• Member Since 22nd Mar, 2024
  • offline last seen April 30th

whimsycreator


Pinkie Pie is my best pony. I recently re-joined the fandom. Pastell Swirl is my ponysona. I am autistic and disabled. I hope to make friends here into the same things as I am. :)

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  • 15 weeks
    Trying to be a better writer

    I definitely feel like I need to learn to do the following things:

    -SHOW AND DON’T TELL. I tend to be like “Sparkleworks loves to yell!” But then she rarely ever ends up yelling much, lol…

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    4 comments · 64 views
Mar
27th
2024

Trying to be a better writer · 9:25pm March 27th

I definitely feel like I need to learn to do the following things:

-SHOW AND DON’T TELL. I tend to be like “Sparkleworks loves to yell!” But then she rarely ever ends up yelling much, lol…

-Like, don’t introduce too many characters I guess. That’s gonna be hard since I love an ensemble cast and lots of friends, it’s just it’s hard to have them all share the spotlight and even flesh them all out in the span of a short work.

-More description. It’s just that sometimes detailing stuff like the “cake was brown” feels so pointless, unless it has something to do with the story or is foreshadowing or thematic… I have to learn to pick and choose which words and description matters, and lay it out like art, to truly paint a picture with the words. That is admittedly my weak point, along with..

-Cliches, cliches, cliches. I use them too much. I know. It’s pretty awful but like… sometimes I have these ideas I love but not know how to end things, or progress the story to get from one big event to the other, so I use them as a shortcut. I need to stop doing that.

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Comments ( 4 )

I just finished reading Bluey Pie, and I intend to comment on it after responding here.

"SHOW AND DON’T TELL." "More description."
I would agree this is what you need to work on the most. For me, that's become a fun part. You mention not knowing what is important to describe; well, I have two pieces of advice. So you have a brown cake. First, one really simple way to add detail is to describe what kind of brown. You can do this by looking up different shades (beige, russet). But you can also do this adding a noun. It's not brown, it's peanut butter brown. Or oak brown. Or brown like a fuzzy teddy bear. And so on.

Secondly, and more importantly: it's not about what the cake looks like, it's about what you want the reader to feel. Do you want the reader to to suspect the cake is poisonous, or evil? Or do you want the reader to think of it as delicious? Or do you want it to remind them of the last birthday cake they had?

If evil/poisonous, maybe talk about how a character thinks for a second they could have sworn they saw a face on the cake out of the corner of their eye, and and the slightest scent of something chemical. Delicious? Talk about the frosting, how the light dances off the chocolaty goodness. Birthday? Make it cheery. A bomb of sprinkles appeared to have gone off over the cake.

"don’t introduce too many characters"
It's really hard even for professional writers to do ensemble casts well. But I would say it's more important to have fun writing. If you want to introduce a lot of characters, do it. Based off what I read in Bluey Pie, I'd say you actually handled this pretty well. Each character you introduced served their purpose and had their moment.

"Cliches, cliches, cliches."
This is the part I really wanted to respond to. I actually wouldn't worry about this too much. Nothing is really original. It's only how a story is told that makes it seem that way. Which leads back to 'show don't tell' and 'better descriptions.' My own story that I'm working on? I wrote it with the purposefully deciding not to care how cliche it was. I knew that 'human goes to Equestria and becomes a pony' is a super common plot. The way how my characters got into Equestria is probably the lamest part of my story. But some people liked it anyway, and I had fun writing it.

5773989
Thank you so much Lilyheart. This is exactly the kind of constructive criticism I was seeking. It was helpful and with the intent to help me grow, rather than trying to tear down my work just for the heck of it.
Again, that really meant a lot! Also thanks for reading Bluey Pie. I know it may not be the best at the moment, but I feel I poured a lot of my own emotions into it. I am thinking about editing it to be better soon.
I am looking forward to reading your work as well too, though I am kind of… ADHD with that. (I have an official diagnosis too.) It’s not that I don’t like reading, it’s just very difficult for me to concentrate sometimes.

Rego #3 · March 28th · · ·

To add to what Lilyheart said, here's a few tricks I use in these situations:

SHOW AND DON’T TELL.

Break your story down into thinking about it like tidbits of information, a nugget of knowledge if you will. Consider how important it is to the reader for them to have that nugget. If it's how a character behaves, it can just be revealed over time through character interaction. If it's something the reader needs to know for later in the story, follow the rule for Setup, Reminder, and Payoff.
Example: Sparkleworks has a secret which will recontextualize her relationship with another character.

  • Setup: Sparkleworks likes to yell. Sparkleworks goes strangely quiet when a certain character or topic is broached.
  • Reminder: Sparkleworks yells but goes quiet again in a similiar way, but this time an in-universe character realizes it.
  • Payoff: Sparkleworks acts exuberant normally to overcome something that hurts her inside.

Sidenote: Notice the verbs? They're all action words. Likes, goes quiet, broached, realizes acts, overcome. Putting everything in active voice rather than passive voice also helps keep you in a show mood rather than a tell.
Here's a good little video looking at the concept by Dan Olson. It's admittedly a companion piece to a larger breakdown of the edit of the movie "Suicide Squad" but I think its stand-alone form does the job.

Don't introduce too many characters

This one is more personal taste. I know I try to keep my casts pretty concise because I'm forgetful. Sometimes you can cut or combine characters if it becomes a problem, but usually as long as each character serves their purpose in the overall narrative and is paid as much attention as needed for the story to keep going, you're fine. Like, a side-character usually isn't going to have as much to do as a protagonist or an antagonist. If you find yourself going down a bunny trail with a side-character, just consider how important it is to the narrative and act accordingly. They might be fun, but if it's just filler, you risk annoying the reader. The more time and words you devote to something, the more important you're saying it is for the reader to have that knowledge moving forward. If it is a huge boulder of useless information that doesn't payoff later, the reader may ask "Why the heck did I bother remembering this?"

More description.

This is my weakest part of my writing. I come from visual mediums, so I know how to nail character voice and social cues, but writing descriptions is very tedious to me. I consider them hunks of marble. I write down basics of what needs to be described and then rewrite it over and over until it has some artistic merit. As Lilyheart said, you want the reader to feel something, not just know something.

Cliches, cliches, cliches.

Cliches are used because they work. I actually don't really consider whether something is cliche or not, but rather ask myself if it would be distracting to the reader. For example, even if it would sound natural in conversation, I am very careful to use things that have been meme'd to hell and back. Right now, I have a strict policy to never use the phrase "among us" just to avoid the comments. This is very niche, but I also watch out for things I'd take for granted in my common lexicon that wouldn't make sense to a pony. "Let me handle this" for example is something I don't think a pony would say, even though I'm sure it was said in the show. Ponies don't have hands, so why would they have the word "handle" as their go-to? They don't have hands, so they can't handle anything. They can "manage," "muddle through," "grip/grasp." Also, "let's shift gears and talk about something else" wouldn't be common either since they don't have cars with manual transmissions. Things like that.

5774023
Sorry for a late reply, I just want you to know I really appreciated this response and you brought up some very good tips! I really liked the suggestion “People notice something is wrong when Sparkleworks is quiet/not herself.”
Sadly I love lots of characters, but I always notice I end up introducing too many pointless ones sometimes, doing too many pointless things. I try to make all their presences relevant to the story. I also have a habit of not “letting side characters stay to the side” and I love everyone getting a full story and their time in the spotlight. Too bad that’s so time-consuming… and sometimes when I have a bias favorite of a certain character, they end up taking up the spotlight moreso than others.
The last part is really interesting and something to think about! It’s already been a bit difficult for me to stick to certain in-universe vernaculars, (how many times have I realized I just typed somebody and not somepony?? A lot)
I never really thought about the origins of common words though and how it pertained to fantasy. That reminds me of when I wrote Pokémon fanfiction, I made up new terms based on Pokémon like “as stubborn as a Tauros” and tried not using similies/mataphors referring to real-life animals, as they don’t exist in the Pokémon world.

Thank for the reply!

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