8
votes
7answers
744 views

How do you make a character witty?

How can a character be made to appear witty, or funny? That is, the character amuses other characters, not the reader, who should ideally be impressed with the characters wit. The only way that I can ...
8
votes
3answers
925 views

What's with all the hate on adjectives and adverbs?

Ok, I'm starting to get a feel for this, but I'm hoping someone can explain it more clearly for me. I learned in all my English classes that sensory imagery is important, which naturally involves a ...
8
votes
5answers
383 views

Our note in footnote of a book

How do I designate the footnotes that are mine inside a quote? I tried "our note", "note ours" and "remark is ours". Which one is the correct one and most commonly used? Or is there some other way? ...
8
votes
4answers
11k views

How many pages would my manuscript be in paperback?

Say I have a 100 page manuscript in Courier, 11pt, double-spaced. How many paperback pages is this roughly equivalent to? Is there a better font/spacing to use?
7
votes
5answers
1k views

How do I cleanly show the passage of time, with multiple, varying time scales?

Semi-complex idea, more easily seen than explained, but here we go. I was re-reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone recently (notice I bring those books up a lot...I think they're brilliant) ...
7
votes
3answers
449 views

Converting ms-word to ebook vs. writing from scratch?

Can anyone, who has any experience with writing ebooks, recommend a way for me to proceed? I have a book in Microsoft Word heavy on mathematics: formulas (inline), equations (numbered) and diagrams. ...
7
votes
8answers
880 views

Dialogue writing practices?

First time novelist, long time writer here. I'm looking for creative writing exercises to help with my dialogue. Any ideas?
7
votes
6answers
344 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
524 views

How to practice location descriptions

When trying to strengthen my writing on how to correctly describe a location I try to write a small text on each location I am. (These are then saved in Evernote so that I can search for them) I found ...
7
votes
6answers
455 views

Publishing and selling ebooks [closed]

What are my: options caveats / pro's & con's reasonable expectations for publishing my work digitally as e-books? I remember Stephen King did something along these lines with his 'Dark Tower' ...
7
votes
2answers
446 views

Is there any hope of a fictional short story being published?

I mean under 100k, probably less than 50k because it's a short story. Actually, I'm not sure how many words a short story has so I have two questions. How short is a short story and is it worth the ...
5
votes
8answers
778 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
5answers
368 views

How do authors gain strong familiarity with archaic and extremely rare words?

I keep thinking about this because I've lately been reading Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, and it's just ridiculous. I have to look up 1-2 words per sentence sometimes, something I'm only used to ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

What techniques are used to create non-linear stories?

For stories that are highly non-linear, or that use multiple simultaneous sub-plots, what are some techniques for creating and managing the different items? An example that comes to mind is Steven ...
4
votes
2answers
140 views

Dealing with potential copyright issues: manga

I have been spinning yarn around Kuchiyose Edo Tensei, a reincarnation technique I came across in the popular anime/manga series Naruto. Further developing on that, the concept of bloodlines (or ...
4
votes
2answers
146 views

How does one break into the field of professional writing?

First, some background that may help explain the question. I have recently realized that most of my life has been spent pursuing technical-creative hybrid projects. As a professional software ...
4
votes
5answers
541 views

How can I make a collection of essays / arguments more attractive to publishers?

I've written several essays and am still working on some that I would like to eventually get published. The issues I cover are on a wide range of topics ranging from Scientology to Piracy to ...
4
votes
4answers
687 views

Strunk and White vs “Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace” by Williams and Colomb

I'd like to improve my writing and have been considering getting either The Elements of Style by Strunk and White or Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace by Williams and Colomb. What are their ...
3
votes
2answers
273 views

Does this sign-up email announcement sound friendly and conversational?

This is version 2 of this post The intended audience is from 16-45 m/f, they have given me their email address and will recieve this email because they signed up for a mystery service I'm creating. ...
2
votes
6answers
270 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
889 views

Software recommendations for magazine layout?

I use Word now but I would like to find a better software for laying out a magazine. In this magazine, I would like to create columns (2 or 3 depending on the page), insert image on 1, 2 or 3 columns ...
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
3answers
479 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 ...
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 ...
13
votes
2answers
180 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
609 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
180 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
341 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.)
11
votes
6answers
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
3answers
221 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
611 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?
9
votes
2answers
263 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
4answers
2k views

How often do writers develop characters before plot, and why?

As someone who writes a little as a hobby, this is something that I haven't really thought about until just recently, but... Is it common for a writer to develop characters before actually coming up ...
9
votes
1answer
17k 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
482 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 ...
8
votes
7answers
418 views

Potential confusion: referring to home planet as “Earth”

I'm writing a science fiction story and it's based in another galaxy, colonised by humans originally on a geographically equivalent "Earth". My current usage refers to it as "Earth" and provides a ...
8
votes
3answers
920 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
317 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
158 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
6answers
256 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
209 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
680 views

How to write great movie review?

What should we write in a movie review?
7
votes
2answers
210 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
4k 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
695 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
1answer
81 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
5answers
320 views

What are the pros and cons of building the setting before the characters and story

I have a science-fiction setting I have been kicking around for sometime, but I am not sure how to go about fleshing out events or characters that would make for stories within this setting. What are ...
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 ...

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