Ziggy455 presents:Writing 101
Over the last few days, I've been going up and down this forum, scanning away at stories and offering insight the best way I can, by example and constructive criticism. But I'm also getting a lot of flak off people who can't seem to understand that their story may not be of a good standard. People unfortunately don't seem to grasp it. So I'd like to make a topic that can help beginners in their quest to become a bearable writers.
I'd also like to state that I am not a know-it-all. In fact, I'm a learner myself, and I want to continue to learn. As you can see from my work I gladly take criticism and ask for feedback in order to better my knowledge. Accepting your work needs revising is a lesson you must learn if you want to be a writer. It is a bitter spoonful of helpful sh*t that you must swallow. This is only basic stuff.
So welcome to:
We're going to specialize in scriptwriting and prose because those are the main two that seem to flood this category. So we'll start off with:Grammar BasicsRule one
: ALWAYS CAPITALISE the FIRST LETTER of the FIRST WORD of a SENTENCE. Rule two
: ALWAYS END a SENTENCE with a FULL STOP, QUESTION MARK, or EXCLAMATION MARK. Rule three
: ALWAYS set NAMES out like so: David Edgar. NOT david edgar. Rule four
: "Quotation marks are used to quote something that somebody has said. Whenever using them, make sure to put them on a new line. This is a forum standard, not a general standard. Rule five
: COMMAS extend the same sentence: David Edgar couldn't tell if he was going to die or not, was this really how he was to die?
Okay so we've covered those general issues. If we put most of them together we get a sentence. Not hard.
So we'll start of Prose Writing.Prose Writing
Prose Writing is what we see in Novels. It is descriptive, it flows, it has come forth from the minds and hearts of such as Mark Twain, Stephen King, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Terry Pratchett, and many, many others. It's a beautiful craft and art that -although some claim can not be taught- can be taught to an extent. People come here hoping to write like it and I think it's time we set a little bit of standard.
Prose writing is set in a certain way. Paragraphs are an excellent structural way to present your work in prose. PARAGRAPHS CONSIST OF FIVE SENTENCES. For example:
He closed his eyes and waited for the inevitable slice of the sword.
 He closed his eyes and waited for the inevitable strike of the sword.  He waited for what felt like hours, and when he peeked open one eye, the phantom katana-wielding maniac was nowhere to be seen.  A faint wind blew scattered litter from the alleyway into a crevice of hot steam that poured upwards into the New York sky.  How strange, he thought; One moment ago he could have sworn he was going to be decapitated by a Kabuke theatre worker.  He stumbled upwards and rested his hand on a grimy sewer pipe, how strange indeed.
Notice I have marked the sentences? That's a basic paragraph.
Prose writing is subjective. Much like any art, people have their own styles. Some rely more on description, some more on dialogue. Some like the equilibrium of both dialogue, action, and punctuation that stylishly ties it all together. Once you learn the fundamentals it is your style to play with.
Nobody can teach you, we can help you with some stuff but the only way to really understand prose is to read how the professionals do it. No writer ever wrote without reading (as far as I can tell.). Buy HOW TO books, study how writers really do it. That is how I do it.
Next Scriptwork. Scriptwork
Now, just because scripts don't follow certain principles of prose writing, that doesn't mean that the basic rules aren't applicable. Revert back to basic rules, they will help. So I'll explain something else here.
GAME scripts are not the same as MOVIE scripts. Why?
It all depends on layout, format, how characters and the universe are introduced, and how narrative is played out. We'll focus on general scripts because they can be used quite well with gaming scripts. So here's a general layout of a script.
|INT. DINER. NIGHT|
The Diner is empty and lifeless. A lone man sits at the bar, he is hunched over with a coffee. The waitress comes over. She refills the cup. He nods lightly and waves her off. He is MICHAEL JONES, 24.
f*cking Fridays. I hate Fridays..
He continues to drink. The door opens. A man steps in, he is enshrouded in darkness. His big boots thud the floor with an earth shattering -like force. He slumps next to Michael. He snatches the cup of coffee out his hands. Michael remains frozen in his pose.
You're not helping.
You think I'm doing all this on purpose?
The Man grunts and takes a sip. Neither are visible. The Diner seems to get darker. Michael rubs his hidden head lightly.
You're not supposed to be in this space. It's mine.
The man sighs, slides the coffee off the counter. It crashes onto the floor with a shatter. Suddenly Michael has the exact same cup in his hand as the unknown man leaves. He sni**ers lightly.
That is a general script. A REAL script. No colons, no (he moves over to the counter and punches teh man). Script Basics1
| Scripts always start with the first line like so: INT. LOCATION. NIGHT |
INT: Stands for INTERIOR - Depending on whether your scene is inside something or outside depends on whether you put EXT. or INT.
Besides choosing your location, you have to decide whether it is day or night. So hypothetically, if you're shooting a scene INSIDE a CAFE at night you would write it as:
INT. CAFE. NIGHT.
|After the opening line, you always open up the scene. Where are we? Is it busy? Empty? What's the lighting like? Who is in the scene? What are the main characters doing? THEN you place dialogue into the script. Please refer back to my example script to see this. |
BB Code is a sort of coding that we as forum-users, use. It is used to colour text, format text and such. Here I will use some examples that you WILL be using to format game scripts.
As you can see this text is centred! This will be used for SCRIPT DIALOGUE which should ALWAYS be centred!
Concept Threads and the big No Nos!
|Presentation is key. Nobody wants to read a script that is poorly formatted and written. What will draw your audience in -not as much as the story- is your ability to format your work to a near-professional standard. You can choose to colour text if you want, but most people will understand how that works. |
Concept threads are rife and what I seem to understand about them is, is that people don't seem to understand that we don't want to see text superimposed over another image (Maaaad GIMP skillz) and we don't want a 500x500 poorly drawn map of your game location. We want characters, we want set up. We want something to the standard of this: San Andreas Stories: A proper game script!
Here is a BB code list that might aid you in your format skills:
- Centers your text to the middle of the post.
- Colors your text, it can be useful for coding characters. (See at the bottom for a BB Color code directory.BB Color Code directory
Anyway this most likely will be updated. I hope I help, even a little.Ziggy.