Best writing & grammar books according to redditors

We found 278 Reddit comments discussing the best writing & grammar books. We ranked the 118 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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Top Reddit comments about Words, Language & Grammar Reference:

u/NewlyIndependent · 69 pointsr/IWantToLearn

The best route is to take up a course on Logic.

Study introductory predicate logic. Break statements into predicates - identify their antecedent and consequent. Identify the differences between a predicate's negation, inverse, converse, and contrapositive; more importantly, how they can be used to derive logical Truth. Familiarize yourself with Gödel's completeness theorem.

Next, learn to identify a fallacy; study up on logical fallacies.

Cognitive Biases are the next most important step. Being aware of your own cognitive biases will help you identify when your analyses are being skewed.

Study everything about everything. More information about your domain of concern will granter you further insight for analysis.

Lastly, take care of yourself. Get lots of sleep, eat healthy, and exercise; your judgement will be impaired if you don't.

Some books to help:

u/chebushka · 35 pointsr/russian

Get this book:

[Moderators: a question like this is asked here by heritage speakers fairly regularly. Can this title be added to the Resources list in the sidebar?]

u/dagdha · 18 pointsr/Fantasy

Violence: A Writer's Guide by Rory Miller (author mentioned in the acknowledgements of the Blinding Knife)

u/Exist50 · 16 pointsr/technology

In this case, however, we're replacing an "unknown" mechanism with great results (e.g. New York Times) with a known one with poor results (e.g. Reddit). Btw, the process isn't really an enigma. If you can find a copy cheap, I'd give this a read.

u/ConnorOlds · 13 pointsr/writing
  • "On Writing," by Stephen King ( - The first half is a good biography, and the second half is great insight into how Stephen King comes up with his stories. Not just the genesis of the story, but that actual "I sit down and do this, with this, in this type of environment." And then what to do when you finish your first draft. He is very critical of plotting, though. If you disagree with him about that, it's still good for everything else.

  • "The Elements of Style" by Strunk and White ( - This is a handy little book for proper grammatical and prose rules. How to write proper dialogue, where to put punctuation, and how to structure sentences to flow in an aesthetically pleasing manner.

  • "Stein On Writing" by Sol Stein ( - I just picked this book up, so I haven't finished it--but it seems to be a little more in depth than Stephen King's On Writing. For instance, it looks more at not just what makes a good story, but what makes a good story appealing to readers. So whereas Stephen King preaches a more organic growth and editing process to write a story, this one seems to be more focused on how to take your idea and make it a good story based on proven structure.

    Honorable mention:

  • "The Emotion Thesaurus" by Angela Ackerman ( - This is incredibly useful when you're "showing" character emotions instead of "telling" the reader what those emotions are. For example, "He was curious," is telling the reader the character is curious. "He leaned forward, sliding his chair closer," is showing the reader that he is curious.

  • I think it's easy for writers (myself included) to get too wrapped up in studying writing, or reading about writing. The best way to improve your is to write more, whether it's fiction or non-fiction, articles or short stories, novels or book reviews. The same principle applies to most skills, art especially. While reading about the activity certainly helps and is probably necessary at some point, you're going to just have to perform the activity in order to improve. Imagine reading about running more than actually running to practice for a marathon. Or reading about flying instead of getting hours in. Or reading about piano theory instead of actually playing piano. But if you're coming from nothing, it would probably help to read those three books before starting in order to start practicing with a good background right away, instead of starting with nothing and winging it on your own.
u/Bookish_Love · 12 pointsr/writing

This is a neat list, but I agree with some of the other commenters--I think it's easy to mis-use this sort of list as an excuse to slip into lazy writing.

Personally, I suggest Angela Ackerman's book "The Emotion Thesaurus." I like her book because it focuses on the psychological aspects of human emotions, and the physiological effects they can possibly have. She doesn't just list a bunch of physical actions, but rather takes the time to delve into what sort of character would use a certain set of actions, and when might be appropriate to include them. It's only a couple bucks on Amazon, if you want to check it out:

u/twin_me · 12 pointsr/IWantToLearn

I'm a PhD student in philosophy, and one of the areas I'm beginning to research is effective methods for training students to properly use evidential support in arguments (obviously this isn't my main area of research, but I have thought about it a bit).

Many universities now offer an Introduction to Critical Reasoning course. Their quality does vary depending on who teaches it (like any course), but I know the one offered at my university is fantastic. If you can't take a course, then there are plenty of books and textbooks aimed at teaching the kind of skills you are looking for. I honestly don't know which are considered the best, but these three all seem fine: 1 2 3.

I'd like to talk about some more specific things. You mentioned in another post studying predicate logic. I love symbolic logic. I wish more students took it. I will probably be teaching it for a long time. But, I think for your stated goals, studying critical reasoning will be much more efficient than studying formal logic.

Another posted suggested reading Spinoza, Kant, and Heidegger. This is terrible advice. These are three of the most difficult philosophers to read in the entire history of philosophy (Spinoza is actually quite fun to read in TPT, but nobody reads that, so I'm sure the poster was referring to The Ethics). Reading Heideger won't help your ability to use logic and reason. It just won't.

Students' biggest problem is that they often fail to understand the reading. For example, a very large chunk of students in Intro to Philosophy classes every year think that Descartes actually believed in an evil demon who was deceiving him, and was thus a skeptic. Critical reading is not an easy skill. Lots of intelligent people aren't that great at it (when an article gets posted on Reddit, look at some of the responses). The best way to improve this skill is to identify your friends who you think are especially good at critical reading, read the same thing as them, and then discuss it.

Students' second biggest problem is not understanding evidential support. For example, almost every intro to philosophy and intro to ethics course includes a day or two going over the Euthyphro. A modern slant on Socrates' main question in this dialogue goes like this: Does God command certain actions because they are morally right, or are certain actions morally right just because God commands them? The right way to respond to this argument is to draw out the implications of each position, and see whether they have any problems or not. Instead, most students will say things like "I'm a Christian so I believe in Divine Command Theory" - and then they will use the rest of the essay to misquote Bible verses at you. The best way to improve your use of evidential support is to study critical reasoning texts - they all have large sections on it - and to practice using it in discussions with people who will challenge you.

Outside of students, many experts (and dare I say) even scientists still make mistakes with reasoning. The most common mistake that I see is when people ignore or don't give proper attention to alternative interpretations of data.

For example, consider this really neat little article. The author (a researcher in cognitive science) describes some really cool experiments where people screw up even simple rule-following tasks (e.g. they recognize and correctly identify 400 as an even number immediately, but take longer to recognize 798 as an even number, and in some cases actually respond that it is odd). The author of the article then makes the claim that "The human mind is ill-suited to carry out rules." However, the data discussed doesn't support this claim - people aren't getting the even / odd tests wrong a majority of the time. The weaker (and less interesting claim) is that the human mind is not perfect at carrying out rules. Or, even better, that the human mind is mostly fine at carrying out rules, but frequently when we should use rule-based thinking, we use heuristics instead).

So yeah. My advice. Don't read Heidegger to try to improve your critical thinking abilities. Read some critical reasoning textbooks. Some of them are fantastic. Talk with your friends who you think are really good at using logic and reason. A lot. Argue with them. Using reasoning is a skill, and you have to practice it to get good at it.

u/slothful_writing · 11 pointsr/writing

I have a lot of random things I've bookmarked. In addition to the others listed here:
Synonyms for the word very
FoxType editor, similar to Hemingway
Directly access FoxType thesaurus
Interesting application that generates a kind of word-cloud of the most commonly used adjectives in relationship to a noun
Reverse dictionary
Emotional synonyms

There are also some thesauruses that I bought from Amazon for specific things that I really find useful. Two that I use most often are:

Urban Settings
Emotional Thesaurus

u/b0mmie · 10 pointsr/writing

A degree is only as useful as you make it after you've attained it.

I could have gotten an MFA (I was offered a free spot in my grad school's program—long story) but chose not to because, frankly, I didn't feel that I needed it.

Don't get me wrong: an MFA can be invaluable. But imo (I can't stress that enough, this is all through my own lens), it's mostly the experience and the ease-of-access to useful tools that makes it worthwhile; not necessarily the degree itself. In other words, the journey to the degree is what gives it value (which I suppose could be said of any degree you earn, but I digress).

When you go for an MFA, you get (most obviously) incredible amounts of workshopping and feedback on your pieces; this is pretty essential to a growing writer. You absorb a lot of information regarding craft and nuance—all things that you could surely find on your own, but are consolidated and streamlined nicely for you in a program geared towards creative writing.

By extension, you also get immediate, intimate, and prolonged access to successful and published writers (instructors, guest writers, temp/visiting writers, etc.), whose brains you can pick quite freely.

And lastly (probably the "most" important thing for aspiring writers), you're given a 'better' platform from which to get published. You'll have all these connections that you can work, and they'll do what they can to help you get in (all the while improving your writing in a sustainable environment).

So, what are some important things an MFA gives you?

  • Workshops: Feedback given and received (very useful).
  • Networking: Like-minded peers to collaborate with, and instructors who are invested in your success (befriend as many people as you can; you never know if someone's gonna be a breakout writer).
  • Knowledge: Easy access to a ton of information ranging from style to craft.
  • Guidance: You have a schedule. This seems like a no-brainer, but everything is laid out for you, and there is a logical progression to the things you will learn. Also, advice from people who've been in your position before.

    Now here's the thing: all four of these things are attainable without an MFA. It'll take more effort on your part, but it's doable.

    You can workshop—either on your own, or as part of a community (like this sub). This also opens the door to networking, both with the people who critique your work and with those whose work you critique.

    You can make your own schedule—a little harder for those who tend to procrastinate or find it difficult to self-motivate, but it can be done. Buy some books on creative writing (Portable MFA; GWW on Fiction, etc.; I'm assuming you're interested in fiction rather than nonfiction/memoir or poetry), set a schedule for yourself (maybe M/W/F or something). Make your own lesson plan, do the exercises.

    If possible, try to find a friend or two to do it with you (even if they're not great writers or really interested in it,
    but rather just want to support you)—it's always better with other people. Write on the days in between and the time before and after the lessons.

    Sure, you might not have such easy access to people in the industry without going to an MFA program, but at the end of the day, it's more often than not the quality of your writing and the execution of your ideas that will get you places. There are lots of self-published authors on this sub alone. How many of them have MFAs? I couldn't guess, but I can guarantee not all of them have one; they were just determined and diligent. They put in the time and work, maybe got an agent.

    Pursuing an MFA is great because it gives you constant exposure to creative writing in what is usually a conducive environment: you cannot afford to put things off or to have writer's block; even if you're at a loss, you have to write.

    The problem with doing this solo (i.e. not in an MFA), especially if you have motivation issues, is that creative writing can be an endless time-sink. If you have writer's block and you just think, "Ah, I have no idea where to go with this, I'll just come back later," you can just go off and do something else: play video games, watch TV, see a movie, see friends... or maybe you're just a bad procrastinator. It just becomes an endless loop of minimal productivity.

    If you don't get much writing done in an MFA, you will get your ass handed to you. And you might be one of those people who can get by on procrastination, but in a CW program, it's very easy to see who is procrastinating... so your work will likely be sub-par and your ass will get handed to you anyways. Your instructors won't mince words, they will tell you straight up what's bad about your work.

    At an MFA, you must produce. At home, doing this alone, you can have days where you only write one page, days where you write 10, and nothing bad will come of it.

    When I was getting my MA in English, I had a friend who was in the MFA program (while I was still deciding if I wanted to enroll in it after I got my masters) and he kept talking to me almost daily about his deadlines. He'd have to have a brand new short done by the next week; or 50+ new pages for his novel-in-progress by the week after; the entire novel draft by midterm break; the draft revised by the end of semester; all of this while writing other shorts, workshopping other people's stuff, teaching at the local high school, etc.

    My brother-in-law was an Army Ranger and talks about basic training and Ranger school, and when the instructors would make them run or do crazy amounts of push-ups/pull-ups, they'd refer to it as "getting smoked."

    Well, in an MFA, your ass will get smoked. You're going to have to write a lot. When there's a deadline to meet and something on the line (your reputation, your grade, etc.), you'll find your motivation fast, even if you have to make it up; this isn't necessarily the case when you're your own boss.

    Like I said earlier, I was offered a guaranteed spot in my school's MFA program. I eventually declined, because, essentially, I'm very confident in my prose. The head of the CW department was essentially begging me to join, and I knew that if he thought my writing was that good, I didn't actually need the MFA (although I'd be lying if I said I didn't want one).

    Worst-case scenario, if you get your MFA (and even while pursuing it) and everything else falls through, you can get some teaching opportunities at local high schools and temp jobs at colleges. When you get your MFA (since it's a terminal degree), you can teach full-time at the college/university level which does have its perks. But teaching isn't for everyone (:

    So, TL;DR: if you're a very motivated person, you don't really need an MFA. If you need a kick in the ass, an MFA may be very helpful (and you'll get some very helpful things along the way).

    Also: money. It sucks, but it's also a factor.

    Hope this was helpful. Good luck!

u/LAN_awake · 9 pointsr/writing

Hijacking top comment: while both of these are good, neither one will really force you to confront challenges and issues in your own writing except in a very general way.

To make it three, I would add "The Making of a Story" by Alice LaPlante. It is, by far, the absolute best book on writing I've ever read: it has small "teaching" sections discussing certain concepts (metaphors, characters, voice, etc.) followed by exercises with examples, and then accompanied by a wonderful selection of short stories that really captures the best of that concept. It's a thick book with a lot of work if you do the exercises, but it's definitely worth it. It's like a DIY advanced college creative writing course, and it's helped me so, so much. The author teaches at the MFA program at Stanford so she not only is a great writer, but also a great TEACHER, which distinguishes her from the other two books mentioned.

Reddit apparently doesn't know about it, unfortunately, which is why I only very recently discovered it on an Amazon recommended books list! It really deserves a wider readership.

Amazon link for the lazy:

u/LittleWeeRow · 8 pointsr/ukpolitics

Replacing words counts as an argument now alibix?

You might want to buy this book mate.

u/OMGSpaghettiisawesom · 8 pointsr/JUSTNOMIL
u/towerofcrows · 8 pointsr/Dallas

Oh, I see. I have to be more specific for you. Read this god damn book. Also, I'd like to point out that the only one making bloviated assumptions in this particular thread is you. Just to make it a little more equal, though, I'm going to assume you're really into a certain Home Improvement child actor.

*edited for username reference.

u/montypie · 8 pointsr/AcademicPhilosophy
  • This book is fantastic.
  • The first two sections of this site give good philosophy-specific advice.

    The best advice though is to find a senior philosophy student or a generous professor or TA who is willing to give you direct feedback.
u/[deleted] · 7 pointsr/skeptic

A Rulebook for Arguments is a pretty awesome starting point.

u/GreatAndPowerfulNixy · 7 pointsr/todayilearned

FWIW, I've never heard of Moleneux in my life and I think you're probably one of the least literate people I've ever seen.

You keep repeating yourself over and over, as if your conclusions are sound without any perceivable evidence (here's a hint: they're not). You're not responding to the actual content of the posts, rather continuing along with your own shitposts and direct attacks against your opponents rather than their statements. You're projecting your own insecurities on your opponent and arguing against them, rather than arguing using real logic.

It's time for you to grow the fuck up. You keep blaming millennials for your problems, but you're either a self-hating millennial or you're from an older generation but act like one, and I'm honestly not sure which is worse.

You keep telling people to try reading a book. I've got a reading suggestion for you. I hope you look into it.

u/sea_of_clouds · 6 pointsr/writing

No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty (one of the founders of National Novel Writing Month) helped me break through a long dry spell and just get those words on the page! He has a TON of great tips and makes the process seem super manageable.

u/StalinsLastStand · 6 pointsr/gonewild

Amateur. Why don't you call up my friends Strunk and White?

u/PFunkus · 6 pointsr/bestof

Yesyes! The latest edition is here: Marvelous book! Im nearing the end of my philosophy b.a. but I still turn to this book when writing a paper or preparing a presentation.

u/MitchellN · 6 pointsr/GRE

Learn words in context and their bases, this is a great resource

u/J_Webb · 6 pointsr/rpg

I have several methods depending on if I am the Dungeon Master or the player.

If I am the player, I will ask if there are any cultures unique to our own world within the DM's campaign. If my character is from that region or culture, I will refer to real world names. I use the Writer's Digest Character Naming Sourcebook by Sherrilyn Kenyon.

If I am the Dungeon Master, I use my own home-brewed campaign that I have been shaping and refining for the past few years. It has its own local languages with variations of real world names. I will usually make lists of these local names to hand out to players creating characters.

When I make non-player characters, I will either develop the character around their name or the name around the character. For non-important characters, I use custom 100-name charts. Roll some d10 dice and pick out the results from the charts.

Here is an example of one of my recent characters to use as a DM. I have a local language I am working on in my language with surnames based on Scottish surnames. The surname 'Dour' in Scottish means 'from the water.' I changed it up using my languages grammar to 'Dorve.' Lowborn men and women in my setting rarely earn family surnames. They usually are referred to as x from y. Think Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo of Vinci. I do the same in my setting with its language. Dorve don Vestavia. Dorve of Vestavia. From the water of Vestavia. Vestavia is a city in my setting with a very large river, so this character lives in the city near the river.

Sorry if that was an overload of information, but I am one of those people that likes realistic names in a setting. To accomplish that as I DM, I use custom languages. Otherwise, I research real world cultures and languages to name my characters.

u/native_pun · 5 pointsr/AskLiteraryStudies

Think about it like this: if you wanted to learn a new language, what would you do?

You would study. Consciously.

As an adult, that's how learning takes place. Programs and apps like Duolingo and Rosetta Stone offer the fantasy of passive learning, but in reality only children have the benefit of osmosis. Adults do not.

So to answer your question more directly: you have to devote time to memorizing words that you want to know. That's it. That's the only way. That means finding them, writing them down, coming up with mnemonics (seriously, this is the most important one), and using them in sentences. Not to mention: repetition. Review.

If you're trying to learn a specific discipline's discourse -- you are asking this question on /r/askliterarystudies after all -- take vocabulary from the books are papers in that field. For general vocabulary, consider the classic.

I don't know if this bears any resemblance to Franklin's method, but if it does, it's because it's effective.

u/roundeyeddog · 5 pointsr/ghostbusters

Is it off topic that I'm illustrating that you don't know what the fuck you are talking about? Conjugation clues and sentence structure are the most important indicators of the correct placement. If the usage you are speaking of becomes more widely used you would be correct. Currently, you are just making shit up.

You are hilariously misled on how prestigious it is to be an editor as well.

Buy this, it will help you:

u/Red-Halo · 5 pointsr/writerchat

Great post. Your topic reminds me of the book 'How Not to Write a Novel.'

From its Amazon page: 'Many writing books offer sound advice on how to write well. This is not one of those books. On the contrary, this is a collection of terrible, awkward, and laughably unreadable excerpts that will teach you what to avoid—at all costs—if you ever want your novel published.'

u/fictionbyryan · 5 pointsr/writing
u/striker111 · 5 pointsr/IWantToLearn

The Lively Art of Writing is absolutely amazing. It's enjoyable to read and the techniques can really help you write well. It gave me a great understanding of how to write a persuasive essay.

After that, Elements of Style is also an excellent reference on the finer points of writing, and can help you clear up some confusions you have.

I'd recommend working through The Lively Art of Writing first, just to put some practice and thought into how to communicate effectively. The second book is more for polish, but nevertheless still very good.

u/dverast · 4 pointsr/writing

I re-read How Not to Write a Novel whenever I get to a 2nd or 3rd revision pass for a book. It's a great list of common mistakes and cliches. Removing lazy/cliche writing from your first/second draft is a great way to make you feel like you're making immediate progress towards a final.

u/Veqq · 4 pointsr/russian <- this book

Ignore the other guy. It shouldn't take too much time if you can already understand it. What you need to do is start reading (out loud!) and listening to media. Try to speak with family members - but exposure only to them isn't enough.

Since you don't actively speak Surzhik, you won't have to "fix" it - and it's not the hardest thing in the world anyhow. You just need to actually use the language.

E.g. :


can't you use the search bar? :)))

u/kaneblaise · 4 pointsr/writing

I have and really like The Emotion Thesaurus, but I'll check that one out too! Always nice to have more tools in the toolbox.

u/mt0711 · 3 pointsr/IWantToLearn

Short term (i.e. your paper): Get a draft to your teacher early and ask how you can improve it for your final draft. You'll want your teacher's opinion as early as possible if it's a good grade you want. Proofread it yourself and have others proofread it if possible.

Long term: The Elements of Style

Some other advice:

  • Good academic writing doesn't mean fancy or indirect, it means clear and concise.

  • Make becoming a better writer your goal if you want to really improve. Your work will be better and your teacher will sense your genuine interest when you approach them for help.

  • Take advantage of your teacher's help even if you don't like them.

  • Ultimately, getting better at anything is up to you, and that means putting time in.
u/MsManifesto · 3 pointsr/TwoXChromosomes

It sounds to me that the times in which you are unhappy with your ability to be assertive come from when you lack confidence. You say when pushed too far, you react in unbalanced ways, that you feel shitty when you have successfully presented your case, that you let others make decisions since you worry about the outcomes if you do, and that your attempts at assertiveness are often desperate. It seems to me, in these situations, you fear being wrong--you aren't confident that you are right.

Confidence during conflicts, arguments (since arguments aren't always conflicts), and decision making comes from a couple of difference places, in my opinion.

First, the ability to clearly articulate your own position. If your own position isn't clear to you, you're likely to fumble your words, miscommunicate, contradict yourself, etc. It also makes it more difficult for you to change your position if you are confronted with a good argument against it. Also, sometimes in arguments, there needs to be a give-and-take, meaning, your point may be lacking or overextending on something, and if you acknowledge that, your point can then be all the more stronger.

Second, your ability (and recognition of this ability) to competently analyze the situation and/or the counter-arguments. Now, I say this as a philosophy major, but a formal study of logic can aid enormously in this (here is a good, short book I would recommend if you were so inclined). However, I find that most people are already quite capable of this, since everyday language is composed of numerous analyses of situations and arguments. Sometimes all it takes is slowing yourself down. For example, I used to rush into conclusions and see things narrowly, which lead me to make a lot of mistakes and had an impact on my confidence. Slowing down just a little bit to contemplate other options can make a big difference. This can be practiced outside of arguments, too, which helps, since it is far less stressful that way.

Third, patience and self-control. Staying calm, striving for clear communication, being receptive to feedback, and being emotionally honest can all have a big impact on the ways your confidence is felt. A lot of people think that emotions are antithetical to reason, and for women, this is a particularly pernicious misconception. But the reality is that emotions are integral to the ways we come to understand the world around us, and being clear and honest about the way you feel with other people, and they to you, sheds a lot of clarity on a situation.

I hope some of this is helpful. You say that you are otherwise a confident person, so you know that side of yourself already. You just need to work it in to being assertive about something when you want to be. Best of luck!

u/kurtik7 · 3 pointsr/russian

If you're serious, take a look at Olga Kagan's Russian for Russians - as one reviewer says, it's "who grew up speaking Russian at home but never really learned to read and write it properly- a common phenomenon for those of us who are immigrants or children of immigrants."

u/ChaosFearsNone · 3 pointsr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

And done!!!

  1. Blue the best for obvious reason.

  2. Summer what’s better than beer pong? Pool beer pong.

  3. Usual Food the best because it’s a local thing.

  4. Gift for another for my love of Disney animation.

  5. Book to read great insight into the human race.

  6. Cheap because yummy.

  7. For the doge because adorable.

  8. Useless yet so awesome.

  9. Movie because it’s my favorite.

  10. Zombie to destroy their brains.

  11. Life changing to adapt to in work life.

  12. Add on because my kids are always getting sick.

  13. Fandom because it’s an awesome show and these are in apparently.

  14. Pricey for when the lights go out.

  15. Sharks because it’s badass and my daughter would love it.

  16. Good smells one of my favorite scents.

  17. Childhood feels spent so many playing games on this.

  18. Writers was helpful for me once upon a time.

  19. Obsessed my life of Disney is strong right now.

  20. Weird because lol.
u/AnnieMod · 3 pointsr/EnglishLearning

All of the big Advanced Learner dictionaries will work for that: Merriam-Webster's, Collins COBUILD, Cambridge, Oxford - American and so on.

However... studying vocabulary from a dictionary is not optimal. I like vocabulary builders for that a lot more: Merriam-Websters and Oxford American are the the two I had used - plus TOEFL, CPE and IELTS vocabulary books. And Swan's Practical English Usage - that last section is a gold mine - highlighting the small differences between words and expressions and whatsnot). And I had found Oxford Collocations Dictionary very useful as well.

And do not underestimate the online resources - all of the big dictionaries are also online and you can look up examples and explanations very easy.

u/mcguire · 3 pointsr/writing

Gotham Writers Workshop: Writing Fiction.

I haven't read all of it yet, so this might be premature, but so far I'm very impressed. Especially with the examples, which come mostly from literary fiction, but the suggestions would improve anything.

u/xenomouse · 3 pointsr/writing

This is going to sound like really flippant advice, but I swear it's not: buy this book. There is a lot of basic stuff you need to know - how to build character and setting and plot, how to outline, and yes, how to market and publish - and this will spell it all out a lot better than any of us could do in a short post on Reddit. It is definitely an intro book, so it's not like this is all you'll ever need, but it's a good place to start, get your bearings, and figure out what you need to focus on next.

When you do figure that out, there are tons of books dedicated to everything from plot structure and scene structure to dialogue and character arcs; buy those too. Use them to improve your craft and fill in your gaps.

Also, read! Read a lot. Pay attention to how the authors you love set a scene, how they describe things (and to what extent), how they structure their chapters and scenes, how they write dialogue. All books contain real, solid examples for you to study and learn from. Figure out what you admire, and mimic it. Figure out what you hate, and avoid it.

And last, keep in mind that your writing probably won't be amazing right away, and you might have to rethink and rewrite your book a few times as you're learning (or maybe even start a new one) before you really feel like you've gotten the hang of it. Don't give up, just keep learning and keep working.

u/ebach · 3 pointsr/news

You failed to acknowledge that you said "Bullshit" in response to my statement about what I was providing. Your insistence on referencing OP only serves to demonstrate your inability to sustain a logical argument. Might I suggest you purchase the following?

u/Merrell_1 · 3 pointsr/askphilosophy

This is a good, short introduction that you can read in an hour or two. It is well written and it explains the basic rules for constructing an argument or writing an essay. It also recommends several longer texts on critical thinking at the end, if you're interested in pursuing the issue further.

u/ysadamsson · 3 pointsr/fantasywriters


Obligatory 2

Depending on how dedicated I am, I'll (a) make a naming language and give my characters meaningful names or (b) generate a bunch of feasible-sounding names by hand, in Python, or with Zompist's /gen/ and assign them to characters as I see fit.

There are some questions to be answered: How are people's names structured? For example, Swedish naming convention is three given names referred to as "forenames" and a family name, and a person can choose to go by any of their forenames casually and by their family name formally. In Japan, it's just one given name and a family name, and people almost always are referred to by their family name with an honorific title outside of close friends/family. In Arabic, it's traditional given name followed by a bunch of optional parts with cultural significance. In the U.S. your given name is your default name, but if you hate it you can go by a middle name or a nickname. In Thailand people usually have a one-syllable nickname that they almost always go by, but people can conceivably have long-ass Sanskrit (?) names too.

What's important to your people? That's what their names will be.

Otherwise I'll open up my copy of The Character Naming Sourcebook and knock off some mythological Polynesian name.

u/big_red737 · 3 pointsr/writing

I too would like to be a published writer at some point, so I completely identify with your questions. I am 27 and sometimes wonder if it's too late for me as well but I have to keep telling myself that it is never too late. It's possible that your writing could only get better with age, as you are able to draw from more of your life experiences.

Here are some tips and recommendations that I have found to be useful:

  • Read a lot and write a lot. Reading a lot will help you get an understanding of what works and what doesn't, what to do and what not to. You will be able to see good writing from bad writing and it will help you increase your vocabulary and get an understanding of formatting techniques although don't worry too much about that until the end. You have to be willing to write a lot as well. It will give you practice and teach you the best ways to get your ideas onto paper. Don't worry if it makes sense or not or whether or not it is part of the story you want to create, just get as much of it as you can out.

  • You will have to put the time in to get the results. Writing is an extremely time consuming task and it can be difficult to find motivation especially if this is something you are doing on the side while still working a full time job. This is one of the things I struggle with, trying to find the time or energy to do the writing. Writing is a very energy-consuming activity for me and it requires my complete attention. Finding that can be difficult.

  • Writing is rewriting. Don't be afraid to go back and rework everything once you get it out. Revisions will only make your work stronger.

  • Don't use long or big words just to sound "smart" or "eloquent" or to make your work longer. More often than not, the first words that come to mind will be sufficient. Usually the most direct way to say something is the best.

  • Don't show what can be said, don't say what can be shown. Try to find a good balance of not over describing the setting or provide too much description or narration. You can learn a lot just from what a character says and how they say it. Do not over-describe your setting, allow the reader to imagine things on their own, using their own experiences to create the world. Dialogue is probably the most difficult thing for me. Just be sure that your character's voices are unique and remain constant to who they are, even if the character's point of view is different than yours or what you believe in. Make sure what your characters are saying is truthful and believable to themselves. If the characters happen to be less than intelligent, show that in the way they talk.

    Some books I have found to be very helpful:

  • Get yourself a good grammar book. I would recommend The Elements of Style. This one is quite good, comes highly recommended and has been around for 50 years.

  • I am particularly a fan of Stephen King and his books. He wrote a book that was published in 2000 called On Writing. I have found it immensely helpful, a great book about the craft. I believe there is a 10th anniversary edition coming out this summer, probably with additions and updates. Half of the book, Stephen talks about how he got started, selling his first book "Carrie", stories from his life that influenced his work. The second half is his "Toolbox" section where he talks about tools and components to writing, vocabulary, grammar, dialogue, character description and development, narration, etc. It's all very frank and he tells you just exactly what you need to hear. Extremely useful.

  • If you are creating an entire story (and not something short or small like poetry), you will need to have a good understanding of how the pieces are constructed, how to set up a beginning, a middle and an end successfully. I have this but have not read it yet, a book called Elements of Writing Fiction - Beginnings, Middles & Ends. So far it seems quite good and useful. When I was in college I took several screenwriting courses so this is something I already have a fairly good grasp on but it's still good to have something like this on hand to refer back to. I am more interested in writing fiction right now, as opposed to screenwriting so it is a bit challenging to change techniques. The two are very different.

  • If you get to the point where you have completed a few pieces of writing and are hoping to get something published, you should probably start by picking up one of the Writer's Market books. I am interested in novel writing so that's the one that I linked to but there are different variations depending on what type of writing you are trying to get published. Just do a search on Writer's Market. The book contains complete, up-to-date contact information for book publishers, magazines and journals, literary agents, contests and conferences. There is a lot of very useful information in this book for when you get to that stage.

    I am certainly no expert but hopefully this is useful advice and helps motivate you to get to it!

    *EDIT: Added another recommended book.
u/stemgang · 3 pointsr/TwoXChromosomes

> some people probably thought your comment was disrespectful

Hmm, that gives me pause. I don't mean to be disrespectful. I am highly critical of feminism, but I am not intending to give offense.

I would like to think that people who identify overly much with feminism are offended by my ideas, not my tone, but I could be completely wrong about that.

Is there some way I could make my points, which I think are all valid, without offending people?

Do you have some suggestions or a link on writing more effectively and/or less offensively?

I have read Strunk's Elements of Style, but that was many years ago.

u/yayachiken · 3 pointsr/germany

Except those who don't and get books like these regularily into the bestseller lists.

u/white-pony · 2 pointsr/writing

A good book that gives a ton of this type of body language and cues for pretty much any emotion is The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression

u/thisaboveall · 2 pointsr/fantasywriters

I remember reading an AMA by Brent Weeks where he suggested a book, I think this one or this one. In my search for that, I came across this, though, which I guess you'll probably be interested in as well.

u/arkol3404 · 2 pointsr/WritingPrompts

Yes, this is a good precipitating event. However, I suggest starting the story even before this, so you can establish some backstory and characters. Show the relationship between the main character and her brother. Maybe hint at her father's abuse. Get the reader invested in the characters a bit before this event.

Also, I suggest you work on your grammar and punctuation. Make sure to break up your story into paragraphs. Every time a different character speaks, or there is a change in character perspective, start a new line.

I suggest the book, "The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Creative Writing." It's a great guide on how to effectively create a story.

You've got a great creative mind, you just need to refine how you put it on paper.

Book here:

u/matches05 · 2 pointsr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

I found a couple books for you :) This one and thiiis one!!!

All whales are iguanas.
No iguanas live under the sea.
Therefore, no whales live under the sea.

Hey! You said nothing about soundness :) I hope this works

u/whiteskwirl2 · 2 pointsr/writing

The Making of a Story - Although the title might imply fiction, it actually discusses non-fiction as well. This book looks at various techniques and shows why and how they work, and there are sample stories that use these techniques (real published stories, not just exercises written for the book) and then analysis/commentary on the story and its relevance to the techniques just introduced.

u/Solsticen · 2 pointsr/rpg

Even though The Emotion Thesaurus is directed at writters, I think some GMs could find use in reading it.

u/Mister_AA · 2 pointsr/gaming

You're not properly citing them though. Make sure to use a proper citing format. This is a good place to start.

Cite my comments properly and then I might believe you.

u/AntaresBounder · 2 pointsr/Journalism

I'm a high school journalism teacher, so in addition to those offered up before I'll suggest:

  1. Elements of Journalism A classic.
  2. Inside Reporting This HS/college textbook lays out the basics in a visually interesting format. Try to find an older edition(they're way cheaper).
  3. AP Stylebook If you want to be taken seriously as a professional, your writing needs to look professional. For all its detractors, the AP Stylebook is still the standard for almost every newsroom.

u/pikacool · 2 pointsr/AskAcademia

I was recommended an American classic, Strunk and White's The Elements of Style for my undergraduate thesis class in Economics, we also write more technical papers and I found it very useful. It has guidelines on style and things to avoid, which adds more structure to the way you write and reduces the amount of things that you have to think about while writing.

u/vinkunwildflower · 2 pointsr/FanFiction

The Negative Trait Thesaurus, with the Emotion Thesaurus, Positive Trait Thesaurus and the Emotional Wound Thesaurus.

Also Careers for Your Characters: A Writers Guide to 101 Professions from Architect to Zookeeper which "Provides over one hundred descriptions of occupations that can be used for writing fiction, detailing the daily life, jargon, and salaries of such fields as dentistry, entertainment, law, and architecture."

And The Writer's Digest Character Naming Sourcebook is good for times when I can't get online to find names.

Master Lists for Writing is also a good one.

The Psychology Workbook for Writers

Creating Character Arcs Workbook

Thinking Like A Romance Writer: The Sensual Writer's Sourcebook of Words and Phrases A friend got me this for Christmas, mostly to laugh at, but I thought I'd add it anyway.

u/TheKingoftheBlind · 2 pointsr/writing

Not necessarily just for short stories, but I would suggest the Gotham Writers Workshop Writing Fiction Guide.

u/Barldarian · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

Why not? Spoons are obviously male while forks are female!

Yes you DO need different endings for EVERY grammatical case!

What? Not even Germans use Genitiv? Nonsense - we love it!

We even wrote a book about it!

Also short vowel before double consonant!

So you finally managed to learn every little thing and are a German Master now? Too bad - heres a Rechtschreibungsreform that changes a few thousand things!

u/komodokid · 2 pointsr/writing

I feel ya, I bought the "Emotion Thesaurus" because i was struggling with this. It made me realize I was creating flat, emotionless dynamics between characters because I just didn't know how to express it other than in dialogue.

Honestly the only way to work through that is to experiment. Like try write a scene with an obvious emotional arc, something easy to work with and cliché and on the nose. You kind of get a feel for it as you progress, and then you can work with nuance and hidden motives and overlapping emotions (still working on that myself). It's just one of many tools in the writer's toolbox, but it's critical, without the emotional development and progression, no one cares.

One great piece of advice i read and shared recently (and promptly forgot the source) was that to explore emotions in fiction, a great strategy is to show thought processes. Like rather than "Joan was sad about losing her dog" you could work with "Joan realized she may never find a dog like the one she had lost. Was it her fault? Was she a bad master?" and explore the emotions with self-reflection and introspective inner monologues etc.

u/Celeste_XII · 2 pointsr/writing

What are you describing? Are you describing emotions? Physical characteristics? Location? Action? Amazon has all kinds of books that focus on particular subjects and how to describe them; for example, The Emotion Thesaurus and Writing Vivid Settings. If you take a look at those two, it will lead you to other books that focus on how to write descriptions.

u/Mithalanis · 2 pointsr/writing

Wouldn't you just want the most recent edition of the MLA Handbook? Which I believe is the 8th Edition.

u/UltraFlyingTurtle · 2 pointsr/writing

I totally understand. I need some structure as well.

I've bought so many creative writing books, and I've realized the best ones are the ones used in college classrooms.

This one is my favorite. You can do a writing exercise from it everyday, and you'll improve greatly. Unfortunately it's pricey at $67 (try to get a used version at half the cost).

What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers (3rd Edition)

What's great is that each chapter builds your skills gradually, starting with exercises to write good intro sentences, then to character development, point of view, dialogue, interior landscape of characters, plot, element of style, revisions, learning from the greats, etc.

The authors have said this has been the best way to see improvements from their students, and it's been working for me. Unlike other writing exercise books, this one has a clear structure, and moreover, they really go in depth in explaining the exercise and it's goal -- the technique it's trying to develop.

What I find especially helpful is that the book includes student examples for most of the examples. I own many writing exercises books, and so often I need to a clue on how to execute the exercises or I'm lost. The book also comes with short stories to study, too.

I was so skeptical about the book, since it isn't cheap, but the reviews on Amazon won me over. Read those reviews -- so many people recommend the book.

Note, if you can't afford it, there is the original, much cheaper version. It's much smaller, and doesn't have as many student examples or extra content (like the short stories), but it's costs way less. I'm guessing this was the original book before they expanded into a college textbook. I also own it also and it's still good. It's nice to carry around with me if I don't want to take the much larger newer version.

My other recommendation is this book:[The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Creative Writing by Alice LaPlante](

LaPlante is great at explaining the little nuances, the details in what makes creative fiction work. She goes into more details, and has writing exercises at the end of each chapter, including a short story to read. So she gives more theory of how good writing works. She avoids flowery or abstract advice found in so many other books.

I found it an excellent companion to the "What If" book.

This book is also used in college courses, and it's thick! Lots of material. Fortunately, however, this version I linked is around $13. This is the same exact book as the college version for $52 (named "Method and Madness: The Making of a Story").

Lastly, this isn't a college writing book, but just a bunch of really helpful exercises on how to improve as a writer.

Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark

What I like is that he gives examples to his exercises, too, from books, newspaper articles, etc. I really love all of Roy Peter Clark's writing books.

Anyway, good luck. I was in a deep writing funk. Depressed I wasn't improving, and I decided to write everyday using exercises from those books, and it's helped me so much.

Edit: typos.

u/Creepthan_Frome · 2 pointsr/Teachers

Bridging English and The Lively Art of Writing are two books I swear by.

I must be the only person ever who found The First Days of School patronizing and dull.

u/russkayastudentka · 2 pointsr/languagelearning

I've seen this book recommended for your situation

I'd also search Russian grammar topics on YouTube if I were you. And maybe something like Duolingo or the RT learn Russian course to practice basic grammar. Presumably you'd get through them quickly.

Then start reading the news in Russian and stuff like that. Or I guess watch clips and read articles about whatever the job is.

u/evilcleverdog · 2 pointsr/ReadMyScript
  1. Right off the bat, your title. Just call it "June Wedding." Drop the letter A.

  2. Be sure to do your sluglines properly. Formatting can throw people off. Your first slug should still indicate whether it is night or day.

  3. Try to avoid bizarre comparisons. If you compare you should make it simply and understandable. What does it mean "Greek chorus"? Don't be vague and intellectualy superior. You're not writing a novel.

  4. Watch out for dialogue. Make it natural and make it clear. First line you say "2007," where "the year 2007" would sound much better. A number alone could mean many things. This is really just tightening up your screenplay.

  5. You have excessive use of flashbacks and the narrator's voice. Keep it limited. You must make the audience feel like they are not observing a story, but rather that they are a part of it. Too many flashbacks and too much speaking over, while it can come in handy, may suck your audience out of their fantasy.

  6. Honestly. I don't know what MOS means. Probably a good idea to take that out.

  7. Do not do SMASH CUT! No one does that. I've never seen that in a professional screenplay, nor is it something I do. Leave it out. "Cut To:" is fine.

  8. You need to get into the action and tension quicker. As I am reading this, I am finding myself bored. You gotta hook the audience in a little. Make it more exciting sooner. You do have some action, but it comes way later on, and we are not set into it gradually.

  9. Conflict, conflict, conflict, and there isn't enough emotion. You need to push your audience to the edge, you need to jerk 'em around, and make them feel what everyone else is feeling. These characters of yours are talking about what? Not much. Unfortunately, it's too subtle.

  10. Your screenplay first and foremost needs structure. It's too unbalanced. Don't stretch out the exposition and back story so long.

  11. As far as I can tell there's nothing at risk. Risk is a basic part of life, and we all have something to lose. It seems like these characters are living in a world of zero consequence. Sure, some words are exchanged, but not much other than that.

  12. You gotta make your characters more distinct. It feels like there is one person, who is playing everyone. Although that's how real life probably is, your screenplay needn't be like that. Give people quirks. Give them characteristics that help the audience separate them.

  13. It appears that your screenplay really starts around page 72 or so, we find out who is cheating, and then everything starts taking off. You might not want to do this, but if you start from there, and then write about the consequences following you could make a great story.

  14. Every good story has some humor in it. Try and have some laughs to give the audience a break.

  15. Make us care about these people (your characters). Why do we care about them?

    To conclude, your main problems here are: lack of structure, action, conflict, risk, loss, suspense, humor, and unique characters.

    Now, that might seem harsh, but it's not to discourage you. I think you can write. I think you have that ability in you, like most, but what you lack is keeping the audience on the edge of their seats, and making them scared, and happy, and emotionally involved. I highly suggest that you pick up some books on writing and read them. That's my main advice. It's not that you have to follow exactly what they say, but once you know the rules you can break them, and shape them to your liking.

    Anyway, good luck in the future! Keep on writing.

    Pick this up, if you can:

    It's just the basics, however, can come in handy.

u/berrycompote · 2 pointsr/russian

Can't speak to it's quality, but this has been linked before in this sub for heritage speakers:

u/Antaria77 · 2 pointsr/writing

There's a good book series, hold on I'll link it, bought these for myself, and they're great

u/wiltscores · 2 pointsr/books

Weston's A Rulebook for Arguments is clear and concise.

Heinrichs' Thank You for Arguing is more informal with lots of pop culture references.

Sagan's Demon Haunted World is a paean to science & critical thinking and Whyte's Crimes Against Logic is good as well

u/Cdresden · 2 pointsr/suggestmeabook

The Elements of Style by Strunk and White.

The Emotion Thesaurus by Ackerman and Puglisi. Also their negative and positive trait thesauri.

I think it's valuable to keep a dictionary and thesaurus on your writing device, even though both are quickly available online. But an encyclopedia is obsolete, in my opinion, replaced by the internet, especially Wikipedia.

u/Paid_Spokesperson · 2 pointsr/EEadvice

This is a screenshot of one of the MLA Handbook's useful links. How to get web access:

  1. Buy an MLA Handbook. Make sure you get the most recent (7th) edition.

  2. The back cover of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers has a code to get online access. Scratch off the silver stuff, get the code, and sign-up for online access. The online book has everything the hard copy has plus four "case studies" or examples that take you through the research process.

    If you're not writing in a subject that uses MLA (psychology, math, economics, biology, etc.), figure out what system to use. This site from Cal State LA has resources for AAA (American Anthropological Association) Style, APA (American Psychological Association) Style, CSE (Council of Science Editors) Style, etc.

    Here's another useful site from Texas A & M that lists many types with links to how to format them.

    Comment in this thread for any questions regarding citation style or your particular topic.
u/VorvarX · 2 pointsr/LSAT

I would definitely recommend practicing with real LR questions. Consider purchasing Fox’s Logical Reasoning Encyclopedia. It’s a huge collection of questions organized by type and from easiest to hardest so that you can work your way up.

That being said, if you are looking to read something that will make LR easier, consider a book like this:

I literally just typed “fallacies” into amazon, but a book like this will basically cover every wrong argument you could see on the LSAT. I took a class on Critical Reasoning my freshman year and I know it gave me a head start on LR.

For reading comp, I’m a philosophy major so I have the opposite problem you do. Scientific articles throw me off a hair. If you want some interesting reads, check out the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy online. It’s free, the language is very formal and sophisticated, and you can read about basically anything and everything you’d want. The LSAT seems to like bringing up utilitarianism relatively often, so maybe check out their page on that. Also the LSAT mentions Kant pretty frequently, so you can also check out the page on him.

Of course this isn’t necessary to get a perfect LSAT score; the test, as you know, does not presuppose any prior knowledge about these topics. However, I’m sure you have found, as I did, that it’s easier to read about things you know something about. Read some philosophy, but drill drill drill those RC passages!

As for getting a 170, I can’t say. My diagnostic was 155, and I got a 164 in February. My last two PTs were over 170, but obviously the only one that counts is the official.

You’ve got this!!!

u/righthandoftyr · 1 pointr/writing

I have a name book (this is the one I have, but it's pretty easy to find lists of baby names online for free if you don't need names for different cultures), so I just try and find one that sounds nice and rolls off the tongue. Past that, as much as possible I just try and make sure I don't have two main characters with names that start with the same letter or sound very similar, just so it's easier for the readers to keep them all straight.

u/lingual_panda · 1 pointr/writing

If you want more than two books:

Stein on Writing is fantastic for learning an editor's perspective

Invisible Ink (not sure what happened to the Kindle edition) is more about storytelling in general but it's fantastic at breaking down what makes good movies good

How Not to Write a Novel will crack you up

u/bayleaf_sealump · 1 pointr/SandersForPresident

People on reddit seriously need to read this short book Rulebook for Arguments

It takes like a few hours to read and would inform soo many people on how to make an argument and identify bad ones.

u/ExistentialistCamel · 1 pointr/DestructiveReaders


The piece wasn't a complete train wreck, but it didn't blow me away either for reasons that I'll get to in the mechanics section. My main issues with the piece are a consistent one or two clause sentence structure. (I ate coco puffs and the sky was falling. The coco puffs were good. The sky falling sky wasn't.) You need to wring more out of your descriptions and make each sentence work a little bit harder. It can take some practice doing, but it is better to have to much that you can cut down -- rather than having to construct whole descriptions of objects in my opinion. This, however, is not an excuse to spew giant info dumps upon the reader. Make sure to add details as the main character interacts with them, which will in turn help with showing rather than telling.


> The path we traveled grew more worn as the environment around us slowly shifted from the lush forest I was familiar with into that of a swamp. The rich green of the forest floor began to give way to the wet browns and greys of the wetlands. Arlets feet fell with a moist plop in the muddy soil and the smell of mildew filled the humid air. Our path was raised to avoid being completely taken by the swamp and its water. One could not say that these people were completely at their home’s mercy

I'll spend some time deconstructing your opening paragraph to give examples what I'm talking about. The first sentence is abysmal and it's a good example of one that looks like it's doing something, but requires another sentence to say what you did before (e.g. how is the forest shifting to wetland? I don't get a picture of it). The second could simply be the opening line, and the reader can begin to infer that the forest was shifting to wetlands, and you could describe some of the foliage. Since this is an academic written in first person, it would establish his character if he could precisely name some of the plants and it makes sense to describe some interesting examples of foliage that you could come up with. As it stands his absorption into this new world feels shallow because there isn't much description of it. Try reading the opening section of Perdido Street Station by China Mieville if you want the most evocative description that I've read of a setting, and a fantastic novel centered around an academic. "Ardets feet fell with a moist plop in the muddy soil and the smell of mildew filled the air" This is a good example of showing rather than telling, and giving descriptions of the scenery through the actions of the people involved. The last sentence is poor because it is telling rather than showing, and it has a surprise "not" which makes the whole thing a non-description of stuff that isn't happening.

> “So, we keepin’ tied up now? Don’t love the silence meself.”

The mixture of potential slang with a heavy accent makes this sentence unintelligible. Whilst the accent is consistent, I think it is too hamfisted usage throughout the piece. Try dropping the apostrophes to see if the accent can still be discerned, rather than throwing them on every word. The reader will probably read "Don't love the silence myself" in the same tone as "Don't love the reader meself," because the key word is starting the sentence with "don't."

>So many unfamiliar sights and flora came into view as we traveled that I had become lost in simple observation.

This doesn't fit with a plain description, and it is implied.

>He responded. He maintained an amused grin about him as he spoke.

He responded is implied, and the second sentence can be implied from the tone of the sentence. Cut the whole thing and watch out for excessive description on speech.

> As the goblin spoke, I strained as my fingers flipped through the various books in my bag. My notebook had to be amongst these somewhere. Were fairies more reliant on their wings for flight I would have had an even rougher time of this. Arlet looked towards me shortly after starting off again and paused upon seeing my predicament.

The first sentence is clunky, and I had to read it a few times to get a vague idea of what was going on. The second sentence can be completely cut. The third needs a ", then" before "I" to make it less tricky -- however the description doesn't do anything in itself. Are the fairies flying with the bags? The first clause in the last sentence is unnecessary, because it is implied that he started again if he had to pause.

>The belittlement was less than appreciated. My strain now coupled with the heat of irritation and grew significantly worse as a result.

This is a prime example of showing rather than telling, and I'll give a rough example on how to get more out of your sentences.

>I struggled with the massive bag of books that teetered back and forth as the Goblin sniggered, "you got it master?"
I gnashed my teeth together as sweat poured down my face and aggravated my eyes.

My rework isn't super great, but it gives a rough idea of what the concept is. If the characters are pouring down sweat, then it can be assumed that it is blazing hot outside. I growled is a basic description of an anger emote (I highly recommend using The Emotions Thesaurus when struggling to find an emotive action that shows an emotion).

u/vogeltwosix · 1 pointr/WritersGroup

Start with the characters and their background first. A story isn’t about the plot, it’s about your characters: how they react to external events, and how those events change them internally. A good book has strong characters you can relate to, so if you start with the plot, you’re more likely to create something with little substance.

I’m in the planning phase for my first book, and I’ve found Lisa Cron’s Story Genius to be incredibly helpful. She recommends to first define your “what if” and the point you want your story to make, then create the characters that help you tell that story, and then you can focus on the plot. Since you’ve already defined your main character and their backstory, you’ll breeze through those parts!

In my case, I started with a rough idea of where I want my story to go, but it will become clearer to me once I finish developing the characters.

Hope that helps!

u/legalpothead · 1 pointr/scifiwriting

So, I have figured out a way to write stories that works for me. But my method isn't the only way, and it's certainly not canon. You should regard what I say as suggestion rather than edict.




Your #1 priority in the first 200-250 words of your story should be making your reader empathize with your main character, Teleka. You need to establish this emotional bond before you can get on with anything.

To this goal, you want to get a little more inside Teleka's head and concentrate less on everything else. Right now, you're mostly using her POV like a camera, reporting objectively on what it sees. Instead, you want to use her POV like a documentarian or journalist, subjectively layering her personal opinions over everything she sees.

Your reader should know how she feels about everything she talks about. Grilled steaks, yea or nay, dragon's breath, yea or nay, etc. Having the entire crew in the mess hall at once, does this make her feel just a little apprehensive? Probably. I mean, if we're being real, she's probably a mess of emotions at this point. You want to communicate exactly that to your reader.

Step 1 in establishing the bond is, you want to prove to your reader Teleka is a real, live person just like you or me. You do this by showing she has the small idiosyncrasies we all have, little anxieties and annoyances. You want to get to a place where your reader says subconsciously, hey, I know exactly how she feels.

Step 2 is that immediately after you establish this bond, you need to load her up with problems. To start, some kind of problem big enough that it requires her immediate attention.

That's it. From this point forward, your reader will be reading your story from Teleka's viewpoint. Your reader will have to keep reading to make sure Teleka's going to be okay.




There is some pretty strong frontloading, infodumping at the start. There's a writer's instinct that wants to inform the reader of all the information they are going to require to enjoy the story. This is a misplaced instinct and should be killed. Making your reader informed is reasonable if you're writing a report, but when it comes to fiction, it's fine to leave your reader in the dark. Some of the best stories in the world are the result of withheld information. Starving your reader of essential info can create a sense of mystery.

At the beginning of your story, you want to introduce your MC, throw her into some kind of a pickle, and have more problems, even bigger, waiting in the wings. All the rest of the stuff can come later.




Over the next few pages you introduce the squad. There's way too much information here. It's practically like you're reading off their D&D character sheets complete with hit points. It's obvious what you're doing, and it's not holding the reader's interest.

I think you've got a choice here. You can strip the 'round the table' way down, to where you're only describing each character with a few quick brushstrokes. Or you can choose 2-3 characters to describe, and save the rest for later.

Or actually, since this is just a short story, you can cut characters...



Right now the opening of the story is too calm and relaxed. It's static. You need to inject some form of narrative tension into the proceedings. Something that will make your reader sit up and take notice.

One idea could be to light a fuse of some kind. Right now your opening sentence:

>Teleka had never seen anything quite like it.

Doesn't grab your reader or pop, or really do anything. You could replace it with something similar to:

>Teleka knew she had 30 minutes to get off the ship.


>Teleka knew one of her crew had to be a spy.


>Teleka looked down at the test strip she was holding white-knuckled. She was pregnant.

Granted, all of these openings would require some extensive re-writing. But my point is it starts the story by pulling the rug out. So things are already dynamic and in motion from the start.

You need to hook your reader's interest. Never take that interest for granted; it's a fickle resource. If you don't hook your reader, you risk them putting your book back on the shelf.




The dialogue in general doesn't feel realistic or genuine. I think there are a couple things that might help.

The first is that at present you are primarily using dialogue to convey verbal information. You should also be using it to convey character. Dialogue is arguably better at the latter than the former.

Readers love dialogue. Dialogue allows you to showcase the personalities of your characters. And it helps bust up the large, indigestible paragraphs of infodump.

Every dialogue is a form of competition, even among the best of friends. Your speakers are competing for limited resource of talk time, power, and often physical tangibles.

A speaker doesn't stop speaking to allow another person to talk. In a dialogue, people interrupt each other to talk. That's part of the natural patterns of speech.


And the second thing that might help is understanding the patterns of dialogue. Most people instinctively think dialogue happens like this:

A speaks.
B speaks.
A speaks.
B speaks.

But the real rhythm of dialogue is closer to this:

A speaks.
B responds. B speaks.
A responds. A speaks.
B responds.

The responses can be non-verbal, verbal, even virtual the room suddenly grew cold. The responses are just as important as what's being said.


If you've never read a book on writing dialogue, I recommend you have a look at James Scott Bell's How to Write Dazzling Dialogue. He has an easygoing style, and I've picked up a lot from his books.


Best of fortune! 🚀🐲

u/scatteredloops · 1 pointr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon
u/Contero · 1 pointr/gaming

I bought this book for that very purpose.

Even if you don't use any names directly out of it, it's a good starting point to help you realize what kind of name you want.

u/abgrund · 1 pointr/askphilosophy

I usually keep everything "in-house" in my courses, but some professors that I respect use this book in their classes: A Rulebook for Arguments.

However, this is for argumentation. I'm not sure if Anthony Weston has written any books about reading philosophy.

u/Cyberhwk · 1 pointr/AskReddit

You say "first." If you're going to be making a habit of this, investing in a good handbook is probably worth the money.

u/AstroboyA · 1 pointr/books
u/prikaz_da · 1 pointr/russian

There are textbooks and classes specifically designed for heritage speakers, which are people like you who were raised around the language but didn't receive much instruction in it. Many heritage speakers don't even learn to read or write their language, so you have an advantage there.

I haven't used it myself, but Русский для русских is very highly regarded as a textbook for heritage speakers of Russian. I studied under one of its co-authors, myself. The book has an accompanying website with audio recordings and practice exercises, too.

u/dwrightjones · 1 pointr/shutupandwrite

My First Impressions

Okay, I can’t stop thinking about your expressed desire to write for a living. From what I’ve read and heard, get ready for a shock of harsh reality. Writing is not so lucrative, and it is difficult work as well. So that said, I empathize with your heartfelt desire. Let’s see what I might add.

Also, I don’t want to forget to acknowledge the passion and depth portrayed in a story unlike anything you would ever want to write. Nice work!

The Scope

With everything I say, take it for what it’s worth. I’m no expert. I only want to keep my skills sharp by helping others. Feedback on my feedback is always welcome--I want to learn also.
I don’t put much stock in the whole telling verse showing concept. Faulkner told some great literature. And besides, why must everyone write in a stock format anyway. Do what you feel is right and what fits your creative mode.

Mere Suggestions

If you want to be a writer by profession, I would suggest taking the long way home and not hitting the drive thru. I know what I’m saying is cryptic, but there is a metaphoric point behind it.

Many times we want to pull up, order, and hit the road before our food is cold in the bag. When it comes to writing, we find the drive-thru convenient and flashy, but when we get home our food is often stale and dry. Quick courses are beneficial in many respects, but I’ve found that a hard study will open new avenues of depth and precision that were once beyond our present conception.

My advice, if you want write, I mean really write and be successful in writing: step back and study. Take a grammar class or get a grammar book. Understand the components of language we know but hang around us with and unfamiliar plume of foggy understanding. Nail them down and use them.

Then, take a course in creative writing or get some books relating to the creative craft.

I’m not a salesman, but I’ve been one in the past, so beware. Here is a regimen of books I’ve found very helpful in my quest to achieve your expressed desire.

This is a great textbook that approaches English grammar from a linguistic framework. Forget about the old Latin-based grammar rules, this book will teach you the practical aspects of grammar as they relate to writing.

Next, I’ve read all of these and they provide a broad understanding. Each book brings a unique voice to the creative approach. I encourage you to take hold of them all.

Imaginative Writing: The Elements of the Craft

The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Creative Writing

The Practice of Creative Writing: A Guide for Students

Take them for what they are worth. I apologize for not addressing any specifics in the piece you posted, but I thought this the best place to start.

Humble apologies and encouragements . . . dwrightjones

u/adamelteto · 1 pointr/Journalism

Two books pop up in my mind immediately. I have read them both. The first one has just come out with a new version.

By the way, IN Germany, or FROM Germany currently in another country? Sorry if I made the wrong assumption in the links...

u/RoboHobo9000 · 1 pointr/Screenwriting

Dear Mr./Mrs./Miss Jizzmonger69,

Despite your blatant reduction of proper words and characters, I offer my 2 cents:

  • Invisible Ink by Brian McDonald
  • Story Genius by Lisa Cron

    p.s. I do not attempt to insult, but rather to assist you in fortifying your forward momentum toward knowledge. In other words, you will find that despite your willingness to learn, if you do not put in the effort of basic spelling, punctuation, sentence craft –– that many people will not take you seriously.

    Bon chance, mon ami.
u/AlisaLolita · 1 pointr/FanFiction

Okay, so I'm not home so these are the few off the top of my head that I can remember I've read and loved.

  • On Writing Well - this book was used for my Script Writing class in college - I loved it, and I still have it on my bookshelf.

  • How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy - This book by Orson Scott Card is genre themed, but I really suggest it no matter what genre you write. It's just a great source to have all around.

  • No Plot? No Problem - Somewhat humorous take on those of us who procrastinate and have lots of writers block.

  • Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction - Okay, so I haven't read this yet, but it looks amazing and I might actually just pick it up myself.

  • Book In A Month - Okay, so this isn't really in the same category, but it's incredibly hands-on, fun book that can really, really, really help with outlining. I always suggest this book to people who participate in NaNoWriMo, because it's just super helpful.

    I hope one of these can help out!
u/Hdhudjdnjdujd · 1 pointr/writing

There are two books that I recommend reading. On Writing by Stephen King and The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White. I have learned a lot from both. One of the best pieces of advice from King was; read a lot and write a lot. It seems too obvious to be helpful advice, but I started a reading regiment that matched my writing regiment. Soon I was studying books as well as reading them, and I learned a lot more about wordplay, grammar, and vocabulary.

As far as grammar is concerned, I want my writing to communicate my emotions to the reader. That's my ultimate goal. Sometimes that requires perfect grammar, sometimes that requires breaking the rules. Take The Road by Cormac McCarthy for example. He's basically thrown all grammar rules out the window for the sake of his story, and it's an excellent story.

One of my writing professors told me there are three rules to breaking rules, and they have become my favorite rules of all. They are:

  1. You have to know you're breaking a rule.
  2. Your audience has to know you're breaking a rule.
  3. Your audience has to know that you know that you're breaking a rule.

    If you can accomplish those three than it's a safe bet you haven't lost your reader. However, readers will put down a book just because of the grammar, so we must be diligent.
u/buck_fiddle · 1 pointr/KotakuInAction

This is what you are looking for. It's short, cheap, clear, and handy.

Anthony Weston, A Rulebook for Arguments

u/shogungraue1990 · 1 pointr/writing

Every comment in here is amazing advice to start, but I'd also like to add in the Gotham Writers' Workshop book. It runs you roughly $5-15 on Amazon, but offers you a good way to hone and practice your narrative skills by offering you a diverse story selection with exercises that are geared towards making you think, imagine, and create.

Link to book: Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide from New York's Acclaimed Creative Writing School

u/Basilides · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

>Linking to relevant books is much more helpful than willful ignorance.

So if I link to a bunch of books peripherally related to a topic at hand, and you refuse to read them, does that make you willfully ignorant?

>You asked the question, and if you are actually interested in hearing thoughtful responses to it, you might want to consider picking up a book about it.

His books do not begin to answer the question of the OP.

>If you've been on reddit for any amount of time you surely know that it's a terrible forum for meaningful debate.

Then, by your own admission, you are here for meaningless debate.

>The issues you raised cannot be settled by a few short comments.

I disagree.

Read the following books about debate before you respond. Otherwise, I will have to assume you are willfully ignorant.

u/dickturd9000 · 1 pointr/writing

yes actually there are some basics that are very helpful, such as what NOT to do with dialogue, or things you SHOULD do when trying to describe things... lots more. I found this book helpful but there are certainly others out there

besides those basics you need practice like with any other hobby/skill. That doesn't seem to get mentioned a lot.

u/b38497988 · 1 pointr/PurplePillDebate

You need to work on your debate/argument basics. Fallacies everywhere!

I recommend this book or this.

u/thebyblian · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Strunk and White

Or learn a foreign language. My knowledge of grammar grew exponentially after studying Classics.

u/hobsonpills · 1 pointr/politics

lol you cant formulate a logical reply so you go on the offensive with belittling remarks. That's Intellectually-dishonest debate tactic 101 which clearly subverts your effort when its recognized and lets the opposing conversationalist know you can't back up your side and that they won the argument. May I recommended some light reading on the art of debating, I think you will find it immensely helpful if you plan on continuing to post here.

u/Skyblaze719 · 1 pointr/writing

Well, writing in general with your own ideas is always the biggest plus. But if you're wanting to use a prompt book or something I suggest the 3am Epiphany or Gotham Writers Workshop: Writing Fiction

u/2ysCoBra · 1 pointr/videos

> Like I said before, it was a smartass response that you're reading too far into.

Like I said before, it was a very basic inference. You're looking way too much into what I was saying.

> Saying "a mix of both idiots and intellegent people who are idiotic" rather than "idiots" doesn't have the same ring to it.

You're reading your own use of the word into his statement. Maybe that is what he meant, but that's not what the logic of his statement said, which is why I was asking him about it.

Here are a couple texts that I think you would benefit from.

  • Numbah 1
  • Numbah 2

    The first one is really solid, but it's expensive. The second one isn't as robust, but it gets the job done, and it's significantly cheaper.

    > i'm out.

    Cheers :)
u/TheCohen · 1 pointr/EEadvice

Good advice. One of the best books on writing theses and other topics is The Lively Art of Writing. It has really clear instructions and gives good follow-up activities at the end of every chapter.

u/lordlicorice · 1 pointr/mildlyinteresting

Imagine a world before websites that do it for you. You had to buy this book and flip through it endlessly hoping that there's an example somewhere with exactly what you want.

u/vahavta · 1 pointr/writing

You might be interested in Story Genius by Lisa Cron, which uses the evolutionary purpose of story to talk about how to write a novel. It's one of the only writing help books I would advocate.

u/xjayroox · 1 pointr/writing

Not quite the background you're looking for, but 28 year old sales engineer here and just started writing fiction recently myself. My advice would be to just start brainstorming some ideas, maybe look at some writing prompts for inspiration, and start to write whatever happens to pop into your mind. The first couple of stories are going to be pretty horrible, but you're not really looking for quality at this point, just simply being able to complete something with a somewhat coherent storyline. I'd recommend taking a stab at a short story, something along the lines of 3-5k words.

Also, I recently had someone here recommend the following as an introduction to writing:

Haven't had the free time to really get into it too much yet, but from what I can tell it's generally regarded as a pretty good starting point. Plus, at 3 bucks for the kindle version, it's not exactly a huge loss if you download it and never even get through it.

Best of luck with your first story!

u/MacintoshEddie · 1 pointr/Filmmakers
u/mrperki · 1 pointr/shutupandwrite

Overall, I'm quite impressed with this.

I agree that you could use a bit of help with conveying emotion, but so could most writers, to be perfectly honest (I include myself in that camp). A good tip is to evoke emotion by describing the outward (physical) and inward (mental) expressions of it. For example, instead of saying "Robert seemed more relaxed and focused than before," describe what makes Robert seem more relaxed and focused: "Robert's restless fidgeting had subsided, and he was leaning back in his chair."

Everyone expresses emotions differently, so it's good to decide ahead of time how each character expresses anxiety, happiness, anger, or whatever feelings you expect them to have over the course of your story.

I quite like The Emotion Thesaurus as a reference for this type of thing, but be careful not to rely on another writer's ideas of expression too heavily. As long as you can use a reference like this as a starting point, rather than a crutch, you're in good shape.

My other general comment: don't be afraid of adding a bit more colourful description. You're somewhat like me, in that dialogue is clearly your strength, but you're a bit intimidated by descriptive text. You don't have to describe every feature in the room, or every single movement a character makes. The trick is to add a little bit here and there to break up the dialogue; right now I feel a bit like I'm reading a courtroom transcript instead of a work of creative fiction. The good news is that you're already good at bits of description (case in point: the line about the steam and smell of the tea is perfect). You just need to employ it a teeny bit more.

u/VelocitySteve · 0 pointsr/gonewild

This might help

But it probably won't.

u/cs_tiger · 0 pointsr/europe
u/scalyblue · 0 pointsr/scifiwriting

As long as you put your desire and hope in the act of writing itself, as opposed to the desire of wanting to have written something, you will do well.

I would suggest a few pieces of light reading, a few pieces of heavy reading, and some listening for you too.

Light reading:

Stephen King's "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft" This book is not meant as a book of lessons so much as the formula that assembled one writer. It's short, it's heartfelt, and it has some wisdom in it.

The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White. - This is a short book, it gives a good starter set of rules that we accept for communicating with one another in the English language.

Heavy Reading:

Hero with a Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell. - This is a short book but it is very thick with information and esoteric names from all cultures. Why is that? Because it deals with, very succinctly, the fundamental core of nearly all human storytelling, Campbell's "Monomyth" premise can inform you all the way from the Epic of Gilgamesh to Star Wars a New Hope

Writing Excuses This is a Podcast about writing by Brandon Sanderson, of "Mistborn," "Way of Kings," and "Wheel of Time" fame, Howard Taylor, the writer and artist of Schlock Mercenary, a webcomic that hasn't missed a day for a long while, Mary Robinette Kowol, a Puppeteer and Author of "Shades of Milk and Honey" and Dan Wells, from the "I am not a Serial Killer" series It has been going on for more than a decade, and nearly every episode is a wonderful bit of knowledge.

u/goliath_franco · 0 pointsr/TrueAtheism

>There are two main problems with this point, the first is simply that saying "well what about this particular example?" doesn't affect the reality of the other, majority examples.

A counterexample is a case that does not fit the general conclusion. Providing a counterexample is a valid way to refute a person's argument. (p. 16-17 in "A Rulebook for Arguments").

>The second point is rather more semantic, in that many wouldn't describe zen buddhism as a religion at all. Since there is no real doctrine to follow etc.

Certainly if you define religion as doctrine then Zen is not a religion. But religion is not defined by having doctrine. A religion: (1) defines the human condition, (2) defines the Ultimate/Reality/Truth; (3) says there is a way to bridge the gap between the two; and (4) provides teachings and practices to bridge the gap.

>and especially not that similar to any religion as we know it, and as affects us on a daily basis.

Regardless of your familiarity with it, it's a religion, and if it doesn't fit your general statements about religion, you should limit those statements to religions that fit, e.g. theistic religions or faith-based religions.

u/esquilax · -2 pointsr/Fitness

That's called journalism as long as you tell the truth.

EDIT: Downvotes? What the hell, people. Maybe you don't like it in this case, but this is totally legal. Reporting on publicly available information... Educate yourselves: