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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 378 156
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 110 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 26 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
:iconwordcount:WordCount 79 81

Random Favourites

Open Mic Night at the Jazz Bar
There is a reverent hush down in The Jazz Bar for a quiet rendition of “we are nowhere, and it’s now.” It seems, for three minutes, that this could almost be true, until the house lights come up and the compere returns and all is forgotten in a swig of red wine.
Then He climbs onto the stage, with a borrowed guitar. She twists in her seat and says they used to be together, until the previous Thursday, but the rest is lost in the cocktail of voices, laughter and clink of ice on glass.   
With little introduction, his song begins. “An original,” he says, “an angry one to start with.” Thick with accusation, his deep sandpaper voice tells a recent lover to go on and run away, and with every chorus she twists a rope of hair tighter and tighter. Her eyes at first twitch across the room but then stare, resolute, as he reaches his crescendo; singing of how he won’t miss her Sunday nights, her politics, her clever words or her party dress,
:iconcynicalromantic:CynicalRomantic 8 22
Memoirs of John Keats
The Memoirs of John “Stiffpocket” Keats
11th July
Yo diary,
The name is Keats. You call me by no other name. Tis’ the name of my dad, my dad’s dad and all the other dads down the line, y’know? Tis’ that one name that I go by. You call me Keats or I sock you. Right there. In the kisser. Hah.
‘Kay. Now let’s get down to business. I hang around at the White Daisy pub with my mates. We call ourselves the Big Six. We’re the maddest badasses in downtown London.
You gotta meet Percy man. Percy Shelley. He’s the man! He’s a bit of an idealist he says. Bullshit. He’s just Shelley to us. Ditched his wife because his ass was lonely he says. Can’t get no rear action from a lady. Barges into the pub he does. Joins the Big One, that’d be me, and we become the Big Two. Damn right.
Then came that Coleridge fellow. Smoked up a joint, got us a discount on the drinks after smacking up the bartender. He’s alright. Real fine fella.
:icontimeon:Timeon 6 20
Mature content
Drunk Night :iconkatie-kaboom:Katie-Kaboom 2 7
Dracula's Picnic
Vlad hadn’t had a date since the French Revolution. When he ran into Gilda at the supermarket last week, he was so excited that he tripped into the garlic stand. She carried him back to the car and told the driver to get him to the hospital (which unfortunately utilized strong UV in its lighting system.) Before she waved goodbye she slipped something into his pocket. While recovering from his severe burns in a private ward in the basement he found it while looking for his Medicare card. The ornate Celtic cross on the front of the matchbook seared his eyes and he screamed in pain. Luckily, Olgat, his manservant, was there to apply a cool compress and read the numbers off to him. When his blisters were down a bit he gave her a call.
Gilda wanted to go to a nice picnic in the park. He convinced her that it would be much more romantic in the night, with the park’s beautiful lighting and the cool night air. Gilda was very excited about making food for someone and she assured him s
:iconbobbityjones:BobbityJones 8 16
The Story of Jorge
Once upon a time, as all fairy tales should start, there lived a pill bug named Jorge. Jorge was a most clever pill bug and felt that being a mere pill bug with such an intellect as his was downright disgraceful.
He knew of a witch that lived in the darkest part of the forest. He would do everything he could to convince her to turn him into the most evolved of beings so that he could live to his fullest potential! He ran for days and days as quickly as his six legs could carry him, rarely stopping for food or drink and only curling into an armored ball when absolutely necessary.
After a month of traveling into the darkest recesses of the forest, through swamps, atop quicksand in which other creatures would surely perish, through the decaying body of an opossum, he finally reached the witch's house.
The only source of light was a single candle burning in the window. Jorge slowly went inside through the crack under the door and looked about himself in awe and wonder.
What amazing things!
:iconanathemadevice:anathemadevice 11 19
The French officer's name was Commandant Benoit DuMoyen, and he was forced to speak within the confines of a language which, while it was similar to his native tongue, nearly caused him to vomit when he barked his challenge.
"Where is the one called Astley?!" He snarled in English and tugged at the reins in his shabbily gloved hands so that his mare was forced into a half-rear as she turned. Commandant DuMoyen was a thin-faced man, clean shaven with two substantial touches of grey at either temple.
The tiny Spanish village's name, if it even had one, was unimportant. What was important was that a score of British infantrymen were holed up in a church, along with a mob of partisans. DuMoyen was reluctant to desecrate the church in his efforts to kill the enemy. He had grown up in a very small village in the south of France, though his men did not know it, and he'd been raised a good catholic by his mother. So he hoped the Englishman he was seeking would come to him.
"Do the Briti
:iconwbrooks:wbrooks 5 5
Good Morning
Good Morning
By: Ann Jankowski
A man and a woman meet outside of an elevator. The woman looks frazzled and is carrying a cup of coffee and a briefcase. The man seems to have pep in his step and is whistling a peppy tune. When they meet there is instant tension.
(Smiles at woman. Begins to open his mouth to speak)
(Very coldly and un-welcomly)
What are you doing here?
(Sarcastically and jokingly)
What? No, "Good Morning Tony?"
(Gives him a blank, empty, cold stare)
You look good this morning…(no response)…Hey- you can still talk to me you know. We aren't di-
(With same stare- cutting him off)
Hem- Hem
(Turns away)
Fine then…
The elevator doors open and they both step in.
(In a very cold tone)
What are you doing in the North Tower anyway? Your tower not good enough for you?
(Pauses, taken back. Then quickly spits out-)
I have a meeting on the 80th floor or something.
(Overcome by sarcasm)
OH! Well, I'm on my way up to the top
:iconangelovmusic:Angelovmusic 3 8
The Voicemail of God
The Voicemail of God
Ever since I can remember, I have been one of those strange people who pick up pennies. I find them everywhere, on sidewalks, in stadiums, on the floors of grocery stores, in parking lots… you get the idea. And it is a rare occasion indeed if I fail to pick them up. Most people, when faced with a copper portrait of Lincoln down by their feet, even if they dropped it themselves, will simply ignore it. After all, you cannot buy anything with one cent; why even bother bending over? I, on the other hand, like to think I am a little more practical than most. When I see one of those poor, unloved little presidents looking up at me, I have to admit that I get a little excited. Well, maybe excited is a bit strong, but you get my point. You see, when I see abandoned pennies, I see free money just waiting to be claimed. The only work required to earn it is bending over, and a simple motion of the thumb and forefinger. Yes, one penny is fairly useless, but I know that by
:iconlady-xythis:Lady-Xythis 245 202
Time bum
Time is screwed.
Let me tell you a bit about time. It's not exactly real, and we've fucked it more than Mother Earth. Time used to be a fertile plain that only God and the Warpbeasts understood, but then some [translation unavailable] back in the late 21st century found out how to warp time forward.
This was a very bad idea, but people decided to travel to the future en masse. Unable to travel back, the future became the next frontier, and suddenly people from all time periods were mashed together, and the future of humanity became the now of temporal tourism.
I'm sitting on a space outpost, watching some nebula of some star that was important to colonists in the post singularity colony in Alpha Centauri. The singularity came and went, like a hideous technological orgasm, and then came the confused age. They want to call it a dark age, but it's not that- instead, it's became a cluster-[translation unavailable] of technology that contradicted itself, and then physics started breaking.
:icongermboy:germboy 8 8
Great Prose Exposed: WordCount Feature #8
  After a brief leave of absence in January, WordCount is back in action for February and we're happy to present our eighth prose feature. This is our first feature of the new year, and while we may have gone quiet publicly, behind the scenes our staff has been working just as diligently to pull another fine collection of pieces together. And as always, you'll find it jam-packed with some of the finest examples of prose on deviantArt. We hope you enjoy it!
:resume: 100 words or less
:bulletblue: Latest Entry by lorry
Humor: It's the end for Eleanor—or is it?
:bulletblue: Three Sentence Story by: someorangegirl
General Fiction: This wonderful piece manages to capture autism from two different perspectives in three sentences.
:resume: 101-300 words
:iconwordcount:WordCount 33 18
Daily Deviations: Prose 2007
We often hear-tell that there isn't enough exposure for literature on deviantART.  While we tend to agree, 2007 saw a sharp rise in the number of prose texts featured as Daily Deviations--texts that some people, somehow, still seemed to miss!  In celebration of a year in prose, and as one final nod to these fine pieces, please join us in congratulating 2007's Daily Deviations (separated by word count):
:resume: 100 Words or Less
:bulletred: He stood there, stunned... by Iscariot-Priest
:bulletred: Six Words by Itti
:bulletpurple: You've been on my mind... by Iscariot-Priest
:bulletgreen: Geisha by vix0r
:resume: 101-300 Words
:iconwordcount:WordCount 59 16
The tea had grown stale and he stared into its cracked surface as he raised the mug to his lips, the dying warmth soothing his numb mouth.
Morning rudely poked its fiery fingertips into the room, rooting out those creatures of the night that needed illuminating and finding his figure as he squinted into the sun, yawning with the weariness of waking from an excellent night's sleep.
But the light did not find her and her fan of dark hair on the pillow. She awoke and in those eyes he saw clearly what the glorious sun could not achieve. Dawn.
:iconfrankieofthehills:frankieofthehills 9 12
The Parable of the Writer
Three writers came to the table, manuscripts in hand.
One writer said,
"I wrote this piece to be edited.  There is plenty to be cut and moved around."
Another writer said,
"I wrote this piece to be published.  Between these pages you'll find everything people want to see."
The last writer said,
"I wrote this to be read."
Then he set his manuscript down, and walked away.
:iconbirdkiller:Birdkiller 112 125
   Hoy, a las 12, tocaran las campanadas del recuerdo
   de un gran reloj que arrastra años marchitos y se atraganta con el polvo
   que yace abandonado y muerto sobre unas agujas que pocas veces sollozan.
   Los minutos, entonces, agacharan la cabeza para derramar lagrimas sin motivo
   e intentaran olvidar la desesperacion de la arena encerrada entre cristales
   que grita y llora por salir de entre las garras del cruel tiempo,
   que no tiene sangre, sino alcohol en vena, y no siente ni padece.
   Aquel que nunca muere, y su eternidad asusta hasta a los cuervos negros,
   los cuales no temen ni a la muerte.
   Tintinearan los segundos como gotas de agua de color gris
   chorreando por las mejillas de unas gargolas dormidas
   que jamas despertaran, atrapadas en una catedral gotica
:iconlonelyta:Lonelyta 10 35



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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