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seen Nov 24 '13 at 4:06

I have sold science fiction, movie reviews, medical nonfiction, restaurant reviews, and screenplays. I edited and co-wrote a chapter on writing science fiction, published in a popular college textbook on fiction writing (The Graceful Lie, edited by Michael Petracca). I created and co-edited UNEARTH, a science fiction magazine devoted exclusively to discovering and publishing new writers, which launched many writing careers (name-drop: William Gibson). I'm a physician, film director, drummer, scuba diver, and golfer.


Mar
17
comment Best way to emphasise the greenness of the fields in spring in comparison with summer
My feeling about developing one's own style is that it requires no conscious effort. It will come of its own accord. And don't hesitate to try to emulate writers whose work you admire; imitation is not only the sincerest form of flattery, it's also the most effective tool for learning to write. Don't worry that you'll write like someone else, because you won't. You'll merely develop a better understanding of the myriad ways there are to express things. (Look at all the attempts that have been made intentionally to copy great writers, but who ever succeeds?)
Mar
17
comment Best way to emphasise the greenness of the fields in spring in comparison with summer
My recasting of the original was merely a wild exercise to help demonstrate that there are uncountable possible translations. That having been said, however, let me address one point: A writer tries to create certain effects. If I say something is urgent because I want a particular response in the reader's mind, then my word choice might be judged more or less successful in creating the desired effect, but necessity doesn't enter into it. I wouldn't claim the word is necessary; it's merely the word I choose to create the effect I'm seeking. On what basis would one say it's unnecessary?
Mar
16
comment Best way to emphasise the greenness of the fields in spring in comparison with summer
Here's an extreme recasting, but, importantly, it eliminates the slightly disturbing redundancy of the original version ("morning," "post," and "green" used twice each within a very short span of words): "The early spring day awakened me with sunlight so urgent and pervasive I almost felt I was breathing it. Minutes later I was walking the road to the post, admiring a field of grass so freshly green it seemed lit from within. I enjoyed its vibrancy even more when I reflected how summer would all too soon impose itself, dialing the color down to a dull, dark, nearly lifeless shade."
Mar
16
comment Best way to emphasise the greenness of the fields in spring in comparison with summer
Nice revision, but note we wouldn't say "the front" of a season. In poetry, you might make it work, but never in prose. Seasons have temporal length, not physical substance, and they also come and go, so you can say the beginning of spring, the onset of spring, the arrival of spring, and more, but never the front.
Mar
16
awarded  Commentator
Mar
16
comment Best way to emphasise the greenness of the fields in spring in comparison with summer
Degrade. Suck the life blood out of. Diminish. Wither. Subdue. Suppress. Crush. Exert its influence. I hope these help a little. And thanks very much for the compliments!
Mar
16
comment Best way to emphasise the greenness of the fields in spring in comparison with summer
You're looking specifically for an improved version of "unleashed its signs etc."? Is that the question?
Mar
16
answered Best way to emphasise the greenness of the fields in spring in comparison with summer
Mar
12
comment How can one plan elaborate crimes for fiction without getting into trouble?
@CQM I'm wondering what your feeling on the matter is now. Five people have been answering your question, using substantial analyses, reference to credible resources, personal knowledge, and professional writing experience. The consensus is clear: Your concerns can be banished, and you should go ahead and do your research without fear. Your responses, however, suggest you aren't convinced. So, are you still worried, or are you reassured?
Mar
7
comment How much power does the author have over an original work?
Another good answer. The problem in question might be a matter for a lawyer, but generally speaking, the lawyer was correct that this kind of problem usually falls to an agent, or to the writer. The exact substance, nature, quality, and quantity of editorial changes tend to fall below the level of the specifics of a contract. As a very crude illustration, a contract might say, "The publisher may request up to three full-text revisions without further compensation." The details of these revisions then are a matter of on-the-spot negotiations of the type we have discussed here.
Mar
7
revised How much power does the author have over an original work?
fixed grammar
Mar
7
comment How can one plan elaborate crimes for fiction without getting into trouble?
@Lazarus I see what you mean. But let's not get CQM worried all over again. It COULD happen that one can be charged with conspiracy in that way, but ONLY if the crime one is accused of conspiring to commit has actually taken place -- or some closely associated crime adequate to prove the conspiracy. (e.g. Two people conspire to murder, the attempt is made, the victim is assaulted but not killed and it is clear from the assault that the intent was murder. AND conspiracy can be demonstrated.) Can't go into the subtle legalities here, but the point remains: Crime writers shouldn't worry about it.
Mar
6
comment Do you have to be good at grammar to get published?
Upvoted a very good answer. One very tiny blip: You accidentally left out "an" before "(admittedly contrived)" in paragraph two. One fun side note: Franz Kafka was notoriously horrible at spelling. Drove his editor nuts fixing all the mistakes, but Kafka was brilliant, and certainly had no trouble with grammar. For consideration: What if his problem had been grammar instead of spelling? Would he have been published? Would he have been as brilliant as he was? Would he have been brilliant but unable to communicate his brilliance?
Mar
6
answered How much power does the author have over an original work?
Mar
6
comment How much power does the author have over an original work?
Upvoted an excellent answer. One note: I believe in your first paragraph you meant to say, "If you have a signed contract which allows the publisher...." (removing the comma). The comma changes the meaning significantly, because it implies that ANY signed contract allows the publisher to change the work. Without the comma it means that if a writer's particular contract grants this right, then the publisher has that right; I think that's what you meant.
Mar
5
comment How can one plan elaborate crimes for fiction without getting into trouble?
And, CQM, I really don't think other people approach this problem in any way at all, because there just isn't any problem to begin with. Crime writers interview and talk with anyone they like, and they don't worry about your postulated problem. Do all the talking and researching you want; if you never are involved in an actual crime, you'll never be charged with conspiracy. By the way, many police forces offer citizens the opportunity to "ride along" with an officer on duty. It's incredibly fascinating, and you can pick the officer's brain all you want.
Mar
5
comment How can one plan elaborate crimes for fiction without getting into trouble?
@Lazarus It's interesting that you mention Al Capone in this context. Although Capone was clearly involved in many crimes, including the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, he was indicted for tax evasion and violations of the Volstead Act (Prohibition). The Volstead charges were dropped, and ultimately the ONLY thing Al Capone was ever convicted of was tax evasion! (And he was never even indicted on conspiracy charges.)
Mar
5
comment How can one plan elaborate crimes for fiction without getting into trouble?
What isn't ambiguous is that conspiracy is a much more definitive act than what you describe, and it does require action, not merely talk. Just talking about a crime doesn't even come close. Really, you are far more concerned about this than you need to be. The "he was just too close to doing it" example isn't even remotely the way law enforcement works. I have family and friends in law enforcement, and I can assure you, it just doesn't work that way. You SHOULD talk to someone in law enforcement and get them to explain why you have no reason to worry.
Mar
5
awarded  Supporter
Mar
2
answered How can one plan elaborate crimes for fiction without getting into trouble?