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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

7
votes
2answers
454 views

How to identify a scene type?

What are the main types in which a scene can be classified, and what are the key concepts for each type? I am thinking something along the following (guessing the descriptions): suspense - scene ...
7
votes
4answers
499 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
256 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
155 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 ...
6
votes
7answers
2k views

Is it bad to include subplots that don't push the story forward?

I want to add a few chapters that don't push the story forward; they only explore the background and motivations of the characters. The best example I can think of is the Fly episode in Breaking Bad. ...
6
votes
9answers
391 views

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. ...
6
votes
7answers
4k views

In what order should I describe a setting?

For instance I'm describing the park of an art museum in a foggy day. I'm not sure if I should start with the fog, wind, grass, threes, walking paths, buildings, stairs or something else. Is there a ...
6
votes
4answers
531 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
361 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
4k views

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 ...
6
votes
5answers
418 views

How to show characters learning something in a non-boring way?

Okay so I want to write a fiction where a character is learning something, for example a language, such as Japanese. I want to show the entire process of learning the language with all the details ...
6
votes
6answers
678 views

How to introduce a world that's alien to the reader

I'm writing sort of a space-opera and I was wondering what would the best way to explain everthing about the world to my readers. The story is kind of a political intrigue, and it would be very easy ...
6
votes
4answers
316 views

Italicize part of a word in fiction?

I am wondering if I can or should take a bit of stylistic license and italicize just part of a word: He took a sharp turn back into a side street, and collided hard with something that sent him ...
6
votes
6answers
2k 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?
6
votes
4answers
269 views

How can I work more efficiently when writing multiple pieces of fiction at the same time?

I'm working on multiple pieces of fiction at the same time, and finding it very difficult. When writing one piece at a time, I'm able to devote my passing time to thinking about the one subject I ...
6
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
134 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
324 views

Is it ok to be autobiographical with a main character?

This question really comes down to a personal issue I've had present in my fiction. I'm still very new as far as being a writer is concerned. So a few (if not all) of my main characters seem to be ...
6
votes
2answers
685 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
318 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
812 views

Can someone explain set pieces?

I was using a book in a writing group that talked about set pieces, but I never really got a clear idea of what it is or how they're supposed to appear in writing. My impression was that you have a ...
6
votes
1answer
108 views

What are the poetry/quotes at the start of a chapter/book called?

For instance, "A Rasin in the Sun" starts with the poem "Harlem." I've noticed many (mostly contemporary) novels will start chapters with pieces of Poetry or quotes that are completely separate from ...
6
votes
2answers
197 views

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 ...
6
votes
2answers
145 views

Has anyone tried “pair writing” before and been published?

Most of the time when two people write a book, one person is doing the majority of the writing and the other is critiquing or helping with the plot or providing technical information that the real ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

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 ...
6
votes
4answers
397 views

The backstory's overwhelming the actual story

I have a character with a grim past (forced to watch torture). I need him to have that grim past in order to explain his behaviour in the story I am writing now: characters who did not know his past ...
6
votes
3answers
180 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
303 views

Pros and cons of using real brand/company names?

Examples: Mary sat in front of the computer and fired up Google. Mary sat in front of the computer and fired up the search engine. Jack started up his old car. Jack started up his ...
6
votes
1answer
174 views

Shared worlds: are there any good collaborative sites out there?

Writing is something that I have wanted to do for some time, and I know that I don't currently have the skill set to do more than putter. Are there any shared world story sites that exist? A ...
6
votes
1answer
266 views

Legal effect of standard fiction disclaimer

Does the standard fiction disclaimer (... any resemblance to persons living or dead...) have any legal effect? I am most interested in citations of reasonably authoritative legal opinions. Especially ...
5
votes
6answers
1k views

How do I re-interest myself in a plot I am working on?

I've been working on my plot for almost a year now and every time I open my Excel sheet (yes,I know its odd to plot a novel in an Excel sheet but I find it's kind of a clean and clutter free ...
5
votes
8answers
1k views

What to do with cliched metaphors?

Example from my own writing: "Please take care of yourself," she replied. "Health is the most important thing in life, remember that." "I know, Mom." I had already lost count of the number ...
5
votes
7answers
365 views

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 ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

“Thought” Verbs: A sign of weak writing or a stylistic choice?

According to Chuck Palahniuk you should avoid "Thought" verbs as much as you can. These include: knew, thought, realized, believed, etc. However, I've seen many of them in books that I read. And I ...
5
votes
4answers
527 views

Writing about extreme trauma

I've just written a chapter in which one of my protags witnesses her entire family massacred during an invasion of her home city. This is obviously an extremely traumatic and horrifying event, and in ...
5
votes
3answers
311 views

Slow openings: What is it about this Neil Gaiman opening that pulls the reader in?

I was blogging about opening lines the other day, and looking for examples. I came across the opening to American Gods, and realized that it's neither flashy nor something that will grab the reader in ...
5
votes
5answers
457 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 ...
5
votes
6answers
464 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
559 views

Can novels have twist endings?

Can a novel have a twist at the end? Sure, a short story can be well written towards a not-so-obvious twist, but a 200+ page novel...can yo sudden;y whip it around at the end and change the ending ...
5
votes
2answers
430 views

Any suggestions to improve these three introductory paragraphs of a novel I'm writing (e.g. writing style, description and flow)?

These are the paragraphs: Someone had called me at half past eleven. The phone rang six times breaking the silence and darkness of the room for about ten or twelve seconds. I didn’t pick up. ...
5
votes
2answers
180 views

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, ...
5
votes
3answers
270 views

What's the best way to punctuate a list with an comma-containing item?

Examples: She looked tough: pieced nose, broad eyebrows, tousled hair, almost spiky. I tried picturing him: his tiny body swinging above the ground, his eyes bloodshot, almost popping ...
5
votes
4answers
98 views

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 ...
5
votes
5answers
271 views

When mentioning two items in a sentence, should I specify which one I'm referring to in the next one?

This is a bit complicated to explain. Here's an example: She had green eyes and extremely curly hair. It looked like a cluster of ferns in a mountain forest. OK, that was an awful metaphor, ...
5
votes
1answer
467 views

Alternative word for “she”

I am writing about a female person. I noticed most of my sentences start with "she". Is there a way to avoid using this pronoun too many times, and use an alternative word instead? I have tried ...
5
votes
3answers
340 views

Deciding the setting: real or invented?

I'm preparing some material because I have the intention of writing a book. I'd do this in every type of work, but considering that I'm writing Crime Fiction, this is even more important. I've ...
5
votes
3answers
209 views

What is the name of the genre of stories with multiple realities?

The movie "Sucker Punch" and the "Once Upon a time" series make it hard to distinguish what state of reality is the "real" one (not that it matters). In "Fixing the Shadow" we encountered a character ...
5
votes
3answers
6k views

What is the recomended word-count for a fantasy-fiction book?

By recommended I mean what is the standard for it to be not too long and not too short. I know I should write until I am finished but I want to take practicality into account as well. Mainly when the ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
828 views

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 ...