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Most martial artists will not be able to inform you about conflict nor will you pick it up watching tournaments. (Opinion informed by over 30 years in a Kung Fu style which is pragmatic and was taught to one of the Chinese armies, but we don't spar full-contact.) They may be able to describe or critique unlikely movement. Too many arts are either sport-...


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If you are contemplating about mediaeval warfare with longsword type weapons, try reenactors. These people are actually researching what can, cannot be done with the means at the time. This includes fighting in full plate using realistic swords. There are lots of visuals to be found but best would be to seek out a group from a compatible age and go ...


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I would suggest doing some field research if possible. This helps develop a network of contacts that you can use to help you write accurately. You could look up a history professor at your local college that might specialize in warrior cultures. Another possible source is to hang out at local martial arts dojos/tournaments, and take notes on their body ...


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Cut 10% of your first draft in editing This tip is from Stephen King's memoir "On Writing." He got the tip as a comment in one of his rejection letters. The idea is that the language of your first draft is going to be flowery and full of superfluous words. Cutting 10% of those words will tighten your prose. King includes an example of how he edited the ...


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Kill your darlings The idea is that the mind is able to think "ingenious" about any old idea, and that the truth of that assessment can only be tested by trying the idea in reality. Unfortunately sometimes an idea will not work, but the "ingenious tag" persists and we try anything we can to keep our idea in play, even bend reality! This is when you need ...


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What I try to do when hiding clues is to make the POV character misinterpret them believably. Using your example, what if the MC knew a cross-dressing man who was generally accepted and commonly called Auntie So-and-so? This gives a plausible reason for the MC to mistakenly take for granted that everyone else knows auntie is a man. The principle I'm trying ...


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You can make the transition smoother by either revealing the intention to go somewhere and/or stop by the entrance made into the new setting. Skipping boring details about getting a cab will be taken for granted by your audience. You can weave it into the story even stronger by making your character worry about something related to the next setting. ...


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There are basically 5 stages that worlds go through as they develop (read more here: http://www.bang2write.com/2013/05/top-5-tips-for-writing-science-fiction-by-robert-grant.html) and some the best sci-fi takes place in the period of transition from one stage to the next. By choosing to set your story between two world stages you get to watch both society ...


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So basically, the question is, how can she change her mind on fate, given that she takes every event that happens to her as fated? That's a tough one. Well, a turning point here could be an intellectual one. Let's assume, as you mentioned, she believes she's not fates to meet a kind man. Rather than having events prove her wrong by introducing her to a ...


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I would hardly call myself an "experienced writer", but here we go. I feel like slow motion could be a good idea, but a lot of the time car crashes are very fast, and you can't really decipher what happens afterwards. So in conclusion, slow motion can be a good idea, just not in that specific scene.


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What strikes me on reading your opening paragraph is that you have a dozen abstract nouns and no concrete ones. Somewhere in the transition from print to electronica, our news-generating process broke down. Today, we have in place an incentive system that awards viewership, and thus revenue, on grounds of ethical flexibility over journalistic integrity. It ...


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It sounds like you're sick of the 'nut graf'. Broadly speaking, it's a paragraph explaining why the topic is worthwhile. Writers are often trained to use it. It answers the question 'Why should anyone care about this article?' That's potentially useful for a reader who happens on the article while browsing. But in your case, you're specifically hunting for ...


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I've noticed that too. I'm certain it's because the first paragraph becomes the excerpt in Facebook (or LinkedIn or wherever). And because there's no useful information in the excerpt you're forced to click through to see the rest of the article. It's all about the clicks. All about the money.


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When writing in first person, you would only write about what your POV character is seeing, thinking, feeling, experiencing. This means that unless she is looking in a mirror, or particularly self-conscious, she would not be thinking about her own appearance in great detail. This means that it would make sense that she would notice her friend's appearance ...


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Depending on the setting, the writer can use a conversational tone as a goal. The sentence probably needs work if it sounds pretentious when spoken aloud, or requires a deep breath to get through. Write with the reader in mind. However, even when the presumed audience is highly educated, readers are likely to prefer clarity over "fancy" language.


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I see others missing the problem the clue is an elephant in the room. They hint on hiding various subtle clues. The problem is this is not a subtle clue. Missing this clue would totally break suspension of disbelief. It's far too obvious. It must be hidden in the plain sight. What you need here is misdirection. Unintentional, accidental event that changes ...


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It boils down to balance between primitive and pretentious. Both are bad, but unless you are a simpleton, it's easier to fall into pretentious than boorish. The rule to avoid this is simple: if a simpler word carries exactly the same meaning as the elaborate one, pick the simple one. If you need a phrase (two simpler words or more) to simplify the more ...


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Mystery Requires Vicarious Experience Fiction is best read when you experience it as the main character. That is why modern fiction which is written in close 3rd person is quite popular. Of course, first person fiction is also quite popular but it is often sloppy and only used because the author thinks in first person so s/he writes stories that way. If ...


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I would scatter a lot of small, subtle clues throughout the text. The idea is that no single clue will give it away, and they’re disparate enough to prevent the reader from putting 2 and 2 and 2 and 2 together and getting 8. But, on a second reading, in hindsight, they should all clearly be clues pointing to the big secret. “Ah! Of course, that’s what that ...


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Describe whatever the viewpoint character notices and has opinions about. In a naughty story, the characters might choose their attire to have certain effects on other people, or to express certain aspects of their attitudes, mood, or desires. Which means that the characters will have opinions about their attire and the attire of others. So describe ...


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Maybe this will work. Approximately 70% of small businesses in the United States struggle to hire qualified employees. Almost 50% of those small businesses cite lack of skills of potential employees as the reason jobs go unfilled. Filling those jobs with appropriately trained candidates is our focus.



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