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26
votes
7answers
813 views

When is it okay to tell?

One of the major mantras of writing fiction is "show, don't tell". Is it ever okay to tell? When?
16
votes
7answers
1k views

What's Essential In A Combat Scene?

I've just been reading a bunch of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files books. Although they were the most enjoyable read I'd had in ages I always found myself skimming long segments that described involved ...
12
votes
3answers
303 views

How to create space

Recently, a few snippets of my fiction have received critiques along the lines of 'Does not give a sense of space'. Or 'needs more description, sights and sounds'. I think where I am going wrong is ...
12
votes
5answers
578 views

How much should I describe things or persons, that are not important for the story?

I discussed a book with a friend, and he disliked that the author described a person who is dying shortly after and has no further effect on the story over a page or more. The same would go for ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Confusing writing in order to show how character is falling asleep - is it OK?

Generally, writing something confusing is not good. On the other hand, a writer should show rather than tell. (Generally.) What I'm trying to do is imitate the way one's thoughts get all muddled ...
11
votes
9answers
1k views

Where to find some good examples of combat or action scenes?

I always learn a lot about about writing by reading other works and following their examples. Right now I'm very bad at writing action scenes; the best I can do is write around them, describing the ...
9
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
8
votes
9answers
516 views

Good idea to describe the heist place before the heist begins?

I'm working on a heist scene where five thieves are supposed to enter a corporate building and steal a few documents. It's supposed to be a major scene so it won't be short. I need the readers to ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Writing about drug induced hallucinations and paranoia

Not long ago I wrote a short story about a mathematics graduate student on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The young student is innocent and working to finish a difficult mathematical derivation ...
8
votes
3answers
960 views

What's with all the hate on adjectives and adverbs?

Ok, I'm starting to get a feel for this, but I'm hoping someone can explain it more clearly for me. I learned in all my English classes that sensory imagery is important, which naturally involves a ...
6
votes
5answers
212 views

How to introduce a world that's alien to the reader

I'm writing sort of a space-opera and I was wondering what would the best way to explain everthing about the world to my readers. The story is kind of a political intrigue, and it would be very easy ...
5
votes
4answers
375 views

Writing about extreme trauma

I've just written a chapter in which one of my protags witnesses her entire family massacred during an invasion of her home city. This is obviously an extremely traumatic and horrifying event, and in ...
5
votes
4answers
200 views

Some doubts on the use of Italicized words

Okay here's the thing. After a tough verbal fight with my friend, I concluded that I will post this question here and get some concrete answers. According to what I feel, italicized words are used ...
5
votes
4answers
567 views

How can I make description more natural to me?

Description is a weakness in my fiction. My understanding is that the first priority in fiction is to tell the story. Setting does this by providing props and indicating character mindsets, either ...
5
votes
2answers
104 views

RDF vocabularly for storytelling

Can anyone point me to an RDF vocabulary used for story-telling? A Resource Description Framework is a technique for structuring data in a way that computers can easily process it and connect simple ...
4
votes
5answers
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 ...
4
votes
4answers
154 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
197 views

How can I improve this description which includes actions?

This is the beginning of a short story I'm writing (I'm not a native English speaker): I was lying in the dark, looking at the ceiling, counting spider webs. She was lying right beside me. I ...
4
votes
4answers
616 views

Can my paragraph use better adjectives and descriptions?

I feel my punctuation is all over the place, and the adjectives are not as charming as I think they are. If anyone has watched the beginning of the first Lord of the Rings, where the hobbit is lying ...
4
votes
1answer
148 views

What techniques can be used to describe a character's terror?

I'm trying to write a stressful situation for a character (specifically she's about to be injured) and I'm trying to convey her terror at the situation. My usual trick is to use short snappy ...
3
votes
7answers
254 views

Beginners can break rules too?

I came across several disciplines of writing which one must know while writing (especially beginners), concerning narrative conventions and the rules of story logic. Some of the sources for this ...
3
votes
5answers
93 views

How can i learn the name of a colour to use in a description?

I am trying to describe this character Source her attire is pretty easy to describe, Purple and Gold (while it looks yellow she addressing herself with majestic plural so gold would be more ...
3
votes
3answers
299 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
465 views

Who can help me to describe the text line from my story in slow motion?

This here is a line of my story: As we were in the middle of our conversation, I saw a blinding light heading straight for us, followed by an abrupt honk. Mom screamed as if she saw a ghost, and ...
3
votes
3answers
281 views

Critique a short essay

So There I was in the scorching, afternoon, summer heat of Cairo. It was a huge change from the UK’s mild weather, and together with the fact that I had been fasting - as in no food or drink- for ...
3
votes
3answers
362 views

Is the opening of this story intriguing, “dark” and smooth?

Disclaimer: I'm not an Native English Speaker. This is my fifth attempt of writing a short story (the previous ones are set in the same "universe" as this one). I would like to know if the reader ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

What elements should be included in a story's setting?

I know this will vary depending on the type of the story and the characters involved, not to mention the location itself. What I am looking for is some kind of guideline for identifying different ...
2
votes
2answers
167 views

First conversation scenes I've written (looking for errors, conventions, and improvements according to writting standards).

Basically, I would like to know if I'm doing something wrong (according to witting standards) in the following conversation and how to improve it to help readability, quality and feeling (making it ...
2
votes
2answers
136 views

How can you represent music in writing

I was wondering if a character was in a nighclub or at a concert. How do you represent the music? It got me thinking that writing is a very non musical medium and that it is actually pretty hard to ...
2
votes
2answers
160 views

Does the following piece have too much dry narration (mundane tasks, moving about)?

Tsuki woke up to the morning sun that entered through the window. She yawned and sat on the side of the bed, rubbing her eyes. The clock on the wall said half past ten. She brushed her teeth, ...
2
votes
2answers
197 views

Critique of short essay

Basically I need some critics regarding the following points: Does this description essay archive its goal (a creepy story with a 'sappy' ending)? How is the 'rhythm' of the story (is there ...
2
votes
3answers
92 views

Improving techniques independently: Description

How can I improve my technique in description? Which things I should avoid in description? How can I know, that I put "enough" description and will go to narration? My description technique is bad ...
2
votes
1answer
52 views

Does this text flow smoothly (description of suicidal thoughts)?

So how did this animal suicide thing start? Ironically, it began with my own death wish. But why? I had perfect health, friends and family who cared about me, plus I had just been admitted into ...
1
vote
4answers
121 views

Is this description of my small productivity application clear enough?

I wrote a small productivity application, Tomate. Since I'm not a native English speaker, I'm afraid the description of the project may not be clear enough for potential users. Can you help me improve ...
1
vote
3answers
86 views

How to express concisely the circular concept of a beginning and future simultaneously?

There are many movies/books which have an ending that is the foundation for the beginning of the story, an example is Terry Pratchett's book Pyramids. In a way these stories become trapped in a ...
1
vote
1answer
534 views

Tips for describing features of unusual place that I often visit

I'm having problems describing certain parts of a place that I usually visit. Here are some pictures: For instance, I have no idea how I should refer to the wooden platform on the left (so I just ...
1
vote
3answers
110 views

Is calling this process a “convergence” accurate and clear?

I planning to write about the convergence of our real world and the computer reality world. My plan to develop on this idea is to describe this convergence as a "merger" between our real world and the ...
1
vote
2answers
259 views

How do I add more imagery to this short paragraph?

I am writing an essay for tenth grade, and I have to write a small story in one paragraph. With a lot of imagery (to get my teacher excited). I added some, but I don't think it's enough. This isn't ...
1
vote
1answer
309 views

Chopped sentences with too many conjunction, and repeating the subject again and again

I have tendency to write chopped sentences with too many conjunctions, repeating the subject again and again. I don't want that but I'm not skilled in English. For example how do write the following ...
1
vote
1answer
428 views

Using senses and similes in descriptions

I'm trying to make my descriptions to look less like a bunch of bullet points. So I decided to use more senses and similes. This is something I wrote: The sun hung in the cloudless sky, like a ...
1
vote
1answer
48 views

Best blind sequence? [closed]

I'm trying to write a story in which the sun has essentially gone out and visibility is constantly limited, and sometimes completely gone. Being a very visual person, I'm finding it hard to describe ...
0
votes
3answers
264 views

How can this sentence better convey the immobilizing impact of fear?

Someone on another forum asked for advice on a sentence she was writing, so I thought I'd share it here and see what kind of responses we could get. The sentence in question is marked by italics. (I ...
0
votes
2answers
56 views

How should I handle repeating parts in a technical description?

I'm about to write a technical description for an industrial process. The description will follow logical blocks, or blocks from the PFD of the process. This a sales document aimed at engineers. ...
0
votes
2answers
57 views

How to Describe a Scene from Video?

I'm new to English (three years) and I want help describing this video for my fantasy novel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymcen0EjmiU. I don't want you to do it at my place, but I really want to ...
0
votes
2answers
67 views

Whether to describe personality of a character or let the readers deduce it based on the actions

I am facing this situation where description of the personality of a character is quite important. Is it good to describe the personality traits or shall I let the readers deduce it based on the ...
0
votes
1answer
72 views

Is this a good description of a jew looking out the window at nazis? [closed]

Cautiously I rose, briefly leaving his side. Turning to the lugubrious window when suddenly I was forced to duck down as cantankerous Nazis dehisced from behind great timber doors, parading across the ...
0
votes
1answer
48 views

How to write a polite quotation request email? [duplicate]

Good day! I'm working at Sales Dept. in a manufacturing enterprise. Lately my company strategy is to find other suppliers to have more competitive prices and I appointed to do this task. But I make a ...