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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How to travel in a government restricted setting? [closed]

So my fantasy story starts out with two characters travelling by foot through endless woods. They can't take the roads because of an oppressive like government, but the woods are apparently safe. But ...
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367 views

What exactly do I do to get published?

I'm interested to know what the publishing process exactly entails for future reference. I'm in my last year of school and I recently finished my first substantial piece of creative writing (a subject ...
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135 views

Do novels that are set in not-so-famous countries sell less?

By not-so-famous countries I mean those you don't usually find in novels, movies, TV, magazines, etc. One example is Chile (the place I was born). I'm not sure about America/Europe but if you go to ...
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1answer
778 views

How to effectively jump from one period of time to another in a short story?

This is the first time I'm writing something that jumps from one period of time to another in a short story: The field was vast and empty, like a green abandoned planet. Icaro and Maru were ...
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350 views

How to achieve a dark and nostalgic feeling/setting in a novel?

I don't want to scare the reader, but I would like to produce a dark and nostalgic feeling. Pretty much the feeling that gives you this video (both image and music). The setting of my novel is a ...
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“Where did X go?” vs “where had X gone.”

Which one should be used for a story written in the past tense? Example: But just as I was about to consider that possibility, I spotted something: a blood-stained feather. It was caught between ...
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2answers
54 views

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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3answers
301 views

Is there a known technique for giving your readers chills?

Some of my favorite stories send shivers through my body every time I reread them. For example, "Bullet in the Brain" by Tobias Wolff, "The Third and Final Continent" by Jhumpa Lahiri, and the end of ...
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Is the following repetition unnecessary?

I peered through the glass. It was a bird. At first I thought it was a crow because of its black feathers; they were so black they shone in the moonlight like a pair of sword blades. ...
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475 views

Using “he/she” instead of “it” for animals

I'm writing a short story. The main character is visited by a strange black bird during the night (first draft): I glanced around but there was no sign of the bird. I didn't spot it in any ...
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3answers
132 views

Is the following passage confusing?

They following is from a short story I'm writing. The main character and his friend are sitting in a bar while discussing about the the former's wife: “I see,” he said, thinking this over, as if ...
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I feel my protagonist is too “detached” from the main plot. What should I do?

Here's a summary of the plot: The main character goes to a mountain to visit his half-sister. He hasn't seen her in years. She went there to undergo a spiritual healing. Later he discovers her ...
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498 views

What is “head popping” and why is it bad?

Most of my writing experience has been with first person, nonfiction stories. Now I want to try some fiction. I'm working in third person, but I'm a little bit confused about how to pull something ...
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How can I get rid of the “things” in the following passage?

“Good. You've done your homework.” The girl turned around and started inspecting a decaying tree, as if checking its health. “Funny, isn't? How nature can make us do things that don't benefit ...
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1answer
206 views

Is my writing 'disjointed', and if so how can I fix it?

First page of my fantasy novel. I'm told my writing is disjointed and jerky, but have no idea in what way! And it's driving me crazy that I don't know where the holes in my boat are so I can't really ...
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When should one *not* present events in chronological order?

Some stories tell well from beginning to end, all in a neat little line...and some don't. When can a story be improved by using a different order in the telling? Off the top of my head, I'd say ...
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1answer
129 views

What is the standard editorial timeline for genre fiction novels?

I'm signed with a publisher working on my first genre fiction novel. The editor is driving me crazy not getting her work done and putting the rewrites on me at the last minute up against the ...
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Should one avoid overusing “it” in prose?

The next morning I went to the forest—not the mini-scale forest but the real one. It extended miles and miles around the house. We were well aware of it when Akiko and I bought the house. In ...
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1answer
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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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1answer
93 views

Hypothetical interview with Jesus Christ. Has to be deep? [closed]

I'm thinking on writing a short story of a non-religious person asking questions to an alternate version of Jesus. Do His answers must be of a deep meaning or could I just write anything as his word ...
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3answers
120 views

I'm a new author and I have three projects with complete drafts. Which one should I focus on first?

I'm a new author and, for some strange circumstances, I ended up finishing three stories (first drafts): Ghost Earthquake Eri misses an earthquake that hits her city. She doesn't remember what ...
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2answers
105 views

Writing in between dream sequences

I am writing a story in which a set of events occurred that the main character cannot remember, but they come back to him in his dreams. Basically the entire actual story takes place in his dreams, ...
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Can a book be written without an antagonist?

I have had this thought running through my head and wondered what your thoughts were on it. Can a book, a story I should say, be written without an antagonist or antagonistic theme? I have an idea ...
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6answers
358 views

What can I use instead of “but” and “however”?

I just noticed I tend to use "but" and 'however" in almost every paragraph. Examples (all of them are from the same story): I almost let everything out. But, funny, I didn't. I didn't want him ...
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5answers
183 views

Putting a dialogue a tag before a quote

Sometimes I see stuff like this: X said, "..." "..." X did this, and then said, "..." Is it used to just vary sentence structure? Or to make dialogue more readable or smoother in certain ...
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What are good examples of backstory in natural dialogue?

Does anyone have good examples from modern day fiction where backstory is given to the reader in a "good" way? I'm trying to get a feel for what sounds natural in writing. In real life there are ...
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288 views

Where to draw the line between being descriptive and getting on with the story?

I have loved writing since early in high school and it has helped me tremendously, not only in my emotional well being, but also in music. I have started writing on a lot of things, which I wanted to ...
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3answers
104 views

Can i use the name of a real UK Prime Minister in a fictional Novel? [duplicate]

I am writing a fictional novel that rewrites history surrounding the Gulf war. It involves at one point the actions of the english Prime Minister at the time. In the novel he takes us to war with Iraq ...
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4answers
543 views

Can I use real presidents (past and present) and real companies in a fictional story?

I'm not sure if I want to use real people and companies or make up an entirely different world with different people, presidents, and companies than our real world. If I did the latter I would offer ...
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200 views

How to avoid formulaic fictional structures while still using tried and tested techniques?

There are several books that provide an excellent breakdown of the elements that make a good story or script. For example, The Writer's Journey by Christopher Volger identifies common archtypes and ...
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2answers
121 views

Am I providing enough information to keep the reader gripped?

This is the opening of a short story I'm writing (second draft): A deep silence enveloped the room as the words escaped from my mouth. I turned to the side to look at Akiko. She was staring ...
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2answers
126 views

Is it possible to turn a cliche into something original?

I always try to avoid cliches as much as I can. But sometimes I just can't; they seem to be the perfect bridge between one scene and the other. For example, in the current novel I'm writing, the ...
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Will my readers find it hard to care/identify with a character who seems to lack human emotions?

I'm writing my first novel. One of the main characters was born without a soul. This is her description, which also reflects her personality: She had long black hair, crimson red lips, and a ...
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Balancing character levity in a serious narrative

I am looking for examples of authors who manage to have sarcastic/funny characters exist in a very serious, end of the world type of scenario. The issue I am trying to resolve is when I write ...
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2answers
155 views

Is it bad idea to directly state the message/moral of a story?

I realized I tend to state directly the message/moral of the story in my stories (as dialogue in most of the cases). My plots are rather ambiguous, though. And I use a lot of metaphors/symbols so the ...
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1answer
98 views

Perspective and Balance with Multiple Characters

I am working on a piece of fiction and am having some difficulty locking down which perspective/s to utilize. The main issue at hand is that I have 4 characters that will play "lead" roles and ...
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3answers
112 views

Rewriting an existing story (fable) to fit it within my fantasy universe

My antagonist sends my protagonist a note that says "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil". Obviously, this is the story of the the three wise monkeys, but I'd like this to relate to something ...
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6answers
1k views

Examples for books that don't use (traditional) chapters? [closed]

I'm a big fan of Terry Pratchett, and he doesn't use chapters (mostly). Are there any other authors who don't or tend to not use chapters?
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972 views

Third-person objective in action scene

I'm telling a story in third-person objective, the first part being basically an objective description of events around a certain character. I got to a brief action scene, and it fell flat. What the ...
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91 views

Where should I go with this short story? [closed]

I've been working on this piece for about a week in a creative writing workshop. We need to wrap up our current stories at a minimum of six pages to a maximum of eight pages. I've always had a tough ...
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193 views

Variation in humor among ethnic/cultural groups

Back when Bill Clinton was President of the United States, Al Franken (formerly a Saturday Night Live comedian, now a US Senator) gave him lessons in comedy. He needed these lessons because the press ...
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312 views

What are the pros and cons of building the setting before the characters and story

I have a science-fiction setting I have been kicking around for sometime, but I am not sure how to go about fleshing out events or characters that would make for stories within this setting. What are ...
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5answers
310 views

How can I write a tragedy for children?

In direction of one of the most famous stories of Hans Christian Andersen "The Little Match Girl", I want to write a tragedy for children; a story dealing with children who are suffering and who may ...
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7answers
1k views

Problem: Scenes that are unavoidable, but boring

More specifically: Two of my book series' main characters are (temporarily) diplomats. It's unavoidable to the progress of the plot. But diplomacy is inherently slow and boring. So, the general ...
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7answers
4k views

What is the difference between writing in the first and the third person?

What kind of story is better suited for each one? Are there advantages or disadvantages inherent to each form? For example, writing in the first person you are always following a character, while in ...
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5answers
180 views

How to handle a character when she is lying about her name

I am in the midst of writing my second NaNo novel, and I have encountered a problem I didn't anticipate. It is similar to this question, about changing a character's name in the middle of a story, but ...
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1answer
112 views

When it's forgivable to use “suddenly” and “all of a sudden?” [duplicate]

Unless the answer is never, when is it excusable to use those two? I think someone told me it was a sin for a writer to use them. I wonder this because one of my favorite writer used it in one of his ...
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131 views

Worried that my opening is not gripping enough

This is the beginning of a novel I'm writing (not the final draft): The hiking trail consisted of pairs of uneven stone steps. On both sides, tall coniferous trees extended tall into the sky, ...
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1answer
80 views

What are the stages of The Guardian's Journey?

In constructing a story, I plan on following the following patterns: The Hero's Journey: The Hero's Journey The Villain's Quest: The Villain's Quest My question is, what would be the structure of ...
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660 views

Is it plausible to get a contract with an US/UK publisher as a foreigner?

Looking for some insight in the publishing industry. Is it even remotely plausible to get published in with an English-language publishing house (UK/US), when you're not a national nor a resident of ...