"Description begins in the writer's imagination, but should finish in the reader's."
― Stephen King, On Writing
Okay, do you guys know what this means?
Here's the first paragraph of fifty shades of grey.
"I scowl with frustration at myself in the mirror. Damn my hair – it just won't behave, and damn Katherine Kavanagh for being ill and subjecting me to this ordeal. I should be studying for my final exams, which are next week, yet here I am trying to brush my hair into submission. I must not sleep with it wet. I must not sleep with it wet. Reciting this mantra several times, I attempt, once more, to bring it under control with the brush. I roll my eyes in exasperation and gaze at the pale, brown-haired girl with blue eyes too big for her face staring back at me, and give up. My only option is to restrain my wayward hair in a ponytail and hope that I look semi-presentable."
Without the superfluous information:
"I scowl at myself in the mirror. I should be studying for my final exams, yet here I am brushing my hair into submission. I roll my eyes in exasperation and give up. My only option is to restrain my wayward hair in a ponytail and hope that I look semi-presentable."
It stills makes sense and it gets to the point, which is what a lot of writers believe is the most important thing.
It means that more than 3/4 of that entire paragraph is pointless. It's not necessary and terrible. Obviously this is an extreme example, but guy, You don't need to hammer in what every single little thing looks like. Wouldn't you get tired of someone holding your hand and pointing out every little thing. You'd be thinking, '"Get on with it? What this story even about anyways?"
I'm not trying to say I know everything. I'm saying that when you get in there to write fanfiction, a personal story, I don't care, you don't have to change every "said" to a synonym of said. I had a professor that despised this with a fiery passion, and I'm not quite as passionate about it, but I understand his point.Steven Kin expands on that in On Writing.
He said, "I can't be here anymore."
She said, "But, John."
as opposed to :
He shouted, "I can't be here anymore."
She cried, "But, John."
He replied quietly, "Stop."
Obviously isn't not terrible to use 'shouted' or 'cried' every once in awhile or to show emphasis, but it disrupts the readers flow because your telling them exactly what to hear instead of them hearing it themselves. Your narrowing the emotion in the word by putting a label on it, so to speak. Just keep that in mind and use them wisely.
"The road to hell is paved with adverbs."
― Stephen King, On Writing
In case you're like me and don't remember what adverbs are. Most adverbs end in "-ly"
"The woman busily brushed her surprisingly short hair into a bun savagely."
(Thanks ) Unless it's important to the story, don't worry about it.
Another thing I've noticed, and a lot of bad anime will do this. I didn't think anyone did it in real life, but after sitting through several writing classes I've discovered I'm wrong.
Exposition in dialogue.
"No! My sister whom I haven't seen in ten years since our parents were killed!"
It sounds stupid and it's shoving information down the readers throat.
Show don't tell.
That's something that every creative field tells you to do. Film making, story boarding, writing, Illustration, it's important to all of them.
I'm not pulling this out of my ass. This is information that's been taught to me, and things I've noticed in my reading adventures. If you do these things, I'm not telling you you're terrible. I'm telling you this to share what I know. You can choose to ignore it and keep writing how you've been writing. There is no wrong way.
I just wanted to share, because it seriously helped me. Looking back at my writing from 8 years ago, I've definitely improved and the reason is because of these guidelines.
I just needed to get that out there. Sometimes I find a story that's actually really interesting, but they do the thing. One or not all of what I mentioned above.
If I completed your commission Pre-2013 you can still access the old site. There's a banner on my profile page under my featured Deviation labeled such.
To the contest winner for the Werewolf at Heart group, I have NOT forgotten you! I'm sorry you've had to wait so long! Now that classes are basically out I has all the time.