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So You Wanna Be a Writer?
Many writers profess their desire to be novelists or poets, and sometimes even journalists, but very few--indeed, even those sitting with Creative Writing degrees, know what other options are out there for someone gifted with words.  Your old Alma Mater wasn't lying when they said you could do "anything" with an English Literature degree, but they may have been leaving out much of the story.
For writers, especially those trying to break into the publishing business, the world is a daunting (and often depressing) place.  Securing a literary agent is almost necessary in today's oversaturated market and, while many publishers are still looking for the 'next big thing' or a new revival of the ever-dying 'literary fiction', just as many are happy to continuing publishing texts that make money.  Do not lose hope, however!  Publishing the Great American Novel is not the only way to call yourself a writer, and sometimes you can slip in through the back d
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Punctuating Dialogue: A Guide
Standard Punctuation: Dialogue
Sometimes we read dialogue so often, punctuated in so many different ways, that we either forget what we've learned (if that was anything memorable to begin with) or we rely on instinct to guide us.  A common example of this can be seen in the opening dialogue of darksouldream's piece, Bobby:
‘No,’ replied Cindy `I think his sister Becky is staying with her, but she keeps muttering about parents out living children. The doctors been keeping her pretty sedated.’
Most Americans will cringe at this.  Why?  Well, double quotation marks are the more acceptable usage (the "traditional convention") in American Standard English.  However, in British Standard English, both the double quotation mark and single quotation mark are used.  What's the rule?  Styl
:iconwordcount:WordCount 377 156
Write Better: Read More
We didn't believe it, either, but you really can learn a lot from reading a book!  If you've ever wanted some worthwhile advice from someone other than your high school English teacher, this is the place to look.  The authors below are experts in their fields, well-respected and admired by accomplished writers from all over the world, and we're bringing you a list of their most prized and collectively-effective books.  (Tried-and-tested by our worthy administrators, no less!)
So what're you waiting for?  Learn how to make every word count!
Reading Resource List for the Aspiring Writer
General Prose:
Writing Reminders: Tools, Tips, and Techniques  (Jim Burke)
Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer  (Roy Peter Clark)
Writing without Teachers  (Peter Elbow)
Writing With Power: Techniques for Mastering the Writing Process  (Peter Elbow)
On Writing
:iconwordcount:WordCount 108 74
Romantic and Erotic Miss-Cats
Understanding dA's Prose Categories: Romantic & Erotic Fiction
Keep in mind, when submitting literature, that the category really does make a difference.  Properly-categorized literature can result in better readers who are more inclined to like what you're offering because you're giving them exactly what they are looking for.  Consequently, this also helps lessen the number of derogatory comments you might get based on someone's mistaken expectation of your work, style, or subject matter.  The experience for a reader who runs into a miss-categorized text is similar to someone walking into the "Science Fiction and Fantasy" section of a book store and being confronted with tawdry romance novels; it's not a pleasant one.
Speaking of tawdry romance novels, this week WordCount is exploring the Romantic and Erotic Fiction galleries on dA.  Below you'll find the WordCount take on deviantART's official category descriptions along with what
:iconwordcount:WordCount 27 28
Wrath of the Grammar Nazi
In favor of avoiding parallel structure debates (misplaced modifiers, ahh!) and a general crusade against passive voice, WordCount is offering a list of common "pet peeves" to satisfy the punctuation junkie in all of you.
Please understand that this list is by no means exhaustive, nor is it original, but it warrants saying from time to time.  Nothing in here is meant to insult you, all rules can be broken, and there are always exceptions.  One should also note that rules about comma usage and "the dash" differ from place to place and country to country, but this list falls back on Oxford's guide to style (because we all need a place to start).
1. Apostrophes are not there to make words look pretty. They do have an actual purpose (namely to indicate contractions or possession);
2. Semicolons connect two related thoughts while simultaneously separating two complete thoughts (or objects in a list);
3. "A lot" and "all right" are not words. They are
:iconwordcount:WordCount 158 123
Giving Prose Visual Appeal
Anyone who's spent any time reading text on a computer screen can tell you that things such as font, spacing, formatting, and size all play a role in how well a text is received.  Often times people make comments that disregard the importance of formatting a text.  What these people fail to realize is that many people find it difficult to read certain things, not because they're lazy, old, or uncool, but because they have vision problems that prevent them from digesting entire blocks of text with no clear paragraph breaks or focusing on more than a line or two of bold/italic writing.  In fact, even people with 20/20 vision have a difficult time maintaining focus if text is improperly formatted.  That's why we have proper formatting guidelines to begin with!  With that in mind, WordCount is offering this quick guide to making your prose more appealing to the general public.
Quick Reference List
1.  Do not use subs
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Random Favourites

DarkNight Audition Monologue
Princess: Go on, have a bite! Then you could stay here with me forever. Wouldn’t that be grand?  You could leave behind the whole world. Come on. It doesn’t taste bad at all. It’s … sweet. (pause) Why? Why not? You don’t care enough to stay, no one ever does! (turns away) That’s okay. Go on, leave. Leave! These sores will heal themselves, because I hate you too! (pause) F**k. I’m going to make falling in love illegal. No girl should have to suffer like this. I’ll be their patron saint of self-injury, but I’d drown myself before I let anyone feel this way.  (pause) Don’t look at me. Don’t speak. Just…leave.
:iconivyautumn:ivyautumn 3 26
   You're riding the bus hun', what else would you be doing on a Sunday afternoon?  Of course it's just a bus, and you're just a user, this base-blue seat is yours for the time.  See that man up there hun'?  That's the bus driver; he just drives, doesn't he?
   When are we stopping hun'?  What about the bus stop, no cover you say?  Nobody there either?  Does this bus' driver, that man up there, know which stop to let us off at?  Does he know anything but driving, hun'?  Should I stop asking questions now hun'?
   Baby, I know you're scared to shakes; but he's just a man, your father, not a driver.  He doesn't drive like this bus' driver now, does he?  I doubt anyone drives like our driver here, today, all over North Delta as if he was born in this bus.  Maybe he was actually born on one of these striated black floors, "Move aside, I'
:iconpiratesecho:piratesecho 3 20
Mister Monster.
Mister Monster-- You seem to have taken refuge in my closet, and please understand, you're awfully frightening all basked in the shadows of last year's clothes. I'm tucked in real good right now, my teddy snuggled up nicely against my cheek. He has a soft plush coat, and black marble eyes--lifeless eyes, but </i>gosh</i>, infinitely preferable to the eyes I see now, your eyes, glowing-like out of my closet depths. Mister, you're not supposed to be here, don't you see? My mommy says you don't exist-- yet here we are, both of us, you lurking on the outskirts of my room and my tired eyes all wide open and my heart throbbing so hard like it's going to come right out of my chest.
I can hear you breathing now, throaty and rasping, about as delicate as my daddy's smoker's cough. I can't see anything but the faintest silhouette, and that's all I've ever seen. You don't want me to see you, do you Mister? You want me to lay rigid here on my bed, feeling scared, letting my imagination manifest it
:iconarchaeismus:Archaeismus 8 7
This Is My Body
This is my body.
It has housed me since I left the comfort of my mother's womb, my skin has protected me as her body protected me while I developed. It has grown with me, alerted me to my sickness, rewarded my good health. It has carried me through the most painful of sensations and the most blissful of pleasures. With every movement I make my body works for me, with me. This body is perfectly created for its purpose; the legs and feet are stronger with every step I take forward, the arms grow to carry more every day with all extra loads impacted on them. My body renews itself when it is injured, the skin and bones healing themselves in an amazing way that no machine ever will.
My body is shaped like nobody else's body; we are all different and no-one in the world has a body exactly like mine. My body has curves and dips and dimples, my stomach, thighs and buttocks are large and round and soft, my hands slightly worn, my skin scarred by the experiences of my life. My body is the
:iconquentinwrites:quentinwrites 20 18
shooting the muse
We call it shooting the muse, fixing a genny, or popping a gen. There are other names – dooring, rolling, but I think the first captures it best. Shooting the muse. Because that’s what you’re doing. You hold the bottle upside down – let’s watch Johnny for a second in my mind’s eye, slender fingers shaking against the lamplight – like so, and pull the needle back. (Little Greek goddess, your hair spills around chemical curves!) Now, get a rubber band or a piece of cloth, tie up your arm – or your leg, any vein will do, really. Some people, real respected artists, ya know, they try to hide it, shoot it in the webbing between their fingers or toes, like the heroine of some other stories…
So. You wait a minute. You feel her shimmering around in there, getting her bearings. And then a rush through your system, playing your mind like a harp, but at the same time it’s you playing, you’ve got a solid grip, you’ve never felt more or le
:icon00spaceoddity00:00SpaceOddity00 13 24
illuminaughty text
i shut down for a bit. tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, viral pandemics and wardances.
i felt my self obsessed art as therapy was a cheap paperback novel. more boo fucking hoo in a world that was burning, i was pissing in the wind.
tomorrows bright star burns a hole through my shades. i sit in the dark and read. in one eye and out the other.
it is the mimicing of a process i see humans do that seems to relax them. i am bored. i hate the written word. i hate art. i hate culture. i am laughing.
broad untrue generalizations make me happy. somewhere in here i am dancing.
as what was russia decays into anarchy we are only a few dreams from a nuclear mistake. chips wear out. no one fixes them. hello? are you receiving?
is anyone out there really? i turn the page.
What do we do with the byproducts of nuclear reactions and the chemistry of nuclear materials? Every chemical and nuclear process, at a macroscopic level, yields both the desired product: fissibile uranium, plutonium, electricity,
:iconiamabee:iamabee 4 11
Helen and the Hours of Death
Murder would forever blacken the conscience of Helen Lyle.
The murder of a stranger whom she killed without meeting.
The murder of a person who did not legally exist and who would not be missed. A killing that left no body, no stain, no trace of violence, and a victim whose life she had not simply taken, but taken over.
It was five thirty on a Friday afternoon when the crime was set in motion. The wall clock did not agree, stubbornly proclaiming the time to be eight fifty. Its hands did not move, except for the second hand, which twitched like a beetle on its back. Helen did not consult the wall clock herself. It was five thirty by her computer clock, so she straightened her papers and locked them in her desk drawer. Then she logged out of the system, and involved herself in her coat.
It was knee-length, fake fur. In it, she looked like a lean Russian leopard - dune sand, blushed with marmalade and spots of kohl. Her handbag too, she donned, passing it over her head and onto her left s
:iconjack-cade:jack-cade 5 12
Kovah Setters, Sophomore, Homeroom
Most people say that homeroom is useless. I find it relaxing, though. It’s an unproductive period, but it’s a good place to think. There isn’t anything we need to do in homeroom; just sit there and wait for the bell to ring. I guess I take comfort in the moments with no obligations, the moments people mistake for “wastes of time”. Today’s homeroom is quiet as usual. People are always sleepy when they get here. One kid’s even got his head down on his desk. I look at my own desk. The words, Life sucks, are written in blue ink. Why? If it was so important to point out, I don’t see why the person couldn’t be more specific. I take out an eraser and miraculously the words disappear beneath the pink shreds. You’re not supposed to write on the desks, but I pick up my pen and write on it anyways. If you’re going to write on it, might as well be something important.
:iconrockerlane1110:RockerLane1110 41 59
Great Prose Exposed: WordCount Feature #11
:relax: Summertime is finally here! If you need a break from those last few assignments--or better yet, if you're already done!--then find a nice cool spot and settle in for some leisure reading. Not only do we have a spectacular assortment of staff picks to share with you, but we at WordCount have a special surprise for this Feature #11.
In lieu of a Published Works section we are pleased to present the two First Place Winners of ThornyEnglishRose and batousaijin's Tots and Teens Contest. The winning pieces in the two prose categories, 12 and Under and Teen Fiction, both exhibit a balance of charming appeal and refreshing creativity; both are certain to impress you, readers, as much as they have the judges and staff at WordCount.
Therefore, without further ado, we bring you the winners: ElectroBaby and RockerLane1110!
:winner: Tots and Teens Contest Winners! :winner:
:iconwordcount:WordCount 38 17
Tots and Teens: Winners Announced!
At the end of February, batousaijin and ThornyEnglishRose (that's me) launched the Children's Literature Contest. Almost three months, and exactly thirty-nine entries later, we have our winners.
You have a lot of reading to do! We have a total of six winners for you (three first-place winners and three second-place), and as many honourable mentions.
Putting this article together, I notice a theme in the winning entries: growing up. So many classic heroes and heroines of children's literature find things happening to them on the brink of adulthood; their stories, as I'm sure many of you already know, are symbolic of the changes they are going through. For me, our winners demonstrate how well this tireless formula really works.
First Place Winners
In Poetry
:winner: 'Bff' by tricksyriver

This is a sweet, childish poem that becomes increasingly more than a sweet, childish poem every time you read it. I love the imagery, the evocativeness and th
:iconthornyenglishrose:ThornyEnglishRose 15 17
Mature content
I need Avocados -novel version :iconohfever:ohfever 21 50
My lion
Admittedly, I was a rotten child. I liked to spend my time throwing rocks at stray dogs. No one ever bothered to stop me until the old voice in the alley.
“Why are you throwing rocks at puppies?” It was an old man voice, deep and gravelly, so I didn’t stop.
“Because I want to, old man,” I retorted and tried to sound mean. There was no warning before I heard a yelp and felt dirt under my shoulders. I tumbled over and realized the yelp had come from me. I lay on the ground and listened to my heart beat. That old man had pushed me down, and now he would pay. “You asked for it!” I yelled and grabbed the first rock I laid hands on, then jumped up to face him.
At first I could only see stars. Then I saw the lion. He was sitting like a giant cat, and his tail twitched around behind him.
“Don’t eat me!” I yelled on instinct and dropped my rock. He licked his lips.
“Why not?” I heard the old man voice ask. Was this a trick? I looked ar
:icontricksyriver:tricksyriver 777 431
One of Her Hostages
I'm being followed. She has it in for me, and I know it. At least I know who I'm dealing with, despite the fact that I don't know how to handle her. I know exactly who she is. She's beautiful, but absolutely cruel. Though she can be amazing and fill even the most downtrodden soul with a certain breed of unexplainable happiness, she can also drive the happiest man alive to suicide. Her colorless eyes see nothing, as she was born blind. She has multiple personalities, but in no way does she have a disorder. It's simply in her nature. But no matter what she is at the given time, she's always dangerous. Her name is Love.
She's held me hostage before, though I can't say I wasn't content with it. Love even had a strange way of making me smile. I was stuck in her tight grip, but it didn't really matter. Somehow, nothing else mattered when I was with her. It was just the two of us, dancing in this prison cell. I wasn't bothered by my captivity, for I was the downtrodden soul bathing in a certa
:icondanceswithwind:Danceswithwind 16 45
It seems like every man's always been looking for heaven.
Like a kid playing hide-and-seek with someone they've never seen.
From Zoroaster to Nostradamus to Hinde… And I'm sitting here, it's two o' clock AM and I'm sitting here, watching this evangelical show on television.
I have a secret.
Delilah said she wanted at least a day with me. That my being gone at the hospital every day was leaving her lonely- and that she'd die of loneliness.
She swore it as she tugged on my sleeve the morning before, grinning and stepping back.
She says she just happened to realize that it was a rather sunny summer, and that the country side surrounding our home was simply marvelous.
Happened to realize. It's funny how she happens to do these things. But I realize I'm sick of the smell of sterile sorrow festering in my nose and in my mind, and that a day away from the hospital would be great.
I got a day off, it wasn't a big deal.
What really gets me is how these televised preachers always talk abo
:iconkerttu:Kerttu 4 7
               I was always one to take the lucky things.  I pluck four-leaved clovers from their brothers by the juicy stems, I pick pennies off the street and scrape the tips of my fingers on the sooty gravel, I wish on feathers and eyelashes and dandelions.  There are five rabbit feet strewn in corners and crannies about my house, seven outnumbering the lipstick cases in my purse, and a large green one that dangles morbidly from my rearview mirror.  There is a bamboo plant in every room of my house except for the closets, because they died when I put them there.  There is a horseshoe on my front door.
               My husband left me for his coworker.  My eldest son died of leukemia.  My computer has been destroyed by viruses on three separate occasions.  Last week, when I was making toast, the toaster caught fire and charred a section of my cabinets.
               Yesterday, my remaining daughter was in a car accident.  I shuffle with my back bent through the hospital parking lot
:iconmscellanea:MsCellanea 8 28



Where Words Count
United States

Great Prose Exposed: Feature #14

Journal Entry: Tue Sep 30, 2008, 3:15 PM


The First Ghost Story

The First Ghost Story by FyireChilde

:pumpkin: Welcome to WordCount's Feature #14! Halloween may be weeks away yet, but that doesn't mean we can't start the celebration early, especially when we have 17 new pieces to brighten up the season.

If you're new to the WordCount project and want to know what it's all about, head over to our WordCount FAQ to get all your questions answered.

While you're at it, check out our Call For Applications and see if you're interested in joining the crew! Did we mention that we're looking for Occult & Spiritual and Horror & Mystery staff members? What better time to apply?

If your thirst for prose isn't quenched by all that, we present you with our work-in-progress: the 2008 Prose Daily Deviations listing. In this journal entry we have compiled all the prose DDs from the past year, and won't stop until the year is through!

:fear: What're you so scared of? Get reading!

:star: Don't forget to :+favlove: our news article to help us increase exposure!

5,001+ words

:bulletorange: Shades of Glory by Ebony-Snow

Fantasy: In this four-part piece, follow one man's ascension from nameless prisoner to shadow warrior.

5,000 - 3,001 words

:bulletorange: Hope's Fortitude by 7eve7

Science Fiction: This tells the tale of a strong-willed woman in a world where determination is a requirement for survival.

:bulletorange: The Green Dragon: Chapter 11 by BlueShadowM

Children's Fiction: It's impressive enough that the author of Green Dragon translated this chapter to share with English-speakers. When you read this snippet of epic fantasy, you'll find yourself wishing she would translate the rest!

3,000 - 1,501 words

:bulletorange: Weightless by xonlyindreamsx

Nonfiction Biographies: Without ever saying the word, this story tackles the difficult subject of eating disorders through the heartwarming true story of the author's own experience.

:bulletorange: How to Understand Nothing by XavierMontague

Philosophical Nonfiction: A thought provoking piece that tackles the subject of murder from every philosophical standpoint imagineable.

:bulletorange: Day in the Life lefrenchninja

Fictional Perspectives: Many of us can relate to the everyday droll of this author's words. One too many days have began, happened, and ended in this manner.

1,500 - 1,001 words

:bulletorange: Creepy Bus Guy by Yukinoko

Theatre & Scripts: Sometimes a stranger knows us better than we would like. This story is about a meeting with a guy on a bus who may or may not be creepy.

:bulletorange: Cheating by Dhes-of-Yuggoth

Occult: Meet Japheth Williams: he has cheated death, and so much more--only he doesn't see it that way.

1,000 - 501 words

:bulletorange: Chicken banana theory by Durkee341

Humorous Fiction: This insane stab at philosophy attempts to explain the how we perceive ourselves and others. It may leave you unsure whether you be man, chicken or banana.

:bulletorange: Living with A.D.D. by EverRoxas

Editorial: EverRoxas gives us a brief but poignant account of life with Attention Deficit Disorder.

:bulletorange: Kiss of An Angel by Mithgariel

General Romantic Fiction: Written with imagination, tenderness, and with an interesting plot to keep the readers guessing all the way toward the end.

500 - 301 words

:bulletorange: Sleeping Beauty by ladygekko

Horror: Is it really okay to make a move on a girl while she's asleep?

:bulletorange: Confrontation by tubaterry

Sociopolitical Fiction: In the wake of a toppled government, two figures consider their futures.

300 words or less

:bulletorange: Insomnia by Verticae

Fictional Perspectives: Insomnia in a shade of red.

:bulletorange: The Chewing Turned Chattering by Senoy

General Fiction: An unusual criminal and an even more unusual victim...

:bulletorange: The Tinder and the Flame by otterski

Children's Fiction: This fablesque little story is a work in progress. It can boast the rare gift of taking an overused scenario and changing it to something fresh and new.

Published Works

:reading: gstepl (Paperback) by q365

Expressing yourself is never easy: for some, it's a downright painful task. The narrator of gstepl struggles with his love for two high school peers; as he does, his writings grow more frantic and more diverse, ranging from snippets of writing all in gray to lengthy stories featuring an absurd mafia to tales of Jewish folklore to Spanish conjugations.

Currently available at Amazon and Scribd!

:pumpkin: Meet Our Staff: CrimsonThrenody

CrimsonThrenody joined the WordCount staff in April 2008 and has been supplying wonderful Life Stories & Perspectives features ever since! And like a lot of deviants in the literature community, she is an avid writer as well as a photographer.

CrimsonThrenody's Literature

:bulletorange: Pink Bundle (464 words)

General Fiction: Is the world about to end or begin?

:bulletorange: Phantasmical Mirror (1,727 words)

Fantasy: This short piece brings words, quite literally, to life.

:bulletorange: Frosted Field of Memories (2,594 words)

Life Stories: A son prepares to bury his father by gathering together memories.

VioletsLament's Photography

Boulder Lake Mountains by VioletsLament Lake View Mountains by VioletsLament :thumb91611477:


Looking Back: Prose DDs

Couldn't catch all the prose Daily Deviations that were featured the past two months? (Well, we couldn't either. ;)) Here's a recap pulled straight from our 2008 Prose Daily Deviations journal.



October's article included features suggested by:

:iconjessamar: :iconcrimsonthrenody: :iconeverroxas:
:iconiscariot-priest: :iconladylincoln: :icononeangstychick:
:iconpunknera: :iconraheel07: :iconthornyenglishrose: :iconwordworks:


(This entry has less than 1,100 words.)

Simple & Clean NG CSS: ClaireJones | Silk Icons: famfamfam


Add a Comment:
BeccaJS Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2012   Writer
I miss this group bad
hungbytheneck Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2010
I miss WordCount. :(
Itti Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
What on earth happened to Word Count? :(
LastFriend Featured By Owner May 12, 2009   Writer
This is dead now!? Awww :\
0r4nos Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2009
This group appears to be dead. How sad...
raspil Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2009   Writer
is an update in the works?
shortstuff00123 Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2008   Writer
I would like to be on sthe staff!
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