12
votes
10answers
2k views

How to overcome the fact that I can't write long stories?

I have written some short stories (in fact, they are flash fiction). When I'm writing short stories, the ideas and the structure come to my mind by themselves. Something different happens when I try ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

avoiding making all your characters sound the same

We surely all have little quirks to our speech. Like my daughter once criticized my writing for using the word "surely" too much. (See, I used it on this post.) So how do you keep all your characters ...
12
votes
8answers
695 views

What's the benefit of using invented languages in-story?

I'm working on a fictional story set in a fantastical (although coherent) universe; I'm used to seeing, in works like this, invented languages: Tolkien's languages for The Lord of the Rings, or ...
12
votes
12answers
18k 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
9answers
1k views

Tips for humor writing

Are there any techniques you can use while brainstorming to find humor to include in an article?
12
votes
8answers
5k 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
6answers
199 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
2answers
816 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
8answers
8k views

Software for developing and organizing characters

I'm looking for a software that helps me develop and organize the characters for my novel. What I want: something like a filesystem, with a file for each character it should have or allow me to ...
12
votes
5answers
871 views

How do you determine if a plot device is too coincidental?

I see lazy plot devices as anything that is too coincidental. Person One just so happened to be in the 'area' when Person Two was attacked (then they end up running into each other a bunch of times ...
12
votes
3answers
8k 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
11k views

Referencing figure in text - capitalize the word “Figure” or not? Why?

I see it quite a lot. It looks a bit like this: It can be seen in Figure 3 that... My gut feeling is that there is no reason to scream in the middle of a perfectly calm sentence. I would like to ...
12
votes
3answers
369 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
3answers
512 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
407 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
5answers
623 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
4answers
530 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
8answers
723 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
37k views

Must every piece of speech get its own paragraph?

I've had a few people read pieces of narrative writing I've done, and they seem to take issue with the fact that I sometimes put a piece of speech inline with the rest of a non-dialogue paragraph, ...
12
votes
8answers
4k 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
3answers
3k 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
9answers
578 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
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
3answers
8k views

How to handle taxes for a self-published book

I'm thinking of publishing a book on kindle, but I don't currently have a business set up. Do you need a business to publish a book? I'm curious as to how to handle US taxes for the royalties. I ...
12
votes
4answers
58k 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
4answers
777 views

Handling a small detail the POV character would not notice

I have a scene in which two characters, Boy and Girl, meet for the first time. Girl is the POV character in this section. They are about to have lunch, when Girl is called away on an emergency. She ...
12
votes
3answers
622 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
8answers
305 views

What makes the death of a character satisfying?

My wife and I were watching a movie where one of the main characters died shortly after being reunited with his long lost love. His death was not meaningless -- he died defending his only son, but it ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Striking the balance between dialogue and narrative

I am participating in National Novel Writing Month this year. I have never in my life written so much of a single story. Although I am supposed to tell my inner editor to shut up this month, she is ...
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
4k 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
3answers
436 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
1answer
13k views

What binding and paper should be used on a self-printed novel?

The last time I printed a book I just needed something done cheaply and quickly. The print store used very bright, glossy office paper (the same that they use for office documents) and used ...
12
votes
7answers
36k views

What are the differences between narrative and descriptive writing?

What are the differences between narrative and descriptive writing? While writing either what should we keep in mind?
12
votes
5answers
776 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
2answers
117 views

Notes Placement

Why is it standard for a book's notes to be placed at the very end of the book—book endnotes—while only a small minority of books place each chapter's notes at the end of each respective ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

Where is a good place to find beta readers?

Beta readers are important to perfecting a novel/novella/short story. They give you a fresh set of eyes, offer opinions, and can be a great moral boost. But where can you find good beta readers? Are ...
12
votes
2answers
119 views

Are already privately bound books a deterent for publishing houses?

I've read somewhere that putting your story, or a piece of it, on the internet would make it difficult (not to say impossible in some cases) to find a publisher wanting to publish your script. Would I ...
12
votes
4answers
666 views

Is discovery or outline writing connected to personality type (e.g. MBTI)

I'm on a bit of a Myers-Briggs spree at the moment (which is dangerous, because it is so easy to read way more into it than you are supposed to). For those of you who are not familiar with it, it is ...
12
votes
4answers
356 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

What's a good writing software for Android phones/tablets?

Everyone once in a while while I'm out I come up with something I want to add to my story. Are there any good writing apps for Android phones and tablets? Most places that recommend mobile writing ...
12
votes
3answers
367 views

Lists of Suggested Magazines to Submit To

I recently began writing poetry again. I would like to look into submitting my poems to a magazine. Where can I find a list of literary magazines through which I could sort to find a possible fit? ...
12
votes
3answers
303 views

What are some regular contests unpublished short story authors might enter?

One good way for new authors to become recognized is a contest. What contests exist that: Accept short stories Occur on a regular (annual, semi-annual, bi-annual, etc.) basis Are friendly to ...
12
votes
9answers
1k views

Text Editors. Suggesting & Tracking Changes to Plain-Text Documents

Many word processors are capable to tracking and displaying changes made to a document. Those changes are typically displayed in special markup supported by the editor. E.g. But when using a plain ...
12
votes
0answers
298 views

Where should I start if I'm feeling the urge to write something? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Help! I've got Writer's Block For the past few weeks I have had this "itch" to write something - anything. As soon as I try to put pen to paper, though, my mind ...
11
votes
11answers
2k views

How ordinary must my protagonist be if the book is written from his/her point of view?

What I've found in most books I've read is that the protagonist is "normal" and/or "average" (at least in the beginning). I believe this is because most readers should be able to relate to the ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Self publishing: Do I still need to follow the arbitrary word count limits?

I am thinking of going down the self publishing path. Now looking at most agents and publishers websites, it seems the expected word count for most novels is around 70-90K. Now these word counts may ...
11
votes
7answers
3k views

Why is “It was a dark and stormy night..” not a good opening?

Also, why has it spawned an award for bad writing?
11
votes
7answers
14k views

How to start a book off?

I have been working on my book (on and off...) for about 6 months. I have a good bit planned out with the plot, story line, and characters. I even have a small idea on how to start the story but ...
11
votes
4answers
6k views

What's the best way to show a foreign language in a manuscript?

What's the best way to show a character speaking a foreign language in fiction manuscript? Should the foreign words be italicized and include a translation? Should it just be included in the sentence ...

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