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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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 ...
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100 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. ...
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978 views

Where can I find co-authors willing to share writing duties for a fiction novel?

Writing has turned out to be lonely profession. After a successful career of working with collaborative teams on technology projects, I have just completed the story development for my first fiction ...
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153 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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481 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 ...
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740 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 ...
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295 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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217 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 ...
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554 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 ...
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371 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 ...
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152 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 ...
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319 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 ...
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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?* ...
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176 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 ...
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444 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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458 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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511 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 ...
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3k 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 ...
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696 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 ...
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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 ...
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164 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? ...
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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 ...
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182 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 ...
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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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227 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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755 views

Parenthesis Types in Fiction

What's the general approach to using parenthesis (the grammatical construct, not the punctuation mark) in fiction? I have an internal "ranking" of them: Comma-delineated parenthesis, like this, is ...
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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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454 views

Is my opening chapter too short?

I've just started writing my first proper novel, I've written short stories and started to write before, but never really had the motivation, but now I have a new, interesting storyline to write ...
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97 views

Pulling the reader out of the narrative: When it's too much?

Example (excerpt from a story I'm writing): To make things worse, my schoolmates started calling me “Hanging Pup” from then on (yes, news spread like a diseases at my university. The dumber ...
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56 views

Delaying narrative/actions

I tend do this a lot: A straight curve appeared after a moment. I slowed my pace and circled around. Once I came out of it, I caught sight of something. It was a girl. Probably a sixteen ...
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113 views

Asking questions in the middle of a narrative

I'm writing a short story. And I realized the opening is filled with question marks: Ming was disturbed by the faint sound of a piano. He put down his guitar tuner and glanced at the clock. ...
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278 views

Rewriting an existing story (fable) to fit it within my fantasy universe

My antagonist sends my protagonist a note that says "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil". Obviously, this is the story of the the three wise monkeys, but I'd like this to relate to something ...
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114 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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284 views

Gadgets that make the world/story broken

Every so often I see a nice piece of fiction where its author adds something (to save the plot, or to make it interesting, whatever) that makes the story broken (usually it makes the world, setting or ...
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105 views

Character name and its capitalisation

Nobody in my story knows the actual name of one of the characters. She calls herself 'tina. She always writes it 'tina and gets irritated if people write it Tina - it's short for something, but nobody ...
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156 views

When is repetition good?

I'm aware that, in writing, repetition is sometimes bad. For example: "You forgot my birthday!" I said. "No, I didn't forget your birthday." "Then why didn't you wish me happy ...
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129 views

Writing “X, Y, and Z” vs “X and Y and Z.”

Example: The forest was so dense I was practically swimming through it. A dark, murky ocean of shrubs, trees, and bamboo shoots. The forest was so dense I was practically swimming through ...
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296 views

How to deal with cliche dialogue?

The following is from a story I'm writing: "Goodbye Choco," my mother said, to end the prayer, “may your soul rest in peace,” and crossed herself. “Sorry I couldn’t come earlier,” I said. ...
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251 views

I feel my protagonist is too “detached” from the main plot. What should I do?

Here's a summary of the plot: The main character goes to a mountain to visit his half-sister. He hasn't seen her in years. She went there to undergo a spiritual healing. Later he discovers her ...
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935 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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237 views

Using a town to symbolize/represent a character within a story (fiction)?

I'm not sure if this has been done before. In my story, the main character's wife takes the form of a town. The town represents how he feels towards his wife (mostly sad feelings and repulsion). It ...
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101 views

Making modern references

I'm working on a modern fiction drama in an urban setting. I'm trying to be real in terms of conversation threads--music, movies, drugs, etc. Here's my problem: I've never done a realistic modern ...
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106 views

Can a character with poor communication skills be used to create an excellent first-person narrative?

I am deciding between first and third person narration for a book (and am inclined to write in the first person). One of the limitations of the protagonist is that he is not a great communicator, and ...
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124 views

What is the meaning of the dictum that the third act should contain the greatest crisis?

I am working on a screenplay in which the protagonist has to surmount a crisis in each of the three acts. That is, a physical crisis in Act I, a social crisis in Act II, and a psychological crisis in ...
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128 views

Thinking as a character

Months after starting my first novel (which hasn't made any progress and is still in its first draft) I feel I can only react to a given situation rather than create one. The same seems to apply to my ...
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86 views

Is it OK for a first person narrator to directly state the other character's emotions?

Example: I gasped. Tom swallowed. He was also surprised by the maid's sudden appearance. In this case the narrator is directly talking about Tom's feelings. I gasped. Tom swallowed. He also ...
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163 views

What are the ethics of using real-world house addresses in historical fiction?

I am editing a novel manuscript for a client of mine. It's a historical fiction set in 1948, so not that long ago. The main character lives in a house above a cafe that I believe is fictional within ...
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227 views

Is it possible to turn a cliche into something original?

I always try to avoid cliches as much as I can. But sometimes I just can't; they seem to be the perfect bridge between one scene and the other. For example, in the current novel I'm writing, the ...
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146 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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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 ...