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Jul
24
comment Avoid blending Fantasy and Sci Fi
Another good way to tell a "true" sci-fi story is to try to take out the sci-fi element. I can't think of any element of Dune that couldn't be re-written as a fantasy, as opposed to Asimov's I, Robot, for example. You can't take the robot out of I, Robot. I suppose you could get really creative and substitute the robot with a magically animated golem, but I doubt it would have the same impact. Our society will never have to deal with a sentient golem, but with all the progress in robotics these days, a sentient robot might be just around the corner.
Jul
24
comment Avoid blending Fantasy and Sci Fi
Good question. I've only read the first book(s) so I can't judge the whole series. There's a lot of people out there that want to put it in fantasy, partly because spice isn't really explained scientifically. If we look at the conflicts, it's more of a fantasy conflict - Paul needs to "find himself" in order to become the Kwisatz Haderach so he could save the world of Dune from the evil Harkonnen. Personally, I'm fine with the sci-fi classification, but it might just as well fit into fantasy category.
Jul
9
comment What factors in fiction arouse readers' expectations?
@AnnaM Yeah, the "contract" depends a lot on the genre and style of the book, but it's important to let the reader know from the start what to expect. How exactly you manage that in the type of literary book you described is the real question :)
Jul
6
comment What factors in fiction arouse readers' expectations?
@LaurenIpsum I was reading somewhere about the importance of the first sentence, and they gave an example that one student wrote: "Sex, sex, sex. Now that I've got your attention, let me tell you about global warming." While funny, it's not the right way to do it. Another story opened with "He took a rock and bashed her head in." Turned out someone was reading that in the newspaper, and the rest of the story was not just gore-free, but boring as hell. You don't open with a scene like that for shock value, and then go to something completely different.
Jul
5
comment What factors in fiction arouse readers' expectations?
A reader might forgive you if you don't resolve a minor conflict, but not if you turn an opening conflict into a minor conflict and then don't resolve it. An opening conflict becomes, by default, the main conflict. So the point here is, be careful with what you open the story :).
Jul
5
comment Project Management Software Using Google Drive
That's true, unfortunately.
Jul
5
comment Project Management Software Using Google Drive
I've switched to plain text as well. If the articles are going to be published online (which is not specified here) plain text files would be a lot less PITA to put on a web page. Even for paper publishing, if the graphics designer is using, for example, InDesign, then Word formatting is useless to him, even bothersome to get rid of. If there are no pictures, tables or graphs in the article, I'd recommend some lightweight markup language and some nice, plain text files :)
Jul
5
comment Project Management Software Using Google Drive
Actually, I think you have something there with revision control systems (I prefer TortoiseSVN though). The author can commit an article, the review team can see the commit, pull the article and review it, commit their changes with the comment "reviewed", for example, then the publisher can just pull the newest version and publish it. If you could get notifications every time someone commits something, even better (there's a tool called CommitMonitor that monitors Apache Subversion repositories for new commits, for example). Plus, it keeps track of who changed what and why.
Jul
4
comment Do people read short stories?
What about writing stories of a bit over 5000 words? Then you could try getting them into "Kindle Shorts" category - there are some available sales numbers for Shorts that look pretty promising.
Jul
4
comment Do people read short stories?
From what I understand about the self-pub market, it's not what you write, it's how well you market yourself. An excellent e-book (short story or a novel, whatever) might not make a single sale, while a mediocre one, where the author had half the internet and their mothers leave a positive review, can sell like crazy. Putting a story among millions of others and then sit and wait for someone to stumble upon it will get you nowhere. Don't waste your time wondering if it sells. Write another 10-15 stories, put up both single and collection to see what sells better, then MARKET THEM TO DEATH.
Jul
4
comment What are the common editing requirements for a short story in an anthology?
Well, I don't have experience with English speaking ones, but the one I send my stories to just changed their MO this year. Previous years they would inform you by email if you got in, ask for a short bio and publish the story as is, but this year they said they will get back to the authors whose stories might be improved (which would have simply been rejected in previous years) and generally work with all authors on improving their stories. I hear some others in my country also work in this way. Raises the quality of the stories.
Jul
3
comment What are the common editing requirements for a short story in an anthology?
I think it depends on the anthology/editor/publisher?
Jul
3
comment Using pronouns properly in order to avoid confusion and repetition
+1 for "Monica's father" :)
Jul
2
comment Tone and directness in inviting prospective team member
How exactly are you "trying to get across that it's going to be an exciting venture"? You say nothing about the venture, much less why it's exciting, about you, your company, what you do and why you chose this person. You haven't given them anything "of interest" to give them a reason to get back to you. The way to get it across that it's an exciting venture is to talk about the exciting venture.
Jul
2
comment Variation in paragraph length
@J.R. And monotonous, isn't it? No examples to break the text, no one-line punchline, no nothing ;)
Jul
1
comment Roadblocks in my story: The Gladys Tribe
To answer your first question, the temperature in a cave is always 4 degrees Celsius, regardless of the temperature outside. For the second one, try googling "luminescent minerals", there's a lot of them. There are also some algae and bacteria, you can google "bioluminescence" for those. As for the rest of it, it's really up to the writer to come up with the details of the story. You can make this work with both a kid or an old man as a main character, if you set up the right backstory.
Jul
1
comment Does the country matter in a story if it is set in a real one?
Can I just add that both Mark Twain and Boris Pasternak (who wrote Doctor Zhivago) wrote about countries they lived in? It would be terribly hard to write a meaningful setting-based story that happens in Russia if you've never been there. They don't say "write what you know" for no reason :)
Jun
29
comment Does the country matter in a story if it is set in a real one?
Keep in mind that if you set your story in Japan, you'll need to KNOW about Japan. If you try to fake it, there's always someone who will figure you out. You would either need to do a lot of research, or find someone who lives or has lived there. On the other hand, setting a story about ninjas in Taiwan just because you don't know about Japan also doesn't make much sense.
Jun
28
comment Need Help Understanding the Meaning of Certain Topics in a Writing Contest
It think the second one could be a variation of "The Road Less Travelled" theme - meaning, do you follow in the paths of others on the road that has already been travelled on, or you choose your own way, the one not many people have chosen?
Jun
28
comment Is this stylized writing successful or gimmicky?
You basically told him in a very polite way that his writing sucks, but you didn't tell him why it sucks. It doesn't help the writer at all, it just leaves him with a vague feeling that something, somehow, is very, very wrong. I know negative critique is hard to hear, but without it, no one would ever learn and improve, in writing or any other craft.