13
votes
5answers
2k views

How do you come up with non-fiction story ideas?

My biggest problem is that I'm often at a dearth of ideas. I can target a publication or radio show or whatnot once I've got it, but I'm just not good at coming up with them. Tips?
13
votes
7answers
832 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
248 views

What exactly is an editor?

I recently read the assertion that many great works of fiction were chiefly down the contribution of a good editor. I must admit I was a little taken aback by this statement. I had never really ...
13
votes
3answers
325 views

Writers Communities?

I don't mean writer's circles, or "auditioning sites", although some of these have forums tacked on as a by the by. Usually places to talk about the beardy philosophy of writing are moribund places as ...
13
votes
4answers
341 views

How to get feedback about the quality of one's fictional writing from friends unbiased by the friendship?

It is a little strange to ask, but are there ways to get feedback from friends about the quality of fictional writing (whether they liked it, not more objective aspects like spelling/grammar/etc.) ...
13
votes
3answers
510 views

When publishing a Fantasy novel, do I look for a specific Fantasy-only publisher, editor, and/or agent?

When attempting to publish a fantasy book, how will I go about selecting a publisher? Is it possible to find a list of publishers that publish specifically fantasy books? Similar to publishers being ...
13
votes
6answers
3k views

What makes first person plural a tricky narrative voice?

I absolutely loved Joshua Ferris's debut novel Then We Came to the End. Critics highly praised his use for the first person plural as a narrator. The work is set in an office and the "we" used ...
13
votes
3answers
409 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. ...
13
votes
1answer
304 views

Checklist for making sure your writing is Atomic?

Question: Can someone please give me a list of things to check when reviewing a document to make sure that it is atomic. Atomic? Meaning that anyone can start reading at any section in a document ...
13
votes
6answers
290 views

How to deal with common Earth references in a non-Earth setting?

Until now, I have mostly written in settings similar enough to Earth, mostly with human beings. For the first time, I am writing a short story set on a different planet, where the protagonists are not ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

Do publishers really need to translate between UK and US English?

Is there really a need for a book to be translated from UK to US English? I'm nearing completion on my own great work, and just want to know if it is truly worth doing a British and an American ...
13
votes
3answers
582 views

Meeting with a respected publisher, what questions should I ask?

At a writing conference I've managed to snag a 15 minute appointment with a publisher (who published Terry Pratchett, my favourite author). I'm a debut fantasy novelist. She will have received a ...
13
votes
3answers
377 views

Best e-book formatting process?

The question I would like to ask is this: does anyone else have their own process (or one borrowed from elsewhere) that they use for formatting and then creating their e-books? Are you using other ...
13
votes
1answer
6k views

What are widely-used UK-English style guides?

In the UK, what are the equivalents to Chicago Manual of Style, the Associated Press style guide, Yahoo, APA, MLA, etc? Most importantly, what are their intended audiences? (AP is used for ...
13
votes
4answers
189 views

Are there any good magazines about writing?

As in all other fields I'm interested in, I love to have a subscribtion that makes sure some hugely inspirational material gets dropped into my mailbox once in a while. I'm not looking for magazines ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

What techniques are used to plot long (multi-novel) story arcs?

As a very visual person, I have always considered plotting a story to be somewhat like knitting or macrame. How do series authors handle multi novel story arcs? Do they just keep throwing out lines ...
12
votes
6answers
4k views

Dialog, just what's the best way to write it?

I've come across the following conventions: "What’s this for?" asked Jake. Sue replied, "None of your business." He shrugged his shoulders. "Well, it looks darned funny sitting here." "It’s ...
12
votes
7answers
6k views

How long should it take to write 100k words?

100,000 words makes a novel. For a perfectionist each line is poetry. How long should it take to write a novel? Not a bestseller. Just enough income to survive in the city. Question subjective? ...
12
votes
8answers
452 views

I'm not a great pantser; what kind of preparation do I need for NaNoWriMo?

I'm very appreciative of NaNoWriMo's "your first step is writing a crappy first draft" credo, and I like the motivation that NaNoWriMo encourages. I'm precisely at the point where what I feel I need ...
12
votes
10answers
628 views

Why do writers use pseudonyms?

It's common enough -- recently I was looking for Seanan McGuire's newer book only to find it was published as "Mira Grant". Why would an author do this?
12
votes
8answers
443 views

How much leeway can be expected from an editor regarding my preference for nonstandard punctuation?

As I hope to present a unique style to the world, as I am not especially tolerant of being told I'm doing things "wrong" when that's a subjective statement related to writing style, and as I've never ...
12
votes
11answers
1k views

Is touch typing skill important for being a good writer?

Yes, I know - it is important. But my question is: does it influence the speed only? Do "two finger typing" and "peek typing" eat part of writer's attention and destroy creativity? Does the method ...
12
votes
7answers
445 views

Should you read your own genre?

In terms of novel writing, I tend to avoid my own genre, at least for the most part. Some of the reasons why: Genre Blindness / Genre Trap: Too much reading of your own genre blinds you to the ...
12
votes
12answers
16k 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 ...
12
votes
8answers
4k views

How should I break up chapters in a novel?

Is it acceptable to pace my chapters in terms of an event? Can I get away with a 4 page chapter here, and a 30 page chapter there? Are there any reason why I should or should not be sticking to a ...
12
votes
7answers
2k views

Would a paid-for review from Kirkus give me real insight into quality of my manuscript?

As an amateur writer who has just finished my first manuscript, I want a qualified, non-biased, and thorough opinion on whether what I've written is any good. I recently heard about a service offered ...
12
votes
8answers
3k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
733 views

What are advantages/disadvantages to use a CC-license for your writings?

What are the implications, if I choose a Creative-Commons-license for my work? Cory Doctorow seems fine with this. Is this exceptional?
12
votes
5answers
562 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
337 views

How to create space

Recently, a few snippets of my fiction have received critiques along the lines of 'Does not give a sense of space'. Or 'needs more description, sights and sounds'. I think where I am going wrong is ...
12
votes
6answers
187 views

Writing for an Audio book. What are specifics?

What are specific requirements, a writer should follow, when writing something that is going to be (or just can possibly be) not only read but listened as well?
12
votes
3answers
385 views

Avoiding Deus Ex Machina resolutions?

Most Crime/Thriller Novels usually have a sudden, unexpected plot twist that puts the main character in a really hopeless situation. One way to resolve this is by using a "Deus Ex Machina", that is a ...
12
votes
3answers
382 views

Podcasts useful for improving writing skills

Any podcasts that can help with writing skills? (One per answer please, I'll add my own fave to get started.)
12
votes
8answers
2k views

Writing Multiple Novels Simultaneously

I am, at present, 50% of the way through my first novel (17 chapters (and counting), ~55,000 words, ~100 A4 pages) and yet I also had many other (what I think are) wonderful ideas pop into my head for ...
12
votes
3answers
157 views

How much influence do authors have on their titles?

The background to my question: I have always assumed that authors choose their titles, because I consider them an important part of the book, but then I read interviews with some authors who had a ...
12
votes
5answers
596 views

How much should I describe things or persons, that are not important for the story?

I discussed a book with a friend, and he disliked that the author described a person who is dying shortly after and has no further effect on the story over a page or more. The same would go for ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

What needs to be included in a corporate style guide?

What kinds of things need to be included in a corporate style guide that can't already be found in S&W, AP, Chicago Style, etc?
12
votes
4answers
484 views

How do you map out your storyline?

There are various ways for mapping out the storyline that you will use for a story. One of them is to create a bullet-point outline, which would theoretically be useful because of the hierarchy system ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Writing 19th century upperclass English dialog

I was recently rereading bits of Pride and Prejudice and the dialog is absolutely brilliant. How can I learn to write dialog that sounds like it is from this general era? For example are there any ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

Pitfalls of writing a main character of different gender to the author, specifically first-person perspective?

This is my first question on here, so bear with me, if you will. My question is in two-parts: a) When writing in first-person, is it wise to choose a main character of a different gender to yourself ...
12
votes
9answers
526 views

Initial Writing Medium

I am curious which is better for a beginning writer (or writer) starting a new story. Pen and paper or the computer? Pen & Paper is a lot more sketchy (like the layout of this site) which gives ...
12
votes
7answers
3k views

Why does using this “-ing” verb construction make my writing weaker?

I had to write a scholarship essay, wherein I wrote this sentence: Over the ensuing years I read as much as I could, trying to increase my knowledge and understanding of my own language. I sent ...
12
votes
4answers
42k views

Citation in AP style journalism

I'm writing feature articles and trying to adhere to AP style, but I'm not sure how to attribute a source. I'm familiar with academic citation (APA, MLA), but have never done this in journalism. ...
12
votes
7answers
536 views

How do you track submissions to publishers/markets?

What tools (software or otherwise) or procedures do you use to track the progress of submissions to publishers or other markets? How do you reduce the chance of accidentally (and embarrassingly) ...
12
votes
3answers
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 ...
12
votes
3answers
507 views

Getting emotional while writing, good or bad?

Once in a while I get really emotional when writing. Writing about love, jealousy or even thinking about a simple scene in which a father plays with his child can get some strong emotional responses ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

How can I write anonymously (based on true experiences)?

I want to use an experience I had which is pretty unbelievable but true. The majority of the story will be completely true. It's not over yet so I want to use an ending which is NOT true yet works ...
12
votes
5answers
1k views

What marketing techniques are effective for short story eBook collections?

I have a collection of short stories that I'm currently selling in the Amazon Kindle marketplace, and one of the biggest hurdles to actually getting my works read is lack of exposure. My passive plan ...
12
votes
3answers
320 views

When do I explain my created world scenario in a prologue vs. letting it unfold in the story?

Let's say I'm creating a unique world for my book. New planet, maybe new species, complex society with complex rules, history, government, and so on. Some of these details are absolutely necessary to ...
12
votes
7answers
2k 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 ...

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