"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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How to format news, poems, text messages, and other kinds of written text?

I always find myself wondering how to format written text: news (on TV and newspapers), text messages (from a cellphone), lyrics, and poems. Right now, I just put them in a new paragraph and italicize ...
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477 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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799 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
264 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
388 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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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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6answers
4k 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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5answers
456 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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4answers
357 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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5answers
141 views

Can the protagonist lose his strength without losing the reader?

In studying writing, I've learned that you need to give your protagonist something - usually a quality - that makes the reader want him to win. Without this quality, the reader doesn't care what ...
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3answers
343 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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220 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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143 views

When to be specific and when to let context fill in the holes?

Some examples: Half-crouching, I went over to the railing and pointed my flashlight down (to the ground). It was approximately a two-storey fall. Not incredibly high, but high enough to kill a ...
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3answers
2k 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 stumbles upon them for the first ...
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7answers
413 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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2k 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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309 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
398 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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3answers
767 views

How to write a conversation

Conversation is the thing I have most difficulties with while writing stories. How do I write a conversation so it will be clear who said what, and in a way that's not like a court transcript? Should ...
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2answers
139 views

Is it necessary to add a.m./p.m. after the time?

Examples: To make sure we had plenty of time to ask questions, we took the first bus to Mrs. Mann's house. By the time we arrived it was 11:00 a.m. Seven hours before the planet apocalypse. ...
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5answers
648 views

How specific should I be when outlining the plot?

One problem I often run into when trying to make a general outline of the plot for a story is how specific I am in the descriptions of events. Generally, this happens when I have written a portion of ...
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6answers
7k 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
101 views

How to write when thinking in multiple languages?

When writing, scenes come to my mind in different languages mixed together. For example in a single scene a description will be in French, some dialogues in English, with a few words of Spanish and ...
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431 views

How do you decide whether to use the infinitive or -ing version of a verb?

Example: Three months had passed since she started to avoid me. Three months had passed since she started avoiding me. Right now, what I do is to search for the phrase with the most results ...
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3answers
159 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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417 views

Punctuating dialogue with oneself

I am wondering what the convention is for punctuating dialogue with oneself. In particular, if a character speaks to himself, do the words need to be put in open and closed quotes? Note that the ...
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6answers
170 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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5answers
181 views

Is mathematical poetry a form of poetry?

One author considers this mathematical statement by LeRoy Gorman entitled “The Birth of Tragedy” as a form of minimalist poetry: (!+?)^2 Is this ...
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351 views

Is it possible to practice the craft of creative writing in isolation?

Is it possible to practice the craft of creative writing in isolation? I am not directly affiliated with a writing community, at least a community willing to read small practice creative pieces. I do ...
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3answers
117 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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1answer
903 views

Sex: How much is too much?

Regardless of genre, at what point does sex stop becoming art and become the erotic blubbering of a perverse mind? Ever since middleschool my writing has had a sensual twist, and it has become more ...
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5answers
1k 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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3answers
1k 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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131 views

Commas at the beginning of a sentence: should I follow convention or intuition?

An example from my own writing (Mother and daughter are burying their deceased dog): As planned that Friday, Mom and I underwent Choco’s burial at my home in __ (yes, she kept him in a garbage ...
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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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4answers
247 views

How to determine if a story would benefit from multiple first-person POVs?

Originally I asked this question: What is a "methodology" I can I use/follow to determine the ideal set of protagonists for my story?, but found that it was too vague. Specifically, I'm ...
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5answers
191 views

Is replacing “this” with “a” allowed in fiction?

Example: "Exploding whales?" My date stared at me as if I had given him some bad news. He'd taken me to this fancy Italian restaurant. "That's what your thesis is about?" I'm not sure why, ...
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3answers
172 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
69 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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3answers
202 views

I'm scared that my story is plagiarizing another story

I am working on my debut story. In my freetime, I write another story that will be the start of a series. The series consists of Steampunk fairytale retellings. Lately, I have been worrying that it ...
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90 views

Revision Process Order

What would be the best/most fluid/easiest way to revise your manuscript? I've read A LOT up on this and have 2 pages of stuff to revise and check for. Fixing the following things: Main Plot Holes, ...
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2answers
157 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
278 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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5answers
146 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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1answer
305 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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2answers
452 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 ...
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183 views

What existing platforms use crowdsourcing to develop creative writing and editing?

What existing platforms use crowdsourcing to develop creative writing and editing? What are the barriers in developing an active community? Why would this not work? Has it been tried? Was it ...
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3answers
90 views

What is a ballad?

I've always wanted to write poetry, and I tried my hand at a ballad today. However, I know very little about the technicalities of poetry, and the explanations of iambic meter and structure of the ...
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1answer
978 views

Should I use present or past tense when the narrator talks about an universal/most-often-true statement?

Eri raised her eyes to the screen again. What a terrible thing it must be for an earthquake to hit right on your birthday. She wondered how often that happened. Maybe earthquakes are completely ...
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261 views

Is it possible that my short novel will be boring to my readers because it only has two characters and the location doesn't change?

In my story, there are two characters: a schoolgirl and a strange person with a creepy mask who gives her a tour in an art museum at night. Well, actually there is a third character; the boyfriend of ...