“Start the first sentence with a piece of dialogue that sets the tone for the rest of the story.” The boy told her. “But what do I do if I want the reader to know what the character’s names are in a smooth flowing sentence?” She replied. “Well it’s usually weird and out of place for a character to say another’s name if it’s implied that they’ve had some dialogue already, so you can have it as part of the narration.” Kip continued to lecture Alice on the art of story writing. “And character relations?” “If you’re good enough to throw it into dialogue, you can try that. It could work well with providing context.” “Context?” “Yeah, like what the characters are doing. Say, for example, a university student helping his little sister out with a short story that was assigned two weeks ago yet is due tomorrow.” “Ha ha, funny.” Alice laughed sarcastically. “You might also want to do that in narration because nobody would conveniently explain context, like a show that just returned from commercial break. Remember to give some kind of setting as well.” With the English assignment due the next day, Alice was hard pressed for time, but luckily she had the skill of her older brother to help. They had cramped up in her room, Alice sitting at the desk and Kip sitting on the bed behind her. “Also,” he said, “just a thought, but try to make the male character seem cool, like he always has something better to do at any given moment.” Kip quickly checked his phone for a text message. It was his friend inviting him out for a party in the city. “But if he did, why would he stay with the female lead? I mean no one is forcing him right?” Alice stuck her tongue out as she whipped out sentence after sentence in her notebook. “You could always say he pretends to be embarrassed and annoyed but actually likes hanging around.” The boy looked at the enthusiastic girl, thought, and then texted his friend that he was busy tonight. “You know, they have a word for that in anime.” Alice smiled, stopping her pencil for a brief moment, causing Kip to cringe. “Please don’t make the characters use terms like that in a normal story. This isn’t like the manga you read.” Kip glanced at the page, making sure she didn’t write the word ‘tsundere’ on the sheet. “Hey! I just said not to use that word!” “You said don’t make the characters say it. I put it in the narration!” “Just don’t use it at all. This is for your English class; it’s weird to say stuff like that.” “By the way, was this a proper use of those semicolon things?” Kip squinted at the notebook looking for the example. It was 2 sentences above the one she was currently writing. “Yeah, but for this sentence here,” he underlined the last sentence written so far, “use the word ‘two’ instead of the number. Unless the rest of your piece has lots of numbers like that, you shouldn’t use them.” Alice nodded, but she didn’t bother to fix it. Kip went on to explain that she didn’t have to explicitly put every sentence of dialogue in quotation marks either, and rather use the narration itself to explain what they’re saying and have the audience fill in the gaps themselves. Again, Alice nodded and wrote more of the story. When she was nearing completion, she asked Kip innocently, “What do I call it? It needs a name.” “Just give it something short and sweet. But nothing too pretentious.” Alice smiled and dubiously scribbled the title of her finished story onto the top of her notebook.