11
votes
1answer
31k 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?
11
votes
4answers
1k views

How does one implement effective foreshadowing?

I am a "reread reader" - that is, I like to read the same book more than once. The books I have the most fun reading again are the ones that effectively foreshadow what comes later in the book. This ...
11
votes
1answer
8k 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 ...
11
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 ...
11
votes
6answers
23k 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?
11
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 ...
11
votes
3answers
288 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What are some regular contests unpublished short story authors might enter?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 ...
11
votes
3answers
128 views

Where can subject matter experts volunteer to work on proofing the technical details in fiction?

I am not a writer (yet!), but I have been working in the computer field for over 10 years and would love to put in some time volunteering my services as a subject matter expert (SME) for programming ...
11
votes
2answers
5k views

Citing parts of a thesis or dissertation using IEEE referencing

I truly hope I'm not asking this question in the wrong place. I've found myself extensively referencing parts of theses and dissertations for my own research paper. [The IEEE editorial style ...
11
votes
1answer
109 views

Where to find comparative information about publishers?

Is there any reference for comparing publishers (or at least major ones)? Writers choose a publisher based on fame or by chance, but is there any system for rank of publishers? Or providing ...
11
votes
2answers
223 views

How do you build good per-book *and* global indexes?

For our SDK, we generate individual documents (PDFs) and one big HTML doc set (CHM file) from the same Docbook source. Each book has an index, and the HTML version has an integrated index that is the ...
10
votes
5answers
410 views

How do I balance work with my love of writing?

I'm a programmer and an aspiring writer. I love writing. Over the past year, I had been working on my first novel. Making the plot, dimensioning the characters, integrating conflicts etc. And when I ...
10
votes
6answers
1k views

alternatives to “he said” in dialog

I'm working on my first fiction story. And one mechanical thing I struggle with is how to identify the speakers in dialog without constantly saying "Bob said", "Mary said", etc. Any ideas? That is, I ...
10
votes
8answers
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 ...
10
votes
4answers
831 views

Ways for main character to influence world following their death

The main character of a story dies before the story itself ends. Nothing new here, you can keep a story interesting following their death. But I have an additional requirement: The dead main character ...
10
votes
3answers
329 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
772 views

What's the proper etiquette/format for updating a blog post?

I've been doing websites for 16 years, but am new to writing a blog. Websites pages change all the time, but it seems to me that blog posts are relatively static once they've been posted. If I want ...
10
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

If you get an advance do you ever have to give it back?

Do publishers give you an advance as some sort of earnest money for your manuscript? If your work doesn't sell very well do you have to give the advance back to them? Do they ever just buy your work ...
10
votes
6answers
698 views

Time management for part-time writing

I'm currently writing a book, and would eventually hope to be a writer as a career. However, at the moment I'm struggling to find the time and the discipline to actually sit down and write ...
10
votes
9answers
411 views

Sympathetic portrayal of devout, rule-abiding characters

I'm having trouble portraying religious, devout characters as protagonists or viewpoint characters. When I try, I get the sense that the reader - not sharing the characters' beliefs - will have ...
10
votes
3answers
300 views

How to write to accommodate subsequent automatic translation

The texts I am writing will be translated by people who are not experts in the topic and in some cases by a machine with next to none human editing afterwards. What strategies should I employ to ...
10
votes
3answers
469 views

Good books on writing for comics?

Me and a friend of mine has been thinking about joining forces and make a comic. She is an excellent drawer/illustrator while I perform better in the story/character/writing part of things. I guess ...
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 ...
10
votes
3answers
938 views

Is being paid by the word/page making American books longer?

I buy quite a lot of literature, mostly of academic nature. One thing I have noticed is that books by American authors always tend to be more explicit and contain more examples, regarding whatever ...
10
votes
3answers
863 views

Do you need to get author's permission to quote him in a non-fiction book?

I have a non-fiction book idea that would frequently use quotes/reviews from a specific author. Would I need to get that author's permission to quote him/her, and to base the entire book on these ...
10
votes
6answers
1k 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, ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

Why shouldn't I use a pen name?

I don't like my name. I feel like seeing my name on the cover of my novel will be an embarassment more than a moment of pride - I just can't take things I've written under my own name seriously, for ...
10
votes
5answers
4k views

How much time do you spend writing one page on average? [closed]

I'm writing a technical book about one programming technology and would like to compare how much time other authors spend on one page (on average). I rarely write a page and am done with it, quite ...
10
votes
4answers
667 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 ...
10
votes
6answers
868 views

Sympathetic portrayal of an evil protagonist with good motivations

I'm contemplating writing about a character with good motivations whose actions would be considered evil. In short the story would be about a necromancer killing an entire nation so that he can bring ...
10
votes
7answers
417 views

How little “fantasy” can be in a story and it still be recognizably fantasy?

How little "fantasy" can be in a story and it still be recognizably fantasy, and not mainstream fiction? The "recognizable fantasy" question is one I struggle with all the time. Fantasy exists on a ...
10
votes
7answers
614 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
631 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
490 views

What are those “countdown” numbers on the copyright page?

On the copyright pages in many books I find the following "countdown" numbers and I am wondering what the significance of this is? In a non-fiction book I have, "The Call of the Mild" it looks like: ...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

Characters with no names

I've got a few short stories going, and I've foregone naming any of my characters. It started because I just didn't have any good names in my head and I was going to take care of it later, but now I'm ...
10
votes
3answers
6k 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
622 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 ...
10
votes
8answers
1k views

What is a good OCR program?

I keep a writing journal that I enjoy writing in. I also have a lot of old journal with writing that I'd love to digitize but am too lazy to retype. What is a good, accurate, OCR program that would ...
10
votes
3answers
226 views

What disciplines/habits are used to stay focussed on one novel over a long period of time?

One of my biggest issues is staying focussed on a single novel. My imagination is always creating new and wonderful ideas. I write a few chapters on this story, a few on that story, but never ...
10
votes
4answers
745 views

How to continue someone else's story gracefully, with fan-fiction?

I've been juggling some ideas for NaNoWriMo and one of them is a Doctor Who story. Now I've not read a great deal of fan fiction but I've never read any that I'd say that compares to the original, and ...
10
votes
3answers
326 views

Is it legal to write about trademarked material and use the terms?

I am contemplating writing a technical book (and probably self-publishing it) on a proprietary programming interface for a well-known software package produced by a very large company. The company ...
10
votes
5answers
450 views

Will e-books prevent books from going out of print (and rights from reverting)?

In the old days, books went out of print shortly after it stopped being profitable for the publisher to print new runs. My understanding is that good contracts had clauses that caused the rights to ...
10
votes
7answers
494 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
113 views

What effect on literature has the introduction of eBooks and eReaders had?

eBooks and eReaders are still relatively new, but they've had a major impact on literature. What impact has eBooks and eReaders had on the production of literature (specifically books)?
10
votes
2answers
729 views

Is publishing to Amazon Kindle-alternative eBook markets worth the time and effort?

I have published a few collection Kindle eBooks, and am planning on publishing at least 3 more in the not-too-distant future. While my experience with the Kindle marketplace has been mostly positive, ...
10
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
10
votes
7answers
281 views

What should I do to promote my books?

My publisher currently does a lot to advertise my books, but what can I do to help spread the word? ETA: Here's what my publisher said they do to promote their books: "Dreamspinner invests 10% of ...
10
votes
8answers
560 views

Does self publishing via Amazon or similar services make your book ineligible for later acceptance by a publisher?

I have a non-fiction book that is ready for publishing, and I am weighing between whether to self-publish via modern methods made available by the internet, or go the more traditional route of ...
10
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 ...

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