3
votes
4answers
249 views

Attributives in dialogue

I normally stick with "he said" and "she said" to keep things simple and transparent to the reader but wondering about questions. Is "she asked" and "he asked" appropriate when a character asks a ...
3
votes
3answers
208 views

What's a good program for tracking submissions?

What's a good program or technique for tracking submissions? I need something that'll keep track of who I've submitted to, when, if they've replied, and preferably tell me how long it's been out. Any ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Which edition of Strunk & White's The Elements of Style?

I'm interesting in picking up a copy of Strunk & White's The Elements of Style. Unfortunately I'm a little overwhelmed by the minor variations. Amazon lists 12 different paperback formats, plus a ...
2
votes
4answers
218 views

What are these extra phrases added to the beginning of sentences called?

I find that my students are using a lot of these phrases at the beginning of their sentences: First... First of all... To begin with... All in all... The other reason is that... Above all... At last ...
2
votes
4answers
3k views

How to write in past tense?

This is one of those questions much like when you suddenly forget someone's name who you see every day. But, say I write this: Anne fidgeted with her hands and looked towards the door, although ...
2
votes
5answers
475 views

Techniques for creating variety in prose

When I write my short stories, I usually end up using a direct style as follows: Tim remembered the day he had to say goodbye to Cathy. He did not really have a choice. He had to let go of Cathy, ...
2
votes
1answer
328 views

Are there any contests for teenage writers?

Are there writing competitions/awards for novel length works by authors under 18? There are certainly prizes for professional novelists, and amateur novelists, but I'm looking for something for ...
2
votes
6answers
319 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
2answers
127 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
69 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?
1
vote
4answers
563 views

Is this stylized writing successful or gimmicky?

This is a ~3000-word piece, with deliberately stylized writing. Is the style of this piece successful or gimmicky? Does it read smooth or choppy? He sat on top of the highway. City on a hill. He ...
1
vote
2answers
355 views

Tenses I should use in a translated-novel

I have been translating a novel that is originally written in my native language into English. Considering that the book's plot is the author's experience of a life that has happened in the past, I've ...
1
vote
3answers
250 views

What are jobs that prefer or require MFAs in Creative Writing?

Other than getting adjunct work with your shiny new MFA, what other professions like them? (I'm gainfully employed, and while I think my MFA helps me, it is in not appreciated by my employer in any ...
0
votes
8answers
317 views

Genre conventions: Which end do readers expect?

I need help with the concept of my story: My protagonists live in a mild dystopia. Think of your own country today ;-) They have the opportunity to kill about 20 persons, which will cause a ...
-1
votes
1answer
839 views

Software that converts handwriting to computer text [closed]

Wondering if anyone had recommendations for software that converts handwriting (fairly legible penmanship) to computerized text? Any hiccups or bottlenecks in the process/workflow? Sensitivity to ink ...
-2
votes
8answers
236 views

What does/would it mean to code a novel?

I have a few interests, and among them belong fiction, math and computer science, and so naturally I like to imagine/think about the possibility of a piece of fiction living in the intersection of ...
12
votes
7answers
391 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
232 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
584 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
354 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
320 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
258 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
563 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
568 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
473 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
144 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
4answers
720 views

How can I ensure my POV character's writing isn't too sophisticated?

I am writing a piece which features two POV characters. A conceit of the story is that the POVs are writing their chapters, so each one reflects not just their personality, but how my characters ...
8
votes
2answers
419 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
163 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
502 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
679 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
5answers
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 ...
8
votes
3answers
274 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
3answers
465 views

In end user documentation, should screenshots come before or after the text that references them?

The end user documentation I'm writing makes use of screenshots (and partial screenshots) to show the user what I'm referring to in procedural instructions for or conceptual explanations of the ...
7
votes
4answers
715 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
80 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
11k 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
230 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
291 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
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 ...
7
votes
2answers
383 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
1answer
123 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
231 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
811 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
279 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
234 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
503 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
4answers
517 views

How can I accurately represent young adult dialogue?

There was a recent question that caused quite a stir around here, not so much for the question itself, but more the purpose of the question. That aside, there was a valid question being asked, and it ...
6
votes
2answers
158 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
306 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 ...

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