If you enjoyed or found that the lesson helped you, please comment below; I love getting feedback on what you enjoyed and what I can improve. If you wish for me to break the lessons up, comment below; if you have complaints, comment below. Especially if you have questions, comment below. But if you hate on people who seek help because they were smart enough to look for it, you will get murdered in your sleep. To be honest, I'm pretty protective, and flaming on people that are just trying to improve is the lowest of the low, so you will get your ass handed to you. By reading further or even commenting on or about these lessons, you are agreeing not to hate, degrade or flame.
But for those willing to learn, stick around, because you are welcome here! I hope this really helps you, and you'll have a better understanding and more confidence in writing. Just a starter encouragement that even though some tips may seem hard to follow, you'll get the hang of it! Improvement comes with practice, and good artists are always learning! Read on!
It has now come to light that some of these tips may not fit various writing styles, so feel free to organize and edit the tips in your on personal zone yourself. If you want a lesson on a certain writing style, I'll try my best, but I usually just go for the general writing style on DeviantART.
((For more awesome details on "Writing With Anxnymous" Lessons, including commission details, see the description below ))
Around DeviantART I've seen a lot of fanfiction without the correct use of punctuation, vocabulary and indents for dialogue. I admit, it frustrates me and most of the time, I do click the 'back' button 90% of the time. Writing your dialogue correctly is crucial, especially when your story revolves around dialogue or features a lot of talking/thought. If you cannot do this properly, many of your might-be Watchers and future fans would NOT read through your story.
Writing dialogue can be particularly helpful to add a little spice in your stories or personality in your character; things that keep your reader interested. Also, punctuating dialogue correctly creates an organized, easy-to-read piece of writing that your fellow Watchers and Deviants will appreciate fully or subconsciously. The flow of the story is better and people can keep track of what's going on. Dialogue is a crucial part to most pieces of writing; action, adventures, romance, mysteries and so many other exciting genres.
So if your piece of writing is looking like a lot of speech mushed up into one huge paragraph, you need to stop right there. What you need right now is to 'organize' your writing. Here are some rules and tips on how to do it.
Tip #1: Use your speech marks!
This may sound elementary to some of you, but it's surprising how many people don't use speech marks! For those who aren't familiar with them, they are the punctuation symbols that look like this: ( " " ). -Not including brackets and fullstops-
Where do you use speech marks? You use speech marks at the very beginning of when a character is speaking and another one at the end of the speech of your character. Example #1: "Eat your breakfast quickly or you'll be late for the bus again." End of Example #1 Note that you put the full stop to end the speech before the ending speech mark. Do not do something like this: "Eat your breakfast quickly or you'll be late for the bus again". End of WRONG example That is wrong, wrong, wrong! You always put the punctuation before the ending speech mark.
Should I use speech marks for thoughts (not spoken aloud)? I advise that you do use speech marks for thought, except you could use quotation marks instead, so readers will be able to know straight away which is thought and which is speech. These are quotation marks: ( ' ' ). -Not including brackets and fullstops- They look kinda like singular speech marks right? Just remember that they're different things. Also, another way of showing speech clearly is using italics; when your font looks like it's slanting to the right a little. These two tips can be combined or used seperately, just remember to keep it consistent; if you're using a particular one at the start, write thought like that until the story is finished or you might confuse or frustrate the reader.
:says: You're doing great!
Tip #2: Don't capitalize the words afterwards
A lot of people capitalize the words after the speech marks. WRONG Example #1: "There's a llama outside our house again, Bill," Screamed Jennifer. WRONG Example #1 End Or something along those lines of Example #1. The word 'screamed' in Example #1 does not need to be capitalized! You write it like this.... Example #1: "There's a llama outside our house again, Bill," screamed JenniferOR Example #2 "There's a llama outside our house again, Bill!" screamed Jennifer OR Example #3 "Why is there a llama outside our house again, Bill?" asked Jennifer. End of Examples Even if there is a question mark or exclamation mark, you still do not capitalize it.
EDIT: mentioned that you DO HAVE TO put a comma before names if the character talking is directly talking to another character. Nicknames and full names count. Example #1: "Please stop doing that, Naomi." End of Example #1 But if your character is just talking about someone without talking to them directly, the comma can be left out.
There is an exception to capitalizing words after the speech, and that is when you are putting an action in the middle or something along those lines
This gets a little complicated sometimes because there is a little bit of grey area in itself. I'll give you an example first, so you don't get confused with what I'm explaining. Example #4: "You can only decline or accept the deal; there are no negotiations." The detective put down his tea cup and looked Jack straight in the eye. "It's your choice." End of Example #4 In this little example, you can pick up that both bits of speech is spoken by the detective and not by Jack. But you also know that the detective stopped halfway to put down his tea cup to look Jack in the eye. The word straight after the speech ('The') is capitalized because it isn't what we call the tag line; stuff that describes how the speech was said, or who said it. The statement after the speech was an additional action put in between the dialogue.
Adding action in between the speech can add suspense, action or other effect to your writing; especially when you've set the scene. In Example #4 you can tell that the detective was holding or sipping at his teacup before he had put it down. Putting the teacup down could symbolize the signal for a decision or the end of a conversation. Action between speech creates effect and hooks and helps your reader imagine BUT ONLY IF USED CORRECTLY. Just follow these basic tips and you'll be fine!
Tip #3: Use characters and verbs
What's a story without a witty protagonist or a thick-skulled (yet funny) sidekick? Adding characters to your speech really gives your reader the personality of the character and the concrete fact of whose speaking. Tons of stories I've read just have lines and lines of speech that aren't connected to any particular character!
Applying the tips from above, add a character in. Example #1: "The only thing that Carl's mum could do without collapsing is take up the whole of the living room and the conjoining kitchen," said Tony. End of Example #1 No offense to any Carl's and their mums out there, but you can really see Tony's a jerk or joker right? It also implies that Tony likes to pick on people, or maybe pick on Carl especially. Also, the readers actually know it's Tony talking, not a random character that burst through the window.
While you use characters at the end of your dialogues, use fitting verbs too! Okay, so you know Tony's a real jerk (let's go with that), so have some dialogue verb that fits his character. Example #2: "Don't worry Carl; I'll let you shine my shoes," Tony sneered, smirking at Carl.End of Example #2 Okay, so not only did Tony just insult Carl, he had the audacity to smirk at him too! See, Tony really is a jerk.
This creates a character with an actual personality; dialogue can definitely help you do this! Adverbs (words that describe a verb eg. happily, loudly, slowly) can add more effect on the character. Just be careful that you don't overload the reader with too much detail!
Tip #4: Start a new line every time a different character speaks!
It's amazing how many people don't know this! It is important to start a new line every time a new character speaks. This helps organize the story into clean paragraphs and give the reader less of an eye-strain and headache.
WRONG Example #1: "Are you coming with me or what?" asked Cato clearly annoyed. "I am, just hold you horses," answered Payne. "Hurry up then!" exclaimed Rachel from the kitchen. End of WRONG Example What you're supposed to be doing is starting a new line every time a new character speaks.
Example #1 Corrected:
"Are you coming with me or what?" asked Cato, clearly annoyed.
"I am, just hold you horses," answered Payne.
"Hurry up then!" exclaimed Rachel from the kitchen.
End of Example #1 Corrected
Your mind automatically pauses every time there's a new line, so technically, you make the connection that those lines are not the same. Of course they're still on the same subject (Payne being a real pain), but they're all different speakers. This may make your stories seem pretty long, but it looks so much more organized and easier to read, trust me.
Every time you start a new line, putting an indent helps the story look even more organized. Indents can be made by pressing the 'Tab' button on your computer, or similar keys on any other device. Indents are these thing:
Yup, those tiny little spaces can actually help your piece of writing look way more organized! Just make sure you're consistent in the indent size for each paragraph; they should all be the same size.
But if it doesn't look right to you, don't put them in. Your writing style is your writing style; it's okay to be on your on rules.
NEW Tip #5: Don't keep repeating the tag-line
You may find this rather contradictory on Tip #3, but repeating the tag lines for every piece of dialogue can get annoying to some readers. Yes, having tag lines that add personality to the character is great, but don't choke your story full of tag lines. You know you're doing this if (Insert character here) is exclaiming too many times, or (Insert another char.) is muttering too much.
You can add personality into the character with the way they speak and what words they use.
Not adding taglines is extremely handy when have a one-on-one conversation between two characters. Example #1:
"Julius, maybe you shouldn't do that prank," warned Kevin, staring at Julius in a way that he hoped was stern.
"Ah, bugger off, Kevin m'boy. It's goin' to be all fine! Yer just being a downright worrywart, you are," retorted Julius, brushing off Kevin with a mischievous smile.
"That's what you said the last time... You ended up in the hospital for two weeks and a scar down you stomach to boot."
"Ach, yer worryin' is all fer naught! Two weeks is nuthin', and that scar? Doin' me a favour rather than a curse, really. I seem to be gettin' two times more ladies now; more, I dare say than before."
End of Example #1
That was a long example, so sorry, but you get my drift? I didn't put "Julius brushed off" or "Kevin protested" or "[Name][verb]" again and again after every piece of dialogue; I just let the words speack for themselves (ayyy). Julius is some weird Scottish dude and Kevin is a well-mannered boy that cares about his dangerous friend (I think) . You can tell when Julius is specking because of his unique way of speaking, and the ever-present protest in Kevin's voice. Stuff like this can save you space if you're working under a word count or just can't be bothered with tag lines.
This also adds personality and 'umph' to your character, but it can be a little weird and tricky to get a hang of.
Those are the
Thank you so much for reading this! I'm sure your writing will improve from here on out. Keep writing friend!
Commission Details: I'm thinking of commissioning them at 300 for each lesson, so if you don't have enough points, come to me and we'll work something out . OR you could band together with Deviants that want the same lesson as you and pay 100 each or something. I hope you guys will commission something, or just stick around until I get around to a lucky lesson that you want. Bye! EDIT: I have decided that 300 is quite a lot, so maybe around 100-150 depending on the complexity or effort put in the lesson. A Commission Journal will come out in due time. Do stick around and think about commissioning a lesson!