Storywriting: Writing and Editing Tips

by October

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Note: The original article vanished.  This was completely rewritten by jamescoker1226.

Writing a story-game can be a daunting task, one that, when compounded with the burdens of proofreading and editing, can seem near impossible. There are some things you can do, however, to lessen the amount of editing you have to do and to make editing a simpler, more effective process.

Preventing mistakes beforehand

Sadly, mistakes are going to happen. There is no surefire way to prevent them entirely, but knowing the most common mistakes and how they occur can help you to prevent them. Both the basic and advanced editors have a system that catches misspellings and basic grammatical errors (and fantasy names, my last name, lesser known cities and geographical regions, etc.). Many mistakes, though, are not due to misspellings, but the incorrect use of words."There," "Their," and "They're" are the most common victims. Also make sure that you are only using the apostrophe key for possessives and quotes inside of quotes. It is a common mistake for people to put an apostrophe before an "s" in the plural form of a word. Of course, do not dedicate all of your energy to checking your writing for errors, especially not while you are in the process of writing.

Proofreading your own story

Yes, you can proofread your own story, but do not attempt to proofread immediately after writing. You are much more likely to overlook errors. It is best to wait at least half an hour after you stop writing before you begin proofreading. While I did say that you can proofread your story, it is important to note that you may make mistakes in your writing that you have no reason to believe are mistakes. That is why it is a good idea to have other people read your story.

Recruiting proofreaders

If possible, have someone else proofread your work. Well, I should say to have several people read your work. The more people you have proofreading, the less likely errors are to be overlooked. Of course, the number of readers you try to recruit should be contingent on the length of your story, the reading level, etc. Asking a dozen different people to read your ten pages long Golden Compass fanfic will likely do nothing more than make you look conceited. Asking only your closest friend to read an entire epic of over 2,000 pages will increase the likelihood of overlooked mistakes and possibly inspire in him homicidal urges.

It is understood that the people you pick to proofread should have a good command over the English language. It also goes without saying that you should be polite and humble when asking someone to proofread your work.

Before you ask someone on this site to proofread your stories, you should understand that your story can not be read by anyone other than you, unless:

  1. It has been published.
  2. "Sneak preview" is activated.
  3. The person trying to read the story is a co-author.

Needless to say, you should get proofreaders before you publish the story. That leaves two methods of making your story available to proofreaders: enabling "sneak preview" or adding the proofreaders as co-authors to your story.

To enable sneak preview, go to the"Story Properties" or "Game Options"tab in the advanced or basic editor, respectively. There you be a checkbox with the text "Enable Sneak Preview." Clicking on this box enables the sneak preview feature. Even with Sneak preview active, you will need to provide your co-authors with the URL of your story.

Using this method, proofreaders cannot edit your pages. This is both a blessing and a curse, as any problems they find will have to be written out and given to you to fix.

Of course, it is also possible for someone, even someone whom you have not chosen to be a co-author to get access to your story if he or she somehow gets ahold of the URL or finds a link in the point record accessible through your profile page. It is also possible for people who read your unpublished story to rate it before you even publish it. While the admins highly discourage this activity, they cannot stop it entirely, so it is best to play things safe.

If you choose to add someone as a co-author, you will find yourself faced with an entirely different set of pros and cons. You won’t have to activate “sneak previewâ€Â, meaning that you have greater control over who can read your story before you publish it. Co-authors also have the power to make changes to your story, meaning they can correct problems they see. On the other hand, you can only have five co-authors per story, and it is entirely possible for a co-author to delete every page of a story.

You should know which option you plan to use, prior to asking for proofreaders on the site.