All Questions

12
votes
5answers
580 views

How much should I describe things or persons, that are not important for the story?

I discussed a book with a friend, and he disliked that the author described a person who is dying shortly after and has no further effect on the story over a page or more. The same would go for ...
11
votes
4answers
351 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
2answers
222 views

What exactly is an editor?

I recently read the assertion that many great works of fiction were chiefly down the contribution of a good editor. I must admit I was a little taken aback by this statement. I had never really ...
10
votes
3answers
315 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
257 views

How to improve my skill at writing a question?

I'm a member of some SE sites, like SO and CSTheory. In those sites I'm an active member, I'm reading Q&A and also answering some questions or asking questions, but I think my writing is poor. I ...
9
votes
5answers
537 views

What's “fair use” for borrowing someone else's invented term?

Let's say I'm writing a sci-fi novel. I want to use a word which another writer has coined, which has become well-recognized outside the original book, for the name of an alien species in my story. I ...
9
votes
5answers
542 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 ...
9
votes
7answers
469 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
142 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
321 views

I'm afraid of [accidental] plagiarism

I've recently written a screenplay about an alien invasion. A friend immediately commented that he found similarities (some general ideas, plot devices) with Half-Life 2: Ep 2, which I haven't even ...
8
votes
5answers
159 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
449 views

How does one include sign language in a dialogue?

If one character is using sign language and lip reading while the other is speaking normally, how do you represent the lines of the former? Quotations with "he signed" attribution or italics? E.g. ...
8
votes
6answers
668 views

What to do if I can't meet my chapter word count?

I usually set a word count goal for each of my chapters, say 2000 words. But sometimes I can't meet that goal, for any number of reasons. What should I do: A. Continue anyway, and hope to increase ...
8
votes
3answers
267 views

I'm an editor who generally uses Word to communicate changes with my authors. Is Adobe's InCopy better for this task?

For all of my editing work I'm currently using Microsoft Word. But I've heard a bit about Adobe's InCopy being good for editing and publishing. Is it really better? What makes it better than Word?
7
votes
4answers
554 views

When quoting a person's informal speech, how much liberty do you have to make changes to what they say?

Even during a formal interview for a news article, people speak informally. They say "uhm", they cut off sentences half-way through, they interject phrases like "you know?", and they make innocent ...
7
votes
2answers
79 views

Does this FAQ accurately convey the mission of DIY.SE?

The DIY stack exchange is currently trying to make our FAQ more useful to new users, and I wondered if some folks from this community could take a look and help us to define ourselves better. This is ...
7
votes
5answers
9k views

All persons fictitious disclaimer — ideas regarding modification?

I'm creating a parody/spoof magazine which contains some "real" advertisements and businesses in. How should I word an "all persons fictitious" disclaimer to include fictitious businesses? This is ...
7
votes
4answers
227 views

What's a clear way to simulate web text in a story?

My novel includes excerpts of things like text from websites, tweets, and internet chats. I'm using Courier for the main novel font. Does switching to a san serif font make sense to represent the web ...
7
votes
2answers
285 views

How to emphasize a quote is written, not spoken?

In a similar question on EL&U, I asked about suggestions for indicating that a quote is written instead of spoken. Robusto's answer suggested several possible approaches: For longer quotes of ...
7
votes
2answers
363 views

How many liberties can one take with syntax and grammar rules when writing poetry?

I've begun to wrote a small fable in verse for my girlfriend, whereas she gets one part of the story for each day before Christmas since the 1st December. She likes it, however she tells me nearly ...
6
votes
4answers
170 views

Is my serial-killer novel horror or crime?

I'm writing a novel which centers around a serial killer and his victims. I'm having a lot of trouble deciding whether it belongs in the horror genre (it's a disturbing, horrific slasher, and a lot of ...
6
votes
1answer
121 views

Should I include my email address in an ebook?

I am wondering if it is appropriate to include my email address on the title page of my short stories on Amazon Kindle. If so, is it wise to use one obtained from say Yahoo because it will not change ...
6
votes
4answers
222 views

How can I convey dates (with ordering) for events happening under different dating systems, e.g. a Sci-Fi story spread over the galaxy?

So I want to write a Sci-Fi where humans have spread across the solar system and into the galaxy. There are multiple stories going across at several different times. E.g.: Aliens attack Pluto 3 ...
6
votes
2answers
725 views

What permissions do I need to write a non-fiction book based on personal interviews?

I am writing a non-fiction book based on recorded interviews with several people. I have recorded verbal consent to be interviewed for the book from each person. One of the interviewees has since ...
6
votes
2answers
227 views

I want to explore the psychology of a ruthless, macho killer. What mistakes should I avoid?

This is a follow-up to another question. I asked "Should my readers be able to identify with the bad guy?" and got an excellent answer which explains the continuum of "identifiability" for bad guys. ...
6
votes
2answers
482 views

How do co-authors' rights to a manuscript work?

When an individual writes a novel, he owns all rights over the manuscript until he starts selling those rights to others. What is the situation when the novel is a collaborative work? How are such ...
6
votes
2answers
153 views

Finding words through meanings

Is there a place or a type of dictionary or even a good method, that instead of searching for a word, I can search for a meaning and get more words that have similar idea or meaning? For example, if ...
6
votes
2answers
298 views

How to obtain a thoughtful critique of a job application cover letter?

Sometimes, not always, when searching for my next position or project, I make an effort to write an interesting cover letter, one intended to convey images and passion, a story. I want it to be a ...
6
votes
3answers
309 views

How explicit should a YA novel be?

For a romance YA novel, how explicit can it be? Are there certain descriptions or words that shouldn't be used?
6
votes
7answers
2k views

How To Avoid Using Cliches In Storylines?

How is it possible to avoid cliches in storylines that you are writing? Obviously, there are external sources of influences as you read more and more. It would be possible that we are subconsciously ...
6
votes
8answers
894 views

Correct spelling errors while writing or after you've finished?

With the "write, don't edit" rule in mind, how should one handle mistyping? I usually stop or go back to fix the error as soon as I spot it, but often I feel this breaks the flow of writing. Should ...
6
votes
4answers
260 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
347 views

Is it unusual to use product placement within a fictional novel, and what are the legalities around this?

We intend to use the name of a well known brand within our novel and have written to them to gain permission to use their name. They have got back in touch today to say they would be honoured for us ...
5
votes
6answers
925 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
260 views

How can I get book my non-fiction book reviewed by professional reviewers?

I had my book reviewed by people who are interested in the topic of the book. Now interested in reviews by professional book reviewers. What is the appropriate way - directly approaching potential ...
5
votes
2answers
147 views

What exercises will help me write my co-author's character?

I'm working on a novel together with my co-author, K. K's come up with this great character - a sassy were-cat name Garlic. Unfortunately, I'm having a really tough time writing for Garlic - K has a ...
5
votes
7answers
592 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
254 views

Querying for a setting-heavy speculative fiction novel

I'm an attentive follower of Janet Reid's Query Shark, and I've learned a lot. But Reid doesn't represent speculative fiction, which seems to present wrinkles of its own. Particularly, Query Shark ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

No English degree, what are my chances on successfully publishing a novel?

I don't have an English or Writing-related degree in any way. As of right now, I have no degree, but what I mean is that I'm not even pursuing a degree in writing. How does this hurt my chances? Do ...
5
votes
3answers
281 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
263 views

How to shorten meandering dialogue?

My story Cured (which I've asked about before, but has undergone major revisions since then), has an extremely large section of dialogue that annoys my beta tester. I agree with her that it should be ...
4
votes
4answers
191 views

Punctuating dialogue with oneself

I am wondering what the convention is for punctuating dialogue with oneself. In particular, if a character speaks to himself, do the words need to be put in open and closed quotes? Note that the ...
4
votes
6answers
874 views

How many errors should I expect from a proofreader?

I hired a proofreader (typos, commonly confused words, minor grammar issues etc) to look at my work, which I plan to self publish. She found most typos, but from a 66,000 word novel, missed about 10. ...
4
votes
2answers
253 views

Is it safe to write about a fictional murder in a real-life location?

I am writing a novel, and part of the plot has one character killing another in a specific real-life location. I mean the setting is extremely specific - for example, a particular hotel, or one ...
4
votes
3answers
507 views

Can a literary agent be hired?

I've sent my manuscript to tens of literary agents. Strangely enough, I received no positive response. My question: Can I hire a literary agent? If yes, how much it costs? Are there other ways ...
4
votes
1answer
443 views

When to use the character's name and when to use she/he?

This is the first short story where I'm using actual names for the characters. Here is a sample: "Sorry for the question," Jun said. "But why don' you have friends?" Ling glanced at him, then ...
4
votes
4answers
556 views

Write to the finish, or edit as you go?

Someone asked this question in another forum, and I thought I'd bounce it around in here to see what kind of responses we get. If you are working on writing a new book, is it better to just write all ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Is Postscript still useful in the age of email?

"Post script is usually written when a writer forgets to write something on the main body of the letter and wants to add on to what he had written on the letter." But in this age of email and word ...
4
votes
3answers
201 views

What revisions for this draft would be more readable and/or more humorous?

Notes: My audience knows that adrenaline and epinephrine are synonyms. I'm new! I'm sorry if I abuse the site by posting this! Please critique ruthlessly. I would send by Facebook message to a ...
3
votes
3answers
136 views

Is it OK to have two different POVs in a same paragraph (third-person omniscient narrator)?

This is my first time writing a third-person omniscient narrator. And just got stucked in a dilemma. This is the opening of the story: Once again Kuo found himself standing face to face with ...

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