OngoingWorlds blog

News & articles about play-by-post games, for roleplayers & writers


Reggie’s Writing Tips: #1 – 10

This article was written by Reggie from Cathedral: The Thieves Guild.

Sara Chase Blackwood in Game Cathedral: The Thieves Guild image Cathedral: The Thieves Guild

Reggie’s character in Cathedral: The Thieves Guild is Sara Chase Blackwood

I decided to post a rather large but simple list of writing tips/tricks/advice that was shared with me while working with professional screenwriters in LA. I have a background doing script coverage with 20th century Fox and was able to meet many successful screenwriters, some whom were highly acclaimed artists in the film industry. A lot of the knowledge they shared carries on to creative writing in general.

For the next few weeks, I will post the tips I believe had helped me along the way to better understand the many aspects of story telling such as structure, character development, conflict, genre, dialogue, etc. While I don’t expect any of you to create a highly polished short story in all your posts, hopefully these tips will help you guys out one way or another. Don’t hesitate to ask me any questions if you need better clarity on any of the tips I post here.

Tip # 1: Why will people connect with your character? Emotional connections = higher stakes. If your hero doesn’t first connect with the person he/she is saving, we may not care.

Tip # 2: Somewhere in your overwritten monologues and speeches, theres a perfect line dying to get out. Find it! Write it. Cut the rest.

Tip # 3: “By the way…” “Speaking of…” “That reminds me…” Artificial segues are red flags that you are going on too long in your dialogue.

Tip # 4: Stuck on an ending? Pull from your own story. What person, object or line can pay off to help your hero save the day?

Tip # 5: Writing horror? Add SHORT (very brief, these are only posts after all, right?) poetry to the descriptions of the scary and ugly. It’ll make your scenes even creepier.

Tip # 6: How much should you write in a fight? Edit the fight scenes around key elements: Tone of the fight, method or weaponry, upper hand, winning moment, emotional impact. Everything else is fluff that may result in you writing unnecessary details.

Tip # 8: Characters in your story is one big family dinner and every character in it brings its unique habits and quirks – their rules – to the table.

Tip # 9: The supporting character isn’t there just to support, he/she is there to change the game. He/She pushes the main character to take new action.

Tip # 10: Keep the audience guessing and avoid unnecessary exposition by talking around a subject. Audiences are smart. They’ll catch up.

Thanks for reading and I’ll post the next set of tips (there are a ton more) every sunday if the interest is still there.

This article was written by Reggie from Cathedral: The Thieves Guild.