Help with writing : Forum : #3 Tricks For Advanced Writers


#3 Tricks For Advanced Writers

5 Years Ago


Since this is techniques for advanced writers, I'll take it that you already know how to start stories, characterise, show don't tell, write short stories, describe scenery, make drama, and can use moods to some extent in your writing. All the basic stuff that should have you be able to write 3 page children's stories on A4 paper, that people can enjoy.

Avoid Flat Storylines
Remember the Family Guy episode when Lois wants an abortion, and Peter tries to stop her, or the Simpsons episode when Homer has a gun, and Marge wants it gone? Take away the baby or the gun, and what do you have left? Nothing! The story is flat. The webshow The Guild is notorious for this. To avoid flat storylines, make sure you add 1 hook by the time each chapter ends, and use conversation as a device so that the reader can get to know the characters. Bring things up in order to portray something, not just to explain what's going on. That's enough about that.

Campfire Tonality
You know those scary stories kids and adults tell around the campfire, where all their speech is done with a slow deep tone, where they use short sentences which are statements, and language to express the bad that happened to someone, and how bad it is. Try it out in one of your chapters, a chapter where everything changes. But don't forget to gradually break out of those short sentences and paragraphs, as time goes on in the chapter, or it will get pretentious.

Anchoring
What does the smell of freshly cut grass or an oil spill on the floor remind you of? Try using it in a story. At which instances do people drink out of juice cartons or encounter faulty lifts? Try using those things in two chapters of your novel. By anchoring two things without strong connotations together, in such a way that seems natural, you are subconsciously pairing two chapters together, for an emotional response.

Someone is upset
Want to show someone is upset without ruining the mood by sounding obvious? You could try three things. 1. Say it by saying nothing at all, have them be subdued or reclusive. 2. Have their attitude or stance spontaneously change midway in a conversation. 3. Have a chapter which is one page, purely of narration, about only them. 4. ??????

Is your story boring?
You're starting your story off, and nothing is going on in it. You know where it's going to start getting interesting, but you can't fast forward time in the book. You're stuck with dry scenes. What you can do is start a chapter with a much later time in the same day, revert back to the present time, then lead up to how it ends, with the time shown, incrementing every couple of pages.

Neglecting a character?
Write a chapter about only them. Yes it's got nothing to do with the story, but who cares? It makes the story feel real, and it lets the reader know about the environment at hand.

Is someone mysterious?
Have them send and receive text messages.

Luringly precarious dilemmas / Suggestive Yet Neutral Language tone

Are you writing a sad chapter where something is supposed to happen, with an a protagonist who uses their chance to make something a certain way? If so, you can make your chapter more sad, by using suggestive yet neutral language in your narration.

For example:


When they walked inside, Debra gave Sheridon instructions on where to go. They were led somewhere upstairs and Stefan opened three rooms as instructed.

Meena's heart lept when she saw Sheridon, and he didn't notice she was there. He must have appeared in order to get something then go back to where he was, because he didn't stay for long.

Sheridon and Luke's two other friends came over and joined the conversation. And this time, Kamirah was not one of them.

His friends wished him well and them him, and his friends walked off in seperate directions.

Eliza let go of Sheridon's hand and they both banged their invisible heads together against the wall as they would, as they looked like they were looking for something that was not there. Somebody might of asked them if they were lost, if they weren't stood together.

Let's be honest. I could have explained the same thing, without the text that was in bold, or at least reworded it.

The narration isn't biased so it's neutral, but it's not exactly impartial. The narrator has its favourites, though it's objective enough not to be unreliable or tainted. It is only good to use this style of narration in typically one chapter, the sad one. The trick is that the narration works when it is different to the previous narration, the contrast. The contrast makes it work, and the suggestive yet neutral language, sticks in your head without second thought.

Do you understand what is going on? Let's analyse the passage even further.


When they walked inside, Debra gave Sheridon instructions on where to go . They were led somewhere upstairs and Stefan opened three rooms as instructed.

Meena's heart lept when she saw Sheridon, and he didn't notice she was there. He must have appeared in order to get something then go back to where he was, because he didn't stay for long.

Sheridon and Luke's two other friends came over and joined the conversation. And this time, Kamirah was not one of them .

His friends wished him well and them him, and his friends walked off in seperate directions.

Eliza let go of Sheridon's hand and they both banged their invisible heads together against the wall as they would , as they looked like they were looking for something that was not there. Somebody might of asked them if they were lost, if they weren't stood together.

The orange text adds a sense of uncertainty to suggest that things might go bad, without explicitly saying that things will go bad. It's implicit.(edited)
The green text that says "his friends"breaks the tone of the entire writing so that the reader starts to use their brain to try to imagine what could possibly happen next, rather than just read in a passive way and expect the next couple of words to figure out what is happening next being lazy

When the words "his friends" is used the second time, it is used in the context of the orange text to make the reader feel uncomfortable by giving them something they do not expect, so the second time, "his friends" should be both green and orange at the same time

Hyper-because narration
Below is the narration style I normally use as it's very me.


When Sheridon walked through the school gates, the same people who were teasing him were instead firmsing, saying safe to him. Sheridon reciprocated their safe, and then carried on his own business.

When Sheridon walked through the playground, the same boy who kicked a football at his head was instead doing a goalpost challenge. Sheridon did not think it was a good idea to play football with him today as he would normally do.

Sheridon heard a plane going past and turned around to look at it. He noticed that a group of girls who were looking in his direction stopped talking or moving. That's how he knew that they were talking about him. They were looking at him. He was looking at them. They were looking at him. "What the f***?" thought Sheridon. Sheridon stepped back and he lifted his watch on his wrist to his face, put on a fake shocked face then turned around and walked off. Whilst walking he did something that took everyone by surprise. He turned around and saw the girls resume talking. He gave the three girls a thumbs up and a smile before turning around and walking off.

Noice how the tone is very different han the quoted text before it. But what is going on, to make it so? Let's analyse it again.


When Sheridon walked through the school gates, because the same people who were teasing him because were instead firmsing, saying safe to him. Sheridon reciprocated their safe, because and then carried on his own business.

When Sheridon walked through the playground because, the same boy who kicked a football at his head was instead doing a goalpost challenge. Sheridon did not think because it was a good idea to play football with him today because as he would normally do.

Sheridon heard a plane going past and turned around to look at it because . He noticed that a group of girls who were looking in his direction because stopped talking or moving. That's how he knew that they were talking about him. They were looking at him because . He was looking at them because . They were looking at him because . "What the f***?" thought Sheridon because . Sheridon stepped back and he lifted his watch on his wrist because to his face, put on a fake shocked face then turned around because and walked off. Whilst walking because he did something that took everyone by surprise. He turned around because and saw the girls resume talking. He gave the three girls a thumbs up and a smile because before turning around and walking off because .

How to give 2 characters, a really strong bond in their relationship, and have it advance quickly, but in a believable manner that isn't contrived. Especially if one is emotional slush.




That's a graph of a scan of my notepad. It's about an ending of a story of how both characters lose their innocence to each other. In the left column shows Sheridon's fear that's shown in conversation, and under E is how Eliza reacts to it, and vice versa. In the right column is Eliza's insecurities portrayed by her behaviour and speech, and under S is how Sheridon reacts to it. Day by day, the two start to fall for each other until they eventually kiss.
___________________________________

I could go on, but this answer is long enough. This should suffice.

I don't use these techniques in every novel I write, and when I use them, they're only for a vast minority of the chapters.

The sad and good part, is that you can't use the same writing technique in your every work, or put every technique to use in yours. Aim to have the story dictate to you, what you should write. Don't ask whether a story should be 1st or 3rd person, or anything else that it could be. Let your story make that decision for you.