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#1 Edited by Tru3_Blu3 (3150 posts) -

And if confident towards your qualities, how did you obtain such talents? Books, internet, forums, blogs, school?
 
I'm asking this question so maybe I can gain some tips on how I can improve my grammar and vocabulary. I plan to be a writer, and in doing so I need to understand how I can be acceptable to that career. The community that this site carries proves that gamers are not dumb people; they too can be political, philosophical, ideological and bookish. And as I see these escapist's words on the forums, it shows how underdeveloped my knowledge is in comparison. Maybe it's because I'm young and that I have not fully experienced the wholeness of life yet, for when I do my knowledge of concepts will increase? Just answer truthfully. I love honest answers.

#2 Posted by Getz (2954 posts) -

For make benefit glorious nation of Kazakhstan, I presume?

#3 Posted by badwhodo (248 posts) -

First off; never begin a sentence with 'and'. 
Spell check like crazy. 
Grammar changes all the time but, in my school of grammar, you are just trolling. 

#4 Posted by Vodun (2365 posts) -

TROLL! FLAGGED!

#5 Posted by Tru3_Blu3 (3150 posts) -
@Getz said:
" For make benefit glorious nation of Kazakhstan, I presume? "
Not at all, friend. I just need your money so I can use a transport to your location so we can meet and figure out a righteous plan to get into the bank account of a rich corporate son that died in a plane crash.
#6 Posted by Getz (2954 posts) -
@Tru3_Blu3 said:
" @Getz said:
" For make benefit glorious nation of Kazakhstan, I presume? "
Not at all, friend. I just need your money so I can use a transport to your location so we can meet and figure out a righteous plan to get into the bank account of a rich corporate son that died in a plane crash. "
Sounds like you've got it all planned out and everything. Where do I send the check?
#7 Posted by Tru3_Blu3 (3150 posts) -

I can never post anything without people calling me a fucking troll. I think I'm going to change my god damned avatar.

#8 Posted by RecSpec (3678 posts) -

Writing doesn't have to be all eloquent and full of itself to be good. 
Simple sentences can work wonders.

#9 Posted by BombKareshi (996 posts) -

Why do you guys think he's trolling? It seems like a legitimate question to me.
 
My advice is to read a lot. Personally, I look things up in the dictionary like mad. I also like to consult a grammar book from time to time, but that might be a little hardcore.

#10 Posted by ajamafalous (11590 posts) -

I just pick it up really well, I suppose.

#11 Posted by Wrighteous86 (3642 posts) -
@RecSpec said:
" Writing doesn't have to be all eloquent and full of itself to be good. Simple sentences can work wonders. "
Seconded. Don't use big words just to use big words. If it's not natural to you, it will come across in your writing. Forcing words into your vocabulary is not the best way to expand it.
#12 Posted by LordXavierBritish (6320 posts) -

English is retarded. 
  
All the rules are fucked up and make no sense.

Just type shit that sounds good and it will probably be okay.     
 
Maybe.

#13 Posted by Red (5991 posts) -

Firstly, if you plan to be a novelist, plan for a lifetime of poverty. 
Now that that glumness is out of the way, take a school class in a school. Just practice more and have someone experienced help you out. 
Whatever you do, don't go to a video games forum, in which quick replies and petty arguments are more common than logical discussion. 
 
Lastly, don't end your posts with firstly and end them lastly. Ha. In all seriousness, I would say being exposed to smart people talk--fictional or otherwise--helps quite a bit. I know my writing ability definitely increased after watching The West Wing.

#14 Posted by Vodun (2365 posts) -
@Tru3_Blu3: It's good when you can read the subtle hints in people's behaviours. Also a good trait for a writer.
#15 Posted by Sargus (705 posts) -
@badwhodo said:
" First off; never begin a sentence with 'and'.
Not always true. Depends on what you're writing, honestly. 
 
One of the best things to do is read. Read everything, really, but especially things similar to what you plan to write. I think it was Stephen King who said, "If you don't have time to read, you don't have time to write." So do that first. 
 
Then just write. A ton. You can't get better at it without doing it - and it may take awhile to really get good.
#16 Posted by Inkerman (1448 posts) -

Read lots. No seriously, read lots of different books, and learn how other writers write. Grammar 'rules' are for children. Run on sentences, And at the start of a sentence, etc, etc all have their place in writing, it's working out where that it which is the key.

#17 Posted by Example1013 (4749 posts) -

I'll be honest, I think I'm probably just naturally gifted. I've never spent a large amount of time writing, but I've been putting out high-quality material all my life (or since I could write).
 
 
 
I'll give you some good advice on becoming a professional writer, though: do it a lot. Like, write for at least 15 minutes a day every day. Writing is just like anything else, in that practice and effort are the only things that will hone your craft. Natural talent may give you a decent head start, but you certainly won't be able to hack it as a professional based on talent alone. Nobody can. There are no wunderkinds who just discover that they have professional-level talent overnight, and get to the heads of their fields with no real hard work. It just doesn't happen. 
 
Reading does also help you improve your craft a lot. It greatly expands your vocabulary and knowledge, which are ancillary tools useful when becoming a professional author. I can tell you for a fact that my large vocabulary is directly related to the volume of books I've read. 
 
Also, it'd probably be easier if you became a writer in another language. As @LordXavierBritish: said, english is pretty much the most fucked up language of all time, and large portions of it are just nonsensical. I honestly can never get mad at people who struggle with English when it's not their native language, because in truth most people who do speak english natively don't have a complete grasp on it.

#18 Posted by Turambar (6482 posts) -

Here's one important thing.  Read a lot.  Read things with various styles, of various content.  It doesn't matter if its news papers, encyclopedias, text books, or every fictional genre under the sun.  The most important part of coming into your own as a writer is knowing what you like, and emulating it, and making that style yours.

#19 Posted by benjaebe (2783 posts) -

Grab your nearest thesaurus and find the most fancy sounding words that mean what you want to say.

#20 Edited by crusader8463 (14302 posts) -

I'm terrible with punctuation, because I could never remember what stuff like nouns, vowels, adverbs, verbs etc. were when they were teaching them in High School. So whenever they would explain when to use some kind of punctuation I had no clue what they were ever talking about.  
 
Over the years I have learned to get a gut feeling, for lack of a better term, for when to use proper punctuation in my sentences. When ever I read something like a novel or a well written article I will watch to see where they use it, and in what context it was used in the sentence. Then as I type I fill it in with what seems right for what I'm typing. I also have a tendency to over use breaks in my sentences, kind of like this, and I always feel like I'm using it incorrectly or much too often. 
 
The only thing worse then my punctuation is my spelling; which is made even worse by being terrible at typing too. Pretty much every other word is underlined in red, so it takes me forever and a day to type even the simplest of posts because I always have to spend so much time going back to edit them into English. 

#21 Posted by Vodun (2365 posts) -
@Tru3_Blu3: I find this is important to view for anyone who is going to spend time writing:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7E-aoXLZGY
#22 Posted by Icemael (6269 posts) -

Read a lot, write a lot. That'll do the trick.

#23 Posted by Lashe (1238 posts) -

I would recommend reading lots. Skill in writing is something you will pick up largely through osmosis -- read anything and everything which interests and influences you. Read them until you know them back to front, and when you are reading them don't simply absorb the narrative -- look out for techniques which the writer is using in order to create a specific effect. Once you have analysed how something is done, it's very easy to reproduce the same effect in your own work. 
 
Depending on your education prospects you could take further study in English Literature or Creative Writing if you feel you would benefit from being taught some of the skills formally. Note, however, that just because you have a degree/certificate in something it doesn't give you a license to then go out into the world and become a writer, the most important thing is to write and become invested in the practice out with simply studying it.  
 
If nothing else, a good course is great for contacts and you can get usually some great extracurricular placements and relevant work experience through a lecturer/tutor if you apply yourself (write for a student magazine, for instance). 

#24 Posted by DrPockets000 (2859 posts) -

Read a lot. 
Every morning when you wake up and at night before you go to bed, write whatever pops into your head. 
Keep a dream journal.  It is good practice for writing and extremely stimulating for the imagination and cognition. 
Merriam Webster has a mailing list where they send you a new vocabulary word every day.  Join it for free.

#25 Posted by Rudeboy217 (1760 posts) -
@LordXavierBritish said:
" English is retarded.   All the rules are fucked up and make no sense.Just type shit that sounds good and it will probably be okay.      Maybe. "
Ahh, great advice. Thanks!
#26 Posted by MatPaget (1114 posts) -

I've made a deal with the English language. I continue to be a Canadian stereotype and it continues to make me look good! 
 
Pretty good deal, eh?

#27 Posted by CL60 (16906 posts) -

I can't write for shit. It's why I don't do blogs.(For the most part. I have a few, well maybe one actual one.)

#28 Posted by badwhodo (248 posts) -

If you aren't a troll; this is my advice:  double negatives are a big mistake.  Don't use the word 'that'. 
Edit everything you write. Study the progression of writing styles used in the English language.  More than 
one contraction per sentence is an instant fail.  Double spacing after a period is subjective; but learn 
how to use a colon and a semi-colon.
 
I am not trying to be a dick, but; grammar is a big thing for me. I'm an ass like that, some times. 
 
p.s. Even S.K. has said that he isn't a great writer.@Tru3_Blu3 said:

" And if confident towards your qualities, how did you obtain such talents? Books, internet, forums, blogs, school?  I'm asking this question so maybe I can gain some tips on how I can improve my grammar and vocabulary. I plan to be a writer, and in doing so I need to understand how I can be acceptable to that career. The community that this site carries proves that gamers are not dumb people; they too can be political, philosophical, ideological and bookish. And as I see these escapist's words on the forums, it shows how underdeveloped my knowledge is in comparison. Maybe it's because I'm young and that I have not fully experienced the wholeness of life yet, for when I do my knowledge of concepts will increase? Just answer truthfully. I love honest answers. "  
 
Short and sweet. 
 
"I hope to be a professional writer and I would appreciate tips on improving my craft.  The Giant Bomb community is diverse in knowledge and its feedback is appreciated."
#29 Posted by GlenTennis (3143 posts) -

Reading is okay, but write. Write every day, or at least a couple of times a week. Even if you don't publish it you're doing it for the experience. Take classes, I used to write well but have shitty grammar, but I took some classes that led to me writing for the school paper, which really honed my skills. Having a copy editor you can talk to is a valuable resource. If you're serious you can make a huge difference. I was failing English senior year of high school, and when I was a sophomore in college I was winning state-wide writing competitions.

#30 Posted by PerryVandell (2100 posts) -

I learned that the best thing you can do to improve your writing is to write a lot. Even if it's not for a school or work assignment, it's important spend some time writing every day. It also helps to read a few books on writing. I recommend The Elements of Style by Strunk and White and On Writing Well by William Zinsser. Both contain invaluable advice that I try to keep in mind whenever possible. You aren't going to become Stephen King or Jon Franklin overnight, but they'll definitely help. Like anything worth doing, it takes hard work and determination to become good at it.

#31 Posted by MaddProdigy (1041 posts) -

RE READ, edit, RE READ, edit, RE READ,  edit, RE READ, edit, RE READ, edit, RE READ, edit

#32 Posted by Hourai (2795 posts) -

I'm confident in my writing skills when I put forth the effort. I read and write quite a bit but when it comes to creative writing (stories and such) I'm pretty inexperienced. I used to write stories like crazy when I was a kid but I fell out of it for some reason.

#33 Edited by Wrighteous86 (3642 posts) -
@Sargus said:

" @badwhodo said:

" First off; never begin a sentence with 'and'.
Not always true. Depends on what you're writing, honestly. "
I hate when people give advice like this.  As with almost any field or skill, you can only successfully "break" given rules if you know the rules and understand why they exist.  That way, when you break the rules, it's a conscious decision and done for a reason. The Road broke all kinds of grammatical rules, but Cormac McCarthy did it intentionally, and with purpose.
 
He's an amateur asking for advice.  While it's true that these rules can be broken, telling him that now would be counterproductive because he'll never bother to learn them.
#34 Edited by Example1013 (4749 posts) -
@GlenTennis: I just failed out of English 101 myself. 
 
EDIT: and by just, I mean I did it a month ago.
#35 Posted by Tim_the_Corsair (3065 posts) -

Read a lot, write a lot, don't be afraid to write garbage (you can improve it later), learn the rules of the language so you know when to break them, and don't use too many adjectives if you are writing fiction, editors/publishers/agents HATE that

#36 Posted by Example1013 (4749 posts) -

i think the dude that posted deleted his post, but his name still shows up as the most recent reply, and that bugs me. So I'm putting my name there. 
 
Also, buy a Pocket Style Manual. That's always useful.

#37 Edited by Wrighteous86 (3642 posts) -
@GlenTennis said:

" Reading is okay, but write. Write every day, or at least a couple of times a week. Even if you don't publish it you're doing it for the experience. Take classes, I used to write well but have shitty grammar, but I took some classes that led to me writing for the school paper, which really honed my skills. Having a copy editor you can talk to is a valuable resource. If you're serious you can make a huge difference. I was failing English senior year of high school, and when I was a sophomore in college I was winning state-wide writing competitions. "

Yeah, well... I was published in Japanese haiku quarterlies with vague MGS-themed haiku for my bullshit haiku class. 
 
my own
worst enemy
shares my face     
 
Come at me bro.
#38 Edited by Example1013 (4749 posts) -
@Wrighteous86:  I was going to come up with a haiku, and then I realized I just didn't care enough to. 
 
EDIT:] 
 
Black Charizard is 
The true definition of 
A cool pokemon 
 
I think 
The ball is in 
your court
#39 Edited by Wrighteous86 (3642 posts) -
@example1013 said:

" @Wrighteous86:  I was going to come up with a haiku, and then I realized I just didn't care enough to. "

You just experienced what I felt for the entire semester.  Half of what it takes to get an English degree is bullshit like a haiku class.  At one point, I was behind like 20 haiku, so I just went down my DVD/Game shelf and wrote a haiku for each one.  I somehow got that MGS one published, though.
#40 Posted by Example1013 (4749 posts) -
@Wrighteous86: I came up with one, and then another one.
#41 Edited by Wrighteous86 (3642 posts) -
@example1013:  Since it was an English class about Japanese poetry, it was full of pretentious nerds (of which I'm not, I assure you).  We would vote on the best haiku each week.  I noticed the pattern that the most emo or heartbroken haiku tended to get picked, since many people in the class were lonely intellectuals.  I started catering to them, and won awards for these bullshit "treasures" too. 
 
Lovers skate
on the ice --
I just watch     
 
I wanted to say
one last time that I love you.
but you were long gone.     
 
deep sadness—
her hair smells 
...different    
#42 Posted by Example1013 (4749 posts) -
@Wrighteous86: Oh man, that's pretty bad. I really hope I never end up in a class like that myself (assuming I can make it past English 101, which is a prereq for any writing course ever at my college).
#43 Posted by EleFlameMax (386 posts) -

"Try to fail."
 
Smoke your cigarettes. Drink your coffee.

#44 Posted by GlenTennis (3143 posts) -
@Wrighteous86: 2nd Place in California for on the spot critical review, awarded by the Journalism Assosiation of Community Colleges.

 Pop-POP
#45 Posted by Example1013 (4749 posts) -
@GlenTennis: And yet you misspelled association. For shame!
#46 Posted by GlenTennis (3143 posts) -
@example1013 said:
" @GlenTennis: And yet you misspelled association. For shame! "
Christ man it's 1 in the morning and I've had a few beers the fact that I can still read is a miracle.
I'm going to bed.
#47 Posted by Example1013 (4749 posts) -
@GlenTennis said:
" @example1013 said:
" @GlenTennis: And yet you misspelled association. For shame! "
Christ man it's 1 in the morning and I've had a few beers the fact that I can still read is a miracle. I'm going to bed. "
Excuses excuses. If you're the 2nd best in California, a silly thing like spelling should be something you could do while asleep. 
 
I'm just ribbin' ya.
#48 Posted by GlenTennis (3143 posts) -
@example1013: Ribs sound really good right now.
#49 Posted by Example1013 (4749 posts) -
@GlenTennis: I had ribs last night. From Texas Roadhouse. Delicious.
#50 Posted by dudeglove (7241 posts) -
@Tru3_Blu3: Put simply, writers write. What that means is just keep writing. Doesn't matter what - blog entries, short stories, reviews, etc. If your school/college has a newspaper, join up (that's what I did).  
 
Writers also read i.e. you can't become a good writer all on your own. That doesn't mean you have to sit through all the turgid classics (I have yet to shift my ass to read Joyce's Ulysses, which is sitting on the shelf judging me right now, or Tolstoy's War & Peace), just start small. I used to devour Terry Pratchett's books when I was younger. They're not high art by any means, but that's not the point. 
 
[If it doesn't work out you could take my route and become an editor, which means you get to shout at writers, rather than write your own material.]