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A few techniques I try to use, maybe they can help you.

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Old 12-20-2005, 08:37 PM
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A few techniques I try to use, maybe they can help you.


Many of the tips I'm about to show you come as inspiration from Chuck Palahniuk, author of the very good Fight Club as well as Lullaby and Choke.
  • Use short sentences!

    There's nothing worse than losing your reader in a jungle of complex sentences and a sea of commas. Short sentences that are concise and to the point often deliver more impact han a winding sentence filled with useless details. The best technique, in my opinion, is to combine the long and short sentences into a smooth paragraph. Use a nice, long, well constructed first sentence and then follow up with a blunt, shorter second one.

    Ex: The sea's might crashed violently against the stubborn rocks and a slight mist of salty brisk air carresed my face in a certain authoritative and demanding, yet gently way. A single seagull flew above.

    Not the best example, but you can begin to get the point.
  • Contradictions can be a nice technique

    Usually, one thinks of contradictions in a negative fashion, but in a work of fiction they can be a great way to get a point across. This can be a tricky tactic to master, but it's pretty basic.

    The wrong way: It was a clear day out. It was a dark day out.

    The right way: I wrote poetry for her. I fucking hate poetry.

    Not really a contradiction, but you can begin to get the point.
  • It's alright to be redundant, as long as it's on purpose

    Being redundant can be a good way to set a certain tone. It can lull the reader into a nice comfortable setting (be careful not to make it a boring one) which you can suddenly jerk them out of. The biggest warning is NOT to make the situation a boring one. You must make it clear that the repetition was intentional. It's also a good technique to put together with the short and long sentence structure, or even to an extent the contradiction technique.

    Ex: He watched her from his car. He watched as she moved gently down the street, walking just the way you'd expect from a woman. He watched her as his eyes melted into a trance of both admiration and aspiration. He watched her as a single tear rolled vibrantly down his cheeck. He watched her as his shaking hand tightened around the pistol. He stopped watching her as he pulled the trigger.
  • Set a pattern or one reoccuring line

    It is often a nice touch to give a certain line multiple meanings. For example, use a line during a lighter part of your story but then bring it back during a more dramatic part. I can't really give an example of this- but it's a pretty cool technique. Another thing that's similar is to use one line multiple times throughout a story (poems do this often as well). A great way to end a story or bring a point home is to repeat a line from earlier in the story, particularly one that has changed in meaning due to certain events in the story.
  • Alliteration

    Alliteration is the repetition of initial consonant sounds in neighboring words.

    Example:
    In cliches: sweet smell of success, a dime a dozen, bigger and better, jump for joy
    Wordsworth: And sings a solitary song That whistles in the wind.
    For some reason, I've always been a big fan of alliteration.
  • COMEDIC RELIEF

    No one wants to read a story that is completely filled with drama. Add in some lighter moments that can give the reader a break. The best way to do this is through dialouge. A great example for all the movie lovers out there is in Pulp Fiction. Two hitmen are about to go do what they do best, and on the ride there they have a conversation. About what? Not about guns or death- but about cheeseburgers.

    Originally Posted by pulp fiction
    Vincent: And you know what they call a... a... a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Paris?
    Jules: They don't call it a Quarter Pounder with cheese?
    Vincent: No man, they got the metric system. They wouldn't know what the fuck a Quarter Pounder is.
    Jules: Then what do they call it?
    Vincent: They call it a Royale with cheese.
    Jules: A Royale with cheese. What do they call a Big Mac?
    Vincent: Well, a Big Mac's a Big Mac, but they call it le Big-Mac.
    Jules: Le Big-Mac. Ha ha ha ha. What do they call a Whopper?
    Vincent: I dunno, I didn't go into Burger King.
  • Show don't tell

    This is the biggest tip a writer can recieve, and it's been drilled into our heads since 3rd grade. Don't tell em someone's mad, show it to me with their actions. Don't tell me it's rainy out, show me the drops trickling down the window. If you want to captivate your reader, then show them a story- don't tell them one. Why draw a picture when you can write one?

That's all for now. I hope these tips help.


Last edited by Regret; 12-20-2005 at 08:40 PM..
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Old 12-20-2005, 08:42 PM
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I loved the last one.

Thanks

(laughed at the pulp quote)
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Old 12-31-2005, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Arachn1d
I loved the last one.

Thanks

(laughed at the pulp quote)
I liked that last one also. It is one of the toughest things to get around sometimes. It forces you to really get creative and put some thought into your writing.

(I laughed too because I knew the quote and I could see the two men in the car as the scene is acted out. Another good example is just before they walk into the apartment and are talking about foot massages.)
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Old 12-31-2005, 01:51 PM
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Thanks for posting this. I think it will help a lot of people.

I learned a couple of things reading this.
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Old 01-11-2006, 04:26 PM
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Useful tips for any writer looking for additional structure tips, and something to add zest to an otherwise straightforward story.
Thank you for your input.
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Old 01-11-2006, 06:34 PM
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All good advice. I would only add this: be suspicious of using adjectives. Too many can spoil a writing style.
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Old 01-11-2006, 09:13 PM
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Thank you very much for this information I will try and use it.
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