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Apr
11
comment How political can an author's note be, would the following fly?
Yes, but only as an author's note in a novel. If it appeared instead in a context in which readers are looking for political opinions, it would fit right in. An impassioned political essay.
Apr
7
comment A grand scheme or destiny in literature
Fate. Prophesy. Destiny. Often there's a "battle between good and evil."
Mar
26
comment Clear steps for developing a powerful inner conflict
Sounds like an awesome, juicy dilemma. For one thing, the stakes are very high. And (I'm guessing here) the character is profoundly attached to each horn. Very powerful. Can you say what makes it seem weak to you?
Mar
12
comment How do I demonstrate ideological differences between characters who are politically not too different?
This may not help, but it won't hurt, and it's a lot of fun... and on point: youtube.com/watch?v=l3fAcxcxoZ8
Mar
3
comment Fiction writing: is using Git overkill?
I write other stuff in markdown, but (for some reason) not fiction. I write in Scrivener, export to HTML or Markdown, then use other tools to create epub files. I'm working on automating as much as I can, but so far it's a pain. As for how to format ebooks for Kindle, that's a question better asked on the KDP site or on the Ebooks StackExchange.
Feb
19
comment Changing location in a fiction story with two or more story lines happening at same time
You may have to generalize Lauren's excellent advice. Is there anything going on that would be known in both places? Anything that might mark the timeframes as being the same? Maybe something that happened on the news just before these scenes, and is on both POV characters' minds. Or a well-known occasion, like a holiday, or an election, or the Dow Jones tanking. It might be ongoing or very recent. It might be in the near future, and the POV characters are anticipating it. Or (perhaps less helpful here) an event observable in both places, such as an eclipse. Anything like that?
Feb
18
comment Changing location in a fiction story with two or more story lines happening at same time
Yes, you add a # mark each time you switch storylines. That is perfectly fine in a manuscript. If you publish it, you may want to indicate a scene break in some other way. Take a look at a few of your favorite books for ideas about that.
Feb
18
comment Changing location in a fiction story with two or more story lines happening at same time
A challenge with "meanwhile" is that it momentarily pops into the narrator's POV (or the author's). This can work if you've brought the reader to expect a narrator's POV. But if you're usually in a character's head, the "meanwhile" breaks the POV in a more jarring way. Writers who are awesome at transitions can write them so smoothly that they don't always need an explicit scene break. For example, in The Fourth Hand, John Irving sometimes switches POV characters in the middle of a sentence, and does it in a way that you follow from one character's head to another's without the slightest bump.
Feb
18
comment Changing location in a fiction story with two or more story lines happening at same time
Yes, Mark, that's called a scene break. When readers see scene breaks, they typically expect that something has jumped: Time, location, or POV character. So: To indicate a jump in time, location, or POV, add a scene break. Printed books and ebooks represent scene in a variety of ways. For manuscripts, a common way to indicate a scene break is to put a single pound sign on a line by itself. shunn.net/format/story.html
Feb
9
comment Fantasy - chapter length
I did try to hedge on that one with "can." Perhaps a more emphatic qualifier is in order.
Feb
5
comment How to stay motivated while rewriting?
I think I'll leave the comments as comments, add a note about them in the answer, and hope for Lauren's forgiveness.
Jan
30
comment How to stay motivated while rewriting?
I will. I may not be able to get to it for three or four days.
Jan
30
comment How to stay motivated while rewriting?
4. (how to learn without rewriting). As in #3. Also, when you finish reading something you like, study it to see how the author did it. Each thing you learn, either from other authors or from your own errors, becomes something you can practice. Each time you start a new project, pick one aspect of craft to focus on, and practice that while writing the new story.
Jan
30
comment How to stay motivated while rewriting?
2. First, "obvious" was a poor choice of words. Second, I left out a step: Have a trusted reader (or several) read the story and alert you to errors. Fix the ones you agree with (as in #1, above). 3. As first readers point out errors (or as you notice them yourself), you learn the kinds of errors you make. You can practice doing that kind of thing better in the next story, and the next.
Jan
30
comment How to stay motivated while rewriting?
1. Instead of trying to edit the erroneous bits into goodness (which I suspect is what the OP means by "rewriting"), one alternative is to throw them out and write them as if you're writing the first draft. I did that when my writer's group pointedly objected to an ending where my MC simply ran away from the problem. I threw out the ending, and wrote another one. Technically that may be rewriting, but it was in creative mode, and not the kind of "boring and tedious [editing?] process" that the OP talks about.
Jan
6
comment Is it a good writing practice to keep related elements as close as possible to each other?
Also, in the first example, the positioning of the timeframes creates a lovely parallel structure. That lends a nice rhythm, which in turn (in this case) actually aids clarity.
Nov
24
comment How important is a BISAC Category?
When I submit my ebooks retailers and distribution channels, some of them (I forget which) ask for BISAC categories. Those become a navigation hierarchy on the retailer's web site. As a reader I hardly ever use those category hierarchies (BISAC or otherwise), but now and then I want to look at e.g. bestselling political thrillers.
Nov
2
comment What stylometric pecularities are considered to be typical for stephen kings writing?
Hmmm. *wonders whether Stephen King posts on writers.stackexchange under a clever alias*
Oct
3
comment Is it OK to invent as I write, or should I plan the entire story first?
Having taken nearly all of Dean's online workshops, I can say that he strongly recommends that even new writers "write into the dark." His theory is everybody's subconscious "creative voice" knows how to tell a story, and if you can shut off the critical voice, your creative voice will tell a good story. Much of his advice is about how to shut off critical voice and get into creative voice. He does acknowledge (often) that no two writers are the same, and every writer has to find their own way. He even offers a variety of approaches to outlining. But mostly he advises writing into the dark.
Sep
26
comment If I get a free ISBN through Amazon's CreateSpace now, will that impact any decisions about getting my own ISBN later?
First, I'm trying to build my publishing brand. That means I want my imprint on my books. Second, book stores sometimes hesitate to stock books whose imprint marks them as obviously self-published or POD. So I want my books to appear to come from a real publisher, which they do (albeit a publisher with a very limited stable of authors).