Reasons for Dead Forums

Sometimes in life, I just have to sit down and really speak my mind and say ‘to hell with whether it pisses people off.’ Today is one of those days.

I’ll withhold the name to protect the guilty, but I’ve been watching a particular writing forum for years…and sometimes posting on it until the past 6 months to a year. I know what you’re going to ask: “Why?” The answer is simple: I wanted to put time into writing and being a professional writer and not being a professional forum poster.

Well, I’ve systematically watched this particular forum go downhill since I left and it’s not even sad. In fact, I find it humorous to say the least.

When moderators get into pissing matches with trolls, knowledgeable people are told they’re sanctimonious and talking down to people, you have the recipe for a failed forum. Oh, no doubt the owner and mods will say I’m incorrect but they’d be wrong. Said forum needs 250 USD to cover costs and we’re halfway through the month and they’ve gotten all of *fifty* dollars in. Houston, we have a problem.

The biggest fail of the entire forum was when a particular poster from Pennsylvania was allowed to run amuck on the boards for months, posting inane comments meant to seem intellectual but coming across as a pompous asshole with delusions of grandeur. This person was able to make life miserable for several posters, do nothing but plug his free books on Amazon.com, and then act like he was the self-prescribed expert of writing. Really? Talk about sad as hell.

Now let me speak on the subject of moderators. In forums, they’re supposed to be impartial and enforce the rules. The ones on this forum? They get into pissing matches with the above troll that degenerated into whipping their dicks out of measuring them to see who’s bigger. Then, and if that wasn’t inappropriate enough, the mods then harass other posters on here-myself included-because they find us threatening to their status quo.

Most people on that forum will never be published and are sitting in a ‘blind leads the blind’ situation. Writing is a solitary endeavor for a reason…and sitting on a forum making posts asking questions and then reading what the artistes have to say is a waste of time.

Personally I find the whole thing ridiculous to say the least and find that the place gives me more information I can use on my blog than anything else. As they would say at Kings Dominion: Ride on!

 


 

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Communicating Whether or Not Something is a Shout or Question

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This is another issue that beginning writers-including I-have in the beginning. See, it’s easy to get confused about how to communicate something that seems more like a shout than a question. After learning more about the craft and how to put words together, it finally dawned on my about how to do this. So, here were go.

Ok, so your character is shouting something that could be a question too. This is a good way to write it:

“What did you do!” Talia snapped.

This is a question, but she’s yelling it at the same time. Now, in this case you have a choice between a “?” and “!” to work with. Grammatically, it’s incorrect to use both as like such: “!?” because it doesn’t make sense. So, this is where the words used in the dialogue and the particular tag solves that problem for you. By saying “Talia snapped,” it lets the reader know she was mad and allows us to trust that the reader will see in his/her head what we’re saying.

“What did you do?” Talia said (or Talia asked).

That shows how it’s a question. Note how you could use “Talia said” or “Talia asked” as your tag to get the point across.

The use of tags really helps things out, so don’t be afraid to use them.

I hope this helps.

Plots

 

One thing I see a lot of the forums is how to make a plot. While it’s a simple thing, a lot of new writers can’t get a grip on it. So here goes.

A plot is basically how your character goes from point a to point y at the end of the story. What happens between the two is what is called a plot. The conflicts, and what the character has to overcome, are part of what makes up a plot.

The dictionary definition of plot is:

the main events of a play, novel, movie, or similar work, devised and presented by the writer as an interrelated sequence

Each piece of action is then tied into another one, which helps to make the story move forwards. So, the thing to remember is how to make it tie together.

For example, Ice Station by Matthew Reilly: Someone sees a strange ship sticking out of the ice in an underwater cave before being killed by an unknown animal. Scarecrow and his team of marines are sent to investigate. They then have to fight the French and British Special Forces who want the craft. Then they had to defeat a person from a secret organization in the US government before finding out what the craft is. Then the resolution.

That’s a plot…each piece tied into another to help push things forwards.

I hope this helps out.

A Chilling Article

As you guys know, it’s very rare for me to bring out my political views and beliefs on this blog. I feel that I’m a professional and that my personal life should be kept separate from the professional, but this is something I can’t stay quiet about.

The FCC is in the testing stages of going to the various TV stations and “analyzing” their “biases” and “how stories are decided upon.” Well, that’s scary enough but it’s what comes next that’s the kicker.

They are also going to speak to reporters and station managers and give them 8 “voluntary suggestions” of things to run. Here’s just 2 of the 8.

1. Environment

2. Employment Opportunities  

Now before you jump on me saying I’m throwing out some right wing talking points, it’s not right-wing politics that drives me on this. The fact that the Government is going to sit there and “suggest” (aka tell them what they can broadcast) the news reeks of censorship. I’m sorry, but as a writer this is the deadly serious issue and I personally have had to adjust my writing already due to the massive politically correct landscape-but this takes the cake. 

If someone doubts me here’s a link to the story. Note that it’s written by someone who works in the FCC.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304680904579366903828260732

Anyone reading this who is concerned about free speech, please reblog this and get the word out.

 

Writing Interesting Characters

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I see lots of posts about how to make a character interesting and not just a cardboard cut out. That’s a tricky question to answer because there’s many ways to do that.

Dialogue is one thing in a writer’s arsenal to accomplish the task. How does he or she speak to others and is the clean or potty mouthed? Is there lots of sarcasm? All of them display personality.

Actions are another option. How does she behave? Does she get mad easily? Never upset? Cold as Ice?

Narration can also help you.

Best thing is a combination of all the above. Characters are sums of their parts-just like we are as people, so keep that in mind when creating your characters.

 

Fools and Stupidity

 

When I was growing up I remember a saying my parents have: “It’s one thing to be considered stupid, another to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” Sometimes I think people forget that when posting on various forums.

Today, someone made a post that fully showed amateurism, and when they were corrected and told how to sound more professional, they took it as a personal slam. *Sigh* Sometimes people are so high and mighty that they don’t have enough damn sense to realize they look stupid as shit.

I wonder how many of these people who get mad will ever make it into the world of being published. Given how they don’t want to even learn the necessary lingo, then the answer would be “never.”

Sometimes it’s best to take the advice given instead of sounding like a complete asshole by railing on the one who’s trying to teach something. Unfortunately, the people inhabiting this world seem unwilling to learn anything. No wonder we’re in the mess we’re in; people are too damn stubborn to learn.

I guess common sense and having an open mind is a lost art.

Looks Like I Picked a Bad Day to Quit Sniffing Glue

 

This was one of the funniest moments of the movie “Airplane!” by the Zucker brothers. It also describes how I feel sometimes after reading various forums.

Today’s post of the day is how to avoid using words like “he knew” in a sentence again and again. Well, it’s rather easy to fix that! It’s called move from telling into a showing mode. There’s various ways to get that point across without resorting to telling.

I would say that it’s easy to do this, but for people first starting out, it’s probably very difficult, so I want to avoid the arrogant type comments that hurt people’s feelings. But, to make a long story short, look at how to ‘show’ what they’re thinking and don’t ‘tell’ it. That should help.

As usual, have a good day.

 

Playing on my Itunes: Mozart Symphonies.

Helpful Site for Aspiring Writers

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This is Kristen Nelson’s blog. If you’re not familiar with her, she’s the lead agent at Nelson Literary Agency, one of the bigger firms in the business. Inside her blog she covers everything from query letters to royalties and rights. This is a perfect one stop shop for aspiring writers.

http://nelsonagency.com/pub-rants/

Idiots and Pseudointellectuals

 

I have to say that the moment I’ve been waiting for has arrived. There’s one particular brainiac (and I use that term loosely) on one of the writing forums who fancies himself/herself to be the end-all be-all of writing knowledge.

It’s funny to watch this person operate and how they have diarrhea of the fingers and never get to a point. This time it’s telling someone how their idea is contrived and sounds like it came from a supermarket tabloid. Well, armed with that person’s statement, let me shoot it down.

Any idea for a fiction story could be considered contrived since every story that can be told has been already. Second, it’s not the idea that matters but the person writing it. Third, does anyone really give a shit about what he/she really thinks? If he/she had time to write, then he/she wouldn’t be playing blind leading the blind.



Honestly, I’m starting to find the posts of so many people to be so humorous that I’m taking time out from writing to wait for them to be made. Hell, it’s worth one big ass laugh and a good dose of stress relief!

With that said, what’s the *worst* advice you’ve ever gotten in writing? I’m kind of curious as to what’s been said.