7
votes
4answers
869 views

Should I care if my short story has the same title as someone else's book?

It appears to be a pretty obscure book. It's on Amazon, but there are no descriptions or reviews. From the cover, I'd say it was a kids book, which would put it in a different market. Let's assume ...
5
votes
3answers
818 views

On copyright laws and plots

I was pondering a lot on the issue with copyrights on plots. Is having an identical plot infringing someone else's copyrighted work? I am fully aware that the character names are copyrighted and ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

What is a beat?

I keep hearing the word "beat" in Writers.SE, as in "... break your scene into beats" from this question. What is a beat? How is it different from a scene?
6
votes
6answers
305 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
141 views

Has anyone tried “pair writing” before and been published?

Most of the time when two people write a book, one person is doing the majority of the writing and the other is critiquing or helping with the plot or providing technical information that the real ...
7
votes
5answers
938 views

The importance of monitor size/distance for writing productivity?

I've been thinking today that my writing station's monitor screen set-up is much worse than I had previously thought, and can be partly blamed for productivity problems. I write on a 2004 laptop with ...
4
votes
4answers
710 views

Proper attribution of copyrighted lyrics in a story

If I put several lines of a copyrighted song in my text, and mention the band name, how can I be certain that my attribution is sufficient and guarantees against legal action? From what I've been ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the best way to introduce myself in a letter to a prospective graduate adviser?

I'm applying for graduate school, and I'm considering writing to Professors whose research areas match with what I intend to pursue. I've a Masters' degree and 2 years working experience in a renowned ...
2
votes
2answers
320 views

Substitutions for 'which' and 'for which' that maintain the sentence's meaning

I am having a bit of a problem trying to substitute the words which and for without changing too much the meaning/flow of the sentence. I have tried the thesaurus, synonyms, etc with no luck. I ...
3
votes
5answers
1k views

How can this technical message be made clearer?

How could this technical sentenced be improved for better clarity? Cannot translate the ‘name1’ concept1 to the ‘name2’ concept2 because the higher precedence ‘name3’ concept3 also exists, which ...
8
votes
6answers
693 views

What to do if I can't meet my chapter word count?

I usually set a word count goal for each of my chapters, say 2000 words. But sometimes I can't meet that goal, for any number of reasons. What should I do: A. Continue anyway, and hope to increase ...
3
votes
2answers
360 views

How do you manage all the different aspects of writing poetry?

Every time I try to write a poem I find myself incredibly stuck. It feels to me like poetry has so many different aspects- meter, structure, rhyming, lingual aesthetics (not to mention semantics), all ...
7
votes
4answers
254 views

How to give the readers breathing space, without putting them to sleep?

I remember reading somewhere that while plots should have tension, too much tension will tire the readers out, so there should be some breathing place, where the reader can get a chance to catch their ...
0
votes
0answers
55 views

Site for free author reviews [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What are good places to post your work where it will be read by others? What are some good sites to have your written works reviewed? I'm not necessarily talking about ...
4
votes
1answer
140 views

What is the new Google Author markup?

What is the new Google Author markup, and how can I use it to build up a reputation as an online writer? How could it possibly work? Using self-declared information has been tried before and of ...
2
votes
6answers
287 views

Is it acceptable for a book to not have a dominant lead character?

I saw this question posted in another forum, and it didn't have any responses, so naturally I decided to bring it over here. :) I realized, 80% of the way through my first draft, that I don't have ...
3
votes
6answers
491 views

Can a likeable character be unsympathetic?

I believe an unlikable character can be sympathetic, although that's tricky. But can you go the other way? Can your character be likable but at the same time unsympathetic? I've been trying and ...
1
vote
4answers
140 views

How can I express this more clearly or concisely?

I'm documenting a block of computer code and would like to make it clear and concise. I'm describing a function that populates a field on a user input screen. Here's my best shot but it still seems ...
3
votes
1answer
5k views

What counts as a word when dealing with a word limit?

I am trying to determine if it will be feasible to revise a manuscript for a journal that has a 6500 word limit. Currently, the manuscript is between 7500 and 8000 words long, depending on how I count ...
6
votes
9answers
761 views

How do I keep the plot interesting in a humorous book?

I am about to start writing a fantasy-comedy novel. A problem I found in 1-2 books of this genre is that the plot becomes weak, and the story starts to slow down. The reason I believe this happens is ...
2
votes
2answers
101 views

Improving Ad Script

I am looking for some advice on how to improve a short script that I have for an advertisement/introduction video. I have been revising this for two months now. I have below two different versions. ...
12
votes
8answers
451 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 ...
8
votes
6answers
367 views

How can I break up a lengthy explanation?

I have a setting in one of my stories where a character has to describe a very long series of events, giving the history of an object so that others know more about it. This not only provides the ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

What elements should be included in a story's setting?

I know this will vary depending on the type of the story and the characters involved, not to mention the location itself. What I am looking for is some kind of guideline for identifying different ...
0
votes
3answers
321 views

How can this sentence better convey the immobilizing impact of fear?

Someone on another forum asked for advice on a sentence she was writing, so I thought I'd share it here and see what kind of responses we could get. The sentence in question is marked by italics. (I ...
3
votes
3answers
96 views

What's the best way to distinguish between co-authors?

I know a couple of people who are co-authoring a book, and they have been debating how to go about distinguishing between the two of them in their content. They have an outline of topics that they are ...
3
votes
2answers
157 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
166 views

Do traditional publishers ever make use of “print on demand” (POD)?

Do traditional publishers always use offset printing for the books they publish, or do they sometimes use POD to make books available? If they do use POD, is it primarily for older titles?
11
votes
3answers
4k views

Other options for “had had”? [closed]

Although the use of "had had" is grammatically correct, it doesn't read well and seems awkward to me. Take for example the following sentence: I had had enough of this nonsense and was ready to ...
3
votes
3answers
576 views

First Person Voice - Same as speaking?

When writing in first person, if the POV character talks with a certain dialect or type of diction (eg. "I ain't got all day! Hurry it up, will ya?") should they narrate with the same accent, or can ...
5
votes
3answers
959 views

Why do authors usually put a reference section at the end of a book when they are not referenced throughout the entire book?

In the references list (usually at the end of a book), I've noticed that authors like to include references to other materials. However these materials are not so-called "referenced" or "linked" at ...
16
votes
3answers
542 views

Is there a quick way to know I have created a Mary Sue?

For those who don't know what a Mary Sue is: see here. The problem is, there are far too many ways a character can be a Mary Sue, as seen here. Many websites that offer tests to see if your ...
1
vote
3answers
297 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
716 views

What's the proper etiquette/format for updating a blog post?

I've been doing websites for 16 years, but am new to writing a blog. Websites pages change all the time, but it seems to me that blog posts are relatively static once they've been posted. If I want ...
9
votes
3answers
286 views

What to include in agreement with a Ghost Writer. . .

I am exploring engaging a Ghost writer to partner with me on the development of a non-fiction (well, mostly) business book. What are the critical elements of the agreement that need to be included? ...
2
votes
1answer
101 views

Phrase suggestion on Xiosis Scribe 2011

I have downloaded Scribe from www.xiosis.com and have been giving it a go. So far its all its advertised to be. My question is I have written a long article on Scribe and phrase suggestion is not ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Tense of Literary Essay

When writing a literary essay in English what tense should be used: Past as in: Gatsby’s parties were ostentatious and exquisite Or present as in: Gatsby’s parties are ostentatious and ...
9
votes
1answer
917 views

What exactly is “Conceptual Writing?”

I've seen this term (and its variations such as "conceptual poetry") used a lot to describe works such as Christian Bök's Eunoia. I have a sense of what it means, but I've never seen a solid ...
4
votes
4answers
768 views

If in real life the antagonist is often oneself, shouldn't it work in a full length novel?

I'm fleshing out a novel which seems to have enough going on without adding an antagonist. In reality, my main character is her own antagonist. She is warring with herself, battling feelings of guilt ...
2
votes
2answers
351 views

How could my friend publish his Steve Jobs biography?

A friend of mine (no, really!) is well on his way of writing a unofficial/unauthorized biography of Steve Jobs. In my opinion it is a fantastic read and he did a lot of research and has a long list of ...
9
votes
1answer
125 views

How to determine rates to charge as a freelance writer

While I have a few articles published, they were easy fixed rates. Today, however, I've received this email (identifying details removed): We need a writer to put together descriptions of ...
6
votes
4answers
298 views

Is it always ok to use the verb “to say” after a question?

Does it sound strange to use the verb "to say" after a question? For example: "'Why is it called a memorial?' said Laura." If I were to have written this, I would have used "asked" instead. Am I ...
3
votes
1answer
570 views

Email templates

I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask this, but here goes - I often find myself writing out emails that follow similar themes e.g. I've read through a document and have some questions, I'm ...
14
votes
4answers
5k views

What's a typical trilogy structure?

Is there a typical structure for a fantasy trilogy? To be more specific, would they usually follow the three-act structure, with an act per book? And would each book need a self-contained story arc ...
7
votes
2answers
80 views

Does this FAQ accurately convey the mission of DIY.SE?

The DIY stack exchange is currently trying to make our FAQ more useful to new users, and I wondered if some folks from this community could take a look and help us to define ourselves better. This is ...
3
votes
3answers
813 views

A letter of recommendation

I am a programmer/engineer who has been asked to write a letter of recommendation for a colleague, who wishes it to help him pursue higher education. Since I feel it necessary, to be very ...
2
votes
3answers
78 views

What is best way to accentuate the positive in an endorsement?

I want to write an endorsement for someone. I have one line that begins like this: "I have no doubt that ..." But I don't like the negative connotation of 'no doubt'. My best alternative of ...
6
votes
2answers
167 views

Finding words through meanings

Is there a place or a type of dictionary or even a good method, that instead of searching for a word, I can search for a meaning and get more words that have similar idea or meaning? For example, if ...
3
votes
3answers
583 views

How would one use punctuation to indicate tone changes?

I'm imagining this sort of statement: He's a... different... sort of person, I suppose. Some people would pronounce 'different' in that sentence as though it was followed by a question mark, but ...
4
votes
2answers
116 views

The best publishing platform for a business “vanity” book?

I have a client who has written a (well done) synopsis of his core business proposition that reads like a great little book, but is only 15,000 words. Is this a good candidate for Amazon's Singles? ...

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