11
votes
2answers
794 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
123 views

Should DOIs ever be preferred to ISBNs?

Any ISBN yields a DOI. For example, the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. has ISBN 978-0-226-10420-1, which maps to doi:10.978.226/104201, allowing any book to be digitally identified in a reference ...
3
votes
2answers
87 views

Which amount of side-story is acceptable?

If you grow your writing from short-stories, to longer stories and novels you will have to create more content. Most of it will be more detailed description of settings, people and plot. Also you will ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Best humorous exaggerated comparisons

I love funny comparisons in newspaper articles or other texts. I am talking about things like "exciting like a winter morning" (except funny - I don't know any good English ones). What are the ...
10
votes
3answers
353 views

How can multiple viewpoints be used without breaking the flow of the story?

I'm currently writing a story in first-person that has a connection to a series of external events - things that the main character has no way of knowing but are vital to the progression of the ...
15
votes
13answers
3k views

How much swearing is TOO much? (And how much is not enough?)

I've noticed that some of the most successful writers refrain from using profanity, such as Stephanie Meyer and Norman Mailer. Are readers turned off by swearing in books? More importantly, is it ...
14
votes
6answers
807 views

What are some ingredients of really engaging non-fiction?

Some of the best non-fiction writers, in terms of sales at least, seem to be able to write in a really engaging and easy to read style that makes their work hard to put down. For example, ...
4
votes
4answers
332 views

What genre is a book in an imaginary world but no other fantasy element?

I'm trying to figure out what genre the following is, if any. (I asked a similar question, but this is different now, and more detailed.) The story takes place in an imaginary world. It's more or ...
7
votes
9answers
2k views

What are some examples of modern original plots?

In a comment on this answer, a valuable community contributor suggested that it is possible to be totally original in writing, despite the fact that other valuable community members have stated that ...
13
votes
8answers
500 views

Is it so bad to end up with a “done before” plot?

I'm not delusional about the nature of the science fiction novel I'm (very) slowly working on. A brief run down might be as follows: Set 10's of millennia in Human's future but in a neighbouring ...
23
votes
10answers
556 views

How can one make technical issues more accessible to a non-technical audience?

Most of what I write is non-fiction -- technical books, blog posts on open source topics, political stuff, etc. Lately, I find that some of the topics I am trying to present are much more technical ...
10
votes
7answers
277 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
187 views

Techniques for lengthening or merging chapters

When I'm working on a novel, I have a tendency to write short chapters (1k-3k words). This is not a problem, per se, but I sometimes feel the need to have one or two longer chapters to slow down the ...
12
votes
5answers
559 views

Can I self-publish, and how much would it cost?

With the barrier to having a publisher sign a new author seemingly high, especially without prior success or experience, are there any good author-funded alternatives out there to the repeated mailing ...
3
votes
4answers
273 views

What genre is my writing?

I'm working on a couple pieces that take place in imaginary worlds. They involve made-up cities, countries, rivers, history, etc. However, the level of technology and the social structures in the ...
10
votes
3answers
396 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 ...
12
votes
8answers
437 views

How much leeway can be expected from an editor regarding my preference for nonstandard punctuation?

As I hope to present a unique style to the world, as I am not especially tolerant of being told I'm doing things "wrong" when that's a subjective statement related to writing style, and as I've never ...
6
votes
4answers
274 views

Using a world created by someone else for your own fiction

What is the procedure if you want to set a story in a world created by someone else?If, after reading someone else's novel I came up with some neat plot that would fit into that novel's world, but ...
11
votes
7answers
481 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
742 views

How do you convince your publisher that your story is good?

Any suggestions on how to convince your publisher that your story is good, and that it would be a good idea to publish it?
29
votes
9answers
1k views

How does one deal with world builder's syndrome?

I am a planner in the extreme. I tend to drift toward fantasy oriented novels when writing; it's just what comes out. This means that I do quite a bit of planning for the world that the story will be ...
20
votes
14answers
1k views

How to deal with self-criticism?

I write non-fiction articles for my website and a weekly paid newsletter, and I’m doing that for some time now. However, I still struggle a lot with self-criticism, and find it hard to regard an ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

What's a normal word count for a children's novel or collection?

How many words are normal for a children's novel? Say 5th - 8th grade, if that's the best way to measure it.
5
votes
3answers
412 views

How long can a writer expect to write before publishing his/her first novel?

By "How long" I'm assuming from the time they actually start trying to actively publish to the time they finally get published. For example, I've been writing since I was 10 years old - but if I ever ...
102
votes
20answers
5k views

The “Rules” of Writing

There are a lot of axioms that get tossed around in creative writing courses, books on writing, and of course, the internet. Often, these little gems are explained to new writers as though they were ...
2
votes
4answers
9k views

Do you use the word “that” too much? [closed]

I find myself using the word "that" too much. How do you really know when you need that "that" word there? Like just now. I don't think I need "that" there. Do you have words you overuse?
2
votes
1answer
65 views

Suggest some arts schools for post-graduate in other field?

I have a bachelors and masters degree in Civil Engineering(Final yr Master's student). My hobby is playwriting. Now, I would like to pursue a career in arts. So, I'm looking for some universities ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Do Novels follow a 3 Act/2 Plot Point structure like most Movie Scripts?

Many Movie scripts use a Structure where there are 3 Acts (Setup, Climax, Resolution) with 2 Plot Points (end of Act 1 and end of Act 2) (Three Act Structure) I wonder if there are standards for ...
6
votes
4answers
99 views

Do you always revise your stories or do you sometimes move on?

When you finish a story, say a short story, not really intending to publish. Do you go back and revise it or let it be, starting on another story?
14
votes
5answers
5k views

What does active voice mean?

I was reading on here about passive voice but didn't really know what active voice was. I read some examples but was hoping for more insight. What does it mean to write with the active voice?
16
votes
8answers
2k views

What makes writing emotional?

Over the years, my English professors seem to have agreed on one thing: that I'm a superb technical writer, but terrible at eliciting emotional response in something like a story or an argumentative ...
34
votes
6answers
1k views

I have written my first novel and I think it's ready. What next?

I've completed my first novel and done as much editing as I think I can as the author. What should I do next in order to get this out there?
12
votes
3answers
1k views

What should be in a cover letter for short story submission to a magazine?

It's been about five years since I last submitted any of my work for publication, and my memory of what I was taught then to put in my cover letter is getting rusty. What kind of information should ...
7
votes
2answers
469 views

Is there any hope of a fictional short story being published?

I mean under 100k, probably less than 50k because it's a short story. Actually, I'm not sure how many words a short story has so I have two questions. How short is a short story and is it worth the ...
7
votes
2answers
413 views

How to identify a scene type?

What are the main types in which a scene can be classified, and what are the key concepts for each type? I am thinking something along the following (guessing the descriptions): suspense - scene ...
8
votes
5answers
667 views

Is this character generator useful?

After some feedback from this site and a training course, I developed a little tool to help with character generation. It's called "20 Questions" and works just like that: It picks 20 questions (or ...
4
votes
1answer
180 views

What are some helpful blogs for memoir writing?

I am interested in finding more online resources for memoir writing. Any ideas?
10
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
166 views

Good sites for descriptions/rules of different genres?

I just listenend to an episode of Writing Excuses where they discussed genre blending. I found the topic very inspirational, but as one tend to only read books of certain genres, I was wondering if ...
7
votes
1answer
107 views

Expositing a lack of racial difference

I have a story set in a fantasy-Africa, in which the protagonist must make her way from her rural home to a coastal city in order to seek medical treatment that will save her life. One beta reader for ...
2
votes
2answers
128 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 ...
16
votes
9answers
1k views

Tips for expanding my vocabulary?

Looking back through my texts, I noticed that I often use a lot of the same words and resort to using quite a basic vocabulary. I was wondering if there are any good exercises or anything else for ...
11
votes
4answers
209 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?
20
votes
7answers
452 views

How can one effectively organize scenes and snippets?

I tend to write bits of stories out of order. If I have a great idea for a scene, I want to get it down it while I have it, even if it doesn't come until three chapters later than the part I'm on ...
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 ...
16
votes
7answers
387 views

When editing for a person, how much can be changed?

The context is a technical document that is written by one person and then sent out for review by others. The reviewers change word tense, change from active to passive voice, and make other style ...
6
votes
3answers
728 views

Can someone explain set pieces?

I was using a book in a writing group that talked about set pieces, but I never really got a clear idea of what it is or how they're supposed to appear in writing. My impression was that you have a ...
6
votes
5answers
113 views

What are the most appropriate types of degrees (or kinds of schooling) that a would-be successful writer should aim to obtain?

What kinds of schooling should a teenager, trying to decide on a college, consider, if she is looking to grow to become a successful writer?
1
vote
3answers
149 views

How to choose the title for a tales book?

I'm publishing a tales book and I don't have a title for it. It's not for children and it's in spanish. update: These are the titles of the tales: El hijo del escritor Celular El pelo en el jabón ...
2
votes
2answers
235 views

Are there any useful guides to writing stories based in RPG universes/aimed at a role playing audience?

It seems that the RPG genre of books and stories have standard components, that fans have come to expect to see from authors. Is there a definitive guide somewhere to these components, with ...

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