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101201 No. 101201
#Author #Discussion
Hello all! Golden Vision, reviewer, here.

I've noticed that inexperienced writers tend to have trouble "breaking into" a fandom, especially one with such relatively high standard for writing as MLP:FiM. I've also noted that quite a few more "experienced" writers tend to be very well accomplished in most areas, with one or two that they just can't seem to get right.

To help with these issues, you can, of course, always read such wonderful contributions to the community as The Editor's Omnibus or EZN's Guide (links at the bottom of this post). I'm not saying that these aren't extremely helpful—they're really wonderful for any aspiring writer—but sometimes words on a page aren't really enough. Sometimes, a more hands-on approach is needed.

So! This Wednesday, May 9th, at 3:30 PM EST, I will be hosting a livestreamed Writing Workshop in order to help any authors who might be interested. Though novice writers are the main demographic, I will gladly lend a hand to any others who think they need or want a hand with a specific issue. Other reviewers or prereaders are also welcome to attend if they would like to help out as well (especially because I hold no illusions that I am the perfect author—I have my blind spots as well).

So, any authors wishing to attend may submit one or two issues in a post through this thread, and I will add it into a queue of things to address during the livestream. For example:

>Can you go over Show, Don't Tell? I keep getting people saying that there's too much of that in my stories, but I don't really get it.

—Would be a perfect example of a post to this thread. If you would like, you may submit a short vignette to my email (golden.vision94) of your writing (no more than 500 words) that you deem representative of the problem, and I may use that as a public example during the livestream itself. Also, even if you don't have a specific issue, feel free to attend regardless—the more the merrier, and you might find that one of the discussed issues is one that you yourself have trouble with occasionally.

The Workshop starts at 3:30 PM EST, but I will be online around 3 to make sure that everything is working right.

So come on in—don't be shy! Whether you're an inexperienced author who's been too afraid to post on a review thread, or a veteran who wants to lend a helping hand and opinion, feel free to step on in! Let's make this something both fun and useful.

See you there!
Golden Vision

EZN's Guide: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xemG7BLk2rvAmQCREIaj5wX2ubvmVt7WziEvh7xXV9g/edit

The Editor's Omnibus: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1WMMs8H-GpFIXPsQeC0RNu8V-Cq6uyGl_UERpOUK_6KY/edit

Livestream Google Doc (For examples): https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pT5gAzD0KHWY1qXO9vSXcmCYjBRJadjGr4u5AunEhas/edit

Livestream Channel: http://www.livestream.com/goldenvisionswritersworkshop
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>> No. 101204
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If all y'all who don't live in the States wanna know when this is a happenin', hit up this here link.

Lookin' forward to it, GV!
>> No. 101209
I was just thinking of organizing a workshop of sorts myself (although it would have been more of a story peer-review group). Hopefully I'll be able to make it.
>> No. 101223
Remember guys: even if you don't have a specific topic to submit, you should still feel free to RSVP here so that I have a good idea of how many people to expect on Wednesday.
>> No. 101225
That's not really reliable since there's a lot of places whose time-zone is some kind of "EST" (e.g., for me it interpreted EST as AEST, or +10 UTC). I mean, America is in the west as far as time-zones are concerned, so why would their EST even be the EST?

Here's a more reliable linky link: http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=May+9+19%3A30+UTC
>> No. 101227
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>3:30 EST


But seriously, good luck with this. I've thought about it before but never got around to it. It's always cool to see community members contribute in new ways.
>> No. 101228

Oh cool, I might want to be part of—

>Time is 3PM EST

Too early for me, muchacho.
>> No. 101230
Something that I seem to have trouble with, and may be helpful for any other writers, is that my transitions between scenes are lackluster.

In my case, my smaller stories don't suffer as much. They tend to be one or two scene affairs, and the transitions don't need to do much, just show that time has passed and non-important bits have been skipped. However, for my main story, I not only have a lot of scenes, many have major jumps in time AND shifts in character perspective. So, any advice on how to approach them better would be much appreciated.
>> No. 101233
Heh. I will admit that you are where I got the idea from. If it works, why not steal it?

Yargh. Imma pirate.

Well, it'll likely go on for a few hours, so there's no reason why you can't just drop in halfway through (if you feel like it).
>> No. 101235
Added to the queue! Check the GDoc for the "curriculum."
>> No. 101236

I'd suggest some crash courses in dialogue, particularly on how to make it sound like the character without going overboard.

Barring that, there's also weather reports, LUS, and whole lot of things that'd be fun to go over.
>> No. 101237
Great ideas! Keep 'em coming!

Shit, now I have to draw up a lesson plan :D I got this.
>> No. 101241
I humbly request anything you have to say on Show, Don't Tell. I've been trying a few things. Describing what the characters are hearing, smelling, feeling. But it still comes off awkward. I don't think I'm doing it right...
>> No. 101242
Here's a different one I suppose. I would like to hear what you have to say about the problem a lot of writers have regarding planning. The conventional advice is to have a comprehensive plan from the start, but most of us (read: me) havent had that properly drilled into us. If you could find a way to really teach that, a kind of "plotting clinic," I would love to hear it.
>> No. 101243
As Sethisto says:

To the queueueueueueue!
>> No. 101245
Hey Golden, I think it's really cool that you're having a workshop!

My problem with writing right now is kinda more complex. I'm past a lot of the simple issues, since I've been writing for a while. My question is:

How to piece together the events of a story? How to effectively write the more minor events in a way that leads up to a climax?

My problem with writing as that sometimes I feel like everything I put down has to be SUPER significant and important. As such, I find it difficult to:
-First of all, simply think of what simple scenes should go in the story that lead up to the climax
-Secondly, write these scenes effectively.

I hope my question makes sense. If you want me to clarify, just let me know.

I look forward to the stream!
>> No. 101253
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With any luck, Seth will be saying that to me sometime this week. ;)
>> No. 101267
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Many fics suffer from bad sentence structure. You could go over the 5 main types of sentences as well as preposition, subjugation, and adverbials.

5 basic sentences being:

Subject + verb (John runs.)
Subject + transitive verb + direct object (John ran sunday.)
Subject + transitive verb + indirect object + direct object (John owes Tim money.)
Subject + copular verb + complement of the copular verb (John is handsome.)
Subject + transitive verb + direct object + object complement (People nominated John 'Prettiest in Show.')

I see a lot of people who don't use the full spectrum of sentence types, or use a single one too often. Demonstrating a wider spectrum of sentences would probably help spruce up many people's writing.

Mind you this may be a more advanced lesson. I'm not sure gearing this for newcomers would work out so well. You could do something a lot more basic on sentence variation. Maybe just paraphrasing to show different ways something can be said, and how the focus of the sentence changes depending on how two clauses are linked.


Something on cutting down unnecessary flab and filler that kills writing. Going over things like

>I did something that everyone knows you shouldn't do -- that being I slept with my best friend.

which is very flabby and should be cut down to

>I did something stupid. I slept with my best friend.

I'm sure there's tons of examples of writing like that you can come up with. I see it everywhere.

I'm sure you already have too many ideas, but thirdly: you could do something on weaving body language and actions in between dialogue (I need work on that, as you may know).

Just my two cents.
>> No. 101268
>John runs Sunday
Unless Sunday is a thing that he's running, then the day would be an indirect object, comme:
>John runs on Sunday.
>> No. 101271
Well, it's possible that sunday is a proper noun and the name of an event tht is regularly run.

Or what you said, which is more likely.
>> No. 101276
I don't really think that's a good way of categorising sentences, at least, not enough that you could call it the 5 basic sentences. The distinctions between sentences you've made there are more about the properties of verbs than the properties of sentences. I prefer to categorise sentences as:

 – Declarative mood: requires a subject and a finite verb. How many objects it has is dependent on the verb.
 – Imperative mood: requires a finite verb. The verb has an implicit subject sometimes named in an address: "Get your ass over here, private!"
 – Interjections: phrases that can stand on their own as a complete sentence.
>> No. 101280
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Looking forward to it.
>> No. 101290
Just so you all know, I'm currently banging out my lesson plans/activities for this little event. Remember—the sooner you submit a topic to go over, the more time I have to prepare for it!
>> No. 101515
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Remember guys—the livestream is tomorrow, at 3:30 PM EST. This is your last chance to submit a topic for discussion.

Looking forward to seeing you all there!


The current queue is:
1. Scene Transitions (PoV, Timeskips) - JKinsely
2. Dialogue (IC) - Cassius
3. Lavender Unicorn Syndrome - Cassius
4. Introduction (Hooks) - Cassius
5. Show, Don’t Tell - Jake The Army Guy
6. Plotting - TacticalRainboom
7. Scene Planning - Nicholas Taylor
8. Sentence Variation/Structure - soundslikeponies
9. Brainstorming - Nicholas Taylor

(Though not necessarily in that order)
>> No. 101517
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How long will it last for?
>> No. 101521
Probably a couple of hours. This won't be some speedrun of English. If you figure about 20 minutes per "lesson", it comes out to 3 hours. 15 minutes per lesson, and it looks closer to 2:15.
>> No. 101537
Sounds good.
>> No. 101553
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Is it going to be recorded for later viewing? This seems like it could be very helpful, however innopportune. [if a viewer would like to take the initiative, it wouldn't be too hard to turn on a screen-casting app during the stream]
>> No. 101575
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I checked, and Livestream.com actually automatically records things for you to download. I'll do my best to have the whole thing up on Youtube or something by the next night (my account is animeguy110).

Of course, I'm not sure how we'll get such a long video onto Youtube in the first place, but mreh.
>> No. 101577
Hmm... I want to contribute to this for no other reason than to contribute to a live stream, so I guess I'll put this out there:

How to establish different moods effectively. There are little tricks of the trade that good authors use to give the reader a sense of light chippiness (for a comedic story), harrowing terror (for a horror/thriller story), bleak melancholy (for a dark story), pleasant romanticism (for a shipping story), smiling warmth (for a slice-of-life story), and oodles of other moods and atmospheres.

There are many different ways of establishing these, and every little detail counts in setting up the overall mood. Readers notice this by virtue of experiencing the emotions the writer wants them to, but it's rather abstract to pin-point the specific things writers focus on to garner these emotions int he reader. Touching on that would be interesting. :D
>> No. 101580
Oh mah gawd, I want to go to this so badly (even though I feel like I'm an okay writer already)!!!

Maybe if I can get my dumb essay done. You HAD to schedule this the night I was going to do my essay...
>> No. 101590
Hmm, this sounds pretty cool. I'll try to be there, especially since MLP is the first fandom that has inspired me to want to write : )
>> No. 101652
Annoyingly, due to real life issues, I shall have to push back the start time of the livestream to 4 PM EST (that is, half an hour later). I will still be on for testing and preliminary questions at 3, but I'll have to leave shortly between 3:30 and 3:45. It shouldn't take too long, though.

>> No. 101655
Ooh, I get to see more of it! Flutteryay!

I get off of work at 1700 (5:00 PM for you lucky civilians) so I'll be there with bells on!
>> No. 101656
Hmm... so it will begin at half nine, huh. I guess I could stay for an hour and a half, or two before heading to bed.
>> No. 101734
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Just so you guys know this is live right now.
>> No. 101750

Of all the possible things that could happen, this was THE



>> No. 101751
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>> No. 105076
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Well, it's taken me almost a freaking month, but I've finally gotten the entirety of the Livestream Writing Workshop up on Youtube! You can find the link to each segment below. Feel free to comment, like, etc. If there's any interest in another Livestream, then I may do one in the coming month or so. Hope you all enjoy this or find it helpful!

-Golden Vision

I. Brainstorming http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0tu12YUxos
II. Plotting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsAiqQC8Uyk
III. Characters http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHveKQw3yyI
IV. Introduction (Hooks) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p11WfoBHqtw
V. Scene Transitions http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Pyu8MB6yRM
VI. Setting the Mood http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIk9u-gObYY
VII. Show, Don't Tell http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KBSLy5FX8Q
VIII. Lavender Unicorn Syndrome http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fA79Y9wZqAk
IX. Dialogue http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYi72lvqfQ4
X. Sentence Variation & Structure http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y17NcNincwQ
XI. Scene Design http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgrW741lBj0
XII. Pacing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83La4U_YvwY

Full Playlist: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0tu12YUxos&list=PLCAACA90D4CE12B1B&index=1&feature=plpp_video
(Above link proceeds from I-XII)
>> No. 105081
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Oh wow! Dat's a lot of useful-looking info. Gonna have to watch this tonight. Thanks for uploading!
>> No. 105208

My arch-nemesis. Lemme repost Nicholas Taylor's example from chat.

>On the counter sat the newest Daring Do book, the cover obscured by a thick layer of dust. Twilight was still waiting to give it to Rainbow Dash the next time the pegasus visited Ponyville.

Bolded the section in question. You obviously wouldn't want to say Rainbow Dash there; you just used Rainbow Dash's name a few words ago.
>On the counter sat the newest Daring Do book, the cover obscured by a thick layer of dust. Twilight was still waiting to give it to Rainbow Dash the next time Rainbow Dash visited Ponyville.
I especially cringe at a construction where you'd have two sentences back to back using the same name.
>She wanted to give the book to Rainbow Dash. Rainbow Dash loved Daring Do.

You also can't use "she" in either of these examples. Well, I mean, you can. If the reader sits down and thinks about it, they can probably figure out what you meant.
>On the counter sat the newest Daring Do book, the cover obscured by a thick layer of dust. Twilight was still waiting to give it to Rainbow Dash the next time she visited Ponyville.
>She wanted to give the book to Rainbow Dash. She loved Daring Do.
Okay, it's possible that Twilight is traveling abroad, and she intends to give the book to Rainbow Dash the next time she returns home. In the second example, it's possible Twilight is referring to her own love of the books ("I own all of them *squee*"). But it's more likely that "she" refers to Rainbow Dash. Thing is, I was taught that this was bad. You don't want your reader to have to sit there and think "wait, who is 'she'? Oh, I guess it's Rainbow Dash" and ponder it for even a second, because it breaks reader immersion. Double bad if the reader incorrectly guesses a pronoun ("She"? I guess "she" is Rainbow Dash, based on the last sentence. "She trotted over to her boutique..." Dammit, "she" was Rarity, now I have to reread the paragraph.) Pronouns, thus, should be used only when they're exceptionally clear from context. shazb0t brought up concerns of seven mares in the same room. I sympathize.

Nonsanity suggested a non-color-race descriptor.
>On the counter sat the newest Daring Do book, the cover obscured by a thick layer of dust. Twilight was still waiting to give it to Rainbow Dash the next time her friend visited Ponyville.
>She wanted to give the book to Rainbow Dash. Her friend loved Daring Do.
I guess this is fine? (Inb4 maybe her friend means RD's friend). Too much of this can fall into a worse form of LUS though, right? E.g. referring to Pinkie Pie as "Ponyville's premier party planner". LUS doesn't have to literally include race and/or color to be grating.

So the recommendation from GV and soundslikeponies and a few others, was to restructure the sentences. Which is what I tend to find myself doing. Sometimes it cleans things up or improves the prose, but other times it just gets clunky and kills the pacing. And I hate tampering with pacing just because I can't use one itty bitty harmless little "pegasus".
>On the counter sat the newest Daring Do book, the cover obscured by a thick layer of dust. Rainbow Dash was currently performing weather duties in Canterlot, but Twilight was still planning to give her the book when she returned to Ponyville.
>Rainbow Dash had been harassing her for weeks about when the newest Daring Do book would arrive. When a conspicuous brown package arrived on her doorstep this morning, Twilight Sparkle knew she'd need to let her know the good news right away.
I dunno. I guess my thought is to try refactors like above, but I tend to slip in "the pegasus" as a last resort, rather than go for a clunky refactor. I still feel like "don't use pegasus in place of she ever" is just a bit of community over-sensitization due to particularly bad LUS abuse in the past, but that's just my two bits.
>> No. 105215
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With Rainbow Dash, you also have "Dash" to work with:

>On the counter sat the newest Daring Do book, the cover obscured by a thick layer of dust. Twilight was still waiting to give it to Rainbow Dash the next time Dash visited Ponyville.

You can also try moving the names and pronouns around a bit to find a better configuration, without having to restructure the sentence.

>On the counter sat the newest Daring Do book, the cover obscured by a thick layer of dust. Twilight was still waiting to give it to her the next time Rainbow Dash visited Ponyville.

That only works if Dash had been mentioned immediately prior to these lines, which I'm guessing might not be the case in this instance.

But of course, rewording is always an option:

>Twilight glanced at the counter where the newest Daring Do book lay, the cover obscured by a thick layer of dust, still waiting for Rainbow Dash to return to Ponyville.

Since both Twilight and the book are equally waiting for Dash, the final phrase is doubly enforced. Also, by adding in Twilight's glance, the sentence has a bit more of an emotional element than pure descriptive info dump, since now she's actively waiting and aware of Dash's absence, if only for a passing moment. Of course, that may not be your intent.

When I find myself needing to reword, I aim for something smaller and/or tighter rather than expanding the word count. That reduces the final name and pronoun count.

LUS just replaces one problem with another. :)
>> No. 105216
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And since I made the ribbon in order to make that last pic, here it is on its own for anyone else that wants it. Might be useful... :)
>> No. 105218
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>Heh, that ribbon is pretty cute. I might have to use that.
>Oh ponyfeathers, that's going to be every third image on TTG, won't it?

>When I find myself needing to reword, I aim for something smaller and/or tighter rather than expanding the word count. That reduces the final name and pronoun count.
Mmm, maybe that's my problem. Per my examples, my rewords tend to increase word count. I always justify it, in that my first draft is usually dry and needs more description and showing and whatnot anyway, but it often introduces clunkiness. I'll try keeping things tighter like you suggest. Cheers.
>> No. 105229
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All finished! Very useful stuff. Thanks for hosting that.

If you run another one of these, I'd enjoy seeing an expansion of the dialogue section. Namely, you were pointing out that it's possible to overdo most character quirks if you aren't careful. Rarity using "darling" every sentence, Pinkie Pie using excessive laugher or exclamations, AJ using "Ah" (personal pet peeve), anything involving "Lunalogue" as the chatroom named it, etc. Maybe it would be helpful to crib some examples off existing works, and say "this is a good balance, while this is overkill."

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