Okay, so this section still has that fresh 'newly opened' smell, so lets get the ball rolling.
I'm basically thinking we get some beginner's tips out for writing. Anything you guys like to use when writing. These can be professional, or just little quirks you've picked up that work.
I'm basically gonna start off with an easy one: Loops.
I was taught these at a writing class a while back, though they might have other names elsewhere. A loop is essentially a question that you ask early in the story, then answer later. They are open plot lines that you are going to close when the time comes. Loops can be short, long, or even reversed (more on this later.) The most important loops are your opening and closing loops (these are often the same). The opening loop is your inciting incident. The event that puts all the others in motion.
Let's take a classic game plot, Final Fantasy VII. In the opening, Cloud and Avalanche jump off of a train and begin attacking guards. We don't know who these characters are, or what they're doing. Theses are our two loops. The first one gets answered in the first few minutes. The second one takes a little longer to develop, but once we know why they're there (to destroy the reactor) we're now wondering WHY they want to destroy the reactor, WHY have they brought Cloud on board, WHAT is a SOLDIER, WHY did Cloud get a headache as they approached the reactor.
The inciting incident (jumping off the train, attacking the guards) gives us enough questions to establish ALL of this. So what can we learn from this? Keep lots of loops open at once. They don't have to be open for very long (they can be as simple as 'who is that' or 'where did that character go') but they are what keep people interested.
This brings us to the next important point regarding loops. Make sure you close them! The popular TV show Lost had a dedicated fanbase because it KEPT OPENING LOOPS. We never had a clue what was going on, and it kept our interest peaked. But eventually the show got too spread out, and a lot of the loops weren't closed. The show still ended well, but it certainly didn't answer everything, and this annoyed a lot of fans.
So close your loops
Especially if they're important.
I said I'd come back to reversed loops. Now, I'm not actually sure if these are even a real thing, but it's what I call them
A reversed loop, according to the dictionary of Sparrow, is a question that gets answered before the question gets asked. Sort of.
In the film Primer (VERY COMPLICATED) Abe's(?) wife mentions that she can hear bumping in the attic. Abe says this is just some birds (or rats....). It seems very unimportant. Later in the film, after the two protagonists invent time travel, it is revealed Abe has come back from a different timeline, and that the sound in the attic is actually the real Abe from this timeline.
So to recap:
*sounds in the attic*
"Where is the Abe from this timeline?"
The question came after the answer.
So without further adieu, let's hear any techniques you use when writing.