4,186 reputation
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bio website johansens.us
location Michigan
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visits member for 1 year, 7 months
seen 2 days ago

Feb
3
comment Is there enough money in writing for me to quit my dead end job?
@dmm Umm, you're assuming that the OP rides to work on a bus or train for an hour each way each day. That's normal for people who live in New York, maybe some other cities. But for most of the U.S. anyway, folks drive to work, and I definitely would NOT advise trying to write a novel while driving.
Dec
18
awarded  Yearling
Dec
16
comment Inventing names for Sci-Fi characters
My point about "inventing language structure" was just that there should be some level of consistency to avoid making it jarring. Like I said in my post, in general you don't want half the aliens to have one-syllable names and the other half to have twenty-syllable names, unless there is some reason why different groups have different kinds of names. Otherwise it's going to sound strange to the reader with no explanation. I'm not suggesting you actually invent an entire grammar and vocabulary. That seems rather unnecessary.
Dec
16
comment Inventing names for Sci-Fi characters
... the story to go into some long discussion about how to make these sounds, or to throw in combinations of letters that are unpronounceable but that are supposed to represent these alien sounds. Unless the fact that the language is unpronounceable by humans is actually a factor in the plot.
Dec
16
comment Inventing names for Sci-Fi characters
Human languages unpronounceable to each other: Sure. But I think that fits into my point. When we write, say, Arabic words in English, we often put "q" or "kh" for that sound we don't have in English, and accept that it doesn't convey the actual sound of the original. Unless your point is to learn Arabic, it's not worth the trouble to bog down the conversation with wrestling over the alphabet. That's what I'm suggesting we do for an alien language: Sure, they might have sounds not found in English, maybe even sounds that humans are incapable of making. But it's not worth bogging down ...
Nov
25
answered Variation in humor among ethnic/cultural groups
Nov
19
answered Is an MLA citation needed for a broad description of a poem's theme?
Nov
19
comment What are the 3 all-time best-sellers in each genre?
@Kit I suspect that "most total sales since they were published" and "most sales this year" could give very different answers.
Nov
5
answered Is there an accepted (or 'correct') way to write translations/subtitles for different materials (videos, articles, books, etc)?
Nov
1
comment Short story cover: “a story” or “a short story” or not putting anything at all
@LaurenIpsum Hearty agreement! I've always thought such subtitles were stating the obvious. I suppose if I wrote a novel and titled it, "Street Map of London", I might want to give it a subtitle of "A Novel" lest someone searching a catalog or Amazon thinks it's a literal street map. I recall when the movie "Superman: The Movie" came out, one film critic said, "Not to be confused with Superman: the microwave oven."
Nov
1
answered Where to put counter-examples within a 5-paragraph essay?
Oct
28
answered Can I use real presidents (past and present) and real companies in a fictional story?
Oct
28
answered What are First Drafts, Second Drafts, etc.?
Oct
28
comment What are First Drafts, Second Drafts, etc.?
If you're on you're 4th or 5th draft and you're fundamentally unhappy with the work as a whole, that's very different from you're on your 4th or 5th draft and you realize there's a problem in the transition between chapter 6 and chapter 7 and the character of "Amy" is poorly developed. If you've made several drafts and you are not happy with the overall document, you have to make a decision: was this an idea that just didn't work out and you should just abandon it rather than waste yet more time; or is it a fundamentally good idea and you just need to attack it from a different angle?
Oct
28
comment When is it acceptable to refer to an undefined group of people in academic writing?
This discussion is mixing two very different things together as if they were the same thing: (1) providing evidence to back up an assertion, and (2) making assertions more precise. If I say "60% of Americans do X", that statement could be completely true, even if it turns out that almost all of those 60% are, say, white people. Whether or not the statement is misleading depends on the nature of the sub-group and its perceived relevance to the question. The latter could be highly subjective.
Oct
28
comment When is it acceptable to refer to an undefined group of people in academic writing?
@FumbleFingers Exactly. If you took a survey in which you asked people whether they carpool, and if the overall trend was upward, then it would be perfectly fair and honest to say "more people car pool". If further analysis of the data showed that the increase was greater among bald Chinese accountants, that would be an interesting additional fact, but the statement that "people" are doing this is an honest statement even if one could find diverging trends among various sub-groups.
Oct
11
answered When is it acceptable to refer to an undefined group of people in academic writing?
Oct
7
answered How to make a debate/discussion between characters less dry?
Oct
7
comment How to make a debate/discussion between characters less dry?
RE adding action. Even throw in quick, simple things. "Tony thought a moment. Then he replied ..." Or, "The chaplain laughed. 'Okay, hypothetically.'" Etc. This helps break up the dialog, and gives you an opportunity to make clear who's speaking without endless repetitive "Tony said ..."/"The chaplain said ..."
Oct
7
comment How to depict Australian characters
... commentary, whatever -- then you probably want to exaggerate the stereotypes, at least a little.