Okay it is one in the morning and therefore it seems like the perfect time to run my mouth. Now I am one of those obnoxious people who rather than gushing over a fanfiction in the comments I give real criticism and tips. I know, I am such a bitch. Or at least that’s what people tell me. So rather than offending everyone by singling their fanfiction out in the comments I am writing this handy article for how to write something passable as a good, and balanced story. Keep in mind that I am not a professional. I am not saying that I’m better than you. I just want to give some simple tips that I’ve picked up from college English classes and the words of other writers. Now too the countdown mobile (cue theme music)!
1. Spell Check is Your Friend
This seems like a pretty simple and straight forward rule but apparently it isn’t. Now I understand misspelling a few words every now and then. I do it all the time no matter how closely I watch my typing. But I really hate it when every other word is spelling incorrectly. Here is a link to a good spell checker where you can just copy and paste your whole body of text.
2. Say No to Mary Sues
This annoys me the most because they show up so often. Mary Sues are characters that are pretty much the author living out their perfect fantasy world. A Mary Sue is a character who is loved by everyone, unrealistically skilled or pretty, has just about one small flaw and usually the most special snowflake of a person every seen by human eyes (cough, cough, “Twilight”, cough). Your character can be skilled or pretty or whatever but please tone it down. You want your character to be realistic and have flaws. Here is the Mary Sue Litmus test to help you figure out if your character is too perfect.
3. Grammar is Also Your Friend
I do really understand that people make mistakes and a mistake here and there is acceptable but when almost no grammar rules are applied the story is unreadable. Here are a few simple rules to remember. Start a new paragraph for every new person talking. Other dialogue rules are use quotes around every piece of dialogue. Also you want to use a comma instead of a period if you are adding “said so and so” because that is still part of the sentence. If you are using a question mark or exclamation point use it. Never have your comma or question mark outside of your quotes because it is a part of the dialogue itself. An example of these rules would be:
“This pie is delicious,” said Jill.
“Thanks,” Jane replied.
Add new paragraphs when it seems right to make the story easier to read. Some more random bits of knowledge are it’s means it is and its is the possessive term.
Don’t touch its bone.
There is a place, their is possessive, and they’re means they are.
The cat is over there.
That is their car.
They’re going to the movies.
More simple grammar tips are listed here because I am too lazy to write down everything.
4. POV is Unnecessary
If you look at pretty much any published novel you notice they never us the term POV. If the point of view is changed they show it in other ways such as starting a new paragraph or stating the person’s name in passing so you understand who is thinking. I have no links for this one but if you have trouble feel free to message me even though you probably won’t.
5. Show, Not Tell
This is something almost every English teacher or writer says and for good reason. Most people have a hard time with this and I only know how to explain it by example.
His hair was black and he had green eyes. When he make things blow up his eyes turned orange and his hair turned purple.
His eyes were as green as a stick bug and his hair as dark as a Tim Burton movie. He closed his eyes concentrating. Suddenly his hair turned dark purple and when he opened his eyes they were as orange as a Charmander. He flexed his fingers and the cup burst into shards. Slowly his appearance returned to normal.
Now sometimes things do need to be told rather than shown but this is still a good rule of thumb. On a slightly related note don’t explain everything too quickly. Reveal information as you go along so the audience isn’t overwhelmed. Rather than stating the exact relationship between two characters when they meet let their actions and dialogue do the explaining.
6. Be Realistic
This is pretty simple. Don't screw up an existing character by having them act out of character. Wolverine would not wear a pink tutu and dance ballet and Jean will most likely not leave Scott for Psylocke. People love this characters for a reason so don't mess it up. Also have your own character act realistic (see Mary Sue).
Well that is all I have to say for now. If I think of anything else I will make a part two. If you found any mistakes please tell me and give me a sound beating. Also if you have any other questions message me and I’ll see what I can do. If you feel I am a stuck up bitch who should shut her damn mouth tell me in the comments and be as unreasonable as possible.