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Active Ink Slinger
Quote by gypsy
Quote by RobertHildenbrand
Excluding said, or other invisible tags. Does anyone know a good resource to read about the repetition of words in a story? Case in point, my 64,000 word novel (in progress) has the word glanced written in it 508 times. I am reducing the number of repetitions in which this word is used, but I would love to know of research or resources which cover the average repetition of words and what would be considered acceptable.

I have no idea if there are any resources or guidelines that might help.

For me, repetition of words is a major pitfall and to be avoided ruthlessly. Consequently, it is usually up to me to weed those repetitions out, and I do it to the best of my ability. I'm as prone to it as anyone else might be, and it irritates me to no end!

The problem is that being your own proofreader is highly challenging and difficult, so good for you to have outed the 508 uses of the word "glanced" in your text. You're on the right path to being vigilant about word repetition, and trying to avoid it.

Thanks, I try. :-)

That said, I also try and make my reader become emotionally invested into my characters whom they are going to follow. So facial movements, and tells are very important to me. However writing so many of them, can become redundant, especially if I use the same ones too often. I am also fond of not telling my reader a characters name, but rather want someone else, a badge, name tag, or other means to label the character. Even my character reading a text message can work to do this, as we would have the name of one character whom the focus character is talking with, and that other person may speak or text the focus character's (we are following) name in the message. I had originally written only a page before I had character B introduce herself to character A... That page expanded into almost five pages and so I had to name her. A test from mom, helped with that. :-)
Active Ink Slinger
Excluding said, or other invisible tags. Does anyone know a good resource to read about the repetition of words in a story? Case in point, my 64,000 word novel (in progress) has the word glanced written in it 508 times. I am reducing the number of repetitions in which this word is used, but I would love to know of research or resources which cover the average repetition of words and what would be considered acceptable.
Active Ink Slinger
"Less is more"

Great advice, however how much less is more, and when does that less become too little?

Key points.
The novel is a science fiction story, set within the back drop of a hundred year war against another alien race. There exist two caste of people, which both characters are from one of these caste systems. My characters are introduced as 14 year old teenagers. Society has no desire or will to change the social systems.

Because the first third of my story follows two teenagers, I skip time between the chapters. I do not see the need to have redundent chapters follow their day to day life, dates, or challenges to society that are covered in the chapters which I wrote. Neither character seeks to change society, only survive it, hand in hand with each other. At the beginning of the novels second third, I introduce a curve ball that challenges my characters and the time between chapters lessens to weeks.

How common is it for novels with young characters, to skip years like this? I mean, there is only so much teenagers can do to change society, much less if they wanted to change it. Should I add in more dates between the characters? Despite the fact that their relationship is well established. After they have won the right to love one another, despite their social caste, they have no other challenge with which to fight. Their story doesn't pick up again until the war turns bad and a draft is necessary.

From that point forward, you follow the characters much more closely. I just want to know how common is it to skip years, and does it make sense for me to skip years like this?
Active Ink Slinger
It has some fairly useful information in it, but I also find that it is heavily slanted towards a very liberal mind set.

If you read the parts that speak about offending people, you will quickly find that your story will become so limited in the word choice you can use and descriptions you can use that you almost are making a cookie cutter book anymore.

More over, the offense section of this guide states that you ought just describe every color that your characters are. Yet I am told by people who read my writing, that they feel calling a character by the color of their skin is offensive. (some of these readers are teachers, lawyers and musicians.)

So what you have here is a conundrum of having to chose one group or the other to offend. You can refer to someone with light black skin as chocolate and break this guides Prohibition on referring to people by the color of food, or you can define the character as a mixed race, black individual. Either way, you will offend one group or the other.

Personally I don't describe race very often, mostly because my stories deal with 500 years from today. Many of the races will likely be more mixed and one would hope that the impoverished nations would be risen up to a level of education more equal with the richer nations of the world with the world having a single primary language with secondary cultural languages.

That said, even in 500 years, we will have people of color, darker than white and whiter than dark.

I would rather be blunt about color, but I am generally blunt.
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If this is true, then no one wanting to be published (by a actual company) ought post stories anymore and I might as well forget selling my current book to any publisher. :-(
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Think of it like this. Would someone who grew up watching startrek want to watch Star Trek with ground battles? Where the series centered around a platoon of soldiers and not a crew of officers onboard a starship?

I think not. At least not five or six years ago. That is why the series failed. They all became the same boring thing, but people who followed it wanted to see the same thing.

Now what would have been cool was having two series played at the same time, a land and space series where the star ships supported the land battles by running supply runs and or laying down surpressing fire.

Sadly no one would want to watch the reality of the federation turning cities into dresdin, just to evict the Klingons, ect.
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Just checking if the following are ok.

(The interruption of speech.) (third line down.)

1) John exited the elevator bathed in dark blue light and walked into the briefing room, lite with the brighter baby blue light. He glanced to his CO and fought to keep a straight face. "Sir." He said.

2) General Richard glanced from the colonel he had been speaking with to the new arrival. "If we are all present now, lets begin this briefing."

3) John sat to the left of his CO and tapped the data pad laid just under the place holder with his name on it. "How different will this new plan be form the one we told..." He said and was cut off by Richard when he raised his hand.

4) "This new plan will be similar, otherwise the enemy will realize that the spy has been discovered and they'll adapt too quickly to the important changes we've made." Richard said.

(The loss for words.) (fifth line down)

1)Steve jumped out of the bunk and glanced around the room bathed in red light.

2) "Humm." Crystal hummed as she pulled the blanket over her naked shoulder. "Come back to bed." She said. "I promise that I'll make it worth your wild. It's too cold to..." She paused and turned her head toward Steve who reached for his pants. "Is that the alert lights?"

3) "There is nothing to be alarmed by." David, the facilities AI said. "You may both return to bed and continue to enjoy the final hours before muster."

4) Steve and Crystal laughed and glanced to one another. Crystal reached with her right hand for Steve's hand as he buttoned his green pants. "You heard him. Nothing to worry about." She knelt up and pulled Steve closer to the bed.

5) Steve glanced to Crystal and blinked his eyes to adjust them to the dull red lights and the steady blue light that shinned off her chocolate skin. "Ah..." He began. "The AI's been listening to us?" He asked.

6) "I am programmed to be aware of what everyone in this facility is doing at any given time." David said. "Please do not be alarmed. This area of my programming doesn't include reporting small infractions in General order One Alpha, the order relating to military members engaging in consensual sexual intercourse."

6) "See, the computer says it's fine." Crystal said.
Active Ink Slinger
From my limited understanding tells me, sites like this one aren't considered to be published work, but rather more a self help site. We come here with questions about our work, the quality of our work and to see if there is a readership for it.

Personally I would say if you are afraid that publishing what you have wrote here will qualify as published work, then rewrite what you want to sell and post it.

On this site, you are ideally trying to get people to review the quality of your work, not the actual work. If you want editors, I would suggest finding someone who is qualified to be a editor and have them edit your book. It likely will cost you some money or you would have to return the favor by editing their work.

Take for example in my profile, I have a story dealing with a version of Kane and Abel. In this version, I have the story play out as an interview of the events of the book, while the actual book I am writing are a straight story, currently seated at 80,000 words @ 3/4 of the book written. During my editing process I intend to push the book over the 120,000 work goal I set for myself.

I do not consider this book published, even if some of the events play out as they do in the actual book. It is all about having someone check my quality and growth as a writer, then returning to my writings and applying any suggestions which may make it stronger.
Active Ink Slinger
So here is another question.

I have a group of characters fleeing a group of hostiles, to stand and fight is certain death and I need them to discover a hidden facility cut into a mountian anyway. So to bring both elements into one, I have artillery fire penetrat the mountian side and detonated storage tanks in the mountian base.

Until my characters enter the facility, they believe it to be a cave.

My question is how to discrib the cave through narration (third person, past tense) without ruining the discovery for the reader?

I am trying to avoid narration a which have the narrators voice all knowing.


Steven stood up and glanced to the mountian side. His eyes widened as he saw the black void of a cave entrance in the mountian. "John." He said and pointed to the cave. "Get the civilians up to there."

End example:

Once they enter the cave, they will discover that it isn't a natual environment, but an abandoned underground facility.
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My background as a computer graphic artist has me beig fairly detailed in discription. Case in point a scene I am writing where a character has just headed something frightful and she digs her knuckles into the banister the supports he weight. I discribe that her knuckles now matched the white her face had become.

Now I want to add more detail about how she reacts to the situation. The secondary reaction if you will.

The primary reaction is fear, memories jogged, her fight and flight starting as blood races from her skin. The secondary is what she does about it.

My problem is paragraph one started with her name, paragraph two likely should start with her name as well so to keep the third person narrative of her actions active speech.

The following is a version of the scene.

Magain tilted her head as she examined the cloud formation through the glass wall of the sky bridge. She supported her weight on the banister as she pressed her ear to the window to try and hear the sound that made the water droplets dance. She burried her finger nails into the banister and her knuckles turned the same pale white as her face now became.

Magain took a step back from the window....

I have magain sleaking lines of diolage in this second paragraph, but I am still starting two paragraphs with the starting words being the same. I have never read any book in which this is done, yet I seem to have written myself into an armatures corner.

Should I continue writing it all as one large paragraph, giving the reader a wall of text? (Bad idea, I know) or break it up and use a double paragraph discribing the same characters actions which are action and then reaction?
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1) when writing where there isn't any Internet, my iPhone so to look things up.

2) I keep each story in its own file on my laptop. Each file has sub folders with character references like their histories, important events, ect. The resource folder also contains the world bio, technology, weapon systems, strengths and weaknesses to each piece of tech, and where my science to be applied to the book came from.

3) I have a drawing not pad at home, in it are drawings of things such as rooms, clothing and vehicles. When things won't add up, it is a good idea to draw it out. Using a 3d program like lightwave helps create the world to scale. (Example)

She turned off the water and faced mark. "Well, do you see anything you like?" She said and waved her hands across her body. She smiled at Marks discomfort. "If you are going to stand there and watch, can you hand me the towel?"
"Right, sorry Jenn." Mark said and fumbled with the towel rack. He took two steps toward her and handed her the towel.
Jenn took the towel from Marks hand, her eyes glanced to his groin. "If we're going out tonight, you'll need a shower." She said and smiled as she wrapped the towel around the back if Marks neck and pulled him in close for a kiss. She grabbed his shirt and lead him into the shower stall where she reached for the water controls.

As you can see, the bathroom is a tight space, and if you have a economy sized room, how many steps can by our characters take in such a bathroom?

My bathroom wouldn't allow more than two steps from the door to the wall. One step for the shower. So drawing the world can be important to the environment and or the characters development as it tells you a lot about the wealth of the character by way of the size of home they live in.
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I have noticed that writers are using G-forces as a means to discribe both what it actually means (force on the body) and speed of travel.

Can anyone explain why this is happening? It seems to me as a cheap way out of doing the actual math and stating the actual speed the ship is moving at.

Personally I could understand if a writer created a obatray unit to discribe speeds as every 100,000 km = 1S or some such, but to say thinks like "the ship can only reach the speeds of 1g-force tops" both cheapens the book and the entire genera in my view.

What do you think?
Active Ink Slinger
I have been told that I can become wordy when writing speeches or mission briefings.

How many words should a character presenting a briefing have before turning the briefing over to another character?

My own military experience says that the soldiers simply grit their teeth and remain silent until asked a question or for their oppinion. More so when the one presenting the briefing is two grades superior to your own. (doesnt mean what you've got to say is worthless, but your level of importances in rank commands your silence when you are the inferior rank) this of course means that the admiral can explain every thing that their sacrofices have resulted in, in exacting detail.

As it stands now, out of a speech of 500 (plus change) words, nearly 60% is actions, not words.

Admiral Johnson pointed the small remote to the holo-projectors and changed the images to show multiple image cells, each displayed worlds burnt to ashes and statistical casualty reports. "Had it not been for facilities like ours, the numbers in red would have been actual statistics and the numbers in blue theoretical."

In the book, facilities like the one the admiral speaks of, have done multiple task. I have him explaining the two most important task which have changed the dinamic of the hundred year war. The primary reason for this part of the briefing won't affect the immediate battle ahead, but rather is more about raising moral of the besieged troops. (they've been besieged for the last two years, without much in the way of rest, information from home, much less time off unless their equipment is in need of repair.)

In shot this admiral's speech is a moral booster speech, so to gather the attention of the war weary officers at the lower end of the spectrum and so that they can convey the message and then the plan of action to their troops with renewed moral.