12
votes
3answers
290 views

What are some regular contests unpublished short story authors might enter?

One good way for new authors to become recognized is a contest. What contests exist that: Accept short stories Occur on a regular (annual, semi-annual, bi-annual, etc.) basis Are friendly to ...
11
votes
4answers
562 views

When should I avoid the passive voice? When might I use it?

An opinion exists that overusing of the passive voice can make writing harder for reading and understanding. Is it true for all kinds of writing? How to follow this advice without overemphasizing it? ...
10
votes
4answers
851 views

Ways for main character to influence world following their death

The main character of a story dies before the story itself ends. Nothing new here, you can keep a story interesting following their death. But I have an additional requirement: The dead main character ...
9
votes
6answers
988 views

When should a chapter end?

When writing a novel, when should I end a chapter? Note that I'm not talking about chapter word-count (that topic was discussed here). I'm interested to know when should I end my chapters ...
8
votes
4answers
435 views

How do I successfully structure a long fiction piece?

I’ve ‘completed’ three novels – a thriller, a coming-of-age story, and a mystery. I’ve had expert readers for all three including Sue Grafton who read two of them. All the expert readers have the same ...
5
votes
2answers
180 views

How/When to include twists when developing plot.

Disclaimer: This is a new question, not an extension of my other questions concerning twists. When I develop fiction, I start with a premise and a theme. I have a general idea of where I'm headed, ...
16
votes
1answer
518 views

Pantsing a story?

I heard a writer talking about pantsing a story. What does that mean?
13
votes
3answers
326 views

Writers Communities?

I don't mean writer's circles, or "auditioning sites", although some of these have forums tacked on as a by the by. Usually places to talk about the beardy philosophy of writing are moribund places as ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Self publishing: Do I still need to follow the arbitrary word count limits?

I am thinking of going down the self publishing path. Now looking at most agents and publishers websites, it seems the expected word count for most novels is around 70-90K. Now these word counts may ...
11
votes
7answers
11k views

How to start a book off?

I have been working on my book (on and off...) for about 6 months. I have a good bit planned out with the plot, story line, and characters. I even have a small idea on how to start the story but ...
10
votes
6answers
1k views

Ways to improve your writing skills

As a CS major I've learned that knowing how to write is critically important, but, I'm not really sure how to improve my writing skills. I'm currently trying to write a tech blog in English, but, ...
9
votes
3answers
580 views

When *should* I use passive voice?

Is there ever a good time to use passive voice in nonfiction?
8
votes
5answers
2k views

How do I avoid legal repercussions for writing a story based on events in my life?

How do I avoid legal repercussions for writing a story based on events in my life? Mainly, I have experienced events that I would like to share with the world. These events are somewhat disturbing ...
5
votes
3answers
503 views

Background speech with foreground dialogue

A few days ago, I stumbled upon an issue of the type; meaning I had two characters talking between themselves and another character talking in the background; actually delivering a speech. What the ...
5
votes
6answers
1k views

Referring to oneself in first vs. third person in online profiles

Suppose I am writing a post/blog, how should I mention myself? For example, Ray Wenderlich (Site Admin) Ray is an indie software developer currently focusing on iPhone and iPad development. ...
4
votes
5answers
801 views

How can I make a collection of essays / arguments more attractive to publishers?

I've written several essays and am still working on some that I would like to eventually get published. The issues I cover are on a wide range of topics ranging from Scientology to Piracy to ...
2
votes
6answers
292 views

How do I keep up with current written English language?

I am a speaker of English as a foreign language. I appreciate that English is a living language and that different regions in the world use English differently. I wanted to know how I can keep up with ...
16
votes
7answers
390 views

When editing for a person, how much can be changed?

The context is a technical document that is written by one person and then sent out for review by others. The reviewers change word tense, change from active to passive voice, and make other style ...
15
votes
8answers
3k views

What breaks suspension of disbelief?

So much of Sci-Fi and Fantasy requires the viewer (or reader) to suspend their disbelief: The speed of light can be circumvented, magic works, vampires are real (and may or may not sparkle), etc. ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Are Names of Characters Copyrighted by Authors?

Are names of characters copyrighted by authors? For example, the character "Eragon" from the Inheritance Cycle series, or a name that you've generated using an online name generator that you'd like to ...
13
votes
3answers
233 views

How do you avoid the problem of a collaborative work having separate voices?

I've not done collaborative writing before, but I've read several works, and sometimes the text strikes me as having a split personality: some parts were clearly written by one author, while others ...
10
votes
1answer
153 views

Getting My Rights Back

Back in the late 90's I wrote a picture book which eventually was published in 2002 by a big name publishing house. The book was critically acclaimed, won an award, and went through a couple of ...
9
votes
10answers
986 views

How much sex is allowed in a non-romance novel?

Exactly how much sex would would most publishers allow to be in a today's novel? Does it vary from publisher to a publisher? I'm not talking about romance novels where apparently everything goes. I ...
8
votes
9answers
840 views

Should I start work on a sequel before I have sold my book?

I finished the 1st draft of my book, and have put it in the freezer(as I asked about in this question). I was planning to start work on a sequel of the book in the meantime. But I was told by someone ...
7
votes
2answers
313 views

Who pays for lyrics or quotes?

Occasionally, novels will include song lyrics in the story, or start out chapters with songs or quotes. In many cases, these lyrics or quotes are from copyrighted materials and would presumably ...
6
votes
2answers
492 views

Breaking Into Technical Writing - Where to Start (from a programming background)

I'm currently in the process of expanding my company from doing coding & web development to more technical writing and freelance tech journalism. Although my background is mainly in technology, ...
6
votes
6answers
2k views

Examples for books that don't use (traditional) chapters? [closed]

I'm a big fan of Terry Pratchett, and he doesn't use chapters (mostly). Are there any other authors who don't or tend to not use chapters?
5
votes
5answers
906 views

Do episodes of the show House follow a constant structural pattern?

I've seen a few episodes of House M.D., and I wonder, are the episodes written according to a fixed structural pattern? If so, what are the details, and why does such a structure make the show ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Breaking into journalism without a degree

I am a fairly experienced writer, but I have little experience in journalistic writing and no formal education in journalism. I believe I can pick up the craft aspects of this form of writing. ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Do I need permission from people I am writing about if I am writing about a true story that was reported in the media?

I am writing a factual book, that will [hopefully] primarily detail real events that have happened in the past, that are related to the subject of the book. The real events have all been reported in ...
4
votes
3answers
309 views

How to minimize language mistakes while writing

While it's true that: Editors do proof reading for you, and word processors have spell checking and grammar checking you do not always have an editor available, and software tools aren't perfect ...
3
votes
2answers
853 views

How do I improve my knowledge of English well enough to write in it?

I have a long-term goal to write a non-fiction book: a critical book about the current state of humanity's moral methodologies and how humanity is better off dead. Much like Friedrich Nietzsche but ...
3
votes
2answers
237 views

Is it a bad idea to turn a short story into a full-length novel?

I've written a couple of short stories. I'm really satisfied with some of them, and I would like to turn them into full-length novels. They were meant to be short stories from the beginning, but I ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

What sites can I use to crowdsource my writing project?

I have a writing project I'd like to crowdsource. I imagine opening the project definition to an open call, and awarding the work to the most creative writer / thinker based on a sample of their work ...
2
votes
1answer
230 views

Difference b/w Abstract and Introduction writing for a research paper

I was slightly confused with differentiating Abstract and Introduction writing for a research paper.Is any one there to help me out .. !!!! Thanks & Regards Ravva
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Best Grammar checking software

What is best the grammar checking software to check the grammar errors in novels and screenplays?
2
votes
3answers
8k views

What exactly is the “five (consecutive) word” plagiarism rule?

My understanding is that the toughest standard regarding plagiarism is the "five (consecutive) word" rule, which holds that, if there are five consecutive words identical to someone else's writing, ...
2
votes
1answer
152 views

Dealing with lackluster plot failure

So, I wrote the beginning of something about novel-sized. I drafted totally sweet, lovable protagonists in an interesting, original relationship, I placed them in a solid world, I painted the ...
1
vote
2answers
496 views

What is the smallest amount of text that can be plagiarized?

Can the following be considered plagiarized? I am interested in finding out the limit of words one is allowed to use. Java is a programming platform that's used for developing computer ...
0
votes
2answers
131 views

From short fiction to a novel

I write short stories. However, the more I research, the more I find that people prefer novels over short stories (irrespective of the quality of the work). This may be partly due to the pricing ...
12
votes
0answers
295 views

Where should I start if I'm feeling the urge to write something? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Help! I've got Writer's Block For the past few weeks I have had this "itch" to write something - anything. As soon as I try to put pen to paper, though, my mind ...
11
votes
4answers
388 views

2nd Draft- Fix spelling/grammar or plot first?

I just finished the first draft of my novel, and Im going to put it away for at least a month. The book has a lot of spelling / grammatical errors, as in true Nanowrimo style, I kept typing without ...
11
votes
7answers
3k views

Why is “It was a dark and stormy night..” not a good opening?

Also, why has it spawned an award for bad writing?
10
votes
3answers
340 views

Is it legal to write about trademarked material and use the terms?

I am contemplating writing a technical book (and probably self-publishing it) on a proprietary programming interface for a well-known software package produced by a very large company. The company ...
8
votes
3answers
603 views

In end user documentation, should screenshots come before or after the text that references them?

The end user documentation I'm writing makes use of screenshots (and partial screenshots) to show the user what I'm referring to in procedural instructions for or conceptual explanations of the ...
7
votes
5answers
3k views

1st person story, but the main character will die in the end and some of the story needs to be told after his death. How to solve this problem?

I personally like to read stories told by the the main character, it's more "alive" to me. But the problem is that my character will die and some of the story will need to be told afterwards. Maybe 1 ...
7
votes
2answers
262 views

I want to explore the psychology of a ruthless, macho killer. What mistakes should I avoid?

This is a follow-up to another question. I asked "Should my readers be able to identify with the bad guy?" and got an excellent answer which explains the continuum of "identifiability" for bad guys. ...
7
votes
2answers
462 views

Has this dialogue enough suspense to engage the reader?

I still have to make some grammar and writing corrections but I would like to know if this dialogue Has this has enough suspense to engage the reader (so that he or she wants to read more)? “Excuse ...
6
votes
4answers
465 views

How much time should you devote to learning the craft?

When is enough, enough? Some writers argue that you don’t need how-to books, just practicing writing. Yet, many writers write beautifully but are incapable of producing a publishable novel, while ...
6
votes
4answers
278 views

Is my serial-killer novel horror or crime?

I'm writing a novel which centers around a serial killer and his victims. I'm having a lot of trouble deciding whether it belongs in the horror genre (it's a disturbing, horrific slasher, and a lot of ...

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