She is shy and timid; he is loud and brutally honest. She has her whole life planned out for her; he doesn't know what's in store for tomorrow. She's never touched a gun; he never leaves home without one. She didn't believe in love… and then he came along.
Bet you were expecting a cute little romance here weren't you?
But please, don't click the 'back' button just yet; I have lured you here with a purpose.
Consider the following questions:
1. Have you ever read a romance on fiction press, only to be distracted from the plot of the story every twenty-five seconds by the fact that the author is completely incompetent?
2. Have you ever written something and been absolutely flamed by reviewers?
3. Have you ever wanted to submit a really nasty review, but the better part of you decided against it?
4. Ever wanted a bit of help with your writing?
If your answer was yes to any of the above questions, I suggest you set aside the ten required minutes you will need to read this.
"I brought you flowers." We said at the exact same moment. I averted my gaze from my feet to the gorgeous lilies that Greg was holding, and then looked at the dinky dandelions I was holding.
"Come here, you." Greg laughed, pulling me into a tight embrace.
(A/N: Aw, aren't they so cute?)
STOP RIGHT THERE!
What's this? An author's note in the middle of a story? That is a big NO. The main goal of an author is for the reader to believe that their characters are real. It's hard to get into the groove when the author feels the need to interrupt their fictional world with their own comments.
Author's notes go at the END or, if need be, at the BEGINNING of the chapter.
They should never show up in the middle of the story. This takes away from the story and the author loses a massive amount of credibility, along with respect from the reader.
Im not going to lie, he looked pretty stupid. He was drenched from head to toe in mud, wearing a stupid grin. I didnt want to be mean, but i didnt want to let him think it was okay to look so stupid!
"Greg, u look stupid!" i said, unable to control myself, bursting into a fit of laughter. it was hard not to laugh at him, cuz he was so stupid looking!
What's wrong with this picture?
A lot. I'm not exaggerating with this passage either; I've read stories with sentences that were a lot worse.
1. Understand The Apostrophe:
Apostrophes aren't too hard to use. You know, it's that button located on the right hand side of your keyboard?
'Im' should be 'I'm'
'didnt' should be 'didn't' or even better, 'did not'
I know, I know, of course everyone capitalizes… wrong. I have read one too many stories where every third sentence 'I' would be written 'i'. It's not that hard to capitalize really, you press shift and the letter of your choice simultaneously and BAM! You have a capital letter! Really, it shouldn't be so difficult!
3. No Chat Speak, Ever:
Under NO circumstances should there be chat speak in a story. It is a hundred percent unacceptable. I'm not going to even explain myself on this one… it should be pretty evident.
DO NOT use the word 'cuz' – the word you are searching for is, infact, 'because' or in some cases, ''cause'.
DO NOT even think of using 'lol' 'rofl' or 'lmao', because that is ridiculous! In no cases whatsoever, should the character be thinking in chat speak…
4. Do Not Abuse Punctuation!
One exclamation mark is more than enough, no matter what the situation. If you want more emphasis on your point, use bold or underline. There is no need for more than one exclamation mark; children in elementary school over use exclamation marks. I'm going to go out on limb here, and assume that most of the people here aren't in elementary school. That being said, do not overuse exclamation marks.
5. Stop Reusing The Same Adjective:
Do not use the same adjective five times in a string of sentences. In this example, I used the word 'stupid' to describe Greg five times. I think by the fifth time I've said the word 'stupid', you have figured out that Greg, in fact, looks stupid. By using an adjective too many times, an author reflects his or her own stupidity or their fictional character's stupidity.
My alarm clock beeped loudly, waking me from a delicious sleep. I groaned, throwing my alarm clock at the wall. I continued to sleep soundly until my mother walked in and shook me awake. I dragged myself out of bed and prepared myself for my day.
If your story begins with your character being waken by either:
Their mother, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, grandmother, grandfather, boyfriend, friend, second cousin twice removed OR an alarm clock, cell phone, truck backing up, baby brother crying, little sister's lame attempts at playing the saxophone etc…
No one will read it.
Why? It is not only the most overused beginning for any story in existence out there, but it is also an incredibly dull way to begin a story.
Start it with something interesting. I don't want to hear about how your character is violently shaken awake by their mother, I cannot stand this frequently overused beginning. I know that anybody can do better than that. Please, for the sake of poor, tortured readers such as myself, start your story a different way!
"I've loved you my entire life, Amy." Greg said, "From the moment I met you in the third grade, I fell in love with you." He gently pushed me off of his chest, and peeled off his shirt. On his chest, was tattooed my name in brilliant red writing.
"I love you." He whispered, kissing me softly.
You can't see me right now, but I am shaking my head.
First of all, there is not a chance in hell that Greg was in love with Amy since the third grade.
Why? Well, in the third grade boys have not hit puberty yet, and still think girls are evil creations from monsters.
Once they do hit puberty however, they don't care about girls; they care about getting action with girls.
I am incredibly doubtful that any guy can actually fall in love with a girl extremely quickly; he can fall in lust, or fall in like with a girl, but not love, not so quickly.
If there's another thing that I cannot stand in romance novels, it is when there is no chemistry between two characters and then bam! Love confessions left and right!
I do believe that a guy can fall in love with a girl, however sometimes it's hard for me to believe when they have:
a) Known each other for a week
b) Exchanged three sentences between each other
c) No chemistry whatsoever
d) There is no 'd'; this is solely here for my own amusement.
Second of all, no guy in his right mind would ever get a tattoo of the name of the girl he's in love with. No guy. He'd have to be piss-drunk. In no other cases, would I believe that the guy would get a tattoo of his love's name. Not a chance.
I opened my closet and pulled on a pair of American Eagle faded skinny jeans. Next, I pulled on an orange shirt with the number 34 on it from Hollister. I slipped into my favorite pair of Green and Pink Vans, tying my shoelaces quickly and lazily. I applied a thick layer of L'Oreal black eyeliner, and some Cover Girl mascara. I applied my favorite Soft Lips tube to my lips and puckered in front of the mirror. Perfect.
I loathe hearing about what brands of clothing the character is wearing. I don't care if the character wears Vans or if the character wears Converse. It makes no difference whatsoever to the story!
Sure, what kind of clothing a character wears could perhaps define them, but brand is meaningless.
I had thick brown hair that was medium in length. My brown eyes were close to hazel in terms of shade. I had a pale skin tone, and my face was covered in freckles. I had small, thin lips; I was around five foot seven and weighed around a hundred and thirteen pounds.
I don't know about you, but when I retell a personal experience, I don't spend five minutes blabbering on about what I looked like. Can you imagine that? I, Alex, go to see my friend of five years and this is how I explain a funny story to them:
"So I was on my way to visit my friend. I had blue eyes and blonde hair, a pale complexion and a round facial structure. Then I arrived at my friends house and we played video games."
Yes, my appearance when telling a story is just entirely relevant.
I despise stories, where in the opening chapter, what we get to hear about is how the main character has thin lips and a pale complexion.
How do we find out what the character looks like? Small, tidbits of information in each chapter is much more bearable. Give the reader the information about what each character looks like when it's necessary.
Tell us how much your character weighs perhaps if she's lost weight. Tell us her height if she gets teased about it. Tell us she has brown eyes when she's comparing her eyes to somebody else's.
A few final notes:
You're vs your.
I gave her your phone number.
You're being unfair.
I feel upset knowing that I even have to put this up here, but I run across an alarming number of sentences in the best of the best stories where I audibly sigh at the following sentence:
I gave her you're phone number.
Automatically, you lose incredible amounts of credibility. This is what the above sentence is saying:
I gave her you are phone number.
Please learn grammar, thanks.
How To Get A Popular Story:
In brief, try to fulfill the following:
Interesting summary and title. This is your reader's first impression and first impressions are absolutely key. Send a draft of your summary to some friends and ask if it sounds interesting, people are quick to provide feedback.
Update often. While it seems that the stories with the most reviews are the ones that haven't been updated in an eternity, this is a common misconception. The best authors update weekly or every two weeks and readers review because they appreciate the speedy updates.
Go over your work at least three times before publishing. It is essential. You, as the author, are bound to miss mistakes the first time around. Three times assures a finer quality of work, which will, in turn, create a better story.
Thesaurus, your best friend: I mean it. Different adjectives make a world of a difference.
I wasted what, ten minutes of your life, maybe a little less, maybe a little more?
Well, in my egotistical opinion, I don't think I wasted your time at all. I think I may have enlightened you on some weaker areas of fictional romances posted on this website.
So, if I ever review one of your stories, and you believe my opinion to be somewhat harsh, remember that I want to help you, not to insult you.
I've stumbled upon some great stories on fiction press, but I have been disappointed time and time again by perfect examples of what I have just discussed with you.
And to conclude;
My favorite and well-written romances are in my favorites. I have read romances that have won SKOW awards that were not up to par, grammatically speaking, but the ones in my favorites are exceptional, and I mean this.
So, that's all!
Thank you for taking the time to read my rant.
Please feel free to leave a review giving me your opinion on this subject.