Hello, fellow highly-qualified writers of the Internet! Quite obviously, you are a highly educated novelist and English professor with a BA in English who uses words like "rambunctious" and "modus operandi" before strutting off to do the dishes and knows what a wanker is. Heck, I bet you sleep with a dictionary under your pillow.
However, perhaps you still have not received that long-deserved Newbery medal, despite those many years of being a Redditor and Grammar Nazi and thoughtful Twitter philosopher! Think back to your days of competing with your nemesis, Jayden Smith, and all the times your genius poetry inspired one more soul to quit Diet Coke! Still bitter with John Green for getting to critical acclaim status before you did? Fortunately enough for you, lucky goose, I know the secrets to the universe, John Green's continuing success fuels my rage, and a million likes on Facebook are just as good as yours right now!
DISCLAIMER: The author of this story is a bitch. Don't take anything seriously. Also, all horrible examples of writing come from my own imagination, I'm not mocking any existing stories using their content.
To start off, let us pinpoint some possible reasons you haven't gotten those millions of rave reviews from other little Internet people. In this world of natural selection where only the fittest with the most adapted characteristics survive, obviously there is only one reason-your story isn't special enough! Oh woes and noes! We must instantly fix this, but how?
Step One: Perhaps you're just trying too hard. Typing on those little keys is painful for you and your ten fingers. It's better to start typing whatever the hell you want to write and adding new words to the English language. Geoffrey Chaucer ain't got nothing on you, man! Soon you'll be writing about frickin' Wrench kisses and 'terodactuls' flying in stomachs. Betas and proofreadin' be for fools, man!
Hey, I don't know what the hell that is, but that sounds cool, dude, you want me to chop off your dominant hand so you become even more creative? I mean, you type so well with both hands already...
Step Two: Your audience just can't identify with your main character. Oh! I know! Their name just isn't...hellaflippinawesome enough. You want them to have a name that cries out the Epic of Gilgamesh, the mystic origin of Princess Kaguya, the mysterious power of Wu Zetian, and the "what were you thinking when you named him" of every baby who nearly got named Nutella. All at the same time!
You could just look up some extra foreign names that will make your French, Japanese and Hispanic friends want to stone you to death for misspelling. But you could also just combine two already cool names you love-like, say, Donald Trump and Ronald McDonald to make Donald McDonald. See? There, I've already made you a revolutionary character. Experts recommend that you add as many epic names as you can fit on their birth certificate, and the sky is the limit. Go all out there, champ.
Ha! They may laugh at you, but when Emma Cumberbatch Kendricks Lawrence Hathaway Radcliffe's tear-wrenching tale of betrayal, romance, and lies becomes the new rage-filled bestseller, I expect five million dollars in cash. Send the package to my mother's basement. I'm too cheap to afford my own bridge to hide underneath and demand riddle answers from trespassers.
Step Three: Your character isn't supplying enough vicarious pleasure to your audience. Most likely they're not attractive/insecure/martyred/talented enough. Fair enough. Maybe your description of them is too mundane and boring. Well, you know what they always say? Eyes are the window to the soul. Unfortunately, a-hem, the Blockbuster-to-be script just got sent to Hollywood and Jennifer Lawrence is still shooting the movie adaptation, so the audience probably doesn't know what your character's eyes look like. Fortunately for them, you can save them this pain by describing them! I've included a few sure-fire success examples.
"His eyes were like the runny greenish-grey color of the slimy substance I find at the bottom of the drain filter when I clean out the sink after somebody has gotten a cold and started coughing like they have a hairball blossoming in the recesses of their trachea."
"Her eyes were like mercury; deep, poisonous, pools of liquid silver running with crystalline tears falling like salty melted diamonds."
"I stared into his dark, heliotrope and mauve orbs and instantly knew he was wearing goth color lenses."
Maybe it's not the eyes for you. Coolio, man, whatever you're into, I got you covered. Another major demographic loves to know about the hair.
"Her maroon curls cascaded down to the small of her back like a curtain of chestnut silk, perfumed with delicate whiffs of mint and vanilla. I knew instantly that she needed to be my mate."
"Though he didn't realize, I took a deep breath and sniffed his hair. It smelled like chocolate, and hazelnuts, and I blinked. While he opened his mouth to order his drink, I sidled a step closer and nodded, inhaling deeply. It was then I knew, he must take Nutella and Nesquik baths. Snickering to myself, I smirked "Oh yeah, I'll put some honey in your tea~"
""Ugh, I really hate my hair," I groaned. "I just hate how half of it is straight and half of it is curly and when I wake up, it's just naturally like this. And then like, because I spend so much time in the sun, half of it is bleached platinum blonde but the rest of it is raven black. And my mom won't let me cut it, so it's grown so long it's all the way down to my knees! Ugh, my life is so unfair!"
""Indeed," my friend Cancerous Chloe nodded, absentmindedly remembering she still needed to get chemotherapy. "Yes, indeed."
Huh. And to think it takes me ten minutes just to apply shampoo so that my hair doesn't end up all coarse and greasy...
Step Four: Your character's eyes and hair, pah! Time to take things a step higher. We gonna be talkin' about body types, folks. Because the body type determines the character type. Let me give you a few examples.
Main Character: So skinny, she's self-conscious about how thin she is, but like she's not flat, she has these boobs that are big but like not too big you know? She should be insecure enough to need her love interest's sympathy and support and "you're beautiful" speeches, but not enough that she's as consumed with her appearance as...wait for it...
That Random Bitchy Love Rival: What was her name? Oh, yes, that Shallow Cheerleader. Blonde, diets excessively (because let's face it; girls with insecurities about their appearance are alien bitches, right?) and has big boobs (wait I thought we just said she was ridiculously skinny you just said you hated her because she diets and diets are for dumb cheerleaders...do you know how hard it is to be a cheerleader? Fuck! You throw me one foot in the air, and I'll land right back down and break my ass!). Oh, yeah, and she wears excessive makeup and is probably dating/trying to date/trying to steal the love interest. Because hey, anyone who wears makeup is obviously superficial and bitchy. Screw you, JLaw! You have no self-respect, you damn blonde Barbie doll!
The Love Interest: Varies a bit, but generally they have abs. I don't know why, okay? Don't stare at me like that. I don't go around flipping boys' shirts to see if they qualify for this criteria, yo.
Step Five: Maybe your character's personality just doesn't click with the target audience. No problem! Let's make her, uh, a little more down to earth.
"Hi, my name is Maddie. And I'm a real person. I'm not like the cheerleader girls who keep touching their phones and growing their boobs or whatever they do. I listen to rock music and I have a converse collection and a hoodie that says I'm a real tomboy, and I took one lesson in taekwondo and I kick anyone who messes with me. I kicked my boyfriend because he said I'd look better with makeup and then I broke his arm."
Or maybe a little more peppy, yannow.
"Hi, my name is Britneyyyy! And you might think just because I'm blonde, I'm like all those other girls who are mean and keep thinking about boys, but nooo, I actually have a brain and I don't like, wear clothes that show off my skin like that girl, ugh, what was her last name, Javelins? Anyways, if I had a boyfriend, I would totally treat him better, like I would kiss him every day and tell him I love him and run away with him-"
You know, maybe somebody more cultured. Maybe your audience wants a smart, assured persona.
"Hola. Bonjour. I'm Blair, or Adella, or Sakura, or Xiao Niao Le, depending on who you are and where I am. My dad has been to ten countries and I now speak Russian, English, French, Spanish, German and I've added in five words I looked up on Google Translate that are absolutely incorrect and are making actual multilingual people everywhere laugh their pants off. Plus, I know a lot more about Asia than you, cause I watched five episodes of Naruto. I'm fluent in Koreanese, and I know all about Emperor Kim Jong Mao Hirohito."
"Hii, my name is Sakura-desu! Kawaii! I am so Oriental! So Asian! Yes! I like to eat mochi and drink tea! I watch much manga! And-"
Please, just...please don't...try not to...
"My name is Ash. My mother is verbally and physically abusive, and I just met this hot boy who offered to take me home. I'm so insecure and sad! And I think I'm bipolar because sometimes I'm happy, but sometimes I'm sad, and I have this tender side I only show to my boyfriend, and it's totally signs that I'm a tragic figure! Oh hey guys, make sure you follow me on Twitter, if this gets a million likes I'll write a story about the main character's hot therapist!"
...yeah, if you're writing this one, unless you are actually writing about a really difficult personal experience, I think I'll shut up about it. Stay safe.
Step Six: Maybe your writing isn't exciting enough. Your audience is getting bored, reading those regular-ass paragraphs that are too easy to read. Fortunately, I got a big ol' can of surprises for you.
The long paragraph: The only purpose of the long paragraph is to be a wall. Your space key has been pulverized in a fight with Chuck Norris, your enter key was one of Voldemort's Horcruxes and hence was cut in half by Neville Longbottom, your ability to break things down has been severely limited by an injury; potentially, extremely selective falling hand grenades that make you capable of using anything but your enter key. Don't even bother making the content of the long paragraph interesting. Drone on and on monotonously about stuff nobody cares about. Yeah, uh, I once tried to wish my crush a Merry Christmas...he never responded...I think he might not like me...because I'm a bitch...my uncle likes to stare at me unblinkingly while I eat and call me "baby". My mother likes to tell me she always wanted a boy...My dad's still bald...I once looked at a picture of my parents from when they just picked me up from the hospital. I like, totally cried..cause I didn't recognize him with a full head of hair...I thought he was one of my uncles...and my mom's hair wasn't grey...and I was an ugly-ass baby...
Random Fancy Touches: You can't bring the technicolor Hollywood special effects to the audience, that's for one. But you can randomly bold or italics things. Don't emphasize stuff that's important, just do it whenever the hell you feel like it. or yoU CaN Rite really badLy LIKE THIS AND RANDOMLY YELL IN CAPS FOR A LONG TIME WITH LOTS OF PUNCTUATION MARKS! It catches attention. Like herpes. Which is not all that shameful if you think about it.
If you feel like that's too difficult, you can always just speak in textspeak or talk to the audience like you're a lot better than them. They have roughly the same effect.
Whew! We're not quite done with our course for the road to instant Internet fame, but don't worry, young Padawan...you'll get that rave review from Stephenie Meyer yet.