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John  
I am trying to write a book. However, I have a reoccurring problem with every other chapter. Those chapters are from an alien race that speaks only with telepathic communication. I signify their speech as looking like this, Why did you place the shard over by the rock when it is sure to explode. I did not add quotations because I felt the italics signified the communication.
Throughout the storyline there time changes between the past and present. Within the chapters, I added time change markers. If the story changes, I would place, Present or Past, in the middle of the page separating the middle of the story.
The following is a small excerpt of the story from a chapter of Confluence, Chapter Five.

----------------------
Present
It is my turn to ask you a question, the Old One whispered. Even knowing that, is it acceptable to question what happened? The Young One answered.
Yes, because as you said, you need to find the truth behind the question.
Excellent, you have passed today's session with a perfect score.
The Old One quickly probed the Young One's mind. He was searching for deceit. Did she truly believe by searching for the truth, all questions can be answered? You just need to ask the right questions.
Before you leave, I want you to know you are one of the brightest pupils I have taught. You need to trust that you are ready. We can discuss this more before the end of your tutelage. I will not forget.
-----------------
Past
After two more cycles, the Supreme High One decided he needed a break. While he enjoyed what he was doing, his body was still feeling the effects of the explosion when the window blew up. He then came up with an idea: go into the collective, gather power, and then dig into this memory so he could see what happened that night.
He contacted Dewiss regarding the break.
I understand clearly. You would like a break to refresh your reserves, explore your memories of all your pupils, and allow your physical form time to recoup because of aging. Yes, of course, you can. We have added five more tutors.
As with you too, Dewiss.


How did this work for you? Could you tell who was speaking? With the Time Passages, was it difficult to determine when the time move from Present to Past? What are your thoughts on this in general.
I appreciate any feedback you have to offer.
  •   3 comments
I could tell who was speaking pretty well. The present and past tags seem a little inelegant for setting up the time frames. Is there some characteristic of each time period you could use to set them apart? Like scenery or the characters present, just some way of showing rather than stating.
Telling who is speaking is average. Even if the communication is telepathic, each new "speaker" needs to be a new paragraph, or else this confuses the issue. The punctuation should be the same as if there are quotation marks (using commas, lower case letters, etc.), even though there are no quotation marks. The use of italics is fine.

'Past'/'Present' does not work for me. It feels like a script. You should be able to show the change in time through word usage.

That's my opinion. Feel free to ignore.
I would think the italics would work for the thoughts , but since it's two way, hmm. I definitely would have one slightly different.

Referring to time changes,
Here's a link that might help.
https://theeditorsblog.net/2010/12/16/ma

Also if done. within a chapter, you add a. Extra linespace between that paragraph and the next.
*Fairy2* Good luck on your Adventures, brave traveler! *Delight*

a gifted signature
John  
Dumb question of the hour - What is a "Beta"?

If it is something needed/required/preferred, where and how do I get one.

John
To add to Steven the Penguin-Hunter 's excellent notes, some folks ignore the term "alpha reader" completely and use "beta reader" rather loosely to refer to any reader who looks at and comments on a completed draft of a novel. "Critique partner" (or, sometimes, "CP") is a term used when the relationship is mutual: both writers read for and exchange feedback with each other. Betas and CPs are certainly not required, but I've found having them to be extremely helpful, not only because I get feedback on my manuscripts from talented writing friends, but also because I have the opportunity to read their work, and through reading, learn how to more effectively analyze stories, identify what I love, and clarify where I struggled. Nothing, , not even a four-year degree, has been more useful to me as a writer than having betas and CPs.

Alas, how to get them is a complex question with as many answers as there are people who ask the question. I found my feet as a reader and reviewer by joining an amazing speculative fiction critique group here on Writing.Com, where I've had the chance to read and respond to work by authors I respect and have learned a ton from. I met a lot of my off-site CPs and beta readers through a now-defunct writing mentorship program. I befriended and exchanged work with my fellow mentees, and many of those exchanges resulted in beta reader or CP relationships. The betas/CPs I didn't meet through the program, I met by sheer gall. I saw them posting about their work and fell in love with their ideas, so I leapt into their private messages to tell them that I'd be honored to read their work if they were seeking betas.

It might sound counterintuitive, but in my experience, it's best to start by offering to read. There's no guarantee that it will turn into an exchange, but in my experience, it often does. (I met two of my CPs by falling in love with their concepts and writing sensibilities.)

A piece of advice: when exchanging work with potential readers (or even just seeking feedback from potential betas), start with a small chunk. A chapter, perhaps, or a partial manuscript (50-100 pages). That way, you can get a sense for whether your reading style and methods of offering critique mesh. If your beta is a writer/reader in a completely different genre, for example, their critique may not serve you and the story you want to tell.

This is getting long, so I'll shut up now.
*HeartV* Thanks for asking this question and the excellent answers, Steven the Penguin-Hunter and Roseille ♥ ! (Y'all could almost cut & paste this together to create a great newsletter issue... Just sayin' *Wink*)
YAY MY NEXT NEWSLETTER IS WRITTEN *Rolling*

John  
While working at a large Mortage & Bank company in the President's Office, I had a dear friend who knew me well buy me a T-Shirt that stated, "I Have Multiple Personalities And None of Them Like You.*"

It has been over 20 years, and I still have that t-shirt and wear it whenever I go to that bank.


I am NOT poking fun at those with Mental Illness, as I am one of them.
John  
Does the story make the title or is it something else?

The best title for my story has been taken by Flannery O'Connor, "Everything that rises must converge"
  •   1 comment
Sometimes the title gives a clue about what the story/book is about. Other times the title becomes clear after the book is read. Then there are times I never make the connection, lol.
John  
Okay, this question is putting the cart WAY before the horse: When sending a possible agent or publisher a copy of your novel, how is it sent? Paper or electronic?

Just curious for now.
Very, very few accept paper submissions nowadays. Either email or online submission system.

But there are no hard and fast rules. ALWAYS check a publisher's/agent's guidelines before even contemplating submitting.

The two things I would say I've seen in 99.9% of sub guidelines are:
1) The work must be finished and edited; &
2) The work must fulfill the genre wants or dictates of the place.

And, according to a few of my publishers, those two are broken so often. People submitting because they are "writing" a novel, or submitting, for example, spattergore horror to a paranormal romance agent.

Read the guidelines and follow them to a T and everyone will be happy. *Smile*
John  
Is it acceptable to add non-fiction places and events to a piece of fiction?
It is quite common for authors to set their works of fiction in real locations, and to refer to real events. Done well it can add depth to their work, making it immersive for the reader. More care is needed with including non fictional people in stories, if they are living, it's probably not a good idea.
It is not only acceptable, but some readers prefer it. It adds a solidity to a fictional event, and helps with that suspension of disbelief. Most of my stories are set in real places in South Australia, and to a US audience it adds a sense of an exotic location.

Another advantage is that if it is a place you are familiar with, you can describe it better because you do not have to world-build. The world is built and it is yours. You know the little nooks and crannies and hard to find places; if you need to replace, say, a shopping centre with a church, you can because you know how it would affect the surrounds.

My publishers have asked that if I do make changes to real places, it is included in the acknowledgements. e.g. "Ardrossan is a real town, but changes have been made to the lay-out of the school. Clinton and Price are real towns. Wills Creek is a fictional town." This (but better written - the publisher wrote it) will appear in the acknowledgement of my next book.

As to events, sure, but you need to be careful about how people would react and respond. Stephen King included the assassination of JFK in 11/22/63. No issue. A book was published with the backdrop of the 2016 presidential election, and was boycotted into failure because of what it hinted.

Real people is interesting. If they are peripheral characters, are mentioned in passing, have no influence on the plot, then name mention them. It sets a sense of time. If they are involved in the plot - ask! A former US President who lost an election in 2020, back when he was just a bankrupt businessman, sued an author for using him (with his name) as a secondary character, and won the case. However, Prince Charles of England is in Ben Elton's Chart Throb as a major character... and it is fine because Elton asked permission and received it first.

There is a grey area when it comes to parody, particularly the definition of parody in fiction (music it is a little easier to define), and so most publishers won't take the risk. Self-publishing, you take the risk, but Amazon may refuse to stock it.

Sorry this is so long, but there you are. I am long-winded...

(Maybe I should be writing newsletters?)
John  
Can someone, please, explain how to create a folder so I can place the stories and ideas into them to stop the clutter I have?

Please use non-computer savvy as I am not.

John
You create a new item but instead of a static item or book you select folder. Then you fill it out following the instructions.
Once the folder is created you can either move items into it by editing the item and selecting your folder as the one you want it placed in by changing the selection in the folder section below the text box.

Or under the portfolio tab on the main menu there is a portfolio organizer tab. You click on it and a new window opens up. In that window you can move your titles around.
John  
Quick question. When using numbers in your writing, do you spell out numbers 1-10 and then use the numerical value for 11 and up? Or do you use the numerical value all the time?

Thanks

John
I hope this helps.
This is from the style guide of one of the publishers who likes me:
"Write out numbers as words to one hundred. If a round number - two hundred, three thousand, a hundred million, etc. - use words. Also use words in dialogue except dates and telephone numbers. If using code or compyter-speak, use numbers where they would be used on-screen. Use numbers for dates with an ordinal. Use words for times unless using digital time. At all other times and for chapter titles, use the numbers."

So, that's from a publisher. Hope that helps.
I use numerals all the time.
John  
I subscribe to Grammarcheck.net and receive very helpful information to use. I believe this would be helpful to all writers because some of the information is updated monthly. Also, there is a free Grammar Check app you can use at any time. Below is an example of some of the hints they send out:

Words to use instead of VERY:

very accurate exact
very afraid fearful
very angry furious
very annoying exasperating
very bad awful
very creative innovative
very dirty filthy

Just thought I would share.

John
John  
I am making an Appendix. If I mention a name in my story of a character only brought up in a few paragraphs and has no impact on the story, except being someone's interest, do I need to include her in the Appendix?

Any and all feedback is much appreciated.

John
  •   3 comments
I can't give you a qualified answer, but my personal opinion as a reader is that you should include all named characters. Since each listing should give a one-sentence summary of who that character is, it would help to quickly read that, especially if picking your book back up after taking a break from reading.
I agree, Annette. In movies, there are characters with very minor roles.
Like Jolt, from Transformers: ROTF.
He was a very minor character in the movie, only having 2 appearances on screen, not to mention only 4 seconds of screen time, had 1 voice line, and only did one thing. But, he was named and included.
I agree with listing all named characters. In addition to keeping consistent and complete, who knows if you might decide five years from now to bring a very minor character back in another story with a larger role. It could happen. *Think*
John  
I'm stuck. Writer's block or whatever it is called, I have it.

I have tried freewriting, letting it sit for a week, re-working the story, and crying.

None of which worked. I am following the outline and placing the content where it is supposed to be, however, I cannot add the filler content. It is just not happening. I am surprised I have written this much. *Confused*

I am writing a novel about two different species (alien and human). The first two chapters are about how they are connected through a wormhole. It separates from there with every other chapter dedicated to one or the other. Each story has a protagonist going through their lives trying to figure out what happened in the beginning. The last two chapters will be a bringing together what occurred and how it affects them (protagonists).

I have over half of the book completed, ready to finish the alien's story. I have three more chapters with the human side. Then the final two chapters

This is where I am faltering. I just can't get it back together for me to write more. This has not occurred to me since I began writing in high school some 40 years ago

I am not sure what I am asking for. I think I needed to put my confusion on paper to see if that worked. I think I will try again a bit later.

Thanks for listening.

John
  •   4 comments
         I try to do something out of my daily routine (something I enjoy), and then I take a long shower. For me, this process stimulates the mind and then gives me time to see what my mind is lingering on. After showering, if my mind is on something other than writing, then I deal with that before sitting down to write again.
         Hope this helps.
Perhaps you need to do more development with world building.
These are just suggestions. Just ideas from here.

My first thought would be to go backwards and see where the block started, and rewrite a chunk. It might be 2 chapters, it might be half the book. But you may have made a decision in your writing that has not led where you want it to go.

Northernwrites is correct - maybe you also need to add to your worldbuilding.

Otherwise, write the ending and work backwards to the sticking point, and this could show where you made a 'wrong turn' earlier in the story.

Or I could be wrong.
John  
When do you title a paragraph? I title mine when I have finished the chapter so I can best give it a proper title.

Just asking
John  
Hello again! Happy Wednesday to all. O.K., enough pleasantries.

If, say, I wanted to purchase GPs, where would I go to accomplish the feat?

"Good fiction's job is to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable."

David Foster Wallace
  •   2 comments
On the left side of your screen, click on the "Points..." link and then the Buy Gift Points link; this takes you to the main purchase screen. BTW, if you want them right away, you'll need a credit card or PayPal account. You can also make the purchase using some cryptocurrency or fax credit card info to WDC HQ; I've never done this and I don't know how immediately the transactions happen, but they're listed as options, so... You can also mail a check, but I'm pretty sure you don't get the GPs until the check has been received and processed. Click on the amount you want and then click the Add To Cart button. Make any applicable entries (credit card info, PayPal info, etc.), confirm the purchase info and—boom!—you're X number of GPs richer!
"Enough pleasantries" is the most real thing anyone will see on the internet today *Laugh*
John  
Question: If you have aliens with alien names, would you put the pronunciation of the name in parenthesis?

For example, "Framout (Fram-oot)soon became distressed with the amount of Natas (Nay-taas) that was charging her,"

Thanks for your ideas and help.
I list the main characters with pronunciation in parentheses and their basic role in the story (and add a glossary when appropriate) at the start of a longer story/novel to keep things clear and easy for the reader to locate if they lose track of who's who. Alien/fantasy names can sometimes make it more difficult to keep characters and their relationships with each other clear, at least in my experience. I always appreciate this info up front when I'm reading.
Put it in a character list for easy reference. If you do add the pronunciation in the main body do it only once per name.
         I always spell alien names phonetically and run the spellings past a second party to confirm the pronunciation.

         Remember that aliens aren't using any human alphabets either and there is a long history across all cultures for changing foreign names and words to fit the native tongues of the speakers. (Example: English speakers say apple while Indonesian speakers say apel.)

         With made-up languages, I think it is best to keep things simple. Because as a reader, I don't want to have to read a glossary to enjoy the story. Tolkien is the exception, not the rule.
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