3
votes
9answers
4k views

Is dialogue in a novel necessary, or just padding?

I can usually tell the story I want to in less than 10,000 words. I'd really like to accomplish writing a novel and I have a complex idea I want to use and explore, but I am worried I won't need ...
3
votes
8answers
1k views

My Hero is captured, now what?

I'm trying to write an escape scene in a fantasy novel. My problem is that I've spent a fair amount of effort explaining what a dire predicament my hero is in, and now I don't know how to get him out. ...
3
votes
5answers
309 views

My first act is lengthy. And I cannot shorten it. Any Suggestions?

After the great amount of encouragement that you all gave me here, you'd be happy to know that I finally started writing my novel and I'm writing whenever I get time. Special thanks goes to Lauren for ...
3
votes
4answers
809 views

How do you convince your publisher that your story is good?

Any suggestions on how to convince your publisher that your story is good, and that it would be a good idea to publish it?
3
votes
8answers
251 views

Is it possible that my short novel will be boring to my readers because it only has two characters and the location doesn't change?

In my story, there are two characters: a schoolgirl and a strange person with a creepy mask who gives her a tour in an art museum at night. Well, actually there is a third character; the boyfriend of ...
3
votes
5answers
87 views

Should you publish or share poetry that was written simply in an angry or sad rant?

I've written a poem exploring my conflicting emotions of anger and the joy that the anger keeps supressing. Is it appropriate to publish a literary work based on such intense negative emotions?
3
votes
7answers
5k views

How to separate scenes in a chapter?

I have multiple scenes in a chapter, sometimes from different POVs, or different locations/times. Now I would like to make it clear to the reader that they have left a scene and are entering a new ...
3
votes
7answers
297 views

Beginners can break rules too?

I came across several disciplines of writing which one must know while writing (especially beginners), concerning narrative conventions and the rules of story logic. Some of the sources for this ...
3
votes
5answers
3k views

How can this technical message be made clearer?

How could this technical sentenced be improved for better clarity? Cannot translate the ‘name1’ concept1 to the ‘name2’ concept2 because the higher precedence ‘name3’ concept3 also exists, which ...
3
votes
3answers
283 views

What techniques do you use to invent snappy turns of phrase?

We all know clichés are bad[1] and that fresh, inventive and "fitting" phrases will delight and entertain our readers. What techniques can be used to invent such phrases? Sometimes they just ...
3
votes
8answers
477 views

Is it OK to invent as I write, or should I plan the entire story first?

I have read Harry Potter and am a big fan of J.K. Rowling's writing and I had always had this urge to blog and to write. So, I started a blog - 2200 Common Era. I've the basic idea of writing a ...
3
votes
7answers
365 views

my first comedy plot draft is very bland. how far can I go on calling this out?

I'm currently working on my first book, a sci-fi comedy set on an alternate history Earth which has progressed at twice the rate of our own planet (they were at our current tech when William the ...
3
votes
2answers
320 views

Creative writing use and abuse

I am wondering what is the limit, if any, of justifying one's writing style as being creative. I have often seen the use of a single word or phrase as a 'sentence' for creating impact. Example: "It ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Ways to speed up my writing to 15 - 20 pages a day

I am currently at 5 - 10 pages (250 words/page) a day. How to increase my speed to be able to write 15 - 20 a day?
3
votes
6answers
502 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
7answers
467 views

Constructed Language - how to spell words that will be mispronounced in English

I wasn't sure how to phrase the title, so it may be a bit confusing. Feel free to edit it if you can phrase it better. This question may be better suited for Worldbuilding SE. However, it is about ...
3
votes
6answers
169 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
5k 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
2k 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
716 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
412 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
461 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
605 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
391 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
600 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
494 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
2k 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
3k 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
232 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
736 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
167 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
124 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
87 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
843 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
2k 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
138 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
161 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
2k 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
236 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
204 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
832 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
1answer
185 views

How much should I reveal about my book idea to a publishing house representative?

I am a faculty member at a small liberal arts college and a colleague and I are working on a textbook that is still basically in outline stage. The idea is not completely novel but there are not a ...
3
votes
3answers
632 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
268 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
423 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
655 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 ...

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