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Dono
03-01-2012, 07:51 PM
A quick guide on how to effectively write a topical.

Topicals are almost completely different than battles, so forget about punches and all that jazz. In essence, topicals are poetic stories. You want to focus on giving the reader a nice, coherent, interesting story.

Obviously when writing you want to follow the voting rubix:

Rhyming Scheme/Flow - Same as battles, make your rhymes flow smoothly, your syllable counts match up, ect. You can play around with this more than in battles but experiment at your own risk haha.

Vocabulary - Complex words can really add to your piece but make sure not to go overboard and get bogged down in it. You want your reader to be able to get a coherent picture in their mind, not dig around googling definitions.

Topic/Meaning - When starting out, it's probably best to relate directly to what you see in the picture or quote and base your piece on that. If there's a cat, write about a cat. You need to stick to the topic or picture in some way or another. If it's a picture, make sure you include all elements of the picture or at the very least don't directly contradict the picture.
Once you get a little more experience you can move into metaphorical stories that tie into the picture symbolically, instead of literally. Don't outrun your skills though. There's nothing wrong with writing a story straight about the picture.

Storytelling/Progression - Make sure the story you create is coherent. Don't jump around from topic to topic randomly. Each line sets up the next one until the end. Try to build to your final conclusion and make each line count toward the next one. This is one of the most important elements. Without a strong progression your story will get boring quickly.

Emotion - Try to draw from personal experiences and then project those experiences onto your characters to get the most realistic emotion possible. Try to use specific, charged wording like "despair" instead of sad. Make sure the emotions are realistic to the situation. If a mother just watched her child get hit by a car she's not going to be indifferent unless you've set up the precedent that she's indifferent to her child. That's not a natural reaction unless we know of other character traits.

Imagery - Use descriptive language to paint a vivid picture for the reader. The more detail you give them the better the image they'll have in their mind's eye.

Poetic Techniques - Pretty much everything else, alliteration, ect. I'd only focus on this after you've mastered the other categories.

Ending - Make sure your ending is actually an ending. Sounds simple enough but it's harder than it seems. The ending needs to show a logical close to the story and when done right leaves the reader feeling satisfied.

Other Notes:

Structure - Make sure you structure your topical in a way that's easily legible. DO NOT cap your multis or write a giant block of text.

When voting on a topical just because someone won more of the technical aspects doesn't mean they deserve the win overall. Make sure to use your own judgements, as the rubix is only a guide.