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bio website annailonamussmann.blogspot.co…
location USA
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visits member for 1 year, 5 months
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I am an aspiring author with a love for Irish breakfast tea, long walks, period costumes, and tales of the fantastical. I cling to the use of the Oxford comma and I blog about writing and literature at http://annailonamussmann.blogspot.com .


Jul
28
comment Can novels have twist endings?
I would add that another type of twist that sometimes appears at the end of a novel is the death of the protagonist. Usually this is a "twist" mostly because the reader assumes that the hero will survive. Of course, this kind of ending only works if it's thematically satisfying and thoroughly meaningful. Ex: Rosemary Suttliff's Mark of the Horse Lord: the protagonist impersonates the real heir and becomes king. In the end, he is able to protect the people by sacrificing his own life, thus truly acting the role of the king.
Jul
18
comment Can I use general short stories to publish on my site, blog, etc.?
Whose stories are they? If they are old stories that are in the public domain, that's one thing, but if they are current works that belong to someone, that's another.
Jul
18
comment no matter whether = whether?
I think that the "or not" is technically needed in both sentences, but is more successfully implied in the first than in the second.
Jul
15
comment How to show characters learning something in a non-boring way?
Have you read the Newbery-winning children's novel, The Avion My Uncle Flew? In the novel, the young protagonist learns lots of French words (made fairly interesting by being relevant to what he is trying to accomplish in his interactions with French people) and, in the end of the book, actually writes an entire letter "in French." The cool thing is that a young reader who has been paying attention will be able to understand the letter, and will feel that they "know French."
Jul
14
comment Pros and cons of using real brand/company names?
possible duplicate of Is it unusual to use product placement within a fictional novel, and what are the legalities around this?
Jul
7
comment What are some strategies for surprising the reader?
J.K. Rowling can be used as an example of this, too, I think. She included so much extraneous, fun, world-building information that it was difficult to tell (especially in the early books) which pieces would actually become important to the plot. Such a method wouldn't work for every style, but it worked for her.
May
28
comment What concrete steps do you take to write for a specific reading level?
Are you familiar with the Accelerated Reader program from Renaissance Learning? The program, which is used by a number of schools, ranks a large number of books according to reading level and gives them different point values. It might be helpful to look up children's literature that you are familiar with and see what reading level they have assigned to it (they look at vocab, etc., but not overarching concepts). arbookfind.com/default.aspx
Jul
13
comment What factors in fiction arouse readers' expectations?
I just ran across this article, which seems helpful/relevant in light of your question. lbgale.com/2013/07/02/…
Jul
12
comment Who is the perfect rival to the right-person-wrong-time character in a love triangle?
If readers root for both/either of the romantic rivals all through the story, can you provide a satisfying ending? Usually the protagonist and reader only discover gradually that Mr. Seems-Right is actually Mr. Wrong-Person, right? In that case, the reader is happy with the choice of Mr. Really-Right.
Jul
10
comment Referring to people in a book
I have to admit that as an (American) English-speaker, it jars me to see authors referred to by their first name unless I knew the writer knew them and was telling a personal story. "As Mark said..." (instead of Twain) is so jarring as to seem, to me, pretentious-- which is the opposite of what you are going for.
Jul
9
comment Books for children: complexity
Perhaps so-- but a lot of classic children's books were written for the author's own child/ren or a small group of children.
Jul
9
comment What factors in fiction arouse readers' expectations?
The style of the book can also be part of the "contract." Literary books often close with more unresolved questions than genre books do (plus, if a story seems to be conveying the idea that life is bleak and meaningless, I am less surprised at an unresolved ending).
Jun
6
comment Basing fiction on personal life
I'm glad it did!
Jun
3
comment Basing fiction on personal life
Funnily enough, I don't use caps except for CAN-- for some reason they appeal to me there. My own quirk! :-)
May
12
comment Placing similes at the beginning and at the end of a sentence
Even before Lauren provided this crime-related example, I thought that the phrase "like a surgeon..." suggested violence (because surgeons cut up bodies, and must remove blood from their hands). If you merely mean that he washed his hands thoroughly in a non-sinister fashion, you probably want to tweak the choice of simile.
Apr
19
comment Best practice for stories based on other writers' stories
Apparently Dennis McKiernan originally wrote The Silver Call as a sequel to Lord of the Rings, but because the Tolkien estate wouldn't give his publisher permission to "add on" to Tolkien, he had to change his book so that his world could stand alone.
Apr
18
comment How to advertise a free e-book?
What genre/kind of book is it?
Apr
11
comment 1st person story, but the main character will die in the end and some of the story needs to be told after his death. How to solve this problem?
This framing idea works especially well if the reader expects the central narrator to die (say, in a historical novel about Julius Caesar or Cleopatra), but mightn't it be too much of a giveaway if the death is supposed to be a shocking surprise?
Mar
26
comment Are composite characters in creative non-fiction okay?
I suppose an alternative to a different genre title is to do what the author of "Call the Midwife" did (according to a news article I read). Because she fictionalized some things, she changed the names of people and organizations. Perhaps that helps prevent the appearance of deception.
Mar
18
comment Effective techniques for describing pain
This is great advice, and brings up the benefit of describing something you know: you will be able to mention the little, highly evocative things (sinuses, etc.) that might not occur to someone who hasn't experienced the cold wind, but help everyone imagine it.