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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Magazines taking submissions for short stories?

Does anyone have or know of a list of magazines (print or online) accepting submissions for short stories? It would be nice if it could be broken out by genre and payment rates (if applicable).
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Why is this ‘loved’ italicized?

I’m interested in italics in novels. Italic writings in novels have a wide variety of feelings, for example surprise, delight, anger, irony, humor, etc. However, consulting reference books, I only ...
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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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When does repetition start becoming tedious (especially metaphors)?

I always find myself using CTRL + F to remove the words/phrases I think I'm repeating too much (most of the time they are metaphors). In the following passage, however, I'm not very sure whether the ...
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X and Y vs Y and X

This always confuses me. Example: Louise and Jizanthapus were sitting on the floor of her room. Louise is the main character, so I assume she should go first? Or should I put her after ...
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Listing items in fiction

What sort of criteria should I consider when listing items in fiction? For example: He was wearing a knit cap, a flower-patterned shirt, and faded jeans. I ordered the items from top to bottom. ...
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Writing in between dream sequences

I am writing a story in which a set of events occurred that the main character cannot remember, but they come back to him in his dreams. Basically the entire actual story takes place in his dreams, ...
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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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Quality examples of 'in medias res' starting sequences in SF literature

You can find my initial trials here, and, based on feedback, version two here. I was trying to create a sort of 'flashforward' opening (please don't cite Sawyer) for a novel. That is: of the 45 ...
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How can I get rid of the “things” in the following passage?

“Good. You've done your homework.” The girl turned around and started inspecting a decaying tree, as if checking its health. “Funny, isn't? How nature can make us do things that don't benefit ...
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129 views

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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How well would this beginning sell the book to readers? Not necessarily for money

Disclaimer: English isn't my native language. A while back, I posted this and this. I got... well, reviews. While not outright helpful (ie. indirect, which is the whole point of critiques, I guess) ...
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Is it a bad idea to have all the action in the beginning and all the dialogue in the end?

I wrote a short story. All the action happens mainly at the beginning of the story. You can see part of the beginning in this question, and the full story here). This is the dialogue and ending (just ...
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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 ...
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65 views

Should I have some restraint when submitting to the more prestigious journals?

I'm an amateur writer who's never been published. I think my stuff is good, I've had others tell me it's good, but I truly don't know where I stand. I love the fiction that get published in popular ...
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How does the placement of transition sentences affects the meaning/tone of a piece?

Example: Finally, I began questioning the kid. What was her name? Where were her parents? And most important, what was she doing outside in this horrible weather? She replied to none of that. ...
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Should one avoid overusing “it” in prose?

The next morning I went to the forest—not the mini-scale forest but the real one. It extended miles and miles around the house. We were well aware of it when Akiko and I bought the house. In ...
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I'm a new author and I have three projects with complete drafts. Which one should I focus on first?

I'm a new author and, for some strange circumstances, I ended up finishing three stories (first drafts): Ghost Earthquake Eri misses an earthquake that hits her city. She doesn't remember what ...
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346 views

Will this opening and dialogue grab the reader's attention? And how can I improve it?

Disclaimer: I'm not an native English speaker Here is the first part of a short novel I'm writing. For the description I wanted the reader to have an idea of the place first and then let him know ...
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257 views

How to improve/fix this short introductory paragraph and dialog?

These are the things that I want for this introductory paragraph: Grab the reader's attention Create a melancholic and dark atmosphere Inside was dark with just enough light to see shapes, and ...
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95 views

Can prologues and epilogues change POV from the main text?

I have completed my book. But I'm stuck writing the prologue. I've written the story with narration by the writer (not from the point of view of any of the characters). But I don't feel like that ...
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149 views

Story first approach in plot outlining

I have been wondering a lot recently about a method of writing which I haven't read about anywhere but seems like it must exist. It would fall somewhere in the "plotting" style of writing, where you ...
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104 views

What should take precedence? Rhythm or clarity?

We resumed our way, until we finally exited the woods and reached a valley. Two ridges stood on both sides, meeting together on the far horizon. In the middle was a river, its quiet surface ...
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385 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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4k views

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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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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108 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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Is this dialogue and situation intriguing (short story)?

This is the continuation of a story I mentioned in a previous story. I would like to know if the reader would feel intrigued by the dialogue and situation (a girl who seems to be a stripper is lying ...
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1k views

Critique: three person dialogue

Up until now, I'd only written dialogues between two persons. I'm not very sure if this dialogue is flowing smoothly. Is there anything I can do to improve its flow? Specifically, I'm wondering ...
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Do items on a list have to follow the order/logic of the previous one?

This is a bit hard to explain, so here's an example: His room was an exact replica of mine. The only difference were the things he had brought along: his zoology books, his backpack, and of ...
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112 views

Open Source Publishing?

If an author is not concerned about making money from her story, but rather would like to publish the story to protect the story from copy right yet allow others to read and review the story for ...
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123 views

Does the narrator sound childish?

I really apologize, this is something that just came to my mind (and while sitting on the toilet). There's no editing. The reason is, I'll remove the whole passage if the protagonist sounds childish. ...
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112 views

“Where did X go?” vs “where had X gone.”

Which one should be used for a story written in the past tense? Example: But just as I was about to consider that possibility, I spotted something: a blood-stained feather. It was caught between ...
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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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Faith, Hope and Love as the keys to victory in an action-adventure novel?

I'm at the outline stage of my novel writing. It is pretty straightforward to think of an action-adventure novel's victory as attained by physical attributes and/or courage. I'm looking for ...
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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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How do I manage a plot with two protagonists? [closed]

I'm a beginner manga plot writer. On the first season of my story I have a protagonist A. How can I manage the second season if I want as protagonists the protagonist A from the first season and a ...
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196 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. ...
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Is it common to bring in a developmental editor when you are at the stage of synopsis?

When writing an analytical synopsis for a fiction book, is it common to bring in a developmental editor? I am new at writing. As I understand it, the developmental editor could help more in this ...
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Is it possible to write fiction as a non-sensing, non-worldly person? [closed]

I've always wanted to write fiction, but I've been afraid I'd sooner or later be limited by my lack of exposure to the world (or having any desire thereof). I barely watched television growing up, so ...
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300 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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178 views

Is the ambiguity in my story the salt which makes it tasty or just plain frustrating?

Because this story is quite ambiguous in relation to the setting and also the main character's gender, I have been wondering whether this is frustrating for the reader or whether it provides a good ...
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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 ...
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105 views

Under which genre to publish?

I am developing a story about a spiritual journey. The book could be marketed under several guises such as magic realism, fantasy, religious, adventure... I was thinking that the best approach ...
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120 views

Where should I go with this short story? [closed]

I've been working on this piece for about a week in a creative writing workshop. We need to wrap up our current stories at a minimum of six pages to a maximum of eight pages. I've always had a tough ...
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158 views

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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171 views

Should it be a Short Story or Full Story

I asked Three questions in another question. To break it up, I am going to ask one which I still would like more feedback on. NOTE: I was told to break it up by the moderator who closed it. Although ...
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Does my story beginning hook the reader? (dialogue + narration)?

The following is the opening of a short story I'm writing: Erin stared at Ruth, eyes narrowed. "There was an earthquake last night?" Ruth nodded. "Around 9p.m. The news says it was a 4.3 ...
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Should I write my novel? [duplicate]

I am a guy whose passion has always been fiction writing but in college I decided to go into software engineering because my parents were in a bind and they needed help financially. Now I am decent ...
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What linguistic features increase the degree of readability?

By linguistic features i think of the structure of a sentence, the usage of subclauses, passive or active and such alike. What would you suggest someone who has no clue of what are considered ...