9
votes
4answers
482 views

How do you determine if a plot device is too coincidental?

I see lazy plot devices as anything that is too coincidental. Person One just so happened to be in the 'area' when Person Two was attacked (then they end up running into each other a bunch of times ...
9
votes
5answers
516 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
2answers
121 views

When is it a good time to move on to another project?

I've seen it mentioned in software development the concept of Fail Early, Fail Often. Using failure as a learning process is important to get better at any craft. In my writing, I have a habit of ...
9
votes
4answers
141 views

When is it acceptable to refer to an undefined group of people in academic writing?

Within my students' college writing, I found much writing referring to essentially imaginary, or not well-defined groups of people. Here are some examples: These days, more and more people carpool ...
9
votes
2answers
273 views

Is it typical to add variation to the words used for a character's name to keep it spicy?

A friend has asked me to read through a chapter of his story and give my opinion. Lets say he has two main characters Mr John de Havilland and Mrs Sally de Havilland. I've noticed that the author ...
9
votes
4answers
278 views

Balancing loads of equally-important characters

If you have a dozen good guys, but four of them are the protagonists and the other six are more in the background, it's not that hard to skew the pagetime of each character towards those that are more ...
9
votes
4answers
251 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
4answers
316 views

How can I strike a balance between setting and plot?

I'm not a fan of Tolkien's work, but it's relevant to my question, so take it as a reference point. I love linguistics, culture, and worldbuilding, but sometimes have difficulty focusing on specific ...
9
votes
5answers
376 views

Will e-books prevent books from going out of print (and rights from reverting)?

In the old days, books went out of print shortly after it stopped being profitable for the publisher to print new runs. My understanding is that good contracts had clauses that caused the rights to ...
9
votes
7answers
460 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
3answers
274 views

Conlang question

Diving (OK, dove) into conlanging for a novel I'm working on. The Conlang is atmospheric and allows for some subplot intrigue, but it's not absolutely essential to the story. I've got basic grammar, ...
9
votes
10answers
2k views

Fictional diary for a novel

When it is appropriate to use the diary form for a novel? Which are the most effective published examples? (I mean fictional diaries, so not Anne Frank's diary).
9
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the process for turning a story into a “movie” script?

This is probably a slightly vague sounding question, but I'm curious as to how "stories" go to the point of becoming a film production (at least to the point of becoming a script).
9
votes
2answers
227 views

How should I go with hiring an illustrator for a webcomic?

I want to start writing a webcomic, but as my talent as an illustrator is limited, I would only write the scripts and let to someone else the task to bring my script into picture. The only problem is ...
9
votes
3answers
175 views

How to write a novel if you only have five minutes here, ten minutes there to work on it?

I once read an interview with some Fantasy author, who told how she wrote her first novel in the breaks between classes when she was working as a teacher, because she couldn't write at home due to her ...
9
votes
1answer
16k 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?
9
votes
4answers
1k views

How does one implement effective foreshadowing?

I am a "reread reader" - that is, I like to read the same book more than once. The books I have the most fun reading again are the ones that effectively foreshadow what comes later in the book. This ...
9
votes
5answers
405 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

How often do writers develop characters before plot, and why?

As someone who writes a little as a hobby, this is something that I haven't really thought about until just recently, but... Is it common for a writer to develop characters before actually coming up ...
9
votes
1answer
263 views

Royalties - how to calculate author's take from the end-price?

Supposedly I'm offered 16% royalty rate and the book store-price is 15$. How much would that be in royalty amount per sold copy? Would that be just 16% out of 15$, or is 16% out of (15$ - reseller ...
9
votes
2answers
463 views

What are the structural differences between scripts for comics and scripts for films?

Has anyone experienced the transition from writing plots/stories for comics to writing a script viable for films? If so, what are the main differences and challenges?
9
votes
2answers
369 views

What exactly do I do to get published?

I'm interested to know what the publishing process exactly entails for future reference. I'm in my last year of school and I recently finished my first substantial piece of creative writing (a subject ...
9
votes
2answers
802 views

What's the best version control system for a book writer?

I'm a writer—no programming, only prose in text files, mostly in Emacs org-mode, some in markdown-mode. I want to implement a version control system for my writing projects. I work with two types of ...
9
votes
4answers
478 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
189 views

Should freelance writers keep their online business separate from offline?

Freelance writers have a lot of opportunity to write online, but in some cases the rates are less than the same writing project might command offline. Assuming that there are enough advantages in ...
9
votes
1answer
196 views

Creative Commons and writing on the web

I usually write on the web; I would like to license my writings using one of the Creative Commons license, but I can't understand how that license can protect our works. We really like to share our ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

Techniques for writing internal monologue

I've seen the thoughts of a character written in a few different ways: Example 1: Indirect Ender liked it better, though, when two boys played against each other. Then they had to use each other's ...
9
votes
1answer
237 views

What are some regular contests unpublished short story authors might enter?

One good way for new authors to become recognized is a contest. What contests exist that: Accept short stories Occur on a regular (annual, semi-annual, bi-annual, etc.) basis Are friendly to ...
9
votes
3answers
248 views

What to include in agreement with a Ghost Writer. . .

I am exploring engaging a Ghost writer to partner with me on the development of a non-fiction (well, mostly) business book. What are the critical elements of the agreement that need to be included? ...
9
votes
1answer
236 views

How long can I expect to wait between accepting an offer and signing?

I accepted an offer from a publisher recently on a non-fiction title. It's my first book and naturally I'm excited. My agent negotiated a good deal since which time the publisher has not been in ...
9
votes
2answers
189 views

What are good writing newsletters to sign up for?

What are some good newsletters writers can sign up for? I signed up for Funds for Writers and Worldwide Freelance Writers because they have some excellent tips and advice for both freelance writers ...
9
votes
2answers
561 views

Using a pen-name: possible legal issues

My question is about publishing under a pen-name. Does it have to be registered as a trademark? If it's not registered as a trademark, can someone sue a writer for using it? Because every name you ...
9
votes
1answer
335 views

What are the best online writing classes?

I've taken some classes at Mediabistro.com -- both nonfiction -- and while the teachers have been pretty good (one gave me some excellent advice that led to publication in national magazines) ... the ...
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 ...
9
votes
3answers
179 views

What do publishers do for me?

I'm writing a book, and it's my first one. It seems to me that the following things need to happen to publish my book: Finish the book Design cover (a friend is helping) Edit manuscript (help of ...
9
votes
2answers
131 views

How do collaborating authors choose an agent?

If two authors collaborate, and each of them already has an agent - then who handles the collaborative work? Do the authors decide to be jointly represented under one of their two agents? If that's ...
8
votes
8answers
627 views

What should step one in writing a novel be?

I'm new to this site, though not to StackExchange...I'm excited by the existence of a group like this for (in my case, aspiring) writers. Here's my issue/question: I have had an interest in writing ...
8
votes
5answers
388 views

My cool character is doing nothing for the plot. How do I deal with him?

So I have this great character( not the main protagonist), who is funny and intelligent. Each scene I write for him is a delight. But the problem is, he is doing nothing for the plot. I have tried to ...
8
votes
14answers
3k views

What do you do if you enjoy writing, but have no ideas?

I've done some writing in the past - mostly short descriptive pieces, although I once wrote 9000+ words of a story idea I had. What I enjoy about it are the technical, intellectual, creative ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Do you have to be good at grammar to get published?

I am not very good at grammar. Is there someone who would go through and correct your grammatical mistakes, even if you are not good at grammar? Who would this person be?
8
votes
9answers
494 views

Good idea to describe the heist place before the heist begins?

I'm working on a heist scene where five thieves are supposed to enter a corporate building and steal a few documents. It's supposed to be a major scene so it won't be short. I need the readers to ...
8
votes
5answers
380 views

Am I too prepared to do NaNoWriMo?

I've been wanting to do NaNoWriMo for years and finally decided that this year will be the one. But I already have extensive notes and a plot outline, and I'm concerned that this might actually trip ...
8
votes
7answers
413 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
8answers
1k views

Inventing names for Sci-Fi characters

How can I invent names for fictional characters in a future-setting Sci-Fi story so they won't be connected to any existing culture? I considered the following options: Invent some random names. ...
8
votes
8answers
2k views

Good Outlining Solutions For OSX?

I write technical non-fiction and find that I cannot write well without first constructing a detailed (10-20 page) outline. Are there any good outlining solutions for OSX? Apps? Templates in Microsoft ...
8
votes
6answers
659 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
8answers
615 views

How to handle foreign military ranks?

Suppose you have a character who has a rank in a foreign military - say, Feldwebel Hans. That's the equivalent of a Sergeant. On one hand, having people call him "Herr Feldwebel" gives some flavor ...
8
votes
4answers
251 views

What to do when characters disagree with the plot?

I'm writing a romance novel and have hit a brick wall. The problem is every way I think the future lovebirds could meet and become friends is totally cliché. After thinking about it, I've realized ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

What is a discovery writer?

From an answer to this question: How do I successfully structure a long fiction piece? I think I can infer the meaning from the usage but some elaboration would be helpful.
8
votes
7answers
207 views

Jumping on the Zombie bandwagon

Is it too late to jump on the zombie bandwagon? There are loads of stories about the possible popular outcome of an apocalypse, is it possible to squeeze anything more out of it? Or, maybe it would ...

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