11
votes
9answers
1k views

Where to find some good examples of combat or action scenes?

I always learn a lot about about writing by reading other works and following their examples. Right now I'm very bad at writing action scenes; the best I can do is write around them, describing the ...
11
votes
3answers
452 views

Should I remove scenes that I myself find “boring”?

Sometimes, I find myself writing a scene that does everything I think it should do: reveal details about the protagonist, drive the plot forward, show other elements related to the story, etc. There's ...
11
votes
3answers
153 views

How can I keep up with my co-author's detail creation?

Keeping track of details invented for a work of fiction is never simple, often requiring writing bibles and continuity editors. But when two people are working on the same book simultaneously, then ...
11
votes
4answers
450 views

How do you avoid the problem of all the characters in your story sounding the same?

There's a common flaw that I can easily detect in amateur writing, (and of course my own) which essentially boils down to all the characters "sounding the same", dialogue-wise anyway. Trying to ...
11
votes
6answers
212 views

Avoiding foot&note disease

In his answer to Our note in footnote of a book, Malvolio writes: I hate numbered foot-notes personally, they're very distracting Which I agree with, but his recommendation, to use endnotes, I ...
11
votes
2answers
943 views

Strategies for shortening texts

When reviewing a text to shorten it beneath a fixed, externally imposed word limit, which strategies are available for shortening the text? What kind of shortening can be expected? The most obvious ...
11
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 ...
11
votes
4answers
221 views

What are the usual methods for getting a daily word count?

Do, normally, only words which are eventually to be kept count, or do you also count rewrites? For example, if I rewrite a 50 word paragraph 10 times, is my daily count up to 50 or up to 500?
11
votes
4answers
262 views

How do I avoid tech/social errors in near-future fiction?

Not long ago I read a novel set in the near future (mid-21st century). My suspension of disbelief was totally fine with time travel, an implanted "universal translator" of sorts, major medical ...
11
votes
1answer
32k 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
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
24k 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
1k views

What's the best version control system for a book writer?

I'm a writer—no programming, only prose in text files, mostly in Emacs org-mode, some in markdown-mode. I want to implement a version control system for my writing projects. I work with two types of ...
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
110 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
417 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
851 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
330 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
791 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
4k 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
730 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
414 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
302 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
507 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
956 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
882 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
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
6answers
880 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
421 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
630 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
647 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
608 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
4k 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
5answers
635 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
3answers
228 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
760 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
341 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
458 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
500 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
114 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
744 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 ...

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