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Tips for Authors 
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Post Re: Tips for Authors
Bonnie Ferrante wrote:
I love "The first 12 years are the hardest." Kind of makes me feel better.


I agree, the first twelve years are the hardest. Where was this when I was on year two?


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Post Re: Tips for Authors
Earlier there were more people reading and few writers. Now it is the exact opposite! At least that is my contention. Everyone wants to write! God forbid, if you do not have the smarts to write original content, you help yourself to material that is available online (tons of it!) and rehash and publish!

Okay, coming back to what I do - yes, I reference other websites too - and flag points I like. I read with a one point focus on what I am supposed to cover in the article for my client. I make notes in a notebook - yes, I write with a pen on paper! Then I start to write - this time on my computer! I rarely go back to the articles I referred to. I never ever use any phrase or sentence from another website or book. That is the way I avoid plagiarism.

The last week i have just completed my academic essay. It was very nice experience to me, i want to wrote plagiarism free essays so I have been using that when I ran out of searches in copyscape 8) . Anyway thank you for sharing a good thread here..

Have a good day :)



Sat Oct 22, 2011 4:39 am
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Post Re: Tips for Authors
Interbane: This is the first time I’ve seen this thread, I guess because you started it long before I found Booktalk and it was only recently revived with a couple of new comments. It is a great list of tips, and it was nice of you to take the time to consolidate them all for us. Even though I’ve read or heard almost all of these in one form or another, it’s always good to be reminded of them from time to time.

I have little to add, except perhaps to say that even the greatest of writers violate some of these rules occasionally. I was once instructed by a professor of creative writing in the following way (it was long ago, so this is not an exact quote):

“Rules are good. You should read as many as you can find, practice a little, then try to forget them (except for those of grammar and punctuation). If you concentrate on rules, it will impair your ability to write from your gut. Once you have finished and edited a draft, it is fine to go back over it again with all the rules in mind, but even then you should pick and choose among them, rather than try to employ them all. Remember, all the rules in the world will not make you a good story teller, and story-telling is the most important aspect of fiction writing.”

Other than that, there is one thing an author (can’t be sure, but I think it might have been John Irving) mentioned in a seminar I attended years ago that stuck with me. He said (again, not an exact quote):

“If you absolutely fall in love with a passage, paragraph or sentence, cut it out.”

This is similar to (though a little more harsh than) what Anne Enright said in her third tip:

“Only bad writers think that their work is really good.”

It is a painful practice, somewhat like cutting off a finger, but one I have used over and over, always to the benefit of the final product.

Oh, and speaking of cutting things, were I to write Anne’s tip, I would leave out the word “that,” since it adds nothing but four unnecessary letters.

Thanks again for putting all this together in one place for us.


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Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:05 am
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Post Re: Tips for Authors
I particularly find the rule on long descriptions of characters to be true. Many authors will spend page after page counting the hairs on the character’s heads when it is not necessary. What I find to be an effective way to introduce a character is through dialogue. A master of this is Annie Proulx. In her short story “Brokeback Mountain”, she described the two cowboy characters in only two sentences of prose, but through her dialogue I could picture them clearly, I could hear them and if I was careful, I could even feel the denim of their jeans.

Dialogue is an art, and if you can master it, you're golden.



Tue Oct 25, 2011 3:29 pm
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Post Re: Tips for Authors
Pixar's rules for writing.

#1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.

#2: You gotta keep in mind what's interesting to you as an audience, not what's fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.

#3: Trying for theme is important, but you won't see what the story is actually about til you're at the end of it. Now rewrite.

#4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

#5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You'll feel like you're losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.

#6: What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?

#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.

#8: Finish your story, let go even if it's not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.

#9: When you're stuck, make a list of what WOULDN'T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.

#10: Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you've got to recognize it before you can use it.

#11: Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you'll never share it with anyone.

#12: Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.

#13: Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it's poison to the audience.

#14: Why must you tell THIS story? What's the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That's the heart of it.

#15: If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.

#16: What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don't succeed? Stack the odds against.

#17: No work is ever wasted. If it's not working, let go and move on - it'll come back around to be useful later.

#18: You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.

#19: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.

#20: Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d'you rearrange them into what you DO like?

#21: You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can't just write ‘cool'. What would make YOU act that way?

#22: What's the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.


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In the absence of God, I found Man.
-Guillermo Del Torro

Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Are you pushing your own short comings on us and safely hating them from a distance?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?

Confidence being an expectation built on past experience, evidence and extrapolation to the future. Faith being an expectation held in defiance of past experience and evidence.


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Interbane, R. LeBeaux
Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:11 pm
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Post Re: Tips for Authors
Consider whether you wish color figures in print or whether color online only and grayscale in print will be adequate. Be aware that color figures in print incur substantial charges for which authors and their institutions are responsible. Please see the Color-in-Print memo for our pricing and payment policy. If the article is accepted, these charges must be paid before it can be forwarded to our composition vendor for publication. Electronic figures submitted in color (PostScript or EPS preferred) will be published online in color at no extra charge to authors. Note, however, that grayscale images printed from color figures do not generally have monotonic gray scales.


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