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26
votes
8answers
980 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
331 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
595 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
2k 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
6answers
3k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
8
votes
9answers
587 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
2k 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
401 views

What's the difference between purple prose and vividly descriptive writing?

Elements of Style describes purple prose as "hard to digest, generally unwholesome, and sometimes nauseating." In short, it's ornate, contrived and breaks the narrative. There's plenty of advice on ...
6
votes
7answers
4k 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
votes
5answers
461 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
486 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
5answers
250 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
225 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
696 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
118 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
98 views

Any helpful tips on how to, better use description in my writing?

I feel as if, the novel I am writing will have a great plot and I have some creative ideas on where to go with it. My only concern is my ability to develop description through out my story. Any tips ...
4
votes
3answers
133 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
206 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
801 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
386 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
286 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
148 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
906 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
1k 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
348 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
939 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
3k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
85 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
63 views

Repeating the appearance of the main character in every book

I don't know if this just happens to be a thing that's common in the books I read as a kid, but there was always that bit, in the beginning of every book in the series, where the main character(s) ...
2
votes
2answers
174 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
182 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
206 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
204 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
57 views

How to «show» an irrelevant detail without expressively «tell»?

Here is the environment of my short story: the adaptation of film noir into literature. The characters in the story are David Lynch's Rabbits and I can't find how to introduce them. In the David Lynch ...
2
votes
2answers
94 views

On mastering the art of writing descriptive passages on certain weather conditions

It is, in my opinion, a difficult task to describe certain weather conditions (e.g., an overcast sky, the falling rain, the storm, the rising of the rainbow, the falling of the snow, etc.) ...
2
votes
2answers
356 views

What are some rich but respectful ways to describe various skin colors?

Say I have a kid's book with children of varying skin tones: a boy with British/Germanic background, a girl with Indian parents in the middle point of Indian skin tones, a girl with a Germanic ...
2
votes
3answers
97 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
81 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
123 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
100 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
726 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
111 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
354 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
427 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
723 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
55 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
318 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 ...