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  • 277 votes cast
Feb
3
comment Why do news articles and press releases start with date and location?
I wish more websites and posts used this too! A lot of times I end up wasting time reading something which is completely outdated.
Jan
19
comment If I use a real location for the setting of my book - Do I have to use existing schools or can I make them up?
It may even come in handy if you want to say something that a real person or "place" might take offence at. Changing the name gives you plausible deniability. And you will get less irate comments from people if you get some details wrong about the actual place.
Jan
19
comment How do I write about nerdy concepts without sounding like a tryhard?
@zfrisch - Totally agree. I started watching CSI Cyber, but the tech references that could have been fixed with 5 minutes of reading on Wikipedia and the fear mongering completely turned me off - (along with other major problems like miscasting actors I really like into wooden roles.)
Jan
13
comment Where to draw the line between fantasy and reality in a story?
That link is a wonderful rabbit hole!
Jan
7
comment Will changing a protagonist into an antagonist alienate readers?
@Jay Points well taken. I hadn't recognized a "dark stories" category, but it makes perfect sense.
Jan
6
comment Attracting and retaining volunteers to edit technical doc for open source projects
I spend most of my time on my notebook in Firefox and Thunderbird, so I appreciate Mozilla, but this question seems more like an appeal for volunteers than a question about writing. Good documentation is really a lot of work to produce and almost never generates any glory. I do some for a project I work on because I believe in it (and almost no one else is willing!)
Jan
6
comment Will changing a protagonist into an antagonist alienate readers?
There are lots of examples: Anakin Skywalker, Raymond "Red" Reddington - The Black List. Real people aren't black and white. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." (And B5 is one of my all time favorite Sci Fi classics!) We all wonder how we would face such challenges and can benefit from seeing how someone else deals with them- learning from their successes and failures.
Dec
22
comment Why is having too many symbols a bad idea?
I see your point about McGuffins, but the ring is such a powerful universal symbol of continuity, power, and covenant that even if it is not detailed extensively in the work in question, it is definitely a symbol as well. A sword or a gem would have worked as well (as a McGuffin), but those choices would have had a major impact on the whole story. They would not have "married" the holder to the darkness.
Sep
16
comment How to begin Ghostwriting Fiction?
What market does something like this serve? I understand ghostwriting in non-fiction where someone has a life story or purposed exposition to express, but not the skills/time to tell it, but how does this work for fiction?
Sep
16
comment From Markdown to .odt and vice-versa: a possible distraction-free writing workflow?
The various suggested solutions are probably much easier and better, but it's worthwhile to point out that an odt file is essentially a multi-part zipped file with the plain text as one part. You can just unzip it and take the text only component of it and do whatever you want with it. However, this approach loses all formatting, so you would have to add that from scratch in whatever new format you choose.
Sep
16
comment How to do research to write characters from a different culture?
It's a great justification for work-related travel! As long as the place/culture you're writing about (still) exists. If there are local communities, that works too. A combination of research and direct observation really helps, but it's still a trick to capture differing thought processes/world views. The only "others" I would personally venture to write about are those I've participated in with friends or groups so I actually know a little of the common attitudes and how social interactions actually play out. This is not meant to say that's what anybody else should do - just that it works.
Sep
16
comment What makes the death of a character satisfying?
Reading about things "like" real life help you come to terms with the events in your own life and maybe even to gain new perspectives - to learn from someone else's experiences instead of having to do it all the hard way by going through it yourself. Just because it's fiction doesn't mean that it isn't "real". It's not just about escape. Really great fiction is real.
Sep
1
comment How to create Feeling with Setting
"It was a dark and stormy night." LOL. - On a more serious note, sometimes a description can be so good that it draws you in and hypnotizes you so you forget the real world. The beginning of Deer Hunter is like that although it's a movie and not written material. The book, The Worm Ouroboros (while not the best writing overall) begins with something like 14 pages that describe a throne room almost exclusively and it was riveting - even though nothing whatsoever was happening.
Sep
1
comment When having a plot twist, does there have to be foreshadowing of it?
I think Mark Twain said something like, "Reality is stranger than fiction because fiction has to make sense."
Sep
1
comment How do you write boy & girl protagonists without turning them into a love story?
Societal pressures encourage pairs to become "couples" because it reduces social "entropy" and everybody else knows how to behave around them and what to expect. Mature people can separate their own feelings from these societal pressures and basic drives and actively choose what course is best for them. If your characters have or develop this sort or maturity - knowing who they are, then they will be able to sustain a "platonic" relationship in a believable manner because it's true to who they are.
Jul
29
comment How can I stress a certain word in a medium that doesn't allow for font embellishments?
This isn't bad enough for a down vote, but I don't think CAPS does it. It's commonly considered as shouting and that's not the same as emphasis. The connotation is completely different.
Jul
15
comment How to deal with a story that 95% of it takes place in a different language country and the protagonist speaks in it?
+1 in general, but especially for the bit about someone who speaks French understanding something before they were supposed to be able to.
Jul
14
comment What to do with cliched metaphors?
If you use a cliché, then avoid it. If your characters do, then it probably makes sense. The reason they're clichés is precisely because people do use them. In your example, I agree with the other comments that it's not really a cliché, but that it may not really fit the situation either.
Jul
14
comment How to decide whether a story is worth writing?
Yeah. Long ago, I went to see Zabriskie Point (a fair B movie) in a theater. At the end, just before everybody left, someone called out, "Boy meets girl in dessert." and cracked up the entire audience.
Jul
14
comment How to decide whether a story is worth writing?
Have you ever watched the Hallmark or Lifetime TV channels? Or read a romance novel? There's tons of stuff that people enjoy and pay good money for which doesn't answer life's greatest questions. Also, when you do write these things, the practice will improve your writing so that when you do have something "important" to say, you will be that much more able to say it effectively.