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Creative Writing Lessons by Tynamite « Tynamite's blog
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WARNING: This article has spoilers of my novel Familiarity Breaks. If you are intending to read my novel, do not continue, and come back here after you've read the book.

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#1 Children's Stories

It has come to my attention, that a minute few writers on this website only know how to write children's stories.
And by that, I mean stories written in a style for children.
I was reading a first person story on this website in the viewpoint of a child, about how she hated how her mother was a victim to domestic abuse because of her father. I told my friend about it and we laughed about it mocking it.

Examples of children's books with traditional children's style narration are Mz Wiz, Bill's New Frock.
I recommend that you buy Ms Wiz In Jail, Bill's New Frock, Molly Moon Book number 1.

Here is an example extracts from audiobooks for those who don't get it
http://www.divshare.com/download/13298246-b16 <-- Bill's New Frock
http://www.divshare.com/download/13298247-546 <-- Molly Moon 1
http://www.divshare.com/download/13298248-d39 <-- Ms Wiz Adventures

In children's stories, there is always a bad person (the antagonist) (he's antagonising me! stop it!), and the good person troubled by the bad person who wins in the end (the protagonist).
A common trait of children's books is that they tell the reader how they should feel for the protagonist. They do not let the reader come to their own conclusions about whether they should be empathetic or not.

They also have a common structure.
Introduction (to characters, scenery) --> Problem (is introduced) --> Build up (of situation)--> Conflict (happens) --> Resolution (of the problem) --> Ending (usually happy)

If you read the kind of stories that primary school (elementary) children come out with, it will most likely be in that structure because that's all they know.
For an example of a common children's story, read my story called The Black Portal and the tale of The Trampy Cat and the Food.
The Trampy Cat and the Food follows the format well and 100%, and it's a moral story slash fairy tale.

I have also studied how children's stories start.
99% of them start out with something bad happening to the antagonist in chapter 1.

Why this is the first lesson

This is the first lesson, because children's stories are
1> Accessible. Anyone can do it, given a prompt.
2> Widespread
3> The Foundation Lots of writers try to write above their weight. I started out on children's stories, they didn't. They fail, I don't. We had to write one in primary and secondary school for our SAT tests (when I was 11) and GCSE English qualifications (when I was 16). (I'm from the UK.) I must have wrote loads of them at school.

I'm being a writing mentor for Aliciah on this site, and I gave her 5 prompts for childrens stories and I asked her to write one, so I can find out what her writing style is. If you're going to do so, make sure that it's 3-4 sides of A4 handwritten, and that there is no more than 3 characters.

Prompts for short stories

Aliens come down to planet earth, and they can only say English words that begin with the same letter like a or t. In future they plan on learning words of other letters, but now they can't.

Write a story about a child who shoplifts, feels guilty and then puts what she stole back. The security man thanks the child.

Here's what I wrote at 14. Write a story about a boy who catches her younger sister sneaking her Dad's pie, who plans on getting her in trouble for it.

Write a story about a spoilt kid who always wins games by cheating, and they get what they deserve, when someone else starts a new game of their own.

Write a story about a fox in the woods, that manages to escape being shot with a gun, when hunters show up on their horses. The dilemma for this story will be whether the fox decides to save its child; as the fox could either gamble its own life by saving the fox, or take the risk that the hunter that is coming from behind, won't see the fox child.

#2 Starting a Story

This advice is specific to the way that I start stories. Advice is subjective! Different people start stories in different ways. This is not the one definitive standardised only way.
Feel free to share your ideas, methods and feedback!

Well for me starting a story is about 2 things. Firstly how you introduce the story, and secondly how you narrate the story. It's not enough just to say what happens as a matter of fact. I'm trying to think of a good example.

Have you ever noticed that when listening to the radio, you can tell whether you like a song within the first 3 seconds? It's not one of those things that we think about. But when you think about it, you'll notice that normal songs, you have to wait like 1 minute to find out if you like the song. Radio friendly songs are designed to let you know whether you do straight away.

That same basis applies to my stories.
I have a special way of narrating my stories in 3rd person that only I do, which also helps.
You have to let the reader know what sort of story it is, without saying what happens.

Below are examples of the first three sentences I've used to introduce stories very quickly.
What a lot of people do, is introduce a story by something happening. Some people think that they have to go straight to some exciting action to start a story off. I don't think that's effective.

Note how I never do that, and focus more on the scene itself.

Back To School
I wasn't meant to be there, but I was. I had walked along this path many times, but there became a time in my life when I was not to walk along that path anymore. Luckily, the life I live isn't like your world.

Familiarity Breaks
Family members, Sheridon, the oldest and tallest, the twin girls Terry and Kerry, and Stefan were walking to Debra's workplace. It was quite sunny, too sunny a day for hassle and stress.

“It isn't any nice when you said Michelle was on the phone”, said Sheridon trying to patronise Stefan for being insensitive, which made him look silly for trying to teach a person who couldn't even tie his laces how he was insensitive he was in the first place.

Leah Behind A Fence
There's a secret garden known by few. Nobody knows what it looks like, or why it’s a secret. All they know, is that it’s a secret; that’s the people I heard talking about it.

Balancing Two Girls
In the dream world described in these Excess Rah Style stories, no child is ever abused. Though there is a girl I keep seeing there who acts like she was abused. I take that back.

#3 Techniques For Advanced Writers

Since this is techniques for advanced writers, I'll take it that you already know how to start stories, characterise, show don't tell, write short stories, describe scenery, make drama, and can use moods to some extent in your writing. All the basic stuff that should have you be able to write 3 page children's stories on A4 paper, that people can enjoy.

Avoid Flat Storylines

Remember the Family Guy episode when Lois wants an abortion, and Peter tries to stop her, or the Simpsons episode when Homer has a gun, and Marge wants it gone? Take away the baby or the gun, and what do you have left? Nothing! The story is flat. The webshow The Guild is notorious for this. To avoid flat storylines, make sure you add 1 hook by the time each chapter ends, and use conversation as a device so that the reader can get to know the characters. Bring things up in order to portray something, not just to explain what's going on. That's enough about that.

Campfire Tonality

You know those scary stories kids and adults tell around the campfire, where all their speech is done with a slow deep tone, where they use short sentences which are statements, and language to express the bad that happened to someone, and how bad it is. Try it out in one of your chapters, a chapter where everything changes. But don't forget to gradually break out of those short sentences and paragraphs, as time goes on in the chapter, or it will get pretentious.


What does the smell of freshly cut grass or an oil spill on the floor remind you of? Try using it in a story. At which instances do people drink out of juice cartons or encounter faulty lifts? Try using those things in two chapters of your novel. By anchoring two things without strong connotations together, in such a way that seems natural, you are subconsciously pairing two chapters together, for an emotional response.

Someone is upset

Want to show someone is upset without ruining the mood by sounding obvious? You could try three things. 1. Say it by saying nothing at all, have them be subdued or reclusive. 2. Have their attitude or stance spontaneously change midway in a conversation. 3. Have a chapter which is one page, purely of narration, about only them. 4. ??????

Is your story boring

You're starting your story off, and nothing is going on in it. You know where it's going to start getting interesting, but you can't fast forward time in the book. You're stuck with dry scenes. What you can do is start a chapter with a much later time in the same day, revert back to the present time, then lead up to how it ends, with the time shown, incrementing every couple of pages.

Neglecting a character

Write a chapter about only them. Yes it's got nothing to do with the story, but who cares? It makes the story feel real, and it lets the reader know about the environment at hand.

Is someone mysterious?

Have them send and receive text messages.

Luringly precarious dilemmas / Suggestive yet Neutral Language

Are you writing a sad chapter where something is supposed to happen, with an a protagonist who uses their chance to make something a certain way? If so, you can make your chapter more sad, by using suggestive yet neutral language in your narration.

For example:

When they walked inside, Debra gave Sheridon instructions on where to go. They were led somewhere upstairs and Stefan opened three rooms as instructed.

Meena's heart lept when she saw Sheridon, and he didn't notice she was there. He must have appeared in order to get something then go back to where he was, because he didn't stay for long.

Sheridon and Luke's two other friends came over and joined the conversation. And this time, Kamirah was not one of them.

His friends wished him well and them him, and his friends walked off in seperate directions.

Eliza let go of Sheridon's hand and they both banged their invisible heads together against the wall as they would, as they looked like they were looking for something that was not there. Somebody might of asked them if they were lost, if they weren't stood together.

Let's be honest. I could have explained the same thing, without the text that was in bold, or at least reworded it.

The narration isn't biased so it's neutral, but it's not exactly impartial. The narrator has its favourites, though it's objective enough not to be unreliable or tainted. It is only good to use this style of narration in typically one chapter, the sad one. The trick is that the narration works when it is different to the previous narration, the contrast. The contrast makes it work, and the suggestive yet neutral language, sticks in your head without second thought.

How to give 2 characters, a really strong bond in their relationship, and have it advance quickly, but in a believable manner that isn't contrived. Especially if one is emotionally unstable and they are both match each other's personalities as one gives what the other wants and vice versa.

That's a graph of a scan of my notepad. It's about an ending of a story of how both characters lose their innocence to each other. In the left column shows Sheridon's fear that's shown in conversation, and under E is how Eliza reacts to it, and vice versa. In the right column is Eliza's insecurities portrayed by her behaviour and speech, and under S is how Sheridon reacts to it. Day by day, the two start to fall for each other until they eventually kiss.


I could go on, but this answer is long enough. This should suffice.

I don't use these techniques in every novel I write, and when I use them, they're only for a vast minority of the chapters.

The sad and good part, is that you can't use the same writing technique in your every work, or put every technique to use in yours. Aim to have the story dictate to you, what you should write. Don't ask whether a story should be 1st or 3rd person, or anything else that it could be. Let your story make that decision for you.

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What's an assertion, and what should I type in?

Compesh is a question and answer (and debate) website, so before you make a debate, you better learn what an assertion is. I suppose you already know what a question is, and that you've typed it in the box. ;)

An assertion, is basically a statement you can make, that is either true or false.

Richer people have better health.

The question for that would be, Do richer people have better health?

And don't forget to make your assertion, match your question.