Tips and Techniques

Don't keep all that hard won writing experience to yourself! Share! Or "borrow" from somewhere else if you have to.

Dissertation Analysis

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How to Customize Your Essay to Your Purpose?

Writing is a trick and most challenging task. The first step before starting your essay is that you should know who your audience is. To which section of the society you want to deliver your thoughts, or who are the people whom you want to influence or impress through your writing. This understanding is very essential because this will help you in selecting the tone, the language and the information for your essay, so that it grabs the attention of your targeted audience.

camidon's picture

One Space or Two

Our web site states:

"Text should be on one side of the paper only. On word processors, left justify text. Double-space between lines of text. Indent paragraphs, but do not leave an extra space between them. Leave two spaces (not one) between sentences. Do not use italics; Underline text that should be italicized. Use two hyphens (--) to represent a dash, and space out ellipses ( . . . not ...)."

DaveK's picture

Mary Sue

Here's a term--Mary Sue--that I hadn't heard of and a link to a test to see if your character is a Mary Sue.

The test includes some questions about a character that I hadn't even thought of (no big surprise to Chris). Anyway it's fun and could be revealing. The one character I passed through this scored a 1 but it probably should be higher.

DaveK's picture

The Snowflake Spreadsheet

Two years ago I did an extensive outline for Nanowrimo. This last time I did a poor one. In my attempt to cleanup what I wrote this last time I decided to start with the Snowflake Process.

I have taken the steps of the snowflake process and put each step (approximately) into its own sheet. I am using this to help with my current project and as I go through each step I tune the sheet. I'm at step four now.

If you are interested drop me a note and I can send you what I have done so far. I welcome any feedback but working on the sheet takes a lower priority than writing.

DaveK's picture

Brainstorming and character worksheets

I found these two pdf worksheets while browsing the web. I think they came from the Liberty Hall site - .

Dave K


The brainstorm sheet is for their flash writing challenges. You get an idea (their trigger) and then 90 minutes to write 1000 (?) words. But it should be useful for any short story. In my opinion the character profile is needed for longer stories or for reoccuring characters in shorts. But then I'm not much into character development.

DaveK's picture

Online writing book

Holly Lisle - has a copy of her book _Mugging the Muse_ available online at .

It is in pdf format and 942 Kbytes. It's 200 pages long and a reasonable way to procrastinate while still pretending that you are writing. In addition, her site contains a lot of information on writing as a business. Some of the info is in the book and some is new.

Dave K

DaveK's picture

Prologues and other links

Chris and Jana submitted some work that included a prologue. I jumped on them a bit. (Of course you can be sure that my next submission will include a prologue.) But I did some research and found the following link which talks about prologues.

This article describes four reasons for a prologue which are: "future protagonist", "past protagonist", different POV, and background.

I also found the folowing which I found interesting:

An agents home page:

A blog from a F&SF editor:

DaveK's picture

Spell checking SF character names

OK, I started a story that uses character names that are your typical SF names--not found in any dictionary. I got tired of my word processor (Open Office) underlining in red all those names. But if I turn off checking then if (actually when) I typo a name I'll never know. So I hunted around and figured out how to create my own dictionaries. In Tools -> Options -> Language Settings -> Writing Aids you can create your own dictionary. I chose to create one with a similar title to the story. Now when I create a new character I add his/her/its name to that dictionary and I can be sure that every time I use that name it is correct.

DaveK's picture

Visual Novel

To be brief, Blade Engine at has released their game engine for free for use in visual novels.

It is probably best if you look at their web site for more information as to what a visual novel is. In short it is a computer game with very little input from the player/reader.

I wonder if this might not be the future of novels. Once everyone has a cell phone with a reasonable display and memory why not simply sell licenses to a book or movie and the cell phone downloads the next chapter as needed.

There are other game engines available. Torque from, blender, just google game engines for a big list. Even flash from macromedia could be used. (If you are interested in flash check out

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