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Old 05-27-2005, 11:54 PM
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Default << How to Write Stories >>

- A Tutorial by FREAKING GALLEON, with some stuff stolen from Jack. BUT MOSTLY GALLEON.

-Ideas-
Where do ideas come from? Well, anywhere and everywhere, really. Your only real limitations with story ideas here in the URPG are (A) your story must somehow relate Pokemon, and (B) your story must feature the Pokemon you're trying to capture in some way. And that's it.

In general, ideas can come from anywhere, even from seemingly ordinary, everyday things. Just being observant of your surroundings can spark a wonderful story idea. If nothing else, look at other stories posted here for some ideas of how it's done. But don’t plagiarize (that is, don’t steal other ideas and stories and claim them as yours). Plagiarism is a bannable offense.

-The Basics and Beyond-
What kind of story should you write? Maybe you have never written a story before and have no idea how it should be written. The absolute basic story is as follows: Introduce the main character, some background, go out and look for Pokémon, find one easily, battle it, and try to catch it. That is the absolute basic format for a story. They are not very interesting because they are the most common, but it is still acceptable to write.

Graders look for originality. Keep in mind that your story doesn’t have to be about a Pokémon Trainer like the anime and games are. You could re-imagine the entire Pokémon world, if you want, or perhaps just a different world that still involves Pokémon somehow.

-What Graders Are Looking For-
This isn't supposed to be some kind of secret. The entire point of grading is to help you improve you writing abilities. Below, I'll outline a typical grade for you:

Story/Plot:
It is difficult to define what makes a "good story," simply because "good" is a matter of opinion. However, if you're unfamiliar with storywriting in general, then you should first understand a story - before being dramatic or exciting - needs to be cohesive. It needs to make sense. It should follow some logical train of thought so that the reader can understand what happens (unless you just plan on writing complete nonsense, in which case, get the hell outta here).

And generally, when writing a story, you should have it move toward a climax, a point where everything in your story reaches its greatest intensity, where the greatest drama or excitement of your story occurs. Because that is the entire reason for storywriting: to make the reader feel something, whether that something be happiness, sorrow, a rush of adrenaline, or what have you.

If there is only one thing that all great stories share, it is that they always make the reader experience something incredible. What do you want your readers to experience?

Detail/Description:
Description is how you portray the events of your story. "A man walking down the street" is a much simpler portrayal than "A lone figure moving slowly across the empty road." The second one provides a clearer image for the reader; specifically, the words "lone" and "empty" are the key descriptive words. And that's basically how description works, in the most simplified sense.

In the less simplified sense, however, description involves an absolute ton of different concepts, like analogies and diction and sentence structure, but before any of those things, you should remember that description is meant to help the reader understand your story better. You want your story to be vivid and bright in the readers' mind, but at the same time, it is also very easy to "overwrite" your story. If you provide too much description, you're more likely to bore your readers with irrelevant details; if you provide too little description, you're more likely to bore them with how bland everything feels. It's a sometimes difficult balance, but as you gain experience writing, you'll gradually come to gain a better understanding of what is appropriate for your writing style.

Grammar:
I can't just tell you everything you need to know about grammar and expect you to retain it all. Good grammar is something that comes with practice and experience. It's fine to make mistakes, but you should always do your best to learn from them.

Battle:
Traditionally, URPG stories will include some kind of battle or action-sequence, so graders usually have this section to discuss how interesting that part of the story is. However, a battle isn't absolutely necessary; it's just a means of making your story more poignant and exciting, but if you'd rather focus on drama or some other thing, then go right ahead. Just be sure that your story doesn't wander aimlessly. Lazy writing tends to get slammed pretty hard, around here. Baha.

Length:
For the URPG, we measure story length in characters, as opposed to words. You can find out the the length of your story in any word processing program (MS Word, Open Office, etc.) or just by searching for online. It only takes a few seconds.

Generally, you should try to have your story fall within the range described here: All the Pokémon We Don't Hate

Overall/Result/Outcome:
This is where the grader will tell you whether or not you captured the Pokémon. Simple enough.

--> Some graders include other sections, as well, depending on what they think is most appropriate for the story.

-More on Grammar-
English is a rather annoying language, at times. There are a lot of general rules to it... and then a lot of exceptions to all those rules. It's a very flexible language, which is kinda cool, but it can be a real pain, too. So just do your best, and if you're having trouble, pay close attention to the feedback you get from graders.

Paragraphing
Unlike writing in school, we prefer you to double space between paragraphs for ease of reading. A thread that isn't paragraphed correctly will just look like a giant wall of text, which is very off-putting to any reader.

Sometimes, it's difficult to know when to start a new paragraph, so here are few general rules to help you on your way:
  • Start a new paragraph whenever someone new begins talking.
  • Start a new paragraph whenever you begin writing about what a different character is doing.
  • Only your character's actions may be in the same paragraph.
  • Remember that paragraphs don't have to be a certain length. A paragraph can be one sentence long (and they often are).

Capitalization
Don't go capitalizing words for no reason. Capitalization imparts a greater sense of "significance" to a word. For instance, names are capitalized because they refer to something specific, like a person or a place. Also, remember to capitalize Pokémon-related things, such as attack names 'n such.

Spelling
If you don't know how a word is spelled, use a dictionary. Any word processing program will have a built-in spell checker, but don't expect that to catch everything for you.
wiktionary.com
dictionary.reference.com

Commas
Here's a list of comma rules taken from the old storywriting guide, by Jack of Clovers. I'M STEALING THIS, JACK. THANKS.
  1. Rule 1- Use a comma after a long introductory clause or phrase.
    When we saw the police officer, we flagged him down.
  2. Rule 2- Use a comma - or commas if in the middle of the sentence - to set off information that may be extra and not essential to the whole meaning.
    My friend, who is an award-winning author, is the mother of seven children.
  3. Rule 3- Use a comma between independent clauses if they are joined by a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or, for, so, or yet). Comma should be placed before coordinating conjunction.
    We always shopped on Saturdays, and we usually had brunch on Sundays.
  4. Rule 4- Use a comma after a ‘because’ or ‘if’ clause begins a sentence to separate the cause and effect in the sentence. DON”T use a comma when ‘because’ or ‘if’ clause is at the end of the sentence.
    Because the students studied hard, they all received “A’s” on their tests.

    If we don’t buy that car today, we’ll be sorry.
  5. Rule 5- Use commas to separate items in a series (more than two items).
    The old man descended the stairs slowly, waited at the curb, and climbed into a taxi.
  6. Rule 6- Use a comma to indicate a contrast in thought in the middle of a sentence ( not, but, instead).
    Attending class regularly will help to achieve a good grade, but it won’t ensure it.
  7. Rule 7- Use a comma when separating more than one adjective that equally contributes to the description of the noun (can be tested by either switching adjective order or inserting ‘and’ between adjectives and reading for flow).
    The silly, funny clown entertained the crowd for hours.

    The twelve angry men fought for hours. {Comma not inserted because the two adjectives work together to modify noun.}
  8. Rule 8- Use commas after expressions like yes, no, or well.
    Yes, I think you are a nice person.

    No, I’m not trying to confuse you.

Grammar Links
Guide to Grammar and Good Writing

Last edited by Ataro; 05-20-2011 at 04:03 PM.