New answers tagged

2

Readers are unlikely to get irritated. This is a fairly well-known practice, and if you keep it short, so the intro doesn't detract from the actual story, it works quite well. There are several variations you can use on this theme, in fact. For example, Orson Scott Card's classic Ender's Game was written in a third-person limited viewpoint following Ender ...


1

Opening extracts or poems give a slightly old-fashioned feel to a book, so if that's the goal, it could work. In Dune, the extracts are a constant reminder that this is a story of an epic struggle in future history. However, if the point is to shoehorn in more information, the beginning of a chapter is not the best place to do it. If the information is ...


2

As long as "a few words" is less than 50, sure, go for it. It's additional interstitial information which can be useful to the reader, or can at least add background and flavor. More than two paragraphs about the Merovingian boll weevil will probably annoy people, so keep it brief. If you need more than that, either make it a prologue or find some way for ...


4

This is something that has been done successfully in the past by authors like Douglas Adams and Frank Herbert, but it has to be done just right or you'll run the risk of annoying readers, like you said. If you end a chapter in a cliffhanger, and then begin the next chapter with a five paragraph essay on the boll weevil and its habitat, you'll probably find ...


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You have to know what prision you are talking about: modern, old, with security... Then, you could look for some pics and information in order to know what are you describing aproximatetly. Then, when you know everything you have to know about the prision, start writing. You can start with an explanation about you character are looking at, like: After that ...


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When I want to describe a location, I use the following techniques: Browse Google images for pictures of the location to get initial inspiration and a feel. I find pictures of these places often have details I hadn't thought of. I recently described a prison cell myself and the pictures showed me rats and a bucket under the sleeping bench, when I had been ...


1

I think whether or not you can get the book “published” is irrelevant. I recommend you don’t even concern yourself with that. In the first place, you can publish it yourself, on your own website, or through iBookstore or Amazon. But perhaps even more important, the process of writing the book and expressing yourself and growing as a writer is the key thing. ...


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One thing I've seen working quite well is to open with a short "action sequence" that naturally leads to (some) back-story exposition. One example would be the start of Charles Stross's "The Atrocity Archives", which starts with a new-ish occult field agent's first assignment and then in a fairly natural way segues into a (small amount) of back-story, ...


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Well, I'll weigh in on this, I'm sure others will too, so allow for multiple answers before you just go with mine. First, I know this is your rough draft, so you know that you have some grammatical errors and such throughout. (i.e. your second sentence has an extra 'and' that makes it a run on, etc.) That being said, I know its a rough draft and so I'm ...


1

I don't think in medias res should necessarily be understood as jumping into the middle of the story. I think we should look at it more as a story is embedded in a history. You may need to understand the history in order to understand the story, but the story itself -- the character's moral arc -- does not begin at the beginning of the history. So you start ...


2

The Big Flashback can work, but it's a tired cliché. The general strategy is to open with Louise fighting for her life the grip of the Acturan Octopus Tyrant, then jump back in time to her childhood in Idaho, and the strange sequence of events which will lead to her becoming Earth's one hope against the alien invaders. If I read something like this and, ...


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Kurt Vonnegut advised that writers “start as close to the ending as possible.” I recommend you decide what is the best ending you have right now, and then write that book. After that book is done, you can start a new book and write the best ending you can come up with for that book. One thing that movies are suffering from right now is they try to make 2 ...


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I don't think it's altogether a bad idea, it depends on how you implement it. One of the ways it can be achieved is to have the present day story and the past story running in parallel. This would mean that events would need to develop for the character in prison, whilst he remembers back to what happened previously. Answering your question about the ...


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You're never too young to write.


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If you already know it is California, Depression-era, then pick a real prison and use that as a setting. If you can find a prison that somebody has written a comprehensive book about, then choose that prison and get that book. It may have maps and descriptions of what life was like there. There are many books about what it is like to be a prisoner, and ...


2

Grammar Side-Rant (Ignore at will) First off, none of the words you have in bold are gerunds. A gerund is a verb form used as a noun. Examples would be: Hunting is a sport. We love sailing. Answer: As far as overdoing it goes, your paragraph sounds fine to me. However, looking at one paragraph is not the same as looking at the whole page. ...


1

If you're concerned that you're using too many, then after you're done your first draft, go back and search for any -ing words. Replace them at least half the time. So: I couldn’t help thinking to myself, who is this woman on the phone? And if it’s not Burns’ mother then why does she want to speak with Burns? Monica’s purse rattled again and I walked ...


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Your description will need to tell what the product is, and describe it in the best possible light. Use vivid prose to accentuate the positive, and never mention the negative. You are seeking to draw buyers into wanting to but the product, so you should also identify a felt need that this product will address. Hope this helps!


1

Shakespeare's plays are in the public domain. For more recent works, such as works produced in the past 100 years, check the copyright laws of the country where you plan to publish your works and consult a lawyer. To gain background in this area, I recommend reading the Wikipedia articles on Copyright and International copyright treaties.


1

In my opinion, these are essential for fight scenes: Motivation. I want to know why your characters (on both sides) are fighting and why. What are the stakes? What will happen if they lose / win? Is there a danger of severe injury or death to make me care about the outcome? Tactics. Reading "he hit him, and then he hit him back, etc." isn't engaging for ...


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If it's a snowstorm, there's bound to be plenty of challenges to write about... are your characters able to see where they're going? If so, how? Is the terrain treacherous? Are they cold, freezing? Is there threat to their lives? Are they committed to the journey, despite the conditions? If so why? Also, how are they taking it? Are the characters trying to ...


1

The capitals are yours — they belong to your sentence, not the speaker’s sentence. So your sentence is capitalized correctly.


2

This is a question for http://english.stackexchange.com . But the answer is no. When you are continuing a quote, as long as it doesn't begin the sentence or begin the quote, you do not capitalize it.


0

Have you thought about giving Prince Reuben a companion, such as an older "Sergeant of the Guard," who's been behaving like the prince's adviser since the lad's been a teen? The "Man-At-Arms" has been acting as a combination bodyguard, teacher, and foster-father; rather than bowing and scraping like some sycophantic subordinate "Squire." When something ...


1

I think we should distinguish between what I would call a personality flashback and a plot flashback. A plot flashback occurs when, for whatever reason, the narrative begins after the events of the story begin. A personality flashback occurs when there is an aspect of a character's personality that is best revealed through an anecdote from their past ...


1

One important thing to do is to keep all of the popular / familiar elements that people loved about the original story (or at least reference them). Bringing back beloved characters, themes, locations or even smaller details like running jokes or minor characters with persistent motivations can help a reader feel like they're at home in the new book. ...


2

Interesting question. Here's my take: Dialogue "So in ninety-one, I was following the Grateful Dead around the country. I swear, the last two minutes of 'Black-Throated Wind' from that MSG show was one of the highlights of human history." Third-person omniscient information dump Fans of the musical band the Grateful Dead widely regard their show from ...


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I don’t think trademark has anything to do with it. “Lego” is a proper name, so you capitalize it. If there is more than one, you put an “s” on the end to show that. So you get “his Legos.” You would also write “Bill” or “Stan” or “Rover” or “Google” or “MacBook” with capitals, and only some of those are trademarked. If someone carries 2 MacBooks, you could ...


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I recommend you don’t write it in feet and inches at all. Those are antique, non-standard measurements that are understood by maybe 10% of the world population, and that number is shrinking in size every single day. You can not only make your manuscript understandable by the whole world if you use modern, standardized measurements, you can also future-proof ...


2

"Their's" isn't a word. The correct term is "theirs." In most cases, you would add an apostrophe and an "s" to show possession. (For example: "It was the dog's bone.") However, an apostrophe is unnecessary when using these words: he > his (It was his money. The money was his.) she > her/hers (It was her money. They money was hers.) it > its ...


1

I'd force myself to spend 20 or so minutes on only describing one scene or only going through a single character's internal monologue. Stop yourself from going ahead and only work on describing/monologue. Good luck!


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In description, unless you're trying to capture a folksy voice, they're Lego bricks, with a capital L (it's a trademark). An individual one is a Lego brick, or just brick. Of course, people sometimes call them Legos in real life, so you could use that term in dialogue, even though it's not officially correct. I would still give it the capital L though. ...


0

People sometimes get confused with "hers" "its" "theirs". Just remember, they're in the same family as "his"—and you wouldn't write hi's.


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I think it's supposed to be "theirs" instead. Spellcheck doesn't always work right, but sometimes it does. Try a grammar book if you're still confused, consult a grammar book.


2

In Chicago Manual of Style, they recommend spelling it out. "At five foot one, he was as thin as a rail." In some cases a hyphen may help avoid ambiguity. If it's being used as an adjective, you might add hyphens. "His five-foot-two-inch body was thin as a rail." You can use numbers if you prefer—"He was 5'2" and small for his age"—no spaces, and be ...


0

Just from what I saw online, it looks like prisons during that time period were almost more of like work camps. Almost everyone was wearing black and white striped pants and shirts, and it almost had the same atmosphere as a nazi prison camp.


3

Have a new story to tell. If you haven't planned out your overall story as a series from the beginning (that is, you deliberately set it up to be three, five, seven, etc. books), and you're just writing an additional story with the same characters, then make sure you have a reason to write something about them. Your sequel should have a beginning, middle, ...


0

Now, you don't have to listen to any of these rules. As long as your dialogue isn't overly convoluted, like "ba'aout tiym' dn'tch'y'a th'n'k?" You should be fine. Good luck!


2

You have an ability to write screenplays that even you are forced to describe as "pretty spectacular." Given this, and your dislike of descriptive writing, I can't for the life of me understand why you want to make the transition to books. Focus on your screenwriting. A screenplay will typically make you much more money a novel. Current WGA rates start at ...


2

Obvious answer is to read more novels. At the same time, don't worry about your previous skill set; novels are as much about dialogue as they are prose. Try and have a strong grasp of figurative language while still remaining clear in your description of events. Otherwise I recommend learning to slow the pacing of the story quite a lot. You have time to be ...


0

There's no single answer to the question of how to start writing a novel. Different "on ramps" work for different people, and what works in one case doesn't work in another, but here are three possibilities which may work. A loose outline Writing an outline first can work - and it's standard advice. I find there's a trap to it, though. It's usually ...


0

If you want to write, you should never stop writing altogether, especially through the fear of failure. As J.K Rowling was turned down many times before she published Harry Potter. I'm new to this site, and I'm also an aspiring author. I also struggle with facing failure too. So the advice I have had is that nobody has to see your book ideas or story ideas ...


1

I enjoyed James Whitcomb Riley and Joel Chandler Harris (Uncle Remus) when I was a kid. But as an adult, I find it tiring to read. I think writing in the vernacular should be reserved for characters with VERY strong accents or dialects. And still, it would be better to find a way to write the sentences in plain English, but use grammar and word order instead ...


0

OK, I'll try: "Stormy! Oh my gosh, it is so good to see you! ... Stormy?" Stormy opened her mouth as if to speak but nothing came out. She half-heartedly smiled in recognition of her friend's greeting only to look down towards her toes. "Stormy, is something wrong?" Ginger asked. "Well, it's just that, I don't know ..." "How about if we just start with ...


1

Strike a balance. Your character who speaks in dialect uses different vocabulary, word order, grammar than the person who speaks in the Received Standard version of the language. Non-Dialect American English: "Can I come see you tomorrow?" British English: "Shall I knock you up?" Brooklynese: "I'll come call f'you." Only in the third one would I change ...


2

"It's about time we got going, don't you think?" "It's 'bout time we got goin', don'tcha think?" Both these guys sound the same to me. They both have my voice, they both have my accent, and I suspect that accent is a few thousand miles off where it's supposed to be. The problem is, one took much longer to scan than the other. When reading a page we do not ...


0

Perhaps one way to see it is that you are representing reality, not copying it. In the same way that a painting (even those of the photographic realism school) represents or shows reality rather than tries to provide an exact copy of it, so too with writing. I want my characters to sound like real people without actually copying how real people speak -- ...


4

I think the problem is, too much of the latter style will be tiring on a reader's eye and "ear" (they "hear" the characters speaking as they read). It's sometime laborious too because they have to figure out how to pronounce weird things characters say. Gone with the Wind is a drastic example of this, because Margaret Mitchell did just that when writing the ...


1

Some great questions! I know right where you are coming from. Writing a full novel can be very daunting. There are a lot of possible answers to your questions because, unfortunately, there is not one right way to start a book. John Irving has been known to skip to the end of his book and write the last sentence before beginning a novel just so that he can ...


2

My suggestions are: The fear of being a failure isn't your enemy. It is your friend. It prevents you from sending the first thing you wrote after some glasses of whiskey to agents and to burn your name forever. This feeling won't go away. I'm a published writer and journalist and I still feel like a failure most of the time. Writing is hard. Writing is a ...



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