More Writing Advice Blogs
Writing Advice: Maybe Don't Do These Things
Have You Ever. . .
So many stories begin with "Have you ever heard of/played/watched/eaten/gone to/etc." I've seen it so often that it makes me cringe. It's an extremely lazy way to open up a pasta. The only thing more trite would be giving the dictionary definition of something.
It's also very ineffective. It doesn't matter if the reader has ever heard of something. If it's made up, then obviously they haven't. If it's something real then it doesn't matter. It's not like the story will change and be like, "Oh, you haven't, uh. . .well, nevermind, I guess." Just start your story. If you need to explain something, explain it briefly. If it's something super common then don't worry about it. Most people know what Mario is. If they don't they can either go look it up or they'll stop reading.
Starting a story can be hard, but opening with a line that opens up a million other pastas isn't an effective solution.
LOOK AT HOW MANY WORDS I KNOW
Vocabulary is a great thing. It's extremely useful to know a lot of words, because sometimes, even though two words might mean the same thing, one word flows better than another or is more evocative. Other times, it's just useful because you don't want to use the same word over and over again.
The problem is that if you go overboard on vocabulary it sounds very unnatural. It reeks of trying too hard and psuedo-intellectualism. Nobody will be impressed by how many words you know. They'll most likely be too distracted by how weird your prose reads.
It's even worse if you're using words incorrectly. Even if it's just slightly off, it's very distracting. It brings me to a full stop and I think about whether the word actually works in context. That's not good.
No writing is inherently better just because it has three dozen 50-cent words. Writing simply is often more effective and more impressive.
Have You Met My Friends Shadowhawk, Knifesaber, Angel the Hedgehog and Shark?
I have never read a good pasta where the characters have names that sound like forum user names. Never. Not once.
Give your characters real names. It's okay if the names are exotic or a little unusual. Nicknames are okay, too. But for nicknames you have to consider your characters. If your story is about a 15-year-old girl named Talon and her sister Dark Cat, then most people are going to check right out. Because it's stupid.
When you're thinking up character names don't try to think of the "coolest" possible name. If you're trying to think of a name that would be good in an anime, comic book, '90s fighting game, self-insert OC fanfiction or online role-playing, then stop. Just trust me on this. Doug is better than Machine Gun.
I Heard You Like Creepypasta, So. . .
You know what immediately takes me out of a creepypasta? When someone mentions creepypasta. I will never understand why people do this. I don't know whether they're so unimaginative that they can only conceive of a story that has someone reading creepypasta or if they're trying to BLOW YOUR FUCKIN' MIND, MAN, because you're reading a creepypasta where someone is READING A CREEPYPASTA!
There's no reason to mention CP in your story. If you think you have a reason, I'm sorry, but you're wrong. Find another way, your story will be better for it.
The Exposition Diaries (Only on the CW)
People who write journals in creepypasta have this weird habit of writing like they know that someone else will end up reading it. Most personal journals are just that: personal. So, it doesn't make sense if someone writes:
Today, Mandy, that's my sister, she's a pain, but I love her, took me to see Gus, our paternal grandfather. Many drove us in her Toyota Corolla. Man, what a beat up car, but there sure are a lot of unforgettable memories attached to it. Later, I hung out with Ralphie, my best friend.
Nobody would write like that. It's ridiculous. The writer wouldn't explain to themselves who those people are. There are some types of journals/logs where this is more acceptable. Accounts of expeditions where a writer might mention Henderson, then specify that he's the sled dog handler. Or police reports. Anything where WHILE IT WAS BEING WRITTEN the writer would assume it would be read by someone else.
Even then. . .you need to write it correctly. Let me show you how not to write a journal by using the Sonic.exe sequel Round 2.
Everything about this is terrible and nonsensical. First off, you have a detective who writes like a 12-year-old. Second, it's written like it's a magic diary that records his every thought. That leads to the classic "Writer who writes while more important things are going on" trope. And. . . really, just every single thing.
Don't do that. If you're writing a journalpasta do the opposite of that.