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Writing rules

Navarone Nov 29th, 2012 10,904 Never
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  1. Rules of writing. In this paste are rules of prose, conventions/rules of greentext, and how to convert greentext into prose. At the end are common mistakes and tips.
  3. Possibly more 'advanced' guide: http://pastebin.com/whCQ2GpX
  4. Considerly more advanced guide: http://pastebin.com/V1ujiyJt
  6. Rules of prosing it up. These are unedited.
  8. First and foremost: Dialogue. When writing dialogue, you need to keep the speakers in different paragraphs. As soon as the next person starts talking, a new paragraph is needed. Ex:
  9.         “Can we come?” Applebloom asked before they even heard my answer.
  10.         “We’re going fishing,” I answered. They looked at me, confused. “We’re going to catch fish,” I tried. That, they understood.
  11.         “That sounds… interesting,” Applebloom said as they trotted up to us. “Can we help?”
  12.         “We’re going to clean, cook, and eat them afterwards. I don’t want you to see that.” Spike suddenly looked a lot more interested at the prospect, while all three of the ponies looked somewhat sickened.
  13.         That was almost enough to change their mind, but Scootaloo had to open her damn mouth: “Our teacher is always talking about how we should respect different cultures. Maybe it would be interesting to see?”
  15. Another thing with dialogue: No one wants to read 'said' or 'says' every bloody time (except for EQD, apparently. They actually rejected something Bolding wrote for not using only 'said'). Sure, you /can/ do it, but that would get dull. I think it was Stephen King or someone that said most of the readers are too stupid to understand different things like 'answered' or 'whispered.' I have more faith in people than that. See the above example. Said was used once. And there are times when you don't need anything at all, like when two characters get going in a long dialogue:
  16.         “Son of a bitch!” I clutched my numb hand and glared at the spear. “Fine, be that way. You look too heavy for me to use anyway.” Stupid spear. “Taya, you want to try?”
  17.         “Not really. That looked painful.”
  18.         “That’s because it was painful. If this spear wants to be an asshole I suppose we’re done here.”
  19.         “Daddy, why are you talking like it’s able to understand you?”
  20.         “To make it feel bad for what it did. Let’s go get my sword.”
  21.         “Why would an object feel bad about something?” she asked as we walked back through the museum.
  22.         “I don’t know. It made sense in my head. Let’s just call it a human thing and leave it at that.”
  23.         She sighed. “Sometimes I can’t help but think that you humans are silly.”
  24.         “I think it is you that is silly, and you are trying to compensate for your silliness by projecting it on me.”
  26. There was no difficulty in telling who was saying what, because there were only two people talking. Thus, you don't need tags like 'x said' on every line. Replacements: http://pastebin.com/hMReK6Mt
  28. Yet another dialogue point: Proper punctuation. This is right:
  29.         "Hey Bob, do you know what bothers me?" asks Jim.
  30.         "What's that, Jim?" Bob responds.
  31.         "People that don't know how to dialogue," Jim answered. "It's like they never read any books in school or something."
  32.         "Well," Bob said, a consoling hint in his voice, "maybe you should just be less judgmental? Some people are illiterate and are just banging away at a keyboard and hoping to get lucky."
  33.         "I certainly hope so," sighed Jim, staring off into the distance.
  34.         "Buck up, mate! Surely if they were listening in on us for some reason, they would know how to properly do it."
  36. Wrong:
  37.         "Hey Bob, do you know what bothers me?" Asks Jim.
  38.         "What's that, Jim," Bob responds?
  39.         "People that don't know how to dialogue." Jim answered. "It's like they never read any books in school or something."
  40.         "Well." Bob said with a consoling tone in his voice. "Maybe you should just be less judgmental?"
  41.         "Bob, you failed the test," Jim answered, ripping his dagger from its sheath. "Hold him, boys!" Suddenly, two masked men appeared out of nowhere and grabbed Bob, pulling his arms out. Jim grinned at the confusion and fear on Bob's face. "Now, now, my friend, let's talk about grammar..."
  42.         The screams from the unidentified location horrified everyone that were unfortunate enough to hear them.
  44. Notice the punctuation in the first example. When the sentence is a question or an exclamation, it ends like this: ?" asks or !" exclaims or ?" Bob asks/!" Joe exclaims. However, when it ends in a comma, one of two things might be happening. First, it could be a full sentence with the 'x says' tag on it: ," Bob said. Second, it could be part of a sentence cut in half by the 'x says' tag: ," Bob said, a consoling hint in his voice, "m" Since you weren't starting a new sentence in the next block of dialogue, that dialogue does not need to be capitalized. This is very wrong: ." He says. Take away the 'He says' part and it'll be okay. Or change the period to a comma and uncapitalize he. This is just weird: ." He asks, "...?" Why would you ever do this? That looks terrible. Kill the 'He asks' and put it all in one block. More information can be found here: http://www.writersbeat.com/showthread.php?t=16297
  46. Another thing: Getting a sentence truncated. People get interrupted. It happens. I've seen people do that with ellipses, which is wrong. Ellipses are used when someone slowly fades away. Ex for ellipses while we're there:
  47. "I just don't know anymore. Sometimes I think the world would be better off without me..."
  49. Now, for a truncation:
  50. "Dammit Anon, if you even think about it I'll ki—” Before she could finish, you totally thought about it.
  52. That — is not a hyphen. In Microsoft word, it's created with two hyphens next to each other. Word -- word[space]. Everywhere else, it's alt+0151
  54. Describing things in bulk: Sometimes you want to describe a massive room or a small room with a fuckton of stuff in it. This requires a paragraph or more of text, depending on how descriptive you want to be. I'm not Charles Dickins so I don't write three pages to describe a single small room that the character will go to once. Ex:
  55.         I feel like it would have been a beautiful picture, if there had been a camera around. A lightly clothed cat woman standing with claws fully bared, glaring hate at an approaching army. A winged human cradling a dusty, cocked crossbow in his arms, covered in desert rags from the neck down, wind shifting his long, greasy hair in the wind. A sheathed sword was on his back and a covered quiver of bolts was on his hips. And between them stood a majestic alicorn, taller than both her honor guards, practically radiating the sunlight she was named after. Behind us, a massive, smoking desert city, walls of light clay and manned by a ragged slave army nervously fingering weapons. Before us, a massive army, rank upon rank of well-trained desert fighters just waiting for the order to charge. It was three against fifteen hundred. I felt good about those odds.
  57. I don't do stuff like that often, because I prefer to tell a story through actions, but it's always nice to have decent descriptions occasionally. If you feel the need to describe more than one thing, you can break it up into different paragraphs. I didn't because I didn't write that much in the way of a description. And when you are writing stuff like this, try to avoid using the same word over and over. Vary your vocabulary. Use a damn thesaurus if you have to. And if you don't know what a thesaurus is, you should rethink writing just yet.
  59. Vocative commas: When addressing someone and using their name, you should usually use a comma. "How are you feeling, John?"
  63. Rules of greentext. These are unedited.
  65. Dialogue. When you write dialogue in greetext, one of the biggest problems is determining just who the dick is talking. You don't really have to worry nearly as much about the grammar in greentext as you do in dialogue, unless you want to use greenprose. To do that, take the dialogue from prose and slap a > in front of it. Done.
  67. The other method I've seen for showing who is saying what in greentext is chat format (it has fallen out of style in AiE, it seems):
  68. >Spitfire: "I say old chap, it sure is a nice day out."
  69. >Derpy: "Quite, quite. Say, I don't suppose you would have the time?"
  70. >Spitfire looks at her foreleg.
  71. >S: "It's a hoof past a hair, my good friend.
  72. >D: "Already? I'm sad to say I'll have to cut our luncheon short. I'm late for delivering the mail. Tally-ho!"
  74. The benefit of doing this is that the reader will always be able to tell exactly who is talking and who is saying what. This is similar to the actual show, since the listeners can tell by their voices who is saying what. The only ambiguity it leaves is how they are talking, which can be included in the line previous.
  75. >Milky Way is giving you a sultry look, her lips curved upward in a seductive smile.
  76. >M: "You milked me... It's only fair I milk you!"
  78. The point of putting it in the previous line is so the reader will be able to tell how they should read the line of dialogue. If it is in the line after, they'll have to reread it with the mood in mind.
  80. Most writers have a different way of showing Anon talking. They leave his text normal while everything else is green. Ex:
  81. >Fluttershy: "Is good grammar and proper greentext style your fetish, Anon?"
  82. "Oh Gods yes, Fluttershy. Take me now, you coward-colored bird-pone!"
  83. >FS: "Oh Anon!"
  85. Details. When you're writing fanfiction in general, you usually need less details. You're dealing with a crowd that has seen the show and knows what things look like. That said, if you add something new to your story or if you want to describe it with the eyes of a human that has never seen it before, you should keep some of this in mind. First, greentext is a style that benefits from shorter segments. Huge paragraphs of writing is just annoying. If you see that you have large chunks, try breaking it up. Sometimes it is unavoidable but usually it isn't. Second, keep it simple as much as you can. Big words are cool, but who wants to use a dictionary to read greentext? Third: If all else fails, remember that the readers have their own imagination and it's usually better/worse than anything you can come up with. Trying to find words to describe an eldritch horror but can't? Don't worry about it. The audience can come up with something that's worse than anything you'll ever be able to put into words.
  90. Going from greentext to prose: Oh lawdy, this'll be fun. It might be easier to do with an example, taken directly from Aether's story(the mistakes there are his, not mine):
  91. >The next morning arrives much sooner than you’d expect. You’re stirred from your sleep by Zecora as she gets out of bed. When she hears you yawn and stretch she turns to you.
  92. >”I was hoping you wouldn’t arise, seeing your eyes open at this time is quite a surprise. I felt that more recovery was needed, since you still have wounds untreated.” She examines your cuts and scrapes.
  93. >The larger ones have scabbed over and the smaller ones have closed. When you get to your feet this time you’re able to stand with little to no pain rearing its ugly head.
  94. >”What time is it?” you ask Zecora as you continue to stretch. “Dawn is the current time of day… Anonymous please I implore you to stay. There is another brew I must give you, and breakfast should fill your belly too.” Zecora says with a smile.
  95. >Breakfast does sound like a good idea, and she’s offering… a few hours pass from then to now. You and Zecora discussed what she did for a living over a few bowls of salmon soup.
  97.         The next morning arrives much sooner than you’d like. You’re stirred from your sleep by Zecora as she gets out of her bed. When she hears you yawn and stretch, she looks over at you. “I was hoping you would not yet arise; seeing your eyes open is quite a surprise.” She looks pointedly at your untreated injuries and adds, “I felt that more recovery was needed, but I see from your face I will go unheeded.”
  98.         The larger cuts have scabbed over and the smaller ones have closed. When you push yourself to your feet this time, you’re able to stand with much less pain. “What time is it?” you ask her as you continue to stretch, trying to see if your injuries will be reopening if you had to walk back.
  99.         “Dawn is the current time of day. Anonymous, please, I implore you to stay,” she says with a smile.
  100.         Breakfast does sound like a good idea, and if she’s offering… A few hours pass as you and Zecora discuss what she did for a living while you helped prepare a few bowls of salmon soup.
  102. That's Aether's greentext with my prose translation. Basic tips:
  103. Don't worry about adding too much detail when you change it to prose. That's pretty hard to do, all things told. Possible, but hard.
  105. Do worry about dialogue. You have to make sure the audience knows who is talking. Ex:
  106.         Shining Armor's mouth dropped and a big flush showed up on his face. Pinkie giggled. “We weren’t bucking!” he cried just as the door opened and the griffin king came in.
  107.         “Am I… interrupting something?” he asked, stopping at the door with a filthy grin on his face. Now Shiny was just sputtering.
  108.         “Nah man, it’s cool,” I said. “We were just talking about him and his wife. Come on in. Pinkie, Bloodbeak. Bloodbeak, Pinkie.”
  109.         He gripped one of her hands with a talon and brought it up to his beak. “My pleasure,” he said when he pulled away. “Though I thought Nav was the only one of his kind here.”
  110.         “Oh, I’m not a human!” she said. “Or at least, not really.”
  111.         He ripped his talon away. “Changeling!”
  112.         I waved a hand. “Not quite. She’s a pony. A magic mistake turned her into a human. She’ll turn back tomorrow.”
  114. Notice how some of the lines are prefaced with some indication of someone doing something, so we know who is about to talk.
  115. In prose, all paragraphs need to be indented. It makes it easier for the readers to tell when a new paragraph is started.
  117. When writing clop, no one wants to read the same words over and over. Try mixing it up. These might help:
  118. (lolreddit) http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/vwgq8/fulfilling_request_iaman_erotic_fiction_author/c58byo4?context=1
  119. http://feministing.com/files/2010/11/vageuphemisms.jpg
  123. Misc stuff:
  124. They’re = They are.
  125. Their = Shows possession.
  126. There = Specifies a location.
  127. You’re = You are.
  128. Your = Shows possession.
  129. We’re = We are.
  130. Were = Past tense of “are”.
  131. Where = Specifies a location.
  132. Than = A comparison.
  133. Then = A point in time.
  134. Affect = To change something.
  135. Effect = The change in question.
  136. Regarding = Apparently people misspell this. I never realized that.
  137. It’s = It is.
  138. Its = Shows possession.
  139. Are = Present tense of “be”.
  140. Our = Shows possession.
  141. Threw = past of throw, meaning to toss something.
  142. Through = In one side and out the other.
  143. Though = In spite of something.
  144. Tough = hard or difficult.
  145. Alot = Not a fucking word
  146. A lot = Several of something
  147. Allot = Put aside
  148. Cannon = Something you blow shit up with
  149. Canon = What the authors created
  150. Advise = To give someone advice
  151. Advice = Useful information pertaining to a subject
  152. Offense vs offence = same thing. One is just more common than the other.
  153. Defence vs defense = Same thing. Regional differences.
  154. First person = I/we/us/our
  155. Second person = you
  156. Third person = He/she/they/their
  157. Third person panoramic = The narrator can see all, but can't read anyone's mind.
  158. Third person omniscient = The narrator can see all and into everyone's mind
  159. Third person limited omniscient = The narrator can see into one person's mind, knowing all your hidden desires(like you wanting to be a girl secretly)
  160. Must/should/would/could of = something that is wrong and should never be done
  161. Must/should/would/could have = what you really mean
  162. Definitely = something that will happen
  163. Defiantly = refusing to give in
  164. Definatly = not a word. God, how could you butcher it this badly?
  165. Whose = possession
  166. Who's = Who is
  167. No one = not a single person
  168. Noone = Who even does this? Really?
  169. Let's = let us. "Let's go to the candy shop!"
  170. Lets = allows. "Only if my sugar daddy lets me."
  171. Lose = To not win at something
  172. Loose = Your mom. Also, the opposite of tight
  173. Literally = Something that happened exactly as you said it did.
  174. Two = a number
  175. Too = also or more than should be
  176. To = a preposition. I can't really define this. If you want to use a to and it doesn't fit the other two definitions, this one is probably right.
  177. Lay = to lay something down. You lay the book on the bed.
  178. Lie = what someone does. You lie down to sleep.
  179. Lie(again) = to say something that isn't true
  180. Less = used for items you can't count. "I need less tape."
  181. Fewer = Used for items you can count. "I have fewer books."
  182. Realize = realise
  183. Color = colour
  184. Armor = armour =/= amor
  185. Accept = to take or agree to
  186. Except = Excluding
  187. Each other = each other
  188. Eachother = what the absolute fuck are you doing?
  189. Verbal Irony = saying one thing but meaning another
  190. Dramatic Irony = When the audience knows something the character does not
  191. Situational Irony = when something opposite of what you expects happens
  192. Title of a book = Underline or italicize that shit. Capitalize all the important words.
  193. Title of a chapter/short poem/short story = Put that shit in quotes. Capitalize all the important words.
  195. List of writing software: http://www.dailywritingtips.com/writing-software/
  196. Cheating: http://www.wordhippo.com/
  197. A woman after my own heart: http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/
  198. Increase your vocabulary: http://i.imgur.com/04HT1fZ.jpg and https://i.imgur.com/ipeeQCA.jpg
  199. For more about dialogue: http://www.writersbeat.com/showthread.php?t=16297
  201. He and I vs him and me = Take one away: "That's just comments that both him and me were talking about back and forth in Skype about his story."
  202. that him was/that me was = wrong as hell
  203. that I was/that he was = right
  205. If you're posting a story on 4chan, you need to change everypony to everyp0ny. If you don't, the spam filter will fuck you sideways. This also applies to every pony.
  206. For everything else... There's Google. Seriously. ctrl+t and just start typing. You'll find your answer quickly.
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