"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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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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379 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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2answers
229 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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5answers
229 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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847 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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155 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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407 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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905 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 ...
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220 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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190 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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703 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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161 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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226 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 ...
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375 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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132 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 ...
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1answer
122 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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409 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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462 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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195 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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319 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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269 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 ...
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232 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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6answers
525 views

What can I use instead of “but” and “however”?

I just noticed I tend to use "but" and 'however" in almost every paragraph. Examples (all of them are from the same story): I almost let everything out. But, funny, I didn't. I didn't want him ...
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298 views

What gender do you think the narrator is?

Once again, I traveled three hours only to eat sushi, alone. Cars passed by and people streamed along the sidewalk. Hanging in the air, I could feel the faint scent of spring. Or maybe it was just ...
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3k 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 ...
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307 views

What are useful resources for a beginner whose eventual goal is to write a novel? [closed]

I am new to creative writing but have been an avid reader for years (mainly SF/fantasy). I have wanted to write fantasy stories for a long time and have recently started to build a setting for them in ...
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303 views

Is it good to publish a novel online for free?

I am not after earning money but to spread knowledge about something for free. But if money is neglected, what else can be the disadvantage of publishing it online?
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175 views

Opening a story with a reference to what someone just said followed by a setting description

An example: Naomi's words hung in the air as I gazed out of the hotel window. The mountain lay quietly in the dark, like a calm, sleeping giant. A cluster of city lights glittered beyond. In ...
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4answers
155 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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7answers
319 views

Does this passage break the rules of telling and not showing?

I wrote a story called Tempo, which I enjoy (this does not mean that it is good), but that has a chunk where the main character has an internal monologue. This is usually bad, but I can't tell how bad ...
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700 views

What is the difference between “creative writing” and “fiction writing”?

My college offers many writing courses. I notice, one course is called "Creative Writing" and another is called "Fiction Writing". What is the difference between creative writing and fiction writing?
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228 views

How to keep the reader engaged in a novel where “not much happens”?

(Hope I don't get an answer like this). I'm writing a novel where "not much happens," instead, it focuses on things that could happen. In other words, the protagonist does not directly experience ...
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5answers
194 views

Putting a dialogue a tag before a quote

Sometimes I see stuff like this: X said, "..." "..." X did this, and then said, "..." Is it used to just vary sentence structure? Or to make dialogue more readable or smoother in certain ...
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315 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 ...
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6answers
2k views

How to better describe “jet-black (pitch-black) darkness”?

I'm trying my hand at translating a few Korean literary texts into English. Something I come across often while translating is the phrasing "jet-black(/pitch-black) eyes(/night/darkness)" which ...
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3answers
94 views

Should I specify the time/date at the beginning of a scene?

Example: That's when the thought hit me: I had to find out. I had to solve this mystery. And so, I decided to call off my suicide plan. At least for the time being. (Next chapter) ...
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669 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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618 views

How do I overcome my anxiety of writing again?

You would note the use of the word 'again' in the title of my question. I wrote a number of short stories many years ago. This was when I was doing my first degree (in literature) just after high ...
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150 views

Punctuating dialogue with oneself

I am wondering what is the convention for punctuating dialogue with oneself. In particular, if a character speaks to himself, does the words need to be put in open and closed quotes. Note that the ...
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3answers
856 views

Single character POV vs. two POVs - how to decide?

I'm starting to look at my next novel, and I'm trying to decide whether I should tell it from one POV or two. I've used both techniques in the past, so I'm aware of the basic ...
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120 views

Is it a bad idea to use a culture-specific word in the title of a story?

I wrote a short story long ago called The End of the World. I thought the title was too common so I renamed it to The Kid with the Gigaku Mask and the End of the World. But then, I found that title to ...
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6answers
121 views

Dream analysis research

I am currently writing a short story/novella. This piece of fiction describes a child who has vivid dreams. His dreamworld starts to blend with the real world by him being able to manipulate his ...
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3answers
112 views

Techniques for creating a bridge between protagonists from different generations

I'm working on a short novel that has two main stories. These stories belong to relatives from different generations, but of the same age. So, although the book spans through 20-30 years, I'm more ...
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1answer
64 views

Co-authoring, brainstorming but not writing

I'm the brainstorming phase of a new manuscript. Normally I do that on my own, but this time I I want to ask a few friends to help me with ideas. I'm sure you all know how the brainstorming process ...
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2answers
140 views

Is it unnecessary to mention that there is a silence in the following cases?

I tend to write stuff like this a lot: (dialogue) They remained silent for a while. “Where is my mind” by Pixies was now playing in the background. Eri stared at her palm beneath the ...
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2answers
237 views

How do I write a gory scene?

I'm trying to write some gory scenes. I'm having a few problems, though. I asked around online and determined that I need to really highlight the senses when I'm writing something like this. Mostly ...
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145 views

Is having a specific town for a setting in a young-adult novel a bad thing?

I'm writing a young-adult story, that is quite clearly set in my home town, because this is where I grew up as a young adult and it is easier to write about. Everyone speaks English, but speaks French ...
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142 views

Is it better to have a deadline?

A lot of writers I admire say: "I didn't know how long the story would be." Me too, I'm the kind of writer who don't know where (and when) the story is going to end. So I'm confused—is it better to ...
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187 views

Is the following analogy effective and clear?

"Why you so sure the stone doesn't exist?" Yuki asked. I took a sip from my glass, then raised my eyes. A moth was hovering around the wall lamp. Yuki was right: why I was so certain about ...
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252 views

How to shorten meandering dialogue?

My story Cured (which I've asked about before, but has undergone major revisions since then), has an extremely large section of dialogue that annoys my beta tester. I agree with her that it should be ...