8
votes
7answers
698 views

How do you make a character witty?

How can a character be made to appear witty, or funny? That is, the character amuses other characters, not the reader, who should ideally be impressed with the characters wit. The only way that I can ...
8
votes
13answers
1k views

Does a technical writer need a technical background?

Does a technical writer need a technical background?
8
votes
5answers
737 views

How should dialog be formatted?

Is there any "official" rule that I should keep in mind when formatting character dialog? Line breaks, placement of quotes, mixing dialog with action descriptions etc. For example, I want to build a ...
8
votes
5answers
610 views

Is this character generator useful?

After some feedback from this site and a training course, I developed a little tool to help with character generation. It's called "20 Questions" and works just like that: It picks 20 questions (or ...
8
votes
2answers
308 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? ...
8
votes
4answers
11k views

How many pages would my manuscript be in paperback?

Say I have a 100 page manuscript in Courier, 11pt, double-spaced. How many paperback pages is this roughly equivalent to? Is there a better font/spacing to use?
8
votes
6answers
385 views

The polymath's dilemma…?

The main character of a YA story I am working on is fast becoming a polymath, i.e. someone with a broad base of skills and interests across unrelated areas of endeavor. I really like how this ...
8
votes
4answers
270 views

Will science fiction as a genre ever go the way of the western?

It is a fairly undisputed fact that the genre of western fiction has had a declining audience for decades. The Western Writers Association still exists, but if I had never worked in a Border ...
8
votes
4answers
209 views

Can I use parenthesis in a conversation

I wrote a dialogue as follows: Then he said to her: "I told you I won't do that! (And I think you shouldn't either)". Somebody then asked me: How is a speech in a parenthesis? I'd like to know ...
8
votes
3answers
441 views

Should my readers be able to identify with the bad guy?

I'm in the process of defining the characters for a novel. It is a crime fiction, with a really strong focus on the characters. I hope to construct really rich, complex and clearly defined characters. ...
8
votes
5answers
3k views

emacs for creative writing

Does anyone know a good emacs configuration for creative writing? I'd be looking for the ability to write, edit, and export to libre office or word (so the less technical people get edit/view). I'm ...
8
votes
4answers
215 views

How to juggle work and NaNoWriMo?

I love to participate in NaNoWriMo, but this year for the first time I'll have a full-time job during November. Is it feasible to write less on weekdays and "make up" for it on the weekend? Should I ...
8
votes
3answers
438 views

When *should* I use passive voice?

Is there ever a good time to use passive voice in nonfiction?
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Software for analyzing a manuscript?

I would like to get a better picture of a manuscript I've written, especially in regards to word usage patterns and potentially overused terms. I'm curious whether anyone can recommend a document ...
8
votes
6answers
793 views

What tools do you use for your writing journal?

I usually keep a notepad and pen with me at all times. So, if I'm out thinking about a story and a scene or a bit of dialogue comes to mind, I write it down for recall later. I also keep a list of ...
8
votes
6answers
243 views

What makes a great writer's space?

If you have a usual or favorite place to write at home, what makes it so good? I like having multiple places to write -- sometimes I find a change of scenery helps break a block -- but my most-used ...
8
votes
8answers
1k views

A rhyming dictionary worth bookmarking online or purchasing?

Has anyone come across any really good rhyming dictionaries? If so, what makes it worth having/bookmarking? (eg. completeness/ease of use/absence of really sketchy suggestions)
8
votes
5answers
656 views

An engineering student wants to write fiction, where to start?

I'm a computer engineering student, programmer, avid book lover and have a very vivid (some would say "screwed up") mind. I recently thought up an idea for a very cool short/medium story. It's like a ...
8
votes
4answers
441 views

How common *are* happy endings?

I'm curious. After reading some other questions, I've been pondering about the frequency and reason for happy endings. That is, a positive and/or hopeful ending, even if not everything went right, ...
8
votes
4answers
761 views

Are music lyrics copyrighted?

I tried to find copyright information about music lyrics, but it is too confusing, because it is related to the usage. There are lots of websites providing lyrics, but it seems they are somehow ...
8
votes
5answers
156 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
3answers
878 views

What are the advantages of incorporation for a writer?

I have heard of some (rather successful) writers incorporating - that is, creating a corporation of which they are the sole member. What are the potential advantages (or disadvantages) of doing this? ...
8
votes
4answers
186 views

How can I deal with an overload of writing projects?

I'm formulating a habit where I create too many writing projects. I'll work on a project, and things will go fine, until I have this incredible idea and I start writing on it. This continues overtime ...
8
votes
5answers
446 views

How does one present spoken dialogue as a secondary language to signed speech?

I was starting to leave a comment on this excellent question when I realized I had come up with a second question which was equally intriguing. If you're writing a story where 95% of the ...
8
votes
5answers
124 views

What style suggestions are common for which words are used in hyperlinks?

With a purpose of avoiding "More details here" style links that do not provide any information in the link itself, what styles are common/popular/suggested? A good example case (with bold as the ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Writing about drug induced hallucinations and paranoia

Not long ago I wrote a short story about a mathematics graduate student on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The young student is innocent and working to finish a difficult mathematical derivation ...
8
votes
3answers
284 views

World Building critique: Building an SF society off a tangent of “Adaptation”

I'm writing a short story for my english final - I'm a junior in high school; we've already taken our AP exam, but our teacher wanted to finish the year with something meaningful. Anyway, I have been ...
8
votes
5answers
380 views

Our note in footnote of a book

How do I designate the footnotes that are mine inside a quote? I tried "our note", "note ours" and "remark is ours". Which one is the correct one and most commonly used? Or is there some other way? ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

What's the best practice for displaying a personal website url in a resume?

Like most veteran coders in the IT industry, I have an out-of-date website that I use to link to different activities I'm involved with online, like Twitter and Stack Overflow. Up until now, I haven't ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Little did he know

In the movie "Stranger Than Fiction" the professor of literature makes quite a big deal about the phrase "little did he know." I've written papers on "Little did he know." I've taught classes on ...
8
votes
4answers
564 views

How do I avoid a “mid-story info dump?”

I am revising the manuscript for a novel. About a third into the story, a major turning point occurs when the main character (through whom the reader follows the story) realizes that things are not at ...
8
votes
4answers
282 views

Are there any techniques that make complexity work?

One for the creative writers, although I suppose a lateral shift might put it within reach of journalists/technical writers. As authors we all want to write, I would imagine: Something that many ...
8
votes
7answers
823 views

Using slang as a narrator - pros and cons

Is it advisable to use slang and euphemisms as a narrator, in addition to the main characters who use it? Are there arguments for and against it? For example, if I were to write about street thugs ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

What is a good methodology for researching a historical novel?

I'm having difficulty with the research aspect of my historical novel. This question was originally going to be "how much research should one do to write a historical novel?" to which, answering my ...
8
votes
3answers
203 views

What are the benefits of being a slush reader?

I've heard a few people recommend doing time volunteering as a slush reader (for a small press magazine, say), as the experience can be helpful for your own writing. What benefits do you get out of ...
8
votes
5answers
222 views

Writing from the middle

My biggest problem as a writer is that I always get inspired and then start writing from the middle, in particular scenes or moments which I think will be crucial. Climaxes. These scenes turn out ...
8
votes
3answers
517 views

Are composite characters in creative non-fiction okay?

I come from a journalism background and am very interested in the dying style of narrative journalism, or creative non-fiction. I was discussing a project with a potential editor and said I didn't ...
8
votes
2answers
119 views

Should DOIs ever be preferred to ISBNs?

Any ISBN yields a DOI. For example, the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. has ISBN 978-0-226-10420-1, which maps to doi:10.978.226/104201, allowing any book to be digitally identified in a reference ...
8
votes
4answers
194 views

When the second person *view* is not an uninvited guest?

It is very strange to read the narrative from second person, but there are examples! Maybe there are a number of situations which are good for using second-person view?
8
votes
2answers
3k views

How do I write a believable romance subplot?

Sexuality is a large part of who we are as persons and it influences many decisions we make. Sadly, I don't know how to make a romance subplot believable. Are there any good guidelines to creating ...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

What's the difference between academic and journalistic writing?

I'm not talking about "boring" academic papers that are 99% science and 0% interesting. But in comments on a draft of my senior thesis, my teacher made the comment that my writing style was quite ...
8
votes
2answers
124 views

What to do with my odd-length work?

I've just about finished up the first draft of a piece of work I've put a good deal of love into. It's genre fiction (paranormal/supernatural horror/urban fantasy/whatever they're calling it this ...
8
votes
3answers
388 views

Spiritual elements in a science-fiction novel

Does using unexplained spiritual elements (soul, "spiritual"/non-physical beings, afterlife, God, etc.) in a story with a futuristic setting make it science fantasy rather than science fiction?
8
votes
5answers
303 views

How can I convey that my viewpoint character is lying?

When writing in the first person, what is a good way to convey that the viewpoint character is lying, without saying so explicitly? My idea is this: "I am writing this as a record of what's been ...
8
votes
2answers
965 views

Kindle self-publishing, automatically update

I have a couple of small ebooks available on Amazon via Kindle direct publishing - I've just found a mistake in one of them so I fixed it and have reuploaded the file. I'm assuming that everyone who ...
8
votes
3answers
262 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?
8
votes
2answers
205 views

In writing a cover letter accompanying a submission to a literary journal, is listing publications in less well-regarded journals detrimental?

Mostly, I've heard that having previous publication credits to your name is beneficial, but I wonder if listing many publications in journals that aren't particularly well-known or impressive might ...
8
votes
2answers
244 views

How do I decide if writing expository scenes that won't be in my finished novel is useful, or procrastination?

I tend to burn out developing my stories before they even reach the page, so I'm taking some advice to pants a novel. I didn't quite follow the advice to the letter; I used an idea that had been ...
8
votes
2answers
411 views

How far into a speculative novel should one go before introducing the central conflict?

By speculative, I mean mostly science fiction, fantasy or intrigue. For example Neal Stephenson's Anathem, which is a 900-page book, goes well past the 200-page mark before the central conflict ...
8
votes
5answers
2k views

How do I avoid legal repercussions for writing a story based on events in my life?

How do I avoid legal repercussions for writing a story based on events in my life? Mainly, I have experienced events that I would like to share with the world. These events are somewhat disturbing ...

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