All Questions

9
votes
9answers
1k views

How to write realistic female dialogue

I just can't make my dialogue sound like it's being said by a woman. As a friend of mine pointed out, "This woman talks just like you, Jack." I tried imitating the speech patterns of various females ...
4
votes
2answers
86 views

Knowing When To Cite?

In my essay (specifically a recount essay of a moment in the past), my objective is to end with the discussion of Death as a being (because my recounted moment will be related to death). I'd like to ...
15
votes
13answers
2k views

How much swearing is TOO much? (And how much is not enough?)

I've noticed that some of the most successful writers refrain from using profanity, such as Stephanie Meyer and Norman Mailer. Are readers turned off by swearing in books? More importantly, is it ...
3
votes
5answers
156 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
121 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
51 views

Characters time spending: Are there any good limits for time spending on characters of secondary list?

Are there any good limits or rules of proportion between time (or pages) spending on characters of primary list and secondary list? I mean, that if character of secondary list appears only at the ...
2
votes
1answer
97 views

Is it a bad idea to vary the voice of the narrator in third person (limited omniscient)?

I did some thorough searching for duplicates of this question, but I don't think they really cover the same spirit of the issue I'm having. (here are some examples of similar but different questions) ...
3
votes
1answer
66 views

Creative Commons and / or Public Domain library

Does anyone know an online library with free books (I mean not "free of charge" but free as a concept) that provides access to e-books published by Creative Commons, Public Domain, etc? (I'm not sure ...
7
votes
4answers
755 views

Should I care if my short story has the same title as someone else's book?

It appears to be a pretty obscure book. It's on Amazon, but there are no descriptions or reviews. From the cover, I'd say it was a kids book, which would put it in a different market. Let's assume ...
4
votes
2answers
122 views

What does a typical creative writing course look like?

Many universities offer degrees in creative writing with courses such as “Short Story Writing” or “Fiction Writing”. I would imagine that such courses are quite unlike other subjects, such as math or ...
10
votes
6answers
711 views

alternatives to “he said” in dialog

I'm working on my first fiction story. And one mechanical thing I struggle with is how to identify the speakers in dialog without constantly saying "Bob said", "Mary said", etc. Any ideas? That is, I ...
7
votes
4answers
228 views

Is it a bad practice to occasionally add first-person narrative to third-person narrative?

This is a sample of something I wrote: Erin watched Ruth as she disappeared between the cars and the multitude of people crossing the street. She stood there for a moment, staring at the city ...
6
votes
3answers
145 views

How can I keep my characters' identities a mystery successfully?

There was a similar post about keeping a character nameless in order to contribute to his closed off personality. My concern is is keeping all my characters nameless, only describing their actions ...
-2
votes
1answer
120 views

Critique My Poem Please! [closed]

I really need someone to critique this poem for me. It's for a Poem Portfolio in my Creative Writing Class. I just need some help on where to include things like imagery, sensory details, similes, ...
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 ...
3
votes
8answers
233 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
4answers
142 views

Various flavors for the action “irritate someone”?

I would like to get help to apply different flavors to the action "annoy someone". Please consider the below excerpt. Her mother spoke again, Aarii looked irritated, "Why should I get engaged ...
1
vote
2answers
64 views

More concise words for “Ask for help & learn from others”

I’m looking to summarize an idea into as few words as possible — to make it as concise as possible. The idea is to ask others for help (putting ego aside), value others’ input, listen to others, learn ...
0
votes
5answers
94 views

Correct word for “Pulling some one into work, with continuous effort”?

Please consider the below excerpt. 'How long is your break?' I shouted. A group of labourers sat under the banyan tree near the main campus building. 'It's two-thirty, lunch ended an hour ago' ...
8
votes
3answers
284 views

Switching from past to present tense?

I'm thinking of writing a novel where my character narrates flashbacks through the hardest times of his life written in past tense, leading up to the present tense. I was considering switching to ...
6
votes
3answers
910 views

What qualities should a good metaphor have?

What makes an individual metaphor a good illustration of a complex idea as opposed to a "bad" metaphor that doesn't do the job of painting a picture with alternate words?
7
votes
2answers
236 views

Learning storywriting for videogames - Handling deep nonlinearities

A recent question asked for pointers for writing for games, and the gist of the answers was that it's not very unlike writing books. The underlined differences were only superficial. There's a ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

What's a normal word count for a children's novel or collection?

How many words are normal for a children's novel? Say 5th - 8th grade, if that's the best way to measure it.
-1
votes
4answers
238 views

Please help me re-word this sentence [closed]

I'm having a hard time formulating a sentence with the following meaning Please note that not all eBooks support all the different platforms and devices. I think the sentence conveys the idea ...
4
votes
6answers
872 views

How many errors should I expect from a proofreader?

I hired a proofreader (typos, commonly confused words, minor grammar issues etc) to look at my work, which I plan to self publish. She found most typos, but from a 66,000 word novel, missed about 10. ...
5
votes
8answers
2k views

Effective ways to enrich your active vocabulary?

I come across words like rectitude, like laudatory, like indigent, and being an experienced reader with a strong grasp on my native language, I know what they mean. They're words that I know. But ...
7
votes
3answers
694 views

What should be put on scene notecards? (for novel writing)

Once, a while back, I tried to use notecards when noveling to organize and develop my novel. The idea (a fairly common one, I believe) was that each scene is noted on a notecard, and you can then ...
1
vote
1answer
66 views

Too much exposition in my full-length play: how to fix it?

Dear Writers & Playwrights; I'm working on my first full-length play. In workshops, the feedback is consistently, "Too much exposition." I agree with the criticism. What I'm struggling with is . ...
6
votes
4answers
217 views

Peeking through character's mask

Normally, I specialize in strong, determined, uncompromising, extroverted protagonists, "If the laws of physics are against us, too bad, they need to be changed." I'm pretty good in getting them ...
7
votes
6answers
205 views

A cross-[What] kind of romance?

In the scientific taxonomy of Living Things, you have: Life Domain Kingdom Phylum Class etc. down to Species, and maybe thence to Breed. If I were talking about my neighbor's dog who is half ...
12
votes
3answers
392 views

Learning storywriting for videogames - where to start?

Over the years, games that affected me emotionally convinced me that storywriting is a very rewarding work. I thought about learning from novelists. But it seemed that some of the skills, i.e. ...
5
votes
5answers
726 views

How to refer to character of focus in a story

I find that when I write, I'm not always sure how to refer to the character of focus. You can only say "he/she" so many times before it feels choppy and repetitive. Constantly referring to character ...
1
vote
1answer
79 views

Which fantasy worlds can be freely used in new work without a license? [closed]

There are lots of different fantasy worlds depicted in fiction. In general, due to copyright, a license is required from the original creator of the fiction to publish a new story set in that universe ...
9
votes
6answers
3k views

What is a good daily word count goal?

As a NaNoWriMo participant, I've been trying to meet a rather ambitious 1667 word/day goal. I've heard that professionals do a lot less, but the first two days of this month, I actually wrote 5000 ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Characters with no names

I've got a few short stories going, and I've foregone naming any of my characters. It started because I just didn't have any good names in my head and I was going to take care of it later, but now I'm ...
10
votes
7answers
379 views

How little “fantasy” can be in a story and it still be recognizably fantasy?

How little "fantasy" can be in a story and it still be recognizably fantasy, and not mainstream fiction? The "recognizable fantasy" question is one I struggle with all the time. Fantasy exists on a ...
11
votes
7answers
262 views

Should I translate my own writings into a second language I also know well?

Nabokov was very discouraged when he translated his Lolita into Russian. And he spent half a year on it. So should I try the translation myself?
11
votes
12answers
15k views

Are there any good tablets out there for writing/editing?

I like being able to take my work anywhere with me, but sometimes my laptop is just too big to take with me. Battery life on tablets seem to be much better than laptops as well. Are there any tablets ...
4
votes
5answers
285 views

Using uncommon abbreviations

Something which I see all the time in (popular) science writing is the use of abbreviations to indicate concepts. For (a made up) example: So when we're dealing with Anachronistic Meta Mechanics ...
12
votes
5answers
508 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
812 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
11k views

Converting Word pages to book pages, for novels?

The title says it all. How can I gauge how long my novel would be, if for example I've written 400 single-spaced pages of size 12 Times New Romans in Microsoft Word?
2
votes
3answers
161 views

Is it acceptable for a tech book to consist of only 2 chapters?

I am interested in writing a book on a particular class of natural products. It would discuss the products' isolation and biological functions - these are the two chapters that I can fit into the ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

How to publish public domain books?

It is known that the copyright permission is not needed for old books (usually 70 years after the author's death), because the copyright has been expired. However, I am not sure how easy a public ...
2
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
7answers
213 views

Works of literature that are (ostensibly) about the act of writing

A response to this question. What short stories, poems or other works of the literary art reflect (directly or indirectly) an author's experience as a writer? What messages do these pieces convey? ...
6
votes
4answers
353 views

Non-cheap ways to make villains evil?

Do you have any tried and true techniques to make villains of your stories truly hated by the audience? I mean, frequently it's "eh, sure, that's bad, he's got to be stopped" but the audience would ...
3
votes
1answer
103 views

Looking for some tips on how to improve writing [closed]

I have just completed my first draft of a novel. Now the story is completed it's time to capture the style so the reader can engage in the story. I want to make sure the story style is easy enough for ...
0
votes
2answers
564 views

Text referencing protected, trademarked™ and copyrighted© names, what is the correct procedure?

When writing an academic essay, if I was to reference Microsoft or Facebook, should I write Microsoft™, Microsoft® or just Microsoft? What is the difference?
8
votes
4answers
938 views

Are music lyrics copyrighted?

I tried to find copyright information about music lyrics, but it is too confusing, because it is related to the usage. There are lots of websites providing lyrics, but it seems they are somehow ...

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