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 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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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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Use of realism in a fictional setting

I am writing a fictional novel. It is set in many fictional places and the book will have it's own set of rules of physics. However, I feel that if I lose the sense of realism too much there will be ...
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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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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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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 ...
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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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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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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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241 views

Is it a bad habit to write “something” too much? If so, how to get rid of it?

I just realized my prose is filled with somethings. Here are some examples: I was already too far away to go back, and I figured the dog (if it'd been a real one) had ran back to where it had ...
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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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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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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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362 views

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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366 views

What are frequently used arguments for recognizing bad writing styles in fiction?

I ve heard randomly of remarks used to explain why a writing style is bad. for instance by the argument that a writing style is bad because of the usage of adjectives. Could you provide further ...
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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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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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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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2answers
61 views

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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5answers
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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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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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4answers
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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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506 views

How much repetition is too much repetition?

This is a question that'd been bothering me for a while. Here's an example: My heart racing, I wriggled to the edge of the bed and fumbled for Travis' hand. Just make sure to hold onto it, he'd ...
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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 ...
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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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Naming my character

I am a beginner, would like to know if I can start a short story calling my main character "he" and then introduce his name later. If so when is a good time to do this?
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363 views

Being a non-native English writer how can i improve my English Writing style? [duplicate]

I'm an Indian and trying to write a novel based on 2 sisters. My problem is that i don't feel very comfortable with my english sometimes. How can i improve my english? And sometimes i use the same ...
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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 ...
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175 views

“This” vs “that” in past tense narrative [closed]

Here are some examples (first person past tense): "Well, goodby then." After saying this/that, he picked up his hat and ran out door. I let his words sink in my head. To fight alone. Was ...
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493 views

“That's when” vs “That was when.”

Should I use the former or the latter in a story written in first-person past tense? Example: My heart started to race, my adrenaline to spike, and that's when the thought hit me: I had to find ...
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Is the following “shortening” allowed in fiction?

I know you can write stuff like this: Head on pillow, I glanced at the clock. My mind made up, I went over to the counter. How about following: And with that he put on the climbing ...
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Is it OK to use “I guess” in fiction?

Example: I groaned. Why was I doing this? I guess I was afraid of losing him. Like it or not, he was my only guide right now. Does it sound strange since the tense temporarily changes to the ...
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494 views

Real-Life Setting versus Fictional - Can They Attain the same Realism?

My assumption here is that a novel set in the current time and world seems more realistic to a reader than a novel with a fictional setting. The reader has the ability to say, "that could be true." In ...
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Is the following “…noun, adjective…” structure allowed in fiction?

Exhausted, I continued lying on my back. A cloud drifted lazily in the sky, heart-shaped, its curves flawlessly outlined as if drawn with a compass. Or should I write this instead? Exhausted,...
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Plot idea to make the murderer (involuntarily) reveal himself [closed]

I'm in need of an idea to advance my fictional crime plot where the protagonists of a larger (~30) group realize that the murderer (of a single murder) must be one of them, someone hiding in the group,...
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Is the word “becoming” being used correctly in the following metaphor?

We kept going until we reached a door. Finally! The corridor was deeper than I thought, like a tunnel. Or the bottom of the sea—the shelves and scrolls becoming the reef and algae that keeps the ...
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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 ...
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How to avoid hearing “that's me!” from your friends when they read your characters?

I recently asked about getting inside of someone else's head for writing good characters who are noticeably different from myself and received some great answers. One answer suggested that you should ...
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Jumping on the Zombie bandwagon

Is it too late to jump on the zombie bandwagon? There are loads of stories about the possible popular outcome of an apocalypse, is it possible to squeeze anything more out of it? Or, maybe it would ...
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Is replacing “this” with “a” allowed in fiction?

Example: "Exploding whales?" My date stared at me as if I had given him some bad news. He'd taken me to this fancy Italian restaurant. "That's what your thesis is about?" I'm not sure why, ...
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Use of Building names in Fiction [duplicate]

I know that using branded companies names is a no no if shown in a negative light, but what is the "legal" Stance on Buildings that get damaged/blown up/fist fight etc..? as they are owned by a ...
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1answer
3k views

How to effectively jump from one period of time to another in a short story?

This is the first time I'm writing something that jumps from one period of time to another in a short story: The field was vast and empty, like a green abandoned planet. Icaro and Maru were ...
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1answer
138 views

Is there a coherence problem in my story?

So the logic goes like this: the protagonist realized life was meaningless, decided to kill herself—but at the last moment her mom calls to tell her that the dog died (it "accidentally" hung itself on ...
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1answer
174 views

Stories based on news: are they allowed?

I just read a story on the news that made me go: Oh my, this would make a great short story. I've never written a story based on a news article before. So I'm wondering, will someone sue me? Am I ...
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Commas at the beginning of a sentence: should I follow convention or intuition?

An example from my own writing (Mother and daughter are burying their deceased dog): As planned that Friday, Mom and I underwent Choco’s burial at my home in __ (yes, she kept him in a garbage ...
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Am I over-explaining or being condescending to the reader?

I have many moments like this when the protagonist talks about the strangeness of her situation. Am I over-explaining or being condescending to the reader's intelligence? I like saying, "You know what....
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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 ...