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72 votes

Is it possible for an author to release a novel every week using dictation technology?

I can type at about 5K words per hour, but I can't write nearly that fast. I need to think of what's going on. I need to keep some sort of consistency, and I can't remember all the details. I need ...
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71 votes
Accepted

What's the least distracting method to inform editors I'm a woman?

If you are submitting to a professional journal that (like many) puts a short blurb about the author(s) somewhere in the article or journal, you could provide a suggested blurb and ensure that there ...
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  • 823
59 votes

What's the least distracting method to inform editors I'm a woman?

As a person of color, I've sometimes had a version of the same dilemma. Is there a professional organization for people of your gender and expertise? If so, you could join the organization, and then ...
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46 votes

What's the point of writing that I know will never be used or read?

For many years --decades actually --my goal with every piece of writing I wrote was that it be read and appreciated by someone. There were plenty of things I wrote that didn't achieve that goal, and ...
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43 votes
Accepted

When my story has a powerful phrase but that loses its power when I read it again in the next day, should I keep it or remove it?

I believe it's better to steam through and finish your first draft without constant editing and second guessing everything you've written. This is because you will learn so much about your novel ...
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35 votes

What's the least distracting method to inform editors I'm a woman?

I also have a confusing first name. When I want to clarify, I sign email as "Firstname Lastname (Ms.)". That conveys my gender as effectively as "Ms. Firstname Lastname", but by putting the title at ...
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  • 351
33 votes

What's the least distracting method to inform editors I'm a woman?

I once saw someone in your situation address the problem by adding a (gendered) middle name to signatures. This could either be your real middle name if you have one, or a nickname that you're ...
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33 votes
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Why do professional authors make "consistency" mistakes? And how to avoid them?

Lack of proofreading has been the bane of writing in many locations over the last few years. Do you remember back when newspapers came to your house and you paid to subscribe? Okay, maybe you don't, ...
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28 votes

Is it possible for an author to release a novel every week using dictation technology?

In theory this could be possible, but such an author would burn themselves out after a couple of days with such an intense schedule. A novel is more than just 100,000 words thrown together. There ...
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  • 751
25 votes

Is it possible for an author to release a novel every week using dictation technology?

You are under the misguided assumption that writing is just the act of putting words on paper. The verb itself certainly has that meaning, but when applied to the writing of books, there is also ...
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  • 4,410
24 votes

What's the least distracting method to inform editors I'm a woman?

Use a courtesy title which reflects your gender. Sign your submission as "Ms. Morgan Meredith." Subtle but unambiguous.
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23 votes
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How to survive editing

If you want to be a writer, you had better get used to reading and re-reading your own material. I just completed what I hope is the final edit on my latest book. I haven't been keeping score, but I ...
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  • 25.2k
22 votes
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What's the point of writing that I know will never be used or read?

For me, writing is a passion. Not writing is an impossibility. There are stories in my mind; I need to tell them. I need to find out where they go, how they go, what they mean. I have something in ...
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22 votes

Are adverbs as transition a bad thing?

They don't have to be. Compare adverbs to calories: you gorge on pie and chocolate, you become fat. However, not eating results in starvation and death. Every once in a while you need an adverb. The ...
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20 votes

Do editors rewrite?

The editor is there to make sure the publisher is happy with what they're publishing. This doesn't always coincide with what the writer wants to say, but the reasons for this will include many that ...
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20 votes
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How can I make my 'first draft' good enough to be published?

I'm a research scientist and professor at a university. We tolerate exactly this "rather curious approach" to research, of multiple refinements until we zero in on something interesting. We do ...
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  • 92.4k
20 votes
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How late in the book editing process can you change a character’s name?

Since you haven't actually sent the book to anybody, you can change the names all you want and nobody will know. I'd say sure, go ahead and change it. If you are still on the fence, you can ask the ...
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18 votes

Is it a bad idea to write and edit chapter by chapter?

The only bad ideas are the ones which stop you from finishing the book. Write and edit if you like. Write halfway and edit. Write the whole thing blindfolded. Write only at night, or only during a ...
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18 votes

Accusing private figures of crime in print

Although you have the right to tell the truth, that is not defined by what you just know must be true. The truth must be verifiable. What proof do you have to publish, or to back up what you publish (...
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  • 92.4k
17 votes

Eliminating the Dash in Prose Writing

The answer is quite subjective because the "em dashes" sometimes work really well in a sentence while sometimes they are just disruptive to the flow of the thing you attempt to say. The key part is ...
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17 votes

Is it possible for an author to release a novel every week using dictation technology?

this seems to mean that they wouldn't have to spend too much time on revision or editing other than correcting a few minor mistakes here and there You seem to consider revision as error fixing, but ...
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  • 2,952
16 votes
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Can Extensive Outlining Take the Place of the First Draft?

The "first draft" and extensive re-writing you alluded to is often what "pantsers" - people who write by the seat of their pants, without outlines, produce. Those aren't what I would really call a ...
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  • 964
16 votes
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"Lack of [plural]": should accompanying verb be singular or plural?

I agree, it's not the answers (plural) that "cause" has to agree with, it's "the lack of answers...". You have A LACK OF something, so the singular verb form is correct. It's not ...
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  • 1,250
15 votes
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Editing tools on the go

Typing on a laptop on your lap on a bus is always going to be difficult no matter what you buy. But maybe you don’t need a laptop: I find it really helps if I edit my work in a completely different ...
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  • 9,883
15 votes

A handful of gems

It seems like if you're good at constructing isolated, very good scenes, the field you need to focus on is short stories, where one can quickly construct contexts that allow gems to shine, and take up ...
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