3
votes
6answers
491 views

Can a likeable character be unsympathetic?

I believe an unlikable character can be sympathetic, although that's tricky. But can you go the other way? Can your character be likable but at the same time unsympathetic? I've been trying and ...
3
votes
6answers
155 views

Is the following allowed under the ungrammatical exceptions in fiction?

I wrote the following: Under the shelter of the inn, a barbecue was taking place, red coal glowing in the dark and tiny sparks fluttering around from time to time. or should I change it to: ...
3
votes
4answers
4k views

Is it a bad writing practice to start sentences with a verb?

I realized I start sentences with the, he, she, it, after and then all the time. So I'm starting to use verbs instead. Here is an example of something I wrote: Erin left out a sigh. "Why am I ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

On writing an essay, what are some good techniques to teach to schoolchildren?

I am currently teaching the way to write an essay as this: Step 1, write the topic sentence of the whole essay. Then, in the following first paragraph, develop the ideas that you are going to ...
3
votes
3answers
703 views

How to convey newlines in tweeted poetry, if at all?

Suppose I've written a haiku as 3 consecutive lines with standard punctuation as if it was normal free text, which means I don't use special punctuation at the end of a line just because it's the end ...
3
votes
6answers
334 views

Tension built upon whether the main character will commit suicide or not. Problem: I'm using first person narrative

I'm writing a novel, called Animal Suicide, about a girl who tried to commit suicide but then postponed the plan after a phone call she received. Everything OK. But then I realized...wait a ...
3
votes
4answers
389 views

Should I use ellipses or em dashes to denote pauses in speech?

I flipped open its latch and peered inside. A—gold tooth? I flipped open its latch and peered inside. A ... gold tooth? Was it an elephant? No, elephants didn't frequent beaches. It ...
3
votes
7answers
1k views

Main male character description

I've been asked to write a story as an assignment. It should have as the main male character an unusually smart, clever, insightful and thoughtful guy who is somewhat reserved and mysterious. The ...
3
votes
6answers
525 views

How short can a poem be until it can no longer be a poem?

I am on a small journey to help me understand what the definition of a poem is to different people, what poems mean to them. This made me wonder, some poems are longer than others, so: How short ...
3
votes
8answers
368 views

How to invoke my creative side without investing too much time?

I suck at writing. There, I admitted it. More often than not, I find my self staring at a blank moleskine page, or the blinking cursor. You see, the problem lies not in writing itself, but ...
3
votes
3answers
578 views

How to write English in Merlin (TV Series) style?

I find the writing style of the show Merlin to be very good, and much better than current/modern English usage. Details about the show can be found at IMDB's Merlin page, and Wikipedia's entry about ...
3
votes
4answers
175 views

What's a word for a person who took a very rough story and made it into a book?

I have written a book. Well, actually, my mother-in-law told the story of her experiences as a German forced laborer in the Soviet Union after World War 2. This was given in German and recorded onto ...
3
votes
3answers
440 views

Does the country matter in a story if it is set in a real one?

So far I've been setting my stories in the country I live: Taiwan. Not because I love my country. In fact, I'm not fond of patriotism. I just figured out it would be easier to describe surroundings ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Is it correct to use verbs like “sighed” and “laughed” as dialogue tags?

In other words, is it correct to write something like this: "Oh," he laughed. "Sorry, I'm not sure what's with me today." (Every time I see something like this, I think: "How is this peson ...
3
votes
6answers
2k views

Replacing actually with a more formal alternative [closed]

I have a sentence that reads as follows, "This study shows that performance of method X and method Y are almost identical in ranking task and method X actually outperforms method Y in user ...
3
votes
7answers
1k views

Verb tense for technical document titles

I'm writing a technical manual about creating database systems, and wondered what is the best verb tense for title names. My ideas are: Continuous (-ing) form: (e.g. "Creating a Cluster", "Creating ...
3
votes
6answers
192 views

Are there words that are “stronger” than others? If so, why?

By strong I mean causing intense feelings in the reader. I thought about this while I was editing my novel (I consider the second cases to be stronger words): I turned to the left I twisted ...
3
votes
4answers
706 views

How do I get publishers and agents to read my full book?

My problem is that my first few chapters are decent but the last few chapters of my book are superb writing that is capable of becoming famous. How do I get publishers and agents to read my full ...
3
votes
5answers
148 views

How can i learn the name of a colour to use in a description?

I am trying to describe this character Source her attire is pretty easy to describe, Purple and Gold (while it looks yellow she addressing herself with majestic plural so gold would be more ...
3
votes
4answers
120 views

Is this title suitable for a chapter section?

Suppose I am writing a chapter about some deep technical subject (say, for instance, "boolean variables"). This theme is riddled with idiosyncrasies and misunderstandings, so I would like to present ...
3
votes
5answers
83 views

Pulling an idea through in spite of the need to correct details

First, this question is not quite about writer's block or dealing with self-criticism. I find myself often in the following situation: I want to write a short piece of non-fiction and have plenty of ...
3
votes
4answers
834 views

What are examples of fiction books picked up by publishers after being self-published?

I've seen some references to commercial publishers picking up a self-published novel if it's been selling well. Can you point me to a few specific examples of this happening? Fiction only, please. ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Is it okay to quote a saying, even if i don't know who said it?

If it is okay to quote then how should i quote it. For example, "Many wealthy people are little more than janitors of their possessions." - Frank Lloyd Wright (1868-1959) Now if i don't ...
3
votes
3answers
135 views

Formatting blog posts like the pros

I am new to writing. I have seen Jeff Atwood's blog and I am really impressed how he writes. I have seen a similar manner on wordpress docs too. I am still confused with some issues while writing. ...
3
votes
4answers
156 views

Does this microfiction provide a slightly surreal sense when describing an ordinary scene?

In this short story I'm trying to describe an unexceptional scene in an exciting and compelling way. I want to make a common ritual seem strange and a bit surreal. Does this paragraph accomplish these ...
3
votes
7answers
1k views

What to do about noun clusters

A personal frustration of mine is when I see a cluster of nouns sitting together in a sentence. I usually see these in highly technical emails, but not exclusively. Here is a particularly bad ...
3
votes
3answers
209 views

How to highlight a main character among several points of view?

After some time outlining quite a complex story, I came to the conclusion I need more than one point of view to tell it all. However, I need to have one of those points of view's character as the ...
3
votes
4answers
201 views

Should I edit the first draft until I'm totally satisfied or should I leave that to the third draft?

After having waited for three months for the first draft of my novel to "cool off," I've finally decided to work on the second one. But now I'm presented with who options: 1) edit the this first ...
3
votes
4answers
741 views

Is it a bad idea to ground a fantasy world in earthy culture(s)?

I am deeply fascinated by Japanese culture and the medieval era; so naturally, when I began the development of my fantasy world it became solidly rooted in this ground. Also with the animals that ...
3
votes
6answers
442 views

What is this form of poetry called?

I am poet and a blogger, and was writing a poem today for my blog. It went something like: So, are you missing me? Missing me so much that you crave, crave to meet me right now... Does anybody know ...
3
votes
3answers
574 views

First Person Voice - Same as speaking?

When writing in first person, if the POV character talks with a certain dialect or type of diction (eg. "I ain't got all day! Hurry it up, will ya?") should they narrate with the same accent, or can ...
3
votes
4answers
251 views

Multiple POVs in a single scene

This question came up in another forum, so I thought I'd share it here. Should there be only one POV per scene? Is it OK to go with multiple POVs? An example is a scene with two characters facing ...
3
votes
4answers
136 views

Is this clearly expressed: “The real power is information”

I want to say that information is the real power in the world. I want to say it in one clean (short) sentence. Is the following good enough? (My mother language isn't English.) The real power is ...
3
votes
4answers
397 views

Can I use “We” to refer to me and the reader?

I am writing my thesis and in many cases I want to take the reader through an example. For example: Besides the advanced composition rules, it is also important to have a set of basic rules to ...
3
votes
3answers
618 views

What are the ingredients for a good book review?

I've recently started writing book reviews. I am doing this for numerous reasons, most importantly perhaps is to be able to express in a clear and concise manner. English is not my first language and ...
3
votes
3answers
82 views

What is a productive response to a negative review?

I see basically three possible responses: (a) Write a rebuttal ranting that this person is a jerk and his criticisms are totally unfair and that he isn't worthy to be spit upon by a great author like ...
3
votes
5answers
112 views

What is the benefit of writing formally?

It seems to me that formal writing has many practices that at best seem arbitrary and at worst seem harmful. Here are some examples: It discourages using contractions, even though they make writing ...
3
votes
3answers
297 views

Best way to write an article professionally

Is there any widely accepted step by step method for writing a creative article in a professional manner. I want to improve my English writing skills in relation to creative article writing. I read ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Multiple Point of View characters in a short story

I'm working on a short story (maximum of 6,000 words) and realized that I will need to have two point-of-view (POV) characters. Let's call them Greg and Jeff. This became necessary when I saw that ...
3
votes
4answers
275 views

Should I embrace or avoid memes(pictures) when blogging?

I write on a fairly low traffic blog. One thing I've been seeing some of around the internet are blog posts which use meme pictures(example picture. It seems like an interesting approach to me. I'm a ...
3
votes
5answers
159 views

Combatting Excessive Familiarity Of Writing

Since writing my last question, I've been able to write a handful more items and have tried to nail down some more specific items I can ask about improving my writing. This issue became readily ...
3
votes
3answers
327 views

Does this beginning hook the reader?

Guide lines Q no. 4: This is supposed to be the opening part, but certainly not the whole of the first chapter or page for that matter... I'm not exactly sure anyone would take 30 seconds to read ...
3
votes
3answers
398 views

What is a log line, and why are they bad?

The question is as per the title. I read about log lines on Query shark. Now I know what Wikipedia says about them, but I'm still not sure what they are, and why are they bad for writers / queries?
3
votes
5answers
270 views

Which English grammar should be followed when writing for a global audience?

In relation to my question on Usage of 'z' in the word serialized in English?, it seems I was mistaken in assuming there is a generally accepted correct variant of English. The question Which variant ...
3
votes
3answers
153 views

First publication rights still available on this?

I created a book and used a commercial digital printing house to print and bind some copies, which I gave away as gifts. The book says in it "Copyright 2010, Richard Clunan. Published by Wordfruit." ...
3
votes
5answers
90 views

Real cities & placing fictional cities

I'm currently experimenting with a story and its setting for a comic. The overall setting is simple: it is set in the real world, though slightly different (towards science-fiction), and primarily in ...
3
votes
2answers
420 views

How should I translate this?

I recently started translating a book from Turkish into English, but I'm not sure how translations are usually carried out. So, for instance, if I encounter a sentence which sounds good in Turkish but ...
3
votes
3answers
931 views

Is it important to describe how the characters are dressed?

One thing that I never mention in my stories is how the characters are dressed. Well, except when they are being described for the first time. When the main character stumbles upon them for the first ...
3
votes
3answers
230 views

Is it OK to have two different POVs in a same paragraph (third-person omniscient narrator)?

This is my first time writing a third-person omniscient narrator. And just got stucked in a dilemma. This is the opening of the story: Once again Kuo found himself standing face to face with ...
3
votes
3answers
357 views

How do I find mistakes in grammar and style in my own writings?

I am no expert in the English language. Things I need to improve are clarity, style and correct use of grammar. Any tips would be helpful. I am writing a large document and plan to proof read it ...

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