[identity profile] green-grrl.livejournal.com
The grammarians and readers of [livejournal.com profile] fandom_grammar know that there are readers who don't notice misspellings, wrong verb tenses, or sentence structure errors—and then there are readers for whom those things are like nails on a chalkboard. Other errors can be just as annoying to people: the policewoman watching a cop show in which the heroes are shooting off several rounds every episode, or the fanfic reader who's thrown out of the story when a character drives from California to New York in a day.

One of the family of errors that gets to me is celestial mechanics—the structure of the earth, moon, sun, and universe as a whole, and how they work together. The day I learned that not everyone grasps basic lunar-planetary astronomy was the day I watched Catwoman, a movie reviled by many, but here is where it lost me. )
[identity profile] achacunsagloire.livejournal.com
The English language is full of quite a few foul words, but few are as foul as one most nefarious nine-letter word: criticism. (Quick! Walk outside, turn around three times, and spit over your shoulder!)

Receiving criticism is one of the hardest parts of writing—harder, perhaps, than finishing that first draft. But before we get into it and what makes it such a chore to endure, we're going to have ourselves a little Greek Mythology 101 lesson:

More than likely, you've heard of a vain pretty-boy named Narcissus. )

chomiji: Tenpou from Saiyuki Gaiden. with the caption Not necessarily by the book (Tenpou - Not by the book)
[personal profile] chomiji

Before Track Changes or other electronic methods for indicating problems in an article or story came to be, there were proofreader's marks.

Featuring material from the historical novel Frontier Wolf by Rosemary Sutcliff … )
theemdash: (M Grammar)
[personal profile] theemdash
With examples from The Hunger Games, Stargate: SG-1, and Harry Potter.

The narration is (arguably) the most important part of a story. The plot, the characters, and the setting are all important, of course, but the narrative is how you execute those elements, tie them together, and craft your story. So, how do you make your narrative as strong as it can be? The key to that is in revision, in knowing and making deliberate revisions to bring the reader closer to the action at certain moments and to make the story come alive.

Keeping in mind that different people have different writing styles, here are some things to consider while revising to strengthen your narrative.

Revising for a Stronger POV and Narrative )
[identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/traycer_/
Tips for Writing Flashbacks

With examples from Stargate SG-1 and Sarah Connor Chronicles

Flashback )
[identity profile] moon-raven2.livejournal.com
The sentence is the basis of any writing. How you form sentences and how they flow together not only reflect your skill and style as a writer, but also can be used to relay the general tone of your story (in descriptive writing) or a speaker's mood (in dialogue).

Lots of information, with examples from Neil Gaiman, Cormac McCarthy, and Alan Moore... )
chomiji: Tenpou from Saiyuki Gaiden. with the caption Not necessarily by the book (Tenpou - Not by the book)
[personal profile] chomiji

Sometimes, you're writing nothing but a blistering hot love scene, or a character study, or a drabble. In those cases, your canon is all you'll want or need. But there are other times - Yuletide, a Big Bang, your own original novel-in-progress, that sprawling AU epic that's been taking up all your spare imagination for weeks - when you're going to want the sort of details that add texture and depth to a story.

You may be blessed with a home library that includes just the reference books you want or a local library with sympathetic librarians. If not, there's always the Intarwebs ... but sifting treasure from trash can be a challenge.

Let's take a look at some ways to make the World Wide Web cough up the details that you need to write the story that you want.

With examples involving the historical novel Frontier Wolf.

A-hunting we will go ...  )
chomiji: Tenpou from Saiyuki Gaiden. with the caption Not necessarily by the book (Tenpou - Not by the book)
[personal profile] chomiji

A fair number of you are probably thinking "Huh? FG is going to tell us about calling people names?" In fact, we're going to do exactly that!

However, we don't mean "hurling epithets," as Ichigo and Renji are doing here:

"You jerk!" shouted Ichigo. "Whose idea was this, anyway?"

"Yours, you idiot," growled Renji.

This is actually a secondary definition for the word epithet: "a disparaging or abusive word or phrase " (Webster's). No, what we're going to discuss here is the more classical use of the word: "a characterizing word or phrase accompanying or occurring in place of the name of a person or thing."

There's an excellent chance you've come across these kinds of epithets, especially in fanfiction. For example:

"Matsumoto, you're offering me ... what kind of a drink?" said Ichigo, frowning.

The buxom blonde Soul Reaper sighed: "Why do people always think I'm trying to get them drunk?"

"There's a lovely moon tonight," said Shunsui to Ukitake; "and I have some very fine sake."

"You know I don't need excuses to spend some time with you," replied the grey-haired man.

"You don't need to treat me like your little fangirl any more," said Soi Fon coldly. The darkly feline woman raised a sardonic eyebrow at her.

With help from the cast of the manga and anime Bleach

And away we go ...  )

chomiji: Tenpou from Saiyuki Gaiden. with the caption Not necessarily by the book (Tenpou - Not by the book)
[personal profile] chomiji

The plot's worked out, you have the ending at last, your characters' voices are coming through clearly, and you feel quite positive about your latest piece of fanfiction/original fiction. There's only one problem.

You have not the slightest idea of what to call your work.

Cut for some thoughts on titles and methods for selecting one )
chomiji: Tenpou from Saiyuki Gaiden. with the caption Not necessarily by the book (Tenpou - Not by the book)
[personal profile] chomiji

Dialogue is one of several tools that an author uses to establish characters and make them distinct from one another. If you're writing fanfiction (or parody, or pastiche), getting the voices of your borrowed characters to match the author's original renditions can be as important as making their physical descriptions accurate. Still, it's likely that all of us have had the experience of writing a scene in which our favorite characters simply don't sound like themselves. How can this situation be remedied?

With examples from Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, Saiyuki, and Rosemary Sutcliff's Eagle of the Ninth )
[identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/traycer_/
What is the Difference Between Alternate Reality and Alternate Universe?

With examples from Stargate SG-1 and Back to the Future

Labeling a fic AU vs AR: What difference does it make? )
[identity profile] whymzycal.livejournal.com
What is a run-on sentence?

Aside from being the bane of composition students everywhere, the run-on sentence is defined as either a sentence that doesn’t stop where it should or, in slightly more grammatical terms, as a sentence consisting of independent clauses that haven’t been joined together correctly. (For a quick rundown of independent clauses, see this Feature here.)

So what do run-ons look like, and how do we fix ‘em? With examples from Supernatural. )
[identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/traycer_/
Outlining a Story/Novel

With examples from The X-Files

So many choices... )
[identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/traycer_/
That Doesn't Mean What You Think It Means: Misused and Abused Phrases

Language has a funny way of ingratiating itself on us. Just when you think you have grammar down pat, those sneaky misused and abused phrases pop up to muddy the water.

What are these phrases you ask? They are commonly used expressions that are used incorrectly. Sometimes it's because words are slurred, and sometimes it's because the meanings are slurred. Either way, I've listed a few to help you understand the concept of misused and abused phrases.

To coin a phrase… )
[identity profile] green-grrl.livejournal.com
Feature: What are transitive verbs?

We've touched upon the topic of transitive verbs at [livejournal.com profile] fandom_grammar in "lie" versus "lay" and "rise" versus "raise", and in the feature on passive voice. Here is a more thorough discussion of transitive verbs in general.

Transitive verbs are action verbs that have a direct object—the verb acts on some "thing."
Sam rebuilt the generator.
"Sam" is the subject of the sentence, "rebuilt" is the action she took—the verb—and "the generator" is the direct object—what she took action on.

Sounds easy, right? It should be a snap to pick out the transitive verbs from these Stargate SG-1 examples:
1. "Remember, I am the doctor; you are the patient." At Fraiser's warning, Jack sat abruptly.

2. "We are going home. Dial the gate."

3. Daniel gave Sam the artifact.

4. The SGC scientists voted Col. Dixon "Most Likely to Blast Artifacts."

5. Sam traded Teal'c her pie for his blue Jell-o.

Answers under the cut. )
[identity profile] whymzycal.livejournal.com
What makes one word more “real” than another? Are there degrees of “realness” for words?

Let’s find out. )
[identity profile] lady-ganesh.livejournal.com
How do you find the right words?

Word choice is both incredibly simple and impossibly difficult. Every day we experience millions of words; we say them, we read them, we hear them on the radio or television, or in the songs played on our iPod. What's the way to get to the right word?

Here's my advice. )
[identity profile] chiroho.livejournal.com
To anyone who has read something by J.K. Rowling, Terry Pratchett, or Agatha Christie, or watched a show like Doctor Who, Torchwood, or even Top Gear, the major differences between British and American English are fairly obvious. However, even though there is a significant amount of British literature and entertainment media available to writers in the US, and much American culture is readily available in the UK, allowing those on the other side of the pond to understand what you're writing no matter how American the expression, there are still many little things which will immediately make your reader think, or say, "that's written by a bloody septic!"

As was suggested in a previous [livejournal.com profile] fandom_grammar feature intended to help Brits write like an American, the best way to catch issues with Americanisms showing up in your writing of British characters is to find a beta who is British. As an Australian who writes for American TV shows, I am living proof that having a beta who "speaks the lingo" is the best way to avoid an embarrassing faux pas. Another suggestion from that feature was that if you're having trouble making your character sound "right", make a list of the expressions they use, and try and stick to those. That way, Rose will most appropriately be reaching for her bum bag, and not her fanny pack, the latter of which would have produced a most undesired response from your British and Commonwealth readers.

So, to help you avoid these troublesome situations and stop reviewers commenting that your Harry Potter sounded more like Sam Witwicky than an attendee of Hogwarts, here are some examples of things where the language may change, with examples from Torchwood and Criminal Minds. )
[identity profile] amedia.livejournal.com
Fanfic authors who write in English find that this language is both a blessing and a curse. While scholars argue over how to come up with an accurate count of the number of words in the English language, there is widespread agreement that English does have an unusually large vocabulary, offering authors an array of words to choose from that may be exhilarating—or terrifying. Read more... )


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