Fiction is a form of prose writing that deals with at least partly artificial or imagined events and characters. This tag should be used for any questions relating to fiction, including fiction formatting and technique, fiction critiques, and the publishing of fiction.

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Action/dialogue tags: What's the right amount?

Someone who reviewed my novel said that he "wanted to see more facial features/expressions and body language". So I figured I wasn't using enough action/dialogue tags. This is the passage before ...
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Is it a good idea to stay away from past progressive in fiction?

I never noticed this in my writing until one of my readers pointed it out: We were driving down the highway in Tom's Toyota 4Runner, dim streetlights passing by, the night city scene fading ...
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Exaggeration vs believability in humor writing

Exaggeration is a device in humor. On the other hand, you need to care about believably in writing, especially in fiction writing. For example, I'm writing a story where the main character goes to ...
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Thinking as a character

Months after starting my first novel (which hasn't made any progress and is still in its first draft) I feel I can only react to a given situation rather than create one. The same seems to apply to my ...
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Market for novellas and/or novelettes

Does anybody know anything about the current market or demand for novellas or novelettes? I'm in the beginning stages of my writing career and it looks like, so far, I struggle with being concise ...
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Ways to remove “filtering” in narration?

I have a lot of filtering in my writing: I decided to start my journey at the library. Why? Well, I figured it'd have more reliable information than the Internet... Once I reached there, ...
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Is it strange to describe the narrator's facial expressions in a first-person narrative?

Examples: “Really?” I said, widening my eyes. "What?" My eyes lifted and I raised my brows in shock. I think this reads strange because the narrator can't see his or her own face (or wasn't ...
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Prologues basely speak about the past but how long can one be in general?

Okay, a while back I wrote a prologue about the beginning of time and space and all that. One thing I noticed later is that between the prologue and the story itself, the prologue ate out the chapters ...
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How do you describe the sound of someone being dragged across the floor? [closed]

So I'm writing this story and got stuck on the part where two of my main characters arrived at this house and they hear dragging but the problem is I don't know how to describe the dragging without ...
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How to deal with a story that 95% of it takes place in a different language country and the protagonist speaks in it?

The protagonist is from a country, and then in a certain stage of the story he moves to another that speaks another language. The protagonist learns their language and talks with them in it. Movies ...
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What's a good, wholesome, smut-free site where I can 'publish' my fiction writings for my friends to read?

I (we) just cannot seem to find one. I promised my real-life friends (located all across the country) that I'd write up our RPG campaign as I have other fictional subjects and put it online it so they ...
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How to Develop a Theme Before Writing a Novel

I've given some thought to this, and I decided that I want to either make or find a theme to my fantasy novel before I really get into it (as I have started a couple pages already). I did some ...
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Learning to write transitions and segues [closed]

I'm a writer but unfortunately I don't read nearly enough, I'm looking for some suggestions for novels that feature well made or unique segues and transitions between scenes. My closest comparison is ...
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What to do with cliched metaphors?

Example from my own writing: "Please take care of yourself," she replied. "Health is the most important thing in life, remember that." "I know, Mom." I had already lost count of the number ...
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What do you think about having very different tones in a single story?

What if a chapter is incredibly depressive, dark, with intense language. And the next reads almost like a dialogue from a Seth MacFarlane comedy. Or even better, what if the tone switches occur ...
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When is repetition good?

I'm aware that, in writing, repetition is sometimes bad. For example: "You forgot my birthday!" I said. "No, I didn't forget your birthday." "Then why didn't you wish me happy ...
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In fiction, is the use of old-fashioned verbage or voice (ex. Tolkien, Le Guin) advisable?

If my genre lies somewhere in the fantasy-fiction spectrum, is the use of a more "dated" narrative style/vocabulary going to narrow my audience to a harmful extent? I've always been drawn to the ...
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Formatting to show system errors in fiction?

Okay, here's the thing. I'll keep it simple. I use double quotes for general dialogues. Single quotes for flashback dialogues and italicized letters for monologues and emphasis words only. The doubt ...
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technical subjects - non-fiction vs fiction

This is a question I tried to ask in Novelizing non-fiction, is it worth it? But was un-clear and maybe too generic. Let’s say I am a scuba diving expert and I could write a non-fiction book about ...
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How to improve logic/reduce plot holes?

One of my biggest weakness is logic/plot holes. And it's not only about inconsistency in my stories, but my character often have contradictory thoughts and do stuff that come up as unbelievable. I'm ...
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Writing a Romance novel, starts in present but after two chapters the flashback starts

I am writing a romance novel and the story starts in present in a very tense environment. But after two chapters it goes into the protaganist flashback. The love story is all in the flashback. Is this ...
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Narrating something that happened between chapters as a flashback in a present-tense novel

So say the novel is written in first-person tense. a chapter ends, and the next chapter starts 10 days later. Here I start narrating something that happened 5 days ago in past tense as a flashback. ...
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Is there a problem in switching from present to past for a backstory sequence?

My understanding was that it's fairly normal for a present-tense novel to switch into past tense in a backstory sequence. But I was having a conversation with a friend and he insists any tense ...
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Novelizing non-fiction, is it worth it?

There are a few lifestyle subjects where I feel I need to write non-fiction books. The problem is that in these fields, most of what is published is 101 intro manuals, while my takes to the field ...
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How to make a character that doesn't speak about himself relatable?

I have a character in my novel, De-Shi, who's the mentor and love interest of the protagonist, Li-Mei (nicknamed Hanging Pup). He listens to her feelings, gives her advice, jokes with her, shares ...
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Is the following deus-ex-machina? If so, should I remove it?

I wrote a novel called Animal Suicide. It's a mix of romance and dark humor. It's about a girl who, after a weird incident, postpones a pill overdose and starts researching about the topic of animal ...
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I have three dead-end chapters. Should I keep them or remove them?

The protagonist in my story decides to research a topic. Naturally, I wanted her to encounter some obstacles first, so I arranged the starting chapters like this: First frustration > Second ...
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Feedback: What to use and what to ignore?

I posted my novel online for critique. And stumbled with the obvious question: when should I consider a feedback and when should I ignore it? This is what I'm doing so far: If more than two people ...
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How to make the reader “accept” absurdity?

A few examples of what I refer to as ridiculous scenes: A psychic gives the protagonist a business letter with only her name - no phone, no address - saying that there's no need to call her. ...
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Good way to create character names?

I find that a problem that I run into quite often is the fact that I can't create names that sound real, but also have a nice ring so that they fit the character. Does anyone have any suggestions on ...
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Is a fictional story set in another world harder to get into?

I am writing a fictional story (could be considered science-fiction) about slightly primitive people. It is set in cold environment where a day cycle takes a whole year. Inspired by Antarctica, with ...
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Is a novel with 50K words more likely to sell than one with 40K?

I'm asking this because I wrote a novel with 40K words, but somehow I feel it would sell more, or at least be more like a "novel" if I add stuff until it's 50K (I checked on Amazon and most ...
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What is the role of memorable lines in movies?

I'm referring to quotes like, "Go ahead and make my day," or "You want the truth? You can't handle the truth." I've read that actors like them, because they are more likely to win prizes, and that ...
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How important is being well read for a writer

Back in the mists of time, I would put a lot of time into reading, and would read pretty much anything I could lay my hands on. Then I started writing, and it is very very rare that I read any ...
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How to prioritize projects

I'm just starting out with writing fiction seriously. I feel like this might be my "thing." Strangely enough, at the moment I find myself with a number of ideas, most in very early stages of ...
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is there a “standard” plot structure where the protagonist has a “bird in hand” at the end of Act II?

In most plays I've studied, e.g. Erin Brockovich, the end of the second Act II is the "darkest moment" for the protagonist. It's the time when one (at least yours truly) asks, "Why did the hero come ...
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What is the story or format called when the protagonist is not the “hero?”

For instance, in "Silence of the Lambs," the "hero is Clarice Starling, the FBI agent, and the protagonist is the villain, Hannibal Lecter. What is this kind of story format called? What happens if ...
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How to start writing a book?

I'm new to writing and I'm still young (preteen young). I want some advice on writing and help. How am I gonna start my book? What is the best way to begin writing a book?
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Is it ok to “reprise” a scene from an earlier screenplay in a sequel?

In my screenplay, there is a the so-called "receptionist scene" where the (female) receptionist warns the heroine that the company she just joined at a high level isn't very woman friendly. The ...
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How Can I Effectively Develop Fictional Characters

So, I'm trying my own attempt at writing and I keep having trouble with developing my characters. Are there any effective methods of developing fictional characters? It can just be a small idea or ...
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World Building vs Story Writing

Note, this might be off topic and belong on World Building SE? I have always been far more interested with building the world my stories take place in than the stories themselves. I will spend large ...
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What are the elements of a good blurb?

I'm writing a blurb. To do so, I'm using my favorite novels as examples. Here's one: Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. Kafka on the Shore follows the fortunes of two remarkable characters. ...
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What are the poetry/quotes at the start of a chapter/book called?

For instance, "A Rasin in the Sun" starts with the poem "Harlem." I've noticed many (mostly contemporary) novels will start chapters with pieces of Poetry or quotes that are completely separate from ...
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Should “plot” or storyline be the main determinant of what goes into a story?

In writing a screenplay, I created a bunch of scenes, with about twice as much material in total as I needed. So the job was to cut things down to size. In so doing, I found that a number of scenes ...
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373 views

The backstory's overwhelming the actual story

I have a character with a grim past (forced to watch torture). I need him to have that grim past in order to explain his behaviour in the story I am writing now: characters who did not know his past ...
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How much character description is considered necessary in a “plot driven” story?"

Some stories begin with a rather full description of say, the main character. Here is a clip from Hello Dolly that describes in (for me) excruciating detail not only about what she does (matchmaking) ...
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Clichéd Actions

I sometimes catch myself writing excessively clichéd descriptions - not in the words, but in what the characters do. For example, they always seems to end up pacing up and down the room while waiting ...
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Are there words that are “stronger” than others? If so, why?

By strong I mean causing intense feelings in the reader. I thought about this while I was editing my novel (I consider the second cases to be stronger words): I turned to the left I twisted ...
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Are there times when delayed character development is acceptable in fiction?

In my screenplay, I have my female protagonist wear Prada, and perhaps drop other hints of her character, but not act like Miranda Priestly for the first two acts, until she gets a promotion at the ...
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Can a male writer write from a female perspective? [duplicate]

The question is pretty straightforward. Can a male writer write a first person story of a female protagonist? What limitations might he face in writing about the other gender? Should he just stick to ...