Tips for the Story Forums

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Here is a collection of tips, posted by members:

There are some good guides on here for people who are beginning writing a story. ( But what if you’ve already written a story? Naturally you’re excited to share it with other members here. And of course you want to receive good and constructive feedback, and for your story to be judged on it’s quality and content.

However, sometimes other factors will get in the way of people judging your story on the right things. The most common ‘mistakes’ people make when posting a story are: Including inappropriate content, poor spelling/grammar and not formatting the text appropriately.

To try and make sure your finished story is judged on its quality and content, here is a quick checklist to run over before you post your story here.

What to check before posting a story here:

1) Ensure that your story follows the rules (posted here). Stories with explicit sexual content, or overly graphic descriptions of using diapers etc are not permitted. If necessary edit your story to remove any inappropriate content.

2) Check your work with a spellchecker to pick up on any spelling errors. If you know you have problems with spelling and grammar then consider asking a friend to proof-read or even edit your work for you.

3) Proof read your story at least once to check that everything makes sense. Are you character's actions and motives clear? Are all events plausible in the context of your story? Has everything been explained? If you think something might not be clear to the reader, add in some more detail to make sure that it is.

4) Ensure that your story is not a ‘wall of text.’ This means making sure there is a blank line between each paragraph, which is essential on the internet. If you don’t break up your paragraphs then it can become very difficult for the reader to follow on a computer screen, and they will likely not bother.

5) Ensure that you have formatted any dialogue correctly. This is one of the most common mistakes that people make. Every time the person speaking changes you must start a new paragraph. This means some paragraphs may only be a few words long, but that is fine.

So, for example:

“Jordan, dinner’s ready!” Mom called from downstairs. “Okay Mom, coming!” I shouted back down to her, closing the chat window on my computer. I went over to my closet to get a jumper, it was always cold in the kitchen. I pulled it on over my head. “Jordan, get down here now! Your dinner’s getting cold!” Mom called down again, she has no patience. “On my way,” I shouted as I ran down the stairs, taking them two at a time.
Should read:

“Jordan, dinner’s ready!” Mom called from downstairs.

“Okay Mom, coming!” I shouted back down to her, closing the chat window on my computer. I went over to my closet to get a jumper, it was always cold in the kitchen. I pulled it on over my head.

“Jordan, get down here now! Your dinner’s getting cold!” Mom called down again. She has no patience.

“On my way,” I shouted as I ran down the stairs, taking them two at a time.

6) Accept that you may receive constructive criticism or otherwise receive feedback different to that which you hoped for. Take this feedback away with you and use it to help you to improve your future writing. If you don't think you can accept criticism along with praise then you may wish to reconsider whether you wish to post your story here!

When all that is done you should be ready to post your story, and hopefully to receive comments which reflect the quality and quantity of your work rather than those which are mainly pointing out errors.

Finally, once your story is posted do make sure to come back and thank the people who comment for their feedback!

This is the story section of the board, and a quick skimming of any thread on here shows that the posts of writers are vastly outnumbered by the posts of people reading a story and leaving a comment. Now we already have a whole thread dedicated to "how to write a good story", so I'm creating this thread to bring another idea up,

The "How to Make a Good Comment"

A quick look through most threads reveal that most comments are along the lines of "Awesome story", " I like it", and the ever so driving "Post next part please!".

Let me start off by saying that I am not saying you have to post a certain way. Such an idea would be stupid, and difficult to enforce. You can post whatever you want about a story, but one purpose of the comments here is to show writers what they can improve upon so that their stories can be even better.

Let's look at the post "I like your story, can't wait for more." From the standpoint of a writer, I appreciate the encouraging words. But please, if you have the time, expand on why you like the story. Just saying you "like my story" is similar to saying "I don't like being punched in the face." We all have reasons on why we dislike being punched in the face, it hurts, violence, punching back, etc, etc.

The writer has, hopefully, invested a good deal of time in creating something that you enjoy. The easiest way to thank that writer is to tell them what you liked about the story. Talk about the characters, the plot, the correct use of grammar and spelling, style of writing, or the words the writer used to describe a scene.

All of the above mentioned addons, although very simple and only a few words more, helps the writer know what you, the reader likes. If the writer knows what you like, he can incorporate into the story more readily, and make a more enjoyable story.

An example: "I like your story; you picked an interesting plot and concept that is different from most stories. I liked the descriptions you have about the setting of the story, but sometimes I feel like you were bogging things down with your explanations. Aside from that, you have a realistic diaper story, another thing I enjoy."

A longer than normal post, but I get my point across. I tell the writer something I like, but also place a suggestion to improve his story in the future.

How to critique a story.

Critiquing a story is a difficult, but a necessary thing for any writer to get better. It's tough to put something you may have worked on for a long length of time and show it to the community at large. Having a community of posters that constructively help you improve your writing technique is the best thing for any writer.

If you are going to offer editing/critique advice, please keep the following in mind.

~Tone: A good story can take hours/weeks/months to craft, and writers have a fragile enough ego as it. Make sure your post has a helpful tone, which allows room for further discussion. Words that are kindly given out are more likely to be taken to heart then harsh ones to boot.

~Be specific: 'Work on plot' doesn't tell a writer much. Here is an example: I one time had a character handcuffed to a hospital bed, but then had him moving his arms around freely a few paragraphs later. A helpful post from another member pointed exactly to my mistake, and I fixed the error quickly.

~Know what you're talking about: If you are going to post a critique about grammar, syntax, or spelling, know what you're talking about. The last thing we need is more misinformation on how to construct a sentence.

How to take critique/criticism.

This is an open story forum that anyone in the community can post and comment on. This is not a place for people to laud and shout praise on how awesome your story is. If people offer advice on how to improve your story, do not take it personally, they're trying to help.

If you disagree with what they said, then agree to disagree. You can't force them to read or like your story, and they can't force you to edit/change your story.

For an excellent example of both giving and receiving criticism, see "The Ryan and Dorie Story" thread.

If anyone wishes to add anything else under any of the three following categories, post it below and we'll see if we can squish it in the above post.

When you post a thread, there's a text box right below the area where you type the post. You can tag your story/thread in that box so other people know what it's about before reading. You can also tag someone else's thread or story. There should be a box before the last post with the option to "edit tags" for that thread. You can add new ones or delete unnecessary ones.

So basically, make sure you tag all your new stories. It's a good idea to go back and tag all your old ones too! If you read someone else's story and it has no tags, then don't be afraid to add some! Just be sure they make sense. (Misleading tags can probably be quite annoying)
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