Because we have such awesome writers here on DayZRP people might think that story telling is easy. It’s not! It takes thought, planning and creativity to put down in words either what’s bubbling around in your head, or detailing something that actually happened during game play. I’m not an uber expert, but I thought a very simple guide might encourage more people to tell their stories. Anyone can master one type of storytelling or another with a little work and research/planning. I hope this little guide will be of use to anyone perhaps on the fence about putting a story out there, or anyone who might be able to use the mechanics (punctuation, grammar, and spelling) tips to make their already great stories even better. This information may also be used to put together a good, solid whitelist since quality of writing does count in the application.
Many books have been written on the subject of story writing. You could try to read some of these to improve your writing technique; however, it’s rarely that serious for work you’d like to post on the forums. In order to have your story read though, there are several things you can do to increase the entertainment factor for the pieces you put up. As I said, this will be a basic guide to get you started. It probably won’t help you write a Pulitzer prize winning novel
To start, many folks find it helpful to determine what kind of story it will be, i.e., is this a story and/or lore about your character from a fictional point of view? As in, this hasn’t really happened, but it’s a great backstory or situation the character(s) you are writing about might be in.
Is this a story totally unrelated to your character, but is actually “fan fiction” you’d like to write concerning the lore or a particular type of character/situation? Or is the story going to be a form of non-fiction where you describe or tell about actual RP events that have happened to your character in game?
Once you determine what type of story you’d like to write then it’s time to decide on what point of view, or POV, the story will be written from. Which style will ultimately express what you want to convey as clearly as possible and at the same time still be entertaining for your intended audience? For example will it be a first person narrative, where the author or main character in the story is doing the storytelling. For example, my DeadTime Stories- Rich Bitch is a first person narrative with Catalina telling her own story. OR -
Will you tell the story in third person mode with the story being narrated by someone else? In DeadTime Stories- Jolene, the story is told from the point of view of a third person narrator telling the Kiddle family story, with dialogue from the characters thrown in.
Next determine HOW you will tell the story. Will you use lofty, poetic, descriptive language, or will you keep it to the bare minimum, getting straight to the point? Either style can be used effectively. Some people use one or more of the following storytelling tools to spice up their work and make it more appealing and descriptive. It helps to provide a mental picture for the reader:
Analogies compare things that are mostly different, but may have some similarity. There are two types of analogy:
*Metaphors (comparing one thing to another). Examples- “The house was an oven.” or “She was spitfire mad.”
*Simile (comparing things that are not alike or similar; sentences usually begin with “like” or “as”). Examples- “as clever as a fox” or “as useless as tits on a boar hog.” “(pimples) like pepperoni on a pizza” or “like a bull in a china shop.”
So in summary, you can use the different types of analogy to give your work some spice, variety and paint a clear mental picture of the person or situation.
Structure and organize: Once you're reasonably happy with what you’ll be writing about and how, you'll need to structure your story. The basic structural unit of any story is the paragraph. A paragraph is a group of sentences which refer to the same basic point, which is developed within the paragraph; each paragraph deals with one point only. A paragraph should be a minimum of three to five sentences in length. This might be a bit nitpicky for the forums, but it’s still good info to know.
Before writing up the story many people choose to outline the contents. Very brief Example:
I. James starts on the road (introduction or opening to the story)
a. he is worried about not having food or companions, explains why he is alone
b. he is very tired from having walked from the coast towards Berezino, he is frightened as it’s getting dark and he hasn’t seen a single soul
II. Once he gets nearer to the town he sees a group sitting around a campfire (middle, content, or “meat” of the story)
a. they welcome him and talk about his travels so far, what he’s doing alone, what kind of inventory he’s carrying, what is his destination, etc.
b. they then restrain him and inform him this is a robbery, however in order to get away with his life, he’ll need to let them brand him on his right butt cheek, he is horrified, but agrees due to being afraid for his life
III. The group takes James’ things and leaves him sitting next to the cold fire (conclusion or end of the story)
a. he is feeling a profound sense of betrayal, loss and sadness- what has this world come to?
b. he gathers his wits about himself and swears to never get caught unaware like this again
You can make your outline look any way you want it, should you choose to do one. I often write the first sentence of a story, then the last sentence. Once those two are done, then I fill in the paragraphs and develop the middle or “meat.”
Since a good story has a beginning, middle and end, the outline helps to organize your thoughts. Also, a brief summary of the beginning, middle, and end of a story can help you structure and organize your thoughts. So an example of that might look like:
A. Opening line of the story- There are all kinds of ways to open a story, but a well written one will introduce the reader to what the story is going to be about, either through tone- “It was going to be a long, hot summer.” or character description of some kind-
James had been traveling for God knows how long and he was getting tired. This opener lets the reader know, the story is going to be about James and his travels.
B. Middle of the story- also known as the content or “meat” of the story. Continues on with what the opening paragraph started, explaining or detailing the key events of the story.
C. End of the story- How the story ends. You might use a cliff hanger if there are more chapters or sections to follow. A cliff hanger is often how Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead will end an episode. You know something just happened, or is about to happen, but you will have to wait until the next installment to find out what. It’s a good technique to keep your audience wanting more and coming back to get it.
If it’s truly the end of the story, then things get packaged neatly or sometimes not so neatly, but it is wrapped up to signal the end of that saga. Example: James knew this wouldn’t be his last encounter with the bandits, but next time he’d be prepared! Actually this kind of last sentence could be the end of the story, or signal that there is more to come.
That’s basically how a story is put together and some things to consider before you start writing. Now let’s look at some things that can make or break a story’s appeal. One of the most important things you can do for your story is to make sure you PROOF READ and EDIT! If you’re going to go to all the trouble to create a story, you might as well put your best foot forward and make sure it looks as good as it sounds.
Edit and proof read: When you have finished writing your story, carefully check spelling, grammar, and punctuation, also known as the mechanics. (it saves time and headache to compose your story, whitelist apps too! directly onto your computer and use its spell checking tools-
ALWAYS SAVE A COPY OF YOUR WORK!!).
And remember, you may need to check for the correct form of certain words that have more than one meaning. We’ll talk more about that on the Grammar Checklist below.
You want to avoid things like “I asked her to bare with me until I got paid again.”
This should actually read- “I asked her to bear with me until I got paid again.”
Plus we could even use “bear” as a mammal, as in “the ferocious bear charged at us!”
So it pays to know your words or do a quick check on google or thesaurus.com to see which version of
the word is the correct one.
Also check for typographical errors, including capitalization and any points which may confuse your
reader (remember: the reader is not a mind reader but has access only to what is written in your story,
so it has to speak for itself).
Make sure the piece you post is as correct and professionally presented as you can make it. While nobody here pretends to be the grammar police, or even cares if there are tiny mistakes, get into the habit of cranking out professional looking work. It never hurts and makes your
story details clearer. Don't reduce the impact of your story over simple issues of mechanics (grammar, spelling, and punctuation), which can be easily corrected by a mere proof read and spell check!
One piece of advice about grammar checks though- sometimes something will be flagged as incorrect or improper grammar, but I choose to keep it that way because it fits in better with the overall tone and intent of the story. So use your judgement on that.
*All proper names should be capitalized. E.g. people’s names, street and city names, some
*Make sure you use paragraphing! Nothing is worse than opening up a story and seeing a massive wall
of text with no punctuation or paragraphs. It can be overwhelming and totally turn the reader off,
meaning your story gets passed by instead of read.
*Watch using acronyms and abbreviations. Not everyone will be familiar with them. For example most
people have no idea what “NVFL” means until they get into the culture of DayZRP, then they find out it
means “no value for life.” If you’re not sure how well known what you’re abbreviating or using an
acronym for is, then the best thing to do is spell it out at least once so the reader has a point of reference. Example- like I did with POV up above.
*Dialogue is generally separated from the paragraph it is associated with so as to avoid confusion and put the focus on what the character is saying. For example:
James found the young lady to be quite captivating. He admired her beauty from afar, staring at her intently. He slowly inched his way closer to where she was standing.
"What are you looking at," she asked him pointedly.
"I...I'm just...you're very pretty..," he stammered, unable to stop his face from turning a bright, crimson red.
She simply smiled at him and walked away slowly to water the pumpkin patch. He wondered if she would be offended if he offered to help. Seeing her lovely face gave him a reason to smile. It was perhaps, the first time he'd smiled in weeks.
Nothing screams in a story or piece of written work like messed up grammar, spelling and other mechanical errors. This list below was originally put together by an English professor. He talked about the most common grammar mistakes students make. I edited it a bit and added several more examples to make it (hopefully) easier to understand. This has great pointers to help make writing stories and essays easier. As I said, Always remember to PROOF READ! Reading your work out loud will often help you find mistakes you can’t see with your eyes, simply because you’ve looked at the paper for so long. Also having someone else read it before finalizing it helps. Once we’ve looked at something for so long, the brain corrects the error so that you can’t see it, even if it is still incorrect. I hope you find these helpful!
20 Most Common Grammar Errors, from EasyWriter
1. Missing comma after an introductory element
Incorrect: Determined to get the job done we worked all weekend.
Correct: Determined to get the job done, we worked all weekend.
Incorrect: In German nouns are always capitalized.
Correct: In German, nouns are always capitalized.
Readers usually need a small pause between an introductory word, phrase, or clause and the main part of the sentence. A pause is most often signaled by a comma. Try to get into the habit of using a comma after every introductory element. When the introductory element is very short, you don't always need a comma after it. But you're never wrong if you do use a comma.
2. Vague pronoun reference
Incorrect: Transmitting radio signals by satellite is a way of overcoming the problem of scarce airwaves and limiting how they are used.
Correct: Transmitting radio signals by satellite is a way of overcoming the problem of scarce airwaves and limiting how the airwaves are used.
Does they refer to the signals or the airwaves? The editing clarifies what is being limited.
Reference implied but not stated.
Incorrect: The company prohibited smoking, which many of the employees resented.
Correct: The company prohibited smoking, a policy many of the employees resented.
What does which refer to? The editing clarifies what the employees resented.
A pronoun - a word such as she, yourself, her, it, this, who, or which - should clearly refer to the word or words it replaces (called the antecedent) elsewhere in the sentence or in a previous sentence. If more than one word could be the antecedent or if no specific antecedent is present in the sentence, edit to make the meaning clear.
'My and mine' are often misused.
Incorrect: Those books are mines.
Correct: Those are my books. OR Those books are mine.
There is never an 's' on the end of "mine."
3. Missing comma in a compound sentence
Incorrect: The words “I do” may sound simple but they mean a life commitment.
Correct: The words “I do” may sound simple, but they mean a life commitment.
A compound sentence consists of two or more parts that could each stand alone as a sentence. When the parts are joined by a coordinating conjunction - and, but, so, yet, or, nor, or for - use a comma before the conjunction to indicate a pause between the two thoughts. In very short sentences, the comma is optional if the sentence can be easily understood without it. But you'll never be wrong to use a comma.
4. Wrong word
Incorrect: Paradise Lost contains many illusions to classical mythology.
Correct: Paradise Lost contains many allusions to classical mythology.
'allusions' refers to alluding to, or suggesting- as opposed to 'illusions' which are things that are not real
Incorrect: Working at computers all day often means being sedate for a long period of time.
Correct: Working at computers all day often means being sedentary for a long period of time.
sedate means to be quiet, reserved; sedentary means immobile or not moving around much
Wrong-word errors can involve mixing up words that sound alike, using a word with the wrong shade of meaning, or using a word with a completely wrong meaning. Many wrong-word errors are due to the improper use of homonyms - words that are pronounced alike but spelled differently, such as their and there. 'Their' is a plural pronoun, as in their food; 'there' is a place, as in there is a place called Mudbucket in Tennessee.
Others words that are often confused:
here (place) vs. hear (the act of hearing with the ear)
since (since you went away) vs. sense (you have no common sense)
breast (singular= one breast) vs. breasts (plural= a pair of, or two breasts)
close (present tense- to close something like a door) vs. closed (past tense- the door is already closed) vs. clothes (clothing that is worn)
desert (dry, parched land) vs. dessert (sweet treat after dinner)
through (sweet through and through; going through the fire) vs. threw (he threw up; she threw the ball)
to (going to the store) vs. too (indicates more- too much- we saw the moon, stars, and clouds too-she had on too much perfume)
loose (adjective-wearing loose clothing) vs. lose (verb present tense- don't lose that money) vs. lost (verb past tense-darn! I lost it or adjective- that girl is a lost cause)
5. Missing comma(s) with a nonrestrictive element
Incorrect: Mary who was the president of the club, was first to speak.
Correct: Mary, who was the president of the club, was first to speak.
The reader does not need the clause 'who was the president of the club' to know the basic meaning of the sentence: Mary was first to speak.
A nonrestrictive element - one that is not essential (or necessary) to the basic meaning of the sentence -it could be removed and the sentence would still make sense. Use commas to set off any nonrestrictive parts of a sentence.
6. Wrong or missing verb ending
Incorrect: The United States drop an atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.
Correct: The United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.
It's easy to forget the verb endings -s (or -es) and -ed (or -d) because they are not always pronounced clearly when spoken. In addition, some varieties of English use the endings in ways that are different from uses in academic and professional English.
7. Wrong or missing preposition
Incorrect: We met in Union Street San Francisco.
Correct: We met on Union Street in San Francisco.
'In' and 'on' both show place, but use on with a street and in with a city.
Incorrect: President Richard Nixon compared the United States with a “pitiful, helpless giant.”
Correct: President Richard Nixon compared the United States to a “pitiful, helpless giant.”
'Compare to' means to "regard as similar"; 'compare with' means "to examine to find similarities or differences."
Many words in English are regularly used with a certain preposition to express a particular meaning. 'Throwing a ball to someone' is different from 'throwing a ball at someone.' Because many prepositions are short and not stressed or pronounced clearly in speech, they are often accidentally left out or mixed up in writing.
8. Comma splice
Incorrect: Westward migration had passed Wyoming, even the discovery of gold in nearby Montana failed to attract settlers.
Correct: Westward migration had passed Wyoming; even the discovery of gold in nearby Montana failed to attract settlers.
Incorrect: I was strongly attracted to her she had special qualities.
Correct: I was strongly attracted to her, she had special qualities.
Incorrect: We hated the meatloaf, the cafeteria served it every Friday.
Correct: We hated the meatloaf that the cafeteria served every Friday.
A comma splice occurs when only a comma separates clauses that could each stand alone as a sentence. To correct a comma splice, you can insert a semicolon or period, connect the clauses clearly with a word such as and or because, or completely restructure the sentence.
9. Missing or misplaced possessive apostrophe
Incorrect: Overambitious parents can be very harmful to a childs well-being.
Correct: Overambitious parents can be very harmful to a child’s well-being.
Incorrect: Pedro Martinez is one of the Met’s best pitchers.
Correct: Pedro Martinez is one of the Mets’ best pitchers. (as opposed to Mets's which is incorrect)
Incorrect: Pedros pitches are phenomenal!
Correct: Pedro's pitches are phenomenal!
To make a noun possessive, add either an apostrophe and an -s (Ed's book) or an apostrophe alone (the boys' gym).
An apostrophe is only added to fill in missing letters in prepositions (weren't= were not; they're= they are) or to show possession (Sara's dress; Matt's homework; family's wages= the wages of one family, but families' wages= the wages of many families)
Incorrect: life's journey's (life's is right, journey's is wrong it would just be journies; eye's (the eye's injury is right but looking into his eye's is incorrect)
10. Unnecessary shift in tense
Incorrect: A few countries produce almost all of the world’s illegal drugs, but addiction affected many countries.
Correct: A few countries produce almost all of the world’s illegal drugs, but addiction affects many countries.
Incorrect: Laura was watching the great blue heron take off. Then she slips and falls into the swamp.
Correct: Laura was watching the great blue heron take off. Then she slipped and fell into the swamp.
Verb tenses tell readers when actions take place: saying 'Ron went to school' indicates a past action whereas saying 'he will go' indicates a future action. Verbs that shift from one tense to another with no clear reason can confuse readers. (example: I rode the bike, I fall on the ground vs. I rode the bike. I fell on the ground.)
11. Unnecessary shift in pronoun
Incorrect: When one first sees a painting by Georgia O’Keeffe, you are impressed by a sense of power and stillness.
Correct: When one first sees a painting by Georgia O’Keeffe, one is impressed by a sense of power and stillness.
An unnecessary pronoun shift occurs when a writer has been using one pronoun to refer to someone or something, then shifts to another pronoun for no apparent reason.
12. Sentence fragment
Incorrect: (the second part has no Subject)- Marie Antoinette spent huge sums of money on herself and her favorites. And helped bring on the French Revolution.
Correct: Marie Antoinette spent huge sums of money on herself and her favorites. Her extravagance helped bring on the French Revolution.
Incorrect: (No Complete Verb)- The old Aluminum boat sitting on its trailer.
Correct: The old Aluminum boat was sitting on its trailer.
'Sitting' cannot function alone as the verb of the sentence. The auxiliary or additional verb 'was' makes it a complete verb.
Incorrect: (Beginning with a Subordinating Word): We returned to the drugstore. Where we waited for our buddies.
Correct: We returned to the drugstore, where we waited for our buddies.
A sentence fragment is part of a sentence that is written as if it were a whole sentence, with a capital letter at the beginning and a period, a question mark, or an exclamation point at the end. A fragment may lack a subject, a complete verb, or both. Other fragments may begin with a subordinating conjunction, such as- because, and so. They depend on another sentence to make their meaning clear. Reading your draft out loud, backwards, or sentence by sentence, will help you spot sentence fragments and most mistakes really, since many people write exactly like they talk.
13. Wrong tense or verb form
Incorrect: By the time Ian arrived, Jill died.
Correct: By the time Ian arrived, Jill had died.
The verb died does not clearly state that the death occurred before Ian arrived.
Incorrect: Iris has went to the store.
Correct: Iris has gone to the store.
The verb 'go' has irregular past-tense forms.
Errors of wrong tense include using a verb that does not clearly indicate when an action or a condition is, was, or will be completed - for example, using walked instead of had walked, or will go instead of will have gone.
Errors of wrong form include confusing the forms of irregular verbs (such as go, went, and gone) or treating these verbs as if they followed the regular pattern - for example, using beginned instead of began; using lied down instead of laid down or lay down.
14. Lack of subject-verb agreement
Incorrect: A strategist behind the scenes create the candidate’s public image.
Correct: A strategist behind the scenes creates the candidate’s public image.
The subject is the singular noun 'strategist,' not scenes. (strategist creates)
A verb must agree with its subject in number and in person. In many cases, the verb must take on form depending on whether the subject is singular or plural: The old man is angry and stamps into the house, but The old men are angry and stamp into the house. Lack of subject-verb agreement is often just a matter of carelessly leaving the -s ending off the verb or of not identifying the subject correctly. (example: Jill love candy vs. Jill loves candy. My hats is cool vs. My hats are cool. Too many folks makes numerous mistakes vs. Too many folks make numerous mistakes.)
Take the subject by itself 'Jill' and pair it with your verb "loves" and that will often help you align verb and tense. "Jill loves" vs. Jill love.
Incorrect: Jill may love candy, but I loves fruits.
test it= 'I' "loves" 'fruits'
Correct: Jill may love candy, but I love fruit. Sheila on the other hand, loves neither. test it= 'Sheila' "loves"
15. Missing comma in a series
Incorrect: Sharks eat mostly squid, shrimp, crabs and other fish.
Correct: Sharks eat mostly squid, shrimp, crabs, and other fish.
When three or more items appear in a series, many disciplines require them to be separated from one another with commas. Although newspapers and magazines do not use a comma between the last two items, the best advice in writing other than journalism is to use a comma because a sentence can be ambiguous (unclear) without one.
Igi explains it best:
It's called a serial comma and is used widely in American journals. However, it's also known as an 'Oxford comma' due to it's use in the Oxford University house style.
Honestly, it's far better to just use it as it prevents all possible ambiguity.
Here's an example of why it's useful:
"I like bow-ties, fish fingers, and custard."
The above clearly states three terms as likes.
"I like bow-ties, fish fingers and custard."
Whereas this statement presents the possibility to pair both 'fish fingers' and 'custard' together, implying I like to eat fish fingers with custard.
So basically, just throw the comma in there. You're less likely to encounter issues if you do.
16. Lack of agreement between pronoun and antecedent
Incorrect: Each of the puppies thrived in their new home.
Correct: Each of the puppies thrived in its new home.
Many indefinite pronouns, such as 'everyone' and 'each,' are always singular.
Incorrect: Either Ben or Selena will be asked to give their speech to the graduates.
Correct: Either Ben or Selena will be asked to give his or her speech to the graduates.
When antecedents are joined by 'or' or 'nor,' the pronoun must agree with the closer antecedent. Thus '...Selena will be asked to give her speech...'
Incorrect: The team frequently changed its positions to get varied experience.
Correct: The team frequently changed their positions to get varied experience.
A collective (more than one in the group) noun can be either singular or plural, depending on whether the people are seen as a single unit or as multiple individuals.
Incorrect: Every student must provide his own uniform.
Correct: Every student must provide his or her own uniform. (the students are seen as individuals in the group)
With an antecedent that can refer to either 'a man' or 'a woman,' use 'his' or 'her,' 'he' or 'she,' and so on. When the singular antecedent refers to either a male or a female, you can also rewrite the sentence to make the antecedent and pronoun plural or to eliminate the pronoun altogether. (Instead of His pants and her dress- you could change it to 'their clothing')
Pronouns must agree with their antecedents in gender (for example, using he or him to replace Abraham Lincoln and she or her to replace Queen Elizabeth) and in number.)
Abraham Lincoln was ahead of his time. He reminds me of B. Obama.
Queen Elizabeth ruled her court with an iron fist. She reminds me of H. Clinton.
17. Unnecessary comma(s) with a restrictive element
Incorrect: People, who wanted to preserve wilderness areas, opposed the plan to privatize national parks.
Correct: People who wanted to preserve wilderness areas opposed the plan to privatize national parks.
The reader needs the clause 'who wanted to preserve wilderness areas' because it announces which people opposed the plan. The clause should not be set off with commas.
A restrictive element is essential to the basic meaning of the sentence. It is not set off from the rest of the sentence with commas.
18. Fused sentence
Incorrect: The current was swift he could not swim to shore.
Correct: The current was swift. He could not swim to shore.
Incorrect: Klee’s paintings seem simple they are very sophisticated.
Correct: Klee’s paintings seem simple, but they are very sophisticated.
Incorrect: She doubted the value of meditation she decided to try it once.
Correct: Although she doubted the value of meditation, she decided to try it once.
A fused sentence (also called a run-on sentence) is created when clauses that could stand alone as a sentence are joined with no punctuation or words to link them. Fused sentences must be either divided into separate sentences or joined by adding words or punctuation.
19. Misplaced or dangling modifier
Incorrect (Misplaced modifier): The hikers could see the eagles swooping with binoculars.
Correct: With binoculars the hikers could see the eagles swooping.
Every modifier (whether a word, phrase, or clause) should be as close as possible to the word it describes or relates to. Misplaced modifiers may confuse your readers by seeming to modify some other element in the sentence. For example the first sentence above, sounds as though the eagles swooping had binoculars, not the people viewing them.
Incorrect (Dangling modifier): Looking down at the beach, people are tanning themselves.
Correct: Looking down at the beach, we see that people are tanning themselves.
A dangling modifier hangs precariously from the beginning or end of a sentence, attached to no other part of the sentence. The element that the phrase modifies may exist in your mind but not in your draft. Each modifier must refer to some other element in the sentence.
20. Its/It's confusion
Incorrect: The car is lying on it’s side in the ditch. Its a white 2006 Passat.
Correct: The car is lying on its side in the ditch. It’s a white 2006 Passat.
Use 'its' to mean belonging to it; use 'it's' only when you mean it is or it has.
Well if you made it this far, GOOD ON YOU! I hope this guide will help those looking to write for the first time, or those looking to improve their current writing skills.
P.S. I've been working on this for several hours so if you see any mistakes let me know, because my brain corrected them long ago!