Workshop: Writing (tips, techniques and references)

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Re: Workshop: Writing (tips, techniques and references)

Postby SHRRN A FWOOSH! » Thu Sep 29, 2011 11:24 am

FairFieldFinder wrote:I'm very good at English. If anyone has a question, I'll probably be around to help too.

There's a fine, thick line between "very good" and "great" :P

No offense, but I think you should leave this to Lea, just to not mess up some answers.

@Speedy

So, my mind thinks correctly, MY TEACHER HAS FAILED AGAIN!


...and again and again and again...
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Re: Workshop: Writing (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Kureejii Lea » Thu Sep 29, 2011 11:32 am

Capitalization

I'll keep this one short, since we should already know the basics about this one. Consider it a basic refresher. The rules for capitalization differ depending on the language, but since we're talking about English here, we'll talk about English usage. After All, reading In English can Get Annoying When people Write Like This.

Capitals are upper-case letters. Use them in the following situations:

The start of a sentence. Don't use a capital if following a colon, unless it's in a script format.
We walked to the river.

Today is very overcast.


Proper nouns (names of people, things, locations, etc.)
Amy told Sally that she was planning a big get-together at Chuck's Diner.

Tails flew the Tornado to Mercia to meet the local Freedom Fighters.


The first letter in a quoted portion of a sentence.
Sally said, "Does Cream like chili-dogs?"

He asked, "Where are we going?"


The term I.
This is an example I am writing!


Proper/formal titles (when preceding the person's name, or when used as a direct address)
Later, Princess Sally spoke to Councilor Penelope. The princess explained her position well.

When Constable Remington read his online bio, he was confused. How could Kragok be the constable's father?

"How did a blow to the head paralyze King Acorn, Doctor?"

"Tell me, Guardian, how does the island's flight path work?"


In titles (books, movies, etc.). This is one area in particular in which English differs from many other languages. You don't use capitals for small prepositions and the like within a title (unless they're the first word in the title). This means words like and, but, to, the, and so on.
A Tale of Two Echidna Cities

Jet the Hawk and the Search for Babylon

Elias Acorn and the Council of Nonsense
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Re: Workshop: Writing (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Kureejii Lea » Thu Sep 29, 2011 11:37 am

SHRRN A FWOOSH! wrote:I have a question:

When using " ", when do you put the ? Inside the " " and when do you not? Same goes to ,

I'm actually trying to make sure about it, 'cause my teacher gives us a lot of incorrect grammar and such.


As mentioned in the punctuation segment, it goes inside the quotation marks. Speedlion has the general idea, though even with a partial quote, it's the same.

Amy asked, "How come we don't bother with school anymore?"

"We need three extra teacups," Cream said thoughtfully, "since we have more guests."

The plane is called the "Freedom Fighter Special."
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Re: Workshop: Writing (tips, techniques and references)

Postby FairFieldFinder » Thu Sep 29, 2011 11:41 am

SHRRN A FWOOSH! wrote:
FairFieldFinder wrote:I'm very good at English. If anyone has a question, I'll probably be around to help too.

There's a fine, thick line between "very good" and "great" :P

No offense, but I think you should leave this to Lea, just to not mess up some answers.


I meant for like when Lea is not available.
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Re: Workshop: Writing (tips, techniques and references)

Postby SHRRN A FWOOSH! » Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:06 pm

FairFieldFinder wrote:
SHRRN A FWOOSH! wrote:
FairFieldFinder wrote:I'm very good at English. If anyone has a question, I'll probably be around to help too.

There's a fine, thick line between "very good" and "great" :P

No offense, but I think you should leave this to Lea, just to not mess up some answers.


I meant for like when Lea is not available.

meh. Then ask her.
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Re: Workshop: Writing (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Speedlion » Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:06 pm

Kureejii Lea wrote:
SHRRN A FWOOSH! wrote:I have a question:

When using " ", when do you put the ? Inside the " " and when do you not? Same goes to ,

I'm actually trying to make sure about it, 'cause my teacher gives us a lot of incorrect grammar and such.


As mentioned in the punctuation segment, it goes inside the quotation marks. Speedlion has the general idea, though even with a partial quote, it's the same.

Amy asked, "How come we don't bother with school anymore?"

"We need three extra teacups," Cream said thoughtfully, "since we have more guests."

The plane is called the "Freedom Fighter Special."


Even with a partial quote? Oh... then the Dutch rules differ from the English ones... only when it's something someone said, does the quotation mark, dot or exclamation mark not go inside the quotation marks.
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Re: Workshop: Writing (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Kureejii Lea » Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:11 pm

Verbs, Nouns and Adjectives

This is another brief refresher. Figured we might as well touch upon this at least a little.

Verbs
These are words that describe an action or a state of being. These are the ones that change form depending on the tense, subject, etc..

Sally ran down the hall.

Espio ducked out of sight and then threw a blade.

Sometimes, Amy liked to climb trees and watch the bustle of the city from up high.

While Rotor was checking his calculations, his coffee mug fell to the ground and shattered.


Nouns
These are essentially names for things. Proper nouns are generally formal, individual names.

Common nouns:
The girl walked down the street to the shop.

The stars in the sky were quite beautiful that night.

Seventeen cats were stuck in a single tree.


Proper nouns:
The artist for Sonic Universe is Tracy Yardley.

The Brotherhood of Guardians spent time in Haven playing checkers.

The plane flew across the Atlantic from England to Mexico.

Last Wednesday, I went for a walk by Lake Ontario.


Adjectives
These are words used to describe something or give more information about it.

Sally's vest was blue. ("Blue" describes the vest.)

Big the Cat should be too heavy for Cream the Rabbit to lift. ("Heavy" describes Big.)

Amy performed a quick, cute curtsy. ("Quick" and "cute" both describe the curtsy.)


Adverbs are similar to adjectives in that they can help describe something, but they differ in that they're used to modify other words (verbs and adjectives).

She ran quickly down the path. ("Quickly" describes the verb ran.)

Antoine clumsily dropped his sword. ("Clumsily" describes the verb dropped).
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Re: Workshop: Writing (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Kureejii Lea » Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:17 pm

Speedlion wrote:Even with a partial quote? Oh... then the Dutch rules differ from the English ones... only when it's something someone said, does the quotation mark, dot or exclamation mark not go inside the quotation marks.


That's possible. As mentioned, rules differ depending on the language. For instance, a lot of French books don't use quotation marks for dialogue.
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Re: Workshop: Writing (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Speedlion » Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:18 pm

Kureejii Lea wrote:
Speedlion wrote:Even with a partial quote? Oh... then the Dutch rules differ from the English ones... only when it's something someone said, does the quotation mark, dot or exclamation mark not go inside the quotation marks.


That's possible. As mentioned, rules differ depending on the language. For instance, a lot of French books don't use quotation marks for dialogue.


*nods* The older books use ">>>" and "<<<"

Now comes the question: should I use the English way or can I stick to the Dutch?
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Re: Workshop: Writing (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Kureejii Lea » Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:29 pm

Speedlion wrote:Now comes the question: should I use the English way or can I stick to the Dutch?


Well, I would say that you should abide by the rules of the language you're using. To use Dutch properly, you'd have to use its rules. To use English properly, you'd have to use its rules (as little sense as they may make at times).

Of course, how one writes also depends on the context. If I'm writing something personal, such as a post or a letter, I'm likely to stretch, ignore or break several rules to present what I see as my personal tone. If I were writing a book or an essay, however, I'd stick to formalities. That's something to touch upon later, incidentally.
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Re: Workshop: Writing (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Kureejii Lea » Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:16 pm

Narrative Mode

This is essentially the "point of view" from which the story is conveyed to the reader. Basically, it's who is telling the story and how. This will affect the overall presentation of the story. Unfortunately, many people tend to confuse the point of view used within a story, resulting in inconsistencies. There are several forms of narrative mode; they basically come down to who is telling the story, and how much knowledge is available to the narrator.

First-person narrative

In this case, the narrator is usually a character in a story, often the main character or central protagonist. The story is related directly through their perspective; this can let the author convey personal details about the character that others within the story may not be aware of, such as thoughts. It can be written as though the narrator is directly relating the story to the reader, or simply conveying their own experiences in a more general fashion. As the narrator is depicted as a single entity, they will generally be unaware of things that happen in their absence, or of other characters' thoughts and insights. However, it is possible to write a omniscient first-person narrator, in which case the narrator is aware of everything. It all comes down to context and how you want to portray events and characters.

I awoke to a loud knocking on my door. I groaned. It's way too early for this nonsense, I thought. I wondered who was being so rude this early in the morning, and then I suddenly remembered what day it was. Crap. It was my first day of training. I mentally scolded myself for having stayed up so late last night and hopped out of bed with a yawn.


Second-person narrative

This format isn't very commonly used. In this case, the narrator addresses the audience directly as though they were the character, describing their actions. You may have seen this used in those choose-your-adventure type of books. Incidentally, these tend to use the present tense, as it's more convincing than telling the reader about something they supposedly already did.

You awake to a loud knocking on your door. You groan, annoyed. Then, suddenly, you remember what day it is. You quickly scramble out of bed and try to find your socks.


Third-person narrative

This is probably the most commonly used format in storytelling. In this case, the narrator is not a person involved in the story; rather, they're just some unknown entity relating events to the audience. Characters are generally described from an outside perspective, as though one had observed the events, though in many cases the author will stick to a particular focal character. This can be broken down further: a "subjective" narrator may describe the personal thoughts, feelings and details of multiple characters, while an "objective" narrator is incapable of knowing any of these things (think of it as strictly observational). Additionally, there's the concept of how much the narrator knows. An omniscient third-person narrator may know everything that happens, whereas a limited third-person narrator will generally stick to a single focal character and only know what they know. For instance, while the limited narrator will tell you about Bob's personal life and what movie he's watching and what he thinks about it, the narrator will not be able to describe what Anna, in her house across town, is putting in the salad or what she's worrying about because Bob can't know those things. However, an omniscient narrator will be able to describe what either character is doing.

She awoke to the sound of knocking on her door. She found this exceedingly annoying, especially since she'd been up until three in the morning with a particularly engaging book. She lazily rolled out of bed, sliding ungracefully to the floor.


Alternating point of view

While most written works generally stick to a single focal character, it's certainly possible to switch up the point of view used. For example, you may use the first-person or third-person views to tell the story from the perspective of multiple characters. Additionally, you may adopt a more omniscient view to describe a general setting before adopting a more limited perspective for your focal character. However, you should generally remain consistent within a particular body of writing. Telling Chapter 1 from Mark's perspective, and then Chapter 2 from Lisa's? Cool. Switching between using "I" and "he" to describe the same character in a paragraph? No. No no no.
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Re: Workshop: Writing (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Kureejii Lea » Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:30 pm

Narrative Voice

This ties in with Narrative Mode. Now that you know the narrator's perspective, how are they telling the story?

Your focal character may be written as to narrate events in a casual, conversational tone, as though the reader is a friend being spoken to directly. The character may be someone simply observing events around them, or, rather than primarily describing dialogue and actions, stick to describing their mental processes, emotions and thoughts. You can write a character as naive or ignorant, implying meaning through their narration without the character in question actually being aware of it (think sort of along the lines of the movie Forrest Gump, or stories told from the perspective of a child). An interesting (and sometimes tricky) method is that of the unreliable narrator. In this case, the narrator might omit details or even flat-out lie to the audience. This can be used to show bias or perhaps help build towards a dramatic reveal. For example, you may have a murder mystery in which the narrator is the culprit but avoids letting the reader know until the end.

Huh, that was short. Of course, this is more about style than technical writing.
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Re: Workshop: Writing (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Kureejii Lea » Thu Sep 29, 2011 2:21 pm

Two/Too/To, They're/Their/There, It's/Its

While I'm not going to cover every instance of confused/misused words (that's what that site in the resource section is for), these guys deserve a special mention because they are mixed up with painful frequency. Here are examples so you don't fall into this very common pitfall.

These words are synonyms: words that sound the same but have different meanings. The problem is, the words are frequently used, and many people apparently don't know the difference or don't care. Don't be one of those people. Again, mistakes happen, but it's not that hard to remember what the words mean and how to use them. Their meanings do not overlap, so keep the context of your sentence in mind to make sure it, you know, makes sense.

Two/Too/To

Two is a number. This thing: 2
That fox has two tails.


Too means also, as well as, additionally, etc.. It also means in excess.

He puts too much sugar in his coffee. (excess)

I want to go to the park, too! (also, etc.)

Some people say that Amy is too quick to use her hammer to resolve problems. (excess)

Send a card to Bunnie. Don't forget to send one to Antoine, too. (also, etc.)


To is a "function" word that basically helps link other words to create the proper context.

Shadow handed the Chaos Emerald to Rouge.

Tails flew back to the city.

To make the stew according to the recipe, Bunnie needed to find some carrots.


They're/Their/There

They're is a contraction of they are. In other words, it's pretty easy to tell if you're using it properly if you can replace "they're" with "they are."
They're going on a walk together.

Apparently they're hanging out down by the pond.

They're getting impatient.


Their is used to shown possession/ownership by multiple subjects. Think he -> his, she -> her, they -> their.
Their new home is just down the road.

The people demand their freedom.

They say that land is theirs.


There generally is used to indicate a location or position. To make it easy, if they're and their don't fit the context, then this is the one you want.

They went over there!

There was a hole here. It's gone now.

There once was a man from Nantucket...


It's/Its

It's is always a contraction of it is. Again, a simple way to check if your usage is correct is to replace the it's in your sentence with it is and see if it makes sense.

It's too late.

Be careful, it's very windy today.

It's a very attractive outfit, wouldn't you agree?


Its is a possessive pronoun. While some forms of possession do use an apostrophe, this isn't one of them, likely because it would cause confusion with it is... and yet it doesn't stop people from mixing them up. Imagine that!
The Tornado had a leak in its fuel tank that required repair.

The group made its demands known through public protests.

This book is old, and many of its pages are missing.
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Re: Workshop: Writing (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Crimson Knight » Thu Sep 29, 2011 2:29 pm

This is great, Lea! It's really helpful! :)

I have a question: when using the comma to separate several things, do you need an additional comma before the "and"? Like, should I write,

"Don, John, Tom, and Richard"

or

"Don, John, Tom and Richard"?

I've seen both being acceptable; this has always confused me.
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Re: Workshop: Writing (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Speedlion » Thu Sep 29, 2011 2:30 pm

Crimson Knight wrote:This is great, Lea! It's really helpful! :)

I have a question: when using the comma to separate several things, do you need an additional comma before the "and"? Like, should I write,

"Don, John, Tom, and Richard"

or

"Don, John, Tom and Richard"?

I've seen both being acceptable; this has always confused me.


Nope... no additional comma needed... the latter sentence is grammatically right...
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