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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218 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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How do you decide where to place a filler?

Examples: "I've always been interested in marine biology, as far as I can remember. "As far as I can remember, I've always been interested in marine biology, Of course, we can'...
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208 views

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 ...
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181 views

Does the following opening grip you?

Of all the people who wanted to join the trip, Paola was the the last I expected would come. It surprised me. We barely knew each other at school, and I was pretty sure she wasn't interested in me. I ...
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160 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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473 views

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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229 views

Is the following sentence structure allowed in fiction?

I'm not very sure why, but the following sentence structure came out from my mind: Disclaimer: this is a first draft. The realization just came to her now. Or perhaps, she knew it all along; it ...
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201 views

Should I be a Novel Writer or a Screenwriter?

Should I be a Novel Writer or a Screenwriter? This question is intended for the beginning writer, who is unsure if he should start with writing physical books, or with writing scripts for movie ...
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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 the ...
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187 views

Is it good style in fiction to write sentences as a flow of (disjointed) thoughts? [closed]

I was wondering whether it is okay to write like this or not: I never went for the grooves. But I did take a seat near the bar table and checked out the pretty ladies. Drinking was not my cup of ...
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Is there a description of location required in intense moments of the story like in a love story

I am writing a short love story. There is a moment when the man and woman he loved meets after 3 decades at his home and they strike up a conversation. They had some unsaid feelings buried deep within ...
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Level of detail in description of character checking the news

I'm writing a short story about a girl who has apparently 'missed' an earthquake. This is the beginning of the second scene (here is the first): Erin was sitting on her bed, working on a new ...
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Need help with hospital dialogue

I'm writing a story where the main character gets burned pretty badly. He's admitted into the hospital, and he's on a trolley, which is moving. He just got in, and he's in critical condition. I'm ...
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63 views

Should one Infodump the reader when a new environment of a fictional world is introduced? [duplicate]

When a writen story is set in a fiction world or when a character changes locals to an environment that may be vastly different to what was introduce/what they would know from real life (ie. going ...
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108 views

How does an author determine how much foreshadowing is needed?

I am working on a screenplay where the opening scene is that a woman has lost 20 years of relative age because of a "time machine" dynamic. Then the play "flashes back" to a different time, where a ...
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102 views

Is it ok for a tough character to be “petty”?

My female protagonist wears Prada, and after receiving a big promotion at work, she plots to take over the CEO-ship of her company. One (female) reviewer said something like, "That's one tough cookie ...
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136 views

Are using adverbs in dialogue/action tags a sign of bad writing?

Examples from my own writing: She smiled kindly. “Maybe I can help you. What are you trying to find?” "Probably," he said apologetically, as if he were personally responsible for 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 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? Exhausted,...
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399 views

Real World Languages in Fantasy World

My Question is "Can someone use Real world languages in a fantasy world?" For Example: In a fantasy world called "Nuvo" their are witches that speak "Russian". Since this fantasy world has no ...
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118 views

Flashbacks as chapters ordered (almost) chronologically

I just finished the first draft of my novel. From my previous question: Sushi Break A story about a girl who travels 3 hours every weekend to see her boyfriend (the boyfriend is doing an ...
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Is the opening of this detective short story gripping enough to read on? Can it be shortened?

Is this opening too short or too quick? Can it be shortened further, removing any unnecessary description like "not giving him a lift to the office"? (I feel this last can be avoided but I am not sure....
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Coming up with names for 4 children [closed]

I am looking for character names to design a personality for 4 children in my story.
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98 views

Inciting incident in Fantasy

In my fantasy story, there is about 10,000 words before the inciting incident. I originally intended to land the end of my story at about 40,000 words. This is partially due to the fact that a lot of ...
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66 views

Fantasy and Science Fiction - should I choose a separate publisher?

I recall reading somewhere (I believe it was Orson Scott Card's How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy) that you should either stick with one genre or the other. The reason he gave is that if you're ...
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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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275 views

What makes a piece “lyrical”?

I've been thinking about this question for a while. This is my definition of what makes a sentence lyrical: 1. The use of metaphors: So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, ...
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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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341 views

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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89 views

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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1answer
77 views

Should I change POVs in the following case?

I'm writing a story where later on (three or four chapters after) a second main character is introduced. And after that the chapters will alternate between the first MC and this second one. At first I ...
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233 views

How can I create better suspense in this passage?

How can I create suspense in this writing? The Enigmax Stars… I look at them, dream of them… They are so close, and yet, so far… They sparkle like tiny fireflies on the dark canvas of ...
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109 views

Creating Dialogue [closed]

So I've decided to become an Author. Frankly I have respect for the learning curve. My biggest problem that I have run into thus far is the conversations between characters. So I would like to ask ...
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Should I omit the “at first”s in the following pieces?

I discovered I tend to use "at first" a lot: We were reminiscing about our past relationships, and Mrs. Kondo asked Akiko about her first love (she'd only had two in her life: me and her high ...
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103 views

How to maintain an unchanging tone to the narrative while writing collaborative fiction? [duplicate]

Three of us have just finished the first complete draft of our first attempt at collaborative fiction. While the plot and the story are tightly knit, we have are facing trouble in maintaining the tone ...
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30 views

Mixing essay-like opinions with the story

Is it very uncommon or out of place to mix your own opinions within the story lines? Is it uncommon to change the tone from third person and talk to the reader directly? I have read many tips on ...
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Avoiding repeating “I” and “you” in an epistolary piece

I've had two recent ideas for short stories that I feel would be best written as epistolary pieces where the main character is basically giving a monologue. I know that there will be a lot of 'I's and ...
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98 views

How can I develop a whole personality for my characters in my fictional story from personality traits

How can I give the 4 children in my fictional story personality traits? One is a bossy 12 year old girl, one is a 11 year old girl that thinks that life is unfair, one is a 12 year old problem solving ...
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28 views

A ballad or prose? [closed]

I am now planning to start with the third chapter of my novel. I got an interesting idea to write it as a ballad. But I am much better with prose. Will I better off if I continue writing prose or ...
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95 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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238 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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115 views

How political can an author's note be, would the following fly? [closed]

"If the ANC does to you what the apartheid government did to you, then you must do to the ANC what you did to the apartheid government." – Nelson Mandela I wrote this novel in what was at the time my ...
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252 views

How to write a “strong” passage?

By strong I mean causing some reaction on the reader (not necessarily goosebumps, maybe just a small wow). I'm having this problem right now. Example (the bolded part): "He told me about how ...
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60 views

Are the tenses of the following piece correct? [closed]

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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1k views

How do I write my own character sketch?

I have to write a character sketch, and I have to pick an object (example: vase, key, dress, ect.) to base the character on. So the object has to be important, but my professor doesn't want it to be a ...
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Is the following analogy of natural selection effective and clear?

I'm writing a scene where one of the characters is explaining the process of natural selection: “Think of it as a beach full of crab holes of various shapes and sizes, and with little pebbles on ...
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226 views

What are the Criteria that Distinguish a Thriller from Horror?

The criteria that come to mind are not exclusive to horror novels, so I'm a little confused and annoyed (annoyed because I find horror novels scary, and yet just cannot define it logically when I try ...
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136 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 ...
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Need help for developing my sci-fi short film idea [on hold]

I have this idea for a short film class but I couldn't get a full closure yet. The idea is that a university student works late in this computer laboratory in which everything is computer controlled (...