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11h
comment How do you write boy & girl protagonists without turning them into a love story?
@NeilFein Hmm, do you doubt that my statement is true? Or are you saying that it is offensive to make true statements that people would rather believe are not true?
1d
comment The “Rules” of Writing
-- Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do. -- About sentence fragments. -- Vague analogies are as bas as, like, whatever.
1d
comment The “Rules” of Writing
Taken too literally, this would preclude most science fiction, as most writers have never been to another planet or travelled in time. :-)
1d
comment The “Rules” of Writing
Isaac Asimov (a well-known sci-fi writer if the name isn't familiar to you) once wrote that when he was writing a story, he always began with a general idea, then came up with an ending, then a beginning, and then worked out how to get from the beginning to the ending.
1d
comment The “Rules” of Writing
I disagree with number 3. I've read stories where it's "Bob said ... Sally said ... Bob said ... Sally said ... Fred said ..." and it's boring and repetitive. But yes, I understand that the opposite extreme, trying to come up with a million different ways to say "said", quickly becomes obvious and distracting. "Bob said ... Sally replied ... Bob interjected ... Sally whispered ... Fred cautioned ..." etc.
1d
comment The “Rules” of Writing
Personally, I think an excellent example of excessive description is Jules Verne. Like in 20,000 Leagues, he was constantly going into long descriptions of the flora and fauna that the heroes saw as they travelled. I don't care. One literary critic commented, "Verne's writing improves the instant you put down the book", which I think was very true. The Cliff notes of Verne's writing tend to be much more interesting than the original.
1d
comment The “Rules” of Writing
I wouldn't say, "don't go into detail", but "seek the right balance of detail". If you just say, "She was beautiful", that's boring. But if you go into great detail about the color of her hair, her height and weight, the style of clothes she wore, etc, yes, you risk describing YOUR ideal of beauty that may not match the readers. More important, though, is the issue of boring the reader with detail not relevant to the story. When the ninja assassin suddenly attacks the hero, we want to quickly get into the action, not a long description of the exact color and texture of the ninja's headband.
1d
comment The “Rules” of Writing
It's a good general rule, but like almost any rule, if applied mindlessly you can get absurd results. If you tell me, "Bob was a very rude person", that's kind of boring. But if you have scenes where he is rude to everyone he meets, I'll get the message much more effectively. But you don't have to be ridiculous about it. If you want to say that, for example, a certain character is from Britain, it's perfectly okay to just say, "Bob is from Britain". You don't have to give subtle hints about it and beat around the bush.
Aug
24
comment English, Commas
It's not necessarily obvious that "Survival of the Sickest" is a book. At least, not from this stand-alone sentence. It might be an article in a magazine, or a TV documentary, or a speech.
Aug
21
comment Why are the paragraphs of an document often indented and not vertically separated?
Late addendum: Yes, I know what is generally meant by "academic writing". What I was trying to say is that I have never heard of the idea of indenting paragraphs referred to as "academic style".
Aug
17
comment Map of my fantasy world - how do realms, kingdoms, cities, towns and villages fit into it?
In the United States, there are laws that give technical legal meanings to words like city, town, and village. So, for example, a place with a hundred people might go through the legal process to be declared a city while a place with ten thousand people has not done that and so is legally something else. But that said, in normal, non-legal-technicality conversation, a city is generally understood to be bigger than a town or village. There are no hard and fast numbers about how much bigger.
Aug
14
comment Is CreateSpace 100% free for self-publishing?
... at the publisher because there was a problem with his cover, like it was their fault that he'd never gotten a proof and reviewed it.
Aug
14
comment Is CreateSpace 100% free for self-publishing?
@StevenDrennon Yes. You can now proof your book online instead of getting a printed copy. As Dale Emery says, I wouldn't recommend it. It might make sense to use the online proof, make any corrections, and when you're happy with the online proof, then get a printed proof. That might save you some time and money on errors that you can spot on line. But I'd discourage skipping the printed copy. I talked to a guy a few years ago who used a similar service, didn't get a printed proof, ordered a couple of hundred copies to sell at some lecture he was giving or something ... and then was mad ...
Aug
14
comment Is CreateSpace 100% free for self-publishing?
One quibble: The above discussion makes it sound like a sale through the Create Space estore gets you less money than a sale through amazon.com. This is backwards. You'll get your highest royalties through the estore.
Aug
14
comment Is CreateSpace 100% free for self-publishing?
Ditto on the advisability of getting a printed proof copy. A printed book just doesn't look the same as a book on-screen. On my last book, the cover looked great on screen, but when I got the printed copy, I saw that the color illustration extended into the area where the cover bends when you open the book, and it just looked weird. I'm sure lots of subtle little things like that come up.
Aug
14
comment Is it legal to self-publish books independently (in any form) with no LTD, L.L.C., D.B.A., etc.?
Registering a copyright on a book in the U.S. costs $35 and takes maybe an hour to fill out a form on a web site. I don't know how much good it really does, but the cost in time and dollars is so low compared to the amount of effort you presumably put into writing the book that I really don't see a reason to NOT do it.
Aug
14
comment Is it legal to self-publish books independently (in any form) with no LTD, L.L.C., D.B.A., etc.?
Technically, they don't have to send you a 1099 if your total royalties for the year were less than $10. I guess at that point the government doesn't care: the tax on $10 would be pretty trivial.
Aug
14
comment Write a book with “protected” characters/ideas without copyright?
Just a side piece of advice: I often hear beginning authors stressing about someone else stealing their ideas. It's not worth worrying about. As a new author, your problem is to get more than a dozen people to know you exist! Spend your time worrying about how to write something good enough that anyone would want to steal it. Worry about how to get enough people to read it that there's a chance one of them would try to steal it. When you're a best-selling author, THEN is he time to worry about people stealing your ideas.
Aug
14
comment Write a book with “protected” characters/ideas without copyright?
And in any case, the cost to register the copyright of a book in the U.S. is $35, and it requires filling out a form on a web site. I don't know how rich or poor you are, but $35 doesn't seem like a huge amount of money to me. The form is a bit complicated, I didn't time how long it took me to fill it out the last time I registered a copyright, but even if you're not familiar with it and have to stumble through and look at a lot of help screens, I can't imagine it would take more than an hour or so.
Aug
11
comment Position of Footnote on Page
@SmileySam Yes!