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
299 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
12answers
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
14answers
8k views

What do you do if you enjoy writing, but have no ideas?

I've done some writing in the past - mostly short descriptive pieces, although I once wrote 9000+ words of a story idea I had. What I enjoy about it are the technical, intellectual, creative ...
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
10answers
302 views

An alternative to saying 'users' when describing features

I'm creating some copy describing new web-app features for a number of different audiences (users, managers of sections of the site, owners of sub-sites which use our platform etc.). I'm finding ...
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 ...
11
votes
7answers
377 views

Do books have to be written in sequence?

So can we write the interesting action bits first, then add in the in between stuff, that maybe needed to understand the story or characters, but isnt so exciting by itself? For example the ...
11
votes
5answers
321 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, ...
11
votes
4answers
411 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
599 views

When should I avoid the passive voice? When might I use it?

An opinion exists that overusing of the passive voice can make writing harder for reading and understanding. Is it true for all kinds of writing? How to follow this advice without overemphasizing it? ...
11
votes
7answers
2k views

How can I keep secret a major detail known to the POV protagonist?

How do you write a story where the point-of-view character knows something, but you want to keep it a secret from the reader until later in the story? How do you effectively suppress a vital detail ...
11
votes
3answers
275 views

Is it a good idea to write a summary of a plot before writing the full version?

Sometimes when I write a plot I get confused about the motivations of the characters and how events connect as I change elements. Is it a good idea to write a summary first in order to organise ...
11
votes
4answers
467 views

How do you vary dialogue within stories?

How do you vary dialogue within stories? I often find myself writing "'sentence/dialogue' said character", and it sometimes gets really repetitive. How is this managed? These are the only words that ...
11
votes
5answers
870 views

Can Readers Relate to a Book without Humans?

I've been working on a story idea for a few years now, during which I designed a world (fantasy-based) in which it would take place. The thing is that because this is a different planet, I thought it ...
11
votes
5answers
338 views

Why do ebooks often mimic the layout of the printed page?

I was recently editing a novel destined to be published primarily in e-book form, and made a list of pre-press instructions, to be followed when the final text is agreed upon. Some of these ...
11
votes
7answers
577 views

The polymath's dilemma…?

The main character of a YA story I am working on is fast becoming a polymath, i.e. someone with a broad base of skills and interests across unrelated areas of endeavor. I really like how this ...
11
votes
2answers
899 views

Do authors get paid for quotes and attributions used on book covers?

I think I know the answer to this, and my guess is "No", but I don't have a definitive reason what that guess is. When you see on the cover of a book, not from a newspaper or reviewer, but from ...
11
votes
3answers
343 views

At what point does an author deal with an editor?

I'm just wondering: at which point do you have to deal with the editor, and what are the (possible) consequences? That is, when is the editor's involvement greatest? After or before a deal? I'd ...
11
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 ...
11
votes
5answers
933 views

How to start writing a book?

I'm new to writing and I'm still young (preteen young). I want some advice on writing and help. How am I gonna start my book? What is the best way to begin writing a book?
11
votes
2answers
513 views

Waiting for response to full MS

About three months ago, an agent that I had queried responded with a request for the full manuscript of the novel that I had written to her about. It's now been nearly three months, and I haven't ...
11
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
15k views

Where can I find sales numbers for books?

I'm a writer, working on a non-fiction book proposal. Finding public, free sales numbers for comparable titles is nearly impossible. BookScan is a subscriber service run by Nielsen. "Above the ...
11
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 ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Finding the 'voice' of a character

This is a very general question that I want to throw out there just to get some insight into different approaches used. I have my own, but am intrigued to know what others might try. I'm wondering ...
11
votes
1answer
1k 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: ...
11
votes
3answers
249 views

How to write a novel if you only have five minutes here, ten minutes there to work on it?

I once read an interview with some Fantasy author, who told how she wrote her first novel in the breaks between classes when she was working as a teacher, because she couldn't write at home due to her ...
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
7answers
3k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
487 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
160 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
3answers
391 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
499 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
218 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
1k 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
6answers
6k views

How do I cleanly show the passage of time, with multiple, varying time scales?

Semi-complex idea, more easily seen than explained, but here we go. I was re-reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone recently to get a feel for the way J.K. Rowling passes an entire year in a ...
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
240 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
275 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
3answers
8k views

From Markdown to .odt and vice-versa: a possible distraction-free writing workflow?

I'm writing a master thesis (Sociology) and I'm really penalized by distractions. I would happily shift to a markdown full-screen environment but I wrote an half of the thesis in .odt via LibreOffice, ...
11
votes
1answer
48k 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
7answers
541 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
96 views

How to clarify the objects of a sentence's two pronouns?

I am trying to describe a process. There are two players in the scenario. Player A tries to find player B. If player A finds player B, then player A tags player B. Something like that. Here is an ...
11
votes
3answers
131 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
6k 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 manual][...
11
votes
1answer
116 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 ...

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