View Full Version : The Fanfiction Forum E-zine ~ August 2007

1st August 2007, 12:11 AM
The FanFiction Forum E-zine
August 2007


State of the Forum

Getting Started – The Secrets to Getting Ideas
Dark Sage

Fanfiction Writers I Have Known – Part 2
Master of Paradox

How to Write a Good Death Scene, the ABCs

Reading Your Reader

The Grammar Nazi – Odds and Ends

State of the Forum

My fellow Fanficcers,

This past month has been a busy one for our forum. Numerous new fics have been launched, from Hit Impasse to Scattered Lights. Multiple new members have joined the forum. And best of all, the Golden Pen Awards have come and gone, with the results show on the horizon.

But even though last month was intense, don't forget the excitement yet to come! Further updates will undoubtedly follow for dozens of fanfics, new members are continuing to join the forum, and more competition awaits in another writing contest. So don't blink, or you could miss the action!

Getting Started – The Secrets to Getting Ideas
Dark Sage

Hi fanfic readers.

I’ve been on TPM a long time… So long, I can’t even remember who referred me to it. During that time, I’ve completed seven fanfictions, and two of them are in progress.

The most common question people ask me is: “Brian, where do you get your ideas?” (“WHY do you get your ideas?” is a close second.) To give an honest answer to this question, I’m not sure.

I wish I had a book titled 100,001 Fanfiction Ideas, but there is, unfortunately, no such book. (And there are far more than a hundred-thousand fanfics to read on the web. Most of them are incredibly bad.) If I had to give an honest answer, I’d say that you need a certain amount of inborn skill, talent, and experience to get these good ideas. After all, looking back at my first fics, I consider them downright awful compared to my newer ones.

But there are some good ways to help get the creative juices flowing faster. Consider this my advice to new authors, and my way of supporting the future of fanfiction’s youth. I’m not the Dark Sage for nothing.

1. Logbook: The most important part of being a writer is, keep a notebook, diary, or logbook within reach at all times. When you get an idea, write it down. No exceptions. I’ve lost more than one idea because I thought I could remember it. No-one’s memory is perfect, especially when the idea comes at the spur of the moment.

Keep your logbook with you when you watch TV. If you can bring it with you when you go to movies or similar events, that’s good too. You never know when something you watch is going to inspire something in the fic that you’re writing.

Also, when you write down something in a logbook, leave a lot of space. This lets you expand on the idea later. A funny thing about small ideas… They often grow into big ideas. And never throw these notes away. What you might think is a stale idea now might actually be quite useful later on.

2. The Source: If you are writing a Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh! fanfic, it makes sense to be a regular viewer of the anime that your fic is based on. Know the mythology behind your story, and know the rules of the fantasy world. Even if your story takes place in a whole different world, it relies on the well-founded one in order to exist. Know every character, every location, every nuance, and soon you’ll be coming up with new ways to use them. A good fanfiction expands on an existing theme. What might happen if Weevil Underwood pulled Brain Crusher from a pack? It would give his character new possibilities!

It also greatly helps if you are familiar with the video game (in the case of Pokemon) and the card game (in the case of Yu-Gi-Oh) on which the animes were based. But be careful… Often, the anime doesn’t follow the rules of the game. Don’t trust the anime to follow the rules to the letter. It often downright breaks the rules. This is especially important if you’re a guy like me (or my friend Master of Paradox) who insists on following the rules of the TCG to the letter.

3. Libraries of Knowledge: Keep in mind that anime isn’t the only type of cartoon out there. My favorite non-anime cartoons have included – at different times and periods – The Life and Times of Juniper Lee, Code Lyoko, and Samurai Jack. None of them are anime, but I have gotten ideas from all of them. And if I had to list every movie that I got inspiration from, I’d be here forever. Fantasy takes many forms.

And be well-read! Don’t limit yourself to anime and manga, and other visual media… Read whenever you get a chance. Ziegfried Von Schroder’s cards were based off of Norse Myth, so you can find ideas in the most unlikely of places.

Mythology is just one possibility. Look to folklore, classic literature, literary science fiction, and contemporary writing. (The villainous Sin from “Dark Messiah” was inspired from Milton’s Paradise Lost, where the personification of Sin was also female.) People will tell you that too many fics have been done on Harry Potter already, and that’s true, but I’ve gotten a few ideas from Rowling’s books that no-one even noticed. Pay more attention in English class – if you look deeper into some of the books your teacher assigns, you may find that they’re not as boring as you thought at first. Imagine a duelist who pulls out a Spell Card called “Glass Menagerie”, and his opponent wonders if he’s going to bore him into submission… Until he finds out what the card does…

Look anywhere. In a world of knowledge, there are many places to get ideas.

4. Use the Unusual: If you keep a logbook, it’s bound to get some odd ideas in it eventually. This is actually a good thing, and should be encouraged. Unusual sells. That’s the way it is. Ever notice that no duelist in Yu-Gi-Oh GX uses a Staple Sweeper Deck? That’s because if someone did, he’d be a boring character. No one wants to see what they’ve seen a hundred times before in fiction. (To drive the point home with a hammer, the one duelist on that show who ran a toolbox Dragon Deck was beaten by someone using a deck whose only Monsters had zero Attack Points.)

If you think an idea seems farfetched or strange, don’t disregard it. Instead, try to make something out of it. You might be surprised what you can do with it. Again, big ideas often come out of small ones, and good ideas often come out of odd ones.

By the same token, if you come up with an idea that seems mundane and ordinary, don’t disregard it. Instead, try to spice it up. If you, for example, think of a Pokemon trainer that uses Rock-Type Pokemon, you might think that he’s boring and it’s been done before. But wait… Maybe you can give him more flavor. Have him train an Aerodactyl and a Rampardos, for example. Don’t stop there… Maybe you can make his whole team consist of Fossil Pokemon! Then work on more details. Why does this guy use an all-Fossil team? After this idea is expanded more, your mundane character will have turned into anything but.

Using these guidelines, you can end writers block, and open a sea of ideas waiting to be put on paper. The advantage you, as a writer, have over a movie producer is, your budget is limitless. You just have to write things down, and the imagination of your readers does the rest.

Oh, and if you are curious as to what the Spell Card “Glass Menagerie” does, it’s a secret. Keep reading my fic, “Legend of the Sorcerer Kings”, and you’ll eventually find out.

Fanfiction Writers I Have Known – Part 2
Master of Paradox

Fragile Bloom: Young fanfiction writers are a frightful lot. They write their stories, post them, and are fearful that someone will turn and scold them for what they've done. The Fragile Bloom is just starting out, putting out feelers and submitting their early work. Like all first stories, there will be flaws... but in the case of a true Fragile Bloom, underneath the beginner's errors, there are hints of a real talent. What happens next depends on the reaction. Should they be mocked, insulted, or (worst of all) MSTed, that's it for the Fragile Bloom - they will retreat and never write again, their possible talent gone under the sea of tirades. But should someone see their possibilities and nuture them, leading them past their early flaws, the author may grow, developing into a real artist. Be wary when reading an early work - you do not know when you might tread on a Fragile Bloom.

Frustrated Stand-Up: Comedy is hard. Anyone can tell you that. For the Frustrated Stand-Up, it's even harder. They have a handful of jokes they really like, and at one point they might have even made someone laugh. But they just keep using them, one after the other, until you want to put something through your monitor. Every time a joke comes up, the reader groans and mutters, "Not again..." If new jokes fall into the mix, somehow, they're even worse. The Frustrated Stand-Up, however, doesn't care. They want to write humor, and so they're going to write humor, even if they're no good at it!

Improv Writer: Some writers have carefully-written outlines, long lists of plot notes, and an overall vision of how the story shall go. Then there is the Improv Writer, who looks at all of that and sees a garrote around the story's neck. The Improv Writer has no idea what's going to happen next in his story - he probably has the ending in mind, but how the story will get there is not something he worked out ahead of time. As he writes, he grabs whatever comes to mind and jams it into place, shoving it down with one foot. This has its advantages - the story is never predictable - but there are numerous disadvantages to seat-of-the-pants writing, foremost being that the author has no clue what's coming next. If the Improv Writer's improvisation fails them, they're quite prone to becoming Burnouts.

Overgrown Kid: To some degree, every fanfiction writer has a touch of the childish to him. After all, you cannot be dead serious and write a story based on another work at the same time. The Overgrown Kid, however, is a little more childish than that; they act as though they are about ten years under their chronological age. Their stories are little more than fluff - short pieces that take the casts of various media and stick them in mundane situations ("X goes to the mall" being a prime one). The writing style is often simplistic to match, as well. Expect to see script format. While there's nothing wrong with that sort of thing early in one's fanfiction career, it's when this carries on after several years that the Overgrown Kid tag can be applied.

Pop Culture Addict: No fanfiction writer is a hermit, nor do they grow up in a vacuum. Thus they are exposed constantly to pop culture: television, movies, books, video games... Of course, every fanfic makes at least one massive reference: the source material. But a Pop Culture Addict feels the urge to work in every little thing that he enjoys into the story. Characters steal entire blocks of dialogue from the writer's favorite movies. They play and plug his favorite games. They enthusiastically refer to his favorite anime. It's as though every character in the story had just spent five years in their parent's basement. This is especially egregious when the story is set in a fantasy world or in the future, when nobody would be expected to know these things.

Puritan: Some people have a strong aversion to using vulgarities in their life or work. The Puritan extends this manner to his writing. Nobody ever curses in a Puritan's story. Often nobody will even use euphemisms. Sometimes it even seems as though nobody even gets angry. In a true Puritan's work, everyone is unfailingly polite; those who dare use harsh language are the villains, and even they won't sink so low as to swear. One can be forgiven for reading dialogue from a Puritan's story and wondering if the characters wouldn't be more at home on the playground. A more moderate Puritan will simply find ways to express strong emotions without the need for vulgarity; this is quite acceptable.

Anne Wilkes: A disturbing subset of the Puritan. The characters would never think of cursing, and in many cases are so polite that you expect to see Stepford tags on them. But then they start talking about truly ghastly subjects...

An Anne Wilkes is a Puritan who does not shy away from potentially offensive subject matter, but whose writing style will not change to suit it. Characters can threaten each other with death, discuss rape or incest, and other such disturbing topics, made all the more disturbing by their choices of unfailingly "proper" language. The name comes from the villain in Stephen King's Misery, who never curses worse than "cockadoodie" and yet is willing to keep a man captive and chop off his foot when he tries to escape.

Shotgun Typist: Put simply, an author who types like they're firing a shotgun at their keyboard. Either they have no use for spelling and grammar, they're kids who haven't gotten the hang of this "word processing" thing yet, or they have their formats completely screwed up. This sort of story is physically painful to read, so few have any pity for a Shotgun Typist who doesn't get over it right quick.

World Stapler: One of the joys of fanfiction is that you have full authority to mold the fictional world like clay in your hands (within limits). A natural result is the crossover, the bringing together of multiple fictional worlds. Generally it is considered wise to have a good rationale first. The World Stapler has no time for such things. To this writer, it is not only a right but a duty to force the most wildly divergent series into one story. Sailor Moon and Devil May Cry? Fuse them together! Hellboy and Teletubbies? Into the melting pot! In extreme cases, literally dozens of series will be blended into one gigantic, calamitious fanfic. Note that while extremely difficult, a World Stapler who knows what he or she is doing can create some of the greatest fanfiction imaginable from the most unlikely of crossovers; these are diamonds among rocks, but are much-cherished by those who find them.

Would-Be Screenwriter: The website TV Tropes has an entry titled "Original Flavor" - a story that tries to be as much like an episode/chapter/issue of its original source as possible. The Would-Be Screenwriter specializes in original flavor. They take painstaking efforts to mimic the original style as best they can. Their goal is, in essence, to become a Disciple of the original work's creator. Very ambitious writers in this mold have created entire seasons's worth of stories.

How to Write a Good Death Scene, the ABCs

Hello good readers! I’m sure I’m not the only one who has cried their eyes out when their favorite character has died! Leaving us with an empty feeling, that you can’t fix until you go kill yourself. Woah, woah, hold up there buck-o! Don’t kill yourself yet, because I’m here to give you some tips on my favorite thing to write; A death scene!

First, let’s begin with...

D- D is for dramatization! If you want your reads to feel the death, you have to build up from the very first letter, or in this case, a click. You must NEVER (and if you do, I suuuppose it’s alright) indicate that someone is going to die unless they have a harrowing disease. If you do want to indicated, do it lightly. This is called foreshadow, look it up.

But what is dramatization? It’s the sounds of breathing in a room. Normally, you wouldn’t pay mind, even be annoyed if the author wrote about something as stupid as that. But it is key to giving a feel of unearthliness. Screaming heard by the dying person, blood flying everywhere. If the character has been in the story since page of (or a big part of it) make sure the death is bigger than life, because it’s their final curtain call. If it was a small character, if little importance other than to die. Keep it brief, and to the point, unless you are looking for an impact, even so. The simpler the death of a minor character- like he was ate, blood splattered everywhere- will do. It is more important to focus on the intense feelings of the main character at this point in time.

E- E is for Emotions. Who wants to read something that has sans human feelings? If a major character just died, you want some tears! Is the character still alive while he was stabbed? Have pain be visible in his face. Are the people he loves/hates with him while he dies? Let his dying words suffocate under the gasps and groans of his breaking breath. Did your character die as soon as he was killed? If so, use DRAMATIZATION to show the readers what he felt. The voices he heard, the blurring of his eyes. Was it quick? Make the reader shocked. Was it slow and painful? Make the reader appalled. Helpful wordings are to describe; drawn, racked, and twisted. If you want your readers to cry, make hell sure that they have a reason to cry about. Start with emotion from page one, make the reader love or hate your character. A character who has a stable ground and is likable (weather hated or not) will produce a tear0jerker from some one.

Emotions felt by the living are also useful. Make sure you include them, unless the character died alone. If that’s the case, write about how they fill when they find out, because the living tend to associate themselves amongst the living, so therefore the reader cares to know what they think about dying and the death one. (Yes, Mr. Lord of the Flies, we do care what happened to the random boys you killed off, you git)

A- A is for animation. When your character dies, even if they die from a disease in bed or in their sleep, you must include movement of some sort. No matter how lazy Man is, he expects movement, even from the dead. But how do you do this? If a character is in bed, write how they twitch in pain, or how the eyes swivel under the lids. Even the heart beat, sweat and the world around him/her are considered moveable in a death scene, so move them! Animation is another form of DRAMATIZATION, and is essential to EMOTION. If your character was stabbed in the heart, he’d feel winded, the room may spin, his life may flash before his eyes, he may close his eyes and let out a scream of pain, and then remember everyone he’s leaving behind; maybe because he was stupid? The action, or animation, of being stabbed, let to the room moving. Action, lead to emotions- all rolled up into dramatization of a single moment.

T- T is for Time. So, you have all the dramatization for the single moment, but that’s all it is. A single moment, do not milk it for more than it’s worth, or you’ll lose the effect an it’ll become cheesy, instead of tear-jerking. A paragraph will do, or a little less for the death itself, you can carry it out slightly longer, but proceed with caution. No matter what kind of death, you want the read to be shocked for a moment, and then let it sink in with the EMOTIONs the other characters feel. This way, a death scene can be a chapter long, but the death itself, an easy read so the tears can come easy. Also, the timing is important. When the character dies effects the reader, too. If the character dies in a battle, the reader may have seen it coming, but written well, the reader will still feel horrified. But if the character dies when everything is going right, the reader will feel injustice, as though it wasn’t fair. It’ll be like they died with them (however, either way may make them feel like that, it’s just something to consider)

H- H is for Healing or Hell. The EMOTIONS of the living characters are so very important! A death of some of can make either a Heaven or a Hell for someone. If they were close to him/her, you need to show the reader how they are coping. If they are not coping well, show the reader how much of a hell they are in by showing them inside their mind. Allow your living character that is in despair ramble on, throw things, be in fits or rage, or self blame, even if they don’t do it in public, allow the reader to see inside their mind. Let the death of who ever rule their actions until they die or find resolution. DRAMATIZATION is important here, as well of the timing of the out breaks. They should be in ups and down, unless the character is naturally depressing. Next, is Healing. Healing is the softer version of Hell. Healing starts out as a notion of growing stronger from the death. It’s a warm feeling that everything will be alright. It’s crying after the funeral, looking off into the sun set. Telling them you’ll remember them always, but unlike Hell you GET ON WITH YOUR LIFE. Be sure you write how they do this. EMOTION and TIME is important here as well, you don’t want your Healing characters to seem cold hearted, unless they already where. Even so, show emotions through gruffness. DRAMATIZE the crap out of the moment where the character that is Healing says good bye.

With the basics out of the way, now let us venture into the realm of the unknown with SKULL.

S- S is for Setting. Setting is something critical to a death scene. Not only does it have to be good, it has to have some under laying meanings to be really good. So they fought in a graveyard and your character died. Was it sunny or was it rainy? If it was sunny, how are you going to convey those horrible emotions. Sure, deaths happen on a sunny day in the park, but if you see a bloody death, will the sun feel as bright? Or is it like a fiery dagger in your heart? A death is less impressive when it takes place in happy pony land. But you could make it work, do the rainbows seem as bright covered in blood? Think before you kill.

K- K is for Kill. So, you thought before you killed. So what? Who killed the character, do we hate them enough to feel for the one that died. Make us HATE the killer. Make us want to kill him/her ourselves. The killer was a minor character? Did they not even have a name? Then how will the reader feel outrage, like they want to avenge their loss? On the topic of killing, how they are killed is very important. Be scientific about it, a shot in the head will kill them dead, but not a shot to the chest. If you KNOW it can’t happen, then don’t write that it did.

U- U is for unique. Think before you kill. So your hero died at a bow and arrow in a fight. His lover weeps for him for days, big deal. What makes a memorable death is something no one was expecting. For an example, everyone who read Inkheart knew Dustfinger was going to die, but the way he does die, is so unexpected that you remember it. It remains a surprise. A town full of zombies? Instead of a zombie killing your character, revel that it was a Rebel. It’ll not only confused the hell out or the readers....um, a good confusion. But it’ll make them think that life is so dangerous, that danger is every where. Remember the basics when coming up with a Death Scene, no one wants the same old death.

L- L is for Love. Yes, in order for us to give a damn about your character, we need to love them. If you want the reader to cry, you have to start from the start a sentence, create the love that you have for your ink baby, because you’re killing them off, you *@$% up...Ahem, better yet! Have some one love them! Nothing makes a scene better than a loved one crying out their eyes, passing, fainting, or being stunned by the death of someone they loved. Milk it for all it’s worth, but remember D.E.A.T.H

L- L is for Life. When you wrote your character living, did he or she have a life that we all would want, or was it filled with pot holes, like we all have? This is important, if you’re going to end a life, it has to be worth ending. Remember, with out this, you can’t have to canvas in which you write death with!

So, that’s it. Remember D.E.A.T.H S.K.U.L.L next time you’re writing a death scene!

Remember, Beauty is momentary, but Death is forever. (Unless you are God, or a Necromancer.)

Reading Your Reader

“Well, I saw THAT coming.”

How many of us have said that about a particular book? Many of us find that today there are plots and twists, but they’re entirely predictable to ourselves- the reader. We pick up and trends or find common paths for a character to follow and find that in the end, they follow the path we forethought of a few chapters ago. It can be frustrating for a reader too! Who wants to read a book where they can guess everything that happens? It can be disappointing too when a book is really good and has an interesting plotline gone, and then suddenly something completely predictable happens. We can’t help but think, “Couldn’t the writer have thought of some thing better? Like this… or this… or THIS!”

This is where the writer comes in. How is he or she supposed to think of innovating and unsuspecting plot twists that will startle her readers into reading even more? How does one do this delicate and most difficult art?

As writers, it is easy for us to think of our own story and craft it into exactly what we want. We can envision it and laugh manically at our evil ideas and the bends and turns we plummet our characters into. The world in our story is perfect in our minds and our characters and their adventures are only mirrors of that perfect world. Yet this is where a red flag should pop into our mind as a warning! While YOU are writing a story, it is more important to think of the reader’s mind than our own. We have already figured out our own mind… so it is time to try to “read” our reader’s mind.

So when crafting plot twists, it is important to ask ourselves questions that places us in the position of a reader. Remember, they don’t know how the story is going to end or any long-term plans… so every moment and page counts.

How do we do this? Well, it is rather a simple process but difficult to always remember when you’re on a writing binge. Let’s create an example to explain. Let us say that we’re writing a story and we want to throw in a plot twist- perhaps we choose that someone dies. To us it seems perfect! The death will be dramatic and it’ll help shape the other character’s in a way that would be a perfect set-up for later events!

But HOLD IT! Before we type away, let’s take a step back and analyze this plot twist of choice. Ask yourself a few questions and pretend you are the reader who has just “read” your idea.

1.) Is the plot twist too identified with your characters?
Worded strangely, I know but let me explain. Let’s say we chose the death plot route. While that might seem random and shocking, it actually might not be if you look at the character that you plan to kill. If the character is rather reckless and charges into battle at a whim and a major battle is coming up… it will be obvious to the reader that he probably will die. The reverse it true if you have a character that is incredibly weak and running through a dangerous forest by themselves- a reader will easily predict that they will die. You have to think of a creative way to create plot twists that suit your character, but yet aren’t obvious in their personality faults or flairs.

2.) Is the situation set-up for the plot?
This goes hand-in-hand with the last question. Your characters could give away the twist and so could the situation. If you place your characters in a ‘volcano of doom’ then that leads a large opening for the reader to think, “Oh doom, DEATH!” and thus if a character dies it will be hardly unsuspecting. If you want to kill a character, then you have to attempt to place it somewhere that isn’t completely “loud” in advertising what could happen next.

3.) Are you writing to the twist?
This can work for you and against you. If you know a twist is coming up, then it can be very easy to fall into the trap of ‘writing for the twist.’ Keys to identifying this ‘phenomena’ are to watch for a slight change in the normal writing style of the story. You can also look back and catch obvious hints or set-ups in the way you word things that can sometimes SCREAM at the reader that some thing is coming up, and usually the writer gives too much away and the reader guesses exactly what it is. I would give examples, but it really depends on your own writing style. YOU have to analyze your own style and keep an open mind to avoid falling into ‘advertising’ for the twist.

4.) Don’t be afraid to change the twist.
Okay, that isn’t a question but it still falls into the process you need to think of. You have to keep an open mind and by the end of trying to write a twist, you might find that ‘killing a character’ or some other twist is far too obvious. Maybe you’ve already advertised it too much in past chapters, so it is time to do something different. You have to be open to change and it easily can create just as dramatic of an effect as your original plan. To follow our example, perhaps we find that killing our heroic side-kick is too obvious, based off our investigation. So instead, we decide that he defects his best friend and aids the enemy. See? That will give us the emotional affect we need to shape the other characters and it is just as dramatic, perhaps more so in some ways. ^_^

5.) Are you still in the mind of the reader?
Recheck yourself and while you ask the questions, make sure that you’re truly seeing things from a reader’s point of view. If you’re unsure, don’t feel shy to confide into a friend and ask them their point of view. Just make sure to fill in all the details- this can be very helpful. The key is to be open and honest with you. You have to want to make a great story for the reader, not for yourself.

While those five points (and/or questions) are good guidelines to follow, they are by no means something to follow by exactly. It is important that you identify your weaknesses when it comes to plots and to create a check list for yourself to go over. You know yourself best, so you can use that in order to help determine your own readers and how they think as well. The important thing is to stay away from clichés and to be very aware of your own world.

Plot twists are extremely important in every story and they help develop the plot overall. So if you want a great plot with twists and turns, it is important to make sure each twist and turn is unique and essential. Of course, it is also important to keep in mind that you don't want to pull the twist from "no where." While you want it to be unpredictable, you don't want it to be unbelievable. Also, little hints of the upcoming twist aren't bad... you just don't want to be blatant and obvious about it. You simply want the reader to be able to go back and say, "Ooohhh... THAT was what that meant!" They usually get a kick out of it too if they can find hints in previous chapters. ^_~

Once you’ve determined that your plot twist will create the effect for the reader that you wanted, write it up and then sit back and watch as your hard work and effort pay off. Readers will talk about it for a long time… at least until the next one comes along. ^_^

The Grammar Nazi – Odds and Ends

(The Grammar Nazi is not affiliated in any way with Nazi Germany or Adolf Hitler.)

Now that we've covered the main points of punctuation, it's time to consider some of the lesser-used marks.

Let's begin with the colon. This indicates that the following text proves, clarifies, explains, or reiterates the statement that precedes it. Observe the following example:

I bought all the items on my list: apples, chips, ice cream, and hot dogs.

A colon may also be used to separate chapters of religious scriptures and poetic verses, parts of the time of day, or titles and subtitles.

Next are the hyphen and dash. A hyphen is used to join words and separate syllables. For instance, the word “award-winning” uses a hyphen to join “award” and “winning.” Its latter use is most common to break a word between syllables when it extends beyond the end of a page.

A dash may be used in telephone numbers, like “867-5309.” It can also be used for value ranges like “$100-$500,” relationships and connections like “Bush-Cheney,” compound adjectives like “pro-Nintendo,” or to indicate a sudden stop of thought or speech.

Finally, we have the ellipsis, or “dot-dot-dot” in colloquial speech. Ellipses are used to indicate omissions of text, whether they are within or after sentences. Consider the following examples:

The artichokes, broccoli, celery, ... yams, and zucchini are in the pantry.
I don't think that you should....

Note that when an ellipses ends a sentence that is not followed by another sentence, you place a period after the ellipsis for a total of four dots.

Now that we have examined all the punctuation marks that you will come across in your day-to-day writing, we can move forward and consider broader rules of grammar. Congratulations, class. You've just finished the basics of punctuation!


1st August 2007, 12:53 AM
Argh it just deleted my whole post. Anyway, I start reading... good stuff... I keep reading... yep that's useful... I get to the end... wtf? ;)

I really liked this issue; a lot of interesting stuff. Yeah I get a lot of ideas randomly, so it's good to have writing utensils around. Unfortunately, I get most of my ideas when trying to get to sleep, so I can't be bothered writing them down, then I forget the next morning. Bleh. The writer types were done well; it's almost like a personality test! Mm, the improv writing is probably why so many fics don't get finished, and unfortunately I think I've trodden on a couple of fragile blooms in my time. I recognise my former self in the Puritan, and am still a Shotgun Typist... The Death Scene article was good as well; deaths offer so much opportunity to dramatise, and a lot of the time they change the whole nature of a piece of writing. It's good that you expanded on the emotional and character developmental side of deaths as well as the physical stuff. I've read a few things where they've made it clear the protagonist was going to die, but that's mostly used in weird classics. (Chronicle of a Death Foretold, how I hate you...) It can build up suspense really well and have interesting effects though. It's almost like your enjoyment of the writing is to see the person die, morbid as it sounds. My favourite article was the plot twists one, because they're so hard to pull off. I end up either giving the twist away, or trying so hard not to give it away it comes out of the blue and looks like I threw it in there just in order to have a plot twist. So thanks for the advice. For the Grammar Nazi, I'm looking forward to looking at grammar in a more general way.

Good job.

1st August 2007, 02:22 AM
O_o very interesting issue, never thought of writing a death scene like that, but then again I've never written a death scene and probably never will, but who knows? I might just do something of the sort in the future, probably not

You should maybe include the best fanfic review for that month in each issue, kinda like those gaming or movie magazines

Chris 2.1
1st August 2007, 07:33 AM
B4 that was a brilliant article! Really interesting as I've often thought what my own readers were thinking. I also thought MoP's article was funny :) And DS.....way to plug your own fic -_-;;

Dark Sage
1st August 2007, 01:37 PM
And DS.....way to plug your own fic -_-;;

Heh, heh... Guilty. I only do that rarely. I thought I'd take a small shot.

Anyway, good issue. I was glad to see that my article wasn't changed at all. Maybe I'll do this more often.

1st August 2007, 02:03 PM
Yay! I'm thankful that my article didn't suck and people actually found it helpful! ^_^;; Gives me courage to write my next article idea! *plunders... yes... plunders away*

I really liked the Death article, just because it was so unique and I agreed with it. And the acronym DEATH SKULL is great! ^_^ *death note theme song comes to mind*
The comic at the end scared me... but I think I'll be okay.... really...
The fanfiction writer stereotypes were good too... had a hard time picking the one I liked best though. And I also liked the idea one- gives me... ideas?! XD

1st August 2007, 02:31 PM
What, nobody liked the comic at the end? C'mon! It was an assortment of totally random stuff... you know, like odds and ends?

You all are so mean! *whines*

...Okay, seriously. DS' article was a great start for the issue, as it's the sort of thing that can help beginning writers and remind veterans of what's important. MoP continued it well with further analysis of different types of writers, how they work, and why certain styles may or may not be preferable. HL gave a very creative contribution; D.E.A.T.H.S.K.U.L.L. was both humorous and well planned (although it was initially D.E.A.T.H.S.U.L.L., hehe). And I thought B4 offered an excellent piece for advanced writers looking to improve on building dramatic tension.

Overall, an excellent issue all around! I'm glad we have so many people willing to contribute to the E-zine. ^_^

P.S. We have DS, MoP, HL, and B4. I refuse to use full names! Mwahahaha!

1st August 2007, 05:33 PM
Squeeeee!!! I'm blushing! I'm so glad you guys like it!! Hahaha, I did forget the K when I set it!

This issue was tottally awesome! Here! Here!

Thank you!! Thank you!! *blushing hard*
(*looks sheepish* My computer is doing strange stuff, so I can only come to the site through a link, and I'm working on my Chan Fanfiction. Almost done guys! I think it's somthing firwall based, this site)

Gavin Luper
2nd August 2007, 09:18 AM
Another great issue, guys. Well done to everyone involved for making such a good-sized edition, too, and especially to Brian for co-ordinating and editing it all together; good job man.

I enjoyed all the articles, but above and beyond all others, I found Kalah's article on Reading your Reader extremely helpful. It was exactly what I needed to read and the kind of thing I really need to learn, so to read about it in the e-zine was really cool. Now to set about getting into the mind of my readers ... that'll be hard. Nonetheless, brilliant article, Kalah.

Also, I had no idea what those cartoons were about until you mentioned about 'odds and ends', Brian. :keke:

Lady Vulpix
5th August 2007, 08:17 AM
Finally I get the time to finish reading it post! I liked this month's issue, especially Kalah's article. This issue is full of advice for writers, it'll be nice if it helps populate this forum with more and better works. :)

If only there were an article that told me how to find time...

Gavin Luper
5th August 2007, 11:55 AM
If only there were an article that told me how to find time...


6th August 2007, 05:44 AM


6th August 2007, 06:07 AM


*looks around* What? I just wanted to be popular...


7th August 2007, 09:32 PM
Excellent articles this month. I agree with Dark Sage's article: log books are very helpful. It's amazing what random ideas can be turned into. I keep a word document on my computer where I add in odd phrases or ideas that pop into my head, and when there are a bunch I pick a few and string them into a poem. It really works.

Master of Paradox's article, Fanfiction Writers I Have Known – Part 2, amused me. Let's see.. I've been a "Fragile Bloom", an "Improv Writer" for Kitt & Katt, a "Pop Culture Addict" in the WHOOP RPG, a "Anne Wilkes" for most of my writing (i'm way too abusive with my characters), a "Shotgun Typist" (but slowly recovering), a "World Stapler" for TDLQ, and a "Would-Be Screenwriter" for LPDPC. Wow. That article hit the nail on the head.

Keep up the good work, E-Zine staff!