4,486 reputation
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bio website johansens.us
location Michigan
age
visits member for 1 year, 9 months
seen 18 hours ago

21h
comment Is it good to write sexually?
I don't know anything about Tamil culture. But I think that in my country, the audience for a book about sexual abuse that goes into explicit detail would be very small. The subject would just be too uncomfortable for most. Still, there are few books that appeal to everyone. There would certainly be a market for such a book. I really doubt it would ever be a best-seller, but could you sell thousands of copies with the proper marketing? Sure.
21h
comment What is a good name for a character who loves money?
I'd avoid giving characters names that too obviously describe them, unless the story is intended to be a comedy or a very blatant allegory. In real life, greedy people are not all named "Mr Cash", violent people are not all named "Mr Fist", etc., and seeing names like that in a story just seems ... silly.
Sep
12
comment Do I risk losing reader if I put too many religious/anti-religious views?
... the idea that someone could say, "I think X is morally wrong, and therefore I will seek to persuade others that it is morally wrong and that they shouldn't do it. But of course I wouldn't make it illegal, because that would violate other people's freedom." Which is, in fact, the position of almost every evangelical that I know personally or who I have heard speak publicly.
Sep
12
comment Do I risk losing reader if I put too many religious/anti-religious views?
Can't say I've heard the term "Christianism" before, but hearing it was coined by Andrew Sullivan, who I have heard of, okay, I get it. I think you'd be hard pressed to find many actual Fundamentalists or evangelicals who say they want their religion imposed on others by force of law, that's more a caricature of evangelicals. Best as I can make out Mr Sullivan's logic, he says, "I think that anything I believe to be morally wrong should be illegal. Christians say X, Y, and Z are morally wrong. Therefore, Christians must believe that these things should be illegal." He rather skims over ...
Sep
11
comment Killing off a character: deciding if, when and how
"Imposing an external criteria of good/bad" I think very few stories do not reflect SOME moral viewpoint. In most stories, there is a "good guy" and a "bad guy". The good guy may be flawed, he may not be a paragon of all that is good and right, but he's almost always presented as basically a good and decent person trying to do what is right. Usually, good wins in the end and the reader walks away happy. If the hero loses, this is presented as a sad and tragic thing. Sure, sometimes the writer's idea of "good" differs from my own. But the writer still has a moral viewpoint.
Sep
9
comment How to write a prophecy?
... Bible has nothing to do with whether you could include such a thing in a fiction story that you are writing.
Sep
9
comment How to write a prophecy?
@dmm The Joseph example is better than the Pharaoh example. There's no indication in the Bible or elsewhere that I know of that Pharaoh knew anything about any prophecy. You could say that his efforts to destroy the Jews backfired when they ended up placing a Jew in the royal household, but it had nothing to do with a PROPHECY. The Joseph case is debatable. I don't know that you'd call Joseph's dreams a prophecy, or that his brothers thought of them as a prophecy and not just their arrogant jerk brother. But maybe. Whatever, whether or not something like this scenario happened in the ...
Aug
6
comment How could a criminal forget a crime?
I recall Watson warning Holmes about the dangers of drug abuse, but I forget the details. Been a while since I've read those stories.
Aug
5
comment How could a criminal forget a crime?
(Shrug) Not a question that will lead me to challenge you to a duel to the death. It seems to me that a brilliant detective would value his mind highly, and would want to keep it clear and functioning at peak efficiency. Hallucinogenic drugs would seem like the sort of thing a brilliant detective would have no desire to use. I suppose you could make a case that "a mind forever wandering" would try such drugs out of curiosity, but that's not how I recall it presented in the stories. Of course one must also consider that cocaine and heroin use were viewed differently back then. Whatever.
Aug
5
comment How could a criminal forget a crime?
Sure. And I thought it seemed out of character. Of course Holmes was supposed to be .. quirky.
Aug
5
comment How could a criminal forget a crime?
Whether anyone really has committed a murder while sleep-walking, the idea doesn't seem obviously, blatantly impossible. By definition, fiction is not limited to things that you can prove really happened -- that's called "non-fiction". I'm pretty sure that no one has ever actually travelled to the planet Vulcan or survived a total nuclear war, but that doesn't mean you can't include such things in a fiction story.
Aug
4
comment How should changing the point of view be handled?
Don't rely on subtle clues, like, "Oh, the reader should realize that we're now talking from Sally's point of view because I'm talking about colors and Sally always pays attention to color." Make it 100% clear: Use the character's name or some other blatant identifier.
Aug
4
comment How should changing the point of view be handled?
I agree. Just be sure that the change in POV is clear. I think that in general the first sentence of each chapter should establish whose eyes we're seeing through. I've read stories where I was three pages in to a chapter before I finally realized, "Oh, this chapter is back in London, now I get it", or "Oh, this is a flashback", etc.
Jul
25
comment Is writing even profitable
... for the past 30 years put together.
Jul
25
comment Is writing even profitable
I've published a handful of magazine articles and two books. My income from this has been small, but expenses are small too, so sure, I've made a profit. But if my goal was just to make money, I can confidently say that the opportunity cost was huge. I could have done much better by getting a part-time job at McDonalds and earning minimum wage for those hours. Never mind that I have on occasion done computer consulting work, which pays WAY better than writing. I'd have to add up the numbers, but I probably made more with one day of computer consulting than with all the writing I've done ...
Jul
24
comment How far does libel extend in writing?
... lawyers would still jump on you, but much less likely, and hard to see how they'd win. Making statements about a real person that don't involve illegal or scandalous behavior would make you a much smaller target. But anything you say COULD make someone mad enough to sue. Like I don't know, without researching the life of Mr Tebow, maybe he's a vegetarian and would object to being described as eating chicken. Or maybe he once publicly said that he hates chicken and would perceive your statement as saying he's a liar. Who knows?
Jul
24
comment How far does libel extend in writing?
IANAL, but as I understand libel law, if you say that a person did something illegal, that is "libel per se", automatically libelous if not true. If you say other things about a person, then they have to demonstrate harm. So if you said, "Tom Tebow was shooting up heroin in the bathroom", that's a crime, and so he'd have grounds for libel. But if you said, "Tom Tebow ate a chicken sandwich", that's not a crime. It's hard to see how the idea that he might eat chicken sandwiches could hurt Mr Tebow's reputation or cost him money. He wouldn't have much grounds for a suit. It's possible his ...
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."