Writers Cafe - Talk shop and workshop
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New Community for Story-tellers!

Hello, everyone! Newcomer here, shamelessly pimping my brand-new asylum for all writers, readers and appreciators of Original Fiction. It is called [info]tale_spin. I have listed all the rules and regulations in the first entry. Do check it out!

I promise to be a very nice moderator and I do not believe in unneccessary censorship. Doesn't matter if you're only trying out Original Fic or you've been writing it for years. Fantasy, sci-fi, romance, adventure, real-life inspired, all are welcome. So long as everything is YOUR work, and not taken directly from someone else's. This is a plaguarism-free zone. You can also discuss writing pros and cons while you're there and get advice from others (when there ARE others.)

So please, give it a look and see if this is where you want to make a new home for your Original Fiction!

Current Mood: creative creative
Her Royal Jaeness [userpic]
National Novel Writing Month

It's the last day of November - Anyone participate in NaNoWriMo this year? If so, did you win?

I rolled up my sleeves and drove in, and with a word count of 50k, I'm still not done with my first attempt at a novel. What I do have written down is mostly crap, but NaNo was an important experience for me. Good to know that I can get a lot of writing done, even with a full-time job, friend, family, and pets to take care of.

What are your thoughts on NaNo? Good or bad thing for writers? Fun or torture? Does it suggest that quantity is more important than quality?

elistaire [userpic]
question about commas and and

Question for everyone on using commas and the word and in sentences.

Which is more correct? (Ignore the fact that they are crap sentences.)

Ex 1) Duncan put away his shirts into the closet and he turned around to give Matthew a smile.

Ex 2) Duncan put away his shirts into the closet, and he turned around to give Matthew a smile.

Is the comma superfluous? Or does it have a purpose? Would it make a difference if the two parts had more in common?

Ex. Duncan put away his shirts into the closet and held out his hand for Matthew to hand him the last shirt.
Duncan put away his shirts into the closet, and held out his hand for Matthew to hand him the last shirt.


Duncan put away his shirts into the closet and he remembered he had to go and buy a new fly fishing lure.


Duncan put away his shirts into the closet, and he remembered he had to go and buy a new fly fishing lure.

kitsune_wolf [userpic]
Disney death’s good or bad?

What I mean by a Disney death

So, I have a magic using character that has been told since childhood that her magic will eventually kill her.

I have had times when her magic hurts her in an effort to pay the threat off. But when it comes to her big magical breakdown, she falls into a pool of water. (And I’ve already said in story that water stops magic.)

She almost drowns and has to be given CPR but she lives.

I have killed other characters in the story but I intended for this character to have a Disney Death all along. (And the drowning version is much better than the original trust me >_< ) but I’m worried that it may still come off as a cop-out.

I was wondering what anyone here might think on the matter.

Current Mood: worried worried
Arthur C. Clarke Passed Away

Arthur C. Clarke, a well known SF author, passed away at age 90.


Fujur Preux [userpic]
There's nothing more boring than a poet

I found a very interesting text about writing and writers in a 1997 magazine called Tema y variaciones de literatura (Themes and Variations in Literature), edited by the Universidad Autónoma de México. I did my best to translate the parts I thought would be the most relevant for this community.

Writing is hard work. )

So, what do you think about it?

Current Mood: hungry hungry
Agent Etiquette

When you contact an agent in the hope that they will represent you there are some specific things you need to do and more things you should never do if you want to have your stuff read and to keep from coming off looking like a doofus, jerk or psycho.

1. Include a SASE (self addressed, stamped, envelope).
2. Be polite.
3. Proofread.
4. Spell the agent's name correctly.
5. Direct your inquiry to the correct person.
6. Make sure that the agent you are contacting represents what you are writing (go find their website and look).
7. Make sure you follow the agent's particular submission guidelines to the letter (see their website).

1. Include stupid stuff with your correspondence (i.e. glitter, scented paper, lingerie, food, money, photographs, nude photographs...are you getting the idea?)
2. If you are submitting via email, do NOT send any attachments. It will clog the agent's email, annoy the agent off and cause the agent to delete your stuff completely unread.
3. Never send your full manuscript unless the agent asks you for it.
4. If you get a rejection letter do NOT fire off a nasty letter and blast the agent, this is unprofessional and you WILL get a bad name.
5. If you get a rejection letter do NOT bad mouth the agent all over the internet. The web is a lot smaller than you think and that agent and all of his or her pals surf the net and read what people say. See above note about professionalism.
6. Don't nag the agent if they have your stuff. Go to their web site and find out how it takes them to respond on average.
7. Never blanket email a bunch of agents in one email, they hate that. Send one email per agent. That's using your nice manners.
8. Don't send something that hasn't been proofread and polished to the best of your ability.
9. Don't use cute paper or silly fonts, just be plain and normal.
10. Don't try to be cute or gimmicky, it almost always fails.

Anybody have any more to add?

Hello everyone!

I found this community last week(?) and just didn't get the chance to throw up an introduction yet. I found this community while searching for writers, because I figured it'd be a good place to start making some new friends and to get some feedback.

I tend to ramble, so bear with me.. )

I'm looking forward to talking shop with all of you and wish everyone the best of luck in whatever kind of writing you do!

Elizabeth Kaylene

Current Mood: sleepy sleepy
Current Music: lounge act - nirvana
Pick Up Line Game

Pick Up Line Game/Opening Line/First line Game

This is a game I've seen in a few places around the web. Here is the [info]writers_cafe version:

Post the first line of the main original fiction story or stories that you are working on.

Then, those of us reading them can reply with:
Does it or doesn't it make you want to read more?

And for the fun of it:
Guess the genre?
Guess what happens next?

Writing Summaries

The summary

Note: This is a general observation and is not intended to single out any person, community, group or genre.

Have you ever noticed that some posted chapters or snippets receive more attention than others do? It may be due to presentation or lack thereof.
I've observed in many communities and individual blogs that the posts with no intro or summary or posts with rambling, vague or dull summaries can be less successful in drawing in readers and eliciting reader response than the posts with intros and summaries that shine. So, how do you entice readers with your intro or summary? What makes a good summary?

What is a summary?
n. A usually brief restatement of the main points or facts.

What is the purpose of a summary?
The purpose of a summary is to tell the reader what happens in a brief and concise fashion, condensing and paraphrasing the original text into a short highlight of the main points. It will give the reader the gist of the text but it will not get into the minute details, you will leave the details for the reader to discover as they read your work.

The summary is your first impression so you will want to make it interesting enough so people will want to read your work, a good summary will make people want to read your stuff and a bad one may make them pass you by. Yes, writing a summary can be harder than you think so don't be afraid to spend some time on it.

Note: A summary is not quite the same thing as a synopsis, which is what you present to agents and publishers.


As a potential reader, what do you want to see in an intro or summary? What will draw you in and make you look behind the cut? What turns you off?


If anyone would like to work shopping his or her summary, synopsis or query letter, go ahead and make your own new post. You could ask, "Would you Keep Reading?" Please state if it is a summary, synopsis or query.

Kelly [userpic]
Magazine Question


Does anyone know of any magazines that accept Inspirational short story fiction?
I've looked at Reader's Digest magazine, but it seems they mostly take non-fiction submissions.

Thanks so much! :)
~* Kelly

Current Mood: pissed off pissed off
What To Look For When You Critique

This is an article with the things to look for when you critique someone's work for them, especially with an eye to make it publishable.

This link will link you to a blog with another link, the article is behind the other link.

An LJ Version of The Writer's Cafe

With 6 Apart selling LiveJournal to SUP some of you may be on speaking terms with LJ again. If you are hanging out on LJ again there is an LJ version of [info]writers_cafe over there called writers_loft.
Some of the content will be reruns of what has been posted here, some things will be simultaneous posts like the one I just made about Middles of Stories but there is also some different content as well from member input.

[info]writers_cafe will still be kept and updated.

How To Help The Middle Of The Book

I just read this article on how to help The Sagging Middle Syndrome. No, it' isn't a post holidays diet guide but some good pointers about raising the stakes and keeping them high to create tension in your story.

red_day_dawning [userpic]
Can anyone identify this quotation?

Quoted in Cornelia Funke's Inkheart, but not sourced:

"An author can be seen as three things: a storyteller, a teacher or a magician -
but the magician, the enchanter is in the ascendant."

Any ideas? The quotation is placed directly in the text, & Funke only identifies the source as "a famous writer". I tried googling the quote - no luck! It may even be translated from German, as I'm reading Funke's English translation.
ETA: erisreg has found the source for me - it is a paraphrasing from Nabokov. "There are three points of view from which a writer can be considered: he may be considered as a storyteller, as a teacher, and as an enchanter. A major writer combines these three—storyteller, teacher, enchanter—but it is the enchanter in him that predominates and makes him a major writer." Thanks erisreg.

kitsune_wolf [userpic]
Icon Tells the truth ;_;

Anyone what to give me some Constrictive Critique on this WIP? (Since I‘m to chicken to post anything else as a sacrifice.) It's the story of how Mala got from this to this

TCoLg: Red Whisper, Part 1 - Yellow

(7213 words so far)

Character's Names

1. Have you ever Googled your character's names?

I did recently and discovered that one of my characters had a name that was also a popular surname in another culture, which was very much not the cultural name sound I am using for this character.
I changed her name because I figured that most people seeing it for the first time would give it the other culture's pronunciation.

2. Setting aside obvious ethnic sounding names do you find that certain names make you think of certain looks or coloring or gender?

I tend to picture Shaun as fair and Max as dark. Sherwood Smith has a book called Inda, and the MC is a boy named Inda. I had a really hard time with that character because Inda seems like a girl's name to me and I kept getting thrown out of the story by my mental misinterpretation.

3. How about certain personalities?

Like the name, Percy. Does it make you think of a skinny, bookish, prissy nerdy kind of guy?
Names like Daisy, Bess, Annie make me think of 19th century housemaids.

Current Mood: curious curious
Cat the writer [userpic]
Goals for the New Year

Not "resolutions" per se.

But what are your writing goals for the new year? Are you finally going to finish that short story, and send it out? Are you going to finish that grand epic? I was just curious. Here's mine:

Writing Goals 2008

- Finish a short story
- Send out said short story for consideration
- Work on Rewrite O' Doom at least 2x a week
- Organise plots with MSes.
- Write more plots/character profiles
- Write one scene per month on something that is not Changes

Current Mood: curious curious
Current Music: Julien-K - Technical Difficulties
Is Posting Your Work On Line Considered Publishing Your Work?

Most publishers do not want previously published works, they want the first rights to your work. What is considered published? Can you post your work on line and still call it unpublished?

This article by Georgianna Hancock talks a little bit about what is considered published and what isn't.



I'm new to the comm, and just thought I'd introduce myself quickly before getting to answering the prompts and all that blather. I've been writing for...at least a decade? I've lost count at this point, though I fancy it's longer than that. My writing spans quite a few genres, and I'm looking for a bit of inspiration for my next project.

That's it! If anyone needs a beta or anything of that sort, don't hesitate!

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