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1) How long should my stories be written? Like how do I tell when the story starts to get too boring or it's too short?
Some good benchmarks are 1500, 3000, 6000 and 10000 words. Aim for one of these but be flexible. What’s most important is the amount of content that goes into each story.
Characters - Creepypastas typically fall around the 1500 word mark and for this reason they keep a low number of moving parts. This usually leaves room for one main character with a threat/monster and some ‘set dressing’. This could mean a wife, a kid, a random passer-by etc. For example Abandoned by Disney has a main character, and a setting. To be fair though, none of your stories suffer from character overload, but I still thought I’d mention it. (In other words limit a 1500 word story to, at most, two characters. You can start to get a bit more adventurous with longer stories).
Mood/atmosphere – this is critical. Again, to refer to, Abandoned by Disney there’s a lot of work to build up the overall tone of the setting. For more on this I have a blog by here that goes into detail on how you can achieve this using descriptions and language. You should take every opportunity to build up mood/atmosphere but without getting silly. Try to infuse it in every aspect of your story. It can be as simple as a well placed word, or a three hundred word descriptive passage. It can be in the plot, it can be in the way a character talks. Again though, I didn’t think you suffered in this area but it’s always important to read and acquire a large vocabulary. In my blog you’ll see that Lovecraft has a stupidly large vocabulary and it’s one of the reasons he’s strongly praised for his atmospheric stories.
Plot – When you talk about a story getting boring I think this is what you’re referring to. Aside from characters and a setting a story needs a plot. You need a sequence of events. A good place to look for inspiration can be TVTropes because it goes into detail about the distinct and specific repeating trends/patterns of storytelling in narratives. This can give you a really helpful sense of storytelling conventions. Let’s look at your WW story “Think Before you Speak.”
This story contains a plot of “kid pisses off woman, gets spooked, has nightmare.”
There’s a few reason this falls flat. First there’s no real payoff. A story should make its characters suffer no matter what genre, but damn this counts double for horror. When a kid trespasses against an old wise woman in a story the audience will be expecting severe consequences. Insanity, murder, pain, mutilation, loss, grief, maybe even just mindless terror. But the threat needs to be palpable and legitimate. You invoke a classic story setup, but don’t pay it off. In contrast Abandoned by Disney has the character go to an abandoned theme park only to come across some Mickey Mouse monster. (Trope: abandoned places have terrible things in them). It invokes the story setup perfectly and pays it off. Guy goes to abandoned place (Disney) finds something terrible (Monster Mickey).
Your story invokes kid doing something bad (pisses off old woman) and suffers with… nothing really. On one hand you end this story with a warning—that’s perfectly fine—but there are more fun ways to leave a warning. Dead horse’s head, dead family, real threat of death etc. You seem closest to invoking that last one (terror is his punishment) but the threat never feels real. Abandoned by Disney’s protagonist survives as well, but the threat is made real with the way the setting is abandoned (it was so serious people just gave up on the theme park) and a mascot outfit filled with a dead body (so it can and will kill).
2) How do I write a story in present-tense? I mean each time I tried to write a story in first perspective, the only tense that I always found suitable has been past-tense.
Present tense can work for some people. I actually stay well away from it. I think past tense is a good way to write because it grounds the story in a determined timeline and works with some basic assumptions. First the narrator must still be alive, second they must be telling the story for a reason, and third they can only tell people about things they personally saw/experienced. They can relay things they’ve overheard but they can’t magically know everything that’s happening. This puts you and the audience on the same footing with clear cut expectations and gives you a good reason for hiding certain things to create tension.
Beyond that I typically see present tense used in third person narratives because it avoids the question of, “Why the hell is someone narrating their life?” but still takes advantage of the way that the present tense feels quick and immersive. Nonetheless it can work in first person, it’s just genuinely difficult (there are fifteen tenses in the English language and it’s stupidly easy to mix them up). For this reason I usually see the first person present tense combo in shorter micropastas where the short length favours a risky/difficult style.
3) Should I write explanation or give subtle hints? For instance, I was writing the werewolf story. The one you saw about 3 days ago.
Is it relevant to the plot? People don’t need to know why someone moved unless it’s important to either the characters, setting, plot, themes or plot. If it’s not then don’t bother. I can’t actually remember the specific story you’ve mentioned (feel free to post it to the WW and I’ll review it if you like) so I can only be vague. Let’s say she is saved by her abusive husband then yeah we need to see that established because the reason she moved is integral to explaining the story’s sequence of event. If it’s just to explain why she’s moved to a stupidly dangerous place (like a dangerous neighbourhood) then it can help give but it’s not as necessary as in the first example I mentioned. A hint in this situation will do.
As another example the reason for her moving might be used to create a specific mood. Again, if she moved because of domestic abuse, then the woman might be paranoid that her husband will find her. If it’s because of financial troubles then it might create an atmosphere of desperation and despair.
Here you will find Kurt Vonnegut’s rules of writing; I’ve found them extremely helpful and they basically cover the idea of writing economically where each word must serve a specific purpose and the more purposes it serves the better.
As a really brief example I’d like to refer to the scene in Alien where Ripley tries to stop the infected astronaut from boarding the ship. The dangerous situation feels tense and creates an atmosphere of urgency. Ripley’s decision to enforce quarantine and put her crewmember’s life at risk lets us know she’s a tough pragmatic character who values safety. The decision of the other crewmembers to let him in anyway lets us know why a dangerous hostile lifeform is allowed onto the ship. It builds up tension and mood, creates character, and moves the action forward.
4) (Related to question 1) How do I detail something without making it too long? Each time I tried to detail something, it seems like I'm overdoing. But other times if I don't do it, it seems like lazy writing.
This is hard to answer. Try to build up at least three of following with each sentence; characters, setting, mood, plot, themes. Nothing but experience with writing and reading will help you find a better balance between the need for brevity and the need for explanation. Still a good rule to follow is to avoid redundancy between sentences and words. Orwell’s rule for writing can be helpful here: If there’s a shorter way to write something then write that instead.
You ran to your window to open it in a desperate attempt to call for help, but you found that window have frozen shut and that temperature in your own room was getting more and more colder by the minute.
First let’s reorganize a little. The reason the window can’t be opened is because it’s frozen shut. You need to start with that because it’s important to the sequence of events. You need to go cause then effect. The room is frozen (cause) so the window is unable to be opened (effect). Reorganizing it also lets us cut a lot of words. Similarly the phrase “in a desperate attempt” is trying to tell us how something is being done, but the adverb “desperately” does the same thing. You don’t need “more and more” combined with “colder” because they both let us know that the same thing is changing (it’s redundant). You don’t need to say “but you found” because “but find” does the same thing with fewer words. Putting all this together we have,
You found that your room was getting colder by the minute. You desperately run to your window to open it to call for help but find it frozen shut.
That’s a 25% reduction – one in four words have been removed. The result is smoother and faster. You’ll find the more you re-read your work the more you see opportunities to streamline your wording. No-one writes with %100 efficiency but this will help you make each sentence achieve more with fewer words.
Please Be Careful
Hey just to let you know I reversed the edits you made to Please Be Careful. Not only are they justified by the context (the start of the story is actually a story within a story written by a young teenager) but it serves the specific purpose of acting as a red herring to subvert the reader's expectations. It's a fair mistake to make but I thought I'd reverse it anyway.
Edit - Wow the combination of my slow connection and terrible computer meant that Mr.Dupin beat me to it so bear that in mind if he leaves you a message too ChristianWallis (talk) 15:51, October 17, 2016 (UTC)
- Somehow I beat Christian to the correction, but he beat me on the message. I think that's a first. MrDupin (talk) 15:54, October 17, 2016 (UTC)
Hi there. I'm afraid the most recent edit you made (on Please Be Careful) was incorrect. While it is true that the capitalization was wrong, the mistakes were intentional. That part of the pasta was actually a character reading a story from a paper, so the mistakes should not be changed.
- Don't worry about it. I almost fell for the same mistake when reading the story. It was a tricky one.
The Marked for Review Category
When adding the marked for review category, please add the categories to the bottom of the page in between brackets, like this: <!--[[Category:Example]]-->, as you left a category on Soni Mod.
TenebrousTorrent 12:57, November 1, 2016 (UTC)
- TenebrousTorrent 13:48, November 1, 2016 (UTC)
Interestingly enough, I happened to catch parts of two episodes of River Monsters today. One talked about Wels catfish in Europe and the other talked about a mysterious fish that was attacking people in the Mekong River in Cambodia (He also mentioned searching the Mekong River in Thailand in a previous expedition, but that was another story). As much as I've read about animals over the years, I was just astounded. He talked about wanting to catch a 150lb catfish and I thought, "No, get out of there! You can't have everything you want!" I turned into an antagonist from the anime One Piece ("Forget your stupid dream!"). It was really fascinating to watch, so I'll have to watch more episodes sometime.
I also re-read those urban legends about humongous catfish. There's one claiming that divers in a murky body of water saw what they thought was a VW Beetle with an open hood bobbing up and down, but when they got closer, they saw it was a gigantic catfish with its mouth moving up and down. Any thoughts? Raidra (talk) 00:42, November 14, 2016 (UTC)
- That's the thing, they usually don't give a location. The lack of a specific location, the tellers saying, "My buddy said he heard a story that this diver somewhere..." and occasional claims such as "The divers came up with their hair turned white from shock" or "It was so big you'd need a winch to pull it out of the water" indicate it's an urban legend. However, that doesn't mean it doesn't have basis in fact, since real events sometimes turn into urban legends due to people changing details, exaggerating, or adding elements to the story. It should be noted that these monster catfish have allegedly been spotted in reservoirs or near dams, and those Wels catfish in the show were near a dam (attracted by the heat the structure emitted). What I saw on the show and what you've told me make me think there may be something to these stories, although until one of these catfish is caught there's no way of telling what's fact and what's exaggeration. Maybe a diver saw a giant catfish like they had on the show and the stories took off from there. I do wonder about the claim that a catfish mouth could be mistaken for the hood of a car opening, though. I'd think an animal would have to have a jaw like an alligator for that to happen. Here's what I know about catfish.
- They have whiskers, and some also have poisonous barbs.
- They're edible (Not to me, though. I'm allergic to fish).
- People have lost fingers as a result of trying to catch them barehanded (indicating a fearsome bite).
- You shouldn't get drunk at office Christmas/holiday parties because you might end up with one partway down your gullet.
- They got the perfect host- bold and with a soothing British accent. Have they ever had stonefish on the show? I know it's considered a coastal fish, but I did a little reading and found there have been a few species found in rivers. Raidra (talk) 15:25, November 14, 2016 (UTC)
That's a shame, but it makes sense. The bigger the fish is, the more food it's going to need.
Hey bud. Saw your edit in the activity feed. Are you alright? Why did you take out all that stuff on your profile? Do you have writer's block? Is this related to your blog post from yesterday?
Glad you're fine. The blog post you made some time ago you mentioned some issues involving writing and I thought that may have had something to do with the frustration I assumed was implied in , "I'm fucking done." (I'm not very good at reading emotions behind a text)
Don't Get Discouraged
I saw your blog post and thought I'd reply here instead of there that way you'd be more apt to see my response. Feel free to take my advice or to ignore it :D There was one thing that I wanted to tell you in particular that I think you should take away from all of your troubles with writing, nothing you write is a waste. Everything is experience gained, even if you trash the whole thing. You've gained insight into what your problems are, you can't write an opening and you get so many ideas that you split your pastas apart and/or try to insert them all into a single pasta. Don't you see? That's insight/lessons you've gained from the stories you've scrapped. I think the solution for your trouble with the opening is an easy one, ignore it. By ignore it, I mean don't start with an opening, just write what you are thinking and then worry about doing your opening later on. Once you finish your story, go back and do the opening. Maybe your issue is that you are trying to tackle your story in a way that better fits others, but not you. If you have the rest of it finished, then you'll have something to connect that opening to.
As for paragraphs in general not meshing with each other, I honestly think that is your mind screwing with you (I could be completely wrong on this, but I don't think I am based upon how the word flow of your blog post is). The way I have always viewed it is that paragraphs are a bunch of sentences strung together which are comprised of the same theme. A whole story or article is a collection of paragraphs that aren't necessary the same in theme, but form a complete idea. I think that as long as you can achieve that with your sentences and paragraphs, they'll work together. Furthermore, Your English is really good for a non native speaker and, quite frankly, I couldn't even tell that English isn't your primary language.
On the subject of stuffing pastas with multiple ideas, that is a big no-no in my opinion. I recommend taking one idea and running with it. When you have ideas that would change the tone of the story or not mesh with it pop into your head you should either write them down or ignore them. It is very tempting to explore and run with the new ideas, I know. Just tell yourself that by not doing them now you'll have something to look forward to with your next story. I'd also advise against writing two stories, let alone more than that, at the same time. Every new story that you start on while already working another decreases the odds of the previous story ever being finished, maybe even any of the stories.
On the subject of improving your vocabulary, reading will get you a long way. It isn't the only solution however. One thing that I like to do is go to Google and type in "[insert word here] definition". It helps me out in a pinch when I'm not sure if the word that I want to use fits in the context I am using. It's also great for shooting out synonyms so that one doesn't use the same word repeatedly.
Another thing that might help is exploring a different approach to how you write your stories. There are two types of writers, Architects and Gardeners. Architects plan things out in advance and stick to that template no matter what. Gardeners might have a couple of things in mind for their stories, but ultimately just roll with it and make it up as they go along. When I first started writing I was an Architect, but over time I switched into a Gardener and discovered that the writing came more naturally to me, was a lot more well received, and writing was a more enjoyable experience overall. So yeah, you might try the opposite approach to what you've been doing. Or not, neither one is wrong. Ultimately, the best advice that anyone can give you is to just find what works for you!
You can always finish something out, even if you think it is horrible, post it to the Writer's Workshop, and see what sort of feedback/suggestions you get. No one will make fun of you for what you post there, and if they do, well then screw them. I'm sure the community will come down hard on any such individual. I hope this post is helpful to you in some way. I also apologize if I came across as bossy or arrogant; I just want to see you succeed. Have a wonderful day and don't let writing stress you out :) Buckle up! I'm going to be popular 09:33, December 2, 2016 (UTC)
- No problem! I strive to be helpful :D After I get caught up on my promised readings, I'll be happy to check out and review some of your work (should you not mind, that is). I'm pretty horrid at comma placement though, so I can't be of any use in that regard D: Buckle up! I'm going to be popular 06:25, December 4, 2016 (UTC)
- PS, trust Jay Ten and heed his advice. He'll be honest with you and do right by you through and through. He's helped me out a ton as have a bunch of other members; writing and otherwise. Buckle up! I'm going to be popular 06:28, December 4, 2016 (UTC)
My genital-related pride never stop growing (pun intended).
First, I'm always online. Second, although I wouldn't call myself the best reviewer I'll be sure to check them out ASAP and see what I can do.
Alright, so I posted a review on "Strange Day at the Office". As I said there, you may have to ask an admin if it qualifies as a creepypasta. I see that "Driving Forces" was reviewed already by Christian and Derpy. Do you also want a review on that?
Ok, so I read that story. Don't get discouraged, but it doesn't work, at all. I see some slight improvement in your word usage, so that's a plus, but I have nothing else positive to say. Even if I rewrote the story to take care of the smaller phrasing issues, it still wouldn't work. I see the humor in it; in that respect, I suppose it's not that bad. But considering it as a micro pasta, it has little impact for me.
You're doing the right thing by making these very small stories for practice, but your writing is still a ways off from where you want it to be. As I mentioned on your blog, I advise doing more reading, but feel free to keep creating these small stories for practice. Improvements come very slowly, especially considering this isn't your native language, but if you keep reading and practicing, you'll get there. Good luck.
Re: By User Template
Hey, I haven't forgotten about that story. Unfortunately that story was written as a collab with another user who seems to have gone inactive. I don't feel like it'd be right to publish it without his input. Though it is likely I will go on to reuse some of the core ideas in another story ChristianWallis (talk) 16:54, December 4, 2016 (UTC)
- Done, as for responding to the other Writer's Workshop post, I think I'll pass given our history and the likelihood that any criticism I give would not be well-received and their recent tendency to abandon projects once they get any criticism. Have a good one, hope I helped in some way. EmpyrealInvective (talk) 19:27, December 5, 2016 (UTC)
- I was going to do a workshop run through soon so I'll put it at the top of my list ChristianWallis (talk) 19:32, December 5, 2016 (UTC)
- Unfortunately today is the day that I plan to do all my holiday shopping so it's very unlikely that I'll be able to get around to anything in the writer's workshop today. If you're looking for a quicker response, perhaps it would be better to request someone else to review it as my plate's a bit on the full side. EmpyrealInvective (talk) 13:57, December 7, 2016 (UTC)
RE: Review Request
If you mean within a single story then yeah that can work, but the sections have to be well separated (like chapters in a book). This is a common technique in novels to give you different perspectives ChristianWallis (talk) 14:56, December 15, 2016 (UTC)
Hey, what's up? So you reviewed some of my stories in the past and I was wondering if you could take a look at my contest entry, "A Lump of Coal." It's in the workshop, somewhere near the top of the page. I won't have time to fix too much so just a brief overview would be fine. If you don't have time to look over it, I understand. Thanks in advance,
- It depends on how finished the story is. I can't do much with reviewing a premise, but if you have more content, I can give a more in-depth review. Additionally the Writer's Workshop is generally for almost finished/complete stories so that's something to take into account. EmpyrealInvective (talk) 18:14, December 22, 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for helping with the vandalism, my friend. I think they're starting to evolve with smaller brains.
You haven't seen half of it, mate. Take a look at this.
Clever...you're not a reptilian for nothing after all. Random question: Why did you choose that username?
"Was a big fan of dinosaurs back then, with raptors being my personal favorite of them all."
So how did you feel when you found out they were practically prehistoric chicken?
But they are still chicken in my heart. And if I get the time machine from the deal with Satan, in my stomach.
Honestly though, I think I like Allosaurus the most.
Health? If I had something like that to get damaged I now would be 6 meters below the ground.
The Hook-Handed Sentence!
I honestly never really focus on the hooks of sentences... Maybe that's why nobody reads my stories.
Anyway, yeah, that's really good. It's super descriptive, and really evokes an image in ones mind. If you want, I can give you a bit of a critique on the awkward wording.
Screw it, I don't need your permission. I don't need anyone's permission! WHOOOO!
A shinning(shining, not shinning) star, no brighter than the Great Sun yet intense enough to strew forth a trail of its molten-self(molten self, not molten-self) ashes across the Sacred Havens(Molten self ashes doesn't make much sense. Perhaps 'Molten ashes' or 'Molten self', but not 'Molten Self Ashes'.). (It) Journeyed across the vast plains of unbroken green, above the soaring grounds, through the statues of might, before crossing the eyes of a lone wanderer & plunging straight first, into the watery depths below.
Yeah, that's actually really good. I'm interested to see where you go with this.
- Wasn't it that one that kind of migrated off into two stories? I liked the premise of that one.
- I'd say the first one. Also, sorry for not responding to the first, I'd have done it several hours ago, but for some reasons my Internet connection only became available now.
Hey, Raptor, I was wondering could you review my story, Tough Luck, please. Tell me if there ever is a story you need reviewed since I always try to sort-of repay reviews like they're a fucking currency and you gave a in-depth as fuck review in the past. Anyway, thanks in advance,
--If you're depressed and want to die, I'm here to help... you die (talk) 19:55, February 8, 2017 (UTC)
My internet fcuked up and i send two messages -- sorry about that. I edited this one
--If you're depressed and want to die, I'm here to help... you die (talk) 19:56, February 8, 2017 (UTC)
Sure. What up?
- Unfortunately you caught me at a real bad time as I've got an upcoming exam that I'm devoting a lot of my energy towards. I'll try to get around to reviewing it on the weekend, but try to drop a reminder for me later as I'm likely not going to remember in the rush of things. EmpyrealInvective (talk) 12:15, March 7, 2017 (UTC)
- Actually, you are mistaken. Most admins are dropouts, along with every user who isn't a seven year-old French girl.
- I have just wrapped up with my Genetics class and have a Biochemistry test on Thursday with a research paper due on Friday. I am actually a graduate (I 'graduated' to being a dropout, jokes aside), but it turns out I need Physics, Biochemistry, and Genetics in order to quality for the next step. EmpyrealInvective (talk) 13:50, March 8, 2017 (UTC)
RE: Review Request
Show and don't tell
Hi there. I'm afraid I do not know of many such stories. I will do my best though.
- I'm glad you enjoyed it! If you need anything else, hit me up. MrDupin (talk) 17:12, April 9, 2017 (UTC)
I'm going to translate that into "can I post a blog?" and the answer is "yeah sure". I'd recommend you write it in standard English though. I've noticed a significant change in your writing style recently and I don't know why or where it came from--if it's a joke, or just a bit of fun, or some kind of performance art--but if you're going to actually try and engage the community I strongly suggest you write like a normal human being and put the thesaurus away. Other than that, I hope everything is cool with you on your end and that life is treating you well ChristianWallis (talk) 15:51, April 13, 2017 (UTC)