11
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
442 views

My cool character is doing nothing for the plot. How do I deal with him?

So I have this great character( not the main protagonist), who is funny and intelligent. Each scene I write for him is a delight. But the problem is, he is doing nothing for the plot. I have tried to ...
8
votes
2answers
130 views

What is the proper way to add Creative Commons licensing information to a book?

I have prepared a book which utilizes some information which was licensed under a Creative Commons license of which a large number of people contributed. I believe that the use of this material ...
2
votes
1answer
395 views

Can you change a punctuation mark when referencing a passage from a text?

I'm writing an essay for the play Waiting for Godot, and there is a passage I want to use: ESTRAGON: (very insidious). But what about Saturday? And is it Saturday? Is it not rather Sunday? ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

How to effectively jump from one period of time to another in a short story?

This is the first time I'm writing something that jumps from one period of time to another in a short story: The field was vast and empty, like a green abandoned planet. Icaro and Maru were ...
1
vote
4answers
2k views

Is it OK to use a single parenthesis after each number in a list?

Several times I've seen lists formatted like this: My parenthetical pet peeves: 1) Referring to a single parenthesis as "a parenthesee" or something similarly beastly. 2) Smiley faces ...
1
vote
1answer
463 views

substitute for however [closed]

I find myself using however much too often. What's the best way around this? Should I find a list of substitutes? I'm thinking a better approach would be to fix my overall sentence structure and ...
1
vote
0answers
86 views

Getting the first words down on paper [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Help! I've got Writer's Block I wrote a novel when I was 15; unfortunately I lost it as well. I am now 38 and for all these years I have wanted to write again, ...
2
votes
2answers
430 views

How do I maintain flow and interest when handling numerous plot threads?

I want to learn how to maintain the flow of a novel's plot - there are so many characters and events to organize. What I find most difficult is the way a writer needs to shift from one phase of the ...
11
votes
1answer
5k views

What binding and paper should be used on a self-printed novel?

The last time I printed a book I just needed something done cheaply and quickly. The print store used very bright, glossy office paper (the same that they use for office documents) and used ...
0
votes
1answer
105 views

website to publish article on high-performance cluster computing?

I am writing a tutorial-type article on high-performance cluster computing. It is aimed at researchers and grad students who want to use clusters to answer scientific questions, especially in the life ...
1
vote
6answers
504 views

Do parentheses inhibit clarity?

I find it easier to write many things with parentheses, but I don't know if this is considered good practice. I would expect some might say that parentheses are indicative of excessive digression and ...
1
vote
1answer
222 views

What is the name for the literary technique where the author writes him/herself into a book?

In a number of novels by Clive Cussler, the characters are sometimes offered help by a person whose surname is Cussler, same as the author. I believe this also happens in Sahara and Dragon, and ...
4
votes
2answers
593 views

Citing in a paper: one citation for two paragraphs?

I'm writing a short paper on macroeconomics; the professor gave us two tries, I submitted the first try, and now got my feedback. The feedback is: "The first paragraph could also deserve a ...
5
votes
3answers
251 views

How can you write less to say more?

Sometimes you can write a lot without saying anything, sometimes you can say a lot but get little through the reader. In technical writing the later is very typical (at least for me), one can tend ...
0
votes
2answers
118 views

Fantasy writing and Personal Philosophy [closed]

I've been writing (and re-writing) something for a good number of years. In the development of the story, it kind of felt like I was finding myself. In this, I feel that the fantasy world I've created ...
6
votes
7answers
943 views

How important is it to know the end before the writing the beginning?

One of the Rules of writing indicates that knowing the end before the beginning is critical to writing. Which I find odd, because in my writing (early days, probably doing it wrong), one of the best ...
6
votes
5answers
145 views

Is it more advantageous to have an excerpt or a plot summary critiqued?

I'm considering opening up my current work in progress to critique. In the past I haven't had very much luck with the local writer's group, but I'm willing to try again. Maybe not with them, but ...
8
votes
5answers
329 views

How can I convey that my viewpoint character is lying?

When writing in the first person, what is a good way to convey that the viewpoint character is lying, without saying so explicitly? My idea is this: "I am writing this as a record of what's been ...
4
votes
3answers
272 views

Does anyone know the average number of times a new author has to submit before acceptance?

I can't find any authoritative citation for this. As an example, I know that the average entrepreneur has to be involved in 12 new businesses before he has a successful enterprise. That is the ...
2
votes
1answer
113 views

Where in a CV should I mention a relevant but unpaid (volunteer) project?

I'm writing up a CV (my secret identity is a mild-mannered software engineer); there's a volunteer project I did (related to my undergrad studies) that I want to describe, and I'm not sure where to ...
10
votes
6answers
719 views

Sympathetic portrayal of an evil protagonist with good motivations

I'm contemplating writing about a character with good motivations whose actions would be considered evil. In short the story would be about a necromancer killing an entire nation so that he can bring ...
3
votes
3answers
98 views

Are contests an effective way to gauge the quality of your writing?

I'm gearing up to start writing after a bit of a hiatus. But rather than just jump in and start on a novel (which will take several months, at best, to create and even then it might not be very good) ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

How to handle screenplay revisions in Final Draft?

I need to revise a screenplay in Final Draft, and I'm finding that the revision features in the program are poor. Are there any ways to introduce revision features in to Final Draft, similar to Track ...
8
votes
2answers
218 views

In writing a cover letter accompanying a submission to a literary journal, is listing publications in less well-regarded journals detrimental?

Mostly, I've heard that having previous publication credits to your name is beneficial, but I wonder if listing many publications in journals that aren't particularly well-known or impressive might ...
6
votes
3answers
985 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?
0
votes
4answers
443 views

Creating metaphors in poetry

When writing poetry, is there a known method of some kind that exists that makes it easy to turn a concept I'd like to illustrate into a metaphor? If so, please elaborate as much as possible. ...
2
votes
3answers
215 views

When to start a new paragraph and when to start a new “scene”

This is an extract of a short story I'm writing. Sometimes I get confused about when to start a new paragraph and when to start a new "scene." So I would like to know if I'm doing it properly here ...
3
votes
3answers
185 views

My story portrays a process, not a conflict - how do I make the process my focus?

My current WiP is a science-fiction piece which is less about characters coping with a particular problem, and more about the process they go through in reaction to the SF-nal catalyst. My story is ...
5
votes
3answers
218 views

How to plan dialog and keep it on track?

When I'm writing a plotline, it often works out that I know two characters will be meeting each other in a particular scene, and that they will converse. And I oftentimes know the central idea of what ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

How should I use phrases such as “uh huh”?

I have seen various combinations of interjections (or "grunt words", as they are sometimes called) used in fictional dialogue, such as: uh huh (which I take for a yes) uh uh (for no) nuh uh (also saw ...
4
votes
2answers
612 views

How to objectively judge the storytelling in a writing contest?

I am designing a fiction writing contest for 13 and 14-year old EFL students. The students have very limited experience writing English and writing fiction. I am developing the scoring sheet, on ...
9
votes
2answers
279 views

Are online critique groups a good substitute for editors?

I'm thinking of self publishing. Now what all the blogs tell me I have to do is hire a professional editor, who will see any plot / character holes, other story problems etc. (For the moment, I'm not ...
0
votes
1answer
336 views

Adding related work to an academic project report

In an academic project report, what phrasing should I use to introduce and explain related work? I have to explain several previous projects; I would like to be clear but also avoid repetition. I ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

The ethics of multiple contest submissions

So I'm gearing up to write an actual full-length novel and I've decided that the best way to test the mettle of my writing (and make a couple of bucks in the process) is to enter a few writing ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

How critical is selecting an imprint for a self-published book?

I'm about to self-publish a book through CreateSpace and they want me to give them an imprint. (I know, I know, "you're not likely to make any money by self-publishing" and all that, but for the ...
4
votes
2answers
155 views

How does one break into the field of professional writing?

First, some background that may help explain the question. I have recently realized that most of my life has been spent pursuing technical-creative hybrid projects. As a professional software ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Critique: three person dialogue

Up until now, I'd only written dialogues between two persons. I'm not very sure if this dialogue is flowing smoothly. Is there anything I can do to improve its flow? Specifically, I'm wondering ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

How do I write a believable romance subplot?

Sexuality is a large part of who we are as persons and it influences many decisions we make. Sadly, I don't know how to make a romance subplot believable. Are there any good guidelines to creating ...
5
votes
3answers
432 views

How can I search for words by meaning/definition?

Where can I search for words using descriptive sentences? For example, now I'm looking for a word meaning "to purify (by hand) a quantity of grain and take away anything that isn't good grain." How ...
4
votes
1answer
43 views

What are some good methods for framing the theme of a writing contest?

I am designing a writing contest for 13 and 14-year old EFL students. The students have very limited experience with creative writing and I will not have any time to give them practice on ...
5
votes
3answers
781 views

How do I organize a massive collection of personal files and writing?

Note: This is a vague question, so I welcome help in improving it. I have a large amount of writing on my computer, some thousands of RTF files that sometimes start as taking notes in class lectures, ...
5
votes
4answers
435 views

Creating a compelling story from a prebuilt world

I have during the last couple of years developed a fantasy world. It's a hobby project I work on when I have the time. Every now and again I get some idea of a scene or an event and I place it on the ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

How can a practical learner get up to speed on APA quickly?

I'd like to learn the APA style guide, so that, in addition to the fiction and general non-fiction I work on currently, I can start accepting academic editing jobs. However, I know very little about ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

Referencing figure in text - capitalize the word “Figure” or not? Why?

I see it quite a lot. It looks a bit like this: It can be seen in Figure 3 that... My gut feeling is that there is no reason to scream in the middle of a perfectly calm sentence. I would like to ...
7
votes
5answers
2k views

How do I cleanly show the passage of time, with multiple, varying time scales?

Semi-complex idea, more easily seen than explained, but here we go. I was re-reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone recently (notice I bring those books up a lot...I think they're brilliant) ...
7
votes
3answers
184 views

“Lacking meat”, “Content-free”, and poor defense-development. Please critique my work

After releasing my first blogging article I received some less-than-stellar reviews citing that I "managed to write a blog post that hypes up your proposed solution to "hacking" TV...then don't even ...
1
vote
1answer
147 views

Do I correctly utilize my naming adjective concept in this book?

In my story THE GOSPEL OF THE RETURN OF A CHRIST THAT WANTS ANSWERS I wanted to evoke a sense of the middle ages in a modern book. So I utilized a technique where whenever I referred to a character, I ...
2
votes
1answer
217 views

Will 9/11 fiction get a writer into trouble with the US Government?

I want to write about the very interesting topic of 'what really happened' on 9/11. How close can I possibly get to real characters and facts without getting sued? Facts I might include in my work: ...
11
votes
3answers
643 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 ...

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