17
votes
9answers
2k views

Any Technique to See if Your Idea is Original?

I usually get quite a lot of ideas for stories, but every time I want to develop them into a full fledged story, I get paranoid about how it might not be an original idea, and how it might be ...
7
votes
5answers
201 views

Would it be plagiarism if you use a changed scene?

If I read someone else's scene that describes a situation in my own work if adapted to fit my characters and plot, would it constitute plagiarism if I so use it?
21
votes
9answers
892 views

Are there jobs that involve creative writing in the software industry?

I've been a developer for some years now, but I've realized that I need a job where I can be more creative (and hopefully work more with people (except dba's)). Since I love writing, but at the same ...
6
votes
8answers
643 views

Tools for generating characters' names

I found this name generator: http://www.fakenamegenerator.com And I'm wondering if maybe there are others? Has anybody found this kind of tool useful? What about tools for fantasy names? Should I ...
12
votes
11answers
1k views

Is touch typing skill important for being a good writer?

Yes, I know - it is important. But my question is: does it influence the speed only? Do "two finger typing" and "peek typing" eat part of writer's attention and destroy creativity? Does the method ...
8
votes
6answers
244 views

What makes a great writer's space?

If you have a usual or favorite place to write at home, what makes it so good? I like having multiple places to write -- sometimes I find a change of scenery helps break a block -- but my most-used ...
6
votes
3answers
98 views

Is there a resource where I could find myself a checker and critic, or check somebodies else text to exercise?

I need a checker and some kind of beta-test editor and critic. Is there a resource out in the web, where I can find myself one?
15
votes
7answers
2k 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
690 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 ...
20
votes
2answers
573 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
409 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
324 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
124 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
136 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
635 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, ...
28
votes
11answers
800 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
5k 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
568 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
966 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
4k 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
668 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
294 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
311 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
828 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
317 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
251 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
803 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 ...
6
votes
6answers
227 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
261 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
557 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 ...
58
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
115 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
543 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
710 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
221 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
799 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
947 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 ...
24
votes
4answers
11k 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
264 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
409 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
760 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
467 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
208 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? ...

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