Saturday, June 30, 2012

Top 10 Tips from the Masters


The following tips are from the Writing Classes website  . I have compiled a top 10 of these rules, with my own analysis.

1. Write. (Neil Gaiman)

It goes without saying, if one wishes to be a writer, one must first write. Writing is not easy. Although his second practice starts with ‘put one word after another’, it is important to take note of the full practice:

2. Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down. (Neil Gaiman)

Anybody can jumble together a collection of words, but it takes true skill to get words that portray the meaning you want. There are 26 letters in the alphabet. Even simpler there are four squiggles that make up all 26 letters: the line, the curve, the dot, and the flick. It is our job as writers to give meaning to these simple squiggles on a page and to give the reader a reason to want to find that meaning.

3. Never open a book with weather. (Elmore Leonard)

Readers don’t care what the weather is like in your story. Of course, there is an exception to the rule: if the story is the weather, you can open with it. I mean, if there is a storm in your world and the story is about the storm, it is OK to start your story with it.

4. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. (Elmore Leonard)

Obvious really. If the reader is going to skip over it, don’t write it in the first place. This goes hand in hand with another of Elmore’s rules: ‘Avoid prologues’. Some readers don’t read the prologue; therefore, you shouldn’t put one in. At least that’s how I view his rule.

5. Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue. (Elmore Leonard)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Are you sure?

Warning this post contains strong language.
So you're here to read another rant by me. Are you sure? Yes. Ah good. Shall we continue? Are you sure? OK, let's go. There is strong language, do you wish to continue? Yes. Are you sure?

One thing that irks me above all other stupid things that technology does is when it asks me if I'm sure.

For instance, I've played a game on the computer and now I want to get off it. So, I save my game. Then I quit to the menu. Are you sure you want to quit to the menu? Well, yes, I did just click on that button. Then on the menu I click Quit Game. Are you sure you want to quit the game? Yes, yes I do - why else would I have clicked the quit button?

OK, so it is making sure I didn't accidentally click on the button. However, to quit to the menu required me to:

1. Stop playing
2. Navigate my mouse to the menu button
3. Click the menu button
4. Navigate the mouse to the save button
5. Save my game
6. Navigate to the quit to menu button
7. click the quit to menu button

Now, I would say that I'm pretty damn determined that I want to quit to the menu. Otherwise I may not have done step 1. It's not like the game has its buttons really close. They are nicely spread out so that any imbecile could click on the button they wish without missing and hitting the wrong one.

Then once I've quit I am faced with a full screen menu that contains 4 buttons on it. One button in the top right corner is the settings button. It's pretty far from the other buttons. The two in the middle are New Game and Load Game. The exit button is right at the bottom. Far, far away from any other button. So why do you insist on asking if I am really sure I want to do what I'm pretty obviously sure I want to do?

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