I am a 100% novice writer. I came here from Stack Overflow as a programmer after stumbling across it.

My partner and I are getting married in August and long story short (no pun intended) she is a huge book fan. She enjoys writing her own books and reads about 5 - 10 / week.

As a wedding present I am writing a book that I will pay to have professionally printed as a one off (I plan on giving it to her either the night before or on the day of our wedding).

It will essentially be the story of how we met and our children (boring to most I am sure but this is a personal project just for her) with a few embellishments and a bit of creative license here and there.

Anyway I could do with some help on story construct and perhaps some critical assessment on snippets of what I write. I'm by no means illiterate but articulation and creativity is perhaps beyond me and my simple programming mind!

Would this be an appropriate place to ask for feedback or is there a more suitable site or forum I should be looking for?

Many thanks for any help with this :)

  • Welcome to Writing, Rockhopper! Unfortunately, we don't handle critique or 'what to write' requests here, as both questions are very unlikely to help anyone else. Some of the other more knowledgeable users on this site might have suggestions for where you could get such advice though (I do not, unfortunately). P.S. You can always check an SE's help page for what is on topic, and ask in the meta if you still aren't sure. – Thomas Reinstate Monica Myron Mar 19 '18 at 18:19
  • Thank you @ThomasMyron - I'm aware there's relatively strict rules (for good reasons) on most of the exchange sites so thought it best to clarify before spamming questions out! – Rockhopper Mar 19 '18 at 18:20
  • Welcome to Writing! We have a section of the site specifically meant for questions like this, will send the question there. – Goodbye Stack Exchange Mar 19 '18 at 18:30

Welcome to Writing.SE Rockhopper!

Here is a link to an older question that you might be interested in: What are good places to post your work where it will be read by others?

The question is locked though, for the following reason (no emphasis added):

This question exists because it has historical significance, but it is not considered a good, on-topic question for this site, so please do not use it as evidence that you can ask similar questions here. This question and its answers are frozen and cannot be changed. More info: help center.

Looking at the help center - What topics can I ask about here? you can see that Proofreading requests and requests to critique your work are off-topic here. So we can't directly help you by providing feedback on what you can write or how to rewrite something so that it sounds better. That is just too subjective for the site, but the linked question should give you some ideas for forums where you might be able to find that sort of help.

What we can help with on the other hand is the process. If you have questions about what to keep in mind when getting your book printed or self-binding it for example, or if you want to know something about general guidelines for dividing your book into chapters, what to do about the "blurb", how to keep your motivation high, what or you can use, ...

All in all, if you have a general question about writing that you think would apply to more than just your one book, then by all means: ask it here. We would love to help you with your project - and we would love to use this chance to help others with similar questions. But questions about writing a critique for single chapters or something like that from your book would be too specific and unlikely to help other future readers, which makes it off-topic on this site. There is a line there that's sometimes really fine, so I'd recommend making it clear how your questions that you want to post on this site are relevant to a bigger audience than only you.

We can't discuss your specifics, but we can for example answer what "normal guidelines" there are for constructing a story with such a premise, what typical pitfalls there are, what topics to keep in mind - and not write into the book that your loved ones will read, ...

I am sure there are other people who would love to read something about such a project and it shouldn't be too uncommon among writers to have little writing projects for their loved ones, which means the experience should be here already.

  • Thank you so much for the suggestions and help. I also appreciate you taking the time to write such a detailed answer :) I will definitely stay here for help on process and the more subjective stuff I will look at all the links suggested. – Rockhopper Mar 19 '18 at 20:28
  • @Rockhopper Glad that I could be of help. I am looking forward to your questions and wish you the best of luck with your project. A little tip: it's recommended to wait at least 24 hours before accepting an answer. Some people may be discouraged from interacting with a question if they think you have already found your answer (they see the green on the frontpage). More people interacting with your question and the answers can mean more discussions and thereby higher quality answers or simply more answers. You can accept and unaccept as often as you like. Just a tip for the future. – Secespitus Mar 19 '18 at 20:32
  • Also, our Writing Chat room doesn't tend to be super-active, but it does get bursts of activity so I suspect there are people who watch the transcript and visit if there's a conversation to join. Chat requires 20 reputation, but one or two questions should get you there @Rockhopper. – Monica Cellio Mar 20 '18 at 3:28

Although this question as posed is off-topic for Writing, there is a very relevant on-topic question you could ask instead, along the lines of "How do you write personal autobiography as narrative nonfiction?"

That's a good, general interest question that doesn't include any of the personal details of your situation, but still gets to the heart of what you need to know, which is how to transform real events into an entertaining, compelling narrative structure.

  • I suspect that question would be closed as too broad. – user16226 Mar 19 '18 at 19:31
  • I agree with @MarkBaker that the specific example given likely should be closed as too broad. However, I also very much suspect that it was meant only as a seed or starting point that needs more clarification from the OP about their specific problem. If that was your intent, Chris, then you might want to clarify that. – user Mar 20 '18 at 19:05

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