Archive for October, 2015

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If you write fiction, you need world building. It’s the skeleton of your story: though unseen, those bones determine the shape of the beast.

World Building 101

 

I recently had the honor of co-leading a panel at Geek Girl Con all about world building (you can hear the audio and read the notes here), so I’ve been giving the topic a lot of thought. I want this to help you no matter what genre you write, so this post will cover broad but powerful principles.

Buckle your seatbelt. It’s time to dive into advanced world building.

Read the rest at The Write Practice

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By Maeve Maddox over at DailyWritingTips

From time to time, I receive emails from writers, asking me to critique attached poems or short stories.

In the early days, I would send a polite reply, explaining that I hadn’t time to critique their work. Now I simply delete the email and attachments and get back to my own writing. The DWT Contact page states the policy that our writers don’t answer questions via email.

Critiquing a manuscript of any length is time-consuming. Time is the most precious possession of a working writer. Asking another writer, especially one with whom you have no personal acquaintance, for a free critique is the equivalent of asking a stranger for a gift costing anywhere from $300 up. I have arrived at this figure by browsing the sites of professional critiquing services.

Rates are based on word-count, number of pages, or some combination of the two.

One service that specializes in science fiction, fantasy, and horror charges $300 for the first 20,000 words and $15 per every 1,000 words thereafter.

Another service offers a flat rate of $260 for the first 50 pages, but applies a per-page rate thereafter. A manuscript of 100-199 pages is priced at $6 per page; from 100-199 pages, $4 per page. A manuscript of 200 pages is priced at $3.75 per page.

Paid critiquing is neither a practical nor sensible solution for the beginning writer. Such services are for writers who have already done everything they can to improve their drafts with whatever help is available to them without an outlay of cash.

On the other hand, writers need the feedback of other writers. What’s the solution? Where can beginners find suitable readers for their early drafts without an outlay of cash?

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Great article from Shane Snow from over  at The FreeLancer

Ernest Hemingway is regarded as one of the world’s greatest writers. After running some nerdy reading level stats, I now respect him even more.

The other day, a friend and I were talking about becoming better writers by looking at the “reading levels” of our work. Scholars have formulas for automatically estimating reading level using syllables, sentence length, and other proxies for vocabulary and concept complexity. After the chat, just for fun, I ran a chapter from my book through the most common one, the Flesch-Kincaid index:

I learned, to my dismay, that I’ve been writing for 8th graders.

Curiosity piqued, I decided to see how I compared to the first famous writer that popped in my head: Hemingway. So I ran a reading level calculation on The Old Man and the Sea. That’s when I was really surprised:

Apparently, my man Ernest, the Pulitzer- and Nobel Prize-winning novelist whose work shaped 20th-century fiction, wrote for elementary-schoolers.

 

Read the rest at The FreeLancer

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