Consulting Writer

I answer your questions about writing

2,032 notes

referenceforwriters:


S E T T I N G (Image source)

The setting consists of these elements, which you ought to describe through the course of the story. It is up to you, however, to decide how necessary it is to do so and why.
Which element is more important right now? Why? The most common answer is because it plays an impact on the story, so you should give it a higher priority in that particular moment. Overall we should get a feeling however brief of each or most of them.
Why are settings important at all? Because the story is happening somewhere. Even if it’s happening in a void or in the middle of a nothingness, you could describe it. It helps making your story more memorable and your writing more vivid. 
How much should you describe? Again, there isn’t a rule. It is up to you. You’d not spend a page describing a room that plays no interesting or important part in the story, would you? If you do it, you’ll make the readers believe it is more important than it actually is, or bore them out. During the first draft you can spend as much as you want pointing out details of the environment and the space but know that during revision, they could and will get cut out if they’re not relevant whatsoever.
The relationship between world-building and the settings: they’re directly related. If you’re creating a new world you’ll have to work through a lot of describing, and that has to do with—you guessed it—the environment. The space, time and temperature. All of these have to do with the world you’re creating if they’re different from what we normally see or if they’re not.
Let’s say it, describing things is oftentimes quite fun and a great way to practice vocabulary and your use of metaphors and similes to show and not tell in a powerful way. 
The following links provide great advice on both settings and world building and I recommend checking them out.
Common Setting Failures
The Senses and World Building
Fantasy World Building Questions
Tips on Revealing Setting
The Rules of Quick and Dirty World Building
The Description Pyramid
Physical Descriptions Put Readers Into Place
Location, Location, Location
Creating Your Own World
Imagery
-Alex

referenceforwriters:

S E T T I N G (Image source)

The setting consists of these elements, which you ought to describe through the course of the story. It is up to you, however, to decide how necessary it is to do so and why.

  • Which element is more important right now? Why? The most common answer is because it plays an impact on the story, so you should give it a higher priority in that particular moment. Overall we should get a feeling however brief of each or most of them.
  • Why are settings important at all? Because the story is happening somewhere. Even if it’s happening in a void or in the middle of a nothingness, you could describe it. It helps making your story more memorable and your writing more vivid. 
  • How much should you describe? Again, there isn’t a rule. It is up to you. You’d not spend a page describing a room that plays no interesting or important part in the story, would you? If you do it, you’ll make the readers believe it is more important than it actually is, or bore them out. During the first draft you can spend as much as you want pointing out details of the environment and the space but know that during revision, they could and will get cut out if they’re not relevant whatsoever.
  • The relationship between world-building and the settings: they’re directly related. If you’re creating a new world you’ll have to work through a lot of describing, and that has to do with—you guessed it—the environment. The space, time and temperature. All of these have to do with the world you’re creating if they’re different from what we normally see or if they’re not.
  • Let’s say it, describing things is oftentimes quite fun and a great way to practice vocabulary and your use of metaphors and similes to show and not tell in a powerful way. 

The following links provide great advice on both settings and world building and I recommend checking them out.

-Alex

(via thewritingcafe)

Filed under writing advice setting world building

6,021 notes

thewritingcafe:

THE WHOLE MAP
How much of your map you draw depends on you and your story. Start with what is important to the story and when you have time, you can draw maps for other places as well.
When you draw the main area, whether it be an island, a whole country, or just part of a country, start with the outline and geography. Draw the main borders, add some geography, and figure out its climate based on its position. I would suggest drawing borders within an area after drawing the geography, as rivers are often used as borders and they can help give your world a more natural look.
If you’re making up the whole world with all its land masses and whatnot, I would suggest creating one giant landmass, cutting it up, moving the pieces around a bit, and then adding and taking away some coastal lands to change the shape a bit.
When focusing on an area and with a story in which characters travel, it’s a good idea to figure out the distance so you know how far and how long your characters need to travel. To do this, compare the map to a real-world map and come up with a conversion for distance (ex: 1 inch = 15 miles).
If you have trouble coming up with borders, coastlines, rivers, mountain ranges, and other geographical and political locations, grab some maps or an atlas and trace small parts of real world places for your map. Put them all together and you’ve got a whole new world.
Stuff to Include:
Compass rose
Names of geographical places
Symbols to represent settlements
Bodies of water
Geographical places such as mountains and deserts
Important major roads
A legend for these symbols
The trail that your characters travel on
SETTLEMENTS:
If there are important settlements in your story, it’s a good idea to make a map for your own reference. Some settlements are (in order of smallest to largest): hamlets, villages, towns, and cities. Of course there are other settlements, but the terms used and what they mean vary by region.
Before you make your map, you should consider the following:
What is the population? How many people make up a village or a city is up to you and it should reflect the population and the population density of the fictional region you’re writing in.
Where is it located? The first permanent settlements started small and sprung into cities while farms and villages popped up around them. These settlements were also near water and other resources, which brings us to the age:
How old is it? The oldest settlements will be near water no matter how much technology is available in the time period you’re writing in. Older settlements were not built with the technology needed to transport water to far places. How old a settlement is will also affect the architecture and the artifacts and structures found nearby.
What is the layout? Newer settlements will typically have an organized layout based on the geography around the settlement. Older settlements may be organized as well, but are more likely to have roads built around permanent dwellings and buildings rather than the other way around. If your settlement is organized, build the roads first. If it’s not, mark structures first and build the roads around them.
Roads & Buildings:
Like mentioned above, the layout of your settlement depends on geography, roads, and structures.
It would be best to start with the geography, such as hills, bodies of water, and forests. Once you have the general geography of the settlement, you can either put the roads down or the structures.
Organized settlements should start with major roads. How many you have depends on the population size. If there are only a few hundred people in the settlement, there may only be one or two main roads with several minor roads. The main road should lead people to important areas of a settlement, such as a government building, the roads out of the settlement, and other non-residential buildings or structures. However, there can still be residential dwellings. The minor roads should come off the main road(s) can lead to anywhere from residences to parks. To differentiate between the main roads and minors roads, draw the main roads as thicker lines.
Unorganized settlements usually, but not always, start with the structures and without a plan of what this settlement will develop into. While organized and pre-planned settlements are more likely to cut into geographical areas rather than work around them. If your settlement has less grid-like roads and more random placements, start by placing all the structures of your town before drawing the roads.
These types of settlements will still have some type of structure. For example, non-residential buildings tend to be in one area with the occasional stay building. This is usually where a main road ends up. Residential buildings are more random. How far apart they are depends on the type of settlement and what the people at that residence do. Farmers will have more land while those who don’t work off the land or who work outside of their home may or may not have smaller properties.
Draw the oldest roads in unorganized settlements first. The oldest roads usually end up being major roads whether they are straight or curved. The minor roads will go next or there may be no minor roads at all.
Now you have to name your roads and buildings. You don’t have to name all of them, but it can help for reference and it can help build your world.
If you are building a city rather than a smaller dwelling, there are more tips for that here.
GEOGRAPHY:
Climates and Ecosystems:
World Climate Zones
World Biomes
Tundra
Tundra Biome
Taiga
Grasslands
Grassland Biome
Chaparral
Savanna
The Mediterranean Biome
Forests:
Deciduous Forest Biome
Forestry Terms
Tropical Rain Forests
Temperate Forest
Forest Biome Regions
The Forest Biome
Sand:
Deserts
Anatomy of a Beach
Types of Dunes
Desert Biome
The Formation of Deserts
How Are Deserts Made?
Where Are Deserts Found?
Caves:
Caves
Cave Terms
Sea Caves
Solution Caves
Volcanoes:
Anatomy of a Volcano
How Volcanoes Work
Water:
Waterfall Classification
River Anatomy
Anatomy of a River
How Rivers Are Formed Animation
Freshwater Biome
Marine Biome
Lake Origins
Water Geography
Mountains:
How Mountains are Formed
Mountain Ranges
The Alpine Biome
Alpine
More:
Nations and Culture 2.1: Giving Land a Face
Fantasy World Maps
Glossary of Geography Terms
Fantasy Map Photoshop Resources
Fantasy Map Brushes

thewritingcafe:

THE WHOLE MAP

How much of your map you draw depends on you and your story. Start with what is important to the story and when you have time, you can draw maps for other places as well.

When you draw the main area, whether it be an island, a whole country, or just part of a country, start with the outline and geography. Draw the main borders, add some geography, and figure out its climate based on its position. I would suggest drawing borders within an area after drawing the geography, as rivers are often used as borders and they can help give your world a more natural look.

If you’re making up the whole world with all its land masses and whatnot, I would suggest creating one giant landmass, cutting it up, moving the pieces around a bit, and then adding and taking away some coastal lands to change the shape a bit.

When focusing on an area and with a story in which characters travel, it’s a good idea to figure out the distance so you know how far and how long your characters need to travel. To do this, compare the map to a real-world map and come up with a conversion for distance (ex: 1 inch = 15 miles).

If you have trouble coming up with borders, coastlines, rivers, mountain ranges, and other geographical and political locations, grab some maps or an atlas and trace small parts of real world places for your map. Put them all together and you’ve got a whole new world.

Stuff to Include:

  • Compass rose
  • Names of geographical places
  • Symbols to represent settlements
  • Bodies of water
  • Geographical places such as mountains and deserts
  • Important major roads
  • A legend for these symbols
  • The trail that your characters travel on

SETTLEMENTS:

If there are important settlements in your story, it’s a good idea to make a map for your own reference. Some settlements are (in order of smallest to largest): hamlets, villages, towns, and cities. Of course there are other settlements, but the terms used and what they mean vary by region.

Before you make your map, you should consider the following:

  • What is the population? How many people make up a village or a city is up to you and it should reflect the population and the population density of the fictional region you’re writing in.
  • Where is it located? The first permanent settlements started small and sprung into cities while farms and villages popped up around them. These settlements were also near water and other resources, which brings us to the age:
  • How old is it? The oldest settlements will be near water no matter how much technology is available in the time period you’re writing in. Older settlements were not built with the technology needed to transport water to far places. How old a settlement is will also affect the architecture and the artifacts and structures found nearby.
  • What is the layout? Newer settlements will typically have an organized layout based on the geography around the settlement. Older settlements may be organized as well, but are more likely to have roads built around permanent dwellings and buildings rather than the other way around. If your settlement is organized, build the roads first. If it’s not, mark structures first and build the roads around them.

Roads & Buildings:

Like mentioned above, the layout of your settlement depends on geography, roads, and structures.

It would be best to start with the geography, such as hills, bodies of water, and forests. Once you have the general geography of the settlement, you can either put the roads down or the structures.

Organized settlements should start with major roads. How many you have depends on the population size. If there are only a few hundred people in the settlement, there may only be one or two main roads with several minor roads. The main road should lead people to important areas of a settlement, such as a government building, the roads out of the settlement, and other non-residential buildings or structures. However, there can still be residential dwellings. The minor roads should come off the main road(s) can lead to anywhere from residences to parks. To differentiate between the main roads and minors roads, draw the main roads as thicker lines.

Unorganized settlements usually, but not always, start with the structures and without a plan of what this settlement will develop into. While organized and pre-planned settlements are more likely to cut into geographical areas rather than work around them. If your settlement has less grid-like roads and more random placements, start by placing all the structures of your town before drawing the roads.

These types of settlements will still have some type of structure. For example, non-residential buildings tend to be in one area with the occasional stay building. This is usually where a main road ends up. Residential buildings are more random. How far apart they are depends on the type of settlement and what the people at that residence do. Farmers will have more land while those who don’t work off the land or who work outside of their home may or may not have smaller properties.

Draw the oldest roads in unorganized settlements first. The oldest roads usually end up being major roads whether they are straight or curved. The minor roads will go next or there may be no minor roads at all.

Now you have to name your roads and buildings. You don’t have to name all of them, but it can help for reference and it can help build your world.

If you are building a city rather than a smaller dwelling, there are more tips for that here.

GEOGRAPHY:

Climates and Ecosystems:

Forests:

Sand:

Caves:

Volcanoes:

Water:

Mountains:

More:

Filed under writing advice world building

51,069 notes

60 Awesome Search Engines for Serious Writers

writingadvice:

Finding the information you need as a writer shouldn’t be a chore. Luckily, there are plenty of search engines out there that are designed to help you at any stage of the process, from coming up with great ideas to finding a publisher to get your work into print. Both writers still in college and those on their way to professional success will appreciate this list of useful search applications that are great from making writing a little easier and more efficient.

Professional

Find other writers, publishers and ways to market your work through these searchable databases and search engines.

  1. Litscene: Use this search engine to search through thousands of writers and literary projects, and add your own as well.
  2. Thinkers.net: Get a boost in your creativity with some assistance from this site.
  3. PoeWar: Whether you need help with your career or your writing, this site is full of great searchable articles.
  4. Publisher’s Catalogues: Try out this site to search through the catalogs and names of thousands of publishers.
  5. Edit Red: Through this site you can showcase your own work and search through work by others, as well as find helpful FAQ’s on writing.
  6. Writersdock: Search through this site for help with your writing, find jobs and join other writers in discussions.
  7. PoetrySoup: If you want to find some inspirational poetry, this site is a great resource.
  8. Booksie.com: Here, you can search through a wide range of self-published books.
  9. One Stop Write Shop: Use this tool to search through the writings of hundreds of other amateur writers.
  10. Writer’s Cafe: Check out this online writer’s forum to find and share creative works.
  11. Literary Marketplace: Need to know something about the publishing industry? Use this search tool to find the information you need now.

Writing

These helpful tools will help you along in the writing process.

  1. WriteSearch: This search engine focuses exclusively on sites devoted to reading and writing to deliver its results.
  2. The Burry Man Writers Center: Find a wealth of writing resources on this searchable site.
  3. Writing.com: This fully-featured site makes it possible to find information both fun and serious about the craft of writing.
  4. Purdue OWL: Need a little instruction on your writing? This tool from Purdue University can help.
  5. Writing Forums: Search through these writing forums to find answers to your writing issues.

Research

Try out these tools to get your writing research done in a snap.

  1. Google Scholar: With this specialized search engine from Google, you’ll only get reliable, academic results for your searches.
  2. WorldCat: If you need a book from the library, try out this tool. It’ll search and find the closest location.
  3. Scirus: Find great scientific articles and publications through this search engine.
  4. OpenLibrary: If you don’t have time to run to a brick-and-mortar library, this online tool can still help you find books you can use.
  5. Online Journals Search Engine: Try out this search engine to find free online journal articles.
  6. All Academic: This search engine focuses on returning highly academic, reliable resources.
  7. LOC Ask a Librarian: Search through the questions on this site to find helpful answers about the holdings at the Library of Congress.
  8. Encylcopedia.com: This search engine can help you find basic encyclopedia articles.
  9. Clusty: If you’re searching for a topic to write on, this search engine with clustered results can help get your creative juices flowing.
  10. Intute: Here you’ll find a British search engine that delivers carefully chosen results from academia.
  11. AllExperts: Have a question? Ask the experts on this site or search through the existing answers.

Reference

Need to look up a quote or a fact? These search tools make it simple.

  1. Writer’s Web Search Engine: This search engine is a great place to find reference information on how to write well.
  2. Bloomsbury Magazine Research Centre: You’ll find numerous resources on publications, authors and more through this search engine.
  3. Merriam-Webster Dictionary and Thesaurus: Make sure you’re using words correctly and can come up with alternatives with the help of this tool.
  4. References.net: Find all the reference material you could ever need through this search engine.
  5. Quotes.net: If you need a quote, try searching for one by topic or by author on this site.
  6. Literary Encyclopedia: Look up any famous book or author in this search tool.
  7. Acronym Finder: Not sure what a particular acronym means? Look it up here.
  8. Bartleby: Through Bartleby, you can find a wide range of quotes from famous thinkers, writers and celebrities.
  9. Wikipedia.com: Just about anything and everything you could want to look up is found on this site.
  10. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Find all the great philosophers you could want to reference in this online tool.

Niche Writers

If you’re focusing on writing in a particular niche, these tools can be a big help.

  1. PubGene: Those working in sci-fi or medical writing will appreciate this database of genes, biological terms and organisms.
  2. GoPubMd: You’ll find all kinds of science and medical search results here.
  3. Jayde: Looking for a business? Try out this search tool.
  4. Zibb: No matter what kind of business you need to find out more about, this tool will find the information.
  5. TechWeb: Do a little tech research using this news site and search engine.
  6. Google Trends: Try out this tool to find out what people are talking about.
  7. Godchecker: Doing a little work on ancient gods and goddesses? This tool can help you make sure you have your information straight.
  8. Healia: Find a wide range of health topics and information by using this site.
  9. Sci-Fi Search: Those working on sci-fi can search through relevant sites to make sure their ideas are original.

Books

Find your own work and inspirational tomes from others by using these search engines.

  1. Literature Classics: This search tool makes it easy to find the free and famous books you want to look through.
  2. InLibris: This search engine provides one of the largest directories of literary resources on the web.
  3. SHARP Web: Using this tool, you can search through the information on the history of reading and publishing.
  4. AllReaders: See what kind of reviews books you admire got with this search engine.
  5. BookFinder: No matter what book you’re looking for you’re bound to find it here.
  6. ReadPrint: Search through this site for access to thousands of free books.
  7. Google Book Search: Search through the content of thousands upon thousands of books here, some of which is free to use.
  8. Indie Store Finder: If you want to support the little guy, this tool makes it simple to find an independent bookseller in your neck of the woods.

Blogging

For web writing, these tools can be a big help.

  1. Technorati: This site makes it possible to search through millions of blogs for both larger topics and individual posts.
  2. Google Blog Search: Using this specialized Google search engine, you can search through the content of blogs all over the web.
  3. Domain Search: Looking for a place to start your own blog? This search tool will let you know what’s out there.
  4. OpinMind: Try out this blog search tool to find opinion focused blogs.
  5. IceRocket: Here you’ll find a real-time blog search engine so you’ll get the latest news and posts out there.
  6. PubSub: This search tool scours sites like Twitter and Friendfeed to find the topics people are talking about most every day.

(via thewritingcafe)

Filed under writing advice research inspiration

610 notes

reynoldsrpc:

This is my opinion. Any rants, idea, plot points, opinions or other information is not meant to hurt, discredit or alienate anybody. It is simply an expression of thoughts on roleplaying, roleplay administration, the RP community or the RPCHA community.
Let’s get started: Research Help.
It’s inevitable as an RPC+ to recieve anons asking for help explaining something. Whether it’s an eating disorder, mental disorder, geographical issue or character development prompt, someone will ask you for advice and you will write them a guide. Here’s a quick tip list for you to follow, so you aren’t unintentionally misleading your followers.
DO NOT USE WIKIPEDIA AS A REFERENCE. Wikipedia is not a credible source; it is a user-edited, interactive article. Wikipedia is not a secure or steady website. If you do not know where to start on a subject, wikipedia is not a terrible place. What you want to do is scroll to the bottom of the wiki, look at the references section and click on links. Many times, official sites and journals are cited throughout the text!
Know the background of your source! Not all organizations or websites are unbiased. It’s very important to understand the bias behind your source. One of the quickest ways to find bias is to find out who is funding the article or study. If you are looking for a study about gay/lesbian parents and how well they raise children, a source from The Family Research Council is going to be biased! By clicking on the author’s name, we see that Peter Sprigg wrote a book titled He is the author of the book Outrage: How Gay Activists and Liberal Judges Are Trashing Democracy to Redefine Marriage and is a baptist minister. Not exactly the background we would want for an unbiased scientific study.
 Check to make sure your information is current, complete, and the qualifications of your links. Publish dates are extremely important on current events and issues. If your article is about psychological disorders, but the text quotes the DSM 3, it is not going to be valid or reliable to today’s issues. Saying ‘but I read it somewhere’ or ‘this is how I feel’ is not objective, empirical knowledge folks!
Always pick academic journals over articles. Academic journals are often peer reviewed and present data in a concise, clear format. Take advantage of free, online sources, such as The Directory of Open Access Journal.
That being said, if you are picking through journals, find a journal that is peer reviewed and credible.  Before an article is deemed appropriate to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, it must undergo a rigorous process. The article must be submitted to the journal editor who forwards it to experts in the field. The impartial reviewers are charged with carefully evaluating the quality of the article, especially in relation to validity and methodologies. The reviewers also can suggest revisions or completely reject the article.
Use common sense and pay attention to wording. If the article contains phrases such as “We think” or “We feel”, there is a high chance that your article has empirical flaws. Science is not up to feelings, it is something that can be measured. The same can be stated with social sciences, to an extent.
Don’t give your opinion. We all have opinions on things, but when someone comes to you asking for a guide, they aren’t dropping a soapbox in front of you. Do your best to remain unbiased and provide intelligent and understandable answers. If you do feel the need to add your opinion, put it in a different, labeled section from your objective knowledge.
Features of a peer reviewed article [source]:
Is the journal in which you found the article published or sponsored by a professional scholarly society, professional association, or university academic department? Does it describe itself as a peer-reviewed publication? (To know that, check the journal’s website). 
Did you find a citation for it in one of the  databases that includes scholarly publications? (Criminal Justice Abstracts, EBSCOhost Academic Search Complete, PsycINFO, etc.)?  Read the database description to see if it includes scholarly publications.
Did you limit your search to scholarly or peer-reviewed publications?
Is there an abstract (summary) at the beginning of the article?
Is the tone of the article thoughtful, restrained and serious?
Does the article have footnotes or citations of other sources?
Does the article have a bibliography or list of references at the end?
Are the author’s credentials listed?
Is the topic of the article narrowly focused and explored in depth?
Is the article based on either original research or authorities in the field (as opposed to personal opinion)?
Is the article written for readers with some prior knowledge of the subject?
If your field is social or natural science, is the article divided into sections with headings such as those listed below?

reynoldsrpc:

This is my opinion. Any rants, idea, plot points, opinions or other information is not meant to hurt, discredit or alienate anybody. It is simply an expression of thoughts on roleplaying, roleplay administration, the RP community or the RPCHA community.

Let’s get started: Research Help.

It’s inevitable as an RPC+ to recieve anons asking for help explaining something. Whether it’s an eating disorder, mental disorder, geographical issue or character development prompt, someone will ask you for advice and you will write them a guide. Here’s a quick tip list for you to follow, so you aren’t unintentionally misleading your followers.

  1. DO NOT USE WIKIPEDIA AS A REFERENCE. Wikipedia is not a credible source; it is a user-edited, interactive article. Wikipedia is not a secure or steady website. If you do not know where to start on a subject, wikipedia is not a terrible place. What you want to do is scroll to the bottom of the wiki, look at the references section and click on links. Many times, official sites and journals are cited throughout the text!
  2. Know the background of your source! Not all organizations or websites are unbiased. It’s very important to understand the bias behind your source. One of the quickest ways to find bias is to find out who is funding the article or study. If you are looking for a study about gay/lesbian parents and how well they raise children, a source from The Family Research Council is going to be biased! By clicking on the author’s name, we see that Peter Sprigg wrote a book titled He is the author of the book Outrage: How Gay Activists and Liberal Judges Are Trashing Democracy to Redefine Marriage and is a baptist minister. Not exactly the background we would want for an unbiased scientific study.
  3.  Check to make sure your information is current, complete, and the qualifications of your links. Publish dates are extremely important on current events and issues. If your article is about psychological disorders, but the text quotes the DSM 3, it is not going to be valid or reliable to today’s issues. Saying ‘but I read it somewhere’ or ‘this is how I feel’ is not objective, empirical knowledge folks!
  4. Always pick academic journals over articles. Academic journals are often peer reviewed and present data in a concise, clear format. Take advantage of free, online sources, such as The Directory of Open Access Journal.
  5. That being said, if you are picking through journals, find a journal that is peer reviewed and credible Before an article is deemed appropriate to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, it must undergo a rigorous process. The article must be submitted to the journal editor who forwards it to experts in the field. The impartial reviewers are charged with carefully evaluating the quality of the article, especially in relation to validity and methodologies. The reviewers also can suggest revisions or completely reject the article.
  6. Use common sense and pay attention to wording. If the article contains phrases such as “We think” or “We feel”, there is a high chance that your article has empirical flaws. Science is not up to feelings, it is something that can be measured. The same can be stated with social sciences, to an extent.
  7. Don’t give your opinion. We all have opinions on things, but when someone comes to you asking for a guide, they aren’t dropping a soapbox in front of you. Do your best to remain unbiased and provide intelligent and understandable answers. If you do feel the need to add your opinion, put it in a different, labeled section from your objective knowledge.

Features of a peer reviewed article [source]:

  • Is the journal in which you found the article published or sponsored by a professional scholarly society, professional association, or university academic department? Does it describe itself as a peer-reviewed publication? (To know that, check the journal’s website). 
  • Did you find a citation for it in one of the  databases that includes scholarly publications? (Criminal Justice Abstracts, EBSCOhost Academic Search Complete, PsycINFO, etc.)?  Read the database description to see if it includes scholarly publications.
  • Did you limit your search to scholarly or peer-reviewed publications?
  • Is there an abstract (summary) at the beginning of the article?
  • Is the tone of the article thoughtful, restrained and serious?
  • Does the article have footnotes or citations of other sources?
  • Does the article have a bibliography or list of references at the end?
  • Are the author’s credentials listed?
  • Is the topic of the article narrowly focused and explored in depth?
  • Is the article based on either original research or authorities in the field (as opposed to personal opinion)?
  • Is the article written for readers with some prior knowledge of the subject?
  • If your field is social or natural science, is the article divided into sections with headings such as those listed below?

(via fixyourwritinghabits)

Filed under writing advice research inspiration

1,478 notes

Seven Important Crime-Writing Guidelines

amandaonwriting:

One of my favourite genres to read on holiday is crime. When I read a crime novel, I want to be entertained and I want to be educated. I am obsessed with people’s motives. I am interested in the criminals and the detectives and lawyers who try to bring them to justice. I want to find out how this happens. 

I like the characters I read about to be interesting and their lives to be complicated. I like lots of dialogue and clever plotting. I dislike a lack of pacing when I’m reading crime fiction. So, I’ve put together a list I think beginner crime novelists should look at before they write their novels.

It doesn’t matter which sub-genre of crime-writing they choose, these are seven guidelines I believe they should follow:

  1. Inciting moments matter. At the centre of any mystery is a crime (usually a murder). The plot involves discovering who committed it, and why and how they did it.
  2. Danger is important. Mysteries need a crime that is interesting and realistic that has serious life-changing consequences for the main characters.
  3. Setting is crucial. Use it to aid and abet the antagonist, and to hinder the protagonist. Setting adds layers to the story. More specifically, readers want clues and details from the crime scene. Your character’s reactions to different settings also show your readers who he or she is.
  4. Nobody’s perfect. The protagonist is heroic, but he should also be flawed. The antagonist is villainous, but he should have some redeeming qualities. (Creating characters readers remember is something I emphasise on our Writers Write course.)
  5. Pacing will set you apart. Find ways to introduce tension and conflict throughout your mystery. Don’t spend time on meaningless descriptions and conversations that don’t add to the plot.
  6. Research is vital. Find out about all aspects of the crime in your book, including how a crime scene is handled, different investigation methods, and court proceedings. You can attend criminal trials, ask your police service if they have a civilian ride-along programme, ask lawyers about laws, and question criminologists and psychologists on how criminals think.
  7. Endings should satisfy. The writer should reveal most of the important elements at the end of the story. Generally, this includes who murdered the victim, along with his or her method and motive.

If you’ve considered and included these elements, your story will be easier to write, and more enjoyable for readers to read.

by Amanda Patterson, founder of Writers Write. Follow @amandaonwriting on Twitter and Facebook and Pinterest and Google+

(via fixyourwritinghabits)

Filed under writing advice crime