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Anonymous 52349

how do i write a witty, sarcastic, charming character? like dorian or varric from dragon age

Anonymous 52359

As someone who writes probably more than the average person, I don't recommend it. It's very hard to do right without quickly straying into cringe territory, and most people end up ripping off an amalgam of high school appealing characters (ie iron man, deadpool, sherlock) who throw out insults way too rapidly and overwritten to feel realistic. But if you want, you can post some excerpts of your writing here and I'll critique it for you.

Anonymous 52373

the last three lines are what's really important, for the question.
(tho i wouldn't mind some crit for the piece overall :eyes:)


Anonymous 52386

some rough thoughts on my first read through:
> i can't tell the difference between place / city names and character names
> i'm not opposed to fantasy, but a lot of the terms here (salem, dragonlord, ancient sparks, names) strike me as cliched.
> some of the dialogue (B, ya, small as shit) comes off as more anachronist and out-of-place than it does endearing
> in general, you really only have one shot to grab a potential reader's attention before they decide to continue reading or leave. That chance is your first paragraph. If you throw too many references to your own worldbuilding and characters rather than REASONS FOR A READER TO BE INTERESTED they lose attention. Consider simplifying the opening.

I know it's bitter medicine to receive criticism on your writing, but people often start out with this idea of a magnum opus in their teenage years and if it doesn't get torn down, their style never matures past that age. Although I commend you for posting your own work on an imageboard. that does take guts.

Anonymous 52387

additionally, an issue i find that plagues a lot of new writers is this tendency to be patronizing in the narration. This includes a lot of words and terms appearing here, such as:
- often both
- simple fact
- of course
- or whatever
- sylvar shrugging and yawning
- groaning
- no need to hide it
it feels like you're letting one of the sarcastic, superior characters' disdain for the world bleed into your style, and it's very offputting and feels juvenile (i see this a lot in teenage writing).

and to echo what the other anon said, you can just say "said". not all dialogue needs to be preceded or succeeded by movement or adjectives like some of those descriptors listed above.

something to keep in mind is that READING IS FAST, WRITING IS SLOW. It could take you minutes, hours, or even weeks to write a paragraph, but ideally it would take the reader no longer than a few seconds to read those lines, comprehend what you mean, and glean a bit of worldbuilding or characterization from it. You don't need to saturate every single line with details that you've built up for years in your head. let those details flow naturally as the story builds over chapters. You can't cram years of lore and characterization into a single page. The more you make characters glare, smirk, smile, yawn, etc in a condensed timeframe the more jarring it feels as a reader and the less inclined we are to become invested in what feels like characters you expect us to know beforehand.

my advice: spread these details out. remove adverbs and adjectives. in the opening of your story the emphasis should be on making a reader feel interested in the world / concept / plot / characters. Not necessarily establishing who's cocky and in control.

Anonymous 52388

Take with a grain of salt. A quick critique of the excerpt, focusing on the comedy:


Opening sentence starts decent, but the next paragraph avoids the question it raises. Instead of being shown why Cassius can stand before Sylvar unscathed, the reader is informed of what the two look like and the extent of their prowess. The visual cues (war medals, god in skull) seem to put them on par with one another. Cassius brags about being able to pwn Sylvar if he wanted to, and that's it. No explanation of how Sylvar would react to someone setting his castle and self aflame, if he could. The second paragraph inelegantly lumps their physical attributes together, and portrays Cassius as someone with false modesty.

> pacing + verbosity

The most glaring issue.
>Cassius stiffens, but doesn’t reply to that. He tries to continue his original point. “It took us, a month. To set up the valley. It was more than just shiny grass. It was a masterwork of blessings.”
Could be cut to:
>Cassius stiffens. “It took us a month. To set up the valley. It was more than just shiny grass. It was a masterwork of blessings.”
Him dodging the remark and moving on can be inferred in the dialog.
The anon above has a point about simplifying dialog markers. They interfere with the punchlines' strength and the pacing. Read the piece aloud with a metronome of the desired pace, and kill 'em darlings.


Writing witty or sarcastic characters ultimately rely upon comedy to succeed, hence the umbrella term. With those parameters in mind, Sylvar's humor falls flat. His style is interrupting Cassius, insulting his race, and mocking his heritage. Furthermore, the wordplay or insight that provides a satiric charm to these tropes is scant. He reads more asshole than roguish trickster. His partner in the scene, Cassius, want to get on with the plot and doesn't engage in Sylvar's derailing. When he does, he's cut off upon uttering his first word. That isn't funny. That's shutting someone down. It's only funny to the person enacting it.
Humor's a difficult muscle to develop without resorting to "Just keep going at it!" platitudes…but yeah, get gud. Keep failing, and more importantly, keep trying. Plenty of resources out there, in videos and novels. Deconstruct the lines and actions of your favorite characters, and their chemistry and interactions with others.

> positives

The character's action cues flow smoothly. There's intelligence in the style that seem to function better in the descriptions. From their vocabulary, telling apart Cassius and Sylvar from one another is easy.


There was no description of the throne room they were in, which made it difficult to visualize the mise en scène.

IMO asking for advice this early for the whole piece is a pitfall for the inner editor, unless it's already completed. However, asking advice about the comedy and character chemistry should be asked as early as possible, for R&D. Thanks for being brave enough to post about your work. I hope you take the best from these critiques and improve in your writing.

Anonymous 52389

also, regarding dialogue: it seems the world of your story is a mishmash between fantasy tropes and something that feels vaguely vampiric. the dialogue, consequently, feels like it's ricocheting back and forth between stilted fantasy speech and modern street.

this is one of my biggest issues with fantasy writing: DO NOT TRY TO WRITE DIALOGUE THE WAY YOU THINK THEY SPOKE IN VICTORIAN TIMES. These stilted mannerisms are often a mix between an oppressive formality, aversion to contractions, and the patronizing tone i mentioned earlier where every line gets filtered through what a character thinks (using terms like "i understand," "I thought"). this makes the interjections of street speak even more jarring.

I'm going to recommend that as a beginning writer, you start off by writing dialogue THE WAY YOU TALK. fuck what you think 100 year old elves and dragonlords in your world talk like, all these characters need to sound like normal people before I become even remotely invested in them. if you were a character in your own story and would say a line more cleanly and directly, WRITE THAT DIALOGUE INSTEAD. it'll help you shed some of those bad habits of stilted speech if you know how to write a "normal character's dialogue", because you can use that as a jumping off point after establishing a strong foundation with the basics.

Anonymous 52399


>in their teenage years
i'll be twenty-one this year…& i've been on & off writing since i was like, sixteen. does it really sound so immature/noob-ish?

& @thread, thanks for the crit! i wasn't aware that there were so many writers on cc…

…actually if i made a writing thread in /media/, would any of you post your work and such/talk about the craft? i think it could be fun & god knows i need more opinions on my writing. a lot of the stuff that was mentioned here isn't stuff i'd notice myself

Anonymous 52414

> i've been on & off writing since i was like, sixteen

so there's something that's always bothered me about this line of thinking (and this isn't directed at you, but people in general who use "a long history of writing" as a sort of equivalence for practice). Unlike lifting weights or fishing or playing piano or many other hobbies, there's nothing intrinsic about writing that necessitates improvement. Whereas weights / fishing / piano all have some external goal or benchmark that can be achieved and surpassed, writing is purely subjective. There is no "can I lift 50 lbs" or catch the fish or play bach. A child can spend hours and hours writing sloppily and childishly, but with no external input, they never realize what they're doing is sloppy. I guess you could say most art is this way, but at least for visual art (painting / drawing / sculpture etc) it's very easy for other people to judge, reading a story takes time and brainpower that most passerby arent willing to devote without any guarantee of payoff. And music, for the most part, has a defined "sound" from recordings of the piece to the tuning of the instrument– it's usually very clear when someone is playing violin improperly, for example. Now compare this to writing, whereas at first glance nothing would seem out of place unless you specifically asked several readers to give their close analysis and honest opinion of the work. This lack of availability of feedback is compounded with the fact that 99% of people you ask won't have the balls to tell you when something sucks.

i guess what i'm trying to say is that "i've been writing for a long time" is by no means an assurance of talent or skill, or really even practice and expertise. Unless you're consistently asking brutally honest strangers for feedback, you're not liable to encounter any external force that urges you to sharply change direction or really make you want to improve. I've seen a LOT of people who say they've been writing (often on the same story) since their teenage years, and I've come to the conclusion that "writing since I was a teenager" is more of a hindrance than it is a virtue– mostly because if you write every week, from 14 to 25, you might just be preserving the same style and tone you had as a 14 year old, never taking a step back to observe and tweak your bad habits. Writing every day becomes less like lifting weights or practicing a sport, and more like tracing the same drawing you made when you were a child. Sure, you might find small optimizations here and there, but ultimately you're training your muscle memory to more efficiently put out a child's work.

if you feel like this trap of stagnation might apply to you (OP, or anyone reading this) then I encourage you to read outside your zone of comfort. step away from YA novels and manga and familiar adventure / fantasy / romance genres, and immerse your brain in something different. I don't want to pull a "just read the classics" card, but really anything that's miles away from what you're comfortable with, and something written in a style that you haven't drawn inspiration from yet. it could even be childrens books, or academic papers, or newspaper clippings from the 1940s, or whatever. just anything that flushes out the writing style you've grown too comfortable with from your formative years, and something to create dissonance in your head and make you think "ah, that's an interesting way of using words I've never seen before."

Anonymous 52415

and if you want to make a writing thread, why not just this one? we're all already here anyway, and i think media is kinda dead compared to b

Anonymous 52428


Continuing a writing thread here sounds fun. I haven't written in a while, so this could help push the ball back in motion. We could opt for monthly or weekly prompts, in addition to asking feedback for other pieces.
Gospel. I carry the prose of my seventeen-year-old self who didn't know how to plot or develop characters. Engaging in other hobbies and people provided insight when rereading older works the other week. Of course, that doesn't mean I'm a better writer. I'm probably as below average without practice, but with the benefit of additional self-awareness. Receiving critiques through imageboards can be great with a decent community exempting the scrotes, which is why I'm open to the idea of giving and receiving feedback through here.

Anonymous 52442

the op is a personal question, not really generalized "writing". and on /media/ it'd feel more official, i guess?

i agree with this! wish i had more to say

Anonymous 64478

Okay, so this thread is long dead but are any anons still around? I'm trying to write erotica "officially" for the first time and I'd like to discuss it. Also I don't really want to put it on /nsfw/ because it's a very inactive board.

Anonymous 64481

wow that was fast, thanks. i actually just started writing it today at around noon so it's not really postable yet, i was just checking this thread.

on the topic though, do you have any thoughts or opinions on erotica? i'm already versed in the general wisdom of "don't write awkward sex scenes, don't refer to body parts clinically," etc. ive never written it like for real for real before (hence officially) but ive sexted and know some things to avoid. i dont have any real point to this, i was just horny and i need more writing practice and the idea came to me

for reference i'm the anon that posted

Anonymous 64504

That’s fine. I’m really less interested in general writing advice, more just polling the anon crowd for “what would you prefer to see here in this scene, is this unrealistic / a turn-off / not sexy enough, is this coming on too strong” that sort of thing. E.g. if scene XYZ needs to transition from A to B, and I can choose to make XYZ a masturbation / straight sex / lesbian / femdom scene without much changing in B— which one works best overall for keeping the reader interested / titillated while maintaining minimal corniness or coomerness. And I’m writing this for no one in particular, I’m just interested in giving my hand a shot at the genre since I want to try it and see if it sharpens other writing skills in the meantime

Anonymous 64669

Okay, so as a non-reader of erotica, what do fans of the genre generally prefer to see? Detailed character development? Intricate personal drama? And as far as smut goes, what categories trend the best with readers (eg boy-girl, gay / yaoi, lesbian, variants of bdsm)? Any categories to avoid?

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