5
votes
4answers
273 views

think, I think, I don't think

I use "think", "I think" and "I don't think" in my writing a lot. Can you suggest a few ways to reduce it and few alternative ways of saying the same thing? Look at the below sentences I have ...
5
votes
3answers
331 views

Is there any standardized definition of a “Mary Sue”?

I've heard the term "Mary Sue" thrown around a lot, and it seems to mean different things to different people, but is always something negative about the way the character is written, not necessarily ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Believable (but easy) archaic English

Do you know any "shortcuts" to translating passages of my story into believably sounding archaic English? I mean, without taking a full school course? A crash course? An automatic service? A phrase ...
5
votes
4answers
667 views

How can I make description more natural to me?

Description is a weakness in my fiction. My understanding is that the first priority in fiction is to tell the story. Setting does this by providing props and indicating character mindsets, either ...
5
votes
7answers
405 views

Are fantasy books expected to be trilogies?

Lately, more and more fantasy books I've seen are part of a trilogy. Is this because readers like it, or is it a cynical plot by publishers to draw out the story longer, so they can make more money? ...
5
votes
2answers
285 views

Correct order for Thesis Front Matter

What is the correct order of the following pages comprising a doctoral thesis: Title, Abstract, Colophon, Copyright, Dedication, Preface, Acknowledgements, Table of Contents, List of Tables, List of ...
5
votes
4answers
248 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

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
4answers
436 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
99 views

Word Clouds and Phrase Clouds

I'm familiar with word clouds (or tag clouds) as used on blogs or on sites like Delicious. It seems to me that a tool similar to that could be of use to writers like me, who don't have an editor, when ...
4
votes
3answers
463 views

Where can I find a good online thesaurus?

Usually I just use the synonym suggestions at dictionary.com (or its tie-in site thesaurus.com) but it's pretty lame. Most of the synonyms it suggests are basic and well-known words I already know. In ...
4
votes
1answer
558 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
2answers
3k 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
235 views

Is this excerpt's style too matter-of-fact?

I get the feeling that this blurb is too... expositiony, not enough description. Too much "this happened and then this happened and then this happened". But I'm notoriously bad at evaluating myself - ...
4
votes
4answers
329 views

Which traditional presses publish poetry?

I would like to publish a poetry folio through my university press. My ex-poetry professor at my alma mater says that is possible, but the university will only publish me if I already have a book ...
4
votes
2answers
143 views

Finding freelance work

My partner is trying to get more freelance web copywriting work and as an avid StackOverflow user I thought I would try to see what the fantastic stackexchange community thinks. There has to be ...
4
votes
2answers
74 views

Where and how to look for a picture for illustration?

Do you think a writing can always benefit from the use of a visual illustration? If so, how to find for free or buy an appropriate picture, photo, drawing etc.? What are practical recommendations?
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
128 views

Legal and Social effect of story involving real life people

I have written a novel based on my past life experiences, however the story involves a few people who might not like the idea of getting their stories published. What is the legal and social effects ...
3
votes
4answers
269 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
214 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
2k 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
6answers
72 views

How to keep going after a failed project?

I just came here from a link on a Tumblr and I thought it was the perfect place to ask my questions since I didn't have to sign up. I'm terribly sorry if I mess this up, but here goes: I was posting ...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

What are the tool choices for producing technical documentation in PDF and web site ready HTML?

My company currently maintains our technical documentation (User's Guide) in Google Docs. With each release I produce a PDF that we host on our website. Here are the features of Google Docs that work ...
2
votes
4answers
229 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
4k 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
519 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
331 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
329 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
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 ...
1
vote
2answers
52 views

Should I use letters or digits in the following case?

De-Shi was holding something that looked like a price tag. It had the numbers 024 written on it. "Isn't that what cows wear as earrings?" "Yeah," De-Shi said, still inspecting the ...
1
vote
4answers
616 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
387 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
251 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
345 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
893 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
247 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
241 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
7answers
416 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
5answers
593 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
363 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
324 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
590 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 ...
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 ...
9
votes
4answers
263 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
586 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
4answers
150 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
774 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
3answers
514 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
164 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 ...

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