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Can anyone offer some writing tips

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I know there is the writing section that has some really good info and I've read through most of it already. I have even learned some things (or re-learned some things that I've forgotten.) Anyway, what I am really looking for is some tips on how to add details and develop characters in my writing without it appearing that I'm just adding text as filler. (I really don't quite know how to articulate this...)


Agggrrrr .... I guess what I need is someone to read what I have written and give me some pointers, I dunno.


I'm sort of using this site to help me with a writing assignment I have, I hope that's cool with you guys.

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You should post some of what you have in the 'Sneak Peeks' forum. that is for work that isn't ready to be officially posted https://www.gayauthors.org/forums/forum/20-sneak-peeks/


If it is an ongoing story that you will be posting there is also a forum for 'GA Stories Discussion' https://www.gayauthors.org/forums/forum/94-gastories-discussion/


It sounds like you might be looking for a beta to help you with your story. You can post detail, length, genre and an excerpt to get some feedback on your story.


Hope that helps! :D

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The best writers usually start out as prolific readers. Read a lot of stuff: sci-fi, mysteries, spy novels- doesn't matter what. The point is to get exposed to other writers and their style and voice.


Try some of Comicfan's writing prompts. Don't feel like you have to do them all. Just pick the ones that fire your imagination.

Edited by jamessavik
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To toss my tup'pence in the ring - JS is right, you need to read, read, read - go out of your comfort zone. If reading is a problem, the get audio books. Listen to how things are constructed, how a writer moves things along. Old comment: show, don't tell. The more you have to explain, the less involved the reader is. One resource is https://www.writers-online.co.uk/Features/ - but that's not going to write the thing for you.


When you say a writing assignment, what exactly are you talking about? Is this course work for something, a project you're working on yourself, something from a writers' group?


If the piece is complete raw first draft, or incomplete, then KC's comments re beta testing is the more helpful route.

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Thanks, I do read quite a bit, both for school and for recreation. I have also been reading many of the stories here, even before I registered to join this site. I guess I'm just writing a story as to comes to me but my characters are lacking any deapth and I really don't want to over do it and make my readers bored, but I want my characters to seem like real people.

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I have a tip, though I can't provide you with the forms I use on this computer; they're on my main one. One major way to develop stronger characters is to interview your characters, so to speak. Act as if they are real people you want to get to know. Ask them questions. What's your favorite tv show? Music? Worst nightmare you ever had? Favorite project (school or work). Good with technology or bad? Ticklish? Sensitive skin? Showers or baths? Favorite article of clothing, shoes?


The more you've realized your characters in your head, the more details you can add in to your story during the scenes. While in the car the jock character can switch on his favorite rock or country station really loud and bang on the steering wheel. A geek might turn on something soft, classical, or even modern stuff, but just keep it quiet. A jock might run to the store for pizza for dinner and a geek might get... okay, teenagers will go for pizza no matter what, but you get the point there. If you have a jock reading, maybe it's a magazine on a sports team and he's sprawled along the couch with one leg up over the back; if he's an intellectual type you might have him sitting at a desk reading a text book for an assignment not due for weeks. Your jock might drink milk out of the carton but your geek would get a glass. The jock might leave his letterman jacket on and open over a t-shirt and jeans and a geek would have khakis and a polo with his jacket zipped up.


Details are very important for fully realized characters, and it can be easy to slip small things in here and there, but you have to know them. Think about all the characteristics of the type of person you're portraying and add in the details over time during the story. Let them live the story as if they were actual people. Give them flaws, disappointments, joy. Figuring out all the details of the characters can take quite a bit of work. That's one of the reasons why people say write what you know. If you don't, research, research, research.

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When I am writing a anything other than a short story I do another version of Cia's idea. I simply start doing character sheets. Who are they? Friends? Job? Hobby? Important Events? What is their ultimate goal in life? Are they the kind who rarely has a problem or is their life one continuing problem?


Then don't be afraid to find yourself a beta. A good one will point out areas to improve, expand and make suggestions to you. I'm late to this party and KC, Cia, James, and the rest have already given you some great suggestions.

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I also define my characters, and I include who they interface with and how their relationship works/doesn't work (friend/enemy, sort of). This is a living document. That means if there's something new or something that I missed or something that I want to change I update the character definitions. But only after I've saved the prior versions of everything! Sometimes I find that trying to make J a friend of T, there are a lot of things that have to be changed elsewhere in the story and it's not worth making that change. Or maybe it is worth the effort. But having saved versions of everything means if I decide to give up my brilliant new idea, I can go back to what I had before.


Colin B)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Personally I found a tool designed specifically for Timelines with multiple arcs called Aeon Timeline very helpful. It allows me to put a list of characters and events in an organized fashion without getting all bogged down in learning a new program or without me having to choose what features to use or ignore.


Keeping what happened to who, and when it happened, is one of my biggest problems in developing more than a few characters. Which I realized kept limiting my stories and character development.


I found it mentioned somewhere on the Nano website I think.

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