I've been writing fiction for as long as I can remember, and relatively recently I've begun taking it seriously, by which I mean that I've begun to really invest myself in the process. At the moment I'm just submitting short stories to ezines to build up something of a résumé for myself. I'm an avid reader and amongst the books that I've read there are many about how to actually be a good writer. Despite that, and despite having the knowledge of the internet at my disposal, there are some questions I still don't know the answer to as far as the written word goes.
Now I know there are infinitely more appropriate forums to discuss this subject on, but I'm not one who likes to invest a lot of time in forums (as you can tell from my post-count even here), and besides that, it's obvious that a lot of people here are interested in literature generally. I also know I'm not the only one who writes fiction here. With that said, I'm just going to throw some questions out there and see what response I get. Some might seem incredibly obvious and stupid to a lot of you, and I hope so, because then you should be able to explain them to me
1: What's the difference between using "which" and "that"? For example, "There were books which told of ancient mysteries"; "There were books that told of ancient mysteries". I actually did find an explanation of this once, but didn't understand it.
2: What's the difference between using em dashes and commas within a sentence? I've found that the older the book, the more likely you are to see an em dash used. Howard uses them frequently for example. Some authors don't seem to use them at all.
I've got many more questions, but think I'll leave it there for now. I think the most frustrating thing for me as an aspiring writer, is that there doesn't seem to be any hard and fast rules. You could read two books on how to be a better writer (whether it's in terms of planning, structure or just writing), and get entirely contradictory advice. I mean even writing this post asking you these questions is vaguely embarassing because part of me feels that after all I've written I should know the answers by now. But I don't, and part of the reason is that, again, I've read so many different opinions on such matters.
DavidMcMurdoMember Since 15 Feb 2011
Offline Last Active Sep 09 2011 08:32 AM
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