The Writers Handbook


*Rule number one: Punctuation and grammar.

You might have thought this was a pretty basic rule, but pieces of writing submitted by budding writers tend to collect the style of a typical forum. Text speak is hard to read and will only ensure your piece of writing gets sent to the horror of page two and beyond. Learn how to use English on a forum; I doubt anyone who had used text talk on a forum doesn't know how to use English properly. Full stops, capital letters and correct spellings should be used all the time.

*Rule number two: The respected member

Personally this rule isn't as important as it once was, but it does still apply. Newer members should be aware that not everybody is automatically going to criticise your work. If you spam everywhere else or don't follow the rules why should anyone read it? If you can't take the time, you won't be respected and neither will your work.

*Rule number three: The plot

If you get a sudden flash of brilliant don’t post it here, write it down. Expand it. Make sure you know where the story is going. Give your characters names and identities. Give them in-depth profiles if it helps. Make sure you know your characters better than the reader. If you're going to create a complex plot, then make sure it works, and that it's not too confusing for the reader.

*Rule number four: The length

A lot of new writers have problems with lengthening their chapters. Try to aim for over a page in a Word Document so that people have a lot to read. They spend more time reading it so they'll remember it better, if you see the logic. If you have a short paragraph as an update, people won't pay attention.

*Rule number five: Knowing when to end

Don’t ever try to milk a story for all its worth. Once you’ve reached the end make sure it stays there. Don’t suddenly come out with, “But then,” because it’s a desperate barrel scraping action that gets seen through.

*Rule number six: Paragraphs and speech

Block paragraphs can often be hard to read so try not to make paragraphs too long, and remember when a new person speaks what they say goes on a new line. Lastly, and this is more of a tip, put spaces between your pargraphs/lines of speech. E.g


“Hey Magdog”

“What you been up to mate?” Magdog looked up at his partner in crime Finch.

*Rule number seven: Tense and point of view

Past, future, present. Normally it's easier to write in the past tense, but whatever you do, don’t keep changing tenses within a piece unless it's for instance written in the present tense with flashbacks.

Third, second and first person. Stick to this, don’t suddenly change how you’re writing. To suddenly skip from, “he went up to the lake and,” to, “I sat with my feet in the water.”

*Rule number eight: Reading

Read and comment on other writing in this board. If you don't how can you expect people to do the same for you? Be constructive, and try to get in things you like and dislike. This makes it easier for budding authors to realise what they should and shouldn't be used.

How to use grammar

The apostrophe

This has three uses:

1) To form possessives of nouns I.e if you can put “of the” or “of” and the sentence make sense, then you need to use an apostrophe.

e.g The boy’s hat = The hat of the boy

2) To show the omission of letters

3) To form plurals of letters that appear in lower case


1) To join two sentences with a conjunctive word (but, and, for, or, nor, so, yet)

2)Use commas after introductory a) clauses, b) phrases, or c) words that come before the main clause.

3) Use commas to set off a part of a sentence, so for parts that aren’t needed.

e.g Mother, with her usual arrogance, told me to empty the trash.

If you can take out the middle part, separated by the commas (“with her usual arrogance”) and it make sense, then its fine.

4)To separate three or more words, phrases etc.


This is used to join closely linked but in depended clauses.


Use a colon after a complete statement in order to introduce one or more directly related ideas, such as a series of directions, a list, or a quotation or other comment illustrating or explaining the statement OR between the hour and minutes in time notation.

It can also be used between chapter and verse in biblical references.

Capitals and full stops

Capitals go at the beginnings of sentences, nouns (name, place, organisation) and for “I“. Full stops go at the end of sentences. Clear? Good.


Speech must have either " or ' before and speech. At the end of speech you must have some sort of ending, whether this be a fullstop or a comma.

Example: "He was fat." He explained. OR "He was fat," he explained.


First Person: The story is told from one persons point of view. So the story is told as "I"
The narrator is either a PROTAGONIST (the main character) or the story is told from the point of view of a SECONDARY CHARACTER, but they tell the story of the main character.

Second Person: The story is told directly to the reader. E.g "You looked around and smiled"

Third Person: The story tells what "he", "she" or "it" does. The narrator can be LIMITED (telling from one persons point of view) or OMNISCIENT (the narrator knows everything about all the characters.)

Rhetorical Question: This means that you can ask a question in your story that doesn't need to be answered.

List of three: Statements that are simular or three ajectives, three nouns, three verbs, or three adverbs.
e.g. I came. I saw. I concered.

Repetition: Repeating words

Contrast: Opposites

Length of sentences: You should varry them.

Superlatives: The most of something


Tip 1: Reading

Read as many books as you can to develop your own writing style. Remember to read a wide variety. (Calmc)

Tip 2: The unintentional plagiarist

Plagiarism in any form is a serious offence with serious repercussions. Check your work carefully: Examine the plots, characters, concepts and even the inspiration for the story; make sure they’re as original as you’d hoped. Don’t let the Unintentional Plagiarist happen to you.

Tip 3: Bumping

Don’t bump up your writing just to get comments, posting a decent length update is fine but posting and asking people to comment isn’t fair and your post may be deleted. Think of this as a way not to gain respect.

Tip 4: Fan fiction

Its advised that you write something original. Most people won’t read or comment upon fan fictions.

Tip 5: Describe through exposition

When you describe a character don’t just describe them, do so through exposition, that being action. For example, don’t write, “Tom was six foot three with black hair and green eyes.” Try writing, “Tom towered above the six foot stand, his pale hands running through his ruffled black hair. Peeking from behind his fringe you could see his green eyes watching the crowds.”

Tip 6: Grip your reader

If your first sentence doesn't draw in a reader they are unlikely to read what you've written. There are a number of ways to do this from good grammar and structure, action, mystery or a well clad beginning. Its no use saying something like "The walls of my bedroom were green and the ceiling was white." Almost anything but that will do. "He was dead" or "Storm clouds covered the sky and the wind battered against the old castle, shaking its very foundations."

Tip 7: Planning and detail

Most people think planning a piece is thoroughly useless and it is true that for some people planning out a book or a short story does them no good or they have to just write and let their idea's develop. Some can hold everything in their head but planning can be useful. Knowing where a story is going will keep it going rather than writing something on the urge to write and having absolutely no idea what will happen. This can be a good adventure for you but sometimes it can put a dent in your work when suddenly you run out of idea's.

Tip 8: Style

It is important to experiment with different styles of writing but don't make the mistake of trying to actively find your style. All authors eventually develop one but forcing one or realising one can make it hard to write.

Secondly it is important that as a newer writer you don't try to write something fiendishly difficult. Start off with past tense, third person first. First person is more difficult than this, and second person is impossible for many writers. As for tenses unless you are extremely good it is recommended you stick with the past tense.

Name suggestions

Common Names

Boys: Billy, Bob, Ed/Eddy, Fred, Henry, Jack, Joe, John, Larry, Mark, Max, Paul, Sam, Scott, Tom.
Girls: Annabelle, Carol, Dana, Dawn, Jane, Janet, Mary, Patty, Pauline, Sarah, Sue.

Names that get shortened

Boys: Alexander, Barnabus, Bradford, Christopher, Emmanuel, Frederic, Gregory, Jonathon, Nathaniel, Nicholas, Roberto, Samuel, Solomon, Timothy.
Girls: Alexandra, Angelina, Cannandra, Charmaine, Deborah, Elizabeth, Gabrielle, Gwendolyn, Jacqueline, Jennifer, Kimberly, Rebecca.

Curing writer's block

Use visual cues
> Write a story about what you can see, or have seen, even a dream
> Write a story using a photograph/s
> Take a walk and make up stories about something you find

Start from a name
> Chose a name and write a piece on the feeling that name gives
> Use a pet's name/person's name and write a story using it
> Write a story using only one name
> Write a script or a story full of speaking

Emulate a style
> Chose an author and try to copy their style
> Write a prologue to an existing book
> Find somebody you know and try their style
> Try to improve a style you like

> Planning can help break the wall that is stopping you writing, ulternatively you can do the complete opposite and write spontaneously, without thought as to what you want to write. Both of these methods can help get something on paper, without needing perfection, or the feeling that nothing is working.

Other methods

>Systematically replace words with other words, or a string of words, using another text. Whether you or somebody else has written this text doesn't matter.
> Take one sentences from another book and use it to write a paragraph.
> Take three random sentences and find a creative way to link them together.
Write fast
> Don't bother to think about what you are writing, or to watch your grammar and syntax. Just write, and see what happens.
>Write down everything you hear for an hour
> Listen to a song and use it as inspiration
One word
> Pick one word and play around with it freely until some ideas come to mind. Don't force it or nothing will happen.
> Use different styles and tenses for difference pieces rather than sticking to the same old.

Thought this would be nice and informative...
Wow, must have taken long. Very detailed and helpful, great job doing this, I'm sure it'll be a lot of help to many of our story writers. Smile
thanks... yeah it took a while...
Whaaa??? no ones read it personally i think every writer of all experiences should read it but.... i tried :\
This is really, really long...
THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! Grin This guide is amazingly detailed and has a bunch of strategies for writing. I think that this is a must read for most of the writing on this forum, as I have grown tired of seeing a clutter of terrible grammar and dialogue use in stories. I noticed that you spelled similar incorrectly in the list of three section and alternatively incorrectly in the plan section.

Here are some suggestions of what you could add:
-Advanced Writers Handbook. This could be added towards the bottom portion and could contain things such as figurative language (similes, metaphors, parallel construction, etc.) and symbolism.
-Dialogue Tags. I just thought that it would be nice to have a section about usage of dialogue tags such as:
1. No tag
2. He said/asked/others
3. Action
4. He said/asked/others and action
In this, you could give examples of how each one is used and give a list of different tags that could be used so that writers can avoid the he said and use others, more creative and uncommon ones.

This guide is a really great tool to writers both new and advanced and I hope that a lot of people read it. Thanks again for writing this!

Ps. I just read over it again and you skipped the numbers in the tips, going from tip 7 to tip 9.
right thanks.
for some reason not many have read it although yes i agree every writer should read this. I would have made it advanced but this is okay for now as not every - no offense - writer in this forum is very advanced...
That IS informative!
(Jul. 12, 2011  6:43 AM)Bunnii2165 Wrote: *Rule number one: Punctuation and grammar.
Learn how to use English on a forum; I doubt anyone who had used text talk on a forum doesn't know how to use English properly. Full stops, capital letters and correct spellings should be used all the time.
Personally, I think this is due to the fact that a lot of 6 year olds use these forums.

They're barely potty-trained, and we expect them to know grammar? I'm simply impressed they made an account...

Otherwise, this could be very informative. I knew most of it, but this may really help some writers.
That's an insult to Beyjun...

But yes, this seems quite useful. Nice job Bunni!
I say you shouldn't encourage common names, as it results in bad dialogue. Such as:
"Yo, Bob!" I swiveled around, encountering my best friend, Henry. "What's up?" Henry reached into his pocket, pulling out a gleaming item. "Let's have a Beybattle!" I chortled, amused at his Dark Wolf. "Hah, you're in for a RUDE awakening.", or as the average story-writing user nowadays will put it:
"SUP BOB!" "Hey, HENREE! LET'S GO BEYBLAD! DARK WUUUUULF!!!!". At least create a guide to creative names. Otherwise, pretty good.
I see your point there, but you just wrote Harry, then Henry lol.

I like this guide a lot because I had something similar when i was younger, much more complicated that thing was.
Hah, I had a brain fart. Changing that so I don't look too stupid.
(Jul. 13, 2011  4:52 PM)Sparta Wrote:
(Jul. 12, 2011  6:43 AM)Bunnii2165 Wrote: *Rule number one: Punctuation and grammar.
Learn how to use English on a forum; I doubt anyone who had used text talk on a forum doesn't know how to use English properly. Full stops, capital letters and correct spellings should be used all the time.
Personally, I think this is due to the fact that a lot of 6 year olds use these forums.

They're barely potty-trained, and we expect them to know grammar? I'm simply impressed they made an account...

Otherwise, this could be very informative. I knew most of it, but this may really help some writers.

yeah this is just for basic writers because im carpin' ticked off at how the writing on this forum has such a low standard. When i get the chance i'll write an Advanced Version.
when are you gonna write the advanced version
i dunnno... probably when im not too busy... i've got a history assignment and such... sigh.
Also, for Beywriters, notice that in most cases, MADE UP BEYBLADES FAIL!
(Jul. 18, 2011  3:10 AM)Taiwo Seigi Wrote: Also, for Beywriters, notice that in most cases, MADE UP BEYBLADES FAIL!

It really depends on the idea, the writers ability, and the way that they describe it within the story.
Good stuff. Although I just keep in mind the 4C's:


yeh true... im writing an advanced with Sparta and it should have all that! Wink
YES ITS ALIVE!! Pwease read!
just saw this and read the entire thing, gives me ideas. i like how you said go for a walk to break writers block, cause i do that all the time. personaly, if this just gets a little more work i think it should be stickied, scince there are normally storys in this section.
yeah i actually pleaded my case to Kai-V to get this stickied and i said how the noobish (no offense) writers need to know this stuff but she made a good point that they may not be bothered to read it so yeh...
im working on an advanced version with Sparta...
Hrm... Curing writers block. Take a nap. That's what I do, and I'm ALWAYS up for a twist or two. Oh, and if you think your story's predictable, it's about time for one or two things.
1. A nice and neat ending/closeout to end the story, as it's past it's due.
2. If it's not, it needs a WELL THOUGHT OUT TWIST. Not a "But, he forgot one thing! Bob wasn't defeated, so the battle raged on, and he escaped! Time to do it again!"

Oh, and ALWAYS have a theme or inner point in mind. If you forget why you're writing a specific story, it'll be garbage. 100% of the time.