Wednesday, April 15, 2015

8. Learn Proper Grammar -- Or Else...!

10 Things You Should Know About:
Writing Interactive Fiction
If you think people don't do this while playing an Interactive Fiction, you're dead wrong.
8. Learn Proper Grammar -- Or Else...!
If you don't have a Grammar handbook, Get One
You're going to need it.

No matter what language an Interactive Fiction is written in, and no matter how much it is illustrated, Writing, and the Grammar that supports it, are unavoidable -- even when the only writing visible is dialog.

She forgot to use her SPELL-check.
Get it Right!
Or face the Wrath of your Readers!

I don't know how many beautifully illustrated Visual Novels I've shut off in complete disgust --and Deleted-- because of poor grammar, careless spelling, and sloppy sentence structure.

And I am not alone.

You want proof? Take a good look at the reviews and comment posts the players leave. If there are grammar and spelling mistakes in that Interactive Fiction THAT'S where you'll find them.

Proofreaders: Get Some!
There are those who say, it never hurts to have a second pair of eyes look at your work. Very good advice. However, don't just settle for one. Get several pairs of eyes looking at your work before you expose it to the general public.

I'm not talking about test-players. I'm talking about Proofreaders. People who look specifically for grammar and punctuation errors.

In fact, if you're smart, you'll get yourself a Grammar Nazi. It's the only way to be sure.

Creativity is No Excuse
for Sloppy Grammar or Punctuation!

I don't give a crap how many people tell you: "It's okay to be Creative with your writing."

Grammar, Punctuation, and Sentence Structure are NOT areas where Creativity belongs. 

If you want to be Creative, do it in your Art style, Plotting, Dialog, and Characters. That's where creativity belongs.

Grammar has RULES and they're there for a reason. Grammar exists to make writing clear and understandable to those who read it. This is especially important in Interactive Fiction where the clues to what's happening in the story are more often than not, in the Text.

Memorize this:
What CAN be Misunderstood
WILL be Misunderstood.

Punctuation: It saves lives.
Readers and Players are notorious for completely missing what's written only to make up what they think is there.

This is especially true when the Grammar is Poor, or worse: Creative. Even worse; when these Players finally figure out that what they thought they understood was something else completely, they get pissed -- at the Creator. 

Don't give your Players an excuse to misunderstand your work.

Use proper and recognizable Grammar to make sure they understand what you've written the first time around. 


Commas: There for a reason.
Do NOT rely on only the Internet for your spelling and grammar needs! Seriously.

Get an actual book, or PDF ebook, and READ IT! That's what books are for you know, reading. There are tons of things that stories use regularly that are skipped in Language class.

For example, how to use a comma. Clue: You don't just put commas anywhere you please, and you don't leave them out when they're needed!

Also, for all the little gods' sakes, read up on how to properly use an ellipses. Clue: You know those three periods in a row? They have a name; ellipses, and they serve a specific function. That function is not to signal a long pause or a break in dialog. That's Japanese grammar, not English grammar. Okay?

Just so you know, this is my grammar book of choice:

The Deluxe Transitive Vampire
The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar
for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed

by Karen Elizabeth Gordon

I also have an Oxford dictionary and a Roget's thesaurus. They all sit on my desk right next to my monitor.

Get your grammar book today! Your Players will thank you.

Ookami Kasumi

9. Trim All Excess Fat. 
Keep your Interactive Fiction Firm and Tight! 

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