8
votes
3answers
153 views

What to do about readers reading into things?

I have certain people in my life who insist on reading way too much into my writing. As it is, I do my best to avoid giving my characters initials or names or appearances that coincide even a little ...
5
votes
3answers
130 views

Where is the best place to “twist” a series?

I have plans for a fantasy trilogy in which the main characters defeating the threat in each book simply makes way for the new threat of the next book. This way, the main characters can continue to ...
8
votes
3answers
155 views

How to go about breaking up a looooong YA story?

A while ago, I played around with a short story idea in a genre I don't normally write (Young Adult fiction). The story took on a life of its own, growing quickly to a novella, and now is definitely ...
18
votes
11answers
2k views

How do you track random thoughts and ideas?

If you're like me, you get story ideas anywhere and everywhere. If I'm at a computer, I'll write down the idea in onenote or outlook or scrivener (depending what's open). If I just have my phone, I'll ...
13
votes
13answers
709 views

Resources for character development

I'm weak at building characters. What resources are there to create rich characters? I'm thinking beyond name generators: Quirks, biography, diseases like allergies, hobbies and jobs, wealth, omens, ...
28
votes
11answers
908 views

How do I recover my confidence after a harsh writing group?

Having majored in writing in my undergraduate studies, I spent lots of time getting critiques from my fellow students, some of whom are now published and many of whom were excellent writers. The ...
29
votes
14answers
6k views

Do Writers Use LaTex/TeX for writing?

I'm quite interested in the LaTex/TeX system and am wondering if any other fellow writers use it frequently to write in.
6
votes
5answers
651 views

Character Development - How much is too much?

I've read loads of books where the reaction and development of characters seems to extreme for the events that effect them in the story. However not having any development makes the character boring, ...
15
votes
9answers
1k views

Is there a rule of thumb about the number of pages a work of fiction should have?

To be considered a "real" book, is there a rule of thumb about the number of pages one should have? If it has too few then people call it a short story (e.g., Fahrenheit 451) and if it has too many ...
8
votes
3answers
6k views

Is there a standardized size for Books?

I noticed that my softcover/paperback books are all roughly the same size, but have slight differences. Are there standardized sizes (and are they different between US and Europe, just as US Letter ...
13
votes
7answers
796 views

What helpful writing exercises do you use?

The two I do most are dialog and description related. When I meet a person or I'm just sitting people watching, I try to write their description in my head as if I was describing a character in a ...
12
votes
4answers
311 views

Are “morning pages” useful?

I've found an interesting private online journaling website: 750words.com From "About" section of the website: I've long been inspired by an idea I first learned about in The Artist's Way called ...
17
votes
4answers
333 views

Resources about different people types?

I'm native German, but trying to write in English for various reasons. One of the big points in a story is to keep the characters very distinct from each other, and that requires some knowledge about ...
14
votes
12answers
917 views

For Fantasy Stories, Should You Include a Map At the Beginning of the Book?

If you're writing a fantasy novel, would it be best to include a map of the geography that the story takes place in at the beginning of the book? I've seen quite a lot of fantasy books (Redwall ...
20
votes
10answers
2k views

Organizing your Universe?

When writing, I always have tons of ideas about the universe I'm creating as a whole: People, Places, Timelines. I'm just struggling to organize it. I'd like to avoid inconsistencies in later ...
12
votes
3answers
358 views

Avoiding Deus Ex Machina resolutions?

Most Crime/Thriller Novels usually have a sudden, unexpected plot twist that puts the main character in a really hopeless situation. One way to resolve this is by using a "Deus Ex Machina", that is a ...
3
votes
3answers
269 views

What techniques do you use to invent snappy turns of phrase?

We all know clichés are bad[1] and that fresh, inventive and "fitting" phrases will delight and entertain our readers. What techniques can be used to invent such phrases? Sometimes they just ...
9
votes
10answers
887 views

How much sex is allowed in a non-romance novel?

Exactly how much sex would would most publishers allow to be in a today's novel? Does it vary from publisher to a publisher? I'm not talking about romance novels where apparently everything goes. I ...
6
votes
6answers
247 views

Are there some good books about scriptwriting to study?

After a little googling I found this: The Complete Book of Scriptwriting What are other good examples?
11
votes
7answers
272 views

Should I translate my own writings into a second language I also know well?

Nabokov was very discouraged when he translated his Lolita into Russian. And he spent half a year on it. So should I try the translation myself?
10
votes
7answers
588 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 ...
15
votes
1answer
2k views

Are Names of Characters Copyrighted by Authors?

Are names of characters copyrighted by authors? For example, the character "Eragon" from the Inheritance Cycle series, or a name that you've generated using an online name generator that you'd like to ...
62
votes
18answers
4k views

Do You Use Any Version Controlling Software/Methods As Writers?

As writers, do you use any version controlling software to track and monitor what you write? For example, if you accidentally deleted or overwritten a paragraph that you'd like to have it back? ...
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 ...
8
votes
8answers
1k views

A rhyming dictionary worth bookmarking online or purchasing?

Has anyone come across any really good rhyming dictionaries? If so, what makes it worth having/bookmarking? (eg. completeness/ease of use/absence of really sketchy suggestions)
4
votes
1answer
121 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
605 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 ...
7
votes
7answers
905 views

What linguistic tools do you use?

I've got a Flip Dictionary, a Thesaurus, my trusty Strunk&White, and I use the almighty GOOG(le) should I ever be unsure of the definition of a word. What does everyone else use? Is there some ...
7
votes
4answers
246 views

Is there a Market for Poetry with a Fixed Verse Form

I find that when I structure my poetry according to an accepted form such as a villanelle, sestina, or sonnet I am able to think more clearly because of the boundaries of the form, and believe my best ...
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 ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

How to switch pov characters mid-scene without jarring the reader?

I am writing a novel wherein there are many characters whose thoughts are key to telling it properly. In an earlier draft, I attempted to have any given chapter told from the point of view of exactly ...
24
votes
4answers
12k views

How Much Can You Make From Writing a Book?

Obviously this question has a lot of different answers. I'm interested in the typical total profit that a writer might expect to see from: A NYT Bestseller A diet or self-help book that sells ...
11
votes
5answers
282 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, ...
9
votes
5answers
420 views

How can I get started screenwriting/playwriting?

I have some experience writing stories, but would like to beginning screenwriting. Are there any online guides to show how to get started and transition into writing for the stage, where ideas need to ...
7
votes
4answers
899 views

How do I get involved in writing for video games?

Many video games have deep storylines. This has been the case since the early text adventures where creative writing was all that existed to keep a player engaged in the game. I believe that some ...
10
votes
7answers
481 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 ...
4
votes
7answers
214 views

Works of literature that are (ostensibly) about the act of writing

A response to this question. What short stories, poems or other works of the literary art reflect (directly or indirectly) an author's experience as a writer? What messages do these pieces convey? ...
21
votes
9answers
549 views

Do I need to register my work to retain copyright?

What are the legal issues when submitting work to publishers? is there a risk of having my work stolen? How can you protect yourself from this? Is there an international "law" for this or is it ...
19
votes
2answers
266 views

Warning signs that a publisher may be shady?

Are there any specific signs (singular or groups of) that I should pay attention to when it comes to publishers? I have read about publishing houses that charge their authors quite large amounts of ...
8
votes
4answers
210 views

When the second person *view* is not an uninvited guest?

It is very strange to read the narrative from second person, but there are examples! Maybe there are a number of situations which are good for using second-person view?
19
votes
11answers
2k views

Could I reach the level of good writing style as non-native language speaker?

I currently write in Russian, but I think of switching to English to gain more audience and to play with both languages and linguistics. So could I ever reach the level of native English writers and ...
2
votes
3answers
59 views

Spelling style in academic papers

When an article is submitted to a conference or journal, is it better to use British or American spelling? Does it have to be according to the conference or journal's style (based on where it is being ...
8
votes
2answers
115 views

How can you submit your writings internationally?

I live in Argentina, and I've always wondered if (given the case of having something worthy) I'd be able to submit it to publishers in, for example, the USA. Of course the writing would be in English. ...
6
votes
3answers
115 views

Books about English writings

Can you recommend a good reference book about the basics of English writing?
5
votes
3answers
803 views

How to keep the reader engaged throughout the novel?

Some authors (a la Dan Brown in The Da Vinci Code) use an expected twist and unanswered question at the end of every chapter. Some (a la Stephen King) build deep characters that simply draw you in. ...
8
votes
1answer
231 views

Are different styles/storylines prefered in different languages/cultures?

I am German. Can I apply the hints for style or story-building given here, or by English authors, without a second thought to my own work written in German? Or are there differences in how style or ...
6
votes
3answers
112 views

When and how often edit the style and content of a story?

An early story I did I edited again and again to make it better. But in the end, I got the feeling the result was worse than before. Recently I tried to write (short-stories) in one go and only check ...
4
votes
4answers
638 views

Is there an accepted (or 'correct') way to write translations/subtitles for different materials (videos, articles, books, etc)?

There are many ways to go about translating various materials. For example, while subtitling videos from a different language into english, is it better to (or more acceptable) to do a literal ...
39
votes
39answers
2k views

What are good reads about writing?

What do you recommend as reading material to improve writing for beginners? If one recommendation is put per answer and can be voted separately a good list of resources should build up.
9
votes
4answers
152 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 ...

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