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Author Topic: Helpful articles for writers  (Read 10824 times)

magicplayer

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Re: Helpful articles for writers
« Reply #40 on: October 11, 2008, 10:17:47 am »

Heeee, kok ga ada lagi sih yang ngepost artikel di thread ini? Apa mending aku aja yang ngelanjutin ya?

==============================================

If In Doubt, Leave It Out

Rob Parnell

You probably won't be surprised to learn I read a lot of unpublished manuscripts. I also read a lot of published work. Are there some glaring differences between the two? You betcha.

The fact is most beginning writers write too much. That's okay for the first draft but when it comes to editing, you need to give that delete key a thorough work out!

Good writing is about pacing, about taking the reader on a journey and keeping in step with them along the way.

If you get the pacing wrong, the reader will stumble and begin to lose interest because it will seem you are more interested in writing the words than telling the story or relaying the information.

Here's some tips on how to cut down on unnecessary verbiage!

The Art of Description

With the advent of global communication and visual media, we all know what most things and even most places look like. It's no longer necessary to spend more than a couple of sentences establishing what things are, where scenes are set and what the weather is like, if that's important for mood.

Many readers nowadays will actually skip descriptive passages because they find them dull and interrupt the flow of the text. So don't beat yourself up over getting all the details across - that's what the reader's imagination is for!

Qualify That

Sometimes we write scenes etc. we're not sure the reader will understand - so we add extra words to explain ourselves, resulting in more confusion than clarity. For instance, look at this:

"With the divorce weighing on his mind, and his fears about losing his job, John was having difficulty deciding what to do with himself. Could he face going out, knowing that Pete would probably spend the evening ribbing him over his his inability to get along with his boss and his problems with his estranged wife?"

Clearly this is clumsy and confusing to read. Much better to remove the qualifiers and simplify:

"The divorce was weighing on his mind - and his job. Did he want to go out? John wasn't sure. Pete would probably just want to rib him."

In the above version, even though the propositions are only loosely defined - the reader still gets it. You don't always need to explain every little nuance to get a point or two across. Quite the opposite in fact.

Room to Breathe?

When you write you make a contract with your reader - whom you must regard as your equal. Not someone who is slow to understand and needs to be carefully led, shown everything and generally talked down to.

It's perfectly okay to leave out obvious - and therefore redundant - details. You don't always have to explain exactly who said what, what happened where, why and how long.

Too many new writers clog up their stories with unnecessary backstory, linking scenes, plot justifications and long complicated explanations of things the reader already regards as clear.

If you write with honesty and intelligence, your reader knows what and who you mean - when you over explain, you insult the reader. Don't do it.

Direction

Quite often writing suffers because the reader doesn't know where you're going. They wonder why you're focussing on certain characters and details - especially when you haven't first hinted at the 'point' of your story.

When you open a piece, you need a big 'sign' that tells the reader you're going THIS WAY - so that the reader knows what to expect along the way. You need to define your objectives - your purpose - in some way on the first page.

For instance, if you're writing a murder mystery, don't spend the first chapter following the protagonist around doing her laundry. Get on with the story and as soon as you can, show us the body!

Play By The Rules

Especially in genre fiction, you have to adhere to certain rules, because that's what the reader wants. Horror stories need to be at least a little horrific - right from the start. Romance requires that you have lovers at odds with each other by page two. Science fiction and Fantasy require the elements of their genres too.

Publishers often say that, though many writers are good, they often write themselves outside of any given genre in their desire to be different or original - thereby, alas, disqualifying themselves from publication!

Of course it's important to be original - but if you can do that within the confines your reader expects, your chances of publication skyrocket.

Focus

What you're looking for is sharp writing that relays the facts. When you go back and edit for sense, go for simplicity rather than exposition. If you waffle on about the intricacies of conflicting thought processes or meander through long descriptions of the countryside, you lose all sense of tension.

Pick up any popular novel. The best ones have no words that are about writing. They're all about story. However concise.

Speech tags

Okay. Speech tags - you know all the 'he said, she cried, they exclaimed blah de blah' - I'll keep this advice simple and precise. Unless you're writing children's fiction, lose them. As many as you can. It's the way of the modern writer.

The way to do it is to use other, more subtle ways of suggesting who is saying what. It's easily done, it just requires a little thought.

You can refer to character's actions just before or after dialogue, or use different styles to suggest different people.

Just as an experiment, try editing out all of the speech tags from your next MS. I think you'll be surprised and...master this technique and publishers will love you for it!

Adverbs

Yep - we all know we're not supposed to use them, especially after a speech tag. They really are mostly redundant and add nothing to the story. Repeat to yourself three times before bedtime: I will try to edit out every word that ends in 'ly'! (I just noticed there are two in this paragraph - oops!)

Well I could go on like this for hours - 'do this, do that, don't do that' etc. - I take writing very seriously, as I'm sure you've guessed. But I hope these few tips will help you the next time you edit your final draft.

The general rule, by the way, is that at least 20% of your MS is probably surplus to requirements! And that goes for all of us!

Best regards and keep writing!



Rob Parnell
rob@easywaytowrite.com
Creating Successful Writers
The Easy Way to Write
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"A good writer is not, per se, a good book critic. No more so than a good drunk is automatically a good bartender." Jim Bishop

Alpha_Serpentwitch

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Re: Helpful articles for writers
« Reply #41 on: October 11, 2008, 11:06:33 am »

Waii akhirnya ada yg posting lagi! hehe... maap gw lagi males2 nya bbrp hari ini ^^;

Btw, nice article  [thumbsup]

The Art of Description

With the advent of global communication and visual media, we all know what most things and even most places look like. It's no longer necessary to spend more than a couple of sentences establishing what things are, where scenes are set and what the weather is like, if that's important for mood.

Many readers nowadays will actually skip descriptive passages because they find them dull and interrupt the flow of the text. So don't beat yourself up over getting all the details across - that's what the reader's imagination is for!

Ah ini dia yg dr dulu gw omongin. Can't agree more to this.  [biggrin] Jangan terlalu mengekang kebebasan pembaca dengan ngasi 'deskripsi mati yang tidak boleh ditolak'. Tiap pembaca punya reading experience atau watching experience yang beda2, sehingga menghasilkan imajinasi yang berbeda2 pula. So? Let them be, I said. Pembaca sudah mendapat imajinasi kota A, karakter A dengan mantap, jangan lalu dipaksa tarik kembali untuk menegaskan sedetil2nya bahwa ini kota B, karakter B! Ketika seorang pembaca mulai berimajinasi, mereka mulai mendapatkan flownya dan akan lebih mudah meneruskan membaca dengan imajinasi yang paling familiar dengan pengalaman dia. Biarkan saja, jangan habiskan waktumu atau bahkan berbaris2 kalimat deskriptif sekedar untuk memaksa pembaca kembali dr imajinasinya yg salah (menurut sang penulis). Hal seperti itu bener2 merusak flow, dan seperti yang kita tahu, kita semua benci di dikte atau di suruh2, maka jangan lakukan hal itu kepada pembaca. Karena bila kl imajinasi yg ia suka dirusak, dan dipaksa mengimajinasikan yang tidak sesuai dgn keinginannya, flownya akan rusak dan berakibat pembaca ogah melanjutkan membaca, sambil bergumam, 'this book isn't for me'. *throw the book*  [yawn]

Perlakukan pembaca ky anak kecil aja, kalau dikekang, dia pasti berontak. Biarkan dia ikuti pace dan cara dia sendiri untuk melangkah maju, tugas kita sebagai penulis cuma memberi 'lead' dengan memberi dikte membosankan sedikit mungkin. Di dalam cerita kita harus menjadi beberapa penunjuk jalan yang menunjukkan jalan jika dan hanya jika si pembaca bertanya, kemudian biarkan dia mencari jalannya berdasarkan informasi itu. Jangan mengikat pembaca dan kemudian menyeret2nya sepanjang cerita cuma untuk memastikan ia sampai ke akhir cerita tanpa nyasar. Ga ada yang suka toh seperti itu. :)

let the reader's imagination do the job.

BloodSin

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Re: Helpful articles for writers
« Reply #42 on: October 11, 2008, 10:26:10 pm »


The Art of Description

With the advent of global communication and visual media, we all know what most things and even most places look like. It's no longer necessary to spend more than a couple of sentences establishing what things are, where scenes are set and what the weather is like, if that's important for mood.

Many readers nowadays will actually skip descriptive passages because they find them dull and interrupt the flow of the text. So don't beat yourself up over getting all the details across - that's what the reader's imagination is for!

Ah ini dia yg dr dulu gw omongin. Can't agree more to this.  [biggrin] Jangan terlalu mengekang kebebasan pembaca dengan ngasi 'deskripsi mati yang tidak boleh ditolak'. Tiap pembaca punya reading experience atau watching experience yang beda2, sehingga menghasilkan imajinasi yang berbeda2 pula. So? Let them be, I said. Pembaca sudah mendapat imajinasi kota A, karakter A dengan mantap, jangan lalu dipaksa tarik kembali untuk menegaskan sedetil2nya bahwa ini kota B, karakter B! Ketika seorang pembaca mulai berimajinasi, mereka mulai mendapatkan flownya dan akan lebih mudah meneruskan membaca dengan imajinasi yang paling familiar dengan pengalaman dia. Biarkan saja, jangan habiskan waktumu atau bahkan berbaris2 kalimat deskriptif sekedar untuk memaksa pembaca kembali dr imajinasinya yg salah (menurut sang penulis). Hal seperti itu bener2 merusak flow, dan seperti yang kita tahu, kita semua benci di dikte atau di suruh2, maka jangan lakukan hal itu kepada pembaca. Karena bila kl imajinasi yg ia suka dirusak, dan dipaksa mengimajinasikan yang tidak sesuai dgn keinginannya, flownya akan rusak dan berakibat pembaca ogah melanjutkan membaca, sambil bergumam, 'this book isn't for me'. *throw the book*  [yawn]

Yang ini gak selalu benar :P

Adalah tugas penulis untuk mendeskripsikan baik plot, setting, karakter, sampe konflik, dengan sejelas mungkin (terlebih buat penulis fantasi), yang berarti juga dituntut teknik pendeskripsian dari pengarang yang semumpuni mungkin.

Yang jadi persoalan justru ada di teknik penulisan/gaya bahasa si pengarang dalam menyampaikan deskripsinya. Kalo dangkal, membosankan, dan ala kalimat berita (minjem istilah om pur), mau deskripsi satu kalimat (atau bahkan satu kata!) juga pasti bakal diskip sama pembaca.

Tapi yaa, emang sebaiknya jangan bikin deskripsi detil seekstrim berlapis2 paragraf cuma untuk membahas satu hal/istilah aja sih.
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Red_Wizard

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Re: Helpful articles for writers
« Reply #43 on: December 13, 2008, 06:26:36 pm »

Wah menarik nih pertanyaan-pertanyaannya, coba saya isi juga....   :)


The Exam


1. Does nothing happen in the first fifty pages?
Nope! bahkan dari bab pertama sudah terjadi konflik awal

2. Is your main character a young farmhand with mysterious parentage?
Nope

3. Is your main character the heir to the throne but doesn't know it?
ehm....kinda...walaupun bukan heir to the throne literally...dihitung sama ga ya?

4. Is your story about a young character who comes of age, gains great power, and defeats the supreme badguy?
Ehem...yeah..... :-[

5. Is your story about a quest for a magical artifact that will save the world?
Nope

6. How about one that will destroy it?
Nope as well

7. Does your story revolve around an ancient prophecy about "The One" who will save the world and everybody and all the forces of good?
Ih kog tau sich....  ;D

8. Does your novel contain a character whose sole purpose is to show up at random plot points and dispense information?
Yeah.....

9. Does your novel contain a character that is really a god in disguise?
Maybe....but akan kubikin tidak sesempurna itu juga sich..... [rolleyes]

10.Is the evil supreme badguy secretly the father of your main character?
Of course not! Star Wars banget ini sich mah... :P

11.Is the king of your world a kindly king duped by an evil magician?
Nope....

12.Does "a forgetful wizard" describe any of the characters in your novel?
Nope...

13.How about "a powerful but slow and kind-hearted warrior"?
Kinda..... ??? :-[

14.How about "a wise, mystical sage who refuses to give away plot details for his own personal, mysterious reasons"?
Ada sich...tapi bukan sage :D

15.Do the female characters in your novel spend a lot of time worrying about how they look, especially when the male main character is around?
Nope

16.Do any of your female characters exist solely to be captured and rescued?
hahaha....harus ada ini mah.... ;D kalo vice versa ga seru malah..... :D

17.Do any of your female characters exist solely to embody feminist ideals?
Not always....

18.Would "a clumsy cooking wench more comfortable with a frying pan than a sword" aptly describe any of your female characters?
Nope

19.Would "a fearless warrioress more comfortable with a sword than a frying pan" aptly describe any of your female characters?
Nope

20.Is any character in your novel best described as "a dour dwarf"?
Nope, ga ada dwarf2an sama sekali....

23.How about "a half-elf torn between his human and elven heritage"?
Nope

24.Did you make the elves and the dwarves great friends, just to be different?
Nope

25.Does everybody under four feet tall exist solely for comic relief?
Nope

26.Do you think that the only two uses for ships are fishing and piracy?
Nope

27.Do you not know when the hay baler was invented?
sami mawon...ga jelas hay baler ini apaan.... :-\

28.Did you draw a map for your novel which includes places named things like "The Blasted Lands" or "The Forest of Fear" or "The Desert of Desolation" or absolutely anything "of Doom"?
ada rencana sich...walau namanya beda...cuman model2 gitu :D

29.Does your novel contain a prologue that is impossible to understand until you've read the entire book, if even then?
Yeah....

30.Is this the first book in a planned trilogy?
Ga tuh...14 malah...tapi krn kebanyakan...mau saya reduce jadi 9 saja...but liat dulu sukses apa ga-nya  :o  ;D

31.How about a quintet or a decalogue?
kalo 9 bagian itu namanya apa ya???
   
32.Is your novel thicker than a New York City phone book?
Nope....

33.Did absolutely nothing happen in the previous book you wrote, yet you figure you're still many sequels away from finishing your "story"?
Nope....banyak yang dah terjadi malah, dan itu awal dari kisah2 di buku2 berikutnya....

34.Are you writing prequels to your as-yet-unfinished series of books?
Bukan prequel...tapi malah sequel TERAKHIR dari as-yet-unfinished series of books

35.Is your name Robert Jordan and you lied like a dog to get this far?
Nope

36.Is your novel based on the adventures of your role-playing group?
Nope

37.Does your novel contain characters transported from the real world to a fantasy realm?
Nope

38.Do any of your main characters have apostrophes or dashes in their names?
Nope

39.Do any of your main characters have names longer than three syllables?
Nope

40.Do you see nothing wrong with having two characters from the same small isolated village being named "Tim Umber" and "Belthusalanthalus al'Grinsok"?
Nope...aneh aja kalo gitu.....

41.Does your novel contain orcs, elves, dwarves, or halflings?
Ga ada tuh...all HUMAN

42.How about "orken" or "dwerrows"?
Kalo Orc...mungkin ada....but we'll see....

43.Do you have a race prefixed by "half-"?
Nope

44.At any point in your novel, do the main characters take a shortcut through ancient dwarven mines?
Nope

45.Do you write your battle scenes by playing them out in your favorite RPG?
Yes...... ;D busted deh  8)

46.Have you done up game statistics for all of your main characters in your favorite RPG?
Yeah...before saya rewrite lagi..... :D

47.Are you writing a work-for-hire for Wizards of the Coast?
Nope

48.Do inns in your book exist solely so your main characters can have brawls?
Nope

49.Do you think you know how feudalism worked but really don't?
Yes...kinda

50.Do your characters spend an inordinate amount of time journeying from place to place?
Iya nanti....belum sekarang tapi.

51.Could one of your main characters tell the other characters something that would really help them in their quest but refuses to do so just so it won't break the plot?
Yes....

52.Do any of the magic users in your novel cast spells easily identifiable as "fireball" or "lightning bolt"?
Magic user sich saya pake conlang barusan kursus kilat di thread-nya dejong, tapi kalo yang lain mungkin iya, walau namanya beda-beda

53.Do you ever use the term "mana" in your novel?
Nope, ini sich kesannya game banget

54.Do you ever use the term "plate mail" in your novel?
Nope, bikin berat aja pas bertarung

55.Heaven help you, do you ever use the term "hit points" in your novel?
Ga tuh

56.Do you not realize how much gold actually weighs?
Mata uangnya ga pake gold

57.Do you think horses can gallop all day long without rest?
Ga pake horse2an juga....

58.Does anybody in your novel fight for two hours straight in full plate armor, then ride a horse for four hours, then delicately make love to a willing barmaid all in the same day?
Nope  ;D

59.Does your main character have a magic axe, hammer, spear, or other weapon that returns to him when he throws it?
Yes, some of them....walau dengan cara yang lebih realistis

60.Does anybody in your novel ever stab anybody with a scimitar?
Nope

61.Does anybody in your novel stab anybody straight through plate armor?
Nope

62.Do you think swords weigh ten pounds or more? [info]
Nope

63.Does your hero fall in love with an unattainable woman, whom he later attains?
Nope

64.Does a large portion of the humor in your novel consist of puns?
Ya...tapi beberapa aja

65.Is your hero able to withstand multiple blows from the fantasy equivalent of a ten pound sledge but is still threatened by a small woman with a dagger?
Nope

66.Do you really think it frequently takes more than one arrow in the chest to kill a man?
Yes...kalo Villain langsung mati ama satu panah aja mah MANA SERU..... [rolleyes]

67.Do you not realize it takes hours to make a good stew, making it a poor choice for an "on the road" meal?
Sadar tuh....tapi ga pake gituan so ga masalah

68.Do you have nomadic barbarians living on the tundra and consuming barrels and barrels of mead?
Nope

69.Do you think that "mead" is just a fancy name for "beer"?
Nope

70.Does your story involve a number of different races, each of which has exactly one country, one ruler, and one religion?
Satu ras aja sich...mungkin beberapa tapi tidak seperti di cerita2 medieval lainnya

71.Is the best organized and most numerous group of people in your world the thieves' guild?
Nope

72.Does your main villain punish insignificant mistakes with death?
Yes

73.Is your story about a crack team of warriors that take along a bard who is useless in a fight, though he plays a mean lute?
Ada kyk Bard gitu.....buat variasi aja....

74.Is "common" the official language of your world?
Tentu saja...kalo full conlang mah entar pembaca lari semua....

75.Is the countryside in your novel littered with tombs and gravesites filled with ancient magical loot that nobody thought to steal centuries before?
Nope

76.Is your book basically a rip-off of The Lord of the Rings?
Ini ambigu nih jawabannya....kalo sebagai inspirasi pastinya ada...tapi sebagai plot utama sich bisa dipastikan beda jauh.



so dari jawaban2ku diatas kira2 worth it ga ya kalo saya berani mencoba ngirim karyaku ke penerbit2 gitu....ada saran ga kira2 penerbit apa yang OK kalo ngirim Novel Fantasy?
Kalo Elex terima novel fantasy ga ?
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magicplayer

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Re: Helpful articles for writers
« Reply #44 on: December 16, 2008, 02:04:17 pm »

Berhubung ga ada yang ngisi, aku aja deh yang nambah artikel baru.

Fiction Is About People
August 21, 2008
by  Peter Selgin
People are the center of fiction.  In Chapter 1: People of By Cunning and Craft, find out how to tap into your characters motivations and build characters that your readers will feel like they know.

Begin with an individual, and before you know it you find that you have created a type; begin with a type, and you find that you have created—nothing.
—F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Rich Boy”

1. Fiction Is About People
On the oak-paneled wall of his den, my father-in-law keeps a varnished wooden plaque. The plaque, an injunction against gossip, reminds him that “Great minds talk about ideas, average minds talk about things, and small minds talk about people.”

In fiction writing, the hierarchy is reversed. What readers of fiction most want to learn about is people. Not ideas, opinions, or philosophy; not The Communist Manifesto, Robert’s Rules of Order, The Merck Manual, or lore about nuclear submarines. Novels and short stories fascinate us because, as Flannery O’Connor put it, they show us “how some folks would do.” That’s what fiction does best, why it gets written and read. Call it an enlightened form of gossip.

People are not fiction’s main subject; they are its only subject. Ahab, Don Quixote, Leopold Bloom, Holden Caulfield, Scarlett O’Hara, Miss Jean Brodie, Hamlet—we remember the characters in fiction like real people we’ve grown to love, fear, or despise. They fascinate us.

Since the novelist is himself a human being there is an affinity between him and his subject matter which is absent in any other forms of art.
—E.M. Forster

Some people say they don’t read fiction, because when they read they want to learn something; they don’t want to waste time on stuff that’s not true. They are misguided. You can learn plenty from other kinds of books. But if you want to learn about human nature, fiction’s the place to go. Biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs will take you only so people deep into the human psyche. And what a politician or celebrity says about herself and what she really thinks and feels are doubtlessly different things. How else but through fiction can you stand in a motel room with two adulterous lovers after a postcoital quarrel, and see not only their gestures and the looks on their faces, but what’s in their heads? How else can you learn what it’s like to hack your landlady to death, or to feel the wham of a dose of heroin, or to cower in a muddy trench in the Battle of the Somme—and not just be told about it, but experience it personally?

Journalists misquote; nonfiction lies. Want the truth? Ask a novelist. I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart and the truth of imagination. And the truth of imagination doesn’t lie. It doesn’t lie because it taps into the universal unconscious, the place where dreams and myths shared by all of us are born. It is no less reliable a source of truth than the deep instincts that prompt us to love and fear.

Fiction is our way into experiences that we’ll never have, and into people we’ll never know or never meet—or want to, necessarily. Malcolm Lowry’s drunken Consul (Under the Volcano) as a houseguest? No thank you. Between cloth or paper covers, though, I’ll gladly have him over to dinner. I’ll even take him to bed with me.

2. Motivation
In A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams’s frazzled heroine, Blanche DuBois, calls death “the opposite of desire.” To the extent that people want something, they exist. This is especially true of fictional characters. Begin with a character who wants something, and you’re off to a good start. On the other hand, those who want nothing from life exist as shadows, or like sticks of furniture in an otherwise bare room. From such people it’s hard to extract a single solid action, let alone a whole plot.

No fiction can have real interest if the central character is not an agent struggling for his or her own goals but a victim, subject to the
whim of others.
—John Gardner

People who read fiction aren’t interested in shadows or furniture; they’re interested in people, in characters. What drives them, what do they want, why do they want it? And how do they go about getting (or not getting, or losing) it?

The answer to such questions is a novel or a story.

There are exceptions. Think of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, or Jacob Horner in John Barth’s The End of the Road—a character so paralyzed with indecision he can’t get up from a bus terminal bench. We tend to think of such passive characters as ciphers, blank outlines waiting to be filled in. Yes, effective and even great stories have been written about characters with so little willpower that the winds of fate blow them hither and yon with little resistance. Such stories we call existential (Albert Camus’s The Stranger Jean-Paul Sartre’s Nausea; Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer). In them the antihero’s decision to do nothing amounts to a philosophy or stance: an antidecision. But then you must know that this is your theme, and know how hard it is to pull off.

Motivation depends on desire and—like everything else in fiction—is most vividly conveyed through action. If a character’s desires are vague and abstract, the first part of your job will be to render them concrete and specific. Witness (and I use that word purposefully, since in dramatizing your material, you turn readers into witnesses) the following example of motivation revealed through action:

He took out a pile of shirts and began throwing them, one by one, before us, shirts of sheer linen and thick silk and fine flannel, which lost their folds as they fell and covered the table in many-colored disarray. While we admired he brought more and the soft rich heap mounted higher—shirts with stripes and scrolls and plaids in coral and apple-green and lavender and faint orange, with monograms of Indian blue. Suddenly, with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily.

“They’re such beautiful shirts,” she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. “It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such—such beautiful shirts before.”
—F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

On a purely abstract level, Gatsby wishes to impress Daisy and thus win her affection. More concretely, he does so by becoming fabulously wealthy by whatever means are possible—namely, by aligning himself with certain underworld elements. But we are still dealing with abstractions. dramatically, specifically, what does Jay Gatsby do with his dubiously achieved wealth in order to achieve his goal? For one thing, he buys a plethora of silk shirts and waves them—like flags—in front of Daisy’s susceptible eyes.

As a fiction writer your task isn’t to tell us what characters want and therefore who they are, but to show us how far they are willing to go to get it, and by what means.

3. Building Characters
To write about people effectively you need to know who they are. You can’t feel sympathy for someone you don’t know. That doesn’t mean you have to love or even to like a character. You need only be interested, curious. Having already made up your mind that the man living alone in a fishing shack by the river—the one who walks with a limp and wears green coveralls—is evil, why write about him? Writing is, after all, an act of exploration through which we learn answers to questions raised by our raw material, by our characters and their situations. If you already feel you know the answers, why bother writing?

When writing about someone, it’s not a bad thing to start with a question you’d like answered. Why, for instance, does an educated, cultured, and worldly man kidnap a pubescent girl and drive her across America, from motel room to motel room? In answer to that question Nabokov gives us Lolita. Why does a man live underground amid 1,369 light bulbs? To find out, read Invisible Man. Why does the captain of a whaling ship risk life and limb, his own and his crew’s, in pursuit of a white whale? Answer: Moby-Dick, or The Whale.

To answer the questions raised by your characters and their desires it helps to know as much about them as possible, starting with basic, vital statistics. How old are they? Where were they born? Family background, level of education, employment and medical history, likes and dislikes: determining factors, all. How do you learn these things? By writing them down. When a character fails to live in your pages, try this: Write a one-page biography summarizing her life history. No need for poetry, just the facts.

Where do these facts come from? From the imagination, which doesn’t lie. Through the sublime power of the declarative sentence, the moment we state them in writing the seeds of our imaginative instincts sprout into facts.

In one class of mine, a student wrote an imaginary biography of a woman, Sally Schmidt, who had been a Navy scuba diver in Vietnam. Were there Navy scuba divers in Vietnam, let alone female Navy scuba divers? The author had no idea. Yet none of the fourteen other students in the class questioned the authority of this bold and specific claim. Later, we learned that there had indeed been women Navy divers in Vietnam. Chalk one up for the truth of imagination.

As you dredge up facts from your imagination, you will learn Sally’s background. And knowing that background, you will know how she responds when a strange man pinches her in a Neapolitan bus station (given that she was a Navy diver in Vietnam, I doubt she’d take to it kindly).

Your reader doesn’t need to know all this background; you do. In fact it’s better if you don’t tell too much about your characters, just what the reader needs to know to get the most out of your plot. Don’t paint every leaf on the tree. The same applies to physical descriptions. A few telling details: Jasper combs his hair like Hitler and lives to spit between the gap in his front teeth. The rest the reader will supply with her imagination, which writes better than you or I or any of us can.

In your notebooks, record subtle nuances of character based upon observation: how people dress, their gestures and voices, the things they say and do. Notice how your father-in-law cups his fingers around a stingy dollar bill to hide it as he hands it to the parking valet? That young woman yammering on her cell phone at a cafe? Notice how she flips back her hair while talking (could she be talking to the guy she slept with last night?). Observe closely and carefully and you’ll learn a lot about human nature. Pay special attention to those moments in life when stereotypes collapse, or are dismayingly upheld.

Note, too, the things people do when they feel they’re not being noticed. Like the man who, walking ahead of you down the sidewalk in his spiffy suit, glances at every shop window he passes, intent not on the goods on display, but on his own natty reflection.

The expected ways in which people behave are as important to note as the unexpected ways. People do cross their arms defiantly, and scratch themselves where they have no itches. They look to the floor when embarrassed or shy, and to the sky in search of release. Ever seen someone smile with their eyes? Sure you have. Ever seen someone smile with their lips only, while their eyes remain sad and dead? You have, but maybe you haven’t noticed.


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"A good writer is not, per se, a good book critic. No more so than a good drunk is automatically a good bartender." Jim Bishop

asrina_1986

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Re: Helpful articles for writers
« Reply #45 on: April 28, 2011, 03:30:15 pm »

Beberapa artikel singkat dari http://twitter.com/Quotes4Writers:

Read the lesser writers.

I really like this Q & A advice from author Michael Robotham.

Question: Do you have any advice for would-be writers?

Robotham: Write, write and when you're sick of writing, write some more. It's the only way to get better.

Read everything you can - not just the very best writers because some of them are so brilliant you will consider giving up because your prose might never match theirs. Read the lesser writers, the mere mortals, and ask yourself how each book could be improved. Take it apart like you would an alarm clock. Why does it work? Why it doesn't work? Learn. (With the truly great book, you won't be able to take it apart because you won't be able to find the joins.)

What advice do you give aspiring writers?
*asked to Wendy Orr; author of Raven’s Mountain,  Nim’s Island, Nim at Sea, Spook’s Shack, Mokie and Bik, & Peeling the Onion.

Write, write, write. Just do it. Don’t be afraid to fail, or worry about doing it right: have fun, experiment. There’s time enough for criticism when you’ve finished a few drafts (and yes, there will be lots of drafts if you want to be any good.) When you think it’s good enough to share, listen to criticisms, but always make up your own mind.

Above all, have faith. Have faith in your characters and your story, and some in your own ability to do them justice.

When you’re not writing: read, read, read: lots of different genres, lots of different authors. Find out what you love, and what you don’t – you may not be able to write every genre you love, but you certainly shouldn’t be trying a genre you don’t like to read. Writing is hard work, there’s no need for it to be soul destroying as well.

But don’t forget to live too!

What advice do you give aspiring writers?
*asked to Anna Campbell; author of My Reckless Surrender, Captive of Sin, Claiming the Courtesan and more…

Stick to your guns and write a complete manuscript. Personal experience indicates you’ll hear a siren voice whispering to you about 100 pages in, insisting that what you’re writing is terrible and you should try this new wonderful idea. That siren voice is actually your fear speaking. Don’t listen to it. Personal experience also indicates that 100 pages into that wonderful new idea, the siren voice will start whispering exactly the same poison. You’ll learn things from plugging through to the end of a manuscript that nothing else will teach you.

And once you’ve finished the manuscript, put it under the bed and write something else. Once you have, go back to the first manuscript and only then start editing. You’ll be surprised how many mistakes you can see once you’ve got a bit of distance. Not only that, you’ll have learnt skills writing the next book that you can use to improve the first book. Good luck!
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Alpha_Serpentwitch

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Re: Helpful articles for writers
« Reply #46 on: April 28, 2011, 07:31:36 pm »

wogh thread lamaku dibangkitkan dari kubur  :o

wahahaha. thx Asrina for the nice article!  [thumbsup]

Intinya menulis sampe bener2 abis 1 cerita dulu ya br ngedit atau berpindah ke cerita lain. Kita butuh pengalaman menyelesaikan sebuah cerita untuk bisa maju menjadi penulis yang lebih baik. Well, kalau begitu kurasa yg tercepat adalah menulis cerpen dulu yah? Dan kebetulan FantasyFiesta sudah dimulai. Jadi mari menulis dan selesaikan 1 cerita!!  [gunsmilie]

asrina_1986

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Re: Helpful articles for writers
« Reply #47 on: April 29, 2011, 03:29:14 am »

Wah, alpha nyetel banget sama maksud tersembunyiku [hmpfh]
Tp aku masi stuck neh...
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Alpha_Serpentwitch

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Re: Helpful articles for writers
« Reply #48 on: April 30, 2011, 12:00:04 am »

Wahahaha. :D Ternyata mikirnya kesitu jg :D
Chronicles of the Red Hoodku sudah 1200an kata, sabtu minggu besok bertekad minimal sampe 2000an kata. Huff. Semangat!  [thumbsup]

Kalau stuck ditinggel ngopi atau nonton dulu aja bentar br balik lagi. tapi kl bs jgn ditinggal dalam keadaan stuck lebih dr sehari. Usahain untuk lewatin bagian stucknya itu sebelum ditinggal atau berpotensi bikin writers block. Akhiri harimu dgn cerita yang sedang berjalan lancar biar bisa tidur tenang dan lanjut lagi keesokan harinya :D

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Re: Helpful articles for writers
« Reply #49 on: May 14, 2011, 09:58:08 am »

masih terkait FF2011

Tips Menulis Cerpen

Struktur
Para penulis pemula seringkali disarankan untuk menggunakan pengandaian berikut ini ketika mulai menyusun cerpen mereka:

    Taruh seseorang di atas pohon.
    Lempari dia dengan batu.
    Buat dia turun.

Kelihatannya aneh, tapi coba Anda pikirkan baik-baik, karena saran ini bisa diterapkan oleh penulis mana saja. Nah, ikuti langkah- langkah perencanaan seperti yang disarankan di bawah kalau Anda ingin menulis cerpen-cerpen yang hebat.

Perencanaan Cerpen
Taruh seseorang di atas pohon: munculkan sebuah keadaan yang harus dihadapi tokoh utama cerita.
Lempari dia dengan batu: Dari keadaan sebelumnya, kembangkan suatu masalah yang harus diselesaikan si tokoh utama tadi. Contoh: Kesalahpahaman, kesalahan identitas, kesempatan yang hilang, dan sebagainya.
Buat dia turun: Tunjukkan bagaimana tokoh Anda akhirnya mengatasi masalah itu. Pada beberapa cerita, hal terakhir ini seringkali juga sekaligus digunakan sebagai tempat memunculkan pesan yang ingin disampaikan penulis. Contoh: Kekuatan cinta, kebaikan mengalahkan kejahatan, kejujuran adalah kebijakan terbaik, persatuan membawa kekuatan, dsb.
Ketika Anda selesai menulis, selalu (dan selalu) periksa kembali pekerjaan Anda dan perhatikan ejaan, tanda baca dan tata bahasa. Jangan menyia-nyiakan kerja keras Anda dengan menampilkan kesan tidak profesional pada pembaca Anda.
Praktekkan perencanaan sederhana ini pada tulisan Anda selanjutnya.

Tema
Setiap tulisan harus memiliki pesan atau arti yang tersirat di dalamnya. Sebuah tema adalah seperti sebuah tali yang menghubungkan awal dan akhir cerita dimana Anda menggantungkan alur, karakter, setting cerita dan lainnya. Ketika Anda menulis, yakinlah bahwa setiap kata berhubungan dengan tema ini.
Ketika menulis cerpen, bisa jadi kita akan terlalu menaruh perhatian pada satu bagian saja seperti menciptakan penokohan, penggambaran hal-hal yang ada, dialog atau apapun juga, untuk itu, kita harus ingat bahwa kata-kata yang berlebihan dapat mengaburkan inti cerita itu sendiri.
Cerita yang bagus adalah cerita yang mengikuti sebuah garis batas. Tentukan apa inti cerita Anda dan walaupun tema itu sangat menggoda untuk diperlebar, Anda tetap harus berfokus pada inti yang telah Anda buat jika tidak ingin tulisan Anda berakhir seperti pembukaan sebuah novel atau sebuah kumpulan ide-ide yang campur aduk tanpa satu kejelasan.

Tempo Waktu
Cerita dalam sebuah cerpen yang efektif biasanya menampilkan sebuah tempo waktu yang pendek. Hal ini bisa berupa satu kejadian dalam kehidupan karakter utama Anda atau berupa cerita tentang kejadian yang berlangsung dalam sehari atau bahkan satu jam. Dan dengan waktu yang singkat itu, usahakan agar kejadian yang Anda ceritakan dapat memunculkan tema Anda.

Setting
Karena Anda hanya memiliki jumlah kata-kata yang terbatas untuk menyampaikan pesan Anda, maka Anda harus dapat memilih setting cerita dengan hati-hati. Disini berarti bahwa setting atau tempat kejadian juga harus berperan untuk turut mendukung jalannya cerita. Hal itu tidak berarti Anda harus selalu memilih setting yang tipikal dan mudah ditebak. Sebagai contoh, beberapa setting yang paling menakutkan bagi sebuah cerita seram bukanlah kuburan atau rumah tua, tapi tempat-tempat biasa yang sering dijumpa pembaca dalam kehidupan sehari-hari mereka. Buatlah agar pembaca juga seolah-olah merasakan suasana cerita lewat setting yang telah dipilih tadi.

Penokohan
Untuk menjaga efektivitas cerita, sebuah cerpen cukup memiliki sekitar tiga tokoh utama saja, karena terlalu banyak tokoh malah bisa mengaburkan jalan cerita Anda. Jangan terlalu terbawa untuk memaparkan sedetail-detailnya latar belakang tiap tokoh tersebut. Tentukan tokoh mana yang paling penting dalam mendukung cerita dan fokuskan diri padanya. Jika Anda memang jatuh cinta pada tokoh-tokoh Anda, pakailah mereka sebagai dasar dalam novel Anda kelak.

Dialog
Jangan menganggap enteng kekuatan dialog dalam mendukung penokohan karakter Anda, sebaliknya dialog harus mampu turut bercerita dan mengembangkan cerita Anda. Jangan hanya menjadikan dialog hanya sebagai pelengkap untuk menghidupkan tokoh Anda. Tiap kata yang ditaruh dalam mulut tokoh-tokoh Anda juga harus berfungsi dalam memunculkan tema cerita. Jika ternyata dialog tersebut tidak mampu mendukung tema, ambil langkah tegas dengan menghapusnya.

Alur
Buat paragraf pembuka yang menarik yang cukup membuat pembaca penasaran untuk mengetahui apa yang akan terjadi selanjutnya. Pastikan bahwa alur Anda lengkap, artinya harus ada pembukaan, pertengahan cerita dan penutup. Akan tetapi, Anda juga tidak perlu terlalu berlama-lama dalam membangun cerita, sehingga klimaks atau penyelesaian cerita hanya muncul dalam satu kalimat, dan membuat pembaca merasa terganggu dan bingung dalam artian negatif, bukannya terpesona. Jangan pula membuat "twist ending" (penutup yang tak terduga) yang dapat terbaca terlalu dini, usahakan supaya pembaca tetap menebak-nebak sampai saat-saat terakhir. Jika Anda membuat cerita yang bergerak cepat, misalnya cerita tentang kriminalitas, jagalah supaya paragraf dan kalimat-kalimat Anda tetap singkat. Ini adalah trik untuk mengatur kecepatan dan memperkental nuansa yang ingin Anda sajikan pada pembaca.

Baca ulang
Pembaca dapat dengan mudah terpengaruh oleh format yang tidak rapi, penggunanaan tanda baca dan tata bahasa yang salah. Jangan biarkan semua itu mengganggu cerita Anda, selalu periksa dan periksa kembali.

http://pelitaku.sabda.org/user/team_e_penulis
Bahan diterjemahkan dan diringkas oleh Ary dari sumber: http://www.write101.com/shortstory.htm

alat tempur jadul:
KBBI offline
Kamus Id-En vice-versa
« Last Edit: May 14, 2011, 10:01:24 am by asrina_1986 »
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