All Questions

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
45
votes
20answers
12k views

What are good places to post your work where it will be read by others?

Seeing this site and reading some of my ridiculous stories that I wrote a while ago makes me want to start writing again. I know I'll be more enthusiastic if I have people reading my work and ...
42
votes
24answers
3k views

Help! I've got Writer's Block

I really want to write, but as soon as I sit down and set pen to paper, my mind goes blank. I can't think of anything to write. Sometimes I stare at my screen for hours; doesn't help. If I do think ...
23
votes
9answers
38k views

What's the best way to show a foreign language in a manuscript?

What's the best way to show a character speaking a foreign language in a fiction manuscript? Should the foreign words be italicized and include a translation? Should it just be included in the ...
38
votes
14answers
159k views

What is a normal length for a chapter?

I've always had trouble determining whether my chapters are within the same size realm as chapters in standard books. Since it isn't exactly feasible to count the number of words in a chapter of ...
13
votes
4answers
639 views

Is my story too similar to an existing published work?

This is meant to be a canonical question, to which particular cases can be referred. We've had several particular instances of this question in the past - "is my story too similar to specific story X"....
193
votes
25answers
26k views

The “Rules” of Writing

There are a lot of axioms that get tossed around in creative writing courses, books on writing, and of course, the Internet. Often, these little gems are explained to new writers as though they were ...
35
votes
15answers
4k views

The psychology of starting a piece of writing

I have a problem when it comes to writing (blog posts, stories and novels). It might just be me, but maybe other people have experienced it too? When I come to start writing, my ideas before I sit ...
22
votes
5answers
5k views

I'm getting tired of “he said” “she said” in dialogue; how do I get around it?

I get tired of "he said", "she said", "they replied". Is there a better, but still reasonable way, to indicate dialogue?
18
votes
3answers
1k views

When do I explain my created world scenario in a prologue vs. letting it unfold in the story?

Let's say I'm creating a unique world for my book. New planet, maybe new species, complex society with complex rules, history, government, and so on. Some of these details are absolutely necessary to ...
59
votes
41answers
3k views

What are good reads about writing?

What do you recommend as reading material to improve writing for beginners? If one recommendation is put per answer and can be voted separately a good list of resources should build up.
28
votes
15answers
20k views

Is it okay to publish a book at a young age?

I am writing a novel that is called 'Murder' It's about a girl who almost gets murdered but then has to live with the murderers with almost no knowledge that they are the ones that killed her. (...
34
votes
12answers
5k views

How does the 10,000 hour rule apply to writing?

The 10,000 hour rule, popularised by Malcolm Gladwell, says that: the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours ...
30
votes
6answers
4k views

Writing a novel, can I do [this or that]?

I want to write a novel about [something or other] and now I wonder if it is possible to do [this or that].
27
votes
6answers
14k views

Using the real world in writing

To what extent can you use locations, businesses, etc. from the real world in fiction? I know someone cannot copyright a city, but what about a particular location in the city that's private. Can I ...
22
votes
4answers
2k views

Where is a good place to find beta readers?

Beta readers are important to perfecting a novel/novella/short story. They give you a fresh set of eyes, offer opinions, and can be a great moral boost. But where can you find good beta readers? Are ...
12
votes
1answer
801 views

How to show that something is different than in real life?

I'm writing fiction set in the near future (~15-20 years). The world is still mostly the same and thus familiar to the reader, but an important part of the story is that a few things are radically ...
69
votes
24answers
16k views

Is there a special software for writers?

Whenever I attempt to write something, I do it in a common word processor (like Microsoft Word), but I was wondering if there is a special software for it. Something that would help me keep track of ...
13
votes
7answers
2k views

When should a chapter end?

When writing a novel, when should I end a chapter? Note that I'm not talking about chapter word-count (that topic was discussed here). I'm interested to know when should I end my chapters ...
6
votes
6answers
1k views

I am a 16 year old who wants to be a writer, but can I? [duplicate]

I'm 16 years old and I've wrote about 4 to 5 different books. I have two that I think would be good enough for the public to read. I've been writing stories since I was 10. I want to be published but ...
25
votes
7answers
7k views

What are the most common style manuals?

From Wikipedia: A style guide or style manual is a set of standards for the writing and design of documents, either for general use or for a specific publication, organization or field. ...
57
votes
23answers
9k views

Choosing character names is a constant difficulty

I find it hard to name my characters. Every normal name sounds funny if applied to a product of my fantasy. If I take a common name, I may get the image of someone I know into my head. And that may ...
54
votes
11answers
4k views

How does one deal with world builder's syndrome?

I am a planner in the extreme. I tend to drift toward fantasy oriented novels when writing; it's just what comes out. This means that I do quite a bit of planning for the world that the story will be ...
21
votes
9answers
2k views

Something different: Help me find the unnecessary words.

I had a professor, once upon a time, a guy named Jim Guetti. He was possibly the best writing coach I've ever had. You took his classes for the privilege of submitting works for him to gut with a red ...
26
votes
8answers
12k views

What is a discovery writer?

From an answer to this question: How do I successfully structure a long fiction piece? I think I can infer the meaning from the usage but some elaboration would be helpful.
18
votes
8answers
3k views

How to open a novel?

Looking at the function of the beginning of a novel, it is clear that it should hook the reader and draw him or her into the story. Different techniques for achieving the hook have been described, ...
16
votes
6answers
7k views

How to deal with a story that 95% of it takes place in a different language country and the protagonist speaks in it?

The protagonist is from a certain country, and in some point of the story he moves to another one that speaks another language. The protagonist learns their language and talks with them in it. ...
12
votes
1answer
923 views

How do I find an affordable editor?

I wrote a few chapters of a book several years ago. How do I find an affordable editor?
11
votes
6answers
5k views

What is the purpose of version control?

Just that: What do you need version control for? I've never had the feeling I needed to undo any changes in my (fiction or academic) writing. So what is version control good for? How do you write ...
10
votes
7answers
846 views

How should I introduce new and complex technologies or tools?

I'm writing a Science Fiction book. While this book doesn't push reality very far, there are some new technologies and tools that I have added. One tool is used more frequently than all the others, ...
95
votes
12answers
3.2m views

How to write a polite reminder email?

What guidelines and language should be used to write a polite reminder email. Ideally I would like it to be: Respectful Not too formal In particular I am thinking in terms of business, and ...
36
votes
11answers
7k views

How do I construct a plot out of my many setting/character details?

In my creative writing, I typically am inspired by short interactions between things: An overheard conversation. A person's jealousy of a friend's talent. A humorous misinterpretation... I tend to ...
32
votes
10answers
1k views

What are some online guides for starting writers? [closed]

I've always wanted to start writing (in a totally amateur way), but whenever I want to start something I instantly get blocked having a lot of questions and doubts. Are there some resources on how to ...
19
votes
6answers
3k views

Alternatives to “he said” in dialogue

I'm working on my first fiction story. And one mechanical thing I struggle with is how to identify the speakers in dialog without constantly saying "Bob said", "Mary said", etc. Any ideas? That is, I ...
14
votes
6answers
26k views

How do I cleanly show the passage of time, with multiple, varying time scales?

I was re-reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone recently to get a feel for the way J.K. Rowling passes an entire year in a fairly short book that feels content packed, and I noticed something ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

What to do if I end up confused by my own plot because of 'trying to be original' or 'trying to make the story more deep'?

Sometimes, I find myself in the dilemma that I come out with a plot that tells exactly what I want to say. But then, I try to modify it in order to make it more original (at least, less similar than ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

How should dialog be formatted?

Is there any "official" rule that I should keep in mind when formatting character dialog? Line breaks, placement of quotes, mixing dialog with action descriptions etc. For example, I want to build a ...
80
votes
21answers
8k views

Do You Use Any Version Controlling Software/Methods As Writers? [closed]

As writers, do you use any version controlling software to track and monitor what you write? For example, if you accidentally deleted or overwritten a paragraph that you'd like to have it back? ...
138
votes
20answers
14k views

How do you write a Stack Exchange answer?

Over my years on StackExchange I've come to view answering SE questions as its own, highly specialized writing subgenre, with its own demands, and its own ideal format. By trial and error, and ...
19
votes
6answers
4k views

Should I write my story if I haven't established a plot?

I'm in the process of start writing my story and I'm not sure if I should do it if I'm not done with the main plot of the story. Also I don't know since what part should I start writing off, The start,...
23
votes
12answers
2k views

What does Show don't Tell actually mean

I am asking this question because I think we need a precise definition of what Show Don't Tell means if we are to decide if it is good advice or bad, or if it is a valid suggestion for certain ...
18
votes
9answers
2k views

At what point does a POV character noting their surroundings go from showing/telling to an infodump?

In a story I'm working on, at one point one of the main characters (also the POV character in this case) arrives at a new location which he has never been in before. This is the first mention of this ...
16
votes
6answers
2k views

What is the term for an accessible character that knows nothing?

In a lot of books, movies, or TV shows, there will be a character that knows little to nothing about the subject at hand. Most cop shows and medical shows will have someone who doesn't know very ...
15
votes
6answers
1k views

How to find authenticity in a character of color

I am working on a book. I am aware that, being a white guy, I always perceive characters as white men. I want to push myself into building a character that is black. My problem is that most of the ...
12
votes
5answers
699 views

How do I balance work with my love of writing?

I'm a programmer and an aspiring writer. I love writing. Over the past year, I had been working on my first novel. Making the plot, dimensioning the characters, integrating conflicts etc. And when I ...
31
votes
10answers
14k views

How many characters are too many?

I am plotting out a longish story, which would have the following number of characters: Main/ reasonably significant characters: Nine Characters still vital for the story to work:Thirteen Side ...
11
votes
4answers
3k views

Are there tools that can aid an author in writing a branching storyline?

I would like to know whether there are any tools that would help an author write a branching storyline. Usecases may for example be: campaigns for Pen and Paper games visual novels Choose Your Own ...
11
votes
6answers
3k views

The opposite sex in first person?

I have been writing about not just one, but two females; sisters. I've toyed with different methods/persons in this, but it seems I've come to an obvious roadblock. I wouldn't call it "writer's block" ...
9
votes
3answers
907 views

Sizing of a chapter and how many should I use?

This is basically a follow-up question I asked here: Scene switching and how to do it? I always considered it normal for a chapter to have between 3000 and 5000 words. And people around here thought ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

How do I improve my knowledge of English well enough to write in it?

I have a long-term goal to write a non-fiction book: a critical book about the current state of humanity's moral methodologies and how humanity is better off dead. Much like Friedrich Nietzsche but ...
3
votes
4answers
552 views

Direct thoughts

The most commonly given advice for using direct thoughts seems to be to format them in italics. I am not really satisfied with that, however. I haven't seen this used anywhere (granted, I do not read ...

15 30 50 per page
1 2 3 4 5 30