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View Full Version : Could somebody review my writing style?


burningfoot
July 14th, 2008, 01:45 AM
I'm writing another FanFic that a couple of my mates are reading. I'm not going to be posting it here because I don't want to have to post the previous 4 books. Anyway after one of the reviews of the fourth story I wanted my writing style to be reviewed just to find out if I'm doing it right. I'm sorry if this isn't allowed or I'm putting this in the wrong place but I'm well not exactly new because I registered in 2006 but I don't come here very often. I was wondering if anyone could read a small extract of my writing and review how I've done it. And if possible could anyone tell me what they think the characters are like as in their personality and such just to know if I'm portraying them how I think they should be. Note that this is from part way through the fifth story and all characters in the extract have been in it since at least the third so there is no need to redescribe the characters and the setting had already been described earlier on.

The extract is::

“Morning, who are you?” Hannah asked as she sat next to me at breakfast.
“Hannah, what are you on about? April Fools things do not work in July,” Alister passed me the milk and I drank all of it after responding to Hannah.
“Why do you think I’m joking? I’ve come out of my tent this morning and found some complete stranger eating breakfast with my friends,” Hannah took the milk bottle off me then threw it back at me when she realised it was empty.
“Alister, am I a complete stranger?” I asked.
“No, but you are completely strange,” I’m not sure if he was paying attention to what me and Hannah were discussing.
“You two are just chatting away like you’ve been friends ages yet I’ve never seen you before in my life. Mel, who is this person I’m sat next to?” Hannah was starting to worry me. This is worrying in itself because it’s usually Mel acting weird.
“We’ve not picked up another of Matt’s mates have we?” Mel turned around, “Oh, it’s just Matt.”


Thanks in advance for any reviews, tips or criticism.

iLike2EatPiez
July 14th, 2008, 09:57 AM
First of all, it's hard to read because there are no paragraphs. Every time someone speaks, you should press Enter twice. Like so:

“Morning, who are you?” Hannah asked as she sat next to me at breakfast.

“Hannah, what are you on about? April Fools things do not work in July,” Alister passed me the milk and I drank all of it after responding to Hannah.

“Why do you think I’m joking? I’ve come out of my tent this morning and found some complete stranger eating breakfast with my friends,” Hannah took the milk bottle off me then threw it back at me when she realised it was empty.

“Alister, am I a complete stranger?” I asked.

“No, but you are completely strange,” I’m not sure if he was paying attention to what me and Hannah were discussing.

“You two are just chatting away like you’ve been friends ages yet I’ve never seen you before in my life. Mel, who is this person I’m sat next to?” Hannah was starting to worry me. This is worrying in itself because it’s usually Mel acting weird.

“We’ve not picked up another of Matt’s mates have we?” Mel turned around, “Oh, it’s just Matt.”

Now that I can read it, if you ask me, it's average. Not bad at all, but it's nothing special. This excerpt also doesn't reveal much about the characters to me at least, because it's just a bit of dialogue. I could make small assumptions based on some of them, but it's likely they'd all be false and not very important seeing as I haven't read more of the story.

burningfoot
July 15th, 2008, 12:30 AM
Right then, so I have to start new paragraphs with speech not just new lines. So how do I go to a whole new proper paragraph if it starts with speech?

Ok then, never mind. At least I know that I need to improve on this and the whole thing.

JX Valentine
July 15th, 2008, 06:50 AM
Right then, so I have to start new paragraphs with speech not just new lines. So how do I go to a whole new proper paragraph if it starts with speech?

Ever since I started reading fanfiction, I've seen people attempt to group speech together the way you have, and I've always wondered why. Is it just because of this question? O_o

No hard feelings or anything intended. It's an honest question because I could never figure it out. (Mostly, I look at printed books as an example. Doing this sort of thing would be a lot like removing the indentation from every piece of dialogue in a published work.)

That said, basically, when the speaker changes, it's a new paragraph. It's hard to explain, but that's just one of the rules of grammar that make sense if you really look at it. (After all, if you change a speaker, you technically change the topic from what one character says to what another one says. So, because new paragraphs begin when you change a topic, it makes sense to start a new paragraph in dialogue.) It's not really necessary to group an entire conversation together in a block of text because:

1. Block of texts tend to make your readers' eyes wander.
2. We understand it's a conversation simply by seeing that one character is saying something to another. If people put dialogue in a block of text to show that it's a conversation, it's really already a given if you just space everything out properly and just have the characters speak to one another.

burningfoot
July 15th, 2008, 07:47 AM
I understand what you're saying because it makes logical sense but I was just writing it how my English teachers have always told me how to. I go to a "Grammar" School so I thought if anyone was right about how to write teachers there would be the right people to listen to. I also did it because most Fanfics I've done so far have had lots of dialogue and I was trying to cut down the size. But script formats are very difficult to work with.

JX Valentine
July 15th, 2008, 06:53 PM
I understand what you're saying because it makes logical sense but I was just writing it how my English teachers have always told me how to. I go to a "Grammar" School so I thought if anyone was right about how to write teachers there would be the right people to listen to.

*sighs and raises hand*

English major with over fifteen years of language arts and literature classes under her belt. I know what I'm talking about.

In any case, no, no English teacher or professor (some of which were published) I've ever had taught me to group dialogue together. Each one of them stated new speaker = new paragraph. In fact, I really don't think I've ever met a fellow grammar nut who's ever said that it's okay to group dialogue together like that, which is why I was always confused as to why people did that.

Rules tend to be slightly different online as well. Indentations for paragraphs are replaced by line breaks, which in printed material are typically for scene changes. This is because we can't indicate the start of a new paragraph with indentations because most browsers don't register them. Other than that, yeah, the rules of writing are the same on the page as they are online, and it's new speaker = new paragraph in both sets.

(If you'd like me to show you to a webpage or two that explain this rule further, feel free. Otherwise, Google.)

I also did it because most Fanfics I've done so far have had lots of dialogue and I was trying to cut down the size.

Bad, bad reason to break the rules. If you want to cut down the size, write shorter chapters. (Even then, I wouldn't recommend it, given the fact that you can very well write twenty or more pages per chapter and post it online. Pokemon Rebirth -- also something to Google -- did it, for example. First chapter is twenty pages. Trust me. I counted.)

That and I don't see why you would need to cut down the size. Size is really irrelevant because your readers will have to read everything anyway. The page doesn't take less time to load if you're lacking a bunch of line breaks. The only difference, then, is whether or not your readers can easily read it. They can't read something that's just a huge block of text because that exhausts their eyes. You need those line breaks for the sake of your reader.

But script formats are very difficult to work with.

You really shouldn't work with script anyway unless you've actually studied script in the first place. I don't mean to sound harsh about it, but all too often, fanfiction authors attempt to write "script," when in reality, they're just writing chatbox-like fics -- or fics that are essentially stripped of anything remotely interesting to the reader, leaving just the dialogue behind. It's just a lazy attempt at writing a fanfiction if it's executed poorly (but an art if it's executed like an actual screenplay).

If you meant that you're working with script now, this actually isn't script. It's straight, novel-style prose. As in, you're not writing stage directions and parts the way you would see in a real script that actors read to perform. You're writing in the style of a book instead.


Long story short, yeah, I'm not sure what your teachers have been telling you, but the rules state new speaker = new paragraph. Pick up any printed book, and you'll see what I mean. So, those line breaks are needed.

burningfoot
July 16th, 2008, 12:04 AM
I know when I'm beaten. I'll write your way here and I'll ask my mates which way they prefer for them.

You just backed up my point on scripts, I tried writiing like that and failed miserably. Thus they are difficult to work with.