"Creative writing" is a vague term, but generally means fiction, or writing that's not non-fiction, technical, or business writing.

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In what order should I describe a setting?

For instance I'm describing the park of an art museum in a foggy day. I'm not sure if I should start with the fog, wind, grass, threes, walking paths, buildings, stairs or something else. Is there a ...
6
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4answers
532 views

Using “he/she” instead of “it” for animals

I'm writing a short story. The main character is visited by a strange black bird during the night (first draft): I glanced around but there was no sign of the bird. I didn't spot it in any ...
6
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4answers
467 views

How much time should you devote to learning the craft?

When is enough, enough? Some writers argue that you don’t need how-to books, just practicing writing. Yet, many writers write beautifully but are incapable of producing a publishable novel, while ...
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6answers
267 views

Characters with non-standard names

My characters' names are always easy-to-read and easy-to-remember because they are common western names (like John or Oscar). However, I am writing a story that has a cultural favour. A western ...
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5answers
261 views

Am I breaking the “show don't tell” rule in the following passage?

Then, as if sensing my presence, the girl turned around. She looked young. Probably sixteen or seventeen. She had long black hair, crimson red lips, and a skin so pale it made me wonder whether ...
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10answers
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Why can't I write something longer than a few pages?

I write short stories, a lot of short-shorts. I would say the longest thing I've actually finished writing is "Lord of Snakes", which was about 19 pages typed. (And not even very good.) So I've always ...
6
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4answers
469 views

Non-cheap ways to make villains evil?

Do you have any tried and true techniques to make villains of your stories truly hated by the audience? I mean, frequently it's "eh, sure, that's bad, he's got to be stopped" but the audience would ...
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6answers
1k views

Can I use real presidents (past and present) and real companies in a fictional story?

I'm not sure if I want to use real people and companies or make up an entirely different world with different people, presidents, and companies than our real world. If I did the latter I would offer ...
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6answers
2k views

Tips for writing sentences like a native speaker

English isn't my native tongue, but I've been writing novels in English for a while. Most of the time, I can be aware of what's grammatically correct and what's not. But making sure that a sentence ...
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2answers
96 views

How to engage a child audience when my characters have no language?

Good afternoon all, I find myself in a predicament: I'm writing for 8-10 year-olds who, as I understand it, are very dependent upon dialogue to keep the story engaging. Unfortunately the protagonist ...
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3answers
419 views

How does one avoid imposing one's own voice and preferences in critiques?

When critiquing another's writing I find myself making suggestions that are clearly biased toward how I would write the work. This effect seems particularly prevent for poetry, where suggestions are ...
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3answers
134 views

Variation in paragraph length

I've learned that variation in sentence length is good. How about paragraph length? I always end up with paragraphs like this: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam ...
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4answers
259 views

Peeking through character's mask

Normally, I specialize in strong, determined, uncompromising, extroverted protagonists, "If the laws of physics are against us, too bad, they need to be changed." I'm pretty good in getting them ...
6
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2answers
304 views

Tips to identify “noise” or “clutter” in your story

I'm a fan of minimalism so I tend to write stories which are as simple as possible. And sometimes I add elements that don't have a concrete explanation. I leave that to interpretation of the reader. ...
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3answers
180 views

Tracing dependencies and emergent plotholes during edits

The fiction I write currently hit a major snag and needs a big overhaul of a major part of the story. A whole, large thread is being injected, a second conflict running in parallel with the main one ...
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7answers
164 views

How do you write boy & girl protagonists without turning them into a love story?

I've played with the idea of a multi-book fantasy story for years, where a female and male protagonists' lives intertwine with one another, the series running from 12-22 years old for them. There ...
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2answers
306 views

Pros and cons of using real brand/company names?

Examples: Mary sat in front of the computer and fired up Google. Mary sat in front of the computer and fired up the search engine. Jack started up his old car. Jack started up his ...
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1answer
140 views

Researching sensitive subjects

How do you research subjects for a novel that might be sensitive? Both cultural and jurisdictional. Example: I usually try to "research" the setting and characters for my texts from real life. When I ...
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2answers
183 views

Structuring a novel like a television or graphic novel series

I have spent a lot of time reading graphic-novels and watching television series, most of which were anime. Now that I have reached the point where I'm ready to begin writing, I feel drawn to the ...
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5answers
421 views

Is a novel less credible if the dialogues are too perfect?

I always find myself trying to make dialogues perfect. For example, the perfect advice, the perfect punch line, the perfect joke or irony. OR maybe if the characters talk continuously without ...
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8answers
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What to do with cliched metaphors?

Example from my own writing: "Please take care of yourself," she replied. "Health is the most important thing in life, remember that." "I know, Mom." I had already lost count of the number ...
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7answers
366 views

Will my readers find it hard to care/identify with a character who seems to lack human emotions?

I'm writing my first novel. One of the main characters was born without a soul. This is her description, which also reflects her personality: She had long black hair, crimson red lips, and a ...
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3answers
2k views

“Thought” Verbs: A sign of weak writing or a stylistic choice?

According to Chuck Palahniuk you should avoid "Thought" verbs as much as you can. These include: knew, thought, realized, believed, etc. However, I've seen many of them in books that I read. And I ...
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3answers
215 views

Is it really necessary to add things like “I thought, I wondered, etc,” in first-person narrative?

Example: The whole thing sounded a bit strange. How had she gotten my number? I wondered. I didn't know anyone called Maria. The whole thing sounded a bit strange. How had she gotten my ...
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6answers
373 views

How to “defy” physics on a sci-fi?

I am an amateur at worldbuilding and I am already building a sci-fi themed world with fantasy elements. In my world there will be different kinds of new elements to the periodic table and some ...
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5answers
520 views

How to make a debate/discussion between characters less dry?

I've asked questions in the past about dialogue and I've read some questions about balancing dialogue with plot, however I have discovered yet another corner case in my writing. In my story Cured, the ...
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3answers
223 views

Clear steps for developing a powerful inner conflict

This question is similar to this one. However, it is different based on what I am looking for. I know what inner conflict is, and I know why I need it. I have tons of examples, and I can usually ...
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6answers
473 views

How to improve logic/reduce plot holes?

One of my biggest weakness is logic/plot holes. And it's not only about inconsistency in my stories, but my character often have contradictory thoughts and do stuff that come up as unbelievable. I'm ...
5
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2answers
251 views

Is it better to make clear immediately in which country/continent the story is taking place?

I'm writing a short story, and nowhere in it I explicitly mention the country in which it is taking place. The only time I mention something about the country is when I refer to a historical event ...
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3answers
273 views

What's the best way to punctuate a list with an comma-containing item?

Examples: She looked tough: pieced nose, broad eyebrows, tousled hair, almost spiky. I tried picturing him: his tiny body swinging above the ground, his eyes bloodshot, almost popping ...
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5answers
272 views

When mentioning two items in a sentence, should I specify which one I'm referring to in the next one?

This is a bit complicated to explain. Here's an example: She had green eyes and extremely curly hair. It looked like a cluster of ferns in a mountain forest. OK, that was an awful metaphor, ...
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4answers
2k views

Does this opening paragraph grab your attention? (very normal setting)

This is the beginning of a short story I'm writing: Jun was standing motionless at entrance of the 7-eleven. He was staring down, searching for something in his memory as students picked their ...
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6answers
249 views

Superpowers in Writing - Cool for the sake of cool

I originally started planning/writing a short story that was more or less based on a few popular trends in YA/Sci-Fi writing (interstellar travel, superpowers, etc) just as an exercise to force myself ...
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3answers
205 views

Best way to convey an immediate change of scenery

Okay, bear with me. Think of it like this: My character is stuck in an situation whereby every time he sleeps, he wakes up at a different time (as in the past/future, not 8:00am), in a different ...
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3answers
796 views

Using pronouns properly in order to avoid confusion and repetition

Sample text without pronouns: I don't remember how it started but Monica began talking about Monica's mother—a topic Monica had always avoided before. Monica told me about how Monica's mother ...
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6answers
529 views

It is a sign of bad writing to have many scenes that are disconnected with the main plot?

So my novel look like this (I took this diagram idea from this site, but I'm not sure exactly from whom): The beginning and end focuses on the mystery that the heroine is trying to solve (main ...
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3answers
2k views

How detailed should I be when writing a character bio?

Basically, I have about 7 or 8 characters (excluding the antagonist) who each have important roles in the story. My problem is that my characters tend to develop themselves, so to speak. I have no ...
5
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3answers
278 views

story driven by event rhythm

There was a graphical representation of Star Wars, and the curves the story takes. Should a story be rhythm based like this from design phase (i.e. when making some pre-writing work)?
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2answers
213 views

Breaking the 'cooling down' rule after finishing the first draft

I've read that after finishing the first draft, you should distance yourself from the project at least a month. I just finished the first draft of my novel (10 chapters). I've been trying to not to ...
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2answers
852 views

How to concentrate when writing?

I looked through the questions and didn't see this one so hopefully it's not a duplicate. I often have ideas of stories I want to write and I work on outlines or write down elements and I know what I ...
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3answers
201 views

Formal video-based creative writing courses

Are there any online video courses for creative writing? Preferably free. I'm referring to university-type courses, which are filmed and then published online. An outstanding example is Brandon ...
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2answers
288 views

Do the characters in the following dialogue sound the same?

The following unedited dialogue is from a novel I'm writing (which is based on a short story I wrote a while ago): "I hope it's not an inappropriate question," Icaro said, after hesitating for a ...
5
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1answer
159 views

Stories based on news: are they allowed?

I just read a story on the news that made me go: Oh my, this would make a great short story. I've never written a story based on a news article before. So I'm wondering, will someone sue me? Am I ...
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1answer
501 views

Mixing dialogue and action tags

In my case, I never use dialogue and action tags in the same unit of dialogue (sorry, I just call them units because I had no idea what they are called). So I would never write something like this: ...
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2answers
184 views

Changing the way one addresses a character in a dialogue to create variation

I wrote the following dialogue: After a moment, Eri's mother appeared from the kitchen, carrying a tray with miso soup. Eri was startled by the amount of food. Her parents were definitely ...
5
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4answers
457 views

What makes a good action scene?

Action, in any storytelling medium, is the relationship between build up and pay off. While cinema may emphasize the payoff (pyrotechnics play well to theater-going crowds) it seems that the written ...
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3answers
688 views

Is it better to omit phrases like: after a moment, after a while, for a moment, etc?

I also find myself writing stuff like this: (dialogue) They remained silent for a moment. A dog barked at the distance. (dialogue) and this: His stomach started to growl after a ...
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6answers
260 views

Do I risk losing reader if I put too many religious/anti-religious views?

I've been pondering this for a while. Now, I'm not so worried about losing readers than affecting the quality of my writing. Preaching too much instead of telling the actual story. Here's an example: ...
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3answers
362 views

Deciding whether to use a dialogue tag or an action tag in a dialogue

Example: "I'm not saying you don't know what you are talking about," he said, then looked at her and shrugged his shoulders. "But I don't know what you are talking about." "I'm not saying ...
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5answers
394 views

Character development in a story?

I am working on a book for fun and have thought a lot about character development. Is character development as important as the actual dialog of the story? For example, I was reading a book this ...