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May
13
comment How can I make believable motivations for antagonists?
Aside from all the detailed answers, I think much of it just boils down to finding incidents and people in your own life or whom you have read about who exhibit some or all of the qualities you are going for. Then you have "organic" examples to examine to see how they think and feel. It's a variant on "write what you know".
May
13
comment How do you decide whether to use the infinitive or -ing version of a verb?
Saying someone started to avoid, feels somewhat analytical to me, a bit distanced from the actual activity. Started avoiding describes an action the person is taking. While they both say the same thing, they convey a very different feeling and perspective - at least to me.
May
13
comment Can your current work of fiction be influenced by a sequel?
Great answer. I especially like your point that the story has to come from the character and not the other way around.
May
13
comment What are the reasons behind Writer's block?
If you or your writing (even for a short while) don't have a clear purpose, then the writing doesn't have a soul (or you just can't get in touch with it). And, for fiction especially, it can't just be an idea. It has to feel important and you have to feel passionate about it and relate to it personally. That kind of connection is hard to maintain. It comes and goes based on everything else happening in your life and can be blocked by all the technical issues of writing too.
Apr
8
comment How to balance for readers who are not technologically literate
For another example, check out Silicon Valley (HBO). They throw jargon around so fast, I have trouble just parsing it (although most of it sounds plausible) and it doesn't stop the show from being hilarious. Although their target audience must be pretty tech savvy to start with, It's the personalities of the characters and their interactions that make it work.
Mar
24
comment How do I create the rest of the story when I only know the ending?
Echoing the above: Why do you know the ending? How did it get to be important enough to you to want to write about it? If it's really just a prolog to something you want to write later, then maybe that's what it should be. If you examine how you got here, then that may present some clues as to how to get your reader to the same place as well.
Feb
11
comment Omitting pronouns and possessive adjectives in fiction
Your initial phrases all seem fine as is. That's generally how (English speaking) people talk and think. It's just good to vary sentences so they don't all start with a pronoun - especially the same one. E.G. I did this. I did that... Once we know who's talking or doing something, that can often just be assumed or added later in the sentence if necessary.
Feb
11
comment How do sci-fi stories hold up if their premise or details become discredited?
+1 for noting that it's really about the characters and human nature - how would "we" respond to those events and circumstances (as we relate to the characters)?
Feb
11
comment How do sci-fi stories hold up if their premise or details become discredited?
When I saw the first Star Wars movie in a theater, I was slapping my hands on my thighs and trying not laugh out loud. The reason was that so many things were blatantly impossible, but worked perfectly in the story. It actually added to my enjoyment! As noted, Lucas didn't explain anything - at least not until the second three movies that many wish had never been made. What doesn't hold up for me in very old scifi are the lack of depth of characters and the outdated world views of the authors. That makes them harder to relate to now.
Jan
27
comment Getting My Rights Back
I saw Richard Stallman give a talk a year or two ago and one of the things he advocated was a copyright that expires in 5 years. He used an example almost identical to your situation as part of the justification.
Dec
9
comment Should I use ellipses or em dashes to denote pauses in speech?
I'm no grammarian, but it would make more sense to me if the pause is placed before the sentences in question rather than in the middle: I flipped open its latch and peered inside... A gold tooth? (same with the dash - whichever works batter.)
Oct
22
comment How to release a heavy revision to a series without upsetting readers?
@what, if nothing else changed, that would be correct, but what if the author actually learned something in the interval between editions and now sees a much clearer way to proceed even though the details may not have changed? In college, I took a number of "bad" classes because they were taught by grad students with no real experience using the subject in the real world or in teaching. If one of them wrote a book ...
Oct
1
comment In Flare, how can we make atomic change groups in review?
I know nothing about your specific issues, but maybe it's time to consider another tool. Just as one example, some people use git to manage documents (other than programs), and it allows all sorts of flexibility for handling revisions. I'm sure there are other tools as well. It also might be possible to combine more than one tool - do fine grain in git and then put the changes back into flare as one change, etc.
Sep
30
comment Why one sentence per paragraph in these news articles?
Aside from all the very good answers below, people's attention spans are really short these days. Sometimes one sentence is all they can handle in one bite.
Jul
17
comment Is it okay to end a novel with a cliffhanger?
Agreeing with the answers: each book should stand on its own as valid complete (satisfying) experience for the reader. Then, if there's more, great.
Jul
7
comment Is it possible for an author's first book to be popular?
Sometimes an author will self-publish a small run and later get picked up by a major publisher. If it's good, it can succeed - especially today with the Internet to spread the news for free.
Apr
22
comment What should take precedence? Rhythm or clarity?
It's kind of the wrong question. Whatever you write has to "work" for the reader. They have to understand what you're telling them and they have to feel what it means. How that gets accomplished will vary for every situation. There is no "right" answer. Clarity addresses the first issue. Rhythm, word choice, sentence structure, and lots of other things affect the second one.
Apr
22
comment What should take precedence? Rhythm or clarity?
Nit picking: "Two ridges stood on both sides" - seems to say 2 on the left and 2 on the right. If you leave out the "Two", it works - "Ridges stood on either side". Or "between two ridges, a river flowed".
Apr
22
comment Story-telling to improve writing skills?
Where I live, there have been story telling workshops and a group that met regularly for story tellers. Maybe there's something near you. The presentation form is sufficiently different than writing that the actual technical details may not transfer well, but the plots and characters and ideas will. Plus you can see immediately if you're losing the group's attention or if they react to something the way you'd like them to.
Apr
5
comment Is Mine a Convincing Argument Concerning the Effects of Censorship?
Interesting book!