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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Killing off a character: deciding if, when and how

Killing off a character is a serious issue. Secondary characters or even extras can pass away without too much negative response from the readers but main characters are a whole different matter. It ...
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Keeping track of multiple plot lines

How do you track several plot lines woven together? I usually run 2 or 3 plot-lines in parallel, so I detail those plots each in a separate document. But as the book goes on, it is sometimes ...
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5answers
601 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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3answers
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Pros ans cons of writing a plot based on the present and past tense (character's point of view)?

I'm not sure if I should write my first book in the present or past tense. The book is about a doctor in a clinic who is analysing his patients. e.g. I said, VS I say. I thought for a while ...
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2answers
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Should a flashback be in past tense or past perfect?

Assuming the story itself is in past tense, normally when I go further into the past I'd use past perfect: He had first met her at the grocery store, six months prior. However, which is more ...
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279 views

Building empathy with a character and interest in a story

I've written several chapters of a (fiction) story. I wasn't happy so I spent some time reading about fiction, and trying to figure out what was wrong with it. I came to the conclusion that, while ...
14
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6answers
468 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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7answers
562 views

Should you read your own genre?

In terms of novel writing, I tend to avoid my own genre, at least for the most part. Some of the reasons why: Genre Blindness / Genre Trap: Too much reading of your own genre blinds you to the ...
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2answers
474 views

Out of this world… Giving it time?

I am starting to write a fantasy story. For the first time, i am using computer software to help organize my story. The program confronted me with a question. What is the birthday of a character? ...
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5answers
328 views

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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6answers
424 views

I am a 16 year old who wants to be a writer, but can I?

I'm 16 years old and I've wrote about 4 to 5 different books. I have two that I think would be good enough for the public to read. I've been writing stories since I was 10. I want to be published but ...
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Character details of male archetypes

In this link about character development, the author describes basic male archetypes that are found in a romance novel. http://www.likesbooks.com/eight.html My question is: although this is very ...
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1answer
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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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3answers
627 views

Can your current work of fiction be influenced by a sequel?

Most works of fiction are influenced by back stories. Can that also be true for envisioned sequels? I was working on a screenplay in which a female suit rises to the top of the company and is ...
4
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1answer
933 views

When to use the character's name and when to use she/he?

This is the first short story where I'm using actual names for the characters. Here is a sample: "Sorry for the question," Jun said. "But why don' you have friends?" Ling glanced at him, then ...
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4answers
951 views

How best to handle revealing a main character's name midway through a long story in close-third person?

I'm writing a novel, and it's written in close third person perspective, very much sitting on the shoulder of one main character and privy to their thoughts. There is another very important character ...
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5answers
261 views

Is this excerpt's style too matter-of-fact?

I get the feeling that this blurb is too... expositiony, not enough description. Too much "this happened and then this happened and then this happened". But I'm notoriously bad at evaluating myself - ...
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4answers
711 views

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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5answers
165 views

Is it a good idea to make the protagonist pull themselves together

Is it a good idea, to make the protagonist pull themselves together at a point in a work of fiction. I've been writing a novel, and for practically the entire first half the main protagonist has been ...
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6answers
983 views

Introducing the hero first?

In the book I'm writing, the first character I introduce dies before the end of the chapter. She is the girlfriend of my hero and is setting up their date before her untimely end. The hero is also ...
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3answers
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How does one include sign language in a dialogue?

If one character is using sign language and lip reading while the other is speaking normally, how do you represent the lines of the former? Quotations with "he signed" attribution or italics? E.g. ...
9
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4answers
172 views

How to share the work, if writing fiction in a team?

How should one split up the work between two people? Should one write the even-numbered chapters and the other the odd-numbered? Does each person tell the story from the point of view of a different ...
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747 views

What to do if I can't meet my chapter word count?

I usually set a word count goal for each of my chapters, say 2000 words. But sometimes I can't meet that goal, for any number of reasons. What should I do: A. Continue anyway, and hope to increase ...
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2answers
344 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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6answers
655 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
226 views

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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5answers
227 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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285 views

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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6answers
327 views

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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2answers
265 views

What is the difference between a complication/twist and a situation?

I have recently read an article (The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, chapter 7) concerning plot twists, or complications. It discusses the difference between twists and mere situations. The ...
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3answers
341 views

Is it OK to have two different POVs in a same paragraph (third-person omniscient narrator)?

This is my first time writing a third-person omniscient narrator. And just got stucked in a dilemma. This is the opening of the story: Once again Kuo found himself standing face to face with ...
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3answers
820 views

What work better for the following piece of writing? Past or present tense?

I'm writing a short story but I'm not sure whether to write it in the past or the present tense. This is the opening paragraph: Sophia was awakened by the rattling sound of her washing machine. ...
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Does this beginning hook the reader?

Guide lines Q no. 4: This is supposed to be the opening part, but certainly not the whole of the first chapter or page for that matter... I'm not exactly sure anyone would take 30 seconds to read ...
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Adding breaks in a novel—spaces, asterisks, or a chapter break?

I am editing my first novel and wherever I find a natural break in the story, I add a few spaces. I want to go back and adjust what types of breaks those are, but how best to represent those spaces in ...
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3answers
401 views

How to improve this introductory paragraph (to fit writing standards and grab the reader's attention)?

A clock is striking 4:00am at a psychiatric clinic. The darkness, the silence, and absence of people makes it look like a morgue. A young mental health professional is sitting in a chair ...
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1answer
236 views

How to decide if a plot twist worth doing?

There's a major piece of information in my story, which I could either make tell right away - or else keep it a secret, and use it as a plot twist later. I'm having a hard time choosing which way to ...
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1answer
80 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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5answers
391 views

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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2answers
246 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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2answers
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Opening paragraphs of a short story set in an aquarium

I'm writing a short story about a schoolgirl who is visiting an aquarium (this setting is connected with her past and with the conflict of the story). Sophia found herself walking through a glass ...
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2answers
223 views

First conversation scenes I've written (looking for errors, conventions, and improvements according to writing standards)

I would like to know if I'm doing something wrong (according to writing standards) in the following conversation and how to improve it to help readability, quality and feeling (making it more ...
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Is the Concept of “Machine of Death” Copyrighted?

I am a fan of the book "Machine of Death"; http://machineofdeath.net/pdf/MachineofDeath_FINAL.pdf PDF Page 452 of the above link details the copyright for the material contained within the book. ...
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1answer
108 views

Are there stories where characters are supposed to “grow” into another character?

The kind of story I would be thinking of is a version of "Cinderella," in which the newly crowned princess is asked by the prince to act as the "fairy godmother" to some other downtrodden young lady. ...
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416 views

How long can a prologue be, and what should you not do?

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 not ...
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2answers
99 views

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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3answers
198 views

Female Pet Names that a Londoner might use

I was wondering about female pet names, like darling, sweetie, pet, babe etc. One of my characters refers to his other half as "pet" but I've been told that this is common to the North East (UK). As ...
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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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1answer
178 views

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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116 views

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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3 short stories that can be turned into a novel. Should I pick the one with best reviews?

I wrote 3 short stories a long time ago, and I realized there's still room to expand them. Recently I made the decision to write a novel with the purpose of starting a writing career. So my plan is to ...