4
votes
1answer
222 views

Habits and routines for my first tech writing job

A Japanese company has offered me a gig helping translate an Android1 business application + documentation into English. Their staff will do a rough translation, and I will polish it into something ...
4
votes
5answers
5k views

Using dashes in writing dialogue

Does anyone use em dashes (or two hyphens) to denote speakers in dialogue passages? Joyce does this as does William Gaddis. Many others. I practice it, but my only "conceptual understanding" is that ...
4
votes
2answers
590 views

Citing speech and interviews in biographies

I am currently writing a biography of a band, and have a question regarding citing quotes, such as from interviews. Is it necessary to cite everything a person (for example a band member or manager) ...
4
votes
4answers
478 views

Punctuating dialogue with oneself

I am wondering what the convention is for punctuating dialogue with oneself. In particular, if a character speaks to himself, do the words need to be put in open and closed quotes? Note that the ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

Are contractions antithetical to academic writing?

This question is very specific to academic writing: I used the contraction "don't" instead of "do not" in some of the papers. Some of the reviewers mentioned that "don't" is not a formal style of ...
3
votes
3answers
157 views

Disclaimer when writing about governmental entities

I've read many novels involving characters working at the NASA, Vatican, Secret Police, high government officers (Dan Brown, Stieg Larsson for example) and doing stuff that I wouldn't like being made ...
2
votes
3answers
122 views

Can a character with poor communication skills be used to create an excellent first-person narrative?

I am deciding between first and third person narration for a book (and am inclined to write in the first person). One of the limitations of the protagonist is that he is not a great communicator, and ...
2
votes
3answers
76 views

Quote a sentence with references

I'm currently writing my bachelor's thesis and I'm using the IEEE citations. Now lets say I want to directly quote the following sentence: The barn was on fire1 so I ran away. with something ...
2
votes
6answers
249 views

Where to publish poems

I'm looking for a site where I can publish my poems. I'm not keen on rewards; I just need a place to publish it. I've found poetry.com that seems to be what I'm looking for but they require a ...
2
votes
1answer
956 views

Vancouver system, citing multiple sentences from the same book

I've written a few paragraphs and in them I cited three short sentences from the same book, same chapter and marked them as ...(1)...(2)...(3).... My endnotes now look like this: (1) Author1, ..., ...
2
votes
5answers
15k views

Is it ok to begin an essay/report with a quote?

I am writing an essay on project management within IT and in my introduction I will give a brief description of project management, to being my essay I was looking at using one of these: ...
2
votes
3answers
330 views

How can I manage screen shots and other graphics for maintenance?

Our ~1500-page documentation set contains numerous screen shots and related graphics (schematics, flow diagrams, etc). Sometimes the user interface changes and we have to update all the affected ...
1
vote
4answers
107 views

Should I worry that my storyline is very similar to another?

I've written a story about anthropomorphic animals in a noirish setting solving murders. I came up with the concept and wrote the first draft about a year ago and am planning on releasing it soon. ...
1
vote
3answers
89 views

Can I use an old painting of Lilith as my book cover?

So, I'm working on a book of poetry, and I want to use John Collier's (1892) painting of Lilith as the cover. I won't be selling the book though; giving it away for free. Can I legally use the ...
1
vote
4answers
868 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. EDIT:...
1
vote
3answers
141 views

Writing Across Multiple Genres

My current novel is of the satire/humour genre. Another novel that is currently in the works is still humorous, but is more of a fantasy novel. A third novel that I am currently working on - I like ...
0
votes
2answers
38 views

What is the formal way to write a reference in English?

I am writing my thesis and I need to know the correct way of putting the reference. For example: This is a sentence taken from someone [2]. This is a sentence taken from someone[2]. ...
0
votes
1answer
41 views

In what situation do you put a full-stop after an ellipsis?

In some style guides, I see this mention of putting a full-stop after an ellipsis when you are stopping the paused sentence and going onto another new sentence, but when reading several very well-...
0
votes
2answers
302 views

Using species from another novel, in my novel, copyright infringment?

I would like to start a novel, but it would include Fantasy species such as Dwarves and Elves, etc. I got this idea after reading several of Tolkien's novels. If I write this novel it would have ...
16
votes
5answers
5k 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 ...
19
votes
10answers
9k views

Tools for science-based world building?

I tend to lean towards science-fiction and fantasy, so world building matters a lot to me. A while ago, there was a question which asked how to go about organizing your universe, which was interesting,...
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?
26
votes
2answers
814 views

When should modifiers be avoided?

I've come across this Mark Twain quote: When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don't mean utterly, but kill most of them -- then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close ...
27
votes
7answers
2k views

How does one write a character smarter than oneself?

How does one write a "genius" character? I don't mean a scientific genius, or someone who is a prodigious talent in math or chess or something like that. I mean the following scenario (or an ...
26
votes
10answers
626 views

How can one make technical issues more accessible to a non-technical audience?

Most of what I write is non-fiction -- technical books, blog posts on open source topics, political stuff, etc. Lately, I find that some of the topics I am trying to present are much more technical ...
25
votes
8answers
356k views

Right usage of “P.S.” in Emails

I've been wondering this for a while. What is the correct usage of "P.S." in e-mails? Where should and shouldn't it be used?
23
votes
5answers
660 views

Publishing for Kindle

I am very keen to get into writing, and have come up with several outline plots for short stories, novels and even trilogies. However, one hurdle, which I expect is not uncommon for most new authors, ...
19
votes
5answers
8k views

How to describe the point-of-view character without using mirrors

In fiction, the main character is often the first person we meet in the story. Given that the story is written from his/her point of view, how would you describe what they look like? The classical ...
12
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
28
votes
4answers
2k views

How do you avoid purple prose?

I try to watch out for bland, overused adjectives and I keep adverbs to a minimum but -- I hear this phrase a lot and I'm not even sure what it means?
26
votes
9answers
782 views

Self Editing tips/tricks

I write a daily piece and have been doing so for over 8 years. I think my writing has gotten better, but I still find mistakes at times, or more likely, my readers find mistakes. Does anyone have ...
19
votes
7answers
5k views

Signs of Bad Character Development

When creating a character, what red flags would show me that I'm creating an unbelievable or unsympathetic character? I know that to be believable and sympathetic a character must not lean too much ...
25
votes
7answers
4k views

Do most novels not get published?

If a person writes a novel, grammar alright, decent story, word count, etc. everything okay, Is it a crap shoot for that person to get published? Is it just like the lottery or maybe better chances?...
25
votes
4answers
468 views

How do I find an agent?

I finished my novel, and everyone I've talked to says I need an agent. How do I find one?
24
votes
8answers
4k views

Avoiding the “as you know” trope in exposition

When writing fiction, especially in universes other than our own such as sci-fi/fantasy genres, the reader often has to be given a piece of information about how the world works in order for what's ...
16
votes
9answers
1k views

What methods can I use to revise my writing?

Background I am finding it challenging to transform an early draft into a finished product. My biggest challenges are putting the prose in the proper order and using topic sentences and transitions ...
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 ...
13
votes
3answers
424 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. ...
9
votes
8answers
922 views

How to develop a story for a novel?

I am looking for some inspiration on where to start writing a novel. I have a general idea for a plot and characters, but I don't feel it's enough for sitting down and starting to write. It needs a ...
9
votes
5answers
4k views

How to avoid repetitive sentence structure?

I've realized that I always start sentences with (name of character), he, she, it, they, her, his, the, after (a moment/that), and then. I wonder if there's any useful exercise or tip to reduce this? ...
26
votes
4answers
582 views

Editors: Edit on first read, or read and edit on second round?

I edit novels (among other works). I was having a discussion with someone (not an editor) who didn't understand my technique. What I do is read through the document, and the moment something occurs ...
18
votes
3answers
14k views

How to write a prophecy?

No, I'm not actually asking you to tell me how to predict the future! Several pieces of fiction I've read/watched recently have prophecies. One of my favourites is On the fields of Trenzalore, at ...
10
votes
1answer
246 views

How do you deal with procrastination when writing?

Most of the time when I get ideas for a story, I first get really excited about it, start writing it immediately and get roughly 1-2K words. Afterwards, it starts to fizzle, the idea, inspiration, and ...
25
votes
11answers
9k views

Killing the protagonist - should it be done?

I am an aspiring author, but I have written several short 'test novels.' With each of those, it became increasingly clear how you have to develop the main character, the protagonist. After all, the ...
20
votes
11answers
2k views

Could I reach the level of good writing style as non-native language speaker?

I currently write in Russian, but I think of switching to English to gain more audience and to play with both languages and linguistics. So could I ever reach the level of native English writers and ...
16
votes
9answers
2k views

Tips for expanding my vocabulary?

Looking back through my texts, I noticed that I often use a lot of the same words and resort to using quite a basic vocabulary. I was wondering if there are any good exercises or anything else for ...
14
votes
5answers
387 views

Best Way to Develop a Daily Writing Routine?

I would like to go about making a habit of writing to a journal or blog on a daily basis. What techniques or patterns have been the most useful in accomplishing this task?
13
votes
7answers
1k views

What helpful writing exercises do you use?

The two I do most are dialog and description related. When I meet a person or I'm just sitting people watching, I try to write their description in my head as if I was describing a character in a ...
7
votes
3answers
839 views

Is it wise to publish a novel as an e-book, and how would I do it?

I'm considering publishing my novel as an e-book (since I'm very techy) before I take the usual "paperback" route. Is this a wise choice? Also what would I need to do? (steps).
7
votes
6answers
341 views

Book recommendations for writing better technical papers

My employer has presented me with two books to read to help me write better technical papers and emails. Essentials of English Grammar and Handbook of English Grammar and Usage. I have read through ...

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