Greetings, fellow writers!
While this guide is my own, it was actually inspired by someone else here who posted a guide to writing emotions. One of my reviewers was kind enough to tell me that this person happened to be Goddess Oni—so, if you're reading this (both of you), kudos and thanks!
Simply put, this guide was written because throughout my reading here, I often find myself giving feedback that says the same thing, over and over. To put it nicely, I'm a nitpicker of a reviewer. That's what I do…be it a personality flaw or not. However, I'm also rather lazy. Because I'm lazy, instead of making the same comments to multiple people, I've decided instead to compile my thoughts into one easy-to-reach place. If you've been directed here by one of my reviews…don't worry, you're not alone. I love doing this to people.
Having said all that, a quick explanation of what I'm actually going to be explaining here. Summed up into a single word, it would be: VARIETY.
Imagine that you have a meal. During a regular meal, you might have a main part (meat, fish, etc), and your side vegetables (for our purposes, a stir-fry). The meat/fish are the plot of the story. If you don't have them, you don't have a meal—you don't have a story. When the main part of the dish is badly done, then the meal is badly done.
Unfortunately for anyone who has problems with cooking meat or fish, that's not what I'm writing about today.
Because the stir-fry vegetables are also a major part of the meal, they can equate the characters. Interesting, captivating—that's what you want your characters to be. If they're mortal, as most are, they have strengths and weaknesses, flaws and imperfections alongside with shining virtues or incredible skills…
This isn't about stir-fry, either.
Should you wish to learn how to broil meat or fry vegetables, I recommend that you read 'Tale Base' by 'Scifijesus: Driven by the Word'.
What this guide is about is spice. Flavouring. This is about the delicate aromas that entice the reader to bite into your story, and consume it in its entirety.
This is about all those 'really boring technical details' that can often seem onerous, but without which a story falls to pieces, because it doesn't 'taste' very good. Seasonings and spice must be carefully concocted, or else the entire meal is simply not up to par. While it requires far less time and attention than the meat or stir-fry, it still has to be there—without it, the meal is not awarded five stars, or the restaurant isn't rated ten out of ten.
In writing, variety often becomes something that's mostly just ignored by the average reader. It's only when it's not there, and the writing becomes more shallow, less captivating, that the reader notices and isn't satisfied by the piece or story—though often, they don't even realize why they don't like it as much, and why it doesn't hold their attention. Yes, this is justification for those who might think that this is a relatively minor and unimportant part of writing—you know who you are. You're the ones who say, "But if I've got a great plot, no one will care about a few mistakes in presentation!"
No. You're wrong. Because presentation is everything when you're writing a story. If it doesn't look readable, many people won't bother to read past the first few paragraphs. Besides—writing a shoddy story is not something that any author should deliberately try to do; even most parodies that do this come off as weak. Without diversity, your story is simply not as good (by a long shot) as it could be.
Read and enjoy! R&R is also appreciated (I'd like to know if this guide is useful at all).