5
votes
4answers
496 views

What makes a good action scene?

Action, in any storytelling medium, is the relationship between build up and pay off. While cinema may emphasize the payoff (pyrotechnics play well to theater-going crowds) it seems that the written ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

What are some strategies for developing basic writing skills? Beginning Writing (again)

I have a friend who is going back to college after a decade, and is quickly finding out that his/her writing skills are not up to snuff. He/she writes in a style suited more for Facebook than ...
5
votes
5answers
663 views

How do authors gain strong familiarity with archaic and extremely rare words?

I keep thinking about this because I've lately been reading Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, and it's just ridiculous. I have to look up 1-2 words per sentence sometimes, something I'm only used to ...
5
votes
4answers
8k views

Should you specify camera action in a film script?

Some scripts I read specify the exact camera angle of every shot-- where the camera starts, what we see, how it will move during the scene. And some scripts are a little less specific. Is this only ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

Where can I find paying markets for flash fiction?

I've written a great deal of flash fiction, < 1000 word stories. I know I can send them out to literary journals and online literary journals, but are there paying markets for this sort of thing?
4
votes
4answers
988 views

Strunk and White vs “Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace” by Williams and Colomb

I'd like to improve my writing and have been considering getting either The Elements of Style by Strunk and White or Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace by Williams and Colomb. What are their ...
4
votes
2answers
4k views

Should a flashback be in past tense or past perfect?

Assuming the story itself is in past tense, normally when I go further into the past I'd use past perfect: He had first met her at the grocery store, six months prior. However, which is more ...
3
votes
2answers
714 views

What can I do to make my writing less choppy?

Recently and in the past I have been practicing writing as a hobby. I enjoy the creative pleasure it provides, but am hitting major road blocks in the process. My trouble is in seeing the big ...
3
votes
2answers
307 views

Does this sign-up email announcement sound friendly and conversational?

This is version 2 of this post The intended audience is from 16-45 m/f, they have given me their email address and will recieve this email because they signed up for a mystery service I'm creating. ...
2
votes
6answers
398 views

Are there any free programs for screen writers

Screenwriting has a very strict format that Microsoft Word cannot fully match. Are there any good screenwriting word processors out there that are free?
2
votes
4answers
2k views

Software recommendations for magazine layout?

I use Word now but I would like to find a better software for laying out a magazine. In this magazine, I would like to create columns (2 or 3 depending on the page), insert image on 1, 2 or 3 columns ...
2
votes
6answers
282 views

Building empathy with a character and interest in a story

I've written several chapters of a (fiction) story. I wasn't happy so I spent some time reading about fiction, and trying to figure out what was wrong with it. I came to the conclusion that, while ...
2
votes
1answer
106 views

Story length and the term used

At what page number would a short story become a novella and at what point does a novella become a book manuscript? Is there a specific length that the story has to be to achieve to use those terms?
16
votes
14answers
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
476 views

How to get feedback about the quality of one's fictional writing from friends unbiased by the friendship?

It is a little strange to ask, but are there ways to get feedback from friends about the quality of fictional writing (whether they liked it, not more objective aspects like spelling/grammar/etc.) ...
14
votes
5answers
3k views

How do you come up with non-fiction story ideas?

My biggest problem is that I'm often at a dearth of ideas. I can target a publication or radio show or whatnot once I've got it, but I'm just not good at coming up with them. Tips?
13
votes
7answers
575 views

Should you read your own genre?

In terms of novel writing, I tend to avoid my own genre, at least for the most part. Some of the reasons why: Genre Blindness / Genre Trap: Too much reading of your own genre blinds you to the ...
13
votes
4answers
196 views

Are there any good magazines about writing?

As in all other fields I'm interested in, I love to have a subscribtion that makes sure some hugely inspirational material gets dropped into my mailbox once in a while. I'm not looking for magazines ...
12
votes
8answers
474 views

I'm not a great pantser; what kind of preparation do I need for NaNoWriMo?

I'm very appreciative of NaNoWriMo's "your first step is writing a crappy first draft" credo, and I like the motivation that NaNoWriMo encourages. I'm precisely at the point where what I feel I need ...
12
votes
2answers
832 views

What are advantages/disadvantages to use a CC-license for your writings?

What are the implications, if I choose a Creative-Commons-license for my work? Cory Doctorow seems fine with this. Is this exceptional?
12
votes
3answers
411 views

Podcasts useful for improving writing skills

Any podcasts that can help with writing skills? (One per answer please, I'll add my own fave to get started.)
11
votes
7answers
537 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
3answers
273 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
1answer
47k 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?
10
votes
6answers
212 views

How can I edit my own, very old work?

I have about a hundred pages of a novel I wrote in high school, I like the concept behind the writing but I'm finding it extremely difficult to go back and read/edit it again. I last edited the ...
9
votes
13answers
2k views

Does a technical writer need a technical background?

Does a technical writer need a technical background?
9
votes
4answers
616 views

New digital ways of presenting a novel in 2011?

The traditional way of presenting a novel is in a book. I know about e-books too. Do you know another digital ways of presenting a novel? For instance, a blog, a twitter novel or something like the ...
8
votes
5answers
659 views

Methods for creating slang

I am interested in creating slang or a vernacular for a particular group in my story. I want it to be distinctive and a definite marker for in-group/out-group, but not incomprehensible. I'm not ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Should I care if my short story has the same title as someone else's book?

It appears to be a pretty obscure book. It's on Amazon, but there are no descriptions or reviews. From the cover, I'd say it was a kids book, which would put it in a different market. Let's assume ...
8
votes
2answers
476 views

What is the key reference documentation and how should I cite BASH?

I originally posted this question at SO, but two users there suggested that I take it here. I am writing a scientific research paper, and I want to know if it is appropriate to cite bash, and if so, ...
8
votes
2answers
490 views

Out of this world… Giving it time?

I am starting to write a fantasy story. For the first time, i am using computer software to help organize my story. The program confronted me with a question. What is the birthday of a character? It'...
8
votes
7answers
466 views

Potential confusion: referring to home planet as “Earth”

I'm writing a science fiction story and it's based in another galaxy, colonised by humans originally on a geographically equivalent "Earth". My current usage refers to it as "Earth" and provides a ...
8
votes
6answers
331 views

Is it safe to create a wiki for a book (or something featured in it) before the book is published?

I'm working on a sci-fi novel, and it contains a lot of fictional creatures, which are in some ways separate from the novel because I came up with them a while before I actually got the idea to write ...
8
votes
3answers
23k views

Attributing quotes to fictional characters

Let's say, for example, that I want to post my favourite quote from Babylon 5 somewhere: "I'm not saying what I'm saying. I'm not saying what I'm thinking. As a matter of fact, I'm not thinking ...
8
votes
7answers
329 views

What are the reasons behind Writer's block?

I read the question Help! I've got Writer's Block which explains solutions to the problem. I was wondering why someone gets writer's block? Is it anxiety? Is it due to the fact that the ...
7
votes
10answers
1k views

How do I keep the plot interesting in a humorous book?

I am about to start writing a fantasy-comedy novel. A problem I found in 1-2 books of this genre is that the plot becomes weak, and the story starts to slow down. The reason I believe this happens is ...
7
votes
5answers
333 views

How important is being well read for a writer

Back in the mists of time, I would put a lot of time into reading, and would read pretty much anything I could lay my hands on. Then I started writing, and it is very very rare that I read any ...
7
votes
6answers
3k views

How to deal with a story that 95% of it takes place in a different language country and the protagonist speaks in it?

The protagonist is from a country, and then in a certain stage of the story he moves to another that speaks another language. The protagonist learns their language and talks with them in it. Movies (...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

How to write great movie review?

What should we write in a movie review?
7
votes
2answers
524 views

How not to overuse ellipsis?

I always… feel… so… expressive when I see this little nicy dots!.. I just can't stop to put them more… and more… and more… Please teach me how to stop!.. Update: I guess people misunderstood me. I ...
7
votes
4answers
278 views

How do I find a suitable copywriter?

I am in the process of creating a web application. I will need some copy written for various pages in the site and some of the marketing marketing material. I am contemplating hiring a copywriter to ...
6
votes
6answers
2k views

How to come up with a good title?

I'm done with my first novel, and I'm about to start writing to agents/publishers. The only detail I don't have yet is a good title! I have a couple of ideas but both suck. I had the illusion that ...
6
votes
2answers
789 views

Should blog posts be reformatted to past tense after an event?

A writer is doing blog coverage of an event which is time sensitive (happens annually). The writer uses present tense for the coverage posts. Should the writer go back and reformat the old posts to ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Character details of male archetypes

In this link about character development, the author describes basic male archetypes that are found in a romance novel. http://www.likesbooks.com/eight.html My question is: although this is very ...
6
votes
6answers
426 views

I am a 16 year old who wants to be a writer, but can I?

I'm 16 years old and I've wrote about 4 to 5 different books. I have two that I think would be good enough for the public to read. I've been writing stories since I was 10. I want to be published but ...
6
votes
4answers
312 views

Mixing topics in a blog

I was reading this Jakob Nielsen Alertbox about the top 10 weblog design mistakes. Mistake #8 was: Mixing Topics If you publish on many different topics, you're less likely to attract a ...
6
votes
3answers
358 views

Is it easy to change genre?

I read somewhere that one should choose ones genre carefully, as it is hard to change later. Although there are exceptions, most writers, even established ones, find it hard to change genre, and have ...
6
votes
5answers
265 views

Writing about a subject on which you have no expertise?

So I signed up for a novel workshop, and within a month the first chapter will be due. Problem is I that want to use characters who are well-versed in mathematics, especially group theory or model ...
6
votes
4answers
261 views

Least possible editing effort if a text is for multiple media?

I want to write a text with some basic styles and images. I plan to use it on a blog, maybe later in a wiki. And there should be a pdf version. I am writing about a software. So there will be ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Do episodes of the show House follow a constant structural pattern?

I've seen a few episodes of House M.D., and I wonder, are the episodes written according to a fixed structural pattern? If so, what are the details, and why does such a structure make the show ...

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