Novice writing mistakes in my first manuscript

Most people who start writing for the first time can't do it very well, and just to demonstrate I'll show you what my writing was like when I started out.

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Mr. Shad, does it work to have the opening scene narrow in focus as it goes, like an establishing shot for a movie? As in it starts in omniscient for a paragraph or so, then quickly lands on the POV character? My creative writing teacher at the time I wrote this did a lesson on sort of zooming in and I want to make sure I'm not making a mistake using the lesson in this way.
I think one of the things I like about your channel is your humility and acknowledgement that we all have flaws.
I misread your novel's title as "the War of Flour" instead of "the War Flower". I was impressed. The fantasy baking genre is one that rarely get touched upon.
"My God... The wall of text is impenetrable, our forces will never be able to pierce it. We must give up this hopeless pursuit and move on to the next one." -Memoirs of a Publisher, Chapter: The Great Wall of Shadiversity
Thanks for this Shad now my sexual fanfictions r gonna be top notch :P
I've been trying to write a book and I literally only have the first sentence. "And in a fit of rage, the knife was plunged into his throat."
All these tips are helpful but, what about dragons?
Ohhhh, geez, reading your own writing. What a way to plunge balls deep into the cringe of your earlier years. I appreciate this sacrifice you've made for the greater good
The cringe against oneself is real! Like when I look at one of my old drawings.
Wow... this is just gold youtube material here... but the important bit is when the "rustle of busyness" meme will kick off...
Shad, I have no words in which to express the enjoyment that these writing videos of yours have given me. I have some useful advice to the new writers out there, just sit your ass in front of the computer and write. Word after another. No one can make the first draft perfect. There are going to be mistakes, and that is okay. That is how we learn. Just vomit the story that you want to tell, and then refine it. Think of it as a blacksmith would making a sword. First you have to have the raw materials, then, heat the metal, give it shape, temper it, make the guard, handle, pommel. Make it all fit together, making sure that it is functional, and then refine your work. Balance the sword, give the edge, give the fine details of work in the pommel and guard, make the handle comfortable, make the scabbard to go with it, etc. That was an example in the top of my head, of course those are not all the steps, and is not an absolute. Everyone has their own style, and that is a good thing. Discover yours, write, learn. Make this a better world. It didn't have your words in it before, it may be not the best out there, but its yours. Make yourself proud. Go get them tiger! And Shad, with that writing of yours, I have to ask. But what about dragons? Have a nice day, you beautiful beast.
Please do a review of city of markarth in Skyrim.
Damn... I have to trash my book that I'm writing...
Even if the execution sucked and the topics were crap it is a starting point. Better to have bad writing than a box of roundtoits you never got to. Keep going. Don't destroy anything. Learnimprove, persevere.
Woah, this was crazy informative Shad. I've been trying to resurrect (with intensive CPR), my old fantasy world I came up with back when I was 16. First attempt was at 18, again at 20 and now here I am at the ripe old age of 23 for round three. My issue is that I'm writing all the background fluff for myself before I've even attempt to rewrite all the old chapters. Which I imagine might be a bad idea... That aside, the format stuff was a very good heads up, I notice a lot of people tend to forget to take that into account. What's your take on alliteration (the cheesiest of literary devices)? I feel like it gets abused a little too much, I found an old one I wrote about Gods fighting, "Their fists colliding created cascades of broken worlds." Hggnnnghhh...
Dude reviewing old writing is tough. Even for pros. To do it ON YOUTUBE!? You are brave man! I want to be a author, and right now I am unsure if I want to write German or English. My German is far better than my English but the English market is much bigger. :/
You should do these lessons on live stream
I think you are wrong in your diagnosis on why infodumps are no longer in use, and frowned upon: that's because you live in the modern day, and fail to realise that the reader was different back then. An infodump can be done correctly if, well, it's well written - i. e. it shows conflict and grabs interest of the viewer, showing them what they've never seen before. And that's the crux of the problem: when Tolkien wrote LotR, fantasy was nearly nonexistent. In the current day when a typical fantasy reader will know about fantasy races more than they would about the 12 apostles, so those things aren't going to be nearly as exciting. And even if you like the way that Tolkien did it, you still won't feel the same way someone back in the day when they read it. It's kinda similar to how zombie movies introduced the idea of zombies. When they first came out they spent many long scenes to introduce the idea of a zombie, show it's characteristics, it's weaknesses and it's general rules. Over time the same scenes took less and less time and now, when the viewers are completely familiarised with the idea, they are either omitted or exist as character development. Again, it didn't happen because the writing got better, it happened because The Public became more aware. And even though current fantasy writers shouldn't really do it (after all, they are the people who fell in love with some old ideas and just want to rehash them "in their own way", rather than doing something new and creative), I can still see that it can be done well if well written - for example, if the narrator was really, really snarky.
Almost submitted the thing i've been working on for about a year... then i read the first page for the first time in a long time... and i vomitted in my mouth... at least it's formatted i guess... :P
Sweet, I used to suck to.
A rustle of busyness has erupted in my pants
The way you describe writing sounds like there's a checklist of things you can basically go through, including everything from "Are you using the right formatting" to "have you checked your use of tense" that, if followed and applied, could basically have a complete newbie get read by an editor without getting outright rejected. Basically stuff that, if you just know it's expected, requires little to no experience nor skill to apply. That's not to say that the newbie, although having every formality in order, would necessarily write a good story in the end :P
What is your opinion about a song of ice and fire saga?
Even though you willingly embraced the pain of this, I hope it was a cathartic experience from which you emerged healed and invincible.
Thanks for the advice! Now it's time to start my book over!
Just sitting here laughing at spelling mistakes, even though I'm horrible at grammar. :D
Hahahaha! I am subscribing to this excellence
Do more like this!!!
"The Moraine estate was in turmoil." It's much better than the original sentence, but is still passive (referring to the "was in"). It might be better as: "Turmoil hit the Moraine estate the morning of Senton's departure." See what I did there putting the active noun right up front? Bam! "Turmoil"! The sentence just improved even more by being direct about what happened that morning. Passive sentences are not technically wrong, but I'm of the school of thought that us writers ought to avoid them at all costs. If you can get away with never using them in descriptive prose, it'll help your book chug along at a good pace. Sometimes there's just no better way to construct the sentence and retain the fluidity, but all writers ought to *try* to rework every single passive sentence in their work before deciding the passive sentence has to stay. Most of the time, you can come up with an active sentence structure to replace it.
"Fraaaantically..."- And there we see the perfect example of Author Face.
Great video lol I can barely read my drafts and cringe at the thought of their existence.
You should do a collaboration with your brother. (Jazza)
Good to know that I started writing in proper format off instinct lol =D
Life is better for readers (and viewers) when a writer "chunks" information, not dumps it.
I read a book a while back that was just hot garbage. The setting was really cool, but the story was uneventful, the characters were boring, and the prose was mediocre. I made it through the whole thing because I was invested in the setting, and I was hopeful that everything else would find its groove at some point. Obviously it didn't, but it gave me a greater appreciation for the good books that I've read, and how hard it is to get everything right at once.
A rustle of busyness. 😂already trying too hard lol.
I feel that War of The Worlds has the best info dumps. Absolutely amazing start. There is always one exception to the rule.
23:40 "... travel all the way across the realm for an inspection that could be done by any captain." Are you sure that's a contradiction? If any captain can do it, isn't the sentence suggesting one of more convenience could step up (Closer to the barracks, one of less seniority, or unoccupied).
What if you change who is telling the story throughout the story?If you have more than one main character?
Very nice. This was very informative. I have a lot of work to do. Thank you
You should have removed "the." "Senton all but had to dance his way through countless servants." Sounds much better than "Senton all but had to dance his way through *the* countless servants." It's a vestigial word.
I am a little astonished. You start this by decrying the "info dump" and cite two examples of great literature that have used it to massive acclaim and success and then say, 'this is not how it is done anymore and if you do, it will be rejected.'   What you are actually saying here is that editors have become dictators. They have shaped the style all authors must use to be accepted by THEM. Anyone failing to abide by this totalitarian decree will never have the public view, purchase or even, enjoy their work. Frankly, that is a fucking disgrace! To think such great works would be in the slush pile in some editors office because he/she could not bring themselves to read past something their own prejudice told them was naff, is staggering to me.  It is also why I have spent the past five years coming up with a way for authors to avoid the fuckwit demands of editors and sell direct to the public or to be rejected by the public. No more running the gauntlet of the publishing house's pet Stalin.
Dude, this is amazing. I hope your protagonist is as brave as you.
Might I ask what your age was when you wrote the first piece?
I normally like your videos before you to criticize the writing on Superman which is a childish fantasy is so much crap because you're nobody you've done nothing once you get some cred then criticize Superman
Why cant you just say the esate was in chaos?
Are you still taking writing samples to review? And if so, how can we contact you?
This was so informative, I enjoyed listening to you!
So are you willing to read and critique our writings? It's one thing to hear from love ones that my writing is good, it's a completely different thing when a stranger reads it.
"Give me 10 good men and ill impregnate the bitch" Late hours at coma ward of st Luis hospital were though on all doctors.
Write the first sentence of your book here:
Lord of the Rings is a sequels though.
What is your steam username? I noticed at the bottom that you had steam.
2:09 Don't get too offended, but I laughed my ass of when I saw that wall of text.
Morning brought a flurry of servants on the Morane estate.Grooms readied the horses, while the chamberlain directed men in carrying down luggage.A maid rushed after Lord Urquhart, his breakfast on a tray that she struggled to balance. And so forth.
I would love to send you my book but I couldn't properly translate it from Hungarian. :D According to my friends (and teacher, he teaches both grammatics and literature - don't know how it is in other countries but for us those are separate classes) I am very good at it. I sent a chapter to my best girl friend and she was like: "Holy shit, you should become a writer. Like, really. This is awesome.".
I really like when the view switches from one character to the next between scenes or chapters. Is that still 3rd Person limited or is it called something else? And if it is (3PL) is there a term for distinguishing between a work that focuses exclusively on a single character throughout and a work that jumps between characters?
I'm curious how much you cringed or would cring with Cormac McCarthy's writing style and "creative" punctuation usage.
If it was anything else than high fantasy, I might agree, but if beginning with an info dump was good enough for Lord of the Rings, it's good enough for me. I don't need a publisher to tell me what's hip, if the new way of writing is the wrong way of writing fantasy, I don't care. That's how I feel about it. I have a several thousand year old character hiding in a human kingdom, whose former actions came back to bite him in the ass, and I don't see how writing a ton of flashbacks for the sole reason to "show" people pertinent information necessary for understanding what the hell is about to happen, buried in a sea of irrelevant information so it makes a proper setting (the place doesn't exist anymore, the people do not exist anymore save one, etc.) would be any better, than info dumping. Info dumping is the only way to only tell the relevant part of his history. What do you think about this Shad, any suggestions? Thanks!
Kudos for ripping apart your own work. Not many would do that.
Thanks, this helped ease my writing depression. I haven't written much lately and was about to give up and then I saw this. Plus, last night I listened to old ministry and that was just awful compared to their later stuff, so yeah...thanks again.
Sober me and drunk me are laughing at the concept I sent in a script I thought was shit. I had to watch this twice, and wrote down my drunk thoughts and circled them when I was sober; if i agreed. The one I think you will get a good laugh out of was "I could get through that wall of text if only I had a trebuchet, but all I got is a tankard of beer, I think I can get halfway through."
Thanks for the advice. I myself in some years past have tried to write not just one book, but an entire series. However I stopped since well... As time progressed and I improved on my writing with other projects, I read my older stories and cringed. It was that bad. Now I still haven't tried rewriting those older projects, only because they need a big overhaul. Again thanks for the advice. I someday hope to finish what writing projects I worked on years back and someday present them. Now I know projects will never be perfect, but at least it will be better then it was before. That's why we improve as time passes. A writer's job is not easy. But it is worth it in the end. That's just my opinion though.
2:30 A.K.A. MLA style. Or at least I think so. I'm in an honors English and History class (literally 2 in 1) and that's the style we use. Last year was actually over the Middle Ages, and my research paper was over Arms and Armor. Had a lot of dun researching it. Well, I would have, if I didn't procrastinate it till 2 weeks before it was due, for the bulk of the writing. Don't procrastinate.
Never really took into account how much work it takes just to start a novel. Maybe that's why I'm always so hesitant to start writing an idea I have
And it was then he realized the comment section had erupted into a swarming mass of trolls.......
I wrote about ten pages this weekend, once I double space it.Need to switch to third person limited.Currently I have three main characters, but two have been in every scene.
Is the Lily in the story formatted correctly the Lily in Blood Brothers? R.I.P Tabletop Time...
There are so many specifics just to get the formatting alone right. I just add two indents at the start of a paragraph. Is that really not enough?
Nice change!
So, Shad, you have a lot of stories here. Why not do what I do and try to work them all into one big story? Ones that could fit together, that is. You've written mountains of work, and I believe no work in creative literature should go to waste. You've got so many universes there that could be merged with your current writing talent into something extraordinary!
If you are good enough, you can use infodumb. But, like you say, we are not that good XD We are not that person, yet.
It really irks me that my microsoft word often autocorrects any word after a double spacing, turning them into capital letters.
Wow! How could you write without indented paragraphs? That's... I do not compute. To write in any diffrent format is something completely alien to me.
Perhaps, "Early morning turmoil erupted throughout the Morane estate." I try to limit my use of is, was, were, etc. because there's usually a stronger verb somewhere near is was were, that can strengthen the sentence. Just my two cents...
What's a manuscript?
That was me 10 years ago. Publishing fanfiction was the best thing I have ever done simply because I received so much helpful feedback from many amazing reviewers. Now I am editing the first draft of a non fanfiction book.
As an Optician, I cannot help but feel the urge to fix your glasses — a feeling that wouldn't stop to exponentially increase with every of the countless times you had to push them back on your nose throughout this video. I suspect them to be either too tight on the sides of your head, which would push them forward and explain why they fall off, or just not properly curved behind your ears, leading to the same result. Either way, I would advise you have them adjusted by an optician at an eye clinic. Most of the time, minor adjustments like this are done for free. Matter of glasses aside, I would like to thank you for making this video. It was very interesting to see you re-work one of your old text to illustrate the tips and tricks you've picked up and share with us some of the experience you've gained in the art of writing along the years. You sure made me want to re-work my own stories and further improve my writing. That being said, good day to you, and you have my best regards — Guillaume Cyr
Shad, I think you would like Terrible Writing Advice. It's a YouTube channel, you should check it out if you have some spare time.
I started writing a story recently. The first attempt in years. In the first draft I had to force myself to not go back and edit constantly,I tried really hard to just write and write, just to get it all out, not to over think stuff. That made the difference from all my stories from forever ago. I got down a lot more than I ever had before.
You don't need to double space your address block at the start, just fyi.
Is it 3rd person omniscient when you focus on one character but throw in other characters thoughts occasionally, because I see this a lot but I'm new to all the fancy terminology. You should do like a whole series on going through writing a proper story from the basics and also lay out all the terms and grammar. Great video!
Idk about everyone else, but as an avid reader of medieval-ish fantasy, I'd love to hear you review books you enjoyed. Both because book recommendations are gold, but also because I want to hear what you think an aspiring writer could learn from the best-sellers (Song of Ice and Fire, for example).
Hey! Watch your passive voice!
Thanks dude
This is brilliant!!!
For all of you there who don't have english as their first language - have you ever felt that writing on english just seems more comfortable to you?
Meh, i would rather concentrate on the quality of the story rather than something that can be fixed in half an hour of editing. Of course a neatly packed text is a plus but we are not in an english class here, aren't we ? As long as its servicable right ? No amount of formatting will fix a bad story.
5:45 Sorry but, "a rustle of busyness" what does mean? I am not native, sorry. Thanks!!
Time for response: - formatting is only really important if you are trying to get your text published by big publisher. If you are publishing it yourself (on the internet, you are rich as F) you don't need to worry about it too much. Although text is always more pleasant to read if it looks nice. - in medias res figure (jumpinginto the story right away) is sort of advanced thing. It may be hard to managed. - you can do exposition in the beginning, but you have to wrap it in some way, tie it to some story. "I got quite far since morning ... As I walk over the field near X I can still see remnants of battle between A and B, two great which are in war for eons ... The folk says that sword of mighty Q was lost in this very battle..." - this will give you info. that there are 2 nations in war, that there was some battle, and also some hero and his weapon. But it's not that annoying to read. - word repetition is possible, but only when it's meaningful and necessary. It's safer to avoid it all together.
So publishers can reject your work without reading it? Damn, someone's getting paid too much. I'm scared to imagine what would happen should I reject a software project because it sounds stupid.
1.5 or double spaced always?
This video, your "How to write the start of a novel" video, and your "Reviewing writing samples" video, have been really helpful and informative. :)
One thing to keep in mind for the first sentences of your novel is that the reader is basically blind and deaf in a foreign world. You need to provide a most basic orientation point immediately, a nail to hang the mental picture. You need to be concise and efficient, giving some easily processed information to build on, preferably in real-world terms. You need to provide Objects to be subject for descriptions and actions before giving the descriptions and actions. In terms of your example, that's where you described business too long before giving the reader something that is busy, in a way too fluffy sentence. The revised version was perfect: Provide a place first, the estate, then describe it as busy, all of it in as few words as possible. Once the reader has the most basic image going, you can start building on it, and risk being more... fluffy.
This video gives me hope because I've been preaching a lot of these do's and don'ts for a few years now. And I learned by writing on my lonesome, and not from someone else, not that it really matters. BUT, Shad said not to lore dump in the beginning of the novel. I agree with this, certainly...but I have a question. Does anyone know if an expositionary prologue would disqualify a manuscript from getting published on the grounds of it being a lore dump? I wouldn't think so, but I don't know anything about publishing.
Wow! Another great video! Definitely going to employ these tips into my writing. *looks at writing* ... well crap.
It's a same English is not my prime language. So I can't send you my work. But I use a narrator who uses both first and third person perspectives. And i covered this with that he is a god. A simple character for a story because he isn't get even mentioned a lot but he tells the story and he can explain others thoughts. What do you think about this? It's going to be rejected because this?

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Novice writing mistakes in my first manuscript