"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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Placing a “strong” verb before a “weak” verb

I'm not very sure if "weak" and "strong" are the right adjectives. Here's an example: Getting on my knees, I turned to the right. Crouching on my knees, I turned to the right. Does the ...
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6answers
196 views

Creative writing exercises for engineers

I'm teaching a problem solving course for engineering students (most around 19 years old) and want to increase their creativity levels. Any ideas for writing/ thinking exercises that could inspire ...
2
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1answer
94 views

Omitting pronouns and possessive adjectives in fiction

When is OK to omitting pronouns and possessive adjectives in fiction? Examples: She called me that weekend while I was cleaning my apartment. She called me that weekend while cleaning my ...
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2answers
112 views

How to stay motivated and focused while writing [duplicate]

Every now and then, I start writing something, which I at first consider a master piece but after a while I leave it unfinished thinking that it isn't that great. This has started happening quite too ...
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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
55 views

Are the tenses of the following piece correct? [closed]

I almost drowned in the this ocean of tenses. Anyhow, did I make any mistake? It was almost two, so I said goodnight to Mom and went back to my room. Once on my bed, I took the gold tooth out of ...
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4answers
407 views

How much repetition is too much repetition?

This is a question that'd been bothering me for a while. Here's an example: My heart racing, I wriggled to the edge of the bed and fumbled for Travis' hand. Just make sure to hold onto it, he'd ...
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1answer
45 views

How to decide whether contract “had”, “did”, and “would”? [closed]

Examples: If we were in control of our happiness, we would all be happy, since everyone would choose to be so." "I know, Mom." I had already lost count of the times she had repeated that. ...
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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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1answer
84 views

“This” vs “that” in past tense narrative [closed]

Here are some examples (first person past tense): "Well, goodby then." After saying this/that, he picked up his hat and ran out door. I let his words sink in my head. To fight alone. Was ...
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2answers
178 views

Show don't tell advice

Tell: Andy looked angry Show: Andy scrunched his eyebrows together, he gritted his teeth and glared. His skin turned a bright red making him look like a raging demon. So, are there other ways to ...
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2answers
165 views

“That's when” vs “That was when.”

Should I use the former or the latter in a story written in first-person past tense? Example: My heart started to race, my adrenaline to spike, and that's when the thought hit me: I had to find ...
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3answers
56 views

“And” vs “with” in description lists [closed]

When should I use the former or the later? Examples: It was a bird. It had a black head and wings and a golden underbelly. It was a bird. It had a black head and wings with a golden ...
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6answers
680 views

How can I effectively invent a language?

I want to make a particular language that adapts to the story. And the language has to have x and y and e characteristics for example. Is there a protocol to follow on the process of making a ...
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4answers
354 views

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 ...
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3answers
85 views

Is the following “shortening” allowed in fiction?

I know you can write stuff like this: Head on pillow, I glanced at the clock. My mind made up, I went over to the counter. How about following: And with that he put on the climbing ...
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2answers
107 views

Is it OK to use “I guess” in fiction?

Example: I groaned. Why was I doing this? I guess I was afraid of losing him. Like it or not, he was my only guide right now. Does it sound strange since the tense temporarily changes to the ...
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3answers
88 views

Is the following “…noun, adjective…” structure allowed in fiction?

Exhausted, I continued lying on my back. A cloud drifted lazily in the sky, heart-shaped, its curves flawlessly outlined as if drawn with a compass. Or should I write this instead? ...
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3answers
107 views

Is the word “becoming” being used correctly in the following metaphor?

We kept going until we reached a door. Finally! The corridor was deeper than I thought, like a tunnel. Or the bottom of the sea—the shelves and scrolls becoming the reef and algae that keeps ...
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1answer
50 views

Is it a good writing practice to keep related elements as close as possible to each other?

Here's an example: Not finding anything useful, I went to check the maple. Four times my size, it was the biggest tree in the yard. I mean, it was. A typhoon tore it down three years ago, and ...
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1answer
31 views

How to tell where to place a parenthetical em dash phrase?

Sometimes it's clear to me. But other times I get kind of confused. Example: After returning the materials back to their shelves, I turned—as were the others—the chair upside down on the table ...
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2answers
96 views

What Self Publishing Company should I contact?

I just want to purchase ~200 copies of my anthology containing short stories and sell them to family and friends by myself in order to donate to charity. I don't need an agent. I can format by myself ...
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6answers
603 views

How short can a poem be until it can no longer be a poem?

I am on a small journey to help me understand what the definition of a poem is to different people, what poems mean to them. This made me wonder, some poems are longer than others, so: How short ...
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5answers
188 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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5answers
615 views

I can't figure out to come up with a good plot! [duplicate]

The one major problem I feel that I have as a writer is coming up with a plot that has any substance at all. I can write believable characters (most of the time), build a unique but not far fetched ...
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2answers
87 views

How do you find inspiration as a creative person? [closed]

Scientists and intellectuals are yet to discover the hidden mysteries of human brain. Its power and capacity is yet to be explored. Along the way, many have discovered "hacks" to get what they what ...
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1answer
117 views

Is there a coherence problem in my story?

So the logic goes like this: the protagonist realized life was meaningless, decided to kill herself—but at the last moment her mom calls to tell her that the dog died (it "accidentally" hung itself on ...
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2answers
57 views

Should I use letters or digits in the following case?

De-Shi was holding something that looked like a price tag. It had the numbers 024 written on it. "Isn't that what cows wear as earrings?" "Yeah," De-Shi said, still inspecting the ...
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3answers
117 views

When to use normal caps and small caps in fiction?

Sometimes I don't know which one to use. For instance, what kind should I use when referring to the stamping on a t-shirt? Mark wore a t-shirt that said, SAVE WATER, DRINK BEER.
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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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3answers
124 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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1answer
164 views

Am I over-explaining or being condescending to the reader?

I have many moments like this when the protagonist talks about the strangeness of her situation. Am I over-explaining or being condescending to the reader's intelligence? I like saying, "You know ...
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2answers
110 views

Can I adapt writing in a RPG forum to writing in a book?

To explain how the rpg forum works: Somebody proposes a Story setting in which the world, rules, possibilities and so on are described. Then the interested players gather and create their ...
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1answer
77 views

How to format the following dialogue without the parenthesis?

So the protagonist's boyfriend committed suicide. He left a suicide note. And now the detective is showing it to the protagonist: "So I'm the one who made him do it? "We read the letter. ...
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4answers
461 views

Should I use ellipses or em dashes to denote pauses in speech?

I flipped open its latch and peered inside. A—gold tooth? I flipped open its latch and peered inside. A ... gold tooth? Was it an elephant? No, elephants didn't frequent beaches. It ...
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2answers
123 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. ...
3
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1answer
205 views

Non-dialogue sections: single quotes or double quotes?

Should I write: I haven't met Sophia after our 'friendly' meeting. or I haven't met Sophia after our "friendly" meeting. The sight reminded me of a part of the Genesis that Mom used ...
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3answers
170 views

Should I write my novel? [duplicate]

I am a guy whose passion has always been fiction writing but in college I decided to go into software engineering because my parents were in a bind and they needed help financially. Now I am decent ...
3
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2answers
106 views

Is there a systematic overview over the approaches of describing a physical object?

If one tries to describe sth. very concrete, like a house, for instance, one could try it with different approaches: describing the very physical attributes: the house is 5m wide, 5m deep and 5m ...
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4answers
99 views

How much information should a narrative sentence contain ,from experience on average, for good readability?

While randomly browsing, i noticed fiction writings contain much more comas in their sentences as lets say sentences in chats or instruction leaflets. just for contrast simple sentence: i live in ...
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0answers
97 views

How to improve my English writing? [duplicate]

I know the title of this question is too broad. But I think this is the apt title for my doubts. I am a non-native speaker of English language. Even then I love to write in English whenever I get ...
2
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1answer
50 views

“Its vs ”the" when referring to an element belonging to the previous sentence

Example: The cottage looked completely different inside. It had none of the coldness and rigidity of its exterior. Or The cottage looked completely different inside. It had none of the ...
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2answers
138 views

Can prologues and epilogues change POV from the main text?

I have completed my book. But I'm stuck writing the prologue. I've written the story with narration by the writer (not from the point of view of any of the characters). But I don't feel like that ...
2
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1answer
118 views

Is repeating the action/verb in a metaphor a sign that is a bad one?

Example: She didn’t reply; just stared at us vacantly. She might as well have been observing two squirrels that had invaded her yard. As you can see, the action stare/observe has so be ...
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2answers
78 views

Do items on a list have to follow the order/logic of the previous one?

This is a bit hard to explain, so here's an example: His room was an exact replica of mine. The only difference were the things he had brought along: his zoology books, his backpack, and of ...
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6answers
4k views

Is it better to describe the main character's physical appearance early on in the story?

I'm writing a novel, and I just realized I don't describe be main character's appearance until Chapter 3 (each chapter is 1500~2000 words long and there are 25 chapters in total). I do mention that ...
2
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1answer
105 views

Using citations in chapter headings?

I noticed in some books I read that under each chapter title, there is a citation, somewhat related to what the chapter in question is about. I was thinking of maybe using the same technique for my ...
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1answer
233 views

Chapter titles or numbers?

I am about to start writing a science-fiction novel, and having only ever written technical documents before, I have very little experience in the finer details of creative writing. In particular, I ...
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3answers
127 views

Writing “X, Y, and Z” vs “X and Y and Z.”

Example: The forest was so dense I was practically swimming through it. A dark, murky ocean of shrubs, trees, and bamboo shoots. The forest was so dense I was practically swimming through ...
2
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3answers
60 views

Literary criticism handbook

Can you point out some reference books on literary criticism – from a theoretical as well as practical point of view – to hone and systematize my skills, acquired through first-hand reading of lots of ...