The most valuable writing advice I ever received.


RPG Superstar™ 2008 General Discussion

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

And it came to mind several times while wading through these 32 entries.

"White space is your friend."

In other words, break up the text and use the layout of the words to your advantage. Don't make it hard to read and decode, spread it out and make it easier to follow.

Use white space to set apart the important points.

Especially in digital format, white space is free, and it can make a lot of difference in the readability of yor writing.

Several of the entries could have benefitted from a bit more white space. :-)

Liberty's Edge Star Voter Season 6

Clouds Without Water wrote:


And it came to mind several times while wading through these 32 entries.

"White space is your friend."

In other words, break up the text and use the layout of the words to your advantage. Don't make it hard to read and decode, spread it out and make it easier to follow.

Use white space to set apart the important points.

Especially in digital format, white space is free, and it can make a lot of difference in the readability of yor writing.

Several of the entries could have benefitted from a bit more white space. :-)

And I thought it was "Never engage in a land war in Asia".


The best writing advice I ever got was "everybody writes crap. The good writers are the ones who go back and take it out again."


emveedasher wrote:
And I thought it was "Never engage in a land war in Asia".

He did specify writing advice!

Liberty's Edge Star Voter Season 6

CassandraE wrote:
emveedasher wrote:
And I thought it was "Never engage in a land war in Asia".
He did specify writing advice!

OK, I won't write about land wars in Asia. Good enough?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6 aka Core

Best advice?

Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them - in order that the reader may see what they are made of. The same goes for Heroes.


"Read more."

--Zulfikar Ghose

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka Sir_Wulf

Best Advice?

Read your words aloud to yourself. Otherwise, your mind will just gloss over the errors you make. Additionally, find friends who aren't afraid of hurting your feelings to critique your work. They can find the errors that you didn't. They can also tell you whether it's crap.

Paizo Employee Managing Developer , Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Mine?

Stop using crayons.


Fletch wrote:
The best writing advice I ever got was "everybody writes crap. The good writers are the ones who go back and take it out again."

Very similar to what I consider the best writing I ever got (from Ray Bradbury): "Throw up, then clean up".

As for the best guide: Strunk & White's Elements of Style. Can't go wrong with that.

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4

Clouds Without Water wrote:


And it came to mind several times while wading through these 32 entries.

"White space is your friend."

Well said. For the best damn guide I've ever, EVER seen regarding the gentle art of writing, in which that exact sentiment is echoed, check out Phil Phantom's very, VERY not-safe-for-work "Guide to Writing Good Trash.

Oh, and: it's not safe for work. Here's the page:

http://www.darkerotica.net/GuideToWritingGoodTrash.html

BTW: NSFW.

Enjoy.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Clouds Without Water wrote:
Especially in digital format, white space is free...

And it doesn't even play against the maximum word count!

Scarab Sages

Clouds Without Water wrote:


And it came to mind several times while wading through these 32 entries.

"White space is your friend."

Several of the entries could have benefitted from a bit more white space. :-)

AMEN, brother! Preach on!

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6 aka exile

Excellent read Boomer.

Chad

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4

exile wrote:

Excellent read Boomer.

Chad

Thank you, sir - glad to be of assistance.

I've got that sucker perma-bookmarked, and have given under-the-table print-outs of the Guide to most of my writing, composition and rhetoric instructors.

Not a fan (or 'Phan', as they're called in the dark corners of the net) of Phil Phantom's actual work, mostly because of his extremely obscene subject material, but he has a way with evocative, colloquial language that cannot be denied.


thatboomerkid wrote:
exile wrote:

Excellent read Boomer.

Chad

Thank you, sir - glad to be of assistance.

I've got that sucker perma-bookmarked, and have given under-the-table print-outs of the Guide to most of my writing, composition and rhetoric instructors.

Not a fan (or 'Phan', as they're called in the dark corners of the net) of Phil Phantom's actual work, mostly because of his extremely obscene subject material, but he has a way with evocative, colloquial language that cannot be denied.

Boomer, if you haven't (and this may be highly unlikely), check out Hubert Selby, Jr. Particularly, I'd suggest 'Last Exit to Brooklyn.'

He excels in the areas you discuss with a more literary subject matter. It's still a very tough read (due to the heavy subject matter, not heavy writing), but he's just a remarkable writer.

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4

propeliea wrote:


Boomer, if you haven't (and this may be highly unlikely), check out Hubert Selby, Jr. Particularly, I'd suggest 'Last Exit to Brooklyn.'

He excels in the areas you discuss with a more literary subject matter. It's still a very tough read (due to the heavy subject matter, not heavy writing), but he's just a remarkable writer.

Sweeeeeeeeeeeet - a new book for Booms! And with a glowing recommendation from Allen Ginsberg, no less.

{This book will} "explode like a rusty hellish bombshell over America and still be eagerly read in a hundred years."

I thank you.

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8

thatboomerkid wrote:
Clouds Without Water wrote:


And it came to mind several times while wading through these 32 entries.

"White space is your friend."

Well said. For the best damn guide I've ever, EVER seen regarding the gentle art of writing, in which that exact sentiment is echoed, check out Phil Phantom's very, VERY not-safe-for-work "Guide to Writing Good Trash.

Oh, and: it's not safe for work. Here's the page:

http://www.darkerotica.net/GuideToWritingGoodTrash.html

BTW: NSFW.

Enjoy.

Excellent.

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4

Starglim wrote:


Excellent.

I'm glad that people seem to dig it - the Guide has certainly helped me as a writer. The best part is probably the short Army training film "What's a META For?", but his tips for e-writing are quick and clear enough that I could post them here:

From the Guide:

Writing in bits and bytes is all you can ever hope to do if you aspire to be a great trash writer. Nobody is going to waste good paper on this s!~~.

Readers won't turn your pages or toss your book. They'll scroll and delete. If you don't grab your reader and hold 'em by the short and curlies, they're outta here.

If your writing is difficult to follow on a scrolling monitor, they're outta here. White space is your friend. Short paragraphs are good. Put white space between short paragraphs. Many authors like to put two spaces after each sentence.

Use good punctuation. Those little marks help readers make sense of what makes perfect sense to you.

And on the topic of punctuation, of course:

Melville hardly needed any punctuation until they caught up with the whale. Mark Twain, in fact, used no punctuation. After his editor chastised him for this, Twain sent in a page full of periods, commas, colons, semi-colons and such with the following note:

"Here is the punctuation marks you wanted put them where you want them"

Genius.

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8

Some of the same advice from George Orwell:

Politics and the English Language

"1. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous. "


If you don't mind formal language which is a bit archaic (I love it!), Herbert Spencer's 'Philosophy of Style' is definitely worth checking out.
Really valuable material about composing effectively.

http://www.gutenberg.org/catalog/world/readfile?fk_files=8596

Star Voter Season 7

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Rust Hills. Most appropriate for those interested in the art of the short story (literary).

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