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Old 07-13-2006, 09:31 AM   #1
Yaggles
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Tips to a Good Fanfic!

Well, I'm new here, and I have to say that most fics here are doing pretty well.
I have some tips for new authors to help them improve their stories and overall writing. If you have any comments or suggestions, feel free to post them!

Seeing as other people have already posted their own tips, please also read posts below this... it goes down quite a bit and has some very helpful tips! Have fun!

1) Spelling Counts. I know you might not be an English major, but spelling and grammar do have a good deal of importance when it comes to writing and publishing your stories, even on a smaller scale such as a Fanfiction forum. If you don't spell properly, it makes it hard to read, and if you use bad grammar, people might not understand just what you're saying. I suggest you run your post through Microsoft Word or ANY other known spell checking service to make sure you don't have too many spelling issues. Now I'm not asking you to be perfect (as I even don't always make it right; sometimes I just type it directly into the posting screen, as I am doing now, for sake of time). But using Word or a text editor is also helpful so that yuo can save your story in case you have to stop and come back later but you don't want to post it on the web for everyone to see when you aren't finished.
2) Be descriptive. This is somewhat of an addon to the previous point. You should always use the most descriptive words that you can think of. Of course, if you're writing to adults, you can use words that most kids or teenagers might not know, but if you are writing to kids, they shouldn't have to have a thesaurus handy and have to translate your English into English.
3) Take the time to make it good! You should always strive to do your best. Sure you want all the glory and fame of having a great story. But that doesn't come overnight with everyone (and if you do have a great idea that you thought of overnight, by all means go for it!) I'm just saying that you need to take the time to get all the details straight. You don't want to have overlapping dates and times or anything like that.
4) Accept criticism. You should always hear out what other people have to say about your stuff. I know some people can be a pain in the butt about it, but it's still a good idea to hear what they have to say and maybe even take some advice. In most cases, they're trying to help you out.

That's all I can think of at the moment, but I'll be sure to add on later!

Last edited by Yaggles; 08-06-2006 at 08:11 AM.
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Old 07-30-2006, 12:18 PM   #2
JediKnight707
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yaggles
2) Quality over Quantity.
Now that's not always neccesarily true for one reason: If say, hypothetically, you could say something in 50 words rather than 100, it may deter people from your fic because they think its too short. Why do you think that the Harry Potter series is so popular? Rowling could certainly shorten it, yet she doesn't. Pages sell

As for more tips...:

1) Don't be repetitive. You don't want to use the same ideas over and over again. Like having someone return from the dead is an awesome idea, but you should never use it twice. Also, don't use the same words all the time. I sometimes use a thesaraus, and so should you The same goes for phrases. I was reading on a different website, and the writer used the phrase "his voice dripping with sarcasm." Great phrase for conveying the message of his sarcasm. But then, a few paragraphs later, I read "his voice dripping with sarcasm." Kinda ruined it for me.

2) Use good vocabulary. I'm not saying that you should use forty syllable words, but don't continue to use small words. Ebony sounds a lot better than black, I'll just leave it at that.

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Old 07-31-2006, 07:56 AM   #3
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um .. my helpfull tip .. 1, I think it would be good if your Fic was about Star Wars, that would be a good start. Another tip, is to listen what these guys and Mach say ... They know what they're talking about

Thats my input lol

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Old 07-31-2006, 08:13 AM   #4
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My Helpful Tip:

1. Never do more than one Fic at a time.
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Old 07-31-2006, 08:55 AM   #5
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My helpful tip:

1. Try and be original.
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Old 08-03-2006, 11:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pottsie
My Helpful Tip:

1. Never do more than one Fic at a time.
Listen to this one. I tried doing three full fics at once. All three failed miserably. Only one even made it to the boards (Dark Mirror), and even it died on me...
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Old 08-03-2006, 11:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Doctor
Listen to this one. I tried doing three full fics at once. All three failed miserably. Only one even made it to the boards (Dark Mirror), and even it died on me...
You think you had it bad Doc? When I first started writing Fanfics, I was trying to write four Fics at the same time. Of course I know better now.
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Old 08-03-2006, 12:04 PM   #8
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heh, i'm finding it hard enough to cope with AP and GC2 now itself . but i'll get by.


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Old 08-05-2006, 01:46 PM   #9
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the best tip i can give: always carry a pen and notepad with you at all times. i can't tell you how handy it is to have something to jot down your ideas whenever lightning strikes. this is especially true whenever you've hit a block in your story, and then, three hours later, you'll think of a fantastic idea that takes care of the block.

hehe, and if you want to experiment a bit, write down when, where, and what you were doing whenever you thought of the idea. its amazing how random the human mind can be.

another great tip is revision, revision, revision. after you write down a section, take the time to just simply save the selection to your hard drive (or some portable device such as a thumb drive) instead of just posting it directly. then, do something else for a little bit. it doesn't have to be something that lasts for hours upon hours; it just has to be something that will take your mind off of what you just wrote for a bit. then, simply open the file and read it. a fresh set of eyes will allow you to catch errors in consistancy, spelling, and grammer plus it has the added benefit of giving you a chance to change around certain sections to make them better.

anyways, hope that helps somebody.


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Old 08-05-2006, 02:04 PM   #10
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The best tip I can give you is to not overdo your fan-fic. Keep it realistic in a cool way.
For example, a single Jedi wiping out a complete bataljon of Sith Masters without breaking a sweat isn't fun to read. A Jedi who is struggeling, hiding, and desperately trying to defeat an opponent is much more fun to read, and far, far more realistic.
My 2 cents

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Old 08-05-2006, 02:47 PM   #11
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A beta reader can be a great help--they can find stuff that you might not see and ask questions about a section that is clear to you but possibly confusing to another reader.
I read my chapters out loud to my son before posting, generally. It lets me catch things I haven't caught just sight reading. Reading it out loud helps me catch repetitive word usage, sentences that are too long, awkward constructions, that kind of thing.


From MST3K's spoof of "Hercules Unchained"--heard as Roman medic soldiers carry off an unconscious Greek Hercules on a 1950's Army green canvas stretcher: "Hi, we're IX-I-I. Did somebody dial IX-I-I?"

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Old 08-06-2006, 08:10 AM   #12
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Jae that's a good idea... oh and thanks for the sticky!

I'll go ahead and edit in my post that other people have posted tips too so people should scroll down.


Kar the Apprentice - Chapter two is out! Check it out!
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Old 08-06-2006, 08:24 AM   #13
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my tip:
try using more paragraphs and space out your typing. i know it will take a lot of scrolling to go through the story then, but whenever i read cramped up chapters, i almost always lose myself and have to start again. the spaced paras will make for easier reading. maybe some people will get annoyed with having to mark their position as they move along a cramped para and may decide that it's not worth it. so try to space out your paras more, best example: our Mom-erator

on a less important note: if you can, try to make the ending of the particular chapter a suspense. i know i may not always do this, but i know for sure that these cliffhangers make people come back and want to read more.


Duct Tape is ALWAYS the answer
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Old 08-06-2006, 09:02 AM   #14
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Yaggles, I can't claim credit for sticky-ing the topic--I think it was stingerhs. However, it's a good thing since this thread has some very useful info.

The reason we need line breaks here when we normally wouldn't in a regular document has to do with readability on a computer. Reading it on computer is different--the screen is at a different angle and distance typically from a book or paper document, and here we're reading text on a dark background rather than white/light paper. When the eye gets to the end of a line here (or on any other forum) rather than on paper, it has a harder time scanning back to the beginning and finding the next line to continue reading. The line breaks make it much easier to find the next line.

Also, (and this is directed at no one in particular!) don't use a dark color to write here. Since we read on a dark gray background, you need to use a light color font to maximize contrast to make it as readable as possible. Picking a dark color like blue, red, dark green, purple, black, and my least favorite, dark gray, makes it really hard to read. Choose a light color font, even for your accents. There's a number of nice colors at the end of the color drop-down list, and while they're pastels, they're much more readable. The reverse is true for a light background--there you do want to choose the darkest colors to enhance contrast for readability. The highest contrast is white letters on black and black letters on white. High contrast is a good thing, especially for those of us who no longer have 'young' eyes.


From MST3K's spoof of "Hercules Unchained"--heard as Roman medic soldiers carry off an unconscious Greek Hercules on a 1950's Army green canvas stretcher: "Hi, we're IX-I-I. Did somebody dial IX-I-I?"

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Last edited by Jae Onasi; 08-06-2006 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 08-06-2006, 09:05 AM   #15
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thanks for adding that! Having bright blue on this dark background makes it hard to read. Maybe a lighter blue is better. Or maybe a lighter green. Nothing neon, though! :/


Kar the Apprentice - Chapter two is out! Check it out!
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Old 08-06-2006, 09:07 AM   #16
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@ Jae: gah! didnt you read what i wrote? i got lost again! j/k

I read it, I was just explaining why it's a good idea to do line breaks. I just got a little too wordy. --Jae

personally, i would say just forget about the colours and write everything in white. i know i have inserted colored chapter numbers in my previous fics, but the tags were just a pain in the ***.


Duct Tape is ALWAYS the answer

Last edited by Jae Onasi; 08-06-2006 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 08-07-2006, 03:03 PM   #17
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My tip:

Alright, I'm no fan of describing people and places, but as for scenes and actions...

It often helps me to write a scene by first playing the scene over in my head -- as if it were a movie. Dialouge, movements, positions, scenery, expressions, everything. It gets the scene in order, and shows you exactly what you're looking for. Then, as you're writing, replay the scene as you go, so that you have the picture of what you're trying to describe in your words. Often, if I'm looking for a certain energy to the scene, I'll even listen to a song that leaves me with the same feeling, kind of getting me to concentrate on what I'm looking for.

Hope that helps!


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Old 08-07-2006, 03:09 PM   #18
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Another Tip from me:

2. Make Characters interesting. For example, don't have a Character to be good at everything, make them have strengths and weaknesses, like this Character is good at duelling, but this Character's weakness is being easy to anger.
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Old 08-07-2006, 10:32 PM   #19
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FWWM has a good tip of playing over and over. Another good way is to verbally say your character's lines aloud. You can hear how it sounds and determineif it fits with the personality you are trying to give it.
In terms of description of scenes like battle ones, think about it carefully. Sure I tell people to use alot of detail and pretend your readers are blind schmoes but don't sound like a boring protocol droid. My recommendation is to watch a lot of war movies with plenty of battles scenes. If it has the blood and gore, the better. True the images are haunting to the eye but it does give a better perspective on reality in terms of injuries. I'm wierd but I watch movies like We Were Soldiers, Platoon, The Patriot, Black Hawk Down repeatedly. I don't recommend this if you can't stand blood and guts. Famous paintings help a bit too. The whole point is visualize and think if this is real or not.
Also defer to the Expert Thread for accurate representations on anything. THere are plenty of people who know stuff on miltitary, like mach, medical stuff, like Jae and people like me who know general stuff but specify in things of religion.
My best advice is to read the comments and suggestions. You don't have to take all of them. They are something for you to think about should you decide to edit and the like.

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Old 08-08-2006, 12:37 AM   #20
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here's one that was kind of inspired by the issue with colors. if you want to emphasize something in your text, you do have a couple of options available without changing the color of the text.

italics is a great way to emphasize a hushed or quiet statement. for example, i use italics in my stories to highlight a statement that is being thought by a certain character instead of said aloud, which would be in quotation marks.

bold is a fantastic way to emphasize something in your works. it can be used to simulate yelling, but i rather prefer to use it a stress accent to highlight certain key words. it give somethings added emphasis plus the benefit of making dialog a bit more human sounding.

SAYING THINGS IN ALL CAPS IS A GREAT WAY TO SHOW PEOPLE THAT YOU'RE YELLING AT THEM!!!!

combine things a bit, and YOU CAN REALLY MAKE THINGS INTERESTING!!!!!1!!1ONE!!1!!


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Old 08-12-2006, 06:32 PM   #21
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An advice from me is: end your chapters with cliffhangers, in other words try to end your chapters with events that will make the readers wonder what will happen next and will make them want to read the next chapter.

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Old 08-13-2006, 04:30 AM   #22
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i already said that


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Old 08-13-2006, 06:46 AM   #23
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Damn, this lazyness is starting to get to me.

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Old 08-13-2006, 06:48 AM   #24
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3. Ignore Flames: You don't need them, unlike criticism. Just don't reply to them. At all.
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Old 08-13-2006, 07:49 AM   #25
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just report them to a mod, sit back, and watch the fireworks


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Old 08-14-2006, 01:40 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ForceFightWMe12
My tip:

Alright, I'm no fan of describing people and places, but as for scenes and actions...

It often helps me to write a scene by first playing the scene over in my head -- as if it were a movie. Dialouge, movements, positions, scenery, expressions, everything. It gets the scene in order, and shows you exactly what you're looking for. Then, as you're writing, replay the scene as you go, so that you have the picture of what you're trying to describe in your words. Often, if I'm looking for a certain energy to the scene, I'll even listen to a song that leaves me with the same feeling, kind of getting me to concentrate on what I'm looking for.

Hope that helps!
Yeah, that's what I try to do, or at least something like that. And she's right about the music thing. I always try to listen to music that will put me in the right mood for that particulary part of the story. (You guys must promise not to tell anyone this, but once when I was writing a certain romantic part, I put on Celine Dion's I will always love you... It really made me sad *tear*.)

Mach gave me this tip a while ago. Try to think like your the director of a movie. Visualize how your story is going to go. Make sure its smooth.

Another tip is: Use your own personal expierences. If you just had a fight with your girlfriend or something, put it in your story. It's better to have something that sounds "real" than something that comes from your imagination. Even if it doesn't make your story go in the direction you want it too, it still is good for a more gritty, real feeling.

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Old 08-14-2006, 03:38 AM   #27
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Nice tips those will help!


Kar the Apprentice - Chapter two is out! Check it out!
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Old 08-14-2006, 05:14 AM   #28
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Limit distractions. This is important for some. I can write well enough when there is noise in the backround, but I write best when I'm alone and there's little noise (except for music).

Brainstorm. When you're doing stuff that doesn't require much thought (i.e. driving home, riding your bike, etc.) let your mind wander. I personally get my best ideas when I'm a) in the shower or b) on the toilet. All those brilliant love scenes I've written, were all thought of on the crapper. I'm kidding, I'm kidding. But, seriously, try to at least get an idea of where your story's gonna go before you start writing it.

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Old 08-14-2006, 06:00 AM   #29
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Someone may have mentioned this, but a little research never hurts. We have the experts thread but websites like the datbank on starwars.com and wookiepedia can be helpful if you need some help with timeline or specifics like ship capabilities and such.


"You'll find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view."

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Old 08-14-2006, 08:58 AM   #30
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I used StarWars Knights for the lightsaber forms because I couldn't find them anywhere else... are the exclusive to KOTOR?

And ummm... Jedi_Knight_707, hey I wouldn't call driving home something that requires little thought; you might want to concentrate on the road more than your story. We're trying to help people out here, not get them killed in car crashes, lol. But I agree that you need an idea before you do anything. At least get your characters and your plot, even though you don't need all the minor things; those will come as you write and get ideas.

Cheers!


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Old 08-14-2006, 05:13 PM   #31
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Well, I have been riding my bike and my brain just starts thinking, and all of the sudden I'll be home. It's just natural for me, after having gone on that certain way home, so I don't even think about it. Brainstorming, I think, would be the same as talking to someone else. You're driving home, but you hardly realize it.

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Old 08-14-2006, 09:32 PM   #32
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Yaggles I think you can find the lightsaber forms on wookiepedia as well. Here's the url for that site http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page


"You'll find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view."

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Old 08-14-2006, 09:36 PM   #33
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well... I tried google but it didn't help much, but cool that it's more than one place.


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Old 08-16-2006, 01:25 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jedi_Knight_707
Limit distractions. This is important for some. I can write well enough when there is noise in the backround, but I write best when I'm alone and there's little noise (except for music).

Brainstorm. When you're doing stuff that doesn't require much thought (i.e. driving home, riding your bike, etc.) let your mind wander. I personally get my best ideas when I'm a) in the shower or b) on the toilet. All those brilliant love scenes I've written, were all thought of on the crapper. I'm kidding, I'm kidding. But, seriously, try to at least get an idea of where your story's gonna go before you start writing it.
That is a very good tip. One way I get my ideas is by doing Yoga. While I'm meditating, my mind wanders to this place where there's no turning back. Music helps inspire the type of scene you want. When I write my battle scenes, I remember my films but I also listen to music that sparks the need to jump up an throw a punch or two.

Just remember everybody is different. Heck sometimes even the most sappiest of songs can create a real nice action sequence. Just remember to have fun with it.

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Old 08-17-2006, 05:09 AM   #35
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Hey, im just wondering .. Whats some good tips for a good action sequence? Im coming to the somewhat end of my Fic and theres going to be a heck load of fighting in the final chapters (Perhaps not that much but anyway ) But yeah, any good tips and stuff, would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 08-17-2006, 09:28 PM   #36
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If you read some earlier posts, a good idea is to look at famous paintings depicting battles. You can look at war documentaries or in my case, watch a ton of war movies. It also depends on what you are looking at. If it is a lightsaber duel, watch something involving swords like a samuraii movie. It's best to plan it out first. Refer to the Expert thread for tips on things like posture and jargon, etc. or just ask around.

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Old 08-17-2006, 09:50 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_BFA
Hey, im just wondering .. Whats some good tips for a good action sequence? Im coming to the somewhat end of my Fic and theres going to be a heck load of fighting in the final chapters (Perhaps not that much but anyway ) But yeah, any good tips and stuff, would be greatly appreciated.
do what i try to do: describe each sequence as much as possible, while stil sticking to the main theme. it sounds confusing, but you'll get used to it with practice.

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Old 08-27-2006, 01:23 PM   #38
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What I do is imagine the scene in my head and then think of a detailed, movie-like description of the battle. How well you can describe certain situations somewhat depends on how well do you speak english.

Another tip, but this one is mostly for the readers: If you are reading somebody's fic, don't just read and leave, post your opinion, make suggestions. You don't have to do it after every chapter if you don't want to, but try to do it as often as you can, it helps the author of that fic - it builds up his confidence to know that his work is being read and it encourages him/her to write more and to improve his/her writing.

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Old 09-04-2006, 06:14 PM   #39
JediKnight707
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When I write an action sequence, I always try to picture it as a director. So, if I'm writing something that's really...gritty, I'll watch the D-Day attack in Saving Private Ryan. The shaky cameras and such make you feel like your there, so it really puts you into the moment. When you're trying to do the same thing, just remember that war scenes are intense and scary as hell. It's not like a game where you can take out a billion people with one guy. If I'm doing a one-on-one battle, then try watching fights scenes from movies like Hero or even Obi v. Anakin in Ep. III.

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Old 09-05-2006, 09:54 AM   #40
Diego Varen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jedi_Knight_707
If I'm doing a one-on-one battle, then try watching fights scenes from movies like Hero or even Obi v. Anakin in Ep. III.
Hey that's what I do too.
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