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Tricks for Writing DESCRIPTION

------------- Original Message -----------
"I think the biggest problem I have is lack of detail. I can see things in my head, but other than the general surroundings, I'm always too intent on what my characters are thinking, or doing, or about to do to remember to add the details necessary to paint a really clear picture of where they are and their environment." -- Wanna Rite Reel Gud

The way to deal with that is by writing what you can. When you're done, go back and put in all the rest. Also, in situations like this, a beta-reader is your best bet at seeing where you skipped something.

As for What to describe and How Much to describe…

Getting the IMAGE on Paper
Avoid Simple Nouns:
- Use a Specific Noun rather than a simple and vague noun to automatically pop in description.

Instead of: the door, the car, the tree, the house, the sword, the robe, the hat...  
Write: the French doors, the Subaru, the oak, the Victorian cottage, the claymore, the yukata, the fedora...

Adjectives are your Friend!
- Adjectives give your objects and locations emotional flavor and impact. The trick is not to over-do it! Moderation - moderation - moderation.

One adjective per Noun:
- ADD an Adjective to a specific Noun. The ornate French tapestry, the rusty Subaru, the quaint Victorian cottage, the gleaming claymore, the blood-stained yukata, the gray fedora.

Two adjectives per Sensation:
- Sight, Sound, Taste, Texture, Scent - are all perceived through the senses. The glaringly red French doors, the seductively throbbing jazz, the creamy bite of yogurt, the nubby white dishcloth, the pungent musk of wet dog.

------------- Original Message -----------
"...I think that particularly striking or important items deserve a few sentences to sketch them in and give the appropriate details. Still, for many scenes, most readers have enough 'stock imagery' in their memories to supply a working interpretation. They will garb members of a corporate meeting in dark suits, give soldiers rifles or spears depending on the era and place, and so on." -- Literature Aficionado

Absolutely! Using a direct noun with only one or two adjectives can create an entire image.

Members of a corporate meeting:
- His shimmering black Armani suit
- Her expensively tailored scarlet Kaspar suit

- The red-coated British soldier
- The Roman centurion
- The woad-painted Celtic warrior
- The Viking

- The gleaming steel and glass skyscraper
- The run-down Victorian mansion
- The towering Chinese pagoda
- The rustic Japanese sukiya cottage

The Not-So Dreaded -ly and –ing Words:
- Every once in a while you will hear someone whine that you shouldn't use words that end in –ly or -ing. The "No -ly or –ing words!" whiners are usually the same people that say: "Don't use Adjectives!"

Think people, how the heck are you supposed to describe something without adjectives? You CAN'T.

The "No -ly or –ing Words" rule DOES NOT APPLY to Fiction!
- This rule comes from Basic School Grammar - grammar that was intended for NON-Fiction, such as reports, essays, and other boring, description-less, education-related, or business-related writing that doesn't require description. Fiction THRIVES on description.

Still Feeling Guilty?
- If you can find another word that says the same thing without ending in -ly, use it. If you can't, then use what you have.  

Making the Reader FEEL the Passion -- Make the prose PURPLE!
- Sensually-Descriptive words are the key to Passionate and Romantic fiction. If it implies a Sense: sound, taste, sight, texture, scent…, you're halfway there!

So, where do you get those passionate words? From Trained Professionals: Other Writers. I pulled out my favorite trashy novels and hunted down phrases that really caught my attention and then I made a list of all the PRETTY words.

salacious humor
carnal gratification
languorous bliss
shrieking culmination
disconcerting stimulation
brutal carnal rapture
exquisite torment
lustful cravings
irresolute yearning
skittish laughter

(It's Not plagiarism unless you are copying whole paragraphs word for word.)

I also dug through my thesaurus and made another list of all the adjectives I use over and over and over...

- attack, advancing, aggressive, assailing, charging, incursion, inundated, invasion, offensive, onset, onslaught, overwhelmed, ruinous, tempestuous, strike, violation,

- admirable, alluring, angelic, appealing, bewitching, charming, dazzling, delicate, delightful, divine, elegant, enticing, exquisite, fascinating, gorgeous, graceful, grand, magnificent, marvelous, pleasing, radiant, ravishing, resplendent, splendid, stunning, sublime,

- alarming, critical, fatal, formidable, impending, malignant, menacing, mortal, nasty, perilous, precarious, pressing, serious, terrible, threatening, treacherous, urgent, vulnerable, wicked,

- aching, agonizing, arduous, awful, biting, burning, caustic, dire, distressing, dreadful, excruciating, extreme, grievous, inflamed, piercing, raw, sensitive, severe, sharp, tender, terrible, throbbing, tormenting,

Looking for an Online thesaurus?

Just put the word you use too often in the search bar and pick a new one from the list that pops up!

------------- Original Message -----------
"I'm surprised the purple prose avocation didn't have people up in arms. That's normally frowned upon here, but I think there's a difference between bad/overly done purple prose and vivid description." -- Fan-fiction Writer

I think the main problem with purple prose is when it goes on to the point of being ridiculous. Purple prose is a lot like candy. Too much and it will make you sick to your stomach. Used in tiny amounts, a word here or there, can add emotional punch to an otherwise clinically dry scene.

How & When to Describe It:
Rule of Thumb #1:
-- The moment the Viewpoint Character notices it -- DESCRIBE IT!

Picture the scene in your head like a movie. If it shows up in your scene - it belongs on the page.

Rule of Thumb #2:
-- Description should always reflect the OPINION of the Viewpoint Character.

Oscar the Grouch is not going to see - or describe - a field of roses the same way as Big Bird. Darth Vader's opinion (and description,) of Yoda is not going to resemble Luke Skywalker's.

Rule of Thumb #3:
- Limit your detailed descriptions to stuff that is Relevant.

How do you tell what's relevant & what's not? How IMPORTANT is it to the story? Will this object/setting/character matter later?

* If it's Important, then describe it in loving detail.
* If it's only incidental, than only the tiniest sketch is needed.

Note: Fantasy Characters should get the opportunity to show off the full extent of their powers at least once because those powers are Relevant to who that character is.

Rule of Thumb #4:
- Moderation! Moderation! Moderation!

Once you have described a setting or a person thoroughly, you don't need to keep describing them -- unless they change. A small clue here and there, such as keeping to specific nouns, will do.

WHAT to Describe:
- Every new scene should open with a snapshot of description that details the stage the action is about to happen in.

No more than 60 words max. If you need more than that to describe your setting - splice it into your Action.

Location Changes
- Every time the scenery changes: every new room, every new view, every new place they arrive at - gets described; so the reader can see it, and experience it too.

Locations get 30 words max, because that's about how much the average person can catch in a single look. The rest of the details should be mixed in between the actions and dialogue as the character gets a better look around.

Note: Fantasy and Sci-Fi Require MORE description.
- In most sci-fi's and fantasies, the otherworldly SETTING is just as important as the characters because the differences between Fantasy & Reality actually affect the plot -- such as things that are possible in a Fantasy setting, but aren't in the normal world, and vice versa.

If your story is based in the normal world, and only the characters are fantastic, then the setting only matters in their immediate location and how it affects them directly. For example, rain has more of an immediate effect on characters than would sunshine - unless they're a vampire.

The snapshot at the beginning of every scene is still the same length (60 words) - but you have to continue to add more description as the characters move through the world.

------------- Original Message -----------
"It's also a good idea to visit a place that is similar to the scene of the happenings; if you can of course. You can't well describe something you don't have an idea of." -- Word Scholar

Nothing can replace first-hand experience for describing something, but one should never underestimate the power of the Internet.

Just about any place in the world is available for your viewing pleasure from photographs and interactive panoramas to maps and floor plans. Journal blogs written by travelers can also be a really good resource for those writing about places they have never experienced.

No one resource will ever cover it all, but then that's what browsers such as are for.

- Think of how you see characters in a movie -- the way that the camera pans across the characters. THAT'S how you describe the people your character sees. Start at the top and describe down. Bottom to Top description implies that the Body is more important than the Mind. It implies that the person being viewed is an OBJECT, their feelings are of no consequence to the viewer.

People get three whole sentences max. If you need more than three sentences, thread the rest in with the dialogue and action.

------------- Original Message -----------
"While it may be convenient and easy to describe someone from head to toe every time, it gets dull after the second or third such 'shot'..." -- Literature Aficionado

No argument there. However, it's a good idea to describe the characters and their settings at least ONCE, preferably when the POV character first lays eyes on them. After that, only tiny reminders are needed.

Describing the Viewpoint Character - Yes or No?
- YES! YES! YES! I don't know about you, but when I'm reading a story, I wanna know whose head I'm in as soon as I'm in that head! And I want to know what that person LOOKS LIKE! (Damn it...)

NEVER assume that the person reading your story is familiar with the fandom! For example, I would have never bought and read the 'Yu Yu Hakusho' manga series or the 'Full Metal Alchemist' series if I hadn't first read some rather compelling fan-fiction.

------------- Original Message -----------
"...I'd like to emphasize that you wrote "viewpoint character" since that's different than when the thing or person is first introduced." -- Fan-fiction Writer

Actually it SHOULDN'T be. The ONLY one who should be noticing anything and have an opinion on what is being viewed should be the viewpoint character. This includes their own appearance.

Only if you are using an omniscient POV, the Camera's Eye viewpoint should those descriptions be cut and dried, basically written with no emotional impact at all, strictly, "this is this, and they were there".

The "story-teller/ fairy-tale" style of writing is completely different. In this style the story-teller is a character too, such as in the Lemony Snicket books.

Describing the Viewpoint Character.

Try to avoid using mirrors, or other reflective surfaces. This technique has seen far too much use and abuse even by professional authors. However, if that's all you have then use it, but sparingly!

Rather than describe the character in one lump paragraph, the technique I prefer to describe my POV character is to have the character DOING something. As the character goes through the motions of whatever he happens to be doing, they 'notice' this part of them selves, or that, and express an opinion. Each new Action brings other parts of the character into focus until you've described the whole character -- without bogging down the story.

-- Vincent picked up his leather glove. He slid his left hand into the fine leather and smoothed the sleeve up his forearm. He flexed his fingers. It was nice having full use of his hand again. He dragged on the black y-back muscle shirt. It was one of the few shirts that would allow for his wings. He pulled on some black jockeys, then stepped into his butter soft black leather pants. He zipped the fly but left it unbuttoned at the waist. Blood and hell, it felt good to be back in clothes.

He smeared the steam from the mirror on the back of the facility door. Carefully, he wound the scarlet cloth around his head to cover his brow, not bothering to move his long black hair out of the way. The cloth was to keep from accidentally frightening anyone when he invoked his beast and his third eye became visible. Oddly, because of the way his third eye perceived the world, as energy rather than matter, the eye had no problems seeing right through the cloth.

He stared at his reflection; black hair, scarlet bandanna, scarlet eyes, black clothes -- his usual appearance. No visible changes. It was as though nothing had happened.

Quiet wafted through him, easing the tension in his limbs, soothing his mind, calming his heart - except for one small corner that ached. He turned his back on the mirror. It would go away, eventually.

He set the towel around his neck, his hair wasn't completely dry, and opened the facility door.

Cloud was sitting on the edge of Vincent's bed facing the facility door. Early morning sunlight poured through the window on the right, turning his spiked blond hair to soft gold. He was dressed in loose black sweatpants and a sleeveless gray sweatshirt. He'd clearly just gotten out of bed. However, his brows were low over his neon blue eyes, his lips were drawn in a tight thin line, and his arms were crossed. "Welcome back."

Vincent stiffened only slightly. He picked up the towel around his neck and set to scrubbing at his damp hair. "Thank you." He'd hoped that Cloud had gone back to Midgar, back to his new courier business, back to Tifa and the children he'd chosen to watch over.

The farmhouse was Cid's technically, but it was an open house to the whole team. Sitting just outside of Midgar, it was pretty much their personal way-station, a place to stop over on their way to other destinations. Any of them could be there at any given time. However, he hadn't expected Cloud to still be there.

Vincent very nearly smiled. Wishful thinking on his part. Cid made a lot of noise, but he wasn't one to actually pry. Cloud, on the other hand, seemed to assume that his friends' problems were his problems too. The kid worried. It was kind of sweet, but Cloud was the last person he wanted involved in this...sordid affair.

Cloud's lip curled. It wasn't a smile. "Care to tell me what happened?"

Vincent strode to the foot of his bed and picked up the single-sleeved leather gambeson jacket, refusing to meet Cloud's angry blue gaze. He slid his left arm into the sleeve. The jacket was strictly a layer of padding for his armor and stopped right at the bottom of his ribcage. "No."

Cloud dropped his chin and his eyes narrowed. "No?"

Vincent shrugged to settle the loose back panel between his folded wings. He didn't want to spread his wings wide in front of Cloud. Although invisible to the average human eye, each wing spread fully his height and a half in length, and half his height in width. He didn't want to take the chance that Cloud's physical enhancements would make out that something was there. The kid knew too much about him as it was. He buckled the back panel to each side panels at the very bottom. His gaze flicked to Cloud's then dropped. He drew the front of the padded jacket across and buckled it closed on his right side. "It was a personal matter."

"Personal...?" Cloud choked. "Vincent, it was really obvious that you were kidnapped." His words were soft, but vehement. "You were gone for three whole days!"

Vincent lifted his articulated arm with its chest harness, leaving the clawed hand gauntlet on the bed. He slid his padded arm into the armored sleeve and set the spaulder on his shoulder joint. He offered Cloud a quick smile. "I escaped. The end." He looked away giving his complete attention to fastening the chest harness that supported the entire articulated arm. Hopefully, Cloud would take the hint that he didn't want to talk about it.

"Damn it, Vincent...!" Cloud lunged off the bed and paced along the side of the bed on bare feet. His movements were smooth and economic, almost feline in nature. If he'd actually been a cat his tail would have lashed angrily. He stopped and glared. "Is he dead?" His voice deepened. "Tell me you killed him."

Vincent sighed. Cloud was clearly in the mood to be stubborn and wasn't about to take hints. He adjusted the straps to his upper arm rerebrace, and then lower arm vambrace. "He is most definitely dead." Vincent snorted. It was the absolute truth, and the crux of the whole problem; Sephiroth had been dead to begin with. He gave his arm a shake to make sure the elbow couter settled in the right spot.

"What did he want from you?"

Vincent lifted his clawed gauntlet. A new body. His cheeks heated. And my body too. He slid his leather-gloved hand into the armored hand and worked the buckles that held it to the underside of his vambrace. "He wanted something I wasn't willing to give."

Yes, I DID use a mirror in this snippet. However, that was only to describe Vincent's eye color and hair color. The rest of his physical description was handled by the act of getting dressed WHILE he spoke with Cloud.

You will hear many people say that describing a character in First-person POV is difficult. Actually, It's no more difficult than describing them in Third-person Close POV. All the same techniques apply.

DESCRIPTION ~ NOT just for pretty Pictures.
WARNING! ~ Missing descriptive cues can cause: Author Angst!

Once upon a time, when I was a beginning writer of Smut, I wrote a kick ass, "World of Grim Darkness" werewolf erotica story. I had a right to think the story kicked ass. I got a lot of letters telling me so.

Then one day I got a lovely letter gushing on how much they liked my story. It was so funny! They went into detail explaining exactly how pleased they were and how witty my story was in so many places - but I hadn't ended it right. Where was the punch line?


Yes, fellow writers, my serious "World of Grim Darkness" werewolf erotica had been completely misinterpreted - as an erotic Comedy!

Talk about your total author disillusionment.

This misinterpretation happened because I had written strong sarcastic dialogue, (a trademark in all my stories,) but I had left too many other cues out. It was not apparent at all, to this reader that my characters were speaking sarcastically - counter to their true feelings.

In short, I didn't have enough of the POV character's feelings displayed through inner dialogue or body-language cues for the reader to pick up what I was really trying to show. (Sigh...)
And that's how I learned the most important rule of fiction:

What CAN be Misinterpreted WILL be Misinterpreted.

According to my current fan letters, I DON'T make that mistake any more.

In Conclusion...
If you want your readers to see exactly what you saw when you envisioned your story, DESCRIPTION is the Only way to get your imagination across to the Reader.


DISCLAIMER: These instructions are intended for Beginners, and for those looking for a few short-cuts to jump-start their writing. If this advice does not agree with your style of writing, by all means, take what you can use and ignore the rest.

For the record...
-- The description word counts limits I include in here are meant to be GUIDELINES not exact amounts, 'kay?
DISCLAIMER: As with all advice, take what you can use and throw out the rest. As a multi-published author, I have been taught some fairly rigid rules on what is publishable and what is not. If my rather straight-laced (and occasionally snotty,) advice does not suit your creative style, by all means, IGNORE IT.

Ookami Kasumi
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1st-Hashirama-Senju Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2016

I've got a question I want to ask.

I recently got constructive criticism, copy n pasted- One piece of criticism that I hope you find constructive: you have a tendency to devote a sentence or two to a character's physical description. I recommend avoiding that, as it halts the narrative and can be jarring for readers. If you need to incorporate a character's description (which may indeed be necessary if they're an OC), try to interweave it into the narrative itself, let the characters speak for themselves, essentially.

While description is important. I did describe in a way that I did it bit by bit, but I didn't have action or stuff in my descriptions. I guess not having action or flow with descriptions bogs down the story.

Let me given an example of my current description style, both with all lumped together and divided-

From one of my fanfics, in which it was lumped in one paragraph, italics are to separate it-

Neji had very fair skin and his forehead protector was gone, exposing the Hyūga cursed seal on his forehead. It was in the shape of an X with horizontal lines that slightly curved on both sides. The Hyūga's long black hair was no longer tied up; the tie near the bottom was cut during the battle and the white shirt was stained with blood, his blood from several cuts on the front of his torso. His sleeves were ripped up and the dark navy gray apron tied around his waist and white paints were dirty with bloodstains. His ninja sandals were still intact though dirty.

Now, again with a made up example of splitting it with an action in the middle-

Neji Hyūga had very fair skin, a blue headband wrapped around his forehead with the Hidden Leaf insignia on the metalpiece, and long black hair tied at the end. Neji formed hand signs. “Byakugan!” Viens appeared around the Hyūga's eyes. He wore a white long sleeved shirt, dark navy gray apron tied around his waist, white pants, and black ninja sandals.

Any advice? Dialogue is already a real pain considering I am hard of hearing and the normal stratgies for hearing people don't seem to be as effective though I intend to take in a lot of media- TV, video games, books, etc to figure out what dialogue works and what dialogue is just plain awful.

Oh, and I got criticism on before that my description read off like a checklist, is that a bad thing?

Thanks in
advance. :)

OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2016  Professional Writer have a tendency to devote a sentence or two to a character's physical description. I recommend avoiding that, as it halts the narrative and can be jarring for readers.

IGNORE this person utterly. They clearly don't know what the fuck they are talking about.
1st-Hashirama-Senju Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2016

Sorry for the very late reply. ,

I thought maybe I was just doing something wrong, not adding sweeteners aka purple prose where needed.

And the person that said it, :iconuberchimerism: , helped me a lot with coming up with new clan names for Naruto and world building in Naruto, and writing in general.

Maybe you and her can talk about it. :) . After all, :iconuberchimerism: has a way with words and dialogue, description can be made just as tasteful and interesting as dialouge and action...and I am no professional regarding description.

Imiss2010 Featured By Owner Edited Jan 11, 2016
when you barrow characters from movies, do you write down notes on their dialogue and facial expressions and all that stuff? How should I go about doing it? What I'm doing is writing a list with bullet points on what they are doing in a situation, and then under that I make sub-bullet points about their body language. (This causes me to reference the nonverbal thesaurus) When there is dialogue I write down one of the action tag cues next to the dialogue. Is what I'm doing counter productive? Is there an easier way do this? How do you usually do it? This is what I'm doing at the moment…
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2016  Professional Writer
How a writer takes notes is very personal to the writer.
 -- I have reams of notes on all kinds of character I like in Word files. How you take and keep your notes is entirely up to you.Just make damned sure you keep the organized or you won't be able to find them when you need them.
Imiss2010 Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2016
what methods do you do when your barrowing characters? I'm worried my way is both counter productive, inefficient, and time consuming. I want to do it EXACTLY like you. (copy, transform, and combine) I love that video by the way.
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2016  Professional Writer
I recommend changing everything except their personality.
Imiss2010 Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2016
that's what I plan to do but I don't get exactly HOW to do that. what I'm doing now is watching a show on Netflix, pause, reference one of your tutorials (mostly the nonverbal thesaurus) match the non verbal cues the best I can while copying their dialogue. I also copy their reactions to different situation. I'm assuming this is not how you do it, which is what I'm asking for. Also in your opinion what exactly is the difference between flashbulb eyes and widened eyes. when I went to the link for the non verbal studies it didn't give to show a difference or did I miss something?
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2016  Professional Writer
That IS how I do it, only I had to do it without the Non-Verbal Thesaurus. I found that years after doing exactly what you're doing -- watching movies and copying down dialogue and body language.

...what exactly is the difference between flashbulb eyes and widened eyes. when I went to the link for the non verbal studies it didn't give to show a difference or did I miss something?

There isn't a difference, that's why you couldn't find one.
 -- 'Flashbulb' is the label, and 'widening' is the physical description.
Imiss2010 Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2016
Hey thanks again for helping me again I really appreciate it. Sorry if I don't thank you enough. I reason I don't reply to all my messages is because I don't want to lose the messages you sent and I keep them for reference, plus id figure you'd get the idea if I replied to one message. Also, I had a question a while ago that I never got answered and it would really help out if you could help me. Thanks again.

I guess one of my big problems is that I can't tell the what is supposed to be the neurosis and what is supposed to be the motive.
For example: my villain is a narcissist so I assumed that the nerousis that would cause this would be ,"desire for recognition and attention," as you mentioned in your villain toturial. But on here desire for recognition and attention is a nerousis. Also my hero wants revenge and I assumed that would be a motive as you mentioned in your book, most motives are emotion based. Revenge is caused by an emotion. But here revenge is a neurosis too. I'm sorry I'm trying to understand, but I'm so confused and don't know what to do. And is narrsicim a motive or neurosis?
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2016  Professional Writer
I guess one of my big problems is that I can't tell the what is supposed to be the neurosis and what is supposed to be the motive.

A Neurosis comes from TRAUMA and causes Habits to form that reflect this trauma.

A Motive is a REASON why people are trying to Accomplish something.
Imiss2010 Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2016
what exactly is the difference between an action scene and a "non'' action scene? Is that even a thing?
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2016  Professional Writer
Action scenes are where something happens such as a fight scene, a love scene, or any other scene with activity.

Non-Action scenes are when No activity happens such as an Introspective scene; where people sit in one place and think deep thoughts, a Dialogue scene; where people sit and talk, a Descriptive scene; where the scenery of a location is detailed.
Imiss2010 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2014
Can you explain the deference between scenery and location changes?
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2014  Professional Writer
Scenery is the background, or Setting. It's the stage your characters Act on. Location changes happen when your characters go from one setting to another setting.
truthful-lies1 Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
thats long
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2014  Professional Writer
Because it's chock full of Examples on how to do stuff.
YokoNakajima Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014  Student
Hey how does it work if your story is written in first pov?
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2014  Professional Writer
I like writing First Person POV, but the sentence structure, and paragraph division can be a little tricky. It's a particularly good POV to use if your main character has a lot of introspection.
CptTori Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
This is some pretty good advice. It inspires me.

I hope you could review my writings sometime, If that's OK with you.
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2014  Professional Writer
I'm glad you like my advice!
 -- I don't do reviews or critiques. They take too long because I tend to focus on the sentence structure. I have way too much of my own stuff to write.
Imiss2010 Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2014
Is this good did I do it right? 

noisy thumping Footsteps

OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2014  Professional Writer
Noisy is too simple a word.  Try something that actually describes the sound:
Imiss2010 Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2014
Is it ok to write the red brick walls? 
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2014  Professional Writer
1st-Hashirama-Senju Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2013

This is very helpful.

I heard somewhere where someone said to not describe things when you are writing for a fandom, I think it was someone who wrote Naruto stories. The person’s reasoning was because the fans knew what things look like.

But you have proven that the person is wrong. And I agree with your advice. I have someone who likes to read my stories, but does not watch or read Naruto. So I describe things to the best I can.

And while describing the viewpoint character, I want to avoid using mirrors and old stuff like that. Does describing little by little at the beginning work? Like put a few sentences of description then some kind of action, and then finish it with the next change to description if possible or the next change after that? Since I tend to do them in one paragraph but maybe the other thing will work better.

OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Professional Writer
I heard somewhere where someone said to not describe things when you are writing for a fandom...

THAT is pure bullshit.
 -- Read my fan-fiction some time. They are very rich in description which is why my fics so popular.

The person’s reasoning was because the fans knew what things look like.
 -- I hear that a lot, but that's just an excuse to be Lazy. The truth is, that's just begging someone to Not read your story. If your story is good enough to be completely comprehensible to someone that has never read the originals, then you're more than likely to create a New Fan.

But you have proven that the person is wrong. And I agree with your advice. I have someone who likes to read my stories, but does not watch or read Naruto. So I describe things to the best I can.
 -- Good.

And while describing the viewpoint character... Does describing little by little at the beginning work?
 -- Abso-flogging-lutely! In fact, I highly recommend it.

 -- Opening paragraphs From HERO.
It was supposed to be a simple support and medical aid mission. The war zone where the two small border towns were slugging it out over the property rights of a waterway was supposed to be miles away. The hospital tents under the trees were supposed to be in a neutral zone.

On that particular late spring afternoon, Sakura Haruno, highly-trained chuunin ranked medical ninja and second in skill only to the civilian surgeon currently on loan from Fire Country's ruling daimyo, was supposed to be inside those tents. She was supposed to be administering her medical expertise to the locally hired foot soldiers participating in said battle. She was not supposed be out in front of them battling Grass Country ninja.

However, when Kiba rode out of the trees on his pony-sized white dog, Akamaru, the sight that greeted him, and the rest of the ten-man back-up team from Konoha, was just that.

With strands of pale pink hair escaping the confines of her green surgery cap and her open-backed surgical gown flapping in a chakra-generated wind, the petite medical officer squatted to slam a chakra empowered fist into the ground. Rolling thunder announced the shockwave that rippled the ground and opened massive fissures that swallowed several Grass ninja whole. With a snarl on her lips, she screamed at the fallen men. "I am busy, you ass-holes! I have people to save, and you are interfering with my work!"

No one in the Konoha party laughed. No one dared.
1st-Hashirama-Senju Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013

Thanks for the advice about describing the viewpoint character little by little. I did that with my most recent stories, and got two reviews. Though they were unsigned reviews, it was on, I finally got some constructive criticism also with one of the reviews.

And I like your opening paragraphs; in fact, I will read the story sometime. Sakura sounds very angry, and those Grass ninja learned the hard way why you never make her mad when she is already annoyed.

Though, I am wondering why some of the words are darkened.

OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Professional Writer
I'm glad you liked the opening paragraph.
 -- I use bold and italic to emphasize the way different words are spoken. Bold is a Yell, or something strongly said. Italic without quotes is internal thoughts, and italic with quotes is screaming.
1st-Hashirama-Senju Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013

So that means, in a story, I could bold some letters if needed to show the character yelling louder when speaking that word? And regarding italics with quotes, you said before it could be used for telepathy, but how can you show the difference between that and screaming with italics and quotes?

And also, at the beginning of my story before the story itself, I usually put a key of what means what. Like Italics meaning character thoughts since it appears not a lot of people do it that way. I feel it is a good way to keep people from getting confused.

OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Professional Writer
So that means, in a story, I could bold some letters if needed to show the character yelling louder when speaking that word?
 -- Absolutely!

...regarding italics with quotes, you said before it could be used for telepathy, but how can you show the difference between that and screaming with italics and quotes?
 -- Telepathy has the entire sentence in quotes. With screaming it's usually only a few words italicized. However, you can Bold AND Italicize if you want to show the difference between screaming and telepathy. the beginning of my story before the story itself, I usually put a key of what means what.
 -- STOP doing that! No published book has that. A well-written fan-fic doesn't need it either. The readers are Not idiots. They'll figure it out simply by seeing it used it. Doing that implies that the writer is still in High School, (or grammar school,) and doesn't know any better. I tend to avoid fics with 'key's specifically for that reason -- because the writing is usually grade-school level.
1st-Hashirama-Senju Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013

Thanks for clearing it up.

And about the keys, I started using them, not sure exactly when, but I started using them after a really, really bad incident of trolling. People just kept trolling and trolling my stories and just being outright jerks. And they gave no constructive criticism. There are worse things I want to call them, but I do not want to say the words here. And I understand your reasoning.

How would I ensure that people tell the difference between things dialogue, thoughts, telepathy, etc? Since it is not good to use dialogue tags.

And would something like “went deep into thought” be considered a dialogue tag or action tag? I am just not 100% sure. You said you despised dialogue tags and completely refuse to use them.

And how would I handle something like a character speaking through loudspeaker, and he or she is not shown but the viewpoint character hears it. Since dialogue by itself is not proper fiction writing and dialogue tags seem to be bad. One of my crossover stories has an AI character named Cortana speaking through loudspeaker giving the captain’s orders since the ship was about to come under attack.

OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Professional Writer
The root cause of Trolling is Jealousy.
 -- If you're being trolled -- especially if it's Vicious-- you're doing something Right that they Resent.  It's actually a sign that you've accomplished something that they Couldn't. So the worst thing you can do is Give In to them and follow any of their suggestions. Okay?

“went deep into thought” <-- This is an Action tag. :)

You said you despised dialogue tags and completely refuse to use them.
 -- Correct. What I do is describe the character's Facial Expression, Body language, or Actions before (or after) every line of dialogue. .

How would I ensure that people tell the difference between things dialogue, thoughts, telepathy, etc? Since it is not good to use dialogue tags.
 -- By hinting strongly through Body Language and/or Expressions.
 -- Mitsuki narrowed her eyes and projected her thoughts firmly. "Nobody likes you because you are such a big pain in the butt!"

Yelling or screaming.
 -- Akito bared his teeth at her. "Say that again! I dare you!"

Internal thoughts.
 -- Kaho rolled her eyes. Jeeze... Akito is such a jerk.

 -- Endo tilted his head to the side and blinked. "Am I missing something here?"

And how would I handle something like a character speaking through loudspeaker, and he or she is not shown but the viewpoint character hears it...
 -- With Bold lettering, and by describing what it sounds like.

There was a loud static hiss then a voice boomed out of nowhere. "I know you're in there! Be smart and give yourself up!"
(1 Reply)
PrisonerAngel Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2013
Thank you so much :) This has been so helpful with my writing and it's fully of amazing tips that have saved my writers block! Thank you :happybounce: 
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2013  Professional Writer
Sometimes being blocked isn't that we Can't write, but that we're not sure How to write something.
 -- I'm glad I could help.
AlienSodaJerk Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Thank you for laying to rest the "No -ly or –ing Words Rule" for me once and for all! My sophomore year Creative Writing professor taught me that and it's been bothering me every since. *Breathes free*
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2013  Professional Writer
-- You're very welcome.
Imiss2010 Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013
I have another question, can virgins write erotica?
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2013  Professional Writer
Sure. However, those of us who are Not virgins will know that the author is Not writing from experience. :)
Imiss2010 Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2013
What if I use really thorough research? Could that possibly make up for it? If so or not, I accept the challenge. I've been trying to write this story for 3 years now.
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2013  Professional Writer
Really thorough research will still miss things.

For example, I write BxB or yaoi adult too, and even though I conducted thorough interviews with 'participants', there were things that they couldn't describe to me because they didn't have my level of observation. (They simply hadn't paid close enough attention to certain important aspects of the act.) In addition, their embarrassment tended to get in the way when the descriptions got too intimate.

To get the information I was looking for, ("What does it Feel like?") I actually had to go have anal sex myself and enjoy it. This took asking a very close friend who was experienced in this if they'd be willing to do this with me. (NEVER do this with just anyone! Seriously!) I was lucky, and they not only agreed, we're still friends.

I discovered that an anal orgasm is NOT like a regular orgasm at all. It not only feels very different, it happens in a completely different place.

Even so, I don't have a prostate, or a dick, (I'm female,) so I was forced to rely on their descriptions of what it's like to have an erection, and to orgasm as a male -- in addition to what it feels like to have one's prostate stimulated.

Because of my experience, and research, I can get very close to accurate in my descriptions, but I'll never get it completely Right because I am not a Male.

My female readers are fine with this, but my gay male readers Always Know that a female wrote it.
Imiss2010 Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2013
Shoud I give up?
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2013  Professional Writer
Is there a way to write your stories without putting the adult parts On Stage? Can the sex be skipped?
Imiss2010 Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013
OokamiKasumi Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013  Professional Writer
Then it looks like you're going to have to go forward on your own until you're old enough to read my tips on how to do it.
(1 Reply)
AlienSodaJerk Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Of course you can. If you can write about things that don't exist and therefore you'll never be able to experience (like turn into a bat or travelling through time), then you can write about things that *do* exist but that you just haven't experienced. (Yet! ;) )

Besides, I'll write erotica if I'm bored, and uh, I'm in the same situation as you.^^ Just read up on erotica to get an idea of the word choice and descriptive patterns and you'll nail it (pun ...intended?) like writing any other scene. 8-)
Imiss2010 Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2013
Thanks, I appreciate it.
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