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9

Rules? No, not beyond any that your publisher or editor might have. But one factor to consider is that, assuming you're not publishing in a specialized or foreign market, your readers probably won't know how to pronounce the words in a different alphabet -- you can't sound things out if you don't know the pronunciation rules. This means that the words you ...


5

Romance follows the same basic plot structure as any other genre: We meet the protagonist. An "inciting incident" disrupts the protagonist's life (in romance: (s)he encounters "the right one"). The protagonist now has a goal (a relationship with the right one). Obstacles keep the protanogist from his/her goal (for example, the right one loves another ...


4

First person narrators can't know what's going on inside someone else. But they can think they know. And can narrate as if they know. That's a key advantage of first person narrators. They can be unreliable. Mindreading. I like your first example better... with some caveats. The narrator presumes to know what is going on inside Tom. That kind of ...


4

It would be hard to answer this question without being an agent or an editor. I'm sure each individual agent, editor, and publisher has his or her own criteria in evaluating a manuscript and considering either taking on the writer as a client or publishing the manuscript. Regardless of the individual's personal criteria or preferences, the one common thread ...


4

Neil's answer does not really deal with dialogue. Style manuals like the Chicago Manual of Style deal with academic and journalistic writing. If you want to apply them to narrative fiction, they only apply to that part of your writing that is explicitly in written language, that is, everything outside the dialogue. Dialogue is spoken language, or rather, ...


4

In fiction, there's no rule for this, only differing styles and opinions. However, some editors seem to like using the Chicago Manual of Style's alternative rule for this. 9.3 An alternative rule--zero through nine. Many publications, including those in scientific or journalistic contexts, follow the simple rule of spelling out only single-digit numbers ...


4

You (usually) should put the thing first that you want to emphasize. But speech can be different, since it is also characterization. A hesitant or unsure character might habitually tack qualifiers to the ends of his statements. "A dog is a mammal, I think." "People should be nice to children, I suppose." "If you take one step closer I'll ...


3

Think about what fillers are used for. They can be habitual. For example, some people start every utterance with 'well'. Mostly, they are used to give the person a little bit more time to think. Work out when your character most needs that time (at the beginning because they don't know what to say or half way through because they don't know what to say next) ...


3

Arguably, one could say that the pronunciation of such a string is ambiguous. Would someone say it "em five five slash nine eight seven dot three" or "em fifty-five nine eighty-seven point three" or other possible variations. If the "M" stands for something, do they say the word or just the letter "M"? Etc. If it matters in the story, then you need to spell ...


3

I'm not able to find a sample of the book, but, from what you've posted above, it looks like the author decided to capitalize the first three words of each section, as noted in the comments above. That first one is different because "Fear of Music" needs to be set apart from the artist. I've seen many big authors use this capitalization technique; it's just ...


3

Looking at a sample of the book it seems obvious to me that the use of capital letters is rather arbitrary. It doesn't enhance the text, in my opinion. Actually, it looks like rather lazy editing to me.


3

Lyrical refers to song-like qualities. Songs are inherently emotive and use rhythm and sound to convey a sense beyond the literal. The rhythmic aspect includes not merely higher-level structure but also accentuation, syllabic pacing, repetition of sound patterns, and other mechanisms. Songs generally have a compression and a subtlety of expression that is ...


3

Try looking up "British terms of endearment" instead. You should find several links. This one looks good in particular.


3

I think you're trying to hard to find a formula. I think "my heart started to race" is pretty clear. It wasn't racing before; it is racing now. The other two, yes, as isolated sentences, they are ambiguous. But you could say that about a lot of perfectly good sentences. To take a silly example, suppose I told you that a story includes the sentence, "She ...


2

Life is random. Fiction is not. This is called "plot". The basic rule of (most, regular) fiction is that everything that goes on in the narration must somehow relate to the protagonist and his goals. You do not fill your story will irrelavant details or randomly string together people and events that lead nowhere. In life, things might happen that have no ...


2

The best strategy would be to let the reader come to the conclusion: Tom swallowed at the maid's sudden appearance.


2

Outside of scholarly of scholarly work the norm would be to transliterate. Now I am all for violating norms, but it is riskier, more work and you have to know what you are doing. if you can pull it off It would be praiseworthy, but it is not appropriate to all situations, particularly in that violating norms draws attention so one question is do you want to ...


1

In both of the examples you gave, I would assume that there is some level of public knowledge or information that has already been shared publicly. As a result, there would be no reason for you to not be able to write about it. One way to help you answer your own question is to ask yourself how you came to know about it. If you read about it online or ...


1

If the item is a legitimate experiment from the military and it's not public knowledge (e.g. you have security clearances with access to that info), I would most definitely ask a lawyer, but my gut says no. If it is public knowledge, then pretty much anything is fair game, especially if you're writing fiction. Though to ease your mind, you may still want to ...


1

Using these kinds of phrases makes me feel like you are telling more than showing. For instance, I don't care that your heart started to race, I care about why that's happening. I think it's because using start/realize/decide makes the action intentional instead of simply describing the action. It gives too much focus to something that should be peripheral. ...


1

When writing a novel of any manner (but particularly a romance) there is a danger of falling into a cliche. In fact I can boil every romance i've ever read into 1 of 2 stories: Main Character (mc) meets Romantic Interest (ri). There is some plot reason or another that keeps them apart. Together (or separately) they over said reason and execute the ...


1

Romances are far more clich├ęd then you say. As Mike Ford points out, almost all romances can be sketched as: 1. Boy meets girl. 2. They fall in love. 3. Something keeps them apart. 4. They overcome and are together forever. I don't read romance novels, but I see them on TV now and then. I've noticed that these days the obstacle that keeps them apart is ...


1

A good example would for what you're talking about may be found in the Harry Potter series, in which, correspondingly to your EDIT, there is a spotlight on Harry Potter being the chosen one. Her literary shortcomings aside, Rowling weaved the most intricate plot i have ever witnessed in a series. In fact, upon finishing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, ...


1

What Dale said. And: I think that your novel should contain a short, biographical author's note including the URL of your webpage. On your webpage you can have either a page dedicated to your political views, or a blog where, besides other writerly blog posts, you voice your political opinion. I would keep the book as the book and not water it down with ...


1

Politics will limit your audience. If your novel is highly political, your author's note will fit right in. The author's note may even be a draw for people who agree with the politics. A political author's note up front will annoy many readers. Annoyed readers may close the book and not open it again. They may be annoyed with themselves for having spent ...


1

I am not a lawyer, so this is from a writer's, not legal point of view. As it were, anyone can sue anybody for anything at any time. So the issue is, how have people minimized the possibility of this happening (and worse, losing) One form of "protection" that has been used by some authors and publishers is to slightly "misspell" the place in question. For ...


1

The author of "Kick Ass" said that every major character in the story was partially autobiographical, including the hero and villain, in that either at some point in his life he wanted to be that character or felt that he had a lot in common with that character. Every major character in his story is distinct. None are Mary Sue. Why not? he took a ridiculous ...



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