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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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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Can a male writer write from a female perspective? [duplicate]

The question is pretty straightforward. Can a male writer write a first person story of a female protagonist? What limitations might he face in writing about the other gender? Should he just stick to ...
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Should I use ideas for my story now, or in a sequel?

I have built a world in which to write my fantasy book, and I'm currently writing my first book about it. I have it all planned out and am in the process of writing it. I have plans for a further book ...
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How can I make believable motivations for antagonists?

I am writing a book. However, I can't quite wrap my head around making my character do bad things, while still making their actions and/or motivations for their actions believable. Here is an ...
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How do I create different speaking styles for my characters? [duplicate]

In my fiction writing, how do I create individual speaking styles for my characters? It is more than giving one or two of them an accent or dialect. What techniques do you use to vary the structure, ...
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How do you decide whether to use the infinitive or -ing version of a verb?

Example: Three months had passed since she started to avoid me. Three months had passed since she started avoiding me. Right now, what I do is to search for the phrase with the most results ...
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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 ...
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60 views

Degree of symmetry in lists

For example, is the flow disrupted or does it sound weird if only one of the items has an adjective? My understanding of zoology was poor, but I knew animals would do everything to survive; ...
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How to decide where to break a novel

I'm writing a book which was initially intended to be a duology and I had a fixed storyline with the path completely clear. In this story, I introduce 2 characters - one major, introduced at the ...
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Is it OK to omit the following “grammatical rules” in fiction? [closed]

Okay, I'm not sure if they are "rules" or "grammatical", but here they go: After a while our necks began to ache, so we sat on the rest chairs behind (us). I liked it here. The air was fresh and ...
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Multiple POV novel - introducing rules of magic

I have an urban fantasy story that is told from multiple view points. I'm wondering on the best way to introduce the rules of magic within this piece of work? I have about 10 points of view total ...
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Using “and/or” in a manuscript

I've used "and/or" in my writings in the past, but not for fiction manuscripts. Is it acceptable to use this? It's internal narration in a character's head and intended to have a bit of morbid humor ...
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Should I use ellipses in narration?

I want to indicate a dramatic pause in the narration of my fiction, but the rules I've read say that ellipses are reserved for "" quoted dialog. This would be the example I'm looking at: ...
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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 ...
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4answers
116 views

Can I legally use experimental items in my book? [closed]

I am looking to write a book and include real experimental weapons and aircrafts. Is this possible or could I be sued. Say for example if the american government had a prototype aircraft that was ...
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0answers
54 views

Can I name any popular place name etc in my fiction? [duplicate]

In my novel, I've a hotel scene where a grand wedding is taking place, some reference to other novels that my protagonists love to read and also different songs that my protagonist listens. Can I name ...
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What's the initial small caps rule of this book?

I want to use the same initial small cap rule of The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. But I still can't figure it out. Some examples: TALKING HEADS’ Fear of Music is on my record player, so I lower ...
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2answers
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Is it OK for a first person narrator to directly state the other character's emotions?

Example: I gasped. Tom swallowed. He was also surprised by the maid's sudden appearance. In this case the narrator is directly talking about Tom's feelings. I gasped. Tom swallowed. He also ...
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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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Do words like “start”, “realize”, and “decide” add ambiguity to actions?

My heart started to race. Did the heart actually race or not yet? Later that night, I realized I couldn't sleep. Did the person try to sleep? Or knew that before even trying? We ...
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Using a foreign language that uses a different written alphabet

What is the best way to incorporate a different language that uses another alphabet into a fiction manuscript? I am trying to use Russian in an English manuscript, but I don't know if I should use the ...
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4answers
284 views

How to write romance without falling into cliché?

A few examples of romance clichés: A is in love with B, but doesn't dare to tell him/her. After some chasing, A finally has sex with B (and the sex is fantastic). Love triangle: A loves B, B loves ...
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1answer
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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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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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A grand scheme or destiny in literature

There's one thing in literature that no matter how cliche or over used it might be, I always find very compelling. For example, when a story unfolds as if there is a larger force at work moving all of ...
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How do I write numbers in dialogue?

My proofreader recently revealed to me the following, which I was wholly unaware of: ...when a number/code/serial or whatever is said in dialogue, you write the whole thing out... I had written ...
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Commenting on blogs and forums

I'm working on a project for company's upcoming book. We thought it would be cool for me to ccomment on blogs and forums as one of the lead child characters. Do you foresee that as being a problem, ...
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Starting Out a Novel [closed]

Would it be more effective to the reader to start out a novel explaining the setting and scenery or, introducing the characters?
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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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4answers
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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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Should I create my own ConLang for my story?

For my story I'm writing some of the characters speak a different language from the protagonists. Should I actually create a ConLang (constructed language) for them and use it in dialog OR should ...
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310 views

Fiction writing: is using Git overkill? [duplicate]

Hope this question isn't off-topic because it involves programming software (for some reason I think many people in this site has used Git, though). Git is a revision control software to keeps track ...
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6answers
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Am I making the writing too complex?

My story is of a fantasy world where the wars of several species have all been fought, lost, and the protagonist is writing his journal from inside a jail cell. The writing he does can't be erased. I ...
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How ordinary must my protagonist be if the book is written from his/her point of view?

What I've found in most books I've read is that the protagonist is "normal" and/or "average" (at least in the beginning). I believe this is because most readers should be able to relate to the ...
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Should I drop the quotation marks in a chapter that consists mostly on a character telling a story?

The structure looks like this: Chapter 10 (...) And so Cath began telling me her tale. Which turned out to be grimmer than I'd expected. Chapter 11 "I've been suffering from ...
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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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Does “reversing” characters provide enough of a “disconnect ”to defend against a libel suit?

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were fictional, of course, but Lauren Ipsum has convinced me that if they were real people, a story about a "drug-using detective and his MD sidekick" might expose a ...
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1answer
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Changing location in a fiction story with two or more story lines happening at same time

In my novel I have many different story lines that are happening at the same time. If I have one scene that takes seven pages and then flips to another scene that actually happened at the same time ...
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Alternating names

Example: The cat was lying on a cat bed, barely visible under the blankets, an IV wrapped around one of her front legs. Judging by the triangular shape of her head, her black nose ears and ...
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Resource for someone better at editing than writing

(I had a previous question, closed as too opinion-based, about being a better editor than writer. I wasn't able to rescue that one, but I thought I'd take a try at a related question.) I am an ...
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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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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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How/When to include twists when developing plot.

Disclaimer: This is a new question, not an extension of my other questions concerning twists. When I develop fiction, I start with a premise and a theme. I have a general idea of where I'm headed, ...
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1answer
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Omitting pronouns and possessive adjectives in fiction

When is OK to omitting pronouns and possessive adjectives in fiction? Examples: She called me that weekend while I was cleaning my apartment. She called me that weekend while cleaning my ...
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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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2answers
189 views

Can a Town/City Sue an Author for a Bad Portrayal in Fiction?

Lets say we choose a random town off of google maps on which to base a story where the local authorities (we won't say police, or whatnot, but local authorities) perform an investigation that is ...
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353 views

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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What does being “heavy handed” mean? And how does one avoid it?

I've come across the term "heavy handed" before, and it seems to be one of the more egregious mistakes that one can make while writing - at least that's the impression I get from critics. What does ...
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How do I start using my heart over my head?

A little bit of background: I am trained as a electrical engineer and the more analytical stuff comes very easily to me. I've become way too analytical in my everyday life, always searching for ...
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190 views

Should I “spanglish” a Mexican character's dialogue?

I am working on a novel based in Mexico, and I am wondering if there are any strong opinions on whether or not I should put common phrases of speech in spanish even though all characters are speaking ...