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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Is this terrible third person? [on hold]

Christopher pounds like a herd of bulls across the dry sea grass. (I was looking for a color that describes dead grass.) The closer he drew near, the more she felt the intensify force of gravity ...
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Am I making the writing too complex?

My story is of a fantasy world where the wars of several species have all been fought, lost, and the protagonist is writing his journal from inside a jail cell. The writing he does can't be erased. I ...
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How ordinary must my protagonist be if the book is written from his/her point of view?

What I've found in most books I've read is that the protagonist is "normal" and/or "average" (at least in the beginning). I believe this is because most readers should be able to relate to the ...
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Should I drop the quotation marks in a chapter that consists mostly on a character telling a story?

The structure looks like this: Chapter 10 (...) And so Cath began telling me her tale. Which turned out to be grimmer than I'd expected. Chapter 11 "I've been suffering from ...
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Question about longer chapter length flashbacks

I'm working on a novel. The POV never leaves my main character (third person point of view.) Throughout the story he is given hints at a past life so to say. In reality the man has been alive since ...
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Does “reversing” characters provide enough of a “disconnect ”to defend against a libel suit?

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were fictional, of course, but Lauren Ipsum has convinced me that if they were real people, a story about a "drug-using detective and his MD sidekick" might expose a ...
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plot (from the villans perspective), should I give up? [closed]

so my story is about these 4 species, the leader of one (we'll call G) wants to leave this universe for another (belonging to another species, lets call them A) and doing so will indirectly kill most ...
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Changing location in a fiction story with two or more story lines happening at same time

In my novel I have many different story lines that are happening at the same time. If I have one scene that takes seven pages and then flips to another scene that actually happened at the same time ...
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Alternating names

Example: The cat was lying on a cat bed, barely visible under the blankets, an IV wrapped around one of her front legs. Judging by the triangular shape of her head, her black nose ears and ...
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Resource for someone better at editing than writing

(I had a previous question, closed as too opinion-based, about being a better editor than writer. I wasn't able to rescue that one, but I thought I'd take a try at a related question.) I am an ...
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Using Present Tense to describe a Fact on a story that uses Past Tense

newcomer here, and I have a question. I have a story that starts with the sentence, 'the ocean is vast'. However, I'm actually going to write my story in past tense form but changing that 'is' to ...
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Is it OK to add chapters to slow down the pace of the story?

Example: I'm writing a story where the protagonist is searching for some information. She searches for it at her university, and fails. After that chapter, however, she finally finds someone who leads ...
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How/When to include twists when developing plot.

Disclaimer: This is a new question, not an extension of my other questions concerning twists. When I develop fiction, I start with a premise and a theme. I have a general idea of where I'm headed, ...
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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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Are the tenses of the following piece correct?

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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Can a Town/City Sue an Author for a Bad Portrayal in Fiction?

Lets say we choose a random town off of google maps on which to base a story where the local authorities (we won't say police, or whatnot, but local authorities) perform an investigation that is ...
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335 views

Is sending your characters back to a different century a good way to disguise them?

In one of my novels, I took two "contemporary" real life people, and sent them back to the 18th century to fight the American Revolution. (Yours truly is one of them.) My current understanding of the ...
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What does being “heavy handed” mean? And how does one avoid it?

I've come across the term "heavy handed" before, and it seems to be one of the more egregious mistakes that one can make while writing - at least that's the impression I get from critics. What does ...
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How do I start using my heart over my head?

A little bit of background: I am trained as a electrical engineer and the more analytical stuff comes very easily to me. I've become way too analytical in my everyday life, always searching for ...
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111 views

Should I “spanglish” a Mexican character's dialogue?

I am working on a novel based in Mexico, and I am wondering if there are any strong opinions on whether or not I should put common phrases of speech in spanish even though all characters are speaking ...
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4answers
347 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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Being a non-native English writer how can i improve my English Writing style? [duplicate]

I'm an Indian and trying to write a novel based on 2 sisters. My problem is that i don't feel very comfortable with my english sometimes. How can i improve my english? And sometimes i use the same ...
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129 views

Naming my character

I am a beginner, would like to know if I can start a short story calling my main character "he" and then introduce his name later. If so when is a good time to do this?
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“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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“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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“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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Use of realism in a fictional setting

I am writing a fictional novel. It is set in many fictional places and the book will have it's own set of rules of physics. However, I feel that if I lose the sense of realism too much there will be ...
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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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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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Real-Life Setting versus Fictional - Can They Attain the same Realism?

My assumption here is that a novel set in the current time and world seems more realistic to a reader than a novel with a fictional setting. The reader has the ability to say, "that could be true." In ...
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Do agents/editors take Snoflake Pro-based proposals seriously?

I've just stumbled upon the Snowflake Pro software and have been very happy with how it has improved the quality and completeness of my manuscript. At the end of the process, the software uses all the ...
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Plot idea to make the murderer (involuntarily) reveal himself [closed]

I'm in need of an idea to advance my fictional crime plot where the protagonists of a larger (~30) group realize that the murderer (of a single murder) must be one of them, someone hiding in the ...
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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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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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What are my legal rights if somebody writes a book about me without my consent?

So, I just discovered a person I knew in college has written a book. This book is titled as fiction. But after buying and reading this book, I am in this book. No name change. The place where I work, ...
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Use of Building names in Fiction [duplicate]

I know that using branded companies names is a no no if shown in a negative light, but what is the "legal" Stance on Buildings that get damaged/blown up/fist fight etc..? as they are owned by a ...
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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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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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Are 'how-to write fiction' books full of it?

I built and sold a business during my first decade of adulthood. During that period, I read a lot of business books published by the popular press. Typically, these books propound a particular method ...
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139 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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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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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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How do I manage a plot with two protagonists? [closed]

I'm a beginner manga plot writer. On the first season of my story I have a protagonist A. How can I manage the second season if I want as protagonists the protagonist A from the first season and a ...
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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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116 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 ...
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133 views

which genres are more successful, publication figures?

Where to find genre sales and publications numbers. Is there a way to find which genres are more successful? I apologize if this has been asked a hundred times but I didn't find it in the existing ...
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Under which genre to publish?

I am developing a story about a spiritual journey. The book could be marketed under several guises such as magic realism, fantasy, religious, adventure... I was thinking that the best approach ...
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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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What are frequently used arguments for recognizing bad writing styles in fiction?

I ve heard randomly of remarks used to explain why a writing style is bad. for instance by the argument that a writing style is bad because of the usage of adjectives. Could you provide further ...
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What linguistic features increase the degree of readability?

By linguistic features i think of the structure of a sentence, the usage of subclauses, passive or active and such alike. What would you suggest someone who has no clue of what are considered ...