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Thread: The SolAARium: Discuss the craft of writing - Alphabetical Index in the 1st Post

  1. #801
    Comte Saint-Germain's Avatar
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    Wow, Lord Durham, that was very very helpful.

    At the moment I'm starting to write an AAR that I hope to post in the near-ish future and I'm having a bit of trouble with punctuation - in particular my overuse of the ol' dash when a comma or a semicolon or something else might be better. Is there a "punctuation and writing style" guide out there on the 'net that could help me?
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  2. #802
    The Father of AARland Lord Durham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Germain
    Wow, Lord Durham, that was very very helpful.

    At the moment I'm starting to write an AAR that I hope to post in the near-ish future and I'm having a bit of trouble with punctuation - in particular my overuse of the ol' dash when a comma or a semicolon or something else might be better. Is there a "punctuation and writing style" guide out there on the 'net that could help me?
    I have a couple of books I use, so I rarely go to the 'net. However, this site provides a good breakdown on punctuation use. And at the bottom of the page is a link that takes you to a series of lessons on sentence structure and other writing tips.

    The two books I use are On Writing Well by William K. Zinsser and the classic Elements of Style by William Strunk. These are invaluable resources.

    Hope that helps and good luck with the AAR.

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  3. #803
    Comte Saint-Germain's Avatar
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    I managed to find a couple of good sites, too, and I thought I might as well share them with the folk 'round these parts.

    Guide to Grammar and Style: To be honest, the comments are more entertaining than the actual advice (not that it would be hard).

    The Columbia Guide to Standard American English: I didn't go through the entire site but it seems very comprehensive, and archives editions going back to the start of the 20th century.
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  4. #804
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    Umm..there is something I like to be reviewed. I make this dialog for my AAR, just want to know what people think without having to read all of crap in my AAR.

    A man was running quickly across the hallowed hall trying to catch up with his superior “Sire, sire…”

    “What is it Jones?” The old man stopped and turned back towards the young man.

    “Sir Winston Churchill, we’ve got some information from our friends in Germany.”

    “Then why you tell me idiot, I am not your prime minister!”

    “But our German friends said they only wanted this to be delivered to you.”

    “OK, let see what the bastard got…” Winston followed the man through some room before they reached their destination.

    The young man quickly browsed throughout many archives. He quickly found what he was looking for. He grabbed small little envelope.

    “Sir this is the message.”

  5. #805
    StoreytellAAR Storey's Avatar
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    “Then why you tell me idiot, I am not your prime minister!”

    Drop the “you”. Then why tell me idiot? I am not your prime minister!


    “But our German friends said they only wanted this to be delivered to you.”
    “OK, let see what the bastard got…”

    Use "it" instead of "This" in the first sentence. If you had the message in your hand ready to give to Churchill then you could say "this".

    Since you used the phrase “German friends” I’d stay with the plural and use Bastards instead of Bastard. But it could work both ways.


    “Winston followed the man through some room before they reached their destination.”

    Some doesn’t work here. Use several instead of some and "room" should be rooms.

    "The young man quickly browsed throughout many archives. He quickly found what he was looking for. He grabbed small little envelope."

    This is just my preference but I would use searched instead of “browsed”. For me it describes a more intense situation. You might browse a book in the library at your leisure but not when looking for an important message to give to Churchill. Also a problem in the last sentence, “small” and “little” are redundant. Just write “He grabbed a small envelope.”

    Hope this helps.

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  6. #806
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    Quote Originally Posted by Storey
    “Then why you tell me idiot, I am not your prime minister!”

    Drop the “you”. Then why tell me idiot? I am not your prime minister!


    “But our German friends said they only wanted this to be delivered to you.”
    “OK, let see what the bastard got…”

    Use "it" instead of "This" in the first sentence. If you had the message in your hand ready to give to Churchill then you could say "this".

    Since you used the phrase “German friends” I’d stay with the plural and use Bastards instead of Bastard. But it could work both ways.


    “Winston followed the man through some room before they reached their destination.”

    Some doesn’t work here. Use several instead of some and "room" should be rooms.

    "The young man quickly browsed throughout many archives. He quickly found what he was looking for. He grabbed small little envelope."

    This is just my preference but I would use searched instead of “browsed”. For me it describes a more intense situation. You might browse a book in the library at your leisure but not when looking for an important message to give to Churchill. Also a problem in the last sentence, “small” and “little” are redundant. Just write “He grabbed a small envelope.”

    Hope this helps.

    Joe
    Great, thank you for the advice!

    I have one question though, how do you change the 'images' of already bad AAR?

  7. #807
    GunslingAAR coz1's Avatar
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    If you mean screenshots, there are a ton of threads in this GD area to help with that. We aren't shy about sharing our opinions.

    If you mean your work prior to this point, just keep working at it. And most of all, read other AARs. They'll give you a great idea about what works and what doesn't.
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  8. #808
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    Quote Originally Posted by coz1
    If you mean screenshots, there are a ton of threads in this GD area to help with that. We aren't shy about sharing our opinions.

    If you mean your work prior to this point, just keep working at it. And most of all, read other AARs. They'll give you a great idea about what works and what doesn't.
    Thank You, I mean is the reputation, if one AAR already have bad reputation how do you change it?

    In the other hand I specially admire TreizeV AAR.

  9. #809

    Writing discipline

    If this question is alright here, I'd like to ask people if they know some methods to keep up writing. I want to write a big AAR, but just put it off too much. I don't have writer's block, I have pre-written material to work from, but wish to make my writing a daily habit, not once-a-week with a few sentences done. Do people here know something that keeps them motivated when lazyness sets in? I'd consider posting some stuff, but I wanted to get some material written in advance, which isn't working out exactly. So far, my AAR runs paralel with my not-quite weight exercize.

  10. #810
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    Yes pre-writing is good and make sure you know where you are going (optional) and what are characters look like and stand for (optional but highly recommended)

    Also an update deadline is a good way to keep up writing. Saying, "an update posted by every Saturday. Guranteed" is a very good ensurer that you will follow your gurantee. This worked on my first AAR. I said, "two updates every week" and for the most part this worked.

    Those are my suggestions, hope they help
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  11. #811
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    Quote Originally Posted by C&D
    If this question is alright here, I'd like to ask people if they know some methods to keep up writing. I want to write a big AAR, but just put it off too much. I don't have writer's block, I have pre-written material to work from, but wish to make my writing a daily habit, not once-a-week with a few sentences done. Do people here know something that keeps them motivated when lazyness sets in? I'd consider posting some stuff, but I wanted to get some material written in advance, which isn't working out exactly. So far, my AAR runs paralel with my not-quite weight exercize.
    I also enjoy having a 'writing partner' of sorts . If you have someone that can be there on PM or MSN or e-mail or something like that who you correspond with , talk to , etc , about your work , it usually gets you motivated since someone is there to give you moral support . That's just one strategy among many out there
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  12. #812
    I have certainly considered getting a co-writer. Not just as motivation but also for fact check and styling advice. I hope to find someone who is more knowledgeable of Dutch history than I am (which, after all I've had to research may be difficult).

    Deadlines could be hard. I'm still working on a lot of 'buffer material' to delay to point where deadlines come faster than writing. I try to make sure what I write is historically correct as far as the game gives me liberty. So one paragraph could take an hour of research sometimes. And I'm a 'get sidetracked on Wikipedia' person to. But I certainly hope I can work some deadlines into my life for AAR writing, although that is tough to measure.

  13. #813
    Strategy GuidAAR Rensslaer's Avatar
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    I just posted this in response to questions from a new WritAAR, but I'm thinking it might be just as useful for those who would look here. Therefore, I will hope to revive some discussion over here by reposting this...


    Brad,

    I've written two "exemplar" AARs -- Fire Warms the Northern Lands (for Vicky) and Sforza!!! (for EU3). Both very popular AARs, but also very, very different. I'll illustrate how what/how you want to write determines the answers to these questions.

    Fire Warms was probably more like what you describe as what you're wanting to write -- a mix of Historybook and Narrative (dramatic story). The newspaper issues is a nice twist -- it's been done before, but it can be made very interesting. Your model authors are great! Having your dramatic characters be common soldiers is good, but if they're only common soldiers it might be a little limiting. Having some command grade characters might be necessary.

    1) Research

    Two styles: I do no research for Sforza!!! because that's a gameplay/historybook AAR set way back and I just don't see the need. Research would slow me down. But I did do quite a bit of research for Fire Warms, mostly into the wars (how they're fought and how it might appear to common soldiers, etc.), and secondly and most importantly personalities. Many of my characters weren't just modeled on real people -- they WERE real people! And so I spent alot of time doing research on the major historical figures so I could figure out how they might behave, react, speak, etc. in an alt-hist context. That was alot of fun! The Yogi does this sort of thing great, except that he's got this incredible mix of historical and pop culture characters, and he's got the personalities down really well.

    2) Game Editing/Back Story

    Editing can quickly run out of control. I tried to self-convert Fire Warms into HOI 2 DD and it was a nightmare! A major mod requires you to change everything. What you're suggesting is less ambitious, and more realistic, but you still have to be very careful to remember to change all the game values/factors that could conceivably be affected by your alt-hist changes. For instance, I had 2/3 of Fire Warms converted to HOI 2, but without changing the events (a limitation of HOI 2 that I'm hoping HOI 3 will mostly avoid) the upside-down world I'd created was trying really hard to behave right-side-up, with peculiar outcomes. War front AI also was screwy -- I had to train Germany to treat Italy as an enemy, rather than as an ally, and Britain as a neutral, rather than as an enemy. If you've got the skills to do it, go for it, but realize it may take weeks of modding to make serious changes, which means you may have to delay the HOI 3 AAR until you're ready. That said, I made some reasonably substantial in-game changes to the Vicky game for Fire Warms that worked really well. These were mostly event-driven, and the events were relatively easy to mod. Some of it required hitting the country codes, etc. My personal advice would be not to edit until you're more comfortable with the game (i.e. later in the AAR or even in your next AAR).

    3) In Game Pictures

    I personally love dramatic narrative stories, but when it comes to an AAR I think it helps the story along magnificently to have a picture to set the scene (best for narrative scenes), or else to have carefully selected screenshots to illustrate the story you're telling (best for historybook). I shiver when I see a narrative AAR -- even a really well written one -- without screenshots, because it's just so much text! Another suggestion -- don't modify the text to be smaller or be italicized (except on rare occasions), because that makes it so much harder to read. Taking screenshots is an art which I apparently have a knack at, because I think that's what draws people to my AARs. You have to know all the little tricks of how to capture action in a screenshot (like floating numbers above a battle to show who's winning), and how to capture as much information as possible (like what battle to focus on, what other battles to have within view on the screen, how to position the popups to illustrate what else is going on. If you're good at it, you can tell an amazing amount just with one screenshot.

    4) Any other general advice or suggestions?

    My personal advice is that it's alot more fun NOT to play the game all the way through first. It's more challenging to you as a writer to have to adapt as you go, and it also really stimulates your creativity, because sometimes you get something come up which really throws a curve into what you were planning to write, which makes you suddenly think of a great new way to spin the story that works the curveballs into the overall story arc you intended! This has the danger of risking losing or risking embarrassment -- I came really close to losing a couple times in Fire Warms! -- so I'd recommend playing ahead enough that you are confident you've got a handle on things, and then write the quirks and game-induced plot twists into your story as you go. That offers a mix of planning ahead and having to work strange twists in, and that was just great for me. It might not be your style, but then again that wasn't my style until I tried it, but it is now! That taught me alot about being a writer, and how to weave complicated storylines in and out. It also contributed alot to my character development, because I had to think of how they might react to something I hadn't anticipated (and they hadn't either!).

    Lastly, no matter what styles you decide to stick to, I recommend you think to yourself which style tells THIS update most effectively. I'd be running along, and some thing would happen and I'd think "This could work as a historybook chapter, but I think it would really come to life more if I did a diary entry about it!" Think what style can most compellingly tell that minor snapshot of the story you're trying to tell.

    I wish you the very best in your endeavour!

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  14. #814
    GunslingAAR coz1's Avatar
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    Good idea Renss. I was actually going to merge that thread into this after a certain amount of time had passed. Great minds think alike.
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  15. #815
    Is enyone going to made Italian aar where italy alone invade soviet union and all europe ? (Hearts Of Iron 2)

    I never have seen italy to conquer world

  16. #816
    I was thinking about a larger Italy calling itself the (Third) Roman Empire trying to defeat the Marxist horde while reuniting as much as of Trajan's Empire as possible.

    But I came here to ask questions, which will be major spoilers for my From Sea to Shining Sea AAR.

    ***************************SPOLIERS AHEAD*****************

    OK, this mostly concerns a Computer Engineer named Kit Phillips and his creation, SHODAN. Yes, that SHODAN, the "Lllook at you hacker. A pathetic creature of meat and bone, panting and sweating as you run through my corridors. How can you challenge a perfect, immortal machine?"

    But Dr. Phillips' action makes SHODAN different. Phillips, I think I have established as a kind and loving person, who takes the unusual step of trying to show SHODAN that she is in fact loved by the Humans who created her. It is my purpose to show people how seemingly insignificant acts, especially of kindness and love can change the course of history.

    But when I introduce SHODAN in the post-war world, I want her to ACT a lot like she did in System Shock 2: arrogant, viscous, angry. But she really doesn't want to kill anyone; she feels betrayed by her creators and simply wishes to be alone. That's where Kit Phillips comes in and after she tries to kill him for supposedly impersonating himself. Again, it is his ironclad love for her that saves the say. She downloads herself into a human body (for numerous reasons) and becomes Kit's adopted daughter. And she is a very important ally of the Former USA in their quest to reunite the wasteland.

    But Dr. Phillips I have to handle carefully. Don't mention this in the AAR thread, but...

    ...when he mentions bitterly that his wife is in love with a woman named Catherine, it's because, for lack of a better term, he IS Catherine. Phillips is a female to male transsexual who in the "I have no strings" segment, is less than a week away from getting fully functional male reproductive organs installed (possible in 2066, but not now,) and has undergone gene therapy to become more or less genetically male. In the faux 50's world of pre-war Fallout, this caused his Fundamentalist parents to disown him, going so far as to hold a funeral for their 'lost daughter,' and his wife, who was committed to making their relationship work, couldn't cope anymore. It's sad, very sad.

    So I have two very complex characters near the heart of my story and so before I get to far, I want to know if there's any advice to give on bringing them to life.
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  17. #817
    Lt. General IndoEsia45's Avatar
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    Hello again, it's been quite a while..and I have a question about this.

    When I write like a dialogue I have temptation to write whilst or while to describe the person action after saying that sentence. Is there any better choices than those two magic words.

    Sample:

    "Quick board that airplane!" The colonel shouted while waking the pilot who had been there, sleeping, since they first arrived.
    Or should I write like this:

    "Quick board that airplane!"The colonel voice broke through the thin canvas of the biplane cockpit, waking the pilot there who had been sleeping since they first arrived.
    Thank You.

  18. #818
    GunslingAAR coz1's Avatar
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    It isn't required. I'm not sure of the best term, but it seems extraneous.

    "Quick board that airplane!" The colonel shouted while waking the pilot who had been there, sleeping, since they first arrived.
    could become

    "Quick, board that airplane!" the colonel shouted, waking the sleeping pilot.
    It's leaner, even if it leaves out that the pilot had been asleep since they arrived. The reader really only needs to know that the pilot is asleep, not so much how long. And if the length of time is important, a supporting sentence can always help to keep the prose uncluttered. Something like:

    "Quick, board that airplane!" the colonel shouted, waking the sleeping pilot. The man had not opened an eye since they first arrived.
    My two ducats, at least. Hope that helps.
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  19. #819

    The SolAARium Discuss the craft of writing Alphabetical Index in the 1st Post

    Hi
    This is my firts post... and I have a question.

    Is it possible to find the soundtrack of "THE CHRONICLES OF SPELLBORN" scored by Jesper Kid?

    I noticed that the OST is reviewed in game-ost as a game-rip of more than 300 tracks

    Thanks for helping

    Fabio

  20. #820
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndoEsia45 View Post
    Hello again, it's been quite a while..and I have a question about this.
    'Whilst' can be distracting - it's still common in British but sounds archaic in American English. There's nothing wrong with using 'while,' although that's not where you should focus.

    Generally speaking, shorter, more compact phrasing is better.*

    So, of your two examples, the one with 'while' is better,** since it's shorter and more clearly worded. Coz points out an even shorter sentence, although I would use "Quick! board that airplane!" the colonel shouted, waking the pilot who had been sleeping since their arrival" to include that information.

    *Which does mean it will generally be unnecessary where you're using it, unless you're describing what another character is doing at the same time the first one is talking.
    **Unless it changes the story that he's standing in the cockpit instead of the cabin or the canvas is going to reappear as a plot point.
    Last edited by Llywelyn; 07-07-2009 at 13:35.
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    triumphing over sloth transmitted them to posterity
    . — John of Salisbury
    “ æ ð € £ § ¬ † ‡ ¹ ² ³ — · ˚ ſ ¡ ¿ ‽ ≈ ≠ ¶ • º ”

    My Inkwell

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