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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Can i use the name of a real UK Prime Minister in a fictional Novel? [duplicate]

I am writing a fictional novel that rewrites history surrounding the Gulf war. It involves at one point the actions of the english Prime Minister at the time. In the novel he takes us to war with Iraq ...
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Does inclusion of significant quotations from literature make a novel harder to publish?

I'm considering using quotations (a sentence to a paragraph) from various pieces of literature at the beginning of each chapter of my novel. The quotations connect thematically to the events of the ...
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379 views

Issues with Scene/Sequel model

I'm using the Scene/Sequel model to go from an informal outline of my novel to a list of scenes. In summary, during a Scene the POV Character has a Goal, encounters some Conflict, and it ends in ...
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234 views

When to start a new paragraph and when to start a new “scene”

This is an extract of a short story I'm writing. Sometimes I get confused about when to start a new paragraph and when to start a new "scene." So I would like to know if I'm doing it properly here ...
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162 views

Style signatures and uncommon formatting patterns

Style signatures are bits of words and phrases used consistently throughout the entirety of a work (but not necessarily among my unrelated works). I would like to try using style signatures in a work ...
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714 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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106 views

How far does libel extend in writing?

Suppose I wrote a book. Suppose it had a normal modern fictional story about it. Suppose that the characters aren't based on real people and have no relation to anyone. Suppose in the background of ...
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Tactician's Viewpoint and Contradictory Characterization

I have a character who's supposed to be a talented tactician. Because of the setup of the story, this character is contrasted with another character by means of giving them contradictory or ...
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159 views

Do the following scenes feel like flashbacks?

I wrote a short story. One recurring critique is that the flashbacks don't feel like flashbacks, so the readers get confused. The story is about a man who hears a piano next door. Nothing ...
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Does this text flow smoothly (description of suicidal thoughts)?

So how did this animal suicide thing start? Ironically, it began with my own death wish. But why? I had perfect health, friends and family who cared about me, plus I had just been admitted into ...
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1answer
427 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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218 views

Will 9/11 fiction get a writer into trouble with the US Government?

I want to write about the very interesting topic of 'what really happened' on 9/11. How close can I possibly get to real characters and facts without getting sued? Facts I might include in my work: ...
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Using true/real names and events in a fiction novel [duplicate]

I would like to know where to reference what true or real names and events can be used in fiction novel. Example: Can you use words such as NFL or names of awards? I understand you cannot use ...
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How to use His/My/Your permutations in adressing persons [closed]

I'd like to understand the rationale of when, why and how His/My/Your are used in titles of addressing people. For example, the standard commonly accepted uses are: "His Honour"("His Grace", or ...
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444 views

Do these starting paragraphs make you want to keep reading?

OK, first, I'm not a native. So, what you do by instinct and a bit of research, I do by extensive research, including accents and dialog style. I’m dead. ‘But you have a chance,’ I was told, ...
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185 views

Is writing a light read or “chick lit” a good option for an aspiring literary fiction author?

I live in India and here light reads and "chick lit" have made a great impression. The youth are picking up such books like petrol on fire. Even non-readers are giving reading these genres a try. ...
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476 views

Is muteness appearing without explicit reason acceptable?

In one of my stories, my main character was once able to speak, but after being alone for 3 or 4 years in his early 20's without speaking a word, he became mute, unable to speak at all. Is this ...
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345 views

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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163 views

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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187 views

3 short stories that can be turned into a novel. Should I pick the one with best reviews?

I wrote 3 short stories a long time ago, and I realized there's still room to expand them. Recently I made the decision to write a novel with the purpose of starting a writing career. So my plan is to ...
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4answers
103 views

How to write romance without falling into cliché?

A few examples of romance clichés: A is in love with B, but doesn't dare to tell him/her. After some chasing, A finally has sex with B (and the sex is fantastic). Love triangle: A loves B, B loves ...
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4answers
86 views

How much information should a narrative sentence contain ,from experience on average, for good readability?

While randomly browsing, i noticed fiction writings contain much more comas in their sentences as lets say sentences in chats or instruction leaflets. just for contrast simple sentence: i live in ...
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Is it a bad writing practice to end a paragraph with question?

I'm not sure where I picked up this habit. Here are two examples: I pictured An-Mei’s slim fingers running across their smooth surface, her hand, and then the body connected to it. But try as I ...
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236 views

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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218 views

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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48 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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57 views

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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“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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210 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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76 views

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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86 views

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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1answer
77 views

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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129 views

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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117 views

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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76 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 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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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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174 views

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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160 views

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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Do words like “start”, “realize”, and “decide” add ambiguity to actions?

My heart started to race. Did the heart actually race or not yet? Later that night, I realized I couldn't sleep. Did the person try to sleep? Or knew that before even trying? We ...
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86 views

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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174 views

Can a Town/City Sue an Author for a Bad Portrayal in Fiction?

Lets say we choose a random town off of google maps on which to base a story where the local authorities (we won't say police, or whatnot, but local authorities) perform an investigation that is ...
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107 views

Do agents/editors take Snoflake Pro-based proposals seriously?

I've just stumbled upon the Snowflake Pro software and have been very happy with how it has improved the quality and completeness of my manuscript. At the end of the process, the software uses all the ...
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65 views

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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55 views

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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134 views

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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352 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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272 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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Female Pet Names that a Londoner might use

I was wondering about female pet names, like darling, sweetie, pet, babe etc. One of my characters refers to his other half as "pet" but I've been told that this is common to the North East (UK). As ...