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Achilles
04-20-2006, 06:28 PM
~ Making up the bullsh*t that we call writing is easy. Making it believable isn't. ~

Recently I have been struggling with "covering my Grammatical *ss", as someone much, much more experienced than me decided to so eloquently put it. The truth of the matter is that this person is right. I like to believe I have some pretty good ideas, and whether that is true or not I'm not quite sure... the one thing I do know is that I have a few big areas to improve in before I can figure that out.

I need to find some way to teach myself how to write in what most would call "the proper form". I really only have myself to do this. But I was hoping a few of you, being much more used to this conformity could leave me a hint or two. I've been thinking about how to make my writing more believable for the masses, and the first thing that came to me was presentation.

Anyone can have a great idea, but the only ones that get heard (published), are the ones that know how to make every other aspect the same as every one else's. Besides the Great Idea, of course. Grammar, sentence structure, Format, the difference between a goddamn verb and an adverb are all things I need to learn. I never really paid attention in my classes so I only know what feels right to me.

Now I've tried reading from a textbook only textbook, but to no avail. The only did was force me to think of creative and increasingly more painful ways to off whoever had the brainstorm to publish anything that boring.

I have one question for all of you, and then I'll leave you alone:

Do you have any other methods of learning techniques, structures, and grammar, that might be a little more interesting than straight up textbook learnin'? :Lecture:

aka eraser
04-20-2006, 06:31 PM
Hi Achilles. I'm going to move this to our new Grammar For Grasshoppers board. I'm sure the folks there will have some input for you.

CaroGirl
04-20-2006, 06:44 PM
Read, read, read. And when you're done, read some more. Read the kind of books that you enjoy, and the kind of books that you want to write. You'll see what works and, I hope, why it works (if you read with a critical eye).

Also, pick up a copy of The Elements of Style by Strunk & White. At just less than 100 pages, it's light enough to read through, and makes a great reference for just about any grammar question. There are some great books about the process of writing that aren't at all boring, like On Writing, by Stephen King.

Good luck.

Jamesaritchie
04-20-2006, 07:05 PM
~ Making up the bullsh*t that we call writing is easy. Making it believable isn't. ~

Recently I have been struggling with "covering my Grammatical *ss", as someone much, much more experienced than me decided to so eloquently put it. The truth of the matter is that this person is right. I like to believe I have some pretty good ideas, and whether that is true or not I'm not quite sure... the one thing I do know is that I have a few big areas to improve in before I can figure that out.

I need to find some way to teach myself how to write in what most would call "the proper form". I really only have myself to do this. But I was hoping a few of you, being much more used to this conformity could leave me a hint or two. I've been thinking about how to make my writing more believable for the masses, and the first thing that came to me was presentation.

Anyone can have a great idea, but the only ones that get heard (published), are the ones that know how to make every other aspect the same as every one else's. Besides the Great Idea, of course. Grammar, sentence structure, Format, the difference between a goddamn verb and an adverb are all things I need to learn. I never really paid attention in my classes so I only know what feels right to me.

Now I've tried reading from a textbook only textbook, but to no avail. The only did was force me to think of creative and increasingly more painful ways to off whoever had the brainstorm to publish anything that boring.

I have one question for all of you, and then I'll leave you alone:

Do you have any other methods of learning techniques, structures, and grammar, that might be a little more interesting than straight up textbook learnin'? :Lecture:
For grammar, get your hands on a junior high school English book, preferably a seventh grade English book. In the real world of fiction writing, this is all the grammar you'll likely ever need. And anything else you do need to learn will be much easier after reaidng this book and learning the basics. These books are written in a style that makes learning easy for twelve year olds, which means they're also easy for adults to absorb. Your won't find all teh ca-ca and unnecessary advanced grammer that few writers ever need, and that only confuses most who are trying to learn.

For style, get you hands on a Stunk & White." You can read the thng in under an hour, which means you can easily read it over and over.

For technique, read, read, and read some more, but go beyond this. Find a novel you love that's also much like the one you want to write, and dissect it. Study it. Take off the covers and separate the pages, if you must. Keep it beside you when writing. Use the same structure and the same technique, the same pace and flow, etc., in your own novel.

Ask how the novel begins, how much adtion tehre is in the opening, how long teh opening chapters is, how teh opening chapter end. Yu should have already rea dthis novel, of course, but read it again. Read the first three chapters carefully, and then read the last three chapters. Ask youself how the write got from the first three to the last three. Then read the middle again.

Look at how long teh sentences are, how they vary in length, etc. Study the dialogue. How much is there? How does it read? How long is it?

Be writing your own novel as you're doing this. Do not copy content, but do copy technique, length, etc.

Bufty
04-20-2006, 08:30 PM
I hope 'the masses' appreciate your efforts, Achilles.

Aconite
04-21-2006, 05:22 PM
Achilles, you may want to consider how your condescending attitude towards readers and writers who enjoy some degree of conventional structure in what they read and write comes across.

Julie Worth
04-21-2006, 05:42 PM
I recently wrote a book in first person present tense. Then chick lit died and I couldn’t sell it that way, so I rewrote it in third person past. Took about four days and by then I couldn’t feel my fingertips. It occurs to me that this might be an excellent technique for honing your grammar jiffy quick. Try it, Achilles, and report back.

Shadow_Ferret
04-21-2006, 05:53 PM
My favorite grammar book has always been this one that is divided into rows throughout the book. The first row is basic, the second is more advanced and so on. You start out with learning that a sentence is a subject and a predicate, "Birds fly" and you go on from there. I go through it everysooften just to refresh myself on sentence structure and the like. I can't remember the name right now. I'll edit to add when I get home.


But as someone else said, Strunk and White's is an excellent resource also. I like "The Transitive Vampire" also.

Achilles
04-21-2006, 07:52 PM
Thanks alot for the input. If you get any more ideas feel free to let me know.

tony1
04-29-2006, 10:08 PM
For grammar, get your hands on a junior high school English book, preferably a seventh grade English book. In the real world of fiction writing, this is all the grammar you'll likely ever need. And anything else you do need to learn will be much easier after reaidng this book and learning the basics. These books are written in a style that makes learning easy for twelve year olds, which means they're also easy for adults to absorb. Your won't find all teh ca-ca and unnecessary advanced grammer that few writers ever need, and that only confuses most who are trying to learn.

For style, get you hands on a Stunk & White." You can read the thng in under an hour, which means you can easily read it over and over.

For technique, read, read, and read some more, but go beyond this. Find a novel you love that's also much like the one you want to write, and dissect it. Study it. Take off the covers and separate the pages, if you must. Keep it beside you when writing. Use the same structure and the same technique, the same pace and flow, etc., in your own novel.

Ask how the novel begins, how much adtion tehre is in the opening, how long teh opening chapters is, how teh opening chapter end. Yu should have already rea dthis novel, of course, but read it again. Read the first three chapters carefully, and then read the last three chapters. Ask youself how the write got from the first three to the last three. Then read the middle again.

Look at how long teh sentences are, how they vary in length, etc. Study the dialogue. How much is there? How does it read? How long is it?

Be writing your own novel as you're doing this. Do not copy content, but do copy technique, length, etc.

This is probably the most useful advice that I've ever heard. I also struggle with my sentence structure and basic grammer. I have often caught myself going thru one of my favorite novels to see how Clancy would have written it. Tony1