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Hello all! Today I will show you the common mistakes young writers make, and how to avoid them!

 

Now I don't want to have to go over the basics like capitalization and such because I HOPE you learned that in grade school.

So, a bit more advanced.

 

The Paragraph!

Paragraphs are very nice. They serve to divide what you write into easily managed chunks.

Each paragraph should describe one idea, or one person. A good length is 3-4 sentences, but you can have them shorter, but be careful about getting too long.

If you have a paragraph describing Kirby, it's best to start a new paragraph before saying what Coo is doing.

There are other rules which leads us to...

 

Dialogue

Dialogue is crucial to a story, but many people don't know the proper way to write it.

First and VERY important- START A NEW PARAGRAPH when a different character speaks.

 

WRONG except in rare cases I suppose but most people can't do it right.

"Hello!" said Kirby. Ribbon waved and said, "How are you?"

 

WRONG

"Hello!" said Kirby. Ribbon waved and said.

"How are you?"

 

RIGHT

"Hello!" said Kirby.

Ribbon waved and said, "How are you?"

 

Easy, eh?

And obviously, you put quotation marks around what they're saying. Punctuation goes INSIDE the quotation marks!

Oh, there are some trickier things though. Such as, if the sentence ends with a period...

 

RIGHT

"I'm hungry," said Kirby.

or

"I'm hungry." Kirby said

 

WRONG

"I'm hungry." said Kirby.

or 

"I'm hungry," Kirby said.

 

It's up to you whether you want to put 'said Kirby' or 'Kirby said' though. XD Technically the latter is more accepted...

If you're writing a lot of dialogue, you don't close the quotation marks until the very end.

 

"And then we went for a walk. We went to Whispy Woods and had some apples. They were really great! Oh, and we took a trip to Butter Buildings and got some souvenirs.

"We got lost on the way back too. We didn't get any photos though, our camera broke. But we got some postcards!"

 

And very importantly- make sure it sounds like something the character would say. XD Try saying it out loud too, hear how it sounds.

Kirby isn't going to be swearing like a sailor, we should all agree on that. (No, having Kirby swearing like a sailor isn't funny, it's cliché and stupid.)

 

Spelling

Okay, most writing programs have a spell check function. If not, there are handy online things that will check your spelling for free! Like this http://www.spellcheck.net/

But, there are some words which can be spelled right, but it's the wrong word! Homonyms and other such evil things.

Like- there, their and they're.

 

It was their boat. (Their is possessive.)

The boat was over there. (A place.)

They're going on the boat. (A contraction of 'they are'.)

 

Or- two, to and too

The first is the number 2.  The second is a particle. And too is like 'also'.

 

They went to the two boats, too. XD

 

And- your and you're

Your is possessive. Like:

 

Is it your boat?

 

You're is a contraction of you are.

 

You're really going on that boat?

 

I don't know why I'm talking about boats. =(

 

 

Description

A lot of ya have a problem with this, usually a lack of description.

Remember, just because YOU know what's happening in a scene you write, doesn't mean the reader magically knows! You need to describe the scene, what characters are doing, thinking, saying.

Let's see some examples.

 

1. Kirby woke up. He went outside. He had breakfast and then met up with Rick. "How are you Rick?"

"I'm great!"

 

2. Kirby woke up and went outside and had breakfast and met up with Rick. "How are you Rick?"

"I'm great!"

 

3. Kirby woke up, squinting his eyes at the morning sun streaming through his window. It was way too early to be awake, but he was hungry anyway.

He left his house, wondering what he should have for breakfast. On his way he ran into his friend Rick. "Rick! How are you?"

The hamster smiled. "I'm great!"

 

Well the first one isn't *bad*, but it's not good either. It's stilted, and doesn't give enough information. What did Kirby have for breakfast? When did he wake up? 

The second is just bad, the evil of evils- a run-on sentence! Try to keep one or two ideas to one sentence.

The third is good. It has description of Kirby's actions and thoughts, as well as some things about the setting. Remember, you need to paint a picture

Personally, I've never been good at describing scenes! I tend to keep things to a bare minimum. XD So you don't have to be SUPER description, it can be fine to give enough for a basic idea.

You don't want to get too descriptive either and stray into 'purple prose' territory. Purple prose is really annoyingly elaborate, flowery descriptions. Remember, the thesaurus is your friend- but don't overuse it.

On another note- avoid repetition, in descriptions and otherwise. Don't overuse adjectives- one for a word is ideal, two is pushing it, three is way too many in most cases.

 

The Plot

DUN DUN DUNNN.

The most important part of a story.

First off- for the love of Nightmare, PLAN OUT your story before writing it. Know what the ending will be when you start writing. Make outlines, write notes. Every time you get an idea, write it down.

What I see happening far too often is when writers seem to forget what they were writing about. Their story starts off as one thing, then gets COMPLETELY side tracked and suddenly it's a whole new story. Stick with one plot, please.

 

The Characters

Oh, this is a tough one.

With fanfics, it's almost more difficult than writing something original, because your readers all ready know what the character is supposed to be like. If you stray from that, then people will notice.

People know that Dedede is a big jerk, so if you don't write him that way without a good reason, then people will be like "Huh?"

With the games, you have more leeway because their personalities are never really defined clearly. With the anime, then it's all much more 'set in stone'.

But remember- people DO change. Dedede can be nice sometimes- but only under extreme circumstances. So if you want Dedede to be nice, you need to come up with a convincing reason! Or if you wanted Meta Knight to be evil- again you need a good reason.

Character development is crucial. Changes tend to be gradual- don't expect a character to change in a few paragraphs.

 

As for original characters....

Oh, people do need to remember. People aren't reading Kirby fanfics to read about your characters. They want to read about characters they're familiar with.

First rule of original characters- don't push the official ones out of the spotlight. Nothing is more annoying than a new character showing up and being more powerful than Kirby and everyone loves him/her and they have super powers and can kill Nightmare with one hand tied behind their back...

My rule of thumb is I don't use OCs unless I need them for the plot. They're a PART of the plot, but more often then not the story doesn't revolve around them.

The time when you can get away with this, is if people have shown they like your character. If they like the character, then you can focus more on them and there's not a problem.

 

That's all for now. :D

 

Last Updated - 8/17/05