How to Improve Your Story
It doesn’t matter if you’re at the beginning of a story or just finishing it, because there is always room for improvement. Sometimes it’s hard to know where you’re going wrong, so here are some tips that you might find useful. Note this is not a checklist to the perfect story, but just some points for you to consider.
Do You Have Correct Grammar?
I know you’ve probably seen this so many times, but there are still people who don’t do it! Grammar, spelling and correct capitalization are so important. If you think you don’t know, for example, how to write dialogue properly (or someone has commented on it), then Google it and find out, or search the forums or tutorials on Mibba. Also, make sure that if you leave author’s notes, you continue to write correctly in them. You look much more professional if you end a good chapter with “Thank you for your comments; they are very appreciated.” rather than “thnx guyz 4 the commentz - - - i appreciate it!”.
Can I Expand my Vocabulary?
This goes hand in hand with the above tip. Learning more words to use instead of “big” and “sad” greatly improves your writing, as does learning new grammar points. It’s always good to not repeat a certain word in a paragraph and to switch between a few different adjectives. Just be careful to not get carried away with never using simple words like “happy” and “said”, or constantly using ridiculous words that no one will know the meaning of.
Is it Realistic?
This is crucial, even if you are talking about vampires and werewolves. Make sure that those characters seem like they could be real. Get some facts about the supernatural beings and stick with those throughout the whole story. If your story is going to include a disease, a drug, a sex scene, or anything else you are unfamiliar with, then get a good idea about it before you write it. Make it familiar so it flows easier, and isn’t awkward or inaccurate.
This next part goes for everyone, though it is much more common in young Mibbians with original female characters in fan fictions. Don’t have inappropriate characters (usually seen with the pictures of the characters). To make them more realistic, make sure the character picture actually suits the person you have created. If she is 30 years old, don’t have a picture of a teenage punk girl to represent her, and if she’s very shy and quiet, don’t have a picture of a confident blonde trophy wife. Use your common sense as you set up your story, and don’t just pick the prettiest picture. Another note for fan fiction writers: make your celebrity in character. Recently there has been some conflict about movie characters being the complete opposite of how they were in the movie. This is okay if you are writing about an alternate universe, but if it’s set in the same universe, you should take care to keep your characters similar to how they are in real life.
Perfection Does Not Exist!
This is a surprisingly big issue. Steer clear of perfect situations! Yes, it is nice to write about two lovers having a perfect relationship together and living happily ever after, or the nerdy girl fitting in with the popular kids, but that doesn’t happen. There are rarely perfect real life stories, so don’t make your story perfect. Besides, perfect gets boring to read pretty quickly… Have you considered giving your story a sad ending where they don’t live happily ever after, just to shock your readers? Not everything has to be idealistic.
Another thing to avoid is a Mary Sue character. Be certain to give your character flaws. Make the characters have problems to overcome throughout the story to make it more interesting to read. Readers will be able to relate easier to the main character if they aren’t put on a pedestal.
Are There Enough Emotions?
Make sure you fill your story with more than just a plot. No one wants to read “This happened and then this happened and then this happened…”, so spice things up with some emotions. As long as they are appropriate and not overdone, you’ll end up with a much more convincing story. If you are struggling to write them nicely, try reading other stories and see how other people write it, or reflect on your own memories and how you felt during a specific time.
Don’t Forget Silly Mistakes!
A very common mistake I see is when people write in first person (that’s using “I”) and say something along the lines of “I didn’t realize that I smiled.”. With first person, if the “I” character doesn’t realize or see something, then you can’t write it. You can only say what they do notice. It’s a silly mistake, but can easily be avoided by being aware as you proofread. Don’t forget to check for typos either. Sometimes you’ll type “on” instead of “in”. It happens. The “i" and “o” button are right next to each other, and they’re both words so spellcheck won’t notice. But you can notice. It doesn’t take that long to reread your chapter before you post it to ensure you don’t have any silly mistakes.
Just do it. For your readers and for yourself. Don’t be lazy; instead, strive for that satisfaction when you can finally stop typing and acknowledge that your masterpiece is done.
Use it to Improve in the Future
This is another good reason to finish your story. Once it’s done, you can take all the constructive criticism you’ve received and see what you could have done better overall. Could you have improved the plot? Was there something wrong with your characters and their development? Did you repeat one certain word a lot? It can be useful to see what others think, but also to review the entire story yourself. If you can recognize what errors you made, you’ll be able to prevent it in your future stories.
April 17th, 2013 at 06:54pm
March 30th, 2013 at 04:20am
March 3rd, 2013 at 07:39am
December 20th, 2012 at 03:46am
December 18th, 2012 at 12:54am