Jump to content

A Thread for Writers to talk about Writing


Recommended Posts

6 hours ago, Kuzzter said:

Does it give anyone else a certain special feeling when you don't have to edit a post, since once you do edit it it carries that mark of shame forever? I liked how in the old forum if you edited something soon enough it didn't count as an edited post.

Oh my, yes!  About 4 chapters ago I got one totally right, and it was the weirdest thing.  I couldn't find one mistake to correct... and I still suspect I may have missed something... :D

 

6 hours ago, KSK said:

Can't agree enough with this, especially that last sentence. I would throw in use of paragraphs and (going back to CatastrophicFailure's post), more-or-less correct presentation of dialogue, too. If I'm commenting on a piece of writing, I'll usually refrain from spelling and grammar nits unless they're too bad to ignore or the author has specifically asked for them. (There's also a certain element of stones and glasshouses here). However, I'll almost certainly give a gentle hint that breaking a huge chunk o' text into paragraphs, or that starting a new paragraph each time you change speaker, would help readability.

yeah... uh..... :rolleyes:

I've been re-reading my earlier chapters to make sure I don't contradict myself, and hate to admit it, but I'm doing some serious cringing at my own work.  The storyline is OK, but I really need to go back and polish the structure, so to speak.  Especially concerning paragraphs.  I'm not indenting like I should be either, and I'm not sure how I got into the habit, but I need to fix it.  I think before I do another chapter I should go back and clean things up.

Edited by Just Jim
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/9/2016 at 8:30 AM, Kuzzter said:

Good presentation in any art form helps the reader/viewer/listener reach and immerse in the work itself, rather than struggle through layers of poor form that hide the artist's message.

Beyond a certain point mistakes are mistakes, but for the little things, I find it's more important to be consistent than it is to be correct. A writer doesn't have to be perfect, but you can't be all over the place either.

On 8/9/2016 at 8:44 AM, Just Jim said:

One thing I really wish this forum had was a way to save and view a draft of a post before we post it,

I don't think this will work on this forum, but there was another forum I was on that let you save drafts of private messages. I'd set up a message to another forum user and type my story into that and just never send it. Since the private message system was the same as the rest of the forum, the story was already formatted correctly and I could just copy/paste it into the main forum and delete the message when I was finished. 

On 8/9/2016 at 10:19 AM, KSK said:

I think there's something about taking a chapter off one screen and putting it on a different screen - it moves the words around just enough that it's no longer quite the same familiar text, so parts that I've been unconcsciously skipping over during proofreading are suddenly back in my face again.

On 8/9/2016 at 10:20 AM, UnusualAttitude said:

I re-read a lot before posting, but sometimes mistakes or typos that I've missed in my text editor stand out when I paste them into the browser. The change of context/background helps, for some reason.

Oh good, it's not just me. :)  For whatever reason, moving the final draft from my word processor into the forum makes a huge difference in the editing process. I often end up doing a pretty serious "final pass" before I hit that submit button, and this tends to mean the version I have saved on my hard drive is not exactly the same as what ends up posted on the forum. 

 

On 8/9/2016 at 10:24 AM, Kuzzter said:

Does it give anyone else a certain special feeling when you don't have to edit a post, since once you do edit it it carries that mark of shame forever?

I wouldn't call it a mark of shame, per se, but I'd rather not have the "edited by" text as the last thing the reader sees. I can't say as I've ever had a "perfect ten" post, no matter how hard I try, but there have been times when I've left minor errors alone so as to not have the "edited" stamp at the end of a chapter. 

Edited by Ten Key
Well, nuts
Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, I need some opinions and feedback, please, concerning paragraphs.
Yesterday I did some looking around, and I'm surprised to find a lot of inconsistencies when it comes to writing paragraphs online vs. in a book.
In a book the rules are fairly simple. Indent at the beginning of each paragraph, and when someone starts talking.
But online I'm finding a bunch of different styles. Many don't indent paragraphs, and skip a space between them instead, sometimes including dialogue.

So I'm not sure which is right, or if both are. Myself, I think I prefer it "by the book" so to speak, but this is an online story, so am I being too old-fashioned?

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

For certain values of online perhaps. A quick survey of my digital copies of formally published of books yields both. The fiction is indented and the non-fiction is not. I'll have to do a survey of my print library. I think that in printed fiction I have seen both indented and non-indented.

For the most part I think it might be like cooked carrots, a matter of taste.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Just Jim said:

OK, I need some opinions and feedback, please, concerning paragraphs.
Yesterday I did some looking around, and I'm surprised to find a lot of inconsistencies when it comes to writing paragraphs online vs. in a book.
In a book the rules are fairly simple. Indent at the beginning of each paragraph, and when someone starts talking.
But online I'm finding a bunch of different styles. Many don't indent paragraphs, and skip a space between them instead, sometimes including dialogue.

So I'm not sure which is right, or if both are. Myself, I think I prefer it "by the book" so to speak, but this is an online story, so am I being too old-fashioned?

I don't think you're being old fashioned and in any case, if that's the 'by the book' standard, then it's a good habit for writers to get into, although it's not one that I'm consistent with myself. Speaking personally, it depends on format. I find that indented paragraphs look very odd on-screen, so I tend to go with skipping a space between them and likewise between speakers when I'm writing dialogue. However, I've also converted the first two sections of First Flight to ebook format and found they needed extensive reformatting because skipping a space between paragraphs just looks just as odd on the page as properly indented paragraphs look on the screen.

I don't think that really answered your question did it? :(

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, KSK said:

I don't think you're being old fashioned and in any case, if that's the 'by the book' standard, then it's a good habit for writers to get into, although it's not one that I'm consistent with myself. Speaking personally, it depends on format. I find that indented paragraphs look very odd on-screen, so I tend to go with skipping a space between them and likewise between speakers when I'm writing dialogue. However, I've also converted the first two sections of First Flight to ebook format and found they needed extensive reformatting because skipping a space between paragraphs just looks just as odd on the page as properly indented paragraphs look on the screen.

I don't think that really answered your question did it? :(

I just did some experimenting, and I have to agree, indenting on-screen looks a little weird.

So my biggest issue is spacing.  I do and I don't space between paragraphs, which is inconnsistant, I know.  And for the most part I haven't been spacing between speakers.  I've never been quite sure about that one, and afraid of making some already long chapters a lot longer, in terms of actual space. 

I'm not sure what to do now.  No-one is complaining about how I'm doing it... except maybe me.  Other than a couple outright mistakes I spotted, maybe I shouldn't worry about fixing something that isn't terribly broken?

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Just Jim said:

OK, I need some opinions and feedback, please, concerning paragraphs.
Yesterday I did some looking around, and I'm surprised to find a lot of inconsistencies when it comes to writing paragraphs online vs. in a book.
In a book the rules are fairly simple. Indent at the beginning of each paragraph, and when someone starts talking.
But online I'm finding a bunch of different styles. Many don't indent paragraphs, and skip a space between them instead, sometimes including dialogue.

So I'm not sure which is right, or if both are. Myself, I think I prefer it "by the book" so to speak, but this is an online story, so am I being too old-fashioned?

 

26 minutes ago, Just Jim said:

I just did some experimenting, and I have to agree, indenting on-screen looks a little weird.

So my biggest issue is spacing.  I do and I don't space between paragraphs, which is inconnsistant, I know.  And for the most part I haven't been spacing between speakers.  I've never been quite sure about that one, and afraid of making some already long chapters a lot longer, in terms of actual space. 

I'm not sure what to do now.  No-one is complaining about how I'm doing it... except maybe me.  Other than a couple outright mistakes I spotted, maybe I shouldn't worry about fixing something that isn't terribly broken?

Having both written books (Master's thesis and Ph.D. dissertation are pending publication) and blogging online, there are actually different standards, of which you have already discussed here. In fact, believe it or not, this forum software is actually designed around "proper blogging and online publication" formats.

Allow the forum software to place the spaces between your paragraphs. This helps with the symmetry of your writing. It provided a discernible break between the topics/subjects between the paragraphs. Also, no need to place a double space at the end of a sentence following punctuation, such as I have done with this sentence.  If you notice, the big space almost signals a break in the flow and symmetry of the paragraph.

With dialog, I follow the old rules - as long as the dialog does not change between characters, it can be kept in a paragraph that relates to the speaker. If the dialogue changes to another character or the paragraph is not about the thoughts or the doings of the character, then the dialogue needs to stand alone.

I hope this helps ease your mind. For the most part, I've not seen that many mistakes in Emiko... :D I have to revise several times before I get Kerny to be the way I want it to read...

On 8/9/2016 at 11:24 AM, Kuzzter said:

Does it give anyone else a certain special feeling when you don't have to edit a post, since once you do edit it it carries that mark of shame forever? I liked how in the old forum if you edited something soon enough it didn't count as an edited post.

I really do not care if others see that I have edited a post. For me, as long as I get it right, or craft it in such a way where I feel it is complete, then why should I worry about others knowing I edited it? Even in a casual post, I will edit if I think of something that I should have mentioned when I first wrote the post. :blush:

Edited by adsii1970
Link to post
Share on other sites

Is it even possible to indent on the forum? Usually that just switches to highlight another link or something. iPads don't even have tab keys, so I think I'll be sticking to non-intended paragraphs with extra space. :blush: This is a Kerbal Space Program forum, after all, can never have too much space. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, adsii1970 said:

Also, no need to place a double space at the end of a sentence following punctuation, such as I have done with this sentence.  If you notice, the big space almost signals a break in the flow and symmetry of the paragraph.

With dialog, I follow the old rules - as long as the dialog does not change between characters, it can be kept in a paragraph that relates to the speaker. If the dialogue changes to another character or the paragraph is not about the thoughts or the doings of the character, then the dialogue needs to stand alone.

Hmmm, double spacing between sentances is a typing habit I have to break as well. I spotted several of those.

For the most part with the dialoge I tend to not space speakers if it's a back and forth conversation, but I space them when there is a break or pause in the conversation.

28 minutes ago, adsii1970 said:

I really do not care if others see that I have edited a post. For me, as long as I get it right, or craft it in such a way where I feel it is complete, then why should I worry about others knowing I edited it? Even in a casual post, I will edit if I think of something that I should have mentioned when I first wrote the post

I don't mind if people know I have to edit the chapters.... they should expect it. In fact sometimes I make little jokes in the reason for edit box just for laughs.  :D

 

11 minutes ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

This is a Kerbal Space Program forum, after all, can never have too much space. 

:D

Edited by Just Jim
did you see what I did there??? hehe
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Just Jim said:

OK, I need some opinions and feedback, please, concerning paragraphs.

Paragraph indents have always seemed like a "system limitation" of print media. They're preferred over a line break simply because they allow a story to be compressed into fewer pages. Online writing isn't limited by printing costs, so take as much space as you want. :)

I can't remember the last time I used paragraph indents.

Unfortunately, the line spacing in the new forum is giving me fits. It looks fine if I type something directly into the forum, but the paragraph breaks look odd when I copy/paste from wordpad. The only real fix seems to be to remove each and every paragraph break and then add them back in with the forum's carriage return. And my goodness, that is a lot of work.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Just Jim said:

OK, this is odd.  I fixed up my first 30 chapters yesterday, but somewhere in the process, and I don't know how, my spell checker got turned off! 

No more red squiggly lines... :huh:

Yeah, I hate it when that happens. I actually had a student a few years' back tell me that she turned OFF those squiggly lines in Microsoft Word (red, green, and blue). She said her spelling wasn't that bad AND she knew how to write. Yeah, just thought I would share that...

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/11/2016 at 2:05 PM, Just Jim said:

OK, I need some opinions and feedback, please, concerning paragraphs.

There's yet another factor to be taken into account: what looks good on a large computer monitor may be much harder to read on a mobile device (and I do browse mission reports regularly on my mobile phone). I find this is a real problem for paragraph length: a paragraph that looks perfectly reasonable on my Mac may be a daunting, repulsive wall-of-text on my mobile.

I can't say that I've ever tried, but I suspect that indented paragraphs would also look worse on a smaller screen.

The thing is, many of us are writing all sorts of unusual and sometimes very personal styles: narrative, narrative plus pictures, 1st person logs (with or without pictures), and technical non-fiction mission reports (usually with pictures). I'm certainly not at all against bending some the rules if that the end result is easier to read.

My story is supposed to be a bunch of notes that some Kerbal engineer scribbles down in a little notebook when he has some spare time in between the many nearly fatal adventures he is dragged into. I imagine that he doesn't worry about paragraph format too much...:D

I've also looked around a bit and can't seem to find anyone who uses justified paragraphs? Should that not be a thing? I find it neater.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I always thought justified paragraphs were OK for formal reports but weren't supposed to be used for prose? I'll freely confess that I have no idea where that came from though or whether it's remotely correct.

However, I do wonder if full justification might contribute to the 'wall o' text' problem on smaller screens?

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, KSK said:

I always thought justified paragraphs were OK for formal reports but weren't supposed to be used for prose? I'll freely confess that I have no idea where that came from though or whether it's remotely correct.

However, I do wonder if full justification might contribute to the 'wall o' text' problem on smaller screens?

Well, almost every novel I have ever read - whether printed on paper or in digital format on my e-book - has been fully justified. Unless it's a sufficiently ancient copy that predates word processing...:)

But you may be right about its consequences on smaller screens...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Uhm...sorry to drop in guys if this doesn't fit in this thread but, could anyone check out my first story I posted? I will gladly take criticism and answer any questions went my way.Thanks.Sorry...

Please discuss the story on it's own thread...

Link to post
Share on other sites

I just finished fixing up Emiko Station, and decided to go with the more online-ish format, so to speak. No indents, and a space between paragraphs and speakers.

I'm not sure if it's my final version or not, but at least it's a lot neater looking.  :D

Edited by Just Jim
Link to post
Share on other sites

Lo Var Lachland:

Looks like you're off to a good start.  I like the quotes at the start of each - the words of real astronauts and one kerbonaut together. 

My one quibble so far is that because you have one journal entry to a post, your posts (and thus, effectively, chapters) are really short.  Maybe that fits your writing preference, but as a reader and writer, I tend to the longer form - stuff like KSK's big chapters.  I would suggest trying to combine a few entries into one longer post?   If this way works for you, though, stick with it.

 

Radon86:

Your English is fine, don't worry.  The center-justified text is a bit hard to read, though; I'd suggest regular old left-justified.

Certainly a wild tale!  And Carthage is certainly a massive ship.  Nothing compared to the Claw, of course... an image which is simultaneously comical and horrifying in its almost cartoonish simplicity.

I have to wonder, though, where do the kerbals come in?  We've got humans and the Zanmi... is this just a general science-fiction story that you decided to post here?

Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎8‎/‎13‎/‎2016 at 0:08 AM, Radon86 said:

Uhm...sorry to drop in guys if this doesn't fit in this thread but, could anyone check out my first story I posted? I will gladly take criticism and answer any questions went my way.Thanks.Sorry... Please discuss the story on it's own thread...

The only issue I noticed is theres no space between the period at the end of a sentance and the next sentance.

Other than that it looks good.  :D

On ‎8‎/‎12‎/‎2016 at 8:17 AM, Just Jim said:

OK, this is odd.  I fixed up my first 30 chapters yesterday, but somewhere in the process, and I don't know how, my spell checker got turned off! 

No more red squiggly lines... :huh:

OK, a followup on this.

I talked with @sal_vager yesterday, and it turns out the spellchecker is a feature of the persons browser, not the forum.

I did not know this, but it makes sense. I'm using IE11. I'm not too thrilled with it, but it did update itself right about the time my spellchecker disappeared.

Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Anyone got any suggestions as to how to get back into a story? I'm writing one but I've left it since I hit the dreaded "writers block".

The forum is pretty cool, I doubt anyone would notice if you just picked up where you left off.

Or is the problem getting around the writers block itself?

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/14/2016 at 6:54 PM, ZooNamedGames said:

Anyone got any suggestions as to how to get back into a story? I'm writing one but I've left it since I hit the dreaded "writers block".

Well, something that I find helpful with writing any story is to, once you have any direction st all, think of the most Grandiose conclusion possible. Then you start from where you left off to work up to it. Then repeat, but avoid too much "spectacle creep".

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Andem said:

Well, something that I find helpful with writing any story is to, once you have any direction st all, think of the most Grandiose conclusion possible. Then you start from where you left off to work up to it. Then repeat, but avoid too much "spectacle creep".

That's my usual technique but it seems to be evading me... Or least I can't think of anything to build from. I think I put myself into a corner...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...