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Help with 2nd point of view

one year ago

I'm currently working on a horror story game. It's focus with you as the MC. I'm at the point right now of just outlining how I want everything to go, so the sentence structure is pretty basic right now. It's pretty much "you did this" or " you do that" and I just wanted to start changing those less boring sentences. if anyone has some helpful advice or creative ways to get away from the basic you+verb sentences; I would appreciate it big time. Thanks in advance!

Help with 2nd point of view

one year ago

Ah, I find this to be one of the challenges with writing second person.

Obviously, having all the sentences (or most) start with 'you' can be pretty repetitive.

Generally, I find I can shuffle things around a bit so that the 'you' isn't always the first word, but it does depend on the sentence. I'd say, try to think about what the scene is about, and in what ways you can go about conveying that.

I find that if the reader is a new location, describing relevant things doesn't usually require 'you'. Also, when the player acts, the thing that happens in response/in consequence also tends to not require 'you'. This does all depend on the context tho.

What type of things is your MC doing? Cutting out less important things will not only remove some of the 'yous', it'll also tighten up the story and improve the general pacing.

So, I guess I'd advise seeing if you can rewrite sentences to be more engaging. Also keep an eye out on sentences you can split. ie. You ran up to the truck, and kick it. vs You run up to the truck. Delivering a kick leaves your foot in pain.

This might be a bit more about style, so don't worry too much about my advice, but just consider it. Also, be mindful of the tense you are writing in. I find being actively aware can help me with writing sentences that are more successful. You also don't really want to be switching tense, generally speaking, but that's not what you asked about.

Anyway, I'm curious what others peoples' thoughts on this are, as it is something I struggle with.

Help with 2nd point of view

one year ago

I appreciate the advice. Every time I write the "you" I think of those old text RPGs like Zork or something. Speaking of which, looking back at those games might actually help out writing like this. It seems the quick fix for it right now would be to rephrase my sentence structure. The parts I've written right now are literally bland and boring. I know I'm not anywhere near close to even being done but this advice will help me out once I come to the point of reorganization. Thank you!

Help with 2nd point of view

one year ago
Since you mentioned Zork, there's still a community making interactive fiction in that style that's been trucking along making "modern" IF for 20 years or so. I actually have a thread advertising a small writing jam with a specific program aimed at beginners going on this weekend, that I expect to see a couple of decent games come out of. Although these may be mostly CYOA style themselves, since the theme was supposed to be narrative focused.

Help with 2nd point of view

one year ago
Commended by mizal on 4/22/2020 9:40:39 PM
Varying your sentences is important no matter what point of view you're writing in. You wouldn't want to start every one with 'I' or 'He' either. Of course you don't want to wind up making a sentence awkward or unnatural sounding by trying to hard, and sometimes it's just fine for them to repeat, for instance if you're doing it for emphasis. It helps to not just look at things sentence by sentence, but at the surrounding paragraph as well. Sometimes the answer is to restructure the whole thing for a more natural flow. You've got your story in sneak peek so I had a look at the first page. It's an interesting set up, and grammatically the writing is really solid, but besides all the 'Yous', there's a bit of over-wordiness and redundancy that I think may be contributing to the issue.
You don't know how long you have been living on your own. You don't remember how long it's been since you've even seen another human. It all had happened so fast you are hardly sure how it even happened. You were inside by yourself. You could hear the city outside alive with the daily routine of its inhabitants.
Could be edited down to: It's been longer than you can remember since you've even seen another human. It happened so fast. To this day, you're not sure how. Outside, the city was alive with the daily routine of its inhabitants. I removed the first sentence entirely since the second gets across the same information, then line break for emphasis on the pause. Reworded the third sentence so it doesn't repeat 'happened', and removed 'You could hear'. It's already a given that if you're aware of a thing it's because you were using at least one of your senses. Just like you don't have to ever say 'You can see...' and then give a visual description. We get that the character is using their eyes. The rest of the paragraph looks fine, except you don't need an apostrophe in 'their lives were extinguished.'
You spent the first few days yelling over and over calling out for any response. Your voice would echo as it bounced off the skyscrapers in the city. No response. You yelled until your voice cracked and throat ran raw. You started to give up hope about finding anyone. As your hope starts to wane, your mind starts to drift towards the now. You are still alive. You need to worry about yourself.
"Is there anybody alive out there? Can anyone hear me?" Your yells would echo through the empty streets and bounce off the skyscrapers. No response. You kept at it until your voice cracked and throat ran raw. As your hope of finding anyone started to wane, your mind began to drift towards the now. You were still alive. You needed to worry about yourself. A line of dialogue to get across what you were yelling just felt like it made things more immediate and broke up the feel of 'summarized backstory' a little. I cut the first 'response' because there didn't seem to be a need. Giving up hope, and hope waning likewise were just different ways of saying one thing and then repeating it. Somewhere in here you might consider adding a line about trying to call your family, just because it seems like that would be a natural act, and just make it a bit more personal for the character. And if this is a global thing, it'd be the phone or internet that really drove that home. At the end it switched from past tense to present...not sure if that was intentional, but this is all still a flashback afaik. At any rate, if you do need to switch tense, it's generally better to do it in a new paragraph or page just to prevent confusion. The last two 'Yous' I think are fine as they are, they work as putting emphasis on that bit. In fact I'd even say you could do one more. 'You had no one else left to worry about' by itself as the very last line, for instance. (I'm a big believer in line breaks for emphasis.) Anyway, I'm probably rambling here, but I hope some of this can help.

Help with 2nd point of view

one year ago

Oh yes the story right now is a literal thought-train of whatever flew into my mind during my 24hr shift. I think most of the story so far was written at about 11pm-1am. It's no where near what I want it to be. I was mainly curious how the set up on the website was for building these. As I go through it now, there's so much I'm looking at and saying "what the hell was I thinking". 
 

You're advice is something I'll keep in mind once I get to the point of rephrasing everything. Right now the writing is pretty direct and boring. I'm using it almost as an outline of what I want to go towards as far as choices and all that. Once I feel that I'm ready to sit down and pretty much rewrite all the boring sentences into something more appealing all this advice will be super valuable. You've also given me several ideas to enhance the story so thank you!

Help with 2nd point of view

one year ago
This is actually really useful for me. I just write I don't analyze the phrases and all of that I just go by instinct. To learn more about how I suppose to do it. I mean I think I will always be a gut instinct driven writer. But knowing thins will helping me to improve my writing.

Help with 2nd point of view

one year ago

I'll express my vast knowledge here: since I am an ape that can't talk good, I refer to Gower's guides on sentence creation.

Basic Sentence Structure: Additive Sentences

Cumulative Sentences, Part 1

Dialogue Punctuation

Relative Sentences

Semicolons and Advanced Additive Sentences

Now for my two cents, which I will try to make helpful. Most of the time you can switch up the order of a sentence to vary writing:

You go to the bathroom and someone knocks on the door right when you sit down.

Having just sat down to go to the bathroom, someone knocks on the door.

Usually, this method involves a comma. Also, avoid speaking like Yoda.

The other methods I use are combining sentences (see additive sentences) and implying things. For example, I rarely ever say "You ate dinner. Then you got ready for bed. Now you are going to sleep." However, I might say "With a full stomach and a pair of comfy pajamas, you close your eyes to sleep."

I hope some of this helped! If you post an excerpt of your story, we can give more specific advice.

Help with 2nd point of view

one year ago
Just fyi, there's a recent thread here in the Writing Workshop that lists all Gower's articles so you can just link them all at once. I'm not sure about that 'Having just sat down' sentence, it looks a bit weird to me. Reads like the 'someone' is the one who just sat down. I'd have just phrased that example as something like, 'Right as you sat down...'

Help with 2nd point of view

one year ago

Ah, I should copy that link! Thank you!

Yeah, the example is strange in general. Just something random off the top of my head... Hopefully, it got the point across that you can change the order of a sentence!

Help with 2nd point of view

one year ago

You have to keep the antecedent consistent.  So the person sitting should be doing the action in the second clause.

"Sitting on the counter, the sorcerer polymorphed into the shape of a coffee mug bided his time."

Help with 2nd point of view

one year ago
Your example is better, haha. It looks like I still have a lot to learn...

Help with 2nd point of view

one year ago

I actually read those right after making this post. It was an awesome refresher and literally reminded me of what I learned in highschool/college. I'll be using reading through those over and over again I'm sure. 

Thanks for the advice!