15
votes
7answers
1k views

When should one *not* present events in chronological order?

Some stories tell well from beginning to end, all in a neat little line...and some don't. When can a story be improved by using a different order in the telling? Off the top of my head, I'd say ...
18
votes
7answers
677 views

Should I avoid modern words/phrases in fantasy writing?

When writing, I tend to want to use words or phrases that have meaning in the real world, but wouldn't necessarily have meaning in the world in which I'm writing. For example, in a fantasy world, a ...
19
votes
2answers
543 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
449 views

How not to overuse ellipsis?

I always… feel… so… expressive when I see this little nicy dots!.. I just can't stop to put them more… and more… and more… Please teach me how to stop!.. Update: I guess people misunderstood me. I ...
12
votes
7answers
388 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) ...
8
votes
2answers
306 views

Out of this world… Giving it time?

I am starting to write a fantasy story. For the first time, i am using computer software to help organize my story. The program confronted me with a question. What is the birthday of a character? ...
7
votes
3answers
147 views

What to do about readers reading into things?

I have certain people in my life who insist on reading way too much into my writing. As it is, I do my best to avoid giving my characters initials or names or appearances that coincide even a little ...
5
votes
3answers
117 views

Where is the best place to “twist” a series?

I have plans for a fantasy trilogy in which the main characters defeating the threat in each book simply makes way for the new threat of the next book. This way, the main characters can continue to ...
8
votes
3answers
129 views

How to go about breaking up a looooong YA story?

A while ago, I played around with a short story idea in a genre I don't normally write (Young Adult fiction). The story took on a life of its own, growing quickly to a novella, and now is definitely ...
18
votes
11answers
1k views

How do you track random thoughts and ideas?

If you're like me, you get story ideas anywhere and everywhere. If I'm at a computer, I'll write down the idea in onenote or outlook or scrivener (depending what's open). If I just have my phone, I'll ...
13
votes
13answers
620 views

Resources for character development

I'm weak at building characters. What resources are there to create rich characters? I'm thinking beyond name generators: Quirks, biography, diseases like allergies, hobbies and jobs, wealth, omens, ...
27
votes
11answers
756 views

How do I recover my confidence after a harsh writing group?

Having majored in writing in my undergraduate studies, I spent lots of time getting critiques from my fellow students, some of whom are now published and many of whom were excellent writers. The ...
29
votes
14answers
4k views

Do Writers Use LaTex/TeX for writing?

I'm quite interested in the LaTex/TeX system and am wondering if any other fellow writers use it frequently to write in.
6
votes
5answers
550 views

Character Development - How much is too much?

I've read loads of books where the reaction and development of characters seems to extreme for the events that effect them in the story. However not having any development makes the character boring, ...
14
votes
9answers
898 views

Is there a rule of thumb about the number of pages a work of fiction should have?

To be considered a "real" book, is there a rule of thumb about the number of pages one should have? If it has too few then people call it a short story (e.g., Fahrenheit 451) and if it has too many ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

Is there a standardized size for Books?

I noticed that my softcover/paperback books are all roughly the same size, but have slight differences. Are there standardized sizes (and are they different between US and Europe, just as US Letter ...
13
votes
7answers
652 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
288 views

Are “morning pages” useful?

I've found an interesting private online journaling website: 750words.com From "About" section of the website: I've long been inspired by an idea I first learned about in The Artist's Way called ...
16
votes
4answers
305 views

Resources about different people types?

I'm native German, but trying to write in English for various reasons. One of the big points in a story is to keep the characters very distinct from each other, and that requires some knowledge about ...
14
votes
12answers
808 views

For Fantasy Stories, Should You Include a Map At the Beginning of the Book?

If you're writing a fantasy novel, would it be best to include a map of the geography that the story takes place in at the beginning of the book? I've seen quite a lot of fantasy books (Redwall ...
20
votes
10answers
1k views

Organizing your Universe?

When writing, I always have tons of ideas about the universe I'm creating as a whole: People, Places, Timelines. I'm just struggling to organize it. I'd like to avoid inconsistencies in later ...
12
votes
3answers
306 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
244 views

What techniques do you use to invent snappy turns of phrase?

We all know clichés are bad[1] and that fresh, inventive and "fitting" phrases will delight and entertain our readers. What techniques can be used to invent such phrases? Sometimes they just ...
9
votes
10answers
786 views

How much sex is allowed in a non-romance novel?

Exactly how much sex would would most publishers allow to be in a today's novel? Does it vary from publisher to a publisher? I'm not talking about romance novels where apparently everything goes. I ...
5
votes
6answers
222 views

Are there some good books about scriptwriting to study?

After a little googling I found this: The Complete Book of Scriptwriting What are other good examples?
11
votes
7answers
255 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?
10
votes
7answers
553 views

What are the best authors to read if you want to get better at humor and comedy in writing?

I’ve read humor like Three Men in a Boat and PG Woodhouse, but those comes nowhere close to folks like Dave Barry or Rory Blyth. What are some sources, blogs, books, articles, authors, etc. that you ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

Are Names of Characters Copyrighted by Authors?

Are names of characters copyrighted by authors? For example, the character "Eragon" from the Inheritance Cycle series, or a name that you've generated using an online name generator that you'd like to ...
57
votes
18answers
4k views

Do You Use Any Version Controlling Software/Methods As Writers?

As writers, do you use any version controlling software to track and monitor what you write? For example, if you accidentally deleted or overwritten a paragraph that you'd like to have it back? ...
10
votes
8answers
2k views

Story for children without a happy ending

It is a common practice for a story for children to have a happy ending. Would it be considered inappropriate and disappointing for the young reader if his hero/heroine will suffer a horrible tragedy ...
8
votes
8answers
1k views

A rhyming dictionary worth bookmarking online or purchasing?

Has anyone come across any really good rhyming dictionaries? If so, what makes it worth having/bookmarking? (eg. completeness/ease of use/absence of really sketchy suggestions)
4
votes
1answer
114 views

Different Points of View

What are the different points of view one can write from? I understand the basic first person (I) and third person (he/she), but I hear the term "limited" and "omniscient" a lot in point of view ...
10
votes
5answers
531 views

Switching POV: Should it ever be done at all?

When I started, I had a nasty habit of hopping from perspective to perspective to perspective. I forced myself down to one perspective per chapter, but I still wonder if it's acceptable to do it at ...
7
votes
7answers
683 views

What linguistic tools do you use?

I've got a Flip Dictionary, a Thesaurus, my trusty Strunk&White, and I use the almighty GOOG(le) should I ever be unsure of the definition of a word. What does everyone else use? Is there some ...
7
votes
4answers
217 views

Is there a Market for Poetry with a Fixed Verse Form

I find that when I structure my poetry according to an accepted form such as a villanelle, sestina, or sonnet I am able to think more clearly because of the boundaries of the form, and believe my best ...
10
votes
2answers
709 views

What is the requirement for a book to be a NYT Bestseller?

I've seen "New York Times Bestseller" written across the top of more books than I can count. It seems every other book I look at has this advertisement, so much so that I discount it as a meaningful ...
6
votes
4answers
914 views

How to switch pov characters mid-scene without jarring the reader?

I am writing a novel wherein there are many characters whose thoughts are key to telling it properly. In an earlier draft, I attempted to have any given chapter told from the point of view of exactly ...
23
votes
4answers
10k views

How Much Can You Make From Writing a Book?

Obviously this question has a lot of different answers. I'm interested in the typical total profit that a writer might expect to see from: A NYT Bestseller A diet or self-help book that sells ...
11
votes
5answers
260 views

What can one do to get the most from limited writing time?

I do make an effort to write every day, and usually succeed, but I just have too much going on in my life right now to give my writing the time it would like to have. When I do have time, blog posts, ...
9
votes
5answers
405 views

How can I get started screenwriting/playwriting?

I have some experience writing stories, but would like to beginning screenwriting. Are there any online guides to show how to get started and transition into writing for the stage, where ideas need to ...
7
votes
4answers
740 views

How do I get involved in writing for video games?

Many video games have deep storylines. This has been the case since the early text adventures where creative writing was all that existed to keep a player engaged in the game. I believe that some ...
9
votes
7answers
459 views

Writing different genres

I like to write many different genres in my fiction writing but I think that this would be confusing as an author's name becomes somewhat of a brand. Is it therefore a good idea to invent pen names ...
3
votes
7answers
206 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? ...
21
votes
9answers
495 views

Do I need to register my work to retain copyright?

What are the legal issues when submitting work to publishers? is there a risk of having my work stolen? How can you protect yourself from this? Is there an international "law" for this or is it ...
18
votes
2answers
243 views

Warning signs that a publisher may be shady?

Are there any specific signs (singular or groups of) that I should pay attention to when it comes to publishers? I have read about publishing houses that charge their authors quite large amounts of ...
8
votes
4answers
194 views

When the second person *view* is not an uninvited guest?

It is very strange to read the narrative from second person, but there are examples! Maybe there are a number of situations which are good for using second-person view?
18
votes
10answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
59 views

Spelling style in academic papers

When an article is submitted to a conference or journal, is it better to use British or American spelling? Does it have to be according to the conference or journal's style (based on where it is being ...
8
votes
2answers
106 views

How can you submit your writings internationally?

I live in Argentina, and I've always wondered if (given the case of having something worthy) I'd be able to submit it to publishers in, for example, the USA. Of course the writing would be in English. ...
5
votes
3answers
109 views

Books about English writings

Can you recommend a good reference book about the basics of English writing?

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