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 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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7answers
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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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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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1answer
81 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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132 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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602 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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320 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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22 views

How to get published? [duplicate]

I am a very keen writer and I have a few stories that I've written, I have no clue as to where to start in order to get my book(s) published, please help.
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1answer
279 views

Structure of a good summary

OK, I admit I suck at writing summaries, but based on those I've checked on Amazon, I've realized the following pattern: The first part starts with a brief introduction of the plot The second part ...
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3answers
338 views

How to depict Australian characters

In my working novel, a character encounters an Aussie. Having nigh-zero knowledge of how to make dialogues in an Australian accent, I just opted to describe that he talks without any hints of an ...
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1answer
166 views

How do I find a ghostwriter for a series of books?

Where do I find ghost writers? It's for a series I am developing for the Kindle singles series, also to be combined and sold as novels. Word count will be 5k - 20k - I am interested in splitting ...
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1answer
692 views

How to format news, poems, text messages, and other kinds of written text?

I always find myself wondering how to format written text: news (on TV and newspapers), text messages (from a cellphone), lyrics, and poems. Right now, I just put them in a new paragraph and italicize ...
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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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2answers
64 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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2answers
110 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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4answers
225 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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5answers
141 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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2answers
115 views

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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1answer
103 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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6answers
413 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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1answer
91 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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3answers
332 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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311 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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2answers
367 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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2answers
90 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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96 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
66 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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267 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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3answers
118 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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3answers
294 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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171 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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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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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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2answers
156 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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113 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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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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118 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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213 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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278 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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1answer
88 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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147 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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266 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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131 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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1answer
104 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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1answer
85 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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225 views

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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133 views

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 ...