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Post Your Useful Writing Videos Here (2 Viewers)

TheMightyAz

Senior Member
I haven't seen another thread like this so thought it was a good idea. Sometimes videos are easier to digest than whole books on writing, and not only that but they can hone in on particular niggles one faces as a writer. Here is my contribution for the day. It was most helpful in focusing in on how to approach a short story:

 

TheMightyAz

Senior Member
Some useful tips here. Note that when she's talking about not using verb/adverb but instead use a stronger verb, I don't think she meant to say 'jogged', I think she meant to say 'sprinted'.

 

vranger

Staff member
Board Moderator
Some useful tips here. Note that when she's talking about not using verb/adverb but instead use a stronger verb, I don't think she meant to say 'jogged', I think she meant to say 'sprinted'.


I found this, for anyone who'd rather just read her list than watch the video. Some of these points need discussion, because they're only correct with much more discussion.

She does give a bit of detail for "thesaurus writing" which is correct. You don't use the thesaurus to artificially insert a fancier word or a longer word. You use it when the word you have in mind isn't as precise as you'd like, or to replace a common word with a more interesting word (which doesn't mean it's fancy!).


  • Spelling changes. If you spell a name a certain way, make sure it's always spelled that way including capitalization. Same with locations, magic spells, etc.
  • Similar names.
  • Mistakes in procedures with different professions, particularly social work, police, courts, and forensics.
  • Mistakes in medical care, technology, and weapons.
  • Small talk in dialogue that takes up a bunch of space but doesn't mean anything and doesn't have any relevance.
  • Forgetting to include sensory information (sights, sounds, smells, etc).
  • Naming the minor character after yourself or a slight variation of your name.
  • Cliches used too frequently and especially on the first page.
  • Using the same sentence construction over and over.
  • Switching between past and present tense unintentionally.
  • Pausing the story every time a character is introduced to provide a laundry list of physical description.
  • Over use of alternative dialogue tags.
  • Using more than one or two adjectives to describe a noun.
  • Using more words than is necessary.
  • Thesaurus writing.
  • Constantly repeating the character's name.
  • Repeating characters' names in dialogue.
  • Repeating the same descriptions over and over.
  • Switching the POV character at random.
  • Including mundane details for no reason.
  • Describing every article of clothing every character is wearing at all times.
  • Using an adverb plus a verb instead of a stronger verb ("he moved quickly" vs "he jogged.")
  • Overly formal dialogue, especially dialogue that doesn't use contractions.
  • Introducing too many new characters at the same time.
  • Writing stage direction instead of action.
 

BrandonTheWriter

Senior Member
I forgot about this one, which is extremely true, even though most amateur writers don't want to listen:


I think I've accepted today that writing isn't for me. I didn't want it to be true, but I'm just not having fun anymore. Not saying people should give up on their dream, but sometimes you're just not cut out for it. I can't handle the criticism and get discouraged really easily.
 

Cephus

Senior Member
I think I've accepted today that writing isn't for me. I didn't want it to be true, but I'm just not having fun anymore. Not saying people should give up on their dream, but sometimes you're just not cut out for it. I can't handle the criticism and get discouraged really easily.

At least you figure that out now before you waste years of your life on something you can't handle. Being a creative of any kind absolutely requires a very thick skin.
 

TheMightyAz

Senior Member
I think I've accepted today that writing isn't for me. I didn't want it to be true, but I'm just not having fun anymore. Not saying people should give up on their dream, but sometimes you're just not cut out for it. I can't handle the criticism and get discouraged really easily.

DO NOT THINK THAT! It's not criticism, it's critique. They are two completely different things. You need to know that people who take the time to critique are people that have seen something in your work of value. Critique is an indication you're doing something right! For three years I went to writing lessons and for all three it was 'that's nice, Paul ...' and then someone else read. I was passed over many many times. I WANTED critique. Then, one day, someone critiqued my work after I'd read it. Why? Because something about my writing, my story had captivated them enough to make the effort. Keep writing. It seems an impossible task at times but it's worth it in the long run.
 
Thank you, Az. That's exactly right. If I think a piece is valueless, I won't even bother critiquing. If I'm giving critique, it means I see something in the work.

I think I've accepted today that writing isn't for me. I didn't want it to be true, but I'm just not having fun anymore. Not saying people should give up on their dream, but sometimes you're just not cut out for it. I can't handle the criticism and get discouraged really easily.

But to Brandon, whether you choose to go on writing or choose a different path is dependent on a) what you really want to do and b) what you think you're meant to do. If you feel like giving up because receiving critique is hard, I'd encourage you to go on. Critique will toughen your spirit and improve your writing.

But if it's because you feel you're meant to do something else, I'm not going to presume your calling. There was a period when I wanted to be a CSO (type of Spec Ops officer). Cause, I mean, c'mon, Spec Ops is like the coolest thing ever, right? But when I considered it seriously, I realized that a) I didn't really want it enough for the difficulty of training (drowning, eep) to be worth it, and more importantly b) I don't think that's what I was actually made to be. I didn't sense God's calling (I'm a Christian) in that direction, and I recognized that it wasn't where my giftings were.

So, if writing is just a random hobby that seemed cool at one point and you're now realizing isn't for you, sure, go find your path elsewhere. But if you really, really cannot help but write, because it's what you really want and it's what you were made to do, do not abandon it because it's hard. Everything worthwhile is hard. In every worthwhile path you choose, there's going to be obstacles, and you're going to have to be tough.
 
I forgot about this one, which is extremely true, even though most amateur writers don't want to listen:


Ok, sorry, but:
"No one cares as much about your story than you."

Patently false. There are multiple stories I've wanted to abandon, but I have some very, very enthusiastic siblings who insist I absolutely must finish them. This is why the (honestly kind of stupid) horror novel I started in high school is still "something I'll finish someday, promise" instead of something I've just thrown out. Not to mention my little sister who draws fanart for comics I haven't even started writing yet. Lol!
 

JBF

Senior Member
  • Spelling changes. If you spell a name a certain way, make sure it's always spelled that way including capitalization. Same with locations, magic spells, etc.
  • Similar names.
  • Mistakes in procedures with different professions, particularly social work, police, courts, and forensics.
  • Mistakes in medical care, technology, and weapons.
  • Small talk in dialogue that takes up a bunch of space but doesn't mean anything and doesn't have any relevance.
  • Forgetting to include sensory information (sights, sounds, smells, etc).
  • Naming the minor character after yourself or a slight variation of your name.
  • Cliches used too frequently and especially on the first page.
  • Using the same sentence construction over and over.
  • Switching between past and present tense unintentionally.
  • Pausing the story every time a character is introduced to provide a laundry list of physical description.
  • Over use of alternative dialogue tags.
  • Using more than one or two adjectives to describe a noun.
  • Using more words than is necessary.
  • Thesaurus writing.
  • Constantly repeating the character's name.
  • Repeating characters' names in dialogue.
  • Repeating the same descriptions over and over.
  • Switching the POV character at random.
  • Including mundane details for no reason.
  • Describing every article of clothing every character is wearing at all times.
  • Using an adverb plus a verb instead of a stronger verb ("he moved quickly" vs "he jogged.")
  • Overly formal dialogue, especially dialogue that doesn't use contractions.
  • Introducing too many new characters at the same time.
  • Writing stage direction instead of action.

I will fight you. :mrgreen:

But in all honesty that's a pretty good list.
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
Ok, sorry, but:
"No one cares as much about your story than you."

Patently false. There are multiple stories I've wanted to abandon, but I have some very, very enthusiastic siblings
I wish I had people like this but I don't. It is very, very rare that anyone in my circle even understands why I bother sticking words on a page much less cares to read them. The truth is, the world isn't filled with your siblings so finding that person who eventually WANTS to read what you've written rather than just putting up with it is a pretty great experience. But I find this video to be right on, unfortunately.

ETA: After I wrote 'Running Water' which won the Frostlands LM (by a whisker) and was published in Flashes I showed that to my mom. Y'know, parents usually like it when you've got an achievement to show. My mom skimmed it impatiently, made some nice noises about 'being published' and then went on to tell me what I SHOULD be doing in a way that let me know that now that I've gotten that writing thing out of my system maybe I could do something important.

I guarantee that the LM judges didn't care about my story as much as I did even though they liked it and the Flashes staff didn't care about my story as much as I did even though they published it. Nobody can care about it as much as the person who originated it and nurtured and polished it.
 
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