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Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by Souderwan, Oct 1, 2005.

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  1. Chimpo_the_Sith Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 15, 2003
    star 5
    That was rather rude Ish . They could as well not read your stories at all if you put it that way [face_plain]

    EDIT: Ups sorry I was writting when you were editing [face_blush]
  2. The_Face Ex-Manager

    Member Since:
    Feb 22, 2003
    star 5
    There isn?t anything wrong with contractions. I might not throw ?em all over a formal essay, but for clear and concise prose, they?re fine. A lack of contractions will usually clutter and turn out awkward.

    As for foreign words, I try to stick to ?Basic?, but will work in something if it?s important and can be explained as some kind of alien term. For example, I used the Japanese word ?rurouni? as a nickname for my Jedi hero in Wanderer of Ages. He was a wandering swordsman, which is what that means. It worked, and set a tone.

    Fragments. An effective tool, if wielded correctly.

    As far as grammar in general is concerned, all bets are most definitely off with dialogue. I think realistic speech is extremely important. It has to be, since that?s what my characters do a lot of, between blasterfights. People, especially in the kind of stressful situations with which the GFFA is rife, use disjointed phrases, slang, in-jokes, etc. Unless they?re fancy-pants Imperials, or nobility as others have mentioned.

    I live on clichés, but only ones I make up myself. :p In writing a detective story, you have to have the classic 40s private eye monologues. These, of course, are full of clichés, idioms, analogies, etc. etc. Again, it?s a matter of tone.

    Quotations are a no-no within a chapter, but as that recent challenge showed, they can be good to set the mind a workin?. Also, you can have a character cite something if it?s within their knowledge. Like Gurney Halleck did all through Dune.

    There?s nothing wrong with ellipses. It?s a lot easier than ?He paused?, ?She hesitated?, and such, though those need to be interspersed for variety. I have also used it outside of dialogue on more than one occasion if I want to show a character?s train of thought trailing off.

    I like to think I follow all the others to the best of my ability. The work has to be readable before the audience can care about all the fun inside.

    I also adapt my style and usage of the rules with my subject. The GFFA Rim is such a run-down, beat up, Wild West-type society. That?s part of why we fell in love with the OT in the first place. When I?m using these places and people, my prose will probably end up less formal. However, in Wanderer of Ages, the story I mentioned earlier, I utilized a more poetic tone. It was a romantic piece. By that, I don?t mean mush; I mean it in the other sense. It was about a hardcore pacifist Jedi out of time. This nostalgia for a ?more civilized age? defined the language of the story itself. Then I would bring in the cynical dialogue of the seedy types around him and contrast all his ideals. It worked well enough for me. I hope...
  3. Souderwan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2005
    star 6
    This has been a ton of fun!! I wanted to jump on dianethx's waggon about word-usage. I'm a big fan of expanding my vocabulary and I use www.dictionary.com (same site as www.thesaurus.com, I think) all the time. The key for me is that I won't use the word unless it means what I'm trying to say so I look it up.

    Here's another thought that's not on the list that I obsess about but I do it anyway. :oops: How about using the same word twice in a row. Here's an example:

    His muscles grew tight as the anger grew in him.

    Or, less obvious but no less annoying to me, personally.

    The strength of the wind grew more intense with every passing moment. In a panic, his palms grew sweaty.


    Am I the only one bothered by that kind of thing? That's why I love the old thesaurus! Can't use the word "grew" every time, you know what I mean? In fact, I try to eliminate repeat words in the same paragraph...
  4. TKeira_Lea Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 10, 2002
    star 5
    It really bothers me to read the same word used multiple times, especially in the same paragraph. Just. Don't. Like. It.

    Unless...you're using the repetition to make a point.
  5. dianethx Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2002
    star 6
    I agree. I try not to use the same words even in a page, if possible. It drives me nuts. Unless the repetition is on purpose, of course. [face_batting]

    I know that I'm aware of it in my own work and sometimes if it's really obvious in other stories. On the other hand, how many readers care about that sort of thing? Is it important to them about your word choice or do they just want a good ripping yarn?
  6. TKeira_Lea Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 10, 2002
    star 5
    Oh man. I read a fic the other day and one word was used three times in a paragraph. I hit the button and moved on.
  7. Souderwan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2005
    star 6
    I know that I'm aware of it in my own work and sometimes if it's really obvious in other stories. On the other hand, how many readers care about that sort of thing? Is it important to them about your word choice or do they just want a good ripping yarn?


    One time, my beta and I argued about a single word for like 15 minutes (on chat). I was so frustrated because she didn't like the word and I wanted to keep it because I thought it was the perfect word at the time. Anyway, after about the 15th minute or so, I asked myself if anybody other than my beta and I would even notice the difference. When I decided that the answer was no, I ended the debate and kept my word. :p

    Oh man. I read a fic the other day and one word was used three times in a paragraph. I hit the button and moved on.

    I'm so happy I'm not the only one. 'Course, I usually only notice it in my writing about two posts later when I'm re-reading and I go, "That's crap, Brian!! You can write better than that!!"
  8. TKeira_Lea Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 10, 2002
    star 5
    I think we all do that [face_blush]
  9. oqidaun Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5
    I'm afraid of grammar and now afraid of repetitive word use scaring readers away. I've never done it unintentionally, but some times do it intentionally for style purposes and am now paranoid.

    I'll go back to hiding until the grammar storm blows over.
  10. TKeira_Lea Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 10, 2002
    star 5
    I wouldn't worry too much. There's a distinct difference between style and weakness in form. Most of the time people can tell the difference. Too, some words are hard to avoid in multiples - said, the, [insert_character_name], etc. ;)
  11. Souderwan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2005
    star 6
    Yeah, Oqi! I agree with TKL. Usually, I don't notice it unless it's obvious that the author isn't even trying. When that happens, it becomes annoying...
  12. Elana Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2005
    star 2
    The rule of thumb I go by is, the more common a word, the more often you can get away with repeating it. So the, it, and, etc. get used over and over and nobody notices or cares. But a very unusual word you might only be able to use once in a whole story without it seeming too much. Then again, I just read a published work (non Star Wars) in which the author (a wonderful author, I enjoy her works very much, but in this instance she was just careless) used the word "commemorate" twice in the same sentence!

    I'll often find myself using the same word two or three times in a paragraph. When I edit I'll try to decide which time that particular word is the most appropriate, and find synonyms or just rephrase the other instances. So sometimes the third time I use it is the one I decide to keep, because no other word will really do in that spot, and the first two are not so important.

    Sometimes clarity is more important that avoiding repitition, though. If you have two people of the same sex (so you can't just use him and her to distinguish them) doing things in your paragraph, sometimes you just have to use their names over and over to make clear who is doing what.
  13. dianethx Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2002
    star 6
    Absolutely! Right now, I'm writing a post where there are several Masters in a room and they all have to address each other as Master this and Master that. It's driving me nuts but that's what they would do. :rolleyes:

    When I do write about people, I try to use their names sparingly or else vary the name - sometimes I use their first name, then their last, then maybe a description of them (if they are Zabrek or some other physical trait). Anything to vary the repetition. But you also can't overdo that. It's a fine balance.
  14. TKeira_Lea Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 10, 2002
    star 5
    Another fine balance: Not using names in every line of dialogue. Do people really talk this way?


    "How are you, Jag?"

    "I'm fine, Jaina."

    "What's the status of the inbound fleet, Jag?"

    "There are two battlecruisers, four frigates and six squadrons of fighters. We should probably get to our fighters, Jaina."

    "You're probably right, Jag."

    "Of course I am, Jaina."


    Yet I see that done all the time. (Maybe not to that extreme but you get the picture.)
    />/>
  15. Souderwan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2005
    star 6
    The rule of thumb I go by is, the more common a word, the more often you can get away with repeating it.

    That's pretty much the rule of thumb I try to go by, too.

    When I do write about people, I try to use their names sparingly or else vary the name - sometimes I use their first name, then their last, then maybe a description of them (if they are Zabrek or some other physical trait). Anything to vary the repetition. But you also can't overdo that. It's a fine balance.

    I do that, too!! It's usually pretty easy when you're writing a character like Palpatine who you can call 1) Palpatine 2) Darth Sidious 3) Dark Lord of the Sith 4) Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic 5) just plain Suprememe Chancellor or Chancellor 6)Sith Lord 7) Master of all Sith...you get the idea. It's a little harder when it's a central character who is limited in titles, like Obi-Wan. So...then you try to get a little creative. I sometimes try to work in characteristics at the same time I'm identifying who I'm talking about. Ex. "The iron-willed Corusanti drew his lightsaber." 'Course, I hate telling the reader what a character is like, I rather then decide for themselves, so I use that kind of thing very sparingly. It's particularly frustrating for me now as I'm writing Yoda before TPM because I'm limited to calling him "Yoda" and "Jedi Master". I can't call him by his characteristics too much because there other characters look pretty much the same as he does.


    Uugh! [face_sick] Even a rudimentary beta should be able to fix something like that! I can forgive the author for writing it (well...not something that extreme, but you know what I mean) but I can't forgive the beta for letting it get posted like that.

  16. TKeira_Lea Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 10, 2002
    star 5
    I never listen to my beta. All that red, who needs it? :p
  17. Souderwan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2005
    star 6
    There's a great topic! "Do you listen to your beta?" :p
  18. TKeira_Lea Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 10, 2002
    star 5
    Seeing as we have a running dispute on commas, on that subject rarely. Then again I get ignored in return...
  19. Souderwan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2005
    star 6
    With me, it was that whole 'use-of-the-ellipse' thing. I think I listened to about 70% of her comments. [face_thinking] Maybe that's why she left me....
  20. Inara Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 30, 2005
    star 4
    "Do you listen to your beta?"

    [face_laugh]

    I always have my beta go over stuff, then as soon as he suggests stuff, I end up making several changes and then posting it without having it checked again. It pisses him off[face_devil]

    But sometimes, when you're the only one who sees the entire picture, it's hard to follow everything your beta says.
  21. GrandAdmiralV Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2005
    star 3
    But now you have someone better, right? RIGHT?? :p

    I don't use a beta, actually. But I often have arguments with myself -- and lose.
  22. oqidaun Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5
    Beta?

    I've been a beta for years across several different fandoms, but I cannot work with one. For a long time I thought it was a repressed academic snobbery, until I worked with another academic as my beta on a Matrix epic and we almost killed each other. Concrit I'm ok with (I was in a writer's circle of doom for years), but the beta relationship always proves implosive. It's weird. I love to beta, but can't have one of my own.

    Now my professional stuff is edited/beta'd/abused (along with me) all to hell. Maybe that has something to do with it. I can't lash out at a tenured chair, but will get ugly over fanfic.

  23. dianethx Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2002
    star 6
    LOL. I don't have a beta. I'm usually much rougher on my own writing than on someone else's. Only time I use a beta is when I'm submitting for the Archives.
  24. Souderwan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2005
    star 6
    But now you have someone better, right? RIGHT??

    Ummm...yes, of course! [face_whistling] :p[face_laugh]

    Wow! It seems like I'm a minority with the whole beta thing. I didn't have one for much of my first fic and it did OK. But I like having a beta now. If nothing else, she catches those pesky things like too many of the same words in a row. Plus, my current beta (who is absolutely FABULOUS!!), doesn't pick at everything--only the important stuff. I like that.

  25. GrandAdmiralV Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2005
    star 3
    Yes, I really prefer to think of what I do as copyediting as opposed to betaing. If character issues or problems with plotting/pacing, etc. jump out at me, then I'll address them. Otherwise, I stick to grammar problems when I read other people's works. Also, with a WIP, sometimes it's very difficult to spot continuity issues and so forth -- you have to be able to read a story in its entirety to get the gestalt of it and decide what sort of overarcing problems need to be dealt with. (Oh, no -- I ended that sentence with a preposition. I hope I don't get fired.) :p
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