12
votes
0answers
296 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
403 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
367 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
729 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
279 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
521 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
556 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
356 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
395 views

Deciding the setting: real or invented?

I'm preparing some material because I have the intention of writing a book. I'd do this in every type of work, but considering that I'm writing Crime Fiction, this is even more important. I've ...
5
votes
4answers
973 views

Write to the finish, or edit as you go?

Someone asked this question in another forum, and I thought I'd bounce it around in here to see what kind of responses we get. If you are working on writing a new book, is it better to just write all ...
4
votes
5answers
4k 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
3answers
367 views

Is it safe to write about a fictional murder in a real-life location?

I am writing a novel, and part of the plot has one character killing another in a specific real-life location. I mean the setting is extremely specific - for example, a particular hotel, or one ...
4
votes
1answer
216 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
2answers
551 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) ...
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
4answers
253 views

Proof reading service [closed]

I am looking for a proof reading service for my scientific paper. I am not a native English speaker. I have spent significant time on improving the writing, thus I want to try a proof reading service. ...
3
votes
2answers
163 views

All persons fictitious - where to place it?

I've got an all persons fictitious disclaimer similar to the one mentioned at All persons fictitious disclaimer — ideas regarding modification? but where should I place it? Bear in mind, this is a ...
3
votes
3answers
153 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
106 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
74 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
244 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
5answers
13k 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
1answer
881 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, ..., ...
1
vote
4answers
188 views

How to indicate the topic has been changed without using words?

I am writing an an article to share knowledge, not novel. Usually, when you change the current topic, at the beginning of the new paragraph you would like to use some transition words such as ...
1
vote
3answers
122 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
705 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. ...
1
vote
3answers
320 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
37 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 ...
0
votes
6answers
99 views

Can I Use “You?”

Is it usual to refer to the reader in a novel? The point of view is first person, and she refers to the reader at times. Can I do this?
0
votes
2answers
224 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 ...
34
votes
15answers
15k views

Is there any good time-line software out there?

I write mostly speculative fiction, and use Scrivener for writing and note-taking. But I'm looking to start crafting timelines to keep track of the exact year and months events in the distant and ...
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 ...
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?
19
votes
10answers
8k 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 ...
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 ...
25
votes
10answers
605 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 ...
20
votes
8answers
292k 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?
19
votes
5answers
7k 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 ...
26
votes
9answers
766 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
4k 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 ...
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
979 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 ...
14
votes
7answers
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 ...
11
votes
14answers
7k views

What do you do if you enjoy writing, but have no ideas?

I've done some writing in the past - mostly short descriptive pieces, although I once wrote 9000+ words of a story idea I had. What I enjoy about it are the technical, intellectual, creative ...
26
votes
4answers
559 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 ...
25
votes
4answers
430 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?

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