Search found 160 matches

by JohnDurvin
February 13th, 2011, 8:25 pm
Forum: Writing
Topic: When there's nothing going on...
Replies: 13
Views: 1860

Re: When there's nothing going on...

Now this is assuming you know what's going to happen soon, you just have to get to that point. What I find helpful when I get stuck there is to switch between...ah...I don't know the term for it, but to switch between detailed descriptive prose and broader exposition. For example, if a character is ...
by JohnDurvin
January 26th, 2011, 10:42 pm
Forum: Writing
Topic: How do you title a book?
Replies: 16
Views: 4872

How do you title a book?

How do you sum up the energy you ram into a book using a short phrase or even a single word, especially if you want to avoid naming it after the protagonist or "the something of something" (e.g. Wrath of the Enigma, Enigma of Wrath, etc.)? I'm awful at it.
by JohnDurvin
January 26th, 2011, 10:38 pm
Forum: Books
Topic: OK, how about least favourite characters' names?
Replies: 24
Views: 3370

Re: OK, how about least favourite characters' names?

Anything involving apostrophes or named after the author.
by JohnDurvin
January 26th, 2011, 10:28 pm
Forum: Writing
Topic: Setting // Alternate Reality
Replies: 6
Views: 1019

Re: Setting // Alternate Reality

When you have a great setting that you've been developing, it's tempting to blurt out a description right at the beginning to set the stage. However, this technique is sometimes called "infodumping" and is generally frowned upon, especially in sci-fi. It's generally best to let everything come out t...
by JohnDurvin
January 21st, 2011, 12:12 am
Forum: Books
Topic: Favourite characters' names?
Replies: 43
Views: 9051

Re: Favourite characters' names?

The great thing about JK Rowling's character names is that many of them have Dickens-style hidden meanings/inspirations. Sirius Black was pretty obvious, but did you know that a gilderoy was once a boastful coward? Dolores comes from the Latin for "pain"? Cornelius Fudge was especially good, I thoug...
by JohnDurvin
January 20th, 2011, 11:55 pm
Forum: Books
Topic: Steampunk Recommendations
Replies: 12
Views: 1964

Re: Steampunk Recommendations

One group to avoid, however cool you feel reading them, are those awful "boy's adventure" things from the 1900's about boy inventors: Frank Reade, Jack Wright, Johnny Brainerd. Project Gutenberg has a few of them (many showed up as footnotes in "the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen"), but so far ev...
by JohnDurvin
January 20th, 2011, 11:52 pm
Forum: Ask Nathan
Topic: How many rejections does it take to make a problem?
Replies: 5
Views: 1177

Re: How many rejections does it take to make a problem?

It's twenty rejections for whatever agents require for submission: a query letter, a synopsis, and usually the first five to ten pages. They tend to show up maybe two days after I e-mail the query, so I'm pretty sure the problem is something easy to notice. Guess I'll switch tactics and write a new ...
by JohnDurvin
January 19th, 2011, 12:10 pm
Forum: Ask Nathan
Topic: How many rejections does it take to make a problem?
Replies: 5
Views: 1177

How many rejections does it take to make a problem?

I've got a sci-fi novel I'm looking for an agent for, but I'm up to about twenty rejections. As far as I can tell, I've got a pretty strong novel, as good a query letter as I can put together from the hundreds of contradictory hints I've gotten, and I only submit to agents that say they're open to s...
by JohnDurvin
January 11th, 2011, 4:17 pm
Forum: Ask Nathan
Topic: Flash Backs in a novel, good or bad?
Replies: 5
Views: 1037

Re: Flash Backs in a novel, good or bad?

Make sure you're using the flashbacks as a plot device rather than a gimmick; used well, they reveal backstory, add dimension, even change the direction of the "present." Used badly, they either take up space or confuse people (especially when they are unlabeled, as some post-modernists like to do.)...
by JohnDurvin
January 11th, 2011, 4:08 pm
Forum: Ask Nathan
Topic: How Strange Can a Novel Be?
Replies: 5
Views: 975

How Strange Can a Novel Be?

I've got a novel in my head that I'd really love to write, but I'm concerned that it's just too weird. I'm not talking about James Joyce-style weird, either; it's a fantasy novel based on American rather than European folklore, with things like jackalopes and hoop-snakes and Big Rock Candy Mountain,...