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Hints and tips for budding writers
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Ms Helen
Ms Helen
Pinball Pro

Feb-11-2008 01:02
(sticky post)


I know there are some tips available in the mystery editor but I figured this would be a handy way for everyone to add things themselves. It would also be a useful reference for those who are just starting out, whether it be writing intros or an SM.

* Make your intro/SM original. It's easy to follow other peoples ideas but it makes a much more interesting read to see something different from the normal.

* Spelling, punctuation, grammar ARE important. It may sound obvious but many people seem to forget this little point.

* Make sure it makes sense. There's nothing more off-putting than having to read something a couple of times because you don't understand it.

* Read a few intros or play a few SMs before you write them. We have many great writers out there already and by reading their works you will get a better understanding on what is needed.

* Inspiration doesn't happen overnight. Take your time and you will be able to write a better intro/SM. A good intro probably won't be written in 5 minutes for example :)

* Remember to keep it in the correct time period (around 1930's). If it wasn't around then don't add it. Also remember to keep it in the correct style.

* Don't be put off if one of your works has been rejected. Most editors will send you a message with a reason for rejection. It may just need something small changing or it may just not be suitable. Either way that shouldn't put you off trying again.

Anyone else please feel free to add their hints and tips to help others. I hope this helps some of the new writers or even the old writers out there.

Happy writing.

Replies

48484848
48484848

Mar-17-2008 17:13

Your right :) Spelling, grammer, and puncuation are important. When I look at my old FM that is a very good example of: bad grammer, some bad puncuation, and bad capitalization.

But I've learned! Want to be an author, so I get picky about that.

1. Preview it often (I hear it helps).
2. As Ms. Helen stated, it isn't the end of your FM if it gets sent back.
3. Go to http://noir.playsleuth.com/map/cityhall/post.spy?id=22179 , Editors tell you what they look for.


P.S. I'm writing a FM for Shanghai called, Guilt Is Mad. Course it will be awhile.

Secret_Squirrel
Secret_Squirrel
Pinball Amateur

Apr-8-2008 21:05

Here's one:

Using the first person narrative.

Players should feel as though they are in the story. As though they are going through the motions.

I find SM's couched in 'You go to the armoire but find nothing... You find a handkerchief under a goat...' Sounds particularly impersonal, and doesn't create a pleasing narrative to the story.

As does asking questions to the player: What would you do right now? Do you think the goat stole the handkerchief out of the armoire?

Instead I would prefer the first person narrative: 'I went to the armoire and found nothing... I found a handkerchief under a goat...'

and, when necessary: I wasn't sure what I could do right now. I supposed the goat might have stolen the handkerchief out of the armoire.

Does that all make sense? I hope so.

Good luck and happy sleuthing!

Secret_Squirrel
Secret_Squirrel
Pinball Amateur

Apr-8-2008 21:07

PS don't get me wrong, I find a lot of sentences starting with I, I and I, really annoying too, and there are cleverer ways of telling a story, but I was trying to give obvious examples.

Ms Helen
Ms Helen
Pinball Pro

Apr-9-2008 08:30

"a handkerchief under a goat" really? You think that's an obvious example lol I think you've been working too hard if you think that :p

Secret_Squirrel
Secret_Squirrel
Pinball Amateur

Apr-10-2008 00:32

Isn't that where you find them?

Lucika-Bucika
Lucika-Bucika

May-2-2008 13:50

I'd like some help from an experienced writer: Can I make so that I told in the intro that I was at the restaurant before the crime was committed, and someone has the same alibi, but the waitress isn't sure that he was there so I ask him that what did I eat? (Then I'd know the validity of the alibi - if he was there, then he saw what did I order) Can I make this somehow?

p.s. I'd like someone as an editor - dunno how to add, though - my grammar needs some improvement.

Thanks for the answers!

lilangel
lilangel
Sleuth About Town

May-2-2008 15:42

Ok, as someone who's written intros, for Random mysteries... the things such as alibis and whatnots aren't knowledgeable in the intro. Nor are they in any intro, actually. But you can write your own Scripted Mystery and pan it out that you have questions. They shouldn't belong in the intro though, you still have Clients and other suspects to ask those questions in a Scripted mystery. Of course, I'm still working on writing mine.

If you see what your error is in grammar, you're able to fix it. On a Scripted mystery, if you want an editor to do it, you will have to wait until it's complete, and they'll go through the entire mystery.

Anikka
Anikka
Babelfish

May-2-2008 21:44

Lucika, the intros are written for the regular cases, which are all completely random. The computer controls the names of the victim, suspects, and client, as well as the alibis and motives. That's why we're given a list of coding tags.

As Lilangel said, you can try writing a Scripted Mystery. You control everything in the mystery: you write the introduction, crime scene, ending, the twists and research, and you completely create the suspects and victim, and decide who the killer will be. You also create your own alibis and motives.

As far as grammar errors, if you have a word processing program - a decent one - the spellcheck often also has grammar check. You might try writing your intro in that program and then pasting it over to Sleuth.

Please keep in mind that when grammar is a big issue, it takes longer to edit the item.

GraceAnn
GraceAnn
Well-Connected

May-18-2008 17:08

I have a couple intros written and they all are rejected. I'm not even sure if an editor has checked them yet. And if they did, they didn't send me a message. I keep checking them for mistakes, and I want/need the "big" approval by an editor. Can anybody help me please?

Heimlich VonVictor
Heimlich VonVictor
Vigilante

May-18-2008 19:39

If they say "not accepted" it means they haven't been reviewed yet. Make sure they're long enough and all of your tags are working correctly.

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