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Group: A Lord of the Nether Lands
Member No.: 1
Joined: 25-September 07
This topic is basically made up of extra guidelines that a good forum member should always follow while posting.
Part 1: Spelling and Grammar: Any good writer knows that spelling and grammar are important. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to catch your own mistakes. Word and other typing programs are often fitted with spell checkers but those can only take you so far. When you’re typing a post, the first thing to do it either type it in Word or cut and paste it there to check everything for you. Because programs like this don’t always get everything for you, you need to read through your posts to make sure everything is what you wanted and you’ve used the right words. Here’s an online spell-checker for you. click me.
Ex: “I went to meat you and couldn’t here a word you said. Ant time you talk, I can’t understand you.” comes out fine in Word but what you really meant was “I went to meet you and couldn’t hear a word you said. Any time you talk, I can’t understand you.”
Part 2: NTSBWSW (No two sentences begin with the same word [in a paragraph]): This one’s hard. Long story short, vary your sentence beginnings. Someone reading your post doesn’t want to read “she did this. She did that.” “He did this. He did that” they want a varied choice. Try using the same sentence beginning no more than twice in a paragraph.
Ex: “Robert entered the Diner. He was hungry so he went to have a burger. He bought the food and sat down to eat it. He enjoyed the burger. He thought it was juicy and delicious. He finished and threw out the tray and left the cafeteria” doesn’t sound nearly as good as, “Robert entered the Diner. Hungrily, he approached the serving area and ordered a burger. As he left the area and paid for her food, dark haired man looked around for a table. He found one and sat at it. As he ate, he felt the juiciness of the burger in his mouth and declared the meat delicious. When he was finished, he got out of his seat and threw his tray away. Fuller than he was before, Dannie left the Diner.”
Part 3: Sensory Images/Imagery: Everyone appreciates a nice, long, descriptive post, especially the writer. It gives writers a sense of pride to write something long and descriptive. That’s where Sensory Images/imagery come in; writing that involves all of the five sentences. When you write, think about the following: What is he/she thinking? What is he/she feeling? How does the thing he/she is touching feel? What does he/she see? What colours are there? What sounds does he/she hear? What can he/she taste? What are they wearing? Things like this give the replier something to work with. Also, your best friend is a thesaurus. Look up words that are different from the ones you usually use.
Ex: “Robert walked into the Diner. He got a burger, sat down, and ate it. Getting up, he threw out his tray and left the Diner” doesn’t sound nearly as good as “Robert walked into the Diner, wearing a deep crimson uniform that announced his position as a high-ranked City Guardsman. The ear-splitting clatter of many other people chattering and eating noisily assaulted his ears as he whisked through the doors of the large room to the serving area. The entire Diner reeked of its most popular, and best, product: burgers. Briefly conversing with the serving maid, he paid for his food with a small note and picked up the meal. For half a minute or so he watched, looking for an abandoned table in the overcrowded room. Spotting one in the corner, the City Guard Corporal sat at it and picked up his large burger. He bit into it and almost smiled, the cooks at the Diner having lived up to his rather high expectations once again. The burger was delicious, juicy, with a sauce of something he couldn’t name that only added to the flavour. In a minute or so he devoured the burger and stood up, walking to the garbage bin and throwing the contents of his tray in, placing the wooden tray on top. Robert left the Diner then, the noise of the place still assailing his ears until he was a good twenty paces away.”
Part 4: Quotes: When you’re writing, quotes go into your paragraph. The only time a quote gets a new paragraph is if it is a new person talking. Seeing as your posts are all for one character, there should not be a new paragraph for a quote.
Ex: Robert turned to his left, frowning as he sipped from the pint mug of cider in front of him. It was a little bitter, and had probably been left in the barrel too long. He decided inwardly not to order “Sharp Apple” again, as the cider was called. More subtle flavours, like spiced wines. “Don Perignon” was one of his favourites. Or a warm spirit. “Stupid crap,” he murmured, poking a couple of crumbs on a still warm plate around. “That was horrid!” Robert announced, pushing the nearly-untouched pint of cider away. That’s not right. Try this: Robert turned to his left, frowning as he sipped from the pint mug of cider in front of him. It was a little bitter, and had probably been left in the barrel too long. He decided inwardly not to order “Sharp Apple” again, as the cider was called. More subtle flavours, like spiced wines. “Don Perignon” was one of his favourites. Or a warm spirit. “Stupid crap,” he murmured, poking a couple of crumbs on a still warm plate around. “That was horrid!” Robert announced, pushing the nearly-untouched pint of cider away. There’s no new paragraph just because she started talking again.
Part 5: Capitalization: When writing anywhere, capitalization is a general rule to remember. The first word of a sentence should be capitalized, any proper nouns (the names of persons, places, and things), or “I” when referring to yourself. If your posts are typed in Word, things it knows should be capitalized will often be automatically capitalized. It’s still a good habit to get into capitalizing things yourself, though. It should not be used excessively, either. If you write in all caps, people will think you are yelling. Unless yelling is what you really are looking for, emphasize words with bold, italics, or underline.
Ex: robert stepped into the store named jewel and asked for his friend, damien, to come out of the back room to help him with something. “i REALLY NEED your help,” he whined to damien. This post has no capitalization except for the emphasis on need. What it should look like is: Robert stepped into the store named Jewel and asked for his friend, Damien, to come out of the back room to help him with something. “I really need your help,” he whined to Damien.
Codes for bold, italics, and underline:
[b]wrap bolded text in this code[/b] [i]wrap italics in this code[/i] [u]wrap underlined text in this code[/u]
Group: A Lord of the Nether Lands
Member No.: 1
Joined: 25-September 07
Please note that I didn't write this myself, I found it on the internet and decided it was a great guide for members!
It has been brought to my attention that sometimes people like to puff up their writing with purple prose and unnecessary wordage. No, I am not a professional writer, but I think I could help some of you guys out there. I'm sure a lot of you know this stuff, but I you never know . . . you could learn something new. VOICE
Something we learn in English class is that we ought to refrain from using the passive voice in writing our essays. This applies to writing creatively as well, for using an active voice makes the work stronger and more coherent. There is a time and place for passive voice, of course; however, here I shall show you why active triumphs over passive.
You know what this is. You use it all the time. Passive voice is when you fail to acknowledge the doer of an action in your sentence. This can come in handy when you want to soften things, but when you're telling a story, it is often more effective to stay away from it.
The war was won. This leaves the reader wondering who exactly won the war.
The war was won by the Revolutionaries. That provides us with more information, but it still doesn't have quite the same impact as an active sentence.
Keep reading; I'll tell you how to improve this. But before I do so, I would like to say that sometimes, no one cares who did the action. In a case like that--the result is more important than the action itself--passive voice is fine. However, in general it is just not as strong.[LIST]Active Voice
Something I should note about active voice is that usually word count decreases when you use it. Thus, if word count is your main concern, use all of the passive voice you desire. Now, as I promised, I will fix the example sentences above.
The Revolutionaries won the war. This one, while more concise, packs a greater punch.
Other examples: Passive: The ball was thrown. Active: The catcher threw the ball.
Passive: Josh was attacked. Active: The bullies attacked Josh.
Active voice tells what happened and who preformed the action in a clear and concise way. In addition, it reads easier and is less confusing.
We cannot form a complete sentence without verbs, so unless you're going to write all of your RP posts in fragments, you need to use verbs. Of course, you don't have to use them well, but using them well is definitely a good thing.
"To Be" Verbs
These little verbs are, well, little. "To be" verbs are any form of the infinitive "to be," including, but not limited to, was, were, and is. Like passive voice, they are not as strong, though they do have their place.
The key about "to be" verbs is that you ought to use them only on occassion when you absolutely must use them. They don't have the same flair that vivid verbs have.
The ship was sailing around the world when it was attacked. It's not a bad sentence, but it certainly could be better.
There are times, of course, where "to be" verbs are imperative. After all, if you start avoiding them completely, your sentences become long-winded and complicated and just darn annoying. Usually this happens when you have simple sentences such as "He is the king." Yes, it can be improved, but I wouldn't suggest doing it all the time. Sometimes simpler is better.
Vivid verbs add a level of passion to your writing that one cannot achieve by writing purely with "to be" verbs. Please note that this isn't just replacing "to be" verbs in every sentence, but knowing when to add more detailed verbs to your paragraphs.
"To Be": The ship was sailing around the world when it was attacked. Vivid: As the ship sailed passed the Port of Insanity, the pirates attacked the ship.
Or how about this one:
"To Be": Julie was walking up the stairs one step at a time. Better: Julie walked up the steps one step at a time. * Vivid: Julie hobbled up the steps one step at a time. *
*Please note that these may not be the best choices depending upon the context. However, for this example, they are much more descriptive than the first sentence.
Many people consider adverbs a gift from the heavens while other people cringe at the thought of using them. I encourage people to err on the side of caution when using adverbs since too many can destroy good writing.
What is an adverb? An adverb is a word that modifies a verb, adjective or another adverb. Confused? Here's a hint: most adverbs end in "ly." Not all, for the word "well" is an adverb.
Why should I avoid using them? Adverbs are a cheap crutch beginning writers use to help them along. They prop up the sentence on spindly legs just long enough for the writer to move on to the next sentence, but they leave the reader feeling bored.
Yeah? Well, I'm an avid adverb fan! Good for you.
Now, some people may defend adverbs with their lives, but there's really nothing special about them. Take this example:
Sue gently touched Joe's cheek. Well, not too bad. But these are better, depending upon your meaning: Sue patted Joe's cheek. Sue caressed Joe's cheek.
See here, I'm replacing the adverb and the weak verb with a stronger, more vivid verb. Let's try another example:
Adverb-infected:Jane quickly saw her life flash before her eyes as the car came to a quick stop and almost hit her. Better: Jane's life flashed before her eyes as the car screeched to a halt a fraction of an inch from her face.
There is a time and a place for adverbs--chances are it's not here.
They aren't as bad as adverbs, but they don't always get the job done. People often use lots of adjectives because they think that it makes their writing better. It doesn't. It can if the adjectives are used in the right place, but just throwing them in haphazardly doesn't do much good.
What is an adjective? Adjectives modify nouns and pronouns. Usually they come directly before the word they modify (in English at least), though not always. ("The car is green" is one example that comes to mind.)
Why should I avoid them? You shouldn't avoid them as much as you should use them with caution. Too many adjectives lead to purple prose.
Example: The shimmering, glowing, intense sun shone down on them. Adjective overload. This is better: The sun beat down on them. Or The intense sun shone down on them.
Sometimes more is better.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Now it's time to put this all together and see how we can improve some writing. Keep in mind that not every passive voice, "to be" verb, adverb or adjective needs to be changed.
Lauren touched the weathered cover of the ancient book with a firm finger as she forlornly remembered the better times before the Great War. She looked heavily down at the shining, polished ring which sat delicately on her long, thin left-hand finger, and she wished that she had told him what she wanted to tell him deep within her sad heart. She gently put her palm on the decrepid cover of the antediluvian novel and a large, round tear fell down her cheek and onto the rich, mahogany table. Her chocolate orbs looked at the beautiful ring once again before she took it off and threw it venemously down on the hard, cold wood floor. She would kill him now.
Ummm. Okay. *scratches head*
Lauren thumped the cover of the ancient book that sat on the library table before her as she reminisced about the better times before the Great War. She glanced down at the glittering ring wrapped around her finger, and wished she had told him long ago what she wanted to tell him now. As she placed her palm on the cover of the book, a tear slid down her cheek onto the mahogany table. Her brown eyes surveyed the ring one final time before she slid it from her finger and heaved it towards the wooden floorboards at her feet. She would kill him now.
The second piece isn't an award-winning novel, but it doesn't make me want to vomit.
A Final Note
Take what I say with a grain of salt, but remember that packing your writing full of adverbs and adjectives does not make you a better writer. On the other hand, neither does completely removing them. Use strong verbs to enhance your writing, but don't forget that weaker verbs can accent your writing.