of comedy, tragedy, adventure or any of the other genres. Ideas can be as epic as overcoming evil to save the world(s) or as personal as overcoming the demons of everyday life. It doesn't matter if they are ideas steeped in magic or reality, or even if the idea is for an original story or a fan-work, the existence of a strong idea is pivotal.

    Do NOT neglect the magnitude of an idea. Do NOT set aside the impact of what an idea can have. You can have some of the most brilliant wording in the world, but if you have a weak or meaningless concept, all of that eloquence will NOT save your story.

    The real test of an idea that makes it the simplest yet most difficult part of the story is a term known as "boundaries". Ideas are volatile creatures that constantly tempt the author to pollute them with gaudy and unnecessary details.

    If the idea cannot be summarized in two or three lines, then the idea most likely has to be revised. However, there is a difference between an idea, an elaborated (more focused) idea and an idea which is in need of revision. Here are crude examples of all three:

    Idea: Overcoming emotional weakness for the sake of love. -general statement

    (By starting with something straightforward and simple you can have a clearer idea on what to write.)

    Elaborated Idea: The experiences of a powerless girl who is not only physically trapped within a castle, but emotionally by her own broken will. Only after she is rescued does she realize that she too has the power within herself to make a difference. -vague basis for a story

    (Early details are being established, as well as the perspective of the story.)

    Idea in Need of Revision: There's this princess and she's all angsty and stuff, oh and she is the daughter of a god and a demon. She also has power of light and darkness and stuff and could pretty much destroy the world if she really wanted to, but anyway she gets captured by really mean people that she couldn't run or something away from. And then she has to you know, wait for some really hot guy to save her, and during all this she's all sad and stuff, but she still manages to be really happy and even help some of the meanie villains to solve their own problems but they still keep her locked up, oh and then she finds this PHILOSPHER'S STONE/KEYBLADE/MATERIA/UBERSKILL and then she remembers that she's not really who she thinks she is and is actually a clone- *so forth* -ok, maybe a little harsh, but I've seen things such as this before, surprisingly enough.

    (This is too much information, attaches Mary-Sue/God-Character attributes and steals several concepts from certain franchises. By having such detailed specifics early on, you can hamper the creativity of your story.)

    Before you start writing, it may be nice to have a slight blurb of what you want, and start mapping from there to create an idea.

    Moving on…

    A Great Stage by the name of Setting

    The setting not only means what the world looks like, but what are essentially the rules of the story. Setting isn't limited to only geography, but spans over religion, culture, society, time period and so on. (Do the conventional laws of physics apply? Is magic common practice? Etc.) The setting is the world that is fleshed out for where events are supposed to occur as well as the plane where characters are to interact with each other. Stories do not take place in an empty void, and if they do, well then, describe that.

    The background can have just as much of an effect as a character does on the story. The weather of a setting can even set the mood or give more value to the interacting character's actions. If something tragic happens, it is up to you, the author, to decide which would fit more: a sunny day or a stormy night? Depending on how you employ your tone and style of writing, both have the equal potential to be heart-wrenching stages of emotion or failed attempts to garner sympathy.

    Setting should be treated as though it IS a character. Nature does not stand still. Nature is constantly in motion, living, breathing, and making all sorts of noise at the crack of dawn to remind you just how alive it is. Cities are bustling utopias of technology meshed with people moving to and fro to meet the demands of the hive called civilization. Even the places of supposedly desolate location have their own charisma to them. Deserts can be vast planes of chipped earth, oceans can be pulsating dunes of salty water and expanses of desolate grass can go on until they meet the horizon at world's end.

    If your story takes place indoors describe the interior, the furniture, even that horribly clashing wallpaper some person slapped onto your wall when you weren't looking. Rooms are meant to be lived in and bear every sign and scar of people living in them. Even if it is an aged room like an attic, there will be something on one of those six walls (four traditional walls plus floor and ceiling) to describe. And if there is no "real" decor, describe the materials that the room is constructed out of.

    The world is a vivid place; use it to your advantage! Utilize your senses and depict what you perceive through sight, sound, touch, smell and taste.

    Styx here is so correct, he points out that if inconsistencies are present in the setting, then you’ll leave your story with nasty plot holes. It is VITAL to be well researched and have full control of your setting. My advice here is to expand things and mindmap everything, or just add the notes of important bits of necessary info for the setting. This is a safe way to prevent any plot holes.

    VIII. Characters Part Deux
    Characters are just as vital as the idea of the story. Characters make the reader think, take sides, form opinions and of course, feel emotion. Characters make the reader realize what are the ideas and points the author is trying to make. Characters are essentially the actors and tellers of the story (regardless of the point of view it is told in). Without them, the author has only descriptions.

    Characters are typically portrayals and projections of the author. They can take the form of humans, animals, plants or any other being capable of being described. Characters have practically unlimited possibilities in terms of appearance, demeanor, etc. The only limitations would be how the author characterizes them.

    The characters of a story usually have their own strengths and weaknesses as much as they have goals and ambitions. There is no such thing as a "perfect" character with no weaknesses. There are very few exceptions to this rule in a truly balanced story (side-characters who are simply there to be population stock -passersby, nameless store keepers, etc. - are omitted from this rule).

    There are all sorts of guidelines on how to create characters, but how you do it is a right only the original author has. If you are unsure of how to build a character, look at yourself and to the people who surround you. (Opinion!) Personally I follow the rule that for every notable strength a character has, there are at least one and a half weaknesses to balance it out.


    Basically how the characters behave and act to the events the author puts them through. Once more this is a category relative to the characters and to the author. However, a word of precaution, keep your characters' behaviors distinct. Humans may be capable of ALL emotions, but everyone has their own unique set of quirks, habits, personal values and ideologies.

    Sample Character Stock: A good-humored girl who is soft-voiced and likes to think the best of others. She has a tendency to believe that she is at fault for the problems that happen around/to her. As a result of this mindset, she apologizes constantly and does not often say what is going on in her mind and if she does, she does so with the most polite caution. Subconsciously she wants to prove that she is not as helpless so she is earnest about pleasing others. She also does not share her troubles without a good amount of cajoling because she is afraid of becoming a burden to that person.

    Situation: One day she is out walking her dog, she gets distracted by something and her dog gets hit by a car. The car does not stop, it keeps on driving. (What would she do next?)

    In Character: She would be in shock. Next she would probably run up to her poor pet and apologize to it. She'd most likely shed tears over it and probably rationalize the entire ordeal as an accident on the driver's part and that it was her fault for not taking better care of her pet.

    Out of Character: She would scream bloody murder complete with angry curses to the heavens. She would then run after the car, spontaneous flaming pitchfork in hand, while her dog continues to bleed on the street. She would follow the insensitive driver to his home and wait until nightfall. Under the cover of darkness she would break into his home and slice open the driver's throat and laugh evilly to herself.

    The example speaks for itself, but some writers occasionally mix up the characters' reactions with their own. Most of the time, the mistakes of incorrect characterization are not as starkly obvious as in the example; usually it is in more subtle nuances. (Opinion!) Some authors are actually afraid of making their protagonists show any visible signs of weakness (crying or being petrified with fear), suffer any misfortune (realistically) or generally have any habits that the author considers improper/"gross" (such as nail-biting to name one of many). This is a heavy mistake that severs readers from identifying with the characters as well as any believability in them!

    Now this isn't to say character's personalities are set in stone (or that they can't be role-model characters), but significant behavioral change is a painstakingly gradual process. Some characters actually don't change at all (habits are hard to break, but ingrained ideals? Good luck with that!). The most radical source of change is usually negative, such as the death of a loved one, a traumatic experience, etc. But remember, not everyone is automatically sent into a state of crippling depression because of something tragic. They can grieve as much as they want, but not every single character has to mourn for many years. The best and most impartial policy on characterization is to once more, look at yourself, friends, family, etc.

    Fan-Characterization: This is a subcategory to characterization. Each individual's interpretation of a character is a little different. Respectively, as long as it is not something extraordinarily (satire/parody is exempt) outlandish, it’s perfectly viable (unless the original author/creator declares otherwise). Everyone is entitled to their perception of a character. However if they want to ensure an "accurate" portrayal, they should heavily reference any and all available sources. (If change from "canon" character is desired, the author should work at creating a logical process to which the character can change into whatever characterization they have planned. There are amazing authors out there who have been able to accomplish this believably!)

    Sample Characters: Castle Oblivion's underground members, Zexion, Vexen and Lexaeus.

    Situation: A normal day in Castle Oblivion.

    In Character: (OPINION!) Zexion would most likely call yet another meeting to discuss their progress with infiltrating the neophytes' rather shady operations. Vexen would most likely list off the latest updates on a project or any observations he had made of Axel/Larxene/Marluxia; probably tag on a snarky remark about them as well. Lexaeus would listen and make relatively realistic suggestions after hearing a substantial amount of Zexion's and Vexen's comments/criticisms about their current situation. (This is MY perception of these characters based on what I interpreted from what was revealed about them.)

    Out of Character: Prior to the creation of the Riku Replica, Zexion would whine to the others about how lacking a heart made him feel terribly sad. But now that he isn't the only pretty one, he spends his days writing in his book about how unfair life is. Vexen spends all of his time in the labs researching ways to preserve his studly attractiveness. So far he has only perfected the formula for keeping the hair on his head from falling off or turning white. As per usual, Lexaeus would spend his days in the corner of the room; drooling stupidly and mumbling in caveman speak to himself. You see despite how large his muscles were, his brain was three sizes too small. And every once in a while, the three of them would hold hands as they frolicked down the halls of Castle Oblivion to go see their favorite topside friends, Axel, Larxene and Marluxia. (This made me snicker, but in all seriousness, this is an example of characters not being characterized properly. Once more, unless you are writing satire/parody, this is not acceptable "canon" characterization unless you want to be flamed or heavily criticized.)

    Fan-Characterizations are usually difficult to gauge because they are entirely opinion based on BOTH sides (the author/reader) of the story.

    Self-Insertion Characters: This is a subcategory to characters. Self-insertion characters are basically when the author decides to create a character to become a part of particular pre-established universe. This category of character is usually a free-for-all. However, it is generally frowned upon if the author assigns themselves a lead role that replaces a canon character (such as just outright killing Kairi and taking her place). This is especially true if the author holds the claim of the story still being loyal to the canon-universe (parodies and works of satire are an exception to this). Other times, self-insertion characters are "fan-mode" versions of the authors themselves who usually appear in fics of humor.

    This isn’t to say that self-insertion is automatically a “bad” thing, some authors can actually pull this off beautifully, but only because they have a thorough grasp of the surrounding elements as well as pour in a good amount of effort to blend their self-insertion in.


    The interactions between characters are what (typically) progress the story. Interaction is what makes characters become the best of friends or the most bitter of enemies. The resulting alliances and grudges formed are what create solutions or problems. Interaction is also what affects the surrounding characters, setting or situation.

    One tool is dialogue; the verbal communication between two or more characters. Another is monologue where a character essentially talks to him/herself OUT LOUD; the flipside of this is introspection (some actually refer to this as soliloquy) where the character THINKS to themselves and reflects/assesses the situation. What isn't spoken is conveyed through physical actions such as expressions, reactions, initiatives, etc.

    Speech and action are often combined in order to allow the readers to fully comprehend what is going on. Dialogue can be flirtatious, witty, argumentative, etc. to show the relationships between characters. Monologues can be philosophical, whimsical, conflicting, etc. to show how the character personally thinks and/or believes. Physical actions are dynamic, visible, etc. and encompass all the perspectives of a character's expression, and are most importantly, visual.

    Although authors may spend impressive amounts of time writing the speech of characters, if they are only writing line after line of dialogue, then the words hold little meaning. Text cannot speak with emotion or emphasis; that is job of the words surrounding them to do. The description of the actions that the characters take while saying their lines also share the burden of defining the intended emotions of them.

    It is also important to know that the speech of a character is not always grammatically or contextually correct. Another note about writing dialogue is that characters have verbal parameters. A character who is not very studious or keen on increasing his/her diction will not be using elaborate words from an Oxford dictionary in a typical conversation without the aid of that reference material, nor will a character who is supposed to be scrupulously eloquent suddenly start slurring like a drunkard without the appropriate amounts of liquor.
    References to verbal interaction and body language (physical interaction) can be found through out everyday conversation between perfectly normal people. However, it is still up to the author to decide what actions mean and what connotations certain phrases may carry.

    Remember that some character’s manner of speaking may not be usual, and as such you have to convey such things through the dialogue.

    Correct, the best way to accomplish characterization is by submerging oneself with the characters, and learning their ways. It is definitely something try-worthy. If we can understand our characters, we will in turn make them more realistic, and people will relate to them easily.

    Character Arc

    Does your Main Character Change or Remain Steadfast? A lot of writers think a character must Change in order to grow. This is simply not true. Characters can also grow in their Resolve. In that case, they Remain Steadfast as they must grow stronger and stronger in their beliefs in order to hold out against increasingly powerful obstacles.

    Regardless of whether your Main Character changes or not, how does he or she get there? Does your character simply flip a switch at the end of the story? Or does he or she grapple with and grieve over the issue right up to the moment of truth?

    In fact, there are a quite a number of different dramatic pathways by which a Main Character can arrive at the moment of truth. The more you have in your writer's bag of tricks, the more dramatic variety you can bring to your characters' journeys. Let's look at a few of your options....

    1. The Steady Freddy

    This kind of Main Character starts out with a fixed belief about the central personal issue of the story. Act-by-Act, Scene-by-Scene, he gathers more information that leads him to question those pre-held beliefs. His hold on the old attitude gradually weakens until, at the Moment of Truth, he simply steps over to the other side - or not. This kind of character slowly changes until he is not committed to either his original belief or the alternative. It all comes down to which way the wind is blowing when he ultimately must choose one or the other.

    2. The Griever

    A Griever Main Character is also confronted with building evidence that his original belief was in error. But unlike Steady Freddy, this character suffers a growing internal conflict that starts to tear him apart. The Griever feels honor-bound or morally obligated to stick with his old loyalties, yet becomes more and more compelled to jump ship and adopt the new. At the end of the story, he must make a Leap of Faith, choosing either the old or the new, with such a balance created that there is not even a hint as to which way would ultimately be better.

    3. The Weaver

    The Weaver Main Character starts out with one belief system, then shifts to adopt the alternative, then shifts back again, and again, and again.... Like a sine wave, he weaves back and forth every time he gathers new information that indicates he is currently in error in his point of view. The intensity of these swings depends upon the magnitude of each bit of new information and the resoluteness of the character.

    These are only some examples of character archetypes, and you should strive to look for your own, and also expand upon the already existing ones. It is essential for a writer to find their own beliefs when it comes to a certain archetype.

    Wonderful World of Characters

    There are many types of characters, and it is very simple to classify them into certain categories we’ll be explaining in this part.

    Main Character - This character is the one that represents the audience’s position in the story, and through the eyes which they will see it. Most of the time is the protagonist.

    Protagonist - This character moves the plot forward, and most of the time it is this character that is placed in the position of main character.

    Wait, aren’t the Main Character and Protagonist the same thing?

    That’s a swell question. It’s exactly to this point to which I want to bring you. The Main Character doesn’t have to be the protagonist, and vice-versa. Sure, it’s easier to make the same character do both functions, but it isn’t obligatory.

    Let’s take for example FFX. A very well known game with a peculiar story; the Main Character in this game is Tidus. Through him we see the events that happen in Spira, and its current situation.

    But, the Protagonist here is Yuna; she moves the plot forward and the plot centers on her quest. After a considerable portion of the game Tidus remains Main Character, only after a while into the game does he gain both Main Character, and Protagonist status. In this case peculiarly both Yuna and Tidus intertwine both things.

    Obstacle character- Every Main Character will be driven by some central belief system around which the story’s philosophic argument revolves. This belief system might be an attitude, a way of doing things, or something as extensive as a specific "world view." The Obstacle Character represents the view that is diametrically opposed. Most times it is the Antagonist.

    Antagonist - its most of the time placed as an opposition with the opposing views, but this doesn’t necessary have to be so. It is simply the final contradiction. Most times it is the obstacle character.

    Now, the same thing applies here. We can divide an Obstacle Character, so it is the opposing view, and an Antagonist. The Antagonist can be an Almighty force, or well...

    Let’s take Xenosaga for example. We don’t have a clear Antagonist throughout the whole three games, aside from the many badies that are Obstacle Characters. The reason for this is that the Antagonist isn’t an opposing view, and is guiding the character’s actions, up until the end, where they differ, and Wilhelm acquires the title of Villain, because he now is both Obstacle Character and Antagonist.

    Foil - A character that is very similar to a main character but has a handful of characteristics that contrast the main character. The foil is often used to emphasize the traits of the main character.

    Minor - A character that serves the purpose of the moment, and is necessary for many things that need them, without expanding on them. Fall under foil category.

    Major- they will be integral to the story, and are often used to complement the main character. Fall under foil category.

    The use of these characters is essential to stories, and integral for most story structures. Be mindful, dividing characters such as the Antagonist and Obstacle, or Main Character and Protagonist isn’t as easy as some would think, and require a bit more thought.

    IX. Ends to Meet


    Just as this implies, if you are going to be including references to pre-existing things in the story, it is best to research them as much as possible. This is not to say that you cannot have your own spin on it, but if you don't want to be criticized/mocked for misusing a myth or otherwise mythological figure, then commit some time to research. A very public as well as well-known example of research gone possibly awry in terms of naming would be Square-Enix Shiva vs. Hindu's Shiva:

    SE Shiva: Female summon/avatar associated with the element of ice. This Shiva is elegant and typically scantily clad as well as to some degree, blue-skinned. Almost always one of the first summons acquired and is generally weaker (in comparison to the other summons) by the late portion of the game.

    Hindu Shiva: A powerful male deity in the Hindu religion. Associated with destruction (or reformation) and fire among many other aspects. Hot-tempered and in most depictions, having blue skin as well as additional sets of arms brandishing symbolic items. He is one of the three most predominant aspects of Hinduism (aka, core deities).

    This is not a shot at SE's creative license, and it was most likely only a borrowing of name, but the comparison is ridiculous to those not familiar with the SE franchise and are more enlightened on Hinduism.

    Researching is not only limited to naming, it can apply to other subjects as well. If you do not know what Dia de Los Muertos is, well then you should research it before you go and claim that it is the Easter Bunny's birthday in your story. If you do not know what cremation is, look it up before you say it is the process by which whipped cream is made. If you do not know the fairytale of The Magical Paintbrush, read it before you make any assumptions on it; and the list goes on.

    And most importantly, if you plan to include a known/current foreign language, research it thoroughly, ideally with someone who speaks the dialect fluently!

    In much older days, the internet was not available, but this is the present, where there IS the internet. However, this does not mean any website you look up speaks only the truth. Keep in mind the reliability of your sources before you use the information you collected from them! The library is also another option should you discover that the internet is not serving your purpose.

    The Time is Nigh

    One little small tid-bit of information you should know, and that may be the key to your success is that every person is different. And like our differences, we also have different times to enjoy things.

    If you really want to get your creative mind flowing, it is essential that you find the time of day when you’re ready to write, that is, the time when your creativity is at its max, and you can write in full nitro! It’s important to experiment, and see which specific time gives you more results. Of course, you can just write whenever you want, and that’s great in itself. So get to it!


    This is not where someone is being put to death for their crimes; this refers to how a task is carried out. The execution of a story is how all of the previously mentioned components are woven together to create the flow that carries the readers from start to end (also known as what makes readers what to turn to the next page with anticipation). The execution of a story is one of the more technical components of a story.

    Execution entails spelling, context, structure and grammar. That alone is what separates the rough drafts from the final products.

    You can use Word Document programs, however machines can be flawed in their "editing" in just that, it is a program, not a human being. Re-reading should be done intermittently- it is extremely easy to overlook silly errors because you have been re-reading the same text for who knows how long. Also, having someone else read over your work, such as a formal editor or a friend, is beneficial because they are human and have a better chance of understanding your writing overall. By having a person look over your work, you can discover neglected plot holes or other banes of story-telling before it's too late.

    (IMPORTANT!) Do not forget to check over your work before finalizing/posting it.

    Sugar, Spice, and more Questions

    If you’re unsure about certain things, then you should most likely resort to your mind, and begin using the question game to formulate things. It’s a simple method, but it works, all the same. So, even if you think it may not work, you should at least give it a slight try.

    Trappings of the Genre

    A genre trap is basically falling inside the mold of another story. Needless to say, it’s your story write it how YOU want. It’s nice to absorb aspects of other writers and what not, but suffocating your story under the mold of another is a big no. Be yourself, and simply list the elements of your story, and arrange them how you want. It’s nice to add such elements to your story. And even nicer to see how your unique arranging and placing of genre elements affects the story.

    He’s got a big…Ego

    The term ego refers to the author themselves. This may seem like it has nothing to do with the story but yet it can mean everything. The esteem of the author can have noticeable impact on the story, especially if the author's ego is negative. Authors who have low esteem may be too shy to let others see their work and so, sadly, their stories go untold. Authors who are braggarts may have negative effects on other writers as well as to themselves because they refuse to improve themselves (whether they truly need to or not).

    Ego is something that relies entirely on the person. Ego doesn't allow for an author to stagnate, it causes them to do so.

    Ego comes into play when the author receives feedback for their work. Praise is priceless and carries nurturing meaning, it lets the author know that what they are doing is right and that they should continue to grow. However, too much praise and an author may lose sight of their humility. Insults are negative and harsh; they degrade the author as a means of diverting them from taking any further specific actions.

    Critiques are one of the most helpful gifts to give an author. If done properly, they not only encourage the author to continue writing as they do now, but include how to improve their writing as well. Balanced critiques reward an author’s strengths and offer alternatives on how to eliminate an author's weaknesses.

    The main part of ego that authors have to keep in mind is that they determine the merit of their ego for themselves. They have the power to determine what to improve and what to keep the same.

    Authors should at least pay the minimum amount of common respect to each other. If you see an author in need, critique them if you want to see improvement, don't outright pick them apart just to justify whatever negativity you may feel. If you find an author that you can respect, let them know. Your ego is your pride as an author and no one can take that away from you unless you truly let them.
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