2
votes
2answers
373 views

Resource for generic plot hooks?

I'm in a long and painful recovery from many years of writer's block. Coming up with even quite simple story ideas costs me unreasonable amount of effort. Sometimes inspiration is generous and I'm ...
2
votes
6answers
259 views

How do I keep up with current written English language?

I am a speaker of English as a foreign language. I appreciate that English is a living language and that different regions in the world use English differently. I wanted to know how I can keep up with ...
18
votes
6answers
1k views

Why does an author need an editor?

I'm firmly in the camp of "your novel needs an editor, and that editor better not be yourself." But recently I was asked why that was, and I couldn't articulate an answer that was passable. Young ...
15
votes
8answers
2k views

What breaks suspension of disbelief?

So much of Sci-Fi and Fantasy requires the viewer (or reader) to suspend their disbelief: The speed of light can be circumvented, magic works, vampires are real (and may or may not sparkle), etc. ...
15
votes
13answers
2k views

How much swearing is TOO much? (And how much is not enough?)

I've noticed that some of the most successful writers refrain from using profanity, such as Stephanie Meyer and Norman Mailer. Are readers turned off by swearing in books? More importantly, is it ...
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 ...
14
votes
3answers
450 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
178 views

How do you avoid the problem of a collaborative work having separate voices?

I've not done collaborative writing before, but I've read several works, and sometimes the text strikes me as having a split personality: some parts were clearly written by one author, while others ...
13
votes
5answers
1k 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?
12
votes
5answers
575 views

When is a prologue useful?

Prologues tend to get a bad rap on the internet, and sometimes for good reason. They're often used by as an excuse to start a novel with an info-dump. However, it seems to me that people often ...
12
votes
4answers
177 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
134 views

How can I keep up with my co-author's detail creation?

Keeping track of details invented for a work of fiction is never simple, often requiring writing bibles and continuity editors. But when two people are working on the same book simultaneously, then ...
11
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
559 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?
11
votes
3answers
312 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.)
10
votes
3answers
211 views

Is it a good idea to write a summary of a plot before writing the full version?

Sometimes when I write a plot I get confused about the motivations of the characters and how events connect as I change elements. Is it a good idea to write a summary first in order to organise ...
9
votes
2answers
238 views

Are online critique groups a good substitute for editors?

I'm thinking of self publishing. Now what all the blogs tell me I have to do is hire a professional editor, who will see any plot / character holes, other story problems etc. (For the moment, I'm not ...
9
votes
1answer
14k views

What does Character development actually mean?

I keep hearing the terms "character development" and "characterisation", but I'm still not sure what they mean? How does one "develop" a character?
9
votes
4answers
469 views

New digital ways of presenting a novel in 2011?

The traditional way of presenting a novel is in a book. I know about e-books too. Do you know another digital ways of presenting a novel? For instance, a blog, a twitter novel or something like the ...
9
votes
10answers
717 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
788 views

What are the advantages of incorporation for a writer?

I have heard of some (rather successful) writers incorporating - that is, creating a corporation of which they are the sole member. What are the potential advantages (or disadvantages) of doing this? ...
8
votes
2answers
290 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
2answers
135 views

How do you track dependencies for your co-authors?

I and one or more co-authors, sometimes geographically distributed, are working on a set of related documents. Sometimes I will make a change in my part that has effects on someone else's part; this ...
7
votes
4answers
198 views

How do I find a suitable copywriter?

I am in the process of creating a web application. I will need some copy written for various pages in the site and some of the marketing marketing material. I am contemplating hiring a copywriter to ...
7
votes
2answers
640 views

How to write great movie review?

What should we write in a movie review?
7
votes
2answers
188 views

What is the key reference documentation and how should I cite BASH?

I originally posted this question at SO, but two users there suggested that I take it here. I am writing a scientific research paper, and I want to know if it is appropriate to cite bash, and if so, ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Attributing quotes to fictional characters

Let's say, for example, that I want to post my favourite quote from Babylon 5 somewhere: "I'm not saying what I'm saying. I'm not saying what I'm thinking. As a matter of fact, I'm not thinking ...
5
votes
1answer
76 views

What are the stages of The Guardian's Journey?

In constructing a story, I plan on following the following patterns: The Hero's Journey: The Hero's Journey The Villain's Quest: The Villain's Quest My question is, what would be the structure of ...
5
votes
2answers
62 views

How to tell if a fiction workshopping site protects my rights?

There are lots of websites for getting feedback for my writing. But since posting something publicly on the internet can count as "publication," I'm worried that posting my work there might prove an ...
5
votes
4answers
557 views

Ways to improve your writing skills

As a CS major I've learned that knowing how to write is critically important, but, I'm not really sure how to improve my writing skills. I'm currently trying to write a tech blog in English, but, ...
5
votes
3answers
279 views

Is there any standardized definition of a “Mary Sue”?

I've heard the term "Mary Sue" thrown around a lot, and it seems to mean different things to different people, but is always something negative about the way the character is written, not necessarily ...
5
votes
8answers
663 views

Software for collaborative writing for a small team

I'm working on a writing project with a friend, and we're looking for some kind of (preferably cloud-based) project management and version control software so each of us can see how far the other has ...
5
votes
4answers
720 views

Believable (but easy) archaic English

Do you know any "shortcuts" to translating passages of my story into believably sounding archaic English? I mean, without taking a full school course? A crash course? An automatic service? A phrase ...
5
votes
4answers
491 views

How can I make description more natural to me?

Description is a weakness in my fiction. My understanding is that the first priority in fiction is to tell the story. Setting does this by providing props and indicating character mindsets, either ...
5
votes
7answers
364 views

Are fantasy books expected to be trilogies?

Lately, more and more fantasy books I've seen are part of a trilogy. Is this because readers like it, or is it a cynical plot by publishers to draw out the story longer, so they can make more money? ...
5
votes
2answers
244 views

Correct order for Thesis Front Matter

What is the correct order of the following pages comprising a doctoral thesis: Title, Abstract, Colophon, Copyright, Dedication, Preface, Acknowledgements, Table of Contents, List of Tables, List of ...
5
votes
5answers
214 views

Is it safe to create a wiki for a book (or something featured in it) before the book is published?

I'm working on a sci-fi novel, and it contains a lot of fictional creatures, which are in some ways separate from the novel because I came up with them a while before I actually got the idea to write ...
5
votes
4answers
230 views

Least possible editing effort if a text is for multiple media?

I want to write a text with some basic styles and images. I plan to use it on a blog, maybe later in a wiki. And there should be a pdf version. I am writing about a software. So there will be ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

What are some strategies for developing basic writing skills? Beginning Writing (again)

I have a friend who is going back to college after a decade, and is quickly finding out that his/her writing skills are not up to snuff. He/she writes in a style suited more for Facebook than ...
5
votes
4answers
396 views

What makes a good action scene?

Action, in any storytelling medium, is the relationship between build up and pay off. While cinema may emphasize the payoff (pyrotechnics play well to theater-going crowds) it seems that the written ...
5
votes
3answers
814 views

Character details of male archetypes

In this link about character development, the author describes basic male archetypes that are found in a romance novel. http://www.likesbooks.com/eight.html My question is: although this is very ...
5
votes
3answers
107 views

Books about English writings

Can you recommend a good reference book about the basics of English writing?
4
votes
5answers
211 views

Is this excerpt's style too matter-of-fact?

I get the feeling that this blurb is too... expositiony, not enough description. Too much "this happened and then this happened and then this happened". But I'm notoriously bad at evaluating myself - ...
4
votes
4answers
262 views

Which traditional presses publish poetry?

I would like to publish a poetry folio through my university press. My ex-poetry professor at my alma mater says that is possible, but the university will only publish me if I already have a book ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Pros ans cons of writing a plot based on the present and past tense (character's point of view)?

I'm not sure if I should write my first book in the present or past tense. The book is about a doctor in a clinic who is analysing his patients. e.g. I said, VS I say. I thought for a while ...
4
votes
1answer
111 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
160 views

Do I need permission from people I am writing about if I am writing about a true story that was reported in the media

I am writing a factual book, that will [hopefully] primarily detail real events that have happened in the past, that are related to the subject of the book. The real events have all been reported in ...
3
votes
2answers
507 views

How do I improve my knowledge of English well enough to write in it?

I have a long-term goal to write a non-fiction book: a critical book about the current state of humanity's moral methodologies and how humanity is better off dead. Much like Friedrich Nietzsche but ...
3
votes
4answers
214 views

Attributives in dialogue

I normally stick with "he said" and "she said" to keep things simple and transparent to the reader but wondering about questions. Is "she asked" and "he asked" appropriate when a character asks a ...
3
votes
3answers
192 views

What's a good program for tracking submissions?

What's a good program or technique for tracking submissions? I need something that'll keep track of who I've submitted to, when, if they've replied, and preferably tell me how long it's been out. Any ...

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