Formatting Workshop

Formatting Workshop

Postby Azdgari » June 15th, 2011, 5:15 am

Herro everyone! Hopefully it's not too presumptuous of me to do this, if it is just let me know and I'll delete it. But I've seen a lot of great writing here that would benefit immensely from just a bit of formatting correction. So! Here's a basic overview of how fanfics are typically formatted.

The first step is dividing your story into paragraphs. A wall of text is not only hard to read but very intimidating. It tends to scare off potential readers! So how do you divide into paragraphs? Well, that's basically up to you. It's a good rule to basically make a new paragraph each time the story moves to a new idea. Another good way to think about is to envision the scene in your head. When the hypothetical camera shifts angles, it might be good for a new paragraph! It's really up to you, but you do need to find some sensible way to divide your story up into paragraphs.

Paragraphs are divided by a full line break! In normal writing you would just hit return and then indent the next paragraph, but the internet doesn't like indenting, so we have to use a full line break.

Once upon a time there was an example paragraph. And in this paragraph lived someone named Mr. Hypothetical. He wasn't a very happy person. But then, paragraphs aren't exactly very interesting places! They're very dull. He hoped that someday he could get out of his dreary paragraph. Would he jump ship to another, more hip paragraph like this one? Look at the composition! Clearly this paragraph was designed by an expert. It's way out of his price range, though. Pity. Therefor, Mr. Hypothetical looked farther. He looked to the stars! He wanted a place in an essay! Imagine all that free space to roam. It's the kind of thing examples dream of. If anyone actually read these example paragraphs, I hope you had as much fun reading them as I did writing them!
.

See that? Tough on the eyes. It's difficult to read a wall of text like that. Get those paragraphs in there!

Once upon a time there was an example paragraph. And in this paragraph lived someone named Mr. Hypothetical. He wasn't a very happy person. But then, paragraphs aren't exactly very interesting places! They're very dull.
He hoped that someday he could get out of his dreary paragraph. Would he jump ship to another, more hip paragraph like this one? Look at the composition! Clearly this paragraph was designed by an expert. It's way out of his price range, though. Pity.
Therefor, Mr. Hypothetical looked farther. He looked to the stars! He wanted a place in an essay! Imagine all that free space to roam. It's the kind of thing examples dream of. If anyone actually read these example paragraphs, I hope you had as much fun reading them as I did writing them!


Now, add the line breaks.

Once upon a time there was an example paragraph. And in this paragraph lived someone named Mr. Hypothetical. He wasn't a very happy person. But then, paragraphs aren't exactly very interesting places! They're very dull.

He hoped that someday he could get out of his dreary paragraph. Would he jump ship to another, more hip paragraph like this one? Look at the composition! Clearly this paragraph was designed by an expert. It's way out of his price range, though. Pity.

Therefor, Mr. Hypothetical looked farther. He looked to the stars! He wanted a place in an essay! Imagine all that free space to roam. It's the kind of thing examples dream of. I want to know why the people who write examples in grammar books never do fun stuff like this. It could be such a fun job.
.

The story now looks organized and professional. Makes a huge differences to readers and fellow writers.

Now, the rule you have to remember is that for each new speaker, you need a new paragraph (with a line break!) You can't have multiple characters speaking in the same paragraph.

One day Mr. Hypothetical called over his friend Mr. Example to talk about his aspirations. "What do you think?" he asked enthusiastically after outlining his idea.

"Absurd! A pipe dream at best!" was his friend's shocked reaction. Mr. Example couldn't believe the audacity of Mr. Hypothetical to think he deserved better than the best of them. And it was so far fetched!

Mr. Hypothetical smiled. "You are not alone, Mr. Example. I too dream of pipes!" Anybody get that reference? Kudos if you did.




There! I just felt that we've had an influx of great stories and a lot of them could use this bit of advice. It sounds like some sort of infomercial but this tiny thing can make a massive difference in the quality of your story. So, there you go! Hope this helped people! ^^
Last edited by Azdgari on March 14th, 2012, 6:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Formatting Workshop

Postby FlipMode » June 20th, 2011, 8:52 pm

That was great! I was actually about to start work on a new chapter to my current running Fan-Fic and when I saw this I was thinking "Heck knows I need tips on formatting!" And you did it in a way that was actually fun to read as well... I will forever hope for Mr.Hypothetical.
So yeah, thanks for posting that, it was pretty fantastic to read. ^^
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Re: Formatting Workshop

Postby FlipMode » July 6th, 2011, 7:04 pm

This is more a general question than anything else and I feel kind of bad asking it lol.
But nonetheless, how do you execute thought in fan fic writing?! Is it the same as speech, but following it up with "she thought"?
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Re: Formatting Workshop

Postby Azdgari » July 6th, 2011, 9:38 pm

Use italics! It's generally followed by 'she thought' or some verb of thought (thought, figured, ruminated, wondered, etc) although there are ways of executing it without a verb of that nature (I know I've done it before). But in general, yes, that's how you do it. ^^
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Re: Formatting Workshop

Postby Rogue Lion » April 10th, 2018, 7:23 pm

Cool but I was wondering about the part where 2 characters speaking in the same paragraph. Could it work if it was worded right?

For example:

“Don’t turn your back on me, Scar!” Mufasa shouted. Looking over his shoulder, Scar glared at his brother before he coldly replied: “Oh no, Mufasa. Perhaps you shouldn’t turn your back on me.”

Would this be acceptable or do I still have to separate it into another paragraph?
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Re: Formatting Workshop

Postby Azdgari » April 10th, 2018, 11:18 pm

So--technically speaking, each speaker gets their own paragraph. That's "the rules".

Of course, we're not writing legal documents here. The "rules" of creative writing are more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules. If you think it's truly appropriate to have multiple people speaking in the same paragraph, and you make it very clear who is speaking what, then you can certainly try it. Just be aware that we give speakers their own paragraphs to make it clear to readers who is doing the talking, and that by breaking that rule, you may make your writing more confusing. Also, it's worth mentioning that some readers may view it as a technical error, which could reflect poorly on you in their eyes.
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