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=== What makes a good character? ===
  
The best main characters are multi-dimensional who can hate and love at the 
same time and are conflicted with these emotions. The best characters in a 
story also have a conflict with every character in their objects of desire. And 
the best characters in stories have a conscious and an unconscious desire that 
is conflicting. For example, a general will want to vanquish and rule the lands 
but unconsciously wants to retire and settle quietly with his wife on a farm. 
The ending to his story might make him lose the war and everything and exiled 
to a distant land. At this point, he does not obtain his conscious desire but 
obtains his unconscious desire thereby providing a rich and ironic ending for 
the readers.
  
The heart of the story is this conflict on all levels and when an author grasps 
how to create conflict (consiously or unconsciously), then I think the stories 
are well-told
  
----
=== My story is boring, how do I make it more exciting? ===
  
While there are many ways to entertain your reader, the most important method 
is to keep them turning the pages.   Suspense is why we turn the pages.  The 
author makes us curious to know more about what is happening.
  
Creating suspense doesn't mean you need to have a murder-mystery or a horror 
story.  Suspense is simply something that holds you, makes you curious, and 
makes you want to know what happens next.
  
I recently wrote an article on suspense you might find informative about 
suspense:
http://www.storyentertainment.com/article.asp?id=2542
  
----
=== I can't get past the second chapter of my book! ===
  
You're hitting the middle. Keep in mind that the world is full of two-chapter 
unfinished books sitting in drawers and closets.
  
It isn't writer's block that you have a problem with, it's not knowing how to 
write the middle of your story. The middle makes up the largest part of your 
book so knowing how to write the middle will help you to get over the problem 
because you can't have a story without it.
  
Basically, every story is a quest that takes a character in an ordinary world 
(not to be confused with boring) and reverses it. This inciting incident forces 
your character to correct the order, which becomes the object of desire. Once 
your character begins the quest it enters into the middle of your story. To 
obtain the object of desire, your character will take the least amount of 
action to obtain it. At every turn, your character will fail to obtain the 
object and it becomes increasingly 
[http://www.huntingtexastrophies.com/texas-hunting-packages/texas-whitetail-deer-hunting/ whitetail deer hunting] difficult to do so. These are progressive complications, and this is what makes up the middle. Finally, the character reaches a point where he has summoned all his courage and strength to obtain the object and must risk the most he's ever risked. This is your story's climax. When he obtains (or does not obtain) the object, the story has reached the end and there is only the short conclusion (or an abrupt end). This is the quest.
  
**How to write the middle**
  
The middle can be broken into two parts: A and B. Each of these parts can be
written as the character seeking the goal but at the end of part A there is a
major [make-up artist http://www.amaliadraghici.ro/]
[http://www.amaliadraghici.ro/ make-up artist] reversal that throws your
character off (and your readers). Everything is not as it seems and the story
takes a new direction in part B.
  
All stories follow this form (not to be confused with formula).
  
See also StoryTemplate
  
----
=== OMG my novel idea's been stolen!!? ===
The movie "The Life In her eyes" starring Uma Thurman is almost 
identical to the novel idea I've been working on. Is that bad? I really like my 
novel idea and want to continue though.
 
 : Finish it. [detectivi particulari http://www.detective.ro]
[http://www.detective.ro detectivi particulari] In the US, ideas can't be
copyrighted, which means you can use anyone's plot if you wish. But the reality
is most artists do not want to use someone else's plot. But, the plot thickens
when you get into international law where ideas can be copyrighted. The most
recent case was in Britain where Dan Brown was in court for "lifting the
architecture" from another book. He won. But the law wasn't settled whether
the architecture is the same as the plot.
 
 : Also, while you could potentially use a plot, you can't steal characters, 
incidents, or language.
  
----
=== What about Star Wars enables us to initially suspend our disbelief? ===
As a writer, I can't read a movie or read anything without intensely 
[http://www.huntingtexastrophies.com/texas-hunting-packages/texas-whitetail-deer-hunting/ whitetail deer hunts] studying it. One thing I've noticed is that many of the things (for lack of a better word) that are in Star Wars that were great would have bombed and been dubbed "cheezeball" if they had been in another piece of work. (Although some still say that about Star Wars. It's a mystery...). How was it presented and written, what about the way it was written and presented, rather, that enabled us to accept it? Things like "The Force", for example. Why did it come off as meaningful and not lame? Thanks.
  
Even factoring in that it was done in the late 70's early 80's, I still think 
that there was more to it.
  
 : The instant you decide to enter fiction is when you suspend your disbelief 
and a writer can usually hold you for at least one chapter in a book and maybe 
30 minutes for a film. The real issue is whether the writer can keep you 
suspending your disbelief.
  
 : Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back both came out as meaningful stories 
because they lacked melodrama. Melodramatic writing is weak because the 
characters lack motivation. If the characters are motivated by their desires, 
explosive and ridiculous scenes are taken seriously because it's the hero's 
quest that is important. If you can take us on a journey, the audience will 
accept anything.
  
 : Compare the best Star Wars movies with Episode I. Why was that such a poor 
movie? The problem was the protagonist, the kid, had absolutely nothing to 
lose. He lived in a great home and suffered no risk. He therefore had no desire 
to gain anything because he had everything and the writing became melodramatic 
and unbelievable. It wasn't until Episode II where he lost his mother that it 
started to get interesting.
  
 : Avoid writing melodrama and the audience will believe you.
  
----
=== How to write a story? ===
  
A story, whether it's a novel, short story, or screenplay, is started with some 
of the following:
  
1. Premise
This is when you ask, "What would happen if?" Anything can get you 
started with it. The author of "Lord of the Rings" started his when 
he wrote about a hole in the ground on a piece of paper. He had no clue what it 
meant, he simply wrote it. Then he started asking "what would happen 
if..." something lived in it? Then it grew into "The Hobbit" and 
"Lord of the Rings". Brainstorm, read the news, and start asking what 
if questions to develop the premise of your story.
  
2. Setting
You can set your story anywhere, on Mars, in the past on Earth, in the future 
on a starship, anywhere. Even thinking about the setting can help you to 
develop the premise.
  
3. Multiple Characters
Almost all stories contain multiple characters to play off of the values of the 
others. Start thinking about characters and what they want and this will also 
help you to develop your story. Ask lots of "what would happen if?"
  
4. Inciting Incident
This is where you story begins that turns your story's world upside-down and 
forces your character to set it straight. Then your character will begin a 
quest to reach an object of desire. Thinking about an inciting incident can 
also be your premise: "What would happen if a shark ate someone and the 
partially-eaten body ends up on the beach?" Jaws.
  
These points should help you to get started
  
If you're going to write a story like 
[http://www.mightystudents.com/catalog/history history essays], try to do some 
research like reading materials like books and some 
[http://www.mightystudents.com/ sample essays] online. Get some tips and learn 
from their style on how their write their story creatively.
  
----
=== What are the steps to write a book? ===
  
To get a book published, requires a fantastic story. Even a manuscript with 
grammar errors and bad formatting but have a perfect story will surpass any 
manuscript that is perfectly formatted and has perfect grammar.
  
So, the first thing you need to do is to learn how to write a story. This is 
extremely hard work that thinking about publishing is a distraction that you 
need to put in the back of your mind until you complete a third or fourth draft 
of your story.
  
To get started, there's one book I recommend for writers: "Story" by 
Robert McKee. There's a reason why it's used as a textbook in colleges that 
still have classes that teach how to write a story (creative writing classes 
don't teach storytelling, unfortunately so don't let anyone get you in one of 
these classes and expect to learn how to write a story). Learning what a quest 
is, what characters do on a quest, and how authors send them on a quest is 
revealed in this book.
  
Read a lot of your favorite genre. This is how many writers such as Stephen 
King maximized his craft.
  
Of course write as well, but like a painter who can paint, he still goes to art 
school to maximize his craft, so you too should take advantage of the book 
above and visit websites with articles such as 
http://www.storyentertainment.com and http://www.nanowrimo.org to maximize your 
writing talent.
  
----
=== What should my story be about? ===
  
Being a good writer and being a good storyteller are not the same thing. This 
is a problem with the way classes are taught today where creative writing 
courses (and English courses) emphasize writing your feelings through poetry 
and prose whereas storytelling is about characters and their multi-leveled 
relationships who experience change and how they deal with it. This ultimately 
reveals the author's interpretation of the meaning of life.
  
To accomplish this, you need to use your talent to learn about the craft of 
storytelling.
  
To get started, there's one book I recommend for writers: "Story" by 
Robert McKee. There's a reason why it's used as a textbook in colleges that 
still have classes that teach how to write a story.
  
----
=== How do I go about writing a book? ===
First, to sit down and start writing without consciously or unconsciously 
knowing how to craft a story will leave you where you are: nowhere. Those are 
the symptoms of not knowing how to write a story. Imagine a painter sitting 
down and painting a masterpiece or a musician creating a symphony. It doesn't 
happen besides the rare prodigies but even prodigies learn to maximize their 
talent in many ways. With the bit of talent that you have, like a painter, use 
it to learn about the craft of storytelling. The most obviously way is to 
unconsciously absorb it while reading mountains of books over the years. But 
the other method is to consciously learn what makes a story.
  
To get started, there's one book I recommend for writers: "Story" by 
Robert McKee. There's a reason why it's used as a textbook in colleges that 
still have classes that teach how to write a story (creative writing classes 
don't teach storytelling, unfortunately so don't let anyone get you in one of 
these classes and expect to learn how to write a story). Learning what a quest 
is, what characters do on a quest, and how authors send them on a quest is 
revealed in this book.
  
----
=== What comes first, story or chapter? ===
Where to place chapters depends on each novel. In any story, a break changes at 
a turning point that provides revelation into the story. For example, scenes 
have a turning point, which creates sequences that have a turning point, and 
these sequences create acts that have a turning point.
  
When writing a novel, marking the important turning points is important when 
creating chapters, but the pacing is also very important and can also determine 
when to make a minor turning point into a larger turning point.
  
You can always create the chapters as you go along, but it's in the revisions 
where the story truly comes alive. As Hemingway said: "All first drafts 
are crap", although he said it differently.
  
----
=== How do you write a novel? ===
After 18 months of not knowing where to go next, last night the rough content 
of the entire next 10 or so chapters just came to me in a very short space of 
time.
  
So how do you write? Do you develop a detailed plot structure, build on that 
and determine who the characters will grow to be, or are you like me and just 
let the story and characters grow as you write 
[http://custom-paper-writing.com/ custom essays], ignoring all conventional 
ways of producing a novel and relying almost purely on your own imagination?
  
 : Eighteen months is a long time to figure out your plot, and that's usually 
what happens when you don't outline. It also sets you up for very rough middles 
and weak endings. With that being said, I realize that author's have their own 
methods and whatever works best for them is fine.
  
 : Stephen King, for example, doesn't plot, but that doesn't mean he doesn't 
have an idea about the ending nor know about his character arcs (see "On 
Writing" by Stephen King). He's also a mature writer and much of what he 
writes is auto-plotted in his mind. But there's also a weakness to his writing 
that is common with many other authors who don't plot: their stories fade 
toward the last 2/3 and begin to ramble and they have weak endings. 
  
 : Consider other artists such as painters and musicians; with the talent that 
they have, they still go to school to learn how to paint and write or play 
music even with their own natural abilities. They study their craft and 
maximize their talent. I think writers can benefit from doing this, as it was 
done before the 1960s (which coincided with the end of the golden age of 
American theater, cinema, and novels).
  
 : The way I write is the same method that was used before the 1960s and still 
used in Hollywood today. I brainstorm a story (because I studied the elements 
of what makes a story, so I know where to fit everything) and develop a 
step-outline. I outline the plot and then break it down into scenes, sequences, 
and acts. I also research my subject all the while taking notes and writing 
ideas about characters. I then establish the character arcs and determine what 
they want and play the values off of the others. I then write. Once I discover 
my story's controlling idea, I paste it on my monitor and filter everything I 
write through it. I know where I'm going with my story but that doesn't mean it 
never changes. Once finished I revise many times. Think about your favorite 
movies and television shows: they churn out the stories at a fast pace because 
they outline.
  
 : I think an author who outlines and explicitly plots resembles a fine painter 
who studied his craft and worked as an apprentice whereas authors who write 
without knowing where they're going resemble folk painters: sometimes they're 
great, but they usually aren't.
  
 : You asked for an opinion about how I write so I don't mean to tell you to 
start outlining. While I lean towards the idea that outlining helps as long as 
you have taken the time to learn what a story is to maximize your craft, it's 
no guarantee that you will be a better storyteller.
  
----
=== How do you write a story synopsis? ===
In a synopsis, you're essentially retelling the story by providing one or two 
sentences about each scene or sequence. Go through the story and mark the 
important turning points which are usually the end of a sequence or an end of 
an act. Go through all of these and write down what happened and you have your 
synopsis. It should be about 1,000 to 2,000 words for most novel-length 
stories. When you read it, it should be just as exciting as when you read the 
story because it will be a condensed version of the story.
  
About names, it's common for authors to try to avoid giving main characters 
names that start with the same letter because of the way the eye reads and also 
thinks. Screenwriters also try to avoid it. You don't have to, though.
  
----
=== Are the layouts and forming of plots in a book important? ===
I dont believe that there should be and established form to write a book. If 
your able to use your mind creatively and geniously then keeping the reader 
flip those pages will determine if the book is good or not. My dad will tell me 
some storys that if he woud write them down, ill be the first customer, not 
because he is my dad, but because they are good storys.
  
 : There is a form to writing a book, but don't mistake this with formula. All 
stories follow a quest. As a storyteller, you can't get around this no matter 
how you try. Studying what the quest is and how it works, though, can help you 
to maximize your craft and tell fantastic stories; that is take your idea from 
a seed and grow it into a story with deep meaning. That is true literature. 
Prose isn't storytelling, but it can provide a deeper texture to it.
  
 : How you approach the quest, though, depends on what you prefer to focus 
upon. There are certain methods that are recommended but like any art such as 
painting, music, photography, some of the recommendations are better to be 
mastered and then once you master them you can learn to break them. An analogy: 
Picasso had a natural talent as a painter but he still studied painting to 
learn how to paint realistic images before he painted abstractly.
  
 : Every writer, like a painter and a musician, should take the time to learn 
the craft of storytelling.
  
----
=== Why does an author not tell you everything? ===
A book that never asked you to figure out the subtext would be a story that 
tells and doesn't show, which completely destroys the golden rule of writing: 
show, don't tell. Books that tell instead of show are horrible to read.
  
To find the subtext is human and a fine author sculpts the subtext to provide a 
form that the reader discovers on his own, with the author's guidance.
  
----
=== How many characters should be in a fantasy novel? ===
It's important that you also make a distinction between a character and a main 
character. You can have as many supporting characters as you please. 
  
But for a regular-sized fantasy novel, the ideal number of main characters are 
4-8; this goes for any genre, in fact.
  
If you make it bigger (like Lord of the Rings), you can sufficiently include 
more main characters because you have more time to develop them.
  
The worst answer to this question would be "as many as you want" 
because you must develop the main characters through the book. If you have 20 
main characters in a 400-page novel, you don't have enough space to develop 
them all fully.
  
If you write a series of books, you can increase this number because you will 
have thousands of pages to tell the story of each character. Otherwise, a 
single, deep story only has 4-8 main characters. Look at any movie, television 
show, or non-series novel and count the characters.
  
----
=== When I find a great idea for a story, I end up hating it.  Why? ===
Every writer doubts their ideas at some point. But you have to meet your goal 
of completing the story so that you can revise it, which is where it becomes 
refined. Be confident and remember even Hemingway said "all first drafts 
are crap" although he said it a bit differently.
  
----
=== What's wrong with flashbacks? ===
All the writing books do say they're usually bad, but they also add that 
there's sometimes a place for them.
  
The problem with flashbacks is that they often bog down the story when they're 
used as exposition. Exposition should be layered within your story and when a 
writer resorts to a flashback, it's almost always full of exposition and bores 
the reader. But if a flashback is filled with drama, they work, especially when 
they have their own storyline.
  
The same thing goes for dream sequences.
  
----
=== How can I show and not tell? ===
"Show don't tell" doesn't mean you can't tell as one of the previous 
answers suggested it means. Instead, it means that you need to create a subtext 
for your readers through the actions of your characters.
  
Here's a fast method to learn how to show and don't tell:
http://www.storyentertainment.com/article.asp?id=2520
  
For example, I can say "Mary was sad". That would be telling you Mary 
was sad. Or I could say, "Mary was crying" which suggests that Mary 
is sad and is more powerful. In both examples I'm telling, but in the latter 
example I'm showing more than telling.
  
----
=== How do I bring more life to a fight/ action scene in my book? ===
Action scenes are about decisions your characters make and put into action. 
Focus on why someone is hitting someone and the emotions behind it. Put 
yourself in his or her shoes and ask why he is fighting this other person and 
what he would do to hurt the other person.
  
----
=== Does anybody have a good plot outline sheet for a novel because I need one! 
===
There isn't a single outline for a novel. Stories are made up of elements and 
learning what these elements are can help you to develop your story.
  
Basically, you have a beginning, middle, and end.
  
Stories are made up of scenes that end on a minor turning point. Scenes make up 
sequences that end on a medium turning point. Sequences make up acts that end 
on major turning points.
  
All stories are a quest told in acts. The beginning contains the inciting 
incident that starts your character on a quest to achieve an object of desire. 
The middle contains obstacles to obtain this object. The end contains the last 
act's final climax where the character does or does not obtain the object of 
desire.
  
There are some tutorials where you can look at how this is created.
  
I recommend:
  
-- How to watch movies to learn how to tell a story
This tutorial will illustrate how to find the scenes, identify the quest and 
write your own story.
http://www.storyentertainment.com/article.asp?id=2527
  
On that site, you can also see scene breakdowns from a couple of books to see 
how other authors did it.
  
Also look at the StoryTemplate.
  
----
=== How do you create the subtext? ===
How do you create a strong connection between two characters, that the reader 
notices, but its not actually in the text?
  
 : It's called subtext and it's found in between the lines that you write.
  
 : While it can be found in narrative, most definitely, it's more obvious in 
dialogue. The reason is we never say what we really mean. 
  
 : We all know that what people say is not what people mean. We tell ourselves 
that we know what the person really means when they say something, perhaps we 
often believe that we know it better than the person himself. This is subtext. 
The unspoken thoughts and emotions is the power of your story.
  
 : When you write a scene, the scene is not what it seems about. It's truly 
about something else. When two lovers fight over a place to eat, we all know 
it's really something else. When a couple fights over directions, we think that 
it's really about power and pride. Readers love it when you let them figure out 
the subtext on their own.
  
 : Here's a good article about subtext with an example to analyze:
http://www.storyentertainment.com/article.asp?id=2394
  
----
=== Problems creating characters ===
I have a problem creating characters. I always thought that when you try and 
create one, you`d make a profile and generally find out all there is to know 
about your character (fav color, food, movie,etc) But after I write out all 
these profiles, I start to feel that I know my characters TOO well and they`ve 
become boring because nothing that I make them do in the story will surprise 
me. And if I try and write about them without making a profile, I make mistakes 
(like changing their eye color every five pages or forgetting their past) 
Anyone have helpful advice for a beginner writer?
  
 : Your characters are revealed to your readers by the decisions that they 
make. Instead of focusing on their eye color, hair color, size, etc... focus on 
what they want. Then get inside their head to find out what they would do to 
get what they want.
  
 : Here is a tutorial on designing characters to move the story forward:
 : http://www.storyentertainment.com/article.asp?id=2400
  
 : Other good tutorials:
 : How to interview your characters:
 : http://www.storyentertainment.com/article.asp?id=2515
  
 : How to create multi-dimensional characters:
 : http://www.storyentertainment.com/article.asp?id=2402
  
----
=== Getting started with length ===
Getting started with length
  
If I understand the question correctly, break your story down into beats, 
scenes, sequences, and acts.
  
When you write out a single scene, know where it is in the scheme of your 
sequence and know where that is in the scheme of the story. This will help you 
to focus on moving your story forward.
  
I recently wrote a tutorial on writing from an outline which shows how an 
author wrote a scene based on the following points:
  
Evelyn hears footsteps.
She wants to know where the noise is coming from.
She finds a mummy and it lurches towards her only to discover that it's 
Jonathan, her brother, who moved the mummy to try to scare her for fun.
  
That means that you might have to plan out a scene or two to do this and maybe 
even plot out a story with acts. If you are totally against plotting a story, 
try it just for a couple of scenes when you're stuck or just as an exercise so 
that when you do write your next scenes you will understand the form more 
clearly.
  
----
=== How much planning do you do? ===
While a writer is always planning by observing, taking notes, and thinking of 
ideas and scenes, actually sitting down and working on a story is a different 
idea.
  
I think once a writer sits down and decides to plot and write the story, it can 
take a while to write it; maybe about a year.
  
The planning is very important to me in terms of establishing the plot points, 
characters, backstory, etc...
  
I think if you're getting bored planning, then maybe you might want to think 
about how everything ties into your main plot. This brings you back to base so 
you don't go down a rabbit trail on a character sketch. It also keeps it 
exciting because you know you're keeping your eye on the main story.
  
Some methods that might help you:
  
1) Establish your world and how it functions from the beginning.
2) List all your main characters and all the tragedy that they're bringing into 
their story, as well as their relationships with each other.
3) Think about the main plot of the story; what is its controlling idea, where 
are its turning points, etc...
4) What revelations will your story provide?
5) What changes will your characters go through?
6) Plot out the:
- inciting incident
- first act turning point
- second act turning point (the mid-act climax)
- third act turning point --
- crisis decision
- final act's climax
  
While your story might have a lot more acts than this, the basic structure will 
be identical (you can't avoid the quest no matter how you might try). Remember 
all your subplots also follow the same form so writing those out and how it 
ties to the main plot is important.
  
I like to make it as detailed as possible as I build my step-outline. I almost 
always know where I'm going but nothing is every set in stone. All of this 
keeps me very busy. And when you do it on a deadline, you know you'll get it 
finished.
  
----
=== I don't know how to create characters! ===
Help! I don't know what I'm doing.  I mainly do fanfiction and always work with 
characters that already exist.  When I work on my own, I don't know what to put 
in my characters' mouths.  What I do make them say sounds false and corny and 
one-dimensional.  
  
Learn about what the subtext is and how we never really say what we mean. This 
allows the reader to "read between the lines" and discover the true 
meaning. When you place yourself in your characters' shoes, you have to know 
what each character wants at the moment, what the obstacle is, how they're 
planning to get it, and reveal that in the dialogue. This type of dialogue is 
convincing.
  
Here is a tutorial I wrote with some examples that might be helpful to you and 
will illustrate how the subtext works. I think this will help your writing to 
soar.
  
Do you know the plot in advance? It seems like your characters don't have 
anything to do because they have nothing to do. Each scene must have a goal 
that they achieve or not that sets them onto the next scene. And you need 
conflict and obstacles. While internal thoughts are fine for some 
[http://essaywritingservices.org/index.php essay service] authors, most people 
don't care to read so much internal thought if the plot isn't racing by. You 
need to know your plot and continue to advance it, even while writing internal 
thoughts.
  
One of the themes that I see you're lacking is letting the reader figure it out 
on his own. When your reader figures it out, it's far more enriching and 
enjoyable.
  
If you build the subtext correctly, your reader will know what's happening and 
be able to deduce the reasonings. You don't have to explain anything. Let the 
subtext do it.
  
----
=== Will taking a creative writing class in university help me? ===
  
I believe storytelling can be learned as an art for those who have a bit of 
talent. Those who have a talent for painting or music still take classes and 
learn to maximize their craft and this is the way storytelling was done before 
the 1960s before creative writing took the place of it. Instead of learning 
about the quest and explicit storytelling, academia switched to teaching the 
intrinsics of writing such as author intent and other obscurities such as 
gender identity which don't inform you how to write a story. I don't find it 
any coincidence that the end of the golden age of American cinema, stage, and 
novels ended in the 1960s.
  
Writers such as Clancy, King, and Koontz all had the talent and they maximized 
their craft of storytelling by reading and unconsciously learning how to tell a 
story. Imagine what these writers could have done if they grew up taking 
courses in storytelling?
  
I think it's important that all writers treat writing as an art and maximize 
their talent by learning the craft of storytelling by reading, studying 
stories, and discovering explicitly how to write a story. Creative writing 
classes won't do that for you, though.
  
----
=== How to convey scale? ===
How to describe large-scale events such as an ancient battle?
  
The reader will be able to supply most of the details if you let him. 
  
Some ways to convey scale:
  
Try to subtly mention background details such as a boom of an explosion or 
destruction of some sort way off in the distance, for example.
  
Tighten the pace during the battle and move around locations of the battlefield.
  
Bring a few of the subplots together during the battle where each are in 
different locations of the battlefield accomplish different goals (e.g., one is 
trying to escape from the dungeon while another is trying to knock down the 
walls of the castle).
  
Mention the scale:
  
 : "Do you smell it?" he cried, pointing off toward the field, where 
Arnaut's troops continued to mass.
  
 : It was now early evening; the sun was down, and Marek guessed it must be 
about six o'clock. But in the fading light, they saw that Arnaut's forces now 
had a full dozen trebuchets assembled and set out in staggered rows on the 
field below. After the example of the first incendiary arrow, they had moved 
their engines farther apart, so that any fire would not spread beyond one 
engine.
  
 : Beyond the trebuchets, there was a staging area, with troops huddled around 
smoking fires. And at the very rear, the hundreds of tents of soldiers nestled 
back against the dark line of the forest.
  
 : -- "Timeline" by Michael Crichton
  
Also, study some battle scenes from some of your favorite stories and 
consciously mark the sections that make the battle seem real to you. Write down 
what happened to make the battle seem so large and real to you. If you do this 
for a couple of stories you can see that it's very similar for many other 
stories. You don't need to focus on just medieval stories either. Every 
large-scale event behaves similarly.
  
----
=== Should a character have quirks? ===
Why do you feel you need character quirks? Look at the action of your 
characters. Are they making decisions that the quirks are supposed to convey? 
If so, then the quirks might be redundant. Consider abandoning the quirks and 
instead focus on the dimension of your characters. What are their 
contradictions? Your users will be drawn to these contradictions much more than 
a rhyming antagonist or a ticking protagonist.
  
Ask yourself why you're trying to provide certain traits and then recreate them 
in the drama of the character instead. Keep only the traits that are truly 
necessary to your character's development, such as handicaps. The reason is 
that your characters can only truly reveal themselves when they're faced with 
making a choice through dilemma. The handicap is rarely important unless it 
plays a major part in the archplot: for example, a runner who is going to try 
to win a marathon but actually has no legs. Or someone who is going to try to 
win a speech debate but stutters. Or, like in Beautiful Mind, he talks to 
invisible people although he's a genius.
  
Some authors use character traits to heighten the style of the characters. 
Sometimes it works, sometimes it's contrived. But I would focus on creating a 
story well-told first and then when it works alone, go back through the story 
and maybe add a small character trait to your characters. This way you'll be 
safe. Once you do this a few times, then you can discover your own style and 
will know how far you can take the character traits to create additional 
texture.
  
----
=== How do bad books get published? ===
Not everything that gets published is great. There's a lot of difference 
between telling a story and telling a story well-told.
  
It's rare that I read a book that is completely horrendous. I can count two 
books that I thought weren't worth the time to read the title. I gave one of 
these books to my girlfriend at the time, remarking how horrible it was, and 
she freaking loved it! I still have that book on my shelf after all these years 
and I'm going to give it another try. The fact that I somehow got it back and 
carried it around the world (literally) with me for over a decade is still a 
mystery.
  
Storytelling is very subjective and I think most readers don't require stories
to knock them off their feet while having an epiphany about life all the time.
So, at what point can the storytelling be so horrible where it cannot pass even
the lightest critiques of genre fiction? The answer is simply up to the
agent/editor/publisher. Some of the critique requests on this board contain
writing I think is atrocious but when I come back later I find several critiques
praising it for how great it is. It's all subjective, but that doesn't mean
everyone's correct.
  
See also: [http://www.essaylib.com/essay.php custom essay],
[http://www.essaylib.com/research-paper.php custom research paper],
[http://www.essaylib.com/term-paper.php custom term paper] on similar topics.

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Edited December 6, 2010 (hide diff)