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bio website johansens.us
location Michigan
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visits member for 2 years
seen 21 hours ago

Jul
14
comment Managing genre and rating for a story
If users can add their own tags, I don't see how the problem can be solved without some major advance in computer technology. It requires the computer to understand the meaning in context of ANY possible word a user might type in. On top of that, there are endless value judgments. Like in your example, you say that "Children" and "Horror" can't go together. But what about the "Are you afraid of the dark?" series? And there's plenty of erotica targeted to teens. Maybe you don't approve of it and don't want it on your site, but it's certainly not inconceivable. Etc.
Jul
14
comment How do I distinguish what makes a masterpiece?
If the point of your question is, "How can I tell whether a book is boring or interesting?", why do you care about others' opinions? If you like the book, great; if not, too bad. If your question is, "How can I win a Nobel literature prize?", the only answer is, "write something that the Noble prize committee likes". If there was a formula, everybody would be doing it.
Jul
14
comment How do I distinguish what makes a masterpiece?
There are lots of books that all the teachers and English professors declare are great literature and that I find boring. I read once -- wish I could give the writer credit -- "The funny thing about Shakespeare is that all the professors and literary critics are always saying how great his writing is, but when you actually read it, it really is great."
Jul
14
answered How to show characters learning something in a non-boring way?
Jul
14
comment Rules Of Fantasy Story?
In fairness, I'm not sure if he meant "all fantasy stories must follow this template" or "this is A template for a fantasy story that I think is a pretty good one". In any case, though, stories written from a template tend to sound like they are stories written from a template.
Jun
25
comment Where and how to publish new work
There are other on-demand publishers besides CreateSpace, so they're not your only option in that direction. I have one (paper) book published with Lulu and another with CreateSpace. Both of these are also available as ebooks. There are a bunch of POD publishers out there. If you want or are willing to do pretty much all the work yourself, I think CreateSpace and Lulu are the clear choices. If you want to just write the text and let someone else handle the technical parts, there are a number of other publishers, but they are, of course, going to charge for their services.
Jun
23
answered Are there copyright issues with a novella title if it's a famous line?
Jun
23
answered Is Jaime Lannister a “telling not showing” example?
Jun
23
comment Is Jaime Lannister a “telling not showing” example?
Few rules for anything should be followed blindly and unwaveringly. Any instruction on how to do something will include all sorts of general rules and guidelines. If you're a beginning student, you should follow them until you understand them. Once you understand why the rules were made, you will know when it is better to break them. Some of the worst disasters come from people who don't understand the rules thinking they can just ignore them. But some of the greatest triumphs come from people who are creative enough to know when to break the rules.
Jun
18
comment Referring to sign language in conversations
... a minute, how did Bob understand what Francois said to Margueritte? We were just told a few pages earlier that Bob doesn't know French."
Jun
18
comment Referring to sign language in conversations
If the story continually switches back and forth between English and sign language, and if this matters to the story -- like it matters that Sally doesn't know what Bob is saying to Mary because they're using sign language and Sally doesn't understand it -- then you need to do something to make it clear or the story can get confusing. You also better be clear in you own mind: I've occasionally read stories where characters are supposed to be speaking in foreign languages just conveniently translated into English for the reader, but the author slips up and I find myself saying, "Hey, wait ...
Jun
18
comment Referring to sign language in conversations
I've read a number of articles by people who communicate in sign language in which they emphasize that American Sign Language is not a set of signs to represent English words, but an entirely separate language. Some are rather adamant about this. I rather get the impression that they think it is almost an insult to suppose that ASL is "English but with your hands". I've never known a deaf person personally to ask about it.
Jun
18
comment Alien checking, by making questions
I would think you would almost surely have to explain why he can't just show his spaceship or why nobody sees it. There could be any number of explanations -- from celtschk's "it sank in the ocean when he landed" to "I don't have a spaceship, we use teleportation" to many others. But I think it's almost always better to give an explanation, even if it's glib, then to ignore the question and make the reader think, "But what about this obvious solution?!"
Jun
18
comment Alien checking, by making questions
Is he trying to prove that he's an alien, or convince people that he's not? If he's trying to convince people that he's not, they could ask him questions about Earth that someone who's lived here all his life would know, and see if they can trip him up.
Jun
18
answered How do you make a story succeed in spite of an unsympathetic main character?
Jun
18
comment How can we have foreshadowing in a story that takes place in a universe where the future can't be known beforehand?
@what But by that reasoning, in a tragedy we know it will end badly by the nature of the genre, and so that can't be foreshadowing either. It is true that a story in which we are given to understand that a character is doomed by fate to do X would be an example of foreshadowing, but I think it is simply not the commonly-used definition of the word to say that that is the ONLY kind of foreshadowing.
Jun
18
comment How can we have foreshadowing in a story that takes place in a universe where the future can't be known beforehand?
@PaulA.Clayton Yeah, I tried to put enough qualifiers in there to make the point that this is revelation coming out of the blue. But yes, one could write a story where the character is never seen until the last page, but where the existence of such a character is adequately foreshadowed.
Jun
18
awarded  creative-writing
Jun
17
answered How can we have foreshadowing in a story that takes place in a universe where the future can't be known beforehand?
Jun
16
comment How to deal with common Earth references in a non-Earth setting?
@PaulAClayton Or how it is that space travel shows can't do simple math. Like they tell us that the starship travels 100 times the speed of light, and then they travel between star systems in a few hours. Umm, if stars in this part of the galaxy are typically about 5 or 10 light-years apart, then even at 100 times the speed of light, wouldn't travel to another star take at least a couple of weeks?