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Q&A

General Q&A about the craft of professional writing, editing, and publishing. Questions about all types of writing are welcome -- fiction, technical documentation, scholarly articles, poetry, scriptwriting, blogs, and more.

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What's the proper way of formatting writing from a character in a novel?

I'm writing a story that constantly shows what the characters are writing. I would like to know how to format that. Right now I'm doing it like this (please ignore the grammar, it is a rough draft)...

0 answers  ·  posted 11y ago by Alexandro Chen‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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What is the Priority in an Action/Adventure Novel: Dialogues or Conflict?

I am currently working on a novel and I was having some trouble finding the best solution for this question. I understand that both dialogues and conflicts are needed in a good proportion to cook a...

0 answers  ·  posted 11y ago by Amin Mohamed Ajani‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Where to look for ESL writers and copyeditors? [closed]

I often work on lessons for ESL students - texts, dialogues, etc. I'm not a native speaker and I don't have any friends abroad. I often need copyeditors for my lessons, but I seem to have trouble f...

0 answers  ·  posted 11y ago by EslTeacher‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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How credible is wikipedia? [closed]

I understand that this question relates more to wikipedia than it does writing but... If I was going to use wikipedia for a source for a research project (for example) would the information be cor...

2 answers  ·  posted 11y ago by alexyorke‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Looking for story that deliberately overused "get" [closed]

It was in Writer's Digest, probably the early 1980s, when I saw this. One of the regular columnists (or was it an irregular columnist?) went on a brief rant about careless writers overusing the wo...

0 answers  ·  posted 11y ago by DarenW‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Little did he know

In the movie "Stranger Than Fiction" the professor of literature makes quite a big deal about the phrase "little did he know." I've written papers on "Little did he know." I've taught classes o...

2 answers  ·  posted 11y ago by Jack B Nimble‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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What is a good methodology for researching a historical novel?

I'm having difficulty with the research aspect of my historical novel. This question was originally going to be "how much research should one do to write a historical novel?" to which, answering m...

0 answers  ·  posted 11y ago by Panda‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Referencing a website in-text using Harvard style

I have the following website page that I need to reference using Harvard style: http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/science_and_impacts/science/what-is-genetic-engineering.html Is this a co...

0 answers  ·  posted 11y ago by Simplicity‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Are there any techniques to arrange or list ideas from a short text? [closed]

For example I wrote this: !Paying! for exams, and also books to pass them is only a small price / to give poor people the opportunity / ...to contribute for the MANSIONS of the people in ...

0 answers  ·  posted 11y ago by Alexandro Chen‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Critical review of blog post

I wrote a blog post a long time back. For this post I chose a writing style very different from what I'd read or what I'd seen before. Some guys did criticize me and others did acknowledge me for t...

0 answers  ·  posted 11y ago by n0nChun‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Simple way/techniques of arranging all the ideas and scenes in a plot?

Sometimes, I get confused as I add more and more ideas and scenes in a plot, is there any way of arranging these?

0 answers  ·  posted 11y ago by Alexandro Chen‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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What are good dialog writing tips? [closed]

Possible Duplicate: How should dialog be formatted? Writing dialogue has been a challenge. From the punctuations to the tags, it all still very confusing for me. Some stuff I want to kn...

0 answers  ·  posted 11y ago by Dian‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Feedback on technical blog post

I've recently composed a blog post about World of Warcraft Authenticators and would love for some feedback as per the quality of writing. Obviously no matter how many times I read it there's no su...

0 answers  ·  posted 11y ago by m.edmondson‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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What's a good writing software for Android phones/tablets?

Everyone once in a while while I'm out I come up with something I want to add to my story. Are there any good writing apps for Android phones and tablets? Most places that recommend mobile writing ...

1 answer  ·  posted 11y ago by Ralph Gallagher‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Finding the 'voice' of a character

This is a very general question that I want to throw out there just to get some insight into different approaches used. I have my own, but am intrigued to know what others might try. I'm wondering...

1 answer  ·  posted 11y ago by Ian‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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How to make a letter interesting?

I have a question regarding the art of letter writing. I believe in the old-fashioned way of maintaining pen friendships (not necessarily a relationship, but could be) through hand-written letters...

0 answers  ·  posted 12y ago by Victor123‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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What makes writing emotional?

Over the years, my English professors seem to have agreed on one thing: that I'm a superb technical writer, but terrible at eliciting emotional response in something like a story or an argumentativ...

5 answers  ·  posted 12y ago by System‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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How common *are* happy endings?

I'm curious. After reading some other questions, I've been pondering about the frequency and reason for happy endings. That is, a positive and/or hopeful ending, even if not everything went right, ...

3 answers  ·  posted 12y ago by Nick Bedford‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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How does one go about publishing erotica, and how far is too far?

I write erotica, it started out as an amusement to see how far I could go, but it became a real passion after three or four stories. I have even published a few online and those stories have become...

0 answers  ·  posted 12y ago by Evil Spork‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Urban erotica and authors [closed]

What are some good examples of urban erotica? I am looking for a less explicit version of 9 and half weeks. The reason for my interest is that I am very interested to take apart the elements of ...

0 answers  ·  posted 12y ago by Victor123‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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What are the best online writing classes?

I've taken some classes at Mediabistro.com -- both nonfiction -- and while the teachers have been pretty good (one gave me some excellent advice that led to publication in national magazines) ... t...

0 answers  ·  posted 12y ago by Slick23‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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What is the process for publishing academic papers?

While studying in my first term as EPIR student I had to prepare several papers. I gave those to my family and friends, to read and comment upon. I was surprised when they advised me to publish the...

0 answers  ·  posted 12y ago by Gajus‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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How should be the format for literature references that are websites (URLs)?

In technical writings are good established standards for formatting literature references. But that doesn't work this well for URLs. How should these references be formatted?

0 answers  ·  posted 12y ago by Mnementh‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Writers Communities?

I don't mean writer's circles, or "auditioning sites", although some of these have forums tacked on as a by the by. Usually places to talk about the beardy philosophy of writing are moribund places...

2 answers  ·  posted 12y ago by One Monkey‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Journal subscription secrecy

Robert Darnton, an accomplished scholar and important name in the open access movement, has a piece in the current New York Review of Books, The Library: Three Jeremiads, where he mentions that ...

0 answers  ·  posted 12y ago by Charles Stewart‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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What makes first person plural a tricky narrative voice?

I absolutely loved Joshua Ferris's debut novel Then We Came to the End. Critics highly praised his use for the first person plural as a narrator. The work is set in an office and the "we" used re...

0 answers  ·  posted 12y ago by justkt‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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What are some examples of modern original plots?

In a comment on this answer, a valuable community contributor suggested that it is possible to be totally original in writing, despite the fact that other valuable community members have stated tha...

5 answers  ·  posted 12y ago by justkt‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Suggest some arts schools for post-graduate in other field?

I have a bachelors and masters degree in Civil Engineering(Final yr Master's student). My hobby is playwriting. Now, I would like to pursue a career in arts. So, I'm looking for some universities w...

0 answers  ·  posted 12y ago by sarath‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Where and how to look for a picture for illustration?

Do you think a writing can always benefit from the use of a visual illustration? If so, how to find for free or buy an appropriate picture, photo, drawing etc.? What are practical recommendations?

0 answers  ·  posted 12y ago by rem‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Writing for an Audio book. What are specifics?

What are specific requirements, a writer should follow, when writing something that is going to be (or just can possibly be) not only read but listened as well?

2 answers  ·  posted 12y ago by rem‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Is there a resource where I could find myself a checker and critic, or check somebodies else text to exercise?

I need a checker and some kind of beta-test editor and critic. Is there a resource out in the web, where I can find myself one?

0 answers  ·  posted 12y ago by Daniel Ganiev‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Character Development - How much is too much?

I've read loads of books where the reaction and development of characters seems to extreme for the events that effect them in the story. However not having any development makes the character bori...

2 answers  ·  posted 12y ago by Joel‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Are Names of Characters Copyrighted by Authors?

Are names of characters copyrighted by authors? For example, the character "Eragon" from the Inheritance Cycle series, or a name that you've generated using an online name generator that you'd like...

0 answers  ·  posted 12y ago by JFW‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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What linguistic tools do you use?

I've got a Flip Dictionary, a Thesaurus, my trusty Strunk&amp;White, and I use the almighty GOOG(le) should I ever be unsure of the definition of a word. What does everyone else use? Is there some ...

0 answers  ·  posted 12y ago by Satanicpuppy‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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How to switch pov characters mid-scene without jarring the reader?

I am writing a novel wherein there are many characters whose thoughts are key to telling it properly. In an earlier draft, I attempted to have any given chapter told from the point of view of exac...

4 answers  ·  posted 12y ago by StrixVaria‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Books about English Writing

Can you recommend a good reference book about the basics of English writing?

0 answers  ·  posted 12y ago by Adam Matan‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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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...

11 answers  ·  posted 12y ago by Mnementh‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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What techniques are used to plot long (multi-novel) story arcs?

As a very visual person, I have always considered plotting a story to be somewhat like knitting or macrame. How do series authors handle multi novel story arcs? Do they just keep throwing out lin...

0 answers  ·  posted 12y ago by Larry Smithmier‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Jumping on the Zombie bandwagon

Is it too late to jump on the zombie bandwagon? There are loads of stories about the possible popular outcome of an apocalypse, is it possible to squeeze anything more out of it? Or, maybe it wou...

0 answers  ·  posted 12y ago by Axarydax‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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How do I write a synopsis?

I have to write a synopsis to submit to an agent. Are there any guidelines for writing a good synopsis?

3 answers  ·  posted 12y ago by Elizabeth Schechter‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Decide on a theme/overarching meaning before writing a short story?

I want my short story to have a specific point, to highlight a certain truth. But I wonder in which order I should proceed: make the plot, characters etc. first and worry about fitting my theme int...

3 answers  ·  posted 12y ago by Qcom‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Anonymous publishing

I am writing a book of short stories. I am planning to self-publish the stories as an e-book but would like to keep my anonymity - I will use a pseudonym. Obviously, I would like to sell the e-boo...

1 answer  ·  posted 9y ago by user6629‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by user6629‭

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Can I create my own ebook cloud with Calibre?

I have heard that I can use calibre to create a cloud with all my books, not just ones from a specific vendor. How would I do it?

3 answers  ·  posted 9y ago by James Jenkins‭  ·  last activity 4y ago by James Jenkins‭

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What is the difference between giving away my only print copy or my only electronic copy of a book?

The question If a book doesn't have DRM does that mean it is OK to give a copy to my friend to read? has answers implying that without permission there are legal and ethical hurdles in giving away ...

2 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by James Jenkins‭  ·  last activity 4y ago by James Jenkins‭

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Is there a way to publish an eBook, distribute it and the push updates to the distributed eBooks?

If I publish an eBook, distribute it and later I want to edit or add to the information, is there is a way to push those updates to the already distributed copies of the eBook?

1 answer  ·  posted 8y ago by NivF007‭  ·  last activity 6y ago by NivF007‭

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Can I include code in .mobi to control the native voice synthesizer in a Kindle?

Some kindle models come with a text to speech software that has several optional settings. There is both male and female, as well as 3 speeds, which gives 6 different combinations. In theory, a l...

2 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by James Jenkins‭  ·  last activity 7y ago by James Jenkins‭

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How much does Amazon make on Royalties earned but not paid?

A recent answer here indicates Amazon has a pretty restrictive payment policy. So minor authors selling books in multiple countries could have hundreds of dollars due them that have not yet hit the...

1 answer  ·  posted 8y ago by James Jenkins‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by James Jenkins‭

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How do I publish a book permanently free on Amazon

I have tried to publish a book permanently free on Amazon but I couldn't. I have seen many books on Kindle that seems to be permanently free. How do I publish a book on Kindle and keep it free fore...

1 answer  ·  posted 9y ago by Alexandre Marcondes‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by Alexandre Marcondes‭

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Paperwhite error on open book, how do I get the error log?

I downloaded a .mobi file format book from Baen it opens fine on Calibre, and on my Kindle keyboard. When I try to open it on my Kindle Paperwhite I get this message Error An error occurred...

0 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by James Jenkins‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by James Jenkins‭

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What text format is least likely to clash with ebook formats?

There are several different software products for collecting and formatting the electronic written word. Microsoft &amp; Google, are two big names offering products, there are also many others. Lo...

4 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by James Jenkins‭  ·  last activity 8y ago by James Jenkins‭

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