Sunday, December 4, 2011

Writing Tip #11

I helped an Asian lady who barely spoke English, got hit on by an old black guy with one tooth, helped a guy look at grills for 20 minutes, half-assed an attempt to keep things organized and STILL managed to slaughter everyone else's pathetic progress, rode in a new car, and scaled a wall like a champ. All in one day. Aren't you impressed?

Tomorrow, I'll be calling the local college about starting for the spring semester! I'm excited as hell. For now, you get a writing tip that's more about general activity than writing itself.

Tip #11: Don't promote your story using horrible spelling/grammar/typing. Or write your story like that, for that matter.

I can't begin to imagine all the times I've seen things like the following examples that make me turn around and run in the opposite direction of a story. 

Example A: The Comma-tose
I'm gonna be posting my story, about this dude, it has dragons. Big dragons that are part wolf.

I see people all the time using too many commas. I also see people using too few. Often, the bad comma frequency is accompanied by run-on sentences or blatant fragments. Sorry, half of you young writers on DeviantART, but that doesn't make me want to read your story. In fact, it makes me 80% less likely to even want to associate with you on the internet. It also gives me a headache as I try to decipher what you're trying to say.

Example B: The Scripted
Bob: *scratches head* What am I doing here?
Steve: *shrugs* Probably being in a bad story, bro.

Scripts are not bad on their own, but they have their place. Scripts should by no means be your way of telling an epic story that would normally be a 250 page novel. For the love of God, stop with the scripts. If I see an excerpt of something in script form, I don't even give it the time of day. I want to read a story; not 80 pages of dialogue and vague actions.

Example C: Teh Loltypr/Chatwriter
I wrote a story!! iz so kewl. it has teh best demons evr. u should read it.

That's seriously as bad as I can consciously make that, and really, I've seen so much worse. This is really self explanatory. I'm a thousand times more likely to read your story if you tell me about it like you can type better than longcat.

Example D: The Runner
I wrote this story about this guy, and he lives in this city and goes around killing people while there are all these gangs and stuff and there's this really crazy disease that's killed off almost everyone and he's immune so he's not affected so he has to go out and kill the gangs, but then he moves to this other city and meets this girl and then he joins this gang, well it's sort of a gang, and meets this other girl and then he has friends and then this crazy stuff happens.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but that probably doesn't make you want to read Among the People Lost, even though that's exactly what I just described. Whenever I encounter this, I always feel like the person is sucking in a huge breath and then trying to hastily sum up their story before running out of air. It's just one massive run-on sentence, sometimes with commas, sometimes without. It's painful. 

Example E: The Stand Still
"So what's your story about?"
"Well, I guess it's about dogs."
"Okay...what about dogs?"
"Uh...a grey dog."
"And his master."

The opposite of the runner, there are occasionally those people who can't even summarize their story. Trying to coax them into doing to is harder than pulling teeth. Even when you hit them in the face with a hammer, you won't get anywhere. If that's the best promotion you've got, don't think for a moment that I'm willing to watch you try to describe what happens to that dog. 

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