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Jan
18
comment In English non-fiction, should I try to place the important parts at the beginning of the sentence?
@rolfedh Umm, so? Are you saying that my using an example from fiction is invalid because the question specifically asked about non-fiction? If so, I was trying to make a point by using an extreme case. If you read the next paragraph, I then said how this applies to less dramatic examples like are more commonly found in non-fiction. Or maybe I'm just missing your point.
Jan
13
comment Where to draw the line between fantasy and reality in a story?
Second thought: I don't know how hard it is to cut someone's arm off with a single blow from a sword. There's surprisingly little opportunity to do this in my day-to-day life. If you said that Fwacbar was a great and mighty warrior, and he was carrying a strong and sharp sword, and then you say he cut someone's arm off with a single blow, I'd accept that as plausible. Whether it really is I don't know. Need to get an expert on Medieval combat here. The only sword I've ever used is a fencing foil with a rubber tip.
Jan
12
comment Where to draw the line between fantasy and reality in a story?
To me, if you say that someone can magically fly, I'd buy that the magic also somehow prevents him from suffocating or having a brain hemorrhage from low air pressure. But the nature of unconsciousness and the power of swords, if you want to make it different from the real world, you have to give some reason. It could be magic, it could be some pseudo-science, but you have to give SOME reason. When I talk about setting the stage, you can't just say "that's how it is". The explanation doesn't have to be rigorous science, but it has to sound vaguely plausible.
Jan
11
answered Where to draw the line between fantasy and reality in a story?
Jan
10
answered Microsoft Book Pages
Jan
7
comment Show the translation of foreign language thoughts in a manuscript?
Yes. If you're writing a book for an English-speaking audience, then 99% of the time you should just translate all dialog to English. Anything else just gets confusing and tedious. The only exceptions I can think of are, (a) as @lostinfrance says, a few odd words to add flavor, and (b) when something about the original language is important, like the fact that two words sound similar in Spanish and so might cause confusion to a Spanish speaker even though they don't in English.
Jan
6
comment Will changing a protagonist into an antagonist alienate readers?
@joe BTW From the audience's point of view, Anakin Skywalker does not start out as a good guy and then become evil. Quite the reverse: he starts out evil and is ultimately redeemed. And in any case he's not the hero. It's quite common for lesser characters to turn out to be evil: the hero thought he was his friend but he betrays him, etc.
Jan
6
comment Will changing a protagonist into an antagonist alienate readers?
@joe As I said in my post, a hero can certainly be flawed. There's a big difference between "struggles with his dark side" and "becomes a villain". In many stories, a key element is that the hero struggles with base motives but ultimately overcomes them. If he gives in and does something evil and is never redeemed, we put that in a special category of "dark stories". Very few stories start out with someone portrayed as basically a good and likable person, the reader is sucked in to liking him, and then he turns evil. There are examples, of course, but I think it's hard to pull off.
Jan
4
answered Children's book copyright issues
Jan
4
answered Will changing a protagonist into an antagonist alienate readers?
Jan
4
answered It's hard for a foreigner to publish in english?
Jan
4
comment How can I tell if a novel idea is made for a series or a stand-alone?
Sorry, maybe I circled around too much. What I was trying to say was: If the nature of the story is such that it is naturally divided into installment where each installment ends essentially where it began, then this is logically a series. Like a detective story or doctor story or some types of space travel story. If it doesn't logically divide into episodes, or if any attempt to divide into episodes does not result in units that end essentially where they began, than this is not logically a series. Like a romance or war story.
Jan
3
answered How do I structure an essay into a thesis statement and three points in three paragraphs? -this is not a school homework
Jan
3
comment How do I structure an essay into a thesis statement and three points in three paragraphs? -this is not a school homework
Hmm. "This is not homework", but "My teacher wants ..."
Jan
3
answered How can I tell if a novel idea is made for a series or a stand-alone?
Dec
27
answered How many errata are too many?
Dec
27
comment Switching to fiction software
Whoa, but tape decks? Is that some new-fangled replacement for punch cards? :)
Dec
27
comment In English non-fiction, should I try to place the important parts at the beginning of the sentence?
@Wrzlprmft Not really. If we don't put the most important thing last, it doesn't follow that we must put it first. We could put it second or third or fourth, etc.
Dec
26
answered In English non-fiction, should I try to place the important parts at the beginning of the sentence?
Dec
24
comment Swearing in a book, within a context. Too offensive?
@Smoj I agree. As you say, deliberate shock value has diminishing returns: the more it's done, the less effective it becomes. Then you have to ratchet up to the next higher level of shock value. This has the potential to seriously date your work: If society as a whole moves toward accepting higher levels of vulgarity as "normal", then what is shocking today will be humdrum in a few years. If society moves toward more stricter standards, then what was an entertaining level of shock today will be over the top offensive in a few years. Note societies regularly go back and forth on such things.