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 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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Antagonist motivation help [closed]

My (A)ntagonist (or antagonizing force) in my novel causes a nuclear disaster in a remote nuclear facility. I've decided on certain circumstantial plot points, such as the post-disaster coping of the ...
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63 views

Choosing a word according to its length

Within a moment, a girl approached the table, holding a huge birthday cake with twenty flickering candles on it. They illuminated/lit everything around them, like a cluster of stars in a night ...
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108 views

Is repetition justified in the following piece?

Eri kissed her dad on the cheek, and waved goodbye to him. He entered back into the car, and then drove off, disappearing gradually at the far end of the street. Once he was gone, Eri glanced ...
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207 views

Really Stuck: Writing Dialogue

I am currently working on my first novel so forgive me for making what is probably considered the mistake of a 'novice'. My novel is set in the present, however my antagonist has a history dating back ...
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136 views

Is it better to have a deadline?

A lot of writers I admire say: "I didn't know how long the story would be." Me too, I'm the kind of writer who don't know where (and when) the story is going to end. So I'm confused—is it better to ...
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Writing, my first attempt [closed]

I would like to undertake a project and write a novel, but I'm not sure how should I start. I have the idea, I just don't know the best way to write it down. Should I just open "Word" and write ...
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93 views

Where to publish Edgar Allan Poe style fiction short story?

Does anyone know of any reputable literary magazines which publish this type of short story? I would prefer a magazine that takes free submissions.
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382 views

Is muteness appearing without explicit reason acceptable?

In one of my stories, my main character was once able to speak, but after being alone for 3 or 4 years in his early 20's without speaking a word, he became mute, unable to speak at all. Is this ...
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83 views

Works of fiction containing non-related but constantly alternating narrative streams?

Chapter is set in a particular period in time, having four - at the time - in no way related characters, each of them with their own separate story. My best feeling is these stories should be ...
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328 views

Writing an effective summary for a story

I just published my first short story at Amazon. Although many people downloaded it while in its free promotion days, no one have purchased it yet. People have praised the cover (apparently I design ...
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277 views

Ways of presenting a metaphor/simile/analogy

This is something I wrote (adult content—and very bad description of sex): Strangely, it didn't feel much like sex. I felt we were just exchanging feelings that we couldn't be put into words. ...
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257 views

When to use semicolons and when to use em dashes?

Sometimes I can't decide whether to use a semicolon or a em dash. Usually, I start with semicolons and once I noticed there are too many of them, I start replacing a few with em dashes (as I read ...
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87 views

Is it possible to publish stories with experimental spacing technique? (aka, blank pages, etc.)

I've got a few stories that employ experimental stylistics. The piece that is giving me the most trouble, though, is split up into five sections-- each section begins on its own page. It's hard to ...
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93 views

How much can I talk about other people's works?

Let's say I'm writing a novel set in the future, clearly on Earth, with all the history that has happened through today. Obviously in the real world, there are numerous works of fiction that are ...
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1answer
64 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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Describing a character's panic and confusion

I wrote the following: When I opened my eyes, it was still dark. Half asleep, I got out of bed, and entered the bathroom. As I emptied my bladder, I checked my face in the mirror. For an ...
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219 views

What factors in fiction arouse readers' expectations?

Feedback from my writer's group tells me that my recent stories leave promises unfulfilled and important questions unanswered. So I've become interested in how stories make promises and raise ...
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117 views

Variation in paragraph length

I've learned that variation in sentence length is good. How about paragraph length? I always end up with paragraphs like this: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam ...
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250 views

Does the country matter in a story if it is set in a real one?

So far I've been setting my stories in the country I live: Taiwan. Not because I love my country. In fact, I'm not fond of patriotism. I just figured out it would be easier to describe surroundings ...
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157 views

Opening a story with a reference to what someone just said followed by a setting description

An example: Naomi's words hung in the air as I gazed out of the hotel window. The mountain lay quietly in the dark, like a calm, sleeping giant. A cluster of city lights glittered beyond. In ...
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70 views

Using “his/her” vs using “the” to refer to objects in the character's home

I usually have a hard time deciding whether to use his/her or the to refer to an object in a character's home. Examples: When Mark entered his apartment, he realized his radio was turned on. ...
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170 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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138 views

Does the following piece have too much dry narration (mundane tasks, moving about)?

Tsuki woke up to the morning sun that entered through the window. She yawned and sat on the side of the bed, rubbing her eyes. The clock on the wall said half past ten. She brushed her teeth, ...
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106 views

Is it a bad idea to use a culture-specific word in the title of a story?

I wrote a short story long ago called The End of the World. I thought the title was too common so I renamed it to The Kid with the Gigaku Mask and the End of the World. But then, I found that title to ...
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187 views

How specific should I be when outlining the plot?

One problem I often run into when trying to make a general outline of the plot for a story is how specific I am in the descriptions of events. Generally, this happens when I have written a portion of ...
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116 views

Dream analysis research

I am currently writing a short story/novella. This piece of fiction describes a child who has vivid dreams. His dreamworld starts to blend with the real world by him being able to manipulate his ...
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155 views

Basing fiction on personal life

I had in mind to use threads from my own life as a foundation for work, keeping much of the incidents, traits and all, but building upon them in a potentially different direction. What are the ...
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233 views

Background speech with foreground dialogue

A few days ago, I stumbled upon an issue of the type; meaning I had two characters talking between themselves and another character talking in the background; actually delivering a speech. What the ...
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80 views

Does this excerpt strike a balance between the formality of steampunk and accessible writing?

I'm having a bit of trouble, since I'm writing in a semi-new genre. I ordinarily write fantasy with a modern-day setting, but my latest experiment is steampunk set in not-exactly-Earth, so it has a ...
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140 views

Should I write about how the character solved some riddle or let the reader solve it himself

"Reaching an end to his path, Eric found a locked door, the lock was a combination of 4 numbers, and above the doorknob a script explaining the lock : 'finishing four circles, a lost day is found' " ...
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229 views

Does this qualify as a prelude or prologue?

In the story I'm writing i have a 2k word chapter that will either be attached to my fourth chapter or be a prelude. (prologue? I'm not really sure what the difference is or if there is one.) My issue ...
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119 views

What constitutes historical fantasy?

I'm writing a trilogy set 80% in Italy and 20% in other European countries. Each novel incorporates real historical characters and fantasy elements (a magical object, real/imagined symbols, ...
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103 views

What type of writing would this fall under?

Would this be considered prose, or poetry? The reason I ask is because someone had told me that I should submit it to a magazine but I don't know what kind, if any would look at it. I write it about ...
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78 views

Effect of real world brands and/or places on story tone

This is based on that question, but from a tone point of view. Let's say I have a story taking place in a near-future version of Boston, characters are meeting for coffee. I have no issue saying ...
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Writing from the middle

My biggest problem as a writer is that I always get inspired and then start writing from the middle, in particular scenes or moments which I think will be crucial. Climaxes. These scenes turn out ...
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Does inclusion of significant quotations from literature make a novel harder to publish?

I'm considering using quotations (a sentence to a paragraph) from various pieces of literature at the beginning of each chapter of my novel. The quotations connect thematically to the events of the ...
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Flashback or dream as a means of hinting at more going on than meets the eye

I plan to use a dream or flashback as a way to show the reader the story has more going on behind the scenes. As well to sprinkle in a little of my main characters back-story. I haven't written it ...
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507 views

Is it true that men (in general) can't write female first-person?

I think I first saw that statement in an answer to this question. Men cannot, in general, write female first-person. I gave it a thought, and realized there was some truth in it; I've read ...
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151 views

Tracing dependencies and emergent plotholes during edits

The fiction I write currently hit a major snag and needs a big overhaul of a major part of the story. A whole, large thread is being injected, a second conflict running in parallel with the main one ...
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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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168 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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Should dull dialogue be removed completely?

The following dialogue is from a novel I'm writing (first draft): "You're quiet tonight," Erin said to Benjamin, who seemed to be lost in thoughts. He looked up and took a sip of his drink. ...
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284 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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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 ...
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421 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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193 views

Do the characters in the following dialogue sound the same?

The following unedited dialogue is from a novel I'm writing (which is based on a short story I wrote a while ago): "I hope it's not an inappropriate question," Icaro said, after hesitating for a ...
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Writing exercises to practice the art of giving unique voice to characters?

I've read many blogs which teach you how to give a unique voice to each of your characters. I feel I understand how to do it, but I think I'm a little stuck in the voice I've been using since I ...
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What is the difference between “creative writing” and “fiction writing”?

My college offers many writing courses. I notice, one course is called "Creative Writing" and another is called "Fiction Writing". What is the difference between creative writing and fiction writing?
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Gadgets that make the world/story broken

Every so often I see a nice piece of fiction where its author adds something (to save the plot, or to make it interesting, whatever) that makes the story broken (usually it makes the world, setting or ...