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

3
votes
2answers
316 views

How do you know when there's something missing in your story?

You always hear about what has to be removed. Usually unnecessary stuff that doens't contribute to the plot. How about the opposite? How do you know when your story is lacking something? Say, more ...
3
votes
2answers
268 views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
94 views

Is it okay to attempt to write in the style of another person, and how is that done well?

I want to write like Neal Stephenson- I read Snow Crash and absolutely fell in love with the style. I'm trying to write a cyberpunk style book myself, and I have a good plot (I think), but I want to ...
3
votes
2answers
164 views

All persons fictitious - where to place it?

I've got an all persons fictitious disclaimer similar to the one mentioned at All persons fictitious disclaimer — ideas regarding modification? but where should I place it? Bear in mind, this is a ...
3
votes
3answers
111 views

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 ...
3
votes
7answers
2k views

How many pages long should a chapter book be?

I have recently started writing a chapter book, which is "a story book intended for intermediate readers generally between 7-10 years old". The book is only 29 pages long and I am nearing the end. ...
3
votes
3answers
6k views

Adding breaks in a novel—spaces, asterisks, or a chapter break?

I am editing my first novel and wherever I find a natural break in the story, I add a few spaces. I want to go back and adjust what types of breaks those are, but how best to represent those spaces in ...
3
votes
3answers
545 views

Italicizing and adding accents to Spanish words in an English novel.

In my current novel I have a few characters who speak Spanish. The book takes place along the Texico border, so it happens frequently. I know that in more foreign Spanish, or when someone speaks a ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Write a 1st person story with a 3rd person narrator

I am writing a story in the 3rd person and i would like to switch the narrator for one of the main characters half way through so that the reader can read how he perceives the story. does anybody have ...
3
votes
3answers
148 views

What's the difference between a 1-, 2- or 3-dimensional character?

The terms are bandied around quite often to describe fictional characters, generally in order to help describe how developed a character is in terms of personality and backstory. However, are there ...
3
votes
2answers
270 views

Techniques to avoid superlatives in intense fiction scenes

I'm an aspiring writer and I'm finding it hard to not get swept up "in the moment" of the characters. What are some techniques to avoid superlatives and hyperbole in scenes that are meant to increase ...
3
votes
3answers
93 views

How to prioritize projects

I'm just starting out with writing fiction seriously. I feel like this might be my "thing." Strangely enough, at the moment I find myself with a number of ideas, most in very early stages of ...
3
votes
2answers
149 views

Am I providing enough information to keep the reader gripped?

This is the opening of a short story I'm writing (second draft): A deep silence enveloped the room as the words escaped from my mouth. I turned to the side to look at Akiko. She was staring ...
3
votes
2answers
296 views

Is it bad idea to directly state the message/moral of a story?

I realized I tend to state directly the message/moral of the story in my stories (as dialogue in most of the cases). My plots are rather ambiguous, though. And I use a lot of metaphors/symbols so the ...
3
votes
4answers
219 views

Balancing character levity in a serious narrative

I am looking for examples of authors who manage to have sarcastic/funny characters exist in a very serious, end of the world type of scenario. The issue I am trying to resolve is when I write ...
3
votes
1answer
210 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
98 views

How do you force a turning point in a narrative that is supposed to be precisely about the lack of such devices?

Please, before flagging this question as subjective or generic, take a moment to read it through. IMO this is a valid, specific question, albeit a bit complex. To try and unpack the admittedly ...
3
votes
1answer
112 views

Using “Earth words” in a futuristic, fictional setting

As a writer of primarily science fiction, I've often struggled with finding a happy medium between making the prose/dialogue relatable for readers and avoiding using too many "Earth words" as I've ...
3
votes
1answer
241 views

How to decide if a plot twist worth doing?

There's a major piece of information in my story, which I could either make tell right away - or else keep it a secret, and use it as a plot twist later. I'm having a hard time choosing which way to ...
3
votes
2answers
68 views

Maintaining readers over time with serialized fiction?

I am one of several authors on a fairly new shared blog. The blog has a mix of serialized and one-shot posts. Because it's a new blog (2.5 months, ~30 posts so far), there is quite a variety of ...
3
votes
1answer
607 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
133 views

Looking for some tips on how to improve writing [closed]

I have just completed my first draft of a novel. Now the story is completed it's time to capture the style so the reader can engage in the story. I want to make sure the story style is easy enough for ...
3
votes
2answers
180 views

How Can I Effectively Develop Fictional Characters

So, I'm trying my own attempt at writing and I keep having trouble with developing my characters. Are there any effective methods of developing fictional characters? It can just be a small idea or ...
3
votes
1answer
236 views

Perspective and Balance with Multiple Characters

I am working on a piece of fiction and am having some difficulty locking down which perspective/s to utilize. The main issue at hand is that I have 4 characters that will play "lead" roles and ...
3
votes
1answer
237 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
123 views

Is protagonist identification/empathy influenced by the reader's gender?

I had a discussion with someone who claimed she'd once read (though she couldn't remember the source) that men can identify and empathize with male as well as female protagonists, while women identify ...
3
votes
1answer
71 views

permission from the building owners needed to depict a drawing of it on cover of novel?

Do I need permission from the owners of a building to depict a drawing of it on the cover of my novel?
3
votes
1answer
114 views

What are the elements of a good blurb?

I'm writing a blurb. To do so, I'm using my favorite novels as examples. Here's one: Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. Kafka on the Shore follows the fortunes of two remarkable characters. ...
3
votes
1answer
165 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.
3
votes
1answer
490 views

Should I switch to third person or continue in first person?

Is the following first-person POV introduction good, or would it be helped by switching the story to third-person limited? The book is very action-centric, involving a good deal of fights and large-...
2
votes
5answers
833 views

How can we have foreshadowing in a story that takes place in a universe where the future can't be known beforehand?

In a (non-comedic) story where the philosophical implications of the existence of any way of predicting the future (except by accident) happen to be unacceptable or incompatible with the laws or the ...
2
votes
4answers
316 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 ...
2
votes
5answers
118 views

How do I avoid tradeoffs with showing vs. telling? [closed]

I learned early on (as most writers have) "show, don't tell," which I agree with for the most part. However, I've found many situations in writing when I'd start to write a statement in tell, catch ...
2
votes
2answers
224 views

First conversation scenes I've written (looking for errors, conventions, and improvements according to writing standards)

I would like to know if I'm doing something wrong (according to writing standards) in the following conversation and how to improve it to help readability, quality and feeling (making it more ...
2
votes
4answers
595 views

Can I write a Hero's Journey without them leaving an Ordinary World? (Monomyth template)

I was recently taught about the Hero-Journey template Instead of the Hero leaving the Ordinary World, can they remain and the Ordinary World changes and/or warps (possibly along with the Hero)? And ...
2
votes
5answers
395 views

Are 'how-to write fiction' books full of it?

I built and sold a business during my first decade of adulthood. During that period, I read a lot of business books published by the popular press. Typically, these books propound a particular method ...
2
votes
4answers
173 views

I have three dead-end chapters. Should I keep them or remove them?

The protagonist in my story decides to research a topic. Naturally, I wanted her to encounter some obstacles first, so I arranged the starting chapters like this: First frustration > Second ...
2
votes
3answers
358 views

How to describe a scene involving a shift in the environment due to forbidden magic?

Background/scene for question: A character witnesses his wife killed before him. While holding her, he begins screaming her name. With each time he utters her name, the world around him shifts as he ...
2
votes
2answers
179 views

Is it a bad practice to add extra words/phrases just to add rhythm/make the text look smoother?

Example: Eri, did you feel the earthquake that night? Are you sure your apartment's alright? In which planet where you when it came? Is reality and the world you know still the same?* ...
2
votes
2answers
182 views

Do novels that are set in not-so-famous countries sell less?

By not-so-famous countries I mean those you don't usually find in novels, movies, TV, magazines, etc. One example is Chile (the place I was born). I'm not sure about America/Europe but if you go to ...
2
votes
4answers
483 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
500 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
633 views

Is there a complete guideline for which tense to use?

There are questions here about specific use of tenses, but I wonder if there is a more complete guide on what tense to use when? For a fictional novel, Past Tense is the accepted choice. But which ...
2
votes
6answers
4k views

Fiction Novels & Active vs. Passive Voice

Before I launch into this, I've perused these threads and they don't quite answer the specific question I have in mind: When to keep the passive voice and when to remove it When *should* I use ...
2
votes
5answers
776 views

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 ...
2
votes
3answers
150 views

How do you connect a non sequitur hook to a novel?

A pineapple is walking down a street, but here’s the kicker: he’s completely naked. That was a non sequitur hook I thought of. I figured that it would raise a bunch of really interesting questions, ...
2
votes
3answers
182 views

Is trying to write an entire novel in one month possible?

Lately I've been thinking about trying to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), where the idea (at least I think it is) to write an entire novel in one month. Is this even possible?
2
votes
3answers
87 views

Formatting to show system errors in fiction?

Okay, here's the thing. I'll keep it simple. I use double quotes for general dialogues. Single quotes for flashback dialogues and italicized letters for monologues and emphasis words only. The doubt ...
2
votes
4answers
224 views

How to make a character that doesn't speak about himself relatable?

I have a character in my novel, De-Shi, who's the mentor and love interest of the protagonist, Li-Mei (nicknamed Hanging Pup). He listens to her feelings, gives her advice, jokes with her, shares ...