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WBDaddy last won the day on December 27 2018

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About WBDaddy

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  1. WBDaddy

    A Second Thought (One Shot Short Story)

    Just for the record, it took me 20 years to work through all the mess that held me back in my 20's. But I'm here to say it can be done, if you get a good therapist and you're goal-oriented in how you interact with him/her. I used to be angry all the time, trying desperately to wall shit off long enough to survive at a job, only to blow up and ragequit at the stupidest things. There's more mess than you want to know in my history, but for me, it's just that - history. I don't wear it as a badge, I wear the badge of someone who reshaped themselves after going through all that mess and becoming a successful human being afterward. Flawed? Sure. We all are. But not fatally anymore. PS: The vignette was awesome. You've got a hell of a lot of plot creativity in you. I'd love to see you tackle a long-form piece.
  2. WBDaddy

    Looking for Beta Readers

    I'd be willing to do a few chapters, and possibly more if the content is solid and the author is fairly responsive to editorial advice. One note of warning: Different readers (especially with many of them being writers themselves) will have different viewpoints, and you don't want to wind up with muddled voices and/or narrative styles as a result of different edits on different sections. For example: I'm very much of the Stephen King school of attribution - don't do it unless you have to, and don't use colorful synonyms, just "said" and "asked". BoTox might be more of the "eliminate repetition at all costs" school, which generally says don't use the same word twice, even in attribution. The section you edit toward his approach will be radically different than the one you edit toward my approach.
  3. And a certain someone getting murdered in "A Little Legal issue". Just saying...
  4. Told you I was going to stalk everything you posted. Criticism, from a writing perspective: - Watch out for redundancy. I spotted a couple of sentences where you used the same adjective/adverb in a continuous flow of description. (Finding the specific examples right now is easier said than done, but I'll dig them up in the morning if you don't beat me to it). - Try to be concise and action-oriented with your interjections between the dialogue - things like "Her mother removed her hand from her daughter's shoulder" - We know at this point that the daughter is Belinda, hence "Belinda's shoulder" would be more precise and less distracting with all the "her" components. Another example of being concise: "Patty continued, the look on her face deadly serious." What does "deadly serious" look like? How about something like, "Patty continued with a deadly serious expression..."? Anyway, while I agree it was absurdly unrealistic, I get the feeling that was the intention. Not everything has to make sense in the context of the "real world" - no matter how much effort we invest in this stuff, it's still going to have at least a touch of un-reality in it. Having fun with it isn't a bad thing.
  5. WBDaddy

    If you could design the perfect diaper......

    Have you ever applied tape to your inner thigh, left it there for 8-10 hours, then tried to remove it? Try it some time before you make this kind of wish.
  6. WBDaddy

    The Trying Policy

    I don't understand how this is relevant to this forum. You're trying to contact an inactive author, I get that. What makes you think the rest of us who write these kinds of stories have any knowledge of how to contact them? Trust me, this isn't a fraternity/sorority. There's no International Diaper Story Writer's Guild where we all have workshops and conferences and maintain a list of active writers and their contact info.
  7. I think a lot of us, if pressed, would confess that we abuse adjectives. Some of us just have better thesauri.
  8. Which is why I said "natural", not "normal". But mostly for me it's about casual versus overly formal dialogue. What's the setting? Is this a discussion in a job interview? Or at a bar? Totally changes the way most people speak.
  9. WBDaddy

    inner critic

    I don't think you should ignore your inner critic - but you certainly should put that voice in perspective. It can be a motivation to improve, to refine your craft, to get better at writing. If all you hear out of your inner critic is "you suck as a writer", then that's a self-confidence issue, and a bit of cognitive-behavioral therapy might be in order to help you correct it. Ignoring a voice like that doesn't make it go away. If what you hear from your inner critic are things like "This is completely unrealistic" or "No one would say that" (in reference to a piece of dialogue) or things like that, then it's worth taking the time to review and evaluate what you've written, find opportunities to improve it. Ignoring a voice like that just makes you stagnant as a writer, and that's the last thing you want to be.
  10. Not at all, I do the same thing. Does this sound like something that would come out in natural conversation?
  11. That's a tough one to express, because it's mostly about hearing the dialogue in your head and visualizing the people speaking. For example, you know that dialects and accents vary wildly from place to place in the UK - what would a sentence sound like coming from a girl from Liverpool as opposed to Edinburgh? What sort of slang do they use in contrast to someone from London? These are things I think about when I look at my own settings - where is this story setting? How do people talk in that region? Are any of my characters from somewhere else? What do I need to adjust in their speaking patterns? I'm not saying go so far as to butcher the verbiage to try and recreate an accent, but you can paint a picture of an accent with phrases that are typical of a regional dialect. My story "The Wannabe Hypnotist" (posted here as "Don't Dabble In Forces You Don't Understand", but lost to the server crash a while back, but posted here: https://abdlstoryforum.info/forum/stories/board-member-stories/5689-the-wannabe-hypnotist-finished-7-23 ) is at least a decent example of the methodology of conveying speech patterns based on regional dialect.
  12. My pleasure. If anyone has suggestions for other topics, I'll be glad to do more such guides.
  13. Worth a pin, Mr. Admin?
  14. Hey there everyone. I've noticed that a lot of folks have trouble with some of the conventions surrounding dialogue in their stories, and I thought I'd post this little guide to give everyone some pointers. I'm going to mostly cover formatting, punctuation, and capitalization conventions, but I'll probably preach a little bit about attribution as well. These are all things I struggled with for years, picking up bits of advice here and there until I reached a point where it all became automatic. Anyway, enough introductory jibber-jabber, let's get on with it! Formatting dialogue: A lot of you already know this one, but I'm covering it because brand new writers often don't. I see this mistake being made constantly here and elsewhere by rookie writers. One of the basic conventions regarding dialogue is that you line break every time the speaker changes. The purpose here is for clarity - it can be hard for the reader to keep track of who is speaking if multiple people speaking are all packed into a single paragraph. Incorrect example: The argument was getting heated between the two youngsters. "If you're not a baby, how come you're eight years old and still in diapers?!" asked Mike. "Because my mommy says I'm in... in-con-ti-nent!" said Jill. "And I'm not a baby!" "Well I think in-con-tent really means big baby!" said Mike. "Yeah, well Joey told me you still suck your thumb! That makes you a bigger baby!" said Jill. ---------- Anyway, you see how this is going. Keep the argument going a few more sentences, and it's a real mess to sort out. ---------- Correct example: The argument was getting heated between the two youngsters. "If you're not a baby, how come you're eight years old and still in diapers?!" asked Mike. "Because my mommy says I'm in... in-con-ti-nent!" said Jill. "And I'm not a baby!" "Well I think in-con-tent really means big baby!" said Mike. "Yeah, well Joey told me you still suck your thumb! That makes you a bigger baby!" said Jill. ---------- Now, even in the "correct" example, there's something I'll be touching on later in about attributions, but first things first, this already reads much clearer. There's no question of who said what. Additional note: This isn't a hard and fast rule, but it certainly does help with clarity - When your character is thinking to his/herself, I highly recommend using italics, not "quotes". Why? Because a reader is already thinking, if it's in quotes, someone's saying it. Except it isn't being said - so by using italics, this identifies it as something unique within your formatting patterns, and there's no confusion. Remember, the responsibility for a failure in communicating ideas rests on the person trying to convey those ideas. So as a writer, whatever you can do to help make things clearer for the reader is a good thing! Punctuating in and around dialogue: This right here is one of the toughest things to sort out as a writer, because it seems like the rules change for virtually every circumstance! And, in all reality, they do. I know, that's not exactly the reassurance you were looking for, but it's really not tough to sort it all out once you know how it works. So let's dive in, shall we? Period? Comma? Inside or outside? OK, ok, slow down, we'll take this a step at a time. First rule: If the quote ends the sentence, put a period inside the quote. Example: Andrew said, "This quotations stuff is a big pain in my ass." Second rule: If the quote does not end the sentence, put a comma inside the quote. Example "This quotations stuff is a big pain in my ass," said Andrew. See? That was easy. But wait... what about the rest of the punctuation marks?! DAMMIT! Third rule: If you use an exclamation point or a question mark, none of the above applies. Examples Andrew said, "This quotations stuff is a big pain in my ass!" "Why do I have to learn this big pain-in-the-ass dialogue crap anyway?" asked Andrew. You're not going to sub out a comma for a question mark, so ignore the comma substitutions. Important related note: It is crucial to understand what exactly signals the end of a sentence, because your period/comma application will bend with it. We saw above the comma preceding "said Mike". What we didn't see that trips even advanced writers up... Example 1: Complete sentences "That's it, I'm telling," Jill said as she stomped toward Mrs. Knapp, who was watching over the recess group. "Mrs Knapp, Mike won't quit calling me a baby." She folded her arms and pouted. Why the period in the second portion? Because the quote stands alone, and so does the following sentence. They are not dependent on one another. In the first portion, "Jill said" is dependent on "That's it, I'm telling" - hence the quote is part of the sentence. Without it, the sentence makes no sense. Also of note, I didn't line-break right there because it's the same person speaking, even though she's speaking to a different person in the second quotation. Example 2: Broken dialogue sentences "Mrs. Knapp," Mike ran up behind Jill, huffing and puffing, "she was calling me a baby too!" Even without the attribution, we have two halves of a sentence separated by action (not even an attribution, which would make more sense), therefore there is an implied dependency between the quotation and the embedded narration. So if you don't complete the sentence within the quotes, you should use commas to bridge the gap. Capitalization in and around dialogue: Oh, this one was a giant pain in my ass for a long time. Is the quote the end of a sentence? Should it be? Hell if I know! Oh wait - that's what I'm here to teach you, amirite? Unlike the comma vs. period rule, the first word of a piece of dialogue should be treated like any other sentence. If it's the beginning of the (within the quotes) sentence, then capitalize it. Example: This nonsense had gone on every day this week, and Mrs. Knapp's patience had run out. She frowned down at the two children and said, "I've had quite enough of the two of you." She latched onto both their arms and marched them toward the school entrance. Easy peasy. Conversely, as you'll note in the "Broken dialogue sentences" example, if it's not the beginning of the sentence, then don't capitalize it. Example: "You both are so obsessed with who the baby is..." "But Mrs. Knapp!" Jill and Mike said, almost in unison. "...you can both be babies, and there'll be nothing to argue about!" Even though we have an entire set of dialogue between the two halves of her statement, the second half is still the close of the previous statement. Of course, I added ellipses to denote that she was interrupted, then continued, hence eliminating the need to state as much within the narration. Show, don't tell! Unnecessary Attribution of Dialogue: Attribution: The act of ascribing something to a particular person. In literature, "she/he/zhe said" is an attribution. And no matter how colorful the word you choose to substitute for "said" or "asked" is, it's still just an attribution. Folks, there are a million ways to do writing, and I'm bringing this up not as a rule, but as a suggestion. There are some authors who think attribution is the devil incarnate, and only use it when it's absolutely necessary. I'm not that militant about it, so if you want to ignore this, feel free, but I strongly suggest you take a look at it and try it out with some of your own writing (maybe revising a finished piece) just to see how it affects the flow. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. I'm going to pull out a sequence of dialogue from an early draft of The Panda's Ashes, and I'm going to show you the revised version of that same sequence, eliminating all the unnecessary attributions. You decide for yourself which one flows better, which one sounds more natural. Example 1: Attribution at all times! “Oh my goodness!” Elise's voice disrupted whatever thought pattern I'd been following. “Well, at least we can get that taken care of right away!” she declared as she removed my seat-belt and hoisted me onto her hip. As she picked me up, I felt the warmth and the pressure, then realized what she was talking about. I was soaked, and I'd been so lost in thought I hadn't even noticed. “I... uh...” I stammered, completely embarrassed. “Don't worry about it, sweetie,” she said with a smile. She carried me into the shop, dragging my chair behind, and headed straight for the bathroom. Example 2: Don't do it if you don't need it! “Oh my goodness!” Elise's voice disrupted whatever thought pattern I'd been following. “Well, at least we can get that taken care of right away!” She removed my seat-belt and hoisted me onto her hip. As she picked me up, I felt the warmth and the pressure, then realized what she was talking about. I was soaked, and I'd been so lost in thought I hadn't even noticed. “I... uh...” I was too embarrassed to complete a sentence! “Don't worry about it, sweetie." She smiled and carried me into the shop, dragging my chair behind, heading straight for the bathroom. Again, you decide. To me, pace is more than just how fast the plot moves, it's also how fast the narrative moves, and I've found that I like the way my material reads without a million different ways to say "said" or "asked". The dialogue itself should tell you how the speaker said it; spend more effort choosing good words there and less time trying to creatively express someone's mood and/or delivery with the attribution (and/or the millions of adverbs we incessantly add to the attributive verb). Anyway, that sums up this little session. Ideally, I'd like this to be something of a living document, so if you have questions about anything related to these topics, feel free to ask, and I'll go back and update this post with any details that needed coverage. If you enjoyed it, say so! If you thought it sucked, say that too! I got thick skin.