BACK TO THE BASICS
BY KENNEDY HOPKINS, MY DAUGHTER
Kennedy is 12-years-old and in the 7th grade. She writes fan fiction on Wattpad. It’s wonderful that Kennedy has found such enjoyment in writing, and that she takes it seriously enough to challenge herself and improve as a writer. She recently posted some of her own ideas on writing, which I wanted to share. Overall, damn good advice. If you enjoy Avengers AU’s, Bucky+Cap ships, and Hetalia, check out her work.
Describe what's going on in that particular scene. You need to paint a picture for the reader. It will keep them from becoming bored, but too much description will get boring. Everything in moderation, am I right?
Don't say: He walked to his apartment in Manhattan, but something felt wrong.
Do say: He walked down the cold, dirty streets of Manhattan to get back to his apartment. As he walked along, he saw the usual. A lonely man at a hotdog stand, a girl with a small dog in her purse, a young hipster couple with coffee. Though, something felt wrong. Different. A little strange.
Notice how much better the second paragraph sounded? It was much more interesting. It's also a way to make your parts longer too, which is always good.
Don’t make Mary Sue characters.
Don't be that one writer that has at least one character that is this: A perfectly normal extroverted, blue-eyed girl in the upper-middle class that owns a vintage Volvo, AND she's a virgin. Make characters that have at least one or two flaws, whether they're big or small. That's what give characters, well, character. Perfect characters get kind of boring over time, (*cough* *cough* Clara Oswald *cough* *cough*). If you're wondering, a Mary Sue is a character that's perfect in almost every way.
I know, eavesdropping is rude, but bear with me. If you are at Wendy's or something, listen to strangers' conversations. That's where you can get some of the best dialogue for comedic bits. For instance, once I was at a pizza place and I heard some lady say, "Sometimes I bring my flask to Denny's so I can spike my coffee."
No joke. It's how I think of some genius lines that I probably never could have come up with on my own.
Look at your spam emails.
Can't think of a name for a character and those online name generators or name dictionaries aren't doing you justice? Go through those annoying spam emails and put them to good use. Sometimes they'll have fake names as the "sender" and you could use those. For example, Antonio Rodney, Lynne McNeil, Blanca Petty, etc.
Change your surroundings.
Say you always sit at your desk when you write. Go to another room, go outside, or even go to the library to write. It's good to change things up every once in a while, it'll get your ideas flowing better. It helps with writers block, a lot, so go write somewhere else!
Use weird words.
You can't use "said" every time someone speaks; it gets boring. Use vibrant words like, she declared, prophesied, announced, exploded, mumbled, etc. Have Dictionary.com in a background tab while you're writing so you can use colorful words.
Show, don’t tell.
This also goes along with being descriptive, somewhat. What I mean by "show, don't tell" is show the character's actions or emotions. For example,
Don't say: She heard the monster getting closer and she got even more terrified than she already was.
Do say: She saw the silhouette of the large monster displayed on the wall and her eyes got full of panic. She backed up to the wall and shook with fear.
It's easier to visualize the situation that is described in the short paragraph above. The reader wants to visualize what’s going on, that's why comics are so appealing to the masses, because they give us pictures that go along with the words. Audiences like pictures, so paint that picture with words. Wow. That was kind of cheesy. Anyway, description is a big part of stories, so use it!