Hot answers tagged

28

As a frequent beta-reader, often for friends, I struggled with this question -- and I'm pretty happy with the answers I've figured out. Don't pronounce judgment; help the author level up It makes a lot of sense to tell an author, "Listen, I don't think this is ready for publication." Because, really, isn't that the most important thing? Well, it is, kind ...


26

If I were a rich man, all day long I'd sit and write. To elaborate: What do you eat while you're writing your first novel? Did you manage to get your first novel published? What do you eat until the novel gets published? Once the novel has been published and you're seeing some money from it, how long does it feed you? Does it feed you for enough time to ...


23

I don't think philosophy and fiction are really opposites. The difference is that in fiction, you don't describe the philosophy, you show its consequences. For example, if your philosophy includes the claim that whatever bad you do, will come back to haunt you, then in a philosophical essay you'd just write that, and give arguments why it should be true. In ...


20

First, let me say how wonderful it is to have a question from a reader, about helping a writer, for a change; we need more of these. I apologise in advance if any of my "do X" advice is something you've already thought of; I don't mean to patronise. I also apologise in advance if you think any of this advice is bad, in which case you can ignore it. (You ...


19

I will presume you mean that you can write and get paid for it, and could actually choose a life as a professional writer, without starving. If that is the case (and this answer is tailored to your situation) your problems are quite similar to the problems of a free-lance "gig" programmer; a technical contractor. I have done that job. Or a self-...


10

Fiction writers (like me) portray a problem and a resolution (good or bad), usually for a main character (MC). In the process, we strive to create emotions in the reader ABOUT that character; so the reader can identify with her, root for her, and celebrate (or grieve) when she wins (or loses). To the extent we all have our own philosophies of life and what ...


8

I am going to start by disagreeing with @Amadeus. The first job of a writer is not to entertain. At least, not necessarily. I don't think anyone reads All Quiet on the Western Front, or The Old Man and the Sea, or Crime and Punishment and goes "Ooh, that was entertaining". The works we call "literary masterpieces" are not the ones which possess in most ...


8

Here are some points: Give the characters good reasons for falling for each other. "He was kind to me" is not as good an answer as much lazy fiction has made us think. It's all too easy to forget to give everyone a rich three-dimensional personality. One of the good things about love stories is that relationships can give a character a better understanding ...


7

(Nearly) Everyone needs to be a writer Research mathematicians write papers. Corporate workers draft emails and reports. Software engineers write documentation. Basically any educated worker needs to be able to write clearly and proficiently. Very few people write as well as they should, regardless of their occupation. Obviously, you were talking about ...


7

One advantage of actually writing is you can edit, revise, add and delete to the story. You don't have to have a whole story in your head, or a plot, to start writing a story and finish it. Read this answer of mine, to a different question The Psychology of Starting a Piece of Writing. I am a discovery writer, that begins stories without a plot and without ...


6

If you want to write a popular romantic novel do what other romantic novels do. Some pointers: love and death: these are central themes in a large share of books. You may want to include some sickness or death in your kinda romantic novel. audience: who are you targeting? Women, men, stay-at-home (wo)men? I think women in general tend to read more romantic ...


6

Loneliness: Writing is primarily a solitary activity. Many software developers are introverts already, so lots of solitude and isolation may not bother you, but for me, as a social person, it's one of the main barriers to happiness as a writer. Disconnection From Reality: You're going to be spending an awful lot of time inside your own head, and as a ...


5

My answer basically agrees with @Amadeus, but I want to emphasize the relation between fiction, nonfiction, and philosophy. Nonfiction (science) writing is the farthest from fiction (obviously). Philosophy is not necessarily nonfiction. In some regards, philosophy is like fiction, ie. what axioms are assumed come from one's thoughts/beliefs much like ...


5

Your question is: What are the occupational hazards to being a full-time writer? But based on what you describe I would flip that and perhaps ask: What are the occupational hazards to being a part-time software developer? The reality is simple economics anywhere in the world: There is more of a need for—and thus more stability in—being a software ...


5

I assume you've done a great review. This seems to me a matter not of how you've done your review or what your feedback is, but of how you present it. Here are some great strategies you can use when presenting the feedback to her to encourage her and increase her receptiveness: Start with positives! Try really hard to find things that she has done well. ...


5

A couple of thoughts. If I see a book or a movie that is advertised as being about an unpleasant subject, sexual abuse or racism or Nazi concentration camps or whatever, I generally avoid it. It's certainly not that I condone such things. Of course they're bad. But that's the point. I know they're bad. I don't want to wallow in the misery of it. I don't ...


4

You do not need a degree to become a writer; you have the Internet. You can teach yourself what you need to know to become a writer; including some experiences you may not yet have (or may never have), and thus may not "connect" to entirely. Keep in mind that writers often have characters doing things they themselves have never done; murder being one extreme,...


4

Another consideration not yet mentioned is the question of whom you are writing for. If you're an Indian writing about Americans in a book published in India for an Indian audience, the bar is probably much lower than if you're an Indian writing about Americans in a book to be published in America for an American audience. The more familiar the audience is ...


4

And maybe nothing is farther from fiction than philosophy, which thinks that is saying something about the world, which is trying to enlighten the world instead of mainting the mistery where fiction and life dwell. Your problem is not fiction, it's your idea of philosophy. You oppose it to life, feel encage within it and try to figure a way to escape from ...


4

Alcoholism has been described as a major occupational hazard for writers (not only in this article but my memory is failing me and that's what a few minutes of googling could uncover).


4

Writing, as a career, suffers from what I call The Artist's Bane -- there is more talent out there than there is market to support that talent. But you can sell what you write, if you're willing to put in the effort. But do address the question of marketing before your book is printed. Once it's available for sale, if you then ask how do I actually sell ...


4

Well, as a software developer who is a partner to a full time published (4x) author, I can attest that hazards will include: Arguing. Authors have a lot of "characters" in their head at any one time, so you'll surely find yourself taking on the persona of one of them at some point. Actions taken by the recipient could be to shake their head and walk away ...


4

As you may well have realized already, turning a premise and a plot arc into a fully-realized story is a long and arduous process; it's not uncommon to lose heart partway, so your family's skepticism is, however uncomfortable, an understandable reaction. The best cure for skepticism is results. Fortunately, you already have their promise to support you, ...


3

Being able to write both fiction and philosophy is relatively easy compared to being able to write them both well. Critical thinking is a necessary feedback mechanism in improving your own writing. If you're never satisfied with what you write, at least you're striving to improve. A classic dilemma for writers and artists is how to know when something is ...


3

I studied creative writing at university and then had to leave after the second year when my husband's job took us to a different country. I can tell you with all honesty that I learned more from writing and submitting my first novel than I learned in those entire two years in a classroom. I couldn't even get an agent for that first novel let alone a ...


3

My question is: is there are any hope I will be able to write fiction? Or am I just lying myself with delusions? It would be hard, I think, for anyone to answer the question for you personally. But you're aware that such authors exist. Perhaps one place to start to answer these questions is to ask them rather than StackExchange? In addition to the authors ...


3

You mean, what if you're a resident of country A, writing about a citizen of country B travelling in country C? Go ahead, enjoy yourself. Jules Verne, for example, had never visited the places he wrote about: Africa, Australia, the Pacific etc. The MCs of his Les Enfants du capitaine Grant are Scottish, while he, of course, was French. However, make sure ...


3

No takers? (stretches) All right, then, lemme take a swing. I suspect that my answer might be disliked, being chiefly my personal hugely biased opinion, but, in all fairness, my opinion is based on my experience in both my real and imaginary lives and should be worth something, even though I do not have my own Wikipedia page to cite. First and foremost: I ...


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