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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What's the best way to punctuate a list with an comma-containing item?

Examples: She looked tough: pieced nose, broad eyebrows, tousled hair, almost spiky. I tried picturing him: his tiny body swinging above the ground, his eyes bloodshot, almost popping ...
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Is showing motion by repeating words a sign of bad writing?

I just noticed that I do this a lot: We continued marching and marching. The forest seemed endless. Either that or we were going in circles. Up and up I went, biting back the growing ...
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4answers
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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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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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7answers
821 views

How to develop a story for a novel?

I am looking for some inspiration on where to start writing a novel. I have a general idea for a plot and characters, but I don't feel it's enough for sitting down and starting to write. It needs a ...
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103 views

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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6answers
516 views

It is a sign of bad writing to have many scenes that are disconnected with the main plot?

So my novel look like this (I took this diagram idea from this site, but I'm not sure exactly from whom): The beginning and end focuses on the mystery that the heroine is trying to solve (main ...
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4answers
388 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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3answers
180 views

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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3answers
109 views

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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5answers
387 views

What genre is a book in an imaginary world but no other fantasy element?

I'm trying to figure out what genre the following is, if any. (I asked a similar question, but this is different now, and more detailed.) The story takes place in an imaginary world. It's more or ...
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4answers
218 views

Am I using too many adjectives/adverbs in the following piece? [on hold]

As I made my way uphill, I understood why An-Mei chose this place for her spiritual healing. I glanced around. Gorgeous conifers stretched up endlessly, like pillars connecting the earth with ...
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Killing the protagonist - should it be done?

I am an aspiring author, but I have written several short 'test novels.' With each of those, it became increasingly clear how you have to develop the main character, the protagonist. After all, the ...
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6answers
1k views

“multiple personalities” for character development in writing?

How can I train myself to think in "multiple personalities" so I can use these personalities for character development in writing?
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3answers
80 views

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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6answers
4k views

What makes first person plural a tricky narrative voice?

I absolutely loved Joshua Ferris's debut novel Then We Came to the End. Critics highly praised his use for the first person plural as a narrator. The work is set in an office and the "we" used ...
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6answers
631 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 ...
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3answers
69 views

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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3answers
88 views

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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1k views

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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5answers
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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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2answers
63 views

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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6answers
2k views

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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1answer
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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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1answer
188 views

What's a good custom language translator?

I'm working on a fantasy story that has a Language of Power (TVTROPES) in it and I was trying to look around online to find an automatic translator for the language I came up with but can't find any. ...
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214 views

Attributing a real quote to a fictional character

I've looked at a few fictional character quote questions on here but none seem to hit onto my question: Can I attribute a real quote to a fictional character? That is, can I take a quote that was ...
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1answer
44 views

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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8answers
1k views

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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4answers
65 views

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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5answers
140 views

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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6answers
399 views

How to get feedback about the quality of one's fictional writing from friends unbiased by the friendship?

It is a little strange to ask, but are there ways to get feedback from friends about the quality of fictional writing (whether they liked it, not more objective aspects like spelling/grammar/etc.) ...
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3answers
70 views

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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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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434 views

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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3answers
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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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5answers
76 views

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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2answers
314 views

Voice of the author changes with the pov a good idea?

I have been writing an action/adventure novel and am having a tough time deciding whether the voice of the writer should undergo a slight/moderate but not a complete change with the point of view ...
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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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2answers
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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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4answers
120 views

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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1answer
71 views

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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3answers
711 views

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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7answers
200 views

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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4answers
134 views

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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1answer
454 views

How to show that something is different than in real life?

I'm writing fiction set in the near future (~15-20 years). The world is still mostly the same and thus familiar to the reader, but an important part of the story is that a few things are radically ...
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6answers
999 views

How many pages long should a chapter book be?

I have recently started writing a chapter book, which is "a story book intended for intermediate readers generally between 7-10 years old". The book is only 29 pages long and I am nearing the end. ...
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5answers
177 views

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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6answers
61k views

What are the advantages and disadvantages of writing in first person?

A lot of people are either on the side of first person or the side of third person. But what are the advantages and disadvantages of writing in first person for fiction?
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150 views

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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4answers
4k views

What are some disadvantages of writing fiction in a diary format?

I find writing in a diary-style is the easiest way to write fiction. The format is the same as a diary, with each entry beginning with the date, then describing the feelings or events of the character ...