Main Page Go to Short Stories Go back to Articles Go to Comics Go to Continued Series Go to Editorial Go to New Series

Show All | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11 | Week 12 | Week 13 | Week 14 | Week 15 | Week 16 | Week 17 | Week 18 | Week 19 | Week 20 | Week 21 | Week 22 | Week 23 | Week 24 | Week 25 | Week 26 | Week 27 | Week 28 | Week 29 | Week 30 | Week 31 | Week 32 | Week 33 | Week 34 | Week 35 | Week 36 | Week 37 | Week 38 | Week 39 | Week 40 | Week 41 | Week 42 | Week 43 | Week 44 | Week 45 | Week 46 | Week 47 | Week 48 | Week 49 | Week 50 | Week 51 | Week 52 | Week 53 | Week 54 | Week 55 | Week 56 | Week 57 | Week 58 | Week 59 | Week 60 | Week 61 | Week 62 | Week 63 | Week 64 | Week 65 | Week 66 | Week 67 | Week 68 | Week 69 | Week 70 | Week 71 | Week 72 | Week 73 | Week 74 | Week 75 | Week 76 | Week 77 | Week 78 | Week 79 | Week 80 | Week 81 | Week 82 | Week 83 | Week 84 | Week 85 | Week 86 | Week 87 | Week 88 | Week 89 | Week 90 | Week 91 | Week 92 | Week 93 | Week 94 | Week 95 | Week 96 | Week 97 | Week 98 | Week 99 | Week 100 | Week 101 | Week 102 | Week 103 | Week 104 | Week 105 | Week 106 | Week 107 | Week 108 | Week 109 | Week 110 | Week 111 | Week 112 | Week 113 | Week 114 | Week 115 | Week 116 | Week 117 | Week 118 | Week 119 | Week 120 | Week 121 | Week 122 | Week 123 | Week 124 | Week 125 | Week 126 | Week 127 | Week 128 | Week 129 | Week 130 | Week 131 | Week 132 | Week 133 | Week 134 | Week 135 | Week 136 | Week 137 | Week 138 | Week 139 | Week 140 | Week 141 | Week 142 | Week 143 | Week 144 | Week 145 | Week 146 | Week 147 | Week 148 | Week 149

Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 16th day of Swimming, Yr 20
The Neopian Times Week 131 > Articles > Improving Your Story

Improving Your Story

by arula100

DEEP CATACOMBS - Who doesn't want to write a good story? If you said you didn't, then the comics are to the left of the articles. Anyway, as you may have guessed, this article is all about improving your writing!

~The student will be able to improve their story by applying skills learned here.

Clear enough?

Characters: Characters are THE most important part of your story. Unfortunately, this also means they greatly affect the overall quality of your work, and could therefore easily make or break (destroy, demolish, utterly ruin) a piece. One of the first things you should do when creating a character is develop their personality. Also, you should provide a variety of well-rounded characters. Having two happy-go-lucky characters in the same plot can wind up being extremely annoying. Two depressed characters could easily ruin the flow of your story. But one depressed and one happy-go-lucky character can provide a much better and more exciting (and slightly funnier) story.

It can also be nice when one of the characters, or perhaps more than one, has good humor. Comic relief is always welcome in a serious story, as long as you don't go overboard.

Plot: Make it worthwhile. You could have the most wonderful idea, but if it can't be developed it could end up pointless. Calling "Bob took a trip to Mystery Island and had a great time" can be an uneventful plot unless you can find a way of enhancing it. Maybe Bob had an unexpected side trip and was beamed up onto the Virtupets Space Station to save the entire population of space Grundos. Imagine the possibilities.

Now that we've covered the basics, here's what you should look for when revising. (Revising! What fun!) Also, there is one very important rule. First, think of your worst enemy; someone who looks really hard for opportunities to put you down. When you revise, pretend you are this person. Read it with extreme distaste and point out every minor flaw. If you always look at your work critically you will be able to revise your work to make it even better. Another good way to revise is to, when you've finished, don't look at your work for a while. Forget what it says. Then come back to revise. One example is; I wrote this over a month ago and I am just now revising it. As I read over something, I said, "I wrote that? That's funny. I didn't know I could have such good humor." Of course, I also noticed some of the sentences didn't flow right. Another good tip for revising is to read your work OUT LOUD. I know it doesn't sound like fun, but it really does help. Once, when my story got it, I printed a copy and read it to my mom. As I did this, I noticed many errors I had passed over before.

Dialogue: As many of you know, he-said-she-said dialogue can be boring. Here's an example: Bob the Aisha was walking through the Haunted Woods when Suzie the Wocky came running up to him.

     "You can't seriously be going there," she said.
     "I am," he said.
     "Wouldn't it be dangerous?" she said.
     "I'm sure I'll be fine," he said.
     "Are you scared about going into the haunted house?" she said.
     "A little, I guess," he said.

Lost interest? Not surprising. There is a method that can improve this -- it's called elaboration. Here is an example of an improved version of this section.

     Bob, the Aisha, was walking through the Haunted Woods when his friend Suzie, the Wocky, came running up to him.
     "You can't seriously be going there," she panted excitedly. Bob smiled bravely. "I am."
     Suzie's expression changed slightly. "Wouldn't it be dangerous?"
     Bob continued walking at a steady pace. "I'm sure, I'll be fine," he replied.
     "Are you scared about going in the Haunted House?" she asked.
     Bob shrugged. "A little, I guess."

As you can see, the exact same dialogue was used. Wouldn't you agree that the second passage was much more interesting? Now, here is an example of the method show don't tell. Less dialogue will be used.

     Bob the Aisha, was walking through the Haunted Woods when his friend Suzie, the Wocky, came running up to him. She had been chasing him for a while.
     "You aren't…" her voice trailed off as she caught her breath. Bob merely smiled bravely and nodded. Suzie looked at him in awe.
     "Wouldn't that be dangerous?" Angus looked at her. Their eyes locked for a moment before Bob spoke.
     "I'll be fine."
     Suzie shivered. The house had been deserted ever since she could remember, and there were tales of ghosts. "Aren't you…scared?"
     Bob shrugged indifferently. "A little, I guess."

There you have it! Also, try to stay away from the words "ain't" and "cuz" cuz "ain't" ain't a word.

Spelling: When you're writing a Neopets story and click on the usually helpful button titled Spell Check, it claims that you misspelled many words. You double, triple, and even quadruple check but you know you spelled it right. The bottom line is, the computer's dictionary isn't designed to recognize strange words like Elephante, Neopia, chokato, or Adam. You will soon recognize the little red squiggly lines as your worst enemy. I find that pressing, "ignore all" when I come to a Neopets word takes less time. Another method is to check as you go along. When you come across a word you can't spell, give it your best shot. Then right-click the misspelled word and pick the spelling choice that works.

Grammar: Sometimes, some of us have those little "brain farts" when your brain shuts down. You might write 'He be going to the store' or 'my brain are shut down'. When I see those pesky little green squiggly lines, I find it best to listen to the computer. It's usually right, but make sure it makes sense before you change it. Believe it or not, computers can be wrong. If you still don't know, then that's what parents are for.

One thing often overlooked is not just your character's setting, but your setting while you write. Try to make yourself comfortable. Grab a little of your favorite snack, wear something comfortable, maybe keep your favorite stuffed animal by your side to cheer you on (I love my new shadow Gelert -- she's a good pep squad). It also helps to put on some nice relaxing music. I find The Beatles to work well. Keep the music down, so it is more in the background. If your story was inspired by something, keep it handy if it's possible. It might help your creative juices get flowing.

Well, there you have it. A handy guide to writing a good story! Happy writing! And if you aren't satisfied with the results, try harder and don't blame me.

Search :
Other Stories

Draiks, Draiks, and More Draiks!
Why are Draiks so rare? Well, they’re limited edition, which means there are only a certain number which can be created.

by starry__night__sky

Bein’ Bad Never Looked So Good!
You've got the walk. You've got the talk. And you've got the gruesome minions. But what's going to give you the edge over all those bad boy wannabes?

by smudginator

How To Become a Respectable Neopian
"A Guide to Becoming the Best Neopian You Can Be"

by yellowlabs765

Famous Neopets: Aishas
Yes, here's part two of the soon to be complete encyclopedia about Famous Neopets. This time it's about the lovely Aishas.

by qupe

Neopets | Main | Articles | Editorial
Short Stories | Comics | New Series | Continued Series | Search