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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
:iconwordcount:WordCount 389 98
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
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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

The Garden
She lifted the red tomato in her hands, feeling the sun’s warmth on its tender skin. Carefully, she plucked the fruit from the vine and placed it into her basket. She poked among the vines, searching for more ripened tomatoes. Nothing was more satisfying than picking the fruits from the plant, cradling them in her palms like a baby’s head, plump and full.
Ingrid missed the days of children, of present husbands, of blooming docility. The vines, the flowers, and their blossoming harvest were hers now. She imagined an intricate universe confined between rows of wire fencing, planets among the insects, galaxies made of soil. The fruits and vegetables were her young. At night, Ingrid could almost hear their cries for attention, the yelps of pain when an ugly caterpillar chewed on their delicate leaves.
Ingrid thought of him as she cut a cucumber free from its stem, the watery juice oozing from the wound. Him - he was gone and forgotten, like a lost treasure in back o
:iconsuburbiantrash:SuburbianTrash 10 7
Sick People are Bossy
You’ve run out of excuses to leave her.
The need for coffee runs to the downstairs cafe, at first plentiful as the situation was urgent, have trickled to a halt. Everyone is caffeinated; everyone has a styrofoam cup to duck their faces into, hiding sad eyes and worry lined lips behind store brand logos and steam. If they cry out it’s because the liquid is too scalding, that’s all.
You already know where the bathroom is. You know where every bathroom is on every floor, down every hall. You’ve explored this building, and the parking garage attached to it, from basement to ceiling. You don’t know them better than the back of your hands because you’ve never paid much mind to the backs of your hands at all, but you can’t claim to get lost anymore.
The gift shop’s already taken your next two paychecks.  
No one is hungry. No one needs someone to walk the halls with them, talking. No one needs someone to walk the halls with them, not talking.
:iconsimplycw:simplyCW 11 10
Mature content
Letter To Santa, From Johnny :icondeztornmind:deZtornmind 466 219
The Thing at the Bottom
The Thing At The Bottom of The Stairs
Or, A Discourse On The Monstrosity of Monsters

Welcome! Nice to meet you, dear. Come in, come in, don't just stand there hovering. Have a seat, make yourself comfortable, there's plenty of room. Would you care for something to drink? No? Settled then? Good. I suppose I should just get started with the tale, then, shouldn't I?
I'll begin it in my favorite way, with the words that begin all fairy tales, though this is not exactly what you would consider to be a tale of the fairies. If you'd rather hear something about them, then perhaps I'll send you to a friend of mine, who would certainly be better able to tell you about those. This is, rather, a tale of monsters, you see. Still here? Good. Then I'll begin.
Once upon a time, when I was a younger girl, my family and I lived in an old house in the city, which, as I came to find, was quite the haunted old mansion. My parents would often walk through ghosts, with nary a bit of realization, other
:iconqueenalatariel:QueenAlatariel 123 80
"Then God said: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness."
- Genesis 1:26
John was exuberant during the celebration dinner.  He had worked on this project with the others for close to ten years.  And now - yes, now - they would soon see the fruits of their labor.
And not only was John excited, but the entire team showed the same angst.  Benna, the vocabulary engineer; Ruun, mechanical robotics; Kate, biological realism assessment; Wayne, processing; Hank, video capture and analysis; Julia, sound recording and analysis; Saka, emotions; and more - the group was 20 large of the best scientists, mathematicians, and engineers from around the globe.
However, the joy of a job well done - as assumed at this point - could not block out the thought in the back of John's mind that everything could go wrong - in fact, he was near sure that it would.  John was the team's expert on game theory, and he felt that with the options available and the capab
:iconlttechnical:LtTechnical 9 28
How To Draw v1.3
Part 1: What is Drawing?
This is how I've come to understand the act of drawing. It’s best to first set the semantics (the specific meaning of the words) straight, so there are no crossed purposes.
By 'drawing' I mean loosely the act of making visually representative marks on a surface.
Anyone can draw. Anyone can attempt to recreate what they see in front of them - or a scene they imagine - by making marks on a piece of paper. If you hear someone say "I can't draw", slap them for me. As long as they have a moving part to which a pencil can be taped, they can draw.
However, "attempt" is the operative word here... because that's all anyone can ever do. They can come indefinitely close to recreating what they see or imagine, but no matter what they produce, it can always be improved upon. Bear this in mind, I’ll come back to it in a moment.
Part 2: Good and Bad
This section is very subjective, so just be aware that what I'm giving you is my opinion on how t
:iconspoonbard:spoonbard 2,895 742
Great Prose Exposed: WordCount Feature #7
:holly: WordCount is looking for the Best of dA's Holiday Prose!  If you've read something on dA that you feel should be recognized, and it deals with the holidays, please feel free to post the link here!  Keep in mind that WordCount tries to be an equal-opportunity feature project; all beliefs and languages are welcome.
We appreciate your suggestions!  :heart:  Found a piece of prose that isn't holiday-related but stil think it's wonderful?  Drop the link in this thread, and we'll be sure to review it!
:typerhappy:  And now we are incredibly pleased to present our seventh prose feature.  We can hardly believe it's been seven months, and we thank you for coming along for the ride!  This month's collection includes compelling essays, inspiring imagery, a
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Letters to Santa (A Litmas Contest)
:star: Don't know who Santa Claus is?  Check this Wiki link!
Again: all beliefs welcome--religious, philosophical, political or otherwise.  This contest is open to Prose, Poetry, and Visual Poetry in any language.  You need not be a literary genius, a Christian, or a primary English speaker to enter.  This contest is open to ANYONE and EVERYONE.
It's all about having fun.
:santa: Contest Objective: Write a letter to Santa
I want you to write a letter to Santa Claus.  You don't have to believe in Santa Claus, be a Christian, or even celebrate the holidays to know that "Santa" represents something a little different to each of us (and nothing at all to some of us).  The letter doesn't have to be cheesy or strive for something deep (unless you want it to); it can be silly, tongue-in-cheek, angry, humorous, a commentary on the state of holidays in g
:icongeneratinghype:GeneratingHype 82 48
LeDragon and his son Pablo by GENZOMAN LeDragon and his son Pablo :icongenzoman:GENZOMAN 2,768 257
The End - a passing thought
"Kind sir!" quod she.
"Eh wot?" quod me.
"There's an illness in the stillness!"
"Say true?"
"'Tis true."
"Rock on."
Hand in hand we rock the land, my eight-legged girlfriend and I.
:iconkriegsaffeno9:KriegsaffeNo9 159 99
Six Words
We can fly, but we'll fall.
:iconpainedrose:PainedRose 35 39
True Love
She kissed me.
I soiled myself.
:iconsimeberg:simeberg 15 42
     The view from her apartment window made her feel lonelier. She saw the thousands of twinkling lights and the apartments of hundreds of others, and felt separated from the world. In a desperate attempt to recover her wholeness, she closed the blinds and played some Bach.
     The world is always simpler with music.
     Born in some other time and raised among the flowers, she wasn’t made for cement cities. She wished a vine would reach her window, but she knew plants didn’t grow that tall. The colors of her pillows imitated the gardens of her youth, and made her happy and forgetful of the grey of the skies. She bought a cactus to keep her company, and planted it in a yellow pot.
     The colors of our childhood dictate the colors of our soul.
     The yellow painted cat smiled at her with clever eyes. It couldn’t hu
:iconwindwater:windwater 12 13
Of beauty
“Change is what makes life beautiful,” informed the Teacher. “In a simple way, it is the being that harnesses Life from action and thought. If things were to always go on as expected, we would not think about changes because they’d be so usual. Indeed, they would not be regarded as such, they’d be cycles—unvarying cycles that would bore time in such a way so as to inspire its suicide. Would thought have emerged had there not been such a thing to be pondered? If Man had been born with the knowledge of fire and had not discovered it, would there have been excitement and awe and exploration?”
“But what of the cycles that do exist?” asked the Student.
“Those still possess variances. They don’t occur always at the same time, nor are they confined to rigorousness. They are free and ambiguous many times. They are attune with life and its changes and are bound to its particularities. As are we all.”
“But is this all there is to s
:iconpoeta-violinista:poeta-violinista 3 11



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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