"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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Writing techniques or exercises to improve ability to show rather than tell?

Does anyone have any effective writing techniques or exercises that you use to help you focus more on showing the reader what you mean rather than just telling them about? I know I often find myself ...
7
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5answers
326 views

Why do heroes need to have a physical mark?

It seems that a lot of authors want their heroes to be marked in a special way. It is not enough that these protagonists are going to be heroes, no; they seem to require having a mark that makes them ...
7
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5answers
322 views

How important is being well read for a writer

Back in the mists of time, I would put a lot of time into reading, and would read pretty much anything I could lay my hands on. Then I started writing, and it is very very rare that I read any ...
7
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2answers
266 views

Learning storywriting for videogames - Handling deep nonlinearities

A recent question asked for pointers for writing for games, and the gist of the answers was that it's not very unlike writing books. The underlined differences were only superficial. There's a ...
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7answers
2k views

Is it bad to include subplots that don't push the story forward?

I want to add a few chapters that don't push the story forward; they only explore the background and motivations of the characters. The best example I can think of is the Fly episode in Breaking Bad. ...
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9answers
427 views

Should dull dialogue be removed completely?

The following dialogue is from a novel I'm writing (first draft): "You're quiet tonight," Erin said to Benjamin, who seemed to be lost in thoughts. He looked up and took a sip of his drink. ...
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7answers
5k views

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
586 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 ...
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8answers
444 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 ...
6
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7answers
347 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 ...
6
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4answers
587 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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4answers
3k views

Is it important to describe how the characters are dressed?

One thing that I never mention in my stories is how the characters are dressed. Well, except when they are being described for the first time, when the main character first meets them. How important ...
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5answers
294 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
3k views

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 ...
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6answers
503 views

Does writing in a certain mood change how a writer writes?

I'm not sure if this is right for this part of Stackexchange, but since there is no psychology section, here we go: I'm currently writing the same short story several times with the intention of ...
6
votes
4answers
544 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
3k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
110 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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6answers
575 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
442 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 ...
6
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3answers
143 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 ...
6
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4answers
303 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
351 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
190 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 ...
6
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7answers
527 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 ...
6
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2answers
396 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
149 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
337 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
429 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
1k views

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 ...
5
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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 ...
5
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3answers
224 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
403 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
698 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 ...
5
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3answers
316 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 ...
5
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6answers
634 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
263 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 ...
5
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2answers
651 views

How to write a character's progression

In my story, the character has to learn a certain skill, with a mentor guiding him. I wrote the introduction and explained some principles regarding the discipline, but I don't want to bore the reader ...
5
votes
3answers
297 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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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 ...
5
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6answers
334 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 ...
5
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3answers
224 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 ...
5
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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
1k 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 ...
5
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3answers
328 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)?
5
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2answers
79k views

Difference between an 'Abstract' and an 'Introduction' in a feature article?

I have to write a feature article for school. However, I'm confused how an abstract [a summary of my points] is different to an intro [Where you outline the points you're going to be elaborating in ...
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5answers
2k views

First person pov with more than one main chars

I really love -- and most of time write in -- first person point of view. The novel I'm writing is somewhat different from what I'm used to. I have four main characters -- I don't see any of them as ...
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2answers
262 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 ...
5
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3answers
219 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 ...
5
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2answers
310 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 ...