16
votes
7answers
1k views

How rough should a rough draft be

For a long time I would edit chapters as I wrote them, to make them as complete as possible. Unfortunately this often resulted in me running out of steam and never actually finishing them. I've ...
16
votes
7answers
3k views

When should one *not* present events in chronological order?

Some stories tell well from beginning to end, all in a neat little line...and some don't. When can a story be improved by using a different order in the telling? Off the top of my head, I'd say ...
16
votes
5answers
10k views

Submitting a novel for publication: do editors still expect Courier font?

About ten years ago an agent told me not to submit manuscripts in fonts other than Courier (or Courier New) and to double-space lines. He said editors were prejudiced against manuscripts that looked ...
16
votes
5answers
6k views

emacs for creative writing

Does anyone know a good emacs configuration for creative writing? I'd be looking for the ability to write, edit, and export to libre office or word (so the less technical people get edit/view). I'm ...
16
votes
4answers
5k views

What is a beat?

I keep hearing the word "beat" in Writers.SE, as in "... break your scene into beats" from this question. What is a beat? How is it different from a scene?
16
votes
6answers
2k views

Title already taken

I'm writing a novel, and I think I've come up with a very good title (The Power of the Powerless). It convey's the moral question of the story well, and gives a good sense of the style of the story. ...
16
votes
3answers
659 views

Is there a quick way to know I have created a Mary Sue?

For those who don't know what a Mary Sue is: see here. The problem is, there are far too many ways a character can be a Mary Sue, as seen here. Many websites that offer tests to see if your ...
16
votes
4answers
844 views

How to avoid hearing “that's me!” from your friends when they read your characters?

I recently asked about getting inside of someone else's head for writing good characters who are noticeably different from myself and received some great answers. One answer suggested that you should ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

How do you make a character quintessential, but not cliched or cartoony?

I think it's hard to make a character standout and embody their traits without becoming cliched or cartoons. How do you do this? What are some tips to enlivening a character and making them memorable?
16
votes
2answers
1k views

Is Scrivener involved in the editorial process, or is it strictly a writer's development tool?

Is there any reason that an editor should know how to use Scrivener? I generally see manuscripts after they're out of draft but before proofreading. (I'm an editor.) However, I see a lot of talk ...
16
votes
4answers
22k views

How does one go about publishing erotica, and how far is too far?

I write erotica, it started out as an amusement to see how far I could go, but it became a real passion after three or four stories. I have even published a few online and those stories have become ...
16
votes
3answers
290 views

How do I write a synopsis?

I have to write a synopsis to submit to an agent. Are there any guidelines for writing a good synopsis?
16
votes
5answers
7k views

Writing a programming book: how to present directory structures

What is good/preferred way of presenting directory trees in programming books? My main criteria are following: It should be readable and intuitive It shouldn't take too much page space It shouldn'...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there any point in learning to write in cursive?

I remember learning it as a child, and I remember I was told it was important and every kid in the class had to learn it. But now that I think about it, I haven't used cursive for years. What was ...
16
votes
1answer
594 views

Pantsing a story?

I heard a writer talking about pantsing a story. What does that mean?
16
votes
4answers
597 views

As a non-native English speaker, Is it better to get translated or get copyedited for long texts?

My English level is average. I can write fluently and my vocabulary is not too limited. With the thought in mind that the end result must be perfect, is it better for me to write my long text (100 ...
16
votes
5answers
3k views

What book review sites allow authors to send a copy of their books for reviews?

Since I'm published with smaller publications, getting reviews is often one of the best ways to make sales. But what professional book review sites out there will write a review in exchange for a copy ...
16
votes
2answers
890 views

Techniques to disguise authorship of text

As Wikipedia and at least one answer on this site suggest, the name stylometry encompasses certain techniques to determine authorship of text. Although stylometry itself appears to require a certain ...
15
votes
12answers
1k views

Which techniques can I use to become a better editor when editing my own writing?

I'm looking to improve my ability to edit and correct my own writing. What are some techniques I can use to help me with this?
15
votes
12answers
1k views

For Fantasy Stories, Should You Include a Map At the Beginning of the Book?

If you're writing a fantasy novel, would it be best to include a map of the geography that the story takes place in at the beginning of the book? I've seen quite a lot of fantasy books (Redwall ...
15
votes
13answers
6k views

Is it okay to publish a book at a young age?

I am writing a novel that is called 'Murder' It's about a girl who almost gets murdered but then has to live with the murderers with almost no knowledge that they are the ones that killed her. (...
15
votes
8answers
4k 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
9answers
2k views

Is there a rule of thumb about the number of pages a work of fiction should have?

To be considered a "real" book, is there a rule of thumb about the number of pages one should have? If it has too few then people call it a short story (e.g., Fahrenheit 451) and if it has too many ...
15
votes
6answers
827 views

How can I make a story bigger?

I have written a first draft of what I want to be a novel -- aiming for 50-70K words. When the ending arrived I was at about 30K. So I essentially have to double the length. My list of notes scattered ...
15
votes
8answers
848 views

What's a good way to backup your writing?

One of the most important things for writers to do is to back up their work so that in the event of a computer failure, their work isn't lost. But where's a good place to do that? A lot of storage ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

How/When to create deliberately boring characters?

Among a million other ambitions under the general heading of "Writing," I have this fantasy where I write a major series, several books long with a giant cast. But I started thinking. In giant series ...
15
votes
4answers
8k views

What's a typical trilogy structure?

Is there a typical structure for a fantasy trilogy? To be more specific, would they usually follow the three-act structure, with an act per book? And would each book need a self-contained story arc ...
15
votes
6answers
1k views

Will blogging my fiction limit its ability to be traditionally published later?

Somewhere, don't ask me where, I picked up the idea that publishers don't like works that the public has already been able to access. When a family member suggested I post short pieces of fiction to a ...
15
votes
3answers
226 views

Can a copyright be made in the name of a fictional writer?

Is it possible to copyright a work in the name of a fictional writer? For example, like Nicolas Bourbaki or some pen name of some author? Can I use my own fictional name to copyright the work?
15
votes
6answers
5k views

How should I introduce my characters?

I'm pretty good at creating compelling characters with decent personalities and motivations. I like the comradery vibe, so they're generally already part of a posse of some sort at the beginning of my ...
15
votes
4answers
401 views

When to accept an editor's rewrite request?

So there's an editor who has accepted a story of mine for publication... but he wants me to change the ending. Normally I'm pretty open to editorial changes, but in this case the proposed changes ...
15
votes
9answers
2k views

How do I overcome a lack of motivation to write at home?

Late October I decided to take the plunge and attempt NaNoWriMo. I haven't done much writing in some time and thought it would be a fun attempt to jump back into things. So far it's been pretty fun ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

Confusing writing in order to show how character is falling asleep - is it OK?

Generally, writing something confusing is not good. On the other hand, a writer should show rather than tell. (Generally.) What I'm trying to do is imitate the way one's thoughts get all muddled ...
15
votes
8answers
3k views

Technical Writing Software

I'm interested in newer software/software stack to use in writing technical papers. For the longest time I have been use LaTeX to handle this but in looking at getting longer pieces published, such as ...
15
votes
8answers
367 views

Are there any places to have community story development?

Are there any places or ways a group (general public or individually invited) of people can individually contribute to a communally developed story? For example, a website or collobaration tool (...
15
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
15
votes
7answers
4k views

Is there a good project management software for writers?

I would like something in which I can set targets - like write/edit 10,000 words a week, set a final end date for the project, set mini targets, track any lag etc. The only PM software I've used in ...
15
votes
3answers
415 views

Are agents too busy for new clients? What should I do next?

Most publishers insist that first-time writers approach via a literary agent. However, all the literary agents I have contacted claim to be too busy to take on new clients, as they receive hundreds or ...
14
votes
14answers
1k views

Is it okay to call the reader's target audience stupid?

I'm a tech genre author, and have already published one book on Android development. However, this book was focused more on the developer of the apps, than the user. Now I'm working on my second book,...
14
votes
12answers
2k views

How do expert writers avoid using “I” when they have to refer to themselves in their article?

How do competent authors, in a refined and perhaps (slightly) formal way, refer to themselves without saying I? I've seen the term "this writer" somewhere. How is it with a native? Are there other ...
14
votes
7answers
2k views

Problem: Scenes that are unavoidable, but boring

More specifically: Two of my book series' main characters are (temporarily) diplomats. It's unavoidable to the progress of the plot. But diplomacy is inherently slow and boring. So, the general ...
14
votes
8answers
613 views

Is it so bad to end up with a “done before” plot?

I'm not delusional about the nature of the science fiction novel I'm (very) slowly working on. A brief run down might be as follows: Set 10's of millennia in Human's future but in a neighbouring ...
14
votes
4answers
783 views

Feedback: What to use and what to ignore?

I posted my novel online for critique. And stumbled with the obvious question: when should I consider a feedback and when should I ignore it? This is what I'm doing so far: If more than two people ...
14
votes
5answers
1k views

Can I shop an unfinished novel?

I've been writing a novel that addresses some very current themes. My belief is that if I can get it out there quickly, it will succeed well. I'm working on it frantically, but will agents consider ...
14
votes
8answers
4k views

How do I better handle my nameless main character when trying to retain mystery?

I have written a short story, and the main character is referred to as "he" right the way through - the idea being that this character is very guarded and mysterious. My plan was to not reveal the ...
14
votes
5answers
8k views

What does active voice mean?

I was reading on here about passive voice but didn't really know what active voice was. I read some examples but was hoping for more insight. What does it mean to write with the active voice?
14
votes
3answers
251 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 ...
14
votes
6answers
1k views

How do you make a story succeed in spite of an unsympathetic main character?

I'm looking for techniques specific to a story with an unsympathetic main character. Confederacy of Dunces, for example. Why does that work, and why wouldn't that work with a likable hero?
14
votes
8answers
4k views

Resources on plotting mystery stories

I'm looking for books, essays and articles on plotting mystery/detective/investigation stories (and novels). The type of story I'm aiming for is in the vein of Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, or ...
14
votes
5answers
620 views

Can I self-publish, and how much would it cost?

With the barrier to having a publisher sign a new author seemingly high, especially without prior success or experience, are there any good author-funded alternatives out there to the repeated mailing ...

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