5
votes
3answers
294 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
4answers
828 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
558 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
385 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
259 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
4answers
239 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
406 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
860 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
2answers
2k views

Breaking into journalism without a degree

I am a fairly experienced writer, but I have little experience in journalistic writing and no formal education in journalism. I believe I can pick up the craft aspects of this form of writing. ...
5
votes
3answers
111 views

Books about English writings

Can you recommend a good reference book about the basics of English writing?
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Should a flashback be in past tense or past perfect?

Assuming the story itself is in past tense, normally when I go further into the past I'd use past perfect: He had first met her at the grocery store, six months prior. However, which is more ...
4
votes
5answers
212 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
278 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
2answers
71 views

Where and how to look for a picture for illustration?

Do you think a writing can always benefit from the use of a visual illustration? If so, how to find for free or buy an appropriate picture, photo, drawing etc.? What are practical recommendations?
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
97 views

Legal and Social effect of story involving real life people

I have written a novel based on my past life experiences, however the story involves a few people who might not like the idea of getting their stories published. What is the legal and social effects ...
3
votes
2answers
559 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
231 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
198 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Which edition of Strunk & White's The Elements of Style?

I'm interesting in picking up a copy of Strunk & White's The Elements of Style. Unfortunately I'm a little overwhelmed by the minor variations. Amazon lists 12 different paperback formats, plus a ...
2
votes
4answers
212 views

What are these extra phrases added to the beginning of sentences called?

I find that my students are using a lot of these phrases at the beginning of their sentences: First... First of all... To begin with... All in all... The other reason is that... Above all... At last ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

How to write in past tense?

This is one of those questions much like when you suddenly forget someone's name who you see every day. But, say I write this: Anne fidgeted with her hands and looked towards the door, although ...
2
votes
5answers
425 views

Techniques for creating variety in prose

When I write my short stories, I usually end up using a direct style as follows: Tim remembered the day he had to say goodbye to Cathy. He did not really have a choice. He had to let go of Cathy, ...
2
votes
2answers
162 views

Is it a bad idea to turn a short story into a full-length novel?

I've written a couple of short stories. I'm really satisfied with some of them, and I would like to turn them into full-length novels. They were meant to be short stories from the beginning, but I ...
2
votes
2answers
126 views

What is a “Gather” service for?

There is this Gather service in the webz. It's been said that this service is for writers. How exactly can it help me as a writer? Cause I didn't get anything meaningful from their "about" page, and I ...
1
vote
4answers
471 views

Is this stylized writing successful or gimmicky?

This is a ~3000-word piece, with deliberately stylized writing. Is the style of this piece successful or gimmicky? Does it read smooth or choppy? He sat on top of the highway. City on a hill. He ...
1
vote
2answers
307 views

Tenses I should use in a translated-novel

I have been translating a novel that is originally written in my native language into English. Considering that the book's plot is the author's experience of a life that has happened in the past, I've ...
1
vote
3answers
246 views

What are jobs that prefer or require MFAs in Creative Writing?

Other than getting adjunct work with your shiny new MFA, what other professions like them? (I'm gainfully employed, and while I think my MFA helps me, it is in not appreciated by my employer in any ...
1
vote
6answers
303 views

Are there any free programs for screen writers

Screenwriting has a very strict format that Microsoft Word cannot fully match. Are there any good screenwriting word processors out there that are free?
-1
votes
1answer
705 views

Software that converts handwriting to computer text [closed]

Wondering if anyone had recommendations for software that converts handwriting (fairly legible penmanship) to computerized text? Any hiccups or bottlenecks in the process/workflow? Sensitivity to ink ...
-2
votes
8answers
219 views

What does/would it mean to code a novel?

I have a few interests, and among them belong fiction, math and computer science, and so naturally I like to imagine/think about the possibility of a piece of fiction living in the intersection of ...
12
votes
7answers
350 views

Should you read your own genre?

In terms of novel writing, I tend to avoid my own genre, at least for the most part. Some of the reasons why: Genre Blindness / Genre Trap: Too much reading of your own genre blinds you to the ...
12
votes
5answers
576 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
345 views

2nd Draft- Fix spelling/grammar or plot first?

I just finished the first draft of my novel, and Im going to put it away for at least a month. The book has a lot of spelling / grammatical errors, as in true Nanowrimo style, I kept typing without ...
10
votes
3answers
306 views

Frailties, mistakes, and imperfections

In the past, I've been inclined to believe that god-like characters are fun to write about. They are impossible to kill, cause omnipotent levels of destruction without consequence, and always come out ...
9
votes
4answers
251 views

How to improve my skill at writing a question?

I'm a member of some SE sites, like SO and CSTheory. In those sites I'm an active member, I'm reading Q&A and also answering some questions or asking questions, but I think my writing is poor. I ...
9
votes
5answers
522 views

What's “fair use” for borrowing someone else's invented term?

Let's say I'm writing a sci-fi novel. I want to use a word which another writer has coined, which has become well-recognized outside the original book, for the name of an alien species in my story. I ...
9
votes
5answers
521 views

How do you meet a writing quota?

As a parent with a full-time job, I usually have a limited amount of time to write each day. What are some tricks I can try to reach a specific word count in a specific time (e.g. 500 words in an ...
9
votes
7answers
466 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
142 views

How to share the work, if writing fiction in a team?

How should one split up the work between two people? Should one write the even-numbered chapters and the other the odd-numbered? Does each person tell the story from the point of view of a different ...
8
votes
5answers
157 views

How can I edit my own, very old work?

I have about a hundred pages of a novel I wrote in high school, I like the concept behind the writing but I'm finding it extremely difficult to go back and read/edit it again. I last edited the ...
8
votes
2answers
415 views

How does one include sign language in a dialogue?

If one character is using sign language and lip reading while the other is speaking normally, how do you represent the lines of the former? Quotations with "he signed" attribution or italics? E.g. ...
8
votes
6answers
660 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
264 views

I'm an editor who generally uses Word to communicate changes with my authors. Is Adobe's InCopy better for this task?

For all of my editing work I'm currently using Microsoft Word. But I've heard a bit about Adobe's InCopy being good for editing and publishing. Is it really better? What makes it better than Word?
7
votes
2answers
248 views

I'm afraid of [accidental] plagiarism

I've recently written a screenplay about an alien invasion. A friend immediately commented that he found similarities (some general ideas, plot devices) with Half-Life 2: Ep 2, which I haven't even ...
7
votes
4answers
455 views

When quoting a person's informal speech, how much liberty do you have to make changes to what they say?

Even during a formal interview for a news article, people speak informally. They say "uhm", they cut off sentences half-way through, they interject phrases like "you know?", and they make innocent ...
7
votes
2answers
79 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
9k views

All persons fictitious disclaimer — ideas regarding modification?

I'm creating a parody/spoof magazine which contains some "real" advertisements and businesses in. How should I word an "all persons fictitious" disclaimer to include fictitious businesses? This is ...

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